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India to work closely with Asean to build Regional Cooperation, says Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh

Asean has evolved into a role model for regional cooperation, India on Thursday said it was working closely with it for building regional cooperation.

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Amb Rizali,& delegates of National Resilience Institute met Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Retd) V.K Singh. Twitter

New Delhi, Jan 20, 2017: Observing that Asean has evolved into a role model for regional cooperation, India on Thursday said it was working closely with it for building regional cooperation.

Addressing the second edition of the international conference on ‘Asean-India Cultural and Civilisational Links’ in Jakarta, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said that to mark the 25th anniversary of the Asean-India Dialogue Partnership, a host of events including a Commemorative Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and a Commemorative Summit will be held, an official release here said.

“Asean has evolved into a role model for regional cooperation. Today, it is appreciated for the stability it has brought to the region and its immediate neighbourhood. We look forward to working closely with Asean to weave a mutually beneficial legacy which would be cherished by future generations,” Singh added.

Other than Commemorative Summit and Commemorative Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Singh said a Youth Summit and a host of other events including Asean-India Cultural Festivals, business events, policy seminars, public competitions, a car rally and sailing expedition across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states will be held.

Singh said India’s Act East Policy lays significant focus on Asean-India relationship aimed at building a deeper engagement with South East Asia by expanding and comprehensively documenting India’s civilisational links with Asean countries.

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Singh also hailed the Asean India Centre in New Delhi for contributing towards Asean-India Strategic Partnership through its studies in areas of mutual interest.

“Another major project underway is the re-establishment of the Nalanda University, once a world-renowned knowledge hub where scholars from around the world, including South East Asia and India, exchanged knowledge and ideas.

“India is working to recreate a similar world class university in the 21st century, with the support of its South East Asian partners, and has offered scholarships to students from CLMV countries to study there,” Singh said.

“Contemporary popular culture in the form of music, Bollywood movies and TV soap operas, is forging a new understanding between us. The human element is vital in contemporary discourse. Our youth, our future generation, must engage and bond in a more systematic way and at a deeper level,” Singh added. (IANS)

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Indians Missing in Mosul: V.K. Singh in Iraq to Co-ordinate Search Opertion

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V.K Singh will co-ordinate search operation for 39 Indian
V.K Singh will co-ordinate search operation for 39 Indians who went Missing in Mosul. IANS

New Delhi, October 27: After the government sought DNA samples from the next of kin of the 39 Indians Missing in Mosul, Iraq three years ago, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh is again visiting the country to seek an update.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveeh Kumar said on Friday that Singh’s visit “is to talk to people”.

“He has met a range of people in Iraq. And also to get an update on the 39 missing Indians in Iraq,” Kumar said in his weekly media briefing here.

He said that on Thursday Singh was in Mosul city where the Indians went missing.

Last week, the families of the 39 Indians were asked to provide their DNA samples but no reason was provided, the kin said.

It was in June 2014 that the 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, went missing in Mosul town when it was overrun by the Islamic State. Their families continue to hope the men are alive but also fear the worst.

Singh had visited Iraq in July too in this connection.(IANS)

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Nearly 50 Killed in Explosions, Massive Blaze at Indonesia Fireworks Factory

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Police officers and first responders carry a body at the site of an explosion at a firework factory
Police officers and first responders carry a body at the site of an explosion at a fireworks factory in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia. VOA

Jakarta, October 26: At least 47 people have been killed in several explosions and a fire at a fireworks factory in Indonesia.

Witnesses say a huge explosion was heard at the factory near Jakarta about mid-morning Thursday, followed by smaller explosions and an inferno that engulfed the factory, causing its roof to collapse.

Firefighters took hours to bring the blaze under control.

Harry Kurniawan, city of Tangerang police chief, said bodies were found in the rubble. Another 46 people, who were injured, are being treated at local hospitals.

Industrial safety standards in Indonesia are often low and rules poorly enforced. Authorities say the factory had been in operation for about two months.(VOA)

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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