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Renowned Classical Singer Kishori Amonkar passes away at 84

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Classical Singer Kishori Amonkar (middle), Twitter

Mumbai, April 4, 2017: Renowned classical singer Kishori Amonkar passed away shortly before midnight, family sources said here on Tuesday.

She was 84 and breathed her last at her Dadar west home.

In her singing career spanning seven decades, she was revered as ‘Gaan-Saraswati’. Belonging to the Jaipur Gharana, she was conferred the Padma Vibhushan and Sahitya Akademi Award among many others.

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A widow, she is survived by two sons and grandchildren.

Veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar said she was depply pained to hear about Amonkar’s demise. “She was a unique and extraordinary classical singer. Her demise spells a huge loss for the world of music.”

Her funeral will be held on Tuesday evening at Shivaji Park Crematorium. (IANS)

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Attention Readers! Here are Five Books to Look Forward to in November 2017

While October saw a diverse bookshelf, ranging from "Finding my Virginity," by Richard Branson to "The Bhojpuri Kitchen," by Pallavi Nigam Sahay, the upcoming month is more about concrete titles by well-known faces.

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Looking for books to read in November? We have got you covered! Pixabay

New Delhi, October 30, 2017 : With the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize – the two most coveted literary honors – having been awarded earlier in October, the literary season has indeed set in.

Two literature festivals have just concluded in the national capital. The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be announced in about two weeks, while the Jaipur Literature Festival is also round the corner. What better time for publishing houses to release the most-awaited books of the year?

While October saw a diverse bookshelf, ranging from “Finding my Virginity,” by Richard Branson to “The Bhojpuri Kitchen,” by Pallavi Nigam Sahay, the upcoming month is more about concrete titles by well-known faces.

Here are five books we can’t wait to read this November

1. “The Book of Chocolate Saints” by Jeet Thayil (Aleph)

One of the most-awaited literary books of the year by Jeet Thayil, a past winner of the DSC prize, the Sahitya Akademi Award and a finalist of the Man Booker Prize. In incandescent prose, Thayil tells the story of Newton Francis Xavier, blocked poet, serial seducer of young women, reformed alcoholic (but only just), philosopher, recluse, all-round wild man and India’s greatest living painter. At the age of 66, Xavier, who has been living in New York, is getting ready to return to the land of his birth to stage one final show of his work (accompanied by a mad bacchanal). Narrated in a huge variety of voices and styles, all of which blend seamlessly into a novel of remarkable accomplishment, “The Book of Chocolate Saints” is the sort of literary masterpiece that only comes along once in a very long time.

2. “Conflicts of Interest” by Sunita Narain (Penguin)

One of India’s foremost environmentalists, Sunita Narain gives a personal account of her battles as part of the country’s Green Movement. While outlining the enormous environmental challenges that India faces today, Narain says political interests often scuttle their effective resolution. She recounts some widely reported controversies triggered by research undertaken by her along with her team at the Centre for Science and Environment, such as the pesticides in colas report, air pollution research in Delhi and endosulfan research in Karnataka, among others. Narain also includes an ‘environmental manifesto’, a blueprint for the direction India must take if it is to deal with the exigencies of climate change and environmental degradation.

3. “Life among the Scorpions” by Jaya Jaitly (Rupa)

From arranging relief for victims of the 1984 Sikh riots, to joining politics under firebrand leader George Fernandes, to becoming president of the Samata Party — a key ally in the erstwhile NDA Government – Jaya Jaitly’s rise in Indian mainstream politics invited both awe and envy. All this even as she continued her parallel fight for the livelihood of craftsmen on the one hand, and conceptualised and ensured establishment of the first Dilli Haat in 1994, on the other. With all the backstories of major events in Indian politics between 1970 and 2000, including her experience of dealing with the Commission of Inquiry and courts regarding the Tehelka sting, the story of Jaya Jaitly makes for a riveting read. A powerful narrative on why being a woman in politics was for her akin to being surrounded by scorpions; this is one of the best books set for release and a hard hitting memoir that offers a perspective on the functioning of Indian politics from a woman’s point of view.

4. “Chase Your Dreams” by Sachin Tendulkar (Hachette India)

Why should adults have all the fun? In his career spanning 24 years, hardly any records have escaped Sachin Tendulkar’s masterly touch. Besides being the highest run scorer in Tests and ODIs, he also uniquely became the first and only batsman to score 100 international centuries and play 200 Tests. His proficient stroke-making is legendary, as is his ability to score runs in all parts of the field and all over the world. And Tendulkar has now come up with this uniquely special edition of his autobiography for young readers.

5. “China’s India War” by Bertil Lintner (Oxford University Press)

The Sino-Indian War of 1962 delivered a crushing defeat to India: not only did the country suffer a loss of lives and a heavy blow to its pride, the world began to see India as the provocateur of the war, with China ‘merely defending’ its territory. This perception that China was largely the innocent victim of Nehru’s hostile policies was put forth by journalist Neville Maxwell in his book “India’s China War,” which found readers in many opinion makers, including Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon. For far too long, Maxwell’s narrative, which sees India as the aggressor and China as the victim, has held court. Nearly 50 years after Maxwell’s book, Bertil Lintner’s “China’s India War” puts the ‘border dispute’ into its rightful perspective. Lintner argues that China began planning the war as early as 1959 and proposes that it was merely a small move in the larger strategic game that China was playing to become a world player — one that it continues to play even today. (IANS)

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Saket Suman and was first published at IANS. Saket can be contacted at saket.s@ians.in)

 

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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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Here’s the list of all the important awards you need to know at one place

Here we have compiled a list of all important awards, saving you a part of your time that you would have wasted sweeping through webpages to know about one of these

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List of all the important awards
List of Awards. Pixabay

New Delhi, August 14, 2017: Be it for Competitive Exams, or simply General Knowledge, it’s always good to let your brain know things that matter. Awards, indeed are recognition given to people for their achievements, accomplishments, or contributions in a particular field, therefore it becomes important to know which award holds what purpose, when was it instituted, and when is it given. Here we have compiled a list of all important awards, saving you a part of your time that you would have otherwise wasted sweeping through webpages, searching for the awards one by one.

A must read articleEight Kannada authors who have won ‘Jnanpith Award’

LIST OF ALL IMPORTANT AWARDS

1. Nobel Prize: The most coveted international award was named after Alfred Bernard Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. The award is given every year on December 10th, which marks the death anniversary of Alfred Bernard Nobel. The Nobel Prize is given to those renowned persons who have made pioneering achievements in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Peace, Literature, and Economics. Awards for all categories have been given since 1901, except Economics which was instituted in 1967 and first given in 1969.

2. Magsaysay Awards: Named after the former president of Philippines, Ramon Magasaysay, this award was Instituted in 1957. The award is presented every year on August 31, for excellent contributions in journalism, literature, arts, international understanding, community leadership and public service. It is also regarded as the Nobel prize of Asia.

3. Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding: The Government of India Instituted this award in in 1965 to honor the work of persons for outstanding contributions to goodwill and international understanding among people around the world.

4. Oscar Awards: The most prestigious award in the world of cinema was instituted in 1929. The Academy of Motion Pictures in USA confers the award annually. Bhanu Athaiya was the first Indian to get an Oscar for his movie ‘Gandhi’, while Satyajit Ray, the first Indian to be awarded with an Oscar for lifetime achievements in Cinema in 1992.

LIST OF ALL IMPORTANT AWARDS

5. UNESCO Peace Prize: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) presents this award for remarkable contributions for international peace.

6. Pulitzer Prize: Instituted in 1997, this award is conferred annually in the USA, for extraordinary accomplishments in journalism, music and literature. The award is named after the US publisher, Joseph Pulitzer.

7. Right Livelihood Award: Instituted in 1980 by the Right Livelihood Society, London, also known as alternate Nobel Award, is given to persons for contributing in the areas of environment and social justice.

8. Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize: Instituted in 1995 by Government of India, following the lines of Nobel prize, It is presented for contributions in maintaining or promoting international peace.

9. UNESCO Human Rights Award: Another award presented by UNESCO every alternate year, for work in the field of Human Rights and its awareness.

LIST OF ALL IMPORTANT AWARDS

10. Man Booker Prize: Man Booker makes for the highest literary honor to authors of British, Irish and Commonwealth countries. It was instituted in 1968 by the Booker Company and the British Publishers Association following the lines of Pulitzer Prize of US.

11. UN Human Rights Award: This award is presented every sixth year by UN for personal contribution for the cause of human rights.

12. World Food Prize: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presents the award for contributions in the field of agriculture and food development.

Also read: Southern Film Industry bags 18 National Film Awards. 

13. Indira Gandhi Award For International Peace, Disarmament and Development: This award is presented by Indira Gandhi Memorial Fund in India for specialized contribution in the field of international disarmament and development.

14. Bharat Ratna: Bharat Ratna or the highest civilian award of India is presented by the Government of India for rarest achievements in the field of art, literature and science, and extraordinary public service. It was instituted in 1954, with C. Rajagopalchari as its first recipient.

15. Padma Vibhushan: The second highest civilian award, coming right after Padma Vibhushan is presented for distinguished services in any field including Government service. The other important civilian awards include, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree.

LIST OF ALL IMPORTANT AWARDS

16. Bhartiya Jnanpeeth Awards: Instituted in 1965, these awards are given to scholars for their distinguished works in any of the recognized languages.

17. Sahitya Akademy Awards: Instituted in 1955, these awards are presented to writers for any exclusive writing in any of the 22 languages including English literature.

18. Saraswati Samman: Instituted in 1991 by the K.K. Birla Foundation, the honor is given for any distinguished literary work made during last 10 years in any of the Indian language.

19. Vyas Samman: Instituted in 1992 by the K.K. Birla Foundation, the honor is given to people for outstanding contribution to Hindi literature.

20.  Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards: They are presented to the Indian scientists for their exceptionally brilliant performance.

LIST OF ALL IMPORTANT AWARDS

21. R.D. Birla Award: This award is given in the field of medical sciences.

22. Dhanvantri Award: These awards are given for exceptional performance in medical sciences.

23. Arjuna Awards: The prestigious Arjuna awards, instituted in 1961, are presented by the Youth affairs and Sports Ministry, Government of India, for achievements of players in National Sports.

24. Dronacharya Awards: Instituted in 1985, the award is given by the Sports Ministry, government of India, for excellent coaching in sports and games. It is named after Drona, also known as guru Dronacharya, a character from the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata.

Also read: Nari Shakti Awards on the Occasion of International Women’s Day

25. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna: It is the highest sporting honor of India, awarded for excellent performance in sports and games. The award is named after Rajiv Gandhi, former prime minister of India. It was instituted in 1992.

26. Gallantry Awards
* Param Vir Chakra: It is the highest award for bravery in India, awarded for displaying valor during wartime.
* Mahavir Chakra: It is the second highest gallantry award after Param Vir Chakra, awarded for acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy.
* Vir Chakra: It is the third highest gallantry award, presented for exhibiting bravery in the battlefield.
* Ashok Chakra: It is the highest peace-time gallantry award, presented for courageous action away from the battlefield.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_Samiksha