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India jumps 21 positions to Rank 87th in WEF’s Global Gender Gap, moving from 108th to 87th position in a Year

However, when it comes to women's health, India is the third last, and as per the report, due to the situation in India and China, this gap is wider than it was in 2006

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Gender and Women's Studies at Kabul University (Representational Image), Flickr
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New Delhi October 26, 2016: India has substantially improved its rank in the Global Gender Gap index — moving from 108th to 87th position within a year, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday.

Neighbour Pakistan, meanwhile, remains at the second last position, at rank 143 out of 144 countries.

Last year, the index placed it at 144 in a list of 145 countries. Both years, Pakistan was ahead only of Yemen.

Among immediate neighbours, Bangladesh took the top position at 72nd rank — ahead of India. Sri Lanka stands at 100, Nepal at 110, the Maldives at 115 and Bhutan at 121.

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However, when it comes to women’s health, India is the third last, and as per the report, due to the situation in India and China, this gap is wider than it was in 2006.

India ranks 142nd in terms of ‘health and survival’ of women, while China is at the 144th spot.

In the South Asia region, India is ranked second in terms of gender parity, next only to Bangladesh.

The situation is not good In terms of economic participation of women, with India ranking 136th, ninth from bottom. The countries with lower ranking than India in this category include Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Slightly better in the field of women’s education, India is at the 113th position, while in political participation of women it stands at the 9th rank.

The Global Gender Report by WEF said India had reported “progress this year on closing the gender gap with regard to wage equality and across all indicators of the Educational Attainment sub-index, fully closing its primary and secondary education enrolment gender gaps”.

However, it also sees some regression on women’s estimated earned income and the country “continues to rank third-lowest in the world on Health and Survival, remaining the world’s least-improved country on this sub-index over the past decade”, the report said.

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Gender gaps in the fields of economic participation and health are the most challenging, and at current rates it will take 170 years to fill.

“… The most challenging gender gaps remain in the economic sphere and in health. At the current rate of change, and given the widening economic gender gap since last year, it will not be closed for another 170 years,” the report said.

The report also said that the economic gender gap this year has reverted back to where it stood in 2008, after a peak in 2013. Progress towards parity in the key economic pillar of gender has slowed dramatically with the gap — which stands at 59 percent — now larger than at any point since 2008.

The South Asian region, meanwhile, is lagging behind Sub-Saharan Africa, though it is better than the Middle East and North Africa.

Pakistan came last in the list of South Asian nations, and Bhutan was second last.

“With an average remaining gender gap of 33 percent, the South Asia region is the second-lowest scoring on this year’s Global Gender Gap Index, ahead of the Middle East and North Africa and behind the Sub-Saharan Africa region,” the report said.

Bangladesh and India are the top-ranked countries in the region, having closed just under 70 per cent and 68 per cent of their overall gender gap, respectively.

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The lowest-ranked countries — Bhutan and Pakistan — have closed 64 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively, of their overall gender gap.

“No country in the region has fully closed its Educational Attainment gender gap, and only one country, Sri Lanka, has fully closed its Health and Survival gender gap,” the report added. (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