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British Council launches exchange programme for UK students to connect with Indian culture

The British Council has also come up with the largest-ever exchange programme for the year 2017. According to which 500 students will be given scholarships to study in the UK.

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  • Out of a group of 500 students, 50 will be joining the University of Kerala for a two-week-long course in Indian Studies
  • The syllabus for the course will be designed by the faculty associated with the University itself
  • The British Council is also in talks to roll out a partnership programme with the state that aims to boast English language studies among 300 students

In an exchange programme launched by the British Council, students from the UK would soon get an opportunity to learn and understand the Indian culture through various short-term courses.

According to a report in TOI, out of a group of 500 students, 50 will be joining the University of Kerala for a two-week-long course in Indian Studies.

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Talking about the programme Alan Gemmell, director of British Council India said, “After considering the research opportunities at the University of Kerala, the programme will be launched. It will be a short-term course on Indian culture and studies. It will be a great opportunity for students in their career to get an international exposure and to understand and connect with the Indian culture.”

The syllabus for the course will be designed by the faculty associated to the University itself.

In addition, Gemmell also met the state’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss about a partnership programme directed to boast English language studies among 300 students in the state. The programme will help the students to improve their language skills and will also aid them to find employment after their graduation.

(Representational Image) Image Source: britishcouncil.in
(Representational Image) Image Source: britishcouncil.in

The council has already conducted an Advanced Placement (AP) test for 40,000 students across the nation to shortlist some for the training programme.

It has also come up with the largest-ever exchange programme for the year 2017. According to which 500 students will be given scholarships to study in the UK.

The scholarships will be funded by Newton fund, which is an initiative taken by the Britain government “after the announcement of UK-India Year of Culture during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to London in November 2015,” reported TOI.

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Gemmel said, “The number of scholarship will be awarded as part of the Year of Culture celebration. The aim is to highlight the cultural history of the two countries and celebrate, reconnect and aspire the relationship.”

Since the fund will be conducted in partnership with Britain universities, the British council will organise a fair in November for these universities to come and participate in the exchange programme.

-prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram. Twitter handle: iBulbul_

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Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

Hindusim
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

Hindusim
Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.

Twitter:@SGewali.