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Pakistan lauds India for SCO Buddhist heritage meet

Advisor to Pakistan Tourism Coordination Board said the conference presented a clear example of the role India was playing in bringing together countries with shared Buddhist heritage together…reports Asian Lite News

India’s civilisational connect with countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was in focus at a first of its kind international conference on “Shared Buddhist Heritage” that began in New Delhi on Tuesday and saw participation from Pakistan and China among others.

Being held under India’s leadership of the SCO, the two-day long event brought together Central Asian, East Asian, South Asian and Arab countries on a common platform and aims to re-establish trans-cultural links, seek out commonalities between Buddhist art of Central Asia, art styles, archaeological sites and antiquity in various museums’ collections of the SCO countries.

According to A Imran Shauket, Advisor to Pakistan Tourism Coordination Board, the conference presented a clear example of the role India was playing in bringing together countries with shared Buddhist heritage together.

“This session is just one very clear example of the wonderful role that India is actually playing in bringing all the countries of SCO, or let’s say all the countries with the Buddhist heritage together,” Shauket said.

Shauket who previously served as the focal person for Pakistan’s minister of archaeology and tourism, said: “I am very impressed on how hospitable India has been, how they’re bringing all the countries together. And India will always have a big role because, you know, Buddha was born in India, Buddhism originated from here.”

He said he looks forward to India, Pakistan and other countries working collectively to preserve, promote the common Buddhist heritage of countries.

“This Buddhist civilization, if we want to look at it, is actually the first binding glue that brings all these countries and the cultures together. It would be very nice to be able to go back in history and forget the differences and go back to how we were all connected then and how we can find the commonalities rather than the differences between all of our different cultures. And remember, at one time we were the same culture and we were the same people,” Shauket said.

The Advisor to Pakistan Tourism Coordination Board said that Pakistan is starting to do more and more on the Buddhist side also.

He said that Pakistan is trying to preserve and promote the culture, all the heritages, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist.

Shengliang Zhao, a researcher from China’s Dunhuang Research Academy and a participant at the conference stated that the event offered a huge opportunity for India and China to celebrate history.

“This is what makes India and China more close to each other. This time this conference gives a huge message of india and China coming together in all aspects culturally … peacefully. We will be moving ahead with this peaceful heritage further,” Zhao said in his remarks that were translated.

The two-day long conference was earlier today inagurated by Union Minister of Culture G Kishan Reddy in the presence of Union minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi and Minister of State for Culture, Arjun Ram Meghwal at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital.

G Kishan Reddy honoured the participating delegates from SCO member countries.

India is holding the leadership of SCO for a period of one year, from September 17, 2022 till September 2023.

The conference has brought together Central Asian, East Asian, South Asian and Arab countries on a common platform to discuss “Shared Buddhist Heritage”.

More than 15 scholars and delegates from China’s Dunhuang Research Academy, Kyrgyzstan’s Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology, Russia’s State Museum of the History of Religion, Tajikistan’s National Museum of Antiquities, Belarusian State University and Myanmar’s International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, etc will be presenting research papers on topic during the 2-day event.

The programme is being organized by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of External Affairs and the International Buddhist Confederation, as a grantee body of the Ministry of Culture. A number of Indian scholars of Buddhism are also participating in the event.

The aim of the Conference is to re-establish trans-cultural links and seek out commonalities, between Buddhist art of Central Asia, art styles, archaeological sites and antiquity in various museums’ collections of the SCO countries.

The intergovernmental organisation SCO, founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 currently comprises of eight member states -China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, four observer states -Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia and six “Dialogue Partners” -Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey. The eight member countries of SCO represent around 42 per cent of the world population and 25 per cent of the global GDP. (ANI)

‘SCO nations keen on sustained dialogue on biofuels’

Petroleum Minister Hardeep Puri on Tuesday said that Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members are bullish on requirement of biofuels and called for sustained negotiations on them.

Addressing media persons after virtually participating in the SCO meeting, he said that biofuels requirement was discussed during the deliberations, and all the eight SCO nations are of the view that there should be sustained discussions on biofuels.

China too had raised the issue of affordability during the discussions, the minister said.

Puri claimed that India is facing several issues on the energy front due to global markets volatility, and as a result of this, oil marketing companies are facing losses.

However, the oil companies have not passed on the higher price to the public, he added.

Fuel prices in the country, he said, have not been touched since May 2022.

“There is still under recovery on diesel for OMCs,” Puri added.

Global consumption is expected to rise substantially in the next seven to eight years, he said.

Therefore with rising import dependency domestically, the minister informed that the government has increased the number of countries from which India imports to 39 from 27.

ALSO READ: IMF bailout delay may leave Pakistan in crisis

Culture FEATURE Travel

Travel travails of a middle-aged empty nester

Eventually, it was happening. The promise of European travel was being fulfilled, though two decades later. Two kids and twenty years behind us, we as middle-aged empty nesters were planning to set out to see Portugal…. writes Meenu Chadha

The Man-made wings Braga

It was an exciting booking right from the start. Gave me a fifteen-minute window to de-plane from the flight to Frankfurt and to catch the next flight to Lisbon. Air India at its best attitude with never say never conveyed to me that there seems nothing to worry about, just land in terminal 1 at Frankfurt airport and catch the flight from the same terminal. They condescendingly added that the Airline is aware of the connection. I wish…

At least they gave me hope along with the stale food they served! My Indian upbringing plus my menopausal hormones made me anyways rush to business class to de-plane with the elite and privileged first-class passengers.  Rushing and saying, I have a transfer to catch. I was always very focused on my goals – be it cracking exams or breaking queues at airports flashing my “boarding pass”.

Travel travails @ Meenu Chadha

Lo and behold – I got the first shock when I was asked to do an immigration check and my request for getting preferential treatment turned down. No problem. Never say never. Started from the end of the long quarantine queue for security check and made my way to the beginning of the queue by flashing my “boarding pass “ and requesting. The first huddle crossed.

Then the long serpentine queues at the Frankfurt security. Egging my way forward, only to be chosen for an extensive security check. She probably liked my perfected airport look or maybe my Clarks boots! I think they thought my new acquisition- the battery bank with 1000 inscribed on it was a bomb. Anyways they even opened my laptop. Or maybe  “ I looked different”!

Then began the journey towards Gate 40 to board the connecting flight to Lisbon. Someone mentioned it is a long walk! Oops, a kilometre-long walk where I was the lone middle-aged woman running with boots on and a carry-on and sweating!  Lost count of local time. And had to reach my goal – gate 40. Nature called and the hunger had to wait. Thanks to my gym trainer for the interval training, he introduced me to my sessions!  Thanks, Clarks, for the boots that doubled up as sneakers.

At Gate 40 another shock awaited me.  The lady at the gate informed me that the departing flight was going to Greece and not Lisbon. I was sure I had missed mine. Sweating in my classic sweatshirt, I eventually found out that my flight was delayed by an hour. Lucky me! The stars were smiling at me as not only did I not miss my flight, but I also completed fifty per cent of my daily exercise quota. I got a breather to catch up with the rest of my world. It just dawned on me that the blessing in disguise was the beginning of another travel travail. I quickly realised; I was going to now miss my connecting flight from Lisbon to Porto too.  The saving grace though was that Lisbon was a smaller airport plus there was no immigration and security, I was told.

Boarded my TAP flight from Frankfurt to Lisbon. Was surprised to see that the small plane did not even have screens. Was it time travel? No food as well! But no complaints. After the Frankfurt ordeal, I decided to miss my connection from Lisbon to Porto gracefully, as there was little else, I could do. I acted cool as a cucumber and was mentally prepared to be a state guest. At least one aspect was clear to me- come what may, I was not going to run at Lisbon airport to catch my connection to Porto. I would simply let it be missed gracefully and accept the inevitable.

At least something was predictable – no more running at the Lisbon airport for me.

Travel travails @ Meenu Chadha

I reached Lisbon and realised that the flight to Porto was also delayed. It was smooth sailing in the forty-five minutes that it took me to fly to Porto.

I was anticipating delayed bags and like any other organized middle-aged passenger,  I had packed my shoes and a few more of the basics in my cabin bags. Lo and behold, even my bags arrived timely! And even the airport officials at Porto seemed welcoming.

I was excited to be at Porto Airport. I was going to meet my husband at Porto airport after six months of parting and proceed to Braga – our first destination in Portugal. There was a small hitch though!

My flight had been booked in error – 12 hours earlier than it arrived. I now had two options – either check in at an airport hotel or wait for the next 2 hrs for the lounges to open.

I chose the latter.

And that was the beginning of another travel travail…….

Culture India News

G20 delegates get glimpse of handicrafts in Mahabalipuram

India assumed the G20 Presidency from Indonesia on December 1, 2022, and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in the country this year…reports Asian Lite News

G20 delegates, who arrived in Tamil Nadu to attend the first meeting of the G20 Education Working Group, got a glimpse of the state’s handicrafts in Mahabalipuram on Wednesday.

The delegates arrived on January 31 at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IITM) Research Park in Chennai to participate in the ‘Role of Digital Technologies in Education seminar.’

The foreign delegates were welcomed in a traditional way with a ceremonial stole.

Musical instruments were played to welcome foreign delegates at the IITM Research Park as they arrived to attend the meeting.

Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L Murugan said India’s G20 Presidency aims to strive for “equitable growth for all”.

“The G20 Education Working Group provides member countries with an opportunity to underline common priorities, reiterate common commitments, and evolve common action for improving the reach, quality and outcomes of education. As envisioned by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the aim of India’s G20 Presidency is to strive for just and equitable growth for all, in a sustainable, holistic, responsible, and inclusive manner,” the minister told ANI.

He also said the objective was reflected in the theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, and the Indian tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is a family).

“The aim of the Education Working Group under India’s presidency is therefore to work collectively and evolve solutions that will help all countries and societies to strengthen their education systems and attain the targets under the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4,” he added.

He also welcomed the G20 delegates at the first G20 Education Working Group Meeting here and said he looks forward to the ideas and proposed initiatives to ensure quality education for all.

India assumed the G20 Presidency from Indonesia on December 1, 2022, and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in the country this year.

As India takes over the Presidency, the working group aims to work together with G20 countries to bridge gaps in quality education and skilling. (ANI)

ALSO READ-First G20 Employment Working Group Meeting begins in Jodhpur

Asia News Culture UK News

Tibetans Seek Global Help To Stem Chinese Attack on Culture

Free Tibet, a London-based Tibetan organisation, appealed to the global community to support their initiative to preserve their culture from the onslaught of Chinese

At a webinar organised by the Open Forum, Tibetan activists in exile and campaign groups described how “systematically,” and brazenly China is crushing Tibetan identity and culture as the world is busy making deals with them.

“Imagine demolishing the home you built with your own hand. This is the predicament of Tibetans living in the Drago county of the Tibetan province of Kham, known for their strong cultural and religious heritage,” according to a report released by Free Tibet and their research arm Tibet Watch.

Speaking at the Open Forum webinar about the first-time-ever findings of the report, John Jones, the policy and research manager of Free Tibet said: “Senior monks were summoned to convince people to demolish their own school.”

Tibetans Seek Global Help To Stem Chinese Attack on Culture

“They are threatened with reprisals if they don’t comply,” the forum heard. “This is not all, those who showed remorse at such destruction were imprisoned.”

“What happened to the residents of Drago county is emblematic of the CCP’s (Chinese Republic Party) attempts to systematically eradicate Tibet’s distinct way of life, its culture, religion, language, and history,” added John.

The event was moderated by Choekyi Lhamo, an independent journalist from– Dharamsala in India. Despite being a Tibetan born in exile, Choekyi said she could “relate to the systematic oppression of Tibetan culture.” 

“At least 78 per cent of all Tibetan students between the ages of 6-18 now live in boarding schools. They are being raised by the Chinese government in boarding schools separated from their families, traditions, culture, and religion. Not speaking the Tibetan language for the vast majority of their lives. They may have a Tibetan language class but Mandarin and Chinese are the languages of instruction,” said Lhadong Tethong, director of Tibet Action Institute.

Tibetans Seek Global Help To Stem Chinese Attack on Culture

Under the pretext of education, the Chinese government is taking children as young as four away from their Tibetan parents.

“They are attempting to wipe out Tibetan identity and replace it with a Chinese identity so that there is no resistance to the Chinese occupation of Tibet in future,” said Lhadon.

Breaking down what changing value system looks like Chemi Lhamo, a Canadian – Tibetan activist told the forum, a young Tibetan growing up in a traditional nomadic had a goat and if Tibetan if someone handed them Tibetan bread then, “ their instinct is to share with the goat and now the change and shift the value system is that these children are being taught not only do you eat the bread on your own but if you are hungry then you eat the goat too.”

“Tibetans never have true safety and protection in being Tibetan in Tibet but now under Xi-Jinping, it’s like even the gloves are off. They don’t even really pay lip service to the idea of regional ethnic autonomy or they have just overturned any existing ideas that Tibetans even an ethnic minority of China, which we are not,” said Lhadon.

She further added, “We are an independent nation under an illegal occupation but the idea that Tibetans even as an ethnic minority of China should have some semblance rights and freedoms to protect or promote Tibetan language or culture or Buddhism and whatnot–that’s all gone out of the window under Xi-Jinping. Every year gets worse, but the world does not know and cannot see clearly.”

Tibetans Seek Global Help To Stem Chinese Attack on Culture

Tibet has become a black hole of information observed Lhadon. Those who live inside cannot come out and the ones outside cannot go in. Isolating Tibet is now engrained in Chinese policy, especially after 2008. A milestone moment in the Tibetan struggle was when China was hosting the Olympics. Millions of Tibetans soon after the 10th of March rose against Chinese rule. It’s almost akin to North Korea as far as information and communication are concerned, the forum was told by the panellists.

Extending the argument further Chemi Lhamo, told the forum, “with China’s long-arm tactics, they exist in not just inside Tibet but overseas even in places like Canada. We know from recent reports of safeguard offenders that existence of Chinese police stations in almost 50 countries.”

One would wonder how information can come out of Tibet for a report to be written if this is the level of surveillance.

“What we relied in this report – interviewing former residents, satellite imagery, local news reports, local news reports and local government statements which are often one hand propaganda but on the other half give useful details on what the authorities are thinking, also there were some photos and details made way from Drago country anonymously to groups like Free Tibet,” said John talking about the hard one year of putting the report together.

All is not lost. There is hope.  Chemi spoke about how in Toronto every Wednesday Tibetans turn up outside the Chinese Embassy at 8.30 am to register their presence and remind the authorities of their atrocities. From opening schools with Buddhist ethos to raising voices at various platforms and locals inside Tibet doing their bit, “Tibetans despite all that is happening continue to thrive…our existence becomes resistance,” said Chemi with pride.

All engagement and resistance are non-violent resistance.

She added, “There is a saying in Tibetan – every Tibetan born after 1959 is born an activist”

Free Tibet report: here

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History, significance of January 26

A grand parade will showcase a mix of the country’s military strength and cultural diversity…reports Asian Lite News

India marks its Republic Day every year on January 26. This year the country celebrates its 74 th Republic Day today.

Celebrations begin with President Draupadi Murmu unfurling the national flag on the recently unveiled Kartavaya Path, formerly known as Rajpath. President Droupadi Murmu will do so for the first time since being elected to the highest office of the country last year. The President along with the nation witnesses India’s military might. The President, who is the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces, distributes Paramvir Chakra, Ashok Chakra and Vir Chakra to the Bravehearts. The military might is telecast on television Live in the entire nation.

A grand parade will showcase a mix of the country’s military strength and cultural diversity.

Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force along with other security forces will present a spectacular show in front of the nation as they march past the dais where the President along with other dignitaries taking the salute.

Millions of Indians witness the mesmerising sight of the rich tradition, cultural heritage and spectacle of the nation’s progress and achievements.

Republic Day commemorates the day on January 26, 1950 the day when the Constituion of India came into effect after the country became a sovereign state after it got its Independence on August 15, 1947.

The first Constituent Assembly session was held on December 9, 1946 while the last one took place on November 26, 1949. The Drafting Committee of the Constitution was headed by Dr BR Ambedkar.

On January 26, the country marks the national holiday commemorating the enforcement of the Constitution, the date on which the Indian National Congress announced Purna Swaraj from British rule. The resolution also marked the beginning of a large-scale nationwide political movement against colonial rule. The day of January 26 celebrates the spirit and soul of a sovereign nation.

This year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will be the Chief Guest. The Egyptian military will participate in the parade along with the Indian Armed Forces. The Egyptian military contingent will have 144 personnel participating in the parade.

Security has been heightened in the national capital in view of the Republic Day celebrations.

According to the Delhi Police, around 65,000 people will witness the parade on January 26, for which they can register through a QR code.

About 6,000 jawans have been deployed for security for the 26 January parade, which includes the paramilitary forces, and NSG apart from Delhi Police. The Kartavya Path will be monitored with the help of around 150 CCTV cameras, which also have high-resolution cameras. (ANI)

ALSO READ: India, Egypt elevate ties to strategic partnership

Culture Lite Blogs

‘History must be re-examined’

Stressing he chooses to write history at this moment, though he loved writing travelogues in his twenties and could go back to them one day, the author says he has often considered writing a sequel to his 2010 bestseller, ‘Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India’…writes Sukant Deepak

Stressing that it is the job of the historian to take note of new research, historian and author William Dalrymple says there is nothing wrong with re-examining history in light of new evidence.

“It is a good thing that history must be reexamined by every successive generation: relooked at and rethought and discussed over again. I personally believe that it is not at all a bad thing for history to be looked at from the ever-changing perspectives of the present. Such discussion and debate is entirely legitimate, but it has to be firmly anchored in the facts found in the primary sources and not just be an expression of political opinion, nationalistic muscle-flexing, or religious orthodoxy.

“Sadly, there is often a tendency in this country to reduce history to binaries: a world full of great heroes and great villains. In reality, human beings are rarely black or white: we are all different shades of gray,” he tells IANS at the 6th Kerala Literature Festival organised by the DC Kizhakemuri Foundation. “It’s the historian’s job to research and express those subtle nuances. In history, nuance is everything.”

Currently working on his next book ‘The Golden Road’, the story of Indian influence spreading out over Asia – Buddhism going up to China and Hinduism and Sanskrit going down to South East Asia, and India numbers and mathematics going West, Dalrymple, born in Scotland wrote his first book ‘In Xanadu: A Quest’ at the age of 22 and moved to Delhi in 1989.

Spending five years researching his best-known ‘The City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi’, his other bestselling works include ‘From the Holy Mountain: A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium’, ‘The Age of Kali’, ‘White Mughals’, ‘The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857’, ‘Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India’, ‘The Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan’ and ‘The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire.’

Stressing he chooses to write history at this moment, though he loved writing travelogues in his twenties and could go back to them one day, the author says he has often considered writing a sequel to his 2010 bestseller, ‘Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India’.

Also a photographer, Dalrymple says that writing and photography use different parts of the brain: Photography is immediate and about the instant moment, while writing is slow, and considered and involves much editing, rewriting, and rethinking.

“They both give me different pleasures. I am also doing a podcast titled ‘Empire’ with Anita Anand. It’s been a surprising hit since it started in August and there are now a million downloads a month. Earlier, it was just British, US, and Australian audiences, but now it is doing really well in India too.”

William Dalrymple’s bestseller ‘The Anarchy’ to be adapted into TV series.

The author, who has also collaborated with singer-composer Vidya Shah for literary-musical acts (‘The Last Mughal’ and the White Mughals’) feels it is interesting to divide his time between different forms of creativity and believes the variety keeps him fresh and engaged, always wrestling with new challenges: “While my main calling is history, I am also a photographer and have been a travel writer, a foreign correspondent, a festival organiser, and a podcaster. Next year, I am taking up a visiting fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford. If you keep yourself fresh and interested you’re more likely to keep your audience engaged.”

In his research process, the best part is visiting the places where the events he will write about took place. “It is more like a holiday — going to the ruins and the temples and the battlefields. Yes, the archives are a slog. But the hardest bit is writing… putting pen to paper. The first two-three months are especially tough but then you see the pile of paper building, and the writing improving through successive drafts and that feels very satisfying. It is exactly because of that difficulty that finishing a book is such a uniquely satisfying moment,” he concludes.

ALSO READ-William Dalrymple : ‘Biographically led histories are more interesting’

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With her brisk movements and scintillating poses, ace Indian dancer Sankari Mridha wowed the audience. Her flexibility and Balance portrayed through several sculptures like momentary freezes, was received with round after round of applause from the audience

The United Kingdom Telugu Association organised ‘SANKRANTI 2023’, an Indian festival to celebrate the transition of deity Surya (Sun) at Boothroyd Hall, London on 14th January 2023. With over 600 people in the audience and several traditional activities, Sankari Mridha’s performance was an unforgettable one.

After the ceremonial light of the lamp, Sankari began with a ‘Natesha Kauthuvam’ in Ragam Nattai set to Adhi Thalam. This Kauthuvam is a ‘Nritya’ piece (consisting of both footwork and facial expressions) in praise of the Cosmic dancer, Shiva, in the form of Lord Nataraja.

Sankari Mridha performs in London

With her brisk movements and scintillating poses, Sankari wowed the audience. Her flexibility and Balance portrayed through several sculptures like momentary freezes were received with round after round of applause from the audience. Sankari’s facial expressions and powerful ‘jathis’ (footwork sequence) revived Shiva’s dancing bells tied to his feet, as described by the song.

The highlight of the evening was a unique Keerthanam, ‘Yathi’, in Ragamalika and Talamalika. A Yathi is an arrangement of rhythmic percussive syllables to match a pattern that pictorially represents an object. Key to the Yathi is several time cycles of creative chronology. As Shiva dances his Cosmic dance represented by this Yathi, the ‘Ananda Tandava’, the whole universe yearns to witness this delightful moment. Sankari’s electrifying jathis, and apt sense of ‘Thala’ (Musical measure) portray her technical and aesthetic knowledge of Bharatanatyam. Her artistic movements varied in arithmetic combinations and grace in this Yathi brings to life the objects described by the song such as the Nandi Cow, the triangle estuary formed by the river opening into the sea, the musical instruments, Damaru and Mridanga. Sankari’s footwork was clean and sharp. Her facial expressions brought out the essence of her devotion to Shiva. This ‘one of a kind’ performance moved the audience.                                                                                                                                                                                        “I have known Sankari Mridha since 2016 when I met her for the first time at the Nehru Centre,” said Prabhakar Kaza, Director of KBC Arts and former CEO of State Bank of India –London.  “I have seen many of her performances such as Shades of India organised by the High Commission of India in London. Her performance today was portraying the story of Lord Shiva. Her dance clearly explained the story, with the help of her sharp and clean Nritya or dance steps and beautiful expressions.”

Sankari Mridha performs in London
Asia News Culture Media

AMMA opens at Tara Theatre

Amma, a virtual reality performance where Bangladeshi women’s experiences of the war of independence will take centre stage … writes Riccha Grrover

A powerful virtual reality performance where Bangladeshi women’s experiences of the War of Independence will take centre stage. This thought-provoking production will allow audiences to experience first-hand what it was like to experience the war and in turn leave for the UK in the 1970s and 80s in quest for a new life.

Developed from artist-led story-gathering workshops with local Bangladeshi women in Birmingham, Walsall, Manchester and London, and brought to life by director Abdul Shayek and writer Kamal Kaan, AMMA will shed light on the often unheard experience of women through the War of Independence in Bangladesh, vividly preserving these important voices for future generations.

Developed from first-hand testimonies from Bangladeshi women in Birmingham, Walsall, Manchester and London, Amma is directed by Abdul Shayek and written by Kamal Kaan and runs at Tara Theatre until 17th December 2022. Amma is supported by the National Theatre Immersive Storytelling Studio.

Amma tells important stories, it’s a much anticipated theatre performance coming up in London at Tara Theatre. Deeply moving, this production through cutting-edge 360 VR storytelling, will transport you across time to locales in Bangladesh and back, to shed light on experiences from women who lived through the War of Independence and rebuilding a life in 1970s and 1980s Britain. This production will vividly bring to life and preserve these important voices for future generations.

Amma is directed by Abdul Shayek and runs at Tara Theatre from 30 November – 17 December. BOOK NOW

Box office: 020 8333 4457

356 Garratt Lane
Earlsfield, London SW18 4ES

Culture India News

Mohenjo Daro may lose world heritage tag

The site contains the remnants of one of two main centres of the ancient Indus civilization (c. 2500–1700 BCE), the other one being Harappa, some 640 km to the northwest…reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan’s department of archaeology has called for urgent attention towards conservation and restoration work at Mohenjo Daro apprehending that the site may be removed from the world heritage list if such work was not carried out.

Sources said that archaeological ruins of Mohenjo Daro had received record rains, measured at 779.5mm, which continued from Aug 16 to 26. It resulted in considerable damage to the site and partial falling of several walls, including the protection wall of the stupa dome.

It was learnt that the curator of the site in his Aug 29 letter to the director culture, antiquities and archaeology said “we have put in efforts to protect the site with our resources”.

The role of other departments — irrigation, roads, highways and forest — was quite essential for safeguarding the world heritage site, as landlords and farmers had not only inserted pipes and given cuts to canals and roads to release water into Mohenjo Daro’s channel.

However, due to negligence on the part of above-mentioned departments, the rainwater from nearby agriculture lands had filled disposal channel, the sources said.

This caused delay in driving out water from the site, the letter said, adding that water had entered even into the campus. After rains, the official concerned at the site had said: “We are facing another emergency in the shape of a constant rise in the Indus level.”

Although water level in Indus is low, due to the construction of metal road on the protection dyke near Mohenjo Daro, paired with occurrence of fissures, cavities and dangerous gullies, the department had approached local irrigation officials but in vain, according to the letter. No one had turned up to inspect the site and assess the situation, it said.

The archaeology official had called for immediate contact with the irrigation and roads departments for the repair of bund, breached canal dykes and removal of pipes.

The curator has proposed sending of experts (conservators and engineers) for an assessment of the damage caused to the site during downpours. Presently, the archaeology officials posted at Mohenjo Daro are busy repairing the damaged portions of the structures.

Tourists’ entry banned

Keeping in view that the heritage site Mohenjo-Daro situated on the right bank of Indus River is facing the danger of obliteration after braving the monstrosity of recent flash floods and torrential rains, the administration on Sunday banned the entry of tourists to the place.

The recent heavy spell of rains and concurrent floods which have ravaged large swathes of Sindh, have also taken a very heavy toll on the mounds and ruins of 5000-year-old historic city of Mohenjo Daro.

The authorities fearing its annihilation has put a ban on the entry of tourists to the place.

It is expected that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will visit the archeological site during his visit to Pakistan on Sept 11.

In a statement, the UN said that Secretary-General Guterres will travel to Pakistan for a solidarity visit given the “tragic situation facing millions of men, women, and children impacted by historic floods.”

The Secretary-General is expected to arrive in Islamabad on Sept 9 and will then travel to the areas most impacted by the unprecedented climate catastrophe.

He is expected to be back in New York on Sept 11 but before wrapping up his visit, he is also expected to visit Mohenjo-Daro. Mohenjo-Daro – a group of mounds and ruins on the right bank of the Indus River in northern Sindh – lies on the flat alluvial plain of the Indus, about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Sukkur.

The site contains the remnants of one of two main centres of the ancient Indus civilization (c. 2500–1700 BCE), the other one being Harappa, some 400 miles (640 km) to the northwest in Punjab province.

The historic site also called City of Dead has received torrential rains and floods in recent days.

The department of archaeology has called for urgent attention towards its conservation and restoration work apprehending that the site may be removed from the world heritage list if such work was not carried out.

Meanwhile, the road link between Swat and Bahrain was restored.

The Pakistan Army engineering corps, NHA and district administration participated in the restoration work and repaired the damaged road.

ALSO READ-SC to hear Swamy’s plea to declare ‘Ram Setu’ heritage monument

Culture India News

SC to hear Swamy’s plea to declare ‘Ram Setu’ heritage monument

Swamy’s plea sought a direction to the Central government and the National Monument Authority to declare ‘Ram Setu’ as a monument of national importance…reports Asian Lite News

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will list a plea by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction to the Central government for declaring ‘Ram Sethu’, a national heritage monument.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said the matter could not be listed as one of the judges on the concerned bench had some health issues. The Chief Justice told Swamy, “We will list it”.

Earlier, a bench headed by Chief Justice and also comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli had agreed to list the plea for hearing on July 26. Swamy had mentioned the matter for hearing a couple of times in the apex court.

Swamy’s plea sought a direction to the Central government and the National Monument Authority to declare ‘Ram Setu’ as a monument of national importance.

Ram Setu, which is also known as Adam’s Bridge, is a chain of limestone shoals between Pamban Island or Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.

Swamy contended that the government has already accepted the existence of ‘Ram Setu’ and in 2017, a meeting was also convened to examine his demand, but things have not moved after that.

In April last year, a bench headed by the then Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had directed that the plea seeking National Heritage Status for Ram Setu be listed before the next Chief Justice N.V. Ramana.

The UPA government, in 2007, had proposed a Sethusamudram project. Under this project an 83-km-long deep-water channel was to be made by extensive dredging and removal of the limestone shoals to link Mannar with Palk Strait. Swamy moved against this decision in the court and the government resorted to another plan to link Mannar with Palk Strait.

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