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Green Protection for the Taj Mahal

Where: Agra, IndiaFebruary 3, 2009 : 'Ocimum tenuiflorum' or 'Ocimum sanctum' is better known as Tulsi in Indian homes. It's been used for centuries to prepare home remedies to cure coughs, colds and stomach disorders. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine, too. A tulsi plant, grown traditionally in many Indian gardens, is believed to purify the air...

No marks for mother tongue

August 18: What’s the most difficult subject for students in Uttar Pradesh? Is it Maths, English or Science. Surprisingly, it’s none of these, it’s Hindi! According to a Press Trust of India report, it’s Hindi that lets them down when it comes to examinations.Nearly 50 per cent of the class X students failed in Hindi in the UP Secondary...

5000 Years Old Quake-proof Town

February 14: The image on the right is one of the most recognisable symbols of the Harappan civilisation. It is the bearded man of Mohenjodaro and Harappa. But why is this sober gentleman smiling in our image?There's a reason for it. The January 26 earthquake has devastated a large part of the Kutch region. Village after village, town after...

These Bold Police Women

April 21: These days Nirbhay (Fearless) Singh Gujjar, is not really living up to his name. This dreaded outlaw who operates in India's most notorious dacoit-infested region, the Chambal Valley in the Bhind district of northern Madhya Pradesh, is on the run because he is scared of a 28 year-old police officer.Her name is Priyanka Mishra and she is...

The Song of Hori or Happiness

The song of hori or happiness
Braj mein hori khelat Nandlal.Kesar rang ki keech bhai hai, Chahun or udat gulal, Nachat gopal.Braj mein hori khelat Nandlal.Baajat jhanjhar, dhol, majari aur khartal, Braj ki nari sangh hori khelat, Nachat dede taal, sakhi.Braj mein hori khelat Nandlal.(This song sung by women describes Nandlal, as young Krishna is called, playing hori with the women of Brajbhoomi - the area comprising Mathura, Vrindavan,...

Welcome Rains?

April 21: A few days ago, Delhi residents were pleasantly surprised when the sweltering April sky suddenly darkened with clouds and it began to rain heavily. A freak shower, they thought, since it hardly ever rains in Delhi in April.But, surprise, surprise... the rains occurred the next day, too. And the day after. The unseasonal showers have transformed the...

The Hospitality of a True Blue Nawab

April 21: Nawab Mir Jafar Abdullah entertains guests in the celebrated Awadhi style of his forefathers. The nawab (title of former rulers of princely states), hosts elaborate traditional dinners for foreign tourists at his grand palace called Sheeshmahal (glass palace), in Lucknow, in the state of Uttar Pradesh.Lucknow flourished in the 18th century as the capital of...

Where Holi is the Talk of the Town

Krishna and Radha Celebrating the Holi Festival
Think of Holi and you think of two places in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh where the festival has a special status. First, the area known as Brajbhoomi comprising Mathura, Vrindavan, Govardhan, Gokul (all connected to Lord Krishna's birth, childhood and early youth) and Barsana (Radha's village). Here Holi is a robust enactment of the legends of Radha...

The Shoe-shine Women

Ludhiana, the industrial capital of the state of Punjab in northern India, is like any other prosperous Indian city but for one interesting difference. Its cobblers are largely women.A trip to the inter-state bus stand, outside the railway station, at roadside corners, in the local markets, under trees, and in almost every other place that you can think of,...

Rabi, the Budding Poet

Rabindranath Tagore
When Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his poems in Gitanjali , he was the first Asian to be so honoured. We've seen pictures of him with his flowing grey beard and smiling eyes, clad in a long saffron robe. We know him as the man who founded the unusual gurukula or school at...

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