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Volume 29 n Issue 1 n January-February 2015

ON INDIA’S PROPOSAL: AN international yoga day

progress UN turns ‘young@70’

tribute subhas chandra bose

conversation inspector shakti devi


Upcoming events across India Culture as tribute

The Sirpur National Dance and Music Festival is a fitting tribute to the Buddhist site of Sirpur. It has evolved into the most looked-forward event at the national level, with the 7th century Laxman Temple as its grand backdrop. When: January 16-18 Where: Sirpur, Chattisgarh

Pongal

Goa Carnival

A four-day harvest festival, Pongal is celebrated in Tamil Nadu as a thanksgiving to Mother Earth. Women cook pongal, a sweet dish made with newly-harvested rice. Cattle worship, offering prayers to Sun God, dancing and buffalo-taming contests are part of the celebrations.

The festival is an extravaganza of fun. Goa Carnival features a frenzy of tourist activities – people indulge in feasting and merrymaking through the day. The locals parade in vibrant costumes on the streets of Goa. When: February 14-17 Where: Goa

When: January 14-17 Where: Tamil Nadu

Desert Festival

This three-day festival comes to an end on a full moon day and showcases the rich and colourful culture of the state of Rajasthan. Dressed in vibrant and colourful attire, locals dance to ballads of romance and tragedy of folk heroes. When: February 1-3 Where: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Uttarayan

Khajuraho Dance Festival

When: January 14 Where: Gujarat

When: February 20-26 Where: Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

The festival of Uttarayan, also known as International Kite Festival, is celebrated to herald spring and the upcoming harvest season. A week-long 24-hour kite market in the capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, leads up to this festival.

The festival welcomes spring. The most colourful and brilliant classical dance forms of India offer a feast for the eyes during this week-long extravaganza. Performed with the Khajuraho temples as backdrop, they are a unique visual treat.


Foreword By actively participating in major multilateral summits like the G20 meet in Australia, ASEAN in Myanmar and SAARC in Nepal, India is showing the world that it is ready to be an active player in the process for shaping a new global order. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, instrumental in spreading Indian technical expertise globally, has completed 50 years of existence. In midst of these achievements, the United Nations will turn 70 years “young-er” this year and its “Young@70” motto promises a revitalised UN, strengthened and supported by emerging countries like India. Rakhigarhi, a nondescript village in Haryana, now holds the honour of being amongst the largest Harappan civilisation site in the world. The re-opening of the Nalanda University after 800 years re-emphasises India’s historic importance as an educational destination. The success stories continue as Inspector Shakti Devi won the UN International Peacekeeper award for her role in improving the status of women in police, fighting gender-based violence and supporting sexual abuse victims. And Kailash Satyarthi has shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his crusade against child labour and fight for children’s rights. Global appreciation is on the rise for India with musician Shankar Mahadevan talking about how Indian music has been influencing global notes. The festival of Holi will be celebrated with the aim of sharing happiness and building bonds across the world. The Indian epic Mahabharata has been translated into Spanish, widening its readership base and traditional art forms like Pipli applique and Pata Chitra have forayed into global fashion world. We visit Shekhawati, the destination of beautifully carved havelis (ancient Indian palatial homes) that narrates tales of gallantry from the bygone era. Not-to-be-missed is puppetry which traces its roots to almost 3,000 years in India. Yoga finds mention in this issue through an article which talks about the UN General Assembly deciding to observe June 21 as International Yoga Day following the call of Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi in his speech in September 2014. We review The Great Indian Yoga Masters, a book that traces the origins of yoga and profiles its maestros. Finally, we talk about Ayurveda, an Indian heritage that has found use in cooking, making for food that heals while providing sustenance. And don’t miss our visual spread on the union territory of Puducherry, with unique architecture influenced by the French and Portuguese. Volu

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Volume 29 n Issue 1 n January-February 2015

Editor: Syed Akbaruddin Assistant Editor: Nikhilesh Dixit Ministry of External Affairs Room No. 152, ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi - 110001 Tel.: +91.11.23388949, 23381719 Fax.: +91.11.23384663 Web: www.indiaperspectives.in For feedback/ inquiries: osdpd2@mea.gov.in MaXposure Media Group India Pvt Ltd Publisher & COO: Vikas Johari CEO & Managing Director: Prakash Johari Executive Editor: Saurabh Tankha Head Office MaXposure Media Group India Pvt Ltd Unit No. F2B, Second Floor, MIRA Corporate Suites, Plot No. 1&2, Ishwar Nagar, Mathura Road, New Delhi - 110 065 Tel: +91.11.43011111, Fax: +91.11.43011199 CIN No: U22229DL2006PTC152087 For feedback/ inquiries: indiaperspectives@maxposure.in

FOR INQUIRIES | MMGIPL Tel: +91.11.43011111 FAX: +91.11.43011199 www.maxposure.in

India Perspectives is published in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish and Tamil. India Perspectives is printed and published by Syed Akbaruddin, Joint Secretary (XP) and Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi, Room No. 152, ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi - 110001 and published at MaXposure Media Group India Pvt. Ltd. (MMGIPL), Unit No. F2B, Second Floor, MIRA Corporate Suites, Plot No. 1&2, Ishwar Nagar, Mathura Road, New Delhi - 110065, India. India Perspectives is published six times a year. All rights reserved. The writing, artwork and/or photography contained herein may be used or reproduced with an acknowledgement to India Perspectives. MEA and MMGIPL does not assume responsibility for loss or damage of unsolicited products, manuscripts, photographs, artwork, transparencies or other materials. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the MEA or MMGIPL. Follow us on: http://www.facebook.com/MEA http://www.twitter.com/MEA http://www.youtube.com/MEA

For a copy of India Perspectives, contact the nearest Indian diplomatic mission.

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co n te n ts 20

16 62 partnership

innovation

From emerging economy to emerging power.........................................06

Let food be your medicine.............................46 innovation

Appliqué appeal and ‘pata’ palette.................50

partnership

Good governance: At home and abroad.......09

snapshots

partnership

French Riviera of the East............................... 54

50 years of technical and economic cooperation....................................12

culture

success

Country’s white gold........................................14 progress

UN turns ‘Young@70’.....................................16 celebration

International shades of Holi...........................20

Fourth Turn of the Wheel of Dharma........................................... 62 culture

Pulling the right strings.................................66 music

Finding the way with ragas............................73 books

Open art gallery of Rajasthan....................... 26

How Mahabharata recevied Spanish clothing?........................................... 78

heritage

review

Tryst with history............................................ 34

Yoga through the ages...................................80

heritage

review

heritage

The lost city of Rakhigarhi............................ 36

Indians on a global high................................ 82

focus

tribute

Yoga is the way................................................ 42

Long live our country..................................... 84

achievement

conversation

A Nobel endeavour......................................... 45

‘A small effort can make a big difference’..... 88

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PARTNERSHIP

The 25th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits at Myanmar

From emerging economy to

emerging power

Through its robust participation at multilateral forums, India is now shaping a more equitable global order and establishing its own credentials text | Mayuri Mukherjee

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ovember 2014 marked an unprecedented month in Indian multilateral diplomacy with Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi participating in as many as four international forums in less than three weeks. The tour began with two separate engagements with Asian leaders:

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the Summit between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the expanded East Asia Summit in Myanmar. Then came the meeting with leaders of the 14 Pacific Island nations in Suva, Fiji and all heads of government from the G20 nations in Australia. Finally, there was the annual summit of the South

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Asian Association for Regional Cooperation has had annual summits with this 10-country (SAARC) in Nepal. Viewed together with the grouping and the two now share a strategic successful BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China partnership. The ASEAN-India relationship and South Africa) Summit, held earlier in the extends across a wide a range of sectors from year, these engagements offer a holistic view trade and transport to culture and tourism of India’s wide-ranging global to science and security. The diplomatic efforts. free trade agreement in services The updated Let’s start with the ASEANand investments that is just Act East policy India/ East Asia summits. These a few steps away from being marks a new two build upon New Delhi’s implemented is an important era of economic decades-old Look East policy milestone in the relationship. development, and help prepare the ground for Alongside the free trade industrialisation India’s continued engagement agreement in merchandise, which and trade between with its South East Asian was operationalised in 2011, the India and its neighbourhood. The updated Act new pact has the potential to ASEAN partners East policy, highlighted by the revolutionise ASEAN-India ties. Prime Minister, marks a new era The East Asia Summit, which of economic development, industrialisation followed the ASEAN-India summit, is an and trade between India and its ASEAN expanded version of the latter that brings all partners. India joined the ASEAN dialogue as stakeholders in the region onto one platform. a sectoral partner in 1992 and was upgraded It includes the US, Russia, China, Japan, South to a full partner in 1996. Since 2002, India Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and serves

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PARTNERSHIP

Indian Prime Minister meets Pacific Island leaders in Suva, Fiji

as an excellent opportunity for leaders of India will provide technical assistance and the Asia Pacific to place their issues and training for capacity building in the area of concerns within the global narrative. climate change. Mr Modi added that India Indeed, in recent years, the East Asia proposed to develop a Pan Pacific Islands Summit has emerged as one of the most Project for telemedicine and tele-education powerful forums for Asian affairs in the on the lines of the successful pan-Africa international context. A good example of project setup by it. He said India was already this is the manner in which the working on a solar energy Indian Prime Minister used the project with the Pacific Islands ASEAN-India platform to draw attention to at the community level and the relationship issues of global concern, such regional hubs will be developed extends across as cyber security and terrorism. in the Pacific Islands. a wide a range The Regional Comprehensive Another important of sectors Economic Partnership that is announcement made by from trade currently under negotiation is Mr Modi was an increase in and transport another important deliverable the grant-in-aid that India, to culture to from the East Asia Summit. at present, provides to each tourism The Indian Prime Minister Pacific Island country for thereafter reached Suva in Fiji community projects selected to attend the Forum for India-Pacific Island by them, from the present $ 125,000 per Cooperation where he met the leaders of year to $ 200,000 annually. He also said 14 Pacific Island nations and announced that India would grant visa-on-arrival to a number of measures to strengthen the tourists from all 14 Pacific Island nations relationship including a Special Adaptation to avoid inconvenience in travel caused to Fund of $1 million. Through the fund, them due to visa issues.

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Good governance:

At home and abroad

At the G20 Summit, India’s deft diplomacy saw a convergence of the reform agenda being implemented by the Narendra Modi Government at home and its priorities on the international stage text | Mayuri Mukherjee

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Mr Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia greets Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi

roceedings at the global high table are usually of little interest to the general public and how exactly they impact the life of a common man is hardly ever made clear. But if you look closely, you will see how, amid all the trappings of high-powered diplomacy, leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies, including Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, focussed on issues that have the potential to better our everyday lives at the G20 meet in Brisbane on November 15-16, 2014. At the top of the list was the issue of economic growth and employment. Notably, it was in response to the debilitating 20072008 financial crisis that had prompted some to question the survival of the international system, that the G20 was upgraded to a leaders’ level forum. Since then, the global economy has turned a corner and moved steadily on the path of revival but the current state of affairs remains challenging. The G20 is seeking to maintain an annual global growth rate of two per cent and India (alongside China) which is estimated to grow by five to six per cent will have a major role in helping the group reach its target, especially since some of the developed economies are struggling to get back on their feet. In this regard, the domestic reforms

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PARTNERSHIP

World leaders at the G20 Summit 2014 in Australia

process, set in motion by the Indian Prime In terms of concrete deliverables from the Minister will be a key factor. summit, India’s key achievements were in An important pillar of this reforms the tax law arena. First, the G20 committed process is infrastructure development, itself to adopting the base erosion and also one of the central themes of the G20 profit shifting system which seeks to curb summit. Domestically, India cross-border tax evasion by has already begun work on this multinationals, by 2015. This The G20 is aspect, beginning with the 2014 will strengthen India’s hand as it seeking to budget and the opening of key negotiates with tax havens over maintain an economic sectors to foreign direct the repatriation of black money. annual global investment for instance. Now, it Second, the forum has endorsed growth rate of has successfully plugged the issue the common reporting standard two per cent and into the international context by and the automatic exchange of tax India will be demanding that global surpluses information which will help make playing a major be redeployed for infrastructure international transactions more role here development projects around transparent. In fact, following the world. Additionally, at the an effective intervention by G20 summit, India continued to push for Mr Modi, which was supported by other structural changes within the global economy, leaders, a separate clause emphasising particularly global financial institutions that transparency in tax practices was added still do not provide emerging economies to the G20 communique, marking a sweet adequate representation. victory for India. On a related note, the G20’s

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investments for infrastructure development, which New Delhi has earmarked as a priority area. Other issues that received special attention included the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan for 2015–2016 and a framework to combat cross-border tax evasion. Notably, Mr Modi’s strong and substantial intervention on this issue also found reflection in the final communiqué issued at the end of the summit. This is proof of how India, through its robust participation at forums such as the G20 and the East Asia Summit, is showing the world that it is willing to take greater responsibility and indeed lead the process for shaping a new global order. An emerging economy, India has now come of age as an emerging power. Having said this, however, it is important to keep in mind that anti-corruption declaration also reflected some of India’s multilateral diplomacy record predates India’s key concerns. its recent transformation into an economic India’s other significant achievement was in powerhouse. Long before the liberalisation of the the field of remittances. At US$ 70 billion, India 1990s put this country on the path to economic is the world’s largest recipient of remittances but resurgence, India was already making itself heard it loses a large chunk of that money right from the time of independence. in transit, so to say, as some countries For example, though impoverished From India’s charge as much as 10 per cent in and with few bargaining chips, India point of view, the transfer fees. The G20 has reiterated had still established itself as a voice most important its commitment to bringing that for other newly decolonised nations item on the figure down to five per cent which, in through the Non-Aligned Movement. G20 agenda turn, will mean more cash in hand for It also played an important role in was attracting Indians at home. shaping global governance structures investments for This grouping of the world’s through active participation at infrastructure 20 most major economies gained the UN. development prominence in 2008, when it was Delhi made a significant upgraded to a leaders’ level forum contribution to the establishment in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of UN Conference on Trade and Development that year. Since then, G20 has become one of and United Nations Industrial Development the most prominent forums on global economic Organisation in the 1950s. Later, it also played a issues. From India’s point of view, the most key role in the landmark 1992 Rio Convention on important item on the G20 agenda was attracting Climate Change.

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partnership

50 years of technical and

economic cooperation

The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, over the last five decades, has focussed on the needs of developing countries through innovative cooperation between India and a partnering nation

Union External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj, Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh and Foreign Secretary Ms Sujatha Singh at the release of the ITEC brochure during the ITEC Golden Jubilee celebrations

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here was excitement and festivity all around as the evening of October 21 started setting in and guests from India and abroad began streaming in Kamal Hall, ITC Maurya Sheraton, New Delhi. It was a momentous occasion as the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, the flagship scheme of the Government of India for capacity building, was celebrating its golden jubilee. In a colourful and truly international ceremony,

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Union External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj inaugurated the celebrations amid loud cheers. The Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Secretary (Economic Relations) Sujata Mehta were present on the occasion. Ambassadors from ITEC partner countries, senior officials from ministries and departments in the Government of India as well as ITEC participants undergoing training in Delhi-NCR from various countries

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Cultural performances during the ITEC Golden Jubilee celebrations

providing him the opportunity to get trained in and continents were in attendance. Addressing the India. The new ITEC web portal would simplify gathering, Ms Swaraj highlighted the role of ITEC the processing of ITEC applications, provide a in strengthening India’s solidarity with fellow platform for ITEC alumni to interact and provide developing countries. She called upon the ITEC feedback to Indian Missions and MEA officials. alumni to stay in touch with each other and with Ms Swaraj also released the ITEC brochure their institutes after their return home to keep the detailing the ITEC civilian courses offered for network of friendship created by ITEC alive. 2014-15 and released a documentary, Lessons in ITEC was instituted by the Indian Cabinet on September 15, 1964. The celebrations are Friendship highlighting ITEC’s 50-year journey. planned to be held through the year The celebrations echoed ITEC’s till September 15, 2015 in India and popularity which was reflected in ITEC web portal in Indian embassies and consulates the enthusiasm and warmth of the would provide abroad. In 2013-14, more than 10,000 participants who carry goodwill for a platform scholarship slots were offered to India in their hearts. Participants for alumni to ITEC partners under the programme. from nine African countries dressed interact and In addition to the training courses, in their national attire performed provide feedback deputation of experts abroad, study cultural dances from their respective to Indian tours, gifting of equipment and countries, ending with the beats of Missions and feasibility studies/ consultancy an Indian song. This was followed MEA officials services etc, are undertaken by rendering of the song, We are under ITEC. the World, which kept the audience In order to expedite processing of ITEC spellbound and then a Thai dance, Loy Khratong. applications and to provide better networking The cultural programme ended with a experience for both ITEC participants and the dance on the popular number Made In India. Indian institutions, work has been initiated The audience was mesmerised by the sight of by DPA-II division of MEA on creating a new foreign participants singing and dancing to the and enhanced web portal. The Union External evergreen number by Alisha Chinai. Every time Affairs minister pre-launched this new portal ITEC participants performed on a Hindi song, by sanctioning the candidature of an applicant the audience erupted in applause, cheering them from Nepal. One of the Nepalese candidates for their effort. The cultural programme thus came online through video-conferencing and truly symbolised India’s solidarity with fellow conveyed gratitude to the Indian Government for developing countries.

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success

Country’s

white gold

The dairy industry in India has shown remarkable development in the past decade. The country has now become the largest producer of milk in the world

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ccording to the Indian Government’s annual economic survey, compiled by the Ministry of Finance, India overtook the European Union in 2013-14 to become the world’s biggest milk producer. The yearon-year growth rate is 4.04 per cent, almost double than the rest of the world, a proof of sustained growth in the availability of milk and milk products. It started with the White Revolution in 1970s. Also known as Operation Flood, it was launched to help milk farmers direct their own development, placing control of the resources they create in their own hands. The Anand pattern experiment at Amul group, a single cooperative dairy based in Gujarat (the largest in Asia), was the engine behind the success of the programme. Dr Verghese Kurien, chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), gave the necessary thrust using his professional management skills to the programme, and is recognised as its architect.

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(Left) Amul factory in Anand, Gujarat (below) A 1982 stamp showcasing milk production in India

Milk production and dairy products crore and aims at increasing milk production (including butter, cheese, cream, buttermilk…) by increasing productivity of milch animals. contribute to the industrial growth of the The World Bank is also financing this plan. country to a large extent. India’s annual milk Milk has a special role to play for its many production had more than trebled in the initial nutritional advantages as well as providing 30 years of Operation Flood, supplementary income to rising from 21 million tonnes around 70 million farmers in 1968 to 80 million tonnes in over five lakh remote in 2001. This rapid growth villages. The states of Gujarat, and modernisation is largely Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, credited to the contribution Himachal Pradesh, Madhya of dairy cooperatives, Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan assisted by many multiand Tamil Nadu are the major lateral agencies, including the production areas of dairy European Union, the World in India. Bank and WFP (World ​The Asian sub-continent Food Program). is also equipped in exporting reasons behind the success of At present, NDDB is dairy products to the world ‘White Revolution’ running a programme with Bangladesh, Egypt, l Adopting new methods called National Dairy Plan United Arab Emirates, to improve production to increase milk production Algeria, Yemen Republic in case of cattle in for meeting the growing and Pakistan as its major animal husbandry demand which is estimated export destinations. In l Changing composition of product ingredients as well to rise by 180 million tonnes the year 2013-14, India’s as proportions by 2021-22. Phase-1 of the export of dairy products was l Fixing product cost plan was launched in 2012 at 1,59,228.52 metric tonnes to according to standard Anand in Gujarat. It involves the world for the worth of of wealth total investment of `2,242 `3,318.53 crore.

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progress

UN turns United Nations has had its successes and failures but the power of its vision, one that India shares, of a peaceful and united world with rights and sustainable development for all, remains clear text | Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman

Sir VT Krishnamachari, representative of the Indian states, signing the United Nations Charter at a ceremony held at the Veterans’ War Memorial Building on June 26, 1945 INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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he year 2015 marks 70 long years since the foundation of the United Nations (UN). It has been a wideranging journey but the purposes and principles of the UN stand stronger today than they did at the San Francisco signing of the Charter in 1945. India, an initial signatory of the 1942 “Declaration by United Nations” and a member of the League of Nations before that, became one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations Organisation even before gaining Independence. The ideals on which the formation of the Indian nation was based have always shared much in common Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi addresses the General Assembly with the normative vision of the UN of a peaceful world. The Indian Constitution’s guarantee of justice, liberty, equality and of the main organs and India strove to lead, fraternity to its citizens resonates deeply with facilitate and realise international cooperation the UN Charter’s dedication to human rights, on a broad range of issues, particularly justice and social progress in larger freedom. international development in the 1970s, A highly vocal and participative member of encouraging a structured combination of trade the UN in the early years, India championed and aid to help developing countries prosper. the causes of decolonisation and the right After the end of the Cold War and of self-determination of India’s implementation of the people, general and complete New Economic Policy, it was A participative disarmament, ending of racial recognised that UN structures member of discrimination and more in institutionalised a balance of the UN, India the 1940s and 1950s. India’s power that reflected post-World championed contributions to the UN War II realities, not the world as the causes of peacekeeping missions, rooted in it stood then. Attempts to reform decolonisation and legitimised by its non-aligned the UN gained traction with the and the stance, began with Korea in 1950 Agenda for Peace and Agenda right of selfand have grown to make India the for Development but meaningful determination third largest troop contributing reform has remained elusive. country in the world. Beginning 2000, a spate of The 1960s saw an increase in the conferences beginning with the Millennium membership of the United Nations as Summit, moving on to human rights, decolonised countries across Africa and Asia rights of women, sustainable development gained independence, tipping the balance and more, are defining international in the General Assembly from a majority of cooperation agenda. The UN mandate developed nations to a majority of developing expanded far beyond its original role nations. This was reflected in the agendas in maintaining international peace and

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progress

Know More For the 70th anniversary year, the UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan has planned a year-long campaign called Young@70 including a book-and-exhibition project that will highlight the shared history of the India-UN relationship from 1945 to 2015.

(Clockwise from top) New Indian flag raised at Lake Success, general view of the opening session of the Millenium summit and Sir A Ramaswamy Mudaliar, Supply member of the Governor-General’s Executive Council signs the UN Charter, San Francisco on June 26, 1945 INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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(Left) Dancers Sharanya Chandran and R. Amritha Sruthi perform a classical dance on the theme of women’s security at the launch of the 70th anniversary year of the UN in India (right) Two UNEF troops from India on patrol

security, to encompass what are the three world where a changing climate, evolving pillars of the UN – peace, development and diseases and security threats loom over global human rights. The specialised agencies development, the need for international and other organisations that make up the cooperation is set to grow. UN family – UNDP, UNICEF, In the face of a constantly UNESCO and UN Women – expanding mandate to deal with In a world stepped up their operations, ever-increasing challenges, the UN where evolving aligning their work towards the has had its successes and failures diseases and achievement of the Millennium but the power of its vision – security threats Development Goals (MDG). peaceful, united world with rights threaten global Technological advancements in and sustainable development for development, communications have accelerated all – remains clear. It is looking international the rate of globalisation to a shared future based on these cooperation is point to an increasingly principles that India and the UN only set to grow interconnected, interdependent must direct their energies. A and dynamic world. revitalised UN – responsive, agile, Post-2015 development agenda is being strengthened and supported by emerging leaders shaped with key lessons from MDGs including like India – will be the most powerful mean a widely participative approach to drafting to coordinate global response to the myriad and targets for developed countries. In a challenges the world faces now and in future.

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Celebrations

International

shades of Holi

The festival of colours has transcended borders, spreading vibrancy and happiness around the world

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Splash of fun in California, USA

Sunnyvale in California, USA witnesses an annual Hindi movie rain dance for Holi – Splashomania. Thousands of people from the bay area gather at Bayland Park for this unique celebration of colour. Along with high energy festivities involving over 5,000 pounds of bio colour, there are splash mob performances to chart-busting Bollywood numbers. Asha Holi, organised by Asha for Education, a non-profit organisation, founded by the University of Berkley, at Stanford has 5,500 pounds of food-grade colour over two days along with music and dancing. Then there are fun games and innumerable delicacies to indulge in.

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Celebrations

“Happy” festival in Korea

Seoul-based marketing professional Sookyung says Holi is a “happy” festival, the exchange of colours signify sharing happiness while building strong bonds. Ex-president of the Indian community in Korea, Imtiaz Ali says Holi is no longer celebrated only by Indians. “Since 2012, courtesy a voluntary community initiative by Indians in Korea, people

from all communities have been participating actively. At present, Holi is an international festival,” he shares. Koreans have customised gulal (coloured powder) in true Indian style, for example, mixing turmeric powder with wheat flour. Must-dos include dancing to Bollywood beats and indulging in Indian delicacies. —­Angely Sumi

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Ever-evolving Dubai

Over 22,000 people of all ages celebrated Holi in the Wonderland Aqua Park last year and I and my family consider ourselves lucky to be there. While we indulged in the tradition – throwing colours at each other, fun features included a DJ playing Holi songs and food corners

selling Indian sweets. Though the festival is celebrated on a much larger scale in India, we managed to get the “feel” of the festival. The best part was our children experienced what Holi is all about as they were born here. It was pure and colourful fun. — Anil Verma

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Celebrations

Togetherness in Johannesburg, South Africa

Apart from at-home celebrations by Indian families in South Africa, ticketed events make Holi a much-talked about festival here. South Africa’s first colour festival party – Jo’burg Holi One – attracts people from all walks of life. Dress code is white and customised biodegradable, compostable, non-toxic and allergyfree coloured powder – made from rice flour mixed with food colour, is used. The event promotes togetherness and colour in our lives. Next one is scheduled for April 11.

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Celebrations in Cairo, Egypt

Colours at Yangon, Myanmar

Since the times of Pharos, Egyptians have been celebrating the advent of spring with “Sham El Nessim” or “smell the fresh breeze”. They go in huge groups to parks to see blossoming flowers and take along special meals like coloured eggs and smoked fish. Recently, Egyptians have started celebrating Holi the Indian way, with a splash of colour. An annual Colour Festival is organised in Cairo (since 2010), with over 16,000 participants throwing gulal (coloured powder) on each other. Indian snacks are served as participants dance to Indian and Egyptian songs.

When I moved to Yangon, I was excited. New place, new culture and new people. But felt sad too as I missed my country. Most importantly, the festivals. But I soon realised wherever Indians go, they get together to celebrate festivals. In Yangon, we celebrate Holi, Diwali, Dussehra and Navratri with equal fervour. While Diwali is about fireworks and lights, Navratri is about garba (traditional dance of Gujarat). But Holi is our favourite as we play with colours filled in drums and running water pipes. Last year, we had a fun competition where the most colourful person won the “Most Colourful Fellow of Yangon” title. We had an all-Indian lunch thereafter – dal makhni (rich pulse curry), rice, roti (Indian bread), shahi paneer (cottage cheese in rich gravy). The most mouth-watering was gujiya (deep-fried Holi dessert), which I didn’t expect I will get here!

— Mahmoud Rostom

— Ruchi Aggarwal

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Open art gallery

of Rajasthan

Beautiful and intricately carved frescoes make the havelis of Shekhawati a visual treat. These structures defy time to narrate stories of gallantry and courage of the bygone era text | Supriya Aggarwal

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offspring flourished the land with different f you are an art-lover interested forms of art and culture for centuries till in experiencing the rich heritage date. Thus, it is called Shekhawati (the and beautiful architecture of fresco garden of Rao Shekha). History has it that paintings, Shekhawati in Rajasthan in the 18th and 19th centuries, should top your itinerary Marwari merchants, who got shortlist. Around 165 km History has attracted to the region as a vast from the state capital of Jaipur, it that in the amount of trade was diverted Shekhawati region, consisting 18th and 19th through Shekhawati, constructed of thousands of villages centuries, these palatial havelis or fortified and towns falling under Marwari Nawalgarh, Sikar, Jhunjhunu houses. Steeped in wealth and merchants and parts of Churu, Nagaur and affluence, they got the interiors constructed Jaipur, is home to the largest and exteriors of these havelis these palatial concentration of frescoes decorated with painted murals, havelis in the world. depicting themes varying The region derives its name from the epics of Ramayana from the Shekhawat Rajput clan scion and Mahabharata and also Krishna Leela Maha Rao Shekha Ji who established his (life sketch of Lord Krishna). There is also rule in the 15th century with his bravery a belief that frescoes were introduced by and valour. After Maha Rao Shekha Ji, his Shekhawati Rajputs.

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(Above) Fresco paintings of Radha Krishna at the Ramnath A Podar Haveli Museum (Facing page) Painting of kings at the Morarka Haveli Museum

efflorescence of salts, black algae and While the outer court of these havelis discolouration. Thus, conservation was the is termed mardana for men, inner court only solution. Help arrived from Morarka is called zenana for females. Most of Foundation that initiated the conservation these frescoes were painted between exercise in Nawalgarh 1900 and 1930 by chiteras region. The biggest challenge, (artists) from the kumhar The biggest however, was treating the (potter) community. Shekhawati challenge, frescoes with traditional frescoes were influenced by however, was materials with least possible Persian, Jaipur and Mughal treating these intervention. schools of paintings and based frescoes with Once conservation was on mythology, hunting scenes traditional taken over for cleaning dust, and depictions of everyday life. materials with vegetation and biological They changed dramatically least possible growth, it was followed by under British influence and intervention consolidation and strengthening impact of technology. At the of damages in different turn of the 19th century, segments of the havelis’ architecture. motifs like cars, planes, gramophones and Englishmen made their presence felt. With constant efforts, the havelis are in However, these paintings started near-perfect shape. While some have been deteriorating with constant exposure converted into museums, others are now to elements. It happened in the form of hotels. Morarka Haveli Musuem, a twoflaking and washing away of paint, erosion, courtyard haveli, was constructed in 1900

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(Anti-clockwise from left) A painted gallery and courtyard entrance at the Ramnath A Podar Haveli Museum, colourful jharokas (windows) at the Uttara Haveli and scenes from Lord Rama’s wedding at the Morarka Haveli Museum

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by Jairam Das Morarka. It is an openair gallery with around 700 frescoes executed on its wall. The entrance gate opens in the forecourt. A flight of steps lead to another entry gate inside zenana courtyard. The frescoes here include kings and queens, flora and fauna, Lord Ganesha and Lord Krishna. Uttara Haveli, built in 1890 by Keshar Dev Morarka, was used as a guest house and has now been conserved. You can witness scenes of an army procession, Radha-Krishna Rasleela, Shiv Parvati on a bull and portraits of royalty. The primary decorative features here are exquisite Mughal and Rajput style frescoes in

Rajasthan

Shekhawati

HOW TO REACH Sanganer Airport, Jaipur, is the nearest from Shekhawati. Shekhwati is well-connected via trains from Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner.

The Jenana (women) courtyard at the Morarka Haveli Museum

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BEST TIME TO GO October-March DISTANCE FROM NATIONAL CAPITAL AND STATE CAPITAL New Delhi - 281 km Jaipur - 170 km


(Left) Beautifully painted wall at the Moraka Haveli Museum (right) Intricately carved courtyard gate at the Uttara Haveli

Rajasthani technique, done on wet plaster was done under expert supervision and it took 10 years for intricate frescoes to with use of mirrors. return to their original glory. The work “Colours in Shekhawati frescoes have involved the use of vegetable lasted for years but we know and mineral colours.  little about them. Whatever A few havelis in To promote art and is left of them is beautiful, Nawalgarh have culture of Shekhawati and as if painted yesterday,” been restored. also as a tourist attraction, says Morarka Foundation The frescoes the region celebrates chairman Kamal Morarka. have been Shekhawati Festival in Apart from conservation, re-painted with February. Organised a few havelis in Nawalgarh organic colours jointly by the state tourism have been restored. Original to give them a department and Morarka frescoes have been re-painted fresh lease of life Foundation, the Festival with organic colours to give includes organised tours, arts them a fresh lease of life. Dr Ramnath A Podar Haveli, now a museum, and crafts, cattle fair, organic food courts and rural games. is a case in point where restoration work

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Tryst with

history

The revival of classes at Nalanda University in Rajgir has added charm to the Buddhist circuit of Bihar text | Anjana Chatterjee

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ver 800 years after the ancient seat of learning was destroyed, the revival of Nalanda University in Rajgir promises to further enrich the Buddhist tourism circuit of Bihar. The new version of the old university set sail on September 1, 2014 from Rajgir International

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Convention Centre, 15 km from the ruins of the ancient institution and 110 km southeast of state capital, Patna. The sprawling campus will come up on 152 acres, close to worldfamous Vishwa Shanti Stupa on Ratnagiri Parvat. The distance between the 129 ft milky white stupa, known as Peace Pagoda, and the

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upcoming Nalanda 2.0 campus is 7.5 km. The idea for the new university, first floated by then President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in 2006 and taken forward by Dr Amartya Sen, materialised with 11 students. Union External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj formally inaugurated the varsity on September 19, 2014. Founded in 5th century AD, old Nalanda was one of the first global universities that survived until 1193. It was devoted to Buddhist studies but offered teaching in medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics and fine arts. Among its early students was the 7th century Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang – a hall has been built in his memory 1 km from Nalanda ruins – studied and later taught at the old seat of learning. However, the university started suffering from lack of patronage by Indian kings between the 11th and 12th centuries. End came in 1193 when Ikhtiyar-uddin Mohammed Bin Bakhtyar Khilji, a general of Slave dynasty ruler Qutbuddun Aibak, set it on fire. This was the time when universities like in Oxford (UK) and Bologna (Italy) were being started – it would take 500-odd years for Harvard or Yale to be established. In its golden days, Nalanda University is believed to

have housed 10,000 students and 1,500 teachers. Nalanda University vice chancellor Gopa Sabharwal says, “The new varsity will have shades of ancient Nalanda University and focus on zero energy level, zero pollution emission and a green milieu.” The new varsity will function from a makeshift campus on the premises of a healthcare and research unit near Rajgir bus stand, from where Silao, famous for its khajas (Indian dessert), is barely 5 km. The ruins of the historic seat of learning include remains of six brick temples and 11 monasteries, excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India during 1915-37 and 1974-82. A stopover at Silao to taste khajas is another option as also is a visit to the stupa at Zuafardih, resembling the one found in Vaishali. The Buddha statue at Mustafapur, 3 km from the ruins, is must-see. Another worthy place to visit is Nalanda Mahavihar. Bihar government established it in the context of city’s rich educational tradition. Or one can stopover at Venuvan, Bimbisara’s first gift to Gautam Buddha. An interesting excursion can be Pawapuri, a holy site for Jains, 25 km from Rajgir. Mahavira was cremated there. Jalmandir and Samosharan, two beautiful Jain temples, are located here.

How to go Rail Rajgir has a railway station There are direct trains from Delhi and Patna Air Nearest airport is Patna. Drive down 110 km to Rajgir Best time to go: October to March Union External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj inagurates the varsity, artistic representation of Nalanda’s International Convention Centre

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Heritage

The lost city of

Rakhigarhi

Spread over 350 hectares, this nondescript village in Haryana is the biggest Harappan civilisation site in the world. It is the only place which has the remains of early, mature and late phase of Indus Valley Civilisation at the same location text | Saurabh Tankha

Haryana

Rakhigarhi

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istory of our civilisation is likely to be written all over again at Rakhigarhi near Hisar in the state of Haryana. With the discovery of two new mounds, adding to the seven already excavated, Rakhigarhi has become the largest known site of the Harappan or Indus Valley Civilisation, overtaking the well-known location of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan. In fact, archaeologists believe that the beginning of the Harappan Civilisation took place in the Ghaggar basin in Haryana and spread slowly to the Indus Valley. It was in 1963 that Rakhigarhi first appeared on the archaeologists’ map when it was identified to have the

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remains of the Indus Valley Civilisation. It was in 1997 that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) took the mounds under its protection and followed it up with excavations between 1998 and 2001 to reveal a city larger than Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Archaeologists also found numerous artefacts, some around 5,000 years old. “Rakhigarhi was occupied during early Harappan times as we have found evidence of paved roads, drainage system, large rainwater collection, storage system, terracotta bricks, statue production and skilled working of bronze as well as precious metals. Jewellery, including Archaeologists bangles made from believe that the terracotta, conch beginning of shells, gold and semithe Harappan precious stones, has Civilisation also been found. In took place fact, the site lies at the in the Ghaggar centre of the Ghaggar basin in Basin, the Harappan Haryana civilisation’s (26001900 BC) most densely populated region,” shares Professor Vasant Shinde, senior archaeologist heading the excavations at Rakhigarhi. Earlier last year these two new mounds, spread over 25 hectares each, were excavated, taking the total area to 350 hectares. In terms of size, dimension, strategic location and significance of the settlement, Rakhigarhi exceeds Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Till this time, experts believed Mohenjo-daro was the largest among the 2,000 Harappan sites known to exist in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In fact, Rakhigarhi is the only site which has the remains of early, mature and late phase of Indus Valley Civilisation at the same

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(Clockwise from top left) One of the excavated sites; terracotta toys, broken bangle pieces, copper objects and Harappan seal; pottery items excavated from Rakhi Khas

place. Incidentally, Rakhigarhi is one of the few Harappan sites which has an unbroken history of settlement – early Harappan farming communities from 6000 to 4500 BC, early mature Harappan urbanisation phase between 4500 and 3000 BC and then mature Harappan era from 3000 BC to its mysterious collapse around 1800 BC. “The main mound at Rakhigarhi, which appears to be the citadel part, is under the modern villages of Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur. Excavations carried out in the index trenches (excavated by ASI in 1999) have revealed mature Harappan phase,” puts in Prof Shinde. Pottery recovered from all the five excavated trenches have mature Harappan features including plain and painted red ware, perforated

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(Top) Ornaments made by steatite fience ivory bone and carnelian (below) At the excavation site and an excavated bathroom

ware, red slipped ware, black-on-red ware, was located on the southern banks of River rusticated red ware, mud appliqué red ware, Ghaggar, Banawali, belonging to the Indus cream slipped ware, grey ware, Valley Civilisation period, was bi-chrome ware, chocolate slipped situated 120 km to its northeast. Terracotta ware and reserve slip ware. Also excavated were pits statues, bronze “There is no late Harappan phase surrounded by walls, believed to artefacts, copper in this part of the mound. Since be used for sacrificial or religious fish hooks, we have not dug till lower levels, ceremonies and brick-lined drains terracotta seals there is no information about to handle sewage flow. Terracotta a bronze vessel the cultural sequence below the statues, weights, bronze artefacts, decorated with mature Harappan deposits,” reveals comb, copper fish hooks, needles gold and silver Prof Shinde. and terracotta seals were also were found here Excavations have revealed found as was a bronze vessel existence of a well-planned city decorated with gold and silver. with 1.92 m wide roads, slightly wider than A gold foundry, with about 3,000 unpolished Kalibangan though pottery is quite similar to semi-precious stones, was unearthed here along Kalibangan and Banawali. While Kalibangan with a number of tools used for polishing stones

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A hearth unearthed at Rakhigarhi

and a furnace. A burial site, with 11 skeletons belonging to mature Harappan phase (2600 with their heads in the north direction, BCE to 2000 BCE) with seven rectangular was dug out too. Utensils for everyday use or square chambers was found here too. were kept near their heads. Three female Significant traces of lime and decomposed skeletons had shell bangles and grass were located on the a gold armlet was found near lower portion of granary wall, A burial site, one. Semi-precious stones were indicating it could have been with 11 skeletons, found too, showing they were be a storehouse of grains was unearthed part of a necklace. with lime used as insecticide with their heads An impressive number of and grass used to prevent in the north stamps seals were found at the entry of moisture. direction. Near site that also had thick deposits A cemetery, with their heads, of “Hakra Ware� (typical of eight graves, of mature utensils for settlements dating back before Harappan period was everyday use the early phases of Indus Valley discovered. Often brick were kept and dried up Sarasvati River covered grave pits had Valley). It also had early and wooden coffin in one mature Harappan artefacts. The Hakra case. Different type of grave pits and the early phases are separated by over were undercut to form an earthen 500-600 years. Hakra people are considered overhang and body was placed to be the earliest Indus inhabitants. A below this. The top of grave was granary, made up of mud bricks with a filled with bricks to form a roof floor of ramped earth plastered with mud, structure over it.

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FOCUS

Yoga is

the way

UN General Assembly has decided to observe June 21 as International Yoga Day following the call made by Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi in September 2014 text | Birad Rajaram Yajnik

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M

y interest in yoga started in 2005 when I embarked on a journey around the world to capture this ancient art form through my camera. From the islands of Koh Phangan to the streets of New York, Los Angeles and Frankfurt, meeting people from every continent and hearing them speak about their passion for yoga made me search deep within myself. It provided me with an insight that yoga is a global practice and its worldwide adoption is due to its affinity to change. Yoga is flexible not only in its asanas but also the way and method it is practiced. Yoga has this unique quality that it can be adapted to any region, culture and a period in time.

Yoga has made inroads across the world through magazines, consumables and workshops

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Recently, The Huffington Post announced UN General Assembly, describing the ancient that yoga today is a US$27 billion industry. science as India’s gift to the world. “People are taking charge of their spiritual Over the last few years, my personal lives in a yogic way. That’s changing the face of interactions have been diverse: from meeting spirituality”. Travel and Leisure, a seven time WWE champion Trish Stratus who is a nine-year Time Inc. publication, lists top 25 Witnessing the yoga veteran and runs one of global destinations. Interestingly potential of this Toronto’s largest yoga studios to at these locations, you can billion dollar Mari Myllykoski from Finland, a practice yoga in 11 international brand of India, yoga practitioner for more than languages: Khmer, Japanese, the Indian Prime half-her-life. Every time I enter a Spanish, Thai, French, Italian, Minister called Lululemon store, a yoga clothing German and Danish to name a for observing an company, it amazes me. Taking off few. A google map of yoga shows International in Vancouver in 1998, it has 2,800 its presence from the farthest city Yoga Day employees and US$ 1.3 billion as in the east, Kamui, revenue. Last week in Thailand, Japan to Halibut Cove, I came across a yogurt cup with a yoga asana Alaska in the West. From Norge, Norway in the north to Antartica on the packaging. I am yet to visit a city in the Chilena, Chile in the south: An world where I don’t find a yoga studio. undisputable global footprint. As the world shrinks into a seamless entity of Perhaps witnessing the potential information and interaction, with social media of this billion dollar brand of India networks, mobile phones and the internet can bring to the world, Indian blurring the lines of differentiation, I cannot Prime Minister Mr Narendra agree more that we need an International Day Modi called for observing an of Yoga, a day when the entire world reflects on International Yoga Day at the this ancient art form and furthers its adoption.

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Achievement

A Nobel

endeavour

Kailash Satyarthi shared the Nobel Peace Prize 2014 for his crusade against child labour and efforts in protecting children’s rights

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ith the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014 came in forefront a name that was quietly working for child rights for more than three decades. It was in 1980 that Kailash Satyarthi gave up his career as a teacher and became secretary general for the Bonded Labour Liberation Front. Later that year, he founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save The Childhood Mission). Satyarthi shared the award with Malala Yousafzai, a female education activist from Pakistan. Satyarthi has been involved with Global March Against Child Labour and its international advocacy body, the International Center on Child Labour and Education (ICCLE), the worldwide coalitions of NGOs, teachers and trades unions. He also established GoodWeave International as the first voluntary labelling, monitoring and certification system of rugs manufactured without child labour in South Asia. It was majorly due to his efforts that the International Labour Organisation adopted Convention No. 182 on the worst of child labour which is now a principal guideline for governments globally.

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innovation

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Let food be

your medicine

One of the oldest yet most evolving sciences of good living, ayurveda is witnessing a phoenix-like rise again text | Madhulika Dash

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or centuries, this was the aphorism that civilisations lived happily with, till the invention of “medicine” that is. The rise of medicine as a separate stream cut a big wedge through the predominantly foodbased health system. Suddenly, food and medicine became two different identities. Resources were bifurcated. Medicines could not be consumed as food while food meant materials with weak potency but edible. India, however, remained an exception to this rule where food and medicine remained one and were often fused to enhance the digestion and absorption ability of human body and its longevity. Based on the concept of balancing its three doshas (elements) – vata, pitta and kapha – ayurveda was, at the time, the basis on which food habits and culture of society revolved. Food then was not about sustenance but maintaining the equilibrium of body’s energetic constitution. The eating habits then were different from modern views of a

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balanced diet which exhorts all to eat the same basic food groups (meat, dairy, fruit, grains and vegetables) and achieve the same “standard” levels of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients in the body. Ayurveda, which shunned Agnivesa this approach by calling it presents “insufficiently individualised”, a detailed on the other hand determined account of an individual’s diet on what how ayurveda balances the body’s three viewed food doshas. Interestingly, it is the and was able to same approach that this ancient categorise it to science follows while presenting suit individuals a food plan or combating an illness today. For instance, ayurveda, unlike conventional medicine to treat stomach like parboiling, grilling, curdling and sautéing ache, will determine the cause and then frame that were used to make food tasty while a food composition that will help eliminate retaining their nutrients. Food like curd, the problem while strengthening the system. paneer and dal (pulses) existed in Indian diet While this method lacks “instant gratification” as early as 200 BC. Millets were a known of conventional medicine, it is an effective ingredient then and were often used in detox treatment against most ailments. Agnivesa, diets like kitchari (originally khichdi – cooked rice and pulse). Vegetable oil and dairy fat such that dates ayurveda presence in India to as as ghee from cow’s milk were not seen as fat early as 100 BC, presents a detailed account but effective nutrients to help build immunity. of how ayurveda viewed food and was able to Ghee was essential for cooling the body that categorise it to suit an individual bio-system. assimilated good properties of food it was In fact, the book mentions the use of spices mixed with and added them to its own, without like pepper, ginger root, clove and flowers in losing its own properties. This was why most treating certain ailments. ayurvedic text used ghee as the cooking/ A second book written in 200 BC, Charaka blending medium. Samhita, mentions the existence of techniques

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SCIENCE OF TASTE

Photos courtesy: Kairali Ayurveda Group

According to Ayurveda, the body taste system helps determine foods that are good or bad for it.

Chyavanprash is one of the finest examples of ayurvedic health system and how it used the combination of different herbs, plants, roots and food to enhance health. Food pairing was done on five principles of wellbeing – taste (rasa), property (guna), potency (veerya), metabolic effect (vipaaka) and special potency (prabhaava). This was important as any lesser combination could harm the system of the body, which even now, is considered a network of tissues. This was the reason ayurveda advises cooked food be consumed within an hour of its preparation and believes stale food as tamsik aahar which causes maximum damage to the body. Ayurveda worked on the principle of wholesomeness which evaluates each food on the basis of its own taste (rasa), a heating or cooling energy (veerya) and post-digestive effect (vipaka). And thus was able to bring a list of good or bad combination that affected the body. The science of different food enzymes that required their own digestive enzyme was well-known back then. It was known, for instance, that eating bananas with milk can diminish agni (fire), change the intestinal flora producing toxins and may cause sinus congestion, cold, cough and allergies. A fact that conventional medicine discovered only a few decades ago!

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Sweet taste gives strength to tissue elements, is good for nourishment and harmonises the mind. Sweet tasting products are not only those which taste sugary but include rice, ghee and fruits. Sweet food is heavy on digestion. Sour taste stimulates digestive fires and enzymes and sourtasting food, for example, lime and tamarind are easy on digestion and good for heart. Vinegar and citric acid are not a part of this list. Salty taste stimulates digestion, clears obstruction in the channels of the body, causes sweating and increases the power of digestion but tends to deplete reproductive secretions. An excess of salt causes graying and wrinkling. Pungent tastes, as in onion, pepper and garlic, help digestion, improve metabolism and dilate channels in the body. Foods with bitter taste eliminate bacterial elements, purify the blood and are light on digestion. Substances which have a predominance of astringent taste such as potatoes, apples, betel nut leaves, most green vegetables and food containing tannin like tea, possess properties to heal ulcers and wounds. They dry up moisture and fat in the body and act as water absorbents.

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innovation

Appliqué appeal and

‘pata’ palette

Traditional art forms like Pipli appliqué and Pata Chitra have forayed into the fashion world, creating ripples at national and international levels text | Niroj Ranjan Misra

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Decorative chandeliers made using Pipli appliqué work

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patronage. When traditional Odisha art shines, ord Jagannath (Lord Vishnu’s Pata Chitra, in its triptych anasara pati, retains reincarnation), Jagannath cult and Jagannath dham (residence) inspire a semblance of original glory. This type, which bears images of Narayana, Bhubaneswari and and invigorate the vast, varied Ananta, replace the wooden deities of “sick” Odishan art and culture. Raghurajpur Pata Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. This Chitra’s pictorial panoply and Pipli’s fabric phase is called anasara when the finesse have an intimate affinity with this holy triangle. On one deities are down with fever only to hand, chitrakaras (painters) of come out during the world-famous Pata Chitra Car Festival. But its jatri pati (pilgrim Raghurajpur, around 14 km from is illustrated Puri, depict the likes of Krishna paintings) that narrates Krishna on cloth that is thickly Leela (Lord Krishna’s life history) Leela and the like has registered layered with and Hindu deities Jagannath, twists and turns in its linear chalk and Balabhadra and Subhadra. On limitations and colour composition. tamarind the other, darzis (artisans) of “Pata Chitra is illustrated on cloth gum to ensure that is thickly layered with chalk and Pipli, nearly 40 km from Puri, longevity tamarind gum to ensure longevity. showcase their appliqué appeal in It is painted on temple walls and on fabric patchworks by stitching out bases,” says chitrakaar Purna Maharana. flora and fauna motifs on base cloth. Both are intricate and exquisite. Like Pata Chitra, appliqué work is a temple Antiquity of both art forms dates back to art. While chandua (canopy) is held aloft 12th century AD when King Anantavarman above deities, chhatri (umbrella) is used during Chodagangadeva built Jagannath Temple in festivals like Chandan Jatra of Lord Jagannath Puri. Gradually, they flourished, coping with and His siblings. Similarly, alata (manually the dissemination of Jagannath cult under royal operated big fan) and kothali (money purse)

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innovation

(Left) A Pata Chitra painting (below) Umbrellas and fans with Pipli appliqué work

and lots more with intricate embroidery comprise the craft of traditional appliqué works. Now, lampshades, television covers, wall hangings, garden umbrellas and other lifestyle products with profuse of plastic, fibre, lace and similar frills, trinkets and trimmings bolster up the bulk to highlight variety and variability. Pata Chitra has incorporated multiple metamorphoses into its fold. Earlier, lamp black, conch white, vermillion, red ochre and cadmium yellow were rudimentary colours. Now the palette includes mixed colours like greys, pinks and violets. New subjects bolster Pata Chitra’s bulk of pictorial narrations. Painter Sudhir Maharana’s “64 kalas” (art forms) that delineates portrayals of different activities like dancing, singing, hunting and playing not only exemplify but also amplify it. Chitrakaar Bhikari Maharana’s “Life History of Odia daughter Laxmi” succinctly summarises this ongoing tilt to social events. Similarly, associate professor Sushmita Behera of National Institute of Fashion Designing, Bhubaneswar, earned accolades in Mumbai some years ago for her sartorial Roots of Orissa comprising designs of Pata Chitra embossed on tussar with the help of fabric paint. Newer subjects, however, do not pucker eyebrows of scholars and diehard traditional artists. What raises their heckles is the “compromise” with basic

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(Left) An artist making Pipli appliqué based souvenir (right) A chitrakaar giving final touch to a Pata Chitra painting

colour combinations and dilution of traditional deadlines. Similarly, the plastic brush makes lines of Pata Chitra drawings finer and better,” style. “Poses, postures and ornamentations of Odissi style are being toned down,” rues Bhikari he says. Mahararan who dubbed the penchant for new Chitrakaar Karan Sahu contends experimentation. “innovations in old things” was a process of Former secretary of Odisha Lalit Kala improvement and improvisation and not be Akademi, RN Ratha, says, “Use of enamel treated as an anathema to ramp up popularity paints and acrylic colours in of art forms. “Hedged in by place of vegetable and mineral hardcore traditionalism, can the When artists colours proves deleterious to artist’s creativity have a free flow?” have their grouse basic aesthetics.” he argues. against “erosion” However, additional director of When scholars and traditional of originality, State Directorate of Handicrafts and artists have their grouse against they are equally Cottage Industries, BK Panda, bats “erosion” of Pata Chitra’s discontented for changes that lend contemporary originality, they are discontented with the look to traditional forms to boost with the incorporations’ new new designs national and international fields. designs and fabric into appliqué and fabric “The Government is planning to works. Though cloth serves as rope in Ahmedabad-based National the base, present use of velvet, Institute of Designing to help enhance these casemate, silk, lace, plastic and fibre is resented art forms’ traditional and contemporary look,” by purists. “Use of synthetic and other things he says. On the other hand, chitrakaar Sudhir in appliqué works prove deleterious,” shares Ramahari Jena. Artisan PC Mahapatra, however, Maharana feels “newness” not only accelerates says, “If traditional designs like dhapa, gula and the work rate but alleviates the pain a painter undergoes. “Take the example of preparation of ganthichauka are used, only two chanduas can white colour. A painter grinds the conch into be made a year. Such a product costs around powder, boils it and leaves it for up to four days `10,000. Who will buy it when a cheaper variety to turn into paste. This hinders him in meeting sells for `500?” he says.

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Snapshots

French Riviera

of the East

Calm and serene, Puducherry is a cultural melting pot with globally inspired architecture and beautiful coastal views

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uducherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe together form the Union Territory of Puducherry. A destination for those with a spiritual bent of mind, it is home to the Aurobindo Ashram, one of the wealthiest ashrams in India. It was set up in 1962 by philosopher-poet Aurobindo Ghosh. His follower, Parisian mystic Mirra Alfassa, was entrusted with running it after his death in 1950. Known as “The Mother” she conceived Auroville, a unique “experimental city”

Matrimandir at Auroville – a place for silent concentration j a n u a ry- f e b r u a ry

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Snapshots

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(Left) The Church of our Lady of the Angels (Right) Vedhapureeswarar Temple was constructed in the 1770s Facing page: (Top) Immaculate Conception Cathedral is one of the oldest in Puducherry (Bottom) Interiors of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Basilica

known as the international city of unity. On Puducherry’s outskirts, Auroville is home to people from across the globe. At its inauguration in 1968, soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus-shaped urn to symbolise universal oneness. It was designed by French architect Roger Anger to be a combination of modern Western and traditional Indian elements. A place for “silent concentration”, the Matrimandir has a 12-sided white marble inner chamber. It

houses an optical-quality glass globe onto which a shaft of sunlight is focussed to make a concentration point.

French influence

Puducherry is home to a number of temples and churches influenced by the French, who’ve been part of its history for almost 300 years. The Kanniga Parameswari Temple, dedicated to goddess Shakti, is an unusual blend of Tamil and French

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Photo courtesy: © pappuphotography.com

Snapshots

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Pondicherry Museum houses superb sculptures (Left) Gandhi statue on Promenade Beach is a town landmark

architecture. The beautiful whiteand-gold Church of our Lady of the Angels, constructed in 1865, houses a rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, gifted by French Emperor Napoleon III.

Global effect

Puducherry has perpendicular streets based on the French grid pattern. It’s divided into the French Quarter and Indian Quarter. The French Quarter has colonial-style houses with tall arched windows and high ceilings; the latter has houses lined with verandahs typical of India. While Tamil is the main language here, people are also well-versed in English and French apart from other south Indian languages like Telugu and Malayalam.

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Snapshots

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(Left) War Memorial on Promenade Beach (right) Stone pillar on Promenade Beach Facing page: (Above) Boating is popular on Puducherry’s beaches (Below) One of the many French-style cafeterias

Beach charm

Located next to the coast, Puducherry offers picturesque sea views. The beauty of the sunrise and sunset here is legendary. Auro Beach is a popular swimming destination. Paradise Beach is known for its upkeep along with shacks serving delicious food and facilities. The 1.5 km-long Promenade Beach is a popular destination for walking,

jogging, skating and yoga. Other landmarks include the war memorial, heritage town hall, light house and statues of Joan of Arc, Mahatma Gandhi and Marquis Dupleix, governor general of the French establishment in India. Le Cafe, open through the day, is a must-visit. Surfing is popular on Serenity Beach while Veerampattinam Beach is one of the longest and most popular beaches.

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culture

Fourth Turn of the

Wheel of DharmaÂ

While the prevailing interest in Buddhism was expressed in terms of ethics, religion, mysticism and philosophy before World War II, the interest in the general Buddhist attitude to life came to the forefront after the war ended text | Dusan Pajin

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B

uddhism has rarely been seen in Asian history of Buddhism its role of a pan-cultural mediator, There are some general conclusions that not only in Asia, but also in can be derived from the Asian history of disseminating the cultural influence Buddhism. First, some general characteristics of Asia in Europe, or the West of Buddhism as a religion that in general, during the last two spread from India to other Asian In few countries, centuries. It offered abundant countries. In some of these Buddhism inspiration and presented a countries, Buddhism pushed into pushed into the challenge in many fields of the background the popular cults background the cultural interest – philosophy, of shamanistic origin, including popular cults religion, arts and literature, in its practices and rituals some of shamanistic psychology and psychotherapy. of the functions of these cults, origin Apart from academic divisions, transforming their indigenous its influence was mostly felt animistic godlings into personages in ethics (understood as a “way of life�) of the Buddhist pantheon and connecting local with special emphasis on broadening ethics festivities to Buddhist holidays. In countries (as a value system governing inter-human that already had established religious relations) to a value system encompassing the traditions, it was founded as a parallel, second relation of man to nature, or to life in general. (or third) religion, sometimes in peaceful

Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar

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culture

Sleeping Buddha statue at Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

When Buddhism was the prevalent coexistence, at other times, in conflict with religion, or even a state religion, as in India at domestic religion. the time of Ashoka, other religions were not Buddhism was translated to domestic banished or persecuted nor had they the status languages and elaborated new textual traditions of heresies. In Tibet and Japan, Buddhism that were added to the corpus of translated texts strongly intermingled with political power or of Indian origin. The ethics and discipline of military ethics. In Tibet, this was the monks were partly adapted to due to the fact that no separate local customs. Up to the time of Buddhism administration developed so that the Muslim invasion (between AD did not act as the lamas had to fulfill the role of 1000-1200), when (under fierce a suppressor state bureaucrats. In Japan, it was pressure by the invaders) Buddhism of national due to the need of the ruler to declined in India where pilgrims cultural values. unite the nation. would come to seek inspiration and In various If we were to compare, “study at the source”, especially at countries, it had for example, three sculptural Nalanda University. Some of these its own schools masterpieces – the standing pilgrims, like Chinese Buddhists and sects Buddha from the Gupta period Hsuan-tsang and I Tsing (during (5th century ), the seated image the 8th century), have left valuable accounts of their travels and of Buddhist practices of Miroku (Maitreya) from Chugu-ji temple in Japan (7th century) and the head of Jayavarman and teachings. These events fostered the role of VII from Cambodia (12th century), we would Buddhism as an inter-Asian cultural mediator find the same expression of serene purity and that transcended state borders, political interests compassion, despite the fact these sculptures and conflicts, spreading dharma from Central bear the distinct features of their time, place Asia to Java and from Himalayas to the Land of and nationality. the Rising Sun.

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(Left to right) Buddha with lotus halo in Mathura; Miroku from the Chugu-ji temple in Japan; King Jayavarman VII of Cambodia

The Fourth Turn

growth beyond mere “normality” or healthymindedness which were the traditional goals The second phase of Buddhism as a cultural mediator (between East and West) or the Fourth of psychotherapy. This reception was part of a general widening of interest in Buddhist Turn of the Wheel of Dharma took place at the and non-Buddhist “ways of self-realisation” beginning of the 19th century and embraces our or “transpersonal psychologies”. While some own time (the first three turns being Theravada, authors interpreted various Buddhist Mahayana and Tantrayana phases of concepts from a psychological Buddhist history). During last 150 New generations standpoint, others tried to deduce, years, we can trace a considerable of investigators or adapt – from the conceptual shift of interests and attitudes considered framework or meditational practices towards Buddhism. Up to World meditation of Buddhism – new concepts of War II, the prevailing interest as one of the personality-growth and techniques was expressed in terms of ethics, possible ways to of psychotherapy, or those reaching religion, mysticism and philosophy. self-realisation beyond therapy strictu senso. After WWII, the interest in and selfWith the fourth group of authors, general Buddhist attitude to life and actualisation R Ornstein, A Maslow, R Walsh meditation came to the forefront. and D Shapiro, we leave the specific For example, generations of reception of Buddhism in psychology and have Buddhologists tried to interpret and understand to deal with concepts and methods that represent nirvana from various standpoints but the what RH Robinson has named as the final stage “psychology of nirvana” has become a familiar of assimilation when the system (Madhyamaka item in bibliographies. in China; in the Indian context – Buddhist New generations of investigators considered psychology in the West) has been critically meditation as one of the possible ways to selfassessed and transcended. realisation, self-actualisation or personality-

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Culture

Pulling the

right strings With Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival coming up in April in New Delhi, we look at how puppetry still holds on its own in India text | Neharika Mathur Sinha

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f you have had an opportunity to visit any city in Rajasthan – Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota or Bikaner – you couldn’t have missed watching a kathputli (puppet) show. Believed to be more than a thousand years old, references of puppet shows can be found in Rajasthani folk tales and ballads. No fair, festival or celebration in Rajasthan is complete without a puppet show. India’s rich history of puppetry goes back over 3,000 years. In 2nd century, Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar mentioned “marionettes moved by strings” in his compositions. In Bhagavad Gita (religious Hindu text), God has been likened to a puppeteer with three strings – sattva, rajas and tamas. The main character in ancient Indian Sanskrit plays was called sutradhaar (holder of strings). Over the years, the trend has found way to towns, cities and metros. Just that the tales of royalty have been replaced by socially and morally relevant messages.

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Come April and India will host the 13th ways unimaginable, breaking stereotypes in edition of Ishara International Puppet traditional and modern puppet theatre,” says Theatre Festival with likely Dadi Pudumjee, founder of The participation by almost a Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust. In Bhagavad hundred international groups. India’s traditional puppet Gita, a religious “This festival possibly was theatre stands out because, Hindu text, one of the thrusting forces to being both visual and language God has been invite traditional and modern oriented, it has audiences in the linked to a puppetry on a common regions it belongs to. A heartening puppeteer with platform, building a conscious development is the new generation three strings: change of atmosphere towards of puppeteers. “Younger sattva, rajas the art form, especially in a puppeteers are questioning and tamas country which many think is techniques and traditions. They the birthplace of puppet theatre. are creating and looking for new Through the years, audiences have been repertory, techniques, materials. The art is exposed to various artistes, directors and constantly evolving,” he says.

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Culture

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puppet dance), made out of goat skin, stand Pudumjee feels what we see as tradition today has changed slowly over a period of time: tall at 5-6 ft. Goat skin undergoes special treatment to make puppets translucent patronage, audiences and requirements. “One and coloured using vegetable dyes. needs to see any art form as a holistic cultural Joints at shoulders, elbows, knees, waist, continuity as it would be in its regional forms neck and ankles allow for and spaces. When brought and ample movement. seen out of context, some of this ‘Younger is lost for both the artiste and puppeteers are audiences,” he says. Kerala questioning Thol pavakuthu as it is called techniques and here is performed in temples with Across states traditions... the Rajasthan Kamba Ramayana traditionally art is constantly enacted. The performance Puppets are called kathputli, evolving with starts at night and continues kath meaning wood and putli new techniques till daybreak for up to 21 days. meaning doll. Shrill voices are and materials’ Around 160 leather puppets, produced by lead puppeteer by 3 ft high, are manipulated from blowing into a bamboo reed. behind a cotton cloth screen on a 42 ft stage. Social issues like dowry, illiteracy, poverty Twenty one oil lamps made of coconut and unemployment are portrayed. halves, placed equidistant on a wooden beam behind the screen, make shadows fall Andhra Pradesh on screen. Pava-kuthu (glove puppetry) is Shadow puppets called tholu bommalata (tholu means leather and bommalata means practiced in evenings in Palghat district,

Photo courtesy: The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust

(Left) Rod puppets in Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust’s production ‘Heer Ke Waris’ (right) String puppet; Facing page: Rod puppet show in action

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Culture

(Left) G Venu, a pavakuthu practitioner from Kerala (right) Shadow puppet show – ravanchhaya (below right) Dr R Bhanumathi from Pavai Centre for Puppetry

presenting episodes from Mahabharata. These colourful wooden puppets have masklike facial makeup, headgear and colourful costumes, similar to Kathakali dancers.

Tamil Nadu

String puppets, called bommalattam, are among the largest and heaviest in India – around 4.5 ft high and 8 kg in weight. Shows are performed in temples during festivals and last 10 days. Strings are tied onto an iron ring which is worn on a puppeteer’s head. Some puppets have jointed limbs manipulated with rods. They present scenes from epics and humourous stories.

Maharashtra

In kalasutri bahulya, small string puppets without legs are used to narrate

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episodes from Ramayana through folk tunes. Maharashtra’s shadow puppets chamadyache bahulya are coloured with vegetable dyes. They have no jointed limbs and are manipulated using a single rod at the centre.

Odisha

Leather cutouts are used in ravanachhaya to depict episodes from Ramayana. Moving these puppets requires a lot of skill as there are no joints. Earthen lamps cast light on the screen to create shadows. In kundhei nach, glove puppets are made of three wooden pieces – head and two hands with holes for fingers. A long flowing costume hides the joints and the puppeteer’s hand. He plays the dholak with the other hand and narrates a story.

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know puppets Shadow A tightly stretched white cloth with a light behind acts as screen for these flat puppets. Traditionally, these puppets were made of animal skin, with a bamboo or cane stick attached vertically to enable manipulation.

Rod One main rod, hidden inside the costume, supports the puppet’s body. Smaller rods are connected to the hands and manipulated for action.

Glove These are worn on the hand and manipulated with fingers to make the puppet’s heads and arms move.

STRING They’re made of wood, or wire, or cloth stuffed with cotton, rags or sawdust. Strings are attached to the body and limbs of these puppets and pulled to create actions.

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Culture

Traditional Rajasthani puppets

Karnataka

In kathi kandhe, 12-18 inch tall rod puppets are manipulated from behind a screen and most dialogues are sung.

West Bengal

Rod puppetry called putul nach (dancing dolls) is usually performed like a jatra (folk play). These 1.5 m tall puppets have a bamboo base, are covered and plastered with hay and rice husk onto which facial features are painted. Puppeteers stand behind a head-high bamboo curtain, moving and dancing while manipulating puppets attached to the waists.

Assam

Putal nach string puppet shows use puppets made of soft wood to narrate stories from Indian epics. Flowing skirts hide the absence of legs in these 2 ft tall puppets.

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Gombe atta or dance of dolls uses puppets with joints at the legs, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees to enact episodes based on traditional Yakshagana plays. Five or more strings attach their limbs to a rod which is controlled by the puppeteer. Accompanying music blends folk and classical elements. Leather or shadow puppets locally called togalu (leather) gombe-atta (puppet dance) enact epics. At least 10 puppets are on stage together – farmers, women folk... even trees, plants, sun and moon... Puppet sizes are according to social status – kings and religious characters are larger than commoners. Two sheets are stretched across four bamboo poles. Clay, bronze and iron lamps are used with castor oil to create light for the performance which continues for nine days.

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Finding the way

with ragas

A few Western rock bands started experimenting with Indian music in the 1960s. We find out why this fascination grew with time... text | Shankar Mahadevan

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Music

Three of the most limitless music creators and composers: Bela Fleck (banjo), Zakir Hussain (tabla) and Edgar Meyer (double bass)

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ndia is blessed with two forms of classical an endless number of scales to offer, each with music – the Hindustani shastriya sangeet a different mood and emotion, which touch a different chord in your heart each (traditional music) from the time! When such a database of north and the Carnatic sangeet Indian music scales is available for the Western from the south. Even though it has an endless world, suddenly their horizon is a monophonic (simple melody, number of expands, the possibilities are more without accompanying harmony) scales to offer, and the creative senses experience a form of music, with its intricate each with a new canvas to paint on as opposed inflexions, shrutis and complex different mood, to the normal major or minor rhythmic patterns, Indian music which touch a pentatonic or the dorian or lydian has created a storm in the Western different chord scales that they use. music world. in your heart The most important and Let’s talk about ragas for instance. interesting thing about Indian music We have a range of 72 full-scale is the rhythm. Indian rhythms are technically ragas out of which thousands of derivative ragas and theoretically way more advanced. Musicians can be formed. So, eventually, Indian music has

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English percussionist Pete Lockett on a tabla

Pandit Ravi Shankar: synonym of Indian classical music in the West Sitar legend Pandit Ravi Shankar is almost single-handedly responsible for popularising Indian music in the West. His sitar, with mesmerising buzzing sound, became a natural acoustic ally of the electric guitar sounds of that era. George Harrison of The Beatles took the crash course in sitar from him. Rock groups such as Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Greatful Dead and The Doors used his highly expressive melodies and improvisations in extended jam sessions. In 1950, Shankar assembled an orchestra that brought together Indian and Western instrumentation. He recorded albums in 1966, 1968 and 1976 with classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin. As Shankar build the audience through tours of Europe and the US, he become the first Indian musician to score for a Western film.

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Music

needed in this stressful world. India has a all over the world are well aware of this. They huge musical gold mine called lok sangeet or folk are always hungry to learn more about Indian rhythms and keen to apply them in their music. This is truly an extension of our culture own core rhythm instruments. For example, and tradition– there are songs for every occasion the complex rhythmic calculations used in in most Indian states. These earthy rustic voices instruments like mridangam and and untrained musicians truly have tabla are fascinating to the Western become hot properties to collaborate The chants world. Many drummers and with Western musicians – they add and mantras in percussionists do a complete study a texture that is beyond imagination. Sanskrit have of Indian rhythm and apply it in A Rajasthani folk singer with a jazz found an exotic their performances. band and an intricate harmonic slot in Western Looking at the origin of Indian backing would be a dream to listen music, whenever music and its connection to to and often happens in world they want to our spiritual energy, the chants and jazz music festivals all over communicate and mantras in Sanskrit have the world. feelings of peace found an exotic slot in Western All we can say is there are seven music. Whenever they want to notes after all, and it is just the way communicate feelings of peace or tranquility, you sing it or play it! That’s what differentiates Indian chants and shlokas are used as an it from it being Indian or Western. These important tool. They take you into a deep beautiful notes and rhythm are like water, which meditative world – beautiful and muchfinds its place, its own level, anywhere. The author is one of India’s leading musicians and playback singers

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Shankar Mahadevan jams with musicians from the West

Journey to the West Indian music ‘Hindustani’ was performed in the US as early as the 1930s by musician Uday Shankar’s dance troupe. Based on Indian ragas, Raga rock emerged in the West, its advent often traced in the 1965 release, See my friends by The Kinks in UK. Guitarist Jeff Beck also featured a sitar-like riff in the album, Heart Full of Soul. The Paul Butterfly Blues Band elevated the concept of Indian influenced rock music with a 13-minute instrumental East West, which became the title track of their 1966 album, East West.

Songs with Indian classical music influence Ø  Norwegian Wood, Love You To, Within You Without You, The Inner

Light and Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles Ø Paint It, Black and Gomper by The Rolling Stones Ø  Black Mountain Side and White Summer by Led Zeppelin Ø  Behind the Sun by The Red Hot Chili Peppers Ø  Setting Sun by The Chemical Brothers Ø  Who Feels Love?, 2000, by Oasis Ø  Taste of India by Aerosmith Ø  Knees of My Bees, Eight Easy Steps and Citizen of the Planet by

Alanis Morissette Ø  Wherever I May Roam by Metallica

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BOOKS

How Mahabharata received

Spanish clothing?

The longest existing epic has been translated into Spanish language text | Lic. Hugo Labate

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orally in poetic form to ensure the hearer could “take it to the heart” due to expected emotional impact of seeing the feats of characters that portrayed dharma, good action and fate of those who act otherwise. Now, in the 21st century, we could suspect that there is no place for epics but our attraction to cinema, especially the appeal of those films where the hero fights against insurmountable obstacles until right prevails. Around 1988, a book extract was given to me by a dear instructor in the courses of Indian Philosophy and Religion in Fundación Hastinapura, as a context introduction to the reading of Bhagavad Gita. That was my

Photos courtesy: Mahabharat from hindugodlatestwallpapers

n the vast universe of classical literature, the Mahabharata is the longest epic, seven times the size of the Iliad and Odyssey taken together. Written in Sanskrit, the work is a symbol of Hindu culture because the characters and stories that inhabit it have been diffused to places as far away as Indonesia where it is represented in traditional shadow theatre. Fearing the classical language could act as a barrier to the enjoyment of the book to larger readership, it has been fully translated several centuries ago into Indian vernaculars such as Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. Epics like the Mahabharata belong to a literary style where folk knowledge was taught

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introduction to Arjuna, Dhritarashtra, Yudhishthira, all those names, the long family saga, the plot full of so many incidents and the old, weighty language of chivalrous feeling, sparking my desire to know the full book in depth. However, at the time there was only an abridged Spanish version in two volumes. By then, Ms Oriana Popovich, the director of the Belgrano Branch of Fundaci贸n Hastinapura, suggested I translate the English version abridged in one volume by Kamala Subrahmanyam. When I finished it, I felt more stimulated to know the full work better. I thought the Spanish language, with its more than 400 million speakers, was somehow lacking by not having this wonderful book, and with it, a better understanding of Hindu culture. So in 1997, we planned to do full translation of the best English version and wrote to the Indian Ambassador in Argentina,

asking for his permission to consult and copy the 12 volumes that were at the time in the Embassy library. The Ambassador instead gave us a full set and thus began the translation. My fellow translators, by several reasons, were unable to undertake the task. So with the help and encouragement of Prof. Popovich and three reincarnations of a laptop, this version slowly grew, wherever I was and whenever I could get hold of the keyboard. In 2004, when a few chapters remained, I was thinking of an auspicious date to do the closing section as we had not considered doing a formal blessing ceremony initially. Finally, the last half page was translated on a paper notebook on Ganesh Chaturthi, in the International Base of the Fundaci贸n Hastinapura, seven years later.

Lic. Hugo Labate is the translator of the complete edition of English Mahabharata to Spanish j a n u a ry- f e b r u a ry

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Review

Yoga through

the ages

The Great Indian Yoga Masters is an expression of the ancient art of yoga and talks about its well-known practitioners text | Seema Sondhi

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he success of yoga has been its acceptance across the world. This is due to its adaptability to any region or culture. If practiced every day with faith and patience, yoga can help us change. Although the inception of yoga may have deep roots in Hindu mythology and religion, it does not in any way propagate Hindu religion. It is almost an SOP or standard operating procedure for life. It is a way of life. This and much more has been included in The Great Indian Yoga Masters: Tracing 2500 years of Yoga 500 BCE to 21st Century. Written by Birad Rajaram Yajnik, the book is a tribute to the great yoga masters. Written in a simple lucid style with captivating photographs, it takes off from a chapter on the origin of yoga, goes on to talk about the gurus of olden times including Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Sivananda Saraswati, Tirumalai

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Various hand postures to be followed while practising yoga

Krishnamacharya to modern masters The author has explained everything such that like K Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar, TKV anyone can comprehend the subject. There Desikachar, Bikram Choudhury and Master is also an in-depth analysis of the eight limbs Kamal and ends with a chapter on its future. or steps to yoga including yama (universal The author has painstakingly compiled morality), niyama (personal observances), and photographed yogic postures asanas (body postures) right up till across nine countries which he samadhi or union with the divine. What sage terms “fascinating”. “The one thing The author also draws readers’ Patanjali, wrote that stands out is the mammoth attention to the fact that despite in his Yogasutras following of yoga across the world. the multi-billion dollar sports has been fully Yoga has been adapted in various industry built around exercise explained in the regions and is now a worldwide gears, gyms, equipment, sports book, including phenomenon. It may have medicine and psychology, paths of yoga, originated in India 2,500 years ago physiotherapy and more, yoga bhakti, gyaan but today it is owned by the world,” stands apart in exceptional and rajayoga pens the author in his preface. simplicity. Remarkably nonWhat sage Patanjali, considered reliant on modern technology, the father of yoga, wrote in his Yogasutras has yoga continues to redress a lack in the modern world. been fully explained in the book, including Surely, a must-have on your bookshelf. the paths of yoga, bhakti, gyaan and rajayoga. The author is a Delhi-based yoga practitioner

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Review

Indians on a

global high

As part of the Public Diplomacy initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs, two documentaries profile the growing importance of Indian enterprise in the UK and the US text | Aarti Kapur Singh

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ith a rapidly increasing Indian population living abroad, it is time to celebrate the contribution that Indians are making to the world economy. And by this, one means not just lofty statements, but flesh-and-blood examples of people who made the world salute their success stories. Produced by Surabhi Foundation, two films (in a series of 10), set out to etch these inspiring life stories in documentaries on Indians settled in the UK and the US. Bridging Worlds A Meeting of Minds: The Story of Indians in The United Kingdom and Bridging Worlds: The Story of Indians in the United States of America; A Place in The Sun profile the growing nature and importance of Indian enterprise in two of the world’s leading nations. Through luminaries such as entrepreneur Sir Gulam Noon, educationist and writer Lord Meghnad Desai, beer baron Karan Billimoria, culinaire Monisha Bharadwaj, pharmacist Dr Kartar Singh Lalwani, philanthropist Swraj Paul, spiritual guru

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Deepak Chopra, social scientist Jagdish Bhagwati and artists such as The Singh Twins, San2 and more, the 45-minute films capture how the Indian diaspora is becoming part of the culture of these two nations and how they have been welcomed by the natives into their fold. The documentaries chronicle the history of migrant Indians – from the initial resistance in the US to the warm welcome by the UK in an effort to salvage the economy that had been devastated by war. Baroness Shreela Flather and Leicester MP Keith Vaz recollect how the cross referencing of cultural identity has happened over Indians in the years in United America, Kingdom. hitherto Indians in America, considered only hitherto considered for trading jobs, only for trading jobs, rose to the top rose to the top of fields of fields such as such as law, politics, art, law, politics, art, music and media. Of all music and media the countries Indians have made home, the United Kingdom has perhaps the longest and definitely the most complex relationship with the diaspora. Starting as a legacy of colonisation, continuing when immigration opened after the war, immigration today is also about economic opportunities and big business with Indian companies leading the way in investing in Britain. Overcoming painful legacies, building on commonalities and shared histories, Indians and Britons have come closer together as allies, truly creating “A Meeting of Minds”. The success of the diaspora has helped relations between countries while also creating a deep appreciation for India. These two films enrich the shared future that people of polar ethnicities are making – in tandem with the ancient Indian philosophy of vasudhaiva kutumbakam.

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TRIBUTE

Long live

our country

On freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary on January 23 and India’s Republic Day on January 26, we bring you the historic significance of Jai Hind slogan and how Bose immortalised it

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ubhas Chandra Bose, famous Indian leader and freedom fighter who is credited for having a huge impact on the Indian Independence Struggle, was known for his inspiring salutations and slogans. At a rally of Indians in Burma (now Myanmar) on July 4, 1944, he announced, “Give me blood and I shall give you freedom.” Another slogan, Dilli Chalo (Move to Delhi), became the signature call of Indian National Army (INA) members under his leadership. But Bose is best known for the call of Jai Hind (Long live India) which was immortalised under his leadership. During India’s struggle for Independence, Jai Hindustan Ki was often used by freedom fighters. It meant “victory for India” or “hail country”. The shortened version, Jai Hind, came to be The shortened used after Bose adopted it as version, Jai the official form of greeting Hind, came to be in INA. Some believe Zainused by one and ul Abideen, son of a collector all, especially from Hyderabad who gave after Bose up his engineering studies in adopted it as the Germany to become Bose’s official form of secretary and interpreter, greeting in INA suggested the slogan. Others claim Chempakaraman Pillai, also a part of the Indian Independence movement, coined the term. However, Jai Hind remains popular with Indians using it often, especially on Republic Day (January 26) and Independence Day (August 15). On August 15, 1947, the day India gained Independence, a commemorative postmark of Independent India – the Jai Hind postmark – was issued for the first time. More recently, in October 2012, all ranks of the Indian Army, in order to imbibe true army values and adhere strictly to its core values, were directed to use Jai Hind as a customary greeting while meeting each other, civilian officials and those of the sister Services.

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art

Nature is his

best friend

Tree roots and branches are raw materials for artist-diplomat Bimal Saigal’s creative expressions

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henever he finds time from his diplomatic commitments, Bimal Saigal, deputy chief of the Embassy of India in Muscat, is on a passionate mission – of liberating human and animal forms trapped in branches and roots of plants and trees. In nearly a quarter of a century, he has given home to nearly 80 such forms on shelves at his residence. Saigal gives the credit to nature and his

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mother who found a cluster of old vine roots she thought looked interesting. Being aware of her son’s artistic abilities, she got them home. Saigal had a look at them and created a wonderful art piece. A cursory look at the wood or roots from different perspectives is what the Indian diplomat requires to create artistic forms. He then trims off unwanted branches and balances the pieces in a manner that the figures become most

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he was attracted to this art in the beginning apparent. Some of these creations are set of the 1990s. Among them are several on stones to give them a more grounded species of birds, horses, dogs, lizards, deer appearance. He is believed to have and stags, squirrels, camels, pioneered this unique art a hippopotamus, elephants, form which has already been leopards, rodents, goats, appreciated, both in India There are nearly sloths, even dinosaurs and and abroad. hundred art other extinct animals and Saigal says he worked on pieces, which several men and women in most of the pieces during his Saigal has different body postures and Pakistan posting. “I looked for drawn since he states of mind. hidden shapes in overgrown was attracted to this art in the Interestingly, there is branches that were pruned by beginning of even a female horse-rider the gardener in the Embassy the 1990s with her child strapped to compound. A few other the back. It is surprising that creations were done during many of those animal forms have amazing my postings in New Delhi and Toronto,” likeness to their live counterparts. “It is an he shares. imagination-based art,” says the artist who There are nearly a hundred such pieces is also a painter, sculptor, writer and poet. which Saigal has painstakingly drawn since

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Conversation

‘A small effort can make

a big difference’

Joining the league of exceptional women who have achieved innumerable goals with elan is the winner of United Nation’s prestigious International Peacekeeper Award this year, Inspector Shakti Devi text | Ajuli Tulsyan

Shakti Devi at her present deployment in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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ot only has she worked diligently to improve the status of women police officers, she has helped Afghanistan police achieve their goals in adopting democratic principles of policing. She’s also helped vicitims of sex and gender-based violence get justice. But the news of winning the prestigious United Nations’ International Peacekeeper award came as a surprise for Inspector Shakti Devi. “I thought I was dreaming. I opened my e-mail inbox over and over again as I couldn’t believe I was this year’s awardee. I feel I have not done anything extraordinary. Being a girl from a remote Indian hamlet with a modest background, I had no dreams. I just wanted to be a good human being. However, I accept the award with all humility!” confesses the police personnel who is, at present, deployed in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The honour is a competitive award given to an outstanding female police peacekeeper serving in a UN peace operation. The objectives are to promote an understanding of police in world peace operations, highlight the efforts therein of female police, increase understanding of the role of women officers in various countries and encourage participation in UN peace operations by all countries. Born in a joint family in Bharnara village in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, Shakti is fourth among five siblings. Shakti’s childhood was spent fetching firewood from the forest, helping her father who owned

the village flour mill and rearing cattle. “As there was no awareness about girl education, most of them dropped out of school before reaching class V. I decided I would never leave studies. I would walk 20 km every day to my school, Government Higher Secondary School, in Majalta,” she recalls. Shakti lost her mother when she was 16. As her elder sisters were already married, the responsibility of household chores fell on Shakti’s young shoulders. “But my father supported my decision to study further else I would not have been able to achieve whatever I have till date,” says Shakti. However, she never thought of joining the police force. “It was during college that I got inspired by India’s first woman IPS officer Kiran Bedi,” she confides. Initially, Shakti’s family didn’t approve of her decision. Recalling her “make or break” conversation with her father, Shakti says, “He wanted me to take up teaching and warned me against joining the police force, saying it would not be easy as I was a woman. He gave his consent on the condition that I work honestly and not misuse my powers.” Shakti served as a Station House Officer (SHO) in Jammu and Kashmir including an all-women police station in Jammu. She was SHO Women’s Cell (2009-2012) during which she handled more than 3,000 complaints related to women – from matrimonial disputes to domestic violence to rapes. On her Afghanistan posting, Shakti says her family did not want her to be a part of the mission. “As there was a lot of unrest there, they were concerned about my safety.

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Conversation

Addressing the concerns of Afghani women

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After I received this award, they are proud Over the last 14 years, life has thrown of my achievements and commitment innumerable challenges at Shakti Devi but towards my duty,” says Shakti the gutsy and tough woman who has helped boost the has tackled all with complete Over the last status of female police in ease. A disciplined individual, 14 years, life Afghanistan while pushing for Shakti beckons everyone has thrown safety outreach programmes to join in her endeavour innumerable in schools to provide safety to towards the uplift of the challenges at girl students. underprivileged, especially Shakti Devi but In fact, she has women. “I want everyone the gutsy, tough become an idol for to realise their own essence woman has a number of young of liberty and dignity and tackled all Afghanistani girls also respect others’ dignity. who wish to walk in It is imperative for people, her footsteps. “My focus is to fight especially women to be aware of their crime against women, provide inherent strength to fight social, economic, them security and work towards political and other adversities. I call upon a secure environment where they every person to reach out to, at least, one can work for the development underprivileged and work for their uplift. of family, society and nation,” A small effort can make a big difference,” shares Shakti. she says.

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IP Jan Feb 2015 English  
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