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India’s History And Culture Unite And Empower

The ancient wisdom of India is not the exclusive right of the people of only a single country to know, but ought to be shared across the world, as is taking place now, writes Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat

Bharat i.e. India has a recorded history that goes back more than six thousand years. Those who took advantage of domestic disunity and complacency during the past millennium to occupy and colonize the country and its people sought to obliterate memory of that ancient history from the minds of the people. After World War I ended, it was clear that the era of European empires was nearing its final stages, something that became inevitable as a consequence of the blood and treasure lost by European colonizers.

Once the Japanese navy attacked Pearl Harbour and war between Japan and the United States became inevitable, Mao Zedong realised that it was only a question of time before the Japanese were defeated. He therefore concentrated his attention on strengthening the People’s Liberation Army and weakening through desertions and defeats the KMT. At the same time, he saw to it that by anti-Japanese rhetoric and a few attacks on Japanese forces in China, the US began to supply assistance to Mao almost to the same level as they were doing to Chiang Kai-shek.

Thus began in 1942 a saga that has not yet fully ended, in which the US became a significant support base of the CCP, a party that had sworn to bring the governance system if not that country itself down. At the same time, by pretending fealty to Stalin, Mao ensured that assistance from the Soviet Union to the CCP flowed copiously. By 1949, when the KMT was driven out of China to Taiwan, Mao had doubled the territory controlled by his country, annexing Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and Tibet without any opposition from other countries, including India.

In contrast, when in 1947 the Union Jack was finally replaced atop what was renamed Rashtrapati Bhavan, the successor state to the British Empire in India had lost much of its territory through the formation of countries independent of New Delhi, and by the horror of Partition. Whether it be the rejection rather than the acceptance of the offer by local chieftains of the accession of Gwadar or Nepal to India, or standing by as Badshah Khan, the Frontier Gandhi, saw his land overrun by the Pakistan military, or refusal to take China’s seat at the UNSC, those who took charge of Bharat i.e. India in practice (although not in words) had limited ambitions for the country they were now the rulers of.

At the same time, in their subliminal fear of a second partition, historical injustices that were too blatant to ignore were left to fester. Given that Mathura, Kashi and Ayodhya are the three holy sites of the Hindu community, restoring them to the phase they were in before the destruction wrought by Aurangzeb ought to have been a priority. Instead, even the restoration of Somnath was opposed, ultimately going ahead only on the insistence of President Rajendra Prasad.

A comparison of per capita growth in India as compared to countries in Southeast and East Asia (minus the PRC until Deng took full charge in the 1980s) would show that the performance of India was not impressive when compared to these other countries, many of which had lower per capita incomes than our country in 1947. Narasimha Rao initiated reforms that stimulated development of the economy. He paid for this by elements in the Congress Party themselves ensuring his defeat (and that of the party) in 1996.

Rao lacked the political backing needed to ensure the return of Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura to what they were pre-Aurangzeb, but this task is being fulfilled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in stages, and in a manner designed to ensure that all sections of society in Bharat i.e. India accepted the justice of over a billion people in having the three holy sites of their faith returned to them. What is being done in Kashi and Ayodhya and now in Mathura shows the way for Bethlehem, which needs to be looked after as tenderly as the Al Saud family that rules the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is taking care of Mecca and Medina.

The Palestinian Authority should be given every assistance to ensure that Bethlehem and its environs have the infrastructural and logistical bandwidth needed to become a pilgrimage destination that would attract countless numbers of visitors throughout the year, exactly as Mecca and Medina are. The return of Kashi, Ayodhya and now Mathura to its ancient glory will ensure tens of millions of visitors from all faiths. The ancient wisdom of India is not the exclusive right of the people of only a single country to know, but ought to be shared across the world, as is taking place now.

Not arrogance but self-confidence is essential to success, and knowledge of the entire history of India for about six thousand years ought to be essential reading in classrooms and in books not only in India but across the world. The syncretic, universalist culture of the entirety of Indian history is both a uniting as well as an empowering force, and the fact that this is being recognised and acted upon by the government headed by Prime Minister Modi is welcome news.

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Culture India News Travel & Tourism

Himachal Pradesh’s ‘Kangra’ Focused Development Boost

Kangra is set to witness the development of a Rs 5 crore park and a selfie point worth Rs 30 lakh. Additionally, the Tandon Club will undergo expansion with a grant of Rs 1.5 crore…reports Asian Lite News

The Cabinet Minister in Himachal Pradesh and Chairman of the Himachal Tourism Board, RS Bali on Saturday announced a series of transformative initiatives in Kangra aimed at enhancing cultural and recreational facilities in the region.

The highlight of the event was the inauguration of the Mata Brajeshwari Public Library in the Joint Office Building in Kangra.
Bali emphasised the importance of cultivating a reading culture, announcing plans to establish library rooms in every senior secondary school across the state.

Expressing his appreciation for the initiative, Bali commended SDM Kangra Somil Gautam for the construction of the Mata Brajeshwari Public Library.He also highlighted the critical role of a conducive environment in shaping the aspirations of the youth, expressing gratitude for the efforts of Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh in improving educational facilities in the state.

Bali also revealed plans to introduce digital libraries at various locations in the state, providing readers with access to a diverse collection of digital documents over the internet. In a bid to enhance the recreational landscape, RS Bali announced a generous allocation of funds. Kangra is set to witness the development of a Rs 5 crore park and a selfie point worth Rs 30 lakh. Additionally, the Tandon Club will undergo expansion with a grant of Rs 1.5 crore.

Recognising the aftermath of the Kangra flood, a sum of Rs 3 lakh was pledged for the channelization of drains, and directives were issued to provide designated spaces for street vendors. Bali further shared plans for future collaborations with the Chief Minister, including discussions about building a complex on vacant land in Tehsil Chowk.

Welcoming the chief guest, Kangra Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Somil Gautam highlighted the pivotal role of public libraries in providing the youth with opportunities to shape their future.
The event witnessed the presence of several distinguished guests, including President of Youth Congress Kangra Ishant Chaudhary, former MLAs Surendra Kaku and Amit Verma, and Block Congress President Nageshwar Mankotiya, who addressed the gathering.
The event was attended by SDM Nagrota Wagwa Munish Sharma, Block Congress President Nageshwar Mankotiya, State General Secretary Ajay Verma, DSP Ankit Sharma, Municipal Council Vice President Suman Verma, Congress State Spokesperson Ashok Himachali, and BDC President Babita Sandhu. Councillor Sanjeev Gupta, Temple Officer Neelam Kumari, Child Development Project Officer Vandana Katoch, Country Congress Committee Member Rajesh Raja, Youth Congress President Ishant Chaudhary, Video Tavinder Chanauriya, State Congress Committee Member Nishu Mogra, Executive of Nagrota Bagwan Officer Kanchan Bala, Rita Mankotia, BDC member Kanta Saroch, along with officers, employees, and workers from various departments, were also present. (ANI)

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World Heritage Week marked by Sanskruti at the House of Lords

The event Hasta Shipam marked the World Heritage Week and also coincided with the UK Parliament Week.

A captivating event aiming to spread awareness of culture and weaving traditions of India and South Asia has been organised by Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence at the House of Lords recently.

Hosted by Baroness Verma and consisting of engaging presentations & fascinating cultural representations, the event Hasta Shipam marked the World Heritage Week and also coincided with the UK Parliament Week.

Baroness Verma giving opening words at Hasta Shilpam event

In her opening words, Baroness Verma emphasised on the importance of upkeeping artistry and heritage, and lauded consistent efforts of Sanskruti Centre in that direction.

Dr Anjali Sharma has presented handlooms and folk music of Rajasthan, Dr Rosalin Patasani Mishra of Parichay Foundation spoke on weavers of Odisha in India, Dr Lakhumal Luhana presented on 5000-year-old Ajrak tradition of Sindh, Taba Menia presented weaving tradition of Adi community of Arunachal Pradesh and Dr Pritha Dasmahapatra spoke on Jamdani tradition of West Bengal, Bangladesh and other parts of India.

Presenting Adi weaving tradition

Handlooms of Santhali and Apatani tribal communities of Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh were highlighted through dances by Harsha Rani and Ananya Vilina, Ilkal of Karnataka was highlighted through Suggi dance by Madhushree Murthy, Pochampalli fabric and Bonalu of Telangana were highlighted by Vanamala Acha through folk dance and Kuthampulli fabric of Kerala was highlighted by Manju Sunil through traditional dance.

Presenters at Hasta Shilpam event

Singer-Song writer Renu Gidoomal has introduced the speakers, while Ashok Verma has felicitated the presenters. Vote of thanks was rendered by Ragasudha Vinjamuri, Founder-Trustee of Sanskruti Centre. Host and the organisers were presented with Ajrak by Jaivanti Luhana. The event celebrated the richness of diversity and received exceptional feedback from the attendees.

Presenters at Hasta Shilpam Event 2

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda, Union Minister for Textiles Piyush Goyal, Culture Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Er. Taba Tedir and Culture Minister of Odisha Aswini Kumar Patra have sent their congratulatory notes to Sanskruti Centre on the occasion.

Cultural Representations at Hasta Shilpam event
Presentation at Hasta Shilpam event
Culture India News UAE News

Pradhan Visits BAPS Hindu Mandir

During the visit, the minister expressed his gratitude towards PM Modi for making the BAPS Hindu Temple a reality….reports Asian Lite News

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited the under-construction BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

During the visit, the minister expressed his gratitude towards PM Modi for making the BAPS Hindu Temple a reality.

“I came here to visit the Hindu temple being constructed… I want to express my gratitude towards the Swaminarayan Sampradaya. I also express my gratitude towards PM Modi because it is under his leadership and cooperation that this temple is being constructed,” Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told ANI.

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Culture India News

North East India Festival Thrives in Vietnam

The atmosphere was further enlivened by electrifying performances by renowned bands from North East India and Vietnam, including Bright Lights, Rapper Huynh Cong Hieu, The Kod Crew, Baba, Summersalt India, Saigon LH, and Bollywood DJ Cyco…reports Asian Lite News

The 3rd North East India Festival, a three-day extravaganza, commenced on October 27th in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and concluded with resounding success on Sunday evening.

The event served as a platform for eminent figures from India and Vietnam, including, union ministers, chief ministers, provincial leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, tour operators, to engage in constructive dialogues on education, trade, and cultural awareness. 

Over the course of the festival, the first and second days witnessed an array of discussions and partnerships in education exchange, trade and business initiatives, flight connectivity, and tourism collaborations. Stakeholders, entrepreneurs, and representatives from educational institutions came together to explore opportunities for growth and collaboration, creating a positive atmosphere for progress and development.

The grand finale on 29th October was a vibrant celebration of cultural diversity. The event showcased a kaleidoscope of North Eastern dance forms, including Bagrumba (Boro), Bhortaal (Assam), Drum Ensemble and Flute (Meghalaya), Tiwa Dance (Assam), Mwsaglangnai (Boro), Bihu Dance (Assam), Mishing (Assam), Daosri Delai (Boro), Drum Beating (Meghalaya), and Jarapagla (Boro). Additionally, mesmerising folk performances by Vietnamese artists added a unique flavor to the event.

The atmosphere was further enlivened by electrifying performances by renowned bands from North East India and Vietnam, including Bright Lights, Rapper Huynh Cong Hieu, The Kod Crew, Baba, Summersalt India, Saigon LH, and Bollywood DJ Cyco.

A spectacular fashion show featuring top-notch designers of North East India dazzled the audience, showcasing exquisite designs and rich fabrics from the region. Celebrity showstoppers and glamorous models from Vietnam graced the runway, presenting creations by Bidyut and Rakesh, Daisy G Momin under the label “Daisy’s”, Manjushree Saikia under the label “Ura Maku”, and Babbi Kevichusa under the label “Bambi”.

Shyamkanu Mahanta, Chief Organiser of the North East India Festival, said, “We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming response from the local community and the staunch support from Vietnam’s stakeholders, local communities, and our representatives from India. The North East India Festival is in perfect alignment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East policy. We engaged in fruitful discussions on education exchange programmes between India and Vietnam, as well as collaborative efforts in tourism. Talks are underway with stakeholders to establish direct flight routes between Vietnam and North East India. The outcomes have exceeded our expectations. The North East Festival is not merely a cultural show; it is a platform for forging stronger ties in economy, education, and cross-cultural connections. We look forward to an even grander event next year.”

Dr. Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City, also shared his insights, stating, “The 3rd North East India Festival has been an exceptional platform for distinguished figures from both India and Vietnam to engage in enriching dialogues. This event has not only strengthened the existing bonds between our nations but has also laid the foundation for even deeper collaboration in the future.”

The festival also featured the Incredible India Exhibition, showcasing the diverse destinations of India. Attendees had the opportunity to explore a dedicated textile zone, state-specific exhibition zones representing various northeastern states, and themes related to the Act East Policy, tea, industry, and tourism. Culinary enthusiasts relished the authentic delicacies of the North Eastern states.

Buoyed by this year’s magnificent success, the organisers eagerly look forward to an even bigger and more vibrant event next year, further cementing stronger bonds between the two countries.

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Culture Lite Blogs

A Tribute to West Bengal’s Culture

The tram on the Tollygunge route covers all the famous areas known to have historic and significant Pujo pandals, making it the ideal choice for this transformation…reports Asian Lite News

In a heartfelt tribute to the vibrant culture and people of West Bengal, Asian Paints has orchestrated a magnificent transformation of Kolkata’s iconic tram from Tollygunge to Ballygunge into a living canvas, celebrating Kolkata tram’s 150th year and for the first time ever, has launched a special heritage-inspired festive pack for their luxury interior paint, Royale Glitz. Additionally, Both these unique creations encapsulate the very essence of West Bengal’s vibrant culture and traditions, which have been a constant source of inspiration for Asian Paints.

For nearly four decades, the brands has been an inseparable part of Kolkata’s vibrant Durga Pujo celebrations through its beloved initiative, Asian Paints Sharad Shamman. The company’s deep understanding and connection with Bengali culture has allowed it to be an integral part of the creative evolution and artistic enhancement of Durga Pujo celebrations. As the festive season approaches, 

Kolkata’s iconic tram, dating back to 1873, is a symbol of the city’s history and charm. To celebrate this milestone, it has given the tram from Tollygunge to Ballygunge a remarkable makeover coinciding with Kolkata’s most important month of celebration. The tram on the Tollygunge route covers all the famous areas known to have historic and significant Pujo pandals, making it the ideal choice for this transformation.

Two bogies of the tram have been beautified. The exteriors of the first bogie capture the extraordinary 38-year journey of Asian Paints Sharad Shamman (APSS) in Kolkata. It features hand-painted artworks honouring Kumartuli – the traditional potters’ quarter in North Kolkata where Durga idols are sculpted. It also encapsulates Sindoor khela and Dhunuchi dance. The exterior artwork showcases the first print advertisement and the first winning pandal. The bogie also highlights the unique stories featured in ‘People of Pujo’ – a documentary series capturing the lives and passions of those who make Pujo the celebration what it is! On the tram we see a visually impaired artist who has commendable skills and women dhakis who challenge the masculine stronghold of the performing arts.

Inside the bogie, the makeover includes Pujo decor with cane installations, Alpona art, and a museum-style visual narrative of APSS’ transformative journey. Interactive elements and QR codes engage visitors with “People of Pujo” stories, allowing consumers to explore the stories of the people behind Durga Pujo festivities as they enjoy the tram ride.

Stepping into the second bogie which is the Royale Glitz bogie transports passengers to a heritage Kolkata location, mirroring the luxurious appeal of the paint. The interiors boast the ultra-sheen finish of Royale Glitz and offers a Glitz photo booth for an immersive experience. The exteriors are inspired by West Bengal’s culture and landmarks, featuring augmented reality elements. The artwork on this bogie reflects the dramatic elements of the packaging.

West Bengal is a treasure trove of mesmerising experiences, and the brand’s latest creation, the heritage-inspired limited edition festive pack for Royale Glitz with in mold labelling (IML) packaging, perfectly captures this essence. The packaging features an exciting, augmented reality (AR) integration, allowing customers to immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of West Bengal. With a simple scan of the Royale Glitz can, consumers can embark on a virtual journey through the state’s heritage, witnessing its art, music, cuisine, dance, and architecture come to life in stunning augmented reality. The artwork in the AR features the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Howrah Bridge, the ever-famous Ilish fish, Bankura Horse, Chau Dance, Alpana Art and more. This innovative packaging is more than just a can of paint; it’s a gateway to the soul of West Bengal.

Speaking on this occasion, Amit Syngle, CEO and MD, Asian Paints Limited, shared, “Since 1985, Asian Paints has been an integral part of West Bengal’s Durga Puja festivities through Asian Paints Sharad Shamman. It has been able to add to infuse creativity & thematic excellence across Pujo Pandals & allowed us to be a part of the celebration in a special way. This year, we are taking our celebrations to the next level with creative initiatives that pay tribute to the culture and traditions of West Bengal. The unique packaging for Royale Glitz seamlessly blends the wonders of technology with the timeless allure of West Bengal’s beauty. We have taken inspiration from native elements of West Bengal like the Bengal Tiger, Tram, Howrah Bridge & Baul to name a few and used it on our Pujo packaging for Glitz. We’ve also undertaken a complete transformation of the tram from Tollygunge to Ballygunge, turning it into the talk of the town just in time for Kolkata’s most revered Durga Pujo festival. We believe in making art accessible for all and we are sure with this tram beautification initiative it will also add back to the legacy of Bengal in an extremely meaningful way.”

Asian Paints onboarded XXL Collective from the St+art India family as creative partners for the unique transformation of the tram. Sharing more insights into the artwork, Arjun Bahl, Founder, XXL Collective said, “As we step aboard this tram ride through the streets of Kolkata, we get a glimpse of a journey that is a tribute to the city’s rich cultural heritage. This project, creatively led by XXL Collective, is a labour of love aimed at celebrating the 40-year odyssey of Asian Paints Sharad Shamman and the unveiling of their latest creation, Royale Glitz. Our collaboration with Asian Paints underscores our shared vision of making art more accessible and immersive. This was a milestone for us as well, transforming a simple tram ride into a cultural experience, reimagining the possibilities of public spaces in our city. As we pay homage to the past and embrace the future, we aspire for Kolkata to become a canvas where art and culture thrive, bringing this experience closer to every resident.”

Speaking on the launch of the Tribute to West Bengal initiatives, leading Bengali actor, Abir Chatterjee said, “I would like to applaud Asian Paints for their meaningful tribute to West Bengal and its vibrant culture. Asian Paints Sharad Shamman, often dubbed the ‘Oscars of Pujo,’ holds a special place in my heart. Having had the privilege of judging in 2015 and 2018, I’ve experienced the magic they bring to Durga Puja firsthand. Their tireless efforts have elevated this celebration, making it even more extraordinary and inspiring for pandals. This year, they’ve taken creativity a notch higher with the makeover of Kolkata’s quintessential tram, a truly wonderful way to celebrate the culture and the people of West Bengal.”

Sharing her views on the occasion, popular Bengali actor, Sohini Sarkar said, “I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Asian Paints for its ‘Tribute to Bengal’ initiative. I must say that I’m absolutely in love with the concept behind the unique packaging design for Royale Glitz’s festive pack and the integration of augmented reality. It’s centred around the vibrant culture and people of West Bengal and is a brilliant way to celebrate the essence of this beautiful state.”

As styles, trends, and attitudes evolve over the decades, one thing has remained constant in West Bengal —the spirit of celebration. Throughout these years, Asian Paints Sharad Shamman has proudly maintained its status as Kolkata’s beloved Pujo Awards since 1985. It symbolizes a commitment to nurturing, inspiring, and championing creativity and aesthetic excellence in Durga Puja pandals. It has been at the forefront of transforming pandals from simple setups to vibrant hubs of art, culture, and limitless creativity.

From creative pandals, Asian Paints has also gone behind the scenes to recognize and celebrate the people who make Durga Puja memorable for all. Sharad Shamman stands tall almost four decades on, due to the efforts of every artisan, artist, sculptor, committee members who works tirelessly behind the scenes. In tribute to these remarkable people and the pandals that have been a part of the Asian Paints Sharad Shamman journey over the last four decades, Asian Paints has released a short video.

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Arts & Culture Culture India News

No ‘Saroop’ at Destination Weddings: Akal Takht

The complaints highlighted the alarming trend of carrying the “saroop” to beachside resorts and similar venues for the performance of Anand Karaj, a practice that goes against Sikh tenets….reports Asian Lite News

In a momentous effort to uphold the sanctity of Sikh religious customs, the Akal Takht has adopted a resolute stance against destination weddings that involve the “saroop” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib for Anand Karaj ceremonies. This decision has been prompted by the increasing prevalence of outdoor destination weddings held at resorts and beaches, where Sikh tenets were being compromised.

The five high priests, led by Takht Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh, have imposed a blanket ban on destination weddings with Anand Karaj ceremonies conducted outside gurdwaras. This decision reflects the Akal Takht’s commitment to maintaining the sacredness of Sikh traditions.

Giani Raghbir Singh stated that the ban was instituted following numerous complaints received by the Akal Takht Secretariat. These complaints highlighted the alarming trend of carrying the “saroop” to beachside resorts and similar venues for the performance of Anand Karaj, a practice that goes against Sikh tenets.

It is important to note that the Akal Takht had previously issued a “hukumnama” on March 16, 1998, that banned the transportation of the “saroop” outside of gurdwaras for Anand Karaj ceremonies held in hotels, banquet halls, clubs, and marriage palaces. These venues often include features such as orchestras, dancers, pubs, and bars, which are incongruent with Sikh values. The “saroop” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is not meant to be taken to places where alcohol, non-vegetarian food, or tobacco is served or consumed.

This ban reaffirms the Akal Takht’s commitment to preserving the integrity of Sikh practices, emphasizing the importance of adhering to the principles set forth in the Sikh code of conduct. Anand Karaj, the Sikh wedding ceremony, is a sacred event that symbolizes the union of two souls in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. It is meant to be conducted in an atmosphere of spiritual reverence and purity, in alignment with Sikh teachings.

Destination weddings have gained popularity in recent years due to their picturesque settings and unique experiences. However, the Akal Takht’s decision underscores the need to prioritize the sanctity of religious traditions above personal preferences and contemporary trends. Sikhism places great importance on maintaining a strong connection with its religious roots, and this ban seeks to protect and honor those principles.

While this decision may be met with mixed reactions from those who have chosen destination weddings, it serves as a reminder of the deep reverence and respect that should be afforded to the sacred “saroop” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the spiritual significance of Anand Karaj.

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Uyghur Inmates in Keriye Prison Forced into Farm Labor

The inmates of Keriye Prison have to work for more than half their day in the vast fields of red dates called jujubes, according to a prison employee and a guard…reports Asian Lite News

Hundreds of Uyghur inmates at Keriye Prison in the far-western Chinese region of Xinjiang are forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day in the fields for the benefit of Han Chinese businessmen who rent the 1,650 acres of farmland that is owned by the prison, or to reform the inmates through labour, reported Radio Free Asia.

These inmates of Keriye Prison have to work for more than half their day in the vast fields of red dates called jujubes, according to a prison employee and a guard.

Moreover, the farm is called Lao Gai Nong Chang in Chinese, which refers to “Re-education through Labor Farm.”

“They want to make the prisoners undergo ideological transformation through labor in these big fields,” said the prison employee.

Under the watch of armed guards, the prisoners must walk to the fields while overseers wearing red vests and holding police dogs monitor them, the two people added.

Moreover, these armed soldiers surrounds the work area, some on horseback to prevent the prisoners from escaping the site, Radio Free Asia reported.

One of the prison employees, who is a Uyghur and has worked at the prison for nine years, said, “I witnessed prisoners being forcibly taken out to work during the day and returned to their cells at night.”

However, a prison guard said that many inmates also work in factories located inside and outside the prison walls that produces cement, shoes, gloves and tea.

Adding to the information, the guard said that the prioners serving sentences of over 10 years work in factories inside the prison, whereas, those serving sentences for less than 10 years work outside the prison.

Noting that the work done at the field is arduous and painful, he the employee said that before the fields were converted to jujubes, they produced cotton and some of the inmates’ hands used to bleed while picking up cotton, Rdio Free Asia reported.

However, the offences committed by the Uyghur inmates at Keriya Prison is still not known. Adding to this, most of the Uyghurs detained in Xinjiang in last years have never been formally charged with any crime or tried by the government.

According to Radio Free Asia, over 30 Uyghur teachers from Hotan Normal Technical High School jailed on charges of “national separatism” and “religious extremism” are serving their sentences in Keriye Prison.

Although China has formally abolished its “reform through labor” system in 1994, these activities show that it is still practiced in some of the areas.

In 2017 and 2018, Chinese authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region detained almost 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in “re-education” camps, where they were forced to work in factories producing textiles, wigs, tomatoes and solar panels for export.

China is currently committing wider genocide against the Uyghur people by torturing them, sexual assaults, forced work and other abuses, the US and other governments declared, reported Radio Free Asia.

Moreover, earlier in 2022, the US enacted the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which brought American authorities in power to block the import of goods linked to forced labor in China. (ANI)

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Culture India News

Chhatrapati Shivaji’s ‘Tiger Claw’ to be Displayed in Indian Museum

Earlier Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that on October 3 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in London will be signed regarding the ‘Wagh Nakh’…reports Asian Lite News

Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Sunday said that the ‘Wagh Nakh’ (metal claws used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) will be kept at a museum so that people can get a chance to witness it.

Speaking to reporters, Sudhir Mungantiwar said,”Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with all his wisdom killed Afzal Khan with the help of ‘Wagh Nakh’. We are celebrating 350 years of the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. A lot of programs will be held in Maharashtra.We will be giving a chance to the people to witness the ‘Wagh Nakh’ by displaying it in the museum.”

Earlier Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that on October 3 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in London will be signed regarding the ‘Wagh Nakh’.

“On October 3rd we will be signing an MoU in London and in November will bring the ‘Wagh Nakh’,” he said.

“As per the MoU, we will not be able to take Wagh Nakh in all the districts of Maharashtra which we had earlier thought, instead we will keep Wagh Nakh at a particular spot where all the people will be able to visit…” he added.

He further mentioned that ‘Wagh Nakh’ ( tiger claws used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to kill the general of Bijapur Sultanate, Afzal Khan, in 1659) is not just a normal thing for the people of the state, but a “symbol of faith”.

The authenticity of the ‘wagh nakh’ is under debate in Maharashtra. History expert Inderjit Sawant has pointed out that the Victoria and Albert Museum website states that Chhatrapati Shivaji did not use the weapon.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray has also questioned the authenticity of the ‘wagh nakh’. (with inputs from ANI) 

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Arts & Culture Culture India News

30 Foreign Diplomats Throng Maha CM’s Home For Ganeshotsav

Several of the visitors took the pooja thali and performed the ‘aarti’ guided by the CM, and others joined by singing bhajans and hymns in praise of the elephant-headed God. …reports Asian Lite News

Diplomats and commercial attaches from over 30 countries, including Deputy Governor of St. Petersburg, Russia, visited the home of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to celebrate Ganeshotsav, an official said here on Wednesday.

The tastefully decorated CM’s official residence, ‘Varsha’ reverberated with the chanting of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’, bhajans, hymns and aartis by the foreign guests who prayed at the idol of Lord Ganesh there. 

Several of the visitors took the pooja thali and performed the ‘aarti’ guided by the CM, and others joined by singing bhajans and hymns in praise of the elephant-headed God. 

The dignitaries represented neighbourhood countries like Mauritius, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, plus Muslim nations like Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Turkiye. 

From the far-off nations were representatives from Australia, Belarus, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Spain, Great Britain, Ukraine, Ireland, Italy, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and Colombia in South America. Diplomats or representatives from various Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, were also present for the occasion, said an official. 

The foreign guests freely interacted with the CM, asked him questions on the state’s biggest public festival, the different aspects of the worship (pooja) of Lord Ganesha during the 10-day and other details of the celebrations that will end with Anant Chaturthi on September 28. 

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