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Many Ramayanas

Once, Aristotle, the famous ancient Greek philosopher, asked an old carpenter how long he had used his knife. Thirty years, the carpenter replied. He had changed a blade a few times and the handle a few times, but the knife was the same, added the carpenter.Something similar has happened to the Indian epic, Ramayana. Writers in different places and...

Dia’s Story

Dia, an 80-year-old labourer of Indian origin, lives in the corner of a cotton field in the western province of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. His rundown shack contains very little besides a military medal and a few clothes. The medal is a remnant of Dia's eventful, if tragic, past.It is a past that has included a stint at Myanmar (then Burma),...

Woman who Terrifies Burma’s Military

September 23: Two days ago, commuters at the railway station in Myanmar or Burma's capital city Yangon (earlier spelt Rangoon), were confronted with a scary sight. A posse of policemen in riot gear, was swarming all over the station.No, it wasn't a dreaded terrorist attack that they were guarding against. They were preventing a frail 55 year-old woman from...

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi was born on June 19, 1945 as the daughter of national leader General Aung San (assassinated July 19, 1947) and Daw Khin Kyi. She was educated in Rangoon, Burma until she was 15 years old. In 1960 she accompanied her mother to Delhi, India on her appointment as Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal. Kyi...

King of Fruits – History of Mango!

Mango, in its original wild form, came from the forest of Assam in north-east India and Myanmar
It is a tree that is green at all times of the year. But it bears fruit in the height of summer. The hotter it is, the sweeter it becomes. And, it seems we humans cannot have enough of this juicy, fleshy fruit, for there are almost 1000 varieties of this king of fruits around the world to please...

The Mysterious Case of the Neem Tree

Medicinal pills made of neem
For thousands of years, the neem tree has been a familiar friend to the people of India. A native of India and Burma, every part of this tree, from its root to bark, leaves and seed, has been used for medicinal purposes. It has been used to cure illnesses. It has also been used for preventing infection, or repelling...

A Girl Soldier Speaks Out

September 8: At seven Arumuyam Malar could handle a gun better than a pencil. At eight she could handle the wireless radio and knew how to use hand grenades and semi-automatic rifles.As an 'Eelam tigress', or a child guerrilla of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, she was told that she had to fight till...

How The Coconut Came To Myanmar

Myanmar (then called Burma) is known as the golden land of gold dome pagodas and swaying coconut trees. Coconut trees were originally called 'gon-bin' in Myanmar language, which translated in English means the mischief-maker's tree.Why it is known by this most unusual name, is because once centuries ago, a raft carrying three people landed on the Burmese coast. The...

The Exotic Peacock

Portrait of peacock dancing with its feathers open
Come monsoons, and we immediately think about the beautiful peacock, dancing in the rain, with its luscious tail spread out behind it. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful birds in the world and a native of the Indian sub-continent, it is not surprising that the Peacock was anointed as the national bird of India in 1963.Hailing from the pheasant...

The Eyes of a Child Soldier

Where: Sierra Leone, AfricaAugust 5, 2000: A child is recognised everywhere as a symbol of innocence. Those who fight wars know this fact. And the more brutal among them use this knowledge to do the most terrible thing. They force children to fight the wars that they have started.This is what the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) does in the...

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