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National Bravery Hero Nilesh Bhil Kidnapped along with his Sibling from their home in Maharashtra

Nilesh Bhil, 12, received the National Bravery Award in January 2016 for saving a village boy from drowning in a water tank the previous year

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A national bravery hero from Maharashtra, who was honoured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, was kidnapped along with his sibling from their home here, Wikimedia

Jalgaon, May 20, 2017: A national bravery hero from Maharashtra, who was honoured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, was kidnapped along with his sibling from their home here, police said on Saturday.

As per the complaint registered late Friday night by their mother Sundarbai R Bhil, her two minor sons, Nilesh and Ganpat, went missing and were kidnapped by some unknown persons, said the on-duty officer of Muktainagar Police Station.

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Nilesh Bhil, 12, received the National Bravery Award in January 2016 for saving a village boy from drowning in a water tank the previous year.

Top police officers at the local and regional levels are monitoring the investigations involving the national hero and his seven-year-old younger brother.

The motive behind the suspected kidnapping is not yet clear. (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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Gram Art Project: Innovative way to voice Indian Farmer’s Issues

Land art was used in Maharashtra under The Gram Art Project to voice the farmer’s ache through creativity

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A distant farm
A distant farm. wikimedia
  • The Gram Art Project, last year created a portrait of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the field, it was their way of asking him to ‘Grow in India’
  • There are many issues being faced by the community, yet they have not come together as one
  • Last year, artists from across India discussed contemporary problems of farming with the farmers of the village at the Gram Dhara Chakra Utsav

Nagpur, Maharashtra, August 4, 2017: The Gram Art Project is a praiseworthy initiative in which Land Art was used to voicing farmer’s issues. The term Land Art means, creating art which is made directly on the landscape by sculpting the land and making structures in the landscape.

It is done by using natural materials such as rocks or twigs etc. The term originated from the art movement in the U.S.A in the 1960s and 1970s.The Gram Art Project was in the news last year as well after it created a portrait of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the field, it was their way of asking him to ‘Grow in India’.

The collective has been since then involved in working with farmers and highlighting issues of the rural, agrarian economy using art in the village Paradsinga, near Nagpur, Maharashtra. Its volunteers and artists (mostly natives of the village) were present in Delhi to talk about their work.

“Last year, artists from across India discussed contemporary problems of farming with the farmers of the village at the Gram Dhara Chakra Utsav, organised by volunteers, after which seven images for land art were drawn out and grown on the fields,” said Shweta Bhattad (who initiated the project), mentioned Indian Express Report.

One of the images was grown by artist Ganesh Dhoke. He made an Indian map with a farmer and his bull inside. “India is primarily dependent on agriculture and, without it, there will be no food. People need to understand that farmers are leaving the profession and youngsters are not joining it. This message is for the government, too,” Dhoke said. He is the only youngster in his village to be a full-time farmer.

Mumbai-based artist Kalyani Uday’s land art consisted of two adjacent pyramids, with one of them in reverse. It had a leafy legume accompanied with the slogan Kisan Ekta Zaruri Hai.

Tanmay Joshi, a volunteer said, “There are many issues being faced by the community, yet they have not come together as one. They are at the bottom of the pyramid, so we wanted to show that the reverse of the equation is possible.” Satyabhama Manjhi, an artist belonging to Odisha, created a small Land Art – the local village school and the students.

Adarsh Dhoke said that earlier many people used to urinate near that school wall, so they decided to grow a toilet seat with plants, resulting which the practice stopped. His parents are into farming but he never wanted to do the same. During his interaction with school children, other children echoed his view, though he tried to change that. “Nobody wants to pursue farming but, after I spoke to them, they started thinking about it,” he said.

Also Read: Israeli experts train Indian farmers in advanced agricultural practices to cultivate Dates in Gujarat

Gram Art Project also promotes chemical-free farming and use of native seeds in Paradsinga. The volunteers are involved in activities like building machans and providing the daily weather forecast.

Ganesh Dhoke has reached out to other like-minded people and a road was built that connects 50 fields. It made locomotion in monsoon easier. Similarly, Vednath Lohi recognized the need that there was no place for children to play. With the help of the artists, they converted a land, called Gothan, which was earlier used for bad practices like defecation and gambling and they turned it into a playground for children. Also decorated it with sustainable sculptures near which children can play.

The condition of Indian farmers is quite problematic as many farmer’s suicide due to the heavy loan’s on them which they are not capable to pay off or poor financial condition in general. So, initiatives like this are a positive step towards highlighting farmer’s issues.

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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Indian-origin Leo Varadkar to become Ireland’s PM, Mumbai Family plans to celebrate Momentous Occasion

As Outgoing Prime Minister Enda Kenny has formally tendered his resignation paving the way for Varadkar to take over, his extended family in Maharashtra, India is ecstatic and plans to celebrate the significant event

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Leo Varadkar. Twitter
  • Outgoing Prime Minister Enda Kenny has formally tendered his resignation to Irish President Michael D. Higgins, paving the way for Varadkar, 38
  • Whenever Varadkar and his parents visit India, there is day-long celebration, mostly at the Borivali home
  • However, none of the family members could make it for the swearing-in from India as the time was too short for the journey

Mumbai, June 14, 2017: With the stage set for the swearing-in of Indian-origin Leo Varadkar as Ireland’s Prime Minister, his extended family in Maharashtra is ecstatic and plans to celebrate the momentous occasion.

“Our joy is boundless. But we have not made any formal celebration plans yet. But all relatives shall gather at our home this evening,” dancer Shubhada Varadkar, cousin of the Irish PM designate, told IANS on Wednesday morning.

Another cousin, Dipti Bhosale, said she was busy contacting all relatives of the joint family in Mumbai to join the festivities at the Borivali home which Varadkar visited in 2011 as an Irish Minister.

Similarly, separate plans are on in the family’s native Varad village in Sindhudurg district.

On Tuesday, outgoing Prime Minister Enda Kenny formally tendered his resignation to Irish President Michael D. Higgins, paving the way for Varadkar, 38.

Earlier on June 2, when Varadkar was elected leader of the ruling Fine Gael Party in Ireland, his joint family in Maharashtra had erupted into frenzied celebrations.

At that time, the cancer-survivor Shubhada told IANS how it was like “a dream come true” for her as she had virtually predicted in July 2016 that the medico-turned-politician would some day become the Prime Minister.

However, none of the family members could make it for the swearing-in from India as the time was too short for the journey.

“But we shall witness it and celebrate as if we are all physically present there,” she said.

Born on January 18, 1979, in Dublin, Varadkar’s Mumbai-born father was a medico who went to England in 1970 and married a nurse, Miriam, and settled in Ireland.

Varadkar joined Irish politics at 22 and became an MP five years later.

ALSO READ: Leo Varadkar: Irish PM in waiting and his India connection

Whenever Varadkar and his parents visit India, there is day-long celebration, feasting and merrymaking by the joint family in Mumbai, mostly at the Borivali home.

The family is not so sure whether Varadkar will now be able to make it here owing to security and protocol considerations, but they look forward to his visit.

The Irish PM designate’s extended joint family in India comprises four uncles and five aunts, including Manohar Varadkar, 93, and Madhukar Varadkar, who are freedom fighters, and Avinash, 79, a former Indian Railway employee, and a host of cousins and their children. (IANS)