CENTRE WILL EXTEND ALL POSSIBLE HELP TO TACKLE FLOOD SITUATION: AMIT SHAH - The Daily Guardian
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CENTRE WILL EXTEND ALL POSSIBLE HELP TO TACKLE FLOOD SITUATION: AMIT SHAH

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Amid the flood situation in Chamoli, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday assured the people of Uttarakhand that the Central government will extend all possible help to the state government to deal with the natural disaster.

Shah informed that Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai is currently in the Home Minister’s disaster management control room and taking stock of the situation. “The central government will give every possible help to the state government to help deal with the flood situation,” Shah told ANI.

“I would like to assure the people of Uttrakhand that the Narendra Modi government will stand with them and will give every possible help. MoS Nityananda Rai ji is currently in the MHA disaster management control room managing the situation. I will reach there in the evening to take stock of the situation,” he said.

The Union Home Minister further informed that three NDRF teams have reached the flood-affected areas and more teams are ready to be airlifted to Uttarakhand from Delhi. “3 NDRF teams have reached there. More teams are ready to be airlifted to Uttarakhand from Delhi. ITBP jawans are also there.

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“Post pandemic, the world needs more empathetic people than complex people”: Shilpa Rao

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Shilpa Rao

Known for exploring new trends and genres, Shilpa Rao is back to win hearts with her latest song Roz Roz, which is in collaboration with The Yellow Diary. Joining NewsX for a candid chat as part of a special NewsX India A-list, Shilpa spoke about the journey of creating the song Roz Roz, especially amid the pandemic, and reflected upon her journey so far.

Reflecting upon the year gone by, Shilpa expressed that the last year was weird and it was particularly difficult to record songs but they made it happen through emails, voice notes, and recording from home. Expressing her gratitude to all the love and appreciation coming her way for Roz Roz, Shilpa said, “It feels really special when people point out a particular line and say that they can relate to it.”

Exclaiming how “creators can’t sit still”, Shilpa said that as creators, their mind keeps on working all the time. Previously it was hard to manage the time as they had to travel a lot, but now, when they are at home, all the energy goes in one direction and it’s easy to finish the work. She added that artists are always up for something creative. “Not only I, but so many artists came up with brilliant music in the year 2020. Professionally, it was weird to see a drastic change in the year 2020 but it was a good year.” She also mentioned that although we all were scattered during the pandemic, art kept everyone connected.

2020 was also special for Shilpa on a personal level as she tied the knot with Ritesh Krishnan. On opting for an intimate wedding ceremony, Shilpa said, “Our parents are elderly people, so we chose to have a simple registered marriage at home. We kept it plain yet it was a perfect wedding. We officially registered for the wedding and all my friends and family members from all over the world, joined in to see the ceremony on a video call.”

According to Shilpa, ”Tose Naina Lage” has been the game changer song of her life. “It comes from a different world altogether, we made it done. It was the most special song for me and will be, Mithoon & I really work hard on this song and to know what I and Mithoon were in 2006, one should listen to the song,” said Shilpa.

Addressing the coronavirus pandemic, Rao said, “We don’t need complex people, we need empathic people.” Sharing a piece of advice with aspiring musicians, Shilpa added, “All are running a race and want to do much more to get success but the world right now needs the pacifiers.”

The interview ended on a musical note with Shilpa singing one of her favourite song, Tose Naina Lage from the film Anwar.

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100TH TEST: THE UNBRIDDLED GENIUS OF ISHANT SHARMA

Karsan Ghavri

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I am elated for Ishant Sharma as he will play his hundredth Test match for India. After Kapil Dev, Ishant Sharma will be the first Indian bowler to play 100 Tests and he will achieve this glorious feat against England, and at a special venue — the new Motera Stadium, one of the biggest cricket stadiums in the world. As a fast bowler, I can visualise how great this achievement is. A bowler like Ishant Sharma reaching this stage is a big landmark for him because it will enlist the bowler with the legendary Kapil Dev.

If we look at Ishant Sharma`s career from an eagle’s view, we can deduce that his expertise lies in handling the new ball efficiently. His line and length are accurate, and swing diverse. Ishant Sharma does not only bother the batsmen with his lethal in-swinging deliveries but also titillates the batsmen to nick the ball that is moving away. On myriad occasions, he has also proved that his short-pitch deliveries are deadly, and can pulverize the opposition piecemeal. The Lord`s Test is a great example of this, where he bowled short and scalped seven crucial wickets, wreaking havoc on the opposition, and guiding his team to a comfortable victory.

In contrary to the batsmen, express fast bowlers are acutely vulnerable to athletic injury and we have seen him in and out of the team because of the same. However, what makes him different from other bowlers is the fact that, while battling with the injury during the recuperation period, he even works harder on himself. During this time, cricketers like Sharma play local matches to maintain their fitness to gather strength and make a comeback even stronger.

Ishant`s bowling Sometimes reminds me of my youthful days and numerous great test bowlers. Ramakant Desai used to push really hard with his fast bowling. Likewise, his abundant spirit and adroit talent remind me of bowlers like Abid Ali, Kapil Dev, and Madan Lal. Similarly, not to forget, Srinath and Zaheer Khan were the pacers who have never ceased to impress me. I am confident that Ishant Sharma with his versatile skillset will perform very well during his 100th Test match.

The author is a former bowler, who has played 39 Tests and 19 ODIs for India. Views expressed are the writer’s personal.

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COAST GUARD CONDUCTS A MAJOR FIRE FIGHTING OPERATION OFF BOMBAY HIGH

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An OSV, Greatship Rohini, with 18 crew onboard reported fire onboard on 13 February while the ship was 92 nautical miles north-West off Mumbai, near the NQO Platform of Mumbai High. While one crew reported with fire injury was evacuated and disembarked ashore by ONGC helicopter at Mumbai for medical treatment, three others were reported missing and trapped in the engine room. On receipt of the information, Coast Guard Operation Centre Mumbai diverted Offshore Patrol Vessel Samarth to the scene of action. Simultaneously, CG Dornier aircraft was launched for assessment of the situation. CG Ship Samarth reached area at 1335 hrs on 13 February and took over as On Scene Coordinator. Initially, MV Albatross-5 operating in vicinity, tied up a hawser from forecastle of Greatship Rohini and pulled her out to safe location from NQO platform rig.

ICGS Samarth with its advance External Fire Fighting system in coordination with OSV Priya 27, established boundary cooling for controlling the spread of fire. Due to excessive heat and smoke the crew of Greatship Rohini were unable to enter the engine room, where the fire had started. The Boarding Team from ICG Ship Samarth boarded the vessel for carrying out situation assessment. However, the efforts of the team were impinged due to heat and heavy smoke gushing out of engine room. Fire-fighting efforts were restricted due to non-availability of power supply onboard. Meanwhile, Pollution Control Vessel Samudra Praheri was sailed out to reach scene of incident to augment the fire fighting and rescue efforts. The ship reached area at 1930 hours on 13 February.

Specialist Damage Control and Fire Fighting team comprising of 11 ICG personnel (including 02 officers and 9 EP) and 8 personnel of distressed vessel (Master, Chief Engineer, Second Officer, Chief Officer and 04 crew) embarked the vessel at about 0800 hours on 14 February for de-flooding and further damage assessment. Specialist team reported no visible signs of fire or smoke from the engine room and state of vessel to be stable.

All 14 rescued crew were transferred to OSV Great ship Dipti for passage to Mumbai. The distressed vessel is presently being towed by another OSV Greatship Anjali under the escort of ICGS Samudra Prahari and other support vessels.

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Disengagement in Ladakh: A welcome development

While the thaw in the bilateral security situation between India and China is a welcome development, and mutually beneficial to both countries, it should not lull us into complacency.

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd.)

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The Global Times has reported that the “Chinese and Indian border troops on the southern and northern shores of Pangong Lake began disengagement as planned on Wednesday according to the consensus reached during the ninth round of military commander-level talks, citing their Defense Ministry.” The news, if correct, will prove mutually beneficial for the two countries. Given the current economic and security challenges that the country is facing due to the ongoing pandemic, which is still persisting with new strains of the virus surfacing periodically, and the volatile geopolitical situation at the regional and global levels, India needs time to get its economy back on track and assess the shape of strategic alignments which are likely to take place in the world. The impact of the change in the US presidency, the emerging power equation in the Islamic world with the three major power centres, represented by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, trying to assert themselves for leadership, and the EU’s uncertain stand due to Brexit and divergence of views with the US over trade relations with China demand a studied approach by India, especially as it is also a temporary member of the UNSC.

India also needs to watch the turn of events in its neighbourhood carefully, with Myanmar under turmoil due to a military coup, Sri Lanka cancelling the contract to develop its East Colombo Port Terminal, Afghanistan in a state of uncertainty, and a highly volatile internal situation in Nepal. In summary, the decision which was reported by many news agencies to disengage from the current friction points in Ladakh, presumably agreed upon during the ninth round of the China-India Corps Commander Level meeting held on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point on January 24, will provide the country a much needed strategic space and focus on the wellbeing of the country. 

The Chinese side agreeing to the unconditional disengagement may be attributed to the steadfast and unblinking approach of the Indian Armed Forces, the valour and grit of the Indian troops on the ground, the impact of the rigours of the weather and terrain under which the troops of the two sides had been operating and the whole-hearted support by the Government of India in providing the necessary wherewithal to our troops to operate in such difficult conditions. Also, it goes without saying, the Chinese troops were not accustomed to either operating in such conditions for sustained periods or seeing active combat, unlike the Indian troops who have an experience of over five decades, constantly operating under such terrain and weather conditions in warlike situations. Further, in order to support the military effort, the government reacted swiftly in providing the necessary funding when faced with the situation in Ladakh. It granted emergency powers to the Armed Forces wherein the Indian Armed Forces could procure any weapon system below Rs 500 crores. PM Modi also removed the cap on expenditure on defence following the Ladakh crisis. The 2020-21 Budget had earmarked Rs. 1.13 lakh crores for defence but due to the removal of the cap, the likely expenditure for the current year is likely to be Rs. 1.34 lakh crores. While the prompt action by the Government of India is highly commendable, an important lesson for the future is that we should constantly improve our military capability to avoid a knee jerk episodic defence budget allocation. For this, the long term perspective plans of the defence forces must be adequately supported. The recommendation to resort to non-lapsable funding of defence capital expenditure must be implemented from the current year itself. We must remain cognizant of the fact that a robust hard power capability is the guarantor of peace and stability, which in turn is a mandatory condition for the economic development of the country.

While the thaw in the bilateral security situation is a welcome development, and mutually beneficial to both countries, it should not lull us into complacency. Our intelligence mechanism and Armed Forces must remain geared for any adverse development and keep plans ready to prevent China from surprising us, be it with an occupation of any strategic feature along our Northern borders, extending from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, or a repeat of the Galwan situation.

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd) has served in varied terrains and theatre of operations, in India and in the UN as Military Observer. He has commanded an infantry battalion, brigade and a division in Jammu and Kashmir. He is currently Professor Emeritus Defence Studies at Gujarat Raksha Shakti University. Twitter handle: @dushy40098

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OF SOUNDS AND SILENCES

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As I sit down to write on music and its relevance in our lives, the first thing I am aware of is the cacophony of various sounds around me. Seated on a bean bag with my device, trying to pen down my thoughts, I cannot but feel a tad irritable as the sounds from the construction site nearby intrude into my consciousness. ‘Whirr, whirr, whirr. Tap, tap, tap. Thud, thud, thud’. But having practised mindfulness through meditation for over a decade and a half, I realise that I have to stop being reactive, and quietly listen instead. 

 I had planned to write a piece about interludes. And here I am, on the verge of pushing away the very inspiration that the moment was offering me. Every sound that is threatening to interrupt my flow of thoughts is, in fact, an example of how our lives are filled with interludes. Almost all sounds around me, periodic thuds from the construction work, rhythmic rattling of the fan, and cooing of birds, consist of interplay of sounds and silences. And as annoying as they may be, I realise this cyclical play of sounds and interludes just represents the very nature of our lives. Literally and metaphorically, it brings balance to our lives.

 In music, interludes are the life breath. Pauses and silences in between melodies are the building blocks for creating the conflict-resolution cycle in music. After the momentum of a piece of music builds up to a crescendo, it is the long, pregnant pause preceding the culmination that is critical to the rush of satisfaction that comes when we hear the finale note. 

 Even when we hear people speak, it is the poignant pauses that serve to emphasise their most significant points. The obvious example that comes to mind is Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. Filled with distinct pauses, it illustrates how the interplay of words and silence is the hallmark of great oratory.

 Whenever I have had powerful experiences in my concerts or in imparting music through teaching or demonstrations, it has been when I have shown the listener interplay between musical parts and pauses. The ‘Shadaj’ or Sa, which is often the culmination note in many Raaga presentations, usually follows after a short pause of intense anticipation. When it is finally given to the listener, one can only describe the feeling as utter bliss.

 I cannot help but notice analogies in daily life too. Starting from aspects of our anatomy like the heartbeat, menstrual cycle, and circadian rhythms such as the sleep-wake cycle, this prevalence of alternating patterns extends right up to the waxing and waning of the moon, day and night, and the seasons. The isolation resulting from Covid-19 is no exception to this. As the world hurtled towards an impulsive, fast, and self-indulgent way of life, the period of isolation post the Covid-19 outbreak ended up driving us into silence, humility and self-reflection.  I do not think beautiful music is only made up of beautiful sounds. Music that touches the soul can do so due to the interlude of silences that help us appreciate those sounds.

A steady stream of even the most beautiful melodies cannot make sense without the silences in the right places. The silences help us anticipate and appreciate the climaxes of sounds that follow. Using silences well is an essential building block to music.   Rhythm excites us for the very same reason. It is the even pauses between the beats, and the predictability of the next beat after the pause that allows us to connect with the rhythm and the minds of others listening to it. In Indian Classical taal ‘Sum’ and ‘Khaali’ do this job.  Interludes signify balance, and in this balance lies a middle path, one that holds much promise, as much in music as in life. It is in this balance that we find genuine love, peace and the true song of life!

The writer is a vocalist of Hindustani and Carnatic Classical music with over three decades’ experience. She is also the founder of Music Vruksh, a venture to make classical accessible for its aesthetic and wellness benefits.

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The easy way to progress spiritually

B.K. Sheilu

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Those who take the spiritual path to self-improvement sometimes come to a halt when they lose sight of their goal. Doubts and uncertainties begin to trouble them, due to which they slow down.

They lack courage to remove the obstacles before them, or to bypass them, and tire of their efforts to progress. Some become disheartened, lose hope and feel helpless.

They forget the easy way to overcome obstacles, which is to remember one’s spiritual identity — that one is a soul playing a role in life, and that the role is not one’s identity. Remembering this frees us from the bonds created by identifying ourselves with roles, places, possessions etc.

Instead of bypassing an obstacle, such souls try to break or remove it, and become exhausted in the process. They forget that they can just bypass it, and thereby turn an easy journey into a difficult, tiring one.

They create a storm of waste thoughts, and then begin to shake in that storm. They weaken their own faith by wondering whether or not what they believe is right, whether or not God is true and they can share their beliefs with others.

These doubts create uncertainty in their mind about the future, and their spiritual efforts falter. Just as a storm makes travel difficult and blows things far away, the storm of waste thoughts slows them down and carries them away from their path.

At such a time they need to ask themselves if they trust the Divine and believe that they will be successful. One who has this faith will be free of fear and worry.

One who is progressing spiritually, becoming a stronger, wiser, more mature person, will enjoy their spiritual journey instead of being wracked by doubts.

A spiritual life, lived the right way, is a life of learning and growing. There is an increasing sense of fulfilment as one acquires virtues and inner strength, and problems begin to look like trifles. As the clutter of vices is removed from the mind, it becomes clear that the right way to overcome hurdles is to remain courageous and enthusiastic so that one can help oneself and others.

B.K. Sheilu is a senior Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.

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