Indian Missions abroad under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), including the Embassy of India, Paris, India in UK, CGI Birmingham, Switzerland, Colombia and Ecuador, Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO and Bahrain, screened the short film titled ‘Sri Aurobindo: The Beginning of Spiritual Journey’ on 15th August 2022, which also marked the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo. Directed by award-winning Indian filmmaker Suraj Kumar, the short film is based on a screenplay by Manish Kumar Pran. The film stars Vikrant Chauhan in the titular role.
Based on Sri Aurobindo Ghose’s prison life (1908-1909), the short film was shot in Alipore Jail, Kolkata, from where Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual journey had started. Sri Aurobindo was arrested for conspiracy on 5th May 1908 and spent a full year in Alipore jail while the British government, in a protracted court trial, tried to implicate him in various revolutionary activities. It came to be known as the Alipore Bomb Case. He was finally acquitted and released on 6th May 1909.
‘Sri Aurobindo: The Beginning of Spiritual Journey puts the spotlight on an important chapter of Sri Aurobindo Ghose’s journey that often gets overlooked when one talks about his exemplary life and work. Sri Aurobindo was also a renowned freedom fighter and was accused of bombing a series of British nationals as a leader of Anushilan Samity. However, in Alipore central jail, while being accused of the Alipore conspiracy, he had a change of mind and became a philosopher and spiritual guru till his death in 1950 in Puducherry.
“While Sri Aurbindo Ghose was lodged in jail, his spiritual transformation started just after 2-3 days of prison life. My short film ‘Sri Aurobindo: The Beginning of Spiritual Journey’ documents his beginning of spiritual journey in Alipore jail,” reveals Suraj Kumar. Speaking about the film’s conception, he adds, “The idea of making the short cropped up when one of my IIMC friends and prison reformer Dr. Vartika Nanda discussed it with me, back in early 2021. Subsequently, I visited the National Library of India in Kolkata to document and record the news articles published related to Sri Aurobindo’s imprisonment. “
Sri Aurobindo Ghosh was one of the first few leaders who demanded complete independence from the British Raj. He is said to have proposed the concept of ‘Purna Swaraj’, 20 years before the Indian National Congress. He advocated the use of Swadeshi products, non-cooperation, and passive resistance to achieve the goal. After being a part of the Independence movement from 1902 to 1910, he shifted to the French colony of Puducherry, where he set up an ashram and worked for the development of ‘internal Yoga.’ He authored several works, including The Synthesis of Yoga, The Life Divine, The Ideal of Human Unity, and The Human Cycle, among others.
‘Sri Aurobindo: The Beginning of Spiritual Journey’ will be screened in various schools and colleges all across the country over the next one year.
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Raj Kundra writes to CBI claiming innocence in porn case
Raj Kundra, Shilpa Shetty’s husband, approached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to claim his innocence in the pornography case in which he was arrested last year. Raj expanded on his letter to the central agency on Twitter and wrote, “A handful of corrupt individuals spoil the name of the whole organisation. It’s just a matter of time now! #CBI #Enquiry #mediatrial #truth #corruption.”
On one year of his bail in the same case, Raj Kundra had tweeted earlier, “One Year Today released from #ArthurRoad Its a matter of time Justice will be served! The truth will be out soon! Thank you, well-wishers and a bigger thank you to the trollers you make me stronger (folded hands emoji).” His posts were also accompanied by hashtags such as inquiry, word, media trial, and trollers.
According to reports, Raj Kundra claims that he was set up in the case by “senior officers of the Mumbai Crime Branch.” He has requested that the case be investigated. Raj allegedly claimed in his letter, “I have lived in silence for one year; ripped apart by a media trial and spent 63 days in Arthur Road Jail. I seek justice from the courts, which I know I will get, and I humbly request an investigation against these officers.”
Raj had previously filed an application with a Mumbai magistrate’s court to be released from the case. According to sources, police found no evidence that Raj gained any monetary or another type of gain from the alleged offence, and the prosecution has not attributed to him any intent to commit an offence, according to the application. Raj Kundra was arrested in the case in July 2021 and later released on bail after more than two months.
Saudi Arabia introduces yoga in universities
A virtual introductory lecture on yoga was organised for all Saudi university representatives across the kingdom to spread awareness and motivate its practice as a lifestyle for all segments of society.
The lecture, organised on Monday, aimed to introduce both traditional yoga and yogasana sports to Saudi universities and give a variety of options to the students on university campuses to practice yoga, the Saudi Gazette reported. The lecture covered both mental and physical health and plans to attend professional yoga sports training to be part of competitions locally and internationally.
In cooperation with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation (SUSF), the Saudi Yoga Committee organised the event in Riyadh.
The Saudi Gazette reported that the event came within the framework of an integrated system of programmes and initiatives of the Saudi Committee for Yoga, under the title “Yoga for University Students of Both Genders.”
The event coincided with the arrival of the first yoga delegation to the Kingdom from the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation in India for the qualification course for the first Saudi batch of yoga referees, the report added.
The event included issues concerning the benefits of yoga for health and physical well-being in youth, yogasana sports for tournaments and competitions, and requirements for professional yoga training. It also included the technical regulations of the Saudi Yoga Committee for Championships and Competitions in Saudi Universities.
The lecture, which motivated the youth to join professional yoga training, also shed light on the system of professional yogasana competitions within university sports and the university league.
Nouf Almarwaai, President of the Saudi Yoga Committee, said that the committee seeks to achieve its vision of spreading yoga on a large scale within Saudi society. “Therefore it took the initiative to cooperate with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation in order to build a generation of yoga lovers, especially young people, to enjoy physical and mental health.”
Almarwaai said that the committee seeks to increase the number of practitioners and build yoga teams that participate in local and regional yoga championships.
Astronomers map distances in the largest-ever catalog to 56,000 galaxies
Astronomers have assembled the largest-ever compilation of high-precision galaxy distances, called Cosmicflows-4.
Galaxies, such as the Milky Way, are the building blocks of the universe, each comprised of up to several hundred billion stars. Galaxies beyond our immediate neighbourhood are rushing away, faster if they are more distant, which is a consequence of the expansion of the universe that began at the moment of the Big Bang. Measurements of the distances of galaxies, coupled with information about their velocities away from us, determine the scale of the universe and the time that has elapsed since its birth.
“Since galaxies were identified as separate from the Milky Way a hundred years ago, astronomers have been trying to measure their distances,” said Tully, adding, “Now, by combining our more accurate and abundant tools, we are able to measure the distances of galaxies and the related expansion rate of the universe and the time since the universe was born.”
Shah Rukh Khan features on Burj Khalifa again, fans elated
Dubai’s iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, lit up with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s message on Wednesday evening. The world’s tallest building screened a campaign video for Burjeel Holdings, one of the private healthcare operators in the UAE. In the video, SRK is seen promoting the brand in his special way.
After seeing images and videos of the Burj Khalifa lighting up with SRK’s video, fans became extremely happy. They even started trending him on Twitter.
The musical fountain at #BurjKhalifa first played music from #ShahRukhKhan’s Om Shanti Om, and later the Burjeel Holdings campaign featuring King Khan was shown on Burj Khalifa! Truly the world’s biggest superstar,” a tweet read on one of the fan pages of SRK.
“Megastar Shah Rukh Khan featured on Burj Khalifa again, truly a KING,” a fan wrote on Twitter.
Reportedly, it’s for the fourth time that SRK has appeared on Burj Khalifa.
In 2021, the Burj Khalifa honoured Shah Rukh on his 56th birthday. The Burj Khalifa was lit up with the name of the actor to honour the actor on his birthday in 2020 as well.
On the work front, Shah Rukh is all set to make his silver screen return after four years with ‘Pathaan’, which also stars Deepika Padukone and John Abraham in the lead roles. The action-packed film is scheduled for release on 25 January 2023.
Apart from ‘Pathaan’, SRK will also be seen in upcoming film ‘Dunki’.
SC to begin hearing 300 oldest cases from Oct
In an effort to resolve pendency of cases in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of India Uday Umesh Lalit issued orders on Wednesday asking that 300 of the oldest cases from October be listed for hearing.
The oldest such pending case dates back to 1979, and over 20 cases are from the period of 1990 to 2000.
The notification released by the Registry of the Supreme Court on Wednesday said, “Take notice that 300 oldest after notice matters of which list is appended below are likely to be listed before the courts on non miscellaneous days beginning Tuesday, October 11, 2022.”
The cases that will be listed also include a PIL that was filed in 1985 by lawyer and environmental activist MC Mehta and kept languishing in the Supreme Court’s records for almost 37 years. Most of the cases have either lost their significance as a result of the passage of time or because the immediate issue they attempted to address in their petitions was resolved long ago. However, these petitions persisted in the SC docket, increasing the Supreme Court’s statistics on cases still pending.
As of September 1, the Supreme Court has 70,310 cases outstanding, according to information posted on the court’s website.
The Chief Justice of India’s most recent ruling is a continuation of his efforts to clear out old cases and Constitution bench cases from the court system. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday since becoming CJI on August 27, Justice Lalit has scheduled normal issues, which are older cases that have been lingering for more than ten years, in the morning session while the second half of the day is reserved for hearing of new matters.
To handle the majority of the 493 Constitution Bench cases (including connected cases) in the top court, CJI Lalit also formed five separate Constitution Benches, each with five judges. Of these, 343 are five-judge bench matters, 15 are seven-judge bench matters, and 135 are nine-judge bench matters.
“Hope the US visa backlog will be resolved…” : S. Jaishankar
S. Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, stated on Thursday that he hopes the backlog of US visa applications will be resolved and that India is ready to provide the necessary assistance, but that the US should mainly address the issue. He brought up the matter with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who gave him the assurance that the US was working to reduce the backlog of Indian nationals applying visas and that the Biden administration will soon put its new strategy into action.
“In India, I mean, there are families who are not able to meet their relatives there and people who can’t keep their business appointments. There are students who are waiting for a long time. So, it’s a really it’s a genuinely serious problem of some magnitude,” Jaishankar said.
“But I’m very confident, with the sincerity that Secretary Blinken showed and the seriousness with which I hope they would address this and with any support that we can provide, we hope that things will improve,” Jaishankar added.
According to the US State Department website, the wait time for Indians seeking a visiting visa to the US has increased to 800 days. For other non-immigrant visas as well as student/exchange visitor visas, the waiting time is close to 400 days.
“I’m extremely sensitive to this,” said Blinken as he blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for the backlog. “Our ability to issue visas dropped dramatically during Covid. And the last thing we want to do is make that any more difficult. On the contrary, we want to facilitate it. So bear with us. This will play out over the next few months but we’re very focused on it,” Blinken said.
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