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Folk singer Sharda Sinha’s Devotional Songs on Chhath Festival take Social Media by Storm

Chhath Parva is a festival dedicated to the Sun God and is observed for four days in the months of Chaitra and Kartik

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Folk singer Sharda Sinha with her creative team of (from L to R) Anshuman Sinha, Nihal Parashar, Harpreet Singh and Vandana Bharadwaj.

-By Shillpi A Singh

November 5, 2016: Released close on the heels of Chhath festival, two songs — Supawo Na Mile Maayi and Pahile Pahil Chhati Maiyya — sung by legendary folk singer Sharda Sinha have taken the social media platforms by storm. It was released on October 30 and have already grabbed more than three lakh eyeballs.

While the former was produced and released as a music video on Sharda Sinha’s channel on YouTube, the latter was jointly produced by Swar Sharda (Sharda Sinha’s Music Foundation), Champaran Talkies and Neo Bihar on Diwali.

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The songs are the first to be released by the Nightingale of Bihar, Sharda Sinha, in a decade. Her last album of devotional songs titled Arag was released in 2006. “The high-handedness of music companies made me stay away, and I chose not to release any devotional album in the last 10 years. The poor quality of lyrics and music were another deterrent.” Thankfully, all her concerns were taken care of this time around.

While the multi-talented singer has composed the songs, the project could see the light of the day because of Anshuman Sinha, who also happens to be the son of legendary singer and the brain behind this venture. “It is a true labour of love. I had been working on this idea since April. The music, the lyrics and how to time it with the festivities in November, a lot of sweat and thought has gone into the making of the song.” In the music for both songs, music producer Anshuman has ensured that the folk flavour is maintained but it also has a contemporary feel. The lyrics for Pahile Pahal was written by Hriday Narayan Jha and Supawo Na Mile by the singer and Shanti Jain; the songs were released under Swar Sharda’s banner on a digital platform, YouTube. “I am overwhelmed at the response. It is an experiment which seems to be working well,” says Anshuman.

The first song provides a real feel of the Chhath festival with shots of Chhath ghat (place to perform obeisance to Sun God). The song features the singer herself in an elegant and live form and shows glimpses of the song’s recording. It highlights different places associated with various ingredients of Chhath festival such as soop (bamboo tray) and kela (banana). It beckons the out-stationed/diaspora to visit their native place for the festival. “The video has been created by a talented young bunch of artists. Harpreet Singh, who has an album Ajab Ishq Mati Da to his credit, has done the vocal recording while Nihal Parashar has done the cinematography. The music arrangement has been taken care of by Mahesh Prabhakar. Our team had the privilege to have Aditya Dev, a renowned music producer of Bollywood who has produced songs for Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Annu Malik, Sajid Wajid, Amaal Malik, among many others, onboard our other project (Pahile Pahil),” said Vandana Bharadwaj, singer and daughter of Sharda Sinha, who is also a part of the creative team.

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The other song Pahile Pahal has been beautifully shot and tells the story of a city-based couple, who celebrate the festival by reading up on the Net but without compromising on any element associated with the four-day festival. The video also sums up the overbearing theme that one’s cultural identity looms large over one’s being and no matter where one is based, it makes sense to remain rooted to the traditional and cultural backgrounds.

“The video is very emotional. It took me back to my childhood when Chhath used to be the most important festival for us.”
Actor Manoj Bajpayee

The 6.57 minutes long film narrates the story of how an educated and career-oriented woman overhears her husband’s conversation over the phone with his mother where she is ruing the fact that the daughters-in-law aren’t interested in taking the family tradition forward, hinting at how this time around Chhath would not be celebrated at home. She then decides to take time out to fast for four days, and it speaks how the younger generation cares to stay true to one’s identity.

The video has actor Kranti Prakash Jha, who created ripples in his last outing, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, and model Kristine Zedek in the lead roles. It has been directed by Nitin Neera Chandra, and has the camera work by Sanjay Khanzode and editing by Archit D Rastogi. Jha, an actor who hails from Bihar, says, “The video brought alive my memories of Chhath. The role is a tribute to my cultural roots, the place where I come from. I would like our future generations to keep their cultural identity intact by staying connected to their roots.”

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These songs have beautifully captured the festive fervour around the four-day Chhath Parv. The music, lyrics and voice have together upped the emotional quotient of lakhs of devotees spread across the globe, most of whom either come to their native place for the festival or celebrate it wherever they are based.

The theme has struck an emotional chord with the masses, especially the Non-Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin, who can relate to the idea, and a snapshot of the four days of festivities. As a result, the videos are being shared in lakhs on WhatsApp, and are making waves on other social media platforms too. The videos have grabbed more than three lakh eyeballs on YouTube, and counting.

“It makes me emotional, It will have the same effect on all those who stay away from their birthplace. It’s a warm video.”
Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali

Chhath Parva

Chhath Parva is a festival dedicated to the Sun God and is observed for four days in the months of Chaitra and Kartik.

The first day of Chhath is called Nahay Khay. On this day, the devotees, who observe the fast, take a holy dip into the water and have a single meal.
The second day is called Kharna and the devotees observe a fast without a drop of water from dawn to dusk. The fast is broken after offering rasiao-kheer (a sweet dish made with jaggery, rice and milk) and chapattis to the Sun after sunset. After having prasad, the third day’s fasting begins. The devotees then make thekua (a cookie made of wheat flour and jaggery) to be offered to the deity the next day.

The third day is the main day of Chhat Puja and is known as Sandhya Arghya (evening offering). During the day, a daura or soop (a basket or tray made of bamboo sticks) is readied by putting all the offerings including thekua and seasonal fruits. In the evening, the fasting devotees and their family members gather at the bank of the river, pond or a reservoir decorated for the puja. It is the only time of the year on which people worship the setting Sun and offer Arghya. The third day’s fasting goes on throughout the night.
On the night of Sandhya Arghya, a canopy is made using five sugarcane sticks. The sugarcane sticks are tied together through a yellow cloth and the lighted lamps, earthen pots in the shape of an elephant are put under the canopy. The five sticks of sugarcane stand for five natural elements or panchtatva — earth, fire, sky, water and air. The lighted earthen lamps are symbolic of solar energy that sustains light. This ritual is conducted either in the courtyard of the house or at the rooftop.

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On the fourth or the final day of Chhath, people offer Arghya to the rising Sun, which is called Usha Arghya. After Arghya, the 36 hours long fast is broken by taking ginger and water.

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Sanitization to Fight Coronavius Begins in UP

Massive sanitization drive begins in UP

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A massive sanitization drive began in major cities in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. (Representation Image). Pixabay

A massive sanitization drive began in major cities in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. This is the latest news in India.

Rajkumar Vishwakarma, DG, fire services, told reporters that sanitization was being done with sodium hypochlorite and fire personnel had been instructed to take care and not to spray the disinfectant on human beings and animals.

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The sanitization will be done using sodium hypochlorite. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Spraying will also not be done inside any building due to electrical connections.

Fire personnel have been asked to take photographs and post it on WhatsApp media groups. They have been asked to avoid calling the media personnel to the sanitisation sites to avoid risks.

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Earlier this week, about 50 migrant workers who were at a bus station in Bareilly, were sprayed with sodium hypochlorite by the sanitisation staff. Those who were sprayed, including children, complained of itching in the eyes and rashes on the body.

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Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had expressed his concern over the incident and assured action against the guilty.

District magistrate Bareilly, Nitish Kumar said that the incident happened due to ‘over-zealous’ workers. (IANS)

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People Have Faith in Modi Government to Handle COVID-19 Crisis

Over 83% trust Modi govt will handle COVID-19 crisis well

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Modi government
The Narendra Modi-led central government is leaving no stone unturned in fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic. Wikimedia Commons

As the Narendra Modi-led central government is leaving no stone unturned in fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, 83.5 per cent people from various states “trust in government” in handling the crisis.

The findings came out in the IANS-CVoter exclusive tracker on COVID-19 Wave 2 survey conducted during last seven days among 18 plus adults nationwide. The findings and projections are based on Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI).

Replying to a question “I think Indian government is handling the coronavirus well”, 83.5 per cent people agreed that they trust in government’s steps being taken in fight against the deadly disease, and 9.4 per cent expressed their disagreement. The survey was conducted on March 26 and 27. Of the 83.5 per cent who showed their trust in government, 66.4 per cent strongly agree with the opinion and 17.1 agree with the view.

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A similar survey on the same question done on March 17 and 18 showed that 83.6 per cent people expressed their trust in government in fight against the pandemic which so far has claimed 29 lives and over 1,000 conformed cases. A total of 13.7 per cent people expressed their disagreement.

Modi government
83.5 per cent people from various states trust the Modi government in handling the COVID-19 crisis. Wikimedia Commons

As per the tracker, the data is weighted to the known demographic profile of the states. Sometimes the table figures do not sum to 100 due to the effects of rounding, it says. “Our final data file has socio-economic profile within plus 1 per cent of the demographic profile of the state. We believe this will give the closest possible trends.”

The Tracking Pol fieldwork covers random probability samples during the last seven days from the release date and that the sample spread is across all assembly segments across all states. This survey covers all states in India and was conducted in 10 languages as part of our routine OmniBus, it says.

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“This is a thorough random probability sample; and we are ensuring a proper representative analysis by statistical weighing of the data to make it representative of the local population as per the latest census and or other available demographic benchmarks.”

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The data clarified that it strictly follows the WAPOR code of conduct (World Association of Public Opinion Research) for our ethical and transparent scientific practices and have incorporated the PCI (Press Council of India ) guidelines as our SOP (Standard Operating Procedures). (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google comes up with a new feature

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?