Naidu shocked by toilet smell

A day after rejecting some Opposition parties’ impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu was not sitting idle, despite the fact that Parliament was not in session. He went on a 40-minute surprise visit of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat offices in the Parliament House Annexe and its new extension. He was aghast on finding a toilet block emitting foul smell at the start of the working day. This was the first time that the Chairman of the House of Elders undertook such an inspection. Naidu visited various offices, common areas and rooms of the Chairmen of Committees. He noticed many staff members to be not present in office, electric wires and cables dangling in the open, piles of files, and some employees sitting in cramped rooms. He ordered regular sanitation drives, more work space and digitisation of files and records. Naidu directed the introduction of bio-metric attendance system for those working in the secretariat.

Tibetans-in-exile Celebrate Panchen Lama’s Birthday

Tibetans living in exile in India celebrated the 29th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama on Wednesday. The Panchen Lama, considered to be second only to the Dalai Lama, is said to be living in “captivity” in China. “We successfully lit 130,232 candles for the Panchen Lama,” said Tenzin Tselha, India National Director for Students for a Free Tibet. “We broke the previous world record of 72,585 candles lit.” “To celebrate the Panchen Lama’s birthday and bring international attention to his continued status as a captive political prisoner in China,” she told The Sunday Guardian, “SFT India teamed up with Tashi Lhunpo monastery in India to break the Guinness World record for ‘Most Candles Lit on a Birthday Cake’.”

The original Tashi Lhunpo monastery, founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama, is a historic and culturally important monastery in Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet. The monastery was “sacked” when the Gorkha kingdom invaded Tibet and captured Shigatse in 1791, before a combined Tibetan and Chinese army drove them back as far as the outskirts of Kathmandu. In 1972, a new campus of Tashi Lhunpo monastery was built by Tibetan exiles at a settlement in Bylakuppe, Karnataka.

The identity of the current Panchen Lama is controversial. Under Chinese official support, Chokyi Gyalpo currently acts as the 11th Panchen Lama in Tibet. However, he has been rejected abroad.

The Chinese government has been accused of kidnapping the Panchen Lama recognised by the Tibetan Government-in-exile, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.

Art historian traces buddha’s last journey through objects

After long, we heard from filmmaker, art-historian, Buddhist expert and photographer, Benoy K. Behl, about two recent discoveries: one of an ancient Buddhist site in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district. Another discovery is of a unique Hindu temple object, a Sati stone, which is being seen as among the earliest in worship in India. The Buddhist and Hindu sculptures were hidden in the middle of remote fields near Bihari village, close to Itkhori. “Hazaribagh’s discoveries are a major find, especially as it is in the region of Itkhori, from where it is believed that Gautama Siddhartha travelled to Bodh Gaya before he gained enlightenment. This is also close to Kauleshwari, where, it is believed that the Buddha had his hair shaved,” says Behl.

Behl and his research associate Sujata Chatterji had gone there on the invitation of Bulu Imam, convener of the local INTACH chapter and the Jharkhand Tourism Department for the exploration of the Buddhist heritage site. Imam and Behl were alerted about the last journey of the Bodhisattva by a poem about the Buddha written by Sir Edwin Arnold, published in 1879. Arnold wrote about Buddha’s north-westwards journey (the direction from Itkhori to Bodh Gaya) from the “Thousand Gardens” (Hazaribagh). As per the legend, Gautama’s aunt, Prajapati Gautami went looking for Siddhartha during his meditation. When she could not find him, she said, “Iti khoi”. In Pali, it means “I have lost him”. It is said that “Iti khoi” became Itkhori.

The Sati stone was found under worship in the Kanuniya Mai temple, two kilometres from Itkhori.

Modern art, from Israel

The Israeli embassy in New Delhi, in association with the National Gallery of Modern Art and Petach Tikva Museum of Art opened a modern art exhibition at the national capital on Saturday. Titled “To The End of Land”, the exhibition revolves around “man’s connection with land, territory, locality and identity in innovative modern art pieces and installations.” It is a collection of art creations by 19 Israeli artists, including the internationally acclaimed Shahar Marcus, who performed at the opening in the presence of the Israeli ambassador, the curators from the Petach Tikva Museum and several of the artists. The exhibition will remain open to the public throughout May.

Carmon told The Sunday Guardian, “This exhibition speaks to the heart of the Indo-Israeli relations as it tells the story of our agriculture and technology in an innovative and out of the box context of contemporary art.”

Dharmendra teams up with advocate on ‘tiger trail’

Soon you will see actor Dharmendra on the silver screen, looking much younger than his age, with Rati Agnihotri in a high voltage action packed film, Tiger Trail.

The film is based on the real life story of two poachers, Sansar Chand and his protégé Lohar Chand, who are facing charges of allegedly killing 470 tigers and 2,130 leopards and selling their skin. In his 45-minute role, Dharmendra and his family take a stand against the poachers and pay a heavy price for that. The film has been co-produced by animal lover Suresh Kumar Raheja and Sunil Kapoor (61), a Delhi-based lawyer who also acts in the film, which has been directed by Hayat Asif.

Kapoor told The Sunday Guardian that over 15 years ago, a film with Dharmendra and Rati Agnihotri was partially shot but could not be completed. The incomplete roughage was purchased some time back; another script was written and made a part of the old film, which in turn was rechristened as Tiger Trail. That explains the “younger look” of Dharmendra. “The film is aimed to create awareness about the fast dwindling population of tigers,” says Kapoor.



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