Category Archives: Culture and Communities

akshara centre arre voice

Arre Voice and Akshara Centre Partner to Drive Conversation and Awareness Around Safety for Women

Having begun on the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25), the community of Arre Voice has begun to take strides towards a world which is supportive & encouraging of women’s voices. The app, which is currently invite-based, is live on Android and IOS in India.

The app currently has voicepods in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and English and provides for raw, honest and creative expressions (using the in-app studio). While relationships, storytelling, K-pop, K-Drama, music, mental wellness & spirituality are currently popular on the app, this partnership aims to encourage women to speak out about cases of domestic violence – which could range from emotional to physical to even financial abuse – which has been on the rise, especially during and after the pandemic.

Akshara Centre has championed many initiatives at the state and national level to increase safety for women through multiple safety drives, institutional partnerships and public awareness campaigns, including the noteworthy Akshara Survey of Sexual Harassment in Mumbai. and initiative against domestic violence at

As per the report on Gender-related killings of women and girls by the UNODC, more than 5 women or girls are killed every hour by someone in their own family. UN Women statistics show one in every three women have violence in their lifetime. However, the instances of unreported incidents are multiple times higher.

Arre Voice is appearance-agnostic and allows for a comforting space for sensitive conversations that can be published in public (open to all on the app) or private (open to user selected groups) modes. While the voicepods currently work within a recorded environment, a live product is in the advanced stages of development and will be launched early next year.

To ensure that awareness is not detached from action, a tech-enabled intervention is planned to allow women to access helplines and support groups through the app.

Talking about the partnership, Niyati Merchant, Co-founder and COO, Arre Voice, said, “As a women-first audio social platform, we wish to provide women part of the growing Arre Voice community, access to content and tools aimed at creating a safe social space. This is an ever evolving endeavour for us, based on real-time community feedback and enabled through tech-led interventions. Akshara Centre has been actively working towards educating young men and women towards creating a society that allows for a dignified, violence-free life for women. Through this partnership, we hope to extend these initiatives to our users.”

Dr. Nandita Shah, Co-founder, Akshara Centre said, “We are so proud to be associated with Arre Voice. At Akshara Centre we are trying to build an “in person” platform for young women to not only share issues and problems but also share strategies to combat difficulties as a woman and for us, this partnership with Arre Voice is an extension of the same online i.e., giving a voice, building bonds and creating networks. We are sure that the online platform will scale the conversation exponentially.”

The conversation has already begun on Arre Voicewhich is now live with Akshara Centre’s handle (@akshara_centre).

Any woman and person who identifies as a woman has a chance to access the app currently. The platform will soon be opening to other genders but the Instagram community is live for all @arre_voice.

About Arre Voice

Arre Voice is a short-form, women-first audio social app. The app has a rapidly growing community across relationships, storytelling, K-pop, K-Drama, music, mental wellness, spirituality in multiple languages. These will soon be available in more Indian languages & dialects and content genres followed by a global rollout.

Be a part of the Arre Voice Community by requesting an invite here and invite those who might need the support to voice out against the violence of any kind.

Follow us to tune into the diverse and unfiltered expressions of women, via their voice.

About Arre

Arre is one of India’s leading digital content and media-tech brands that is home to Arre Studio, which produces and publishes original content with professional creators across genres, languages, formats, & platforms and Arre Voice, a short-form, women-first audio social app aimed at building a new generation of creators. Through Arre Voice and Arre Studio, Arre is building a social content ecosystem that straddles amateur and professional creators.

Arre Studio’s content ranges from essays to short format videos to full scale web series, podcasts, short films & documentaries enjoyed by more than 300 million people across the world. The content is distributed through its social platforms and in collaboration with multiple partner platforms including Audio and Video OTT platforms like Amazon Prime Video, MX Player, Audible, Disney+Hotstar, JioSaavn, LionsgatePlay etc. The Arre Studio slate includes shows such as A.I.SHA, Official Chukyagiri, Official CEOgiri, 1962: The War in the Hills, Transistor, Sorry Bhaisaab and most recently Murder in Agonda on MiniTV.

About Akshara Centre

Akshara Centre for twenty-five years, has been working to make gender-based violence and discrimination unacceptable. We believe that men also need to be part of this process of change. We work individually to change the hearts and minds of young women and young men, we work towards a larger gender narrative change by undertaking education, trainings, and campaigns and importantly we work with government to improve their responsiveness to violence against women, to improve services and policies as well as bring gender inclusion in the governments planning processes. we have been associated with UNWomen, Committee for status of women, UNHabitat and world social forum.


man and woman 43535

Men Take Investment Decisions more Independently than Women

Nearly 2 out of 3 Men (65%) take Investment decisions largely independently, but only a minority (44%) of women do so, revealed the DSP Winvestor Pulse 2022 Study. DSP Mutual Fund unveiled the findings of the DSP Winvestor Pulse 2022 Survey in association with research agency YouGov, highlighting investment behavior among women and men and the differences in their attitudes and involvement while making investment decisions.

The study found that a much higher proportion of men (40%) as compared to women (27%) take entirely independent investment decisions (without consulting a professional advisor). Among those who take investment decisions along with someone else, women (67%) claimed to consult their spouse much more than men (48%) do. More than double the proportion of men (26%) said that they consulted their father for making investment decisions than women (10%).

The survey also uncovered that husbands (21%) play a bigger role in introducing women to investing than their fathers (12%). On the other hand, most men claimed to be self-taught investors. A larger percentage of men also claimed they were introduced to investments by their father (15% for men vs 12% for women), friends & social circle (18% for men & 11% for women).

From those who responded to the survey, while 32% women consulted a professional financial advisor, 36% men did so. Most men (79%) and women (78%) said they were gender neutral when it came to considering financial advisors, while the second largest preference was for male advisors among both men (15%) and women (13%). Female financial advisors were slightly more preferred by women (8%) than men (6%).

An interesting aspect of the survey was that a vast majority (nearly 70% of both male and female respondents) said they advise/would advise their son & daughter differently about investing. In fact, 41% of parents said their own investment strategy will differ depending on their child’s gender.

An encouraging observation was that nearly half (45%) of men & women surveyed said they were investing more post COVID. Pandemic induced introspection about money, wanting higher returns than earlier and ease of investing via apps were cited by both men & women as top reasons to invest more post COVID. Among those who said that they were investing less post COVID, both men and women cite reduced income and wanting to take lesser risk as top reasons. However, more men (28%) than women (22%) cite loss of job/shutting of business as a reason to invest lesser.

The study found that the top investment goals for men and women are largely similar: To improve standard of living, save enough for retirement, and provide for child’s education. However, more women (45%) listed providing for child’s education as one of their top goals than men (40%). More men expressed having enough to live debt-free (38% for men & 33% for women) and starting their own venture (26% for men & 23% for women) as top goals.

DSP Winvestor Pulse 2022 was conducted as part of DSP Mutual Fund’s Winvestor initiative, a program to encourage women to take charge of their investment decisions and to instill confidence in them, so they don’t depend on someone else to control their finances. DSP encourages women to take charge and own their money by seeking advice only from qualified financial experts.

The survey covered 4,625 women and men across 10 cities (4 metros: Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, and 6 mini-metros: Indore, Kochi, Patna, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar). The study captures responses from men and women who have been involved in investment decision-making from the age group 25-60. Fieldwork for the survey was done from October to November 2022. The participants include those who are currently working or have worked for at least 2 years in the past, whether they were single, married without kids or married with kids.

Aditi Kothari Desai, Vice Chairperson, DSP Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd. said, “I am very positive about the rise of the woman investor tribe. I believe more women are now confident of taking sound investment decisions but there is certainly a long way to go, as DSP Winvestor Pulse 2022 revealed. A telling aspect of the survey for me was that women are introduced by, as well as guided on investments more by their husbands, not by their fathers. I would appeal to parents in general & fathers specifically so, to open conversations on money & investing with their daughters at an early age. This will lead the next generation to be smarter with their investing decisions. In addition, I believe that the right professional investment advice will make a big difference in enabling women to take control of their destiny. This is where our MFDs and advisor-partners will continue to play a key role going forward.”

Kalpen Parekh, MD & CEO, DSP Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd. said, “At DSP, we believe in evidence-based insights and applying them to the initiatives that we undertake. The insights on investor behavior and attitudes from the survey can also help us better decode investor needs and design our conversation and investor journeys to guide them to meet their goals. We are keen to be valuable to women investors as well as we realize they need to have an independent understanding of their finances and investing for the same. We will leverage these insights and aim to build a tribe of women investors. We will also share these insights with our MFDs to help them understand and enable better client experiences.”

About DSP Investment Managers

DSP Investment Managers has an over 25-year track record of investment excellence. Today, we have the honour of managing money for over 35 lakh investors from all walks of life: hard-working salaried individuals, high-net-worth individuals, NRIs, small and mid-sized business owners, large private & public corporations, trusts and foreign institutions. We take great pride in knowing that we play a key role in the creation of wealth for all our investors and will always continue to be an organization with a purpose – it is our responsibility to make a real difference to the lives of our investors.

DSP Investment Managers is backed by the 160+ year old DSP Group. Over the past one and a half centuries, the family behind the Group has been very influential in the growth and professionalization of capital markets and money management business in India. DSP Group is currently headed by Mr. Hemendra Kothari.

Our investors’ interests will always remain at the core of our business, and we will continue to maintain a relentless focus on doing whats best for them, as they #InvestForGood.

Visit us on for more.


Celebrate New Year with Excotic Astronimia 2022 in Delhi NCR

Adios 2022. Say Hello in 2023. Welcome this New Year at an event hosted by the Muskan Ek Pahal Sangh (Society) Co-Powered by Kya Tum Mai Hai Talent. “Excotic Astronimia 2022” A New Year’s Eve Gala – Party with a Purpose will be held from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Dec. 31 at the Huda City Ground, Sector-29 Gurugram. Tickets are available at Paytm Insider &

Excotic Astronimia 2022

On Saturday, December 31 the Huda City Ground landmark will be transformed into an elegant party sphere with Punjabi Singer and songwriter Amrit Maan & the Landers – a trio who set up their own youth iconic band. There are going to be over thousands of guests in attendance for the countdown to midnight – and you should be one of them.

This New year party in Gurugram is going to rock with mesmerizing lighting, visuals, and sound that will have you dancing as soon as you arrive; and one of the city’s biggest countdowns to bring in 2023! Tickets are 1415 onwards and all proceeds go to help area nonprofits Muskan Ek Pahal Sangh (society) supported by Kya Tum Mai Hai Talent. Make sure to come dressed to impress and enjoy booze, food, your favorite stars, and your loved ones.


Binod Anand Speaking at the UN

United Nations: CNRI Calls for Framework of Collaborative Governance to Resolve Global Crisis

India’s leading non-governmental organisation Confederation of NGOs of Rural India (CNRI) at a UN conference made a strong case for developing a global framework of collaborative governance to resolve the global crisis and promote green technologies.

Speaking at Town Hall Meeting with the President of the General Assembly Csaba Korosi with Civil Society here, Secretary General of CNRI, Binod Anand said, it is essential to promote clean energy technologies and energy efficiency solutions.

Anand emphasised that energy efficiency and net zero energy systems will contribute to an affordable, clean, and sustainable future for all.

Binod Anand, CNRI at UN

“We need a framework that prevents harmful chemicals from entering the environment and moves nations and businesses towards effective, safe, and green alternatives,” he said at the UN Conference.

He said that in an era of collaborative governance, cooperation was the key to deal with issues of global significance.

“The Global Challenges are transnational in nature and trans institutional in solution. They cannot be addressed by any government or institution acting alone. They require collaborative action among governments, international organizations, corporations, universities, NGOs, and creative individuals,.

Binod Anand

On behalf of United Nations Department of Global Communications, Binod Anand was selected to deliver statement on ‘Solutions through science‘.

Mr. Anand also cited the example of India’s leading cooperative organization, IFFCO and said it has created a revolution by use of Nanotechnology through a product NANO-UREA.

“It not only saves drudgery of farmers but at the same time eliminates NO2 and ammonia emissions. It has potential to help in meeting the UN Sustainable Goals and help in achieving the objectives of Paris Climate Agreement of limiting Global Warming,” he informed the gathering.

Binod Anand also spoke at length about the scientific and spiritual achievements of ancient India recalling the contribution of Indian seers to the world of science.

Describing India as the Land of Innovations, Discoveries, Spirituality and Wonders, Binod Anand said, “The best of the scientific solution suggested through treatise Bhagavad Gita has been the universal science of the soul which talks about address all challenges through reconstruction and talks happiness is the end of all our actions.”

“The science that compels us to embrace divinity and divine qualities. All other bodies of knowledge are subject to change, but this body of knowledge contained is timeless – eternal. Yogis through Chittashuddhi‘ (Eternal Purity) has taught us to achieve a deep meditative state, sense of eternity and happiness.”

The ancient Indian wisdom and scientific achievements, he added, has helped the world measure the Speed of Light, distance between Sun and earth about the source of the light of Moon, Gravity, and gravitation, about centripetal forces, telegraphy. Through Budhyan theories of Maths to Aryabhatt we have learnt to go beyond all limitations, Brahmagupta theory of finding Zero, planetary positions, he added.

The Mathematical contributions gifted by the Ancient Rishis to the world include Zero, Algebra, Trigonometry, Decimal system and Quadratic formula, Fibonacci Numbers, Length, Weights, Geometry, Infinite Series, BinaryCode, Chakravala The Method Of Algorithm and Encoding, he added.

“With 4 vedas, 18 Purana, Tantras and various writings of our ancestors we have explored the scientific solutions of all the current challenges the globe is facing today. Our ancestor Chanyaka had written volumes on what we study and practice today as Economics Diplomacy and in Foreign Policy. We have learnt to live with Nature through Acharya Sushruta, and Atomic Theory of Maharshi Kanad,” Binod Anand said.

On behalf of United Nations Department of Global Communications, Mr. Anand was selected to deliver his statement on ‘Solutions through science‘.

About CNRI
Established in 2005, Confederation of NGOs of Rural India or CNRI is the largest platform of NGOs in India as well as in the world. Currently it has over 7000 NGOs members and operates 29 State chapters and 634 District chapters spread across the country. CNRI has been continuously working for Rural Development and implementation of MNREGA and other flagship schemes of Govt. of India at various levels with an aim to make Indian agriculture resurgent and vibrant as well as doubling farmers’ Income.

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The tragic emotions 545g

The tragic emotions

It was raining heavily in the early morning and I was supposed to get dressed up to meet her. As I was very anxious to see her after the gap of almost one decade. What happened next? Read the narration by Ejaz Mir

Suddenly, my sister asked me to stop for a while. The overcast conditions of the bad weather didn’t allow me to went outdoors. So I had to stop myself indoors, waiting badly for the improvement of the weather. The restlessness and anxiety to see her face was pinching my soul and my heartbeat started to grow much faster than normal. Now, even a matter of seconds in her wait seemed to me the decades and generations gape time.

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I was lost in the world of imagination and my senses tried to recollect her decade-before memories. Her behavior was soft, fragile, humorous, and full of fun. She was not at all a reserved and introverted girl. Her adorable conversation and sense of humor was famous in our native village. So, all the people used to call her talkative Princess.

Lost in her memories, my sister knocked on the door of my room and asked me, “Baiya rain has stopped now.” Listening to her loud voice, I was jerked and came to my actual senses. I left my room hurriedly and went outside and to my utter surprise, I saw the bright sunshine in the sky. It was so bright outside and I was overjoyed because I tried to recall the hopeful memories of the past and was relating them with the shining sun. It was about 11 am when I left for the railway station to receive her. Meanwhile, I booked an auto rickshaw and started my journey. I was dressed up in beautiful attire and the fragrance of scent on my clothes seemed to spread in the air. I was so happy, with half smile on my face. The driver was noticing my facial expressions and asked me, “I think, you are in love?” I got puzzled and tried to avoid his question looking here and there. But finally, I replied ” Uncle, no, no..! Meanwhile, I tried to react very smartly and asked the driver, “had he ever been in love?” The rickshaw driver laughed at me and replied with both yes and no! It surprised me and I objected, “What do you mean by yes and no?” He said that by yes he means that he fell in love and no meant he couldn’t marry her. I saw tears in his eyes while he was about to complete his talk. He further replied, ” Dear! love is a beggar, it can know any door but sometimes none of the doors opens.” The brief conversation with him shakedown my heart and left me in a tattered condition and emotionally broken down.

I was shivering now and started to feel hapless. The hope of despair and sadness overshadowed me. The severe gloom started to overlap me. I felt depressed and dejected now. The brief conversation with the driver took me into the valley of the abyss. Suddenly he called out for me and asked for the rent. I came into my actual consciousness and found that the railway station has already arrived. I paid the rent and thanked him, half-heartedly. When I started to walk through the lane of the railway station, suddenly about 20 feet away, my eyes caught the sight of a beautiful girl. In a gip, I started to run at my fullest speed. When I reached her, she looked at me with her eyes full of tears. I stared at her and a tall handsome young man by her side and a little girl.?

The earth began to shake beneath my feet and befallen crests on my head, I recalled the exact words of the rickshaw driver. “Love is a beggar, it can knock on any door”. I cried but not a single tear happened to fill my eyes. Perhaps, it was because of ever happened setback to me. The incident filled me with ultimate trauma, dejection, depression, and hopelessness. The love, for whom I treated my ultimate happiness slides away from me forever. I opened my eyes from the dream, asking her,” she is my ultimate beloved!”

To be honest, I felt that someway down the line, there are many such love stories. But as a writer, I have touched on the emotional part of it. True love is a real blessing. It never ends and has a severe impact on our lives. It may be in any form, even sometimes it may be the attachment to our pet animals also. True love and real emotions are going to be the toughest part and aspects of our life. But whosoever gets affiliated with its sweetest nature will never deny or denounce it. That is why it is said that man can’t live in isolation.

To live a meaningful and purposeful life one should know the essence of true love. In many instances, cooperation and compromises are the core solution to save the relationships. True love is unconditional and its goodness can be determined in the form of care and sympathy. The basis of true love is to respect the feelings of one another. The showcase of anger can cause damage to true lovers. Feeling the pain, enjoying the happy moments, and sharing the joy and tears with one another is the essence of true love. As a writer, I came to the conclusion that even a bit sort of attachment and feelings in the core friendship is also rejoiced and overlapped with true love. Love does not love that finds alteration! True love never ends!

The author can be reached at

The post The tragic emotions appeared first on Daily Good Morning Kashmir.

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Persian in India 5435

Persian in India: A tale of lost glory

Persian or Farsi, which once ruled the Indian heartland, is in danger of becoming an extinct language. Lack of quality teachers and job opportunities have forced many schools to wrap up the Farsi classes and opt for the alternatives. Still, there are many who are trying to keep the cultural connection with the Persian alive.

Uttar Pradesh, is the biggest Indian state in terms of population. According to the census held in 2011, the state has a population of around 166 million. It is approximately more than double the total population of Iran. The province houses around 39 million Muslims and has more than 11 thousand registered Madrassas. Also, many secondary schools affiliated to the state education board teach Farsi as a subject. In Central institutions like Benaras Hindu University, the Aligarh Muslim University, Allahabad University and the provincial state government run Lucknow University have the dedicated department Persian, which offer teaching and research.

Persian In India

Despite all the good infrastructure, the number of students opting for Persian are sharply declining. Many secondary and senior secondary schools have stopped teaching Farsi as there are no takers for the course. “We are trying our best to run the course till senior secondary level, but there are very few takers”, says Syed Bilal Zaidi, principal of the HM Inter College, Nahtaur, situated in the Bijnor district. “It may be because there are few job opportunities and more students want to opt for English now”, adds Bilal.

Though India and Iran shared the historical relationship since ages, it is believed that the Farsi came to India with the Muslim rulers during the 11th century. After the Ghaznavid conquests paved the way for Persian or the Farsi in India, the language saw splendid times. Thereupon every ruler, be a Turkik, Persian or an Afghan patronized Farsi. Soldiers, traders and scholars from the Persianised regions started visiting India as the Muslim rule consolidated in Northern India and expanded towards the South, East and West.

The language, known for its poetic essence reached its zenith in the Indian subcontinent during the Moghuls. As Farsi became the official language of the courts, more and more people started learning it. The Brahmins and the Kayasthas mastered themselves in the language of the rulers and so did the Muslim elite. India witnessed the creation of some of the best literature of the language in its courtyard. Schools and the local Madrassas taught the students in Persian. There came a time when Persian was the language spoken or used by the largest number of people in the world.

And then came the decline. Hindustani (the Hindi and Urdu) started replacing Farsi. The rise of British colonialism in the Indian subcontinent saw the emergence of a new language, English, replacing both Farsi and Urdu. Though the downfall started during the last days of the emperor Aurangzeb, the Persian still managed to survive in poetry, religious texts and the syllabus of the seminaries (Madrassas). After the Independence in 1947, Persian sustained in the pockets.

Despite the partition of India on religious grounds and Urdu becoming the official language of the newly formed Pakistan, Persian continued to be taught in madrasas and the schools affiliated to Persian, Urdu Boards.

There are the Board of Persian and Urdu Education in states like UP and Bihar. Aligarh Muslim University, Maulana Azad University Hyderabad, University of Madras, Delhi University, Benaras Hindu University, Mazharul Haque Urdu Persian University Patna, and Guru Nanak Dev University Punjab continue to attract large number of students at graduate, post graduate level and also the researchers. Also there are many institutions running diploma and certificate programs in Persian.

Although, picture is gloomy for Persian in the Indian subcontinent, still there are some rays of hope. Data suggests the rise of students studying Persian in the southern state of Telangana. Also, there are some language enthusiasts joining the Persian classes in some other states. Though, the chances of revival or returning to the golden old days are bleak, being read as the status symbol may prove to be a lifeline for Persian in India.

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Yatish Kumar

Meet the man behind litfest `Literaria 2022’

Yatish Kumar, Chairman & Managing Director, Braithwaite & Company Ltd, a seasoned poet, author and literati, has been promoting Hindi poetry and literature across India. Kumar was the man behind the success of three-day litfest `Literaria 2021’ in Kolkata which was attended by over 50 literary heavyweights from across the country. Come November (18-20) 2022, once again the Hindi literary scene in Kolkata would be livened up by `Literaria 2022’for which preparations are in full swing.

Literaria 2022 Yatish Kumar

Once again, Yatish Kumar has taken up the cudgels to ensure that the event creates an ambiance for India’s established and upcoming Hindi and regional litterateurs to present their latest literary endeavours at the three-day litfest under the aegis of Nilambar –  a Kolkata-based prestigious literary organization. A quarterly literary magazine of Nilambar `Saptaparni’ would be formally released at the inaugural function on 18th November, 2022, to be attended by the heavyweights of Hindi literature.

“In recent years the Hindi literary scene has been very buoyant with young poets and authors coming up from various regions and small towns of India. The litfests and different literary events provide the right exposure and opportunity to highlight their works, which, in turn, has infused new ideas and approaches and greatly enriched the Hindi literary scenario in the country in recent years. There is a new Hindi literary eco-system in the making,” said Yatish Kumar, who is actively associated with various literary-social organizations.

Yatish Kumar has made a special creative presence in the literary world in the last few years. His poetic reviews on popular novels, stories and travelogues have particularly attracted the attention of readers. His poems and memoirs have been published in most of the reputed magazines.

A hardcore professional with a poetic heart, Yatish Kumar has also been the youngest officer to be appointed Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of any Public Sector Undertaking in India. Born 21 August 1976 (Munger, Bihar), Yatish Kumar has developed his own distinctive style in  poetry, literary work and travelogues. A 1996 batch Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME) officer, Sri Yatish Kumar is a National Award recipient in 2006 for his outstanding contribution to the Indian Railway Service.

Sri Kumar’s book “Antas Ki Khurchan” compilation of poems has received rave reviews and lauded in the literary circles for its fresh approach and newness. Sri Yatish Kumar is the President of the Kolata-based prestigious literary organization ‘Nilambar’. For the past 20 years he has been espousing the cause of Kolkata. Sri Yatish Kumar’s poems and memoirs have been extensively published in leading newspapers and magazines. He also has a creative presence on popular literary blogs like Hindavi, Samalochan, Janki Pul, Pehli Bar and Kavita Kosh.

Apart from the National and five Zonal Railway Awards, Yatish Kumar has received “Outstanding Global Leadership Award-2019” from the Institute of Economic Studies; “CEO with HR Orientation” award by World HRD Congress and “CMD Leadership Award” in Governance and the 8th PSU Award in 2021.

Yatish Kumar has always been at the forefront in supporting various social upliftment programs. He has been instrumental in creating cultural capital by promoting Hindi literature across the country and also launched various corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to help create infrastructure and capacity building.

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Limits of World Bank’s Proposal for Solution to Rohingya Crisis

Kazi Mohammad Jamshed

Washington-based global lender the World Bank (WB), through concessional lending arms, has gone to bat for Bangladesh to foster its development initiatives since 1972; committing more than $30 billion by backing priorities in economic, social, and infrastructural development.

Since 2018, this UN-affiliated multilateral body, the largest source of financial assistance to developing nations, has committed a total $590 million grant to support Bangladesh to confront the challenges posed by the influx of the forcibly displaced Rohingya. Recently, this bank has been extensively denounced both by policy wonks and mass people after its proposal, through the “Refugee Policy Review Framework” (RPRF), on Rohingya’s integration in Bangladesh. How rational is this proposition of the World Bank? 

The 1951 Refugee Convention suggests three way-outs to the refugee crisis: integration; settlement to a third country; or repatriation.

Four years ago, in late August 2017, “breaking-news” across the world was dominated by the massive influx of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, a result of military-backed bloody “clearance operation”. A 444-page report of the UN’s Independent Fact-Finding Commission substantiated that more than 7,25,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after this deadly crackdown. The degree of atrocities of this “campaign of terror” embarked on by the military was so intense that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights referred to it as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” whilst other investigators dubbed it as “genocide”. In the first three weeks of August 2017, Bangladesh received more refugees than entire Europe did in 2016 during the “Syrian crisis”. Since then, Bangladesh has been generously hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingyas as short-term guests ensuring a “safe haven” on humanitarian grounds. Now, Cox’s Bazar-based 13 Kilometers long Kutupalong “mega-camp”, the largest refugee settlement camp in the world, is the home to this beleaguered community. 

Rohingyas, living in Arakan for thousand years, have been actively involved in Burma’s politics since independence. The recognition of Rohingya as Myanmar’s citizens by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) resolves their identity crisis by providing a legal base. Besides, in the hearing of ICJ, Aung San Suu Kyi defined Rohingyas as Arakan’s Muslims.

Myanmar signed two repatriation agreements with Bangladesh in 2018 and 2019 respectively giving consent to take back their citizens. Although these repatriation agreements were in vain due to the reluctance of Myanmar, still these agreements are significant proof of Myanmar’s official stance on Rohingyas’ citizenship. Though there is no light at the end of the tunnel, still Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights, in response to the WB’s framework, stated in point-blank that they have no desire to receive Bangladeshi citizenship and would like to return to Myanmar.

The WB has proposed to review the RPRF for 14 member states, currently hosting refugees, including Bangladesh, for gauging the effectiveness of the grants for the refugees and host communities under its “soft-loan window” International Development Assistance. This global framework, being reviewed triennially, undertaken in cooperation with UNHCR, suggests providing refugees the rights to procure land & property, choose the place of residence & freedom of movement, have equal access to the nation’s public service & the labor market, etc. like the citizens of the host country. The WB offered $2 billion to Bangladesh if it integrates Rohingya refugees with economic & social rights. The framework is germane for Bangladesh since this move will pave the way for the Rohingyas to become permanent citizens through integration into Bangladesh’s populace. Bangladesh reiterated its stance, by rejecting the proposal outright, stating that Rohingyas are not “refugees” rather “forcibly displaced persons” to whom Bangladesh extended temporary shelter.

The study “Impacts of the Rohingya Refugee Influx on Host Communities” conducted by the UNDP expounded how the overcrowding of Rohingyas affected host communities. The major adverse impact includes price hikes, an increase in poverty, rise in housing cost, reduction in wage rate, deforestation, environmental casualty, etc. Moreover, the rise of intragroup and intergroup conflicts in the Rohingya camps shrunk the space of coexistence between the host communities and refugees by recasting the social makeup. This month, August 2021, marks the fourth anniversary of the Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh, but a sustainable solution is yet to be found.

The 1951 Refugee Convention suggests three way-outs to the refugee crisis: integration; settlement to a third country; or repatriation. The approximately 166.65 million population of Bangladesh, the 8th largest in the world, makes it one of the densely populated countries with 1,125people in per sq. km. This small country, 92nd in terms of land size, with a total landmass of 147,570 sq. km, slightly smaller than the US Iowa state, is hosting 1.2 million Rohingyas which is higher than the total population of Bhutan. No country in the world is bearing the burden of so many refugees as by overpopulated Bangladesh. Bangladesh, with an unemployment rate of 5.30%, exports approximately 60,000 workers abroad every year which indicates the country’s inability to create employment and struggle to generate employment for its gargantuan unemployed youths. This attracts pointed attention towards the inadequate demand for labor in Bangladesh. So, the possibility of integrating the Rohingya into the local community is nipped in the bud. As the number of Rohingya refugees is gigantic, more than a million in Bangladesh and some more are living in 19 other countries and no country has shown interest in receiving them, the option to settle them in a third country seems impassable in foreseeable future. The only way out of the Rohingya crisis lies in safe repatriation to Myanmar.

As the Rohingyas also want to return to Myanmar, integration into Bangladesh, following WB’s recommendations, is like denial of their fundamental & human rights. Some local experts believe that integration may lead to a new “Palestine Crisis” by jeopardizing the sovereignty of Bangladesh and endangering the geopolitical stability of South Asia. This kind of proposal from responsible global leaders like WB will motivate Myanmar to slacken the repatriation process by increasing complexities to this multifaced dilemma. Instead of suggesting such an impracticable proposal, WB could create pressure on Myanmar to comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the UN. It could offer financial incentives to Myanmar for expediting the repatriation in internationally monitored safe zones. Some international organizations are planning long-term programs for this “short-term emergency crisis” which will just linger the repatriation process.

Bangladesh is trying its level best to ensure decent arrangements for Rohingyas with its limited financial strengths. Despite not being a signatory of the 1951 refugee convention, Bangladesh complies with its conditions, i.e., not forcing any Rohingya to go back to Myanmar. Accepting WB’s proposal will add fuel to the fire by acting as a pull factor for other Rohingyas, around six lacs, to come to Bangladesh from restive Myanmar. Bangladesh has to bring substantial changes in its policy if it agrees to accept the framework, a complex & time-consuming process that will intensify the misery.

Safe & dignified repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar is the only sustainable solution to come to an end to their plight. Bangladesh needs more support from international communities to resolve this crisis. The country may expect that the world communities will consider all the relevant issues including the socio-economic conditions of Bangladesh before making any recommendations to resolve the protracted Rohingya refugee crisis by bringing the light of hope to put an end to their struggling present.

  • Author a strategic affair and foreign policy analyst, working as a lecturer at department of International Business, University of Dhaka. He can be reached at

Ibn Sina and uzbekistan 435

Legacy of Ibn Sina as seen by an Indian

Abdul Latif

As a student of Unani Medicine, I have read Ibn Sīnā’s book on medicine i.e. Cannon of Medicine. I had participated in an International conference on Ibn Sīnā in Uzbekistan in the month of September 2019 where I saw and got more knowledge about Ibn Sīnā’s scholarship and that is why I am trying to write on Ibn Sīnā’s greatness and his relation with Uzbekistan. 

Indeed not only they but also Iranian and Afghans are also proud of scholars like Ibn Sīnā, Abu Rayhān al-Birūni[1], Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī[2], Al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmizī[3], Imām al-Bukhārī[4], Abū al-Layth al-Samarqandī[5] and others. Today Uzbekistan is a modern country with new technologies and it is growing in economics and healthcare. Hopefully, the people of this country shall be inspired by Unani/Greco-Arab Medicine in general in their country.

Ibn Sīnā is also called "the most influential philosopher of the pre-modern era". He was a peripatetic philosopher, i.e. influenced by Aristotelian philosophy . Out of the 450 works he is believed to have written, around 240 have survived, including 150 on philosophy and 40 on medicine. His major work, the Canon of

Ibn Sīnā is also known as Abū ʽAlī  Sīnā or Ibn Sīnā  Bukhārī and often known in the West as Avicenna was born on 16th August 980 and died on 18 June 1037, as approved by UNESCO and also by the National Encyclopedia of Uzbekistan. He was a Persian polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, thinkers, and writers of the Islamic Golden Age, and probably also the father of modern medicine, Ibn Sīnā is also called “the most influential philosopher of the pre-modern era”. He was a peripatetic philosopher, i.e. influenced by Aristotelian philosophy[6]. Out of the 450 works he is believed to have written, around 240 have survived, including 150 on philosophy and 40 on medicine. His major work, the Canon of Medicine (-in Arabic–Qānūn fi-al-Ṭibb) continued to be taught as a medical textbook in Europe and in the Islamic world until the early modern period.

Ibn Sina’s most famous works are The Canon of Medicine (Al-Qānūn fi-al-Ṭibb), a medical encyclopedia that became a standard medical text at many medieval universities even in medieval Europe and remained in use as late as 1650. The second book in the Book of Healing (Kitāb al-Shifā’), a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia.

Besides philosophy and medicine, Ibn Sīnā’s corpus includes writings on astronomy, alchemy, geography, and geology, psychology, Islamic theology, logic, mathematics, physics, and works of poetry[7].

As a philosopher whose major Book of Healing (Kitāb Al-Shifā’) had a decisive impact upon European scholasticism and especially upon Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274). The birthplace of Ibn Sīnā, the Afshana village, is situated near Bukhārā (Uzbekistan), where the present Government has established a Medical University named after Ibn Sīnā and also established a beautiful Museum of Ibn Sīnā in the village of Afshana.

Ibn Sīnā’s inclination for categorizing becomes immediately evident in the Canon, which is divided into five books. The Book I contains four treatises, the first of which examines the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) in the light of Greek physician Galen of Pergamum’s four humours (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile). The first treatise includes also anatomy.

The second treatise examines etiology (cause) and symptoms, while the third covers hygiene, health and sickness, and death’s inevitability. The fourth treatise is a therapeutic nosology (classification of disease) and a general overview of regimens and dietary treatments. Book II of the Canon is a Materia Medica. Book III covers diseases of head-to-toe. Book IV examines diseases that are not specific to certain organs, e.g., fevers, other systemic and humoral pathologies. In Book, V has described “Compound Drugs”, e.g. theriacs (an ointment or other medicinal compound used as an antidote to snake venom or other poison), mithridates (a medicine believed to be a universal antidote to or preservative against poison and disease), electuaries (a medicinal substance mixed with honey or another sweet substance), and cathartics (a purgative drug).

Books II and V each offers important compendia of about 760 simple and compound drugs which elaborate Galen’s humoral pathology (Refer to the text of Al-Qānūn fi-al-Ṭibb published in Lucknow (India) translated in Urdu by Hakim Ghulam Hasnain, 1930-31 by Munshi Naval Kishore, Vol. 4&5 and Al-Qānūn fi-al-Ṭibb Translated by Ḥakīm Ghulām Ḥussayn Kantūrī, Published in Lahore, Pakistan, Vol. 3, Part-I).

In the 8th century, the Arabs came, bringing with them Islam during the Islamic Golden Age. Changes came in the thirteenth century when the Mongolian ruler Genghis Khān conquered Central Asia and rid the Indo-Iranians of power. By the fourteenth century, the region began breaking up into tribes and one tribal chief, Timūr, became the dominant power and under his rule, artists and scholars once again flourished. After the death of Timur in the fifteenth century, the Uzbek tribe became the predominant ethnic group in modern Uzbekistan[8].

Worldwide popular books of ḥadith are related with Uzbekistan region viz. (1) aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī which is one of the Kutub al-Ṣittah (six major ḥadith collections) of Sunni Islam. Whereas, out of all these six major books, the collection of prophetic traditions, or adith for aīḥ al-Bukhārī, was performed by the Muslim scholar Muḥammad al-Bukhārī. It was completed around 846 AD / 232 AH. (2) Jāmi͑ at-Tirmizī also known as Sunan at-Tirmizī is one of “the six books” (Kutub al-Sittāh – the six major ḥadith collections). It was collected by Al-Tirmizī. He began compiling it after the year AH 250 (AD 864/5) and completed it on the 10 Dhu-al Ḥijjah AH 270 (AD 884, June 9).

(3) Al-Nasā’ī (214 – 303 AH; c. 829 – 915 CE), full name Abū  ͑Abd ar-Raḥmān Aḥmad ibn Shu ͑ayb ibn Alī ibn Sīnā al-Nasā ͗ī  (variant: Abu Abdel-rahman Ahmed ibn Shua’ib ibn ‘Ali ibn Sīnā ibn Bahr ibn Dīnār Al-Khurāsanī); he was a noted collector of Ḥadīth (sayings of Prophet Muḥammad), was of  Persian origin, and the author of As-Sunan one of the six collections of canonical Ḥadīth recognized by Sunni Muslims. Al-Nasā’ī from Khurāsān is now in Turkmenistan.

There are traditional herbalists and physicians found even now in Uzbekistan, for instance, Hakim Ato Kinjaief and Ḥakīm Atek of Bukhara as mentioned by Dr. Mohammad Adam of Unani Institute, Frankfurt, Germany. In Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarqand, and other cities of Uzbekistan there are many Uzbek scholars who are practicing as traditional herbalists and preparing their own medicine. Few of them are engaged in the business of supplying even the Unani supplement of Omega 3 in those cities.

Uzbekistan’s cuisine has a historical tradition, in which meat, milk, animal fats, vegetables with hot and bitter spices are used intensively and the steppe eating habits are still maintained.

In Uzbekistan, it is a very common tradition to serve dessert before dinner. Before the meal, usually, jam, sugar, melon, watermelon, and baked desserts are served. Uzbek, who taught the sanctity of bread at an early age to their children, respects the bread well enough to avoid putting it on the table in a reversed way. The bread consumed on Uzbek tables is cooked in an oven (tandūr) in almost every house. Patyr, syrmay, aby, and tailing bread are the most popular types of bread.

It has museums in plenty, theatre, the opera and ballet flourish; it’s emporiums stock ware from various regions of Uzbekistan. The Museum of Applied Arts where crafts from all over Uzbekistan are displayed in quiet rooms with muted lighting. The Museum of Fine Arts, one of the oldest in Uzbekistan, and has one of the richest collections of art in the whole of Central Asia. The Uzbek Puppet Theatre, the opera, and ballet at the Navoi (New) Theatre add drama and color to the city’s life.

His most famous works are The Canon of Medicine (Al-Qānūn fi-al-Ṭibb), a medical encyclopedia which became a standard medical text at many medieval universities even in medieval Europe and remained in use as late as 1650. The second book is the Book of Healing (Kitāb al-Shifā’), a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia.

Madrasās, mausoleums, and mosques with stunning blue mosaics of elaborate styling stun the eye. Most of these works are attributed to Timur, his sons, and grandson Ulūgh Beg. The Registan complex is the focus of Samarqand’s beauty, its most enduring attraction. The Ulūgh Beg Madrasā at Registan is overawing in its majesty, its detailed mosaic, and the surfeit of brilliant blue and raw gold. It brings home the splendor of the Timurid Empire, the prosperity that it had; the style and sophistication that shines everywhere in this region is here in one soul stupefying dose.

Bukhārā, the famous trading city on the Silk Road, stirs the romantic feeling in many travelers. In terms of living history, one does not get a better place.

Some of its tawny buildings that glow with burnished gold in the setting Sun are, more than a thousand years old. For sheer visual delight, Bukhārā does not quite compare with Samarqand. The Bukhara city is robustly lived-in and has remained much like it was in the days of yore. No ‘new quarters’ vie for attention here as they do in many cities in the world where one would make a special ‘sightseeing tour’ of the ‘old quarters’.

That line of distinction does not exist in Bukhārā where all is even now as it was. There are more than 140 protected buildings in this city – Madrasās, Mosques, Mausoleums, and musty public baths, the people are known for their unabashed friendliness and absorbing hospitality and there is the lure of the Silk Road legend. Noteworthy in Bukhara is the Kalan Minaret, which at 47 meters was once the tallest structure in the whole of Central Asia and was spared by the marauding Genghis Khān because of its beauty. The Mausoleum of Ismail Salami was built around AD 905, the Labī Hauz Plaza, the Ark, which is the Emir’s Palace, the Zindān (the city jail). The famous carpets of Bukhārā are not really made in that city. One can find them the towns in present-day Turkmenistan that used to be in the Bukhārā Emirate.

The distant lands of Khorezm are formed and fed by the Amu Darya delta and its history is inextricably linked to the river, like Egypt’s to the Nile. Their turbid water pries apart the red and black deserts on either side to color the desert island’s oasis with a fragile smear of green. It divided Turkic from Persian and provided a cradle for Central Asia’s earliest civilization, only to shift course like a restless nomad, turning marsh into the baked desert, killing cities at a whim. Today it is damned, channeled and bled dry to quench thirsty cotton quotas and only then allowed to limp, exhausted and spent, into the dying arms of the Aral Sea.

Khiva, once the capital of the fearsome Timurids and a major trading post for silk and slaves, is now a small town with only about 40,000 people. It is known to have been founded by Shem, son of Noah. Today, the historical center of Khiva lies in mothballed preservation – an untouchable state. As a result, the bustle of life has gone out of it, and today it stands like a big outdoor museum. Its lack of tourist infrastructure makes Khiva essentially a city-getaway kind of destination from Urgench, which in itself has not much to recommend except that it is well connected to the rest of Uzbekistan and has a booming hotel industry.

The sights of Khiva are concentrated in the Ichon Qilʽa, the historical center. Many of the buildings are decorated with majolica (Is a type of pottery in which an earthenware clay body (usually a red earthenware) is covered with an opaque white glaze (traditionally a lead glaze including tin), then painted with stains or glazes and fired) tiles and paintings of scenes from nature. The Islamic Khodzha minaret, the Toshi Khovli Palace, the Dhzuma Mosque, and the mausoleum of Pahlavon Mahmud, the philosopher, are a few of Khiva’s main attractions.

However, I have tried in this book to provide useful knowledge about Great physician and philosopher Ibn Sīnā, his very popular works and also about beautiful historic places in Uzbekistan, as a guide for the blue-tiled splendors of Samarqand to the holy city of Bukhara, the desert Khiva. Uzbekistan lays claim to a breathtaking architectural legacy, bound by sand and snow, fed by melted water from the roof of the world, this fertile oasis attracted travelers and scholars in the ancient past and even now in modern times.

  • ʽAbdul Laṭīf is Former Chairman, Professor, Department of ʽIlmul Adwiyā (Unani Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences) in AMU Aligarh. H is also a former Coordinator, DRS-I Programme, UGC, Govt. of India, Alīgarh Muslim University, ʽAlīgarh, INDIA

[1]Abu Rayhan al-Biruni was an Iranian scholar and polymath during the Islamic Golden Age. He has been variously called as the “founder of Indology”, “Father of Comparative Religion”, “Father of modern geodesy”, and the first anthropologist.

[2]Abū Manṣūr Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Maḥmūd al-Samarqandī (853–944 CE), often referred to as Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī for short, or reverently as Imam Māturīdī by Sunni Muslims, was a Sunni Hanafī jurist, theologian, and scriptural exegete from ninth-century Samarqand who became the eponymous codifier of one of the principal orthodox schools of Sunni theology, the Maturidi school, which became the dominant theological school for Sunni Muslims in Central Asia and later enjoyed a preeminent status as the school of choice for both the Ottoman Empire and the Mughal Empire.

[3]Al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmizī, full name Abu ‘Abdallah Muḥammad ibn Ali ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Bashīr al-Tirmizī (d.c. 869) was a Sunni jurist (faqīh) and traditionist (muhaddith) of Khorāsān, but is mostly remembered as one of the great early authors of Sufism.

[4]Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Ibrāhīm ibn al-Mughīrah ibn Bardizbah al-Ju‘fī al-Bukhārī commonly referred to as Imām al-Bukhārī, was a Persian Islamic scholar who was born in Bukhārā (the capital of the Bukhara Region (wilāyat) of what is now in Uzbekistan). He authored the ḥadith collection known as aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, regarded by Sunni Muslims as one of the most authentic ḥadith collections.

[5]Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandī was a Ḥanafite jurist and Quran commentator, who lived during the second half of the 10th century. He authored various books on theology and jurist works, including Bahr al-‘Ulūm, a Quran exegesis, also known as Tafsīr as-Samarqandī

[6] Assessed on dated 15.06.2020

[7] Afary, Janet (2007). “Iran”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2007-12-16; Assessed on 15.06.2020

[8],ethnic%20group%20in%20modern%20Uzbekistan. Assessed on 14.06.2020

Sahil Agha 213213

Sahil Agha, a distinguished Dastango, honored by DMC

Delhi Minority Commission has honored Syed Sahil Agha, a distinguished Dastango, (Oral StoryTeller) with the Annual Award -2020 for Promotion of Urdu. The Chairman of DMC conferred upon him the prestigious award which consists of a Plaque and a Certificate of appreciation. DMC under the chairmanship of Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, and Mr. Kartar Singh Kochar and Mrs. Anastsia Gill as Members,

Syed Sahil Agha, an alumnus of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi entered this field in 2010 as a student of JMI. In the last 10 years, he has made a distinguished place in the field. Till now he has authored and presented more than 100 scripts of his dastans on a variety of historical topics of learning and promotion. His biographical Dastans of Sufis like Ameer Khusro, Nizamuddin Aulea, Sheikh Nasiruddin Chiragh Delhi, etc. had earned him name and fame. His dastans on the life and works of Gandhi Ji, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Mother Teresa, and others were received with enthusiasm.

DMC awards are given in various categories including Academic Excellence, Communal Harmony, Community Service, Human Rights, NGOs, Promotion of Punjabi, Promotion of Urdu, Sports, Supporters of Minorities, Teachers of Substance, Print and Electronic Media, Outstanding Schools, some special awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Sahil Agha has also introduced a novelty in Dasgangoi with an infusion of Classical Music and Western Opera. A show on Mirza Ghalib, with Ustad Iqbal Ahmad Khan of Delhi Gharana, proved a big hit, attended by Naseeruddin Shah. His several performances with Indian Opera artist Kabuki Khanna won the hearts of the audience. His presentation on Meera was a hit.

Sahil represented India as a delegate in the ‘XIX World Festival of Youth and Students’, held in Sochi, Russia in 2017, organized by ‘BRICS International Forum’ with the ‘Russian Centre of Science and Culture, New Delhi’ and International Federation of Indo-Russian Youth Clubs. Sahil also performed at JMI Alumni Association, Qatar’s function. DD Urdu and Zee Salam have aired his stories.     

Syed Sahil Agha has been honored at various awards including ‘Pradesh Jouhar Award 2017’, ‘Hafeez Meerathi Award 2017’, and now Delhi Minorities Commission Award 2019.

DMC awards are given in various categories including Academic Excellence, Communal Harmony, Community Service, Human Rights, NGOs, Promotion of Punjabi, Promotion of Urdu, Sports, Supporters of Minorities, Teachers of Substance, Print and Electronic Media, Outstanding Schools, some special awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards.