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Limca Book of Records: 97-year-old Raj Kumar Vaishya appears for MA Exam in Patna

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Raj Kumar Vaishya
Raj Kumar Vaishya was recognised by the Limca Book of Records as the oldest man to apply for a postgraduate degree (representative image). Pixabay
  • Raj Kumar Vaishya was recognised by the Limca Book of Records as the oldest man to apply for a postgraduate degree
  • He wrote in English and used nearly two dozen sheets
  • Vaishya has set an example for millions of people who use age as an excuse to give up on their dreams

Patna June 3, 2017: It was a sunny day and Raj Kumar Vaishya had trouble walking. But determined to get a postgraduate degree, the 97-year-old sat for a three-hour MA exam, along with students younger than his grandchildren.

Vaishya, who graduated in 1938, was appearing for his final year MA (economics) examination at Nalanda Open University (NOU), Patna. The exams began on Thursday and will continue till next week.

He wrote in English and used nearly two dozen sheets, an NOU official said.

“He sat for three hours like every other student, most of them younger than his grandchildren. It surprised us all, including other examinees,” the official said.

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Early this year, Vaishya was recognised by the Limca Book of Records as the oldest man to apply for a postgraduate degree.

A rare man, Raj Kumar Vaishya has set an example for millions of people who use age as an excuse to give up on their dreams. “I have decided to prove that even at 97 years, one can fulfil their dreams and achieve anything. I am an example,” Vaishya told IANS here.

Vaishya said: “I am also trying to send a message to the youth that defeat should never be accepted. I want to tell them not to get upset and depressed. ‘Mauka aur awsar har wakt rehta hai, kewal khud pe vishwas hona chahiyea’ (There will be always be opportunities for those who believe in themselves),” Vaishya said in mix of Hindi and Urdu.

He was frank in admitting that it is not easy to follow the routine of a student at his age. “It is really difficult for me to wake up early to prepare for the exams. My first exam was on June 1.”

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Talking about his routine, Vaishya said he has devoted hours every day to studying and worked hard to prepare for the exams. “If I clear MA this year, my long cherished dream will be fulfilled. I hope I pass with a good percentage like in my first year MA exam.”

Vaishya enrolled for the course in 2015. He said he has no plans to pursue a PhD.

NOU officials said the 97-year-old had not requested for any special facility for the exam.

Vaishya, who retired from a private firm in Jharkhand in 1980 after having worked there for over three decades, recalled that he wanted to study economics to understand the problems being facing by the people, and the society as a whole, in the country. “The idea is not to get a degree but to study economics. There are many PhD students who have superfluous knowledge.”

Born on April 1, 1920, in Bareilly, he did his graduation from Agra University in 1938 and got a degree in law in 1940.

“I failed to pursue a postgraduate programme at the time due to family responsibilities,” he said.

A vegetarian and a lover of simple traditional Indian food, Vaishya said he never consumed fried food and always ate in moderation.

“As one approaches old age, one should pick up a hobby. I regularly read books, newspapers, magazines and watch television serials, including popular historical TV serials like Jodhaa Akbar, Razia Sultan and Maharana Pratap,” says Vaishya.

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A confident and upbeat Vaishya says he can read without glasses and write in both Hindi and English. “I only take the help of a walker after I fractured my back a few years ago,” he says.

The perennially happy Vaishya lives with his son Santosh Kumar in Rajendra Nagar Colony, a posh society in Patna. He has been living here for almost a decade after his wife died.

Before this, he lived with his wife in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. He shifted to Patna because there was no one to look after him.(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

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.