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Violence breaks out in Kolkata after vehicle runs over two youths
Bihar Opposition takes dig at Nitish for having three ocial bungalows
Those who attacked Kashmir students won’t be spared, says Khattar
India will look to press home the advantage in the second ODI
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Centre opens gates wider for Tibetans going abroad Move seeks to discourage them from applying for Indian passports following a 2017 Delhi High Court ruling; rules for visitors simplied Vijaita Singh New Delhi
No let up in Medaram rush on nal day JAYASHANKAR-BHUPALPALLY DISTRICT
There was no let up in rush of devotees at Medaram village, as people continued to pour in on the nal day of the jatara to oer prayers to tribal deities Sammakka and Saralamma on Saturday. TELANGANA A PAGE 4 DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
Crackdown on fancy plates soon HYDERABAD
The RTA has decided crack the whip against those who have not axed HSRP on their vehicles. Joint Transport Commissioner J. Pandurang Naik said the new rule will be implemented soon to curb rampant use of fancy number plates. HYDERABAD
A PAGE 3
In a move aimed at discou raging Tibetans from apply ing for Indian passports, the Centre has eased the regula tions for Tibetan refugees who wish to travel and study abroad. Travel regulations are also being simplied for relatives of Tibetans living in foreign countries to help them make visits. According to the Home Ministry, there are approxi mately 1.10 lakh Tibetan re fugees who live either in 45 settlements spread in die rent parts of the country or in places outside. Delhi HC ruling In 2017, the Delhi High Court ruled that Tibetans born in India between 1950 and 1987 were eligible for Indian pass
ports. The court ruling came on a petition led by a jour nalist, Lobsang Wangyal. Following this, the Regional Passport Oce in Himachal Pradesh received a large number of applications from Tibetans for Indian pass ports.
SUNDAY SPECIAL The same year, the Minis try of External Aairs also notied rules that Tibetans seeking an Indian passport would need to surrender the “Registration Certicates” issued to them, leave the set tlements and forfeit the pri vileges and benets from the Central Tibetan Administra tion (CTA) — the Tibetan go vernmentinexile headquar tered at McLeodganj in Himachal Pradesh.
Rules eased: Roughly 1.10 lakh Tibetan refugees live in 45 settlements in the country. C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM *
“Tibetans applying for In dian passports is a cause for concern; what happens to the Tibetan movement then? Though the easing of travel
restrictions should not be looked at from only this per spective, there were genuine concerns also that had to be addressed,” a senior govern
ment ocial said. The ocial claimed that the rules were being changed for the rst time since the Tibetan refugees began pouring into India in the wake of the ight of the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959. The government had then decided to give them asylum as well as assistance towards temporary settlement. Tibetans who wish to tra vel abroad are issued an Identity Certicate (IC) in place of a passport and a Re gistration Certicate (RC) to allow their stay in India. “The renewal of RC can now be done online as Tibe tans who wanted to move from one settlement to another were facing dicul ties,” the ocial said. He added that earlier if a
Tibetan wished to travel abroad to study or for any other purpose, the IC had to be accompanied with a “re turn permit” issued by the Foreigners Regional Regis tration Oce (FRRO). The ocial said this “redundant” exercise had been done away with as the IC is issued after multiple layers of se curity check. “When the IC is issued, it will be accompanied by a noobjection certicate,” said the ocial. The ocial said all foreign missions had been informed of the changed rules.
Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) for ve years. The Centre has released 16 crore in the past two years to meet the administrative and social welfare activity ex penses of 36 Tibetan settle ment oces in dierent States. Permit mandatory “We are relaxing the travel rules for relatives of Tibe tans living in foreign coun tries, the process for this is on,” said the ocial. As per the present norms, foreigners who intend to vi sit Tibetan settlements and camps should seek prior permission of the Home Mi nistry and procure Protect ed Area Permit (PAP) as per the provision of Section 3 of the Foreigners Act, 1946 (31 of 1946).
Grant-in-aid In 2015, the NDA govern ment for the rst time sanc tioned a scheme of provid ing grantinaid of 40 crore to the Dalai Lama’s Central
22 Indian sailors, ship missing
‘India’s growth depends on northeastern States’
Prime Minister calls for greater links with ASEAN
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Nalgonda murder case turns murkier Accused persons had called MLA’s aide STAFF REPORTER NALGONDA
From motive to ‘persons be hind the scenes’ to investi gating ocer’s temporary disappearance, everything is turning out to be a bit puz zling in the sensational kill ing of Congress leader Bod dupalli Srinivas in Nalgonda town. The latest is the Call Data Record allegedly belonging to the prime accused in volved in the case. A TV news channel showed re ports on Saturday claiming that some of the accused persons had called up per sons connected to an MLA before and after the murder. The call log details — claimed to be belonging to some of the accused in the murder case — went viral and got circulated on social media. Though the data was not ocially conrmed, the unconrmed revelation emerged as a new twist. Some of the phone calls, of dierent durations, were made to associates of a ‘po werful politician’ of Nalgon da before and after Boddu palli Srinivas was killed. This was in contrast to the CM YK
claims made by police that they didn’t nd any evi dence to indicate possible political conspiracy behind the murder. When contact ed, Nalgonda SP D.V. Srini vasa Rao suggested to speak with the Investigating Oc er of the case. Interestingly, the IO — Circle Inspector of Nalgonda Two Town police station — went missing for nearly 36 hours from Friday. He returned to Nalgonda on Saturday evening. Speak ing to The Hindu, he said that he had not gone mis sing but took a break from the heavy workload for past few days. The Inspector, ho wever, didn’t respond to phone calls to ascertain authenticity of the CDR be ing circulated on social media. Narayanpet DSP G. Srid har, who supervised the murder case investigation, said he cannot say anything about the alleged calls made by the accused “at this stage”. “There is always scope for verifying that data and ascertain whether those calls were part of the conspi racy to eliminate a person,” he said.
A fuel tanker with several international crew mem bers including 22 Indian sailors, has been missing for the past two days near West Africa, the ship's own ers have announced. The tanker, loaded with around 13,500 tonnes of gasoline, was last contact ed o the coast of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea. “We regret to announce that contact has been lost with the AEmanaged MT Marine Express while at Cotonou, Benin. Last con tact was at 3.30 UTC, Fe bruary 1 (9 a.m. IST). Auth orities have been alerted and are responding. Our top priority is the safety of the crew, whose families have been contacted,” the management said in a mes sage on social media. The ship is owned by Japan’s Yamamaru Kisen. The region near Benin, especially the Gulf of Gui nea, is known to be pirate infested, and several ships have been targeted.
Rahul Karmakar GUWAHATI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said In dia’s growth depends on how fast the eightState northeast grows. Addressing potential in vestors and industry cap tains at an international event, Advantage Assam, Mr. Modi said the northeast was destined to take the centre stage of the Centre’s Act East Policy, which aims at taking India’s trade and cultural ties with eastern neighbours and the ASEAN bloc to greater heights. Connectivity is key to de veloping the region, the rea son why the government has adopted the motto of “trans
Focus on progress: PM Narendra Modi being welcomed by Sarbananda Sonowal at the inauguration of the Advantage Assam summit in Guwahati on Saturday. RITU RAJ KONWAR *
formation by transporta tion” to change the face of the northeast, Mr. Modi said. “The mindset that noth ing can change in India has changed, and this is showing
in the speed of work such as expansion of road and rail way network,” the Prime Mi nister said. CONTINUED ON A PAGE 12
Satellite phone to aid shing in troubled waters After Ockhi, shermen want reliable means of communication Deepa H. Ramakrishnan CHENNAI
When cyclone Ockhi was churning the sea last December, the shermen in their boats had no means to communicate with the world or gure out their exact location. It now appears that some good may well come from the tropical storm. The cyclone has speeded up the process of getting a reliable mode of communication on board the shing crafts, an alternative to the mobile phone, which only has coverage up to 12 nautical miles (one nautical mile equals 2 km). The solution most shermen prefer is a satellite phone. Various options Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar, who recently witnessed a demonstration of a satellite phone from BSNL, said they were mulling various options, including Medium FrequencyHigh Frequency
D. Jayakumar recently witnessed a demonstration of the phone from BSNL. *
radio (costing upwards of 3 lakh) and satellite phones. In the wake of the cyclone, members of various shermen associations have been demanding some kind of communication equipment aboard shing craft. “Even if we do not have landto boat communication, we should be able to share information between crafts and also to a particular point on the shore. The Satphone allows shermen to make calls to anyone under the sky,” said M.D. Dayalan of the Indian
Fishermen Association. Ujjwal Karwani of Virtuoso Technologies, who gave a demonstration of the BSNL phone to shermen in Kasimedu, said the initial cost would be around 1.35 lakh, after which an annual payment was necessary for the SIM card. Sources in the Fisheries Department explained that anyone using wireless equipment for communication required a licence from the Wireless Planning Commission. “There are stringent norms. For each instrument, everyone from the manufacturer to the beneciary is tracked. Even for the VHF (very high frequency) scheme, which was implemented in Ramanathapuram on a pilot basis, we had to go through this. VHF sets of 5 watt power for use till 12 nautical miles and 25 watt power for coverage up to 25 nautical miles are now being provided to crafts in the State,” the ocial said.
Everything you want to know about history and culture of Telugus
When all you need is comfort and peer group company Retirement homes for senior citizens mushroom in the city
APHC brings out a 982page volume right from 5,000 BC to the present day Nikhila Henry PRASHANTH CHINTALA HYDERABAD
Anyone interested in know ing the sources of history and culture of Teluguspeak ing people right from 5,000 BC till date can now refer to a 982page volume brought out by the Andhra Pradesh History Congress (APHC). The volume, released last month, contains the sources of dierent genres, including archaeological, numismatic, epigraphical, archival, pu blished works, historical journals and periodicals, along with the details of arti cles and research papers presented at the sessions of APHC since 1976. The APHC, which cele brated its silver jubilee in 2001, has earned recogni tion from the University Grants Commission, the In dian Council of Historical Re search and other national or ganisations for being a sound
Eye camps across State Staff Reporter
Vakulabharanam Ramakrishna with Sources of History and Culture of Telugu Speaking People edited by him. NAGARA GOPAL *
regional society promoting historical research. In 1998, it had resolved to compile and publish the comprehen sive history and culture of Andhra Pradesh in eight vol umes. The present volume is a continuation of the earlier project.
Following the publication of the eight volumes, several academicians and historians suggested bringing out another volume on sources, Vakulabharanam Ramak rishna, who edited the vol ume on Sources of History and Culture of Telugu Speak-
ing People 5000 BC-2016 AD told The Hindu. “As many as 16 noted his torians intensively worked for two years on this exhaus tive volume, which is a rst of its kind. In no other State in India such a volume has been produced so far,” he said. According to Prof. Ramak rishna, scholars whose voca tion was historical writing were chosen on the basis of their specialisation in their respective areas. Also, ex perts in the areas of folk, tri bal, ne arts and performing arts such as music, dance, theatre, painting, art and ar chitecture were invited to contribute chapters on their respective areas of application. The volume is divided into 16 chapters. Of these, 12 chapters pertain to historical accounts and four are on lit erary sources, folk arts, cul
ture, art and architecture and ne arts. Each chapter has a write up/note explaining briey the historical events of that chapter, their signicance, sources consulted and also further sources, if any, to be considered. The writeup is followed by an exhaustive bi bliography of the period in English, vernacular and oth er languages. Appendices alone run into nearly 300 pages. In the appendices, it is stated, the contents includes the research work done in universities, the list of arti cles published in the ICHR Journal of History, publica tions of the departments of A.P. State archives, archaeol ogy, research centres, pro minent libraries, details of research papers and Presi dential addresses delivered during the annual sessions of APHC.
Parents stage protest against high fee in schools In response to a call given by various parents’ associations in the country
The Chief Minister’s Oce announced that eye camps would be organised across the State and corrective glasses would be provided free of cost to the needy. At a meeting with Ministers and senior ocials, he an nounced his decision to start eye camps.
Parents under the banner of Hyderabad Schools Parents’ Association (HSPA), which has been ghting against high fee in schools, staged a protest at People’s Plaza as part of Parents’ Solidarity Day, a call given by various parents’ associations in the
country. Protests were held across the country where pa rents joined hands to form Mission Education Federa tion. The HSPA representa tives said some of the de mands being put forward by the parents besides fee regu lation include immediate sa fety and security audit of all schools to make schools safe
for children; urgent constitu tion of democratic parent teacher associations in all schools to give them a signif icant say in school fee deci sion; and strict implementa tion of all existing legislations like the Juvenile Justice Act. A twominute silence was observed in memory of Sai
Deepthi, a student who com mitted suicide after being singled out and harassed by the school for nonpayment of fees. The parents said it was not the rst suicide or death related to school fee is sue in Hyderabad and Telan gana, but the government, however, seems totally un moved by the suicides.
A duplex home with all amenities, walkways for tak ing a stroll, lawn for exer cise, swimming pool and at home medical services. Se nior citizens in the city, if they have money to spend, can now avail assisted living that provides all comforts of a regular residence even as doctors and nurses tend to them. While oldage homes where geriatric patients used to be put up for medi cal support still exist, more number of wealthy ageing couples have started opting for closeknit residential care communities that have entered into the oldage care market in the recent past. In a private project that is expected to come up near Rajiv Gandhi International Airport by 2020, a world class assistedliving facility would oer threebedroom senior citizenfriendly apart ments and vebedroom vil las. Already, Saket Pranam, a retirement facility located near Kapra, ECIL, one, two and threebedroom apart ments for the elderly who like a contemporary lifestyle exist. In three retirement com munities that have come up at Bachupally, Shamirpet and Narsapur, plots are available for citizens who are 60 years of age and above to be developed into retire ment homes of their choice. According to the Saket Group which also develops
RTI reply holds out hope for heritage bus
Project aims to detect and measure cosmic radiation in stratosphere
#4 4 6 6 0 1
Serish Nanisetti Hyderabad
Special Correspondent Hyderabad
A piece of the past: The Raushan Burj that kept the Mughal forces at bay during the attack on Golconda in 1687. SERISH NANISETTI *
for soldiers to pick o enemy soldiers with angled loo pholes. The newest addition to the Naya Qila is a much needed interpretation centre that places the garden known as Bagh e Naya Qila
President Kovind asked to retract parts of his speech
in its context. A bre glass scaled down copy of the gar den has been recreated in the area which used to be a settlement tank. But more than just being a beautiful garden, the Naya Qila is a
marvel of topography engi neering by Qutb Shahi forces where a raised ground was enclosed by high walls to de ny advantage to enemy sol diers. Built after the 1656 at tack, it was so successful that
sq. yard. Amenities and maintenance are charged separately, in most of the facilities. Members of Senior Citi zens’ Council said most hi end retirement communities are accessed by senior citi zens whose children live abroad. “As they cannot continue living in their own houses, most of which are not friend ly to their needs, the ageing couples plan to spend their retirement in comfort. Most children who do not live close to their parents prefer the elderly to live in apart ments or villas where they socialise with other senior citizens of their age,” said N. Srinivasa Rao, who heads Se nior Citizens’ Council at Ba chupally.
Microsatellite designed by students launched
Visitors have unhindered access to some parts of Naya Qila area of Golconda Fort All is not lost for visitors to Naya Qila area of the Golcon da Fort. According to a reply to a Right to Information ap plication, they can have un hindered access to the fol lowing areas: Bastions, Boabab tree, Mustafa Khan Mosque, Mulla Khayali Mos que, Naya Qila Bagh area and Interpretation Centre. “There is a proper way that leads to these places,” is the statement by the Central Information Commissioner. Currently, visitors to the Naya Qila area are allowed only to the Boabab tree by private security guards, while the rest of the national monument under the custo dy of Archaeological Survey of India, is used by golfers. The access to these bas tions and other sites at Naya Qila is a virtual walk through history and siege warfare. Atop the Majnu Burj, which is reached by a ight of stairs, is a massive brass can non said to have been used by Aurangzeb to bombard the Golconda Fort with little eect in 1687. Between Nau Burj and Khairat Khan Burj, there are separate gun nests
localities, prebooking has spiked in the city where the market had not developed as much as Bengaluru. The trend is catching up here as more and more people are opting for the facility where they can live a normal retire ment life with people of their age. “One of the biggest attractions of such commun ities is the readilyavailable medical service,” said Nara simha Rao, a resident who, through his organisation Happy Sunsets, is now pro moting community living for the elderly. The cost of each home de pends on the market rate in each of the localities. While at some places 3,000 to 5,000 is the rate per square yard, at other places it goes up to 6,000 to 8,000 per
during the next attack in 1687, the Mughal army at tacked from other locations. The Mulla Khayali Mosque is dedicated to the rst Dec cani poet, while Mustafa Khan Mosque was built by
Ibrahim Qutb Shah’s prime minister. The Mulla Khayali Mosque is stone and limes tone mortar structure, while the Mustafa Khan Mosque is grander and built out of dressed granite.
Arguably India’s rst stu dentled microsatellite was launched from TIFR Balloon Facility near ECIL. It aims to detect and measure cosmic radiation in stratosphere. Named Project Apeiro, the experiment was led by undergraduate students from BITS Pilani, K.K. Birla Goa Campus. Sanket Desh pande, Lucky Kapoor, Shi vangi Kamat, Vibhav Joshi and Pankaj Tiple were men tored by B. Satyanarayana, Scientic Ocer (H), TIFR Mumbai, in the project. The experiment was con ducted using the technique of High Altitude Ballooning. This method allows studies in the nearspace environ ment with the help of a ze ropressure plastic balloon, which lifts the experimental payload to desired altitudes. The ight for this payload was conducted from the TIFR Balloon Facility in the city, which is among a very few institutes from around the world capable of sup porting such kind of a ight. The balloon and all other
ight equipment required were completely developed at this facility. The payload was launched at 2.12 a.m. on Fe bruary 2 and achieved a rstoat altitude at 24.8 km. The secondoat alti tude was achieved at 26.7 km. The ight was terminat ed at 5.17 a.m. on the same day. All ight control and ex periment equipment were recovered successfully with out any damage. Students say the experi mental payload consisted of a cosmic radiation detector made with a combination of scintilator and photomulti plier tubes. This detector system was supported by an onboard high and low vol tage power supply system along with data acquisition systems. The development of the detector system was completed at TIFR, Mum bai. This study is important to understand the biologi cally harmful cosmic radia tion incidence on earth from outer space. Extended exposure to this radiation leads to an increased risk in cancer and tissue damage.
HCA embarks on a new venture Launches G. Venkataswamy Memorial T20 Cup League Championship
Staff Reporter HYDERABAD
Representatives of Muslim women’s organisations on Saturday demanded that President of India Ram Nath Kovind retract parts of his speech which they said per tain to Muslim women and their freedom. The women activists, un der the umbrella of Muslim Mahila Research Kendra, took objection to and under scored parts of Mr. Kovind’s speech which he delivered at the recent joint sitting of the two Houses of Parlia ment in which he stated, “For decades, the dignity of Muslim women has re mained captive to political costbenet. Now the nation has an opportunity to eman cipate them from this situa tion.” The activists, including CM YK
Asma Zehra, said the Sharia protects women’s rights. “With due respect, we de mand that the President take back what he said,” she said even as she added that the government should take back The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill. “This Bill, if passed, will throw Muslim men in jail,” she said. Protest meeting She said as many as 17 or ganisations were part of the protest meeting. All India MajliseItteha dul Muslimeen corporator Ayesha Rubina, who is also an educationalist, too de manded that the Bill be ta ken back. Echoing the opi nions of other women at the gathering, she too said the Bill would be harmful for the Muslim community.
V.V. Subrahmanyam HYDERABAD
The inauguration of HCA president G. Vivekanand’s dream project – G. Venkatas wamy Memorial T20 Cup League Championship fea turing franchisees from all the Telangana districts – could not have been timed better. For, it was not just the presence of cricketing greats Kapil Dev and V.V.S. Laxman that enhanced the value of the whole concept, but the fact that it was launched with much fanfare on the day when India won the World Cup (under19) cham pionship in New Zealand. “The new generation has arrived. It’s time to celebrate and hats o to the young In dian side,” were the opening
remarks of Mr. Kapil, which clearly set the tempo for the evening show. “When you promote the game at the district level as this event promises, then you are taking care of the in terests at the national level,” Mr. Kapil said amid ap plause. “I wish the Hydera bad Cricket Association all the success in its venture which will revolutionise the sport in the districts,” he said even while thanking the sponsors for being the life line of the whole event. The teams in the fray were formally introduced to the guests of honour, includ ing Telugu actor Venkatesh. For his part, Mr. Laxman also felt that the HCA has embarked on a new and wel come course which would
do a world of good for the game in the days to come. “And there can be no bet ter role model than Kapil paaji who has redened the levels of excellence a cricke ter can achieve even if he came from a relatively lesser know cricketing power like Haryana,” Mr. Laxman said. “I was myself inspired see ing Kapil paaji lift the 1983 World Cup. And I hope his presence here would inspire many more budding cricke ters to dream big and realise their goals,” he said. Dr. Vivekanand said it would be a much bigger show in future. “This is just the beginning and we are determined to produce cricketers from districts who would be good enough to play for India,” he said.
Cricketing greats Kapil Dev and V.V.S. Laxman, HCA president G. Vivekanand and actor Venkatesh at the launch of T-20 cricket tournament at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in the city on Saturday. V.V. SUBRAMANYAM *
Nothing high or secure about these number plates: motorists
Now, get an HSRP even on Sundays
Despite complaints, RTA authorities bet big on High-Security Registration Plates
Given the rise in vehicle re gistrations in the city and high demand for axing High Security Registration Plates (HSRP), transport authorities are working overtime — even on Sun days. Joint Transport Commis sioner J. Pandurang Naik said January 28 onwards, they have started axing the number plates at Khair tabad RTO on Sundays. This Sunday, the installa tion will be done at Secun derabad and at Malakpet the next Sunday. “In a phased manner, the process will be extend ed to all RTOs in the city,” he said, adding that the ser vice will be facilitated bet ween 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. without extra charge.
Abhinay Deshpande Hyderabad
Staff Reporter Hyderabad
Staff Reporter Hyderabad
The muchhyped HighSe curity Registration Plates (HSRP) are ending up dam aged through rubbing, scrubbing and washing, say vehicleowners, but authori ties are quick to downplay their concerns. Contradict ing consumers’ claims, tran sport ocials maintain it is the best quality available. Sources said despite do zens of complaints, Regional Transport Authority (RTA) ocials have not notied the contractor to improve the build quality of such number plates. Numbers can be seen fad ing on several vehicles, while the plates are deformed in case of even minor bumps. Rakesh Kumar (name changed), an engineering student who took his newly registered bike for axing the number plates at the Khairtabad RTO on Satur day, said that the quality of aluminium is so poor that it can be easily removed. Since the formation of Te langana on June 2, 2014, about 18 lakh plates have been xed onto new vehicles on an average of about 3,000 a day at 54 RTA oces across the State, said an RTA ocer. “Around 600 plates are af xed to new vehicles at 10 of ces in Hyderabad daily, of which 200 are done just at Khairtabad,” said J. Pandu rang Naik, Joint Transport Commissioner. Claiming that no com plaints on the ‘poor’ quality of plates were received from vehicle owners, Mr. Naik said the ones currently in use are of the “best quality” and if another agency oers better quality plates, they are willing to accept that. Telangana Auto and Mo tors Vehicles Welfare Asso ciation general secretary M. Dayanand said authorities care little about quality as
Cops turn the heat on drunk drivers The Third and Fourth Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Erramanzil here, on Saturday, sentenced 114 persons to jail, ranging from two to 10 days, for drunk driving between January 29 and Febru ary 2. City trac police led 635 chargesheets against the oenders earlier this week. The court permanently cancelled driving li cence of 10 persons and suspended licence of 57 others for periods ranging from three months to three years. Fine of 13.74 lakh was imposed.
MUSIC DANCE DRAMA SHARADA CULTURAL TRUST (Regd.) 28th Annual Cultural Festival, Venue : Keyes High School for Girls, Secunderabad. Today 0402-2018 6.30 p.m. Sri N Vijay Siva - Vocal, Sri S R Vigneswaran - Vocal Support, Smt Charumathi Raghuraman - Violin, Sri N Manoj Siva - Mridangam, Sri K Shyam Kumar - Kanjira. All are welcome. Contact : 9885144412, 9246154482, 98498 02891. Contributions are exempted under 80G of I.T. Act 1961.
Crackdown on fancy plates soon Staff Reporter Hyderabad
As many as 10,000 vehicle owners, who have not obtained High Security Registration Plates (HSRP), are likely to grapple with issues of ownership transfer and hypothecation termination. For, the RTA has decided crack the whip against those who have not axed HSRP on their
the contractor has “greased their palms”. “They are ax ing number plates only for name sake. They can be easi ly manipulated by any fancy
vehicles. Speaking to The Hindu, Joint Transport Commissioner J. Pandurang Naik said the new rule will be implemented soon to curb rampant use of fancy number plates. Several vehicles owners in the city are paying the fee for HSRP during registration but outing rules by not xing them, he added. “They (vehicle owners)
plate,” he said. FIR for new HSRP A senior RTA ocer said if the plate breaks or gets lost,
pay the money and collect the registration certicate from the RTA oce but are not bothered to x the number plates. Instead, they x fancy ones,” Mr. Naik said. To curb this menace, the RTA has decided to block a few transactions – including transfer of ownership, termination of hypothecation – to vehicles that do not have an HSRP.
vehicleowners must register a case with their local police stationand produce a copy of the FIR before the RTA authorities for a new HSRP.
Hotel footage sent for analysis in pregnant woman’s murder case
2 held for organising betting
City police on late Friday night busted a cricket bet ting racket and arrested two persons, seizing 2 lakh, eight cell phones, a television set and a laptop. The Commissioner’s Task Force (west zone) team said Rajesh Singh (53) of Asif Nagar and Lal Chand Agarwal (58) of Atta pur in Mehdipatnam were nabbed while accepting cricket bets from punters on a Big Bash League match.
Sri Chandrasekharendra Sangeetha Educational Society proudly presents 19th Annual Cultural Festival and Thyagaraja Aradhana from 07-02-2018 to 11-02-2018, Daily 6.30 pm. On 7th Namasankeerthana, by Dr. Udayalur R. Kalyanaraman, on 8th Smt. Gayatri Girish, Vocal, on 9th, Trichur Brothers, on 10th Malladi Brothers, on 11th at 9.30 AM Pancharatna Gosthi Ganam, 7.00 PM Smt. Srivani Yalla, Veena Concert, Venue: Keyes High School, Secunderabad. Contact: S. Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Ph: 9866187955 / 9391011704 / 27805161. All are welcome. #4 4 6 6 0 1
Staff Reporter Hyderabad
Governor, CM pat under-19 cricket team HYDERABAD
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao have congratulated India under-19 cricket team on their World Cup win by beating Australia in the final on Saturday.
Sex racket busted; six arrested Staff Reporter Hyderabad
A sex racket operating from an apartment in West Marredpally was busted by the Commissioner’s Task Force north zone team on Saturday evening. Six per sons, including a woman, were arrested. A victim from Pune was also rescued during the raid. Police seized 32,000 and six mobile phones. The organisers were identied as Konda Ra mesh Reddy (43), Shaman na Chidananda (48), Mo hammed Faizal Khan, and Addapaka Kalyani (45), all residents of Gayathri Ar cade Apartment in West Marredpally. The nabbed clients are Likki Rajashekar Reddy (42) of Huda Colony in Sa roornagar and Bomireddy pally Sanjay (41) from Bank of Baroda Colony, Gandhi nagar here. North zone Task Force inspector K. Nageshwar Rao said the organisers en gaged sex workers through known sources and paid them 30,000 a week.
Continuing their probe into the murder of an eight month pregnant woman, police are pinning their hopes on the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) recovered from an Udipi hotel in Ga chibowli, where she stopped over for breakfast on January 28. Madhapur DCP of Cybe rabad P. Viswa Prasad said they have sent the DVR to private software profession als on Saturday to retrieve the video footage in which the woman can be spotted. He said the professionals have an advanced software worth 20,000, which can help recover even old footage. Cyberabad police on Sa turday released a portrait parlé of the woman, drawn by CID experts after inte
Portrait parlé of the murdered woman
racting with the hotel sta on Friday. “Her facial fea tures have been developed on the basis of eyewitness accounts,” police said. Severed body parts of the woman were found in two gunny backs near Botanical gardens in Kondapur on Tuesday morning. A cash reward of 1 lakh has been announced by the police for anyone who can provide clues about the victim.
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Ex-servicemen injured in freak accident Staff Reporter Hyderabad
Two exservicemen were injured as their colleague’s weapon accidentally went o at the currency chest of a private bank in Gurumur thy lane of Begumpet on Saturday morning. M. Srini vasulu and M. Maheshwar Rao were taken to hospital and are said to be stable. The incident took place when chest custodian Ra makrishna Rao was check ing Suresh Kumar Rao’s barrel gun. After hitting the ground, bullet pellets hit Srinivasulu and Rao.
Published by N. Ravi at Kasturi Buildings, 859 & 860, Anna Salai, Chennai-600002 and Printed by T. Ravi at Plot Regd. H/SD/324/15-17 RNI No. TNENG/1976/49959 ISSN 0971 - 751X Vol. 43 No. 5 ●
Priests conduct special prayers and take deities back to their residing places in a ritual called Vanapravesam
Leaders, ocials make a beeline to temple
BJP State chief for Karimnagar on Feb. 17
STAFF REPORTER NALGONDA
BJP State president K. Laxman would participate in ‘Rythu Poru Sabha’, in front of Collectorate, on February 17 to expose “antifarmer policies of the TRS government.” Party district president Kotha Srinivas Reddy said that they would expose the “misdeeds of the State government” towards the farming community. Alleging that the crop loan waiver scheme did not benefit farmers, he flayed the government for not providing irrigation sources to SRSP command area farmers.
Senior State government ocials on their way to oer prayers on Saturday. M. MURALI *
Cooperate with govt., Collector tells oustees
A bird’s eye view of the Samakka and Saralamma jatara at Medaram village on Saturday.
Collector P. Venkataram Reddy urged land oustees of Gouravelli to cooperate with the government in constructing Gouravelli reservoir. At a meeting held with oustees on Saturday, the Collector said that the government would take care of their welfare. While urging the villagers not to depend on middle men, he promised to do justice to all the oustees and went on to add that all their problems would be addressed soon. Joint Collector Padmakar and Husnabad RDO Shankar were present.
SBI donates green compost bins
Gollapudi Srinivasa Rao JAYASHANKAR-BHUPALPALLY DISTRICT
There was no let up in rush of devotees at Medaram vil lage, as people continued to pour in on the nal day of the jatara to oer prayers to tribal deities Samakka and Saralamma on Saturday. During evening hours, the priests conducted special prayers and took the deities back to their respective re siding places in a ritual called `Vanapravesam of Goddesses’ that marks the conclusion of the grand tri bal fair. Usually, the last day wit
nesses retreat of devotees, but people continued to ar rive in the village to oer prayers. The arrangements by revenue and police were in place to facilitate the new arrivals. TSRTC operated hundreds of buses to ferry passengers back to their places of residence. Speaking to The Hindu, Superintendent of Police R. Bhaskaran said the nal day of jatara witnessed heavy rush of devotees. Monitoring of trac all along the route extending beyond Mulug from Medaram was conti nued, he said. “Expecting less rush, many preferred to
visit today. But the altar re mained full with people of fering prayers,” he said. District Collector R.V. Kar nan heaved a sigh of relief ov er smooth passage of the jat ara. He said that about one crore people visited the vil lage to oer prayers. “A lot of littering has been done and it will be a herculean task to clean it up,” he said. People in Medaram and surrounding villages com plain of foul smell due to the littering. Farmers have been trying to to clear their elds of broken glass pieces at great risk. Local residents say that
the area looks like a mass dumping ground due to lit ter such as plastic bags, liqu or bottles, thrown away food and footwear. Mr. Karnan said for the next two days, spraying of disinfectants, cleaning the toilets and cleaning up of waste would be done. “The operation would be extend ed into the forest bushes abutting the villages,” he said. Both the Collector and SP thanked people and em ployees of various govern ment and nongovernment agencies for their coopera tion in conduct of the jatara.
Several senior ocials and political leaders made a bee line to the historic Sammak kaSaralamma jatara at Med aram village here on Saturday. Former Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, TPCC president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, former Minister Pon nala Lakshmaiah, MLAs G. Kishan Reddy and K. Lax man were among those who visited Medaram village. Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi, Endowments Commission er N. Shiv Shankar, senior tourism ocer B. Venka tesham, former DGP and state government advisor Anurag Sharma and others oered prayers at the jatara.
Mr. Joshi said the Chief Minister was happy with the arrangements made by the district collector R.V. Kar nan and SP R. Bhaskaran along with ocials of other government departments. “This jatara is very unique and we do not see this anywhere. I am happy to come here. The CM has an nounced 200 crore for per manent arrangements to be made for the jatara. We will hold a meeting to plan an even better jatara in the fu ture,” he told the media. The joy was writ large on the faces of ocials for hav ing conducted the jatara without any untoward inci dent. The devotees were de lighted to have a hassle free darshan on the nal day.
Three persons died on the spot when a truck mowed them down on the out skirts of the town early on Saturday morning. A friend accompanying them escaped unhurt in the freak accident near Pa nagal bypass on the Narket pallyAddanki highway. The four persons were identied as employees of an event management company in Hyderabad, and were visiting Nalgonda to organise catering for the 11th day death ritual of Boddupalli Srinivas, hus band of town municipal chairperson, sources said. According to the police, the four alighted from the bus a few kilometres away from their actual stop — Marriguda bypass road, the entrance to the town, — and were walking back when the accident took place. “Whether it was poor visibility, or the truck driv er fell asleep at the wheel in the wee hours is not clear; three of them were mowed down by the vehi cle and died instantly,” said the Nalgonda Rural SubIn spector. The victims — K. Hemanth, Vasireddy Mura li and Damera Suneel — were natives of Visakhapat nam, Nellore and Kanchi kacherla respectively. The fourth, J. Shankar, who was not hit by the vehicle, es caped unhurt and in formed the police.
As part of its corporate social responsibility programme, the Regional Business Office (RBO) of the State Bank of India (SBI), Godavarikhani, donated 50 green compost bins worth 1.5 lakh to the Municipal Corporation of Ramagundam to produce green manure by using garbage. At a programme at SBI RBO on Saturday, SBI Telangana Circle Chief General Manager J. Swaminathan handed over the compost bins to the beneficiaries. SBI Hyderabad General Manager U.N.N. Maiya, Deputy GM Suresh Kumar Agarwal, Regional Manager S Priya Kumar, Municipal Commissioner Srinivas Rao and others were present.
Attack on Kashmiri students condemned HYDERABAD
All India MajliseIttehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday alleged that Haryana government has failed to adhere to its constitutional responsibility. Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Darussalaam, he said, “We have seen how during the release of a film a school bus was targeted and the children were crying, fearing for their lives. Now we see Kashmiri students studying in a university being deliberately targeted after they came out of a masjid after offering jumma (Friday) prayers.”
Tough time in store for sanitation workers They have to clean up a radius of 30 km in a week to ten days N. Rahul HYDERABAD
At the conclusion of the four day jatara of Samakka Sa rakka at Medaram today, the focus has now shifted to san itation of the temple sur roundings in a radius of 30 kms which is littered with garbage, human and animal waste, cooked food, dust, stagnant water and several other edible oerings to the deities. The government has de ployed about 1,800 sanita tion workers from Warangal, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Annavaram and Tenali to clean up the entire area over the next one week to ten days but the villagers of Med aram and the adjacent Red dygudem, Kannepalli, Narla palli and Urattam will have a tough time bearing the bad smell and odour. The district administra tion estimated 1.25 crore vis itors to the jatara who set up makeshift accommodation for two to three days. They cooked food and left the un cleaned paper plates beside attending to their nature calls nearby. The discarded liquor bot
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1,200 employees were deployed Staff Reporter HYDERABAD
The temple surroundings in a radius of 30 kms is littered with animal waste, garbage, cooked food, dust, stagnant water and several other edible oerings to the deities. *
tles and stagnant water near the tents added to the unhy gienic conditions. According to V. Chandra mouli, District Panchayat Of cer (DPO) of Jaishanker Bhoopalpalli district, about 11,000 toilets were con structed at 500 to 600 loca tions but there was no way open defacation could be prevented in forest and agri cultural elds. The garbage was regularly
Special Correspondent HYDERABAD
The contractors of 2BHK houses are unable to bear the burden of steep hike in steel prices. FILE PHOTO *
acquisition and shortage of funds with the government allocating major chunk of re sources to irrigation projects and drinking water scheme. Against the promise of ov er 2.6 lakh houses allotted by the government, Collectors have given administrative sanction to over two lakh houses and tenders were nalised for over one lakh houses in the State but not even few thousands were completed so far. The Builders Association
The Telangana Road Transport Corporation transported 10.25 lakh passengers to Medaram jatara through 34,000 bus trips, the public transport services provider informed on Saturday. The corporation said its
ocials, including Managing Director G.V. Ramana Rao, have been monitoring operations at a control centre while others have been monitoring at boarding and destination, as well as enroute. Around 1,200 employees have been deployed, the corporation informed.
collected in drums and gath ered at spots that were en closed. It was shifted to dump yards by tractors. Jaggery and chicken waste, the latter which de composed within 24 days, poses the biggest threat to hygiene as they attract ies and mosquitoes. The huge mounds of jag gery that was oered by pil grims was shifted to nearby houses by contractors who
Meeting on 2BHK scheme tomorrow Telangana government has convened a meeting of all stakeholders, producers and contractors to discuss the steep hike in price of steel and other materials that im pacted the construction of two bedroom houses, a ag ship programme to provide decent housing with all amenities to the Below Po verty Line families. Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao, Housing Minister Indrakaran Reddy would attend the meeting on February 5 to look into the issues impact ing the 2BHK housing programme. The two bedroom house scheme announced by the TRS in the run up to the elec tions in 2014 caught the imagination of poor and weaker sections in a big way. But the ambitious scheme had been beset with several problems due to poor res ponse from contractors in itially, problems with land
TSRTC transported 10.25 lakh passengers
of India, Telangana State un it, recently represented to the government that when none of the builders came forward to construct the two bedroom houses at the xed priced quoted by govern ment, the civil contractors came forward to take up the project without looking for prots. B. Sugunakar Rao, Telan gana State Chairman, BAI., said that the State is provid ing cement, sand for the con struction of double be
drooms but it xed a price of 30,000 per metric tonne of steel. With the steep hike in steel prices the open mar ket price of steel is 50,000 per tonne and the govern ment’s xed rate is 30,000 per tonne, the contractors are unable to bear the burden. The civil contractors urged the government to reimburse the dierence of amount as per GO 94 in or der to speed up the con struction of 2BHK houses. They suggested that just like the government is ar ranging payments to irriga tion project contractors on time by taking bank loans, government should also come to the rescue of the small and nonplan civil con tractors carrying out R&B and Panchayat Raj depart ment works. There are a number of small contractors who did not receive pay ments for the last six months even after completing the work allotted to them.
purchased the stocks. Bro ken coconuts and other of ferings in plastic carry bags which were heaped around the temple added to the me nace. Decayed vegetables were strewn around. C. Suresh Babu, DPO of Siddipet, who was one of the two special ocers deputed by the government to over see sanitation, said hair is al so strewn at places where pilgrims tonsured their
heads as oering and took the holy dip in Jampanna Va gu. The tents left behind by pilgrims gathered dust. They were set up paying rents ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 to land owners de pending on demand. The lands were meant for agricul ture but the owners gave up cropping and turned them into a commercial venture for the jatara.
‘Rythu Bandhu’ cover for turmeric farmers Special Correspondent HYDERABAD
The State government has extended 'Rythu Bandhu' scheme to turmeric farmers following slump in the price of the crop in the market. The scheme would be ex tended even to farmers who have stored their produce in private cold storages await ing improvement in price. Under the scheme aimed at preventing distress sale of agricultural produce during glut, farmers would be pro vided shortterm advance as temporary nancial support in lieu of pledging their farm produce stored in a cold storage or market commit tee godowns. Farmers could get short term advance up to 2 lakh without any interest for 180 days. The decision was ta ken at a meeting held by Marketing Minister T. Harish Rao here on Saturday fol lowing a request from Niza mabad MP K. Kavitha to
come to the rescue of tur meric farmers in Nizamabad facing fall in the market price of the spice crop. The meeting was attended by Ms. Kavitha, Marketing Di rector G. Laxmi Bai and oth ers. The Minister stated that farmers could dispose of their stock once the market price improves and repay the advance provided by the government. He directed Joint Director of Marketing Ravi Kumar to visit Nizama bad on Sunday to examine the turmeric farmers pro blems. Another decision was taken on developing a mango market at Jagityal with 5 crore and a meeting in that regard would be held by Agriculture Minister P. Srinivas Reddy on February 9 with the ocials of Markfed, horticulture de partment and Agricultural and Processed Food Pro ducts Export Development Authority (APEDA) on sales and purchases of mango.
He comes to aid of poor in last journey P. RAM MOHAN NIZAMABAD
Indian Medical Association, Ocers Club and Indur Can cer Hospital jointly launched the ‘Cancer Awareness Week’, here on Saturday. As part of the week long activities, Sunday would be observed as World Cancer Day. Dermatologist and pro ject coordinator R. Vidhya sagar said that dierent sec tions of the society, including students, would be sensitised on the disease during the week. A host of doctors, health workers, paramedics and government authorities would be involved in the campaign, he said.
The Chaitanya Degree College celebrated its eighth convocation here on Saturday. As many as 864 students studying in various disciplines including B. Sc, B. Com, BBM, BBA, M. Sc, MBA and MCA were awarded their degrees by CII Telangana chairman V. Rajanna.
managing director of the Ca liforniabased Alta Bates Summit Medical Centre. He said the seminar brought together experts, policy makers, profession als, researchers, scholars and students from areas of ecology, environmental science and environmental toxicology among others. Executive director of Cen ter for the Transformation of Waste Technology Prakasam Tata said that in the U.S.A.,
Special Correspondent WARANGAL URBAN DISTRICT
there were 6,500 sew age treatment plants (STP) functioning for a population of 300 mil lion at an outlay of $1.5 trillion. “In India, we have less than 1,000 treat ment plants,” he point ed out. MP Capt. V. Lakshmi kantha Rao, who is the KITS secretary, princi pal P. Venkateswar Rao were present.
ter scarcity. A successful business man, Mr. Gnanender has al so been encouraging his mother Bhagyalaxmi, wife Laxmi Sri and daughters Sa ranya and Ankitha to take an active part in community service. His service does not end there, as but Mr. Gnanender conducts medical camps and distributes sports kits to youth. Additionally, he pro vides clothes to orphans, fruits to prisoners and pa tients on the eve of national festivals. His trust also pro vides nancial help to free dom ghters, artiste and cul tural associations. Additionally, he contributes to temples, trusts and to brides hailing from poor families. Born in a poor family at Kanagarthi village in the pre sent SiricillaRajanna dis trict, the 47 yearold social
Focus on use of gutka and tobacco NIZAMABAD
Ways to reduce waste generation discussed at KITS
WARANGAL URBAN DISTRICT
Manchala Gnanender renders numerous services in Hyderabad, Karimnagar, Siricilla and Nizamabad. K.V. RAMANA
Cancer awareness week launched Special Correspondent
Chaitanya celebrates eighth convocation
The Kakatiya Institute of Technology & Science’s In dustry Institute Interaction Cell in collaboration with Center for the Transforma tion of Waste Technology, U.S.A. organized a one day international seminar on "Technologies for manage ment of waste" here on Saturday. It was inaugurated by the chief guest Roger lli, the
Gnanender provides an array of social services Manchala Gnanender, a resi dent of the town, is known as a good Samaritan for his community care services not only here but also in Hyderabad, Siricilla and Ka rimnagar. For the past ve years, he has been responsi ble for extending several ser vices, especially to the poor and destitute. Through the Manchala Sankaraiah Charitable Trust, named after his father, a vehicle is provided free of cost to carry bodies of the poor and destitute in funer als. The trust also provides freezers to preserve bodies, cons and community lunches. On the other hand, Mr. Gnanender also distri butes textbooks and note books and extends nancial assistance to encourage stu dents to pursue education. His goodwill also extends to supplying drinking water to residents of slums and co lonies that have water scarci ty during summer. In the last summer, which witnessed an acute water scarcity, the trust supplied one lakh litres per day to residents. Mr. Gnanender spends about 1.80 lakh to maintain ve Vaikunta Yatra water tankers and for other expenses ev ery month. He claims to have made over 5,200 trips with his tankers to avert wa
Seminar on waste management
On February 8, an aware ness camp on “Gutka and Cancer” and on the follow ing day, on “Smoking and Cancer” would be conduct ed at Nalanda Degree Col lege and Kakatiya Junior College respectively. Go vernment General Hospital Superintendent L. Ramulu and IRCS district chairman Neeli Ramchander would take part as chief guests, he said. Cancer could be prevent ed by having clean sur roundings, reducing pollu tion and ensuring a radiation free weather. Consuming healthy food would also help in preven tion of cancer, said Dr. Vi dyasagar.
activist completed his inter mediate education and worked as a compounder at the veterinary medical shop. Later, he rose to oat his own after a few years. Mr. Gnanender moved to Nizamabad to expand his business and set up a vete rinary and poultry medical and feed center, poultry forms and also petrol bunks. Surprisingly, he does not accept contributions from anyone to support of his ser vices. “I believe in service to humanity and that service to humanity is service to God. Hence, I spend a portion of my earnings towards social causes,” he says. He has received at least 20 awards from organisations, State and Central Govern ment to his credit. In recog nition of his services, Berke ly University in California, U.S.A. conferred him an honorary doctorate.
TS diverting funds from Centre: BJP Special Correspondent KARIMNAGAR
BJP state vicepresident Gujjula Ramakrishna Red dy alleged that the State go vernment has been divert ing Central government funds under the Pradhana Manthri Awas Yojana (PMAY) programme meant to provide shelter to the homeless people in the State. The State government had diverted the PMAY funds on the promise of constructing double be droom housing scheme, but did not deliver, he said. “Neither thehouses were constructed, nor housing was provided to the bene ciaries under the PMAY scheme,” he charged.
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ACB registers another case against tainted ASI Mohan Reddy accused of transferring land forcibly Special Correspondent KARIMNAGAR
The Karimnagar AntiCor ruption Bureau (ACB) auth orities have registered another case against the sus pended ASI B. Mohan Reddy under the Prevention of Cor ruption Act for forcibly re gistering 7.16 acres of land belonging to one Dadi Sudhakar. The complainant had ta ken a loan of 25 lakh from
Mohan Reddy’s nancial bu siness at an interest of 4% in 2013. Within a week, he took an additional loan of 15 lakh. Between April 1, 2013 and June 21, 2014, Sudhakar paid 57.50 lakh to the cop. Mo han Reddy claimed that the loan and interest totalled 74.60 lakh. The suspended cop then threatened Sudha kar and forcibly registered his agricultural land measur
ing 7.16 acres in Gangadhara mandal to his own name in September 2014. The ASI and his associates told Sudhakar that his land would be returned only if he repays the loan amount. The victim again paid 20 lakh by April 2015, but was not handed over his land docu ments. It was transferred to a relative of Mohan Reddy af ter Sudhakar was threatened with dire consequences.
Helping the jobless Study centre helps those preparing for competitive exams K.M. Dayashankar KARIMNAGAR
For those hoping to crack competitive exams, this in itiative may prove to be a gamechanger. In association with Prathi ma Foundation, the Varadhi Study Centre has been set up at Krushi Bhavan in Ka rimnagar town about 11 days ago. The study centre, which is essentially a library, is equipped with study mate rial of various publications, textbooks, newspapers and magazines that can come CM YK
handy in preparation for competitive examinations. Almost every day, one can see 80 to 100 youngsters, in cluding those preparing in SC and BC study centres, dropping by this centre bet ween 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. to surrender themselves to books and knowledge in a serene atmosphere. It has come as a boon es pecially to poor, unem ployed youths, who cannot aord study material. Karimnagar MP B. Vinod Kumar mooted the idea of a separate librarycumstudy
centre for the unemployed youth after learning of va rious instances of students suering due to nonavaila bility of a suitable study centre. When the MP shared the idea with Prathima Founda tion, the latter agreed to set up the centre with necessary study material and infrastructure. Mr. Vinod Kumar told The Hindu that there are plans to install computers at the centre and help the unem ployed youth to tune in to online classes.
Chief Minister K. Chandra sekhar Rao has proposed a hundred food processing un its at the rate of at least one in each Assembly consti tuency of the 30 districts in the State. He asked ocials to ex plore the means for Central funding to the food process ing units. To encourage farm mechanisation, he ordered supply of plantation ma chines at 50 per cent subsidy in all mandals, a release said after Mr. Rao presided over a meeting to discuss welfare of farmers. The meeting, attended by Ministers, MPs and ocials, also took up government programmes, free round theclock power supply to agriculture, supply of seed
ACB teams to nab HMDA ocial Staff Reporter Hyderabad
The Anti Corruption Bu reau (ACB) ocials on Sa turday said that teams were formed to nab ab sconding Director (Plan ning), HMDA, K. Purush otham Reddy, whose house and oce were raid ed by on Friday. Ocials seized proper ties with market value close to 25 crore from him on Friday. Ocials said that on Sa turday two ‘victims’ of Reddy approached ACB and informed grievances caused by him. ACB appealed to poten tial other victims of Mr. Reddy to approach them.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao
and fertilisers, irrigation projects, input subsidy to farmers and formation of coordination committees of farmers. Mr. Rao pressed the need for more ginning mills and formation of rice mills cluster due to the possibility of higher paddy cultivation in kharif on account of avail ability of plenty of rain wa
ter. The Ministers should in itiate measures to form coordination committees of farmers at village, mandal and district levels. A Statele vel committee which would enjoy the position of a cor poration would be headed by a higher ocial. Confe rences of members of vil lage, mandal and district committees should be or ganised in four corners of the State and a public meet ing at the Parade grounds here after the State level committee was constituted, Mr. Rao said. Discussing the functions of the committees, he em phasised the need for man dal and village panels to inte ract on crop cultivation and ensuring minimum support price for farmers. The com mittees would regulate the
Clear all dues of BC students: Uttam Government accused of diluting fee reimbursement scheme Special Correspondent Hyderabad
Telangana Pradesh Con gress Committee (TPCC) President N. Uttam Kumar Reddy demanded that the State government provide full fee reimbursement to students of Backward Class es (BC), irrespective of their rank. Speaking at the ‘BC Vid hyarthi Garjana’ on Satur day, he recollected that the fee reimbursement scheme was launched by the Con gress government in 2008 to aid poor students irrespec tive of caste. Dilution of the scheme by TRS government
badly hit the poor students, especially those belonging to the BC communities, he said. He criticised the State go vernment for not clearing 3,600 crore dues over the past two years. “During the same time, the government paid over 20,000 crore to various contractors, but did not consider helping BC stu dents,” said Mr. Reddy. BC Welfare Association president and MLA R. Krish naiah said the State govern ment had failed to do justice to the 35 lakh BC students students. He demanded that dues be cleared.
Rainfall, temperature & air quality in select metros yesterday
‘Wanted a break from workload’
Explore the means for Central funding, ocials told Special Correspondent
After disappearing myste riously for nearly 36 hours, leaving his family and the police department in a shock, Nalgonda twotown Circle Inspector N. Venka teshwarlu returned home safe on Saturday. It was a big relief for his worried family members. Even the police top brass heaved a sigh of relief but his sudden vanishing act and the return only added to the controversy sur rounding the murder of Nal gonda Congress leader Bod dupalli Srinivas and the investigation into it. The murder of Srinivas, husband of Nalgonda municipal chairperson B. Laxmi, on Ja nuary 24 assumed political tinge for various reasons. A longtime Congress leader and staunch supporter of Nalgonda MLA Komatireddy
arrival of agricultural pro duce at the market yards. Stocks for the market yards to handle on any given day should be shifted. The com mittees should purchase the material if the market yards could not absorb. The role of Marketing Fed eration (MARKFED) should be redened in the backdrop of constitution of coordina tion committees. Mr. Rao announced the constitution of a Cabinet subcommittee with Mr Pocharam Srinivas Reddy (Agriculture), Mr. Eatala Ra jender (Finance), Mr. T. Har ish Rao (Marketing) and Mr. K.T. Rama Rao (Industries) as members to take steps to prevent food adulteration, encourage food processing industry and ensure MSP for farmers.
Venkat Reddy, he had joined the Telangana Rashtra Sa mithi a few months ago but returned to the Congress re cently. With top leaders of the Congress and TRS accusing one another in the murder case, CI N. Venkateshwarlu was apparently under sev ere pressure as he was the investigating ocer. Though he ‘went missing’ after mak ing crucial arrests in the sen sational murder case, spec ulation was rife that his disappearance surely had something to do with the Congress leader’s killing. Speaking to The Hindu, he said he wanted to take a break from the tiring sche dule involving investigation into two murders in his ju risdiction. “The situation was such, no higher ocer would sanction leave. I had not slept for nearly six con secutive nights,” he added.
Left parties call A.P. bandh
Domestic workers held for theft
Temperature Data: IMD, Pollution Data: CPCB, Map: Skymet (Taken at 18.00 Hrs)
Begumpet police on Friday apprehended two domes tic helps for stealing gold valuables worth 12.4 lakh from their employers. The accused were iden tied as Shivanath Mukhiya (24), a cook, and Parshu ram Uddav Taksande, a helper, both residents of Begumpet. Police recovered gold weighing 29 tolas. Addi tionally, ornaments such as two diamond kadas, six gold bangles, three gold chains and two diamond pendants were also reco vered from the duo. 10,000 cash was also seized from them.
Staff Reporter Vijayawada
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The Left parties and various civil society organisations on Saturday called for State bandh on February 8 to prot est against the injustice met ed out to Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget 201819. CPI(M) State Secretary P. Madhu said the budget did not make any allocation for the capital city Amaravati, the revenue decit, the pro posed railway zone, the steel plant in Kadapa district and above all what was due un der the A.P Reorganisation Act. “The Central govern ment left us in the lurch but
did not miss out on the polit ically prudent thing, which is to fork out substantial sums to pollbound States. For instance, Karnataka got handsome allocations,” Mr. Madhu observed. CPI Secretary Muppalla Nageswara Rao said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the quantum of farm credit had been increased from 10 lakh crore to 11 lakh crore but not a single paisa was al located for it, which was nothing but passing the buck on to the banks. A.P was asked to fend for itself in these times of dis tress, the parties said in a re solution.
In observation made at 4.00 p.m., Muzaffarpur, Bihar recorded an overall air quality index (AQI) score of 385 indicating an unhealthy level of pollution. In contrast, Vijayawada recorded a healthy AQI score of 80
Air Quality Code: * Poor * Moderate * Good (Readings indicate average AQI) SO2: Sulphur Dioxide. Short-term exposure can harm the respiratory system, making breathing difficult. It can affect visibility by reacting with other air particles to form haze and stain culturally important objects such as statues and monuments. NO2: Nitrogen Dioxide. Aggravates respiratory illness, causes haze to form by reacting with other air particles, causes acid rain, pollutes coastal waters. CO: Carbon monoxide. High concentration in air reduces oxygen supply to critical organs like the heart and brain. At very high levels, it can cause dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness and even death. PM2.5 & PM10: Particulate matter pollution can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, reduced lung function, irregular heartbeat, asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death in people with heart or lung disease (Individual pollutant data for various cities are averages for the previous day)
‘We will reopen scam cases of Cong. rule’ BJP has already done a survey on ‘winnability’ of candidates and plans to carry out two more Pinarayi allays fears about child lifters THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that people need not get worked up over the social media campaign that child lifters were on the prowl in the State. In a Facebook post, Mr. Vijayan said he had instructed the State police chief to step up vigil and keep a tab on groups engaged in begging.
Dalit leaders boycott meet with Siddaramaiah BENGALURU
Dalit leaders boycotted a meeting called by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to discuss the budgetary proposals, opposing the “arrogance and impatience” displayed by him at a meeting towards the implementation of the A.J. Sadashiva Inquiry Commission, which looked into internal reservation for the Scheduled Castes.
B.S. Satish Kumar BENGALURU
BJP Karnataka president B.S. Yeddyurappa, who has completed a 85-day preelection tour of all the 224 Assembly constituencies, has said that if his party is voted to power, it will reopen all the cases related to alleged scams in the Congress dispensation that have got relief from the State investigation agencies. In an interview, Mr. Yeddyurappa accused the Congress government of indulging in large-scale mismanagement in various sectors and welfare schemes. Excerpts from the interview: What was your experience and the feedback from the Parivarthana Yatra? ■ It was the biggest political yatra in the State as 11,000 km were covered in 85 days.
The yatra increased our con dence of winning a mini mum of 125 seats, even if the elections are held today. The feedback we got is that peo ple are fedup with the Con gress and that they want a change.
Some of your party leaders, including Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde and Pratap Simha, have issued controversial statements. Will this not aect your poll prospects?
How do you rate the performance of the Siddaramaiah government? ■ There is complete misman agement of government schemes and administration. On the one hand, the State government talks of Anna Bhagya scheme as its ag ship programme. But on the other, there are eorts to div ert the rice meant for the scheme to black market. O cials have lost condence in this dispensation and have been approaching me with complaints. We will inquire into all these issues if voted to power.
■ Anantkumar Hegde has al ready apologised in the Lok Sabha. We have already told him and Mr. Pratap Simha to be careful with their statements.
What are your advantages as well as key challenges? ■ The failures of the Siddara maiah government on all key fronts, especially failure to provide drinking water and complete irrigation projects, and series of scams are our advantages. The key chal lenge is selection of candi dates, given the intense com petition for tickets. We have already done a survey on “winnability” of candidates and we are going to have two
Has BJP central leadership tied your hands and curtailed your freedom by taking over the entire organisational responsibility? ■ It is not correct to say that. In fact, the central leader ship has given me full free dom to execute responsibili ties as party State unit
president. It is looking into candidate selection as there is heavy competition. Some Congress leaders are saying that it is going to be Siddaramaiah vs. Narendra Modi in the forthcoming elections rather than Siddaramaiah against you? ■ The Chief Minister does not have the capacity and merit to compare himself with the Prime Minister.
How important is the Prime Minister’s Bengaluru rally for the party? ■ We are looking at the Prime Minister’s rally to strengthen our ongoing poll campaign. We want promi nent workers from all the booths to participate. We are expecting a minimum of 3.5 lakh people to attend it.
Work on new Kolleru bridge commences Wildlife board grants permission Staff Reporter ALAPADU
Work on the 100metre con crete bridge across Kolleru Lake connecting Alapadu in Krishna district and Kolleti kota in West Godavari dis trict has started. The new bridge is being constructed adjacent to the existing steel bridge at Alapadu. “The National Board for Wildlife has granted permis sion for construction of the bridge,” Assistant Conserva tor of Forests N. Rama Chan dra Rao told The Hindu. In the 1990s, the Pandiri palli panchayat constructed a temporary wooden bridge between Alapadu and Kolle tikota following repeated capsizing of boats while crossing the lake. The bridge was later reinforced with steel, despite not hav ing permission from the For est Department, with the
panchayat citing the escalat ing maintenance cost of the woodenbridge. The bridge has been maintained by the panchayat through an an nual auction for collecting toll from vehicles. “We have been demand ing a cement bridge at Ala padu for several years and our dream has been fullled now,” said Jayamangala Sub ba Raju, sarpanch of Penchi kalamarru panchayat. The A.P. government has sanctioned 14.7 crore for the construction of the bridge. The Department of Roads and Buildings is mon itoring the project, for which the foundation stone was laid in December 2017. The bridge is likely to be commissioned by Decem ber 2018. “The existing steel bridge will be dismantled once the new bridge is com missioned,” said Mr. Raju.
Police to probe RBI plaint on fake notes
Parents in Bengaluru in mad rush to learn Kannada
Notices issued to 8 banks in Karnataka
Unexpected fallout of the State government’s move to make language a compulsory subject in school
Special Correspondent Bengaluru
The Halasuru police have is sued notice to eight banks in Karnataka following a com plaint lodged by the Reserve Bank of India that 1.13 lakh in demonetised notes it re ceived from currency chests was counterfeit. The coun terfeit notes were of 500 and 1,000 denominations. Based on the complaint led by a manager with the RBI’s Issue Department, the police have registered a case under Section 489 (c) (Pos session of forged or counter feit currency) and Section 489 (d) (Making or possess ing instruments or materials
for forging or counterfeiting currencynotes or bank notes) of the Indian Penal Code. According to the police, the Reserve Bank of India received the notes between July 1, 2017 and July 31, 2017 from branches of eight banks, both nationalised and private. “They are old currency notes, which the banks had received from their customers postdemo netisation, mainly from NRI accounts,” said a police o cial. That they were counter feit came to light only when RBI ocials started verify ing the notes.
After years of going about life without knowing Kannada, parents in Bengaluru are now scrambling to learn the local language and its script. From joining WhatsApp groups and signing up for online tutorials to hiring private tutors and even roping in the services of their domestic help, they are trying everything to decode what used to be little more than strange sounds and funny squiggles. The reason for this sudden interest is not so much a newly discovered
passion for Kannada as the necessity to monitor their wards’ progress in school. In October 2017, Karnataka government made it mandatory for schools to have Kannada as a subject. The rules for the Kannada Language Learning Act, 2015 state that all schools, including those aliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certicate Examinations (CISCE), must teach Kannada. While this will be implemented in a phased manner for all classes, Class One students have to learn
Back to school: Determined to help children, parents are learning how to speak, read and write Kannada. FILE PHOTO *
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Kannada from this academic year. The government’s decision seems to have had an unforeseen fallout as mothers, fathers, uncles and
aunts found themselves staring helplessly at homework assignments — all in the middle of the academic year. Determined to help their children, many
families are applying themselves to the task of learning Kannada. Sharmistha Ghosh, whose daughter is in class one, was caught oguard by the sudden change. “I come from a Bengali household. Now I’m taking the help of my maid who studied in a Kannada medium school till Class IX. I am also relying on audio content prepared by the school,” she said. Saima Tabassum, a homemaker who has been living in Bengaluru for a decade, said: “I help my children with all subjects but was clueless when it came to Kannada. So I’ve
signed up for classes.” She has enrolled with ‘Kannada Gotilla’, a group that posts lessons on WhatsApp every day and gives assignments on weekends. Schools, too, are reaching out to parents. Dakshayini Kanna, principal of Harvest International School, said that the school had been receiving requests from nonKannadiga parents to provide worksheets in Hindi and English as they were not familiar with Kannada. “We have columns where we write spoken Kannada in English and Hindi, with pronunciation guides and explanations,” she said.
The march of the light brigade Uma Bharti admitted to AIIMS due to ‘knee pain’
Maratha LI regiment marks 250 years of rising
Buses torched, stones thrown at police Special Correspondent Kolkata
Union Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Uma Bharti was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Friday night after she complained of “severe knee pain”, a close aide said. “She is stable and is undergoing required medication,” a hospital source said. PTI
Pak. maritime agency detains Indian fishermen AHMEDABAD
At least 42 fishermen from Gujarat were arrested and eight boats seized by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency off the Gujarat coast, the National Fishworkers’ Forum claimed on Saturday. A confirmation of the arrests by the Pakistani authorities was awaited, secretary of the forum Manish Lodhari said. The boats had sailed from Porbandar a few days ago. PTI
On Sunday, Maratha Light In fantry (LI) regiment will cele brate its 250 th regimental day. It is one of the oldest and most decorated regi ments of the Indian Army with 56 battle honours and 10 theatre honours. “Maratha Light Infantry regiment is crossing the mil estone of 250 years of glo rious rising. It draws its in spiration from Chhatrapati Shivaji and the Maratha war riors who were adept in guerrilla warfare. As a result, the regiment was involved in Afghanistan and other theatres before Indepen dence,” said Lt Gen. P.J.S. Pannu, Colonel of the Regi ment and Deputy Chief, Di rectorate of Organisational Training (DOT) at Integrated Defence Sta (IDS).
Road accident triggers clashes in Kolkata
Swiftfooted soldiers: A le photo of the jawans of the Maratha Light Infantry regiment in action, and, right, jawans taking part in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. THE HINDU ARCHIVES, R.V. MOORTHY *
Lt. Gen. Pannu stated that the Maratha LI was the rst infantry unit to be designat ed “light infantry” by the British during the rst Af ghan war for being “swiftfooted.” “We don’t have a com mand called attention. We are in relaxed position but ready for a task. The regi ment is good in night war fare,” he said referring to their regimental philosophy.
The rst battalion of the Regiment was raised as ‘se cond battalion Bombay Se poys’ in 1768 which was later known as ‘jangi paltan’. Fe bruary 4 also has a historical signicance as on this day in 1670 Chhatrapati Shivaji con quered Fort Kondana, fa mously known as Sinhgarh. “It is the only regiment of the Army from which two battalions were converted in to Special Forces, the 2 & 21
Para Special Forces,” said Col. S.S. Shekhawat from 21 Para SF and one of the most decorated soldiers currently serving in the Indian Army. He has a Kirti Chakra, Shau rya Chakra, Sena Medal (Gal lantry) and a Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished service. Personnel from 21 Para SF were involved in the Army’s surgical strokes on insurgent camps in Myanmar in 2015.
The regiment has a long history of gallantry and sa crice and has a string of ho nours, including two Victo ria Crosses in the Second World War, to prove it. Dur ing the First World War, the regiment got 15 battle ho nours. Today the regiment has 21 regular battalions, four Rash triya Ries battalions and two Territorial Army battalions.
The death of two college students after being run ov er by a bus in the city’s Chin grighata area triggered mas sive clashes between the locals and the police on Sa turday. Three buses were set on re and angry locals threw stones at the police and reghters. The police lobbed teargas shells and batoncharged the protesters to disperse them. The confrontation continued for several hours and trac came to a grind ing halt. Chringrighata is a major arterial crossing on the E.M. Bypass, which con nects the north and the south of the city. The accident occurred around 11.15 a.m. when the students, Biswajit Bhunia and Sanjay Banik, were crossing the road on a bicy cle. They were run over by the bus, which allegedly jumped a signal.
A bus on re in Kolkata on Saturday. PTI *
It took the police several hours to control the situa tion. Several public and private vehicles were dam aged. The driver of the vehi cle was arrested and his li cence cancelled. The State government has oered 2 lakh compensation to the fa mily of the deceased. A number of other acci dents were reported in the State during the day, in which two more people lost their lives and 11 others suf fered injuries.
Former student sets university office on fire VADODARA
A former student of Maharaja Sayajirao University allegedly set ablaze the head office of the institution, enraged over the delay in getting his degree certificate, the police said on Saturday. The student was at the centre of a 2007 controversy, when he drew the ire of Vishwa Hindu Parishad for his paintings of Hindu god and goddesses in “obscene” poses. PTI
Man killed in quarrel over 1 in Maharashtra THANE
A 54year old man from Kalyan town here was killed after a quarrel over 1, the police said on Saturday. The incident took place on Friday night when Manohar Gamne, went to buy eggs at a shop. Gamne allegedly paid 1 less to the shopkeeper, which led to an argument between the two. This ensued into a fight during which the shopkeeper’s son assaulted Gamne, leading to his death.PTI
Fear, anger in Raghubir Nagar Delhi youth was killed by his girl friend’s family Hemani Bhandari NEW DELHI
Walking past the street op posite the Blind School on Raghubir Road in West Del hi’s Khyala, it’s hard to miss the men in uniform, includ ing nearly 200 Central Re serve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and the local pol ice. The residents of the area are visibly enraged over the killing of a 23yearold pho tographer on Thursday night, allegedly by his girlf riend’s family. Ankit Saxena, a photogra pher with a private rm in Jwala Heri, was stabbed to death allegedly by girlfriend Shehzadi’s kin.
On guard: Nearly 200 paramilitary personnel have been deployed at Raghubir Nagar in Delhi. SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR *
The police have arrested her father Akbar Ali, 43, mother Shehnaaz, 38, and uncle Mohd Salim, 40, in connection with the case, and apprehended her 16 yearold brother. Ankit’s immediate family, his mother Kamlesh and father Yash Pal, remained in side their rst oor resi dence, unable to overcome
their grief over the death of their only son. Ankit’s neighbour Chand ni (name changed) said, “We don’t want to talk in front of the camera. The girl’s rela tives live nearby. What if they take their anger out on us?” She added that she did not want the incident to take a communal shape. About 500 meters away is
Shehzadi’s locked third oor residence. Her neighbours expressed anger over the murder. Two other women on the street said the ac cused should be asked to leave the locality but others counselled them to lower their voices. Ms. Shehzadi told news channels that she was scared of returning home. “I fear that my family will kill me, too,” she said. Vijay Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP)West, said she was produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Saturday, and shifted to Nari Niketan from there. “Concerned over her safety, we made a recommendation to the CWC to send her to a women’s shelter,” Mr. Kumar said.
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Gujarat private schools asked to reduce fees
CBI arrests GST ocials for bribery
Face action for non-compliance: govt. Special Correspondent
Special Correspondent AHMEDABAD
The Gujarat government has asked all private schools in the State to reduce their fees after a Supreme Court’s rul ing upheld the Fee Regula tion Act enacted by the State. The government also told the schools to be ready to face action if they did not comply. “Instead of paying hefty fees to the lawyers in ght ing the case in the High Court and the Supreme Court, schools should have reduced the fees to comply with the regulation law,” Education Minister Bhupen drasinh Chudasama said. “First, the High Court and now the Supreme Court
has upheld the law brought by the State, a rst in the country,” Mr. Chudasama said, taking credit for bring ing the law to regulate fees charged by private sector schools from primary to higher secondary classes in the State. While upholding the law, the Supreme Court asked the State to reform the fee regulatory committees by including retired High Court judges. Now, as per the SC direc tive, zone wise fee regulato ry committees and fee revi sion committees will be formed again and each of the four committees in as many zones will have one retired High Court judge.
The Central Bureau of In vestigation has arrested a GST and Central Excise commissioner and his three junior colleagues for allegedly taking bribes from businessmen and industrialists. Searches on the premis es of the accused persons led to the seizure of 58 lakh in cash and docu ments of properties worth crores, the agency said. The CBI had information that 1986batch IRS ocer Sansar Chand had asked for bribe from Manish Sharma, owner of Shishu Soap and Chemicals, who wanted relief from Central Excise notices.
Spurned, U.P. man kills woman, her cousin Press Trust of India Bulandshahr
An engineering graduate killed a woman and her cou sin at their residence in Bu landshahr district of Uttar Pradesh after the woman spurned his marriage propo sal, a senior police ocer
said on Saturday. Ankit, a resident of Dha koli village, burnt the bodies of Sheelu, 23, and her cousin Shivani at their home in Bah pur village on Thursday, SSP Muniraj G. said. According to the SSP, An kit visited Sheelu’s house on
Thursday and proposed to her but she declined. An en raged Ankit strangulated her. Shivani, who witnessed the incident, was also killed with a motorcycle clutch wire. Ankit then took out pe trol from his motorbike and set the bodies on re.
Mr. Muniraj said the pol ice solved the case in less than 24 hours. He added they placed the mobile phones of Ankit and a few other suspects on sur veillance. Ankit had confessed to the murders, Mr. Muniraj said.
ExIPS ocer under Bengal CID scanner Staff Reporter Kolkata
Former IPS ocer Bharati Ghosh has come under the scanner of the Criminal In vestigation Department of the West Bengal police in connection with a com plaint of extortion and mis appropriation of funds. A day after Ms. Ghosh al leged that her house was searched and her husband detained for several hours, CID ocials held a press conference on Saturday re futing the allegations. Refute allegations “There are allegations in the media that raids were conducted at the residence of a retired police ocer. There was no raid at the re sidence of any retired pol ice ocer,” Nishat Pervez, DIG Operations, CID, said. Mr. Pervez, however, ad mitted that the CID con ducted search operations at a house in Naktala area of the city among other places, but refused to ad mit that the house had anything to do with Ms. Ghosh. “Till now, there is no conrmation that it [the house at Naktola] was the residence of a retired pol ice ocer,” he said. In the ongoing investiga tion, the CID is looking into the role of six police oc ers, some of whom served with Ms. Ghosh. CM YK
BJP nds new poll partner in Nagaland Sidelines longtime ally NPF and leaves 40 of the 60 seats to NDPP for the elections to be held on February 27 Rahul Karmakar GUWAHATI
The Bharatiya Janata Party has sidelined its longtime al ly Naga People’s Front and sealed a seatsharing arran gement with a new regional party for the February 27 As sembly elections in Nagaland. Out of the 60 seats, the BJP will contest 20 seats and the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) 40. The State’s lone Lok Sabha member and former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio heads the NDPP. Down to business: Dignitaries at the Advantage Assam Global Summit 2018 in Guwahati. RITU RAJ KONWAR *
The Centre has sanctioned 47,000 crore for 115 new railway lines and 90,000 for rural roads and National Highway projects in the re gion, he pointed out. Mr. Modi also made it clear that the future of the northeast lies in its trade and cultural ties with the ASEAN, a group of countries with whom India has en joyed thousands of years of relationship. “Formal IndiaASEAN ties may be 25 years old, but our association has been there for ages. So have been our ties with Bangladesh and Bhutan,” the Prime Minister said. The country, he added, is moving towards qualita tive change with a slew of measures for the poor and the middle class, as pro posed in the Budget. “But the Indian growth engine cannot run smoothly if the Northeast, which needs to develop fast, is left behind,” he said. Mr. Modi’s Bhutanese counterpart, Dasho Tsher ing Tobgay said India’s Act East Policy would be as much of an advantage for Bhutan as it would be for As sam. “For Bhutan, India is an elder sibling, not a big brother. And for India, Bhu tan is a younger sibling. Our relationship with India be gins with Assam, with which we share more than just a boundary,” Mr. Tobgay ad
ded. But the Bhutanese Prime Minister virtually stole the thunder from host Assam and India, reminding that the Himalayan country oers more ease of doing business and is low on corruption. “Bhutan is 85th among all countries in ease of doing business, and we are trying to break into the top 50 soon. Transparency Inter national says we are 27th on the corruption index, and 13th on the global peace in dex, which indicates we are among the most stable countries,” Mr. Tobgay ad ded. He also referred to the International Monetary Fund’s forecast of 11.2% GDP growth for Bhutan in 2018, which is the second fastest in the world. “Besides, we oer the cheapest power in the world at 2.23 per unit, and thanks to a free trade agreement, India is our market. So Ad vantage Assam is Advantage Bhutan,” he said. Apart from erratic supply, power in Assam for industrial units cost 6.207.25 per unit de pending on the size. A host of Union Ministers, including Suresh Prabhu, and heads of major corpo rate houses attended Satur day’s inauguration of the twoday programme that the Sarbananda Sonowal led Assam government is hosting.
New alliance “The BJP will be contesting the Nagaland Assembly elec tions in alliance with the
NDPP, and we are condent that together we will form the next government,” Union Minister of State for home Ki ren Rijiju, accompanied by Mr. Rio, said here on Saturday. But he insisted the BJP had not severed ties with the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), which had been divid ed into three camps. One was led by Mr. Rio before he joined the NDPP last year. Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang and his predecessor, Shurho zelie Liezietsu, also the NPF president, led the other two camps. Mr. Zeliang and Mr. Liezietsu patched up months after the NPF decided to snap ties with the BJP last July.
have never had a prepoll al liance. This time too, we dis cussed the possibility of an electoral tieup, but Zeliang and Shurhozelie declined,” Mr. Rijiju said. The NDPP’s position in the current political scenario in Nagaland made it an ob vious choice of alliance for the BJP, he added.
“The NPF has been one of the oldest members of the NDA, since 2003, and though the two parties have been ruling partners, they
Naga peace deal The Minister said the BJP’s decision to go ahead with the Nagaland polls despite a boy cott call by a core committee of tribal groups did not amount to undermining the sentiments associated with the protracted Naga political issue. The issue pertains to a
nal peace deal with the Isak Muivah faction of the Nation al Socialist Council of Naga land with which a ceasere was declared almost 21 years ago. The boycott call last month — 11 political parties had pledged support — was in demand for a solution be fore the elections. “Only elections can bring a solution, and we have con veyed to the underground groups that there is no point of vitiating the atmosphere when talks are on. We have told them not to create trou ble during the polls and not to violate the ceasere ground rules,” Mr. Rijiju said. The core committee too has realised that opposing the elections was not in the
For Raje, it’s a race against time now
Rajnath joins BJP campaign in Agartala
After the bypoll reverses, Rajasthan CM needs to x things on both the policy and party fronts tion to protect ocers charged with graft and Guj jars and Brahmins turning against the party over reser vation and other issues. The urban voting pattern revealed a shift from the BJP. In Ajmer city, considered a BJP stronghold, the party lost Ajmer North by 6,975 votes and Ajmer South by 13,070 votes primarily be cause of the traders’ anger over loss of business and GST complications.
Mohammed Iqbal JAIPUR
The ruling BJP’s embarrass ing defeat in the byelections in Rajasthan has triggered a churn in the party, with se nior leaders deliberating on the reasons for the triple drubbing — in one Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats. A beleaguered Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, already battling factionalism within the party and growing re sentment among the people, has little time on her hands as she seeks to coursecor rect with Assembly elections scheduled for December this year. At a core group meeting at Ms. Raje’s residence here on Friday, BJP leaders reported ly analysed the factors res ponsible for the shrinkage in the party’s traditional sup port base. While sections of the Raj put community had an nounced their support to the Congress much before poll ing day, the impact of the Centre’s decisions of demo netisation and GST rollout
Joy tripled: Congress supporters , in Ajmer celebrating the party’s victory in the Lok Sabha byelections after the results were announced last Thursday. PTI *
was described as a “worri some trend” beyond the State’s control. Farmers are also upset with the Raje government for its failure to act upon its announcement of agricultu ral loan waiver of 50,000 each. The party is also facing re sentment from a section of
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its workers who are drawn towards the “Deendayal Va hini” front oated by rebel MLA and former Minister Ghanshyam Tiwari. The San ganer MLA raised the banner of revolt after he was denied a Cabinet berth.
Throw out BJP: Pawar
Health scheme a lie: Congress
Points to contradictory statements by Minister Nadda, Finance Secretary Adhia
Among the other factors responsible for the BJP’s de feat in Alwar and Ajmer par liamentary seats and Man dalgarh Assembly seat, according to political obser vers, are the bitterness among the business com munity, deteriorating law and order in semiurban areas, enactment of a legisla
‘Air travel cheaper than auto ride’
spirit of democracy and could lead to a 1998like sit uation when one party (the Congress) swept the polls unchallenged, he added. Mr. Rio appealed to the people of Nagaland to sup port the democratic process so that the “governance sys tem can be restored and cor ruption kept in check.” He said: “We will never come in the way of a solution that is honourable.” Meanwhile, no nomina tion was led for the fourth successive day in the State. The last day of ling papers is February 7. State’s chief election ocer Abhijit Sinha said many candidates had collected nomination pap ers.
RSS cold shoulder The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has maintained a distance from the Rajeled faction of the BJP ever since the party came to power in 2013. RSS volunteers were conspicuous by their ab sence during electioneering for the bypolls. The “cold shoulder” given by Ms. Raje to RSS volun teers during ticket distribu tion in 2013 and her subse quent temple relocation drive in Jaipur are consi dered responsible for the Sangh’s aloofness.
Syed Sajjad Ali Agartala
Union Home Minister Raj nath Singh arrived here on a day that witnessed some dramatic twists in the run up to the February 18 As sembly election. Mr. Singh addressed an election rally at Barjala in support of party candidate Dilip Das. During his two day stay, he will address a number of rallies and ag o the party’s Bijay Rath (Victory Chariot) that will travel across the State. Former Chief Minister Samir Ranjan Barman, who had submitted his nomination for the Bishal garh constituency and vowed to contest as an In dependent, withdrew his candidature in support of the BJP. Congress candi date from SalgarahKakra ban constituency Sukumar Chandra Das withdrew his nomination and joined the BJP. The Congress, after his departure, is now left with 59 candidates in the elec tions for 60 seats.
CBI’s Bofors plea a red herring: Cong.
Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Saturday accused the BJP governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra of “cheating the public”, and appealed to the people to “throw it out of power in the coming elections”. He was speaking at a ral ly as part of his party’s Hal la Bol Yatra in Aurangabad. “People have come to the rally in large numbers, this means they are not happy with the ruling dis pensation. The agriculture sector is destroyed. Over 16,000 farmers have com mitted suicide,” Mr. Pawar said.
Special Correspondent New Delhi
The Congress on Saturday picked holes in the state ments made by Health Minis ter J.P. Nadda and Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia on National Health Protec tion Scheme aimed at ex tending health insurance to more than 10 crore families. This is the third health scheme that the Modi go vernment has introduced in the last three years, Con gress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. “In the February 2016 Budget, it introduced Rashtriya Swas thya Bima Yojana, which promised an insurance cov
er of 1 lakh. By December 2016, nothing had happened on it.” In the 2017 Budget, a new scheme promised an in surance cover to 26.57 crore belowpovertyline cardhol ders. A cover of 30,000 was
promised. By 2017end, over 21 crore BPL cardholders had not received any health card. “Now, in 2018, in the name of Modicare, they have come up with another pack of lies,” he said. The government itself was in confusion, he said. “Fi nance Minister Arun Jaitley says we will implement the scheme, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia says it will be implemented from Oc tober, Health Minister J.P. Nadda says the Centre will bear only half of the cost and the rest has to be paid by the States. Whom should the poor believe,” he asked. CPI(M) general secretary
Three bungalows and a CM Nitish, who has two ocial residences in Patna, has got another one in Delhi were allotted. In February 2015, Mr. Kumar became the Chief Minister again. He moved to the designated Chief Minister’s bungalow at Anne Marg. But he did not vacate the Circular Road bungalow.
Amarnath Tewary Patna
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ocial address here is 1 Anne Marg. Across the road is another house on 7 Circular Road, which was al lotted to him as former Chief Minister. Recently, he was al lotted a topbracket bunga low at 6 K. Kamraj Lane in Lutyens Delhi. The Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Opposition party in the State, wonders “When will vikas [development] come out of Mr. Kumar’s bunga lows?” Some point out that over 150 legislators in the State do not have ocial residences, with work on ats going on for years. Not the rst Janata Dal (U) leaders said Chief Ministers of other States too had been allotted houses in Delhi. But The RJD CM YK
Nothing unocial about it: Nitish Kumar with schoolchildren at the Chief Minister’s ocial residence in Patna. FILE PHOTO *
leaders ask, “Hasn’t Mr. Ku mar been CM for over 12 years? ... why does he need the bungalow now?” Opposition leader Tejash wi Yadav said: “Nitish Kumar spends most of his time in Delhi and is not interested in development work in Bihar.” In May 2014, Nitish Ku mar, owning moral responsi bility for the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sab
ha election, handed over power to Jitan Ram Manjhi and moved to 7 Circular Road. On June 3 that year, the Manjhi Cabinet approved a proposal of the Cabinet Se cretariat to provide two per sonal secretaries, two lower division clerks and four pe ons as Mr. Kumar’s personal sta for the next ve years. A bulletproof car, armed es cort and pilot vehicles too
BJP’s charge In June 2016, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who was in the Opposition then, ac cused Mr. Kumar of “misus ing” 5.02 crore on the main tenance of his bungalow at Circular Road. However, in July 2016, Mr. Kumar dumped the RJD to join hands with the BJP and formed the NDA government in Bihar once again. The State BJP leaders now keep mum on the issue. “I don’t have anything to comment. I’m not even aware whether he has been allotted a bungalow in Del hi,” a senior BJP leader said.
Sitaram Yechury said no funds were allocated for the scheme. Political gimmick “If 10 crore families are to be given an insurance cover of 5 lakh, you need at least 1.5 lakh crore. Where is the money? It is nothing but a gimmick meant to hoodwink voters in an election year,” he said. This scheme would need three times the sum allocat ed for the Union Health De partment, he said. On Mr. Nadda’s statement that the States need to bear half of the cost, he said it would be a violation of States’ right.
Press Trust of India INDORE
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha claimed on Saturday that air travel in the country was now cheaper than tra vel by autorickshaws on a perkilometre basis. “Some people will say I’m talking nonsense, but this is true,” Mr. Sinha said at a conference of the In dore Management Associa tion. “These days, passen gers spend only 5 per kilometre on air travel from Indore to Delhi. But if you take an autorickshaw in this city, you will spend 8 to 10 a km,” he said.
Electoral bonds lack transparency: Yechury Petition on FCRA amendment in SC Special Correspondent New Delhi
The proposal to amend Fo reign Contribution Regula tion Act is to safeguard both the ruling BJP and the lead opposition party Congress against prosecution as both the parties have in the past received huge contributions from foreign companies, CPI(M) general secretary Sit aram Yechury alleged on Sa turday. Mr. Yechury and his party have challenged the Centre’s decision in the Su preme Court on issuing electoral bonds to cleanup corporate funding to politi cal parties. The Court has sought the Centre’s res ponse on the petition. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud has issued notice on the plea and said it
would be tagged along with another pending petition. “Both Congress and the BJP have received huge amounts of money from fo reign rms. Had these par ties not amended the FCRA respectively, they could have been prosecuted. They saved themselves,” Mr. Ye chury told reporters here. The CPI (M) in its petition said that it eliminates tran sparency in political fund ing and will promote crony capitalism.
Ploy to divert attention from key issues Special Correspondent New Delhi
Reacting to the CBI’s peti tion in the Supreme Court challenging a 2005 order of the Delhi High Court quash ing all charges against ac cused persons in the politi callysensitive Bofors payo case, the Congress said it was a tactic to divert atten tion from the “paralysis of governance” and dipping popularity of Prime Minis ter Narendra Modi. The case has been resur rected even after the top most law ocer of the Na rendra Modi government, the AttorneyGeneral, had dismissed it, Congress com munication incharge Ran deep Surjewala said. Pointing out that the Bo fors guns were successfully used during the Kargil war, Mr. Surjewala said, “Every time they red the Bofors gun, the Indian Army solid ers shouted ‘Rajiv Gandhi Amar Rahe’ (Long Live Rajiv Gandhi) during the Kargil war.” This [the CBI petition] is part of a “conspiracy hatched by the Modi govern ment and the BJP leadership for their vested political in terests”, he added. Former Law Minister Ashwini Kumar said the rea son given for reopening a case 12 years after the High Court decision is utterly un tenable and it is a gross act of malice. “The move is a brazen in fraction of judicial norms and the settled principle of jurisprudence that criminal prosecution must not be al lowed to prolong endlessly and there should be a nali ty to litigation,” he said. The party also criticised the CBI’s latest chargesheet
against former Haryana Chief Minister Bupinder Singh Hooda in the Manesar land scam. Political vendetta “The Modi government is in dulging in political vendetta by implicating Congress leaders in false cases. As its political graph is falling down, the government is getting Congress leaders im plicated in baseless and false cases through CBI and other agencies,” Mr. Surje wala said. He said several Congress leaders such as Bhupender Singh Hooda, Virbhadra Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot, P. Chidambaram and his family, Ashok Chavan, Sheila Dikshit and Harish Rawat have been booked in false cases. The BJPled government is using agencies such as the CBI as their “captive pup pets”, Mr Surjewala said. “CBI has truly become a BJP's ‘Captive Bureau of In vestigation’. Rank politicisation of the agency by Modi Govern ment to seek revenge against opposition leaders is writ large in successive cas es.”
SIT to probe attacks on J&K students Mehbooba seeks probe and strict action; Khattar says three of six accused have been arrested, guilty will not be spared
J&K Assembly livid
Vikas Vasudeva CHANDIGARH
The police on Saturday ar rested three persons for the alleged assault on two Kash miri students by a mob in Mahendergarh town of Ha ryana on Friday. The attack comes close on the heels of the alleged ha rassment of a group of stu dents of the ShereKashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology by a copassenger on a train and later by the police in Bhopal. The Haryana police have set up a Special Investigation Team. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the incident was a fallout of a motorcycle accident, and said the guilty would not be spared. “Six people are accused in the incident, out of which we have arrested three,” Supe
IPS forum ays ocer’s pledge
The Huddle to be held on February 17, 18 The Hindu conclave in Bengaluru Special Correspondent Chennai
Peerzada Ashiq Srinagar
The attack on two Kashmiri students in Haryana and the alleged harassment of another group in Bhopal evoked protests in the J&K Assembly. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah described the incidents as “terrible” and “against the spirit of what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said from the ramparts of the Red Echoes of protest: Opposition members in the J&K Assembly criticised the attacks.
rintendent of Police Kamal Deep told presspersons. Aftab Ahmad (23) and Am jad Ali (22), studying at the Central University of Harya na in Mahendergarh, were returning to the campus af
ter Friday prayers when they were allegedly attacked without provocation near Masani Chowk in the town. They suered bruises in the face, arms and legs. “A case has been regis
Fort”. He said: “This hyper nationalism built around the propaganda that all Kashmiris are terrorists and stone pelters will drive young Kashmiris further away from the national mainstream.” CPI(M) MLA M.Y. Tarigami alleged that “a hate campaign has been unleashed on Kashmiris outside the State and it has the patronage of communal forces in the country.”
tered and we have set up an SIT led by InspectorGeneral of Police C.S. Roy,” Director General of Police B.S. Sand hu told The Hindu. “Shocked & disturbed to hear reports of Kashmiri stu
dents being assaulted in Ma hendargarh, Haryana. I urge the authorities to investigate & take strict action,” Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said in a tweet tagging Mr. Khattar.
Mr. Khattar replied, “Guilty will be punished. Incident had started with a minor colli sion of motorcycle of the ac cused. Three people have been arrested and senior of cer (SP) is on the spot.”
Modi’s 25 mantras for success in exams Prime Minister’s book, Exam Warriors, released ahead of the annual Board examinations
Special Correspondent New Delhi
Indo Asian News Service
The Indian Police Service Association disassociated itself from the act of a se nior police ocer who stoked a controversy after a video clip of him taking a pledge for an early con struction of the Ram Man dir in Ayodhya went viral on social media. “We disassociate our selves from the act of a se nior #IPS ocer as shown in the video & reiterate that it is against the ethos of neutrality, fairness and uprightness that IPS stands for,” the association tweet ed. In the 21second clip, Surya Kumar Shukla is seen taking a vow to build the temple.
Exhorting students who are set to appear for their Board and Secondary School exam inations this year, External Aairs Minister Sushma Swa raj on Saturday suggested that they should compete with themselves and not with others, and they should learn from their mistakes. Ms. Swaraj was speaking here on the occasion of the launch of a book, Exam Warriors, written by Prime Mi nister Narendra Modi. The book is a compilation of the Prime Minister’s ad vice to students on busting exam stress in his monthly radio programme, Mann ki
through it. During her interaction with students, Ms. Swaraj mistakenly said “March me chunav ka mausam hota hain (March is the time for elections)” and repeated the word “election” at least three times in place of “ex amination” — prompting the gathering to burst out in laughter. However, she cor rected this after realising the mistake, saying, “We are leaders and election comes to our mind often.” She said: “If students learn from their past and en joy the present, then they would be able to get a bright future.” “Students should compete with themselves.
Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Sushma Swaraj at the launch of PM’s book Exam Warriors in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI *
Baat. Ms. Swaraj described in detail the 25 mantras gi ven in the book for students by the Prime Minister, and urged them to read the book. She said Mr. Modi was
an extremely good commun icator. The book is available on the “Narendra Modi app” and students can communi cate with the Prime Minister
There is no need to compete with others,” Ms. Swaraj said, suggesting that stu dents should play games and practise yoga to overcome stress. Beat stress Human Resources Develop ment Minister Prakash Java dekar, who was present, said: “This book will help the students in beating stress. It is for everyone — not only for students but al so for their parents.” Urging parents not to pressure children during ex ams, Mr. Javadekar said the PM would interact with stu dents on February 16, before the start of examinations.
Following the successful de but edition of The Huddle last year, The Hindu is gear ing up to present The Huddle’s second edition on Fe bruary 17 and 18 at the ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru. Pre sented by Yes Bank, The Huddle, a thoughts and ideas conclave, is a platform that attempts to bring under a single roof some of the best minds from politics, academia, the entertain ment industry, the corpo rate world, sports and civil society. Over two days of carefully curated sessions inspired by pertinent ideas and emerg ing trends, speakers engage in discussions and conversa tions that inform, provoke, enrich and enable possibili ties in reection and transformation. Keeping its premise in tact, and with an objective to engage with ideas that are very relevant to the dynam ic world that we live in, The Huddle 2018, features a di verse mix of eminent people from diverse walks of life. The Huddle 2018 will open with a Keynote Ad dress by Ranil Wickremes inghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. From the world of politics, The Huddle in this edition includes sessions that feature Defence Minis ter Nirmala Sitharaman, Fi nance Minister Arun Jaitley, Andhra Pradesh Chief Mi nister N. Chandrababu Nai du, and eminent lawyer and politician Subramanian Swamy. The prominent speakers include former In dian cricketer and former Team India captain Sachin Tendulkar, topranking bad minton player P.V. Sindhu, former Governors of the Re serve Bank of India (RBI) D. Subbarao and C. Rangara
jan, former Deputy Chair man of the Planning Com mission of India Montek Singh Ahluwalia, theatre personality Ratna Pathak Shah, and actor and lm maker Suhasini Manirath nam, just to name a few. “The Huddle,” says its cu rator, Mukund Padmanab han, Editor, The Hindu, “is a platform to discuss ideas and debate dierences in an engaging and convivial way.” Adds Rana Kapoor, Managing Director & CEO, Yes Bank, presenting spon sor of The Huddle, “The se cond edition of The Huddle is being hosted at an oppor tune moment, at a time when the FY19 Union Bud get has seized the opportun ity to maximize backwards and forwards linkages in the economy through capacity enhancement and job crea tion. The Huddle, as the name suggests, will bring to gether global policy makers, thought leaders and innova tors to deliberate on these changes, opportunities and challenges presented by this transformation.” As an exclusive, byinvita tion only conclave, The Huddle is also an opportun ity to encourage free, inti mate and nuanced sharing of insights and thoughts.
#4 4 6 6 0 1
U.S. air chief ies on Tejas First service head of a foreign country to make such a sortie
U.P. sees spurt in encounters
Chief of Sta of the United States Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein ew on India’s indigenously built light com bat aircraft (LCA), Tejas, on Saturday. He is the rst air chief of a foreign country to y on the Tejas. “The sortie was underta ken in the morning from the Jodhpur Air Force Station and lasted approximately 40 minutes. The jet was piloted by Air ViceMarshal A.P. Singh, Principal Director, Flight Testing, at the Nation al Flight Test Centre,” an In dian Air Force ocer said. Last year, Singapore De fence Minister Ng Eng Hen took a sortie on the LCA and called it a “superb plane.” Gen. Goldfein is on an of
The Uttar Pradesh police have shot dead a wanted criminal in Shamli district in another encounter. The accused, identied as Akbar, was shot near a temple in Kandhla kasba of Shamli and carried a boun ty of 50,000. With this, the number of deaths in police encoun ters in the State since the Yogi Adityanath govern ment took over last year al so has reached 36. More than 24 encounters have taken place over 72 hours, resulting in two deaths and around 35 arrests. Mr. Adi tyanath on January 30 in structed the police to cor rect the law and order situation “at any rate.”
The Chief of Sta of USAF, Gen. David L. Goldfein, at the Air Force Station in Jodhpur on Saturday. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
cial visit to India and has al ready held discussions in New Delhi including with his Indian counterpart Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa. He is accompanied by General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Commander of the U.S. Pac ic Air Force.
The visit of two top oc ers of the USAF, another rst, comes at a time when the IAF is getting ready to oat a global tender for a sin gleengine ghter. F16 of the U.S. is competing with Gri pen of SAAB for the multi billion dollar deal.
Afzal Guru letter in NIA chargesheet It says Hurriyat leaders planned and provoked violence in Kashmir Vijaita Singh New Delhi
A letter written by 2001 Par liament attack convict Afzal Guru to hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani requesting the latter’s help to shift him from Delhi to Sri nagar jail forms part of the 12,000page charge sheet led by the National Investi gation Agency (NIA) in the J&K terror funding case. Gu ru was hanged to death in 2013 in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. A press statement issued by Mr. Geelani and shared on WhatsApp by one of the ac cused also features in the charge sheet. “That the Hur riyat leaders and the Joint Resistance Leadership are staunchly following the se cessionist agenda is also evi dent from a Whatsapp chat retrieved from the phone of accused Ayaz Akbar Khan day,” the NIA says. The NIA arrested 10 per sons last year in the terror funding case. Apart from the CM YK
Valley’s worry: A le photo of Kashmiris throwing stones at security personnel during a protest in Srinagar. NISSAR AHMAD *
LashkareTaiba’s (LeT) chief Haz Saeed and Hizbul Mu jahideen chief Syed Salahud din, the agency has named Geelani’s soninlaw Altaf Ahmad Shah, Geelani’s per sonal assistant Bashir Ah mad Bhat and businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in the charge sheet. Wani clip The NIA cites a YouTube clip of an alleged conversation between Haz Saeed and
Hizb commander Burhan Wani where the latter re quests Saeed to “increase the nancial and material support to LeT in J&K” to say: “Many videos in the open source” are available that establish a close “Hurri yatTerror” link and that they [Hurriyat] are a “gang of conspirators waging a war against the Government of India to achieve their ulti mate objective i.e. secession of Jammu & Kashmir.”
Wani’s killing in an en counter sparked an unprece dented wave of violence in Kashmir with scores of prot esters killed and many blind ed by pellets red by securi ty forces to control the crowds. “Hurriyat leaders and other secessionists engi neer arson and other unlaw ful activities, which are exe cuted by an unruly mob who destroy public property. To control these mobs, security forces are often compelled to use force, including pellet guns,” the NIA said. The agency added that “some youth” who get in jured by these pellet guns are portrayed and hailed by the Hurriyat as “trophies” to highlight and instigate the lo cal populace to resort to vio lence against India. “The protests and demon strations in the Valley are happening as per the elabo rate calendar of protests authored by the Joint Resis tance Leadership.”
When Shahid Khaqan Abbasi joined politics in the late 1980s, he may not have dreamed of becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan, a country whose politics was dominated by the Generals, the Sharifs and the Bhuttos. Almost three decades later, with Generals in the barracks, the Bhuttos in the Opposition and the Sharifs ghting corruption cas es, Mr. Abbasi, an engineerturneden trepreneurturned politician, is leading the Pakistani government. Why is his job tough? Mr. Abbasi was picked by Nawaz Sharif after he resigned as Prime Minister fol lowing his disqualication last July by the Supreme Court over a corruption case. Ever since he has tried to portray a stable picture of governance in a coun try that has a long history of military coups. Despite his eorts, his govern ment was rocked by a host of challeng es, including a massive Islamist protest on the outskirts of Islamabad that brought the capital to a standstill for
days in November, and increasing ten sion on the border with India. The latest and perhaps one of the greatest foreign policy challenges in recent history is Washington’s decision to take a tougher line towards Islamabad over its dealings with terrorist groups.
are greater. But Mr. Abbasi is not a push over either. He joined politics after his father, a Minister in General Zia ulHaq’s government, was killed in an explosion in Rawalpindi in 1988. When he was asked by the Army, after the 1999 coup against Mr. Sharif, to issue a testimony against the ousted Prime Minister for at tempted hijacking of a plane with Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the coup leader, he refused. He was thrown into prison and charged, along with Mr. Sharif, with hi jacking the plane and attempted murder. Mr. Abbasi chose to ght the case in court rather than betray his mentor. He was ac quitted after two years. Be fore the coup, he was the chairman of the national car rier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). After he was freed, Mr. Abbasi set up a private air line, Air Blue, which is the country’s
How will he handle it? Mr. Abbasi is not Mr. Sharif. Even his hardcore supporters will agree that the Prime Minister does not have the charis ma of his predecessor and long time mentor. Besides, it is Mr. Sharif who controls the rul ing party, Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz. The re duced stature of the Prime Minister in the complex polity of Pakistan, where multiple institutions hold unchecked power and in uence, means his challenges
most successful private airline and a challenger to the PIA. When Mr. Sharif returned to Pakistan and contested elections, he joined him and became a Cabinet Minister. Now, his job is to lead the country through turbulent times. What about ties with U.S.? Over the years, several American Presi dents have threatened to act against Pa kistan over its dealings with terrorist groups, especially the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani networks. They, ho wever, continued their cooperation with Pakistan, because the U.S. wanted Pakistan’s help to ght terrorists in the region. But President Donald Trump signalled taking tough measures against Islamabad and withheld security assis tance to Pakistan. India has also repeat edly raised the issue of the release of Haz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, from house arrest. What adds to the pressure on Islamabad is the continuous accusa tions by the Afghan government that
militants trained in Pakistan are carry ing out attacks in Afghanistan. Last week, an Afghan delegation, compris ing the Interior Minister and the intelli gence chief, travelled to Pakistan to hand over evidence. But Mr. Abbasi continues to shrug o the U.S.’s pressure tactics, ignore Af ghanistan’s accusations and counter In dia’s complaints. In an interview early last month, he said the American aid for Pakistan was insignicant. In another interview, he said: “There is no case against Haz Saeed in Pakistan and no action can be taken against him.” This suggests that he follows the Army’s script on foreign policy. But with Af ghanistan coming under increasing at tacks and the U.S. desperate to bring some stability in the country, Washing ton may resort to steps it has so far avoided in dealing with Islamabad. The question is how Mr. Abbasi and his Gen erals will address it. STANLY JOHNY
The lowdown on pulse polio What is it? On January 28, India car ried out the rst of its two national rounds of the Pulse Polio Cam paign for 2018. The second is on March 11. These two campaigns will see a huge mobilisation of resources to give the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to around 17 crore underve children. Why do In dian policymakers continue to focus on polio, though the Southeast Asian re
gion, including India, became poliofree in 2014? This is because the threat of re surgence is real and can happen in two ways. As of today, two countries — Pakis tan and Afghanistan — still have circulat ing polio. And the polio virus can cross borders easily through adults who show no symptoms. In 2011, 10 years after be coming poliofree, China’s Xinjiang pro vince saw 21 cases of paralytic polio and two deaths. When the virus from the outbreak was sequenced, it turned out to be from Pakistan. In 2009, India ex ported polio to Tajikistan, where it caused an outbreak of 587 cases. Today, India’s only defence against the import of polio is watertight immunisation. A small gap in immunisation among new borns can be enough for the imported virus to seep in. The second risk of resurgence comes, ironically, from OPV itself. In rare cases, this vaccine, which contains weakened but live polio virus, can cause paralytic polio. Also, because the vaccinevirus is
excreted by immunised children, it can move from one person to another. This makes OPV a doubleedged sword. On the one hand, a vaccinated person pro tects unvaccinated people he/she comes in contact with by spreading im munity through faeces. But on the oth er, such circulation allows the virus to stick around and mutate to a more viru lent form, raising the spectre of vaccine derived poliovirus (VDPV). VDPV, like imported wild polio, can cause out breaks in underimmunised population. It is for this reason that the eradication of polio worldwide requires OPV to be stopped and replaced with the Inactiv ated Polio Vaccine (IPV). IPV does not cause VDPV but protects children equally well against polio. Indian researchers started experiment ing with the strategy of ‘pulse’ immunisation in the 1980s. By then, OPV was a part of India’s Expand
How did it come about?
ed Programme on Immunisation, but polio burden remained high, with 1,000 children becoming paralysed each day. The success of the programme was be ing thwarted by low coverage of the vac cine, problems with potency and blunt ed immune response among Indian children. Against this background, a group of researchers, led by Vellore based virologist T. Jacob John, cham pioned the idea of pulse campaigns. While routine immunisation waits for parents to bring their children to the clinic, something that many parents do not do, pulse campaigns try to give a ‘pulse’ of vaccine to an entire popula tion in one go. Dr. John suggested that routine immunisation worked in deve loped countries, because parents were motivated to vaccinate their children. But India needed a dierent strategy.
Why does it matter?
An early experi ment in Vellore in 1978 showed that pulses de
livered to a large cohort of children gave them strong immunity even when the vaccine was not so potent. This was be cause vaccine pulses rapidly replaced the wildpolio virus circulating in the community with the vaccinevirus. Vel lore was the rst Indian town to become poliofree through the pulse strategy, and the rest of India adopted the strate gy in 1995. Out of the three wildtypes of poliovi rus that cause the disease, the transmis sion of one, Wild Poliovirus 2 (WPV2), was interrupted successfully more than a decade ago. The two remaining viruses that are circulating in Pakistan and Afghanistan are WPV1 and WPV3. Once we stop these two viruses in their tracks, OPV will be phased out and replaced globally with IPV.
Why rule out a tie-up? ■ Since the rise of the BJP as a strong na
tional party that is in power at the Centre and in twothirds of the States, the debate in the CPI(M) has been over political tactics in opposition to the BJP. There is agreement within the CPI(M) that the BJP is a formidable adversary and the party will focus its energies on ensuring its defeat in the forthcoming elections, besides building independent strength to oppose the government’s policies. But there has been disagree ment on how to go about the task — whether it should be on the basis of a broad “united front” of secular parties, including the Congress, or to work out a “left democratic front” that will exclude a prepoll alliance or an understanding with the Congress. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Ye chury is understood to have favoured an electoral understanding with the Con gress, but the Polit Bureau and its high estdecision making body, the Central Committee (CC), have endorsed a reso
lution that rules out any prepoll al liance or understanding with the Congress.
steady rise of the BJP as its principal Op position party has led to a section of the CPI(M) to seek an alliance with the Con gress (as it had done in the Assembly elections) to shore up its declining sup port. A large chunk of the 31 CC mem bers, who voted against the Polit Bureau resolution, belong to West Bengal.
What are the issues? ■ The CPI(M), which is more or less a re gional force today, is in power in Kerala and Tripura, and is the largest compo nent of the ruling alliances in these States. The BJP has increased its sup port base, but is still far behind the Con gressled and CPI(M)led fronts in politi cal strength in Kerala. The CPI(M)’s primary adversary has always been the Congress in Kerala, and there are signif icant dierences in policies between the two parties. In Tripura, where the CPI(M) has been in power since 1993, the Congress has traditionally been its main rival. Re cently, many Congress legislators have shifted allegiance to the BJP, which has also formed a broad alliance with tribal parties in the runup to the Assembly elections later this month. Despite the shift of many Congress legislators and
Is it an ideological stand? #4 4 6 6 0 1
leaders to the BJP, the rivalry between the CPI(M) and the Congress has de ned the politics in the State. It is tacti cally near impossible to ally with the traditional rival in the two States, hence the opposition to the idea of an under standing with the Congress has come from party representatives in Kerala, in particular. In West Bengal, the en trenchment of the Trinamool Congress as the leading political force and the
■ The CPI(M) has historically identied the Congress as a party that represents the interests of classes inimical to those of the “working classes.” The opposi tion to the Congress dened the section of the undivided Communist party that split from it and formed the CPI(M) in 1962. The CPI(M) believes that the Con gress, which headed three governments at the Centre since 1991, promoted poli cies that it calls “neoliberal”: privatisa tion of public sector enterprises, scal austerity (reduced government spend ing), and a steady reorientation of the state to act in the interests of the rich capitalist classes. The CPI(M), as a
whole, believes that the BJP is promot ing communal politics, besides neolib eralism, but the majority of the CC re jected any prepoll understanding with the Congress as they do not see the par ty moving away from neoliberalism. What does it mean for the party? ■ The CPI(M) is a minor force in most States and the CC resolution indicates that the party will work with other like minded and regional forces in such States (like Tamil Nadu) to take on the BJP, even if the regional parties have separate alliances with the Congress. The CPI(M) has also not ruled out a post poll understanding, based on a pro gramme, with parties like the Congress to prevent the BJP from coming to pow er, if it is in a position to do so. This is si milar to what it did in 2004 when the Left Front supported the UPA from out side on the basis of a common mini mum programme.
Fractured ties: A diplomatic crisis has erupted over a draft Polish law that it will make it illegal to suggest that Poland bore any responsibility for Nazi atrocities committed on its soil. Israel and the U.S. protested against the move even as survivors gathered at the Auschwitz camp in Oswiecim, Poland, on January 27 for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Before the Second World War, Poland was home to Europe’s largest Jewish community of some 3.2 million. Nazi Germany occupied Poland in 1939 and built death camps, including Auschwitz and Treblinka, on Polish soil. Most of the Jews who lived in Poland were killed. The Polish government said the legislation was aimed at stopping the Polish people or state from being blamed for Nazi crimes. The Prime Ministers of Israel and Poland have “agreed to open immediate dialogue..." Pictures show survivors walking past barracks and wire fences at ceremonies marking the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the camp. REUTERS, AP *
A week after communal clashes at Kas ganj in Uttar Pradesh, a fragile calm is prevailing under police watch. The sit uation is under control but it is yet to get back to normal. What happened? On January 26, workers of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a students organisation aliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) took out a ‘Tiranga yatra’ without permission from the administration. According to the police, when the participants of the mo torcycleborne yatra reached Badu Na gar, a Muslimdominated area, residents who were getting ready to hoist the Tri colour as part of the Republic Day cele brations, objected to certain “provoca tive slogans” raised by the ABVP and VHP workers. Have they clashed before? Kasganj, over 200 km from Delhi, is a district in western Uttar Pradesh, which
was created by dividing Etah district on April 17, 2008. It borders Farrukhabad in the east, Aligarh in the west, Etah dis trict in the north and Badaun in the south. The sleepy town of Kasganj, which has about 20% Muslim popula tion, mostly poor, has had no history of communal clashes. Why the areup? What began as a verbal clash over the right of way soon ared up into a bigger confrontation and went out of control. According to Kasganj Additional Supe rintendent of Police Pavitra Mohan Tri pathi, the police separated the two groups. However, the rally participants regrouped and took a detour to reach Tehsil Road, another Muslimdominat ed area, where residents thought they had arrived to retaliate. This led to vio lent clashes and exchange of re bet ween the two groups, in which two per sons were injured. While Chandan Gupta, 22, died of injuries, Noushad was admitted to a hospital in Aligarh
no action was taken against him.
district after he was shot in the leg. Ak ram Siddiqui was thrashed by the mob, and he lost sight in the right eye. Many residents from both sides alleged that a “provocative” speech by the local MP, Rajveer Singh, added to the tension, but
How was it managed? The government moved in forces from nearby places to control the violence and bring peace to the area. A team of senior police ocers from Lucknow was sent, along with several units of the paramilitary and the Rapid Action Force. The clashes spread in the dis trict, despite the imposition of curfew and deployment of police and paramili tary forces. Rioting and arson went on sporadically till Monday. To control the spread of fake news and rumours, Inter net services were suspended in Kasganj and neighbouring districts. A Special Investigation Team was constituted to probe the violence. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urged the peo ple to maintain peace and harmony and directed the ocials to take strict ac tion. On January 29, three days after the violence broke out, the government sacked the district police chief for negli gence. Witnesses alleged that the police
took too long to bring the violence un der control. The police have so far led ve FIRs and arrested 112 persons. What happens now? The government gave 20 lakh in com pensation to Gupta’s family, who de manded that he be given martyr status. The police have arrested all the prime accused named by Sunil Gupta, the fath er of Chandan Gupta, in the murder case. Governor Ram Naik described the violence as a “blot” on the State, and said the “shameful” incident was the rst of its kind since the BJP entered of ce in April last year. While police oc ers said peace had been restored, resi dents of both communities say they live in fear. Muslims and Hindus are appre hensive of a breakdown in law and or der and worry about unexpected vio lence. They hope that the police will act against the rioters, who torched their shops and destroyed their livelihood. MOHAMMAD ALI
The myth of post-truth an age of posttruth, we should be able to talk of an age of postfalsehood too. Having gone past truth, we should also be able to go past its opposite: false hood. This, however, is not the case. Partly, this has to do with the nature of truth and how we have understood it across cultures. Truth is seen as singular and xed: it is generally felt that there can be only one truth, while there may be many falsehoods. Hence, we feel that to go past truth is to go past a singulari ty, but to go past falsehood might well mean to choose among multiple falsehoods. There is another reason why ‘post falsehood’ does not exist: strangely enough, it would come to mean ‘truth’. We instinctively feel that to go beyond generic falsehood is also to reach truth. That is because the positivity of truth cannot exist without the negativity of falsehood. The essential lie of ‘post truth’ is exactly this: it is supposed not to suggest falsehood. But if there is no falsehood on the other side of truth, then there is no truth either. ‘Posttruth’ dismisses the very possibility of truth — and, by that act, it dismisses the exis tence of falsehood.
Tabish Khair is a novelist and academic who works in Denmark
It has been remarked that ‘posttruth’ is very dierent from similar terms with the prex post, such as postcolonial ism and postmodernism. No one who uses postcolonialism or postmodernism argues that colonialism and modernism are no longer relevant. However, the as sumption behind ‘posttruth’ is that the concept of truth is no longer relevant. Why is there no postfalsehood? The philosophical (or, in my view, anti philosophical) aspects of ‘posttruth’ cannot be covered in a column — they would require a voluminous thesis. Ho wever, it is worth asking: why do we not talk of ‘postfalsehood’? After all, the opposite of truth is not posttruth but falsehood. In that case, if we can have
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The assumption is that my truth is as good as your truth, and hence all truths are immaterial and irrelevant. Such extreme relativism is a problem
In short, it dismisses critical and scientic thinking, which are based not on eternal truth, which is religion’s pen chant, but on a methodical and endless elimination of falsehoods. This is essen tially what Karl Popper meant when he stressed that a scientic statement needs to be falsiable. It is nevertheless interesting to stand the matter on its head and pose this question: if we cannot talk of ‘postfalse hood’, surely the fact that we are talking of ‘posttruth’ means that there is ac tually a dierence between truth and falsehood? And if that is the case, then, by denition, we can never have an age
of ‘posttruth’ — in the sense of equating truths and falsehoods. Truths are contextual On the other hand, belief in a singular, unchanging truth is also what has led to the mistaken notion of an age of ‘post truth’. That is so because the idea of one eternally xed truth has been radically shaken over the past few centuries in dierent ways, most of which do not lead to extreme relativism but instead to a kind of contextualisation. However, this necessary shaking of given and xed truths can be and is often convert ed into an extreme relativism by the
loudly ignorant — a relativism in which all truths seem relative to you as an ob server, and not to the complex context of the observation. This slippage inevit ably leads to talk of posttruth, especial ly in elds outside the hard sciences. In fact, truths are contextual — not re lativist — in hard science too: the ‘truth’ of subatomic particles exists in the con text of atoms, and the ‘truth’ of plane tary systems in our universe exists in that context. These are not necessarily exclusive contexts, but only a seriously confused student would expect the rules that obtain within an atom to be the same as the rules that apply to our planetary system. This is what I mean by contextualisation. Relativism, on the other hand, or at least extreme relativism (for many ver sions of what is called ‘relativism’ are basically contextualisation), extracts the observer from the context and makes the observer’s version paramount. This is what lies at the core of ‘post truth.’ The assumption is that my truth is as good as your truth, and hence all truths are immaterial and irrelevant. Need I note the problem of such ex
treme relativism, for it puts the obser ver outside a context, a context that can be and should be used to determine the ‘truth’ of his or her observations. Truths might not be eternally xed, but we do get closer to what is true by comparing and contrasting our versions of it: to you it might be superman, to me it is a bird, but enough and better sightings will ascertain that it is actually a plane. Hence, while one can argue about the details of evolution, the fact that both human beings and apes evolved from a common ancestor is more true than the claim that human beings were directly handcrafted by a god. There is overwhelming evidence of the former, and it can be dismissed only by stub born acts of belief (or disbelief ). However, one should not oppose the myth of posttruth by returning to older and faulty myths of xed, eternal truths. This too would block the neces sary and fledgling project of critical in quiry. We need to maintain a balance between the dismissal of the dierence between truth and falsehood and blind acceptance of given truths. The future of humanity depends on our precarious ability to maintain this delicate balance.
Where Varaha saves the Earth
The celestial phenomenon of the century is India Shining
On the iconic sculpture in Cave 5 of the Udayagiri caves in Vidisha
I know the past fortnight has been a heavy one for all of you. Too much economic stu happening one after another. It’s been the same for me too. It all began with a hectic trip to Da vos for the World Economic Forum (WEF), where I was part of a select me dia contingent that managed to get some exclusive footage of snow. We al so did hot yoga in the cold snow, sang the love song of Alfred J. Himesh Resh ammiya, and compared the footwear of lmstars, HNIs, and wives of politi cians. Thankfully, Davos wasn’t only about work. The Swiss set We also took time out to shop for Swiss cheese, Swiss chocolates, and open a savings account in a Swiss bank. If you are wondering how I managed the mi nimum balance requirement, that was easy — I opened a Jan Dhan account and told them to transfer 15 lakh from any of the Indian accounts in their Da vos branch. For me, the highlight of the WEF was the ‘India Power’ on display in ev ery auditorium, conference room, and dining area of Davos. My heart swelled with pride when I saw a pakoda stall in each one of them. Take it from me, nothing compares to a plate of steam ing pakodas after a long day spent making snowballs, eating waes, and trudging on snow holding a micro phone in one hand and selfrespect in the other. I am predicting that after zero, yoga, and Rajinikanth, India’s greatest con tribution to world civilisation will be pakodas. If you are a true Indian, you will immediately drop everything else
is Social Aairs Editor, The Hindu
and express a vote of thanks to our Prime Minister for coming up with this brilliant idea to solve our unemploy ment problem. My critics keep alleging that I am not great at math. But you don’t have to be Ramanujan’s grandfather to gure out that pakodas are the magic bullets that will kill four birds in one shot: create jobs, feed the hungry, grow our exports, and fatten the GDP. Let me break it down for you. As per the 201617 NSSO data, a pa kodawala makes an average of 300 pa kodas a day. That’s 1,09,500 pakodas a year. Let’s assume he sells two pako das per plate and each plate costs 20. That’s an annual turnover of 54,750 plates worth 10,95,000. Now, if every one of India’s 2 crore unemployed sets up a pakoda stall, that’s 2 crore pakoda stalls producing 2.1 trillion pakodas a year, generating revenue of 21 trillion. If taxed at 25%, that gives the govern ment a cool 5.25 trillion, which is more than enough to provide food, healthcare, and 1BHK dwellings with attached grazing area to every one of the 200 million cows in the country. Anyway, as if Davos wasn’t exciting enough, the rst thing I hear on re turning to India is the fabulous news from the Economic Survey: open defe cation in India has fallen dramatically since 2014, the year India’s greatest go vernment came to power. For the past three years, India has been steadily go ing to the toilet. If this is not a cause for celebration, then what is? I’ll tell you: the 2018 Budget. I know
budgets can be dicult to decode. So I’ll do you the favour of explaining in layman’s terms why this is a bold, his toric, and common manfriendly bud get that deserves 10/10. First of all, the Finance Minister has managed the incredible feat of suc cessfully compressing the total capital expenditure to 2.6% of the primary decit without any slippage in the re vised estimate of the nontax receiva bles deducted from the standard de duction. Second, this budget aims to put more money in the pockets of the poor, the farmers, and the middle class without decoupling its 201819 s cal decit target of 3.3% from the reve nue shortfall in the projected capital receipts as per the 201718 budgetary estimate which, if you take into ac count the deceleration in the growth rate of the nonfarm, unorganised, for mal sector, could boost indirect tax re ceipts by 8.4%, thereby enabling a fas ter growth in capital formation and employment generation while avoid ing scal defecation.
Rana Safvi is a historian, author and blogger documenting India’s syncretic culture
Religious architecture forms a major portion of India’s built heritage. These structures are not only unwritten doc uments of history, they are also stamps of the might of the rulers who built them and articulations of grand vi sions. Secular and religious structures are products of their location — the mate rial used to build them depended on what was available to the kings and workers at that time. They were also a reflection of the piety of the artisans and workers, for nothing else can ex plain the hard work that went into cut ting through solid natural rock to carve out temples and spectacular sculp tures. Rockcut architecture never fails to awe me with all its majesty, preci sion, and intricate detail. The earliest rockcut architecture is from the Mauryan dynasty, but the Ajanta caves, which I had visited a few decades ago and which left me awes truck, are among the earliest rockcut temples. The Udayagiri caves, in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, are not as popular but they are worth a visit, for they con tain some of the oldest Hindu temples and iconography. They were built dur ing the Gupta period (350550 CE).
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Percentage games Third, the increase in cess from 3% to 4%, when set against the anticipated erosion in the real value of the nomi nal GDP triggered by rising commodi ty prices and falling demand curve could entail a sharp decline in mone tary fundamentals, which can only be remedied by bringing down the debt toGDP ratio to 40% so that the subop timal parameters of the recapitalisa tion bonds do not absorb more than the revised budgetary estimate of 17.82 lakh crore minus the 12.2% se condary decit added to the Central scheme allocations as recommended by the 14th Financial Commission, which is precisely what India needs. To sum up, India has had a fantastic WEF, followed by a fantastic Economic Survey, rounded o by a fantastic Bud get. So, forget your silly lunar eclipse, and the little sideshow in the stock market. The celestial phenomenon of the century is India Shining.
When art ourished These caves were not just an expres sion of religious piety but also a politi cal statement. They lie on two low sandstone hills between the rivers Bet wa and Bes. It is possible that when these caves were carved out, they fell directly on the Tropic of Cancer and thus the name translates to Mount of
Pakodas in the snow
Sunrise. On the day of summer sol stice, the sun would have been directly overhead, making this a place of worship. Stages of temple architecture The Gupta period was one of political stability. The Gupta rulers are well known as patrons of art and architec ture. Art not only flourished but reached a peak during their rule. It was during the Gupta period that we see for the rst time the use of dressed stone masonry, which marked a huge step in the technique of construction. Percy Brown, in Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu Period), writes that its introduction “placed a new power in the hands of the workman” and from it emerged the earliest known conception of the Hindu “house of god”. The need for some material inter pretation of the religious ideal gave rise to a visible form, usually an idol. After the conception of an anthropo morphic deity, a structural shrine was a natural progression. Brown outlines the various stages of Hindu temple architecture — from a leafy bower to a reed hut, then a cella of wood and brick, and, eventually, under the Guptas, a small stone cham ber called garbhagriha, or “womb house”. The main deity was kept in this garbhagriha. It was square in plan, with plain, dark interiors and
richly carved exteriors and with a sin gle opening. Some of them would have a pillared portico in front. Udayagiri has 20 caves. Alexander Cunningham, who conducted archae ological investigations in 1875, num bered 10 of these caves; later studies identied 20 of them, and they were numbered separately. Victory of Varaha This site has iconography related to Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism (Durga), as well as important inscrip tions from the Gupta period. Of all the caves, cave number 5 is the most fa mous with its colossal and iconic Vara ha sculpture which represents the sto ry of the rescue of Bhudevi (Earth). The story goes thus: Hiranayaksha, a demon, attacked and kidnapped God dess Earth and conned her to the cos mic ocean. Vishnu appeared in his boar avatar Varaha, rescued her and restored her to her rightful position. She is shown hanging on to his right tusk. The image of Varaha with his right hand on his knee and left hand on his hip is impressive in its aggression and power. His left foot stamps the Naga king who is guarding the cosmic ocean. On both sides are carved rows of admiring divine gures: Brahma, Shiva on Nandi, and other gods with halos, heavenly musicians, demons, rishis and humans. Curved lines on the rock create the waves of the cosmic ocean. To the right of Varaha are other sculpted gods and goddesses. Of these, a majestic Durga slaying the bualo de mon Mahishasura, Ganga and Yamuna descending from the heavens, and Sa mudra standing in the waves are noteworthy. What seems to be a gure of Chan dragupta 2 is shown kneeling behind the Naga king. It was probably a politi cal metaphor to show that he too was like Varaha, for he too defeated evil. The idea seems to have caught the imagination of the people.
A moment for Indian liberalism
Rajeev Bhargava is a political theorist with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi
Liberalism is probably more challenged in India today than in any other democ racy in the world. Why? First, conserva tive communities appear to have gained untrammelled power in recent times. Selfproclaimed custodians of caste and religion are perpetually breathing down the necks of young men and women, dictating who they must meet, converse with, befriend and marry, what they should eat, wear, watch or read, wheth er or not they can use mobile phones, and even where they can go and when. By encroaching on the most intimate re lationships of love and friendship, inter fering in matters of pleasure or habit, they suocate personal freedoms and violate the very basic norms of indivi dual choice. Second, people nd it increasingly dicult to express themselves freely. A public culture of hurt sentiment, violat CM YK
ed collective honour, oence and al leged humiliation and the social and political license to react to it in whatever brutal manner possible have created such a climate of fear that creative ar tists, intellectuals and even ordinary persons in public conversations hesitate to say what comes to their mind and look over their shoulder to see if big daddy is watching. The threat of social intimidation and legal harassment makes public expression so expensive that people would rather stay silent or remain aloof from public life. Third, large corporations and the go vernment have access to virtually every detail about us, making us vulnerable and insecure. Methods of surveillance become more opaque, even as they at tempt to make us transparent against our will. The minutest details of one’s private and intimate life are available to day to large, powerful organisations at the press of a button. Is it not frighten ing that to call or visit friends and fami ly, we must undergo CCTV cameras, n ger printing and face recognition? Fourth, condence in the rule of law is badly shaken. Is there any assurance that law will be enforced evenhandedly, indeed, that it will be enforced at all? On the contrary, we often fear excesses by ocial agents at every level of govern
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Is a new liberalism, shaped profoundly by Indian cultural conditions, just round the corner?
ment, worry that power will be abused, that some person in charge of law and order will behave lawlessly, even brutal ly. Freedom to say ‘no’ What do the power of the state, the community, individual choice and ex pression have to do with liberalism? Everything. The term ‘liberalism’ has come to mean dierent things to die rent people and is associated with: (a) demands for greater overall equality, (b) defence of individual reason and auto nomy, (c) a tool against moral conserva tism, (d) cosmopolitanism and human
ism, and (e) free markets. Overused, it suers from what happens routinely to words with wide currency: it generates less light, more heat, and even greater cacophony. Yet, a moment’s reflection shows that one value has always lain at its heart: the freedom of an individual to say no; to say that enough is enough and that something ominously coming to wards me up close, stalking me, is no longer bearable and must be stopped; that there is a little world of my own, my private universe, that no one may enter if I do not give permission, and a place exists in public for me too that must not be impeded as long as others are not
harmed. In my largely private but also partly public world, I must live without fear or favour. One such bulwark against habitual and pervasive acts of cruel interference is the dismantling of private armies commanded by powerful custodians of communities and the creation instead of an impartial public power (the state) governed minimally by the rule of law — a law that protects my minikingdom, where I am sovereign — and that liber ates me from fear itself. But then the same rule of law must also shield me from arbitrary, unexpected and unne cessary acts of state coercion. Whatever else liberalism might come to have mean, it stands for personal freedoms in the face of intrusion by every form of organised power. Indeed, classical liber alism in western societies emerged pre cisely in response to persistent attempts to throttle the then bourgeoning asser tions of individual freedom by oppres sive communities, a meddlesome church, and abusive state power. In this minimal sense, the term ‘liber al’ no longer has a restricted spatial or temporal application. It has a much wider usage and has resonated in India with acts of renunciatory Brahmins, with movements led by the Buddha and Mahavira, by the early Lingayats, by
those inspired by Nanak, Kabir, Akka Mahadevi and Mira as well as Phule and Ambedkar. This ‘thin’ liberalism has nothing uniquely western about it. In deed, there are modern liberalisms and ancient ones, and just as there have been liberalisms in the past, there will be liberalisms in future. The message in all these is common, clear and simple: don’t force anything down anyone’s throat, stop the deliberate infliction of physical or emotional pain on indivi duals, especially upon a weaker person, no matter how valuable you believe your cause to be. An inevitable revolt If the current climate of oppression or violent threats continues, a revolt against the current setup will invariably arise. Young, selfreflective men and es pecially women facing continual restric tions, Dalits, lower Other Backward Classes, poor Muslims, people from smaller towns and rural areas will seize the moment, demanding greater oppor tunity to exercise individual choice and freedom of expression. Is a new liberal ism, dierent from the one articulated by traditional, metropolitan English speaking elites, shaped profoundly by Indian cultural conditions, just round the corner?
Extragalactic planets University of Oklahama researchers, using NASA’a Chandra observatory, have discovered planets lying outside the Milky Way for the first time. These planets are believed to have masses ranging from that of the Moon to that of Jupiter. In this study microlensing was used.
Polar bears challenged Researchers monitored the behaviour of nine polar bears over two years and found that they could soon face a threat to existence. Their high metabolic rates require high fat prey such as seals. While seals are common in icy Arctic climate, they will be harder to find under icefree conditions, endangering the polar bear.
Clean up with wine Some wine at the end of the day can help clean your brain, a study published in Scientific Reports says. While prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol can be bad, low doses of alcohol can reduce inflammation and destroy toxins in the brain, including those associated with Alzheimer’s, the study finds.
Mothproong wool fabric
IISc researchers overthrow cancer metastasis dogma
A cheap, naturally available mineral was used Aswathi Pacha
Metformin drug used for cancer treatment activates AMPK thus promoting metastasis R. Prasad
Researchers at Bengalu ru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have unco vered a novel molecular mechanism by which cancer cells survive dur ing the time they are in circulation after detach ing from the primary can cer site and before they could attach to the extra cellular matrix at a die rent site and restart cell division, thus causing cancer metastasis. In the process, the team led by Prof. Annapoorni Ranga rajan from the Depart ment of Molecular Repro duction, Development and Genetics has identi ed two potential drug targets to prevent metas tasis. The results were pu blished in the journal Cancer Research. Prof. Rangarajan’s team had a decade ago found that a particular protein called the AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) gets activated when cancer cells detach from the extracellular matrix. Now, the team got headlong into research ing its connection with another protein kinase called Akt (protein kinase B) as other cancer re searchers had all along highlighted how critical Akt was for cancer cells to survive.
We have established the link between Akt and AMPK proteins in cancer metastasis, says Annapoorni Rangarajan (right).
It was always thought that the AMPK protein suppresses tumour growth while Akt behaves as a promoter. “But what we saw in our study was a complete reverse, which was a surprise. We found AMPK getting activated in circulating cancer cells and, in turn, suppressing the Akt activity,” says Prof. Rangarajan. “The AMPKmediated Akt inhi bition is necessary for cancer cells to survive during circulation.” The AMPK that gets activated in circulating cancer cells keeps them alive at the cost of cell division. Once the circulating cancer cells reattach to the extracellular matrix
at a distant site from the primary tumour, Akt gets reactivated and AMPK gets inhibited. The pro tein Akt is required for cell growth and prolifera tion while AMPK is need ed for growth suppression. “Our study based on breast cancer cells has re futed the 20yearold dogma that Akt is vital for the survival of circulating cancer cells,” she says proudly. “We have esta blished that there is a rolereversal of Akt and AMPK proteins in breast cancer progression.” No link between Akt and AMPK proteins in cancer metastasis was known till now. The re
More ecient desalination with crystalline carbon dots After 9 cycles, 78% of the original eciency was seen
sults of the latest study, therefore, become all the more important. Drug targets The AMPKmediated inhi bition of Akt is through increased levels of a phosphatase (PHLPP2), which removes the phos phate group from Akt. “The PHLPP2 was also believed to suppress tu mour. But in circulating cancer cells, PHLPP2 also becomes a tumour pro moter,” Prof. Rangarajan says. “So molecules that inhibit AMPK and PHLPP2 can be deve loped as eective anti metastasis agents,” she says. “We used mouse mo
dels to support our nd ings from cancer cell lines. Since there are no chemicals available to in hibit PHLPP2, we used a RNA interference strategy to reduce PHLPP2 levels. This resulted in impair ment of the metastatic potential of cancer cells,” says Dr. Manipa Saha from the Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genet ics and rst author of the paper. “Our work focuses mainly on breast cancer cells as the rst observa tion of AMPKAkt cross talk was made in these cells in our laboratory. However, our results on mechanistic details of the inverse crosstalk are ex pected to hold true in other cancer cells. But more research is needed to conrm this,” says Sau rav Kumar, a coauthor of the paper. Metformin caution The diabetic drug metfor min has been repurposed as an anticancer agent. “Since metformin activ ates AMPK, treatment us ing this drug may actually promote metastasis. So metformin should not be used for cancer treat ment without fully under standing its sideeects,” Prof. Rangarajan warns.
Using a cheap and ea sily available natural mineral, scientists from Central Sheep and Wool Research In stitute (ICARCSWRI), Rajasthan have now mothproofed woollen fabric. The moths did not consume the wool len fabric when treat ed with 1% nano kaoli nite (an aluminium silicate clay mineral). The mineral costs just Rs 95/ kg while the ex isting antimoth chem ical (Eulan), which is imported, costs Rs 2,000/kg. The results were published in The Journal of the Textile Institute. A moth feeds on a protein present in the woollen fabric; a moth larva can consume about 40 mg of wool in a month. The re searchers treated wool with dierent concen trations of nanokaoli nite solution and found just 1% was su cient to protect the fabric. They adopted two dierent methods of wool treatments. One method was addition of kaolinite (dispersed in water) to fabric, fol lowed by heating at 80 degree C for 30 mi nutes before water rinsing it. In the se cond method, fabric was dipped in the kao linite dispersion for 30
The nanokaolinite is ecofriendly, causes no harm to humans and environment when the fabric is washed, say the researchers.
minutes, squeezed and kept for 24 hours at room temperature and then water rinsed. “The second longer treatment for 24 hours gave better moth re pellence with lesser fa bric damage,” says Sei ko Jose from the Textile Chemistry Divi sion and the rst auth or of the paper. To test the eective ness of mothproong, the treated wool was placed in a Petri dish along with 10 adult moths for 15 days in a dark chamber. They al so conducted the same test with wool treated with a commercially available agent. The natural mineral treat ed wool showed a weight loss of just 1.5% while untreated one was 12.85%. It was 0.5% in the case of fa bric treated with the imported agent (Eulan). The researchers ap plied dierent concen
Where insects play games to advance science Using the VR, the team hopes to unravel how insects nd food and respond to stimuli Shubashree Desikan #4 4 6 6 0 1
No brain damage Woodpecker’s peck wood with a force that is nearly 14 times as high as what would damage a human brain, yet they seem unharmed. A study in PLOS ONE shows that while their brains do accumulate ‘tau’ protein associated with brain damage in humans, it serves to strengthen their brain rather damage it.
Knotty conductors Some substances expected to be insulators have been shown to conduct electricity under special conditions involving ‘knotty’ maths. In these, the current flows on the surface of the material in wavy, knotted loops that can be difficult to disrupt, enjoying what is called ‘topological protection’. This makes the current flow unimpeded.
ODD & END Who are your friends? Now experiments can reveal who is friends with whom based on the way their brains respond to definite stimuli, according to a study published in Nature Communications. Studying a cohort of graduate students, the researchers estimated social distance based on what the subjects mutually admitted to. Videos spanning a range of genres and topics – politics, comedy, music, science, etc were shown to 42 students and their brain responses monitored. Pairwise they were then compared. They found that responses were most similar between friends, and stretched across brain regions involved in emotion, directing attention and highlevel reasoning. The fMRI response similarity could in fact predict the social distance between people.
Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have been able to synthesise highly crystalline car bon dots by doping them with nitrogen, sulphur and phospho rus. The amount of phosphorus dened the extent of crystallin ity. Unlike an amor phous material, less light was scattered or reected from crystal line carbon dots on shining light. Instead, the crystalline material eciently converted the absorbed light energy into heat energy. Simulated sunlight The team led by Prof. Arun Chattopadhyay from the Department of Chemistry success fully used the crystal line carbon dots for de salinating seawater by exposing the carbon dots to simulated solar conditions. “The doped carbon dots were not only able to convert light into heat energy but were also able to interact with water and transfer the heat energy to water thus raising its temper ature,” says Prof. Chattopadhyay. Compared with car bon dots that were doped with all the three elements, those doped with only nitro gen and sulphur were amorphous in nature. “When only nitrogen and sulphur are pre sent the polycyclic car bon does not arrange in a particular manner, making it amorphous. But phosphate esters that form when phos phoric acid is added bond the polycyclic fragments. That is what makes it crystalline,” says Dr. Gayatri Natu from the Department of Chemistry, IIT Gu wahati and a coauthor of a paper published in Journal of Materials Chemistry A. The three and two element carbon dots
“We are trying to further improve the eciency of the doped carbon dots,” says Arun Chattopadhyay (right)
added to water (with concentration up to 250 mg per millilitre) and exposed to simu lated sunlight under re duced pressure showed wide variabili ty in their ability to transfer heat energy to water. There was 43.5% evaporation of water within 15 minutes in the case of carbon dots doped with three ele ments and only 38.3% with carbon dots doped with only nitro gen and sulphur. “When we calculated the solar thermal evap oration eciencies un der standard atmos pheric pressure, carbon dots doped with three elements had nearly 84% e ciency. It was about 44% with carbon dots doped with only nitro gen and sulphur,” Prof. Chattopadhyay says. Thorough testing The team tested the ability of the doped carbon dots to desali nate seawater samples from Bay of Bengal, Persian Gulf and a sam ple with average sea water salinity. Maxi mum desalination was achieved with carbon dots doped with three elements in the Bay of Bengal water sample — 43% evaporation of the initial volume in 15 mi nutes. Only 35.5% sea water evaporated dur ing the same time in the case of carbon dots with two elements. They tested the doped carbon dots’ ability to desalinate seawater even when the salt concentration was in excess. To do
this, more seawater was added to the resi dual seawater after each cycle and the de salination eciency was tested for nine cycles. “The doped carbon dots with nitrogen, sul phur and phosphorus elements retained up to 78% of the original desalination eciency even at the end of the ninth cycle,” says Ayan Pal from the Depart ment of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati and rst author of the paper. “The doped carbon dots can be reused by removing excess salt through dialysis.” Recalling how they stumbled upon doped carbon dots for desali nation, Prof. Chatto padhyay says: “We have been working with doped carbon dots and investigating their properties. We found that one set of doped carbon dots was highly crystalline. Since we were interest ed in the production of hydrogen from water using sunlight we test ed these crystalline carbon dots. Though it didn’t produce hydro gen gas, it was evapo rating water quickly. So we started testing it for desalination.” “We are now trying to make doped carbon dots that are super crystalline so that ener gy is even more e ciently converted into heat. We also trying to make a lm or sponge like device that oats on water and evapo rates water by convert ing sunlight into heat,” Prof. Chattopadhyay says.
trations of natural na no kaolinite and commercial antimoth agent directly on the moth to study contact toxicity. Just 0.05% of the chemical killed the moth within a short span of time while the natural solution caused no or less toxic eect upon direct con tact. “It only stopped the moth from eating the wool and starved it to death. We think that the bitter taste of the natural mineral, trig gered the deterrent re ceptor in the insects brain and signalled not to eat the wool,” adds Dr Seiko “The nanokaolinite is ecofriendly and causes no harm to hu mans and aquatic envi ronment when the treated woollen fabric is washed,” says Dr. Ajay Kumar from the Textile Chemistry Divi sion and one of the authors of the paper.
At Shannon Olsson’s lab at Na tional Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, the emphasis is to get into the mind of insects to study how they per ceive various stimuli even though they have brains the size of pinheads. And one way they plan to do this is by building up a virtual reality system that is guided by the study subjects – the insects themselves! The insect being studied, in this case the apple y, is teth ered to a holder by means of a very ne string so that it cannot move away. The only thing it can do is utter its wings and “tend” to move in some direction. This insect is placed at the centre of a semicircular assembly of moni tors on which a landscape is shown. The virtual landscape may contain a meadow, trees with various fruit on them, the sky, shrubs etc. In addition, through tiny perforations, wind can be blown on the y to simu late the breeze. This may come mixed with various volatiles (smells) of fruit, grass etc. Two cameras observe the reactions of the insect and feed this into the computer that dis cerns the trajectory, or intended direction of motion, of the in
Computerised cameras observe the insect and discern where it wishes to move . NICE LAB, NCBS *
sect. Accordingly, the computer adjusts the landscape shown on the monitors. So that if the y tries to move towards a tree, that portion zooms and the rest shrink, so that it appears to the y as if it has gone close to the tree. It reacts to this and the cameras feed this back into the computer which once again ad justs the landscape and so it goes. Using virtual reality to study insects is itself not exactly new: “While true VR for insects does not yet exist, scientists have been tethering (restraining in place) ying insects to study their ight behaviour in front of moving displays for nearly 50
years,” says Shannon Olsson. How does the y see? The question the researchers are trying to understand by building this experiment is – how can an insect dierentiate between various stimuli it sees, hears and smells. For instance, what makes the insect drift to wards a particular ower or fruit? “Since it is impossible to know when and how an animal receives these cues in the real world, we are creating a virtual world where we can know pre cisely when the animal receives the colour, shape or smell of a virtual object, and observe its behaviour at that moment as
well,” she adds. This system was built and ca librated over the past two years by Pavan Kumar Kaushik of NCBS for his dissertation work. The graphical interface was built in Germany and inputs for the design came from collaborators in the U.K. “Calibration was per formed by directly testing the in sect itself. The success of this in strument lies in our chosen system — nearly 50 years of re search on the behaviour and ecology of the apple y have provided us with a large body of knowledge about how they be have in the natural world,” says Pavan Kumar Kaushik. “Our benchmark is therefore how well we can replicate those be haviours in our arena. Essential ly, if they respond to virtual ob jects and a virtual world the way they do in apple orchards, then we have calibrated our parame ters properly.” The team aims to unravel how insects nd their food and what stimulates their movements. “Ultimately, we will explore the locations in the brain where this information is being processed, which we have been pursuing with other projects in the lab that measure the neural activity of insect brains,” says Dr Olsson.
Tourists alter python sunbasking patterns Snakes and other coldblooded animals regulate their body temperatures behaviourally Aathira Perinchery
It is something they really need to do, but these rock pythons aren't soaking up the sun like they should. Scientists nd that tourists in Rajasthan are ventur ing close to these coldblooded reptiles and altering their sun basking behaviour by forcing them to retreat to their burrows often. This could aect their physiology and lower breeding rates in a region home to the highest number of rock pythons in India. Snakes and other coldblood ed animals have to regulate their body temperatures behavioural ly, by living in burrows or bask ing in the Sun. To study how In dian rock pythons adapt to extreme weather conditions in Keoladeo National Park (where temperatures range between 0.5 and 50 degrees Celsius), scien tists at the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) and Manipal University (MU) monitored up to 47 bur
An Indian rock python (Python molurus) outside its burrow at Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan. AAKRITI SINGH *
rows for three years (20132016). Each burrow housed up to three pythons; in their paper pu blished in Global Ecology and Conservation, the team estimate the python population in the 29 sqkm Park to be around 80. Camera traps To monitor the snakes’ basking patterns, the scientists installed camera traps at six burrows from October 2015 to May 2016. The pythons were most active
during February; they usually emerged out of their burrows between 9 and 10 a.m. and re treated between 5 and 6 p.m, basking continuously for 45 hours a day with their mean basking time peaking at noon. To check if the Park’s high tourist inow aects the pyth ons’ basking patterns, the team also installed one camera trap each near a disturbed, semidis turbed and undisturbed burrow (classied based on tourist foot
fall). With the cameras deployed across 182 days, the team nds that pythons in undisturbed burrows basked for an average of 60 minutes per day. In dis turbed burrows, however, pyth ons retreated just after noon and spent only around 36 minutes basking. Tourists repeatedly ap proached specic burrows to less than 10 metres, forcing pythons to retreat and emerge more frequently. “This could prevent them from maintaining an optimum body temperature, leading to production of infertile eggs and thus lowering breeding rates,” says author H. N. Kuma ra, senior scientist (SACON). In response, the Rajasthan Forest Department is taking lead author Aditi Mukherjee's help to revise the Park’s management plan. “We are now permitting tourist access to only two spots and from a safe distance,” says Chief Wildlife Warden G. V. Red dy.
‘The progress India makes will have an impact’ The ght against leprosy is far from over, says the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination problems that you face in terms of total eradication of leprosy?
Bindu Shajan Perappadan
Grapes for depression Chemical compounds from grape, particularly dihydrocaeic acid (DHCA) and malvidin3’Oglucoside (Malgluc), could be used as therapeutic agents for the treatment of depression, says a Getty Images report in Nature Communications. These natural compounds may attenuate depression by targeting newly discovered underlying mechanisms of the disease. Conventional pharmacological treatments are estimated to produce temporary remission in less than 50% of patients, and they are often associated with severe adverse eects. Thus, there is an urgent need for a wider spectrum of novel therapeutics. Currently available antidepressants are largely restricted to targeting the systems that regulate serotonin, dopamine, and other related neurotransmitters. These treatments do not specically address inammation and synaptic maladaptations that are now known to be associated with MDD or major depressive disorder.
Drug to stop malaria spread A single dose of primaquine can stop people with P. falciparum malaria infecting mosquitoes, which could help bring down malaria transmission. Getty Images/iStockphoto Researchers tested infectivity of people by getting mosquitoes to feed on people or their blood and then measuring whether the mosquitoes become infected with malaria. For the currently recommended dose of 0.25 mg/kg, the calculations across 3 trials with 105 participants show the percentage of people infectious 2 to 3 days after treatment is reduced from 14% of people in the control group to 2% in the primaquine group. A little later, a week after the treatment had been started, the absolute eect was smaller — with 4% infectious in the control group and 1% in the primaquine group. This shows that primaquine does reduce transmission, but it may not be to the extent that people had hoped for. The ndings appear in the Cochrane Review. Many potentially infectious people with malaria are asymptomatic, so few would seek treatment. The question of whether a partial reduction in infectiousness for a few days would materially aect the community malaria burden is still unanswered, although malaria modellers have generally concluded that the increased impact would be marginal.
per 10,000 population. Since 1995, the WHO has provided MDT free of cost to all leprosy patients in the world. Free MDT was initial ly funded by The Nippon Foundation and since 2000, is being made available by donations through an agree ment with Novartis. More than 17 million leprosy pa tients have been treated with MDT over the past 30 years. Although the annual number of new cases has dropped dramatically since the preMDT days, there are still some 200,000 new cas es reported around the world each year. There were 214,783 new cases registered globally in 2016, according to ocial gures from 145
Where does the war on leprosy nd us in 2018? Where do we stand in terms of winning this battle? Are there cases still coming in? Which are the areas that are the worst aected and why?
Leprosy is an ageold dis ease. Throughout history, people aicted have often been ostracised by their communities and families. The rst cure emerged in the 1940s, but the important breakthrough came in the early 1980s with the intro duction of a highly eective, multidrug therapy (MDT). In 1991, the WHO set a tar get to eliminate leprosy as a public health problem, de ning elimination as a pre valence of less than 1 case
Researchers working in heart muscle cells derived from human stem cells have used CRISPR/Cas9 to correct mutations in clustered sections of the Getty Images/iStockphoto dystrophin gene. Through this technique, they were able to improve both muscle and cardiac abnormalities associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), they report in Science Advances. The researchers claimed their approach could salvage muscle function in up to 60% of DMD patients. DMD is a genetic disorder that degenerates the muscle cells of approximately one out of every 5,000 males. Studies of the DMD gene to date have pinpointed clustered mutations as being responsible for DMD abnormalities in “hot spot” areas. Using CRISPR/Cas9 with singleguide RNAs, the researchers performed myoediting in heart muscle cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells from people with various types of mutations within the DMD gene. They eciently restored expression of the dystrophin protein in these cardiac muscle cells.
Dementia? A curcumin salve Daily consumption of a certain form of curcumin improved memory and mood in people with mild, agerelated memory loss. The research examined Getty Images/iStockphoto the eects of an easily absorbed curcumin supplement on memory performance in people without dementia, as well as curcumin’s potential impact on the microscopic plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Found in turmeric, curcumin has previously been shown to have antiinammatory and antioxidant properties in laboratory studies. It also has been suggested as a possible reason that senior citizens in India, where curcumin is a dietary staple, have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and better cognitive performance.
DEMYSTIFYING SCIENCE What is an odderon? It is a possible subatomic quasiparticle that had only been theorised to exist. Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider claim that they may have found evidence for it. The new ndings concern Hadrons (the family of particle that includes protons and neutrons), which are composed of quarks “glued” together with gluons. These particular experiments involve “collisions” where the protons remain intact after the collision. In all previous experiments, scientists detected collisions involving only even numbers of gluons exchanged between dierent protons. However, the scientists report seeing an odd number of gluons, and these odderons can be understood as coming from three, ve, seven or other odd number numbers of gluons. — Science Daily
India accounts for < > more than 60% of all new cases of leprosy’ But this does not mean that the ght against leprosy is over. That’s why this year, our partnership with Dis abled Peoples’ International (DPI) and its Global Chair, Javed Abidi, is very signi cant. So far, 91 Member Na tional Assemblies (MNAs) of DPI from around the world have endorsed the Global Appeal 2018. What are the major
Arms and the man
Where does India stand in this ght? ■ India accounts for the lar gest number of cases of le prosy in the world. It is now making concerted eorts to detect and treat cases early with special case detection campaigns and other activi ties. There is also momen tum to address outdated le gislation that discriminates against persons aected by leprosy. The progress India makes in tackling leprosy will have a signicant im pact on the global situation.
What are the shortcomings here?
Who are the worst aected?
Leprosy aects men and women, adults and chil dren. But factors such as gender discrimination can mean that women and girls are impacted disproportion ately by the consequences of leprosy. Children accounted for around 9% of new cases in 2016 and there is now a concerted eort to reduce the number of leprosy cases ■
■ There is yet no prophylac tic vaccine available for le prosy, so early detection and treatment with MDT form the cornerstone of ef forts against the disease. En suring that all cases are diag nosed and treated promptly remains a challenge among hardtoreach and marginal ised populations. Further ef forts at educating the public about leprosy are needed.
Look for proof olicymaking, espe cially in health, is a complex process. Here, research that guides the process of policymaking is one of many contribut ing factors, the others ashish bharadwaj being political aspects, interests of key stakehol ders, feasibility of the policy, alignment with other pol icies, and consonance with the larger vision of the go vernment. It is vital that India’s health policies are based on the best available evidencebased research.
#4 4 6 6 0 1
The hidden cost of war: Iraq has a long history of conict, from the 19801988 war with its neighbour Iran to the 2003 U.S.led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, and to the struggle against the Islamic State (IS). With each conict, there has also been a heavy toll, of the dead and the wounded, many of whom are amputees. In Iraq, Tahssin Ibrahim, who has been making prosthetic limbs in Baghdad for more than 30 years, says that the number of amputees has risen steadily since the 2003 conict. The number of workshops specialising in prostheses and shops selling medical equipment has also increased tenfold over the past 15 years, he adds. Most of his clients are often forced to borrow money to pay for their articial limbs as the most rudimentary prosthesis costs around $1,000 in Iraq, more than twice the average monthly wage in the country. There is more work now for the workshops after Iraq declared victory over the IS in December 2017, following a threeyear gruelling battle that has left tens of thousands of ghters wounded, with many seeking prosthetic limbs after suering mortar wounds. The Iraqi government has yet to issue a toll. Picture shows Ibrahim at his workshop in Baghdad. AFP/SABAH ARRAR *
No need to hang up Two studies nd that there is little cancer risk from cellphone use about the risk, health o cials oer commonsense advice: Spend less time on cellphones, use a headset or speaker mode so that the phone is not pressed up against the head, and avoid trying to make calls if the signal is weak. Bucher notes that the radiation emitted increases when users are in spots where the signal is poor or sporadic and the phone has to work harder to connect.
o cellphones cause cancer? Despite years of re search, there is still no clear answer. But two govern ment studies released on Friday, one in rats and one in mice, suggest that if there is any risk, it is small, health ocials have said. Safety questions about cellphones have drawn in tense interest and debate for years as the devices have become integral to most people’s lives. Even a minute risk could harm mil lions of people. These two studies, on the eects of the type of ra diation the phones emit, conducted over 10 years and costing $25 million, are considered the most exten sive to date.
The ndings In male rats, the studies linked tumours in the heart to high exposure to radia tion from the phones. But that problem did not occur in female rats, or any mice. The rodents in the stu dies were exposed to radia tion nine hours a day for two years, more than peo ple experience even with a lot of cellphone use, so the results cannot be applied directly to humans, says
Gene editing takes on heart disease
countries. Of these, 11 coun tries, among them India, Brazil and Indonesia, re ported more than 1,000 pa tients, with India accounting for more than 60% (135,585 cases) of all new cases. Elimination of leprosy as a public health problem, at the national level, has been achieved by almost every country and we believe that 2018 could be a milestone year if Brazil too reaches this point. It would mean every country has now reached the elimination threshold of less than 1 case per 10,000 population.
Genetic link to Zika infection Genetic factors may play a role in determining which babies are aected by the Zika virus. Microcephaly, brain calcication, skeletal alterations, auditory and visual decits are Getty Images/iStockphoto examples of the damage that can be caused by the virus in babies born to mothers infected during pregnancy. However, these problems are observed in only 6%12% of cases. A study published on February 2 in the journal Nature Communications oers strong evidence that the higher susceptibility of some babies to the virus has a genetic origin. When the researchers studied pairs of discordant twins (cases in which only one twin was aected by the virus) although both had been equally exposed during pregnancy, they found some 60 genes with dierentiated expression in the neural progenitor cells of the aected babies.
The challenge is twofold. There is the medical dimen sion of continuing transmis sion of leprosy, with some 200,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. There is also the social dimension in which stigma and dis crimination impact the lives of people diagnosed with le prosy and even their fami lies. Fear of discrimination can be a reason why people hesitate to seek treatment, which means they could be passing the disease to others and also putting themselves at risk of developing life long disabilities. ■
SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR
AROUND THE WORLD
Yhei Sasakawa, who is chairman of the Nippon Founda tion, and the World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassa dor for Leprosy Elimination, was in India recently as part of the “The Global Appeal2018”. The event aims to end the dis crimination faced by people aected by leprosy, and their fa milies, worldwide. Mr. Sasakawa, who is also Japan’s Am bassador for the Human Rights of People Aected by Leprosy, spoke to The Hindu about the challenges before In dia, which accounts for the largest number of cases of lepro sy in the world, and his organisation’s partnership in ght ing the battle. Excerpts.
among them to zero by 2020.
John Bucher, a senior scien tist at the National Toxicolo gy Program, during a tele phone news brieng. The results, he says have not led him to change his own cellphone use or to urge his own family to do so. But he also notes that the heart tumours in rats — called malignant schwan nomas — are similar to acoustic neuromas, a be nign tumour in people in volving the nerve that con nects the ear to the brain, which some studies have linked to cellphone use. He says that nearly 20 animal studies on this sub ject have been done, “with the vast majority coming up negative with respect to cancer.” Other agencies are study ing cellphone use in people and trying to determine
whether it is linked to the incidence of any type of cancer, Dr. Bucher says. The Food and Drug Ad ministration (FDA) has is sued a statement saying it respects the research by the toxicology program, has re viewed many other studies on cellphone safety, and has “not found sucient evidence that there are ad verse health eects in hu mans caused by exposures at or under the current ra diofrequency exposure li mits.” The Federal Communica tions Commission sets ex posure limits for radiofre quency energy from cellphones, but relies on the FDA and other health agencies for scientic ad vice on determining the li mits, the statement says. For people who worry
Lowering exposure Recently, California issued advice to consumers about how to lower their expo sure, including texting in stead of talking, keeping the phone away from the head and body while streaming, downloading or sending large les; carrying the phone in a backpack, brief case or purse, not a pocket, bra or belt holster; and not sleeping with the phone close to the user’s head. The two studies, involv ing 3,000 animals, are “the most comprehensive as sessments of health eects and exposure to radiofre quency radiation in rats and mice to date,” accord ing to a statement from the toxicology programme, part of the National Insti tute of Environmental Health Sciences. NY TIMES
Capping stent prices For example, a lot has been written on how the Nation al Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s (NPPA) decision, taken a year ago, to cap prices of advanced medical equipment, was a recipe for a public health crisis. There is now consensus that price regulation in an oth erwise freefunctioning market would eventually create ineciencies. However, eects are often dif fused and take time to surface.This makes nding evi dence of the impact of such policies expost necessary, thereby providing guidance to policymakers to tweak and rene their policy goals and strategies. In the example above, the policy was envisaged to make angioplasty procedures more accessible. But did this come about? IQVIA and the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), which comprises nearly 300 global medical technology companies, have released a paper to show that the NPPA’s deci sion, to cap prices of cardiac stents, was actually bereft of economic logic. The study, conducted a year after the price cap policy came into eect, found that bene ts to patients with coronary heart disease and the growth in the number of angioplasty procedures did not signicantly change in this time. The study also found that the price cap on stents by as much as 85% resulted in 818% reduction in the overall angioplasty procedure cost for patients undergoing single vessel procedure (which accounts for almost three quarters of all angioplasty patients) in private hospitals. Pa tients at governmentrun hospitals did not benet sig nicantly because stents were, in any case, available at below the eective price after capping. So, public policies need to be carefully designed. The approach by the NPPA in regulating price devices greatly underestimated the value of policy design. The study shows that the NPPA’s planned actions did not result in representing a realistic and viable means of achieving improved access to aordable health care. There is now empirical proof that the big drop in pric es due to the policy did not signicantly alter the growth rate of angioplasties across hospitals. Disease burden India faces a growing burden of noncommunicable diseases, with cardiovascular diseases at the forefront. In this context, our reliance on any provider of safe and eective medical devices, which includes stents, cannot be undermined. By 2020, India is projected to have the highest population of youth, and, by 2027, the world’s largest workforce with a billion people aged between 15 and 64 years. We need to ratchet up med ical infrastructure and strengthen the healthcare eco system so that our demographic dividend does not be come a demographic disaster. We should adopt public policies that have some em pirical support and backed by scientic research. If reason and research point to the contrary, then price caps must go. We can consider alternative measures such as trademargin rationalisation and dierential pricing of medical devices, combined with categorisa tion, on the basis of the clinical status of patients. These longdrawn but concrete ways will increase ac cessibility to quality health care, boost innovation, and, most importantly, assist the government in achieving the goal of universal health coverage. When the NPPA said that it would reconsider its de cision to cap prices, it was perhaps hoping to some how, carefully and logically, ground its decision. There is evidence now. The NPPA must demonstrate that its actions can not only be cost eective and benecial but also preserve incentives for innovation to make our healthcare system robust. Ashish Bharadwaj, who teaches law and economics at Jindal Global Law School, is a Director of Jindal Initiative on Research in IP and Competition (JIRICO)
Why the GDP is a useful tool but a misleading statistic that cannot measure quality of life heart patients were met by treat ing the easy cases and shunning the harder ones. Schools were re luctant to admit the less gifted children. The problem with statis tics is that they can create per verse incentives; they can be made to look good without necessarily improving the quality of service, Pilling writes.
he Gross Domestic Product’s stature is growing. Govern ments tend to obsess over maximising it. If politicians in of ce aunt GDP growth, those in opposition taunt the lack of it. The statistical concept has, much against its inventor Nobelwinning economist Simon Kuznet’s warn ings, become a proxy for a coun try’s wellbeing. Arguably, few, other than economists, under stand what GDP is. The Growth Delusion, a new book by the Financial Times’ Afri ca editor David Pilling explains what it is; who invented it and why and how it is estimated. From Chi na to India, Kenya and Iceland, the book is replete with examples of the uninformed pursuit of GDP growth and misguided policies and goals. Witty, chatty and jar gonfree, the book speaks to those who ask: why, if the economy is growing at a worldbeating rate, does life not feel better? If accum ulated growth is a proxy for well being, then contentment levels should have been at an alltime high, but it is not so. A narrow measure? GDP, a narrow measure of the goods and services produced in an economy over a certain period, oers a rather limited view of the world. Much of what is important to individuals — clean air, safe streets, steady jobs, sound minds, peace at home — lies outside its range of vision. Only goods and services bearing a rupee price, an imputed one at least, can enter the
The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the WellBeing of Nations David Pilling Bloomsbury 499
GDP. It can count bricks, steel bars, bicycles and other manufac tured goods, but becomes fuzzy on haircuts, psychoanalysis ses sions or music downloads. It doesn’t count at all, all that is out side of the moneyed economy. A bottle of Evian in the supermarket it can count, but the economic im pact of a girl in Ethiopia who trudges for miles to fetch water from a well is statistically invisible to it. Pilling neatly details many of GDP’s limitations. It’s a poor judge of value: To it, an antibiotic is worth pennies, even though a sy philitic billionaire from a century ago might have parted with a for tune for a sevenday course. It’s so crude that someone stuck in trac for an hour would contribute pos itively to the GDP, but a mother raising children and keeping home doesn’t count. GDP cannot distinguish bet ween good and bad activity. If hos
Unfair deal: An economy may be growing because the rich are getting richer, even as the common people work hard as ever to maintain their living standards. REUTERS *
pitals overcharge for supplies, that unethical behaviour boosts growth. Colombia that has tradi tionally counted drugs as part of its economic activity found its GDP decline following the demise of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel. In 1987, Italians awoke to nd that their economy had overtaken that of Britain’s to become the fth lar gest in the world, on the Italian statistical agency’s improved mea surement of the untaxed grey eco nomy, including the maa.
Engines of change A noted transport historian covers the life and work of the British on the railways, with examples both appalling and entertaining
Subsidy route Yet in an age when the idea of the state as a major economic actor was almost unimaginable, the pro blem was that of attracting British railway companies to undertake the immense projects involved. The companies nally agreed to a compromise; the colonial govern ment guaranteed a return of 5% on their investment, when the current lending rate was 3%. Moreover, tax payers in India — colonials and In dians — carried the risk, while sha reholders in Britain got the ‘prots’. Only two of the lines thus constructed broke even, and the guarantees eventually cost the go vernment of India about £50 mil lion, while moderately wealthy pe ople in Britain bought railway shares for the guaranteed returns. The companies became what Wol mar calls subsidy junkies; the go vernment eventually took over ma ny lines, and the writer acerbically notes the similarities to today’s pu blicprivate partnerships, or priv ate nance initiatives in their Brit ish avatar. The tight central procedures — despite the lack of control on actual project costs — and the absence of a whitecollar criminal class, however, meant that corruption was lower than it had been on U.S. railroads, even if the procedures also spawned In dia’s bureaucracy. The initial lines were laid in east ern India and inland from Bombay; the eastern line had to bridge co lossal rivers, and the western one involved steep climbs and tunnels across the Western Ghats. Condi tions for the workers — large num bers of whom were brought by CM YK
alone is not sucient led former British prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron to launch (not very successful) projects for mea suring wellbeing. Blair’s Delivery Unit, aimed at measuring public services eciency, was to have helped generate alternative mea sures, but publicsector sta start ed gaming the system. Hospitals improved waiting times by not let ting patients through doors, since only on entering could they be deemed to be waiting. Targets for
Wavering fortunes Amid a churning among Dalits, the BSP supremo’s journey Smita Gupta
n the third edition of his biogra phy of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, jour nalist Ajoy Bose all but writes the epitaph of one of India’s most re markable politicians who deed caste, gender and poverty to rise to the pinnacle as chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, before her politi cal graph began to plummet. He argues that “after such persis tent... decline, it would be near impossible for her to become a dominant force in either the country or her home state again,” a viewpoint many political ana lysts of Dalit politics would con cur with. If this lucidly written book, when it was rst published, per formed the valuable task of intro ducing the much misunderstood Mayawati to the intelligentsia, the publication of this edition is time ly, too. This is not merely because of the obvious decline in her politi cal fortunes but because there is currently a churning in the Dalit movement, especially amongst educated youth not just in U.P.,
ndia’s railways carry eight bil lion passengers a year, and a bil lion tonnes of freight; the 42,000 route miles cover all kinds of terrain, and the trains run through weather which is often violent in many ways. The railways have also played, and still play, a transformative role in almost every aspect of Indian life, and Christian Wolmar tells this very complex sto ry easily and directly. In the early 1850s, the then Go vernorGeneral, Lord Dalhousie, saw the railways as an asset in his gigantic yet thorough plan to ex tend British power. He thought that the railways would encourage en terprise, expand production, aid the discovery and exploitation of natural resources, and even help social progress — and that they would also strengthen British rule. The main objector, the East India Company, which had a nearmono poly on colonial trade in India, gave way.
That an economy is growing says nothing about distribution of wealth. GDP growth can be achieved with endless production and endless consumption, but that does not imply that the growth’s fruits are evenly shared among the population. An econo my may be growing solely because the rich are getting richer, even as the common people work harder and harder just to maintain their living standards. The realisation that GDP growth
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Dangerous heights: The railway line in the Eastern Ghats bridged colossal rivers, and the one in the Western Ghats involved steep climbs and tunnels. ANIL KUMAR SASTRY *
ples both appalling and entertain ing. In the early days, thirdclass passengers were locked into bare and windowless steel wagons; the railways helped spread cholera and plague, and even elite Indian pas sengers started criticising condi tions in third class. Yet the poorer passengers, as Wolmar shows, sub sidised the richer ones and helped British prots. ■
Railways & the Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed India Christian Wolmar Atlantic Books/Penguin 599
brokers from far across India — were terrible, and about 25,000 died on the ghats project. British overseers were openly racist, and readily adopted casteist generalisations about the work force, though some of them learnt that local timbers and certain local techniques were best for the condi tions. Some even learnt from the contractor Jamsetji Dorabji, who earned his workers’ trust, and also — possibly because he was illiterate — had a prodigious memory. Most strikingly too, the ghats line was built by Alice Tredwell, who took over when her contractor husband Solomon died after a month in India. Racist approach India’s technical advantage in en tering the railway age two decades after the industrial powers did not last, but by the late 19th century the railways were an integral part of imperial India, despite the pro blems caused by a multitude of gauges, owners, and company sys tems. Wolmar covers life and work on the railways, and much else un til and including today, with exam
Unpleasant journey All passengers, though, had to face their own demons over shared trains and stations; the Calcutta High Court judge Sir Asutosh Muk herjee awoke in a lower berth to nd that a Britisher in the upper berth had thrown his slippers out of the window — but when the colo nial could not nd his own jacket Sir Asutosh told him the jacket had gone to look for the slippers. Some ambitions were not real ised; freight was one of Dalhousie’s original concerns but never grew as he thought it would, and was al so a magnet for corruption after In dependence; the northwestern lines, built in fear of Russian expan sion, were a huge waste of money, in what looks like an early form of the militaryindustrial complex. The railways served only partly to move troops to where they might be needed in possible rebellions, and their record in famine relief was also patchy. The Indian nation alists, for their part, distrusted the railways for extending British pow er, for reshaping aspects of Indian society, and — as the author shows — for restricting India’s economic development. Yet all Indians ac cepted the iron road; Wolmar adds, ‘In no other country is the railway so indelibly connected with the im age of the nation.’
What is the alternative? If GDP is imperfect, then what is the alternative way to measure wellbeing? There isn’t one, Pilling concludes. The book’s aim, he writes, is not to declare war on growth but to knock it from its pedestal. He ar gues that the advantage with GDP is that it aggregates and summaris es economic information into a single number. Despite its limitations, Pilling believes, GDP growth remains a useful policy tool. Rather than re place it, we ought to use a dash board of metrics. After all, even Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, relied on men’s innerwear sales as a proxy for growth. Pilling suggests using GDP per capita, the median income, which picks out the person right in the middle, the typical specimen, and inequality — because it’s not enough to know the status of the typical person but to get a sense al so of those left behind. He also recommends using qualityoflife indicators such as CO2 emissions. His point is that growth can only be the means, not an end by itself. Wellbeing needs more than growth.
Behenji: The Rise and Fall of Mayawati Ajoy Bose Penguin 399
but also in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and several un iversity campuses. Bose refers to these changes in his new edition, when he writes about “young Da lits... impatient with Mayawati’s sarvajan politics... circumscribed by electoral compulsions.” The rst two editions, pu blished in 2008 (shortly after she gave Uttar Pradesh its rst major ity government in 19 years) and 2012 (when the Samajwadi Party replaced the BSP in power) were both titled, Behenji: A Political Biography of Mayawati. Since then, the BSP has suered two more major electoral reverses, in
the general elections of 2014 and the U.P. assembly polls of 2017. The book under review, renamed Behenji: The Rise and Fall of Mayawati, has three new chap ters ‘The Modi Juggernaut’, ‘Be henji’s Last Stand’ and ‘Mowed down by the Vote Machine’, while the section that dealt in earlier editions with Mayawati’s administration and politics has been replaced by an assessment of her political career and legacy in the chapter, ‘Curtain Call’. Bose says he’s unlikely to revi sit the Mayawati story again — be cause it is nished — but her par ty did poll as much as 22% of the votes in U.P. in 2017, holding on to its core Jatav vote. Not just that, the BSP conti nues to be the most formidable Dalit political party. Young Dalit leaders have been critical of her in public, but some privately ad mit that as yet there is still no re placement for the BSP in sight. As the writer says rightly, “She re presents a huge leap forward in the politics of Dalit empower ment and has given a sense of self condence to the community that even Ambedkar or Kanshi Ram could never give.”
Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography is one of the most widely read and translated Indian books of all time. In this Critical Edition, eminent scholar Tridip Suhrud shines new light on Gandhi’s life and thought. The deeply researched notes elucidate the contexts and characters of the autobiography, tracing Gandhi’s evolution into a seeker of Truth as God.
or the stunning Purple Rock Orchid, its beauty is its bane. This endemic highaltitude plant, though widespread in the south ern Western Ghats, is now endan gered in the Palni Hills due to ov ercollection for home gardens – ironically – in the plains. As for the Himalayan cherry trees, which were introduced in the region, beauty is no defence. While the trees bathe Kodaikanal town in a profusion of pictures que pink when in bloom, they are gradually displacing native trees. With observations like these — stemming from residing in these hills for more than 30 years — Pippa Mukherjee’s Flora of the Southern Western Ghats and Palnis supplies a wealth of informa tion about 200odd common plants seen in the Palni Hills in the southern Western Ghats. Divided into three parts cover ing trees, shrubs and herbs (in cluding grasses), each plant de scription in the eld guide is detailed and includes separate sections for leaves, owers and fruits. Mukherjee has also incorpo rated additional information — such as uses of the plant in tradi tional healing systems and its his
Flora of the Southern Western Ghats and Palnis Pippa Mukherjee Niyogi Books 1,250
tory of introduction in the West ern Ghats if it is an exotic. The accompanying colour plates – with an inset photograph of its leaves or owers — are useful, and the index of leaf structural patterns handy for beginners to compare with written descrip tions while identifying a plant. The book also reproduces in tricate plant line drawings by ar tists including Philip Fyson, a British botanist who illustrated volumes of The Flora of the South Indian Hill Stations between 1915 and 1932. Numerous exotic and intro duced species dominate this list of commonlyseen ora, giving us an inkling of how exotic plants could creep into ecosystems.
Rise up Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suragetes Diane Atkinson Bloomsbury 799
Marking the centenary of female surage, this history charts women’s ght for the vote. Led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, the suragettes and their actions would dene protest movements of the future. They were a richly diverse group that spanned divides of class, women determined to ght for what had been so long denied.
Common invasive plants that threaten to outcompete native ora here include the Mexican Devil Ageratina adenophora (“...it can look pretty but beware, it can spread everywhere in no time and is an invasive pest,” writes Mukherjee) and the gorse Ulex europaeus, an introduced Euro pean bush, often called the ‘Nilgi ri’s curse’. But can indigenous species be invasive too? While the Polygo num creeper Persicaria chinensis is native to the region, the author calls it “an invasive species with deep roots that are often dicult to remove.” In the Palnis, locals harvest and sell the indigenous yet ‘invasive’ Hill raspberry Rubus niveus. The book also lists exotic gar den plants like the Common fox glove (introduced to the Western Ghats before 1915); Mukherjee’s interest in gardening also shines through in several species ac counts with notes about their propagation, hybridisation or maintenance. Many of the species listed are also common across the Western Ghats; so, despite its weight, the book could be useful for plant en thusiasts to take along on trips anywhere across the southern mountain range.
The Indian Parliament and Democratic Transformation Edited by Ajay K. Mehra Routledge 1,095
This book traces the trajectory of the Indian Parliament from its formation to the present day. The essays explore parliamentary democracy and highlight Parliament’s function as a representative and accountable institution, its connection with the other arms of the state, its relationship with grassroots democracy, and its critical role in framing policy.
A wealth of information on plants of a region Aathira Perinchery
An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth M.K. Gandhi Edited by Tridip Suhrud Penguin Random House 899
In Pursuit of Conict Avalok Langer Westland 399
A journalist writes a diary of what ails the Northeast, taking in its sweep militancy, drug cartels, and the illegal system of taxation in place. He talks to retired separatist leaders trying to understand why they took to the gun. It’s also a cry out to the state to take note of a geopolitically signicant territory of the country.
Late Essays 20062017 J.M. Coetzee Harvill Secker/Penguin 799
In these essays, gathered together from 2006, Coetzee covers a wide range from Daniel Defoe in the 18th century to the contemporary Philip Roth. Giving us an insightful guide to works of literature, he engages with Goethe and Walser, Samuel Beckett and Patrick White; and Tolstoy’s great novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.
Dominant India coasts to a record fourth World Cup crown Manjot Kalra delights with an unbeaten century after Australia fails to put up a challenging total U-19 WORLD CUP Agencies Tauranga (New Zealand)
Promising opener Manjot Kal ra’s unbeaten 101 guided Ra hul Dravidcoached India to the ICC Under 19 World Cup title, as the ‘Boys in Blue’ beat Australia by eight wickets in the summit clash at the Bay Oval here on Saturday. Adjudged manofthe match, Manjot blasted an un beaten 102ball 101, studded with eight fours and three six es, and, more importantly, was engaged in three halfcen
before cutting loose. Just when the Indian pair threatened to take the match away, pacer Will Sutherland drew rst blood for the Austra lians by rattling Shaw’s ostump. Shaw’s dismissal brought in the centurion of the seminal against Pakistan, manofthe tournament Shubman Gill (31, 30, 4x4), who raised 60 runs for the second wicket with Manjot before perishing to o spinner Param Uppal. This Gill’s rst below50 score in the tournament but wicketkeeper Harvik Desai (47 n.o., 61b, 4x5) ensured there were no more hiccups in In dia’s road to the title. With India just ve runs shy from the title, Manjot got to his personal landmark, punching one down to square leg for a single even as the ce lebrations began on the sidelines.
Taking centrestage: Manjot Kalra chose the right occasion to showcase his batting prowess as he helped India chase down the target with ease. AFP *
tury partnerships that denied Australia any hope of a come back in the match. Chasing a modest 217, India got o to a ier with Manjot and skipper Prithvi Shaw (29, 41b, 4x4) piling up 71 runs. India’s chase was briey halted by rain after just four overs, but Manjot and Prithvi ensured they kept their focus and after coming back they batted out the initial few overs
Attitude and elding key to success: Venkatesh Prasad
The performance was also a tting tribute to Dravid, who nally got his hands on a World Cup trophy. Under Dra vid, the side had nished run nerup in the 2016 edition in Bangladesh. Earlier, electing to bat, Aus tralia rode on Jonathan Mer lo’s steady 102ball 76 to 216. Australia lost its three top bat smen with just 59 runs on the board, thanks to pacer Ishan Porel’s twin strikes early onbe fore Kamlesh Nagarkoti joined the party by removing Jason Sangha.
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INDIA VS AUSTRALIA, FINAL
Australia Under-19: Jack Ed wards c Nagarkoti b Ishan 28, Max Bryant c Abhishek b Porel 14, Jason Sangha c Harvik b Nagarkoti 13, Jonathan Merlo c Shiva b Anukul 76, Param Uppal c & b Anukul 34, Nathan Mc Sweeney c & b Shiva 23, Will Sutherland c Harvik b Shiva 5, Baxter Holt run out 13, Zak Evans b Nagarkoti 1, Ryan Had ley c Harvik b Mavi 1, Lloyd
Pope (not out) 0; Extras (lb1, w7): 8; Total (in 47.2 overs): 216. Fall of wickets: 132, 252, 3 59, 4134, 5183, 6191, 7212, 8214, 9216. India Under-19 bowling: Shivam Mavi 8.21461, Ishan Porel 71302, Shiva Singh 10 0362, Kamlesh Nagarkoti 9 0412, Abhishek Sharma 60 300, Anukul Roy 70322.
Boys deserved it, says Dravid
India Under-19: Prithvi Shaw b Sutherland 29, Manjot Kalra (not out) 101, Shubman Gill b Uppal 31, Harvik Desai (not out) 47; Extras (lb1, nb10, w10): 12; Total (for two wkts. in 38.5 overs): 220. Fall of wickets: 171, 2131. Australia Under-19 bowling: Ryan Hadley 70370, Zak Evans 51300, Will Suther land 6.50361, Jack Edwards
10150, Lloyd Pope 50 420, Jonathan Merlo 40 210, Param Uppal 100381. Toss: Australia Player-of-the-match: Manjot Kalra. Player-of-the-series: Shubman Gill India won by eight wickets to lift the ICC Under-19 World Cup
Shaw continues to steal the show Amol Karhadkar
best I have seen. (Shivam) Mavi and (Kamlesh) Nagar koti are headed for bigger deeds. I would like them to stick to their natural style.”
Vijay Lokapally NEW DELHI
It was attitude that charac terised the grooming of the India under19 team which won the World Cup on Saturday. National junior selection committee chairman Venka tesh Prasad told The Hindu, “We (selectors and support sta ) were looking more at their attitude than just bat ting or bowling. We were ve ry particular about elding. It was impeccable, both catching and direct hits. “To me, elding was ex tremely important when analysing the individuals. In fact, their tness and atti tude contributed to their cricket. “When you are a good el der you are also a good ath lete. I thought this team was intimidating the opposition with its athleticism and elding.” Lavish praise Prasad was lavish in praising coach Rahul Dravid for his “exemplary” guidance. “These boys are really fortu nate to have Dravid as the coach. He brings such disci
Venkatesh Prasad. *
pline and focus that you end up giving your best in the most testing situations. “Working with Dravid was a great experience. “We had our dierences at times but overall it was a ne experience working with this great student of the game.” In his third year as selec tor — with Rakesh Parikh and Gyanendra Pandey as colleagues — Prasad, who had previously been the In dia under19 coach, said he was “surprised” by the speed factor. “Bowling at 140plus. It was amazing. One of the
Support sta ’s role According to Prasad, the role of the support sta in the journey was huge. “We were rotating the players and it was obviously not easy for the coaches with constant changes. We wanted every player to have a sense of participation.” Giving credit to the BCCI, Prasad noted, “It is the splendid structure of junior cricket that is responsible for the team’s success. “It would be nice if the Board considered the u19 Tests as First Class games. “I am happy junior cricket was played in coloured clothing and with white ball for the rst time this season. It helped this team a lot.” He added, “Hope the boys stay focused and don’t get carried away by the fame and glamour that comes with success. “It will be interesting to see how many of them grad uate to the next level.”
Magic moment: The Indian players rush to the eld after winning the World Cup. Press Trust of India Mount Maunganui
India U19 coach Rahul Dra vid is condent that it won’t just be “one memory” that would dene this talented bunch of cricketers as a big ger and more challenging journey awaits them. “It’s a memory they’ll cherish for a long time and hopefully it’s not a memory that denes them and they will have a lot more bigger and better memories as they go on ahead in their ca reers,” said Dravid after In dia’s fourth title.
Dravid spoke about the ef fort that the entire batch put on for the last 14 month, which bore fruit. “I am really proud of the boys, proud of the eort that they have put in and proud of the support sta as well. I think the eort we have put in over the last 14 months have been sensational. “They really deserved this, couldn’t be really hap pier and proud for this bunch of boys,” the legen dary batsman said. On cloud nine after lifting the trophy, skipper Prithvi
Shaw also credited the team, support sta and singled out Dravid for special mention. Shubman Gill, adjudged the manofthetournament for his 372 runs, said: “I am really proud of my team. We were fortunate enough to have Rahul sir as our coach. “He was just telling me to express my game and keep it on the ground.” Kalra, the manofthe nal, said: “Great feeling. En joyed a lot. Conditions were very good. It was a at wick et to bat on. It’s been a great environment.”
He is used to stealing the headlines. He did so with his stellar batting on Mumbai maidans for his school team. He graduated to age group cricket and continued to pile up the big scores in Mumbai colours. Days after he turned 17 came the First Class callup and ever since marking his debut with a stylish century against Ta mil Nadu in the Ranji Tro phy seminals, the ‘little fel la’ has continued in the same vein. Manjot Kalra may have anchored India's chase in the Under19 World Cup nal, but the 18yearold who lifted the trophy as captain continued to be in the thick of action. Mumbai stalwarts who have seen Shaw’s rise from a child — who would spend two hours commuting from Virar, a faro suburb of Mumbai, to have a hit at the nets at the MIG Club in Ban dra — hope that this triumph is only the beginning of a new chapter for Shaw. “I am happy for him. He has had the knack of being
Prithvi Shaw, left, and Rahul Dravid with the trophy. PTI *
in the spotlight ever since he started scoring big in school cricket. “Besides displaying his improvement as a batsman, I think the way he led the side was creditable,” said Pravin Amre, former India cricketer and Mumbai coach who has kept a close watch on Shaw's progress. Amre, as the chief of Del hi Daredevils talent scouting wing, was instrumental in Shaw landing a hefty Indian Premier League contract with the GMR Groupowned team. Ajit Agarkar feels Shaw has it in him to deal with all the attention. “He has been doing extremely well for us (Mumbai) and is extremely condent in his abilities and focused,” said Agarkar.
India will aim to capitalise on the Proteas’ woes Markram appointed skipper for the remainder of the series INDIA IN SA Agencies CENTURION
A buoyant India will look to cash in on South Africa’s in jury woes, compounded by the loss of captain Faf du Plessis, when the two sides meet in the second OneDay International here on Sunday. Klaasen called up Cricket South Africa on Sa turday named the 23year old Aiden Markram as skip per for the remainder of the CM YK
series, while Farhaan Behar dien has been added to the squad as as du Plessis’ re placement and Heinrich Klaasen called in as a back up wicketkeeper. Going into the second match, India will be eager to take advantage and go 20 up, with all the departments ticking the right notes in Durban. Led by skipper Virat Koh li’s brilliant 33rd ODI ton and steady batting by No.4 Ajin kya Rahane, India romped home in style. India’s toporder did rea sonably well in the opening
ODI and the bowling depart ment delivered well except for pacer Bhuvneshwar Ku mar, having an o day. The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has been impressive in what its maiden outing on South African soil. Strategy needed The home side will need to chalk out a strategy to stop the strong Indian batting af ter using as many as seven bowlers in the opening game. Allrounder Andile Pheh lukwayo added up to his han
dy 33ball unbeaten 27, by picking the crucial wickets of Kohli and Rahane with his slower bouncers, but the damage was already done by then. The host will also bank on the opening duo of Amla and stumper Quinton de Kock to set the tone early on for the likes of Markram, Duminy, David Miller and Chris Mor ris to put up a good total. The Sunday ODI will be a daygame on account of a Sunday as is the norm in this country. A full house is ex pected nevertheless. The teams (from): India: Virat
Kohli (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, M.S. Dhoni , Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Ya dav, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mo hammed Shami and Shardul Thakur. South Africa: Aiden Markram (capt.), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Imran Ta hir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khaye lihle Zondo, Farhaan Behardien and Heinrich Klaasen. Match starts at 1.30 p.m. IST
New role? M.S. Dhoni turns his arm over under the watchful eyes of coach Ravi Shastri during a practice session on the eve of the second onedayer. COURTESY: BCCI *
TV PICKS Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka: 1st Test: SS Select 2 (SD & HD), 9 a.m. South Africa vs India: 2nd ODI, Sony Ten 1 (SD & HD), 1.30 p.m. ILeague: Star Sports 2 (SD & HD), 2.30 & 5.30 p.m. Badminton: India Open, SS Select 2, (SD & HD), 4 p.m. ISL: Star Sports 2 (SD & HD), 8 p.m.
Djokovic undergoes medical intervention PARIS
Novak Djokovic revealed on Friday that he had undergone “a small medical intervention” in an attempt to cure his long-standing right elbow injury. “Truth be told, there were many different opinions, different diagnoses, different suggestions. I agreed with my team that I would try different methods and a few days ago I accepted to do a small medical intervention on my elbow,” he said. AFP
Double for Sumathira, Neel, Kenisha Abhishek Singh, Aparna Roy declared ‘best athletes’; Tamil Nadu tops athletics medals table KHELO INDIA
Andy Murray hailed unheralded British compatriot Cameron Norrie as “amazing” as the Davis Cup underdogs delivered a series of body blows to the established powers of men’s tennis. World No. 114 Norrie, making his debut in the competition, stunned Spain’s 23rd-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to pull Britain level in the World Group tie. AFP
Abhay loses to Abdullah in final DOHA
Abhay Singh lost to Abdullah Al Muzayen of Kuwait 11-2, 11-3, 11-2 in the final of the Qatar Circuit VI, a PSA World Tour event here on Friday. Abhay was the second seed while Abdullah was unseeded. The Kuwait player made giant strides, beating the top seed Iker Pajares of Spain in the semifinal.
Om Prakash bags bronze
Sumathira Balakrishnan of Tamil Nadu clocked her per sonal best 56.39 seconds to clinch the girls’ 400m gold as the athletics competition concluded in the Khelo India School Games at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday. Sumathira won the relay gold as well for Tamil Nadu, along with M. Kowsalya, Stef Olimba and V. Lekha, ahead of Kerala. Abhishek Singh of Uttar Pradesh and Aparna Roy of Kerala were declared ‘best athletes’. Tamil Nadu topped the medals table with ve gold, eight silver and six bronze medals. Kerala had ve gold, seven silver and ve bronze, followed by Maharashtra with ve gold, four silver and two bronze. In swimming, Neel Roy and Kenisha Gupta of Maha rashtra won the 50m frees tyle as well as the 200m indi vidual medley. Srihari Nataraj of Karnataka added the 200m backstroke gold to his medley relay gold.
Om Prakash Mitharwal won the bronze ahead of compatriot Dharmendra Singh in the second air pistol match in the Intershoot international air gun shooting championship. Joao Costa of Portugal beat former World champion Tomoyuki Matsuda to the gold. The results: 10m air pistol: Men: 1. Joao Costa (Por) 242.8 (571); 2. Tomoyuki Matsuda (Jpn) 242.2 (584); 3. Om Prakash Mitharwal 221.4 (576). 4. Dharmendra Singh 197.0 (583); 7. Gaurav Tomar 137.7 (579).
That’s two! Sumathira Balakrishnan of Tamil Nadu had a great day on the track, winning the 400m individual and relay golds. SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT *
400m: 1. Dhanush Kumar Gandi (AP) 49.05; 2. D. Srikanth (Tel) 49.09; 3. TK Sayooj (Ker) 49.75. Pole vault: 1. Rakesh Gond (Mah) 4.70; 2. Deepak Yadav (UP) 4.30; 3. Sandeep Kumar (UP) 4.15. Hammer: 1. Arnav Yadav (UP) 64.09; 2. Afsar Ahmed (UP) 60.54; 3. Paran Deshwal (Pun) 58.14. 4x100m: 1. Maharashtra 42.83; 2. Kerala 43.14; 3. Tamil Nadu 43.68. 4x400m: 1. Kerala 3:32.75; 2.
Seven Eleven wins feature event HYDERABAD: Seven Eleven (S.S. Tanwar up) won the Shavan Ku mar Memorial Cup, the main event of the races on Saturday. Trained by Laxman Singh, the winner is owned by Mr. Teja Gollapudi.
SECUNDERABAD CLUB PLATE (DIV. I), (1200m), Cat. III, 4yo & over, rated 26 to 46: GOOD OPINION (A.M. Tograllu) 1, Raa jneeti (S.S. Tanwar) 2, Lord Gift (B.R. Kumar) 3, Mean Machine (Akshay Kumar) 4. Not run: Apowerx. Nk., 21/4 and 1/4. 1m, 12.96s. 9 (w), 5, 8, 6 (p), SHP: 18, FP: 38, Q: 36, Tanala: 129. Fa vourite: Good Opinion. Owners: M/s. Soma Raju Adipudi & Laksh mana Chowdary Yalamanchili. Trainer: Zoheb Shaikh.
H.P. MISTRY MEMORIAL CUP (DIV. II), (1100m), Cat. II, maiden 3yo only (Terms): MR. BRUSS (K. Sai Kiran) 1, Soul Empress (A.M. Tograllu) 2, That’s My Magic (Akshay Kumar) 3, Bay watch Babe (N. Rawal) 4. 11/4, 1 and sh. hd. 1m, 6.55s. 18 (w), 8, 12, 5 (p), SHP. 38, FP: 321, Q: 254, Tanala: 879. Favourite: That’s My Magic. Owners: M/s. G. Narsing Rao, Subodh Kumar Ananthula & Lt. Col. A.R. Raju. Trainer: Arjun Anne.
H.P. MISTRY MEMORIAL CUP (DIV. I), (1100m), Cat. II, maiden 3yo only (Terms): SOLAR HEIGHTS (Kiran Naidu) 1, Air Salute (N.S. Parmar) 2, Wings of Eagles (K. Sai Kiran) 3, Super Act (Akshay Kumar) 4. Not run: Crimson Fire. 11/2, 1/2 and 2. 1m, 06.60s. 61 (w), 12, 7, 6 (p), SHP: 21, FP: 753, Q: 320, Tanala: 1210. Favourite: Wings of Eagles. Own ers: M/s. P.S. Ranganathan & M. Prashant Kumar. Trainer: R.H. Sequeira.
SUNNY BLOSSOM PLATE (DIV. I), (1400m), Cat. III, 5yo & over, rated 26 to 46: CHARLIE BROWN (N. Rawal) 1, Man of the Series (S. Pawar) 2, Aston Doulton (Kunal Bunde) 3, West ern Express (Aneel) 4. Not run: Royal Hero, Sher Afghan. 1/4, 3/4 and 1. 1m, 27.44s. 16 (w), 6, 8, 6 (p), SHP: 27, FP: 101, Q: 59, Tanala: 236. Favourite: Lavender. Owners: M/s. Harinath Reddy
MUMBAI: Lady In Lace and Preval ent Force should fight out the fin ish of the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby (Gr.1), the most prestigious race of the Indian racing calen dar, to be staged here on Sunday (Feb. 4) afternoon. The jockey for Aggregated in the above race will be declared later. There will be no false rails. An amount of 50,00,000 will be added to the combined Jackpot Pool collection. DR. M.A.M. RAMASWAMY JUVENILE SPRINT (1,000m), Maiden, 3yo only, 2.30 p.m: 1. Clark Kent (6) Chouhan 56, 2. Ju lio Cesaro (1) Dashrath 56, 3. New bury (3) Trevor 56, 4. Run Forest Run (2) Srinath 56, 5. Albemarie (5) Zervan 54.5, 6. Colombi anaprincess (4) Nirmal 54.5, 7. Godsword (8) Chinoy 54.5 and 8. Iconia (7) Allan 54.5. 1. RUN FOREST RUN, 2. GODSWORD, 3. JULIO CESARO RULE BREAKER TROPHY BY SHAZE (1,000m), Cl. IV, rated 20 to 46, 3.00: 1. Ridgewood Star (2) Neeraj 59, 2. Kingston Heath (3) Srinath 58.5, 3. Art O War (9) Chinoy 56.5, 4. Wilshire (6) Tre vor 56, 5. Yutaka (5) A. Imran Khan 56, 6. Checkmate (1) Sandesh 53.5, 7. Southpaw (8) Merchant 53.5, 8. Abraxas (7) Dashrath 52.5 and 9. Furiosa (4)
G. Amit 51. 1. KINGSTON HEATH, 2. CHECKMATE, 3. WILSHIRE
SAKSHI GALLERY MILLION (2,400m), Cl. IV, rated 20 to 46, 3.30: 1. Daughterofthesun (1) Yash 59, 2. Baby Face (9) Daman 58, 3. Grand Accord (7) A. Imran Khan 58, 4. Jager Bomb (3) T.S. Jodha 57, 5. Smasher (4) Sandesh 57, 6. Happy Birthday (8) Trevor 55.5, 7. Fantasia (6) Neeraj 55, 8. Silver Edge (10) S. Amit 54.5, 9. Gdansk (2) Chouhan 52.5 and 10. Tomahawk (5) Zervan 52.5. 1. SMASHER, 2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, 3. SILVER EDGE
#4 4 6 6 0 1
DELTIN CASINO MILLION (1,600m), Cl. IV, rated 20 to 46, 4.15: 1. Othelo (11) Daman 60.5, 2. Pacific Dunes (5) Santosh 59, 3. Reds Revenge (12) Trevor 58.5, 4. Eiger’s Tiger (1) Chinoy 57, 5. Harmony Of The Sea (2) A. Im ran Khan 57, 6. Elixir (13) Neeraj 56, 7. Goshawk (7) T.S. Jodha 55, 8. Marvel (10) Ajinkya 55, 9. Arre cife (8) Zervan 52.5, 10. Brain storm (4) Probert 52.5, 11. Hells Bells (withdrawn), 12. Astral Flare (6) Sandesh 51, 13. In It To Win It (3) Chouhan 50.5 and 14. Tower ing Storm (9) Dashrath 50. 1. BRAINSTORM, 2. ELIXIR, 3. REDS REVENGE
Warming up: Ankita Raina and Rutuja Bhosale hope to get used to the conditions before the tie. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
Special Correspondent NEW DELHI
The Indian girls, who as sembled in strength with Ankita Raina and Prarthana Thombare, liked the centre court at the R.K. Khanna Stadium as they went through two sessions of training on Saturday in preparation for the Fed Cup AsiaOceania group1 tennis tournament next week. “It is the best Delhi weather we can hope to have at this time. “The girls are getting used to the courts and they like it,” said captain Ankita Bhambri after the evening session. “It is good to play some matches. Karman is coming
B.K. RATTONSEY MEMORIAL MAIDEN MULTI-MILLION (1,200m), Maiden 3yo only, 4.45: 1. Chosen One (2) A. Imran Khan 56, 2. Cormorant (3) Zervan 56, 3. Impala (5) Dashrath 56, 4. Kipling (8) Sandesh 56, 5. Lambretta (10) Sweeney 56, 6. Notting Hill (1) C.S. Jodha 56, 7. Perpetual Winning (4) Neeraj 56, 8. Steppenwolf (6) Chouhan 56, 9. Dance The Dream (9) Srinath 54.5, 10. Eyes For You (11) Chinoy 54.5 and 11. Shivalik Queen (7) Trevor 54.5. 1. STEPPENWOLF, 2. PERPETUAL WINNING, 3. DANCE THE DREAM
KINGFISHER ULTRA INDIAN DERBY (Gr. 1) (2,400m), 4yo only, 5.30: 1. Aggregated (4) ( JWDL)57, 2. Big Sur (5) Sweeney 57, 3. Grand Passage (2) Bhawani 57, 4. Perfect Star (9) Allan 57, 5. Prevalent Force (12) Srinath 57, 6. Rochester (6) C.S. Jodha 57, 7. Zenon (11) Sandesh 57, 8. Daffodil (8) Parmar 55.5, 9. Lady In Lace (3) Suraj 55.5, 10. Manifold (1) Probert 55.5, 11. Sana (10) Trevor 55.5 and 12. Themis (7) Neeraj 55.5. 1. LADY IN LACE, 2. PREVALENT FORCE, 3. MANIFOLD
PADMINI GOBIND JHANGIANI MILLION (1,200m), Cl. III, rated 40 to 66, 6.15: 1. Flag Flying (4) Ajinkya 59.5, 2. Gallant Knight (6) Allan 58.5, 3. Beshitkash (12) A.
Imran Khan 58, 4. In The Stars (5) Trevor 57.5, 5. Nicholas (1) Sandesh 57.5, 6. Renato (8) Yash 57.5, 7. Rosella (11) Zeeshan 55.5, 8. Slam Dunk (10) Kadam 55.5, 9. Sparkling Eyes (9) Suraj 55.5, 10. Adeline (14) Dashrath 54, 11. Ori on’s Belt (7) Chinoy 53.5, 12. Triple Threat (2) Chouhan 53, 13. Collegium (13) C.S. Jodha 52.5 and 14. Gold Field (3) S. Amit 52.5. 1. IN THE STARS, 2. FLAG FLYING, 3. RENATO
EBCO LIVSMART MILLION (1,000m), Cl. II, rated 60 to 86, 6.45: 1. Gangnam Style (6) Jaykumar 60.5, 2. Deep Diver (10) Raghuveer 60, 3. Anacapri (7) Zervan 59.5, 4. Governor General (8) Neeraj 58.5, 5. Lincoln (5) Sandesh 58.5, 6. Undisputed (11) Merchant 56.5, 7. Allora (12) A. Im ran Khan 55.5, 8. Wild Fire (2) Dashrath 53, 9. God’s Own (4) Chinoy 52.5, 10. House Of Com mons (1) C.S. Jodha 51, 11. Double Nine (9) Chouhan 49.5 and 12. Rising Brave (3) Nazil 49. 1. ALLORA, 2. ANACAPRI, 3. LINCOLN. Day’s Best: SMASHER Double: BRAINSTORM — IN THE STARS Jackpot: 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8. Treble: (i) 5, 6 & 7. (ii) 6, 7 & 8. Tanala: All races. Super Jackpot: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8.
from London tomorrow. The others are already here. It will be good to have a few days of training to get used to the conditions before the tie,” said Ankita Bhambri. While Ankita Raina, Pran jala Yadlapalli, Prarthana Thombare and Rutuja Bho sale trained for about two hours in the evening, Zeel Desai was expected to join training on Sunday. Rutuja and Zeel are the reserve players for the tie. India has been clubbed with Kazakhstan, China and Hong Kong while the other group has Chinese Taipei, Japan, Thailand and Korea. The champion from the group will qualify for World Group2 playo.
Holder Kerala makes it to the nal Coimbatore: Defending champion Kerala raced to a 4428 win over Haryana in the seminal of the 42nd allIndia electricity board basketball tournament here on Saturday.
The results: Seminal: Kerala 44 (Arun Babu 11) bt Haryana 28 (Arun Kumar 21). Quarternals: Kerala 71 (E.R. Anjith 28, Nithu Paul Stephen 13) bt Karnataka 39 (M.L. Anand 16); Punjab 60 (Gurubaksh Singh 21, Harpreet Singh 16) bt Telangana 32 (Srinivasa Rao 12, Ayodhya 10); Tamil Nadu 75 (Ravichandran 24, Vincent Sagayaraj 20, Sivakumar 18, Karuppasamy 10) bt Maharashtra 60 (Pandip Kamble 18, Shatru Ghana Gokhale 13, Pankaj Kumar Gede 11).
Pioneer wins Ebco Worksmart Breeders’ Produce Stakes MUMBAI: Pioneer, ridden by P.S. Chouhan, won the Ebco Works mart Breeders’ Produce Stakes (Gr.3), the feature event of Sat urday’s evening races. The winner is owned by Mr. Jaydev M. Mody rep. J.M. Livestock Pvt Ltd, Mr. & Mrs. Shapoor P. Mistry rep. Manjri Horse Breeders’ Farm Pvt Ltd & M/s. Ram H. Shroff & Raj H. Shroff rep. M/s. Stride Livestock Pvt Ltd. M. Narredu trains the winner.
KINGFISHER ULTRA MAX MILLION (1,800m), Cl. V, rated 1 to 26: ARTUS (Chouhan) 1, Finest Moment (A. Imran Khan) 2, Dazzling Eyes (C.S. Jodha) 3 and Cisticola (S. Amit) 4. Not run: Cloudburst. 31/4, 21/2 and 11/2. 1m, 51.43s. 54 (w), 20, 20 and 26 (p). SHP: 38, FP:304, Q: 124, Tanala: 825 and 372. Favourite: Finest Moment. Owners: Mr. Jay
dev M. Mody rep. J.M. Livestock Pvt. Ltd. Trainer: Nosher Cama.
R.N. KANGA GOLD TROPHY (Gr. 3) (1,600m), 4yo & over: YOUR ROYAL MAJESTY (Neeraj) 1, Costa Del Sol (Probert) 2, New England (C.S. Jodha) 3 and B Fifty Two (Suraj) 4. 3/4, 1/2 and Lnk. 1m, 37.76s. 68 (w), 18, 44 and 38 (p). SHP: 144, FP: 801, Q: 515, Tanala: 7,849. Favourite: Supreme General. Owners: Mr. & Mrs. Keki D. Mehta and Mr. Dara K. Mehta rep. Darashaw Bloodstock Pvt. Ltd. Trainer: P. Shroff.
DR. M.A.M. RAMASWAMY MILLION (1,800m), Cl. III, rated 40 to 66: GLORIOSUS (Neeraj) 1, Costa Brava (Trevor) 2, Sussex Pride (Srinath) 3 and Auburn (Sandesh) 4. 2, 11/2 and hd. 1m, 49.58s. 269 (w), 59, 13 and 50 (p). SHP: 29, FP:
1,711, Q: 563, Tanala: 7,416 and 9,534. Favourite: Costa Brava. Owners: Mr. Homi F. Mehta, Mrs. Anaheeta H. Mehta, Mrs. Liane M. Luthria, M/s. Jehangir Homi Me hta & Milan Luthria. Trainer: Im tiaz Sait. EBCO WORKSMART BREEDERS’ PRODUCE STAKES (Gr. 3) (1,400m), 3yo only: PIONEER (Chouhan) 1, Mozart (Sandesh) 2, Adjudicate (Suraj) 3 and Hope And Glory (Probert) 4. 13/4, hd. and 4. 1m, 23.99s. 37 (w), 13, 17 and 11 (p). SHP: 35, FP: 186, Q: 95, Tanala: 242 and 85. Favourite: Ad judicate. Owners: Mr. Jaydev M. Mody rep. J.M. Livestock Pvt Ltd, Mr. & Mrs. Shapoor P. Mistry rep. Manjri Horse Breeders’ Farm Pvt. Ltd. & M/s. Ram H. Shroff & Raj H. Shroff rep. M/s. Stride Livestock Pvt. Ltd. Trainer: M. Narredu.
SOHNA STUD MILLION (1,400m), Cl. II, rated 60 to 86: CAMBRIDGE (Srinath) 1, Uncle Scrooge (Sandesh) 2, Summer Rays (Trevor) 3 and Pugnacious (Chouhan) 4. Not run: Timeless. 2, 13/4 and 3/4. 1m, 22.73s. 26 (w), 12, 41 and 19 (p). SHP: 167, FP: 526, Q: 700, Tanala: 1,905 and 408. Favourite: Star Councillor. Owners: United Racing & Blood stock Breeders Ltd. Trainer: P. Shroff.
KINGFISHER ULTRA SUNDOWNER MILLION (1,000m), Cl. V, rated 1 to 26: DOLPHIN (C.S. Jodha) 1, Blazing Steps (Chouhan) 2, Cherry Blossom (Zeeshan) 3 and Dance Of Fire (Chinoy) 4. 2 1/2, 13/4 and 1. 59.65s. 39 (w), 20, 21 and 13 (p). SHP: 95, FP: 191, Q: 167, Tanala: 455 and 160. Fa vourite: Cherry Blossom. Owners:
Mr. Kapil Bahl and Mr. Surendra Kumar Bagri rep. Sprinters and Stayers Livestock PL & Mr. Rakesh R. Kapoor. Trainer: S. Waheed.
ADDA52.COM POKER MILLION (1,200m), Cl. IV, rated 20 to 46: ARC SHINE (Merchant) 1, Ten erife (Dashrath) 2, Democrat (A. Imran Khan) 3 and Pokerface (Chouhan) 4. Lnk, 11/2 and 1. 1m, 11.51s. 59 (w), 19, 13 and 33 (p). SHP: 43, FP: 277, Q: 144, Tanala: 2,243 and 1,362. Favourite: Ten erife. Owners: Mr. Ravindra G. Gowande rep. Pedigreestar Ra cing & Breeding Services LLP. Trainer: S.N. Joshi. Jackpot: 70%: 1, 75, 697 (8 tkts.) and 30%: 9,036 (25 tkts.). Treble: 1,751 (38 tkts.). Super jackpot: 70%: 1,75, 834 (carried forward) and 30%: 52, 750 (1 tkt.).
For a brief moment, as he came up with successive bo geys on the 15th and 16th holes in the nal round on Saturday, Syed Saqib Ahmed felt his title chances slipping away in the PGTI Cochin Masters. The 24yearold golfer from Bengaluru had pro duced amazing play over the last two days, including a holeinone at Nedumbas sery’s CIAL Golf Club, but suddenly everything ap peared to be going up in smoke. He then found out from his friends that Delhi’s Ho ney Baisoya, his nearest challenger who had started half hour earlier, had n ished with a sevenunder and realised that he had to buck up. And Saqib found his touch just in time, pro duced birdies in the last two holes, and clinched his mai den professional title. The victory came with a cash prize of 6 lakh and
\ REGIONAL ROUND-UP \
VIJAYAWADA: Mumbai defeated Chandigarh by 19 runs while Delhi Secretariat scored an emphatic nine wicket to enter the nal of the allIndia Civil Services T20 tournament on Saturday. The nal will be held on Monday. The scores (seminals):
Prized possession: Syed Saqib Ahmed with the PGTI Cochin Masters Trophy.
took Saqib to the top of the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit af ter two events. “I really felt the pressure after the bogeys on the 15th and 16th because both the par ves are actually easy holes,” said Saqib, who n ished with a threeshot lead over the pretournament fa vourite Baisoya. “But I had a birdie on the 17th, which I think is one of the toughest. And the 18th went like a dream, I really didn’t think I could handle it so well. This is really a big burden o my head.” The title ended three
years of waiting for Saqib. “I dedicate this, my rst pro title, to my parents and my grandfather,” said the young man and then turned emotional. Cochin International Air port Limited managing di rector V.J. Kurian gave away the prizes. The nal placings (par 288, four day total, top 10): 1. Syed Saqib Ahmed (278), 2. Honey Baisoya (281), 3. M. Dharma & Abhijit Singh Chadha (both 283), 5. Ankur Chadha (284), 6. Veer Ahlawat, Maniram, Gaurav Pratap Singh (all 285), 9. Arjun Prasad & Karandeep Kochhar (286).
Mumbai 174 for nine in 20 overs bt Chandigarh 155 in 19.5 overs. Chennai 102 for eight in 20 overs lost to Delhi Secretariat 105 for one in 14.5 overs.
Vinay Kumar HS and St. Vincent Depaul triumph
ANANTAPUR: Vinay Kumar HS won the boys’ title in the RDT Father Vincent Ferrer memorial super league hockey tournament on Saturday. St. Vincent Depaul took the girls’ honours. Final standings: Boys: 1. Vinay Kumar HS, 2.
GUNTUR: Arvind defeated Meeraj 81 to enter the boys’ second round of the All India Tennis Association championship series on Saturday. The results (rst round): Boys: P. Arvind by Meeraj 8-1;
Sampreet bt Ishaan 8-1; Preetam bt Satwick 8-0; Hemavardhan bt Viheath 8-3 ; A. Arjun bt P.V. Subash 8-0; Sudeep Ravi bt Mohit Mourya 8-0. G.T. Srihari by V. Abhishek 8-4; G. Srihari bt Sri Karthik 8-5; Mohammad Mustafa bt K. Murali 8-0. Raghu Pradhan bt P. Surya 8-0; Jack Marshal bt Vishnuvardhan 8-0. Girls: Sai Sri Aneesha bt Havishma 8-0; Ch. Pravalika bt P. Lavanya 8-0. A. Veronica bt Nagatanuja 8-0; Krishnaveni bt Yasasvi 8-0; Devasree bt Y. Khyah 8-3; Maliskha bt V. Harshini 8-1.
Siva scores winner for Visakhapatnam Hockey Visakhapatnam, thanks to Siva’s goal, defeated Andhra Pradesh Police XI in the APTDC third Amaravathi Hockey super
league on Saturday. The results: Hockey Visakhapatnam 1 (Siva) bt AP Police 0; Unique Guntur 5 (Lokesh 2, Raju 2, Teja Babu) bt Chittoor 2 (Durga, Gangadhar); AGORC XI 3 (Chinnappa Rao, Suman, Manikanta) bt SAAP 2 (G. Siva Anand 2).
ONGC stuns IOC, wins title HYDERABAD: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) stunned starstudded Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to claim the men’s team championship title of the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board inter unit table tennis tournament at the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy indoor stadium on Saturday. In the veterans’ section, Oil India Limited (OIL) emerged on top in the nal standings. The results: Team championship: Men: Final: ONGC bt IOC 3-0. Seminals: ONGC bt OIL 3-0;
IOC bt BPCL 3-1. Quarternals: OIL bt EIL 3-0; IOC bt HPCL 3-0.
City pays for Sterling’s big miss Shares honours with Burnley; Sanchez scores his rst goal for Man United in its 20 win
Lizarazu tips France to win WC ‘India will have a great national team soon’ Vijay Lokapally
Burnley 1 (Gudmundsson 82) drew with Manchester City 1 (Danilo 22); Bournemouth 2 (King 70, Mousset 79) bt Stoke 1 (Shaqiri 5); Brighton 3 (Murray 8, Izquierdo 59, Gross 75) bt West Ham 1 (Hernandez 30); Leicester 1 (Vardy 17) drew with Swansea 1 (Fernandez 53); Manchester United 2 (Lukaku 55, Sanchez 68) bt Hudders eld 0; West Brom 2 (Hegazi 4, Rondon 72) lost to Southamp ton 3 (Lemina 40, Stephens 43, WardProwse 55).
EURO LEAGUES Agencies BURNLEY
An extraordinary miss by Ra heem Sterling proved the turning point as Burnley re covered to snatch a draw against runaway Premier League leader Manchester City 11 on Saturday. Pep Guardiola’s team, leading from Danilo’s rst half goal, looked well in con trol but Sterling’s blunder 20 minutes from time oered a lifeline and renewed belief to the home side. Sterling so mehow put the ball wide just one metre out from the emp ty goal. And eight minutes from time, Matt Lowton’s deep cross from the right allowed Johann Berg Gudmundsson to ghost past the City back line and score with a leftfoot volley from six yards.
La Liga: Real Sociedad 5 (Wil lian Jose 32, Illarramendi 62, 89, Canales 75, Elustondo 82) bt Deportivo La Coruna 0.
Oops! Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling shoots wide with an empty Burnley goal in front of him. REUTERS *
It is just the fourth time Ci ty has dropped points in the Premier League this season, while a draw extends Burn ley’s winless run to nine league games, but the Cla rets boss Sean Dyche was de
lighted with his side’s reaction. Alexis Sanchez scored his rst goal for new side Man chester United on Saturday on his rst appearance at Old Traord, netting the second
against Hudderseld. The Chile international saw his penalty saved in the 68th minute but scored when the ball richocheted o goalkeeper Jonas Lossl. The results: Premier League:
Bundesliga: Mainz 0 lost to Bayern Munich 2 (Ribery 33, Ro driguez 44); Hertha Berlin 1 (Kalou 58) drew with Hoen heim 1 (Kramaric 39pen); Schalke 1 (Konoplyanka 24) lost to Werder Bremen 2 (Kruse 79, Junuzovic 90+3); Wolfsburg 1 (Origi 24) drew with VfB Stutt gart 1 (Gomez 60); Freiburg 0 drew with Bayer Leverkusen 0.
Amitabha Das Sharma KOLKATA
Bengaluru FC consolidated its position on top of the ISL standings, downing the host and defending champion ATK 20, at the Salt Lake Sta dium here on Saturday. Bengaluru went ahead through an owngoal from ATK defender Jordi Figueras before Miku found the insu rance goal late in the second half. The visitors were reduced to 10 men when defender Rahul Bheke was given the marching orders midway through the second half. Costly error Bengaluru was gifted an ear ly lead when Figueras paid
DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD B
BFC went ahead through an owngoal from ATK defender Jordi Figueras
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the second half
his upfront colleague Martin Paterson. Before the latter could reach the ball, it was headed back by the Bengalu ru defender Juan Fernandez, only to nd Jayesh Rane. The ATK winger’s angular header came o the far upright and then the back of the Bengaluru goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu. Before Rane could take the re bound, Rahul Bheke cleared it for a corner. Even as the host desper ately tried to restore parity,
and reaching the Euro 2016 nals. We look forward to him taking the team to the nal this year, and maybe winning the title.” Lizarazu was condent of FC Bayern’s chances in this season’s Champions League. “FC Bayern has full potential to win the Champions League. However, there are other top teams — Barcelo na, PSG, Real Madrid, and Manchester City in the fray.” Lizarazu praised FC Bayern Adidas Youth Cup’s initiative to promote grass
Bengaluru was reduced to 10 men in the 69th minute when Bheke collected his se cond booking in six minutes. Despite being short in num bers, the visitor made a few good counterattacks as the host went all out in attack. Venezuelan striker Miku’s 72nd minute attempt was saved on the line by ATK de fender Ashutosh Singh be fore the former availed the second opportunity coming in the 83rd minute to double Bengaluru’s lead. The win took Bengaluru to 27 points from 13 matches, four clear of secondplaced Chennaiyin FC. The two take on each oth er next Tuesday. The result: ATK 0 lost to Bengaluru FC 2 (Jordi Figueras 3og, Miku 83).
Consolidates its position by moving four points clear of Chennaiyin FC the price of being a bit too casual. The Spaniard ended up sending the ball into his own net as he tried to clear a square pass from the Benga luru winger Kuman Udanta Singh. The ball swerved beauti fully into the goal beating goalkeeper Debjit Majumdar, who made a desperate dive sensing something was amiss. After conceding the suici dal goal in the third minute, ATK tried to come back into the game but struggled in its bid as the visitor kept the ball in control for a greater part of the exchanges. The host had a real chance of equalising in the 33rd minute when Bipin Singh set a probing cross for
Former World Cupwinner (1998) Bixente Lizarazu, in Delhi to promote the FC Bayern Youth Cup 201718, backed France to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. “France has the potential to win the FIFA World Cup, and if not, reach the top four for sure. Fans are really look ing forward to a phenome nal football extravaganza with so many excellent foot ballers ready to show their best game,” said the French footballer and FC Bayern Hall of Famer. Lizarazu, who has won the Bundesliga, DFB Cups, the Intercontinental Cup and the Champions League in 2001, praised the work of former captain Didier Des champs with the national team. “He is doing a great job with the team qualifying for the quarternals in Brazil
root football in India. “I think it is a great initiative and good concept. FC Bayern has been organising the Youth Cup in many countries like India, China, Taiwan, South Africa, among others. It is a very good opportunity for young talent to showcase their skills and also win an oppor tunity to play the World Fi nals at the Allianz Arena in Munich and get trained by the best. The tournament enables us to scout the top players from select countries.” Speaking about football in India, the French star said, “I can imagine football to be the most popular sport in In dia, with such talent and passion for the game. I am sure they will have a great national team soon and qualify for the World Cup, and become tough oppo nents for others.”
Antony saves CCFC’s blushes
Bengaluru FC gets the better of ATK ISL
Substitute Beautin Antony did the rescue act in the 73rd minute as Chennai City FC (CCFC) settled for a 11 draw against Aizawl FC in the Hero ILeague clash at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday. The CCFC men were in for a rude shock in the third mi nute as Yugo Kobayashi, Ai zawl’s Japanese star, made the best use of a lovely cross that came his way from the right and a fumble by custo dian Uros Poljanec to shoot the team into the lead.
#4 4 6 6 0 1
Two minutes later, Joa chim created a great chance for Soosairaj. The CCFC cap tain had the net at his mercy but his powerpacked shot found the bar much to the dismay of the crowd.
In hot pursuit: CCFC’s Michael Soosairaj, left, whose powerpacked shot found the bar in the fth minute, and R. Laldinliana of Aizawl FC battle for the ball. M. PERIASAMY *
Down by a goal, CCFC upped the ante with splen did runs and eective cross es from both Soosairaj and Alexander Romario but Ed win Vanspaul’s header on both occasions either went wide or over the top of the bar. Charles Anandraj did get a
dolly as well later in the game from Vanspaul and he played a similar line. It was quite agonising for both the team and its spectators to see such easy sitters not be ing converted. The second half was as fastpaced as the rst. Ai zawl, after attacking for
about ten minutes, went on the defensive. The CCFC men mounted the pressure at this juncture and nally managed to draw level through Antony and, the team’s head coach V. Soundararajan heaved a huge sigh of relief. It was re freshing to see the CCFC men in a celebratory mood after quite some time at home. Antony, who replaced Cleetus in the 57th minute, cashed in on a defensive lapse and strode in smartly before curling a shot into the net. That set the tone for the rest of the match. The results: At Coimbatore: Aizawl FC 1 (Yugo Kobayashi 3) drew with 1 CCFC (Beautin Antony 73). At Shillong: Mohun Bagan 3 (Dipanda Dicka 30, Akram Moghrabi 86, Sheikh Faiaz 89th) bt Shillong Lajong FC 0.
Lynn and Maxwell help Australia cruise home Stanlake wrecks New Zealand toporder; Tye scalps four 15 overs with 21 balls to spare. Australia’s victory was earlier set up by towering paceman Billy Stanlake whose erce pace justied Warner’s decision to bowl rst, as he wrecked New Zealand’s top order with three wickets in the space of his rst eight balls. Andrew Tye claimed four wickets as Australia restrict ed New Zealand to a below par 117 for nine o 20 overs. Tye mopped up the Kiwi tail to nish with four wick
TRI-SERIES Agence France-Presse Sydney
Hardly stretched: P.V. Sindhu eased past Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the seminal of the India Open on Saturday. SANDEEP SAXENA *
Sindhu proves too good for Intanon She will take on Beiwen Zhang in the nal INDIA OPEN RAKESH RAO NEW DELHI
Favourite P. V. Sindhu pro duced a scintillating exhibi tion of controlled stroke play to win 2113, 2115 in 48 minutes against former World champion Ratchanok Intanon in the second semi nal of the $350,000 India Open badminton on Saturday. Taking the court at 10 p.m. in what was the last x ture of the eightmatch card on the TV court, Sindhu lost the rst two points but then reeled o 12 points on the trot to lead 133. The 10point lead provided enough cush ion for Sindhu to stay in control. Sindhu’s crosscourt smashes and deft touches at the net kept Intanon guess ing. Sindhu, who won her previous encounter against the Thai girl last year to bring her headtohead re cord to 24, showed some ex ceptional anticipation. However, owing to the poor scheduling of the semi nals, the exhausted winner of SindhuIntanon match will take on a wellrested Bei wen Zhang in Sunday’s nal. Unlike Zhang, who n ished her match four hours the start of the second semi nal, Sindhu or Intanon were bound to get far less time to recover.
The 11thranked Zhang, seeded ve, battled for 63 minutes to overcome sixth seed Cheung Ngan Yi 1421, 2112, 2119. Zhang got her game together in the second game and carried on the mo mentum to hold four match points in the decider. But the Hong Kong girl valiantly saved three matchpoints be fore she missed a dribble from Zhang. The men’s nal will oer third seed Chen Tien Chen an opportunity to do one better than he did last year. The Chinese Taipei player, runnerup to Viktor Axelsen here in the last edition, over came unseeded Chinese Qiao Bin 2321, 2116. In the titlematch, he faces another fourth seeded Chinese Shi Yuqi. The 2017 All England run nerup Shi Yuqi needed 69 minutes to end the dream run of World No. 86 Iskan dar Zulkarnain 1821, 2110, 2119. The Malaysian, the back toback conqueror of second seed B. Srikanth and Sameer Verma, held a 1612 lead in the decider before the eighthranked Shi Yuqi’s re lentless attack nally found a way through his defences. In fact, the point of the match came when Shi Yuqi held two matchpoitns at 2018. In a 42shot rally, Zulkar nain came out stronger after
the Chinese netted a fore hand. However, o the next point, the match stood de cided when Zulkarnain mis judged the ight of the shut tle that fell ‘in’. In mixed doubles, the lone Indian pair of eighth seed Pranav Chopra and N. Sikky Reddy lost in straight games to their higher ranked Danish rivals. The results (seminals): Men’s singles: 3Chen Tien Chen (Tpe) bt Qiao Bin (Chn) 2321, 2116; 4Shi Yuqi (Chn) bt Iskandar Zulkarnain (Mal) 1821, 2110, 2119. Women’s singles: 1P.V. Sindhu bt Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 21 13, 2115; 5Beiwen Zhang (USA) bt 6Cheung Ngan Yi (Hkg) 1421, 2112, 2119. Men’s doubles: 1Marcus Fer naldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan (Ina) 2111, 2116; 4Kim Astrup and Anders Skaaru Rasmussen (Den) bt Han Chengkai and Zhou Haodong (Chn) 2119, 2114. Women’s doubles: 3Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu (Ina) bt 1Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen (Den) 21 14, 1921, 2118; 2Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Pra jongjai (Tha) bt Du Yue and Li Yinhui (Chn) 2119, 2117. Mixed doubles: Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Ina) bt 6He Jiting and Du Yue (Chn) 2119, 2422; 5Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pe dersen (Den) bt Pranav Chopra and Sikki Reddy 2116, 2119.
Powerhitters Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell pro pelled Australia to a convinc ing sevenwicket victory ov er New Zealand in the rst triseries Twenty20 match here on Saturday. Lynn (44 runs o 33 balls) and Maxwell (40 not out o 24 balls) shared a scorching 77run stand from just 53 balls to steer Australia to the rainreduced total of 95 from
ets for 23. Australia had New Zea land at 60 for ve before Co lin de Grandhomme hit an unbeaten 38 from 24 balls with three sixes and a four. Australia plays England in the second match in Hobart on Wednesday. The scores: New Zealand 117 for nine in 20 overs (C. de Grandhomme 38 n.o, B. Stan lake three for 15, A. Tye four for 23) lost to Australia 96 for three wkts. in 11.3 overs (C. Lynn 44, G. Maxwell 40 n.o, T. Boult two for 14). Target re vised to 95 in 15 overs.
Paes and Jeevan to meet in nal The results: $125,000 Challen ger, Dallas, USA: Doubles (seminals): Joe Salisbury (GBr) & Leander Paes bt Austin Krajicek & Jackson Withrow (USA) 76(3), 64; Christopher Rungkat (Ina) & Jeevan Nedun chezhiyan bt Dennis Novikov (US) & Goncalo Oliveira (Por) 63, 63. $250,000 WTA, Chinese Tai pei: Doubles (prequarter nals): KaiChen Chang & Chia Jung Chuang (Tpe) bt Peang tarn Plipuech (Tha) & Prarthana Thombare 26, 63, . $25,000 ITF women, Glasgow, Great Britain: Prequarter nals: Georgina GarciaPerez
SPORTS BUREAU DALLAS
Leander Paes and Jeevan Ne dunchezhiyan set up a dou bles title clash in the $125,000 Challenger tennis on Friday. Paes and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain sailed past Aus tin Krajicek and Jackson Withrow of the United States 76(3), 64. Jeevan and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia defeat ed Dennis Novikov (USA) and Goncalo Oliveira (Portu gal) 63, 63.
Late strikes hurt Bangladesh Agence France-Presse Chittagong
The Sri Lankan spinners, led by Rangana Herath, took three crucial wickets late on day four to leave Bangladesh with an uphill task of saving the opening Test here on Saturday. Bangladesh was 81 for three at stumps, still need ing 119 to make Sri Lanka bat again. The visitors declared their rst innings at 713 for nine in the nal session. Roshen Silva joined the runfest in the morning ses sion to post his maiden Test century after Sri Lanka res umed at 504 for three.
BANGLADESH VS SRI LANKA, FIRST TEST
Bangladesh — 1st innings: 513. Sri Lanka — 1st innings: Dimuth Karunaratne c Kayes b Mehedi 0, Kusal Mendis c Mushfiqur b Taijul 196, Dhananjaya de Silva c Liton b Mustafizur 173, Roshen Silva c Liton b Mehedi 109, Dinesh Chandimal b Taijul 87, Niroshan Dickwella c Liton b Mehedi 62, Dilruwan Perera lbw b Sun zamul 32, Rangana Herath lbw b Taijul 24, Suranga Lakmal b Taijul 9, Lahiru Kumara (not out) 2; Extras (b11, lb6, w2): 19; Total (for nine wkts. decl. in 199.3 overs): 713. Fall of wickets: 10, 2308, 3 415, 4550, 5613, 6663, 7 687, 8706, 9713. Bangladesh bowling:
Mustafizur 3261131, Sun zamul 4521531, Mehedi 49 41743, Taijul 67.3132194, Mosaddek 30240, Mominul 2060, Mahmudullah 1070. Bangladesh — 2nd innings: Tamim Iqbal c Dickwella b Sandakan 41, Imrul Kayes c Chandimal b Perera 19, Mo minul Haque (batting) 18, Mushfiqur Rahim c Mendis b Herath 2; Extras (nb1): 1; Total (for three wkts. in 26.5 overs): 81. Fall of wickets: 152, 276, 381. Sri Lanka bowling: Herath 6.5 0221, Lakmal 40160, de Silva 60200, Perera 71 201, Sandakan 3131.
Felipe Drugovich crowned MRF Challenge champion crashed. There was more ac tion as race leader Karkosik spun out of the lead. The race was red agged on lap two with ve cars being out. At the restart, Frost led ahead of Martono and van Kalmthout. Frost did a won derful job of keeping both of them behind. On lap 11, Frost ran wide allowing both the drivers to go past.
Sports Reporter Chennai
Seventeenyearold Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich was crowned the 2017 MRF Chal lenge Champion at the Ma dras Motor Race Track (MMRT) on Saturday. Dru govich nished third and sixth in the two races, but that was enough to seal the championship. Rinus van Kalmthout dominated race one ahead of Presley Martono and Dru govich. Martono won an ac tion packed race two ahead of van Kalmthout and Danial Frost. In race one, Martono made a perfect start to lead into the rst corner with van Kalmthout passing second placed Drugovich into the rst corner. Van Kalmthout then passed Martono around the outside of corner three with
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The best: Seventeenyearold Brazilian Felipe Drugovich, who won the MRF Challenge on Saturday. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
a brilliant move. The Dutch driver immediately pulled away as Martono fended o Drugovich and Falchero. Drugovich tried to put pres sure on Martono, but the In donesian held his ground. 10-place penalty Before race two started Dru govich was given a 10place
penalty for a fuel infringe ment and started in 14th place. Karkosik started on pole alongside Frost in the reverse grid race. Karkosik had a great start and led into the rst corner ahead of Frost. There was chaos at turn two as Manuel Maldonado, Pavan Ravishan kar and Perdana Minang all
The results (provisional): MRF Challenge: Race one (20 laps): 1. Rinus van Kalmthout (Ned, 30mins, 22.676secs); 2. Presley Martono (Ina, 30:29.174); 3. Felipe Drugovich (Bra, 30:31.552). Race two (15 laps): 1. Martono (22:50.733); 2. van Kalmthout (22:52.713); 3. Danial Frost (Sin, 22:54.318). National Championship (Sa loon cars, 12 laps): Indian Tour ing Cars: 1. Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motorsports) (23:18.381); 2. B. Vijaya Kumar (Prime Rac ing) (23:48.765); 3. V. Nikanth
Republican memo sets o fresh jousting on Russia investigation
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Cryptocurrencies are neither legal tender nor an asset
Egypt announces discovery of tomb of ancient priestess
Pr i n t e d at . C h e n n a i . C o i m b ato r e . B e n g a lu ru . Hy d e r a b a d . M a d u r a i . No i da . V i s a k h a pat n a m . T h i ru va n a n t h a p u r a m . Ko c h i . V i j ayawa da . Ma n g a lu ru . T i ru c h i r a pa l l i . Ko l k ata . Hu b b a l l i . M o h a l i . M a l a p p u r a m . M u m b a i . T i ru pat i . lu c k n ow
Tattooed ‘blue-skinned’ Hindu Pushtuns look back at their roots Former President Hamid Karzai meets the small, forgotten Afghan ‘Sheen Khalai’ community in India on whom a lm is being made Suhasini Haidar Jaipur
Fed imposes new penalties on Wells Fargo WASHINGTON
The Federal Reserve imposed more penalties on Wells Fargo, freezing the bank’s growth until it can prove it has improved its internal controls. In addition, the bank agreed to replace four board members. BUSINESS ABROAD A PAGE 12 DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
North Korea outs sanctions: UN panel UNITED NATIONS
North Korea is violating sanctions by exporting coal, iron, steel and other banned commodities, earning $200 million last year, a UN report said on Friday. A panel of experts also found evidence of military cooperation by North Korea to develop Syria’s chemical weapons programmes and to give Myanmar ballistic missiles. WORLD
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Male’s inaction on court ruling raises concern COLOMBO
Nearly 48 hours after the Supreme Court of the Maldives overturned the conviction of nine Opposition leaders, including exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed, the government is yet to release them, raising concerns over the delay. WORLD
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As they walk through the corridors of the exhibition, looking at photographs of themselves in traditional clothes, the women begin to sing rst. At rst, the tune is tentative. Then, as more and more join in, it becomes a roaring chorus, and they clap to words of the song, ‘Sheen Khalai’, and dance the ‘Attan’ folk dance in the way they were taught seven decades ago. ‘Sheen Khalai’ (blue skin) is not just a name for these women and men, many of them well over 90 years old, it is the story of their identity, one that brings forth tears even to day. They ed with their fa milies from the tribal areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Partition in 1947. The women are part of a community of Pushtun Hin dus that lived in the Baloch areas of Quetta, Loralai, Bori and Maikhter, and belong to the Kakari tribes still living there. 1947 was a second partition for their villages, as the Britishimposed Durand Line in 1893 had already gi ven their villages to Pakis tan, despite the people’s Pushtun lineage. In 1947, they were forced out of their homes over night. “The government told us to leave quickly and go to
India. We didn’t even look back at our homes, just ran,” says Lakshmi Devi, who can’t remember her age now, but says she was a teen ager then. Like many other Hindu families from Sindh and Balochistan, Lakshmi Devi, her father and siblings were sent to resettle in the village of Unniara in Rajas than, about 130 km south of Jaipur. But once they reached, they realised that while being Hindu brought them shelter, it didn’t bring them acceptance, given their ‘Sheen Khalai’. “It was their blue skin, the colour of the face tattoos that women in tribal areas have, that set them apart from their neighbours, and even from the Hindu women of Pakistan,” explains Shilpi Batra Advani, a documen tary lmmaker from a Push tun Hindu family. Ms. Adva ni is completing a lm on the Sheen Khalai. “My own grandmother started to cov er her face, and was shy around outsiders, because she feared being shunned for the tribal tattoos that were looked down upon,” she adds. Some had trouble renting a home, others were viewed with suspicion by neigh bours. “We tried to scrub and scrub, but the tattoos wouldn’t fade away,” says 103 year old Pyari Devi in
Moving experience: Former President Karzai also took part in an exhibition on the community.
Ms. Advani’s lm. As a re sult, most found it easier to assimilate as PakistaniHin du women not as Pushtuns, dressed in saris and salwar suits, and spoke the local language publicly while teaching their children Pashto. Mining memories In her quest for information about their past, Shilpi Ad vani, with her mother Yash oda’s help, began work on the lm about the roughly 500600 Hindu Pushtun community members in In dia. She interviewed elders for their memories, and coaxed women into pulling out old traditional tribal clothes from the bottom of their suitcases, like the ‘ka kari kameez’ they would have worn in their villages. Most were frayed at the edg
es, but still rich with em broidery, mirror work and colourful tassels, which Ms. Advani restored. During the course of her research, Ms. Advani spent a
SUNDAY SPECIAL year and a half in Kabul and spoke to journalists about her family’s villages in Balo chistan across the line. One day, she received a video ov er a social media site: it was an interview with an old vil lager in Balochistan’s Maik hter who remembered his neighbour Prakash and his two daughters had left for India one hurried night. The name rang a bell and Ms. Ad vani traced back the family in Rajasthan for her lm. The audience watching the interviews claps with joy at a glimpse of the village.
But the biggest joy comes from a special visitor who in augurates the exhibition and speaks to them: former Af ghanistan President Hamid Karzai. Ms. Advani reached out to him in Kabul ve years ago. “Hearing women sing ing these old songs is a very special experience. This was them asserting their identi ty, asserting that no force, or separation or partition can destroy this,” Mr. Karzai told The Hindu. The Pushtun leader, who was himself once an exile during the 1980s in Shimla, tells his listeners that he met Sikhs from the Frontier area of Mardaan. Among them was his mentor Ajaib Singh, who was equally erce about his heritage, he says. When asked about the status of minorities in Afghanistan today, after they were at
tacked and driven out by the Taliban regime in the 1990s, Mr. Karzai says the Taliban was under “Pakistani in uence” and doesn’t repre sent Afghan sentiments. “The Afghan people want them back. Even just after I took over as President [in 2002], one of my oldest teachers told me our Hindus and Sikhs have suered more than the Muslims of Af ghanistan. He wanted me to bring them back. We had an Ambassador to Canada, and my economic advisor, from the minorities,” he says. Ms. Advani says her pro ject is for the ocial recogni tion of her community. “This is about validation, about giving us a name after all these years of hiding our identity,” she explains. One by one, the women and men of the Pushtun Hin
du community step up to tell their stories, of how they preserved their heritage des pite all the odds. “We have changed our clothes (pahnava),” nonagenarian Shanti Devi says in uent Pashto. “But our hearts and tongues remain Pushtun.” “We have always won dered what we are, since no one owned us,” says Leela ram, who is in his late eight ies. “Are we Afghan, or Pa kistani or Indian or Hindu or Pushtun?” he asks, and then to answer his own question, he adds, “Today, we have be come Pushtuns again.” They all cheer and break into another song, a happy wed ding song about ‘beautiful Laila’ that they learnt when they were very young. Here, just for this mo ment in the aptly named Frontier Colony in Jaipur, borders have blended, the subcontinent is not so divid ed and history is not so un kind to this tiny community of ‘Sheen Khalai’, as they sing these words: Tora shpa da tora khun, sheenkhalai na da Maloom/ Tora Shpa ba khudai runya ki, sheenkhalai ba khudai paida ki (It's a dark night and in a dark room,/ Your Sheen Khalai has disappeared./ But the dawn will break and light will start to enter the room./ Sheen Khalai will start to glow again.)
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Padmaavat protest to continue, say Rajput leaders Special Correspondent JAIPUR
An announcement reported ly made by a member of the Karni Sena’s splinter group in Mumbai, withdrawing the protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, led to a urry of activity among Rajput leaders here on Satur
day. The leaders of all Rajput outts said their objection still stood, and the protest would continue. Rajput Karni Sena foun der Lokendra Singh Kalvi and Shri Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena president Sukh dev Singh Gogamedi said the letter, circulated in the name
of Yogendra Singh Katar, stating that Padmaavat had gloried the valour of Raj puts, was fake. No Rajput body had given the green signal to the lm, they said. Mr. Gogamedi said the splinter group’s members, who watched the lm “in
their personal capacity,” had been expelled and a probe would be undertaken to nd out how the fake letter was circulated. Mr. Kalvi said the ‘janata curfew’ against the screen ing of the lm would conti nue in Rajasthan, as it had “distorted medieval history.”
9,730 stone throwers to get amnesty Special Correspondent Srinagar
Over 9,730 people, in volved in stonethrowing incidents between 2008 and 2017 in the Kashmir Valley will be granted amnesty. Chief Minister Mehboo ba Mufti, told the Assembly in a written reply that her government had approved the withdrawal of 1,745 cas es, involving 9,730 per sons. All these were cate gorised as “rst time oenders”. CM’s panel The cases were identied by a committee constituted by the Chief Minister ear lier. “Over 4,000 people, involved in minor inci dents of stone throwing ov er the past two years, have already been granted am nesty,” she said. In 3,773 cases, regis tered in 2016 and 2017, 11,290 were arrested. “Of whom, 233 have remained untraced,” said Ms. Mufti. Around 8,570 people were arrested in 2016 alone. “The number of cas es in 2017 dropped to 869 and 2,720 people were ar rested,” said the Chief Minister. She said 56 government employees and 16 Hurriyat activists were among the 4,949 people found in volved in stonethrowing incidents. “Around 4,074 were not aliated with any separatist or militant group,” she said. CM YK
Himachal Pradesh to seal unauthorised buildings SHIMLA
The Himachal Pradesh government on Saturday allowed amending of the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Rules, 2018, to permit sealing of unauthorised buildings in the State. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. IANS
Two held for diverting subsidised foodgrains SURAT
Two fair price shop owners were arrested by the Gujarat Crime Branch here for allegedly diverting subsidised grains by using duplicate software and unauthorised biometric data of beneficiaries. The police said Babubhai Boriwal, 53, and Sampatlal Shah, 61, obtained a data bank of beneficiaries from an unknown source. PTI
Farmer killed after fight over irrigation water KOTA
Four people hacked a farmer to death on Saturday following a quarrel over sharing of irrigation water in Jhadol village of Kota district, Rajasthan. The lands of Ramniwas Gujar, 26, and the four accused are adjacent to one other, a police officer said, adding that they were on the lookout for the accused. PTI
2 brothers get 10-year RI for murder attempt MATHURA
Two brothers were sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment by a court here in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday for attempting to murder a relative over two years ago. Additional district judge Amar Pal Singh also imposed a fine of 10,000 on the duo, Ramveer and Bhupendra, government counsel Nand Kumar Tiwari said. PTI
Faith and lore: Devotees thronging Jampanna Vagu, a tributary of the Godavari, during the SamakkaSaralamma jatara at Medaram in Telangana. The ‘throne’ of the deities is pictured at right.
M. MURALI & G. RAMAKRISHNA
Millions journey on the jatara to Medaram A road and a bridge have, over time, enabled one of the largest gatherings of the devout. An estimated 1.5 crore people visited this year Serish Nanisetti Medaram (Telangana)
There is a crush of people at Medaram as millions of pil grims ock to a small village in the Dandakaranya forest of eastern Telangana. Skirted by hillocks and a tributary of the Godavari, Medaram is the venue for one of the big gest congregations of hu manity in the world over four days from January 31 and February 3. As winter sunlight lters through the thick tree canopy, garlanded goats, colourful chicken and huge blocks of jaggery are carried by the faithful as of ferings to the tribal goddess es Samakka and Saralamma. Medaram lies about 100 km from Warangal. Academician Paddam Anusaya, who belongs to the Koya tribe of traditional sto rytellers, remembers making the trip to the jatara in a bul lock cart from her home in Bhadrachalam. Archival im ages show lines of covered bullock carts transporting devotees for the jatara. A gradual improvement in the means of travel has meant more numbers of de
votees are able to make the trip over the jatara period. This year the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) has deployed nearly 4,200 buses for the event. A government spokesperson said the number of devotees is likely to cross an estimated 1.5 crore. A big turning point for the jatara happened in 1975, when the then government laid an asphalt road between Warangal and Medaram, making it easier for devotees from across the State to reach the site of the pilgrim age. In 2012, when Medaram was a part of Andhra Pra desh, the APSRTC deployed over 3,000 buses. Easier access Earlier, devotees coming from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh would cross the Godavari in boats at a points like Perur, Chintoor, Vijedu and Pusuru. Travelling by road required a detour of at least 200 km. But the Mulla kattaPusuru bridge over the Godavari, inaugurated two years back, shortened the distance by nearly 200 km.
This has meant easier access for devotees from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Among the people who benetted from the Mullakat ta bridge is Kursambai Am ma. She and her extended fa mily of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have come from Kotha Narayanraopet in Dummugudem, along with 50 other members of their fa mily, in a tractor and another hired vehicle. The family pitched a tent by a mud path with goats grazing nearby. Like something from a Harry Potter book, it’s small from the outside but with interiors large enough to accommo date a dozen members of Kursambai’s family. “I’ve have been coming here every two years for as long as I can remember. I come here to thank the goddesses for ful lling my wishes. We have two goats and a few chicken that we will sacrice to the goddesses,” says Kursambai. A little while later, she goes into a trance. She sways back and forth, raises her arms, and mutters repetitive ly. She then speaks with ab
solute clarity and narrates the tale of Samakka and Sara lamma. The family begins walking towards Jampanna Vagu, a tributary of the Go davari, for a dip. A young boy marches ahead with a taper ing red ag featuring symbol ic images called pagadam. The family follows, pulling along a goat. It’s at Jampanna Vagu, named after Samakka’s he roic son, that the size of the congregation becomes appa rent. As far as the eye can see, the river is a sea of hu mans: many in the water, others bathing in makeshift showerheads.
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A state of trance Countless women go into a trance by the muddy waters of the rivulet. Swaying, shouting and gesturing, wo men with vermillion smeared across their fore head are by turns god desses, oracles and counsellors. The origin of the Samakka Saralamma jatara goes back to a war waged by the rul ing clan of Koyas, led
by Pagididiraju, who refused to pay taxes to the Kakatiyas (the latter reigned from 1163 AD1323 AD). In the war, armed with bows, arrows and other crude weapons, Koya tribals were no match for the wellarmed Kakatiyas. Pagididiraju is felled by an arrow.
His wife Samakka, who watches the battle unfold on her palm, jumps into the fray with her son Jampanna and daughter Saralamma. But to no avail. Once a year, on Suddha Margasira Pournami, the goddesses come back to their throne to receive and dispense benefac tions. The faithful change clothes and walk to wards the Gadde (throne) of Sammakka and Saralamma, after a dip in the water in predawn darkness. The Gadde is a round, caged space caked with vermillion and turmeric, and a wooden pole sticks out of it. The devotees throw coco nuts and jaggery into the opening while volunteers wearing helmets collect the oerings to be auctioned la ter. There are 100 hundis in to which devotees make more valuable oerings. Among the faithful walking towards the Gadde is Veeraiah, a resident of Dummugu dem mandal’s Jilledu
village. He carries the blue mask of a cow, a family sym bol. Members of his family beat drums and blow pipes to pray to the goddess. Other families carry their symbols and ags. Secret ceremony As the full moon rises, a cas ket of vermillion represent ing Samakka is brought out of a cave in Chilkalgutta. Tri bal elders worship in a secret ceremony about 4 km from here. They sacrice a healthy bull and make an oering of intoxicating vippa rasam, made by boiling owers of the mahua (Madhuca longifolia) trees. “There’s no place for be lief in the lunar eclipse among us,” says one of the priests at the Gadde. The drums accompanied by the utterances of women in a trance reaches a crescen do as they near the Gadde. Then there is absolute calm. Back in the tents under the green canopy, bottles are uncorked, and the smell of roasting meat pervades the air, spreading the cheer of to getherness.
Opposition leaders are still in prison, Parliament session deferred; President Yameen says court order was unexpected told The Hindu. President Yameen has said he did not expect the ruling. In a report published on Saturday evening, the Malebased Maldivian Independent quoted Mr. Yameen as saying: “I didn’t expect this Supreme Court ruling at all, but as they are the top court and there’s a ruling, the state and all relevant authorities have to do a lot of work to see how to imple ment it.”
Meera Srinivasan Colombo
Judge orders Lula’s passport to be returned BRASLIA
A Brazilian federal judge on Friday ordered that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's seized passport be returned. A lower court judge had ordered Lula — sentenced last week to more than 12 years in prison on graft charges — to surrender it on fears that he would seek asylum abroad. AFP
Islamic scholar charged with rape in France PARIS
Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan has been charged with rape and remanded in custody, a judicial source said, following claims by two women that he assaulted them in French hotel rooms. Ramadan, who was arrested on Wednesday, was charged with rape and rape of a vulnerable person, the source said. He has denied the charges. AFP
Sri Lanka orders graft probe into airline
Nearly 48 hours after the Maldives Supreme Court overturned the conviction of nine opposition leaders, in cluding the exiled former President, Mohamed Nash eed, the Male administration is yet to release them, raising domestic and international concern over the delay. On Saturday, authorities indenitely postponed Mon day’s Parliament session, cit ing “security reasons”, and the government dismissed the acting police commis sioner from the post, a day after it sacked the police commissioner, following a tweet from the Maldives pol ice saying it would uphold the Supreme Court ruling. The Joint Opposition, in cluding the Maldivian Demo cratic Party (MDP) led by Mr. Nasheed, has expressed con cern over President Abdulla Yameen’s “refusal” to abide
Ready for polls Addressing supporters gath ered in Male, Mr. Yameen said: “If they [the Opposi tion] need to see who has support now, if it takes hold ing elections early I would do that.” The administration has neither released the nine persons, nor reinstated the 12 parliamentarians expelled earlier for defecting, despite the order mandating both. If
Standing ground: A Maldivian opposition supporter faces the police during a protest in Male on Friday. AP *
by the ruling. “We are deeply fearful that the government’s refusal to implement the Su preme Court order could es calate unrest and incite vio lence across the country,” it said in a statement. The government has maintained that it needed to “vet and clarify the order”.
“No deadlines are being con sidered at this point — the fo cus is on , through consulta tions, implementing the ruling in the swiftest manner possible within the proper rules of procedure,” Ibrahim Hussain Shihab, the interna tional spokesperson at the President’s oce in Male,
‘N. Korea is outing sanctions’
Sri Lanka has ordered a corruption investigation at its national carrier, including the controversial termination of a management deal with Emirates airline, the government said on Saturday. President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a fivemember panel to investigate the Sri Lankan airlines deal. AFP
Myanmar denies claims of five mass graves YANGON
Myanmar on Saturday denied that there were five mass graves of Rohingya Muslims in a village in crisishit Rakhine State, saying that 19 “terrorists” had been killed and buried in the area. The denial was in response to an Associated Press report describing five previously unreported mass graves. AFP
It exported banned commodities, earning $200 million in revenue : UN report Agence France-Presse United Nations
North Korea is outing sanc tions by exporting coal, iron, steel and other banned com modities, earning nearly $200 million in revenue last year, a UN report said on Friday. A UN panel of experts also found evidence of military cooperation by North Korea to develop Syria’s chemical weapons programmes and to provide Myanmar with ballistic missiles. North Korea “continued to export almost all the com modities prohibited in the resolutions, generating near ly $200 million in revenue between January and Sep
A le photo of a North Korean cargo ship docked at the Myanmar International Terminals Thilawar port. AP *
tember 2017,” said the report by the experts. Multiple evasions Coal shipments were deli vered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and
Vietnam by ships using “a combination of multiple eva sion techniques, routes and deceptive tactics,” said the report. The Security Council last year adopted a series of reso
lutions to tighten and ex pand exports bans aimed at cutting o revenue to North Korea’s military programs. Seven ships have been barred from ports world wide for violating UN sanc tions with coal and petro leum transfers, but the experts said much more must be done to confront “these rampant illicit activities.” The panel found that North Korea “is already outing the most recent re solutions by exploiting glo bal oil supply chains, com plicit foreign nationals, oshore company registries, and the international bank ing system.”
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reinstated, the legislators would raise the Opposition number in Parliament to a majority. The developments have sparked greater anxiety among locals critical of the Yameen administration. “I hear that my husband has been shifted to another prison and kept in isolation,” Mariyam Nashwa, wife of former VicePresident Ahmed Adeeb, told The Hindu over telephone. Mr. Adeeb was among the nine persons the apex court named for immediate re lease, pending a fresh trial. For months, Ms. Nashwa has been pleading with the authorities to grant medical leave to her husband who was diagnosed with glauco ma. “He has also been ad vised cancer screening, but even after the ruling, the go vernment is refusing to re lease him.” After the ruling, India, the U.S. and the EU, among oth
ers, have urged the govern ment to respect the order and ensure that democracy and rule of law prevail. Top UN ocials and hu man rights watchdogs are al so putting pressure on Male to comply with the order. The UN SecretaryGeneral even oered to facilitate all party talks to nd a solution to the “political stalemate” in the Maldives. “For the rule of law to re tain any meaning, this ruling must be implemented and the witchhunt against the political Opposition and oth er critics must come to an end,” said Biraj Patnaik, Am nesty International’s South Asia Director. Following inaction for two days, countries, including the U.K., have issued travel advisories warning visitors of possible violence in Male, gi ven the mounting frustration among people awaiting go vernment action.
Agence France-Presse Shanghai
A van packed with pressur ised gas tanks and bottles full of petrol caught re and ploughed into pedes trians in front of a Star bucks outlet in Shanghai on Friday, leaving at least 18 people injured, authori ties and witnesses said. The incident occurred at People’s Park in the heart of the Chinese nancial hub during the morning rush hour. A police statement said the incident has been ruled a “trac accident” saying it occurred when amma ble materials inside the car burst into ames, causing the van’s 40yearold driv er to lose control of the vehicle. It said the driver, who was seriously injured, had been smoking a cigarette and using his phone while driving.
Thai students take a jibe at the ‘Rolex General’ Take out parade oats taunting the the Deputy PM Agence France-Presse Bangkok
Thai students with huge ban ners and caricature puppets on Saturday delivered the latest satirical swipe at the Deputy Prime Minister — known as the “Rolex Gener al” for his collection of unde clared luxury watches. On Saturday, students leading an annual prefoot ball match ceremony in Bangkok wheeled a series of massive parade oats around the pitch — including several poking fun at junta No. 2 Prawit Wongsuwan. The 72yearold general
has been the a target of pu blic ire ever since a photo circulated of him in Decem ber lifting a hand to block his eyes from the sun, revealing
a diamond ring and a pricey Richard Mille watch. Since then, online sleuths have un earthed photos of him wear ing some 25 luxury timepiec es. One parade oat on Saturday showed a puppet in the general’s now iconic sunblocking pose, with a glittering ring and watch beaming from his massive paper mache hand. Students marching alongside were linked together by chains and held banners saying “Stop making fun of the watches,” in a nod to the jun ta’s eorts to suppress the scandal.
Russia memo sets o fresh jousting It conrms contacts between exTrump aide and Russian intermediaries were a key factor in probe Nicholas Fandos Adam Goldman Washington
House Republicans released a politically charged memo on Friday that accused FBI and Justice Department lead ers of abusing their surveil lance powers alarming the national security ocials and outraging Democrats, but fell well short of making the case promised by some Republicans. Republicans had argued that the evidence the memo contained would cast doubt on the origins of the Russia investigation and possibly undermine the in quiry, which has been taken over by a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The threeandahalf page memo, written by Republi can congressional aides, crit icised information used by law enforcement ocials in their application for a war rant to wiretap the former campaign adviser, Carter Page, and named the senior FBI and Justice Department ocials who approved the highly classied application. But the Page warrant is just one aspect of the broader investigation. What it revealed Instead, the document con rmed that contacts bet ween a former Trump fo reign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, and Russian intermediaries were a prim ary factor in the opening of the investigation in July 2016. The memo was outlined in news reports in recent days as Republicans pushed for its release. Several details show that it reects a line of attack circulating for weeks in con servative news media out lets, which have been ampli fying a narrative that the Russia investigation is the il legitimate handiwork of a ca bal of senior Justice Depart
ment and FBI ocials who were biased against Trump and set out to sabotage him. Rep. Devin Nunes, Repu blicanCalifornia, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, portrayed the memo as recounting an “alarming series of events” in which intelligence and law enforcement agencies were “exploited to target one group on behalf of another”. One of its chief accusa tions centres on the inclu sion in the warrant applica tion of material from a former British spy, Chris topher Steele. Mr. Steele was researching possible connec Partisan battles: The headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington DC. tions between Russia’s elec tion interference and Trump associates, but the applica tion to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge did Katie Rogers sity’s law school in 2005. not explain that he was part Matthew Rosenberg After working on counter ly nanced by the Democrat Washington terrorism cases at the Justice ic National Committee and Kashyap Patel is a lawyer Department, Mr. Patel lawyers for Hillary Clinton’s who has sometimes run joined the Intelligence Com presidential campaign, the afoul of the rules. mittee last spring as a senior memo says. As a lawyer in Florida, Pa sta member and has been “Neither the initial appli tel, 37, entered and then at the forefront of Mr. Nu cation in October 2016, nor dropped out of a charity ba nes’s inquiry into whether any of the renewals, disclose chelor auction featuring the FBI and the Justice De or reference the role of the some colleagues after a blog Kashyap Patel, the primary partment abused the Fo DNC, Clinton campaign, or ger pointed out that his li author of the memo. reign Intelligence Surveil any party/campaign in fund cense to practice in the State lance Act. Over the summer, ing Steele’s eorts, even appeared out of date. the House Intelligence Com Mr. Nunes dispatched Mr. though the political origins In 2016, as a counterterro mittee, Mr. Patel has found Patel and another member of the Steele dossier were rism prosecutor for the Jus himself in the middle of of the committee’s Republi then known to senior DOJ tice Department, he was ber another controversy. Ac can sta to London, where and FBI ocials,” said the ated by a federal judge who cording to congressional they showed up unan memo, which was written by then issued an “Order on In sources, he is the primary nounced at the oces of Mr. committee sta members. eptitude” directed at the en author of the politically Steele, a former British intel But a 10page Democratic tire agency. charged memo, released on ligence ocial. They were memo written to rebut the And over the summer, in a Friday by the committee rebued and left without Republican document says trip arranged outside ocial chairman, Rep. Devin meeting Mr. Steele, accord the FBI was more forthcom channels, he travelled to Nunes. ing to two people with ing with the surveillance London, where he tried un Mr. Patel grew up in Gar knowledge of the encounter. court than the Republicans successfully to meet with den City, New York, and In the months since, Patel say. The FBI told the court Christopher Steele, the auth graduated from the Universi has apparently forged con that the information it re or of the dossier that pur ty of Richmond in 2002. He nections at the White House. ceived from Steele was polit ported to detail links bet earned a certicate in inter In November, he posted a se ically motivated, though the ween the Trump campaign national law from the Un ries of photos to Facebook of agency did not say it was and Russia, according to iversity College London Fa him and several friends nanced by Democrats, ac multiple people. culty of Laws, according to wearing matching shirts at cording to two people fami After less than a year as a his Facebook page, and the White House bowling al liar with the Democratic Republican sta member on graduated from Pace Univer ley. NY TIMES memo. NY TIMES
No stranger to confrontation
U.S. ocials crack down on ‘sanctuary State’ California 77 businesses raided to arrest undocumented workers Agence France-Presse Los Angeles
U.S. immigration ocials said on Friday that they raid ed 77 California businesses this week as operations in tensify in the State, whose own authorities are defying President Donald Trump’s hard line on immigration by not cooperating with federal enforcement agents. The raids took place in ci ties including San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose in the north of California — a “sanctuary State” where, since January 1, law enforce ment has been mostly prohi
bited from working with fed eral ocials seeking to arrest undocumented immi grants. “The actions taken this week reect... stepped up eorts to enforce the laws that prohibit businesses from hiring illegal workers”, with a focus on “protecting jobs for U.S. citizens and oth ers who are lawfully em ployed”, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement. In 2017, the government carried out 1,360 similar raids and arrested more than 300 people — with busi nesses paying out over $100
million in restitution and nes, ICE said. U.S. immigration authori ties also recently adopted a policy that allows ocials to enter courtrooms to arrest undocumented immigrants. Previously, courtrooms were considered “sanctuaries” so as to not discourage witness es from testifying during trials. Meanwhile last month, ICE agents carried out visible raids on around 100 7Eleven convenience stores across the country to discourage managers from hiring undocumented work ers.
Tillerson plays up U.S.Mexico cooperation in ‘war on drugs’ Brushes aside concerns over Trump’s frequent barbs Agence France-Presse Mexico City
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted on Friday that the U.S. and Mexico are bolstering cooperation in the ght against drug traf cking, brushing aside con cerns about the impact of his boss Donald Trump’s anti Mexican barbs. The U.S.Mexican rela tionship has been strained by Mr. Trump’s attacks on Mexican immigrants and the North American Free Trade Agreement — and his insis tence on building a border wall. But as Mr. Tillerson kicked o his rst major tour of Latin America, he and his Mexican counterpart sought to play down any tensions, focussing instead on ghting what Mr. Tillerson called the
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. REUTERS *
“devastating impact” of the international narcotics trade. “We’ve created... a dierent approach as to how we cooperate to attack the entire supply chain of this devastating impact of drugs — cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, opioids,” Mr. Tillerson said after meeting with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videg aray and Canada’s Chrystia
Freeland in Mexico City. Mr. Videgaray said all three countries had agreed to place “special emphasis” on ghting both the supply and demand side of the pro blem: the Mexican drug car tels fuelling a wave of bloodshed in his country, and the U.S. and Canadian consumption making it a multibilliondollar busi ness. However, Mr. Videgaray stayed mum as Mr. Tillerson sought to explain Mr. Trump’s wall proposal and immigration crackdown as part of a shared security push. The three also found com mon ground on the Vene zuela crisis, calling for Presi dent Nicolas Maduro’s government to restore con stitutional rule.
Literary cafés spring up after IS’s defeat Agence France-Presse Mosul
Czech PM raises prospect of early election PRAGUE
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Saturday that early elections could be a last resort if he fails to win support for a new government after his Cabinet lost a condence vote last month. His party won elections last October but lacks a majority. Reuters
Nigeria’s anti-graft judge charged with bribery ABUJA
Nigeria’s top judge handling corruption cases against public ocials has himself been charged with bribery, court papers showed on Saturday. Danladi Umar was accused by the country’s antigraft body EFCC of demanding 10 million naira ($27,800) from a suspect “for a favour... in relation to the pending charge”, say court papers. AFP
Kenya police detain Opposition legislator NAIRBOI
Kenyan police on Saturday briey detained a third opposition legislator, who attended a symbolic “swearingin” of Opposition leader Raila Odinga that was a direct challenge to President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won reelection in October. The government has made several arrests and suspended three television channels that planned to stream Tuesday’s event. AFP
Buddhist monk dead after elephant attack COLOMBO
A senior Buddhist monk died in hospital on Saturday, a day after being attacked by an elephant at his own temple near Colombo, police said. Bellanwila Wimalarathana, 77, was violently pushed to the ground by the tusker. He was rushed to hospital but died a day later. A vice chancellor of a staterun university, he becomes the rst monk to be killed by a tamed elephant. AFP
Mosul’s cultural scene is back in business, months af ter Iraqi forces ousted the Is lamic State (IS) group from the city following three years of jihadist rule. At the “Book Forum” café, men and women sit passionately debating literature, music, politics and history. With the jihadists gone, Fahd Sabah and his partner have set about realising their dream of opening a mixedgender literary café. “There was a need to inform people, to enlighten minds, to bring new ideas,” said the 30yearold engineer who, like many young graduates here, had few prospects of nding employment As soon as the jihadists were driven out of Mosul, he set about nding a venue and preparing to open a ca
fé, putting his savings into the venture. Within a month, it was up and running. Meanwhile, a handful of activists set up the “Book Pavement” market outside the city’s battlescarred un iversity. ”People badly need culture and to build their consciousness after the hardships they went through,” said Ali Najam, 23, who comes every Friday to scour the stalls of second hand booksellers there. “There’s a need to rebuild people’s spirits, which is even more important than rebuilding the houses.” Abdelmonim alAmir, head of Nineveh province’s writers’ union, said he wants the world, which as sociates Mosul with “blood, destruction and desola tion”, to know that the city has another face.
Associated Press Ramallah
70 homes hit: People carry their belongings as they evacuate their homes after a landslip caused damage in the Lomas del Rubi neighbourhood in Tijuana, northwestern Mexico, on Friday. According to the authorities, at least 70 houses were aected by the incident. AFP *
Seeking a fourth term, Putin goes on the campaign trail Despite the President being almost assured of a victory, his team wants to increase turnout and present a democratic face Neil MacFarquhar Ufa, Russia
As Russian President Vladi mir Putin was about to step out onto the gleaming white cement oor of the Ufa En gine Industrial Association, where motors are assembled for military helicopters, Alyona V. Popova was busy organising her work station. His predetermined path would lead him right past her spot in the government owned plant, erected six months ago as part of the President’s program for mili tary hardware once built in the nowhostile territory of Ukraine. Ms. Popova, 26, was grate ful to the President for help ing her nally land a factory job with a future. She al lowed, however, that she might express a few qualms if he stopped to chat. “Our salaries are low,” she said, under $500 a month,
and Russia spent excessive rubles on foreign adven tures. “When will that mo ney ow into Russia instead of owing out?” she added, echoing remarks made by other workers. “We need roads built according to modern standards.” But she never had a chance. Carefully scripted This is a presidential cam paign, Putin style. Unscript ed moments are rare, and gladhanding and impromp tu conversations are kept to an absolute minimum for a man notoriously averse to both. Trailed by a scrum of Mi nisters and other aides dur ing a twoday visit to the pro vincial capitals of Ufa and Kazan, Mr. Putin made a cur sory inspection of the ma chinery and various engines on display before spending exactly 10 minutes and 34 se
Ramallah gets its #MeToo campaign
Supreme leader: President Vladimir Putin greeting workers at the Ufa Engine Industrial Association last month. NYT *
conds to take four questions from a few preselected workers. Mr. Putin’s campaign trips dier little from his presi dential visits, but they have increased in frequency and geographic spread in ad vance of the March 18 vote. Seeking his fourth presi
dential term after 18 years as the most powerful man in Russia, he does not really need to campaign, and ap pears to nd the activity dis tasteful. Why, his attitude seems to be, after all that he has done for Russia, should he have to ask people for their votes? Moreover, he is
the certain winner among a eld expected to contain eight candidates, particular ly since his most potent po tential adversary, the anti corruption critic Aleksei A. Navalny, was barred from the race. The Kremlin, however, wants to stoke turnout and to present a democratic face. Hence Mr. Putin’s campaign stops, each meant to provide television footage. The fo reign press, rarely allowed close to Mr. Putin, is invited along, too, so that reports of an “election” in Russia will reach outside the border. In addition to stopping at the Ufa factory, Mr. Putin vi sited a manufacturer of long range bombers. Both appea rances underscored his ef fort to restore Russia’s superpower status. Tatarstan and nearby Bashkortostan, where Ufa is located, are also among the
most heavily Muslim regions in Russia. Mr. Putin drank tea with a senior religious leader and visited a mosque. The signal: Russia’s Muslim mi nority is part of the Russian people, too. Sidestepping issues In July, Mr. Putin gave a speech saying that ethnic Russians should not be forced to learn minority languages. After that, prosecutors or dered Tatar language in struction, formerly manda tory, reduced to only two voluntary hours a week. Various local residents hoped the language topic would come up at a universi ty forum held there, but there was zero discussion. The 20 or so students at the forum did not even get the chance to meet Mr. Pu tin, though they were in the same room as him. NY TIMES
A young PalestinianAmeri can is the driving force be hind a nascent #MeToo movement in this patriar chal corner of the world, selling Tshirts, hoodies and denim jackets with the slogan “Not Your Habibti (darling)” as a retort for catcalls and writing down women’s complaints from her perch in a West Bank square. Yasmeen Mjalli, 21, wants to encourage Palesti nian society to confront sexual harassment, a large ly taboo subject. “What I am doing is to start a con versation that people are really afraid to have,” said Ms. Mjalli. Palestinian police re ceive few complaints about street harassment, said spokesman Loay Irzeqat. He believes some women fear unintended conse quences, such as male rela tives attacking accused ha rassers. Police mostly deal with online harassment, with about onethird of some 2,000 electronic crimes cases in 2017 revolving around men blackmailing women for sexual or nan cial gain, he said. Typically, extortionists threaten to publish photos deemed compromising, such as showing a traditional wo man without her head scarf. Women lack legal pro tection, despite improve ments such as the esta blishment of a police sex crimes unit, said Amal Kreishe, founder of the Pal estinian Working Woman Society for Development to which Ms. Mjalli donates some of her proceeds. Still, Ms. Kreishe has wit nessed gradual changes. More women seek counsel ing from her group, which has referred about 200 complaints to police over the past two years com pared to a few dozen in previous years.
Carillion, one of Britain’s biggest construction out sourcing companies, was ex pected to hand over a brand new, gleaming building to Royal Liverpool Hospital in the northern English city in March last year. Carillion had begun the construction in 2014. But due to some complications, in cluding the discovery of cracks in concrete beams, the project completion date was put o to early 2018. However, the hospital remains a building site, after Carillion’s collapse earlier this year. The company went into compulsory liquida tion on January 15, with net debts running to around £900 million and a massive pension decit, after talks with lenders failed to result in further funding. Carillion, which employed 19,500 people in Britain and further tens of thousands abroad, has held around 450 pu blic sector contracts — from the construction of major projects such as the hospital to the electrication of the Network Rail. With much of its work outsourced to third party contrac tors — Carillion had around 30 rms working for it on the Liverpool hospital project — the impact of the collapse is yet to fully unfold. The government faced questions over its decision to continue to award contracts to the
The rise of Donald Trump has challenged Americans of all stripes to recalibrate their moral compass, but no section has managed the transition as well as the Christian Right, it appears. The fullthroat ed support that the President received from leaders of the Christian ultras over a fresh sex scandal is the latest case in point. The Chris tian Right has traditionally sought to hinge its political interventions on grounds of instilling Biblical values in public lives, but it now says that the priority is to ensure favourable policy. Reports on Mr. Trump’s sexual adventures have long ceased to shock the American pu blic and the latest one — that his personal la wyer paid a porn star $1,30,000 to keep mum about an aair — did not rise to the level of a presidential sex scandal. The report in the Wall Street Journal, which is broadly sympathetic to the administration, revealed that Mr. Trump’s lawyer Michael Co hen arranged the payment to actress Stepha nie Cliord after her lawyer negotiated a non disclosure agreement, during the 2016 election campaign. Several other allegations of sexual misconduct had surfaced against Mr. Trump in 2016, which pushed back Christian groups only momentarily. Evangelical groups supported him in large numbers and continue to do so. His alleged liaison with the porn star ap peared to test the tolerance of the Christian Right that had long loathed the alleged sexual anarchy of the Left. But prominent evangelists were quick to adapt. Franklin Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Associa tion, said this was a “deep state” conspiracy. “I believe we are in a coup d’etat... There are people in this country who are wanting to des troy the President and take over the govern ment by force,” he said in one interview. More curious was the new theological inter pretation of the separation of church and state oered by Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent minis ter and president of the evangelical Liberty
When Tamil Nadu Chief Mi nister Edappadi K. Palanis wami wrote to Prime Minis ter Narendra Modi last month, voicing concern about Sri Lanka’s re cent decision to impose steep nes on any fo reign vessel found shing in the island’s terri torial waters, he was simply following his late leader Jayalalithaa’s footsteps. In 2015, she wrote at least 21 letters to the Prime MInister, asking New Delhi to put pres sure on Sri Lanka to stop arresting Tamil Nadu shermen. In 2016, until October, she wrote 22 similar letters, according to ocials. Whether it was O. Panneerselvam as Chief Mi nister, or V.K. Sasikala as the interim general secretary of the ruling AIADMK after Jayala lithaa’s passing, the top leadership has been consistent in this matter. However, Sri Lanka appears to be rm in its position. Amending its exiting Fisheries Act, Colombo has decided to impose anything between LKR 6 million (approximately 25 lakh) and LKR 175 million, as ne on foreign vessels shing in its seas. ‘Fishermen follow sh and sh know no boundaries’ is a common refrain in Tamil Na du, when it comes to taking a position on the highlycontested Palk Bay shing conict. But for all practical purposes, the International
Shopping in Tokyo conjures up images of swanky bou tiques and equally swanky price tags. But the Japanese capital’s real retail engine thrums in the tiny, crammed and endlessly inventive environs of the ubiquitous ‘100yen’ stores. These unas suming giants of consumerism allow the resi dents of one of the world’s most expensive ci ties to shop away with scarcely a dent made to their bank accounts. The ‘100yen’ stores do exactly what they advertise: sell almost everything on their heaving shelves for ¥100 (plus ¥8 for tax) — about a dollar. But they are more than just a place for cheaply made tat. They are a place for education as well, where the shopper learns about everything she never knew she needed but simply can’t do without after en countering it. There is scant logic to the arrangement of goods with only the price tag in common: plant fertilisers rub up against laundry bags, and pencil sharpeners are nested with surgi cal masks. But where else can you nd a bana naholder, an owlshaped eggmaker, a cherry blossomshaped carrot slicer, bicycle raincov ers, an origami paper, Halloween masks and everything in between? Small wonder that the combined sales of the four largest ‘100yen store’ operators was estimated at ¥660 billion ($5.85 billion) in the 2016 scal, up by 20% ov er a veyear period. The clear leader of the pack is Daiso, a Hiroshimaheadquartered outt that opened its rst store in 1991 and now runs roughly 3,700 shops across the country. Revenue for Daiso, which stocks about 70,000 household items, was ¥420 bil lion ($3.79 billion) in the last scal. Part of the success of these stores has to do with Japan’s sluggish economy and stagnant wages that have resulted in a consumer cul ture focussed on bargains. But their history can be traced back to the prebubble era street stalls of the 1970s — makeshift outts that sold cheap stationary and household
Turkey’s military interven tion in Afrin, a northwestern Syrian town on the border region, to oust the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (PYG) militia is not only escalating the the conict in Syria but has also triggered protests and counterprotests by Kurdish and Turkish migrants around the world. Turkey sees the YPG, the militia of the Syrian Kurdistan which is guarding the border towns that were freed from the Islamic State, as an ally of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been listed as a terrorist or ganisation by Ankara. Military tensions between Turkey and the YPG have been brewing for a few years along the border. With the invasion nally under way, the tension appears to be spilling over to other countries. Turkish President Recep Tay yip Erdoğan has large crowd of supporters among the Turkish diaspora, mostly living in Europe. The same goes for the PKK, which has thousands of Kurdish supporters across Eu rope. Germany and Austria, where tens of thousands of Turkish and Kurdish migrants have been living for decades, saw several de monstrations late last week. In Austrian and German towns, the protesters marched either for the Turkish government or for the Kurds.
< > Over three quarters of British citizens favour nationalisation of key services — from water to rail — according to a study published by the rightwing think tank Legatum Institute company amid concerns about its nancial health — there were three prot warnings since July and its share price had collapsed 90%. Further, the company courted criticism for its prioritising of shareholders over sound nancials: between 2012 and 2016, the com pany paid out dividends of £376 million to sha reholders, more than twice the amount it had generated in net cash. In the last six months alone, before its collapse, the government awarded £2 billion in contracts to Carillion. At any time, such a dramatic failure would have provoked a debate on the extent of the government’s use of and private contractors to deliver public services but with a Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, for whom a na tionalisation agenda has become a central plank, it’s all the more so. Overturning the La bour’s longrunning commitment to privatisa tion, the 2017 Labour manifesto pledged to bring key utilities back into public ownership. “This is not one isolated case of govern ment negligence and corporate failure; it is a broken system,” said Mr. Corbyn during an in tense session of Prime Minister’s Questions, pointing to other controversial decisions such as the one late last year to allow two transport providers to forgo payments worth up to £2 billion for the franchise for the East Coast mainline. “We need our public services to be provided by public employees with a public service ethos and a strong public oversight.”
< > A survey during the 2016 campaign found that 72% of white evangelicals thought that elected ocials who commit an immoral act can still full their public duties, up from 30% in 2011
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< > According to the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Colombo, 49 Indian shermen have been arrested from the beginning of this year, and 10 of their boats conscated Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) demarcates territory clearly, and most vessels used by Ta mil Nadu shermen — often bottomtrawlers known for their destructive technique that vir tually scrapes the sea bed — have GPS systems installed, enabling shermen to follow their course easily. The issue continues to be a talk ing point in highlevel bilateral meetings, in addition to guring extensively in the discus sions of the Joint Working Group set up by the neighbouring countries to resolve the pro blem that has been dragging on for a decade.
< > The ubiquitous ‘100yen stores’, the unassuming giants of consumerism, allow residents of one of the world’s most expensive cities to shop away with scarcely a dent made to their bank accounts
Appetite for nationalisation Mr. Corbyn is far from a lone voice. A research paper published by the Legatum Institute (a rightwing, Eurosceptic think tank) found a strong appetite for nationalisation, with over three quarters of those polled favouring the nationalisation of key services, from water to rail. The Carillion collapse is likely to further strengthen that sentiment. However, the collapse could have far wider consequences, along with ocial investiga tions into what went wrong with the company itself. Britain’s accounting watchdog as well as MPs will look into the role of Carillion’s audi tor KPMG. During a parliamentary committee session earlier this week, Labour MP Frank Field grilled the head of the accountancy watchdog on the “oligarchy” existing among accountancy rms, and asked whether the so called ‘Big Four’ — Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG — needed to be broken up.
‘Godly leaders’ The Moral Majority movement that his father founded in 1979 had the exact opposite objec tive — to instill Christian morality in American public life. The Christian Right’s support for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush was based on their argument that they were “godly lead ers”. Over the past three decades, faithbased political activism has transformed in America as liberal churches declined and conserva tives tightened their hold on believers. The Right that rose to prominence called for virtuous people in oce, but has changed tack in recent years. A survey during the 2016 campaign found that 72% of white evangeli cals thought elected ocials who commit an immoral act can still full their public duties, a signicant jump compared to 2011 when on ly 30% of them held that view. Now, the Chris tian Right says Mr. Trump has been its best friend in terms of policy and cites measures on abortion, immigration and allowing churches to involve in politics as reasons for supporting him. “We certainly don’t hold him up as the pastor of this country, and he’s not. But I appreciate the fact that the President does have a concern for Christian values, he does have a concern to protect Christians — whether it’s here at home or around the world,” Mr. Graham said.
Proactive measures Following years of bilateral deliberation and the consistent resistance put up by Sri Lanka’s northern shermen, the two governments came up with some proactive measures. On Tamil Nadu’s part, with assistance from the Centre, eorts are on to convert bottomtraw lers into boats suitable for deepsea shing. The State hopes to get 500 deepsea vessels ready for use this year, according to sources in the Tamil Nadu government. This, along with Sri Lanka’s ban on bottom trawling in July 2017, has had some welcome impact. Both the Sri Lankan Navy and the northern shermen based in Jana and Man nar have observed that fewer Indian trawlers are spotted in their waters. However, that their Tamil Nadu counterparts are yet to com pletely stop trespassing is worrying the north ern shermen. According to the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Colombo, as many 49 Indian shermen have been arrested from the beginning of this year, and 10 of their boats conscated. Though some are sceptical about using strong legislation while respond ing to what is fundamentally a livelihood is sue, others feel that is the only option in the absence of other safeguards for shermen in the waraected regions in the north. It is in this context that the northern shermen wel come the higher nes. Experts have put forth a range of other sug gestions, including setting up an autonomous international authority to manage the Palk Bay and its depleting marine resources — in itiatives that will warrant much thought, time and eort from both ends. As for northern shermen, they only wish that Tamil Nadu will take a more honest and comprehensive look at the problem, while making a case for the livelihoods of the sherfolk in the State.
Mass production The ‘100yen question’ is: How does the entire operation work in economic terms? How can selling goods for so little turn a prot? The answer lies in mass production of products in lowwage countries, bulk ordering by Japa nese retailers and elimination of the middle men. The disparate items available at these stores are not all of equal value. Some are worth only ¥10 at cost, while others are worth well over ¥100. The cheaper items in eect subsidise the pricier ones, balancing out to a gure that has both shopowners and con sumers smiling. What really makes Japan’s ‘100yen stores’ stand out compared to ‘one dollar stores’ and their equivalents around the world is not only that the quality of their oer ings is often higher than average, but also the ingeniousness of those who design them. This correspondent’s favourite is the porta ble trash bag holder, a neat solution to one of Japanese life’s biggest headaches: what to do with one’s rubbish. There are virtually no pu blic trash cans in Tokyo to get rid of increas ingly insipid wads of chewing gum or wet wipes oozing baby spit. You usually have to hold on to these in your hands or stu them in your bag. But a roll of a dozen trash bags in a compact holder that ts into any tote allows one to peel o a bag to toss garbage into and carry it back home messfree. An elegant ‘100 yen x’.
Vidya Ram works for The Hindu and is based in London
Varghese K. George works for The Hindu and is based in Washington
Meera Srinivasan works for The Hindu and is based Colombo
Pallavi Aiyar is an author and journalist based in Tokyo
University. “Jesus said love our neighbours as ourselves but never told Caesar how to run Rome. He never said Roman soldiers should turn the other cheek in battle... or that Caesar should tax the rich to help the poor. That’s our job,” he tweeted, arguing to keep Christian morality and American politics apart.
bricabrac. The 1980s saw the rise of super markets, which on occasion would stage pop ular ‘100yen sales’, but the stores took on their contemporary avatar only about two de cades ago.
< > Germany and Austria, where tens of thousands of Turkish and Kurdish migrants live, saw several demonstrations late last week, either for or against Turkey’s attack on Syria’s Afrin Posters of Mr. Erdoğan or Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, were everywhere. However, not every immigrant is happy with the turn of events. “In times of globlisa tion, people should nd a way to engage each other and not ght over political or religious dierences. I believe that people like Presi dent Erdoğan should not welcome that. The TurkishKurdish community is totally split,” said Serkan Kaya, 28, a pharmacist from the city of Innsbruck in Austria. Mr. Kaya, who has Kurdish and Turkish roots, believes the ongoing situation in Afrin “will not just kill in nocent people” but also “destroy many friendships”. “In fact, it’s an abuse of the olive branch, which is a symbol of peace,” he said, referring to the code name of the operation. Turkish immigrants have come out against the war too. “I feel there is a fundamental pro blem rooted in Turkish society. In no other country the military is so overly gloried and soldiers seen as the pride of the nation,” said Anil Altintas, 26, a student from Berlin. He says many of his compatriots do not take hu man rights violations by the Turkish military seriously. “The socalled strength of the Tur kish nation has been a very popular narrative — not only under Erdoğan but also throughout Turkish history,” Mr. Altintas said. Heavy price Demonstrations took place in Turkey as well. Mr. Erdoğan threatened that there will be a “heavy price” for those who protested. Do zens of journalists and social media users have already been arrested for criticising the operation. The crackdown at home is having a ripple eect on the protests abroad. “It’s problematic. We have already seen es calations during demonstrations. I think it is very obvious that the lines have been drawn clearly. Extreme positions are dominating both sides of the conict,” said Cengiz Gunay, vicedirector of the Viennabased Austrian In stitute for International Aairs. According to Mr. Gunay, current events make clear that the socalled peace process between the Turkish government and the PKK is truly over. “It is understandable that the lo cal political establishment does not like to see such protests here [in Austria and Germany]. However, they are partially responsible for these developments. Many immigrants, whether Turkish or Kurdish, do not still feel that they have really arrived here.”
Emran Feroz is a freelance journalist based Stuttgart, Germany
Breakfast at Tirreta’s It’s authentic Chinese fare in this Kolkata market on Sundays Text and images by K.R. Deepak
To dine on authentic Chinese fare on a Sunday morning, the goto place is Tirreta Bazaar in Kolka ta. The miniChinatown, o the Central Avenue, reects the heritage of Chinese immigrants in the city, which was home to nearly 20,000 of them in the early 19th century. The number has dwindled to 2,000 now, and some among them whip up the breakfast. The aroma of soup noodles, warm dumplings and sh ball soup from the stalls ll the air inside the lanes as the bazaar springs to life around 6.30 a.m. Men and women sit on stools and cook food as a stream of visitors come there to relish this un ique street food. One of the popular dishes is the steamed bao, a soft Chinese bun with a variety of llings. Another is the sh ball soup. Deboned sh is ground into a paste and mixed with corn starch and salt. The mixture is made into balls that are deepfried and served with piping hot stock. The menu includes lope yang, which are rounds of sa
vouries stued with radish; momos or dumplings with beef, pork, chicken, seafood or vegetable ll ing; and sweet snacks such as chintoy, which is a sticky rice dumpling topped with white sesame seeds. Suchitra Chakraborty, 67, retired Professor of Bengali literature, recalls the Sundays 50 years ago when she would visit the breakfast market with her classmates of Presidency College. “Even now we go there on Sunday mornings to get a taste of our favourite breakfast dishes. The place exudes an old world charm and reminds us of our college days. My favourite is the sh ball soup and the prawn pappad,” she says. The food is lapped up quickly, and the bazaar winds up by 9 a.m. It oers a peep into the life of Chinese immigrants. From students and young professionals to middleaged men and women and Chinese settlers, the market attracts an eclectic mix. Its exact origin is unclear. Most stall owners say it has been around since the time of their great grandfathers — it means about a century.
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Easy on the pocket: The menu on display.
Al fresco dining: If it is Sunday, breakfast is at Tirreta Bazaar in Kolkata, where Indian families with Chinese roots lay out a veritable spread.
Filling bowl: Fish ball soup sells like hot cakes.
Rich platter: Fish pau, chicken lollipop, Khwai Choi Pan (vegetable pancakes) and momos beckon hungry souls.
Kinship of food: A family whips up the spread while the matriarch has the oversight. CM YK
Palate ticklers: Momos and sweet rice zung: you name it, they have it. B HY-HYE
A taste of home: Chinese migrants sampling the fare. CM YK
All in the game: After breakfast, Tiretta Bazaar gets backs to being the small lane it is.
Budget and You The Budget has slapped Long Term Capital Gains Tax on investors, oered some tax sops to the elderly and left the salaried class high and dry. An action plan for you
Parvatha Vardhini C
With the market on a pur ple patch and the govern ment too looking for ad ditional revenues, longterm capital gains (LTCG) tax on equities is not a total surprise. From April 1, 2018, for listed equity shares, units in equityoriented mu tual funds and equity fundoffunds sold after one year of holding, a longterm capital gains (LTCG) tax of 10 per cent will be charged on gains in excess of 1 lakh. To bring parity between those opting for growth and dividend options, di vidends from equity funds will also be taxed at 10 per cent. The tax will be deducted by the mu tual fund houses before paying out the dividends, similar to the current process adopted for divi dends from debt funds. Debt funds attract a 25 per cent ‘dividend distri bution tax’ ( 28.8 per cent including surcharge and cess for this scal). Ac cording to fund houses we spoke to, the 10 per cent tax on equity fund dividends can be called a ‘dividend distribution tax’ for all practical pur poses. But it is not clear whether there will be a surcharge and cess above this. If yes, the tax cut could be higher. Tax on LTCG will not be applicable on gains made till the date of announce ment of this move. The general understanding is that the 1 lakh limit is on the aggregate longterm gains made in one year by a tax payer and not on every individual sale. But this is not mentioned specically in the budget documents. Investors can take solace from the fact that this tax is not applicable retros pectively. Small investors
need not fret too as only gains over 1 lakh in a year will be taxed. Inves tors in Equity Linked Sav ings Schemes for the pur pose of claiming tax deduction under Sec 80C should note that their in vestments now lose the ‘Exempt Exempt Ex empt’ (EEE) status. Losses can be set o Unlike the Securities Transaction Tax (STT), which is paid irrespective of whether you have made prots or not, LTCG tax will be paid on ly on gains, that too above 1 lakh. Also, when the markets are bearish, LTCG tax can help inves tors set o their losses in one year against gains in another year. This seto facility is not available under the current regime as the gains are exempt from tax. Growth attractive Fund houses may declare dividends quite a few times in a year and multi ple times in the period during which you hold a fund. Every time it does, dividends will be paid out to you after the de duction of tax. But you may not sell units every year and even if you do, your gains may not ex ceed 1 lakh. Thus, for in vestors whose LTCG in a year don’t exceed 1 lakh, the dividend option is no longer attractive. Choos ing the growth option makes more sense. SWPs score Tax on equity dividends implies that investors will now have less incentive to invest in equityorient ed funds for the purpose of regular dividends. In the booming market con ditions in the last one year or so, equityorient ed balanced funds and
arbitrage funds have been sold on the premise that they can provide a regular monthly income in the form of dividends. In reality, fund houses can pay dividends only out of surplus, be it debt or equity funds. Even that’s not mandatory. During bearish market conditions, they may not be able to declare divi dends at all. Two, even if some funds declare divi dends more frequently than others, what inves tors get in hand will be net of tax and hence, low er than the declared divi dend. But the net asset value (NAV) of the fund will be adjusted for the
< > Small investors need not fret as gains over 1 lakh in a year will only be taxed gross amount. A comforting factor for investors who want to choose the dividend op tion in equity funds des pite all the spokes in the wheel is that the divi dend distribution tax is only 10 per cent here, while for debt funds it is much higher. But for reg ular income purposes, opting for Systematic Withdrawal Plans (SWP) in an equity fund after a year of investment is a better option. Lower churn A smaller implication of the LTCG tax on equities is that investors may now have to think twice be fore churning their mu tual fund portfolio often, as it will involve a cost. While there is no denying that you should quit con sistent underperformers, going in and out of funds in the hope of riding on the top performers of ev ery season, may not be a
More in the kitty for senior citizens
good idea. A topper of one season which is not wellmanaged may end up being a laggard in the next. Consistency in re turns across market cy cles matters more for longterm investors. Longterm gains intact Holdings in debt funds over three years already attract LTCG tax of 20 per cent (with indexation benets). For investors with low risk tolerance who took to equity funds for the sole purpose of the taxfree nature of longterm gains so far, the move now warrants a relook at their asset allo cation. The choice of sav ings instruments should be based on risk appetite and time available to reach the nancial goal rather than taxation be nets alone. According to fund managers we spoke to, for investors who have a higher risk appetite, equity funds still retain their edge, despite the lack of ination indexa tion benets. Nonavaila bility of indexation bene ts may probably increase the absolute tax outgo for equity funds ov er debt funds. But a back of the envelope calcula tion shows that this will not dent the ability of equity funds to outper form debt funds over, say, 10 years. This calculation as sumes reasonable num bers of return of 10 per cent (compounded) for equity funds, 7 per cent (compounded) for debt funds and an average in ation rate of 5 per cent. Hence, longterm inves tors can continue with their SIPs in equity funds towards goals such as children’s higher educa tion, marriage and retire ment.
The Budget has managed to bring in considerable cheer for the elderly. By providing higher deduction and tax incentives, the Finance Minister will now ensure greater savings for senior citizens. The muchfavoured bank and post oce deposits have been made more attractive with substantial interest de ductions. Not stopping at that, the Budget has increased the limits for medical insurance premiums and treatments, and enhanced provisions for certain illnesses. The added sweeteners are the in troduction of standard deduction for pensioners and doubling of invest ment limits under Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana. These deductions total up to nearly 1.41.5 lakh annually. Therefore, a se nior citizen (60 years and above) in the 30 per centbracket would now be able to save up to 45,000 (excluding cess) additionally in 201819, if she were to take all these benets.
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Salaried taxpayers have little to gain Anand Kalyanaraman
“Expectations are always the cause of misery”, re minded Finance Secre tary Hasmukh Adhia in a postBudget interview. Individual taxpayers who had high expectations have reason to be disap pointed with Budget 2018. Pretty little has changed and their high hopes of big tax breaks have remained just that. The Finance Minister did not make any change in the structure of income tax for individuals. He gave some relief, only to nullify most of it. Here’s how. Conceding a widely voiced demand, the Bud get has allowed standard deduction on salary in come up to 40,000. But CM YK
then out goes the tax ex emption on medical ex pense reimbursement (15,000) and transport allowance (19,200) — to talling 34,200. In eect, the taxable income re duces by just 5,800 a year for salary earners who get medical and transport allowance. This group generally compris es those below 60 years of age. On the reduced tax in come of 5,800, the tax benet, excluding cess, is the range of 290 (for those in the lowest 5 per cent slab) to 1,740 (for those in the highest 30 per cent slab). And this little benet too is chipped away by the in crease in cess on total tax.
Education cess, cur rently 3 per cent of tax has been replaced with Health and Education cess of 4 per cent of tax. The outgo due to high er cess could, in fact, be more than the tax saved
< > Standard deduction is back, but some allowances are out in the case of high salary earners, resulting in net tax outgo. For instance, for a salaried individual less than 60 years old earning 18 lakh a year, investing 1.5 lakh in Sec tion 80C taxsaving in struments and paying health insurance premi um of 25,000 eligible for tax break under Sec
tion 80D, the tax outgo will increase by 1,190 af ter Budget 2018. Standard benets The tax benet though is better for salaried tax payers who do not get medical and transport allowance. This group generally comprises those aged 60 or more and earning pen sion income. With no dis advantage from removal of tax exemption on medical and transport al lowance, the entire bene t of standard deduction of 40,000 would be available to such tax payers. This works out to tax saving of 2,000 (for those in the 5 per cent slab) to 12,000 (for
those in the 30 per cent slab) excluding cess. But here too, the benet is re duced by the increase in cess on total tax. Thank fully, for the elderly aged 60 and more, the Budget has provided other tangi ble sops too — in the form of higher tax breaks on interest incomes and health insurance among other benets (see ac companying story). Hopes belied For those below 60 though, big hopes have been left unmet, yet again. There was expec tation of increase in the tax exemption limit (cur rently 2.5 lakh for those under 60, 3 lakh for those aged 60 up to 80, and 5 lakh for those
aged 80 and more). Indi vidual taxpayers also ex pected an increase in the Section 80C investment limit (currently 1.5 lakh), higher tax breaks on medical reimbursement and children’s education allowance, and increase in tax deduction on inter est payment on home loans (2 lakh). The last major tax breaks were given nearly four years back in the Ju ly 2014 Budget and ina tion has eroded the bene ts. Besides, with many state elections scheduled this year and the 2019 general election just about a year away, tax payers were betting on the Government loosen ing its purse strings. But that was not to be.
Gaining from interest on deposits The elderly can hold on to their ever reliable bank and postoce deposits even more, thanks to the 50,000 de duction that would now be allowed under a new section 80TTB. At present, just 10,000 was al lowed for deductions, that too only for savings bank interest. Senior citizens can use this en hanced deduction, which is applica ble for all xed and recurring depo sits. Additionally, the threshold for deducting TDS by the banks would be increased from 10,000 to 50,000. The only caveat is that the 10,000 that was available for savings bank in terest deduction (under Section 80TTA) would now not be allowed. Suggestions: While asset allocation depends on age and risk appetite, se nior citizens would do well to park at least 6075 per cent of their portfolio in safe deposits. The new concessions mean that it would be better to retain such a pro portion or tilt it more towards depo sits, especially for those in the highest tax bracket. These deductions may not availa ble for company deposits. So, the elderly can safely avoid chasing a risky deposit for higher returns and stick to safe avenues such as banks, post oces, . Savings in medical care Getting a medical insu rance just got more lucra tive as the deduction un der Section 80D has been increased from 30,000 to 50,000. Also, where premi ums are paid for cover of more than one year (to get re latively cheap er rates), the amount can be split proportion ately over the years. For the treat *
ment of certain specied illnesses, the deductions have been increased from 60,000 to 1 lakh. Together, these increased conces sions could result in a potential sav ings of 60,000 through deduction. Suggestions: There are dedicated insurance policies available for senior citizens. For a 60year old person needing a cover of 10 lakh, the an nual premiums range from 27,000 to as high as 75,000, depending on the features. It is an absolute necessity that seniors do not dip into their va luable accumulated corpus for health reasons. If you are a senior citizen, you must take a health policy from insurance providers such as Star Health, Reli gare, Bajaj Allianz, Apollo Munich and HDFC Ergo for the maximum sumas sured that is on oer. If you have an existing policy, you can increase the sum assured. Given the higher deduction availa ble, the blow from higher premiums could be softened considerably. Standard deduction introduced As with the younger population, now senior citizens too would be allowed to deduct 40,000 from their taxable income. This will be in addition to their regular investment allowances and deductions. This move is expected to benet only pensioners who do not have the benet of deductions that normal sa laried people do. Increased investment limit The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY), a pension scheme for senior citizens, now has a higher investment limit of 15 lakh from 7.5 lakh earlier. This scheme has an assured 8 per cent return(8.3 per cent for the an nual payout option) and will now be available till March 2020. The maximum monthly pension that a senior citizen could currently get is 5,000. With the increased li mit, she would now get 10,000 monthly. Suggestions: There aren’t any pen sion products that oer assured re turns of 8 per cent annually and are also safe. Currently, immediate annui ty plans in the market oer around 6 per cent return. Bank xed deposits for senior citizens oer a rate of about 6.57.5 per cent per annum. The post oce Senior Citizens Saving Scheme is an attrac tive option. It allows a maxi mum investment of 15 lakh and the interest rate now is 8.3 per cent per annum. The tenure is ve years and can be extended for a maxi mum of only three more years. Also, inter est payments will be made only quarter ly: there is no monthly payout option. Hence, senior citi zens must invest a por tion in PMVVY, after ex hausting the SCSS limits, to generate a stable monthly pension of up to 10,000.
The Finance Minister made the rst ocial pronounce ment about cryptocurren cies in this Budget, stating clearly that the ‘‘Govern ment does not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender or coin.” He also stat ed that the Centre will take all the necessary measures to ensure that cryptocurrencies are not used in nancing ille gal activities. In the same breath, he has stated that the blockchain technology on which cryptocurrencies are built, will be used to develop the digital economy further. Before we try to decipher what this means for you, a lit tle background rst.
Cryptocurrencies are not an asset either, as regulatory nod is awaited
Not a currency Cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies mined by people across the world by solving algorithmic equations. Those mining the currencies also help maintain an open ledger called blockchain, in which all the cryptocurrency transactions are recorded. These currencies can be purchased by anyone though cryptocurrency exchanges across the world. The currencies purchased are stored in digital wallets on mobiles or computers and used for further trading or for buying goods and services. Initially, cryptocurren cies, including bitcoins, were looked upon as an alterna tive to conventional curren cies such as rupee, dollar, euro etc. Many had ex
pressed an opinion that gi ven the debasement of the value of conventional cur rencies due to continued monetary easing, cryptocur rencies could emerge as a viable alternative. Greater transparency, lack of govern ment control and the digital base were said to favour this shift. But the fact that crypto currencies can be used to buy goods or services across the globe, with no regulatory oversight has led to their misuse in nancing drug traf cking and terrorist activi ties. The volatility in prices of these currencies has also made them useless as legal tender. In India, there are almost no retail outlets that accept bitcoin or any other virtual
currency in lieu of cash. While websites such as Dell, Expedia and Microsoft were taking bitcoins as payment, their usage as currency is otherwise quite limited. The FM’s statement that cryptocurrencies cannot be used as legal tender means that these can not be used to buy any goods and services in India. So don’t continue to har bour the hope that the bit coins you have been holding can be used to buy a swanky home some time in future. This might never happen, at least in India. Is it an asset? Supporters of cryptocurren cies have however been try ing to sell the idea that while it is not a currency, it is an as
set akin to other assets such as stocks, mutual funds or gold. When the price of bitcoin, the primary cryptocurrency that accounts for almost 50 per cent of the global traded volume and market cap, hit $10,000 in early December, 2017, interest in this curren cy surged. In the next couple of weeks, prices hit $19,200 with a speculative frenzy gripping this segment. Prices have since crashed to $9,000 over the next one month. But the soaring value of bitcoin has attracted many naïve in vestors, with many investing small sums, up to 5,000 in to it. Many exchanges that ena ble trading in bitcoin and other cyptocurrencies such
as litecoin, etherium and bit coin cash have cropped up in India in recent times such as Zebpay, Unocoin, and so on. These exchanges were al so doing brisk volumes of 50 to 100 crore every day. According to the exchanges, those trading on these ex changes come from all parts of the country, including Tier II and Tier III cities. The trouble is that if cryp tocurrency trading has to be come legal, then these have to be recognised as security or commodity by SEBI. De rivatives on cryptocurren cies can also be allowed only after SEBI gives permission. Further, these cryptocurren cy exchanges have to register with SEBI and adhere to the networth, margin and sur veillance norms. As of now, the cryptocur rency exchanges are not go verned by either SEBI or RBI. So the gains made in these exchanges are also illegal. It is therefore not possible to set o losses made in these exchanges against capital gains or other speculative income. There were also reports of some banks in India recently disallowing transfer of funds to trading account of crypto currency exchanges. Against this background, it will be better to stay o cryptocurrency trading until SEBI or RBI give the green signal to trade on these ex changes. These are currently too risky to be treated as even al ternative investments.
Parity for all NPS subscribers Employees contributing to the National Pension Scheme (NPS) under Section 10, Clause (12A), were allowed tax free withdrawal of 40 per cent during closure of account or on opting out. This exemption was not available to non employee subscribers, which is now provided. Now, the benet would remain the same for both employee and nonemployee subscribers. This amendment will be eective from April 1, 2019 and apply from assessment year 201920 onwards.
IN VOGUE O Bitcoin O Litecoin O Etherium O Bitcoin Cash CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
Looming threat Late last year, China ordered shutting down of all cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings
Import duty increased on many products Products like fruit juices, perfumes, automobile parts, footwear, jewellery, electronics, furniture, watches, toys and games get costlier, thanks to increase in import duty, in a bid to push forth ‘Make in India’. Fruit juices and vegetable juices now carry 50 per cent duty against 30 per cent earlier. A duty of 20 per cent will be levied on perfumes, footwear, jewellery, furniture, toys and games, higher than earlier duty structures. LCD/LED/OLED carry a higher 15 per cent duty against 7.5/10 per cent earlier. SEBI widens incentives to B-30 ctites Under the existing norms prescribed by SEBI, mutual funds are allowed to charge a maximum total expense ratio of 2.5 per cent of the fund’s net assets in case of equity funds. But an additional 30 basis points can be charged by the mutual fund if the inows come from beyond the top 15 cities. Another 20 basis points can be charged on other permissible expenses in lieu of exit fee. SEBI has now widened the additional headroom for expanding into TierII cities by extending the incentive (30 basis points) to B30 cities as well. But it has also claried that the 20 basis points on exit load fee will not be applicable on the closeended schemes.
BANK FD INTEREST RATES (%) PORTFOLIO IDEAS
‘Long term’ may not always heal You often hear that equity will give you handsome re turns if you hold the invest ment for the long term. In this article, we discuss why you should be concerned about shortterm uctua tions even if you invest for the ‘long term’. What long term? Long term is subjective. For tunately, you do not have to dene longterm if you adopt the coresatellite framework! Why? Your core portfolio is a goalbased portfolio. Sup pose you desire to buy a house 10 years hence. Your investment portfolio meant for down payment for the house has a 10year time ho rizon. On the other hand, your investment portfolio meant for an exotic vacation could have a sixyear time horizon. So, should you dene both
your portfolios as long term or should you dene only the 10year portfolio as long term? Also, does your 10 year portfolio carry lower risk than your sixyear port folio because it has a longer time horizon? To answer these ques tions, you must appreciate the fact that uctuation in prices means your equity in vestment can decline just as much as it can climb up. Even if both up and down markets are equally likely, your risk is not reduced just because you hold your in vestment for a longer term. Why? Suppose you require a compounded annual return of 10 per cent on your invest ments to accumulate wealth to make down payment for the house. The argument that you can achieve your goal even if equity values de cline in the initial years may not always be true. If you ex
Citi Bank DBS Bank Deutsche Bank HSBC Scotia Bank StanChart
rience during the investing period of your life goal will decide whether you will be able to accumulate the re quired wealth for that goal. The upshot? You have to stay invested in the market through its ups and downs to give your core portfolio the chance to achieve your life goals. But carrying your in vestments through the time horizon for the life goal does not necessarily mean your portfolio will recover the shortfall in returns. To bridge the shortfall, you can contribute more capital into the investment account in the years when you face shortfall in returns. Alternatively, you can bridge the shortfall from a lower priority life goal at the end of the time horizon for your life goal.
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perience negative returns of 10 per cent per annum in the rst three years, you have to earn 15.6 per cent each year thereafter to achieve your goal. The reason is because shortfall in return (dierence between actual return and required return) will be com pounded over the years. This is because of the asymmetric returns eect. It refers to the fact that the ef fort you have to take to re
cover unrealised losses will be much more than the speed at which you can lose your unrealised gains for the same percentage change in the market! Bridging the gap The risk associated with your core portfolio is earning low erthanrequired returns, and not just negative re turns. Further, because of the asymmetric returns ef fect, the returns you expe
Asymmetric returns The effort you have to take to recover unrealised losses will be much more than the speed at which you can lose your unrealised gains for the same percentage change in the market
The writer is the founder of Navera Consulting. Feedback may be sent to [email protected]
Circle rate One big change is in tax cal culation when circle rate di ers from sale price. Property in every locality is given a rate by the State government to provide guidelines on the transaction value. This ready reckoner rate prevents gross underreporting of property value to save on income tax and stamp duty. The circle rates are re vised from time to time based on market conditions. In the past, when property markets were on an uptrend, circle rates lagged transac tion prices. When there is a property transaction, the higher of the transaction price and circle rate is used for tax purposes. Often, market rates are high CM YK
er, and deals are recorded at guideline value, with cash paid for the rest. But with property prices falling, tran sactions in the secondary market are below the guide line value in many markets. This leaves sellers in a sticky situation as they pay taxes on gains based on the guideline value. And if inves tors are made to save on longterm capital gains, that is also based on the circle rate. The buyers are hit by
this as well — the dierence between the circle price and actual price is taxed as a gift (if it exceeds 50,000). The change The Budget has made a small change to the existing meth od, in some circumstances. If the property price is lower than the guideline value by less than 5 per cent, no ad justment needs to be made and the tax can be computed on the actual sale considera
Change in holding period The other proposal in the Budget relates to the holding requirement of bond invest ments made by sellers to save on longterm capital gains tax. Longterm gains tax may be saved if the prot is reinvested in another property. Alternatively, prot of up to 50 lakh per year can be invested in capital gains (54EC) bonds for a period of three years. These bonds are issued by NHAI and REC and
the interest rate is 5.25 per cent currently. The Budget has increased the minimum holding period to ve years. For 201819, these bonds will be issued with veyear te nure and the new interest rate will be announced. The change dents the gains to a seller — a longer holding pe riod will lower returns, as the tax saving is spread over ve years. For example, if the gain was 1 lakh, it could be invested in the bonds, sav ing 20,000 in tax and earn ing an interest of 26,250 (at 5.25 per cent per year) over ve years. The investor is left with 1,26,250 after ve years (ignoring tax on inter est). Given the low returns from property investments, it is still prudent to consider bond investment. Those who may need the money before ve years, can pay taxes and invest in instruments that suit their risk prole.
Allahabad Bank Andhra Bank Bank of Mah BOB BOI Canara Bank CBOI Corp Bank Dena Bank IDBI Bank Indian Bank IOB OBC PNB Punjab & Sind SBI Syndicate Bank UCO Bank Union Bank United Bank Vijaya Bank
Axis Bank Bandhan Bank Catholic Syrian CUB DCB Dhanlaxmi Bank Federal Bank HDFC Bank ICICI Bank IDFC Bank IndusInd Bank J & K Bank Karnataka Bank Kotak Bank KVB LVB RBL Bank SIB TMB TNSC Bank Yes Bank
Data taken from respective bank's website as on February 2, 2018. For each year range, maximum offered interest rate is considered; Interest Rate for deposit amount below Rs 1 Cr. Contributed by BankBazaar.com, an online marketplace for financial products.
The Budget has some proposals that would impact homebuyers and sellers tion. For instance, if a pro perty purchased for 25 lakh has a current circle rate of 30 lakh and is sold for 29 lakh. In the old method, cap ital gains tax for the seller would be on 5 lakh (30 lakh25 lakh). Now, it would be on 4 lakh (29 lakh25 lakh). For a buyer, the dierence bet ween circle rate (30 lakh) and the consideration (29 lakh) was treated as a gift in the past. This is not the case now.
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INDIAN- PRIVATE SECTOR
Has housing come a full circle? Meera Siva
INDIAN- PUBLIC SECTOR
The property sector did not gure prominently in the re cently presented Budget. Still, there are two changes, mainly tax related, that could impact home buyers and sellers.
1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 5
Even if up and down markets are equally likely, your risk is not reduced B Venkatesh
TAX EFFECT O Lower tax for sellers O Benet for buyers O Only a small impact CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
Mark to market In the past, provinces such as Puducherry have revised the guideline value for property lower to match market rates
The writer is co-founder, RaNa Investment Advisors
Higher MSPs for farmers won’t Hindalco may invest $1 bn in expanding capacities accelerate ination: analysts Nonperishable agri products may see slight price rise till MSPs come into eect
Value addition to boost pretax earnings, says Satish Pai Piyush Pandey
TCA Sharad Raghavan NEW DELHI
Tata Steel acquires 74% stake in BPPL NEW DELHI
Tata Steel has acquired 74% stake in Bhubaneshwar Power (BPPL) from JL Power Ventures for 255 crore to ramp up its captive source of power. Last year, Tata Steel executed denitive agreements to acquire 74% equity shares of BPPL from JL Power Ventures. “Tata Steel has concluded the acquisition of 74 per cent of the equity shares of BPPL on February 1, 2018,” the steel major said in a BSE ling. PTI
JM Financial raises 650 crore via QIP MUMBAI
JM Financial has mopped up 650 crore through a qualied institutional placement to global and domestic investors, which was oversubscribed by more than three times, merchant bankers said. The issuewas priced at 162 a share, which has a face value of 1, and thus commanding a premium of 161 a share, an investment banker said, adding the oor price was set at 161.44. However, the JM Financial scrip tanked 6.3% to 157.70 on the BSE. PTI
Ant Financial invests $200 mn in Zomato NEW DELHI
Alibaba’s aliate Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group (Ant) has invested about $200 million in online food ordering app Zomato. A regulatory ling by BSElisted Info Edge (a large shareholder in Zomato) said Zomato has signed a “denitive agreement to undertake a primary fund raise of an amount of approximately $150 million from Ant.“ Industry analysts said the deal values Zomato at more than $ 1 billion. PTI
The announcement of a Mi nimum Support Price (MSP) of 1.5 times the farmer’s cost will likely not have a strong upward impact on overall in ation but could spur a wan ing of the sharp slowdown in food price gains seen in 2017, according to ocials and economists. In the short term, a slight increase in prices of non perishable farm products is possible as producers hold on to produce till the higher MSPs come into eect around September or Octob er. The increase in MSPs would come into eect when the Kharif crop came into the market, Economic Af fairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg had told The
Bumpy ride: Food ination decelerated in 2017 at both the wholesale and retail levels, aecting farmers. REUTERS *
Hindu, adding he did not ex pect any impact in the rst six months. However, there was the possibility of an in duced eect as farmers held stocks in expectation of a higher price, he said. Price expectations Farmers would hold on to crops only if current prices
were lower than 1.5 times the cost of production, econo mists said. “If prices are cur rently depressed and we know that in the future it will be 1.5 times the cost, then the prices may start going up right now,” said Ranen Ba nerjee, partner and leader Public Finance and Econom ics at PwC India. “The non
perishable products, and those that can be stored, will be held till that time.” Food ination decelerated in 2017 at both the wholesale and retail levels. This had hurt farmers, forcing the go vernment to act. The nature of MSPs and the fact that government has limited funds to use to buy crops at that price, would contain inationary expecta tions, said D.K. Srivastava, Chief Policy Advisor at EY In dia. “MSPs don’t come into ef fect until market prices dip. And even if they dip, govern ment’s ability to purchase at MSP is based on budget allo cation. Currently, only limit ed purchases are done due to budget and quality con siderations,” he said.
Kumar Mangalam Birlaled Hindalco Industries is plan ning to invest as much as $1 billion to augment its alumi nium, copper and alumina producing capacities across locations. Conrming the develop ment, Satish Pai, managing director, Hindalco told The Hindu, “land acquisition is very dicult and getting en vironment clearances still remains a challenge. So, we have decided [to go] for browneld expansion. We plan to invest $1 billion over next ve years to augment our capacities.” Utkal Alumi na International Ltd., a whollyowned subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group rm Hin dalco Industries, is planning to double its alumina capac
ity to three million tonnes per annum (mtpa). Hirakud facility The company is also plan ning to increase the capacity of its downstream mill at Hi rakud in Western Orissa and capacity of its copper unit at Dahej in Gujarat. Asked about funding, Mr. Pai said, “we have delever aged balance sheet and all
the investment will be made in phases with internal ac cruals. We would like to in vest in value addition with disciplined capex. The value addition will help us to im prove our EBITDA.” Hindalco’s overseas subsi diary Novelis had recently announced plans to expand its production footprint in the U.S. with $300 million investment in automotive nishing capacity in Ken tucky. Novelis also agreed to acquire operating facilities and manufacturing assets for €200 million at its Sierre, Switzerland, plant that have historically been leased. Hindalco, through Nove lis, is understood to be bid ding for U.S. aluminium maker Aleris in a deal that could value Aleris about $2.5 billion, including debt.
Garment makers may invest Kone to start new plant in TN in 2019 up to 800 crore in Solapur Capacity at Sriperumbudur factory will be based on demand, says MD Gossain
At the global level, Kone has joined hands with IBM to implement an Internet of Things (IoT) project. This is being done in phases and in some countries it has been implemented.
Special Correspondent COIMBATORE
Raymond, Reliance Group among those evincing interest N. Anand CHENNAI
Reputed garment manufac turers have evinced keen in terest in investing 700 crore to 800 crore in set ting up units in Maharash tra’s Solapur District, said a top ocial. “Of late, Solapur has been gaining prominence as a sourcing hub for ready made school and corporate uniforms,” said Amit Kumar Jain, joint secretary, Solapur Garment Manufacturers As sociation. “We expect Sola pur to attract investments of 700 crore to 800 crore by
2022.” According to him, Mafatlal Industries had al ready started a 200machine factory to make readymade uniforms. Reliance Group, Raymond and Mumbai based Rupam Exports and Amber Home, which make shirts for the European mar ket, are next in the line. Ocials from Raymond would visit Solapur on Fe bruary 8 to begin initial dis cussion with 4050 manu facturers for sourcing uniforms. “Right now, we have 300 members in Sola pur making school and cor porate uniforms,” said Mr.
Kone Elevator India is plan ning to commission a new factory at Sriperumbudur in the rst half of next year. Amit Gossain, managing di rector of Kone Elevator In dia, told journalists that Kone already had a produc tion facility in Chennai. Con struction for the new plant started last year and its ca pacity would depend on the demand. The market for elevators and escalators, which start ed declining since November 2016, went down by 57% due to the impact of demo netisation and GST. Howev er, the last two months have seen demand reviving.
Jain. “Our target is to scale it up to 2,000 members by 2022 and touch a turnover of 25,000 crore. Average investment On an average, the invest ments by these rms will be about 2 crore. The invest ments by big rms will be much higher,” he said. The market size for ready made uniforms in India was estimated at 18,000 crore with the unorganised sector accounting for 8,000 crore, said Nilesh Shah, vice presi dent, Solapur Garment Ma nufacturers Association.
Fast forward: With Budget 2018 giving thrust to railway infrastructure, the escalator market is expected to improve.
This year’s budget has gi ven a thrust to housing and railway infrastructure, in cluding escalators at railway stations, which is expected to improve the market. “Most of our business is in the private sector now. We
want to increase our share in government projects. This will be without compromis ing on quality and safety,” he said. The domestic market size is 50,000 to 55,000 un its a year and Kone has more than 20% share.
IoT connectivity In India, it is expected to be executed by 2020. Initially, all new elevators will be con nected by IoT. “This will be like a machinetomachine talking. So, if there is a need for adjustment of tempera ture in the elevator, it will be done automatically. There will be alerts for mainte nance, etc.,” he said. For ele vators already installed, the project would be taken up at a later stage, he said.
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Housing fund to bolster aordable segment Focus on infrastructure continues, with allocation tripling nister has announced sever al reforms targeted towards this segment of society in cluding increase in exemp tions for health insurance premiums, increase in the investment limit under the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vanda na Yojana and increase in the interest income limit from deposits with banks and post oces.
The Union Budget 2018, pre sented in Parliament on Thursday, focusses primari ly on agriculture, rural in frastructure development, improving connectivity across the country, as well as promoting the further growth of smallscale indus tries. Against the backdrop of fastpaced economic growth, implementation of policies and improvement in India’s investment scenario, the government declared its intention to shift focus from ease of doing business to ease of living. This it has aimed to do by concentrating on the streng thening of agriculture and the rural economy, good healthcare for the economi cally weaker sections of so ciety, infrastructure creation and working with States to provide more resources for improving quality of educa tion in the country. The robust development of physical infrastructure continued to be in focus in this year’s budget as well with the government allocat ing nearly 6 lakh crore for FY19; tripling from 1.81 lakh in FY15. Some of the initiatives proposed include the expan sion of the suburban railway networks in Mumbai and Bengaluru which will aid ur ban connectivity. The redevelopment of 600 railway stations, im provement in regional con nectivity with UDAN expect ed to connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved he lipads in the country and de velopment of 9,000 km of highways and inland water ways will have a positive im pact on the country’s trade movement. The real estate sector too had something to cheer about. With the objective of CM YK
spurring increased demand for aordable Housing, the nance minister announced the setting up of a dedicated fund for the segment under the National Housing Bank. This will be funded by priority sector lending shortfall and fully serviced governmentauthorised bonds. This move, coupled with the preBudget announ cement of the Goods and Services Tax for aordable and lowcost housing being rationalised from 12% to 8% will provide a boost to the af fordable housing segment both from a demand and supply perspective. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also provided that no adjustment shall be made in cases where the circle rate value does not exceed 5% of transaction value, to mini mise hardships in real estate transaction. This has ad dressed the existing anoma lies between circle rate and real property value. More disposable income From a taxation point of view, the increase in stan dard deductions to 40,000 per annum will help indivi duals have more disposable income. This could well be channelled towards higher investments into real estate. With the focus towards taking care of the elderly in our country, the nance mi
States to compete To ensure that ease of doing business reforms are imple mented at a State level and that they yield better results, the government has identi ed more than 350 basic bu siness reform actions that States will take up in mission mode and constructively compete with each other to attract more investments. The Indian government’s continued push to digitisa tion with increased alloca tion to the Digital India pro gramme to 30.73 billion is a step towards reinforcing the establishment of a cashless society. For the rst time ever, ar ticial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things and 3D printing have found their way into the govern ment’s budget, which pro claims focus towards a more advanced and innovative ecosystem. While the Budget has sought to establish a robust digital infrastructure, it was hoped that this year’s bud get would nally address the need to put in place a single window clearance and ac cord infrastructure status to the real estate sector. Though these issues con tinue to remain, this year’s budget has focused on strengthening the country’s agricultural and rural sec tors, two signicant contrib utors to India’s economy. (The writer is Chairman, India and South East Asia, CBRE)
For the next 7 years, this will be a segment which will see the fastest growth, says Bali; invested about 300 cr. in last 3 years Jay Shankar Bengaluru
Mahindra First Choice Wheels raises $15 mn MUMBAI
Used vehicle automotive services provider Mahindra First Choice Wheels has raised a new round of $15 mn or about 100 crore, the company said. The rm will use the funds to grow its franchise dealer network and invest in new technology enabled products and services for the consumer, online. The entire investment is in the form of primary capital and will be used to fund its growth over the next 18 months. PTI
Tata Global Beverages Q3 net prot up 31% NEW DELHI
Tata Global Beverages reported a 30.51% increase in its consolidated net prot at 188.64 crore for the quarter ended December 2017. The company had posted a net prot at 144.54 crore during the same period of the previous year, TGBL said in a regulatory ling. Total income during the quarter stood at 1,750.94 crore as against 1,757.63 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. PTI
Jio topped 4G download speed in November: TRAI NEW DELHI
Reliance Jio topped the chart of 4G broadband service providers for the 11th straight month by recording a peak download speed of 25.6 mbps for November 2017, data published by telecom regulator TRAI showed. Vodafone registered a top download speed of 10 megabit per second (mbps) followed by Bharti Airtel 9.8 mbps and Idea Cellular 7 mbps in November 2017, as per the TRAI data. PTI
Volvo Group India, which had invested 2,500 crore so far in the country, would shift its focus from selling trucks to coal mining sector to construction, long haul age and irrigation sectors, said Kamal Bali, president and managing director. “In the truck business, we have mainly been into coal mining,” said Mr. Bali said in an interview. “That was where most of our trucks have been sold and today, more than onethird of coal in mines are being moved by Volvo trucks. Here, there is a limitation in terms of num bers and therefore, we are expanding to other segments such as construction, irriga tion and long haulage.” India requires investment
JFE exits Bhushan Steel bid
worth $777.73 billion in in frastructure by 2022, accord ing to India Brand Equity Foundation report released in January. In the road sec tor, investments through pu blicprivatepartnership is expected to be in the region of $31 billion during the next ve years. Highway projects “One out of three major na tional highway projects use Volvo equipment,” said Mr. Bali. “Now, we are focusing on the excavation and road equipment side. That’s the real plan over the next three to four years. We are looking at higher volumes and are bullish on India.” “Construction equipment is growing at the fastest pace since the last three years. It will continue to grow at the
stock of machines in the whole country is very low. The need to build infrastruc ture is very high. Which means demand will be high er and there are no existing stocks. For the next seven
Terming the MSME sector the backbone of the econo my, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the sector would lead the current consolidation phase of the economy. “Having gone through a series of very major struc tural reforms in the past two years, now [this] also is a phase for consolidation as far as the economy is concerned. And this phase of consolidation will also be led by the MSME sec tor,” he said after unveiling CriSidEx, the rst senti ment index for micro and small enterprises. He added that there had been increased integration of the sector into the for mal economy.
Government has walked the scal tightrope The Finance Minister had to manage populism, scal prudence and measures to bolster economic growth
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI
JSW Steel and Piramal En terprises are bidding joint ly for Bhushan Steel after Japan’s JFE Steel Corp. walked out of the alliance, a source in the know of the matter said. JSW Steel had roped in its partner JFE Steel and Pi ramal Enterprises to bid jointly for Bhushan Steel, a maker of autograde steel in India undergoing insol vency proceedings for non payment of dues. “JFE has walked out. JSW Steel and Piramal En terprises will now bid for Bhushan Steel,” the source said requesting anonymity. Email queries sent to JSW Steel and other two rms to seek response re mained unanswered.
Given that Budget 2018 was the last fullterm budget of the Finance Minister, he had a sti task of balancing popu lism, scal prudence and pushing economic growth. The government has walked the scal tight rope, project ing a scal decit of 3.3% for 201819, despite massive allo cations to agriculture, health, education and infras tructure. It also launched the world’s largest government funded health care pro gramme, the National Health Protection Scheme. The most lookedforward to announcement was ration alisation of corporate tax rates, including MAT, to keep up with the global trend of
National health plan could benet garden workers Indrani Dutta KOLKATA
fastest pace among all our business for the simple rea son that the penetration le vel of construction equip ment in India among the lowest. “This means existing
Press Trust of India
pen is two to three years down the line we will again review our plans to see if we need more in the coming years. Capex can be plant and building, machinery, new products or new mar kets. “We are ready for the next ve to six years. We have ta ken care of our expansion plans already in terms of ca pacity. If we want to intro duce new models, some sort of balancing investments may continue. We will not shy away from these. India is among the eight most impor tant countries for us.” Volvo Group India’s reve nue has grown about 3540% in the last two years, he said. “We are in the right seg ments of the Indian econo my. We need to put our best foot forward.”
Tea industry hopes to take a sip from Budget schemes There is some scope for the tea industry to cheer through the many social sec tor schemes announced in the Union Budget, according to ocials. This despite the fact there were no industryspecic announcements in the Bud get and its pleas on various issues had gone unheeded, they added. There is also a hope of be nets accruing through the lowering of corporate tax rates for MSMEs with a tur nover of up to 250 crore, in dustry ocials said. The organised tea indus try in India feels burdened by the social costs that it has to bear through legal frame works like the Plantation La bour Act, which mandates it to provide the plantation workers facilities towards medical care, housing, sub sidised rations and water supply. Industry pegs this to be at about 10% of its pro duction cost. It is now having some cause for cheer in the Na tional Health Protection Scheme announced in the Budget. The scheme envis ages providing a health insu rance cover of 5 lakh per ‘poor’ family. This would in clude secondary and tertiary health care. The scheme is expected to benet 50 crore people. “The sheer size of the scheme lends hope that the tea garden workers would be included within the scheme, thereby extending reasonable health care for a large sector of the tea garden population ‘’ said a senior of cial at Tea Association of India. Similarly, the extension of the Swachh Bharat cam paign to construct two crore toilets, establishment of Ek lavya schools for scheduled tribes population could in
Tapping potential: PPP investments in roads is expected to be in the region of $31 billion in 5 y ears, says Mr. Bali.
years, this will be a segment which will see the fastest growth.” Volvo Group India set up its rst truck plant at Hosa kote in Karnataka in 1998. Subsequently, it set up a bus manufacturing facility at the same place and later a con struction equipment factory at Peenya in Bengaluru. The rm also had a engine manufacturing facility in Pithampur which it set up as a joint venture with Eicher Group. Mr. Bali said Volvo Group had invested in increasing capacity at its factories by in vesting about 300 crore during the last three years. “We just nished our wave of capex. When you invest in capacity, you always invest for the next ve to seven years. Now, what will hap
Full cup: The tea industry is hoping that several social welfare schemes could percolate down to its employees.
clude a sizeable number of scheduled tribe populations of the tea Industry . However on AMRUT scheme, the tea industry felt that a similar initiative on augmenting water supply in rural sector would have be neted the tea gardens, which are predominantly lo cated in rural areas and exist in dicult terrain. “It remains to be seen whether at least some of these welfare measures per colate down to the tea indus try or stop at the gate of tea estates”, said a senior indus try executive said on condi tion of anonymity. This was echoed by an ocial of the apex industry body, the In dian Tea Association. Sources at the Tea Board were, however, of the view that often industry made it dicult for inclusion of its workers in government schemes by failing to create an enabling atmosphere for dovetailing government schemes with its own. As for the West Bengal Budget, the industry is alrea dy relieved over the exemp tion granted in respect of agricultural income tax . “The tea industry in the State has been in a dire state for past many years, .. I pro pose to fully exempt tea gar dens from payment of agri cultural income tax till
201920,” State Finance Mi nister Amit Mitra said in his Budget speech. The educa tion cess and the rural em ployment cess levied on green tea leaves had also been given full exemption. Industry said this exemp tion was being given by the State Government on a year toyear basis for the last few years. The industry pays a total of 12 paise per kg of tea on these two counts. Small growers Although there is no indus tryspecic announcement, small tea growers, who were more like farmers, could avail the scheme for sher ies, horticulture or could even plant bamboo for alter native source of income, said Bijoy Chakravarty, pre sident, Confederation of In dian Small Tea Growers As sociations. The government’s thrust on farm sector could be utilised, he said. The tea industry had sought support for tackling climate change besides seek ing customs duty relief. Strangely, neither the State government nor the Centre made any mention of the Darjeeling tea industry in their annual nancial statements although the in dustry suered major losses during last year’s separatist agitation.
ly, distribution of income by equity oriented mutual funds will now attract distri bution tax of 10%. In continuance of India’s strategy to adopt measures of organisation for Economic Cooperation and Develop ment (OECD) on Base Ero sion and Prot Shifting (BEPS), the budget proposes to expand the scope of busi ness connection in the dom estic tax law.
reducing corporate tax rates. A lower corporate tax rate of 25% is proposed to be ex tended to corporates with a turnover of up to 250 crore in nancial year 201617; tax rate for only other domestic corporates remains un changed at 30%, plus sur charge and cess (which is now increased from 3% to 4%). Long term capital gains (LTCG) tax of 10% has been introduced by the Centre on LTCG on listed shares and equity oriented mutual funds exceeding 1 lakh. This will aect investor sentiment in the shortterm. ‘Expectations dashed’ Expectations of abolition of Dividend Distribution Tax were dashed and additional
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Foreign enterprises It is now also proposed to tax foreign enterprises not hav ing any physical presence in India, but having ‘signicant economic presence’ if the ag gregate payment from tran sactions of goods or services (including provision of download of data or software
in India) or the number of digital users exceeds a pre scribed limit. These mea sures seek to align Indian tax law in the direction which countries globally are con verging to prevent tax avoidance. On the personal tax front, expectations of reduction in
individual tax rates / thresh old limit or increased deduc tion for investments have not been met. The standard deduction of 40,000 reintroduced for the salaried class gives token benets as it comes along with withdrawal of the exist ing deductions for con veyance and medical reimbursements. Thankfully, there has been muchneeded relief for se nior citizens with the in crease in the limit for non taxable interest income to 50,000; increased deduc tions for expenses on health insurance premium and medical expenses for speci ed diseases. Given that the Economic Survey placed in Parliament had highlighted exports and
private investments to be the key growth engines, one would have expected mea sures in this budget to incen tivise investment. ‘Discouraging investors’ While there is sucient boost for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the proposals on LTCG, DDT on equityorient ed funds continuing and the existing Securities Transac tions Tax (STT) discourage investors in capital markets. One hopes that the target ed spends on the agrarian economy, in infrastructure and education build a groundswell of sustained economic growth to propel the country forward. (The writer is Partner, KPMG in India)
Imageminds to open 70 creative labs N. Anand CHENNAI
Imageminds is planning to open 70 labs in 15 months to oer creative education to school students, said a top executive. “We already have opened creative labs in 30 schools, mostly from South,” said K. Kumar, founder and managing di rector, Imageminds. “The idea here is to reach 100 schools by end of scal 2019 at an investment of about 50 crore.” The Chennai based Ima geminds oers creative education to children from class one to class ten to help them to think beyond the walls of classroom. In the rst year, students are taught about drawing and cartoon creation, se cond year is about free hand and digital painting, third and fourth class stu dents would get to know about design basics and commercial art and digital photography and image editing respectively. Vide ography, video and audio editing skills are imparted to class ve students. From Class VI onwards, they are taught acting and cartoon animation, class sculpting & 3d animation, fashion illustration, game design fundamentals and advanced game design and level creation. According to him, the creative lab opens up numerous possibilities, let ting students use the pow er of their imaginations and grow as innovators thereby opening up a new world of opportunities. “Imageminds, in collab oration with visionary schools, are establishing a platform of innovation in India. It prepares the young minds to think big with the freedom to ex plore and the skills to han dle technology, with art as the medium. ” said Mr. Kumar.
of freight run west from the coal hinterlands to east coast ports, where fuel is shipped south for delivery inland by truck or barge along the Yangtze River. With coal stranded at mines, the auth orities have rushed to shore up supplies of fuel.
VW seeks delay in trial after lawyer’s remarks The U.S. unit of Volkswagen AG asked a U.S. judge to delay court trials it is facing over excess emissions as it fears “inammatory" remarks by a lawyer for carowners in a documentary will prejudice the jury. Although nearly all U.S. owners agreed to a 2016 settlement, the rm is being sued by some buyers after it admitted in 2015 to cheating on emissions tests. Reuters
Dell to explore IPO or merger with VMware Computer maker Dell Technologies Inc. said it was mulling an IPO or a combination with business software maker VMware Inc., its publicly held subsidiary. Dell is under pressure to boost protability after its debtladen acquisition of data storage provider EMC Corp. for $67 billion in 2016 failed to meet nancial targets. Reuters
China’s worst blizzard this winter exposed a aw in Beij ing’s drive to create remote coal mining hubs as it tries to streamline heavy industries and clear the air in populat ed regions: a lack of railroads to get the fuel to market. Heavy snow storms snar led the world’s largest rail network this week, closing highways, freezing ports and cutting o critical supplies of thermal coal. The bottlenecks added to a monthlong coal price rally and prompted four top utili ties to warn of potential heating and electricity shor tages ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year. By Friday, rare heavy snow in south and central re gions had eased, but rail ways were still clogged. State railway operator China Rail way Corp. has imposed more emergency measures to in crease coal deliveries to southern power producers running low on stock. Rail experts and execu tives at utilities warn chaotic episodes like this may be come more frequent over coming years until new freight lines are built. “China’s railway capacity is seriously inadequate, even though it has invested lots of money each year to build new lines,” said Zhao Jian, professor at Beijing Jiaotong University. Adding further strain to the system, the government last year required thousands of factories to use rail to ship
Clean air vs cold: Restrictions on mining are part of eorts to clear pollution that blankets the north in winters. REUTERS *
cargo rather than roads, the nation’s favourite mode of transportation. Aside from rail capacity, the issue can also be traced back to central government policy that has closed small mines and reduced output in the south, limiting availabili ty of regional spot supplies that could normally pick up the slack. Further to travel By creating mining hubs in more remote northern and western regions, the fuel has further to travel to get to the coalred power plants that produce most of the nation’s electricity. A source at one of the country’s top utilities Hua neng reckons imports will play an even bigger role in supplementing his supplies. “The shifting of the coal hub from east to the west will add potential risks to
transportation since we will see coal travelling a longer distance,” he said. Over the past decade, Chi na has ploughed trillions of dollars into expanding its highspeed passenger rail network, but spending growth is starting to slow. China Rail’s investment target this year is the lowest since 2013, and mostly on highspeed passenger tracks. The somewhat neglected freight network cannot han dle the extra capacity. China’s rst northsouth special coal line — the Inner Mongolia to Jiangxi Railway designed to carry 200 mil lion tonnes of cargo and stretching 2,000 km — won’t be ready until at least 2019. Existing freight tracks also don’t service the regions in dire need of fuel. The nation’s four major tracks with capacity to carry 1.2 billion tonnes each year
Emergency measures In the second round of emer gency measures, China Rail way ordered almost 20 re gional hubs from Hohot in Inner Mongolia to Kunming in Yunnan in the south to ramp up loadings. Until Feb. 10, some 46,000 cars of coal a day must be delivered to ensure supplies reach Hunan, Hu bei, Shandong and Jiangxi and power plants in other re gions that are running low of fuel, it said in a fax reviewed by Reuters. That equates to about 3 million tonnes of coal, almost 60% of China’s average daily needs for its coalred power sector, ac cording to Reuters calcula tions. China Rail had already made coal a priority and res tricted shipments of grain and fertiliser south. China Railway and National Rail way Bureau didn’t respond to requests for comment. Restrictions on mining are part of eorts to clear the pollution that blankets the north during winters and move heavy industry away from populated urban areas. But analysts say until the rail network fully connects supply hubs with centres of demand, further congestion looks likely to persist.
The U.S. judge, who will decide if AT&T Inc. may buy Time Warner Inc., said that he saw “no big issues” in pre trial preparations. The Justice Department had said that the $85 billion deal was illegal because AT&T would have the ability to raise prices that it charges cable, satellite and streaming rivals for Time Warner’s content. Reuters
mates for the rst quarter and all of 2018 have jumped. Firstquarter prot growth for S&P 500 compa nies is now estimated at 17.7%, according to Thom son Reuters data, up from 11.7% on Dec. 20, when both houses of Congress approved the tax revamp. Earnings growth for 2018 is now forecast at 18.2%, up from 11.5% on Dec. 20. Typically, expectations decline as the earnings re porting season for the quar ter approaches. On aver age, prot growth expectations fall by four percentage points from the start of the quarter to the start of earnings season, said David Aurelio, senior research analyst at Thom son Reuters. This January, revisions to S&P 500 2018 earnings esti mates were 4.3 times more positive than negative, ac cording to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The one month ratio of upward to downward revisions was the highest since at least 1986, as far back as the bank’s data goes. U.S. companies’ earnings are also beneting from im proving global economic growth and the weaker dol lar, which helps U.S. multi nationals exports sales, said Jill Carey Hall, equity strate gist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Wall Street’s main stock in dexes suered their worst week in two years as bond yields soared and renewed fears of ination gripped investors. But amid the sello, cor porate earnings forecasts keep improving. Forecasts for earnings, one of the fundamental fac tors that drives stock pric es, are rising fast as analysts factor in benets from the U.S. tax overhaul. Optimism over forecasts has caught the attention of anxious investors, who hope that strong earnings can support lofty stock val uations and oset the con cerns over rising bond yields and the pace of Fed eral Reserve rate hikes. Ris ing interest rates in general mean higher borrowing costs for companies. This week, fears of high er rates overwhelmed the upbeat prot picture as the benchmark S&P 500 stock index fell 3.9% and raised some concern about a deeper pullback. ‘Everybody nervous’ “This uptick in bond rates has everybody nervous ob viously,” said Gary Brad shaw, portfolio manager at Hodges Capital Manage ment. “But we step back and look, and so far earn ings have been awful good.
Even though you have seen rates move up some here, they are still very low, ina tion is still low,” he said. With half of the S&P 500 index companies still to re port fourthquarter results and potentially give gui dance on 2018, prot esti mates are likely to increase further. Even after the sell o, the S&P 500 is up 3.3% for this year and that is on top of a 19.4% gain for 2017. Whether this week’s down turn in global equity mar kets continues will depend in part on upcoming earn ings reports. Reports from both Apple and Google parent Alpha bet late Thursday disap pointed investors, as did Friday’s results from Ex xonMobil and Chevron, but fourthquarter S&P 500 company results overall have been much stronger than expected. Among changes to the tax law, the corporate in come tax rate drops to 21% from 35%, so earnings esti
U.S. factories add jobs but could use more robots Manufacturing productivity has been weak, even relatively Christopher Beddor WASHINGTON
Sony CEO Hirai to quit, Yoshida to take charge TOKYO
Sony said CEO Kazuo Hirai would handle over the reins to CFO Kenichiro Yoshida, while it hiked its annual prot forecast to a record that highlights the revival in fortune they have both engineered. The change may go down well with investors who were pleased with Mr. Yoshida’s approach to restructuring. Reuters
Estimates rise as analysts factor in tax overhaul’s benets
While coal is mined at remote hubs, freight lines to demand centres are too few
Electric euphony: China Railway’s highspeed Harmony bullet trains are parked at a maintenance base in Wuhan, Hubei province, as the travel rush for the Spring Festival begins. REUTERS *
American factories are ad ding jobs, but they could use more robots. The U.S. eco nomy added 200,000 posi tions last month, including 15,000 in manufacturing, the Bureau of Labor Statis tics reported on Friday. Pre sident Donald Trump often talks about boosting the sec tor, but productivity has been nearstagnant. While average hourly earnings rose 2.9% last month, the fastest growth since 2009, wage growth in the manufactur ing sector remained weak. In his State of the Union speech, Mr. Trump boasted that manufacturers had ad ded about 200,000 new jobs since his election. More than 12.5 million Americans are now employed in the sector, compared to fewer than 11.5 million in 2010. Even so, the industry remains a shadow of its former self. Factory jobs have declined from around 32% of the U.S. non farm total in the early 1950s to less than 9% today. Part of that decline is due to facto
ries relocating to lowercost countries such as China and Mexico.
COMMENT Some economists and bu siness leaders also point n gers at automation. The likes of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Tesla creator Elon Musk fret about robots tak ing jobs. There is some evi dence: each additional robot per thousand workers cuts wages by 0.250.5%, accord ing to research by Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Res trepo for the National Bu reau of Economic Research. That might explain why pay in the sector has shrunk from nearly 4% more than the typical privatesector worker, just after the last re cession, to barely better than parity today. Lazy robots Employers seem stuck with lazy robots, however. In the ory, replacing homo sapiens with machines should lead to a surge in output per worker. But that ratio has
nearly atlined since about 2011. Productivity in manu facturing has been weak even in relative terms. In early 2008, the sector was nearly 5% more productive than the norm. Today, that lead has vanished. At least part of the explanation may be that the robot conquest never really happened. The capital intensity in manufac turing, a measure of the use of assets in producing reve nue — as opposed to the use of people — increased sharp ly between 2005 and 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the ve years thereafter, it barely grew, suggesting less invest ment in robots and the like. One consequence may be te pid productivity growth. It’s not clear why manu facturers are investing so lit tle. But the worriers should be careful what they wish for. The only thing worse than too many robots may be too few. (The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)
Federal Reserve orders Wells Fargo to halt growth over compliance issues Unprecedented move by U.S. central bank follows persistent governance and controls problems at the country’s thirdlargest lender Reuters WASHINGTON/NEW YORK
Wells Fargo & Co. detailed new regulatory restrictions imposed by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Friday that sent its shares down sharply in af terhours trading, as the thirdlargest U.S. bank conti nues to reel from a sales scandal that erupted in 2016. Wells is not allowed to grow beyond the $1.95 tril lion in assets it had at the end of last year “until it sucient ly improves its governance and controls,” the Fed said in a statement. Cap to cut prot Wells Fargo estimated that the cap will cut its annual prot by $300 million to $400 million this year, as it reduces some parts of its ba lance sheet, like corporate CM YK
deposits and trading assets, in order to continue growing core businesses. That repre sents 1.51.9% of the prot Wells generated in 2017. The bank will also replace three board members by April and a fourth board member by the end of the year, the Fed said, without naming who they should be. Wells Fargo shares fell 6.1% to $60.10 in afterhours trading. The Fed’s consent order will have a manageable impact on prots and should not aect the bank’s plans to return capital to sharehol ders this year, CEO Tim Sloan said during a confe rence call on Friday. “We are in a very compet itive business, whether we have a consent order or not,” said Mr. Sloan. “Our march ing orders to our team are,
go out and serve your cus tomers, fulll our vision, take deposits, make loans. We are open for business.” While Mr. Sloan said he takes the matter seriously, he also characterised it as the latest step in a riskmanage ment and corporate gover nance overhaul that Wells began some time ago, when it realised it had a serious problem with sales practices. The bank reached a $190 million settlement with the Consumer Financial Protec tion Bureau, the Oce of the Comptroller of the Currency and a Los Angeles prosecu tor in September 2016 over employees opening phony accounts in customers’ names without their permis sion to articially hit internal targets. The tally of fake ac counts has since risen to as
many as 3.5 million. Regulators have rarely in tervened directly in a bank’s operations in the past, and it is unprecedented for the Fed to order a bank to stop grow ing altogether, ocials said. But Wells Fargo’s aggres sive business strategy priori tised growth over eective risk management, leading to serious compliance break downs, the central bank said. Wells Fargo’s balance sheet expanded steadily from the end of 2013 to 2016, but growth slowed dramati cally last year as it battled to address the issues raised by the scandal. The bank must submit a plan to the Fed within 60 days detailing how it has en hanced oversight from its board of directors and im proved compliance and risk
management functions, and how it plans to improve further. Once the Fed ap proves those plans, Wells will hire thirdparty consultants to review them and monitor its progress until the regula tor is satised. The San Francisco Fed and top regulatory ocials in Washington will lead the re view, the central bank said. “We cannot tolerate per vasive and persistent mis conduct at any bank,” said Chair Janet Yellen in a state ment on her nal day as lead er of the central bank. Since the 2016 settlement, Wells Fargo has taken steps to enhance oversight at the board level, centralize risk management functions and install new executives to oversee key businesses and control functions.
Freeze frame: Wells Fargo is not allowed to grow beyond the $1.95 trillion in assets it had at the end of last year, until it suciently improves its governance, according to the Fed. AP *
The rules of the game having changed forever, new approaches are needed to ensure smooth relationships
ocial media has had a bad rap lately, being blamed for everything from shorter attention spans to depression to social ills. It does, though, have the power to bring diverse people from across the globe together for a com mon interest or cause. One such is 1Across, a group of cryptic crossword enthu siasts from around the world who come together on Facebook, challenging one another’s brainpower by setting cryptic clues for each to solve. They would’ve been justi ed in stopping there, hav ing formed an online com munity to pursue their esoteric interest. But they decided to go a step further and put their interest in puz zles to tangible social bene t. On the third anniversary of the formation of 1ACross, founded by Sowmya Ram kumar, they decided to pu blish a book of crossword puzzles set by group mem bers. And, Cryptic Crossroads was born. It contains 24 puzzles of varying levels of diculty, with endearing biographies of the setters, and edited and compiled by Ms. Ramkumar. The setters did not re ceive any remuneration for the puzzles, and money raised from the sale of the book and from sponsorship will go to a public charitable institute working in the eld of medical treatment and
have a colleague who is afraid to go home because she doesn’t know what might be waiting for her: an angry teenage daughter rea dy to explode, because her clothes are not right/because someone made fun of her hair; or her silent older brother refuses to come to the dining table. Both are waiting to take out their frus trations on someone who will not hurt them back, and that person is often the pa rent, who not only has his/ her load of personal pro blems but also has to see to 20 dierent things a day that come with running a middle class home. If the spouse is working late or on an assign ment or missing altogether, there isn’t even someone to talk to. If the spouse doesn’t back you up or is indierent to the mood and atmosph ere, then that is a dierent kind of situation. Is this a description that matches you? Welcome to the club of parenting a mil lennium child. A cold and lo nesome spot with no warmth to hope for. What is really heartbreaking is the memory of the golden years of the early youth of your children when you were the centre of their universe. Right now you are in outer space with reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere denied. A quick snapshot of how
things have changed, to re mind ourselves that parents today have challenges their parents and grandparents did not have in their time. Anyone who was a school goer in the 1960s most prob ably did not even think of challenging his parent or complaining about her dre ary wardrobe or lack of pock et money. It was a time of hardship everywhere in In dia. If you got to see a lm once a month or ate restau rant food with the same fre quency, it was a lot. Every single snack was home made. No South Indian had ever tasted an aaloo parantha. No one born north of the Vindhyas had even seen a dosa either. Neither party would have recognised a piz za even if they saw a picture of it. The only TV sets those children ever saw were in lms produced outside In dia. There were no maga zines in English except The Illustrated Weekly of India, Sport and Pastime and Filmfare, which carried pictures of fully clothed lm stars, their hair neatly tied up or combed with hair cream. Things changed a bit for schoolgoers by the 1980s. Television had arrived in In dia. There was a bit more va riety in terms of food items and clothes. Sport became national hysteria. Quizmas ters introduced public com petitions. Films went from romance and epic family dra
ILLUSTRATION: SREEJITH R. KUMAR
mas to sagas of heroic ven geance. When violence as entertainment came on oer in the 1990s, and the rst shopping malls went up all over India, things had changed forever. By the year 2000 it had become ten times more di cult to raise young children because the world around them was so full of stimuli and the barrier between what was suitable and un suitable for children had va porised. There was a third in visible inuence in every home: the Internet. Till the age of nine per haps a parent can, with the
help of teachers at school (their surrogate parents) in uence the child, totally con trolling him or her physically and getting them into a mode of pleasing the care takers, so to speak. But in the transition years, overnight these same youngsters stepped back to take a not socool look at their parents. I don’t have any easy solu tions to break this air of hos tility in contemporary homes where I think parents are nearly always trying to placate the child and win his or her approval. No one has any experience of it yet to oer tips, but perhaps a good
try might be to create an at mosphere of friendship rath er than the superior wisdom of parenthood. What is the truth? You have never been in the shoes of today’s 15 yearold who is bombarded with emotions from within and social messages and temptations and pressures from outside. Let us face the facts: the forces around to day’s teenager far outweigh any inuence at home. You are up and against unseen counters to your rules and expectations: images and voices you cannot block o are now inuencing your young adult.
Suppose you sit your child down and say, “Look, I really don’t know what your wor ries are, so why don’t you tell me? I’ll try and understand, and together we can work out how you might be hap pier. Shall we make a list of the most pressing issues?” Tell them: ● I cannot help you with your home work; ● I cannot change the way you look; ● I cannot give you more mo ney because I don’t have that much to spare and I or your mother/ father might lose our jobs next week; ● I don’t like some of your friends. I can’t help it but can we discuss some of these things? ● Can we talk things through because I’m not a mindreader; ● Also, just as I want to un derstand you, it would be good for you to learn to un derstand me. I too have fears and worries that I cannot tell anyone. I could do with a friend in my house. Will you be that friend? ● I want you to be happy. That is what a friend wants for a friend. Are you nervous about lay ing your cards on the table? Any risk is worth taking to es tablish a strong connection with that mysterious charac ter in your life — your huge baby: the teen in the house. [email protected]
research. “Indianstyle cryptics have been a passion for me from childhood,” said Ms. Ramkumar, “so running 1ACross group has been a source of immense plea sure. Though many of us have never seen each other in real life, we were able to pull together for a common cause and publish this.” Since many of the mem bers have roots in Chennai, it was decided to support a Chennaibased charity. So far the group has raised ap proximately Rs. 3.25 lakh from sponsorship and sale of the book (each generates Rs. 70 as royalty). Recently some in the group met Dr. V. Shanta, the Chairman of the Cancer Institute (WIA) and presented her a cheque from the proceeds of the book. Cryptic Crossroads is a good example of how social media, despite its reputa tion, can still be a tool bring ing people around the world together, and how a sense of social responsibility can ele vate even our simplest acts to benet a greater cause – even browsing Facebook! [email protected]
A close shave
An urban jungle walk, so forgettable
Directions for use provided on packaging can be dicey
It’s indeed a good idea to use your feet to get around, but the odds are stacked against you
ouTube videos of fo reigners tasting items of Indian food for the rst time are enjoyable. I felt sorry for their plight given the spicy nature of our foods and was surprised at their in ability to distinguish multi ple avours. And humorous were their attempts to use spoons and forks! When one of the tasters looked for in structions on a pack of bhujia, I wondered if instruc tions to eat bhujia could be framed at all. But it did not take me long to realise that nothing should be assumed. For a proper shave, after two passes with lather ap plied, my practice is to go for another bareskinned pass. However, when once multi ple bareskin passes were needed, I blamed a blunt blade. Blades of that brand usually last four to six shaves, but this one had been used only once. The next shave with a new blade was hardly any better! This time I warily blamed the shaving cream and got another. Once is chance, twice may be a coincidence and for the third time it probably is a pattern: shav ing was equally tough with the new shaving cream. I looked for any dents or distortions on the razor, but it looked as good as new. Ne
vertheless, with nothing else left to suspect, halfhearted ly I blamed the razor, which had cost about 4,000. I shelled out 2,000 and pur chased another one. With the new razor the regimen was so well fullled that a colleague asked if I planned to grow a French beard! It was time to introspect. Brands, brands Actually, a couple of days prior, while shopping, I was inspecting the dierent shav ing soaps, creams and foams on display. My wife admon ished me against buying any of it as the existing tube of shaving cream had not been exhausted. To taunt her I picked up a certain brand. While the directions indicat ed on the package was to just wash thoroughly after use, closer examination revealed that it contained turmeric and sandalwood oil, which have antiseptic and cooling
properties respectively. It is used widely for cuts, nicks, rashes and burns. Ambiguity being the only obvious aspect regarding the product’s usage, the last two words, preventive measures, were inviting and I took it to be a preshave lotion. The re sult of using it as a preshave lotion was to suspect the whetstone. Unsure whether that indeed was a preshave lotion, the next time I mixed a bit of it with the rst shav ing cream, and the apparent result was a ne froth. Cre dits to the rich lather, I con demned the shaving cream and got another. The lather was equally rich when it was mixed with a new shaving cream, but the victim was the razor. While the product turned out to be a shaving cream, out of curiosity I tried shaving with a mixture of two other shaving creams. Interestingly, it did not end up as another antic. Perhaps the brand should consider cautioning against mixing it with other shaving creams! When it took me so many shaves and I had to spend so much to appreciate the fact that the said cream was in deed a shaving cream, those who are altogether alien to a bhujia pack very much de serve a proper description on the packaging!
set out, my feet snug in a pair of highend sneakers. Inspired by their tagline, I was geared to Just Do it. My family looked on disapprov ingly, unable to do much since they knew only too well that words would not thwart my determination. It was only last week that I had come back from a re freshing sojourn in Europe. While there, I had done what most of us do when we are in that part of the world — walked, on an average, eight to 10 km daily, and never tired of singing paeans to the roads and to the people who walked almost everywhere, age no bar. Back home, and not one to easily put down my moth erland without sucient ar gument even at the cost of pretentious patriotism, I made an important decision. To walk as much as I could, on my regular errands at least. So this was the reason I set out, under the disapproving looks of family. Incidentally, it is family more often than anyone else that fervently hopes you learn life’s lessons through hard knocks, while they occupy ringside seats. Then, the prerogative to claim, “we told you so’, is purely theirs. I set out, as I did in
Prague, smiling and nodding greetings to everyone. The only response that came my way was from an autorick shaw driver waiting for a potential pas senger. When he realised my inten tion was to smile and merely walk past, he sneered and mumbled so mething incompre hensible. I pretend ed not to hear and gained pace. I walked up the small incline that led up from the gat ed community where I lived to the main highway. I turned into the service road that laced the highway. I had left be hind my earphones — did not want music in my ears when I could rather take in the lovely sounds of the city. Suddenly an autorickshaw brushed past me, so close to my body. When I was back in my skin, I turned and glared menacingly at the disappear ing vehicle. How dare he come at me from the wrong direction! Determined not to let a stray incident like this un nerve me, I turned and came directly in the path of a ash of welding ame. “Madam! watch your step! Where are
you lost?” I stared open mouthed at the face that spoke. The young boy conti nued to weld. The shock at having been so close to setting my Lycra lined legs on re trans formed my breathing into wheezing. The service road was fenced in by garages oering services of all kinds. Maybe that’s why this was a ‘service’ road. Selftaught mechanics sat behind sootsmeared fac es under makeshift sheds. I picked my way through air less tubes and tyres, and pressed myself against the wall to allow a huge truck to position itself strategically
for a change of tyre. It was getting di cult to smile. Yet, I egged myself on. Once I get across this stretch, it will be ne. It was only four in the afternoon. I had a lot of time on my feet. To make the rest of the walk plea sant and safe, I de cided to stay alert. So, I kept my eyes glued ahead of me. I skidded, but thank fully did not fall. Fresh dog poop is stubborn. I rubbed my foot against a rock that lay by the side of the road. The shoe almost came o, the stu did not. The smile had disappeared. A scowl replaced it. With the smell of poop ll ing my nose and the rest of the head, I walked on. I placed one foot in front of the other hesitatingly. I struggled to align my vision. It was dicult getting accus tomed to training the left eye on the road ahead and the right on the ground below. I made it uneventfully to the junction where six roads crossed. I waited for the sig nal to turn green. When it did not, I realised there was no provision for a pedestrian signal or crossing. My eyes darted left and right to catch
the opportune moment when the signal would turn red for oncoming vehicular trac, and I could dash across to the other side. The signal turned red. I was poised to step forward when I realised the trac on my left was still streaming in. The signal at their end was green, giving them the right of way. A couple of men who had waited alongside me were already crossing, their hand signalling the vehicles to stop and let them pass. One of the men shouted out an expletive at an unsym pathetic driver. Beep! Beep! I swirled around and stood face to face with a scooterist who was squeezing his way past my behind. “What are you doing standing in the middle of the road?” he yelled as he revved up. Tears stung my eyes. How was I to know that the bus in front of me would spew a burst of blackness right in my face? I scampered back along the garages. I cared neither for the poop, nor the soot, nor the stares. I went to bed with a re newed resolve. I will conti nue to go out on my early morning walks. At least, smog wouldn’t leave me crippled, or even dead. Just a little out of breath. [email protected]
The secrets of those achievers Positive persistence is the key when it comes to overcoming setbacks and odds in life’s journey Vijit Malviya
uring a research expe riment, a marine biol ogist placed a shark in a large holding tank and then released several small bait sh into the tank. As you would expect, the shark quickly swam around the tank, ate the smaller sh. The biologist then inserted a strong piece of clear ber glass into the tank as a parti tion, creating two separate areas. She put the shark in one and put bait in the other. Again, the shark quickly attacked. This time, howev er, it only slammed into the divider. Undeterred, it kept trying every few minutes but to no avail. Eventually, about an hour into the experiment, the shark gave up. This experiment was re peated dozens of times over CM YK
the next few weeks. Progres sively the shark got less ag gressive and made fewer at tempts to attack, and eventually got tired and simply stopped attacking. The biologist then re moved the divider, but the shark didn’t attack. It had be come conditioned to believe a barrier existed between it and the bait sh, so the bait sh swam wherever they wished, free from harm. Many of us, after expe riencing setbacks and fai lures, emotionally give up and stop trying. Like the shark, we believe that be cause we were unsuccessful in the past we will always be so. In other words, we conti nue to see a barrier in our heads, even when no real barrier exists between where we are and where we want to go.
Life is a race that is all about winning. But winning is not the only endpoint. In life we should understand no one has ever made great achievements on the very rst day. In life we should wait with patience, and just keep giving our best. Hard work pays, so we shouldn’t be disheartened by failures.
Life is a long journey and you’re the one who is riding the bike on it. If we’re pass ing a rutted road it doesn’t mean we’ll never face a smooth path. Setbacks are but stepping stones to success. How many of us have suc ceeded in what we try in the rst attempt? Not many. This
proves success cannot be at tained in one day. There are exceptions where success can be achieved easily. But when it comes to a competi tive task or a tough task it takes a lot of patience and it needs many attempts to bring success to our side. Thomas Alva Edison’s suc cess story is inspiring. Edi son’s experiments to rene the light bulb would have failed a thousand times. But his attitude was simply great; he condently said, I didn’t fail 1000 times. I found 1000 ways of how not to make a light bulb. In life what matters is our attitude. If we give up easily, we cannot taste the avour of success. It takes a year for a tree to give tasty fruits. Si milarly, it will take time to make success. If we want to win in life we should not stop
More on the Web till we nally get what we are looking for. What will help us mark achievements is selfcon dence. If we believe we can make wonders, we will. So we should believe in our selves before expecting oth ers to believe or support us. When life gives a thousand reasons to quit, just give yourself one more reason to ght back to build your way to glory. The problem is that we give up after suering a failure. And we form an ima ginary barrier of constant fai lure in front of us, which doesn’t let us to step into the shoes that leads us to suc cess. You’ll have to strive hard for it and make yourself believe you can do it — and the imagined mirror of pro blems will vanish. [email protected]
Companions for the sunset years Why books are the best to keep you company through thick and thin RAMEEZA RASHEED
The curious case of bus stop names Bengaluru grows, and nomenclature questions abound too PRAVEEN CHANDRASEKHARAN
The intellectual delight that is ‘Padmaavat’ A ‘lawyerly’ approach to reviewing interesting films ABHIJEET SINGH RAWALEY
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Associated Press GUATEMALA CITY
With a spacewalk lasting eight hours and 13 minutes, two Russian astronauts, Alexander Misurkin and Anton Shkaplerov, aboard the ISS on Friday broke the previous record and repaired an antenna system on the service module. IANS
Glorious past: A woman photographs the interior of the newly discovered tomb in Giza and, right, a closeup of a painting. Agence France-Presse Cairo
Dutch ‘mooved’ to save Hermien the cow THE HAGUE
Fame and fortune have smiled on Hermien, a Dutch cow that escaped as it was being sent to slaughter. Hermien has become a social media star after a month on the hoof. A crowdfunding campaign has raised €48,000 to help it live out the days in pasture. AFP
Paul Rudd named Hasty Pudding Man of the Year CAMBRIDGE
Actor and screenwriter Paul Rudd picked up his 2018 Man of the Year award from the U.S.’ oldest collegiate theatrical organisation at Harvard University. Rudd received the Hasty Pudding honour from the 223yearold group after being celebrated in a comic roast on Friday. AP
Japan launches microsatellite rocket TOKYO
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched on Saturday the world’s smallest rocket with the ability to put a microsatellite into orbit, following a failed attempt last year. The rocket measured 10 metres in height and 53 cm in diameter. IANS
Egyptian archaeologists on Saturday unveiled the tomb of an Old Kingdom priestess adorned with wellpreserved and rare wall paintings. Antiquities Minister Khaled alEnany told repor ters that the tomb on the Gi za plateau near Cairo was built for Hetpet, a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility. The tomb was found dur ing excavation work in Giza’s western cemetery by a team of Egyptian archaeologists led by Mostafa Waziri, secre tary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The Antiquities Ministry said the cemetery houses tombs of top ocials from the Old Kingdom’s Fifth Dy nasty (24652323 B.C.), and that several have already been dug up since 1842. Fifth Dynasty The newly discovered tomb “has the architectural style and the decorative elements of the Fifth Dynasty, with an entrance leading to an ‘L’ shaped shrine”, the Ministry said. “The tomb has very dis tinguished wall paintings in a very good conservation condition depicting Hetpet standing in dierent hunting
and shing scenes or... re ceiving oerings from her children,” it said. The paintings also show scenes of musical and danc ing performances as well as two scenes featuring mon keys — domestic animals at the time — one picking and eating fruit and the other dancing in front of an or chestra. Mr. Waziri said the paintings were unusual. “Such scenes are rare... and have only been found previously in the (Old King dom) tomb of ‘KaIber’ where a painting shows a monkey dancing in front of a guitarist, not an orchestra,” he said. That tomb is located
in Saqqara, a necropolis about 20 km south of Cairo. Mr. Enany said the tomb includes “a purication ba sin on which are engraved the name of the tomb’s own er and her titles”. “A German expedition had found in 1909 a collection of antiqui ties carrying this lady’s name, or a lady who has the same name, and these anti quities were moved to the Berlin museum at the time,” he said. “And 109 years later, we nd this tomb that car ries Hetpet’s name.” Mr. Waziri said archaeolo gists will continue to exca vate the site and hope to make new discoveries.
Researchers using a high tech aerial mapping tech nique have found tens of thousands of previously un detected Mayan houses, buildings, defence works and pyramids in the dense jungle of Guatemala’s Peten region, suggesting that mil lions more people lived there than previously thought. The discoveries, which in cluded industrialsized agri cultural elds and irrigation canals, were announced by an alliance of U.S., European and Guatemalan archaeolo gists working with Guatema la’s Mayan Heritage and Na ture Foundation. The study estimates that roughly 10 million people may have lived within the Maya Lowlands, meaning that kind of massive food production might have been needed. “That is two to three times more [inhabi tants] than people were say ing there were,” said Marcel lo A. Canuto, a professor of Anthropology at Tulane Un iversity. Researchers used a map ping technique called Li DAR, which stands for Light
Spice Girls likely to team up again Bestselling band met this week in London to explore ‘ incredible new opportunities together’ Agence France-Presse London
The Spice Girls got back to gether on Friday for the rst time since 2012 and an nounced plans to explore “incredible new opportuni ties” in the future. The British 1990s pop phenomenon — Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Horner — reunited at Horner’s house north of London, along with their former manager Simon Fuller. The bestselling group al so released photographs of the gathering on Instagram. “We have enjoyed a won derful afternoon catching up and reminiscing about the amazing times we have spent
together,” they said in a statement via their publicist. “We are always over whelmed at how much inter est there is across the whole world for The Spice Girls. The time now feels right to explore some incredible new opportunities together.”
The Sun newspaper re ported that they were consi dering television projects in China, a new TV talent show, endorsement deals and a compilation album celebrat ing their greatest hits. #4 4 6 6 0 1
More to girl power “We all agree that there are many exciting possibilities that will once again embrace the original essence of The Spice Girls, while reinforcing our message of feminine em powerment for future generations.” On their social media ac counts, Bunton promised the “future is looking spicy”, while Horner said Girl Power was “alive and well”.
Fab ve: Victoria Beckham, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Emma Buton and Melanie Brown in a 2007 photo. AP *
The girl group have sold 85 million albums world wide. Only two of their 11 singles
failed to reach number one on the British charts, while their rst three singles all hit the U.S. top ve.
World tour The band, which formed in 1994, split in 2000 but reu nited for a world tour in 20072008. They got together again to perform at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony and were last all in the same room later that year for the launch of the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! An expected comeback in 2016 with Brown, Bunton and Horner failed to mate rialise.
What lies beneath: A digital image shows a depiction of the Mayan archaeological site at Tikal in Guatemala. AP/PACUNAM *
Detection And Ranging. It bounces pulsed laser light o the ground, revealing contours hidden by dense foliage. The images revealed that the Mayans altered the land scape in a much broader way than previously thought; in some areas, 95% of available land was cultivated. Intensive agriculture “Their agriculture is much more intensive and there fore sustainable than we thought, and they were cul tivating every inch of the land,” said Francisco Estra daBelli, a research assistant professor at Tulane Universi
ty, noting that the ancient Mayas partly drained swam py areas that haven’t been considered worth farming since. And the extensive de fensive fences, ditchand rampart systems and irriga tion canals suggest a highly organized workforce. “There’s state involve ment here, because we see large canals being dug that are redirecting natural wa ter ows,” said Thomas Gar rison, assistant professor of Anthropology at Ithaca Col lege in New York. The map ping detected about 60,000 individual structures, in cluding four major Mayan ceremonial centres with pla zas and pyramids.
Gaga cancels tour due to ‘severe pain’ Singer suers from bromyalgia Agence France-Presse Washington
U.S. pop star Lady Gaga an nounced on Saturday that she had cancelled the last 10 shows of the European leg of her world tour due to “severe pain.” In a statement posted on Twitter, the Grammy award winning singer told fans she was “devastated” but said the decision to cancel the dates on her Joanne World Tour — her fth headlining tour — was “beyond her control.” “My medical team is sup porting the decision for me to recover at home,” she said. “I need to put myself and my wellbeing rst,” she added.
Shows aected include dates in London, Paris and Berlin, as well as Stockholm, Zurich and Copenhagen. Dates in Cologne, Germa ny and Manchester, England were also halted. Lady Gaga has previously revealed she suers from the chronic pain condition bromyalgia.
Students brainstorm solution to Taj staining Science contest under way in Agra Indo-Asian News Service Moscow/Agra
Top dog: A longhaired dachshund that requires wheels to assist its movement takes part in Hong Kong’s rst “Sausage Walk” on Saturday. AFP *
A new and improved meth od of removing yellow stains o the Taj Mahal could be devised in the coming days as university students from various countries have been posed this problem at an in ternational science tourna ment under way in Agra. The eighth International Natural Sciences Tourna ment (INST) of Russia began in Agra on Thursday, with India being represented by a team from the Mumbai Un iversity. Other teams and jury have come from Singapore, Russia, Switzerland, the
Netherlands and Belarus. The threeday competition requires students to solve a dozen dicult problems in the spheres of medicine, biology, physics, and che mistry. One of the problems is to propose a “new method” to remove the yellow pollution stains from the the snow white cupola and the upper part of the Taj’s facade. The tournament’s foun der, Sergey Safonov, said the contest had come to India as there were many “under evaluated talented stu dents” in Asia, who could be helped to nd their place in science and technology.
Cheating encouraged in new Monopoly version If players get caught, they will be chained to the board with plastic handcus until it is time for release Agence France-Presse Washington
Do not pass Go. Do not col lect $200: just steal it. A new version of the de cadesold board game Mono poly encourages players to cheat, but plastic handcus will leave them “locked up” if they are caught. The aim of the game remains as it has been since its creation in 1935: to become the richest player through buying pro perties and collecting rent. But a recent study “re vealed that nearly half of game players attempt to cheat during Monopoly games, so in 2018, Hasbro CM YK
decided it was time to give fans what they’ve been crav ing all along,” a statement from Monopoly’s manufac turer said. The “Cheaters Edition” will be available at the end of this year. It adds 15 cheat cards co vering the most common types of traditionally un sportsmanlike play such as moving tokens more spaces than allowed by the dice, avoiding rent, or stealing money from the bank. If they can get away with it before the next players’ turn, the “cheaters” will be re warded with Monopoly mo ney, a hotel, or $200 from
Con call: The new Monopoly ‘Cheaters’ edition.
the bank. “But get caught and you’ll pay the conse quences! Pretend handcus will leave oenders
“chained” to the board until they are released,” Hasbro says. In another change, there
is no longer a designated banker. Each player controls the central money pool dur ing his or her turn — making it easier to pull o a heist. While Hasbro says it “has nally decided to embrace our lessthanhonest fans by encouraging them to partake in those iconic (yet some times unspoken) Monopoly moments,” the new version has its detractors. “Monopoly is a horrible game,” and a cheaters’ mo nopoly would be even more so, said Edward Castronova, a specialist in media and games at the University of Indiana.
t’s a hectic winter. Having taught workshops in Delhi, Mumbai, Ben galuru and other cities over the past years, I was in Puducherry the other week to speak to a group of 15 or so as piring authors about how to write thrill ers. At the same time, I was gearing up for a tour — as I, in the coming months, would be speaking on the subject of thrillers at literary festivals across the country. Suddenly I was struck by a thought: Why is this genre, which was once seen as literary weed or mental manure at the best, and was a decade ago far from the radar of the publishing industry or the writerly community, suddenly arousing so much excitement? Indian cult objects As I stood there barefoot on the redox ide oor of the rustic classroom in Auro ville, explaining the charts and arrows I’d been drawing on the whiteboard, looking at the students — who had come from all over the country — in the eye, it occurred to me that what I had there be fore me might well be the new face (as well as phase) of bestseller ction. Could it be possible that I was looking at the fu ture of Indian literature?
Only the rare writer,
< > such as Ashok Banker with his trilogy, seemed to consider India an interesting setting Teaching writing, I’m never quite sure what students make of all my scena rios for heightening tension and me chanisms to create suspense, but one point I try to rein force time and again is that any Indian setting, no matter how mundane or ru ral, especially if oth er than the usual suspects (Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata), will be of great no velty value for any fan of mystery and suspense ction. A natural new cause for thrills and chills. But all these years we’ve been reading foreign thrillers with gusto and I think we have become brainwashed by their format and style. Until not so long ago, the detective stories of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie were virtually the only ones on the bookshop shelves, des pite the fact that India itself can be such an exciting component in mysterious tales, something Western writers not iced as far back as the Victorian era. The Adventure of the Speckled Band (1892) — the author Conan Doyle’s own favourite Sherlock Holmes’ story — fea tured as its murder weapon an extreme ly deadly Bengali swampadder trained to kill. Although rather unscientic (Bengal never exported swampadders to be used by Western murderers simply because there are none there) the cor rupting inuences of colonialism loomed large in that short story and the culprit, if you recall, turned out to be a Calcuttareturned brutish Englishman, a selftaught snakecharmer. Earlier, Wilkie Collins had thrown in the theft of an Indian cult object in what is considered to be the world’s rst
Elementary, my dear Watson The recent glut of desi thrillers still doesn’t answer why they don’t sell nearly as much as the foreign ones. Do we still prefer our murders set in alien places? proper crime novel, The Moonstone (1868), not to mention three mysterious Brahmins posing as juggling gypsies try ing to retrieve it from foggy Yorkshire. Collins thereby inaugurated a fashiona ble popular culture theme in Western ction which spilled over into twentieth century Bgrade cinema: the sacred but cursed Indian jewel, as well as the secret Oriental society. Even big players like Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), the James Bond fran chise (Octopussy) and the Beatles (Help!) contributed to that nowadays, thankful ly, largely obsolete trend. The motif of purloined Indian jewels featured in two of Agatha Christie’s plots — The Secret of Chimneys and The Rajah’s Emerald — but to her credit she tried out an innovative murder weapon in The Big Four: a toxic chicken curry, presumably because the spiciness hid the taste of poison. However, once I myself had settled down here in India, shallow exotica didn’t really satisfy me. For decades I kept browsing in the bookshops of Ben galuru for more authentic fare. Unfortu nately, subcontinental thrillers, when the genre was in its infancy, were for the longest time stuck in the rutted tracks that Western pulp had made: the local ctional detectives — if we, for example, look at Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s eternally popular ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’, Ibne Sa’s ‘Imran series’ (that was be ing rediscovered through fresh transla tions) and Kalpana Swaminathan’s more contemporary ‘Lalli’— were spoofy xe roxes of Sherlock Holmes, Nick Carter and Miss Marple. Besides, their books barely depicted the places they were set in. Pulpy gems Just as in Victorian pulp ction, where the Indian element was merely a cheap trope, these inkslingers too had seem ingly forgotten that the hallmark of a proper detective sto ry is to evoke dark milieus like, to take a wellknown exam ple, the mean streets of Los Angeles, in the case of Raymond Chandler’s classic noir, or somewhat more recently, the bestselling LA Quartet by James Ellroy. Only the rare writer, such as Ashok Banker with his pioneering trilogy pu blished in the early 1990s — The Iron Bra, Murder & Champagne, and Three Dead Admen — seemed to consider his own country an interesting setting to write creatively about. I still recall that lucky day when I found The Iron Bra in a bookshop in Pat na and read it on a train ride: a tho roughly gory story of a Konkani female investigator, Sheila Ray, whose nger rests lightly on the trigger as she takes
Eat lead The thrills and chills of the classic noir. Getty Images/iStock
on the city’s gangsters. Above all, the growing Mumbai’s construction sites were a crucial component in the tight plot — as was the entire city (then, of course, called Bombay). Banker’s books were pulpy gems that suggested to me that the desi thriller could be something that the seriousminded author might sully his ngers with. Unfortunately, he didn’t get his due and Banker moved on to more lucrative things such as televi sion writing and mythological retellings. Meanwhile Western paperback wri ters were happily exploiting all the world’s exciting locales: H.R.F. Keating imagined an Inspector Ganesh V. Ghote in Bombay, Alexander McCall Smith made Botswana into a bestseller (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series) while John Burdett dug into Thailand’s seamier sides in his Bangkok series. At the same time, writers in my native Sweden were mining their own country for ctional crime scenes. Tourism peaked in Henning Mankell’s rather un interesting home town Ystad as his ‘Wal lander’ police procedurals sold 40 mil lion copies, as it did in Fjällbacka after Camilla Läckberg’s rural mysteries sold 20 million copies globally. (Ironically enough, the latter are about a village of some 850 people, so I can’t quite get my head around how all those murderers in her books haven’t been able to decimate the entire population.) Stockholm capitalised big time on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy that has, by now, sold over 80 million copies and spawned posthumous sequels as well as Hollywood movies. Tourists can nowadays do the ocial ‘Millennium Walk’ in order to see all the main loca tions. The obvious conclusion to draw here is that every town, including the smallest village, is worthy of its own de tective series — and can benet from it! Of course, the genre has ancient — and quite imposing — roots in the West.
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Its hoary origins are traced back to pro tocrime writers like Sophocles, a Greek who in circa 406 BCE penned the drama Oedipus the King: a twisted murder mys tery with multiple rather sleazy and hor ric elements in it. If we merely consider the plotline of a popular English play such as Hamlet (c 1603), even William Shakespeare wrote what can be labelled ‘Nordic noir’: some dude returns home to Denmark to nd his father dead. He tries to gure out what happened. Turns out daddy got whacked by his closest family members. Bloodbath follows. The aforementioned Henning Man kell, who also worked in theatre in Swe den, once pointed out to me that mod ern crime ction is, just like the ancient dramas were in their day, a great mirror through which to view our world. That conversation led me to think that thrill ers have a cathartic function, just like ancient drama and modern masala lms have had. They set the score straight by having, after much bad stu, the good guys do the good stu at the climactic end. Minor boom In India, the genre was boosted by the appearance of a truly great novel that was at the same time an epic story about gangsters and police men. Vikram Chan dra’s Sacred Games (2006) clocked in at 900 pages and pro vided us with a mag nicent portrayal of Mumbai’s under world as well as its upper crust. In terms of reading value, it was worth at least 10 regular books, crammed as it was with stories within stories taking the reader through post Partition blues, the history of Indian es
pionage, or even how to write a Bolly wood action movie screenplay. Then ve years went by and nothing fun happened. But suddenly in the early 2010s came what seemed like a minor boom. Two taut thrillers set in New Del hi excited me: Somnath Batabyal’s tale of corruption in journalism which took readers on a tour of the capital city after dark, The Price You Pay (2011), followed by Mukul Deva’s absolutely sparkling The Dust Will Never Settle (2012). These convinced me that something must be cooking. In the former, a rookie journo nds himself deeply mixed up with the reality behind the stories he is ling. The latter I would rank as the best work so far by the grandmaster of Indian military action ction, Deva, who has been variously compared to Robert Lu dlum, Alistair MacLean and Frederick Forsyth. As in his earlier books it fea tured a terrorist plot, but this time the drama was complicated by the protago nist and antagonist being father and daughter, as Delhi top cop Ravinder Singh Gill begins to worry that his little Ruby is planning to blow up the national capital. It was truly cathartic reading! The following year yet another fabulous genre novel ap peared, Shatrujeet Nath’s The Karachi Deception (2013), which took readers on a dangerpacked excursion into Pakis tan. I don’t know if the author went there to research the book or not, but the political undercur rents of the troubled relations between India and its neighbour play a thrilling role in it.
One in every four books submitted to publishers today is a thriller or detective or crime ction
Finally, as a fth example, I’d like to mention The Girl From Nongrim Hills (2013) by Ankush Saikia, who genuinely pioneered the use of the Indian small town as a milieu for good guys and bad guys. Thrills apart, the story’s main strength really is its setting — the at mosphere of Shillong is depicted in a way that goes deeper than the picture postcard narratives of India’s colourful corners. Simultaneously, there were valiant at tempts by Chennai publishing house Blaft to translate Tamil and Hindi pulp classics into English. What strikes me as signicant about this new generation of writers and publishers is that their vi sion of India is much more nuanced and far better informed than in earlier genre ction.
Despite their qualities, there were no massive bestsellers — at least none en tered the million copy sales category: it is said that not even the highly hyped Sacred Games earned back the huge royalty advance that publishers had shelled out for it. But its smallscreen adaptation is upcoming on Netix, I hear, starring Saif Ali Khan as the just a wee bit crooked cop protagonist, so maybe sales will pick up then. Which makes me wonder why desi thrillers don’t sell and how come we still prefer foreign stories about alien places? The avour of the season appears to be cool as sushi Japanese writers such as Keigo Higashino, Natsuo Kirino, Fuminori Nakam ura, Kanae Mina to and Hideo Yo koyama whose psychological potboilers are well on their way to crowd out the Scandinavian so cial realist pulp in Indian bookshops. Cusp of change Mita Kapur, one of India’s leading liter ary agents and the criminal mind behind the Noir Literature Festival in Delhi, which started in 2015, reveals that this year’s edition stands cancelled and its future is uncertain. She doesn’t see that thriller writing has dislodged the quest for ‘the Great Indian Novel’, but what is hot now is actually nonction. Yet she does admit that her agency is being ooded with thriller manuscripts: “There is a veritable increase in the number of submissions — one in every four books is a thriller or a detective or crime ction. We’ve signed on three crime writers in 2017. Surprisingly, a lot of professionals are turning to thriller writing.” So despite all, maybe we are ap proaching the cusp of change? One rea son for the soso sales of domestic who dunits could perhaps be that apart from the occasional gem of an absorbing mys tery, local writers have quite often (with the exception of those who take the genre seriously) penned speculative, hastily written, poorly thoughtout quickies for the growing metropolitan paperback market, with barely existent plotting, little sense of stylistics, and lack of authenticity due to a by and large upperclass take on the social scenario. Writing well is a craft and creative writing workshops, that have started proliferating, could be a reasonable in vestment in a publishing economy impa tient to reap its rewards. When Ray mond Chandler decided to give crime writing a shot, he enrolled in a course called ‘Short Story Writing 52AB.’ He de buted in a pulp magazine in 1933 and be came, a decade later, one of the biggest writers in Hollywood. Chandler may have succeeded even without those classes, but in a competi tive market like the entertainment indus try, he cannot be faulted for having done that bit of preparation — think of it like a carpenter taking woodworking classes before building a cupboard in which to hide away skeletons. Perhaps the grow ing interest in taking writing workshops in India is a sign that things are moving in the right direction? The author’s latest comic detective novel set in Bengaluru is the bestselling Hari, a Hero for Hire.
TRIBUTE: URSULA LE GUIN
A rebel, a rebrand and an extraordinary lexical mage The ingenuities of Le Guin’s work lay not in space technology but in excavating rened political ideas through her characters L BY KARTHIK SHANKAR
everal years ago, while wading through stacks of raindamaged and tattered paperbacks at the Sunday Book Market in Hydera bad, I came across a copy of The Left Hand of Darkness, the Hugo and Nebula Awardswinning title by Ursula Le Guin. It was priced at less than 30 and I im mediately added it to my haul. Within a week, between insipid cof fees, the science ction tale had con sumed me whole. The Left Hand of Darkness is set on Gethen, a planet inha bited by ambisexual people who don’t subscribe to conventional sex and gen der norms. The protagonist, Genly Ai from earth, has to convince the nations of Gethen to join the Ekumen, a confederation of pla nets, while navigating the bureaucracies and cultural mores of its two main war ring nations. It is a gripping and deeply moving book. Le Guin, that extraordinary lexical mage, died on January 22 at the age of 88, after decades of being a rebel and rebrand in the world of science ction. She was the rare author who transcend ed genre labels and won literary acco lades across the board. CM YK
Le Guin’s ction is timeless because she didn’t conne the books’ social, pol itical, economic, cultural, racial and gender debates to the era she belonged to. In The Left Hand of Darkness, the lead character Genly Ai is black. No chosen one The rest of the ambisexual characters who inhabit Gethen are brown. Ai forg es an emotional and physical connec tion with a character that transcends his earlier reservations about gender roles on the planet. While much of classic sci venerates the male hero and his inevitable bran dishing of power against evil, Le Guin’s work centred on ordinary protagonists and eschewed ‘chosen one’ narratives. Its ingenuities lay not in space technolo gy but in excavating rened political ideas through her characters. Before I discovered Le Guin, science ction for me (admittedly a sporadic reader of it) largely consisted of enter ing white imaginations. I enjoyed Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick, ignoring the colonial tropes, oriental fantasies, and tales of Cauca sian subjugation. It was only after reading Le Guin that all their works seemed to pale in compa
home and nd a sense of inner balance. Le Guin was the daughter of anthro pologists and spent most of her sum mers at a ranch in Napa Valley where her parents entertained guests, most of them academics and people of various cultures. That Le Guin spent much of her childhood interacting with people out side her white bubble of privilege is why her stories have such an easy familiarity with cultural uidity, even with the madeup worlds, cultures and tongues of her works.
That Le Guin spent much of her childhood interacting with people outside her white bubble of privilege is why her stories have such cultural uidity
rison, lacking not just racial and gender diversity but Le Guin’s endless reservoir of humanity. Le Guin rarely gloried war as the means to her end at a time when a lot of science ction revelled in the Vietnam
war imagery. Le Guin pushed against seeing battle as the normal course of things. She was deeply inuenced by Taoist and Buddhist teachings. As a re sult, her protagonists aren’t as driven to vanquish evil as they are to journey
Audacious drive Over the years, as I read more of Le Guin, I also realised she wasn’t infalli ble. A short story ‘The White Donkey’, set in an imagined India is not particu larly insightful or culturally accurate. The genuine colour blindness of her universes is refreshing but as an author she was illequipped to deal with race the way other greats like Octavia E. But ler did with her Xenogenesis trilogy. Yet, it was the indelible impact of Le Guin’s futuristic visions that made me seek out more diverse science ction. Le Guin expanded the notion of sc, even as she bristled at being called a sci writer, because she felt perceptions of
the genre and its immense ability for political critique pigeonholed her work. As she notes in a foreword to Tales of Earthsea, part of her bestselling young adult series (and the more racially di verse predecessor to ‘The Boy Who Lived’), “Commodied fantasy takes no risks: it invents nothing, but imitates and trivialises... Profoundly disturbing moral choices are sanitized, made cute, made safe.” In one of her striking short stories, the darkly funny, ‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas’, Le Guin undercuts the idea of a nonviolent society by re counting a summer festival in Omelas, a city whose continued prosperity de pends on the enslavement of a single child. Everyone is aware that this is the source of their happiness but only a few choose to walk away from this paradise. It was this audacious drive to pene trate human natures — What kind of world did we want to live in? What kind of people would we be in those worlds? — that makes Le Guin’s words, unlike crumbling paperbacks and collapsing utopias, stand the test of time. The author is a writer and editor based in Chennai. He is the winner of the Likho Award for Excellence in Media, 2017.
PUB CRAWL Gulshan Books, a publishing house in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nehru Park, has found its way into the Limca Book of Records 2018 for its wide collection of 80,000 books. Gulshan Books is the only bookshoplibrary on a lake. It has a reading room and a café, where readers can browse books over a cup of tea or coffee. The publishing house has a variety of books on the Valley. Sheikh Ajaz, the owner, has been preserving the works of local authors for the past 8090 years.
Irish publishers are eligible to submit novels for the Man Booker Prize from this year onwards. The aim is to make sure that independent Irish publishers are given “the same opportunity to be recognised by the prize as Irish publishers which have headquarters in the UK and are already eligible to submit titles”, according to Man Booker authorities. The news comes four years after the prize was opened up to American authors. In 2018, the prize is marking its 50th anniversary with celebrations and a campaign to introduce new audiences to its winning, shortlisted and longlisted authors.
The Crimson Dot by Bhanumati Mishra is a remarakable collection of poems. The poetry is raw and spontaneous, engaging with themes such as relationshipa, love, pain, hope, freedom and fortitude. It talks of the necessity of making mistakes, moving on, small mercies, and ultimately, personal growth. Marked by brevity, Mishra’s poetry allows the reader to join her in the journey of discovery of the self and the world.
Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House has created a storm in the publishing world. The book has readers queueing up in bookshops. So much so that shops are now running out of copies and libraries have long waiting lists. While the publisher is running against time to print more copies, the Internet has come up with pirated versions. Wikileaks tweeted a Google Drive link to a file claimed to be the full PDF version. Google removed the link soon after. But others are doing the rounds, for instance, on the popular Torrent site Pirate Bay.
The Chennaibased publishing house Tara Books was the subject of an exhibition in Japan which travels to other cities in the country later this year. Titled Beautiful Books Can Change the World: The Universe of Tara Books, the exhibition ran at the Itabashi museum from November 25 to January 8. Celebrating 23 years of Tara Books, the show had over 300 original pieces of artwork created for Tara’s publications, first editions and short movies on the making of particular books. The visitors included not just school children and publishing professionals but also Empress Michiko.
‘Look, she is no ordinary kid’ It is dusk; the giant gives the old man the gift of a tiny goat at the start of Perumal Murugan’s new novel Poonachi is a miracle in the shape of a little black goat. The human world around her never ceases to be amazed by her fragility and fecundity. But life is not easy for her or her owners — an old couple who got her as a gift from a stranger one quiet evening — or farmers or goatherds in the povertystricken village where she lands up. Through it all, Poonachi watches and silently questions the ways of the humans who alternately protect and wound her. Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat, Perumal Murugan’s rst novel af ter his selfimposed exile, is about animals and humans and all that breathes in between. It is also a fable of our times, with its com mentary on the unequal hierarchies of class and colour, and the increasing vulnerability of individuals who choose to speak up against the state. Poonachi has been translated into English from Tamil by S. Kalyan Raman. An excerpt from the rst chapter:
he old man knew everyone in the area, including children of all ages. Who could this be? He couldn’t tell from the gait. In the space between one giant step and the next, he thought, a six footer could lie down and extend his arms freely on either side. It was the hour of dusk, and the gure was moving quickly, perhaps because he wanted to reach somewhere before nightfall. It seemed that he would pass by this spot in a few more seconds. The old man believed that there couldn’t be a soul in the region that he didn’t know. He had also never imagined that it would be so easy for someone to ignore him and walk away. Who was this giant? Some moments later, the swinging move ment of his right hand and his bent left arm came into view. When he saw that the giant was holding his left arm against his chest, the old man wondered if he had no use of that arm. If he picked up so much speed by swing ing a lone arm, imagine how fast he could go if he swung his left arm too! To nd out who the giant might be, the old man climbed down towards the trail. He was an imposing gure, half as tall as a palm tree, with just a loincloth at his waist. The cloth seemed to utter in the breeze. Though the old man had spotted him from afar, the giant had drawn near in no time. It looked as if he would race past the spot and be gone forever in a couple of seconds. Afraid that he might slip by, the old man shouted from a distance: ‘Who goes there?’ At once the giant stopped in his tracks. ‘It’s me, sami
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He [the giant] lifted the kid and placed her in the old man’s hands. At rst, it felt as if a hammer had grazed his hand; the next moment, he found a ower on his palm
yov,’ he called out. His voice sounded like a wasp burrowing through a block of wood. The old man still couldn’t recognise him. Though he was positioned at a distance, he had to look up to see the giant’s face. ‘Who are you? You seem to be new around here,’ the old man said. ‘Not at all,’ the giant replied. ‘I belong to this area. I am wandering from village to vil lage, trying to sell this goat kid. I haven’t found a buyer yet. She is just a dayold infant. That’s why I am going to every eld, samiyov.’ ‘If you go to the market fair, she’ll be sold in no time,’ the old man said. ‘Who will buy my baby at a market fair, sa mi?’ the giant laughed. #4 4 6 6 0 1
A TYPOPHILE’S NOTES
This one is very arrogant, thought the old man. ‘The fellows will come, one by one, hold her jaw and look at her teeth. They’ll clasp her waist with their ngers, pull at her udder and stroke her back. Haven’t we seen the poor goats standing around like exhibits at market fairs? Would I let any old hand touch this precious baby? That’s why I couldn’t bring myself to take her to a market fair. Rais ing this infant and making a living from it is beyond me. So I am roaming from village to village, trying to nd someone who will look after her properly,’ the giant explained. Seems like his tongue, too, will stretch as long as his body, the old man thought. He
glanced at the kid. She was scarcely visible. Maybe she was resting comfortably in the crook of his arm. In the fading light of dusk, he couldn’t see her clearly. He was reluctant to step closer. ‘You say you went to several villages. Did no one there have the money to buy this wonder kid?’ ‘Oh, men of fortune are as plentiful as fruit worms, but a kind heart is rare. Only a kind hearted man can have my baby,’ the giant said. He bent down and set the kid on the ground. His back was as broad as a slab of granite. A big, fat worm wriggled near his feet. Standing upright again, he took o his headtowel and wiped the sweat from his face and upper body. ‘Look, she is no ordinary kid. Her mother birthed seven kids in a litter. After she deli vered the sixth, I thought it was all over and only the umbilical cord was left. But she con tracted her body and pushed hard once more. This one slid out as the seventh and dropped like a piece of dung. She is truly a miracle, look at her,’ the giant said. A pleasant breeze had crept in at sunset, but sweat streamed down the giant’s torso like a rivulet. The old man looked on in sur prise as he stemmed the ow with his towel and wiped himself dry. ‘What kind of man is he? Is he from a dierent planet?’ he mused, while the giant continued: ‘I can’t wander around anymore, sami. My days are at an end. I’ll hand over this kid to you and move on. Keep her under your care, samiyov.’ He lifted the kid and placed her in the old man’s hands. At rst, it felt as if a hammer had grazed his hand; the next moment, he found a ower on his palm. The old man had never seen such a tiny goat kid before. He gazed at her in amazement. Her wriggling form t snugly into the crook of his arm. The kid’s colour was all black, the shiny black of a beetle. With his palm resting on her throat, he looked up. The giant was gone. He was fading into the darkness at the end of the trail. ‘Yov, yov! Don’t you want money for the kid?’ the old man shouted. The giant couldn’t have heard him. The old man stood still and watched as the gure dwindled to a speck and then vanished altogether. As he turned back slowly, the old man was gripped by anxiety. He had wished for a goat to graze on the green grass. By chance, this bit of dung had come into his hands. How was he going to raise it to adulthood?
Stranded with vintage paperbacks
The goat who looks up to the sky
Be rewarded, or snubbed, in the Rare Book Department of Strand
Humans, gods, cows and pigs are out. So Murugan picks goats L BY ELIZABETH KURUVILLA
L BY PRADEEP SEBASTIAN
y earliest visits to Strand, the famous secondhand bookshop in New York Ci ty, had all been unplea sant. This would have been between the late 1990s and early 2000. Rather than feeling like the magical book em porium it was said to be, it felt like a warehouse, a godown, where books were one more commodity to trade or trac in. I would feel exhausted leav ing the shop, thankful to be out of there and on the street. The sta came across as gru, indif ferent, and looked annoyed that you had buttonholed them to ask a ques tion. The feeling at Strand seemed to be that if you had to ask someone where a book was rather than browse for it in the store, you couldn’t be a se rious booklover. Inauspicious start Strand, a New York icon, seemed those days to mirror the city’s brus queness. I learnt mostly to stay away from it. Many years later, perhaps it was 2014 or 2015, a friend dragged me along to the bookshop, and I found to my surprise a lot had changed: right at the door you were greeted by a staer with ‘Welcome to the Strand.’ People came up to you and asked if they could assist or help you browse, some even with a smile. Then I not iced the interior itself had been over hauled, and realised a conscious eort had been made to dispel the old unfriendliness. Strand has been on my mind be cause its coowner of over 70 years, Fred Bass, passed away this January. I can’t help wondering now if this new openness had been more the work of Nancy Bass Wyden, his daughter, who now helms Strand. The newer, friendlier Strand had me dropping in more often, and in the process, I made a wonderful discovery CM YK
Strand, a New York icon, seemed those days to mirror the city’s brusqueness. I learnt mostly to stay away from it
about the bookshop that had been there all along, and that I had foolishly missed: their Rare Book Department on the third oor. Here the hustle and bustle of downstairs was replaced by a calm, sumptuous, antiquarian at mosphere with glasspaneled shelves running along the wall, and glass counters exhibiting the more expen sive merchandise. There were even a few chairs and some sofas to lounge in, to leisurely browse the carefully picked stock. But here, too, I had an inauspicious start — and this time the blame was all mine. On my second or third visit to the Rare Book third oor I had taken with me a few choice books from my collec tion to sell or trade. I must add that I thought by this time I had mastered the art and science of selling one’s books to used bookstores. Third oor adventure Through trial and error, I had gured out it wasn’t about taking cartons of books but picking a few that were long out of print, uncommon, or on the wantlist of most secondhand booksh ops. And you got a better deal if you choose trade over cash: if the book seller says he can give you 10 in cash, ask for store credit where you’ll get 20 to spend in the shop. This time what I had with me to o
er Strand were not secondhand books but antiquarian; which is why I was headed to the upper Rare Books oor. I had with me a rst A.C. McClurg edition of The Return of Tarzan with out the dust jacket, and vintage paper backs of The Maltese Falcon and Drac ula. A couple of smalltime dealers I had shown them to had told me I could get $40 for the lot. I was looking forward to the juicy store credit of $80 or so. I handed my books over to the ‘Strand Buyer’, who took less than ve minutes to make an oer. “I can give you $10 for the Tarzan,” he said, “and these two I don’t want.” He handed back the vintage paper backs. I continued to stand there, un comprehending. He waited patiently, even sympathetically. I left, deciding not to trade, taking all of them back with me. It didn’t take me long to gure out what had happened. Strand sees a lot of rare book trac, and the books I had bought were not so uncommon or scarce in their dealing experience. Also, Strand oers the most com petitive prices, even on its thirdoor stock. The dealers who had shown such keen interest in these books did not see such copies often, and were willing to price it much, much higher. I’ve never bothered to trade in books again, but I’ve spent plenty of time over the years looking for rare book bargains here, and usually nd them at very inviting prices. And the sta on the third oor have always been courteous, friendly, help ful, and at times, even chatty. The author is a bibliophile, columnist and critic.
ow does trauma rewire a writer’s personality? Does he start to tell dierent kinds of stories? Is he a little less free, a little less brave? Shall we, his readers, continue to lament the loss of a beloved writer, or will he return mightier than ever before? Everything that Perumal Murugan — who faced violent protests from caste groups against his novel Madho rubhagan in 2015 — writes is now un der scrutiny. And none more so than Poonachi Or The Story of a Black Goat, the rst work of ction by this Tamil writer after he ended his state of selfexile. Black as the night The clearly demarcated ‘before’ and ‘after’ in the timeline of this author al lows us to subject his works to a biop sy that satises, before anything else, our impulse as bystanders to linger or gloat over the misfortune of others. Has Murugan’s condition altered from the way he described himself in a poem in 2015? “Someone has painted over my head/ a pair of horns everyone can see/ Someone has turned me/ into a strange beast.” Not surprisingly, given the context, Poonachi is an ironic look at society, of power and abuse, bondage and greed, surveillance and the silent acquies cence of the weak in their own subjugation. It is, rst of all, a fable, and in this choice one feels the hint of a taunt. Murugan writes in the preface: “I am fearful of writing about humans; even more fearful of writing about gods... It is forbidden to write about cows or pigs. That leaves only goats and sheep. Goats are problemfree, harmless and, above all, energetic. A story needs nar rative pace. Therefore, I’ve chosen to write about goats.” Murugan’s sarcasm speaks of the robustness of his spirit. Poonachi is an odd one: a weakling about a day old when she was gifted to an old farmer by a mysterious stran ger, she’s a survivor despite circum stances. Attacks by creatures of prey, lack of nourishment, the slaughter of her lover, and the sale of her kids —
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Poonachi Or The Story Of A Black Goat Perumal Murugan trs N. Kalyan Raman Context/ Westland 499
Attacks by creatures
< > of prey, lack of
nourishment — nothing sties her vitality, though they dim it little by little nothing sties her vitality, though they dim it little by little. She’s black as night, which worries the old couple who now look after her: the “regime” had all but wiped out black goats, deemed a criminal class, and was now bound to ask uncomfortable questions. Chip in the ear As in all his novels, Murugan’s story is rich in detail. The semiarid rural land scape thirsting for rain, in which it is set, throbs with life. The novel takes us into the old couple’s sparse thatched hut where they have enough to survive and a little bit more, with one preg nant goat and another who has just gi ven birth to two kids. We see the old woman’s determina
tion that little Poonachi should live, as also the mother goat’s refusal to adopt Poonachi as her own. Murugan sustains the narrative ten sion right from the start. This is at its peak when Poonachi is taken to the door of the regime, which plans to in stall an identity chip in her ear. The chip brings her into the system and will monitor each event in her life hen ceforth — from every miraculous se venkid litter her frail body births to their sales and her death. It’s a surveillance regime that fa vours the corrupt, the rich and the po werful. But even the poor, despite their subservience, sometimes have ways to beat the system. The goatherds in turn, quietly standing in queue, know how to keep their subjects in check. “We have to fasten them (the goats) with a rope when they are grazing, tie their hind legs together with the rope around the necks. If we don’t keep a strict watch on them, they’ll become arrogant and do anything they want.” Poonachi knows that unlike sheep, who have their heads bowed at all times, goats are a proud lot — “Unless we look up, how can we see the sky!” Despite their naturally rebellious na ture, goats, too, can be tamed. Poona chi tastes the exhilarating freedom of forest life and yet chooses to return to her herd, to her own kind. The freespirited, too, can be bro ken. All it takes is the persistent denial of agency in their lives, and the hunger in their belly.
Premchand: The Complete Short Stories Edited by M. Asaduddin Penguin Random House 2,999 This beautifully designed four volume boxset has some 300 short stories by Munshi Premchand. This is the first time that Premchand’s entire shortfiction oeuvre has been translated into English. The anthology features hitherto unpublished stories too. There are notes providing the publishing history of each story as well as a definitive chronology. The stories cover a range of themes from social inequality, the countrycity divide to the changes brought about in a traditional way of life by the advent of modernity.
The woods are lonely, dark and deep Revelations seep from the narrative like blood from under a door L BY LATHA ANANTHARAMAN
mily Fridlund writes a no vel that sets up and demol ishes expectation with a precise skill. Our narrator reveals right away that the story is about the death of a child, Paul. Even as we absorb the shock of this revelation, out of the corner of our eyes (particularly in this time of predator takedowns) we follow the incidents surrounding a teacher, Mr Grierson, who behaved strange ly with girls. Fridlund’s prose is strong and engrossing. Her setting is Minneso ta — the woods bordering a lake, in which there was once a commune, now reduced to two or three build ings inhabited by a mother, a father and a young girl, Madeline. In thrall Madeline is a child of the woods. She has trouble distinguishing one citydweller from another when they seasonally invade the shing grounds. Minnesota is part of what Amer icans call “big country” and Made line walks miles to school and back, and to the nearest neighbour’s house. She knows all the trees and the thickness of the ice on the lake. Not only does she see in the dark, she paddles a canoe out to the mid dle of the lake at night. Like an animal, she grew up in a pack, not caring which of the grownups were her own parents till all the others had left, and even then not quite sure. The scenes in which she walks with her dogs are unforgettable. When she writes about wolves for a class project she writes of inci dents in which they were killed for simply being wolves. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the school scandal she sides with Mr Grierson, the accused teacher, rather than with the girls, possibly because they are the pret ty ones. If that teacher indeed is a preda tor rather than just a voyeur, he does not chase, he lures a prey,
History of Wolves Emily Fridlund Weidenfeld & Nicolson 550
who is allowed to think that she is in control. The “wolves” in the title make us think about the teacher, but Made line’s story about the child Paul points the reader toward other wolves, wolves that suckle mother less human infants, wolves that are misunderstood and vulnerable to suspicious men. Madeline’s life gets rearranged when fouryearold Paul, his moth er, Patra, and father, Leo, move in to the cabin across the water. Paul has a heft and a presence from the very beginning, from the scene in which he thumps down to sit on Madeline’s lap and work on his owl puzzle, oblivious of her un til he has nished the puzzle and leans back, taking for granted she is behind him. She is asked to babysit for the fa mily after Leo takes o to pursue his astronomical research. Patra is a happy mother and Madeline shows Paul the wonders of the wil derness. Then Leo comes back, and Madeline begins to understand that Patra is in thrall to her over bearing husband and obedient to his Christian Science beliefs. Patra is not allowed to take Paul to a doctor or give him medicines, and in failing to resist Leo she ulti mately fails her fouryearold child. Paul’s name evokes Dickens’s Paul Dombey, who also died young because of his father’s relentless ideology. Madeline recalls him in terms of vulnerability, remembering his highpitched, frightened voice, his red pompom hat, and his helpless
To the Moon: How I Blogged My Way to Bollywood Malini Aggarwal Harper Collins 399 Bollywood’s ‘Miss Malini’, Malini Agarwal documents her journey to online stardom in this book. Agarwal’s story begins much like a Bollywood movie — in Mumbai, the city of dreams. The clapboard sounded with the launch of a hobby blog by this dancer, RJ and columnist who went on to become the founder of the biggest entertainment website of its kind, much before social media had started dominating the public consciousness.
Keepers of The Kalachakra Ashwin Sanghi Westland 399 A seemingly random selection of heads of state are struck down like flies by unnamed killers who work with the clinical efficiency of butchers. Except that they leave no trace of their methods. Ashwin Sanghi returns to the Bharat series after The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key and The Sialkot Saga with the tale of the men who guard the ‘Kalachakra’ or The Wheel of Time. Getty images/ IStock
Like an animal, Madeline grew up in a pack, not caring which of the grown-ups
< > were her own parents till all the others had left, and even then not quite sure. The scenes in which she walks with her dogs are unforgettable reliance on the adults who are sup posed to take care of him. Too late The event foretold in the rst page approaches, and time slows for Ma deline. She lingers on each smell, sound and insect bite of the last two days of Paul’s life. Sensing the danger emanating from Leo, she asks Patra about him.
Patra cheerfully recalls the way they met; she was the student, he the professor. “I got him to sit with me in the cafeteria,” she says, and again we see a predator luring a woman who thought she was in control, until it was much too late. Revelations seep from the narrative like blood under a door. Again Madeline veers and again she returns to her story. She herself
is implicated in the death of Paul, and not all her testimony after wards can do justice to him. Fri dlund has recreated the power of the woods and authentic charac ters to inhabit them. Madeline, es pecially, haunts the reader long af ter the book is closed.
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The writer is author of Three Seasons: Notes from a Country Year.
Dickens in Mumbai
A series of selected lies Flanagan examines the art and artice of autobiography writing
No sunshine and cupcakes in this racy children’s novel L BY VAISHNA ROY
L BY JAYA BHATTACHARJI ROSE
if Kehlmann, a writer struggling to write his rst book, is ap proached by his childhood friend Ray to ghostwrite a me moir of Ray’s boss. The said boss is Aus tralia’s most notorious conman Sieg fried Heidl or Ziggy, who had swindled banks of 700 million dollars. Ziggy is out on bail. This gives his publisher, Gene Paley of Schlegel TransPacic Publishing, about six weeks to commission a “page turner” and have it published in time for the trial. For this Ziggy is to be paid the hand some sum of $250,000 whereas Kif is oered $10,000, with no royalties, to be paid in equal instalments upon submis sion of the manuscript and the publica tion of the book. If Kif failed to deliver he would be paid only the termination fee of $500. Faustian pact The book is about Kif attempting to get Ziggy to share incidents from his life which he could then convert into a sale able story. This Faustian pact is a soul sapping task for Kif as Ziggy is evasive or spins incredibly fantastic tales that are impossible to verify. There are rumours of Ziggy’s links to the CIA in Laos in the early 1970s, of him being hired by NASA to establish a rocket facility in the southern hemisph ere, being involved in the deposition of Australian Prime Minister Whitlam and his alleged role in the AllendeChile af fair. Kif ’s description of Ziggy is apt: “Even working with him it was hard to see him. I remember he didn’t have much hair and he was of indeterminate age, small, slightly stout, [a] hobgo blin… little sorcerer… From the begin ning he was always there and never to be found.” The novel traces Kif ’s growing frus tration with his elusive subject. Kif had hoped that the book would be his ticket out of writerly poverty and perhaps fetch him a better publishing contract. While those possibilities seem to re cede, his current publisher becomes more and more dicult. Paley dispels any notion Kif may have had about artistic freedom by mention CM YK
Pretty Vile Girl Rickie Khosla Bloomsbury 389 This novel follows the fortunes of Jazmeen, who is Bollywood’s most indemand starlet. She is in a relationship with one of the country’s most powerful politicians. She is admired for her candour in interviews and yet she carries a dark secret. She cries revenge, and none, not even the prime minster, can escape her wrath. There’s a backstory populated with a ruthless orphanage matron and lupine men to humanise her bloodthirst. Jazmeen will do anything to settle scores and get what she wants.
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First Person Richard Flanagan Chatto & Windus 599
Kif’s publisher dispels any notion Kif may have had about artistic freedom by saying that in France ghost-writers are called slaves
ing that in France ghostwriters are called Nègres or slaves. With such limiting conditions, Kif sets to work, inventing where he cannot nd facts. He delivers the pageturner within the stipulated time by “learning to distract from the truth by amusing the reader; to atter the reader by play ing on what they believed to be their vir tues — their idea of goodness and decen cy — whilst leading them even further into an alien darkness that was the real world and, perhaps, the real them; and, on occasion, I feared, the real me.”
In the early 1990s, Richard Flanagan had been hired by the fraudster John Friedrich to ghostwrite his autobiogra phy in six weeks as he awaited trial for a 300 million dollar fraud. Friedrich died during those six weeks, as does Sieg fried in the story. Writing the self Although First Person is promoted as a novel, it closely follows Flanagan’s ex perience of ghostwriting a novel for a criminal. It brings into focus muchde bated issues of craftsmanship, of re maining true to one’s art or capitulating to market forces. Flanagan also questions the premise of autobiography as an art form. Auto biographies are trending now as they go well with the general preference for reality shows and intimate confessions made in the rst person. For Flanagan, an autobiography is a literary sele. When Kif dwells on the ne balance between truth and storytelling in an au tobiography, he too concludes that “a memoir was a series of selected lies”. Kif is a nom de plume, a short for “keef er” — a substance, especially cannabis, smoked to produce a drowsy state. Isn’t the reader expected to suspend her disbelief while reading the novel? The author is an independent international publishing consultant.
ue disclosure: The writer was once my classmate. But since we weren’t and aren’t exactly BFFs, I think it’s safe to review her latest book, which I was tempted to read after she won The Hindu Prize for children’s writing last year for another. Venita Coelho’s Boy No. 32 is the sort of book that I immediately thought would make a great lm — it’s racy; it has a sweet protagonist in the shape of Battees, the orphan; a taut plot; and it is jampacked with wacky characters. As with much newage children’s writing, Coelho keeps it real — no sunshine and cupcakes. And she doesn’t talk down, opting instead to make Battees relate his story to read ers as he would to his classmates. He is on the run because he has seen the man planting the bomb that brings
Boy No. 32 Venita Coelho Scholastic 295
down the courtroom and the orphan age where he lives. It’s a fabulous opening scene — four kids trapped in the rubble and communicating through a myste rious telepathic code. But this inner voice Morsecoding is the only ele ment of magic realism in the book; the rest of it is rooted in the very real and dark underbelly of Mumbai, with Coelho uninchingly detailing its vio lence and evil. Many aspects are spot on — not giving the hero a name, for example, but calling him Battees or 32, the number he was assigned.
Kashmiri Lal, Eunuch Queen, Beg gar King, Aunty, Potla — the cast of characters Battees meets, befriends or outwits in the course of his adven ture is long and zany — and his esca pade as full of edgeoftheseat calam ities as any Lemony Snicket misadventure. But Battees is resour ceful and determined to not just save himself but also rescue Goongi, the little girl he has befriended. Coelho is a screenwriter, and a Hindi lm aura suuses the book, but in a fun, masala blockbuster way. She has also written TV serials, and that inuence is trickier. She seems com pelled to end each chapter on an im plied ‘To be continued’ note, like the ‘penny’ novels of old. But this Dick ensian touch works well in the Mum bai she depicts and the shades of Oliver Twist she evokes. If the end had been a little less longdrawn, it would have helped tauten this otherwise smart book.
And then there was nothing Too many discrepancies spoil the plot L BY MITA GHOSE
t rst glance, this detective novel by Tanushree Podder seems promising: missing Bollywood lm star Ramola suddenly resurfaces in a small Ku maoni hill town from where she is sues invitations for her fortieth birth day celebrations to ve men she had known intimately back in Mumbai: a famous lmmaker, a powerful politi cian, an underworld don, a former superstar and a scheming gigolo. Ramola has a nasty surprise in store for these men, some of whom had been instrumental in her cellu loid success, but had also exploited her cruelly: at the party, she an nounces her plans of publishing her memoir, a noholdsbarred exposé featuring them.Hackles are raised, fear is generated and murder is inev itable. With the premise established
A Closetful of Skeletons Tanushree Podder Harper Black 250
and expectations raised, the novel proceeds to destroy its own potential. Podder’s eorts to prepare con vincing backstories for her main pro tagonists notwithstanding, the can did reminiscences of the men from Mumbai are out of character. And then, we never stop question ing the downtoearth Ramola’s rea sons for her memoir’s riskfraught prepublication announcement when the book’s release alone would
have constituted sweet revenge. Her hilltown acquaintances remain two dimensional gures, trying our pa tience with their long, stilted conver sations that don’t necessarily take the story forward. As we read on, crime scenes are contaminated, condential ndings shared with potential suspects, auth enticity sacriced and logic disre garded. By then, nothing — the la boured pace, the watereddown suspense, the discrepancies in the description of scenes, the editorial lapses and even the absurdity of the denouement, followed by a hurried attempt to justify it — can surprise us. Nothing, except Podder’s revela tion that actual research went into the writing of this novel. The author, a Kolkatabased freelance editor, enjoys reading, writing and travelling.
The hyphen in translations Poetry is our last frontier. Deny it space and beyond it lie mumble and chaos lartranslator, Martin Kämpchen, who translates from Bengali into Ger man and says that such writers have two mother tongues. With rare per ception she adds, “The truth is that some people are dormant or sup pressed poets, who may not have written much poetry beyond their student years, but whose poetic crea tivity is spurred and maintained by the exercise of translation.” Winding down, here is both akam (interior landscape) and puram (ex terior landscape), the earth and sky of Tamil poetics.
L BY MINI KRISHNAN
s far as literature is con cerned, globalisation hap pened hundreds of years ago. Crossovers and links were made by scholars and wander ing singers both into and out of India and by fortuneseeking traders, some of whom had a keen under standing of rare manuscripts. Much giveandtake took place — naturally impossible to record — at what might be called the metalevel. Thus it is that Nissim Ezekiel could, in the spirit of his Jewish an cestors and Su poets, say: “May you read wisdom books in the spirit of the comics and the comics in the spi rit of wisdom books.” He said it like a blessing. At nearly the same time, A.K. Ramanujan, drawing on Kanna da, Tamil and European traditions, joked that he was the hyphen in In dianAmerican.
Essential ambiguity Thirty years later, we have Kazuo Ish iguro speaking Japanese at home, “pursuing Japanese values” and straddling the debate between moth er tongue and acquired tongue by winning the Nobel for writing in En glish. Though the lists say that he is the second Literature Nobel Laureate Japan has produced, the ag next to his photograph is the red, blue and white of G.B. Globalisation or not? What sort of translator should or can translate poetry from Indian lan guages into English, or increasingly, AngloAmerican? Ideally the transla tor should be a poet in the target lan guage, but how common is that? Much eyerolling and groans accom pany any discussion about the tran slation of poetry. To me, the notable advantage of translating poetry is that it tran scends both geographies and time whereby contemporary language can be brilliantly employed in re
Two worlds A.K. Ramanujan drew on Indian and European traditions. T.A. Hafeez
The notable advantage of translating poetry is that it transcends both geographies and time
creating ancient originals for today’s readership. Fiction, on the other hand, is less malleable, with the tran slator hesitating to use modern lan guage while hauling 19th century c tion across 20th or 21st century terrain. For instance, the following lines — “Hanging low with their burden of water And adorned with rainbows and crackling lightning…” These could have been written last month, but it comes in fact from 5 BC (Kalidasa, Rtusamharam, trs Martha Selby). Many believe that to translate a poem into English, it is necessary to write a new poem in English and call it a translation. While translating
from Urdu, a language which evolved from a sophisticated Persian tradi tion — never put to mundane use — the symbolic nature of the language has always been a mountainous chal lenge. Indeed, an essential and dis tinct component is ambiguity. Is the beloved a person or a country? Is the winegiver benevolent or a tyrant? Spurred creativity Words and meanings are continuous ly used to disarm and mislead while enchanting the reader or reciter. Ad hering closely to the literal force of classical originals, Velcheru Naraya na Rao and David Schulman work seamlessly together with paraphrase and English idiom to bring a wonder ful banquet from the Vijayanagara period to those not versed in Telugu. Is it because it is neither possible nor realistic to break away from an 800 yearold (possibly older) tradition? Ketaki Kushari Dyson in her intro duction to the selected poems of Buddhadeva Bose refers to the scho
‘Rain’ Emptying the sea pouring it over the sky’s head, chilling the hills down to their stony roots drowning the crops, melting the paths, on houses oating in the swelling ood, it beats down in a frenzy, the rain. This wetness everywhere turns everything to mud and mire. In my heart alone burns a great re. (Ravikumar; trs Vasantha Surya) This stirring poem makes me re call what Jerry Pinto said to the au dience at the Ooty Lit Fest: “Are you guys reading poetry? If you are not reading poetry everyday you shouldn’t be here!” One of the natural functions of the human brain as it evolves is to build on the past and engage intuitively with words. But as we outsource me mory to electronic banks and replace it with useless, entertaining informa tion, we damage the subconscious and block o the ability to source words for thoughts and feelings. Poetry is our last frontier. Deny it space and beyond it lie mumble and chaos from which, the brain, in its machine mode, retrieves only jargon — the McDonalds of the language feast and the opposite of poetry. #4 4 6 6 0 1
The writer edits translations for Oxford University Press, India.
Breakfast of gluttons A tasty shortcut to understanding a culture L BY RAHUL VERMA
t’s early morning, but the corners of Old Delhi are already bustling with life. A crowd has gathered in front of a tiny shop. A sealed pot is carefully placed on a counter. The lid is removed, and a del icious aroma lls the air. People waiting for their breakfast nihari — meat shanks cooked over long hours — are ready for a meal that will carry them through the day. In another part of the Old City, you will nd a queue in front of a bedmi shop. A small ball of dough with lentil paste is rolled out and then fried in hot oil. Once it swells up , it is taken out and served with a spicy potato curry to the salivating crowds. And then, if they are still peckish, they’ll have some nagori halwa — halwa with small crispy puris. People take their breakfast seriously. A book I was reading the other day under lines its importance across the world. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and also a tasty shortcut to getting to know a country’s culture,” says a chapter in Lonely Planet’s Food Lovers’ Guide to the World, where Brett Atkinson lists his top 10 recommendations for getting the day start ed around the globe. If you are in Shanghai, don’t miss the xiao long bao dumplings, he writes. But be careful of the way you dig into it — “Get it wrong, and you are looking at a mini explo sion of steaming broth.” Do not, he warns, bite into the middle of a dumpling. Place it on a spoon. Carefully bite a small hole on the edge of the dum pling and let “the glorious broth” spill on to the spoon. Let it cool and drink it. “Then you are free to eat the porklled dumpling in a couple of tasty bites,” he writes. I can see hungry hordes biting into steaming hot dumplings in Kolkata’s Terreti Bazaar, a bu sy street lined Chinese breakfast vendors in the mornings. From dumplings, congee and sausages, to bao and meat balls, you get them all there at the crack of dawn. And you are likely to get a version of a Vietna mese soup that Atkinson raves about. The bun rieu cua or crab noodle soup is
prepared with tiny rice paddy crabs. “…(T) he rich broth is laced with fried spring onions and garlic, then topped with shrimp paste and chilli.” I know people who shudder at the thought of a hearty breakfast. I, on the oth er hand, wake up and start wondering about the rst meal of the day. I like my eggs (doublefried), but also enjoy the oc casional poha, paratha or Bengali luchis — puris served with potatoes sautéed with onion seeds. There was a time when I would set out in the morning for paya and zubaan (trotters and tongue), or some kachori and pump kin sabzi. The Andhra Bhavan and UNI can teens were favourite haunts of mine. I’d have two soft idlis, one crispy vada and cof fee — and feel that all was well with the world.
From dumplings, congee
< > and sausages, to bao and
meat balls, you get it all at Kolkata’s Terreti Bazaar I have not gone to Cairo, but when there, I’ll take Atkinson’s advice and have the ful medames there. Not only is it just one of the world’s oldest breakfast dishes, but also one of the healthiest, according to him. “Dating back to the Egyptian pharaohs, ful medames combines slow cooking fava beans mashed with olive oil, parsley, onion, garlic and lemon juice,” he writes — “an experience common across all of Egyp tian society”. Breakfast dishes in India, on the other hand, celebrate the multicultural richness of the country. Diversity in unity — the phrase that we had to rote in school — is to be seen in our morning meals. Give us this day our daily bread. Or poha, paratha, ni hari and idlis. The writer, who grew up on ghee-doused urad dal and roti, now likes reading and writing about food as much as he enjoys cooking and eating. Well, almost.
The vendor of words Granthika, a digital tool for writers, seeks to create the perfect, error-free text L BY KARTHIK VENKATESH
Demonic A scene from Danny Boyle’s play Frankenstein. Special Arrangement
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley L BY SUDIPTA DATTA
his year marks the bicenten ary of Frankenstein, the tale of a mad scientist who creat ed life, which spooked read ers when it was rst published, ano nymously. Once the writer’s identity was revealed, people found it even more “horrible” that it was written by a woman, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley (17971851). Girls were expected to behave in a certain manner, to keep house and bear chil dren. But Mary Shelley, daughter of the radical Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, would have nothing of that. Though Wollstonecraft died 10 days after giving birth, her moth er’s life and work, especially the idea that women were not lesser beings, inuenced Mary Shelley and her writing. The story goes that Mary and the Romantic poets Lord Byron and Per cy Shelley, Mary Shelley’s husband , were caught in a particularly cold winter in Switzerland in 1816, and de cided to hold a contest on who could write the scariest ghost story among them. Dread tissue As historian Charlotte Gordon writes in her introduction to Frankenstein, the 1818 Text, “...it was Mary who struck gold. The rst sentence she wrote, ‘It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld my man completed...’ seemed to unleash all that would come next, as though the story were waiting to spill on the page.” For the next two years, gently prodded by her poet husband, she refurbished and expanded the story, CM YK
and published it in 1818, when she was 21. The initial pages are in epistolary form, with Captain Robert Walton, an explorer to the North Pole, telling his sister Margaret about the voyage. He writes how the crew one day spots a “gigantic” gure on a dog sled (in letter number four) and then res cues a frozen man named Victor Frankenstein, who recovers to re count the story of his life as a caution ary tale in 24 chapters in the rst person. “I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distin guished of that republic.” And with these words, Victor Frankenstein be gins to narrate his extraordinary tale. He talks about his happy childhood, the leaning towards natural philoso phy and chemistry, and how he nds a way to reanimate dead tissue. But parts of the body are dicult to repli cate, and his creation is eight feet tall, far from beautiful, his skin bare ly hiding the muscle, tissue, and blood vessels. Frankenstein is repulsed, and re jects his creation, who is not named in the novel; instead, “it” is ad dressed variously as “monster”, “end”, “wretch”, “demon” and so forth. The rejection moves the “son” to wail: “If I have no ties and no aec tions, hatred and vice must be my portion.” As Gordon points out, in the hands of Mary Shelley, the crea ture becomes an abandoned child, “gone wrong because of the illtreat ment of his creator.” Through the sto ry, Mary Shelley explores both the heights and depths of human nature; its power and weakness. The author looks back at one classic each fortnight.
.K. Narayan’s novel The Vendor of Sweets, set as always in Mal gudi, is the story of Jagan, the sweetmeat vendor, who is torn between his Gandhian ideals and the demands of his business. He also has an imperfect relationship with his way ward son, Mali. Mali makes his way to the U.S. to join a creative writing course and returns a few years later, totally Americanised. In Malgudi, Mali comes up with a grand moneymaking venture in the form of a storywriting machine. It’s a machine in which wouldbe writers have to only enter a few details, like the number of pages, the number of characters, the place, time and atmosphere, and the machine will churn out the story for them, or so goes Mali’s sales pitch. The romantic image of the writer crouched over the desk, pouring his heart out on paper, with crumpled pag es strewn around the room has be come clichéd. It was perhaps this im age that Mali sought to change. Just buttons Mali’s storywriting machine is, of course, ctional, but it is interesting to examine how authors have used tech nology to aid their writing endeavours. Historically, writers used longhand. Many, like John le Carré, still put pen to paper ( John Steinbeck swears by pen cils), choosing to voluntarily forgo the
Clichéd image? An oil, ‘Saint Paul Writing His Epistles’. Wiki Commons
mediating medium of the machine. A few lucky ones in the past had the be net of a scribe (à la Veda Vyasa and his Ganesha), but composing a text in the mind and then dictating it couldn’t have been a cakewalk either. And then came the typewriter. In 1874, Mark Twain purchased his rst ty pewriter (a Remington) for $125. Seven years later, a typed manuscript of Twain’s Life on the Mississippi was sent to his publisher. Twain did not type it himself. In 1875, he had written to Re mington saying that the machine cor rupted his morals because it made him want to swear. So he gave the machine away. Life on the Mississippi was dictated to a typist from a handwritten draft and was in all
likelihood the rst typewritten book. The typewriter was succeeded by the word processor. Among the early adopters of the word processor was Stephen King. In the January 1983 issue of Playboy, he actually published a sto ry titled ‘The Word Processor’, where the machine is capable of altering the past and, in eect, the future. Its dis covery changes the lot of a frustrated, middleaged writer. Faux pas no more Now, writer Vikram Chandra, of Sacred Games fame, hopes in the second or third quarter of 2018 to have a beta ver sion ready of Granthika, a digital tool for writers. While its rst version will be designed for ction writers, he
plans a version for nonction writers too, with all the features necessary for that genre such as footnotes, endnotes, citations and the like. Eventually, the goal is to build specialised versions for domains like legal writing, journalism, corporate documentation, scientic pu blishing and more. Granthika’s website lists its many components — a ‘spreadsheet’ to keep track of dates and events, and to calcu late the age of characters; ‘index cards’ to give the structural outline of the doc ument; a ‘timeline’ — perhaps drawn on a wall — to visualise the relationship bet ween events. By keeping a tab on all the logistics of writing, Granthika seeks to minimise er rors. Among the instances of mistakes it cites to make its case are those from the Sherlock Holmes stories — Dr. Watson’s travelling injury (shoulder to leg) and his changing rst name ( John to James) — and more recently, an oversight in J.K. Rowling’s The Prisoner of Azkaban. Granthika is, on the face of it, as cut ting edge as it gets. The creation of a writer who understands both writing and coding, it might just become to the early 21st century writer what the ty pewriter was to the late 19th century writer and the word processor to the late 20th. With Granthika, Mali, Twain and King would have been fused together. The Bengaluru-based author works in publishing.
WHAT WE LIKE Wonderwomen with books
e recently discovered this fascinating piece of history. Long before librariesonwheels became fashionable, there were librariesonhooves. In the U.S., in the 1930s, many people living in isolated or mountainous regions struggled for access to education and jobs. While jobs remained elusive in those difficult interwar years, President Franklin Roosevelt did find a way to supply remote areas like Kentucky with books. His administration created the Pack Horse Library Initiative, where librarians would go
on horses and mules to deliver books to the most inaccessible and remote communities. Interestingly, most of the librarians in the saddles were women. The “Book Women”, as they were called, rode long distances, sometimes 20 miles a week, to deliver books to schools and homesteads in the Appalachians, often riding through snowstorms and rough terrain. The Book Women would also read aloud to families. The project ran about 30 horseback libraries. But by 1943, the programme was wrapped up because of a lack of funds. And it was not until the 1950s that mobile libraries would start up to serve these places.