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Retd Indian Army veteran cycling across the country in a tribute to Soldiers who laid down their lives for Nation since Independence

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Major General Somnath Jha , Source: All India Radio

New Delhi, April 18, 2017: Major General Somnath Jha (Retd), who is cycling across the country in a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation since Independence, reached Delhi Cantonment on the penultimate day of his journey.

Having spent 37 years in service, the 58-year-old third-generation soldier took up the daunting task of paying homage to around 21,000 armed forces personnel by cycling for two minutes for each of them throughout the country.

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“This is my symbolic homage to my brethren who didn’t have the privilege of retiring as I did since they made the supreme sacrifice before that,” Jha said.

Accompanied by his wife Chitra, Jha hit the road 18 days after he retired on October 19 last year starting his journey from Ambala Cantonment (from where he retired), and has cycled for 42,000 minutes across 29 states over a period of seven months.

He paid homage to every war memorial on his way and would conclude his homage journey at the Amar Jawan Jyoti here on Wednesday.

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During the journey, his day would start early in the morning as he would cycle till he hit his day’s target, which could be anything between 70 to 150 km taking minimal breaks in between, a Defence Ministry statement said.

Commissioned in the 11th Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, Jha scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro at the age of 54 and learned paragliding at the age of 56. (IANS)

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Catalonia Independence : Spanish PM plans to remove Catalonia’s leaders to take control

Many Catalans who want to remain in Spain will approve of this strident action. But those who want independence for their region are likely to see this as a provocation rather than a solution

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The Spanish Prime Minister said one of his aims is to restore peaceful co-existence to Catalonia by removing its leaders. VOA

Madrid, October 22, 2017 : Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has outlined plans to remove Catalonia’s leaders and take control of the separatist region.

Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday, Rajoy stopped short of dissolving the region’s parliament but put forward plans for elections, BBC reported.

The measures must now be approved by Spain’s Senate in the next few days.

Large crowds have gathered in Barcelona to protest against direct rule from Madrid. It comes almost three weeks after Catalonia held a disputed independence referendum.

Spain’s Supreme Court had declared the vote illegal and said it violated the constitution, which describes the country as indivisible.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has ignored pleas from the national government to abandon moves towards independence.

Rajoy said the the Catalan government’s actions were “contrary to the law and seeking confrontation”. He said it was “not our wish, it was not our intention” to impose direct rule.

This will be via Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, which allows it to impose direct rule in a crisis on any of the country’s semi-autonomous regions.

Spanish law dictates that elections must be held within six months of Article 155 being triggered, but Rajoy said it was imperative that the vote be held much sooner.

Reports say that Spain’s interior ministry is preparing take control of Catalonia’s Mossos police force and remove its commander Josep Lluís Trapero, who is already facing sedition charges.

The government is also considering taking control of Catalonia’s public broadcaster TV3, El País newspaper reported.

Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras said Rajoy and his allies had “not just suspended autonomy. They have suspended democracy”.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said it was a “serious attack on the rights and freedoms of all, both here and elsewhere” and called for demonstrations.

The president of Barcelona football club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, said the club gave its “absolute support for the democratic institutions of Catalonia chosen by its people”.

But he called for any reaction to be “civil and peaceful” and said dialogue was the only way to a solution.

Eduard Rivas Mateo, spokesman for the Catalan Socialist party — which supports the Spanish government’s stance but also wants constitutional reform — said he could not accept a “harsh application” of Article 155.

ALSO READ Catalonia Protesters Demand Release of Separatist Leaders

But Ines Arrimadas, head of the centrist Ciudadanos party in Catalonia, which is against independence, said holding fresh elections would “restore goodwill and democracy” in the region.

Rajoy’s use of Article 155 had been widely anticipated, but his announcement when it came still had a huge impact. The article has never been invoked before, so there was a certain amount of mystery surrounding its potential reach and meaning.

Although Rajoy insisted that Catalonia’s self-government is not being suspended, many will disagree. The removal from office of Carles Puigdemont and all the members of his cabinet, to allow ministers in Madrid to take on their duties, amounts to a major reining in of Catalonia’s devolved powers.

The Spanish Prime Minister said one of his aims is to restore peaceful co-existence to Catalonia with these measures.

Many Catalans who want to remain in Spain will approve of this strident action. But those who want independence for their region are likely to see this as a provocation rather than a solution. (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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Educated Woman: Should She be a Housewife or a Working Woman?

Educated women are often relegated in various societies for opting the role of a homemaker

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Home-making
Housewife doing domestic drudges

By Megha Acharya 

  • The definition of ‘Independent women’ is always weighed with the money she earns.
  • Societies see bread earners as the ones who run the family.
  • This societal taboo disrespects the woman’s choice.

People are of the opinion that an educated woman limiting herself as a housewife is “squandering” her qualification. Women often hear, “what’s the use of studying, if you have to become a housewife”. The choice of staying at home or going to work is completely a personal decision. Both sexes pertain the right to take decisions of their lives.

It’s not necessary that the option to stay at home is always imposed on women, some may opt to become a housewife. The ‘taboo’ of a woman wasting her degree by sitting at home, relegates the choice made by her. Women education is questioned, if they decide being independent by not spending eight hours outside of their homes.

The work profile of a housewife gets restricted to the domestic drudgery in many societies. Had home-making been doing just the domestic chores, then why do working mothers prefer leaving their kids with English-speaking maids or send them to creches, where their baby is under the guidance of educated people. Why do they not randomly pick someone?

An educated woman can make better decisions in home-making. The quality of life of the family would be better in terms of nutrition, cleanliness, health and stress when the person devotes a lot of her time at home. From choosing the right kind of household items to childcare, her qualifications would play a huge role. Young minds benefit from interactions with an educated person. The housewife’s qualifications would help her decide the kind of school her child would fit in, the kind of environment is required for his/her growth, and most importantly the lessons and values to be given to her children.

The contribution made by a housewife gets quantified with money. She is asked, “Do you not feel ashamed while asking for money from your husband?”. Does the woman’s time, effort and sweat in cleaning and maintaining the house, not anything? The definition of ‘Independent woman’ is often misconstrued. The self-earned cash is an important sign of freedom, however, being independent is only weighed with earning money. People fail to understand that, a lady taking the onus of the whole family, making wiser decisions for the well-being of its members qualifies to “being independent”.

Also Read: Working Mothers Can Now Balance Work and Family with These Hacks.

The relationship between a husband and a wife is mutually dependent. Both are reliant on each other for physical and mental support. If a lady homemaker needs money from her husband, then the latter needs cooked food, ironed clothes, clean house and good parenting for his child.

Housewife managing household
Independent woman managing household

[bctt tweet=”The definition of independent women if always misconstrued with money]

Working parents juggle the responsibilities of home and work, which makes them stressed. In such situations, some choose to be the multitasker, while some want to stay at home. Every individual chooses the best for themselves. Rather than judging them, we should respect their decision and show some compassion. Women education never gets wasted if, they willingly decided to take part in the selection of household items. And, we must never forget that education passes on wisdom, and wise decisions always succeed

Megha can be reached at Twitter @ImMeghaacharya


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