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Laila-Majnu: This remote village in Bijnore marks ‘martyrdom’ of legendary lovers

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LailaThe remote village of Binjore along the India-Pakistan border in Sri Gangangar district of Rajasthan, nearly 600 km from state capital Jaipur, came to life for a week as some 15,000-20,000 people from across the country and a few from overseas participated in an annual fair to mark the “martyrdom” of the legendary lovers Laila-Majnu (Laila and Majnu).

“The fair, which started on June 11, came to an end on Monday. It has attracted a large number of lovers and newlyweds for decades now,” said Rashid, a resident of the village, only a few kilometres from the border, adding that the two tombs of Laila-Majnu have been the centre of attraction, especially among lovers and newlyweds, for decades now.

A number of temporary shops, mainly selling sweetmeats, cosmetics, toys and other household items, came up during the fair time. There were also quawalis and competitions in volleyball, wrestling and kabaddi.

“Every year, the arrivals, mainly of newly married and unmarried couples are growing. This year too hundreds of visitors from all over the country thronged the place to offer their prayers at the tombs of Laila-Majnu,” another villager added that Hindus and Muslims in equal number participate in the fair. Sikhs and Christians also come to the fair.

There were, off and on, visitors from Pakistan too, but not this year. Though the existence of Laila-Majnu is still a matter of debate among historians, this in no way affects the flow of devotees.

“I am not aware of existence of Laila-Majnu, but all I can say for sure is that in the last 20 or so years I have seen an increase in the number of couples visiting the tombs,” said Rajendra, another local resident.

In the Bijnore version of folklore, Laila-Majnu, fleeing oppression in their respective homes that were dead set against their marriage, had drifted into this part of the country in search of water. They were scorched to death by the blazing sun and their tombs were constructed where their bodies were found.

No one remembers when the fair began, but it’s been around for a while. Urmila, a newly married woman who came from neighboring Haryana said “I am here with my husband to seek blessings for a long and happy married life.”

Her husband Ashok agreed. “We have heard people who come here always have a long and happy married life; so I and my husband are here to pray for it,” said Jitendra Singh from a village in Punjab.

-(IANS)

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Village in Rajasthan Bans ‘Fashion Clothes’ and Mobiles for Women

Reportedly, a village in Rajasthan has banned fashionable clothing and mobile phones for women in an "effort to prevent sexual assaults"

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Ban on Fashion Clothes
Parents have been told by the village council to forcefully implement the ban on fashionable clothes and mobiles. Wikimedia
  • A village in Rajasthan has banned all types of “fashion clothes” and use of mobile phone for women
  • The heads of the village, who have also banned the consumption and distribution of alcohol, believe these things to be a “cultural threat”
  • It is also a decision that is taken to “prevent sexual assaults”

July 16, 2017: The administrators of Baldiyapura, a village in Rajasthan, took the decision to ban ‘fashion clothes’ to be worn by the women such as jeans and tops to prevent sexual assaults.

Parents were directed by the village council to supervise that their daughters do not use mobile phones and wear western clothes. The council said that these things are ruining the local culture.

The council also threatened that these decisions are to be compulsorily implemented.

The distribution and consumption of alcohol are also banned by the council, violation of which will result in a penalty of Rs. 1000. Further, there is a reward for the informers who report the violators.

Kanasil Hariom Singh, the leader of the village council, called these things “social evils” and praised the decision of the Panchayat. He also linked the rise of sexual molestation and rape cases to the fact that women wear such clothes.

Also Read: Women Turn into Well Diggers in Drought Hit Kerala Villages

The village elders are to supervise younger one’s clothing and behaviour. The council also plans to meet on the first day of every month to see the progress after implementation.

The surrounding villages in Dholpur have raised protests, particularly the women’s groups. Dholpur’s official Vinod Kumar Meena criticised the restrictions on women but praised the ban on alcohol.

Many Indians try and correlate women’s clothing to their molestation chances. At This time when women safety is the biggest social issue domestically, such policies are an insult to the efforts of awareness by activists and feminists.

Prepared  by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394

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The race is on: Tiger vs Man in the forests of India

Locals being axed of their ancestral lands to safeguard a tiger habitat

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Tiger
Tiger vs Man in the forests of India, credits-pixabay

Bhubaneshwar, Feb 27, 2017: In the Similipal forests, man and tiger co-exist in huge numbers. The race is now on to see which animal will win supremacy on their ‘home’.

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The indigenous villages are ripped off their rights fighting against the tigers with more clout.

Sanghamitra Dubey, an activist with an informal Indian advocacy group for forestry rights asked, “Why are indigenous people being asked outright to leave without even attempting to explore reasonable options of coexistence with wildlife?”, mentioned a report on Similipal forests by Thompson Reuters Foundation.

Dubey further highlighted the stripping of the ancestral lands of the people to protect the shrinking number of tigers and how it led to the extinction of the traditional ways of life, like the old rope plaiting technique.

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Nearly half the estimated 3200 tigers of the world are found in India, in dozens of different reserves built since the 1970s.

The tiger has more cloat than the human, Source: Pixabay

Wildlife tourism serves as a growing money maker for the country. However, conservationists continue to debate if the tourists encroach their habitat or help protect the species.

The relocation process:-

Notice: last November, to protect the Tiger habitat in the forests, hundreds of families from about 44 different villages were asked to relocate.

Anup Kumar Nayak, a senior forest officer in Bhubaneswar said, “relocations are voluntary but a number of villages around Similipal were in the ‘core’ habitat zone or so close they were “as good as inside it” and would need to move. Only the Buffer zone is for human-animal coexistence.”

Only months ago had the villagers acquired rights to the 25000 hectares of woodland area.

The Forest Rights Act of 2006 permits Tribal Households to harvest and utilize the forest resources for maintenance of their ancestral lands.

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One-off Settlement: A visit by the Park Officials was reported by the villagers in November, offering them a one-off payment to evacuate their homes and lands to clear the forest lands under human activity.

Tribandha Barja, a villager reported that most of the people refused the offer. “(They told us) take one million rupees keep it in the bank and live better with the bank interest,” Barja said.

Dubey also commented that 50 families from a neighboring village were also targeted though it was nowhere near the core zone.

As per official figures, about 2750 square kilometers of dense forests are covered by tigers reserves including bio-diverse land and adjoining forest which is used as a corridor by other animals.

According to the report by Thompson Reuters Foundation, 10,000 people are estimated to live within the park including the buffer zone by the Authorities. Also, half a million people are estimated to live in 1,200 villages within a 10km radius around the park.

The 10 year tiger conservation plan of Odisha highlights that 800 to 1000 square kilometer area is required by 80 to 100 tigers.

As pointed out by Nayak, this serves as the reason behind the relocation.

However, only 26 Royal Bengal Tigers were found by the official Odisha government in the Similipal reserve last year.

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The End of the rope plaiting : In the core of the park, in the Jamuna Garh Village, only 3 out of approximately 35 families have stayed back and decided to continue to use their land. The others chose to relocate, accepting the compensation.

One of the holdouts, Telanga Hasa said, “neighboring families had been paid one million rupees via bank deposit in September 2015 – of which 30,000 rupees was paid in cash.”

“All are still waiting to be allocated the two acres of farmland they were promised.”
“Now they have no forests, no farm land and no livelihood …how can they live with dignity?” Hasa also said that 25 families in the hillside village in Bakua had also stayed back.

The villagers are unable to access the sacred creeper ‘siali’ from which the rope os plaited. This rope, very strong, is highly demanded by farmers.

Presently, the locals have been forced to purchase plastic potato sacks for rupees three per sack for the purpose of plaiting ropes out of them. These ropes are then sold for a petty gain.

 

-By Nikita Saraf of NewsGram, Twitter: @niki_saraf

 

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Digital India Policy by Government to spread its wings in Villages through new Digital Village initiative

This programme aims to cover 100 villages at its initial stage after which it will spread further

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Digitization Of Rural India
An Indian Village(pixabay)

New Delhi, Dec 20, 2016:  Government’s Digital India policy will soon see a boost with a new programme known as  Digital Village. This initiative will provide services like health and education in villages with the help of technology.

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This programme aims to cover 100 villages at its initial stage after which it will spread further, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. In an event Prasad said “We are going to unleash another important initiative- Digital Village. As per my understanding, it will be a collector-driven initiative. We propose to begin with 100 villages and expand it later.”

Collector in collaboration with local bodies may select a village to provide health, education and other virtual world service through Wi-Fi connectivity. The minister also appealed to the officers for pro-actively supporting government’s digital initiative aimed at transforming the country, mentioned PTI.

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“We have trained 18 lakh people over a span of four days. We may scale it (digital payments training) up in January,” he said.

Government has set a target of training 1.25 crore people on digital payments by March 31, 2017. Appreciating National Informatics Centre, Minister of State for Law and IT P P Chaudhary said that there are about 8,000 websites carrying information about government work and facilitating transactions.

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“I would like to suggest some of the areas where we have to perform. We are far behind in the generation of Intellectual Property. In the area of cyber security, we have to be pro-active and not only be reactive,” Chaudhary said.

This is the first time Indians are having access to the government without intermediaries, said IT secretary Aruna Sundararajan. At the event, e-governance service of departments from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Jharkhand won Digital India awards, earlier known as Web Ratna Awards.

Rajasthan won platinum award in the state category while Tamil Nadu received Gold and Haryana silver award for e-governance services. North Goa won platinum award in districts category. Kupwara received Gold and Udham Singh Nagar bagged silver award for e-governance. Municipal Corporations of Surat, Greater Visakhapatnam, Madurai and UP’s e-NagarSewaUP bagged award.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon