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Gujarat monks, the masters of memory

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AHMEDABAD: Sitting in Dhyan Mudra on stage, the then 13-year old Muni Padmaprabhchandrasagar listens to questions with eyes half-closed as if absorbing each word, and listens to all 100 questions posed to him. He then slowly but surely tackles every question in the same sequence — even remembering the numbers which were left intentionally blank. Those who attended the event in 2014 marvelled at the display of mental dexterity by the ‘bal muni.’ The feat, only doubly difficult, will be repeated on September 2 in Bengaluru where he will face 200 questions.

Muni Ajitchandrasagar, a disciple of Acharya Nayachandrasagarji, who had completed the same maha shatavdhan (200 avdhan), in 2012, said that the process is not just about but overall development of a disciple. “The monk is exposed to a variety of fields and through selfcontrol (sanyam) and meditation (dhyan), the understanding of our brain is heightened,” he said.

What amazes researchers is the method. Muni Chandraprabhchandrasagar, who performed the first shatavdhan in English at a Mumbai venue in 2014, had studied only up to class 8.

Dr , the director of at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital, had devised a study to put the method to test. A total of 104 students were involved and 48 underwent the training by monks — identified as Saraswati Sadhana.

“The results showed that the and attention had improved in children who had undergone training. Their long-term memory did not show much change,” said Doshi, adding that the mindfulness of the participants showed activation of the prefrontal cortex associated with short-term memory. “The results were encouraging and merit a more detailed study,” Doshi said.

Dr S L Vaya, noted forensic psychologist who conducted psychological tests on accused in a number of high-profile cases to retrieve information, said that the brain stores information as an amalgamation of different factors. “What we learn by rote such as multiplication table gets stored differently compared to a personal experience,” she said. “For the feats of memory retrieval, the neural connection has to be strong.” She added that a number of techniques are used by students and professionals to better store memory for better retrieval.

Dr Sudhir Shah, an Ahmedabad neurologist, said that any scientific process can only be proven if it can be replicated satisfactorily.

“The multiple success stories have surely opened a new avenue for research on how our brain functions and how we store and retrieve memory,” he said. “The monks, with whom we worked closely for a study, used techniques like silence and meditation to increase their attention span. From the method employed, I believe that the monks have managed to stretch the working memory for remembrance of questions.”

The Saraswati Sadhana Research Foundation (SSRF), established by Acharya Nayachandrasagarji, is attracting candidates for difficult exams. Mihir Joshi, now studying in Australia, was struggling with commerce studies in Mumbai. Likewise, Namrata Gandhi, a resident of Mumbai and another participant of the SSRF initiative, sought help of the programme to improve her concentration to crack a government competitive exam.

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Kashmiri youths get 15 years for drug peddling

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AHMEDABAD: A sessions court at the Mirzapur campus handed down 15-year rigorous imprisonment to two persons from Jammu & Kashmir on drug peddling charges.

The convicts – Mohammed Farooq Qasam Ali and Ishtiyaq Ahmed Aziz – were given severe punishment for being caught with a huge quantity of charas, 110kg, which the courts said was 100 times more than the commercial quantity. The court has also slapped a penalty of Rs 1.5 lakh on each of them. In failure to pay the penalty, they will have to undergo jail term of six more months.

On December 12, 2011, sleuths of intercepted a truck at Aslali Crossroads. The convicts were driver and cleaner in the vehicle. Upon search, NCB officials found the contraband concealed in a special cavity created in driver‘s cabin. The duo was put on trial and the court found them guilty under the Narcotics Drug & Psychotropics Substance Act (NDPS).

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New rules for promoting students to next class

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AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) on Tuesday announced its rules for promoting students to the next , for students of classes IX and XI, through a notification. The notification was freshly issued as the examination pattern for classes IX and XI at has changed.

According to the new rules, a student needs a minimum of 33 marks in a subject to pass. Only if a student has obtained a minimum of 25 marks in a given subject, can the school/ faculty member give , according to the rules. The new rules will be implemented with effect from the current academic year.

The notification has been issued to all GSHSEB-affiliated schools across the state. According to the new rules, a maximum of 15 grace marks per student will be given irrespective of the number of subjects. The grace marks to be given to a student will be decided based on the overall passing percentage and the maximum marks obtained in the subject in which the student has failed.

GSHSEB-affiliated schools that want to observe stricter norms than those specified by the board, must take board‘s approval for it.

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Couple booked for raping woman in Surat

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SURAT: Police booked a couple in Chowk Bazaar police station on Tuesday for allegedly raping a 30-year-old woman multiple times since November 2016. The complainant alleged that her distant relative raped her. His wife too got involved sexually, she alleged.

Police booked Sunil Aahire and his wife Anju, both residents of Selamba village in Sagbara of Bharuch. The accused were booked for raping the woman at her home in limits of Chowk Bazaar police station. The woman alleged in her complaint that she was threatened by the accused and later raped. No arrests have been made so far and police are in search of the accused.

The woman alleged that her husband, a car driver, went out for work when Aahire came to his home in November 2016. Aahire being a relative from her husband’s side, was allowed to enter the house where he raped her. Later the accused visited the woman’s home often and brought his wife along. Both the accused got physically involved while raping the woman.

The woman told police that she complained about the crime to her husband when the accused continued raping her on regular interval. “Police are investigating the case from all angles to find out if the complainant is sharing actual details of the crime,” said police.
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10 cops told to shed flab in two months

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AHMEDABAD: Ten policemen of police station were warned by Ashok , ACP Sector 2, to reduce their weight in two months and report to him. The warning came during a police station visit by Yadav, who found these cops to be overweight with protruding bellies.
Police sources said Yadav was on a routine visit to Isanpur police station on Wednesday evening. “While taking the roll call off the 150 officers and personnel, he found that some were not in uniform and others didn’t have their name badges on their uniform,” said a senior police officer.

“I fined a total of 25 personnel of Isanpur police station, which a includes warnings given to 10 cops who were overweight. A policeman must be fit and should be in full uniform. Some were not wearing proper shoes,” said Yadav.

In November 2017, 57 policemen were given memos for being overweight. They were told to reduce weight. The overweight cops were told to walk 10km a day and quit tobacco and junk food. “If these policemen do not make efforts to reduce weight within the given time frame, they could a penalty,” said a senior police officer.

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Bhavnagar bizman to revive cycle polo in Gujarat

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RAJKOT: , the world’s oldest known team sport, has always been associated with the high and mighty of the society.

But, Bhavnagar-based industrialist Chirag Parekh, wants the game to shed its elitist tag and take polo from classes to masses. Parekh, the promoter of Acrysil Ltd and an ace polo player himself, has chalked out elaborate plans to encourage ‘cycle polo’ across Gujarat.

If all goes well, Parekh wants to build a Gujarat team that can participate in the Polo World Cup in the next few years. Parekh, who had launched Polo earlier to add a dash of glamour to this sport, will hold extensive training camps in four major cities –Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat – to identify potential players and train them in .

Parekh and other polo players are establishing a new association of cycle polo players. There is a similar association that was registered in Bhavnagar many years ago but it was lying dormant.

“Not everyone can afford horses or even learn horse riding. Cycle polo is much easier as the player has to only invest in a cycle,” Parekh told TOI, adding that he aims to make this sport as popular as .

Since 1996, India has won five gold medals in Cycle Polo World Cup but there was no player from Gujarat. In fact, there are just around 20 cycle polo players in the state and mostly in Bhavnagar and Vadodara only. Of the 22 states where cycle polo is played, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal are the most active.

Association’s secretary, Amit Khanolkar, said “The idea is to reinvent this game in Gujarat. We will select the talent by organizing inter-school and college tournaments and the focus will be on choosing talent under the age of 14 years to groom them world-class players.”

The association will conduct coaching camps, talent hunt programs and cycle polo tournaments beginning with the four cities and later take them to towns and villages too.

The sportsmen also have the chance to get the job in Army.” Plans are also afoot to build a world-class training centre for cycle polo.

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Godhra carnage: 2 get life term, 3 acquitted

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AHMEDABAD: A special SIT court on Monday held two persons guilty and awarded them life imprisonment in connection with the carnage, in which 59 passengers returning from Ayodhya were killed in the S-6 coach of the on February 27, 2002. Among those convicted was former member of municipality Faruk Bana (57), who was held guilty for leading a violent mob and for instigation and assault on passengers.

Apart from Bana, Imran alias Sheru Bhatuk (37) was also awarded life term for his role in the killings. Hussain Suleman Mohan, Kasam Bhamedi and Faruk Dhantiya were exonerated for want of evidence.

Of the 108 accused in the case, these five were on the run for more than a decade. They were not present when the court delivered verdict for 94 people put on trial in 2011.

They were put on trial only after their arrest in 2015-16 by various agencies. Another accused in the case, Kadir Patiliya, had been arrested but died after suffering cardiac arrest in Sabarmati Central Jail in January. Eight other accused are absconding.

Special prosecutor N N Prajapati said while Bhana led the mob, Bhatuk had a role in the conspiracy as well. When the train arrived, Bhana took a carboy full of inflammable liquid from one Razzak Kurkur’s house, put it on a vehicle and brought it to the spot. He was among three who got into the bogie and poured the liquid inside, the special prosecutor said. He added that one Shaukat Lalo opened the coach’s door from inside.

The prosecution demanded death penalty for Bana and Bhatuk, claiming this was the “rarest of the rare” case. The prosecution recalled that the SIT court in 2011 handed down the death penalty to 11 convicts in this case.

The killing of 59 karsevaks near Godhra railway station sparked communal riots across Gujarat in which more than 1,000 people were killed in three months.

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