One on top of the other: Agra Christians decide to bury their dead in a single grave

The centuries-old graves in Agra are still preserved by the cemetery committees for the European descendants who may want to visit the grave of their ancestors. However, this also means that Agra is now short of space in the cemeteries for Christians to bury their dead. In a bid to resolve this problem, the Agra Cemeteries Committee has taken a controversial decision which is not sitting well with most Christians living in the city.

Father Lazarus Moon, the chairman of the Agra Cemeteries Committee, said the committee passed a unanimous decision in which it was ruled that graves will be dug very deep in the cemeteries of Agra. (Photo: Krishanveer Singh Rawat)

Being one of the oldest cities of India where the Catholic Christian community established its roots in the early ages of European exploration of the Indian subcontinent, Agra has some of the oldest cemeteries in the country.

The centuries-old graves in Agra are still preserved by the cemetery committees for the European descendants who may want to visit the grave of their ancestors.

However, this also means that Agra is now short of space in the cemeteries for Christians to bury their dead. In a bid to resolve this problem, the Agra Cemeteries Committee has taken a controversial decision which is not sitting well with most Christians living in the city.

Father Lazarus Moon, the chairman of the Agra Cemeteries Committee, told India Today that the committee passed a unanimous decision in which it was ruled that graves will be dug very deep in the cemeteries of Agra.

Moon said that the coffins will be placed in tiers inside the graves, burying one dead of the family on top of another, thereby, conserving valuable space for other graves. This way, he said, the family will stay together even in death with their bodies separated by stone slabs.

Father Lazarus Moon said that this decision was taken to conserve and salvage space in the already congested cemeteries of Agra and it will give a respectful send off to the departed family members.

The committee has also decided to open the graves that have not seen any relatives visiting them in decades and that the space will also be used to bury new dead.

However, the committee will preserve the details of the grave that is being opened. This move will recover a lot of space in the cemeteries for the future generations of Christians.

Father Moon said that this decision will be announced in the Sunday prayer meetings in all churches of Agra so that the people understand the reasoning behind this decision.

Criticising this move, cleric Mufti Mudassar Khan Qadri said that this is desecration of ancestral graves.

Mufti Mudassar Khan Qadri said that Christians and Muslims are often referred to as the ‘Followers of the Book’, which meant that there was no need for changing religion for a Muslim to marry a Christian woman or vice-versa. However, this decision by the Christians to pile up the graves of their ancestors with dead bodies from the rest of the family is something that is hard to fathom.

source: http://www.indiatoday.in / India Today / Home> India / by Siraj Qureshi , Agra / July 26th, 2019

Software Developed By IIT Kanpur Scientists To Guide Chandrayaan-2’S Pragyan Rover On Lunar Surface

Software Developed By IIT Kanpur Scientists To Guide Chandrayaan-2’s Pragyan Rover On Lunar Surface
Pragyan rover (ISRO official website)

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur developed a motion planning and mapping generation software for the Chandrayaan-2 mission which is now on its intended path towards the moon.

This software will help the rover Pragyan in its landing and movement on the lunar surface, reports  New Indian Express.

The IIT Kanpur team comprised of Prof Ashish Datta of the Mechanical Engineering Department and Prof KS Venkatesh of Electrical Engineering wing. The 27 kg rover runs on 50 W of solar power and can travel up to 500 m at a speed of 1 cm per second and communicates directly with the lander.

The made in India software would help the rover in drilling the lunar surface, to explore for traces of water and minerals before beaming back its findings for further research and examination.

The rover is expected to soft-land on the lunar surface in the first week of September.

source: http://www.swarajyamag.com / Swarajya Magazine / Home / by Swarajya Staff / July 24th, 2019

Lucknow diary

Four youths from Uttar Pradesh will represent India at the WorldSkills International Competition 2019 to be in Kazan, Russia from August 22 to 27.

Four UP youths at world skills meet

Four youths from Uttar Pradesh will represent India at the WorldSkills International Competition 2019 to be in Kazan, Russia from August 22 to 27. Govind Sonkar, Amit Yadav, Utkarsh Kumar and Saurabh Baghel will be part of the 48-member Indian contingent at the event that is also called the ‘Olympics for Skills’. Over 1,500 competitors from 60 countries will pit their skills at 55 skill contests at the event. Govind (21), of Kanpur, would be contesting as an auto-body painting technician. While Amit, from Sant Ravidasnagar, will be contesting in the concrete construction work category, Utkarsh (22), of Gorakhpur, would take part in hairdressing category.

Light & sound show to be back


The unique light and sound show, demonstrating the selfless sacrifice of the freedom fighters, is set to be revived after nearly a decade, on Independence Day. Back in the day, the show used to draw plenty to Residency, a group of buildings on the same premises which served as the residence of the British Resident General, who also had a seat in the court of the Nawab of Awadh. What’s more is that locals and visitors can now enjoy the show at a nominal I100. The show aims at taking viewers back to the Revolt of 1857 in a bid to make them aware how and, to what extent, the City of Nawabs contributed to the freedom struggle.

Wonder kid to sit for boards at age of 10

Rashtram Aditya Shri Krishna, an eight-year-old wonder boy from Lucknow, is ready to take his first high school examinations in 2021, at the age of 10 years. Even the UP Board has granted him special permission to take admission to Class 9 in one of its affiliated schools. Though the board’s standard rules allow a student to be at least 14 years of age to appear in Class 10 board exams, exceptions are made once in a while in some special cases. And Aditya, who will turn 9 on October 17, is one of them. As per his astrologer father Professor Pawan Kumar Acharya, Aditya has never been to a school. 

Dress diktat for teachers


The principal Karamat Hussain Muslim Girls’ PG College in Lucknow recently asked teachers to come to the institution dressed in a “decent and appropriate” manner. The minority institution is affiliated to the University of Lucknow (LU). Earlier, the institution had put out a diktat, asking teachers to come in sarees. However, in the face of opposition from the staff and LU Associated College Teachers’ Association (LUACTA), the order was modified. College authorities claim the order came only after it was observed that new appointees were coming to college wearing outfits deemed unbecoming of teachers.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Nation / by Express News Service / August 09th, 2019

Nine Lucknow cyclists take Paris endurance test today

TOUGH NUT The 1,230-km route includes cold, windy and tough terrain that poses health and mechanical challenges.

Cyclist Manish Mishra (Sourced)

On Sunday evening 335 Indian endurance cyclists, including nine from Lucknow and one from Prayagraj, will participate in the Randonnée Paris-Brest-Paris-2019, an International endurance cycling event, where around 7,000 cyclists from all over the world will ride on a 1,230 km route in cold, windy, tough terrain that poses health and mechanical challenges.

The event, considered as one of the toughest endurance cycling events in the world, is being conducted since 1891. It is not a race.

Held every four years, Indians began participating in it in 2011 and this is the first time cyclists from Lucknow are in participating in it.

The event will begin on August 18 (Sunday) at 5.30 pm (Paris, France time) and end on August 22, 2019. The starting point is the majestic park of Rambouillet’s castle, near Paris, where cyclists will get a flag-off in batches of 300. Those who complete the route within the stipulated time will get a medal.

There are three different time categories — 80 hours, 84 hours and 90 hours.

Seven Lucknow riders have opted for the 90-hour category while the other two decided for the tougher 84-hour one. One Prayagraj rider too chose the 90-hour category.

Rajesh Kumar Verma, 54, a teacher and Dhairya Ahuja, 25, are in the 84-hour slot while Vivek Ranjan, 32, a manager at a private firm, Rakesh Kumar Pawan, 46, a businessman, Prabhat Ranjan, 40, a manager at a private firm, his wife Amrita Ranjan, 35, an assistant professor at a college, Yashesh Vyas, 51, an architect, Vaibhav Rastogi, 44, a businessman, and Abhinav Kumar Singh, 36, a businessman and mountaineer are doing the 90-hour category.

The Prayagraj rider Manish Mishra, 42, a senior auditor at the office of the Accountant General, UP, Prayagraj is also doing in the 90-hour Category. There are about 50 riders from the National Capital Region (NCR).

The event is held under the guidance of Adaux Club Parisien (ACP), France. “To participate in the event an aspirant must finish 200 km (13.30 hours), 300 km (20 hours), 400 km (27 hours), and 600 km (40 hour) BRM (endurance cycling event against time) in one calendar year under Audax India,” said Abhinav Kumar over the phone, in between his practice sessions, from Paris.

Amrita Ranjan, after her last practice and acclimatisation ride ahead of the event, said: “I know it’s tough, I am practising. The terrain is not like Uttar Pradesh routes. It’s a rolling path (that is a route with steep climbs and descents). And unlike India, where we ride on the left of the roads, we have to get used to riding on the right side.”

Yashesh Vyas said: “No ride is easy. Even a 100 km ride is not easy. Ultimately, it’s a mind game.”

In cycling parlance, it is called self-sustained ride, that is, there is no backup support from the organisers and all breakdowns and emergencies are to be handled solely by the participants. “Even relatives or friends are not allowed to help the participants during the ride,” said Prabhat Ranjan, the husband of Amrita. Amrita and Prabhat are the first couple ever from India that is attempting the PBP.

“If you like going fast, there usually is a group who try to see how quickly they can complete the course. But the results are listed alphabetically, and everybody gets the same medal, so it is not a race. The long rides are challenging for anybody, but every finisher is a winner,” said Manish Mishra.

Most riders have bought new ‘road category’ bikes for the event and most of these bikes cost over Rs 1 lakh. One ends up spending a minimum Rs 2.5 lakh for the event, which includes the cost of the bike, air tickets, food and lodging.

*Brevets De Randonneur Mondiaux (BRMs) are rides of fixed distances that are to be completed within specified time limits, having successfully passed through pre-determined time controls.

*BRMs worldwide are approved and governed by Audax Club Parisien (ACP).

*A randonneuring event is called a randonée or brevet (pronounced breh-VAY), and a rider who has completed a 200 km event is called a randonneur. The most common type of event is a brevet, referring to the certificate or card (called brevet in French) the participant receives, signifying completion of a particular distance.

*Randonneur events are 200 km, 300 km, 400 km, 600 km, 1000 km, and 1200 km. During longer events, sleep breaks are planned at intermediate points. In the end, you get officially homologated and have an option to request a medal if you complete the course within the time limit.

source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / Hindustan Times / Home> India> Cities> Lucknow / by Pankaj Jaiswal & K Sandeep Kumar, Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Prayagraj / August 18th, 2019