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Programs organised to commemorate the Formation of 1st Bangladesh Government in Agartala

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Tripura State Museum, (representational Image), Wikimedia

Agartala, April 8, 2017: A series of programs will be held in this Tripura capital April 10-11 to commemorate the formation of the first Bangladeshi government here 46 years ago, the organisers said on Saturday.

The event is being organised by the Assistant High Commission of Bangladesh in Agartala, the Dhaka and Agartala chapters of “Friends of Bangladesh” and the Agartala Press Club.

“In a meeting of the then parliamentarians, first Bangladesh government was formed in Agartala on April 10, 1971. To commemorate the day, a series of programmes would be held here,” said Mihir Deb, Agartala chapter President of Friends of Bangladesh, an NGO.

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Deb, a renowned academician, said intellectuals, Bangladeshi MPs, policy makers, former ministers, film makers, artists, performers and veterans of the Bangladesh liberation war will take part in the event.

A seminar will also be held where Indian intellectuals, writers and historians will speak.

A drama would also be staged on April 11 by the Bangladeshi actors to show case the nine-month long independence war and its milieu.

Deb said that in opposition of the then Pakistani rulers, the Bangladesh government with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the first President and Tajuddin Ahmad as the first Prime Minister was covertly functioning from Mujibnagar, formerly known as Baidyanathtala, in Meherpur district of Bangladesh.

The actual capital of that government while in exile was in Calcutta, now Kolkata.

After Sheikh Mujibur Rahman launched a massive guerilla operation against the then Pakistani rulers in March 1971, ‘Mukti Joddhas’ (freedom fighters) fought enemy forces that led to the creation of Bangladesh.

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The nine-month-long ‘Mukti Joddha’ (Liberation War) later turned into a full-scale India-Pakistan war, leading to the surrender of nearly 93,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dhaka on December 16, 1971.

India was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign nation.

Historian Bikach Chowdhury said Tripura had six to seven camps in four sectors from where the ‘Mukti Joddhas’ fought Pakistani forces.

“Over 1,600,000 Bangladeshis — a number larger than the state’s then total population of 1,500,000 — had taken shelter in Tripura alone,” he said.

During the war, 10 million men, women and children from then East Pakistan took shelter in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya. (IANS)

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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

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Bangladesh Government Responds to UNICEF Report on Infant Mortality

Bangladesh believes comparatively the country is more advanced than other countries regarding reducing child mortality rate

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Bangladesh
Children in Bangladesh. Wikimedia
  • The study, “Narrowing the Gaps, The Power of Investing in the Poorest Children,” found that for every U.S. $1 million spent, the number of deaths averted was 168, compared to 92 in non-poor groups
  • Over a 25-year period beginning in 1990, Bangladesh saw its infant mortality rate fall from 144 per 1,000 to 38 per 1,000, according to UNICEF figures released in 2015
  • The UNICEF report said most deaths could have been prevented with practical low-cost interventions

Dhaka, June 30, 2017: A Bangladesh government official and a physician said the country was cutting its infant mortality rate, but better programs and hospital services were needed to see even lower numbers.

The two spoke in response to a report of 51 countries released Wednesday by UNICEF that supports its prediction seven years ago that investing properly in poor children can save lives.

“Children growing up in poverty are nearly twice as likely to die before reaching their fifth birthday as children growing up in better circumstances,” the report said.

The study, “Narrowing the Gaps, The Power of Investing in the Poorest Children,” found that for every U.S. $1 million spent, the number of deaths averted was 168, compared to 92 in non-poor groups.

Over a 25-year period beginning in 1990, Bangladesh saw its infant mortality rate fall from 144 per 1,000 to 38 per 1,000, according to UNICEF figures released in 2015. This represents a 74 percent drop in infant mortality among Bangladeshi children aged five years and under.

Dr. Md. Jahangir Alam Sarker, director of primary health care at the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said he expected to see more improvements.

“Comparatively Bangladesh is more advanced than other countries regarding reducing child mortality rate. We are on the right track,” Sarker told BenarNews. “But we could not spread-out nationwide programs yet. For example, we could not start special-care units for infants in all hospitals.”

“We have undertaken many programs to reduce child mortality, but we could not reach many at the grassroots level,” he said. “Those programs are spreading out. We will get results soon.”

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Preventable deaths

The UNICEF report said most deaths could have been prevented with practical low-cost interventions including: oral rehydration salts to treat diarrhea; early immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases; primary and community-based health services such as skilled birth attendants to reduce complications during labor and delivery; and care-seeking by parents of young children to treat illness.

It praised the Bangladesh government for setting up community clinics at the village level to provide free routine health services while improving water, sanitation and hygiene.

Pediatrician Kaniz Hasina Sheuli, who also is a professor at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, said more can be done to save sick children, pointing out that not all Bangladesh hospitals are equipped properly to help them and more skilled nurses are needed.

“We could manage to control child diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea, but still death rate of the children with birth defects is 4 percent,” she said.

“Usually we operate surgery immediately after the birth of those infants with defects. Intensive care units (ICU) are required for these of surgeries, but public hospitals lack this support,” Sheuli said. “Available ICUs are not sufficient. As a result, everybody doesn’t get this benefit.” (Benar News)

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393