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Watch the City of Taj from a hot air balloon

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Agra: Hot Air ballooning is a new form of adventure sport, which is still in its infancy in India.To promote this sport the city of Agra will host the Taj Balloon Festival.

The three-day festival commenced on Saturday with the participation of 15 different sized hot air balloons.

Out of them, three were by the event organiser Sky Waltz, India’s biggest ever balloon flight company, while other 13 balloons were from various parts of the world including Britain, Brazil, the US and Dubai.

The second day of the festival began with a 45-minute hot air balloon rides, taking off from the ghats of the Yamuna. The setting up of the balloons took about 30 minutes and finally took off at 7:00 am.

The view of the Taj Mahal was not clear due to thick haze. The balloons maintained a height of 300 metres from the ground and flew at an altitude of 1,000 metres.

The monuments were curtained with haze. The balloons ultimately landed on open grounds in the outskirts of the city.

The festival which obtained all clearances from the defence ministry and the Indian Air Force (IAF), since the area around the Taj is a no-fly zone, has been organised in association with the Uttar Pradesh government.

The permission of the event was also taken from the Archaeological Survey of India, Agra district administration and Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

(IANS)

(picture credit:www.ixgo.com)

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In films ‘Victoria & Abdul’ and ‘American Made,’ Life is Stranger than Fiction

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Actors Ali Fazal and Judi Dench
Actors Ali Fazal and Judi Dench pose during a red carpet for the movie "Victoria and Abdul" at the 74th Venice Film Festival 2017 in Venice. voa

Stephen Frears’ heartwarming drama Victoria & Abdul is about the deep friendship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim between 1887 and 1901, and Doug Liman’s American Made about Barry Seal, a 1970s audacious American pilot, who, during the Nicaraguan Crisis worked for the CIA, the DEA and the Colombian cartel.

As different as these two films are, they are both based on true stories, proving yet again that often life is stranger than fiction. Both films feature intelligent plots and superb acting.

Victoria & Abdul

Stephen Frears’ film Victoria and Abdul, opens in 1887, with the festivities for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, celebrating her 50-year reign.

Abdul Karim, a young Muslim clerk from Agra, India, is sent to the banquet all the way from India to present the queen with a gift from India, a ceremonial coin. To the dismay of Queen Victoria’s courtiers, the Indian servant strikes a deep friendship with the octogenarian Queen Victoria, defying class and racial boundaries.

According to the movie, Abdul Karim impressed the British sovereign with his depth of spirit and good looks. Soon the unlikely friends became inseparable, discussing philosophy, literature, even Indian cuisine. In a span of 14 years, Abdul Karm became the queen’s confidant and munshi, her teacher, in Urdu.

But the queen’s courtesans and her family, sidelined by Abdul, questioned her sanity and considered her removal.

Historian and author Shrabani Basu based her book of the same title on the queen’s journals in Urdu and on Karim’s private diary. Basu discovered Abdul Karim’s personal diary in possession of Karim’s surviving nephew Abdul Rashid in 2010, over a century after the queen’s death.

This was the only document on the relationship between royal and servant that survived the wrath of Queen Victoria’s children. Immediately after her death in 1901, the royals evicted Queen Victoria’s munshi, burned everything he had received from the queen and swiftly shipped him and his family to India. In 1909 Abdul Karim died in Agra leaving his diary as his only testimonial of his deep friendship with the empress.

Director Frears offers captivating cinematography while Dame Judi Dench portrays a free-spirited Queen Victoria and Indian actor Ali Fazal embodies a charming and loyal Adbul Karim.

Though the film does not depict a romantic relationship between the two, it does hint to it. Dench describes the queen’s reaction to Karim:

“She had a ready eye for somebody good-looking, which he is very, so it was easy to imagine a kind of tired, poor person suddenly looking up and seeing this wonderful good-looking young man. How lovely somebody at last beautiful to look at,” Dench said.

But, author Basu says, “At the heart of this book is a story of friendship, a friendship of two different people from two different specters of this world, one is the Empress of India, one is a clerk from Agra jail, and somewhere they have a bond they find this link and a common space.”

Actor Tom Cruise
Actor Tom Cruise poses while promoting a film in Mexico City. voa

American Made

American Made, by Bourne Identity filmmaker Doug Liman, offers a satirical look at the political crisis in Nicaragua.

It shows the involvement of the United States in the revolution during the late 1970s and 1980s through the perspective of pilot Barry Seal, who, for the right price, delivers guns to Nicaragua on behalf of the CIA, and cocaine into the U.S. on behalf of the Colombian cartel. Somewhere in between, Seal also works for the DEA.

Tom Cruise offers an engaging interpretation as Barry Seal, piloting the plane and doing all the stunts throughout the film. Cruise explains what drew him to the character:

“He just couldn’t help himself,” Cruise said. “He just had to live this life. He literally when you are talking about someone living on the edge, he didn’t even realize he was on the edge. He was just living life and not really thinking of necessary ramifications and what’s going to happen.”

As in most of his action film projects, Cruise pushes his boundaries.

“I don’t make a movie just to make a movie,” he said. “It’s not what interests me. What interests me is the passion of cinema, the passion of storytelling. That’s when it gets very exciting, not just a job. I love this too much.”  (VOA)

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After Gorakhpur Tragedy, in UP 49 Children die in a Farrukhabad hospital due to lack of oxygen

The death of 49 children at the newborn unit of Farrukhabad’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital happened over the past 30 days due to lack of oxygen supply

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Lack of oxygen supply causes death of 49 children in Farrukhabad hospital
Lack of oxygen supply causes death of 49 children in Farrukhabad hospital. Pixabay
  • The death of 49 children at the newborn unit of Farrukhabad’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital happened over the past 30 days due to lack of oxygen supply
  • the Uttar Pradesh government has denied that the reason for deaths was lack of oxygen supply but said that it happened due to various other causes
  • A team led by Director General Health is visiting the hospital soon to inquire in detail

Farrukhabad , Uttar Pradesh, September 4, 2017: A case similar to BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur happened in a Farrukhabad hospital that is Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where as per the initial report of the City Magistrate Jaytendra Kumar Jain stated that the 49 children died in farrukhabad Hospital due to lack of oxygen supply.

The deaths at the newborn unit of Farrukhabad’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital happened over the past 30 days.

Jaytendra Kumar Jain, City Magistrate of Farrukhabad, on Sunday night asked the Station House Officer (SHO) of City Police station Farrukhabad to take required action against the hospital and its doctors.

But, the Uttar Pradesh government has denied that the reason for deaths was lack of oxygen supply but said that it happened due to various other causes. They gave a similar statement in Gorakhpur Tragedy initially.

Also Read: Gorakhpur Tragedy: UP Police arrests Pediatrician Dr. Kafeel Ahmad on grounds of Medical Negligence

The police at city Police station registered a FIR immediately. After which the UP government today removed Ravindra Kumar, District Magistrate, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the district and Chief Medical Superintendent of the hospital. “The FIR has been registered under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 176 (omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it) of the IPC.”

The city magistrate, Jaytendra Kumar Jain, on the basis of the preliminary findings, has stated “perinatal asphyxia” (it is the medical condition resulting due to the deprivation of oxygen to a newborn infant) as the reason for death in 30 cases. The parents complained that their children were not given adequate oxygen and medicines during treatment.

But, the state government refused to accept the initial findings of the City Magistrate and said that the Director General Medical leading a technical team of doctors is being sent to Farrukhabad to inquire about the cause of deaths.

According to Indian Express reports, Prashant Trivedi, Principal Secretary, Medical and Health, Uttar Pradesh Government said “Oxygen is in proper supply at the hospital. There is no basis to blame lack of oxygen supply (for the deaths) at the hospital. A team led by Director General Health is visiting the hospital soon to inquire in detail.”

He also informed that in the hospital total 468 births took place out of which 19 were still born. He added that though 66 were admitted to the hospital, 6 had died.

Trivedi also said, “145 children were referred to this hospital from other places, out of which 24 died at the hospital while others recovered.”

Also Read: What if Another Gorakhpur Tragedy Happens? 15-Year-Old Khushi Chandra Launches Initiative ‘Oxygen Gorakhpur’ to Combat Oxygen-Related Emergencies

Avanish Awasthi, Principal Secretary, Information Department, said, “Out of these 49 deaths, 19 were stillborn and the remaining 30 children died of different causes.” But he accepted that one of the causes of death of 30 children was “Perinata Asphyxia” indeed.

Awasthi said that the exact cause of the deaths would be known when the Director General Health who would lead the technical team of doctors would inquire into the incident.

It has not even been 30 days when over 60 children died in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical and College Hospital due to the alleged lack of oxygen supply.


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Was Taj Mahal Once a Shiva Temple? The Debate over the Tomb Continues

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal. Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, August 16, 2017: The famous monument from the Mughal era, Taj Mahal is once more in contention as the Central Information Commission (CIC) has requested the Central government to clear up unequivocally whether it is a tomb or a Shiva Temple. An RTI came to the CIC regarding the same, in response to which the quasi-constitutional body solicited answers from the culture minister.

But where did this question come from and what is the source?

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king. The hypothesis says that the temple was later formed into the monument that dwells graves of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his adored wife Mumtaz Mahal, mentioned IndiaNews.

Also Read: Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed? 

In 2015, a case was recorded in Agra by six lawyers, requesting that the tomb ought to be given over to Hindus for worship. The litigation solicited to forbid Islamic religious actions performed in the monument and remove the graves.

PN Oak, a revisionist historian also made the claim in his 1989  book “Taj Mahal” that the name Taj Mahal was procured from a Sanskrit word “Tejo Mahalay’ meaning a Shiva Temple.

The Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma denied the claims in response to the question put forward to him that the Seventh wonder of the world was a Shiva Temple.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.