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Indian Civilisation has always been open to New Ideas and Diversity is at the core of our Pluralistic Society, says President Pranab Mukherjee

Yoga and ayurvedic medicine are examples of ancient Indian science that still have an important influence in daily practices

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Nari Shakti Awards
President Pranab Mukherjee, Wikimedia
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New Delhi, Dec 1, 2016: When we talk about India, a series of adjectives and attributes come to our mind and no matter what, but no one can miss out on, “diversity”. India has been a very inclusive and accommodating country, always open to new ideas and thus, balancing the aesthetic and modern aspects of its society.

In an award giving ceremony, President Pranab Mukherjee said, “We find our history and heritage reflected in almost all our transactions – from the mundane level of everyday custom and ritual to our academic work – in science, innovation and maths – and also our spiritual pursuits, creativity and cultural activities. Our villages are firmly rooted in our traditions but have simultaneously leapfrogged into cyberspace,” mentioned PTI.

“Yoga and ayurvedic medicine are examples of ancient Indian science that still have an important influence in our daily practices. They continue to be popular and are being actively revived and promoted. Indian civilisation has always been open to new streams of thought and information. This diversity is at the core of our pluralistic society,” the President said, while giving away ‘Distinguished Indologist’ award in New Delhi.

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The honour-second Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Distinguished Indologist award– was given to Prof Yu Long Yu of the People’s Republic of China. While giving away the award, President Mukherjee also said, “The contacts between our (China and India) scholars, scientists and historians date back to ancient times. These mutually inspiring relationships were further reinforced by the impelling ties of religion, trade and cultural affinities. Our unique heritage has made it extremely rewarding for scholars to explore it – in the framework of India’s vibrant tradition, its history, languages, culture and religions.”

While giving away the award, President Mukherjee also said, “the contacts between our (China and India) scholars, scientists and historians date back to ancient times. These mutually inspiring relationships were further reinforced by the impelling ties of religion, trade and cultural affinities. Our unique heritage has made it extremely rewarding for scholars to explore it – in the framework of India’s vibrant tradition, its history, languages, culture and religions.”

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Professor Yu Long Yu is the Professor and Director at the Centre for Indian Studies, Shenzhen University. He has studied Indology for many years and is the pioneer of it in South China. Also, he is the one who is behind the setting up of the Centre for Indian Studies and Tan Yunshan Sino-Indian Friendship Museum in Shenzhen University.

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram with PTI inputs. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC