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Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti

The colourful kite-flying festival of Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan, which falls on January 14 each year, marks the end of a long winter and the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere. Hence the name Uttarayan. According to Hindu astronomy, it is on this holiest day in the Hindu calendar, that the sun enters the zodiac of Makara or Capricorn, heralding the northern journey of the sun. The day is also of special significance, because on this day, the day and night are of equal hours....

Vaikom Mohammed Basheer

We Indians are story-lovers. We were all, at one point or the other, children at our grandmother’s feet, listening wide-eyed to her tales of days long gone. And if we love to hear stories, there are many among us who love to tell them as well. Nowhere is this truer than in the world of Indian languages. India abounds in storytellers who write in their mother tongue. There are several reasons why such writers are special....

Iftar: The Meal that Breaks the Fast at Ramadan

Iftar: The Meal that Breaks the Fast at Ramadan

It is the month of Ramadan (Ramzan) in the Islamic calendar and, for those who believe in it, each day of the month follows an identical routine: a fast from sunrise to sunset. At sundown, after a whole day of not eating or even taking a sip of water, the fast is broken. It is the time when the family gets together and eats a light but energy-giving healthy meal. This is Iftar, or the meal that breaks the fast....

Banaras The Eternal City

Banaras The Eternal City

City of many names, Banaras as it is most commonly called, was officially renamed in 1956 as Varanasi, a name from antiquity. It was first known as Kashi, the city of light, when it was the capital of the kingdom of the same name about 500 BC. For over 2000 years, Banaras the eternal city has been the religious capital of India. Built on the banks of sacred Ganga it is said to combine the virtues of all other places of pilgrimage and anyone who ends their earthly cycle here is said to be transported straight to heaven....

Ramadan: The Month of 30 Fasts

Ramadan: The Month of 30 Fasts

Ramadan (or Ramzan) is a very special month for Muslims, people of the Islamic faith. Muslims are people who follow the Islamic religion propagated by the Prophet Mohammed in the seventh century. Muslims believe that it was in this month that Allah revealed the holy book of the Muslims, the Koran (or Quran) to the prophet Mohammed. The Quran says that the fast of Ramdan is important as it tests devotion and faith. So believers fast from sunrise to sunset every day during the entire month of Ramdan....

Shri Guru Nanak Dev

Shri Guru Nanak Dev

Shri Guru Nanak Dev was born at a time when the world was plunged into the darkness of ignorance, feudal tyranny, religious & cultural strife. Born in 1469 at Rai Bhoeki Talwandi (now known as Nankana Sahib) situated in the Punjab province of West Pakistan, he went on to lay down the foundation of Sikhism. He preached brotherhood and humanitarianism irrespective of caste, creed, colour and economic status. According to him, love of God implied love for his creations and thus service for humanity indicates one’s love for God....

Hundreds Killed in Ethnic Violence in Nigeria

Where: Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria March 18, 2010 : Hundreds of people have died in ethnic and religious violence around the Nigerian city of Jos since the year 2010 began. The last such incident was an attack on three mostly Christian villages over the weekend of March 7-8, 2010. Villagers including women and children were attacked by men with machetes. More than 200 people died. Police arrested around 90 suspects. Survivors said the attackers spoke Hausa and Fulani, two languages used mostly by Muslims....

Olympic Swim Against the Tide

Olympic Swim Against the Tide

September 23: Twelve-year-old Fatima Abdeljamid is creating waves at the Sydney Olympics and for all the right reasons. She is one of two Bahraini nationals and among the very few from the Middle East nations to compete in the Olympics. Fatima, a swimmer, and Myriam al-Hili, an athlete, have been invited to the Sydney Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is a gesture that is meant to encourage Muslim women from Islamic nations to take part in the Games....

Pope Benedict XVI Completes Weeklong Tour of Holy Land

Where: Nazareth, Israel May 15, 2009 : Pope Benedict XVI, head of the worldwide Catholic Church, made a weeklong trip to the Middle East, touring the Holy Land in a bid to promote peace and unity in the region. The pope prayed at some of Christianity’s most sacred destinations and visited Muslim and Jewish holy sites. He also visited Israel’s Holocaust* memorial and saw the conditions in which Palestinian refugees live. In the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Bethlehem (in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory) the pope appealed for a separate state for Palestinians....

French President Calls For Ban on Burqas For Muslim Women

Where: Paris, France June 23, 2009 : A small but growing group of French women wear burqas and niqabs, while many more wear the simple Muslim headscarf. Burqas and niqabs cloak the entire body and cover everything but the eyes. Last week, President Sarkozy told Parliament he proposed banning burqas in public, calling them “a sign of debasement” for women. “We cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity,” Sarkozy said....

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