Home India Modi to Addre...

Modi to Address both Houses of Congress in The US Next Week

0
U.S. President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) talk as they have coffee and tea together in the gardens of Hyderabad House in New Delhi January 25, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two years ago there were questions over whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could get a visa to enter the United States. Next week he visits Washington as one of President Barack Obama’s closest international allies.

Obama invited Modi for one of the last big visits by a world leader before his term ends in January. Although the trip won’t feature a lavish state dinner, the Indian leader will address both houses of Congress, considered a rare honor.

This will be their seventh meeting since Modi became prime minister in May 2014, an impressive tally for a U.S. president and a leader who is not a formal ally, said Ashley Tellis at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama watch India's Republic Day parade from behind rain streaked bullet proof glass as they stand in the rain together in New Delhi January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama watch India’s Republic Day parade from behind rain streaked bullet proof glass as they stand in the rain together in New Delhi January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

“The personal relationship between the president and the prime minister … is really one of the unanticipated surprises of the past two years,” said Tellis, an expert on India.

The developing relationship is seen as an Obama foreign policy success. Washington views India as an important part of its rebalance to Asia and as a counterweight to China.

The two countries are finalizing agreements that would make it possible for their militaries to cooperate more closely, and for U.S. defense manufacturers to both sell and make high-tech weaponry in India.
A deal on logistics would govern issues such as how the two countries account for costs of military exercises. Another involves encrypted communications and geospatial data transfer.

A history of colonial rule followed by decades of non-alignment has, however, made New Delhi wary of an embrace by the more powerful United States, which has overtaken Russia as India’s top arms supplier.

“It is neither a strategic partnership nor an alliance,” said Nitin Gokhale, founder of defense portal Bharat Shakti. “It can be a long-term arrangement, but to call it a strategic partnership would be premature.”

There are frustrations, too, on the U.S. side.

The two countries reached a civil nuclear agreement in 2005, but it has yet to yield any contracts for U.S.-based companies. Only now is Westinghouse, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba, approaching the finish line on a deal to build six reactors in India.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

The visit gives Modi a chance to network with U.S. lawmakers who may feature in a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton administration but, as it coincides with the California primary, he is not expected to meet either.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter: @newsgram1

Modi is generally popular with U.S. lawmakers, who extended his invitation to address Congress. But they criticize what they see as lingering unfriendliness to U.S. firms and a stifling bureaucracy, and question New Delhi’s record on human rights.

“The economic engagement between our two countries should increase and it should be more accessible for U.S. companies,” Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a telephone interview.

Obama and Modi are expected to discuss India’s desire to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a 48-member club of nuclear trading nations.

India was shut out for decades because of its weapons program, and the civil nuclear agreement with the United States gave it access to foreign suppliers without giving up its arms.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook: NewsGram

Obama administration officials have said they backed India’s desire to join the group, but the idea faces resistance among some on Capitol Hill, as well as from China, an ally of India’s arch-rival Pakistan.

“Existing NSG guidelines were established to guard against nuclear proliferation, and we should not create exceptions for particular countries,” Corker said.

There is lingering concern in Washington over Modi’s handling of communal riots in 2002 that killed at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in Gujarat.

Modi was chief minister of the state at the time and, though a court-ordered inquiry found insufficient evidence to prosecute him, the issue prevented him from getting a U.S. visa for years.

Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raised human rights on a visit to New Delhi this week, saying the two largest democracies had “special obligations” to set the highest standards.

Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission has scheduled a hearing on India for June 7, the day Modi arrives in Washington and the day before his address to the combined House of Representatives and Senate. He leaves the United States on June 8.

Corker promised to ask Modi about India’s record on human trafficking, which he brought up recently in an emotional Senate hearing with Obama administration officials.

“The country we believe has 12-14 million slaves, which is close to half the number we believe exists worldwide,” Corker said. “It’s obviously a very significant issue and when he’s here, it’s one I certainly plan to raise.”

 

Next Story

Sri Bhārata Māta Ashtottaram: 108 Sanskrit Mantras

Here are some mantras with detailed explanations for you to stay calm and maintain peace

0
hare-krishna-mantras
Indians we are very blessed to receive the spiritual wisdom of the ancient seers (rishis) of India. Pixabay

By Dr. Devakinanda Pasupuleti

In today’s environment where the views of western academics, a bias compounded by one-sided western news reports on India by the so called mainstream media and post-colonial Indologists with new ways of misrepresenting Sanskrit texts and Sanatana Dharma in what they pass on to students. It is utmost important and urgent task laid up on us to bring clarity to our youth about true Indian culture, traditions, and qualities that are unique only to India.

As Indians, we are very blessed to receive the spiritual wisdom of the ancient seers (rishis) of India that shaped our values, customs, traditions and culture for millennia. With that nostalgia in my mind, as a tribute to our motherland and with great enthusiasm I have written the qualities unique only to India as an ashtottarm (108 names). In today’s “modern” world, where the positive values are too often replaced with materialism, intolerance, violence, extremism, and terrorism; these mantras will help you stay calm and centered in face of adversity, and in the “little” moments. We can all find beauty, peace, strength everywhere we look—if we remember to look for it.

mantras
The following mantra will help you stay calm and centered in face of adversity, and in the “little” moments.

Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to stay updated on latest news

I have explained each mantra in detail and why Bharatamata deserves to be worshipped with that each mantra. I will publish one mantra at a time as a series over a period of time. If you, your family and children find these mantras very enlightening, my goal and aspiration will be accomplished.

Ashtottaram 1

1) OṀ BHĀRATABHŨMYAI NAMAH

ॐ भारतभूम्यै नमः

OM (AUM)-BHAA-RA-TA-BHOO-MYAI– NA-MA-HA

 (OṀ:  Praṇavanādam, name of God; Bhārata: Historical name of our country; Bhūmi: Land, country, Namah: Salutations)

 “Bharatah” in the Vedas,“Bhārata” in the Bhagavad Gīta- this familiar word has been around since ancient Vedic times. Our understanding is that the name – Bharata varṣha, came into usage because of the famous ruler Bharata. However, if we look into our history, we realize that there are different legends as to how the country got the name Bharata.

In the Vedas, the word Bharat means “ritual fire”. The phrase Bharat varamanatvāt bharatah means the Bearer and sustainer of fire and who gives pleasure. The eternal dharma in the creation is this fire -“Agni”.

“Bha”-means light, knowledge; and effulgence while, Rata-means curiosity, relish; and fond of. So Bharata means one who is fond of light and knowledge. That’s why, from ancient times, we offer prayers to the Sun God every morning- before dawn.

Jaḍa Bharata, a jnāni (the knower of the Absolute-the ‘Brahman’) and avadhūta (who was beyond worldly concerns) was the son of Rājaṛshi-VṛishabhaYogīswara. He ruled our land and according to the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the country may have been named “Bharata Vaṛsha” and “Bharata Khanḍa” in his honour.

bhagavad gita mantras
The above picture shows Bhagavad Gīta in which Bharata is mentioned as “Bhārata”. Pixabay

Also Read: World Environment Day: 5 Plants to Purify Your Indoor Air Quality

It is widely believed that our land was called “Bharata” after Lord Shri Rāmachandra’s youngest brother, who ruled it for 14 years.

Last, but not the least is the story of Ḋushyanta and Śhakunṫala in the Mahābhārata, written by Veḋa Vyāsa. Their son Bharata, (also called Sarvaḋamana, and Ḋouhitra) ruled our country and brought prosperity and peace to the land.

Whatever may be the reasons, the country we proudly call ours is -“Bhārata Bhūmi”.

[ Disclaimer: The pictures used in the article are supplied by the author, NewsGram has no intention of infringing copyrights. ]

Next Story

How COVID-19 is Reshaping Education in India?

Learning has shifted to virtual mode during the pandemic

0
e-learning Education
Education during the times of the pandemic is being delivered virtually. Pixabay

If there is one thing we have learned from the Coronavirus outbreak is that the future is unpredictable. In order to survive and thrive in the ever-changing world, we need to become more adaptive and innovative in every aspect of life. The wake of COVID-19 has coerced businesses, governments, education institutions and students, and almost every collective body to reinvent the ways they do things.

Schools and colleges were the first institutions that were locked down as soon as COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in India. This had an adverse effect on education in India. Amongst the additional concerns of learning of students, the virtual mode of delivering education has come to aid. Many online learning and training platforms in India have come forward with discounted or free access to their trainings. This is so that the school and college students could still continue learning courses of their syllabus as well as other necessary skills while staying at their homes.

E-learning has become a preferred way of learning among Indian students over the past couple of years. Though, it is still an optional way of learning for the Indian learning population. However, the sudden and unfortunate COVID-19 outbreak has turned it into a necessary mode of learning. It is allowing students to keep up their learning whether it is for school exams, semester finals, or competitive exams for college admissions, and jobs. E-learning is letting them study at their own pace and thus making productive use of their time at home.

learning and education
E-learning has become a preferred way of learning and education among Indian students during the pandemic. Pixabay

Follow NewsGram on Twitter to stay updated on World News

Many schools and universities across India are also turning to online modes to deliver classes and lectures to their students. With support from technology, parents, faculty, and students, these institutions are making sure that the education is not hampered. They are continuing the classes online by live broadcasting or recorded videos, sharing homework and assignments over emails, and even helping students with their doubts through video mode. This mode of teaching and learning is not only limited to basic subjects but classes like physical education, yoga, dance, photography, and many more are also being taught through the same.

To fight this pandemic, a lot of universities across the world like Stanford University are also contemplating and planning to conduct ‘take-home examinations’ (Source), that is, arranging the examinations such that the students could take them from their homes only. This hasn’t been implemented in India yet; however, with the rising number of cases across India, the institutions may need to plan a similar mode of teaching and evaluating the students.

And, not just examinations, with the uncertainty around how long this situation may persist, students especially college going students may even miss out on doing industrial trainings, finding internships, and placement opportunities. To tackle the same, universities could make students aware or also arrange online internships and job fairs wherein the students could apply for the opportunities online. The corporate industry is equally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and is switching to offline mode of hiring at the moment and are open to work-from-home options until the situation persists.

studying education
Online Examinations or ‘take-home examinations’ are being conducted for students. Pixabay

The Indian education system has shifted to the online mode of education and all the stakeholders including educational institutions, teachers, students, and parents are welcoming it with open arms. Although this is so as to continue the teaching and learning until the pandemic situation lasts, the stakeholders are also learning and exploring new and efficient ways to continue the process of learning. This makes it highly probable that this mode of education would continue and there will be new such innovations in teaching methods even after the situation has improved.

Also Read: Can a Diabetes Patient Buy Health Insurance?

Someone has rightly said, “Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity”. This unfortunate outbreak has propelled our education system to reinvent the way education is delivered and received. These difficult times are teaching us to be resilient in the face of hardships. Education in India is being reshaped out of necessity. We could either succumb to the changes or choose to see this as an opportunity to learn as well as teach the students various new skills like agility, adaptability, creativity, problem-solving, forward-thinking, flexibility in learning and performing various other tasks.

About the author: Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder and CEO of Internshala, an internship and training platform (internshala.com)

Next Story

Showing Support to The Chanderi weavers Amid Lockdown

In tough times, it is difficult for weavers to sell their products, showcasing their work online can be immensely helpful

0
Chanderi weavers
Lending support to Chanderi weavers in these times becomes immensely important. IANS

In tough times, it is difficult for weavers to sell their products and sustain their craft during these difficult times. Showcasing their work online can be immensely helpful. One needs understand that the lockdown has had a severe impact on artisans as it has severely affected their sales and production.

“With artisans and weavers having been hit badly because of the lockdown, Weaverstory a specialised online marketplace, has decided to give reasonable prices, so that customers can buy different products from across India and abroad too. This is helping the weavers sell their products to sustain during these difficult times. Every artisan or weaver is given a separate space to exhibit their products and this is the first time they are trying something like this,” said Nishant Malhotra co-founder of Weaverstory.

WeaverStory launched an “Authentic Chanderi Collection” which helps artisans to become self-reliant. Chanderi, from central India is one of the best-known handloom clusters, particularly famous for its sarees, made with a mix of silk and cotton.

weavers
India is one of the best-known handloom clusters, particularly famous for its sarees, made with a mix of silk and cotton. Pixabay

“Most of them sustain themselves only by selling their products and what is really important is to sell their products on time. Hence, this is the only way to sell whatever they have produced in the past two months. We ensure that the money goes to the artisan’s account within three working days and provide financial support to them during the lockdown,” Malhotra added.

The chanderi saree is a handwoven variety from the traditional weavers of Madhya Pradesh. Woven predominantly in cotton and silk yarn, the material has a subtle sheer surface. The assortment has in store the variety of sarees, dupattas, suits in vibrant colours, royal blues, and red and mustards.

Also Read: Yoga: A scared gift, with Love from Hinduism and India to the World

There have been changes in the methodologies, equipment and even the compositions of yarns over the years, but there is a heritage attached with the skill associated with high quality weaving and products. The weavers from this area a have even received appreciation and royal patronage. WeaverStory has been focussing predominantly on the weaves, reviving designs from museums and traditional forms, and working with weavers themselves. (IANS)