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Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be on a state visit to India from April 9 to 12

In September 2014, India and Australia signed a Civil Nuclear Agreement for Australian supply of uranium to India

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Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull comments in Sydney, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, after the Australian Bureau of Statistics shut down its website to protect data Tuesday night after four denial-of-service attacks that came from somewhere overseas. An official says Australia's first attempt to conduct a census online is in disarray after several cyberattacks on the website. (AP , Photo/Rick Rycroft) VOA
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New Delhi, April 6, 2017: Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be on a state visit to India from April 9 to 12, the External Affairs Ministry announced on Thursday.

“This will be Prime Minister Turnbull’s first visit to India. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had visited India in September 2014, which was followed by our Prime Minister’s visit to Australia in November that year,” Jaideep Mazumdar, Joint Secretary (South), said at the weekly media briefing here.

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The two Prime Ministers had also met on the sidelines of the G-20 in Antalya (Turkey) in 2015 and in Hangzhou (China) in 2016.

The Australian Premier will also visit Mumbai where he will interact with top business leaders and attend an energy roundtable.

Speaking on the India-Australia relationship, Mazumdar said that the relationship between the two countries was more robust and multi-faceted today than it had ever been before.

A high-level business delegation is also expected to accompany the Australia Prime Minister.

Australia’s total investments in India stand at US$7 billion.

“Australia is a key Indian Ocean littoral state and also part of the Indian-Ocean Rim Association. It is a strong maritime nation. We have lot in common with Australia in terms of our mutual interest in keeping our sea line of communication safe and secure,” he said, dwelling on India’s maritime relations with Australia.

“We already have a quite robust joint naval exercises… We have good security cooperation on the maritime front,” he added.

In September 2014, India and Australia signed a Civil Nuclear Agreement for Australian supply of uranium to India.

In December last year, Australian Parliament passed a law to allow the supply of uranium to India. The commercial deals for the supply of uranium is being further negotiated.

With focus on education, the two countries are expected to work out several tie-ups in this sector. A high-powered delegation from the education sector will also be accompanying the Australian Prime Minister.

There are about 60,000 Indian students in Australia.

During the visit, the two sides are expected to sign a number of memoranda of understanding and agreements, covering security, environment, sports, science and technology and health, among others.

Talks of cooperation in renewable energy, clean coal and bio-fuels are also likely to feature during the visit. (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