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Monday, 13 February 2012

India Show Begins at Lahore
“India Show” being organized by Government of India from 11-13 February, 2012, showcases the best of the Indian industry, cuisine and culture. Over 400 exhibitors will be participating in this Show which is intended to increase future trade opportunities, B2B meetings and direct buyer-seller interaction.

The objective of India Show Exhibition is to raise awareness of Indian products in Pakistan. Hon’ble Commerce Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Makhdoom Amin Fahim, will inaugurate the India Show on 11th February, 2012 at 10.30 A.M. in Lahore Expo Centre. Mr. Anand Sharma, Hon’ble Commerce, Industry and Textile Minister will preside over the closing ceremony of the ‘India Show’ on 13th February 2012. High powered Indian CEOs delegation led by Mr. R.V. Kanoria, President, FICCI is accompanying the Minister to Lahore for this show.

More than 50 prominent Indian companies will exhibit their products spread around 110 stalls in Hall No. 2 of Lahore Expo Centre. Products will range from manufacturing services, chemicals, engineering, textiles & apparels, consumer durables, gems & jewellery cosmetics, handicrafts, auto components, healthcare etc. Three hours in each of the days will remain open for general visitors while morning hours will remain dedicated to business visitors. B2B meetings during the days of the exhibition are being organized by TDAP in collaboration with Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Onetime permission has been granted by Government of Pakistan to exhibit Indian goods and services beyond the normal import of goods from India being allowed as per ‘Positive List’ and counter sale of products. The Indian CEOs delegation will comprise of more than 100 business delegates from wide cross section of Indian corporate sector will have business meetings at Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

The realization that trade could play a major role in improving overall relations has seen many encouraging developments taking place in the recent past. Year 2011 witnessed breakthrough developments in India-Pakistan bilateral relations. The positive atmosphere being created by both India and Pakistan to improve human lives by enhancing trade and commerce has been welcomed by business community in both countries. In this context, ‘India Show’ presents an opportunity to project the various trade and cultural opportunities that exists between the two countries. This ‘India Show’ provides a platform for the business entrepreneurs to enhance their interactions that will lead to our mutual quest for forging new paths of friendship and partnership on both sides.

(Release ID :80263)

Saturday, 11 February 2012


Friday, 10 February 2012

Vangchhia village to be declared as important place:INTACH

PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 08,2012
Aizawl, Feb 8 (PTI) Leaders of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Mizoram chapter today said that the Government of India would soon issue an interim order to declare Vangchhia village in Mizoram-Mynammar border Champhai district where 170 menhirs were protected as an important place. Addressing a press conference here, INTACH leaders said that the Archaeological Survey of India, after on the spot study of the site decided that the village deserved to be regarded as a monument of national importance. "The village would make Mizoram appearing in the Archaeological map of India," they said, adding that experts found the menhirs as quite unique. INTACH leaders also said that the fight to restore the two historic cannons to the Mizo people continued. The two cannons used in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 have been kept in Aizawl since 1892 were taken away by the first battalion of the Assam Rifles in 2003 regarding them as a war trophy won by them. The INTACH claimed that the two big guns have immense historical importance and attachment to the Mizo people and the state and are of high heritage value and should be restored to the rightful owners - the people of Mizoram. PTI HCV

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Stately Egmore station inspires source:Express News Service CHENNAI: Even as heritage enthusiasts cry foul over the whitewash of history, thanks to the poor maintenance of most of Madras’s heritage structures, it is the simple whitewash of one alphabet that hides the true story behind the majestic Chennai Egmore Station. Peer closer at the crest on the dome above the main entrance, and you will see the letter ‘I’ painted into the background, to read ‘SR’ for Southern Railway. ‘SIR’ the original relief on the crest stood for South Indian Railway, the company that built and operated Egmore Station till Independence. But what stands out with the heritage station is the fact that you can peer into the ‘I’ and activate a link to history without feeling bad for its state. In fact, heritage conservationists are all praise for the Railway’s sensitivity and sensibility in retaining the true character of the station over the decades. “Egmore Station is well maintained. There is always scope for improvement. But Railways has taken care of the building. And that is laudable work,” says S Suresh, state convenor of the Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). The restoration work carried out on the station has been of international standards, he adds. “Much work has been done. Extensions and additions have been made over the years out of necessity. But it is remarkable that these have been harmonised with the station’s original character,” says Suresh. �The response of Southern Railways Divisional Railway Manager S Anantharaman to the praise was modest. “We strive to maintain the integrity of the station’s original design. That is taken care of in our routine check. It is not like we take any special measures to conserve the building,” he says. �Egmore Station, though the most spectacular station of the South Indian Railway Company, was not its headquarters. SIR’s main station was in Thiruchirapalli, and the Egmore Station, that was inaugurated around eight years later, in 1908, was grander. It was due to the excellent result of this endeavour that Samynada Pillai won the contract to build the headquarters of the Madras and Mahratta Railway Company. We know this building today as the headquarters of the Southern Railways.

The grounded cruise ship Costa Concordia lies on its side off the Tuscan island in Italy. Bad weather conditions forced the temporary suspension of the recovery operation of the capsized cruise ship. Photo: AP
The grounded cruise ship Costa Concordia lies on its side off the Tuscan island in Italy. Bad weather conditions forced the temporary suspension of the recovery operation of the capsized cruise ship. Photo: AP

Stricter mobile radiation norms

by Sandeep Joshi
source;The Hindu
Come September 1, 2012, India will have stricter regulations to check electromagnetic radiation emission from mobile phones, a step that would address health concerns and also streamline the handset manufacturing industry.
Accepting the report an inter-ministerial committee, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will notify the new regulations in next few days.
The new regulations are mainly those being practised in the U.S. and European nations that mandate all mobile phone manufacturers to comply with a specific absorption rate (SAR is a measure of the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the human body while using a mobile phone) so that radiation does not affect human health. The company will also have to mention SAR value clearly on handsets to make customers aware of it. After concerns were raised following some international health studies, the DoT formed an inter-ministerial committee that recommended that mobile handsets should have SAR value of 1.6 Watts per kilogram averaged over a six-minute period and taken over a volume containing a mass of one gram of human tissue.
The committee also said that mobile handsets manufactured and sold in India or imported should be checked for compliance of SAR limit and no handsets of SAR value above the prescribed standard adopted in India should be manufactured or sold in the country.
Confirming that the new mobile handset radiation guidelines would be out soon, Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot told The Hindu that the government was serious on the entire issue and, therefore, was coming out with strict guidelines to ensure that only safe handsets were sold. “We cannot compromise with health issues…companies found flouting new regulations will be severely penalised. All there regulations are important to streamline the telecom sector that is growing at a fast pace.” 

HYDERABAD: On behalf of ‘Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities’, the Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad is organising the ‘Hyderabad Heritage - Pictorial Essay 1975-2011’. The exhibition which will be from February 4 to 22 at the Salar Jung Museum, will be a visual representation of the evolution of the Nawabi city between the years 1975 to 2011.
Photographers Hans Winterberg and Thomas Luettge will be the presenters of the exhibition.� Also, on February 4, from 10 am to 2:30 pm, a seminar on ‘Built Heritage of Hyderabad - The Way Forward’, which will focus on conserving and taking Hyderabad heritage forward,� will be conducted at the venue itself. The seminar will also focus on the heritage sites in India that need to be conserved for our future generations. It is being organised in collaboration with the Salar Jung Museum, INTACH Hyderabad and the Archaeological Survey of India. The exhibition, 1975-2011 : Before - After, is open to all.

Living History: A cannon in monumental neglect

by G. Srinivasan
source:The Hindu   
The 17th century forge-welded iron cannon at Thanjavur. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj
The 17th century forge-welded iron cannon at Thanjavur. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

The 17th century big gun is said to be protected by ASI but is in a sorry state

Beerangi Medu, where a 17th century forge-welded iron cannon is mounted at Keela Alankam in Thanjavur town, a heritage monument, remains a place of neglect. Liquor bottles, plastic packets and eatables strewn around the cannon at the heritage site indicate the sorry state of affairs.
Interestingly, it is a monument protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A board put up at the entrance of the fleet of steps leading to the mounted cannon at the site says: “This monument has been declared to be of National Importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites and Remains Act 1958. As per the Ancient Monuments and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010, whoever destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces or misuses this monument, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to two years or with fine up to Rs one lakh or with both”. Walls of the site are defaced and names engraved on them.
The cannon is said to be one of the biggest in the world. It is of amazing size and speaks volumes of the metallurgical skill of the people in 17th century. The cannon has been made using Danish technical skills. It was mounted in 1620 when Ragunatha Nayak was the King of Thanjavur (1600-1645 A.D.).
The 26-foot-long cannon weighs 22 tonnes. It is forge-welded and has not been made by casting. The nearly 400-year-old cannon, though exposed to sun and rain, has not rusted. The outer circle is 300 mm in diameter, while the inner circle is 150 mm in diameter. Inside, it is made using 43 long iron plates and the outer of 94 iron rings. To lift the cannon eight rings were present on top. But now, only two rings are found. It was used to protect Thanjavur from enemies who used to enter through ‘keelavasal' (east gate).
Unfortunately, encroachments around the site – pucca built houses (which are not allowed around an archaeological site), – cattle rearing by people in the vicinity, wild growth of weeds rob the cannon site of all beauty. From the site (top) one can see the Sarja madi (seven-floor structure) and the Arsenal tower of Nayak Palace on the western side. The cannon is called Rajagopala cannon.
However, the Thanjavur chapter of the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has taken steps to protect and popularise the site and to maintain it well. It organised heritage walk to the site and celebrated India Tourism day recently with foreign tourists. But after these events, the place remains neglected.
According to Rajeswaran, an INTACH member and councillor of the ward, where the cannon is located, the site can be made into an interesting tourist attraction if the ASI, the district administration, the municipality and art-lovers take steps. “There are no lights at the top. This helps anti-social elements during night time to misuse the place,” Mr. Rajeswaran said.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Naya Nirman Samaj Yangang calls for conservation of Yangang lake

source: Sikkim Now

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Naya Nirman Samaj (NNS), Yangang organized a meeting of all NGO’s and welfare organizations active in and around Yangang to discuss the issues related to the preservation and conservation of Thik-Day Lake (Yangang Pokhari) today at Yangang Bazaar.
A press release issued by NNS publicity secretary, Bikash Basnett informs that the lake is polluted and lies in a sorry state due to lack of supervision and care. The meeting was attended by representatives of different NGOs, members of NNS, local community, religious organizations and Panchayat members from in and around Yangang.
During the meeting, NNS president, Gajbir Subba highlighted the present situation of the lake. In the course of the meeting it was decided to approach the concerned government departments for immediate action to be taken for preservation and conservation of the lake, the release informs.
Officials from different organizations also jointly decided to raise some funds to initiate immediate preservation measures in order to retain the beauty of the lake. It was also suggested in the meeting that different varieties of fish, swans and tortoise be introduced in the lake, such suggestions were taken positively and steps will be taken accordingly, the release mentions.
Likewise, Panchayat members at the meeting said that they would take the issue to the area MLA and other government organizations while NNS vice president, Sumitra Gurung appealed for support from all sections of society to save the lake.
According to the release, the NNS initiative was highly appreciated by the masses who attended the meeting and all agreed to step forward to support the cause in all possible ways. The meeting also appreciated the government’s role in the rapid development of Yangang through the introduction of projects like Yangang Cultural Park, Lepcha Heritage Centre , Ropeway-cum-sky walk at Bhalay Dhunga, etc, the release further mentions.
Vasanta Mahotsav 2012’ gets underway in Gangtok

Source: Sikkim Now

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Secretary, Human Resource Development Department, CS Rao, inaugurated the three-month long Vasanta Mahotsav 2012 today. Exhibitions and seminar/ workshops on various forms of art are lined up for this programme beginning today and will conclude on 29 April.
Appreciating the initiative taken by the members of Sri Sathya Sai Organization, Gangtok and North District and all the organizers of the respective fields of art, the chief guest CS Rao said that this kind of constructive programme encourage the younger generation to come forward and exhibit their talents.
Also speaking on the paintings exhibited today, he said that these are an excellent display of creativity. Through such kinds of programmes, the painters and artists of the state should come forward and should slowly make a place for Sikkim and its art in the national and international arena.
Further, he said that this programme may not show immediate effects in the society, but will make a mark in the state slowly and steadily. Regarding the upcoming art & craft exhibition for college and school students, during this Mahotsav, the Secretary mentioned that as soon as the schools reopen the HRD Department will send notifications to all the schools of the state to participate in this exhibition.
Speaking about art culture in Sikkim, the President Oviya Arts Circle, Deepa Rai said that there are numerous hidden talents in the state who need exposure. Hence, through this programme, she welcomed all the upcoming artists to participate/ contribute, especially the female artists of the state. Further, she appealed to the general public and all art lovers to come and visit the exhibition, which in a way will motivate the artists.
The Vasanta Mahotsav started off with an exhibition and workshop on drawing and painting. A total of 65 paintings were displayed today by 17 artists coming from all the four districts of the state. Artists from Darjeeling and Kalimpong will also be exhibiting their art works in the coming weeks. T
he art exhibition cum workshop will continue till 11 February, followed by exhibition and seminar on wildlife photography [12-25 February], photo shoot session [26-29 February], graphic design and creative/applied arts [01-10 March], literary sessions and exhibition of art and craft for college students [11-17 March], art and craft events for school students [18-31 March], National and International level exhibition of photographs and workshop [01-21 April] and exhibition of photographs depicting the great moments of Sai Baba’s life [22-24 April]. Literary sessions are to be held every Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Conservation efforts for Tibetan and Sikkimese architecture lose foremost ally

Late Dr Andre at work at Tsuklakhang in 2011

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Efforts at conserving Tibetan architecture, including the nascent conservation efforts in Sikkim, suffered a tragic loss in the demise of conservationist Dr Andre Alexander in Berlin on 21 January. He had just turned 47.
Dr. Andre Alexander, independent researcher, photographer and writer about the old city of Lhasa since 1993 and student of Tibetan architecture and history, was born and raised in Berlin. He co-founded the Tibet Heritage Fund [THF] and Leh Old Town Initiative and has a number of publications to his name.
Since the early 1990s he specialized in the research and conservation of traditional Tibetan architecture. The THF has launched a large number of rehabilitation projects throughout Central Asia intended to benefit and assist the local residents.
He first came to Sikkim in 2010 along with Anca Nicolaescu from Paris on the invitation from the Tsuklakhang Trust to undertake restoration work of the frescoes at Tsuklakhang.
After the first visit in 2010, which was more of a recce mission, the duo returned last year to restore the wall paintings at the monastery and successfully completed the restoration work on the paintings which had become soiled from soot from butter lamps and darkened by a varnish applied years ago.
Hope Leezum, the Chogyal’s representative in the Tsuklakhang Trust had in an earlier story [published in NOW! dated 30 March 2011] mentioned that even though Dr Alexander was busy with his work at Lhasa at the time, on the Trust’s invitation he had agreed to come and work here in Sikkim voluntarily.
The Tsuklakhang monastery was built in the 1920s, and the wall-paintings were done by some of the best painters of Tibet sent by the then Tibetan government. The restored paintings at Tsuklakhang now stand restored in the memory of Dr Alexander’s immense contribution not only to the monastery but to Sikkim and its people.
More projects had been planned for 2012, particularly to provide assistance to buildings of historic significance damaged in the 18 Sept 2011 earthquake.
Sonam Tashi Gyaltsen of Echostream, Gangtok, remembers Dr Alexander as “a man who believed in working hard with people to create organic value systems and experiences of building spaces without any blueprints and he believed in the ability of the craftsperson/ artisan to design and build. He used to say that the best part of building would be to built with the skills and traditional knowledge systems of the people/ communities”.
“We had plans ready to work on some projects starting March this year. It is a big loss for Sikkim as we have lost a master who could have revived our traditional building methods and knowledge systems,” he adds.
Dr Alexander along with his friends at THF received numerous awards for their commitment: they twice received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards and the Global Vision Award for a number of their cultural heritage projects, and they were featured on BBC’s series on Heritage Heroes 2011.
Passionate and committed towards preserving and documenting Tibetan architecture, Dr Andre Alexander will forever be remembered through his work in Sikkim.
A message from the THF team reads:
“The THF team is deeply sad and in shock. The THF team has lost their leader, colleague and friend. We share everyone's grief and profound shock at this terrible news.  André's death is indeed a great loss - he was a unique man and great scholar and the soul of THF.
The THF core team has decided to continue THF's work and to continue and honour André's projects and preserve André's memory.  We will keep his beliefs alive and his presence will be with us every day, giving us the inspiration, energy and perseverance to continue our work.
It will be very hard without him but we will continue to strive towards André's and our shared dream.
With André in our hearts, THF will continue to preserve Tibetan culture for future generations. This is what we believe André would like us to do, keep doing our best, working with local people and for local people. André and THF team have always tried to preserve and create beauty in our work, whether restoring a building or publishing a book.
It will be very hard to carry on with THF work without André we believe that, with the support of our friends and colleagues we will.”

Motivated by seeing too many historic buildings in Lhasa's old town disappear, Andre Alexander and Andrew Brannan launched the Lhasa Archive Project in 1993 with the aim to document Lhasa's vernacular architecture. They were soon joined by artist Pimpim de Azevedo, who drew a beautiful map of 1948 Lhasa based on Alexander's research. Alexander and Azevedo then became acquainted with old craftsmen in Lhasa, who taught them traditional building skills (thanks to Pala Migmar, Jampa Kelsang, Olo Chunchun and Choetshok).
As the documentation project became better known, institutions such as UNESCO, Shalu Association and the Network for Norway-Tibet University Cooperation offered support. Crucially, the Lhasa municipal government and the Lhasa City Cultural Relics Office became interested.
In 1996 Alexander and Azevedo founded Tibet Heritage Fund in Lhasa with important contributions from Heather Stoddard and Enrico Dell' Angelo, as well as the encouragement of several Lhasa municipal departments and individuals. The Lhasa Old Town Conservation Project quickly halted further demolition of historic buildings, and together with the Lhasa City Cultural Relics Office the eastern part of Lhasa's central Barkor neighbourhood was rehabilitated.
Until the end of the project in the year 2000, 20 buildings were upgraded, 93 were listed a protected buildings and 300 artisans were trained. Since then THF has moved on and today is an established cooperation partner in several Asian countries. The team have jointly authored a number of publications about traditional Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian architecture. Pimpim de Azevedo recently spent a lot of time in Mongolia, and is also working on a new book. Andre Alexander occasionally teaches courses about traditional Tibetan architecture at Berlin University of Technology, in-between living at project sites in the Himalayas and building a museum in Ladakh. Japanese architect Yutaka Hirako is picking up the different Tibetan dialects and songs that go along, while also managing projects in Tibetan areas and old Beijing.

Life & Style » Metroplus

Memories Of Coimbatore - Drama in the city

source: The Hindu  
Dhinoo as Kannagi in the 1953 production of “The Anklet”. It was staged for the Rotary Club at the Shanmugham Theatres at Poo market. Interestingly, Dhinoo produced the same play in 2010. Photo: Special Arrangement
Dhinoo as Kannagi in the 1953 production of “The Anklet”. It was staged for the Rotary Club at the Shanmugham Theatres at Poo market. Interestingly, Dhinoo produced the same play in 2010. Photo: Special Arrangement
Dhinoo Hataria came to Coimbatore 60 years ago, and she has energised the English theatre scene in the city ever since
Accompanied by an ailing mother-in-law who was recouping from a facial stroke, and three young children suffering from whooping cough, we arrived at the Coimbatore station on a hot-as-hell day on May 1, 1952.
Having lived for five years in Bangalore at our uncle's lovely four-bedroom-three-bathroom English-style cottage with a garden to boot, we (my late husband Soli Hataria and I) expected similar accommodation here. To our consternation, our friend's choice of a brand new six-bedroom house turned out to be quite horrible. There were six tiny rooms, a deep borewell without a drop of water, and an open-aired toilet facility! We had to buy a vandi of water everyday. Though we boiled it scrupulously before using it for cooking, one of us ended up with jaundice and others with dysentery.
All my flowering plants and bulbs like the dahlias, lilies and rose cuttings I had brought from Bangalore withered and died. We spent a rather despairing month at that house. We moved five more times in the next five years. Now, our family had increased to include three more aunts-in-law aged 65, 70 and 96!
In 1960, one of our friends offered to sell their bungalow on Trichy Road to us. My husband had plans to establish a factory; so, instead of buying it, we took it on rent. It was called Homeleigh with more than an acre-and-a-half of compound. We lived there happily for the next 55 years. My husband I ran our business and also a free playschool for underprivileged kids at the back of the house for almost 20 years. I also learnt to manage a milk dairy with about 20 beautiful cows in the same compound.
While middle-class homes were hard to come by in Coimbatore, mill-owners and industrialists lived in beautiful bungalows with their extended families. Today, there are hundreds of apartments, one better than the other. But are they enough for the hundreds still pouring into the city as they find Coimbatore's salubrious climate, conservative lifestyle, good education and business facilities to their advantage?
There was just one vegetarian hotel in town called Woodlands. I remember J.M English Bakery with its good pastries and famous Japanese cakes. Today, there are eateries at every corner and splendid five star hotels have sprung up. Even the Taj has come to town.
Good hospitals were just coming up in the 1950s. And before we found a dentist for our family, we had to take the children to Bangalore every time an emergency arose! This happened till a doctor we knew who had trained abroad, returned as an orthodontist in 1965!
But today there are umpteen reputed hospitals specialising in allopathic treatment and we have world-class surgeons, specialists not only helping the local population but also much in demand for their remarkable treatment.
Schooling was no problem as there was the English-medium Stanes School and a couple of convents for girls who wanted to study in English. Two excellent colleges for agriculture and forestry were started in the early 1900s by the British.
And we must be thankful to the business community of Coimbatore for allotting so much of their profits into establishing more schools and colleges and helping education flourish.
I first joined the local Y.W.C.A at the Coimbatore Ladies Club. Later, when the English Club opened its membership to Indians, we were one of its first members. Once most of the English members retired and returned to their countries, we were able to change the name to the Coimbatore Club and enjoy its excellent facilities.
I have directed and produced plays of the Coimbatore Book Club Theatre Group for many years. I had trained with noted writer-director and dramatist Adi Marzban between 1944 and 1946 in Bombay and that is how my enthusiasm for theatre blossomed. And since childhood I loved mimicry and theatre.
In 1953 I played the role of Kannagi in “The Anklet” that Kasthuri Sreenivasan adapted from Silappadhikaaram. The AnkletI produced the same play in 2010!
Shopping in the city was a problem for me because I did not speak Tamil. There was a store called Dasai Gounder & Co that used to stock everything on earth and they knew a bit of English.
I remember once, one of the aunts needed a pumice stone to smoothen her heels and when I asked the attendant for it, he cheerfully handed over a Primus stove! That was when I decided I had to learn Tamil and fast. Today I can read and write Tamil well.
Dhinoo Hataria Born in 1925, she fell in love with theatre after she was trained by the famous writer-director and dramatist Adi Marzban.
When she came to Coimbatore she pursued this love and spearheaded many theatre productions in the city. She still continues to direct and advise theatre enthusiasts in the city. She is still a pivotal member of the Coimbatore Book Club Theatre Group
There were no hair-dressers in town back then. Ladies with bobbed hair would go to Ooty to have their hair trimmed. Today, there are beauty parlours and hair-dressers in plenty and in surrounding villages too. I have often seen some lady mill workers with their hair still covered in cotton fluff bargaining enthusiastically about buying beauty products for themselves.