Margshirsha Krishna 6, Vik Samvat 2068. Yugabda 5113: November 16, 2011

1. FESTIVAL:  REVISITING BALI YATRA: ODISHA’S GLORY, BHARAT’S PRIDE: Every year during the month of Kartik, which is considered the most auspicious by the people of Odisha, the long-lost maritime glory of Kalinga is commemorated with what has come to be known as Bali Yatra. Sadhabas (traders) of Odisha chose to begin their journey to foreign shores on Kartik Purnima from the banks of Mahanadi. Thousands of Odiyas and tourists gather at Killa Maidan on the bank of Mahanadi near the 9th century fort of Barabati in Cuttack from where the sadhabas would set sail in the past.
On November 10, the banks of Mahanadi came alive with women ululating, men chanting mantras and the crowds breaking into loud cheer as toy boats were floated on the river.
Scholars have come up with various reasons why traders chose Kartik Purnima to begin their voyage across seas. The winds are favourable during this time of the year and the billowing sails made the journey swift and easy. The post-monsoon sky is clear and the Pole Star can be easily seen by navigators. Kalinga is known to have established trading relations with Philippines, Malaysia and Sri Lanka and Siam (Thailand). Kalinga also traded with Rome and Greece.
Others believe that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great Vaishnavite saint, set foot on the soil of Odisha for the first time after crossing the sand bed (Bali) of Mahanadi on his way to Puri on this auspicious day.
2. CHHATH POOJA REACHES US: The ancient Hindu festival Chhath, dedicated to worshipping Sun, which attracts millions of people in Bharat, has reached the American shores too. More than 200 people mostly Bharatiya Americans gathered on November 1 evening on the banks of the historic Potomac river in Sterling, Virginia – a suburb of Washington – as four fasting women took a dip in the water and performed pooja of the Sun God.
In 2009, Anita was the only one to do the pooja.This year we are four. But more important is that there were more than 200 people watching this festival" said Kripa S Singh, a software engineer from Patna, said, as his wife Anita performed the pooja at Potomac river.
3. ‘BHARAT OF MY DREAMS’ WILL BECOME A REALITY IN 30 YEARS – SARSANGHCHALAK:  "If the RSS is asked by Anna to join the movement, we shall do so. But, no such request has come in as yet. However, we are not stopping RSS members from participating in Anna's movement. The links between Anna and the RSS go back a long way. It was the RSS that highlighted Anna's developmental programmes for villages. We even got Anna to help us in our village development programmes. It was during these interactions that the RSS suggested to him to go in for a movement against corruption. I was supposed to meet Anna in June but both of us got held up elsewhere," the RSS chief said during an informal interaction with journalists in Kolkata on 9th November.
According to Bhagwat, the RSS also spoke to Baba Ramdev on starting a movement against corruption. The RSS chief believes that Bharat is on her way to becoming the 'country of his dreams'.
4. GENOGRAPHIC PROJECT CONFIRMS HUMANS MIGRATED OUT OF AFRICA THROUGH ARABIA: Evolutionary history shows that human populations likely originated in Africa, and the Genographic Project, the most extensive survey of human population genetic data to date, suggests where they went next. A study by the Project finds that modern humans migrated out of Africa via a southern route through Arabia, rather than a northern route by way of Egypt.
Ajay Royyuru, senior manager at IBM’s Computational Biology Center, said: “Over the past six years, we’ve had the opportunity to gather and analyze genetic data around the world at a scale and level of detail that has never been done before.  When we started, our goal was to bring science expeditions into the modern era to further a deeper understanding of human roots and diversity. With evidence that the genetic diversity in southern Bharat is closer to Africa than that of Europe, this suggests that other fields of research such as archaeology and anthropology should look for additional evidence on the migration route of early humans to further explore this theory.”
5. BHARAT TEST-FIRES NUCLEAR-CAPABLE 'AGNI-IV' MISSILE: Adding teeth to its nuclear deterrence, Bharat on 15th November successfully test-fired an advanced variant of nuclear-capable Agni-II ballistic missile with a strike range of 3,000 km from an island off Odisha coast. "The surface-to-surface intermediate range missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher" at 0900 hours from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island defence sources said.
Christened "Agni-II Prime", the new missile is a 2-stage weapon system powered by solid propellant. The first developmental trial of Agni-II Prime, conducted on December 10, 2010, had failed due to technical problem in the control system.
6. MODI IN BEIJING, TELLS CHINA 'PAKISTAN IS MAKING USE OF YOU': Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi raised a few controversial issues including the one about the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in Beijing on 9th November. "I told them - whatever your intentions, Pakistan is making use of you," Modi said after his meeting with three Chinese leaders including Wang Gang, a politburo member of the Communist Party of China and vice-chairman of the China People's Consultative Conference. There is a lot of concern over Chinese troop presence in PoK in Bharat, and particularly in Gujarat as it was a border state, he told them.
Modi also questioned the wisdom of a Chinese transformer maker, TBEA, displaying a wrong map of Bharat at a function in New Delhi, which resulted in a sharp exchange of words between a journalist and Chinese ambassador in Bharat.   
7. AMERA GETS FACELIFT DUE TO SEVA BHARATI EFFORTS: Amera village situated in the remote mountainous region of Chhattisgarh has now become self sufficient in the aspects of education, health and employment because of the effective implementation of development projects by Seva Bharati. Seva Bharati karyakartas have saved this village from getting caught into the ugly clutches of Christian missionaries who earlier used to take advantage of the illiteracy prevalent among villagers for fulfilling their evil intention of conversion.
The conversion process had started in the nearby villages under the camouflage of seva. Understanding the gravity of the problem, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh karyakartas and social worker Phulchand Jain opened Vanavasi Ram Primary School for imparting value-based education to the villagers and thus began the work of saving villagers from the influence of Christian missionaries.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh shakhas are now regularly held in morning as well as in the evening. From last five years, prabhat pheris are also being regularly organized. Every Tuesday, Ramayan recital and discourse is held by Ramayan Mandali. Dharm Raksha Sena has been constituted in the village. Bolbum Samiti is constituted for holding 200-km-long padayatra from Amarkantak to Kawardha during which jalabhishek is performed at Boodha Mahadev to mark the conclusion. Festivals such as Ganeshotsav and Navaratri are celebrated with religious fervour. Earlier, such kind of programmes were not held here. Instead, Christian missionaries used to organize prayers at these places.
Conventional methods of farming are practiced. Crops such as maize, paddy, sorghum, etc are primarily cultivated. Women self help groups have been constituted for economical upliftment of women power. Under Ramkothi scheme, food grains are stored so that it can satisfy the need of poor brethren. Under the guidance of Baiga Ashram, cow urine (gomutra) is collected from a number of houses for manufacturing Kamdhenu ark and eco-friendly pesticides and thus a large amount of employment has been provided to village youths who earlier used to just wander in the village or migrate to cities in search of work. Villagers have been given training regarding this work and at present, the manufacturing work is going on in full swing at many houses. Tendu leaves, firewood, etc is also collected by these villagers and sold in the market so as to earn their living.
There is no place for discrimination in the village. All brethren live together with a feeling of mutual co-operation and celebrate their religious as well as family functions with enthusiasm. All of them eat together during public functions. With the co-operation of villagers, sapling plantation programmes are undertaken from time to time and the digging work of pond has also been accomplished.
Earlier, the village was completely in the grip of illiteracy. The stream of education has now spread in the entire village and children are availing education from class one to twelve. With a view that no one should remain illiterate, various projects are implemented effectively in the village. One girl who has passed the class 10 examination is running an anganwadi centre for educating villagers. Mahavir Baiga Ashram and Navasiram Higher Secondary School are also nurturing the sapling of education. Over 100 tribal girls are studying at Vanavasi Kanya Ashram.
Annual health check-up of villagers is conducted by Bharatmata Seva Samiti and treatment is provided on every Sunday. Conventional herbal medicines are also utilized in treatment. There is a complete ban on intoxication. Disputes are sorted out in the village itself. There is hardly any scope for court cases and police investigation. Now, the nearby villages are also being greatly influenced by this transformed face of Amera.
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8. WOMEN CONFERENCE BY SEVIKA SAMITI: Three aspects of Bhagini Nivedita’s life education, swadeshi and sewa, can change the entire picture of our country. That is why the Rashtra Sevika Samiti has focused on these three aspects only during this centenary year. ” said Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti Pramilatai Medhe while addressing a women conference in Delhi on November 5; organised to remember Bhagini Nivedita in the 100th year of her passing away. Smt Kiran Ladha of Maheshwari Mahila Samaj was the chief guest while noted writer and former Chairperson of Central Social Welfare Board Smt Mridula Sinha presided over the function.  A play based on the life of Bhagini Nivedita was also staged at the conference. 
9. BANGLA TO MEGHALAYA, IT'S WANGALA ALL THE WAY: Attired in colourful Garo 'regalia' they made a brisk business selling traditional tribal hand-woven outfits. The Garo team, from Bangladesh, lent warmth to the Hundred Drums Wangala Festival here on 12th November.
There were around 30,000 Garos living in Dhaka alone, said Jonson Emre, leader of a team of 28 Garo artists, craftsmen and women, which makes it a point to attend the Wangala festival every year.
In fact, Wangla is celebrated thrice in Bangladesh, the biggest one being at Bonani Vidya Niketan in Dhaka, where, this year the chief guest was the agriculture minister of Bangladesh, Motiur Choudhury. Former Bangladesh president Hussein Mohammed Ershad too attended Wanglala festival in Dhaka, added Emre between selling typically designed Garo handloom from the neighbouring country. Wangala is an ancient dance performed in almost every village of the Garo Hills.
10. TIRUPPUR FLOOD - SELFLESS SERVICE BY SWAYAMSEVAKS: First week of November witnessed torrential rains battering the Tiruppur city, the national knitwear export centre and a district headquarter in Tamilnadu. Low-lying areas and dwellings got marooned as the Noyyal River entered the town causing flood. Nearly 15000 people were rendered homeless. RSS volunteers along with other Hindu organizations immediately plunged into relief action. They rescued the children, ladies and aged people from the flood and safely sheltered them in the nearby schools. Toothpowder, milk, bread, tea, water packets etc. were initially supplied to them. 600 rubber sheets, buckets, biscuits were also supplied. Food packets for around 6000 persons were distributed by the RSS volunteers. Prompt Selfless Service by the RSS volunteers was well appreciated by the locals.
11. PUSHKAR FAIR ATTRACTS MORE FOREIGN TOURISTS:  The international cattle fair held annually in the month of November here in the tiny rugged city of Pushkar - 13 km away from Ajmer in Rajasthan- has been attracting more tourists from across the globe this year, according to officials. The camel and cattle fair remains the highlight of the week-long fair that began on November 3 where a large number of animals from rural Bharat come to be traded off. "Compared to last year, more tourists from Europe, Kenya, Korea, Israel and several other places are thronging the fair to witness the excellent display of colourful India," says G S Gangwal, Deputy Director in Rajashtan's department of Tourism. According to official estimates out of the 3,50,000 visitors to the fair in 2010 over 5,800 were foreign tourists. Known primarily as the world's largest camel fair, the number of horses has also increased considerably over the years, say officials. "So far more than 17,535 cattle have come to the fair, which includes large number of horses this year," says Gangwal. In 2010, a total of 16,000 animals participated in the fair. Moreover, while the rugged terrain of the Sahara desert provides a befitting spot for annual cattle fair, the pristine beauty of the valley surrounded by hills on the three sides and sand dunes on the other lure in a large number of tourists. "The picturesque beauty, rich cultural and traditional heritage, exciting activities and the festivities during the fair that offers a glimpse of the rural Rajasthan are all tempting and I would love to visit the place again," says a Spainiard who took to wearing a turban in the traditional Rajasthani style while roaming around the fair.
12. BHUPEN HAZARIKA NO MORE: BHARAT LOSES A RARE, FOLKSY VOICE: Legendary singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika, who had been in a Mumbai hospital ICU for the past four months, succumbed to multiple organ failure on Novemebr 5 afternoon. He was 85.
Most photographs show him wearing the traditional Nepali cap. But Hazarika was equally at ease donning other hats as balladeer, singer, composer, lyricist, filmmaker, politician and interlocutor. Known for his unique style of blending Assamese folk melody into his tunes, he managed to touch the listener’s heart so much that they were willing to take that leap of imagination and appreciate a song which evoked the flora and fauna of Assam even if the visuals were of Rajasthan, as was the case in Rudaali.
13. PAK SCHOOLS TEACH INTOLERANCE OF HINDUISM: US REPORT: Text books in Pakistani schools foster prejudice and intolerance of Hindus and other religious minorities, while most teachers view non-Muslims as "enemies of Islam," according to a study by a U.S. government commission released W9th November.
"Teaching discrimination increases the likelihood that violent religious extremism in Pakistan will continue to grow, weakening religious freedom, national and regional stability, and global security," said Leonard Leo, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The study reviewed more than 100 textbooks from grades 1-10 from Pakistan's four provinces. Researchers in February this year visited 37 public schools, interviewing 277 students and teachers, and 19 madrases, where they interviewed 226 students and teachers.
14. DRDO DEVELOPING A FUTURISTIC E-BOMB: With electronic warfare and network-centric operations playing an increasingly significant role in today’s battlefield, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing a weapon that renders electronic gadgets useless and effectively neutralises the adversary’s command, control and communication capability.
Commonly referred to as ‘e-bomb’, the weapon produces a strong electromagnetic field generating powerful electricity surges that can play havoc with electronic circuits within a specified area.
 “Though this is the biggest weapon of mass destruction next to a nuclear bomb, it has a limited collateral damage as it does not target humans and is designed to hit computer systems and networks,” Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) director Dr Manjit Singh said.
15. SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATION OF NUNNA LALHNAM IN MIZORAM: Nunna Lalhnam, the organisation of the followers of Mizo age old traditions, faith and culture, organised a three-day Nunna Kutpui (festival) from October 27 to 29 at Chhiathlang in Mizoram. The Silver Jubilee function which was attended by about 250 delegates including religious leaders Shri Rorelliana, Shri Lalchangliana, Shri H Chawpianglianga and Shri Girish Kuber of Kalyan Ashram.
Shri Rorelliana stressed the necessity of character building because this virtue attracts the society. Shri Lalchangliana said they are the followers of age old traditions and social customs. “We used to respect elders and we used to believe that the whole universe is the creation of God. But now due to the advent of Christianity we have started losing our  traditions, faith, social customs and the identity,” he said. 
Shri Sanjay Kanade, a worker of Kalyan Ashram, was also honoured by Shri Lalhnam Hmeichhe Pawl for his selfless services. A medical camp was also conducted in which nearly 250 patients were benefited.               
16. KERALA PAVILION WINS AWARD AT LONDON TRAVEL MART: The Kerala pavilion, portraying a slice of the pristine beauty of God's Own Country, bagged the best stall award at the prestigious World Travel Market 2011 in London. Kerala Tourism, which set up the huge pavilion, spread over 117 sq m on the theme 'Backwater with Chinese fishing net', won the prize in the category of Best Stand Feature.
17. KOLKATA GIRL EQUALS AMARTYA SEN'S MPHIL FEAT AT CAMBRIDGE: A 23-year-old Kolkatta girl has become only the third Bharatiya after Amartya Sen and Sir Partho Dasgupta to win one of Cambridge University's highest honours, continuing its legacy of  academic brilliance in haloed global circles.
Mahima Khanna, a resident of Alipore in Kolkatta who works in Mumbai as a trade analyst and is often involved in Planning Commission assignments, has topped the 2010-11 MPhil class of economics at the university and will receive the prestigious Stevenson Prize. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen was the first Bharatiya to win the prestigious award in 1956. Dasgupta, who won it in 1967, is a Cambridge professor emeritus who was knighted by the queen for his contribution to nutrition and developmental economics.
18. BHARATIYA TOPS OXFORD POST-GRADUATE LAW COURSE:  An alumnus of National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, topped in Oxford University's postgraduate programme.
Niranjan V, a Rhodes Scholar, had opted for Bachelor of Civil Law course. He beat 150 classmates to top in, what he said, is one of the most "demanding programmes in the world". He topped in three of the four courses, including Conflict of Law, Restitution, Personal Taxation and Law of Evidence.
The result was a pleasant surprise for Niranjan. He learnt about his result after he returned to Bharat .
19. FROM BRAIN DRAIN TO BRAIN CHAIN, TIME FOR BHARAT TO MOVE: With the growing expectations of the world from Bharatiya Technology Professionals , there is a need of creating a “Brain-Chain” of Bharatiya  Talent; observed  Vijay Bhatkar, eminent scientist best known as  the architect of supercomputer PARAM.
Speaking at an event organized by GITPRO on 9th November (Global Indian Technology Professionals Association), Pune chapter Bhatkar said, “Indian economy was dominant till 16th, 17th century. But later due to aggressions and the disintegrated approach, India lost its position. The 18th and 19th century was dominated by Europeans, 20th century by Americans, and the 21st century belongs to the Asians.”
The event was held at Symbiosis Atur Centre in Model Colony, Pune and was well attended by many IT professionals and students.
20. ‘RAJA DHARMA WITH LESSONS ON RAJA NEETI’ BY RAMA JOIS RELEASED : ‘Raja Dharma With Lessons on Raja Neeti’, a book written by former Governor of Bihar and Rajya Sabha Member M Rama Jois was released in Banglore on Saturday, November 12, 2011. Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravishankar released the book at a program at the Art of Living Centre on Kanakapura Road. The book contains lessons on good governance.
Speaking about the book, Rama Jois said, “I thought of writing this book after reading the lectures that Dewan Madhav Rao delivered to the Maharaja of Baroda. The lectures contain jewels of wisdom on how a ruler must run his kingdom.
21. DRDO UNIT STARTS PRODUCING INFRARED SEEKER FOR NAG MISSILE: Joining the elite group of global companies, Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), a missile-manufacturing unit of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has started production of Imaging Infra Red (IIR) Seekers for the third generation ‘Nag’ anti-tank guided missiles.
The state-of-the-art IIR Seeker is used for guiding the missile and giving it “fire and forget capability”. The first lot of IIR Seekers was rolled out at BDL’s Hyderabad unit. The IIR Seekers for Nag missile have been designed for a range of four km while the seekers of similar anti-tank missiles of USA and Israel have a two-km range.
22. RECORD NUMBER OF PILGRIMS VISIT VAISHNODEVI THIS YEAR: Over 87.62 lakh pilgrims visited the holy cave shrine of Vaishnodevi, nestled in Trikuta hills in Jammu and Kashmir, this year so far, surpassing all previous records. Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board (SMVSB) officials said. Last year's turnout of pilgrims was 87,49,326, they said adding SMVSB was expecting nearly one crore pilgrims to the revered shrine this year.
23. PAK WILL SEND TERRORISTS INTO VALLEY IF AFSPA LIFTED - BHAGWAT: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat on 13th November warned Pakistan would start sending terrorists into the Valley if the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was withdrawn from parts of Kashmir, a leading daily reports. “Pakistan has not changed its policy on terrorism,’’ he told a Hindu Convention organised by the RSS in Raipur
24. BHARAT  TO COMMISSION ITS THIRD RESEARCH STATION IN ANTARCTICA: Nearly 28 years after it set up the first permanent research station in the South Polar region, Bharat  is all set to commission and occupy a third such station in Antarctica by March next year. After the station named 'Bharti' becomes operational, Bharat  will join the league of select nations that have multiple operation stations in the region. Director of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) Rasik Ravindra said that the new station located almost 3,000 km away from the existing 'Maitri' station  will undertake cutting-edge research on geological structures and tectonics at the centre from the next year.
25. TCS BIG BANG: RECORD $2.2-BN ORDER FROM UK: Bharat's largest technology company, Tata Consultancy Services, has bagged a $2.2-billion (Rs 11,037 crore) outsourcing contract — the biggest tech deal for an Bharatiya  firm — from the UK-based pension provider, Friends Life. Under the deal, TCS and its UK arm, Diligenta, will provide technology infrastructure solutions to the clients of Friends Life. TCS said on November 10 the 15-year deal also re-established Bharat's position as a technology hotspot, offering state-of-the-art services.
"India still enjoys the cheaper-better-faster advantage compared to other emerging outsourcing hubs, such as the Philippines. " said IT veteran Kiran Karnik.
26. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Indrasen Reddy-USA, Anil Bechu and family-Mauritius.Pravas: Sh.Ravikumar, sahsamyojak vishwa Vibhag will return to Bharat after finishing his tour to Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The moment I have realised God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him - that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free. – Swami Vivekananda

Myanmar is mysterious as well as undiscovered country for most of us despite being eastern neighbor. It does not surprise when it is referred as “invisible” neighbor. Strategically speaking this country has significant potential to prop up India’s presence in South East.
Geographically closest to India, Myanmar shares the cultural heritage with India. Yet, modern political developments swayed these two countries decades away only to be moving again to proximity and this is probably the best news for both the countries. Burma or Brahmadesh, as this was mentioned in Indian literature, was never seen as a foreign country and people from both countries traveled freely to enjoy hospitality.
Myanmar’s strategic location provides it extra importance being neighbor to two Oriental giants and rising economies, namely India and China, both being great civilizations. Chinese influence is seen though in physical form, Indian cultural, religious and philosophical impact is experienced even in remotest parts of the country through ‘life’.
Myanmar is the largest geographical entity in whole of South East Asia and has the widest canvas of diversity. Demographically speaking Burmese are close to 2/3rd of the whole population of 55.6 million, the Shan community being the largest minority with 9% population of the whole. On diversity count, Myanmar has more than 100 communities with as many languages and dialects. Yet social or cultural conflicts do not occur like in other countries. Kachin, Chin, Kayin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine, are some of the major tribes that have inhabited the land since centuries.
Myanmar is important to both India and China for factors that matter in modern life. Myanmar is rich in minerals with gold & uranium deposits and is 10th largest gas producing country. Myanmar is also well known for Ruby stones, and of good size –quality, both. Errawady River and its tributaries irrigate the country from north to south. This country also has thick forests and is known for Burmese Teakwood.
Myanmar has shifted its capital to Naypyidaw which is 400 Miles north of Yangon, the earlier capital, though the new capital is just an administrative city, being active only from Monday to Friday. It is said that the new capital is strategically located.
Emergence of the present President Thein Sein, who was elected in last year’s general elections, has raised hopes for many. He happens to be a Military officer like his predecessors but has already gained confidence of the opposition. President Thein Sein’s greatest achievement in altering the political paradigm lies in his opening dialogue with pro-Democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi who had been under house arrest for more than a decade. The joint declaration that emerged out of three meetings between the government representatives and pro-democracy campaigners has brought in solace to everyone in the country. Aung San Suu Kyi and the government issued a joint statement mentioning that they are joining hands “to carry out tasks for the country's stability and peace and development to fulfil the wish of the people; to cooperate constructively for the development of the country's economic and social affair and for the development of democracy system; to avoid disputed views and carry out cooperative tasks on reciprocal basis; and to continue dialogue.” (12th Aug 2011)
For all the political observers in the country as well as abroad this was most cherished development though some of them have expressed reservations about the present policy for a long time. It was most heartening for many in Bharat to note that President Thein Sein decided to take his first journey abroad to the land of Buddha- as all Burmese devoutly believe- India. However some of the developments preceding his visit obviously depict President’s mind. 6359 political prisoners, mostly Aung San Suu Kyi’s followers, were set free a month ahead of President’s visit to Bharat. Secondly, his statement regarding the cancellation of contracts for construction of multiple dams on Errawady, that the Chinese were constructing, couple of days before his sojourn to India, speaks volume. He said, “We have a responsibility to solve the worries of the people so we will stop construction of the Myitsone Dam during our current government.”
Indian government appreciated these measures with announcement of credit line worth US$500 million to Myanmar during the President’s visit to India in October 2011. Not to mention that there was much more give & take from both sides sending a positive signal to everyone including China. Of course, Indian side did not miss the opportunity to welcome the dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi.
We cannot overlook the fact that China stood firmly on Burmese side through all the tumultuous decades of Myanmar while there were and are still campaigners in India supporting cause of democracy in Myanmar, who want to pressurize Myanmar by imposing curbs. Western powers also want India to exert pressure on Myanmar for bringing in swift change which India has endured well and handled with maturity.
Myanmar is the gateway for India’s “look east policy” and that development of 4 North Eastern states of Bharat bordering Myanmar, Arunachal Pradesh- Nagaland- Mizoram- Manipur, would reap the fruits of this policy economically. Some of these states have been the theater for insurgency since couple of decades and development would provide good hope for the youth in these states. Thus, Myanmar is crucial for India’s look east policy as well as interaction with ASEAN.
Myanmar expects enhanced support from India and India will have to reciprocate this to its own advantage in South East Asia as well as South Asia keeping in mind China’s growing clout in the region.
Buddhism of Myanmar which is essentially Theravada Buddhism connects people of Myanmar to India directly and everyone reveres India as the land of Buddha. Thousands of pilgrims from Myanmar take the Buddha pilgrimage every year. However this is a one-way traffic without any tourist from India to Myanmar. Indian tourist may be easily encouraged to reach out to the unexplored nature and the beautiful Pagodas in Myanmar which will surely bring people of Myanmar close to India, they being the benefactors of the tourism.
Myanmar also has good population of People of Indian Origin and some Indian communities have inhabited that country since centuries. Thus we find people from Uttar Pradesh & Bihar in Central Myanmar while Bengalies, Manipuries and Nepalies are in the northern states in good number. Tamils Telugus and Oriyas communities are in south Myanmar who for generations together. Indian Population is 2.9million strong inMyanmar as per the report of Singhvi committee. During the British rule labor from India were taken to Myanmar for clearing the marshlands in south and laying roads and rails in central and north Myanmar as Burmese people avoid hard work. Tales of exploitation of this labor are painful indeed but post independence; Indians were relegated stateless with no rights at all.
Government of Myanmar was influenced by the then Vice President of India late Shri B. S. Shekhavat for providing these stateless people citizenship and this has come as a great relief to the suffering masses. Young students from Indian community have already made a mark by getting admissions to professional courses like medical and engineering. Otherwise, the ‘stateless’ students could never get the admission to Universities in that country.
PIO community has all the liberty to practice their religion and most of them happen to be Hindus. Hinduism as a religion is well respected in Myanmar. The immersion ceremony on Dusshera day on the banks of Errawady river in Mandalay is attended by close to 30,000 people who walked & danced to the beat of drums all the way. City of Mandalay looked just like any other city of Bengal on the occasion.
Sewa Sadan in Kyui Ta Kga, central Myanmar, is an educational institution with the support from Central Hindu Council of Myanmar, a government supported body, had done yeomen service to the Indian community with Hindi and Sanskrit language examinations annually and Ramayana classes in all the villages surrounding the town of Kyui Ta Kga. Most of the mother tongues still continue in every household yet the current student generation is drifting towards the Burmese language which worries the elders.
PIO community is economically moving upwards with every opportunity they can grab, socially and culturally respected, but lack in education as they were deprived of the university education. Many Indians have contributed to the development of that country through their toil and skills and their presence is experienced in trade and industry. Yet many more people are doing petty jobs and are involved in agriculture to make ends meet.
For Indian industrial and business houses, Myanmar can be an opportunity and also a challenge provided they accept to reach out and establish in Myanmar to face the silent Chinese overwhelming position. The moment for the apt foray is right here.  
Shyam Parande is Coordinator for Sewa International and can be reached on –           

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