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Campaigning ends for third phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections

Districts where the polling would be held are Farukkhabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Hardoi, Kannauj, Kanpur rural, Kanpur city, Unnao, Lucknow, Barabanki, Auraiyya and Sitapur

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Voters in western UP, (File photo,image source- VOA)

17 Feb, 2017: Campaigning for the third phase of the Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections came to an end at 5 p.m. on Friday. There are 826 candidates contesting for 69 seats, spread across 12 districts.

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Polling will take place on February 19. The third phase will be a litmus test for the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), especially Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, since most seats were held by the party in 2012 and are in the Yadav pocket boroughs.

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Prominent personalities whose fate would be decided in the third phase include ministers Arvind Singh ‘Gop’, Fareed Mehfooz Kidwai, Vijay Bahadur Pal, Abhishek Mishra, Nitin Agarwal, Narendra Verma, Rajeev Kumar Singh and former minister Shivpal Singh Yadav.

Districts where the polling would be held are Farukkhabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Hardoi, Kannauj, Kanpur rural, Kanpur city, Unnao, Lucknow, Barabanki, Auraiyya and Sitapur. A total of 2.41 crore voters will decide the fate of 826 candidates.

There are 25,603 polling booths. (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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You May have a Twin stranger: List of Indian Cities that Have Doppelganger Abroad!

Here is a list of cities in India which have doppelgangers in all over the world

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Indian Cities Doppelganger
Kochi in Kerela has its namesake in Japan as well. Pixabay

July 12, 2017: 

Do you know there are myriads of cities in India which have doppelganger name in the abroad as well? No. Well, here is a list of cities in India which have a doppelganger in all over the world.

KOCHI: Kerela/Japan

Kochi, alias Cochin, in India is popularly known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. The place was incipiently established as a castle town encompassing the seat of the lords of Province of Tosa, the Kochi Castle.

PATNA: Bihar/Scotland

Patna in India is the oldest inhabited places in the world. Previously, it was known as Patliputra. Patna has also been the home to famous astrologists and scholars including Chanakya, Aryabhata, Kalidasa, and Panini. There is another Patna in Scotland that got its name from the Indian city itself. William Fullarton, the founder of the village was the son of a person who served the East India Company.

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh/United States

Lucknow is the capital of Indian state Uttar Pradesh and the largest cultural hub in the state. Its namesake in the United States is a small unincorporated community in Pennsylvania. It is a 5,500-acre mountain estate mansion and surprisingly Lucknow in the United States is also named after the city of Lucknow in India.

BARODA: Gujarat/United States

Vadodara in Gujarat, aka Baroda, is popular for furniture, textiles, handicraft items and food. While its namesake in the United States is a 1.7 sq km village established by Michael Houser. The name was suggested by CH Pindar, a constructor on the railroad born in Baroda.

INDORE: Madhya Pradesh/United States

Indore in Madhya Pradesh has a marvellous past. While Indore in the United States is an unincorporated community in West Virginia that derived its name from Endor, a place cited in the Hebrew Bible.

BALI: Rajasthan/Indonesia

Bali is a town located in Rajasthan on the left shore of Mithari river. The major draw of this town is forts. While Bali in Indonesia houses several islands including Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Ceningan. It is also a popular tourist destination across the world.

KOLKATA: West Bengal/United States

Kolkata, now called Calcutta is the capital of West Bengal. It is also called as ‘Cultural Capital of India’ and ‘City of furious, creative energy’. While its namesake in Ohio state of the US and was designed in 1810.

SALEM: Tamil Nadu/United States

Salem in Tamil Nadu is girded by hilly regions that were part of Chera dynasty and a trade route with the Roman empire. Its namesake is a city in the US state of Massachusetts which is popular for its Witch trials. Contrastingly,‘Salem’ in Hebrew means ‘Peace’.

–  by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94

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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