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Kalam body being taken to Rameswaram

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Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu): The mortal remains of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were on Wednesday taken by helicopter from Madurai to Mandapam, around 22 km from here, where state ministers and others paid their last respects to the departed soul.

picture from- thehawkindia.com
picture from- thehawkindia.com

Members of the armed forces too paid their respects to Kalam, following which the casket containing the former president’s body was put an army truck to be transported by road to Rameswaram.

At Rameswaram, around 600 km from Chennai, Kalam’s body would be kept at a location near the bus stand for the people to pay their last respects.

A large number of people have been waiting at the location to pay their homage to the the distinguished scientist and teacher popularly known as ‘People’s President’ and ‘Missile Man’.

Speaking to reporters at Mandapam, union minister Venkaiah Naidu said there was no leader like Kalam in recent times who had endeared himself to the people, particularly to the youth.

“People in large numbers have assembled to pay their last respects,” A.P.J.M.K. Sheik Saleem, the former president’s brother’s grandson, said. “All our relatives have also arrived to attend the last rites,” he added.

Kalam was born in Rameswaram on October 15, 1931 and died in Shillong on Monday after suffering a cardiac arrest during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management.

It was in this town that Kalam hawked newspapers to supplement his family income in his younger years. His father owned a boat, and his mother constantly struggled to keep the family sufficiently fed and clothed.

His sister pawned jewellery with a moneylender so that the studious Kalam could have Rs.600 when he decided to leave Rameswaram to join the Madras Institute of Technology.

Saleem said Kalam’s body would be kept near the town’s main bus stand to enable people to pay their last respects.

“Public can pay their homage till 8 p.m. after which the body will be taken to his house on the Mosque Street,” he said.

According to Saleem, the last rites will be performed around 10.30 a.m. on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said the government had allotted land for burying Kalam’s mortal remains at the request of his family.

Meanwhile, public emotions were running high that a boy with humble origins from this coastal town who rose to great heights had passed away.

Many locals were unable to believe the passing away of one of India’s most popular presidents, who was born and raised in this Hindu pilgrim centre.

Rameshwaram resident A. Johnson told IANS: “Kalam was Rameswaram’s gift to the world. It is sad that this gift has left us.”

Another resident Inoja said: “There are no words to express my feelings. I am still not able to believe that Kalam is no more. I feel like crying.”

Muthunambu said in a choking voice: “I am unable to accept his death. Kalam had come to our school. He stressed that we all should study hard.”

Security has been tightened at Rameswaram in view of the large number of people, including ministers and others, expected to attend Kalam’s last rites.

Hoteliers said that all the rooms in major hotels had been booked for two days.

(IANS)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)

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Lost in Time : The Less Explored Pamban Island and the Rameswaram Island | Travelogue

The land of temples, picturesque locales, architecture, and the home of the 'Missile Man' of India - welcome to the Rameswaram Island!

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Rameswaram island
We take you through a town lost in time, Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram island. Wikimedia

Rameswaram, September 15, 2017 : Off the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, some 500 km south of Chennai, lies Pamban Island. Seemingly a stone’s throw from neighboring Sri Lanka, this is an island steeped in historical significance, and with some of the most resilient people alive.

One of the longest sea bridges in the country, the iconic Pamban Bridge connects the mainland with the island, also known as Rameswaram Island. With breathtaking views of the Bay of Bengal, the journey to the island over this bridge rewinds one to colonial times, when it was built by the British to improve trade relations with Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Built in 1914 as India’s first-ever sea bridge, the 6,700-foot structure is in itself an engineering and historical marvel that has withstood several of nature’s furies — from storms to cyclones.

Rameswaram island
An overview of the Pamban Brindge. Wikimedia

The bridge initially ran up to the southeastern tip of the island, Dhanushkodi, now a ghost town. After a cyclone hit it in 1964, Dhanushkodi was washed away by the sea and is now a mere skeleton of the town it once was.

Remnants of its railway lines, church and the devastated dwellings of people can still be seen, though in very poor shape.

From the tip of the region, cell phone networks welcome one to Sri Lanka.

Visible from here is the Adam’s Bridge — a former land link between India and Sri Lanka, now undersea — that is also known as Rama Setu, the bridge believed to have been built by Lord Rama’s army to rescue Sita from Lanka.

Nambavel, a 50-year-old, says there can be no other home for him than Dhanushkodi, of pristine waters and picturesque views of the Bay of Bengal. Three generations of his family have lived here. Although the deadly cyclone forced many to migrate to villages around, some 50 families, including Nambavel’s, refused to leave.

“This has been our home for as long as we’ve known. We grew up playing in the sea water, then learnt to make our living through fishing or running petty shops,” Nambavel told this visiting IANS correspondent.

Rameswaram island
Residents of Dhanushkodi refuse to abandon their small town; for them the “sea is everything”. Wikimedia

“Even as many people we know migrated to nearby villages, there’s no home like Dhanushkodi for us — the sea is everything,” he said.

With sea levels rising around the world due to global warming, the region is constantly threatened by nature. But that does not deter Nambavel: “Even if another cyclone is close, most of us would like to be here, a land we’ve grown up in.”

Surrounded by sea and sand, the town cannot grow any crops and has no provision for electricity due to the wind velocity in the area. It is only the solar panels, an initiative of late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who hailed from Rameswaram, that light up the shacks of the few residents.

With Rameswaram considered one of the holiest places for Hindus, a majority of visitors make temples the focus of their travels.

Aiming to showcase the rich cultural and historical heritage of the island, apart from the much-visited temples, Utsa Majumder, the General Manager of the newly-launched Hyatt Place, Rameswaram, is working extensively on various itineraries that uncover the untrodden places in and around the region.

“There’s a lot more that the Rameswaram Island can offer than just the temples it is mostly known for. We want people to know that Rameswaram can be an experiential destination and not just a pilgrimage spot,” Majumder told IANS.

“From historic places that have stood the test of time to some incredible architecture and engineering like the Pamban Bridge, there’s a lot a tourist can see here,” she added.

The hotel offers these itineraries to travelers according to their interests, allowing them to explore different facets of the region, along with menus that present the cuisines of the land — from kuzhi paniyaram (rice batter dumplings) to kara kozhumbu (a spicy tamarind gravy).

Rameswaram Island
Local cuisine at Dhanushkodi. Wikimedia

The region also celebrates its much-beloved son Abdul Kalam. His two-storeyed house on Mosque Street is filled with thousands of his books and is always bustling with people.

A Rs 15-crore memorial to India’s “Missile Man”, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 27, has also grown rather quickly as a tourist attraction. The memorial houses a copy of the last speech Kalam delivered at IIM-Shillong on July 27, 2015, a number of pictures of his meetings with world leaders, and a host of other objects.

As an island that is yearning to receive a boost to its tourism, even a bottle of water bought from a shack in Dhanushkodi goes towards supporting a family.

FAQs:

Reaching there: Flights to Madurai, the nearest airport, from all major cities. From Madurai, Rameswaram can be reached in 3 hrs 30 min (160 kms) by road.

For the picturesque views from a train, pick one that is available almost every hour to Rameswaram from Madurai Railway Station.

Stay: There are four-star, three-star hotels and smaller lodges in the town.

Best time to visit: October to March as the temperatures drop and stay between 20 to 30 degrees C, making travel easier. (IANS)

 

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Padma Shri Award Winner Ustad Rashid Khan to perform in Banyan Tree fest in Chennai

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Rashid Khan, Wikimedia

Chennai, March 02, 2017: Padma Shri award winner Ustad Rashid Khan will be performing in Banyan Tree fest to be held in Chennai. This musical fest is held once in a year and features some of the country’s great musicians. Banyan tree is a path finder in the field of Indian performing arts’promotion for past 21 years.

Nandini Mahesh, the director of Banyan Tree Events said to PTI, “The aim of Banyan Tree is to discover, preserve, nurture and celebrate these creative expressions for which we have created six National Festivals that are held annually in 18 cities across India”.

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“We share a good rapport with 2,000 performing artistes across genres, linguistic groups, and cultural backgrounds. The main focus, of course, has always been classical music, both vocal and instrumental”, she further added.

The concert is likely to take place on March 3, at The Music Academy, Chennai. The festival has also featured some of the greatest artists like Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt previously.

-Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter @Nainamishr94