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The missing festive spirit of Eid 2015: Are we celebrating festivals the right way?

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By Prerna Grewal

Festivals are joyous occasions which unite people in traditional revelry. Everyone looks forward to festivals because they are occasions when people can forget all the stress and just be a part of the celebrations. This year, some things were amiss during Eid festivities in India.

Like every other year, Eid was celebrated with utmost joy and enthusiasm. However, this time it also turned out to be an occasion of ostensible contrasts.

On one hand, Pakistani soldiers on the border refused to accept sweets from Indian soldiers.

On the other hand, however, Muslims in small town of Lonand, Maharashtra, decided to postpone Eid celebrations to Sunday (19 June ‘15) because the original date clashed with the 1000 year old Hindu Tradition of Varkari.   

Such contrasts especially force one to reflect upon the ways in which acts and ideologies of the past are carried forth to the present and often end up presiding over the humanitarian spirit.

This is especially apparent in the case of Pakistani soldiers not accepting sweets from Indians. Communal tensions intensified by the act of partition in 1947 prove consequential in determining people’s actions and molding their ideologies till date. It also proves significant in shaping contemporary politics within and amongst the two nations.

The second incident, however, serves as an oasis of humanity within intricate web of tensions induced by communalist and fundamentalist ideologies. It is an act that reminds one of the time when people across religions respected and participated in each other’s customs and festivities.

For those willing enough to look through and acknowledge, for those are not blinded by religious bias and communal antipathy and most importantly those who rather than being obstinately determined are willing enough to open the blindfold; the contrast does raise some important questions. Why do we let religion govern every aspect of our life? Why do we let rivalry and religion dominate over gestures of love and friendship?

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Microsoft Announces Indian Languages Support For e-mail Addresses

Microsoft's products will also support additional Indian languages as and when their IDNs and e-mail addresses become available in the future

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Microsoft introduces Indian languages on various of its platforms. Wikimedia Commons
Microsoft introduces Indian languages on various of its platforms. Wikimedia Commons
  • Microsoft announced support in Indian Languages for e-mail
  • There will be 15 Indian languages supported now
  • Indians will be able to use Microsoft in their local languages

Microsoft on Wednesday announced support for e-mail addresses in 15 Indian languages across its apps and services, including Office 365, Outlook 2016, Outlook.com, Exchange Online and Exchange Online Protection (EOP).

Microsoft introduces 15 new indian languages to its support.
Microsoft introduces 15 new Indian languages to its support.

Indian users would be able to use local language e-mail addresses for Outlook accounts on their personal computers, the company said on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day.

It would also allow users to seamlessly send/receive mails to/from local language e-mail addresses via Outlook client on PCs, Outlook.com in addition to Outlook apps for Android and IOS.

“Making e-mail addresses available in 15 languages is an exciting step to making modern communications and collaboration tools more accessible and easier to use for all,” Meetul Patel, COO, Microsoft India, said in a statement.

The Indian languages which will be supported include Hindi, Bengali, etc. Wikimedia Commons
The Indian languages which will be supported include Hindi, Bengali, etc. Wikimedia Commons

“We are making technology use the language of people and not requiring people to first learn the traditional language of technology,” Patel added.

The initiative is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support Email Address Internationalisation (EAI) across its products and services eco-system and make technology accessible in local languages.

The languages being introduced are those that support Unicode — an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts.

Microsoft’s products will also support additional Indian languages as and when their IDNs and e-mail addresses become available in the future, making this feature forward compatible.

Microsoft launches 15 Indian languages in its support. VOA
Microsoft launches 15 Indian languages in its support. VOA

Last month, Microsoft announced the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Neural Networks (DNN) to improve real-time language translation for Hindi, Bengali and Tamil languages.

This technology would help users in getting results that are more accurate and natural while surfing the Internet across any website on the MS Edge browser, Bing search, Bing Translator website, as well as MS Office 365 products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype. IANS