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UGC lists 23 ‘bogus’ Indian universities, state govts taken a back over their existence

Uttar Pradesh, which has the highest number of unapproved universities, will be asked to expedite action

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New Delhi, March 22, 2017: The Indian higher education regulator has listed 23 ‘bogus’ universities. They are not approved to grant degrees or diplomas. But, most state governments contemplated why these names were on the list since the institutes either don’t exist or have shut down.

Numerous institutes come up without meeting the requirements and offer degrees. That results to cheating, the UGC stated, asking the state governments to initiate action.

But the fake list has surged a controversy. Bihar’s higher education council (SHEC) vice chairman Kameshwar Jha accused the UGC of tarnishing the state’s image by putting on the list Maithili University or Vishwavidyalaya, Darbhanga.

He stated that from two decades, no such university prevailed in the state, and including the name of a non-existent institution on the list is correspondent of maligning the state.

“When the institution was declared illegal over two decades ago, I don’t see any point in mentioning it on the fake list year after year. It only earns Bihar a bad name,” he said.

Bihar is already struggling to redeem its image post incidents of mass cheating, especially after it got engulfed last year in a massive exam fraud that was exposed when its class 12 toppers failed to answer rudimentary questions during a media interaction.

Officials in Uttar Pradesh, another state notoriously known for high instances of education frauds, have stated that six universities were on the fake list that don’t exist but were offering degrees. They admitted that no in-depth investigation was done on the UGC alert.

The only fraudulent university in Maharashtra — Raja Arabic University in Nagpur — is a residential madarsa or Islamic seminary.

“We run a residential madarsa with 240 students,” said Maulana Mehmood Rizvi Khan, who heads the institute. He had apologised to the UGC for ‘claiming’ the seminary as a university.

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Similarly, St John University in Kerala has been functioning for the past 15 years in Kishannattamk, a place that does not exist.

“We have no idea about this. And nobody has registered any compliant,” said an education ministry official. The UGC had sent reminders about this university.

Of the two bogus institutes on alternative medicine in West Bengal, one is running with a different name and the other is functioning.

The Indian Institute of Alternative Medicine has apparently altered into the Indian Board for Alternative Medicine after its name was mentioned on the UGC’s 2009 list. The state government has not taken any action for its closure.

“We received a notice from the UGC last year, but before we could reply our name was on the list,” stated Jayanto Bhattarcharji, founder of the Institute of Alternate Medicine and Research, which is on the list.

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The institute was affiliated to the Kolkata-based Alternative Medical Council, he stated.

The Union human resource development ministry aims to send reminders to all states to submit a report on actions taken against bogus universities and technical institutions.

Mahendra Nath Pandey, junior HRD minister, said: “We have been sending letters to the states as fake institutes are jeopardizing the careers of innocent students.”

Uttar Pradesh, which has the highest number of unapproved universities, will be asked to expedite action.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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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