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Koreans trace their origins to Suriratna, a princess from Ayodhya

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New Delhi: Millions of Koreans trace their origins to Suriratna, a princess from Ayodhya who had married the Korean king Kim Suro, said a diplomat from the country, adding that a memorial to the princess would soon be upgraded.

At a two-day international conference organized by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the deputy head of the South Korean embassy Ahn Min Sik said the shared heritage between India and his country began in 48 AD with the Ayodhya princess marrying the Korean king.

“If there’s any country that is closer to India in terms of the shared history, the language, it is Korea,” said the ICCR President Lokesh Chandra, adding that the legend has helped in strengthening the Indo-Korean relations.

“Our history shows the mutual support and partnership these two countries had enjoyed. This has led to an increasing value to our extending partnership in economic, political and cultural entities,” Anil Wadhwa, secretary in the ministry of external affairs said while addressing the conference.

An official statement from the ICCR pointed out that Suriratna had traveled for three months from Ayodhya to Korea by sea and married the Korean king, thus marking the beginning of the Garak clan in Korea.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Seoul in May had also reiterated the importance of this legend in his speech.

“The relationship between the two countries goes back to the first century when an Indian Princess traveled from the kingdom of Ayodhya to Korea by a boat. She married the Korean King Suro and became the first queen of South Korean kingdom. Several Koreans trace their lineage to her,” Modi had said at the India-Korea CEOs Forum.

This tale of the Ayodhya princess was also mentioned in ‘Samguk Yusa’ or ‘The Heritage History of the Three Kingdoms’, a treasured work in Korea which was written in the 13th century.

The book finds a reference to the princess (Suriratna), who after marriage had become Queen Heo Hwang-ok.

The statement from ICCR also mentioned some of the famous descendants of Queen Heo as General Kim Yoo-shin, who had first unified the Korean Kingdom in the 7th century, former president and Nobel Laureate Kim Dae-jung, and former prime minster Kim Jong-pil, among others.

(IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)