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Popular Goan Artist Vamona Navelcar to present Portuguese PM Antonio Costa with Painting of Poet Fernando Pessoa

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Vamona Navelcar, Wikimedia

Panaji, April 30, 2017: Popular but reclusive Goan artist Vamona Navelcar’s painting of Portugal’s most popular poet Fernando Pessoa, will be Goa’s gift to Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa when he graces the 30th-anniversary celebrations of Lisbon’s Casa de Goa.

Navelcar and the Portuguese Premier’s father Orlando, an accomplished writer and poet himself, have shared a common passion for Pessoa, says Goa-based Marius Fernandes who is organising an art festival to celebrate the works of the 87-year-old Goan artist.

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“Orlando once came to Vamona’s house in Pomburpa (a riverside village in North Goa). And there he did a portrait of the Portuguese Prime Minister’s father, with the latter’s back to the front. His father loved it and took it back to Portugal with him,” says Fernandes, who is also in charge of facilitating the transportation of the Pessoa painting to Lisbon.

Fernandes said that apart from the painting, Costa would also be presented with a Goan ghumot — an earthen percussion instrument with stretched hide on one end — which is unique to Goa.

“Two things are going to the Portuguse PM on May 6. Pessoa and the Goan ghumot,” Fernandes said.

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Costa during his visit to Goa in January this year had said that he felt “proud visiting my father’s land”.

“This visit is strongly emotional for me. My father went to Lisbon but never left Goa because Goa never left him,” Costa had said then during a civic reception accorded to him in Panaji.

The painting will be formally presented to Antonio Costa on May 6, during the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Lisbon-based Casa de Goa, a cultural centre which has been promoting ties between Goa and Portugal for the last three decades.

Portugal colonised the western Indian state for 451 years, before Goa was liberated by the Indian armed forces in 1961.

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 Navelcar, one of the few artists across the globe, whose body of work has been influenced by his experiences in Goa, Africa and Portugal, will also be publicly feted on May 1 at the Great Goan Art Festival scheduled to be held in Panaji.

Known for his pencil, water-colour and charcoal paintings, Navelcar has been exhibiting his works from 1962.

His first exhibition was held at the Palacio Foz in Lisbon before he participated in solo and group exhibitions in other parts of Europe, Africa and India. During his stint in Africa, Navelcar also undertook a teaching assignment.

Virtually living a reclusive life in the serene Pomburpa village, Navelcar has twice received the Gulbenkian fellowship in his early days as an artist and his famous painting ‘Angoch Woman’ has received an award at the International Exhibition of Art in Monte Carlo.

“Strangely, despite his accomplishment abroad, very little is known about Navelcar’s life in Goa. The aim of the festival is to create a sense of awareness about the great artist, who has preferred to live the life of a recluse in Goa,” Fernandes said.

A short film on the life of Navelcar will also be released during the Goa event, and an open painting competition will be held. (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)

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