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State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) becomes part of history with its merger with State Bank of India (SBI)

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State Bank of India, Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Wikimedia

Hyderabad, April 1, 2017: Seventy-five years after it was set up to manage the currency of Nizams, the State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) on Saturday became part of history with its merger with the State Bank of India (SBI).

It was the identity and an integral part of the rich legacy of this historic city and one of the last remnants of the Asaf Jahi dynasty of the erstwhile Hyderabad state.

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The curtains were drawn on Saturday on the last of the famous symbols built by Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and last Nizam of the then largest and wealthiest princely state.

The bank was a contribution of Osman Ali Khan, the architect of modern Hyderabad who also developed railways, airlines, postal services, High Court, Osmania University, Osmania Hospital, reservoirs, irrigation projects and industry.

Considered world’s richest man of his times, he set up ‘Hyderabad State Bank’ on August 8, 1941.

As the central bank of the princely state, it managed Nizam’s currency — the Osmania Sikka, public debt and commercial banking operations.

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The bank opened its first branch at Gunfoundry in Hyderabad on April 5, 1942.

When Hyderabad State acceded to the Indian Union in 1948, the bank had nearly 50 branches spread over Telangana and parts of the present day Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The Hyderabad State Bank became State Bank of Hyderabad and was taken over by the Reserve Bank of India in 1956. In 1959, it became a subsidiary of the SBI.

After formation of Telangana in 2014, SBH was the lead bank of the newly created state.

SBH’s headquarters at Gunfoundry was an iconic building and one of the city landmarks.

SBH’s total business stood at Rs 2.60 lakh crore as on December 30, 2016.

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Nothing will change for customers of the bank, which had about 2,000 branches and the life will also be same for its 19,000 employees.

However, for Hyderabadis this change in the identity is a huge loss. “It is a sad day. It is one more deletion from our history,” heritage activist P. Anuradha Reddy told IANS.

She recalled the iconic building was designed by Muhammad Fayazuddin, who was Hyderabad state architect and India’s first town planner, who designed many other lanmark buildings in the city.

Reddy points out how Hyderabad is losing one institution after the other having strong identity with the city and its history.

Deccan Airways started by Hyderabad State was also absorbed into Indian Airlines Corporation.

“My father Sreeram Bhoopal who was from Hyderabad Civil Service had an account in Hyderabad Bank. It had a unique system where one can deposit his valuables in safety box even during night time and the next day move it to his bank locker,” said Reddy, a member of India National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage.

“The development has come as a shock for us,” said Mohammad Safiullah, a city historian who was planning an exhibition to mark platinum jubilee of the bank.

Deccan Heritage Trust wanted to display its collection of currency of Nizam and India.

Safiullah feels sad that the name of Hyderabad has been dropped for forever from the bank, which had strong link to the city and its history. (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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