Interviews, Features, Events, Bengali & Indian Performing Arts & Artist Reviews

Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Wage Rates Hiked by 17-30 Percent in India - New Wages Higher than Existing Rates in many States

New Delhi, Feb 23, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) In pursuance of its commitment towards the welfare of the rural poor , the Government has  enhanced the wages under  Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). This will result in 17-30% enhancement of wages under the premier flagship program of the Government across the country. The move is likely to benefit more than 5 crore beneficiaries under MGNREGA across the country. The wage rates have been hiked on the basis of Consumer Price Index for the agricultural labour   calculated on the basis of Rs. 100 or the actual wage rate, whichever is higher as on April 1st, 2009. As per the amended notification issued by the Ministry Of Rural Development the new MGNREGA wage rates will come into effect from January 1, 2011 or the date of actual payment of the revised rate, whichever is later.

Caracal - The Elusive and Mysterious Cat of the Himalayas

New Delhi, Feb 23, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) Certain species are very hard to find like the snow leopard and the red panda that live in the high reaches of the Himalayan Mountains and  in the rain forests. But, this is not so with the Caracal because it resides in the easily approachable main lands of India, some are also the main tourism hubs of India such as Ranthambhore and Sariska. Yet, to sight  this mysterious cat  is not easy.

Pamela Anderson’s demand of humane medical research in India lauded

Nevada, Feb 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Hindus have supported Hollywood diva Pamela Anderson’s reported demand of “humane” research methods in India’s prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

Youth & Sports Development Initiatives in North Eastern Region of India

New Delhi, Feb 23, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) India is on the threshold of an unique demographic dividend youth being a major strategic asset. This “Youth Bulge” in the light of its impact on work participation and dependency ratio has been called a window of opportunity in terms of growth and development of our country, an opportunity which would need to be seized before the window closes. This poses its own challenges with reference to inclusive growth and the need to bridge divides. The requirements for this will transcend sectoral programmes, and would require a variety of interventions and programmes aimed at addressing the youth in a multi-dimensional manner. The Government has been working for youth volunteerism, community service and personality development of young men and women for about 40 years.

While out lining his ministry’s vision and objective with respect to the North Eastern States, Shri Ajay Maken, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs & Sports  underlined that, Skill development among youth is aimed at facilitating employment; evolving sports as a source of employment and prestige and  Preservation as well propagation of the rich cultural heritage of the region.

SUFIS AT THE CINEMA - Six Decades of Sufi Influence on Bollywood Songs: A double-CD album release by Times Square Records

Germantown, MD, Feb 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Beginning with a classic from the 50s and progressing right through to the new millennium, the recordings – some blockbuster hits, others more rare – tell the true story of Sufi music in India and its influence on the more folklorish Qawwali, a music consumed on a daily basis, side-by-side with all other forms of popular Bollywood music.

Sufi-influenced music has been present in Indian cinema pretty much since the first films were released. The relationship of Sufi music to the more popular Qawwali is almost similar to that of traditional Gospel music to traditional R&B music as pioneered by Ray Charles. The performances are not always 'pure' in the lyrical sense, but neither are they devoid of 'soul'. Whether following the popular conventions of the time, or striking out on their own, some of Bollywood's most impassioned and heartfelt performances are caught in these tracks.

Actress Debolina impresses in her debut AAMI ADU (2011) : Bengali Movie Review

Bengali Actress Debalina and hero Samadarshi: AMI ADU Tollywood Movie
Debalina and Samadarshi

Somnath Gupta, Samadarshi, Arghyakamal Mitra in AMI ADU Tollywood Kolkata Bengali Movie
Somnath Gupta (Director), Samadarshi, Arghyakamal Mitra; images (C) Aditya Chakraborty / WBRi

Calcutta, Feb 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) New Theaters was a a pioneer production house founded by the legendary B.N.Sircar quite a few decades back when the talkies were replacing the silent era. A record number of films (around 150) were produced during that time in three or four languages from the 30s till the mid 50s –Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and even Tamil. It helped to launch the careers of many stalwarts like Debaki Bose, Pramathesh Barua, Bimal Roy, Prithviraj Kapoor, K.L.Saigal, Kanan Devi, Pankaj Mullick, Nitin Bose, Raichand Boral and many others all of whom went on to become legendary names after being associated with films under the New Theaters banner. They last produced a film in the 50s and after that for some reason they did not produce any film for so many years for some reason or the other. However any film which they will produce is expected to have solid content like their films of yesteryear. No wonder they have backed a film like Aami Adu.

Treasures of China and India - two wonderful ancient civilazations

Qing Dynasty Chinese Ceramics

Image by Ivan Walsh via Flickr

Is Zoe Saldana Hiding Something?

Is Zoe Saldana Hiding Something?

February 23, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Pen Men at Work): Avatar star Zoe Saldana says she is not pregnant. Of course, she hasn't stated this herself, it's her publicist who has said so. Why then, we wonder, did she get so curvy? Is it for a role? Or simply put on weight?