Tuesday October 22, 2019
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Sanskrit binds India and Lithuania together

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New Delhi: The Make in India Week in Mumbai witnessed the arrival of Lithuania ambassador Laimonas Talat-Kelpša. It was also the 98th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence. On behalf of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presented with a unique gift: a specially published small Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary.

A common Indian might feel the presence of this exotic-sounding European country, an uncanny one.

With the fastest public WiFi in whole Europe, Lithuania has been ranked as the 20th best country for doing business this year; standing at number eight in ease of starting a business and taking it less than three days to start a new venture there.

However, with the active involvement of Lithuania in the club of world’s leading economies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and with India upping its game in making a global presence, the two countries seem to strengthen and renew their ties.

PM bestowed with Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary

A small Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary was published and gifted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Make in India Week program in Mumbai.

This shows how both countries use common words in their every dialect which helps in generating a positive energy. This further strengthens Indo-Lithuanian ties, with people in authority able to reconnect and make significant international trading decisions.

Why the unfamiliarity with Lithuania?

Often mistaken for Ludhiana in Punjab, the place is uncommon to the Indian ear. Lithuania is lesser known in India due to various reasons:

  • The linguistic connection shared by India and Lithuania is bound till academics only.
  • Constrained in World War II and Cold War, ties could not be built with Lithuania. This was because India didn’t hold the adequate freedom to take actions of its own.
  • Also, previous 24 years of our diplomatic ties included high-level visits and large-scale initiatives; this made relations good but limited.

Indo-Lithuania- interweaved with striking similarities

  • The striking resemblance of words and grammatical structures in Sanskrit and Lithuanian, smoothly overlapping into modern Hindi.
  • Many words like dievas (देव)- when we appeal to God, labas (लाभ)- wishing each other wealth and prosperity, ašara(अश्रु)- tears of joy and sorrow, and sapnas (सपना)- dreams, are a part of Hindi and Lithuanian language.
  • Making Indian presence in Lithuania more prominent, a ten-fold rise in the past three years in the number of Indian students seeking education opportunities in Lithuania has been witnessed.
  • With 66 percent increase, Indo-Lithuanian trade crossed the EUR100m mark. The steady growth will significantly increase with the upcoming conclusion of Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement between India and the European Union.
  • Commercial links have been expanding, despite the difficult economic situation worldwide.

The future to come

Upcoming years could be challenging but opportunities would be in the bounty:

  • Intensified high-level visits between the two countries, supported by business delegations and extensive cultural programs.
  • In 2017, India and Lithuania will celebrate 25 years of their diplomatic relations. With India celebrating its 70th anniversary that year, Lithuania will be celebrating its Centennial in 2018.
  • Important agreements in areas of Agriculture, Cultural Exchange, Extradition, and Science & Technology, are already under negotiation, paving the way for speedy implementation.
  • After an impending decision being considered for the past ten years, Indian resident mission may open soon in Lithuania.
  • Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may choose to become the first Indian leader to visit Lithuania and the Baltic States, signifying deeper ties.

Just like India, Lithuania is a country built from scratch. Accomplishing 37th position in the UN Human Development Index, the nation boasts of excellent social and educational conditions. All this achieved in mere 26 years. Therefore, India understands its hard-earned transformation best. (Inputs from ibnlive.com)(Image source: wikimedia.org)

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Reported Cases of Sexually Transmitted Disease Up by 70% in Europe Since 2010

Amato-Gauci said complacency among men who have gay sex and seem unconcerned about HIV risks appeared to be fuelling the problem

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sexually transmitted disease
A nurse takes blood from a man for a free HIV test on a bus in Tehran, Dec. 16, 2015. VOA

Syphilis cases have soared in Europe over the last decade and become, for the first time since the early 2000s, more common in some countries than new cases of HIV, health experts said Friday.

Reported cases of the sexually transmitted disease are up by 70% since 2010, a report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed, with the rise driven by more unprotected sex and riskier sexual behavior among gay men.

“The increases in syphilis infections that we see across Europe … are a result of several factors, such as people having sex without condoms and multiple sexual partners, combined with a reduced fear of acquiring HIV,” said Andrew Amato-Gauci, an ECDC expert on sexually transmitted infections.

The European report comes after the World Health Organization said last month that around a million people each day worldwide catch a sexually transmitted infection.

sexually transmitted disease
FILE – A billboard above a gas station, April 1, 2016, promotes testing for sexually transmitted diseases. The number of cases of STDs – chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis – in California reached a record high in 2017. VOA

Left untreated, syphilis can have severe complications in men and women, including causing stillbirths and newborn deaths and increasing the risk of HIV. Syphilis was one of the leading causes of baby loss globally in 2016.

The Stockholm-based ECDC, which monitors health and disease in Europe, said that overall, more than 260,000 syphilis cases were reported from 30 countries from 2007 to 2017.

In 2017, syphilis rates reached an all-time high with more than 33,000 reported cases, the ECDC said. This meant that for the first time since the early 2000s, the region reported more cases of syphilis than new cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.

But the problem varied significantly by country, with rates more than doubling in five countries — Britain, Germany, Ireland, Iceland and Malta — but dropping by 50% or more in Estonia and Romania.

sexually transmitted disease
Amato-Gauci said complacency among men who have gay sex and seem unconcerned about HIV risks appeared to be fuelling the problem. Pixabay

Close to two-thirds of the cases reported between 2007 and 2017 where sexual orientation was known were in men who have sex with men, the ECDC report said, while heterosexual men contributed 23% of cases and women 15%.

ALSO READ: Goa May Make HIV Tests Mandatory Before Registration of Marriages

The proportion of cases diagnosed among men who have sex with men ranged from less than 20% in Latvia, Lithuania and Romania to more than 80% in France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain.

Amato-Gauci said complacency among men who have gay sex and seem unconcerned about HIV risks appeared to be fuelling the problem. “To reverse this trend, we need to encourage people to use condoms consistently with new and casual partners,” he said. (VOA)