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Rain wreaks havoc in some states; deficit rainfall in others

Nearly 100 deaths have been reported from various states due to rainfall and floods across the country

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Over 1,200 households are suffering from floods. Image Source: www.plan.org.hk

 

The Monsoon rains have created a havoc, taking nearly 100 lives in some states, while in other states deficit rainfall has been recorded.

Heavy rains over large parts of Maharashtra since Sunday have caused nearly two dozen rain-related deaths, reports said. The deaths were reported from different parts of northern Maharashtra as Nashik and surroundings were lashed by torrential rains.

In one of the worst tragedies in recent times, two buses of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation with 22 passengers, were washed away in the flooded Saraswati River near Mahad in coastal Raigad district early on Wednesday.

A massive search operation by the state government, four National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard helicopters, police and fire brigade divers and volunteers of adventure groups are helping the search operations.

Almost 15 hours after the tragedy, rescuers found two bodies a short distance away from the disaster site, which is 18 kms from the Arabian Sea on the Konkan coast.

Incessant rains continue to lash coastal Konkan, northern and western Maharashtra for the past five days, with at least 12 persons losing their lives in the past 24 hours in these regions.

Downpours in Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Mumbai, Thane and Palghar in Maharashtra have affected normal life, transportation and communication.

However, the rains have not yet reached the parched Marathwada region though the situation has improved in Latur town, which has been getting water through Jaldoot trains since April.

While many areas in Maharashtra are experiencing floods, some parts of Marathwada and western Maharashtra continue to be supplied water through tankers.

Monsoon rains have led to flooding in parts of states like Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh in recent days. The ill state Uttarakhand has experienced landslides at some places due to heavy rain.

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In Uttar Pradesh, the monsoon has been active in most parts over the last one month. Seventy-five districts have got average to moderately high rainfall, while only 13 districts have experienced deficit rainfall.

Rivers in the state, including Ghaghra, Sharda and Ganga, are in spate and many villages in Bahraich and Barabanki are under water as neighbouring Nepal released several cosecs of water, leading to flooding of many regions on the border.

Officials said that more than 30 people have died in rain-related incidents in July.

Agra has experienced good rainfall this year. Against the annual average rainfall of 650 mm, Agra has already had around 700 mm and the good spell continued with more showers on Wednesday. Two long spells of heavy downpour on Monday virtually paralysed life in the city, with the Balkeshwar Mahadev fair in a total shambles.

“The July rains set a new record this year,” recalled old-timer Munna Lal, a cycle repair shop owner of Moti Lal Nehru Road.

The Yamuna River, which passes through Agra, saw water level rising after heavy discharge upstream.

The Parikrama Marg in Govardhan and Vrindavan are under knee-deep water in several stretches.

Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of the Friends of Vrindavan, said pilgrims are facing problems as repair work is still to begin, despite many complaints. “The Yamuna is full of water which is a very pleasant sight after many years,” he said.

Except Sikkim, most parts of northeast India have so far experienced deficient monsoon rains, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) data said on Wednesday.

The other seven northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura — recorded around 14 per cent deficient rains during June 1 to August 2, the IMD report said.

IMD Director Dilip Saha told IANS in Agartala: “Due to inadequate depression and low pressure circulation in the Northeast, the region has so far recorded deficient rainfall. However, the deficiency would be covered in the remaining part of the monsoon.”

However, some parts of the Northeast witnessed excess rainfall.

Due to heavy rains and poor maintenance, National Highway-8 and National Highway-208(A) had turned into muddy quagmires with knee-deep slush over 10 to 20 km area in southern Assam’s Karimganj district adjoining north Tripura, thus virtually snapping Tripura’s surface communication.

The Southwest monsoon that advanced to Kerala on June 8, has been deficient by 25 per cent so far.

In Himachal Pradesh, after days of heavy rainfall, the monsoon is likely to remain subdued till August 5, the Met office said on Wednesday.

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Despite 26 per cent deficit rain this monsoon, the rains have claimed 20 lives so far. The damage to public and private property was estimated at over Rs 160 crore, an official said.

He said the towns of Shimla, Mashobra, Narkanda, Kufri, Kasauli, Shimla, Palampur and Manali recorded rainfall.

A government spokesperson said that water level in the Sutlej, Beas and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries, which are in spate in Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Bilaspur and Sirmaur districts, have start receding with the decline in rainfall.

Even the water level in Pong Dam — one of the state’s major water reservoirs — was still 40 feet lower on Tuesday compared to the last year. The dam is on River Beas.

“The water levels in the Pong dam reservoir stood at 1,326 feet on Tuesday,” an official of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) told IANS.

The water level in the reservoir stood at 1,366 feet on this day last year.

In Haryana, the state government has sounded an alert in Yamunanagar and downstream districts of Yamuna River owing to heavy water inflow from neighbouring Uttarakhand. (IANS)

 

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Hafeez Jalandhari: The Man behind Pakistan’s National Anthem also Wrote Urdu Poem-Krishn Kanhaiya to Praise the Hindu God Krishna

Decoding Hafeez Jalandhari's 'Krishn Kanhaiya'

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Hafeez Jalandhari wrote Krishn Kanhaiya, praising Hindu God Krishna
Hafeez Jalandhari wrote Krishn Kanhaiya, praising Hindu God Krishna. Pixabay
  • Hafeez Jalandhari weaved a poem that has a political and devotional angle to it
  • Hinduism uses sight as a way to connect with the almighty
  • The poet doesn’t refer to Krishna as a God but he says that Krishna represents glory and majesty of God

New Delhi, August 31, 2017: This year, Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day coincided with Hindu Festival Janmashtami (a festival to celebrate Krishna’s birth). Both were on 14th August. The famous Urdu poet Hafeez Jalandhari wrote the Qaumi Taranah, Pakistan’s national anthem. But not many people know that the same poet penned Krishn Kanhaiya, a unique Urdu poem beautifully describes the greatness of the Hindu Deity.

The idea of a Muslim poet in today’s time writing on a Hindu God raises all sorts of reactions (some of which are negative) coming from different ethnic groups in South Asia: suspicion, anger, surprise, joy or mere curiosity.

There is much more nuance to the poem Krishn Kanhaiya than what the reader thinks on its first reading. This is not just a devotional poem. Jalandhari had a political bend of mind be it him as a thinker or a writer. So, even this poem of his is not an ordinary one, it talks about Krishna’s grand persona, Hindu idol worship, what makes him different, his righteousness, describing the role he played in a Hindu epic Mahabharata.

He weaved a poem that has a political and devotional angle to it. The hidden meaning of it, when compared with Qaumi Taranah, is that it tells about the cultural politics of South Asia- in the 20th Century and has relevance today.

Decoding the poem:

Idol Worship

In the first line of the poem, the poet says “O, onlooker”- he might be saying this as he’s talking about a Hindu God and Hinduism gives importance to seeing a God, they believe in Idol worshipping, Hindu Gods have a form, a face. Thus, Hinduism uses sight as a way to connect with the almighty. The poet wants the readers to have mental darshan of Lord Krishna by saying, onlookers. Jalandhari wants the readers to have a mental image of Krishna in their minds.

Krishna is a form of light

The opening lines of the poem are a bit abstract and don’t talk of Krishna; in further lines, the poet asks whether Krishna is a reality or a representation. He refers to him as a “form of light” and then asks is he fire or light. Referring to Krishna as light might indicate to Islamic scholars who said that “Krishna was a righteous prophet sent to the people of the subcontinent.”

Jalandhari finally gives a description of Krishna that we are more familiar with- him being a “flute player” and a “cowherd of Gokul.” The poet doesn’t refer to Krishna as a God but he says that Krishna represents glory and majesty of God.

In the tenth stanza, the poet says that – “Inside the temple / the sculptor of beauty himself / entered and became the idol”. He is talking about Idol Worship done by Hindus who pray to their God in a temple, having a belief that the deity resides in the temple in the idol itself.

ALSO READ: Hindu Temple in Aldenham (UK) Hosts Global Visitors for Largest ‘Hare-Krishna’ celebrations in the world

Krishna Leela

Then we get a glimpse of ‘Krishna Leela’ as the poet talks of Krishna’s playing and dancing around with gopis (cowherd girls), on Yamuna river bank that he describes as a “rare happenings”. He is youthful and charming, to set the tone of the scene, phrases like “intoxicated winds” and “waves of love” are used that there was something heavenly in the atmosphere.

The sound of Krishna’s flute is described as “neither intoxication nor wine / it’s something beyond.”  Such phrases transport the readers into Braj (Krishna spent his childhood and adolescence years here) and they get blissfully lost in the divine sound of Krishna’s flute.

Cheer-Haran of Draupadi and Krishna being her savior

The poem from here takes a serious transition into a serious mood. Here the poet talks of a famous Cheer-Haran (disrobing) scene from Mahabharata as the five Pandavas have lost their kingdom and Draupadi in the dice game. Draupadi is dragged into the court by Duryodhana, the eldest Kaurava, she prays to Krishna to help her.

It is said that Lord Krishna came to her rescue and due to God’s grace, her sari turned into a never ending piece of cloth as when the Kauravas tried pulling it off, more fabric draped her body and saved her dignity.

With this scene, Jalandhari begins to bring a political angle to the poem as Draupadi says, “These beloved princes (her husbands), have all become cowards!” It seems that Jalandhari is accusing India’s rulers, monarchs who behaved like cowards at the time of British Rule.

Some even argue that the poet is referring to all Indians who worked under British Rule as cowards. The poet uses the phrase “the light of India” for Krishna, this seems more of a political symbolism.

Preparations for the Mahabharata war

In the next scene, the poet takes us to the preparations for the great Mahabharata war, where he writes worryingly, “Duryodhana seems victorious.” Duryodhana (eldest kaurava) symbolizes British Rule over India which continued for a pretty long time, like the Mahabharata war.

The irony is that Kaurava army was much larger in number than Pandavas whereas Britishers were very less in number than Indians. But with Krishna’s arrival on the battlefield (from Pandavas side) and how he preached Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, changes the anxiety and sorrow to much-needed enthusiasm: “the divine decree has been pronounced, the sword has been swung!”

This Krishna is very different from the young playful one which the poet has described earlier. Here, he symbolizes great strength and power: on his “face shines a bright gaze” also his “virtues burn enemies.”  He is so powerful that when he is angry, he can shower lightning. Thus, this Krishna can easily be an icon used for anti-colonial nationalism.

ALSO READ: If you are a Devotee of Lord Krishna, these 10 Lesser Known Facts Will Surprise You!

Relating Mahabharata with British Rule

After this, Jalandhari paints a picture of India suffering under colonial rule, using Vrindavan as a symbol for India. He says that once the joyful Yamuna is now silent, the waves are weak now. The gardens which were earlier beautiful are now ruined and the gopis symbolizing people of India are feeling helpless without their Krishna, their savior.

So, Jalandhari makes a personal plea to Krishna: “Oh king of India, come just once more.” He begs Krishna to return to Mathura (Mathura symbolizes India) and become the King again: “If you come, glory will come, if you come, life will come” With his plea to Krishna asking him to liberate India from British rule, Jalandhari ends his nazm.

If we compare Krishn Kanhaiya to Jalandhari’s more famous work (Pakistan’s National Anthem), we can learn a lot about the cultural politics which has influenced South Asia over the 20th century and continues to do so even today.


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Bihar Floods Hit 74 Lakhs people across 14 Districts, Death Toll rises to 72

Due to bad whether, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy Sushil Kumar Modi could not conduct an aerial survey scheduled for earlier

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Bihar Floods
Evacuation is underway as floods hit Bihar. Wikimedia
  • The incessant rains in the Nepal and surrounding regions have triggered floods in the state of Bihar
  • The Floods have affected the lives of more than 73 lakhs people
  • Around 72 people are feared dead in the recent natural disaster

Bihar, August 17, 2017: The recent floods in Bihar, caused by the incessant rains in the Nepal and surrounding region, has destroyed the lives of a number of people.

Around 73.44 lakh people are estimated to be affected some way or the other by the natural disaster. Further, the death toll has reached 72.

ALSO READ: Chakma Refugees in India’s remote Northeast Forgotten in Floods : Charity World Vision

State Disaster Management Deparment’s special secretary, Anirudh Kumar has told PTI that the flood has affected people across 14 districts of the state. The highest number of deaths are from the Araria District (20), followed by Sitamarhi (11), West Champaran (9), Kisanganj (8), Madhubani (5), Purnea (5), Madhepura (4), Darbhanga (4), East Champaran (3), Sheohar (2), and Supual (1).

Further, today the Gopalganj area was submerged as the floods ruthlessly continue.

Anirudh Kumar also informed that more than 2.74 lakh people have been evacuated and relocated by the Disaster Management Team. 1.16 lakh out of them have been settled for the time being in 504 relief camps spreading across the region.

Pratyay Amrit, the principal secretary of the disaster management department also spoke to PTI. He informed them that community kitchens have been initiated for marooned areas victims.

Due to bad whether, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy Sushil Kumar Modi could not conduct an aerial survey scheduled for earlier.

The natural disaster has also affected the railway systems. Many trains on different routes have been short terminated, short originated, canceled or diverted.

The Chief Minister’s relief fund has received 11 lakh in donations from Nityanand Rai, Bihar’s BJP President.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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. 

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The Popular Recycled Wastewater Treatment Plants Get a Go Signal in India

From toilet to tap, the future of drinking water is here. After Singapore and Orange County USA, India to adopt recycled wastewater treatment system

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Waste water treatment
Wastewater Treatment Plant. Pixabay
  • Delhi to get India’s first ever recycle wastewater treatment plant, after it became significantly popular in Singapore and Orange County
  • Sujala Dhara plant set up by Absolute Water, in collaboration with Delhi Jal Board and SANA
  • Non-potable use of the treatable water to be promoted extensively by Delhi Government

New Delhi, August 3, 2017: The capital has been suffering a water crisis for a while now, it was only a while back that a report warned the residents that 70 percent of the water in the capital was polluted and unfit to drink. After the spike in the industrial pollutants in the Yamuna river forced the Delhi Jal Board to take action by cutting 50 percent of water supply from two major water plants in Delhi.

After the reports were verified, it was evident that most of the water that the locals were consuming was diluted wastewater. There have been many short term preventive measures already been taken but in the long run, people are still unwilling to consume the recycled wastewater, even though half of the consumption currently is polluted by industrial and chemical waste.

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The founder of Third World Center for Water Management said in an interview that, in Singapore, over 50 lakh residents have accepted it as a solution. Dependent on Malaysia for up to 50 percent of its water, Singapore decided that it was better to be self-reliant. With this ‘NEWater treatment plants’, it has not only managed that but also become a hub for advanced water research. A similar effort is also being done on an extensive scale in Orange County Water District in the US.

Delhi Jal Board approves a recyclable water treatment plant for potable and non-potable use Click To Tweet

Rahul Jha of Absolute Water, the water wing of Chemical System Technologies says that “Astronauts do it abroad stations”, Absolute Water develops technology which renders wastewater into potable water. In collaboration with Delhi Jal Board and Social Awareness, Newer Alternatives (SANA) they have established a plant called Sujala Dhara, at the Keshopur Sewage Treatment Plant in July 2015. At a cost of Rs 55 lakh, this plant can produce over 4000 liters of clean water every hour. The plant will be monitored by Delhi Jal Board, while agencies like Central Pollution Control Board have already given it a go.

The wastewater purification process not only reduces the waste discharged into the river bodies but also amounts to 15 percent of raw water remaining after purification, which is rich in nutrients like potassium and nitrogen and can be used as a liquid fertilizer. Even though the people are not yet accepting of this method of purification in India, and the practice won’t be as widely popular as it is in Singapore but the recycled water can be used for domestic needs.

Recycled Wastewater
Future Drinking Water

Work is initiated to supply the plant water to Keshopur Bus Depot for washing vehicles. The water will also be provided to the residence of Delhi Jal Board officials who live close to it, and where work on the dual piping system is proposed. So, two completely separate systems will be used to supply potable and recycled water to the users.

Also Read: These 7 Ayurvedic Herbal Water have Healing Powers

While there isn’t much heat on the aggressive consumption of recycled wastewater for drinking, but the Delhi’s Master Plan 2021 is already underway to promote extensive use of treated water for non-potable purposes.

Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


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.

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