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Siddha

Introduction:
Siddha  is usually considered as the oldest medical system known to mankind.  Contemporary Tamil literature holds that the system of Siddha medicine originated in Southern India, in the state of Tamil Nadu. Siddha is reported to have surfaced more than 10,000 years ago.

“Siddhargal” or Siddhars were the premier scientists of ancient days.  Siddhars, mainly from Southern India laid the foundation for this system of medication. Siddhars were spiritual adepts who possessed the ashta siddhis, or the eight supernatural powers. Sage Agathiyar is considered the guru of all Sidhars, and the Siddha system is believed to have been handed over to him by Lord . “Agathiyar” was the first Siddhar,   and his disciples and Siddhars from other schools produced thousands of texts on Siddha, including medicine, and form the propounders of the system to the world.

The Siddha science is the oldest traditional treatment system generated from Dravidian culture. The Siddha flourished in the period of Indus Valley civilization.  Palm leaf manuscripts says that the Siddha system was first described by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati. Parvati explained all this knowledge to her son Lord Muruga. He taught all these knowledge to his disciple sage Agasthya. Agasthya taught 18 Siddhars and they spread this knowledge to human beings.

The word Siddha comes from the Sanskrit word Siddhi which means an object to be attained perfection or heavenly bliss.  Siddha focused to “Ashtamahasiddhi,” the eight supernatural power. Those who attained or achieved the above said powers are known as Siddhars. There were 18 important Siddhars in olden days and they developed this system of medicine. Hence, it is called Siddha medicine. The Siddhars wrote their knowledge in palm leaf manuscripts, fragments of which were found in parts of South India. It is believed that some families may possess more fragments but keep them solely for their own use. There is a huge collection of Siddha manuscripts kept by traditional Siddha families.

Generally the basic concepts of the Siddha medicine are almost similar to Ayurveda. The only difference appears to be that the siddha medicine recognizes predominance of Vaadham, Pitham and Kabam in childhood, adulthood and old age, respectively, whereas in Ayurveda, it is totally reversed: Kabam is dominant in childhood, Vaatham in old age and Pitham in adults.

According to the Siddha medicine, various psychological and physiological functions of the body are attributed to the combination of seven elements: first is ooneer (plasma) responsible for growth, development and nourishment; second is cheneer (blood) responsible for nourishing muscles, imparting colour and improving intellect; the third is oon (muscle) responsible for shape of the body; fourth is koluppu/Kozhuppu (fatty tissue) responsible for oil balance and lubricating joints; fifth is elumbu (bone) responsible for body structure and posture and movement; sixth is elumbu majjai (bone marrow) responsible for formation of blood corpuscles; and the last is sukkilam (semen) responsible for reproduction. Like in Ayurveda, in Siddha medicine also, the physiological components of the human beings are classified as Vaadham (air), Pitham (fire) and Kabam(earth and water).

Concept of disease and cause:
It is assumed that when the normal equilibrium of the three humors — Vaadham, Pittham and Kabam — is disturbed, disease is caused. The factors assumed to affect this equilibrium are environment, climatic conditions, diet, physical activities, and stress. Under normal conditions, the ratio between Vaadham, Pittham, and Kabam are 4:2:1, respectively.

According to the Siddha medicine system, diet and lifestyle play a major role in health and in curing diseases. This concept of the Siddha medicine is termed as pathiyam and apathiyam, which is essentially a list of “do’s and don’ts”

Diagnosis:
In diagnosis, examination of eight items is required which is commonly known as “enn vakaith thervu”. These are:

1.Na (tongue): black in Vaatham, yellow or red in pitham, white in kabam, ulcerated in anaemia.
2.Varnam (colour): dark in Vaatham, yellow or red in pitham, pale in kabam.
3.Kural (voice): normal in Vaatham, high-pitched in pitham, low-pitched in kabam, slurred in alcoholism.
4.Kan (eyes): muddy conjunctiva, yellowish or red in pitham, pale in kabam.
5.Thodal (touch): dry in Vaatham, warm in pitham, chill in kapha, sweating in different parts of the body.
6.Malam (stool): black stools indicate Vaatham, yellow pitham, pale in kabam, dark red in ulcer and shiny in terminal illness.
7.Neer (urine): early morning urine is examined; straw color indicates indigestion, reddish-yellow color in excessive heat, rose in blood pressure, saffron color in jaundice, and looks like meat washed water in renal disease.
8.Naadi (pulse): the confirmatory method recorded on the radial art.

Drugs:
The drugs used by the Siddhars could be classified into three groups: thavaram (herbal product), thadhu (inorganic substances) and jangamam (animal products). The Thadhu drugs are further classified as: uppu (water-soluble inorganic substances or drugs that give out vapour when put into fire), pashanam (drugs not dissolved in water but emit vapour when fired), uparasam (similar to pashanam but differ in action), loham (not dissolved in water but melt when fired), rasam (drugs which are soft), and ghandhagam (drugs which are insoluble in water, like sulphur).

The drugs used in siddha medicine were classified on the basis of five properties: suvai (taste), gunam (character), veeryam (potency), pirivu (class) and mahimai (action).

According to their mode of application, the siddha medicines could be categorized into two classes:

Internal medicine was used through the oral route and further classified into 32 categories based on their form, methods of preparation, shelf-life, etc.
External medicine includes certain forms of drugs and also certain applications (such as nasal, eye and ear drops), and also certain procedures (such as leech application). It also classified into 32 categories.

Treatment:
The treatment in siddha medicine is aimed at keeping the three humors in equilibrium and maintenance of seven elements. So proper diet, medicine and a disciplined regimen of life are advised for a healthy living and to restore equilibrium of humors in diseased condition. Saint Thiruvalluvar explains four requisites of successful treatment. These are the patient, the attendant, physician and medicine. When the physician is well-qualified and the other agents possess the necessary qualities, even severe diseases can be cured easily, according to these concepts.

The treatment should be commenced as early as possible after assessing the course and cause of the disease. Treatment is classified into three categories: devamaruthuvum (Divine method); manuda maruthuvum (rational method); and asura maruthuvum (surgical method). In Divine method, medicines like parpam, Chendooragyhtyjm, guru, kuligai made of mercury, sulfur and pashanams are used. In the rational method, medicines made of herbs like churanam, kudineer, or vadagam are used. In surgical method, incision, excision, heat application, blood letting, or leech application are used.

According to therapies the treatments of siddha medicines could be further categorized into following categories such as purgative therapy, emetic therapy, fasting therapy, steam therapy, oleation therapy, physical therapy, solar therapy, blood-letting therapy, yoga therapy, etc.

Sidda education:
Siddha has lost its popularity after modern medicine was introduced, as a scientific medical system, even in Tamil Nadu. Still, there are a few ardent followers of the system who prefer Siddha for only a few diseases like jaundice. After some modern doctors, such as Dr. Ramalingam, IMPCOPS, president, Chennai, C.N. Deivanayagam, tried to popularize the Siddha system, a few modern doctors have started suggesting Siddha. In 2012, VA Shiva Ayyadurai, a Tamilian and MIT systems scientist, launched an educational program for medical doctors through the Chopra Center with Deepak Chopra which integrates concepts from traditional systems medicine such as Siddha, Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine, with systems science and systems biology.

The Tamil Nadu state runs a 5.5-year course in Siddha medicine (BSMS: Bachelor in Siddha Medicine and Surgery). The Indian Government also gives its focus on Siddha, by starting up medical colleges and research centers like National Institute of Siddha  and Central Council for Research in Siddha. There has been renewed interest in Siddha, as many started feeling modern medicine is not complete and changing its stands/theories frequently. The health minister of Tamil Nadu in 2007 claimed that Siddha medicine is effective for chikungunya

Educational institutions:
Government of Tamil Nadu runs two Siddha medical colleges:

Government Siddha Medical College, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli district
Government Siddha Medical College, Anna Hospital Campus, Arumbakkam, Chennai – 600106

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Government of India runs a Siddha medical college:

National Institute of Siddha, Grand Southern Trunk Road, Tambaram Sanatorium, Chennai – 600047

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Colleges available in Kerala:

*Santhigiri Siddha Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram
*Private Siddha colleges (approved by Dept. of AYUSH, Govt. of India and affiliated to TN Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai):

*Velumailu Siddha Medical College and Hospital, No. 48, G.W.T. Road, Opp. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial, Sriperumbudur – 602 105
*Sri Sai Ram Siddha Medical College & Research Centre, Sai Leo Nagar, Poonthandalam, West Tambaram, Chennai – 600 044
*R.V.S. Siddha Medical College & Hospital, Kumaran Kottam, Kannampalayam, Coimbatore – 641042
*A.T.S.V.S. Siddha Medical College, Munchirai, Pudukkadai Post, Kanyakumari – 629171
*Sivaraj Siddha Medical College, Siddhar Kovil Road, Thumbathulipatty, Salem – 636307

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Government of Sri Lanka runs three… Siddha medical colleges offering BSMS degrees:

*Department of Siddha Medicine, University of Jaffna, Kaithady, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
*Unit of Siddha Medicine, Trincomalee Campus, Eastern University, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddha_medicine

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Coccinia cordifolia(Bengali :Kundri)

Botanical Name: Coccinia cordifolia
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Coccinia
Species: C. grandis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Synonyms: Coccinia grandis, Cephalandra indica and Coccinia indica

Common Names:Ivy gourd,Baby watermelon,Little gourd, Gentleman’s toes, Tindora, Ivy gourd,Gentleman’s toes  and Gherkin,
Bengali Name :Kundri or Tela kochu
Sanskrit Name: Bimbi, Uthundika, Bimbitika, Rakthaphala, Ostopamphala, Pilulparni.
English Name:Ivy gourd
Kannada Name:Tonde
Hindi Name: Kanduri, Kulari, Kundru

Habitat : Coccinia cordifolia is native to Tropical Asia To Africa.It grows on light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Description:
Coccinia cordifolia is a large, glabrous, deciduous climbing shrub. The stems are rather succulent with long filiform fleshy aerial roots from the branches. The bark is grey-brown and warty; the leaves are membranous and cordate; the flowers, small, yellow or greenish yellow, in axillary and terminal racemes or racemose panicles; the male flowers clustered and females usually solitary; the drupes are ovoid, glossy, succulent, red and pea-sized; the seeds curved. ...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:
In India it is eaten as a curry, by deep-frying it along with spices; stuffing it with masala and sauteing it, or boiling it first in a pressure cooker and then frying it. It is also used in sambar, a vegetable and lentil-based soup.

There are a variety of recipes from all over the world that list ivy gourd as the main ingredient. It is often compared to bitter melon. The fruit is commonly eaten in Indian cuisine. People of Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries also consume the fruit and leaves. In Thai cuisine it is one of the ingredients of the Kaeng khae curry. Cultivation of ivy gourd in home gardens has been encouraged in Thailand due to it being a good source of several micronutrients, including vitamins A and C.

Constituents:
Tinsporine, tinosporide, tinosporaside, cordifolide, cordifol, heptacosanol, clerodane furano diterpene, diterpenoid furanolactone tinosporidine, columbin, and ß-sitosterol.

Medicinal Uses:
In traditional medicine, fruits have been used to treat leprosy, fever, asthma, bronchitis and jaundice. The fruit possesses mast cell stabilizing, anti-anaphylactic and antihistaminic potential.  In Bangladesh, the roots are used to treat osteoarthritis and joint pain. A paste made of leaves is applied to the skin to treat scabies.

Ivy gourd extracts and other forms of the plant can be purchased online and in health food stores. It is claimed that these products help regulate blood sugar levels. There is some research to support that compounds in the plant inhibit the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase. Glucose-6-phosphatase is one of the key liver enzymes involved in regulating sugar metabolism. Therefore, ivy gourd is sometimes recommended for diabetic patients. Although these claims have not been supported, there currently is a fair amount of research focused on the medicinal properties of this plant focusing on its use as an antioxidant, anti-hypoglycemic agent, immune system modulator, etc. Some countries in Asia like Thailand prepare traditional tonic like drinks for medicinal purposes.

The leaves are rubbed on skin diseases  like  eximas,sorasis  etc  to get releaf.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccinia_grandis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Coccinia+grandis
http://parisaramahiti.kar.nic.in/Medicinal_plants_new/med%20plants/p62.html

Cinchona

Botanical Name :Cinchona succirubra (PAVON.)
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Cinchonoideae
Tribe: Cinchoneae
Genus: Cinchona
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms: Quinaquina officinalis, Quinaquina lancifolia, Quinaquina coccinea

Common names:Cinchona, Quinine bark, quina, quinine, kinakina, China bark, cinchona bark, yellow cinchona, red cinchona, Peruvian bark, Jesuit’s bark, quina-quina, calisaya bark, fever tree.  Lojabark

Habitat :Cinchona is native to the tropical Andes forests of western South America. They are medicinal plants, known as sources for quinine and other compounds.All cinchonas are indigenous to the eastern slopes of the Amazonian area of the Andes, where they grow from 1,500-3,000 meters in elevation on either side of the equator (from Colombia to Bolivia). They can also be found in the northern part of the Andes (on the eastern slopes of the central and western ranges). They are now widely cultivated in many tropical countries for their commercial value, although they are not indigenous to those areas.It is the national tree of Ecuador and Peru.

Description:
The Cinchona plants are large shrubs or small trees with evergreen foliage, growing 5–15 m (16–49 ft) in height. The leaves are opposite, rounded to lanceolate and 10–40 cm long.The flowers are white, pink or red, produced in terminal panicles. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous seeds.The genus Cinchona contains about forty species of trees.
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Chemical Constituents:
The main plant chemicals found in quinine bark include: aricine, caffeic acid, cinchofulvic acid, cincholic acid, cinchonain, cinchonidine, cinchonine, cinchophyllamine, cinchotannic acid, cinchotine, conquinamine, cuscamidine, cuscamine, cusconidine, cusconine, epicatechin, javanine, paricine, proanthocyanidins, quinacimine, quinamine, quinic acid, quinicine, quinine, quininidine, quinovic acid, quinovin, and sucirubine.

Medicinal Uses:
The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua peoples of Peru and Bolivia, and long cultivated by them as a muscle relaxant to halt shivering due to low temperatures. The Jesuit Brother Agostino Salumbrino (1561–1642), an apothecary by training and who lived in Lima, observed the Quechua using the quinine-containing bark of the cinchona tree for that purpose. While its effect in treating malaria (and hence malaria-induced shivering) was entirely unrelated to its effect in controlling shivering from cold, it was nevertheless the correct medicine for malaria. The use of the “fever tree” bark was introduced into European medicine by Jesuit missionaries (Jesuit’s bark). Jesuit Barnabé de Cobo (1582–1657), who explored Mexico and Peru, is credited with taking cinchona bark to Europe. He brought the bark from Lima to Spain, and afterwards to Rome and other parts of Italy, in 1632. After Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Jesuit missionaries were the first to bring the Jesuit’s bark cinchona compound to Europe in 1632. To maintain their monopoly on cinchona bark, Peru and surrounding countries began outlawing the export of cinchona seeds and saplings beginning in the early 19th century.

The indigenous people of Peru have taken cinchona for many centuries, and it is still a well-used remedy for fevers, digestive problems, and infections. Cinchona, and in particular quinine, were the principal remedies for malaria until World War I. From the 1960s on, resistance of the malarial parasite to the synthetic drug chloroquine led to quinine?s use once again in preventing and treating malaria. Quinine is also used to treat other acute feverish conditions. As a bitter tonic, cinchona stimulates saliva, digestive secretions, and the appetite, and improves weak digestive functions. It is useful as a gargle for sore, infected throats. The herb is used in herbal medicine for cramps, especially night cramps. It also relieves arthritis. In India, cinchona is used to treat sciatica and dysentery, as well as problems associated with an imbalance in kapha. Edgar Cayce primarily recommended calisaya as a blood purifier and aid to digestion. There is also a distinct action of quieting the heart, reducing palpitations and normalizing the function.

Cinchona has been thoroughly researched, and its pharmacological actions are well established. Quinine is both strongly antimalarial and antibacterial. Like the other alkaloids, it is antispasmodic. The bitter constituents in cinchona, including the alkaloids and quinovin, produce a reflex stimulation of the digestion as a whole, increasing stomach secretions. Quinidine is known to reduce heart rate and improve irregularity of heartbeat.

Meanwhile, also in the 19th century, the plant’s seeds and cuttings were smuggled out for new cultivation at cinchona plantations in colonial regions of tropical Asia, notably by the British to the British Raj and Ceylon (present day India and Sri Lanka), and by the Dutch to Java in the Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia).

As a medicinal herb, cinchona bark is also known as Jesuit’s bark or Peruvian bark. The bark is stripped from the tree, dried, and powdered for medicinal uses. The bark is medicinally active, containing a variety of alkaloids including the antimalarial compound quinine and the antiarrhythmic quinidine. Currently, their use is largely superseded by more effective modern medicines

Main Preparation Method: decoction
Main Actions (in order):
antimalarial, bitter digestive aid, antiparasitic, antispasmodic, febrifuge (reduces fever)

Main Uses:
1.for malaria
2.as a bitter digestive aid to stimulate digestive juices
3.for nocturnal leg cramps
4.for intestinal parasites and protozoa
5.for arrhythmia and other heart conditions

Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
anti-arrhythmic, antimalarial, antiparasitic, antiprotozoal, antispasmodic, bitter digestive aid, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart)

Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
amebicide, analgesic (pain-reliever), antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, astringent, digestive stimulant, febrifuge (reduces fever), insecticide, nervine (balances/calms nerves), neurasthenic (reduces nerve pain)

Known Hazards: : It contains quinine alkaloids that are toxic in large doses. Do not exceed

Homeopathy:
The birth of homeopathy was based on cinchona bark testing. The founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, when translating William Cullen’s Materia medica, noticed Cullen had written that Peruvian bark was known to cure intermittent fevers.[10] Hahnemann took daily a large, rather than homeopathic, dose of Peruvian bark. After two weeks, he said he felt malaria-like symptoms. This idea of “like cures like” was the starting point of his writings on homeopathy. Hahnemann’s symptoms are believed to be the result of a hypersensitivity to cinchona bark on his part

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Other Uses:
Cinchona species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the engrailed, the commander, and members of the genus Endoclita, including E. damor, E. purpurescens and E. sericeus.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinchona
http://www.rain-tree.com/quinine.htm#.UdCq9L7D92Y

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Remedy for Strokes

Mild electrical stimulation shows promise in reviving stroke-damaged brains:-

Shova Paul, a 55-year-old housewife, was rushed to the emergency unit of a hospital after she was found lying on the floor of the toilet well past midnight. A quick examination and a subsequent brain scan revealed an awake and alert patient unaware of her illness (anosognosia). She had lost senses on the left side of the body (hemiplegia) and the brain image showed tell-tale signs of damage in the movement and language centres (sensorimotor cortex and Broca’s area). While recording the obvious signs of a severe cerebral stroke the doctor could apprehend what was coming: even after the best possible medical care, she wouldn’t be able to move, speak, read, write or comprehend what others were saying.

Now, two years after that incident, Paul leads a hemiplegic’s life. Like countless other hapless stroke survivors, she can’t move on her own, speaks with a slurred accent and has an impaired vision. To regain some control of the damaged muscles and relearn simple chores she undergoes a rehabilitation regime, which includes prolonged physiotherapy and psychological counselling.

Yet the lives of hundreds of thousands of stroke survivors like Paul can be dramatically transformed by a simple, inexpensive technique developed many decades ago, but largely forgotten. According to a new study reported last week, electrical brain stimulation — a procedure that delivers mild electric current to the brain non-invasively — has been shown to help severely affected stroke patients recover their ability to move and speak. In the therapy, known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a mild electrical jolt is passed to the brain through the scalp and skull of the patient — perceived as a slight tingle in the head. “The concept of using therapeutic electricity on excitable tissue such as that of the brain is not new, considering the attempts to cure epileptic disorders with electric catfish as early as in the 11th century (by an Arab physician called Ibn-Sidah),” writes Gottfried Schlaug, the principal investigator of the study which appeared in the journal Archives of Neurology. He also points out that in the late 19th century physicians had used mild electrical stimulation to treat patients with depression. According to Schlaug, a neurologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) at Harvard Medical School in Boston, non-invasive brain stimulation using tDCS is “fast re-emerging as an interventional tool to modulate the effects, and possibly treat the symptoms, of several neurological and psychiatric disorders.”

However tDCS should not be confused with its controversial cousin electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or electro shock, used for the treatment of severe depression. Unlike shock therapy — which is more drastic, giving a giant 600 milliampere (mA) buzz and affecting the entire brain, causing a seizure and memory loss — tDCS is much gentler (2mA) and more selective in the sense that it excites or inhibits brain regions directly underneath the positioned electrode. Moreover, ECT always requires the use of anaesthesia and is more invasive.
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Schlaug and his collaborators at the BIDMC tested tDMC on 20 patients who had suffered a stroke about two-and-a-half years back and still had moderate to severe impairments. Patients performed 60 minutes of routine rehabilitation procedures each day for five days while also receiving a 30-minute session of either active electrical stimulation or a placebo (‘sham’ treatment designed to mimic electrical stimulation). A simple nine volt battery connected to a piece of moistened sponge was used to deliver the mild electrical jolt. Within a week, patients given the real treatment were found to perform better in basic motor tests such as grasping a cup. A brain scan showed that activity in the injured part of the brain increased after the treatment. Schlaug presented the findings of the research at a conference at San Francisco last week.

Although it is not yet clear exactly how tDCS works, Sclaug believes that the electrical stimulation augments recovery in stroke patients by re-establishing communication between the damaged and unaffected halves or hemispheres of the brain. In other words, a stroke creates an imbalance in the normal communication of the brain’s hemispheres such that the unaffected hemisphere becomes functionally dominant and inhibits the damaged hemisphere.

“There is no denying that tDCS has an immense potential for repairing the stroke-damaged brain, but the problem is that it is still in an experimental stage,” says Dr J.N. Roy, a stroke neurologist at the Advanced Medicare Research Institute (AMRI) in Calcutta, who had attended to Paul two years ago. “Unless there is a huge trial involving a large number of patients, and the underlying neurophysiological changes are properly explained, one can’t put it into use in a routine rehab programme,” he adds. In fact, Schlaug’s team is trying to understand better the changes that take place in the brain as patients recover.

Countless neurologists like Roy and patients like Paul around the world are waiting for their results.

Source:Thje Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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