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How Tagore, once disowned as a Hindu poet by Bengali Muslims, became part of Bangladesh's freedom movement is fascinating history. His songs, such as ‘ Amar sonar Bangla ami tomay bhalobasi' (My golden Bengal, I love you) and ‘ Sarthak janam amar janmechhi ei deshe' (My life has been fulfilled as I was born in this country) and dozens of others, won the hearts of the people. These songs became so integral to their lives that people started to use them to boost their political and cultural movements.

 
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 The five-day festival this year will host 135 sessions including those by Tom Stoppard and David Hare, two renowned playwrights, cutting edge writers of non-fiction like the 'Tiger Mother' Amy Chua,Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker, great novelists such as Annie Proulx, Ben Okri, Jonathan Safran Foer and Michael Ondaatje, as well as the editor of the New Yorker, David Remnick. There will also be frontline reports from the Arab Spring.

 
 
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Events are scheduled to take place from 18-22 January 2012 The festival will include lively sessions with an amazing collection of diverse writers from all over the world such as Joanne Trollope, Richard Dawkins, Tom Stoppard, D.B.C Pierre, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, John Boyne, Aminatta Forna, Romesh Gunasekera and Nayantara Sahgal.The programme and further details can be found at www.galleliteraryfestival.com.   

 
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A new genetics study has found that more than 50 per cent of the South Asian populations have Indian ancestry.The study, conducted by scientists of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in collaboration with the University of Tartu, Estonia, the Chettinad Academy of Research and Education, Chennai and Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, has been published in the prestigious American Journal of Human Genetics.

 
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Almost a year ago, news about a joint collaboration between the popular US children’s series “Sesame Street” and the Pakistani puppet show group Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop caused quite a stir in Pakistan. This four-year long, $20 million USaid project called “Sim Sim Hamara” was staged to promote entertainment for children in Pakistan.

 
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It's time for music aficionados to book a seat for this music fest that will have 15 bands from across nine nations of south Asia perform in the Capital. For those still needing a reason to be convinced, popular musician duo from Pakistan, Zeb and Haniya, will be performing too. The fifth edition of the South Asian Bands Festival, organised by Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), is set to begin on December 2 and rock bands, Indigo Children and Advaita, will represent Delhi at the fest.

 
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As digital and e-readers slowly take over, it seems the word ‘bookworm’ will have to be redefined. Statistics indicate the sale of e-books have risen over 100% in one year in America.Through the collaboration of publication nepalaya and e-commerce company muncha.com, Nepal is jumping on the band wagon and is now offering e-publication of Nepali works of literature.

 
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The Gorkhas still carry into battle their traditional weapon -an 18-inch long wickedly curved, broadbladed heavy knife known as the khukri. It is the world's most renowned fighting knife. It's said: "Often the mere sight of an unsheathed khukri is enough to discourage any further action by causing a cold, cramped feeling in the nether regions of the stomach." Legend has it that once a khukri was drawn in battle , it had to 'taste blood' . If it did not, its owner had to cut himself before returning it to its sheath. Writes Gurmeet kanwal

 
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“Ghosts”, whispered Mr Obama. They haunt him still, as he seeks to bring most American troops home before 2015, without leaving Afghanistan prey to a new extremist Taliban regime or an intensification of its three-decade-long civil war.

 
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By raising $110,000 for the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Nepal, the Spinal Beetle Rally has had moderate success. According to a tweet by veteran journalist from Nepal — as opposed to “Nepali journalist” — Kanak Mani Dixit, it has “raised about half of what we need”.

 


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spotlight image I am honored to be here today for the first U.S. government exchange alumni conference for India and Bhutan.
 
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The European Union and India should work closely to bring peace, stability and development in Afghanistan, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has said.
 
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On a self-imposed trial of three months, the Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir has gone for what it believes to be a slam dunk.
 
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spotlight image Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sprang a surprise when he registered himself as a candidate in Iran’s presidential election scheduled for May 19. After leaving the office of President in 2013 at the end of two controversial terms, the firebrand populist has been largely inactive in politics. 
 
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That China strictly implements the UN Security Council resolutions that sanction North Korea is seen by all. If Pyongyang continues with its nuclear and missile tests, China is bound to support more harsh resolutions on this country.
 
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India should be extremely wary of any Trump involvement on the Kashmir issue because he would do anything to bring India to the table, writes Dr. Susmit Kumar for South Asia Monitor.
 
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A pre-dawn  suicide terror attack (fidayeen)  on an army camp in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday (April 27)   resulted in the death of three army personnel including an officer,  while two terrorists were neutralized. Combing operations are in progress to ascertain if any of the attackers have
 
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The core parts of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system have been moved to the site of what had been a golf course in southern South Korea.
 
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Health of the citizens and the economy of the nation they inhabit go hand in hand and every buck spent on former guarantees a manifold increase in the latter,  said noted public health expert K Srikant Reddy. The lecture 'Health and Development: India Must Bridge the Disconnect' was ...
 
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Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
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Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599

 
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  The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...

 
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Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599

 
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Over the Years, a collection of 106 short articles, offers us interesting sidelights on the currents and cross- currents in the public life of India during two distinctive periods: (I) 1987 to 1991 and (II ) 2010 to the present.

 
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