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21-year-old Maharashtra Farmer’s Daughter Ends life to save Dad from Debts related to her Marriage

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Farmers in the field (representative Image), Wikimedia

Latur (Maharashtra), April 15, 2017: On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a Rs 1 crore prize to a 20-year-old Latur woman for a digital transaction, another young woman from the district ended her life by jumping into a well as her father could not afford her marriage expenses, officials said.

The 21-year-old victim was Shital Vyankat Vayal, a resident of Bhise-Wagholi village, who had completed her Secondary School Certificate three years ago. Her death has added a whole new dimension to the ongoing socio-agrarian crisis gripping Maharashtra.

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On Friday morning, Shital jumped into a well in her own farmland. But the real story emerged after a suicide note was recovered by her family.

In the note, she has recounted how her parents are very poor and did not have money to organise her marriage.

“I am ending my life to ease my father’s financial burden and eliminate the practice of dowry in my Maratha-Kunbi community,” said Vayal in simple but touching words, sending shockwaves in state political circles.

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“Since the past five consecutive years, due to crop failure, our family’s financial condition has become extremely delicate. Yet my two sisters were married off in a very modest manner,” she wrote.

“For my marriage, my father has been making continuous efforts… but since no loans are available from moneylenders or banks, my marriage has been postponed for over two years,” her note of anguish said.

“Hence, in order to ease the burden on my father, and to end the practice of ‘devan-ghevan’ (dowry) in the Maratha community, I am ending my life. My family and myself should not be accused in any manner,” she said.

Villagers said that Shital had been getting many proposals for marriage, but the family declined them as they could not afford to raise money for the dowry and marriage expenses.

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Barely hours after her death, in Nagpur, Modi felicitated electrical engineering student Shraddha Mengshete of Latur. She bagged the Rs 1 crore Mega Draw for Lucky Grahak Yojana for a Rs 1,590 transaction through her RuPay card to pay an EMI for her new mobile phone.

As the reasons behind Shital’s death came out, top Congress leaders proceeded to visit her family on Saturday.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar attacked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for not announcing a farm loan waiver package, which the opposition parties are demanding since long.

“He (Fadnavis) says it will be announced at an appropriate time… When will that time come?” demanded Pawar.

The Congress, NCP, and other opposition parties have launched the second phase of their ongoing ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ across Maharashtra from April 15 for the specific demand of writing off all farm loans on the lines of Uttar Pradesh.

The opposition parties had agitated during the entire budget session for the same amidst turmoil, suspensions of 19 Congress-NCP legislators (later revoked), processions and other forms of protest.

This is the second similar incident in the village where 18-year-old Mohini Bhise ended her life in January 2016, as her father couldn’t afford to collect dowry for her marriage.

A brilliant student, Mohini hanged herself at home after penning a suicide note, questioning why the menace of dowry prevailed in her community despite a legal ban on it. (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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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

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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