Asia News FEATURE World News

INDIAN SCIENCE CONGRESS: Scientific temper brings inclusion in society

To develop science in a way that it becomes India’s strength will be crucial to India’s story of development over the next 25 years i.e. the Amritkaal. In that context, the 108th Indian Science Congress at Nagpur was inaugurated on the onset of this year to boost India’s scientific strength and meet the needs of India, becoming the root of all inspirations for the entire scientific community … writes Dr Remya Ajith. Scientific temper and inclusion in human society can significantly empower individuals and communities to take control of their lives and make informed decisions. Scientific temper refers to a mind-set and approach that is rational, objective, and evidence-based, where individuals evaluate evidence critically before making decisions or forming opinions

As the strongest pillar on which our ancient as well as modern societies have found support on, science as a profession has had a lasting impact on humanity by transforming people’s lives, driving economic growth, healthcare & wellness, enhancing the quality of life and providing solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges.

Scientific temper and inclusion in human society can significantly empower individuals and communities to take control of their lives and make informed decisions. Scientific temper refers to a mindset and approach that is rational, objective, and evidence-based, where individuals evaluate evidence critically before making decisions or forming opinions.

Inclusion, on the other hand, aims to create a society where everyone can participate fully and equally by ensuring that the benefits of these advancements are accessible to everyone regardless of their background, ethnicity, race, gender, culture, caste, religion or abilities. When the passion for science and welfare of the humanity intersects with each other, the results have been nothing short of spectacular. However, even with the use of novel technology and rapid advancements in the field of education, research & development in India, there has been less than expected progress in the scientific temper over the past many decades. Nevertheless, there has been a renewed vigour on those lines over the last decade is bound to yield results sooner than later.

One of the key resolutions for the Government of India has been that India makes its place in the top 10 countries of the world in the field of science. For any community to make progress, it becomes imperative to collect and analyse data at every step, especially in the new era of the 21st century where there is constantly churning and changes taking place every moment. Within the country, there are two things in abundance: data and technology. With the massive potential to take India’s science to new heights, the newly[1]assigned role to the scientific community in India has been to make the country Atmanirbhar (self-sufficient) in every sense of the word.

Developing science in a way that it becomes India’s strength will be crucial to India’s story of development over the next 25 years i.e. the Amritkaal. In that context, the 108th Indian Science Congress was inaugurated on the onset of this year to boost India’s scientific strength and meet the needs of India, becoming the root of all inspiration for the entire scientific community.

The Indian Science Congress is a premier scientific event that brings together scientists, researchers, and academicians from various fields to discuss and disseminate recent advances in science and technology. The congress provides a platform for sharing knowledge, collaboration, and networking, which can empower individuals and institutions in the science community. Keeping in mind that 17% of the world’s population is rooted in India, it makes sense that any scientific work that fulfils the needs of the society would give momentum and mean progress to the world as its impact will be on a substantial chunk of the entire humanity naturally. Within the Indian Science Congress, the major focus has been on the Children’s Science Congress with more than 7000 students participating and the Women’s Science Congress where a large number of women scientists have participated from various organisations. These communities i.e. women and students have historically witnessed abysmally low interaction and participation in sciences, and therefore the focus has been to ensure that the same is given a major fillip. In addition, a new entrant within the setup has been the Tribal Sciences Congress – a platform for the scientific display of indigenous ancient knowledge systems and studies, and the Farmer Sciences Congress – a platform to improve the bio-economy and attract the youth towards agricultural science as well.

Along the same, an exhibition pride of India depicting the lives of personalities who have left an indelible mark in the field of sciences across the globe and in India has been put in place. As the nation increases its tally and share of PhD scholars across the globe as well as the number of start-ups, the focus has also been on the level of progress made in terms of innovation with the Global Innovation Index of 130 countries showing India ranked 81st in 2015 and making its place up to the 40th spot by the year 2022.

With the traditional Vigyan Jyoti – the flame of knowledge – being a significant part of the Indian Science Congress, the attention has shifted to building the scientific temper with an inclusive approach in society and among the youth as well. Science has the potential to bring out cataclysmic changes with its impact percolating from the global to grassroots level, its ambit increasing from journals to zameen (land) and changes are quite perceptible from research to real life.

In consonance with the theme this year ‘Science & Technology for Sustainable Development & Women Empowerment’, the exhibitions and sub-programmes have been carefully curated to shift attention towards the same. Any kind of sustainable development can only take place if and when 49% of the global population i.e. women are empowered enough in every field exuding a new momentum to research as well as a society too. Science enables women’s empowerment by providing access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities, leading to their economic self-sufficiency and social independence.

Women’s participation in science and technology fields is growing, and programmes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana and Digital India have made exemplary efforts to encourage girls and women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. In tune with the idea of shifting focus towards women, W20 (a sub-group within the G20 setup that is being hosted in India this year) listed that W20 India’s vision was to create a world of equality and equity with the removal of all barriers to ensure women-led development. Enabling an ecosystem where women feel empowered and secure enough to thrive, transcend and transform their own lives and that of others, the W20 shall focus on bringing out white papers, policy briefs, video documentaries, opinion pieces, handbooks and communique with the purpose of influencing G20 nations and leaders to make women’s agenda at the core of G-20 deliberations.

Science also plays a significant role in empowering marginalized and underprivileged individuals by providing access to resources and opportunities as well. For example, initiatives like the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) aim to provide education and training opportunities for all, regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status.

India has been able to solidify its stronghold on the sciences with new efforts being made on the innovation front nowadays. Science and technology have the potential to improve human lives and promote the well-being of society, but this potential can only be realised if science and technology are applied in an inclusive manner. Inclusion means recognising and respecting the diversity of all people, including their opinions, perspectives, needs, and contributions. It also means fostering an environment where everyone feels welcome and can participate fully in the process of scientific discovery. In this way, science and technology can help create a more equitable and just society for all. Therefore, this urgency to become self-sufficient can serve as a major boost to the livelihoods of the people as well as ensure the larger collective progress of humanity.

FEATURE Lite Blogs UAE News

From Ferns N Petals to FNP: Gifting solutions for every occasion

An Exclusive feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

FNP World comprises of FNP Retail & Franchising, FNP E-commerce – India & UAE, FNP Cakes, FNP Venues, FNP Weddings & Events, Floral Touch – UAE, WDH (Wedding Design Hub), Flowers ‘N’ More, FNP Flagship, FNP Media, BabyBless (a newly launched Baby Planning Services) et al. 

Recently Ferns N Petals has refreshed its brand identity by unveiling its new logo representing the company’s growth and its evolution from a single flower store to a multi-category gifting company.

In the offline front the gifting giant has over 400+ outlets in more than 125+ cities pan India (delivering to 99% pincodes in India) The brand boasts of a robust international presence in Saudi,UAE, Qatar and Singapore. With thousands of products across various categories, such as cakes, flowers, plants, chocolates, and personalized merchandise the online business which contributes to the lion’s share of the business generates 10,000 orders daily. 

FNP has 8.5 million happy online customers at a CAGR of 16% from 2015. The brand enjoys a very healthy returning customer rate of 46%. Since a lot of NRIs also send gifts to their loved ones in India, overseas Indians also contribute close to one-fourth of FNP’s topline. Now FNP provides solutions for all gifting needs from elaborate floral arrangements, to delectable cakes to sending personalised gifts for different occasions.

FNP has recently ventured into the confectionary services with FNP Cakes (established in 2017) a brand which currently has over 160 stores across India and has a robust plan to expand in the upcoming quarter.

Today FNP has a global presence delivering fresh flowers and cakes to over 120 countries. The brand has consistently been honoured for its pre-eminence in creative spirit and service capabilities. 

At FNP Innovation is at the heart of everything they do. They constantly strive to provide the best. They have created a team and culture that is focused on continuously innovating. They have a dedicated design team tirelessly working to create holistic designs which compliment every emotion.

FNP has established itself as India’s largest gifting platform that people trust when it comes to delivery. Talk about Valentine’s Day, Rakhi, Diwali, Christmas, Birthdays, Personalised gadgets, indoor plants, housewarming items, corporate gifts, good luck charms FNP provides gifting solutions for any occasion.

Meet the Founder:  Mr Vikaas Gutgutia, Founder & MD, Ferns N Petals

Mr Vikaas Gutgutia, is a maverick entrepreneur and the Unicorn Founder & Managing Director of Ferns N Petals. Established in 1994 he started his journey  with the purpose of providing world-class facilities to Indian society. 

For Mr. Gutgutia, gifting was an intimate way of expressing one’s love and appreciation to a dear one and he wanted to transform this experience from a beautiful dream to an ingenious reality. Despite what most might think, a university degree doesn’t always equate to success, with just a simple B.Com degree in hand and putting his blood and sweat into the business for years, he established a name that has become a household phenomenon and the largest flower and gifting barnd in India.

With his persistent efforts and desire to create an exceptional brand, he brought a new edge to the flower gifting culture in the country, and now this flower has budded into different directions with 400+ stores across India and 11 verticals under one umbrella. 

Due to his many achievements, he was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year (2020) by Ernst & Young. Mr. Gutgutia has found his success because of his unconventional and out-of-the-box ideology. He had set out with a dream to transform the world of gifting and flowers and has managed to achieve just that. 

Now, FNP has diversified into various other fields. Mr. Gutgutia has time and again proved that no dream is too big for a person who has what it takes. Other than the quest to be the best in the industry, he has deep interest in penning down poems based on his experiences of life.

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…….

FEATURE Health UK News

‘We Are The NHS’

New NHS recruitment campaign launches to encourage South Asian community to consider nursing career. Now in its fifth year, NHS England’s ‘We Are The NHS’ campaign has been revamped to champion the extraordinary work of South Asian nurses and inspire a new cohort to consider a career in the health service

Now in its fifth year, NHS England’s ‘We Are The NHS’ campaign has been revamped to champion the extraordinary work of South Asian nurses and inspire a new cohort to consider a career in the health service.

The campaign highlights the range of nursing specialisms across the NHS, including in learning disabilities, mental health, adult and children’s nursing. It features a South Asian nurse, who is proud to showcase the many ways that nursing has a positive impact every day, on patients and on himself.

Pratap Perseeddoss, a nurse at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, and now star of the new ‘We Are The NHS’ campaign said: “It’s a very rewarding role. I enjoy interacting with patients and listening to any concerns or feedback they might have – this is absolutely crucial to ensuring you can provide the best possible care.”

After completing his nursing degree at London South Bank University, Pratap is now a Nurse Consultant. Candidates for university nursing courses have access to a support system to guide them step by step through the application process, alongside tailored support. Annual payments of at least £5,000 are also available to help nursing students with their studies.

“A career in nursing is one of the most dynamic and rewarding roles the NHS has to offer,” said Pratap. “With ongoing training and endless opportunities to progress, I am sure a career in nursing will transform your life, as it has done mine. Being in a workplace that allows you to grow and bring your whole authentic self to work everyday is what enables me to deliver the best possible healthcare.”

After graduating, nursing is the UK’s most employable profession with 94% of graduates gaining employment within the first six months of leaving university. Once qualified, there are many opportunities to further develop through additional training or by focusing on specific areas, such as trauma, orthopaedics or neonatal care.

To help those who are unsure of what to specialise in, the ‘We Are The NHS’ campaign has also launched a quiz to raise awareness of the plethora of nursing roles available and to help people find out which nursing role they would be best suited to which is available here

The campaign aims to increase applications for both degree courses and direct entry jobs, seeking to build upon the existing 1.2 million-strong workforce and to shine a light on the incredible work they do in multicultural adverts across TV, cinemas, radio and billboards.

Dr Navina Evans, recently appointed Chief Workforce Officer at NHSE, said: “I am proud to support this new recruitment campaign. The NHS’s greatest strength is in the diversity of our people. Nurses from multicultural communities across the UK are the backbone of our national health service and the contributions they make every day must be celebrated.”

Marimouttou Coumarassamy, Founder and Chair of the British Indian Nursing Association, said: “When I first arrived from India to work as a nurse in the UK, I was pleasantly surprised by the respect given to the nursing profession. Throughout my career, I have been supported through various learning opportunities, which have helped me to grow as a compassionate and inclusive leader. I am proud to be part of the NHS family and would encourage others to choose a career in nursing.”

Search ‘Nursing Careers’ for more information or visit:

  • 81% of South Asian’s surveyed said that nurses have made a positive impact in their life or the life of a loved one
  • Just over two in five (41%)  South Asians surveyed agree they would consider a career in nursing
  • The new ‘We Are The NHS’ campaign highlights the rewarding and diverse range of nursing roles available within the NHS
Asia News FEATURE UK News

Britain Celebrates Intl. Yoga Day

The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually on 21 June since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014

London and major cities across the United Kingdom mark International Yoga Day with several community events. The main event in London was held at the prestigious Neasden Temple. Gaitri Issar Kumar, High Commissioner of India, addressed the gathering at the temple.

The event was held in front of the iconic Mandir and included a live yoga demonstration from three-time World Yoga Champion Ishwar Sharma as well as a presentation of pranayama and meditation techniques from the Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) by Neil Patel, an author, lecturer and yoga teacher, and founder of Chi Kri Yoga.

International Yoga Day at Neasden Temple in London

Isha Foundation organised Yoga Namaskaram at Holland Park in London. Other events were held in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester.

 “It has been a perfect start to the International Day of Yoga in London at the [BAPS] Shri Swaminarayan Mandir,” said Mrs Kumar. “Thank you so much to the management and the members of this Mandir and its community for hosting a very good yoga session with the backdrop of the Mandir. It has energised us for the rest of the celebrations today. It was wonderful being here.”

 “Today, we are so grateful to the management of the [BAPS] Swaminarayan Mandir committee for giving the High Commission a place to demonstrate yoga in action,” said Lord Rami Ranger. Drawing upon a newly-erected 27-foot image of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj – the creator of the Temple – Lord Ranger added, “The vision of Pramukh Swami Maharaj is now gracing countries all over the world.”

International Yoga Day at Neasden Temple in London

The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually on 21 June since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. As the UN explains: “Yoga emphasizes the values of mindfulness, moderation, discipline and perseverance. When applied to communities and societies, Yoga offers a path for sustainable living.”

FEATURE Health Woman

Diets that don’t work for women

Whether we want to accept it or not, biologically men and women are very different. One of the important differences is in the way men and women use and store fat. Men on average have about 3 per cent essential fat as part of their composition – women have 12 per cent…reports Asian Lite News

Essential fat is a percentage of total body fat mass that is necessary for insulation, protection of our vital organs, vitamin storage and building key cell messengers like steroids that are necessary for effective cell communication. Without this fat, the body does not function properly and our immune and neurological systems get affected.

Women have four times as much essential fat. Stored fat in women is actually beneficial to overall health. A baseline of 12 per cent of essential fat protects women from type two diabetes and even heart disease. This is important to understand because:

It helps with expectations and goal setting when you choose weight loss programmes:

Striving for 20 per cent body fat is unhealthy

There are three popular diets in the world: Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting, and GM Diet. Unfortunately, these diets are not helpful especially for women who are thinking of significant weight loss (more than 15-20 kgs) and maintaining it permanently.

Let’s look at these diet plans in detail:

Keto Diet: The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high-fat diet. Restricting carbs and increasing fat intake can lead to ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body relies primarily on fat for energy instead of carbs. “Women’s bodies always resist losing fat as it is essential for pregnancy and lactation, and it’s essential.”

Carb intake in the keto diet is typically limited to fewer than 50 grams per day, which can cause shock to women’s bodies. When the carb quotient depletes, it switches to ketones and fat for fuel at the start of this eating pattern, women’s brain and metabolism starts resisting fat loss. It results in a complete imbalance leading to hormonal and metabolic changes. Also, Keto-type diets usually work only for a short term and can have side effects such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and constipation.

Further, most of the initial weight loss is water weight. Once the body enters ketosis, we begin to lose muscle, become extremely fatigued, and eventually enter starvation mode which actually makes it even harder to lose weight.

ALSO READ: Prolonged sitting leads to health issues

A keto diet does more harm than good to the majority of women especially if they have any underlying medical conditions like PCOS, Irregular menses or Infertility.

Intermittent Fasting: Fasting is a practice that involves completely abstaining from eating or avoiding certain foods for a fixed period. In recent years, intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular with people looking to lose weight.

During studies, it was found that although intermittent fasting produced favourable results in people who were overweight or obese, women who tried it, had the following negative effects:

Severe mood swings

Extreme hunger

Low energy/fatigue

Obsessive thoughts about food

Overeating on days without restricted calories



Most women exhibit such behaviours in the first few weeks of intermittent fasting. It is also observed that by restricting calorie intake in this manner, it may interfere with their menstrual cycles.

GM Diet: The GM diet aims to help people lose weight by focusing on a specific food or food group each day for a week. The GM diet consists of a 7-day meal plan. Each day focuses on a specific food or food group.


Although the idea of substantial weight loss within a short period may seem attractive, the GM diet does come with risks which are:

Lacks vital nutrients: Women following the GM diet may not get enough of certain important food groups, such as healthy fats and protein. This diet may also lack essential vitamins and minerals that come with eating a wide variety of healthful foods.

Short-term weight loss: The GM diet is not a sustainable long-term weight-loss strategy. A woman may regain weight once they stop following the diet. One reason for this is that the diet does not necessarily teach techniques for healthy cooking or eating which is essential for long-term weight maintenance.

Other risks which are very common and can be aggravated in women in a few weeks include dehydration, headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness and inability to concentrate, In a nutshell, balanced calorie intake – macronutrients like carbs, proteins, fats, and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals which are essential for pregnancy, lactation and overall health of the women. Hence, eating a balanced meal during weight loss is advised.

FEATURE Motoring News

Jaguar Land Rover gives second life to I-PACE batteries

Jaguar Land Rover partners with Pramac to create zero-emissions charging unit using second-life Jaguar I-PACE batteries…reports Asian Lite News

Jaguar Land Rover has partnered with Pramac, a global leader in the energy sector, to develop a portable zero-emission energy storage unit powered by second-life Jaguar I-PACE batteries.

Called the Off Grid Battery Energy Storage System (ESS), Pramac’s technology – which features lithium-ion cells from Jaguar I-PACE batteries taken from prototype and engineering test vehicles, supplies zero-emission power where access to the mains supply is limited or unavailable.


The partnership is the first in Jaguar Land Rover’s plans to create new circular economy business models for its vehicle batteries. As part of its commitment to net zero status by 2039, the company will be launching programmes that deliver second life and beyond uses for its electric vehicle batteries.

Post-vehicle applications exist because Jaguar Land Rover’s batteries are engineered to the highest standards and can therefore be safely deployed in multiple low-energy situations once battery health falls below the stringent requirements of an electric vehicle. Second-life battery supply for stationary applications, like renewable energy storage, could exceed 200 gigawatt-hours per year by 2030, creating a global value over $30 billion*.


The flagship system has a capacity of up to 125kWh – more than enough to fully charge Jaguar’s multi-award-winning all-electric I-PACE performance SUV, or to power a regular family home for a week**. Pramac directly reuses up to 85% of the vehicle battery supplied by Jaguar Land Rover within the storage unit, including modules and wiring. The remaining materials are recycled back into the supply chain.

Charged from solar panels, the unit is a self-contained solution that consists of a battery system linked to a bi-directional converter and the associated control management systems. Available for commercial hire, the units are fitted with Type 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) charge connections with dynamic control and rated at up to 22kW AC to allow electric vehicle charging.

To showcase its capability, the unit helped Jaguar TCS Racing prepare for the 2022 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship during testing in the UK and Spain, where it was used to run the team’s cutting-edge diagnostic equipment analysing the race cars’ track performance, and to supply auxiliary power to the Jaguar pit garage.

An Off Grid Battery ESS will also be deployed at Jaguar Land Rover Experience Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa – the world’s biggest – to help the site cope with inconsistent power delivery from the mains.

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Andrew Whitworth, Battery Manager, Circular Economy Team at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “This announcement is a great example of how we will collaborate with industry leaders to deliver our sustainable future and achieve a truly circular economy. We’re delighted to be working with Pramac to use Jaguar I-PACE second-life batteries to provide portable zero-emissions power and supporting Jaguar TCS Racing this season was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what these units are capable of.”


François Dossa, Executive Director for Strategy & Sustainability, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “The transition to an electric future, with Jaguar becoming all-electric from 2025 and the first all-electric Land Rover model expected in 2024, is integral to our sustainability strategy through the development of a comprehensive EV ecosystem from batteries to charging. This includes our effort to enable technical and business innovations for battery reuse for second life applications. Our collaboration with Pramac is a proof point in such direction, showing how it’s possible to supply zero-emission power through the combination of renewables and second life batteries. Through their testing at Valencia, the Jaguar TCS Racing team have shown how we can inspire the whole ecosystem to continue to explore synergies and validate viable solutions for clean energy.”

Danny Jones, Director, Pramac, said: “We have been privileged to work so closely with Jaguar Land Rover who are a hugely supportive partner in our journey to successfully build a robust product and a commercially viable business case using second-life EV modules.  This brings a new element to the sustainability story as a manufacturer of energy efficient and carbon reducing technology. We look forward to continuing the journey with Jaguar Land Rover and providing innovative charging infrastructure solutions to support the electrification of their class-leading vehicles.”

FEATURE India News News

Christie’s collaborates with Good Earth India

Christie’s announces a collaboration with Founder and Creative Director of Good Earth India, Anita Lal for the upcoming Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Including the Oriental Rugs and Carpets auction, taking place on 31 March…reports Asian Lite News

Good Earth is India’s leading luxury design house that celebrates the heritage of the Indian subcontinent and lands that lay on the ancient Silk Road, through unique design stories with a focus on sustainability and craft traditions. Anita Lal has selected her personal highlights from the upcoming sale some of which will be incorporated into three vignettes alongside selected pieces from Good Earth, as part of the view in King Street, London, open from 26 to 31 March.

Lal commented: “I am delighted to work with Christie’s on the Art of Islamic and Indian Worlds Including Oriental Rugs and Carpets auction and to have the opportunity to see these remarkable works of art which showcase the skill and craftsmanship over the centuries. The lots that I have selected have enchanted me. The opulent and sumptuous carpets and rugs; the inspirational designs and techniques and the noble provenance across the sale are a reminder of our rich cultural past. For me, the value lies only in an object’s visual and emotional appeal, and I treasure things from the smallest handmade ceramic vase to a grand sculpture or an antique carpet and I mix them all together. Islamic design vocabulary and craftsmanship has been a source of inspiration for many collections at Good Earth and we honour it by creating products rooted in this incredible artisanal heritage in a contemporary context.”

“This Kurdish rug instantly appeals as it reminds of vintage Kashmiri Kani shawls that have been passed down in my family. It is fascinating to see how ancient patterns were transmitted and reinterpreted, from shawls to carpets and even inlaid in stone. This bowl conveys beauty and strength, enhanced with fine craftsmanship that balances the overall design with the form of the bowl in perfection’. ‘Van Vaibhav means ‘splendour of the forest’ and is a leitmotif at Good Earth. Blossoming trees with birds and animals is a recurring theme in our designs interpreted so exquisitely in this carpet. There is an uplifting feeling of being one with nature with this Tabriz carpet,” says Lal.

She added: “I love the departure from tradition in this unique Millefleurs rug with its bountiful florals in pastel shades of pink, aqua, blue and leaf green. It transports me to an enchanting blossoming garden. The stylised floral butahs woven into this Agra carpet mirror the butahs carved in marble and inlayed with precious stones on the Taj Mahal in Agra and this is what makes it so unique for me. It tells the tale of precious brocades, carpets, shawls and jewellery produced in the royal Mughal workshops known as Karkhanas.

“Known for their love of extravagant luxury, the Mughals had an intrinsic sense of aesthetics and a desire for perfection, tempered with extreme refinement. The Pomegranate is an integral motif in Eastern cultures symbolizing fertility and abundance. This painting brings to mind our latest dinner collection inspired by the Bosporus and lands around it. Featuring deep ruby pomegranates in playful arrangements across bowls and plates it evokes gardens and promenades in a dreamlike world of wonder like this Qajar oil painting.

“Radha and Krishna on a terrace Pahari Hills, India, early 19th century. Painting and folio ‘The Pahari miniatures are the most lyrical and romantic Indian paintings. I love the perfect shades of golden yellows balanced with ivory of the dhurrie and of the blossoms along with hints of pale green and pink. It is a scene of harmony and quiet delight with nature at its most beautiful.”

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Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam, Specialist Islamic and Indian Art, and Head of Sale comments: “I have been enthused by Good Earth’s contemporary collections and design ethos since discovering them several years ago. I immediately recognised the strong symbiosis in their creativity along with the markers of the Indian and Islamic worlds which keeps the legacy of Indian heritage alive and present today. It also recognises the vitally important contribution that Indian and Islamic works of art over the centuries, represented in the Christie’s sale, have made to today’s artists and craftsmanship as seen at Good Earth.”

The Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Including Oriental Rugs and Carpets comprises 211 lots in total, with striking examples of works of art across manuscripts, paintings, ceramics, metalwork and carpets dating from the 9th to 19th century, and with estimates ranging from 2,000 pounds to 2,500,000 pounds, with the sale being held on 31 March. The exhibition and view will take place at Christie’s King Street, from 26 March – 31 March.

FEATURE India News News

The unfading legacy of INS Viraat

On March 6, 2017, Indias second aircraft carrier, the mighty INS Viraat, was decommissioned after 30 years of glorious service to the nation. This article is a tribute to this unique warship, which kept Indias shores safe and citizens protected during one of the most challenging times in our nations history…writes Amruta Talawadekar & Janhvi Lokegaonkar

Thus, this article intends to rewind the clock and take a peek at those glory days through the eyes of one of its Captains who commanded INS Viraat when it was in full sail on the Indian high seas.

First, a short backgrounder. The ship was constructed by the Vickers-Armstrong shipbuilders in Great Britain and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Hermes in 1959. She was the Royal Navy’s flagship during the Falklands War in 1982, before being decommissioned in 1985.

The ship started her second innings with the Indian Navy, when she was commissioned as INS Viraat on May 12, 1987 as India’s second aircraft carrier. Those were the heady days when India was operating two aircraft carriers — INS Vikrant and INS Viraat.

INS Viraat was different in that it was larger and operated the Sea Harrier fighter, which was a Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft. INS Viraat remained the flagship of the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy for most part of her 30-year service during which she proudly displayed the Indian naval ensign in many parts of the world, while also taking part in numerous operations which included Operation Jupiter in 1989 during the Sri Lankan Peacekeeping operation and Op Parakram in 2001-2002, post the terrorist attack on the Parliament. The ship was decommissioned on March 6, 2017 after almost 30 years of glorious service with the Indian Navy.

Vice Admiral Abhay R. Karve, PVSM AVSM (Retd), commanded the ship as its Captain from August 1, 2007 to December 27, 2008. He later went on to be the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, from 2016 to 2018, from where he retired.

Considering his extensive sea experience and varied command tenures, we took the opportunity to seek his unique experience on his command of the mighty Viraat. Reproduced below are excerpts of that interview.

Starting with the basics, we asked for the Admiral’s views on the difference he found in commanding an aircraft carrier vis-a-vis other ships.

Karve replied, “An aircraft carrier has the largest crew complement of any ship in the Navy, which amounts to more than 1,500 personnel when all aircraft Squadrons are embarked. For a Captain, its ship handling characteristics are completely different from other ships. The aircraft carrier embarks various types of aircraft viz Sea Harrier fighters, Sea King helicopters, Chetak and even Kamovhelicopters at times. Other ships of the fleet are required to operate in coordination with the aircraft carrier. The safety and operational ability of such a large crew is the Captain’s responsibility.”

Having set the tone, we asked him about the unique characteristics of flying aircraft from sea and more so, from an aircraft carrier.

The Admiral said, “Every aircraft has its own unique role at sea. This requires specialized personnel to operate and maintain each aircraft. Moreover, the ship’s air wing and the operations team have to work like a well-oiled machine in complete coordination to maintain the tempo of operations. For me, since I had served on the ship as part of the commissioning crew, one was fairly aware of carrier operations and thus one could benefit from that experience when I commanded the ship.”

Turning from operations to the more basic necessities of food and water, we asked him how such a large force of men were fed and clothed while being fighting fit at such a large distance into the sea for months at a time.

Karve explained, “Onboard an aircraft carrier, stocking of rations and ammunition is a massive evolution requiring a few days of whole ship involvement. Fueling in harbour and at sea is also a unique exercise for the carrier which can be extremely stressful for the crew and Captain who are always alert for any emergency.”

Our final question was on the unique problems that an aircraft carrier faces while at sea. To this, the Admiral had an interesting insight to share.

“One of the unique challenges of the carrier at sea is the sea-space it requires. The ship must remain on steady course and speed for a longtime during launch recovery operations. Other vessels, including fishing boats, are required to stay clear of the carrier conducting flying operations. This may not always be possible and therefore can pose navigational challenges to the carrier, especially during night flying operations,” he said.

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“Aircraft carriers are central to the concept of Indian naval operations. The carrier is an extremely versatile platform and with its integral air power is able to exercise sea control over vast stretches of the ocean at will,” Karve added.

This reinstates the vitality of aircraft carriers. Carriers are no doubt expensive but the unique capability that they provide to the Navy is unmatched and unachievable by other ships or capability.

Currently, India has one aircraft carrier in commission, INS Vikramaditya, while the new Vikrant is undergoing sea trials and would be commissioned shortly. A follow-on third aircraft carrier is an operational necessity for the Indian Navy and is under active consideration.

Meanwhile, INS Viraat will remain a milestone in India’s maritime history. Today, we honour this mighty warrior on its decommissioning anniversary and pledge never to forget its great service to the nation.

(The writers are Senior Research Associates at the Maritime History Society)

FEATURE Lite Blogs Your Blog

SPECIAL: India’s Cultural Influence on 19th Century German Intelligentsia   

The Hindu text of Bhagavadgitaa component of (Mahabharata 3000 BCE) has become one of the most prominent and well known expression of Hindu thought and belief and the foreign land that encountered Gitawas none other than Germany, where it originally appeared in the last phase of eighteenth century when Germany was undergoing transformation of the so called the Romantic Period and thus, 19th century produced some of the greatest artists like Beethoven, Goethe, Schiller and Wagner … A special report by Dilip Roy

This was also the period when strongest influence was felt on prominent intellectuals of the time such as Paul Deussen, Herder, Holtzmann, Humboldt, Max-Muller, Novalis, Schelling, Friedrich von  Schlegel and Arthur Schopenhauer to name but a few. The two names are very crucial here.

The thought of Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) was a key influence on the development of Romanticism and German Idealism. Herder was a poet a philosopher of culture and history. He was attracted to the new discipline of Indology. For Herder India was the (cradle) of civilization of absolute unity of the basis of all things. Herder revisited Indian sources time and again to capture as a part of his wide-ranging effort to understand the world history as a whole. Among the numerous writings on India we find translations of Bhagavadgitapublished in 1792 which constitutes the first appearance of the text in German intellectual circles. In a broad sense with the concerns of his intellectual community inevitably gave India the recognition and thus the reception of  Gitaplayed a crucial role taking its place in the development of Indian sources (Indology) to the scientific study of the language (Philology) In this text, Herder presented some of the most enduring interpretations of Indian culture, and while these depictions became more distinguished in his other writings, the fame of the text meant that it would represent the most significant part of Herder’s legacy for early nineteenth century intellectuals who wished to study the great Indian civilization.  

The Romantic period of Germany also gave us Friedrich von Schlegel (1772-1829) who was a German poet, literary critic, philosopher, philologist and Indologist. In June 1802 he arrived in Paris to study Sanskrit and in 1808 he published epoch-making book, Uber die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier (On the Language and Wisdom of India). It is here he advanced his ideas about religion and importantly argued that the people originating from India were the founders of the first European civilizations. Schlegel compared Sanskrit with Latin, Greek, Persian and German languages noting many similarities in vocabulary and grammar. The assertion of the common features of these languages are now generally accepted. The essay also begins to open up the significance of the religious conception for Schlegel’s reading of Indian texts. This analysis provides the foundation for Schlegel’s interpretation and rendering of the Bhagavadgita which was appended to his famous treatise on India. Schlegel reaffirmed this myth as a part of the emerging Romantic program in an explicit attempt to establish Indian culture and religion as a source for European cultural renewal. As a part of this narrative, Schlegel continued to draw on important conception of fundamental Hindu ideology that began to emerge in Herder’s thought. However, one has the sense of this conception that has become something of a slogan in Schlegel’s text that Indian metaphysics and the language Sanskrit is superior above the rest.

Addendum: The Bhagavad Gita in twentieth century and Beyond.

Robert J. Oppenheimer (1904-1967) who is now regarded the father of Atomic Bomb was an American Scientist of German origin just like his friend world renowned scientist  Albert Einstein was also a German and both were influenced by Indian philosophy and thought.

Oppenheimer was not only a genius in his own field but he was strongly drawn to Hindu philosophy and the Hindu religion in particular, which resulted in feeling the cosmological mystery of the universe that surrounded him like a fog. He saw physics clearly, looking toward what had already been done and he turned away from the hard , crude methods of theoretical physics into the mystical realm of broad intuition. In 1933, he learned Sanskrit and met the Indologist Arthur W. Ryder at Berkeley university. He read the Bhagavadgitain the original Sanskrit, and later he cited it as one of books that most shaped his philosophy of life.

The Bhagavadgita is essentially a discourse between Prince Arjuna and God Vishnu (Lord Krishna) on the battle fields of the great MAHABHARATA war and Krishna is trying to convince Arjuna by implying that everyone in the battlefield will eventually die in time and that it his duty to fight.

In August 1945 when first Atomic Bomb was detonated on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the explosions reminded Oppenheimer of the quote from Bhagavadgita: Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of the Worlds.”

Postscript: Today at least eight countries have the destructive Nuclear weapons.

(Dilip Roy is an Indo-German cultural enthusiast and one of the greatest admirers of Nineteenth century German composer Richard Wagner. Mr. Roy’s articles on Wagner has been published by Wagner Societies of Australia, London, New Zealand and Scotland. Mr. Roy is also an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.  )