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Former CM’s residence in Chennai to be made a public memorial, says CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami T.K. Rohit Chennai
Trinamool sweeps seven municipalities KOLKATA
Continuing with its political dominance, the Trinamool Congress on Thursday swept all the seven municipalities that went to the polls last week. The results not only indicate a clean sweep by the TMC, but a complete decimation of the opposition. EAST
A 10-year-old girl who was allegedly raped repeatedly by her uncle delivered a girl child at a local government hospital here on Thursday morning, a senior doctor said. Both the victim and the newborn are stable. However, the baby is under observation in the neonatal intensive care unit as it is slightly underweight. NATION
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday announced that an inquiry commission headed by a retired High Court judge would be constituted to probe the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in December last year. A decision on the judge who will head the commission will be taken in due course, Mr. Palaniswami said, flanked by several senior Cabinet Ministers at the Secretariat.
Not consulted: Deepa Mr. Palaniswami also said that ‘Veda Nilayam’, the erstwhile residence of Jayalalithaa in Poes Garden here, would be converted into a
public memorial, an announcement that was slammed by Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar, who questioned the unilateral decision sans consultations
with heirs. Till date, it is not clear if Jayalalithaa left behind a will bequeathing her vast estate to anyone. The sudden announcements are essentially seen as
A van ploughed into crowds in the heart of Barcelona on Thursday and Spanish media reported at least 13 people were killed, in what police said they were treating as a terrorist attack. A man was later arrested, police in the Spanish region of Catalonia said in a statement on Twitter. Regional authorities said one death had been confirmed so far,
with 32 injured, 10 seriously. But radio station Cadena Ser cited police sources as saying the toll was much higher. Police said they were searching for the driver of the van who, according to local media, fled the scene on foot. Spanish newspaper El Periodico said two armed men were holed up in a bar in Barcelona’s city centre, and reported gunfire in the area, though it did not cite
the source of the information. It was not immediately clear whether the incidents were connected. Reports said the van zigzagged at speed down the famous Las Ramblas avenue, a magnet for tourists. Mobile phone footage posted on Twitter showed several bodies strewn along the Ramblas, some motionless. U.S., U.K. AND GERMANY CONDEMN ATTACK A PAGE 12
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed status quo in medical admissions in Tamil Nadu till August 22. This stalls any prospects of the State kickstarting them in the next couple of days in case an ordinance meant to freeze the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) this year in the State is promulgated. The ordinance has already been cleared by the Union Law
JNU, Stephen’s students have harrowing picnic Attackers even tried to grope the woman student inside the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary Staff Reporter NEW DELHI
Seven students, including a woman, were allegedly attacked by a group of men inside the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary in Faridabad on August 14 when they were returning from a picnic in the area. While three of the vic-
Hospital oxygen supply not cut, says U.P. firm Dismisses report that indicted it
CONTINUED ON A PAGE 10
13 feared dead, 32 injured SC puts T.N. medical in Barcelona ‘terror attack’ admissions on hold Barcelona
FRIDAY REVIEW A 12 PAGES (TABLOID) DELHI METRO A 6 PAGES
Quick bite: A langur helps itself to some food in a corridor near the ICU at the government-run B.R.D. Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur. V.V. KRISHNAN (REPORTS ON PAGE 11)
Omar Rashid Damini Nath
A PAGE 6
a move to put pressure on the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) to come forward for negotiating a quick merger with the ruling AIADMK (Amma) and to check-
mate “ousted” deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran, who is in a combative mood. The Panneerselvam faction had publicly laid down two conditions for a merger — an enquiry into Jayalalithaa’s death (varying from a CBI probe to a judicial probe) and expelling Sasikala and her family from the AIADMK. During Jayalalithaa’s 75-day hospitalisation, only Sasikala and the doctors and paramedical staff had access to her and no one else, including top leaders of the party, could see her. A campaign to convert the Veda Nilayam into a public memorial was also launched by Mr. Panneerselvam.
tims are current students of JNU, three others are former students of the university. The seventh belongs to St. Stephen’s College. Around 8.30 p.m., when the group was returning from an area in the sanctuary popularly referred to as the Death Valley, three men allegedly stopped them.
The students said the accused asked the male students what their relationship was with the lone woman. One of the students, who had a beard, was allegedly abused for being a Muslim and called a “cattle thief”. “More people turned up at the spot and started hit-
ting us with sticks,” said Surya Prakash, one of the victims. The attackers even tried to grope the woman student and tear away her clothes, the victims said. The students escaped when their cab driver along with two locals came to their rescue and took them to the Surajkund police station.
The officer in charge, however, allegedly refused to file a complaint and instead made the students write an apology. He also allegedly asked the woman if her dress was “that short” or if it had been torn. The Delhi Police have registered a zero FIR in the matter.
Ministry, following a favourable legal opinion from Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal. It was supposed to be promulgated by August 22, the next date of hearing. The SC ordered the Medical Council of India and the State government to chalk out a plan so that students who have got through NEET and rural students illequipped for it can be “adjusted” in the admission list. CONTINUED ON A PAGE 10
Private firm Pushpa Sales Private Limited on Thursday refuted a magisterial report, which held it “responsible” for interrupting the supply of liquid oxygen to Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur. It claimed that it did not stop supply though it put pressure on the hospital to receive its overdue payment. Manish Bhandari, the owner of the firm, said he was willing to submit “evidence” before the government to prove his stand. “If they have submitted it [DM report] we will give our evidence when the government asks. We have said that
we have not stopped [the supply of oxygen]. We will prove it,” Mr. Bhandari told The Hindu. In his report submitted to the Uttar Pradesh government, District Magistrate of Gorakhpur Rajeev Rautela said Pushpa Sales should not have cut the supply of oxygen as the firm was in the business of “life-saving.” Mr. Bhandari shifted blame on to the hospital authorities, saying it was their responsibility to maintain the stock of oxygen cylinders and also said that the contract to supply cylinders was with another firm. “Maintaining stock of cylinders is not my responsibility,” Mr. Bhandari said. CONTINUED ON A PAGE 10
Gujarat police officers asked to step down Legal correspondent new delhi
Senior Gujarat police officers N.K. Amin and T.A.
Barot, accused in cases of encounter killings, on Thursday undertook before the Supreme Court that they
would demit office during the day. DETAILS ON A PAGE 10
SEE ALSO A DELHI METRO PAGE 1
Sharad hogs limelight at show of Oppn unity Leaders refer to ‘sacrifice’ in breaking ties Smita Gupta New Delhi
At least 14 political parties, farmers’ movements and Dalit groups answered rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav’s call to “save our composite culture” (Sanjhi Virasat Bachao) and unite to fight the BJP-RSS combine at an impressive gathering here. In the recent past, the Congress has taken on the leadership role at Opposition unity meetings with its president Sonia Gandhi chairing them. On Thursday, the party was well-represented, with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel present, but the focus was on Mr. Sharad Yadav, who has emerged as a rallying point. Speaker after speaker paid encomiums to him, even referring to the “sacrifice” he had made in breaking with the Nitish Kumarled JD(U) after the Bihar Chief Minister broke the mahagatbandhan (the grand alliance) in Bihar. If Mr. Azad went so far as to say that Mr. Sharad Yadav CM YK
Rahul Gandhi with Sharad Yadav during the Sanjhi Virasat Bachao Sammelan in New Delhi . R.V. MOORTHY *
was the leader of the real JD (U) and that he had declined a Cabinet berth and chosen the path of secularism, Mr. Ahmed Patel went a step further: he asked the rebel JD(U) leader to set up a subcommittee that could draw up a blueprint for the Opposition. This was significant as this comes six days after roughly the same set of parties empowered Ms. Gandhi to set up a sub-committee to draw up a plan for the Opposition. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Mr. Yadav held the key to saving India’s syncretic culture. Mr. Gandhi, who arrived with Dr. Manmohan Singh, attacked the government for its communal agenda. A ND-NDE
Trinamool sweeps seven municipalities in Bengal Ruling party wins 140 wards, Bharatiya Janata Party comes a distant second bagged 12 of the 16 wards. Results at the Panskura Municipality were no different with the TMC winning 17 of the 18 wards. The BJP won four wards at Dhupguri Municipality and one each at Panskura and Buniyadpur civic bodies. The Left Front’s saving grace was one ward at Nalhati.
Special Correspondent Kolkata
Continuing with its political dominance, the Trinamool Congress on Thursday swept all the seven municipalities that went to the polls last week. Elections were held to the Durgapur Municipal Corporation, Dhupguri Municipality, Buniyadpur Municipality, Coopers’ Camp Notified Area, Nalhati Municipality, Panskura Municipality and Haldia Municipality on August 13 amid sporadic incidents of violence. The results not only indicate a clean sweep by the TMC, but a complete decimation of the opposition. Of the 148 wards that went to the polls in the seven municipalities, the ruling party won 140 wards, which is more than 94% of the seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party won six, the Left Front got one and one went to an
Celebration time: Trinamool Congress supporters jubilate at Nalhati in Birbhum district on Thursday. PTI *
independent candidate. In three of the seven civic bodies, the opposition could not even win a single ward. At Haldia Municipality in Purba Medinipur, the TMC won all the 29 wards. The Durgapur Municipal Corporation presented a similar picture with the ruling party
nominees getting elected from all 43 wards. At Cooper's Camp Notified Area in Nadia, the TMC won all the 12 seats. At Nalhati Municipality in Birbhum, the TMC won 14 of the 16 wards. At Buniyadpur, it won 13 of the 14 wards, and at Dhupguri, the ruling party
Student beaten by seniors, suffers eardrum damage
Victory of people: CM Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the results as a victory of the people and thanked the people for supporting the Trinamool Congress. Accusing the TMC of using money and muscle power to win the polls, BJP State president Dilip Gosh expressed satisfaction that the BJP has come up to the second position. Both the Congress and the Left Front leadership said the polls were far from being free and fair.
CPI(M) leader summoned Press trust of india Kolkata
It may be an incident of ragging, say parents Staff Reporter BERHAMPUR
A Class IX student’s ear drum was damaged after he was severely beaten up by his seniors on the campus of Navodaya Vidyalaya at Tudipaju in Kandhamal district of Odisha. The parents of the victim have alleged that it could be an incident of ragging. The student was first taken to the district headquarter hospital in Phulbani and later shifted to the MKCG medical college and hospital in Berhampur
on Wednesday night. On Thursday, a team of Kandhamal district administration that included Additional District Magistrate Pradipta Kumar Sahani, Sub-Collector Nimai Charan Sutar and District Child Protection Officer Rashmita Karan reached the school to enquire about the matter. They held discussions with the students and teachers. After an enquiry, the administrative officials have directed the principal to take strict action against the erring Class XII students.
“The students involved in the attack will be initially expelled from school for 15 days,” said Ms. Karan.
Happened in hostel As per the enquiry team, the incident had occurred in the hostel on August 11 during lunch hour. A student of Class XII had alleged that the victim had stolen his money. A group of Class XII students had then decided to physically torture the victim to make him confess to the crime. They had beaten up the boy.
The West Bengal CID on Thursday summoned senior CPI(M) leader Gautam Deb in connection with some objectionable remarks he had allegedly made against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in April.
Correction In the story headlined ‘Nagaland CM calls for broad-based talks,’ a photo of former chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu was published instead of the current CM, T. R. Zeliang. The error is regretted.
A campaign to build rainwater harvesting structures in Bhojpura village promises to benefit farmers Mohammed Iqbal Phagi (Jaipur)
‘Few flare up law & order issues for political gains’ DHARAMSALA
Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh on Thursday said a few from the opposition “unnecessarily” flare up law and order issues for “political benefits”, referring to the Kotkhai schoolgirl rape and murder case. He said “a lot of hullabaloo was created by the few in opposition”, and maintained the State has a “very low” crime rate. PTI
BSF constable killed over old rivalry in Rajasthan SIKAR (RAJASTHAN)
A BSF constable was killed allegedly by unidentified persons over old rivalry in Lakshmangarh area of Sikar district, the police said. The assailants stopped Sumer Singh’s vehicle and attacked him with sharp-edged weapons late on Wednesday, leading to his death. The body has been kept at the government hospital in Sikar and further probe is on. PTI
Barely six months ago, few in the dusty and nondescript Bhojpura village of Phagi tehsil could believe that they will witness a change in the crop pattern for the better as well as an unexpected increase in the crop yield. The constant decline in the ground water level was also a concern for the farmers entirely dependent on rains. A campaign to build rainwater harvesting structures in the region now promises to bring benefits to the agriculturists in the shape of control of soil erosion, increase in moisture, vegetation and ground water table and prevention of wasteland expansion. Following this year’s monsoon, the lush green landscape has brought a smile to farmers. In the 50-bigha agricultural field of farmer brothers Harinarain and Jainarain Gujjar of Bhojpura – where a farm pond was built recently with 90% contribution of the State government – the jowar and moong crops will be
A step forward: A farm pond was built recently at the village and it has been geo-tagged for monitoring of its water level. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
ready for harvesting next month. The pond has been geo-tagged for monitoring of its water level. “Immediately after the harvest, we will grow mustard and gram as the rabi crops with the help of water stored in the pond for irrigation. Such a crop pattern, one after another, was just out of question earlier,” said Harinarain, 50. The rain water stored in the artificial pond
touches the level of 3 feet. Structures such as farm ponds, anicuts, bunds, percolation tanks and waterways are being built all over Rajasthan in the second phase of the flagship Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan, which has combined various schemes and brought them under a single platform. It is targeted at conserving rainwater, run-off water, ground water and soil mois-
ture to the maximum. The Watershed Department’s Project Manager, Dinesh Kumar, said the farmers in the region were motivated during the campaign to get the ponds constructed in their agricultural fields. Harinarain plans to bring diesel pumps to supply water from the farm pond, built at a cost of Rs.2 lakh, to irrigate the next round of crops. An anicut constructed in
the Jharana Khurd village, situated at a distance of 10 km from Bhojpura, has brought a rivulet back to life. Rajendra Bairwa, a local resident who owns 20 bigha land, said the anicut had increased soil moisture and was being used for bathing of the cattle and giving them the drinking water. The total estimated cost of the Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan is pegged at Rs.2,000 crore, while over 94,300 projects have been completed under its first phase. Mr. Kumar said the State government was expecting a bigger contribution from the people during the second phase, as the issue of water scarcity affected all sections of society. As many as 11 government departments have joined hands to execute the works under the Abhiyan. If the greenery witnessed in the Phagi tehsil is any indication, the desert State’s climate is likely to change in the near future and the rainwater harvesting techniques are set to scale up the crop yields.
Rape case: verdict on Dera chief on Aug 25 Accused to be present before court SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT CHANDIGARH
A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Panchkula has reserved for August 25 its judgment in the rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. With arguments completed on Thursday, the court directed the Dera chief to be present before it when the judgment is pronounced next week.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh all throughout.
FIR in 2002 “The court will pronounce its verdict on August 25 and the Dera chief has been directed to appear in person at 2:30 p.m.,” said CBI counsel, H.P.S. Verma. A former follower had accused Mr. Singh of repeatedly raping her inside the Dera campus near Sirsain Haryana. The alleged incident took place in 1999. An FIR was registered in 2002. The Dera chief and the management of the sect have denied the allegations
Police on alert Mr. Singh, who has a sizeable following across Haryana and Punjab enjoys ‘Z’ category security from the Haryana Police. On Thursday, the police in both States were put on alert to deal with any situation that may have arisen had the CBI court announced a verdict against the sect chief. Ahead of the verdict, security personnel have been deputed around the Dera at Sirsa, said officials. (With PTI inputs)
Pay ₹10 lakh to rape victim: SC to Bihar Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Bihar government to pay ₹10 lakh compensation to a destitute woman who was allegedly raped and not allowed to
abort her 26-week pregnancy after a medical board’s opinion. A Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said it has passed a slew of directions and set aside the Patna High Court order by which it had
not allowed the woman to terminate her pregnancy as she had crossed the legal embargo of 20 weeks under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The victim’s counsel had earlier told the apex court
that the woman deserved compensation from the Bihar Government as she had gone to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) to get her pregnancy terminated when she was in the 17th week of pregnancy.
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Teen married off to Omani, mother approaches police Woman’s relatives, who allegedly took ₹5 lakh, promised the minor a lavish life
ACB files two FIRs against Yeddyurappa, BJP cries foul Cases pertain to de-notification of land when he was CM Special Correspondent Bengaluru
The Kerala police shifted Sunil Kumar, aka ‘Pulsar’ Suni, key accused in the abduction case of a woman actor in Kochi, to the Viyyur Central Prison in Thrissur on Thursday following the direction of a judicial first class magistrate court. The direction followed a request by Kumar, raising concerns about his safety in the prison at Kakkanad near Kochi.
Mild tremors cause panic in Srikakulam district SRIKAKULAM
Mild tremors caused panic among residents of several villages in Etcherla mandal of Srikakulam district, A.P., on Thursday. The tremors lasted 12 seconds and forced many people out of their houses. Officials said the tremors could have occurred owing to work in the nearby mines.
M.L. Melly Maitreyi HYDERABAD
The Hyderabad police are searching for the culprits who connived with an aged Omani national and helped him marry a minor Muslim girl without the consent of her parents. They even flew her out to Oman. The mother of the 16-yearold had turned down the proposal for her daughter from the aged Omani national, Ahmed. The proposal was initiated by her sister-inlaw and her husband. But keeping the parents in the dark, the relatives convinced the young girl to accompany them to a hotel in Barkhas of the Old City to meet the aged groom. Enticing her with videos and photographs of a lavish life that she could lead in the Gulf, they performed the
Maneka seeks Sushma’s help Press Trust of India New Delhi
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Thursday said she would request External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to rescue the 16-year-old, who has been married to an Omani in his sixties, re-
‘nikah’ in the hotel with a help of a ‘kazi’.
‘Daughter in distress’ The girl was taken back to her house in Teekalkunta four days after the Omani national left for his country. The aged man sent a visa for the minor girl after Ramzan. Her aunt accompanied the girl to Muscat, the girl’s mother said in a complaint
portedly for ₹5 lakh. Ms. Gandhi took to Twitter to respond to media reports on the incident, which she termed “deeply disturbing.” “I would request @SushmaSwaraj to intervene and bring the girl back to India” the Minister tweeted.
to the Falaknuma police. The woman said her daughter was in distress and wept every time she spoke over phone. She had pleaded that she be brought back. As the woman’s plea that her sister-in-law’s husband talk to Ahmed and secure the return of her daughter failed to move him, she spoke to the Omani national and demanded that her
Flag hoisting row: Kerala govt. seeks legal advice tional flag at a separate venue in the school, again without the singing of the national anthem,” he said. Mr. Vijayan assured the House that the government would take action based on legal advice.
Special Correspondent Thiruvananthapuram
The Kerala government has sought legal advice on taking action against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat for violating the guidelines on hoisting the tricolour during Independence Day celebrations, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly on Thursday. Replying to a submission moved by Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, he said Mr. Bhagwat was the chief guest at the Independence Day celebration held at the Kannaki Amman
school in Palakkad on Tuesday. “An investigation by the District Educational Officer revealed that the flag-hoisting ceremony was followed by the singing of Vande Mataram instead of the national anthem. Later, the Principal hoisted the na-
GST leaves weather monitoring radar stuck in customs
BJP demands probe The Palakkad district committee of the BJP has demanded a probe by the NIA into the alleged conspiracy involving the district administration and the State leadership of the CPI (M) to disrupt the Independence Day celebrations attended by Mr. Bhagwat.
daughter be sent back. But the man demanded that she first return the ₹5 lakh that he allegedly paid to her sister-in-law and her husband. When the woman confronted her sister-in-law’s husband, he threatened her and her husband with dire consequences. The hapless woman then approached the police. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Falaknuma, Md. Tajuddin Ahmed told The Hindu that a First Information Report had been registered. The victim’s father, an illiterate labourer, did not even have the details of his daughter’s passport or her contact number in Oman. His wife’s brother-inlaw was absconding. A case would be registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the police said.
In what could spell fresh trouble for Bharatiya Janata Party Karnataka president and chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) registered two FIRs against him in connection with land de-notification cases on Thursday. Mr. Yeddyurappa recently got relief from most corruption cases. BJP leaders claim that the FIRs are part of a “political vendetta.”
257 acres The cases pertain to the alleged illegal de-notification of 257 acres of land, notified for the formation of Dr. Shivarama Karanth Layout by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). The authority had issued preliminary notification for 3,546 acres in villages
between Doddaballapur and Hesaraghatta on December 30, 2008. However, during this stage, Mr. Yeddyurappa, then Chief Minister, allegedly issued directions to drop 257 acres of land, based on applications from several landlords.
Private layout The landowners later took an endorsement of their lands being dropped from
Irom marries in Kodaikanal, sans family and fanfare fiancé who wholeheartedly and unconditionally stood by me. We are binding together today,” Ms. Irom said. “I have been waiting for her for the past seven years. She has given me a new life,” said an emotional Mr. Coutinho.
Staff Reporter KODAIKANAL
In a simple ceremony on Thursday, human rights activist Irom Sharmila Chanu married her British partner Desmond Anthony Bellarnine Coutinho in the hill station. The marriage was solemnised by their signing on a register before sub-registrar M. Radhakrishnan and exchanging garlands.
No company Ms. Irom, along with Mr. Coutinho, walked through the streets of Kodaikanal from her house near the Observatory to reach the subregistrar’s office at Moonjikkal. No one accompanied them. Divya
Wedding bells: Irom Sharmila Chanu and Desmond Coutinho at their marriage ceremony on Thursday. G. KARTHIKEYAN *
Bharathi, director of the short film Kakkoos, welcomed the couple at the office. They signed the register
at 11.40 a.m. “I really feel happy as it is an important moment in my life. Again, I am thanking my
‘Grateful to supporters’ “People in Tamil Nadu are very kind and good. But I did not have freedom for some time recently. All the protests against us were for publicity. But I am grateful to the people who supported me.” Ms. Bharathi said: “Seeing her in person was my lifetime ambition. Participating in her marriage and holding her hand and walking along
Three weather-monitoring radars, imported from the U.S., have been sitting for over a week in the customs shed of the Kempegowda International Airport. Customs officials could not clear the equipment until clarifications were received over the GST applicable. Panchayati Raj Minister H.K. Patil had announced that the project would start by Friday; that deadline will now be missed. Officials of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department, which is coordinating the ₹35 crore project, said that under the previous tax regime, imported equipment being leased for government projects would have been exempt. According to officials, “practical difficulties” arose as the exemption status of equipment under GST remained unclear. Three days ago, Bengaluru
customs officials wrote to their Delhi counterparts asking for assessment of import duties under the new tax regime. It was only on Thursday that the in-principle approval for the radars were given. “After discussions with the state government, we have decided to accord it high-priority exemption,” a customs official said. “We hope to have [the radars] in possession by Saturday as there are more procedures to follow,” said H.P. Prakash Kumar, Chief Engineer, RDPR. “After this, it will take us time to transport and commission the equipment in three places in the state. We are trying to do this within the next week.” The radars, critical for sensing ‘seedable’ clouds, are being leased for two months. One of the three radar will be stationed in Bengaluru, and the other two at Gadag and Shorapur in Yadgir district.
with her is a great moment for me. It is a matter of great pride for the State to have her marriage solemnised here.” Representatives of a few sympathetic NGOs and Ms. Irom’s lawyers were present at the wedding. Police personnel were deployed in and around the sub-registrar’s office. Reacting to the petitions filed against her, Ms. Irom said that marriage was purely a personal affair and no one had the right to interfere in it. Five petitions were filed against her proposed wedding, while three NGOs supported it. On August 13, the sub-registrar rejected the objections.
Halappa acquitted in rape case Staff Reporter Shivamogga
Cloud-seeding project may be delayed Mohit M. Rao
the BDA. Sources said a private layout was developed on a part of the 257 acres, allegedly causing pecuniary benefits to many. The preliminary notification of the 3,546 acres for the Dr. Shivarama Karanth Layout was quashed by the High Court in September 2015 as the BDA had not implemented the plan for which the land was notified for acquisition. The ACB booked Mr. Yeddyurappa and four others under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Sources said dropping 257 acres from the preliminary notification of the layout included 20 such separate instances, all part of the complaint filed by Dr. Ayyappa Dorey, a social activist. ACB sources said of the 20 instances, preliminary inquiries had been completed in two and hence two FIRs.
Jumbo march: The first batch of Dasara elephants on the Mysuru Palace premises, where they were accorded a traditional reception on Thursday.
Former Karnataka Minister H. Halappa was acquitted of rape charges by the second additional district and sessions court here on Thursday, seven years after the complaint was lodged. The wife of one of his friends had lodged a complaint with the Vinobha Nagar police here on May 2, 2010 accusing the Minister of rape. Following this, Mr. Halappa, who was the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in the BJP government, had resigned from the Cabinet. He was later arrested and the State government had ordered a CID probe. The complainant had furnished clothes that the accused was wearing when the alleged incident took place and a CD containing footage of the incident. The court had also allowed the prosecution to extract blood samples of the accused for DNA tests. The court has directed Mr. Halappa to execute a personal bond for ₹25,000.
Alumni join students’ protest against Kochi goes gaga over Bollywood star Sunny Leone shifting of century-old college Police had a tough time controlling the crowds as arterial M.G. Road was overrun by fans Staff Reporter
College of engineering to move from K.R. Circle
Staff Reporter Bengaluru
Grey-haired alumni, well into their 70s, joined the students of the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) to protest against the shifting of the century-old college from K.R. Circle to the Jnana Bharathi campus on Thursday. Autonomy was also on the list of their demands. Several eminent alumni, including aerospace scientist Roddam Narasimha and former Vice-Chancellor of Kuvempu University K. Chidananda Gowda, took part in the protest and the meeting that was convened CM YK
Up in arms: Protesters at the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering in Bengaluru on Thursday. V SREENIVASA MURTHY *
later in the day to chalk out an action plan. While students are opposed to the move to shift the campus, they also said there was an urgent need to
improve the “crumbling” infrastructure. From dirty toilets to lack of classrooms, there was nothing left to the college apart from the “heritage” tag, they said.
Bollywood actor Sunny Leone on Thursday brought Kochi to a standstill, as thousands of her fans poured into an arterial city road and its neighbourhood to catch a glimpse of the star. The actor was in Kochi in connection with the opening of a new mobile phone store on M.G. Road in the heart of the city. People began gathering at the venue right from 8 a.m., leading to traffic snarls during the peak hours. A few more hours into the day and the entire area was packed with her fans, forcing motorists to take diversions. Fans found places atop buses, hoardings and even on metro rail pillars to greet
Uproarious welcome: Sunny Leone shares her delight with fans at the inauguration of a telecommunication outlet in Kochi on Thursday. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
the actor. As Sunny made her way onto the podium, loud
cheers rent the air and chaos prevailed, as people tried to get photos on their camera
phones. Playing up to the crowd, the actor flashed her best smiles at the fans and
thanked them for their overwhelming support. Police had a tough time as they tried to manage the crowd and traffic. At one point, police made repeated announcements to the crowd to clear the arterial road and make way for an ambulance that was on its way to a hospital. On other occasions, they canecharged the crowd. Normal traffic flow along the road was restored by 2.30 p.m. Sunny later posted pictures and videos of the crowd on Twitter and her Facebook pages. “No words… Can’t thank the people of Kochi [enough]. Was so overwhelmed by the love&support. Never will forget Gods own country Kerala!,” she tweeted. A ND-NDE
Rainfall, temperature & air quality in select metros yesterday
Following request by parents, she has not been told about the delivery SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT CHANDIGARH
New Jammu airport terminal inaugurated JAMMU
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated the ₹80 crore state-of-theart terminal building at Jammu airport on Thursday. Union Ministers of State Jitendra Singh and Jayant Sinha, J&K Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta were also present. PTI
Swine flu claims 15 lives in Punjab
A 10-year-old girl who was allegedly raped repeatedly by her uncle delivered a girl child at a local government hospital here on Thursday morning, a senior doctor said. Both the victim and the newborn are stable. However, the baby is under observation in the neonatal intensive care unit as she is slightly underweight. Following requests by her parents, the victim has not been told about the delivery. Her father had urged the hospital management to put the newborn up for
adoption. Dasari Harish, the chairperson of the committee constituted for the victim’s treatment, told The Hindu, “The baby was delivered through c-section, which took close to two hours. The surgery started at 9 a.m. and ended 10.45 a.m. It was uneventful despite the high-risk pregnancy.”
Newborn stable “The newborn is stable but under observation in the neonatal ICU as she is slightly underweight at 2.2 kg,” Dr. Harish said, adding that the team involved in the procedure included three
gynaecologists, an anaesthetist, a neonatologist and a paediatrician. The expense for the minor’s medical treatment is being borne by the Chandigarh administration.
Medical examination The pregnancy was discovered after she complained of stomachache last month and was taken to a hospital. She was found around 30 weeks pregnant. A Chandigarh district court had refused to let her undergo abortion on July 18. Subsequently, a PIL petition was urgently mentioned in the Supreme Court on July
21. On July 24, a Bench led by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar had directed doctors from PGI, Chandigarh, to medically examine the girl and file a report in court on whether the “health of the girl child concerned, who is stated to be of the age of 10 years, and also that of the foetus, would be adversely affected, if the pregnancy is continued for the full term”.
Plea turned down The Supreme Court had on July 28 turned down the abortion plea of the minor, who was 32 weeks pregnant at the time. But the Bench went on to urge the govern-
ment, represented by Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, to consider setting up permanent medical boards across the States so that women, especially child rape victims, can receive expedient access to medical care.
Exception to the law The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, bars abortion if the foetus has crossed the 20-week mark. An exception to the law is made if a registered medical practitioner certifies to a court that the continued pregnancy is life-threatening for either the mother or the baby.
Fifteen persons died due to swine flu in Punjab this summer season, State’s Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra said here on Thursday. As many 278 suspected swine flu cases were reported, of which 75 cases were found positive and 15 cases resulted in the death of the patient. PTI
Raths to focus on Ganga conservation DEHRADUN
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday flagged off four ‘raths’ to create awareness among people about Ganga conservation on the Chardham route. Fitted with LCD screens, the raths will have publicity literature to help people realise the importance of Ganga conservation. PTI
Inmate’s body found in pond inside Bihar jail SIWAN
Only two days after being arrested, an undertrial prisoner’s body was found floating in a pond in Siwan district jail premises here. The body of Pappu Kumar (25) was found floating in the water by other inmates who informed the authorities, the jail’s Deputy Superintendent Santosh Pathak said. PTI
Do you want to destroy Taj, Supreme Court asks govt Nod sought to cut 400 trees to lay an additional rail track
Akhilesh detained on way to Auraiya To attend a protest called by his party Omar Rashid
Press Trust of India
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav was on Thursday detained and later released by the Uttar Pradesh police in Unnao district while he was on his way to attend a protest called by his party in Auraiya against alleged police harassment. Mr. Yadav accused the BJP government of misusing state machinery and hurting the dignity of democracy. Mr. Yadav’s convoy was stopped by the UP police near an under-construction toll plaza in Hasanganj on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway from where he was escorted to an agriculture research centre before being asked to return to the State capital. “Police and the government do not want that I go and meet the SP workers. They don’t want us to meet because the people and the party workers will reveal
“Do you want to destroy” the world famous Taj Mahal, the Supreme Court asked the government on Thursday. The scathing remarks by the apex court came during the hearing of an application seeking its nod to cut over 400 trees to lay an additional railway track between Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
Recent pictures “This (Taj Mahal) is a world famous monument and you (government) want to destroy it? Have you seen the recent pictures of (the) Taj? Go to the internet and have a look at it,” a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said. “If you want, then file an affidavit or application and say that the Union of India wants to destroy the Taj,”
Symbol of love: The apex court has been monitoring development in the area to protect the Taj Mahal. FILE PHOTO *
the bench said. The apex court, which is dealing with a petition filed by environmentalist M C Mehta, has been monitoring development in the area to protect the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz in 1631 and which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The court was hearing an application which has sought its nod to cut around 450 trees there in an around 80 km stretch on which the
additional railway track would be laid between Mathura and Delhi.
Train movement The plea has said that in order to clear the bottleneck of train movement, it was necessary to lay down the additional track in the stretch. The court would hear the matter next month. Mr Mehta, in his PIL, has sought protection of the Taj from the ill effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav being detained by the police in Unnao on Thursday. PTI *
the truth of their acts,” Mr. Yadav said. He accused the BJP government of lodging false cases against his party colleagues, especially former MP Pradeep Yadav. Mr. Yadav was travelling to Auraiya to raise voice against the police action and alleged state harassment of his colleagues. While filing nominations for the post of zila panchayat president, the SP alleged that its candidates and supporters were ill-treated by the police on Wednesday.
Temperature Data: IMD, Pollution Data: CPCB, Map: Skymet (Taken at 18.00 Hrs)
Forecast for Friday: Heavy to very heavy rain is likely at isolated/ few places over Telangana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, coastal Andhra Pradesh, east Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, central Maharashtra, Konkan & Goa, coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep. Thunderstorm with gusty winds at isolated places likely over Punjab, Haryana and Delhi city rain max min Agartala................. —.... 33.4.... 25.8 Ahmedabad............ —.... 34.6.... 24.8 Aizawl ................... —.... 28.2.... 11.0 Allahabad .............. —.... 35.3.... 28.2 Bengaluru .............. —.... 27.2.... 20.5 Bhopal................... —.... 31.9.... 22.9 Bhubaneswar .......0.5.... 33.5.... 26.6 Chandigarh ............ —.... 35.5.... 26.8 Chennai .............26.8.... 33.8.... 25.0 Coimbatore............ —.... 32.1.... 22.9 Dehradun............... —.... 32.8.... 24.9 Gangtok...............6.2.... 21.0.... 18.6 Goa .....................2.2.... 31.3.... 25.0 Guwahati .............2.4.... 35.3.... 26.8 Hubballi................. —.... 28.0.... 21.0 Hyderabad ............. —.... 30.0.... 23.3 Imphal.................0.2.... 30.2.... 22.1 Jaipur .................... —.... 36.0.... 26.0 Kochi..................... —.... 31.0.... 25.0 Kohima.................. —.... 25.0.... 17.0 Kolkata..............23.6.... 33.6.... 25.7
In observation made at 4.00 p.m., Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh recorded an overall air quality index (AQI) score of 163 indicating a moderate level of pollution. In contrast, Thiruvananthapuram recorded a healthy AQI score of 50
Air Quality Code: * Poor * Moderate * Good 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)
At ₹706 crore, BJP gets lion’s share of corporate donations, says report ED seeks Sunanda case papers for probe
It received nearly three times the combined funding for other four national parties, according to ADR
I was caught in political crossfire, Purohit tells SC ‘I am entitled to at least interim bail’ Legal Correspondent
The Enforcement Directorate has sought from the Delhi police documents pertaining to the Sunanda Pushkar case to probe the money trail. In response to a request for investigating the financial angle, the agency wrote to the police in the first week of August asking for the relevant papers.
It donated to them 35 times in three years, a total of ₹260.87 crore. The BJP declared receiving ₹193.62 crore in 23 donations, while the Congress was the recipient of ₹57.25 crore in nine donations. The NCP received ₹10 crore in three donations from the Trust during the same period.
Devesh K. Pandey New Delhi
Malegaon blast accused Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit told the Supreme Court on Thursday that he was an Army informer who had infiltrated Abhinav Bharat, an organisation whose members were accused of conspiracy in the 2008 case, and got caught in the “political crossfire.” In his bail petition, Purohit said he had been in jail for almost nine years without charges being framed against him.
In a relief to Gorkha Janmukti Morha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung, a city court on Thursday discharged him from the Madan Tamang murder case. Madan Tamang, leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League, was killed on May 21, 2010 in broad daylight in Darjeeling.
Between financial year 201213 and 2015-16, the five national parties received a total of ₹1,070.68 crore via voluntary contributions above ₹20,000. Of this, 89%, or ₹956.77 crore, was from corporate and business houses, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The BJP received the lion’s share of the corporate donations, lapping up ₹705.81 crore from 2,987 corporate donors. This is nearly three times the combined corporate donations received by the remaining four parties. The Congress was the next big beneficiary, getting ₹198.16 crore from 167 such donors. As per the records, the BSP did not receive any donation of above ₹20,000 during this period. The CPI got the least amount of donations from the corporate sector, receiving only ₹18 lakh from 17 donors, which accounted for just 4% of its total donations. The BJP, the Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) received the maximum contributions from the
Woman delivers baby on rickshaw
Floods continue to wreak havoc in many parts Babbar Khalsa Normal life paralysed and over 1.2 crore people marooned operatives held
Bank strike on August 22 against reforms KOLKATA
United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), the umbrella body of trade unions in the banking sector, has called a nation-wide strike on August 22 to protest against the reforms proposed by the Centre. PTI
GJM chief freed in Madan Tamang murder case KOLKATA
“trusts and group of companies” category, which included entities with interests in mining, real estate, power, newspapers and other businesses. This category of corporate/business houses donated ₹432.65 crore to political parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16, says the report. While the BJP received ₹287.69 crore, the
Congress got ₹129.16 crore, and the NCP ₹15.78 crore. The BJP received the highest donations from all the 14 sectors, as defined by the ADR, including real estate (₹105.20 crore); mining, construction, exports/imports (₹83.56 crore); and chemicals/pharmaceuticals (₹31.94 crore). Every year, political parties are required to sub-
At least 53 more deaths were on Thursday reported from the deluge-battered areas of Assam, Bihar and West Bengal, where swirling floodwaters have paralysed normal life and marooned over 1.2 crore people. Flood casualties mounted to 98 in Bihar, with 26 more people losing their lives. The deluge has affected nearly 93 lakh people in 15 districts, officials said.
The government hospital in Saharanpur allegedly turned away a pregnant woman in the middle of the night after which she delivered the baby in an erickshaw on her way to another hospital. According to Mohammad Raees, a resident of the Mandi police station of Saharanpur, he took his wife to the hospital on August 14 midnight. “We requested the district hospital staff to get a senior doctor see her. This made them angry and they asked us to leave immediately,” Raees said. “We were taking her to another hospital on a e-rickshaw when she delivered a baby boy,” he added.
In danger: Indian one-horned rhinoceroses wade through flood waters in the Pobitora sanctuary in Assam. AFP *
Assam’s third wave The floods claimed 10 more lives in Assam. The toll in the third wave of floods in the State has risen to 49. So far, 133 people have died in flood-related incidents this year. As many as 141 animals, including seven rhinos, have
Race to the moon gets extended finishing line
Satya Electoral Trust The report states that Satya Electoral Trust was the top donor to three of the parties.
Dibrugarh districts. Dhubri is the worst affected with 8.13 lakh people hit. The Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Nimatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri. In West Bengal, 17 more people died in the floods, although the overall situation improved on Thursday, officials said.
Press Trust of India
mit details of donations above ₹20,000 to the Election Commission. They have to provide the donor’s name, address, PAN, mode of payment and the amount contributed.
been found dead in the flooded Kaziranga National Park, a senior forest department official said. The Assam State Disaster Management Authority(ASDMA) said 31.55 lakh people have been affected in districtsof Dhemaji, Lakhimpur,
Bitten by snake Out of the 17 people, 15 drowned while two others died after they were bitten by snake, a senior disaster management department official said here. “We are monitoring the situation round-the-clock, and doing everything to help the affected people,” an official said, adding there is no
Electoral Scheme The Trust was formed before the Electoral Scheme was launched by the government in 2013. Top donors for the CPI(M) and the CPI were associations or unions. The CPI received ₹14.64 lakh from 15 associations and unions, while the CPI(M) got ₹1.09 crore from seven associations. In 1,933 donations involving ₹384.04 crore, PAN details were not mentioned. Address details were missing for ₹355.08 crore received through 1,546 donations. “99% of such donations without PAN and address details worth ₹159.59 crore belong to the BJP,” says the ADR report.
dearth of relief material in the districts. In Uttar Pradesh, at least 15 people have died due to flooding in the Balrampur and Bahraich districts over the past three days. Barabanki, Gonda, Siddharth Nagar, Mahrajganj, Balrampur and Bahraich districts are reeling under floods following heavy rain. “Seven persons —— Malik Ram (50), Badka (60), Girdhari (68), Ram Charan (50), Aman (8), Mehfooz (12), Ram Swarup (32) —— have drowned in the floods in the last 48 hours,” Balrampur District Magistrate Rakesh Kumar Mishra said. In Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district, 1.2 lakh people have been affected by floods. Twenty-four relief camps have been set up to provide help to the affected.
‘Incarcerated hero’ “He is still serving in the Army. Since 2001, he has got numerous recommendations for infiltration. From an unsung hero, he is now called an incarcerated hero,” said senior advocate Harish Salve who appeared for Purohit. “The allegation against me is that I supplied RDX explosive material as part of the conspiracy hatched by Sadhvi Pragya Thakur. Now, if she is enlarged on bail and given a clean chit by the National Investigation
Omar Rashid Lucknow
The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has arrested two persons allegedly belonging to Babbar Khalsa, a banned Khalistani outfit. They were identified as Balwant Singh and Jaswant Singh, a senior police officer said on Thursday. Balwant was arrested from Aishbagh in Lucknow and Jaswant from a farmhouse in Unnao district on Wednesday.
Farmhouse raided Balwant, absconding from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar in Punjab, was arrested on a tip-off from the Punjab police, ATS Inspector-General Aseem Arun said. Based on the in-
Shrikant Prasad Purohit
Agency (NIA), the link between me and her is snapped. I am entitled to at least interim bail after spending nine years of jail,” Mr. Salve submitted. He said charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act were dropped against Purohit by the Supreme Court in 2015. “After nine years, a man is entitled to see the sun outside jail,” Mr. Salve said. He argued that Purohit was falsely implicated by the ATS and no report was filed after eight years of a Court of Inquiry. A Bench of Justices R.K. Agrawal and A.M. Sapre reserved the petition for final orders.
formation given by Balwant, an ATS team raided the Bhalla farmhouse at Sohramau in Unnao and arrested Jaswant. Jaswant Singh alias Kala, a native of Mukhtsar district in Punjab, was wanted in many criminal cases in Punjab and other States, the police said. He was wanted in two cases of murder dating back to 2016: one in Hanumangarh district in Rajasthan; and the other in Faridkot district of Punjab. Mr. Arun said Jaswant told the police that he had spent time in jail in 2005 under the Arms Act and for other cases filed in his home district. In 2008, he was arrested from Modi Colony in New Delhi in a case of sedition and under the Arms Act.
E-toll lane on all national highways from Sept. 1 Special Correspondent NEW DELHI
TeamIndus puts the estimate of its mission at ₹500 crore. Madhumathi D.S. Bengaluru
The five remaining competitors for the Google Lunar Xprize, including Bengalurubased TeamIndus, have got a three-month extension in which to win the prize. The deadline to launch a spacecraft to the moon has been extended to March 31, 2018 (instead of December 31 this year), according to Google and Xprize, the sponsor and the promoter of the prize respectively. The $30-million-plus prize is a contest for privately financed teams to land a spacecraft on the moon, deploy a rover, and perform a set of predetermined tasks. TeamIndus had already tied up with the Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV rocket to send its spacecraft, ECA (short for Ek Chotisi Asha, ‘one small wish’ in Hindi), to the moon on or around December 28. The qualification model of the ECA is ready to go to the testing facility this month, as planned. A press release quoted Rahul Narayan, board member and Fleet Commander, as saying, “While we have been working hard on an aggressive time line, the CM YK
change of date allows us to continue with that fervour to make sure that the mission makes history.” Sheelika Ravishankar, TeamIndus Jedi Master, Marketing, told The Hindu that every month, there are two launch windows of three days, and the first viable window is December 28–30, 2017. “We are working closely with Antrix [the commercial wing of ISRO] on the launch window and are keeping them updated of our progress; if the need arises, to move the window beyond December 28, we will work with Antrix to figure out available alternatives.” Ms. Ravishankar said that the March deadline “only means a couple of extra weeks for us to run mission-critical tests a few more times.” TeamIndus estimates its mission cost to be around ₹500 crore, which is being raised from private sector equity partners, corporate sponsors and public contributions. So far, only government-owned and public-funded space agencies have sent landing missions to Moon. India’s ISRO has planned its first lunar landing mission, Chandrayaan-2, in early 2018.
All toll plazas on national highways will have electronic toll collection facility with at least one lane dedicated to vehicles with electronic tag device, known as FASTags, beginning September 1. FASTags is a device that can be installed on the windshield of any vehicle, and toll payments can be made directly from the pre-paid account linked to it. Hence such vehicles do not have to stop at toll plazas for payment of fees. “The dedicated FASTag lanes will become operational at all 371 national highway toll plazas from September 1,” National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Chairman Deepak Kumar said here on Thursday, “One lane in every toll plaza will be a dedicated FASTag lane where no other form of payment will be accepted.”
Tag sale from today From Friday, FASTags can be purchased online from the websites of banks, the National Highways Authority of India and Indian Highways Management Company Limited and it will be delivered at the customer’s doorsteps, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement. FASTags are valid for five years and can be recharged online through debit or credit card and internet banking. A ND-NDE
Redrawing the arc of influence Choice & conversion The two seem to have become muddled in the SC’s order in the Kerala conversion case M.K. Narayanan Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s schedule of foreign visits has been extremely impressive, and he has managed to inject a degree of dynamism into a system accustomed to a more leisurely pace. Estimating outcomes from these visits is, however, more difficult. Taking the two most recent visits, for example, one can easily see the contrast in outcomes. The U.S. visit was a carefully calibrated one producing few surprises, despite the U.S. President having a reputation of being highly unpredictable. For his part, the Prime Minister charted a time-tested course, concentrating mainly on counter-terrorism and the defence security partnership, avoiding contentious trade-related issues. The naming of the Hizbul Mujahedeen chief as a “specially designated global terrorist” and a “new consultation mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations listing proposals” were the high points of the counter-terrorism agenda. Reiteration of India’s position as a major defence partner and confirmation of the sale of the Guardian Unmanned Aerial System to India, reflected the deepening security and defence cooperation. In concrete terms, not much else took place during the visit, despite an oblique reference in the joint statement to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and reiteration of support for “freedom of navigation” in the Indo-Pacific. What was most obvious was the U.S. tilt towards transactional rather than strategic aspects.
A clear de-hyphenation In the case of Israel, this being the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to that country, the euphoria of the standalone visit, dehyphenating Israel from Palestine,
lipkart’s announcement that SoftBank Vision Fund, a private equity fund backed by Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, would take a stake in the company has energised India’s e-commerce space. The investment is widely reported to be about $2.5 billion, and the deal would leave Flipkart with a war chest of $4 billion in cash to sustain its operations. The move is seen as the Japanese billionaire’s response to the increasing domination of India’s e-commerce space by the American giant Amazon. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos claimed in April this year that his company had become India’s fastest-growing e-commerce company. He also said that Amazon plans to increase its investment in India. A number of private data sources have confirmed since then that Amazon, since its launch in India in 2013, has either matched or surpassed Flipkart’s performance on various counts. On the other hand, it is well-known that Mr. Son’s initial investment in Snapdeal, an Indian e-commerce venture, was far from successful. In fact, in May this year, SoftBank recognised losses of over $1.4 billion on its investments in Snapdeal and Ola. Mr. Son’s attempts to merge Snapdeal with Flipkart to create a larger rival to take on Amazon also failed to materialise last month. Yet the allure of the Indian e-commerce market is hard to resist. E-commerce is projected to grow at a rapid pace given the large potential in a country where people predominantly shop at traditional bricks-and-mortar retail stores. The strength of Mr. Son’s investment pursuits has been doubted for long. But he has also picked superwinners such as Alibaba that have more than compensated for his losses. For now his investments in the Indian startup space have failed to take off, but he may still be counting on India to deliver his next big superwinner. With Mr. Son’s financial backing Flipkart will be looking to regain the ground it has lost to Amazon. Mr. Bezos, on the other hand, will be keen not to lose out to a rejuvenated Flipkart the way he lost the Chinese market to Alibaba. Meanwhile, other Amazon rivals too have entered the e-commerce fray in India. Microsoft, Tencent and eBay have also invested in Flipkart this year. Alibaba has invested in Paytm, the Indian payments company that also offers shopping services. Going forward, more e-commerce companies in India might evolve into similar payments-cum-shopping platforms. Such a strategy would be similar to the buy-andpay model at the foundation of Alibaba’s rise in China. Notably, Tencent, Alibaba’s rival in China, has even come up with a chat App (WeChat) that lets users shop and pay. Amazon seems prepared for the challenge with the launch of its own wallet service in India. But regardless of who wins this battle, the Indian consumer looks set to be wooed by more competitive prices.
Fadeout in West Asia India’s absence from, and its inability to play a role in, West Asia, even as the region confronts a split down the line between the Arab and the non-Arab world is unfortunate. More so, there is the possibility of a series of confrontations between an increasingly powerful Shiite Iran and a weakening Saudi Arabia. The most recent challenge
is the one posed by Qatar to the existing order in the West Asian region. The fallout of all this will impact India adversely and Indian diplomacy’s inability to make its presence felt will matter. An additional concern for India would be that growing uncertainties in the region could further fuel radical Islamist terror in the region. The ‘Act East’ policy has produced better results. Closer relations with countries in East and South East Asia, especially Japan and Vietnam, are a positive development. However, in the Asia-Pacific, India has to contend with an increasingly assertive China. There is little evidence to show that India’s diplomatic manoeuvres individually, or with allies like Japan, have succeeded in keeping the Chinese juggernaut at bay — or for that matter provide an alternative to China in the Asia-Pacific. India’s diplomatic establishment is all too aware of the political history and economics of the Asian region. Under Prime Minister Modi, diplomatic styles have changed but it would seem that the substance has altered little. His recent visit to Israel was, no doubt, a resounding success, but Israel was already one of the very few countries which had shown a complete understanding of India’s defence and security needs, even ignoring the sanctions imposed on India by some countries. Israel’s supply of critical defence items during the Kargil conflict (of 1999) is an excellent example. What Indian diplomacy currently needs to do is to find a way to steer amid an assertive China, a hostile Pakistan, an uncertain South Asian and West Asian neighbourhood, and an unstable world. The strategic and security implications of these, individually and severally, need to be carefully validated and pursued. Indian diplomacy may possibly need to display still higher levels of sophistication to overcome the odds. M.K. Narayanan is a former National Security Adviser and a former Governor of West Bengal
That sinking feeling In contrast to its pronouncements, the government’s own data suggest the economy is in a deep hole
Son vs Bezos Softbank and Amazon are upping the stakes in India’s e-commerce market
It’s the neighbours Two countries where India’s diplomacy, despite the impetus given to it, is currently facing heavy odds are China and Pakistan. China in Asia is already exercising some of the political and economic lever-
ages that the U.S. previously possessed. China has a significant presence in East and Southeast Asia, is steadily enlarging its presence in South Asia, and is also beginning to expand into West Asia. For instance, China’s influence in Iran today appears to be at an alltime high, whereas India’s influence seems to be diminishing. India has, however, refused to be inveigled by China’s blandishments, including the BRI. Nor has it flinched from standing up to Chinese ‘bullying’, as in the recent instance of the Doklam plateau in Bhutan. Few other countries in Asia are, however, willing or in a position to tangle with China. A divided ASEAN again has provided China with an opportunity to demonstrate its economic and military muscle. Most countries in the region also demonstrate a desire to join China-based initiatives. Even in South Asia, despite India’s commanding presence, China has been successful in winning quite a few friends among India’s neighbours such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In the case of Pakistan, the implosion of the state arising from its internal stresses and problems, together with the virtual standoff between India and Pakistan (involving a total cessation of talks or any kind of worthwhile contacts), has enabled the Pakistani Deep State to further entrench itself. India has been left with few options and this is leading to a diplomatic gridlock which does not augur well for India.
As Pakistan becomes still more deeply mired in problems, its dependence on China is growing. This is contributing to a strategic imbalance in the South Asian region. It is a moot point whether India and Indian diplomacy can do something to rectify matters in this context, but for the present it confronts Indian diplomacy with one more serious dilemma. Notwithstanding India’s efforts, the diplomatic scene vis-à-vis Russia also could be better. Russia is undergoing a strategic resurgence of sorts, sustained in good measure by the close relations recently established with China. Buoyed by developments in the Ukraine and Crimea, and the uncertainties surrounding U.S. commitment to NATO, the new Russia-China ‘strategic congruence’ is certain to impact Asia. The problem for India and Indian diplomacy is that at this time India-Russia relations appear less robust than at any time in the past half century. India’s ‘Act East and Look West’ policies have given a new dimension to Indian diplomacy in both East and West Asia. In both regions, however, but especially in West Asia, Indian diplomacy still lacks the nimbleness required to deal with fast-changing situations. In West Asia, despite its long time presence in the region, a 9-million strong diaspora, and the region being its principal source of oil, India is not a major player today. Both Russia and China have overtaken India in the affairs of the region. This is particularly true of Iran where the Russia-China-Iran relationship has greatly blossomed, almost marginalising India’s influence.
M.V. Rajeev Gowda & Salman Soz
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day address, spoke triumphantly about how demonetisation drove ₹3 lakh crore of unaccounted money into the banking system. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is still counting old notes, and unaccounted money cases are ongoing. Thus, this number is at best a guesstimate, and cannot be taken seriously.
Dipping indices For the facts, turn to the mid-year Economic Survey II, tabled in Parliament deliberately on the last day of the monsoon session, ensuring no discussion. The Survey states that GDP growth will miss the targeted 6.75% to 7.5%. This is a massive understatement. Examine this quote from the Survey: “A number of indicators — GDP, core GVA (GVA excluding agriculture and government), the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), credit, investment and capacity utilisation — point to a deceleration in real activity since the first quarter of 2016-17, and a further deceleration since
the third quarter.” The Survey thus confirms that demonetisation ambushed a slowing economy. Consequently, core GVA, i.e. private business activity, dropped steeply from 11% in March 2016 to 4% in March 2017. The Survey shows how demonetisation devastated the informal sector, using two-wheeler sales as a proxy indicator. These dropped steeply for two quarters after demonetisation. Construction, which absorbs migrant labour, was also badly hit. The Survey thus supports the Opposition’s argument that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s “record” allocation for MGNREGS merely reflects displaced migrant workers returning to villages and exercising their right to social insurance. Demonetisation badly affected farmers’ incomes resulting in a loss of demand, lowering food prices. Consequently, inflation has hit lows below the RBI’s targeted band. Low inflation levels come at a human cost — farmers and those in the informal economy are losing their limited purchasing power. Additionally, hasty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has paralysed the informal manufacturing sector which lives on the edge, often saddled with debt. Protests in the textile hub of Surat reflect how GST is affecting medium, small and micro-scale en-
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Cause of tragedy Whatever be the cause attributed to this tragedy by the Central government committee, it cannot be denied that gross human negligence on a major scale has played its part (“Gorakhpur deaths not due to lack of oxygen, says panel”, August 17). Moreover, the claim of the Central committee that fewer deaths have occurred this year compared to last year is no excuse and can never console those who have lost their little ones. N. Visveswaran, Chennai
Not only are the figures shocking, but the fact that they are not seen as alarming and that these deaths have been occurring regularly in the region is
terprises. Formalisation of the economy should not shut down businesses and extinguish livelihoods. Similarly, leather, another labourintensive sector, is in trouble due to restrictions on cattle slaughter. Overall, there is concern that the economy is in a deep hole, the opposite of what the government would have us believe. It has entered the “Modi Slump”. Banks are not lending. In the year ending March 2017, credit growth plunged to 5.1%, lowest in 60 years. The private sector is not borrowing and the manufacturing sector is operating at a historically low capacity utilisation of 70%. The latest IIP shows a contraction of 0.1% in June 2017. Neither credit nor investment will increase until the government addresses the “twin balance sheets” problem. Fixing these should have been top priority. Sadly, the Modi government’s early focus was on undoing the 2013 land acquisition law instead of addressing non-performing assets (NPAs). Bank lending is the lifeblood of the economy but government inaction has brought investments to a halt. In March 2014, NPAs were ₹1,73,800 crore. Today they are about ₹7,79,163 crore. Instead the government talks up foreign investment (only 2-3% of GDP) or aggressively lobbies the RBI to cut interest rates, which is unlikely to
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he case of Akhila/Hadiya is becoming curiouser by the day. Entrusted with adjudicating whether her conversion to Islam and marriage to a Muslim man were voluntary acts, the Supreme Court has embarked on a roving inquiry into whether Hindu women in parts of Kerala are being radicalised. Inexplicably, the court has sought inputs from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), tasked with tackling terrorism, to probe the circumstances of the 24-year-old’s conversion and marriage even before it heard her out. The question before the court was the correctness of the Kerala High Court’s decision to annul her marriage. The Supreme Court’s reasoning for its position that it needs the inputs of all stakeholders before it speaks to the woman concerned is hard to comprehend. Of what use would these inputs be if she maintains that she chose to convert and marry voluntarily? The High Court did not question her conversion to Islam, only suspecting the veracity of her sudden claim that she was married to a Muslim. This happened in the course of hearings on a plea by her father complaining that she was under the influence of radical groups. The High Court held that the purported marriage was only a ruse to scuttle the proceedings and annulled the marriage as a “sham”. In the process, it made the odd observations that a woman’s marriage requires the involvement of her parents and that even if she had attained the age of majority, she was still at a “vulnerable age”. The Supreme Court has nominated a retired judge to supervise the NIA probe, the object of which is presumably to safeguard its independence and credibility. But the inquiry itself has come about because of a submission made by the NIA that there is a pattern to such incidents in Kerala. It is possible to make out a case for a police investigation into the suspicious activities of radical groups in the State. But the mere suspicion that they are working in an organised way to convert people is not sufficient to conclude that they are involved in recruiting them for overseas terror operations for groups such as the Islamic State. The woman’s father maintains that she is under the spell and influence of radical activists who, he says, would transport her abroad to destinations such as Syria. These and related apprehensions are subjects that should be addressed by the police and intelligence agencies rather than by a process that involves subjecting the woman to live in a manner not chosen by her. It is unfortunate that the plea that she was living under custody in her parental home despite being a major failed to cut any ice before the two-judge bench. In refusing to entertain the plea, the Supreme Court has lent the unfortunate impression that it has placed a judicial curtailment on her volition. Rather than do this, it should have striven to find a way to protect her freedom of religion and movement.
was understandable. It also produced better dividends, including elevation of the India-Israel relationship to the level of a ‘strategic partnership’. Israel achieved a major propaganda scoop by getting the Indian Prime Minister to visit the memorial of Theodor Herzl, founding father of the Zionist movement. The main focus of the visit was on defence cooperation, joint development of defence products and transfer of technology. Most of the agreements signed related to transfer of technology and innovative technology-related items and India expects to benefit substantially, considering that Israeli export rules are far more flexible than those of the U.S. Both countries also expressed a strong commitment to combat terror. The reality, however, is that when the two countries speak of terrorism, they speak of very different things. Iran and Hezbollah are the main targets for Israel, which has little interest in the Afghan Taliban or Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba. For India, it is the latter that matters. The euphoria of the visit cannot, however, conceal China’s importance for Israel. China is a far bigger investor and trading partner of Israel than India. On this occasion, India and Israel decided to set up a $40 million Innovation Fund to allow Indian and Israeli enterprises to develop innovative technologies and products for commercial applications, but it is clearly dwarfed by the Israel-China comprehensive innovation partnership which has an outlay of $300 million. India and Israel also have differences over China’s BRI: Israel is eager to participate in it, unlike India, and possibly views this as an opportunity to develop a project parallel to the Suez Canal.
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Indian diplomacy needs to display higher levels of sophistication for New Delhi to play a global role
achieve much. As State governments find their fiscal space narrowing, private investment falters, and demand slows, we are entering a deflationary environment. Still there are fiscal policy measures that the Union government can deploy. It can belatedly share the benefits of low oil prices by cutting excise duties on petroleum to give people and businesses more spending power, boosting demand.
Destroying, not creating On the most important indicator — jobs — we are seeing job destruction! The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy reports that 1.5 million jobs were lost during January-April 2017. Ignoring his own promise of creating two crore jobs a year, Mr. Modi exhorted jobseekers to become job creators. But international experience, for example in developed OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-opera-
tion and Development) countries, shows self-employment is only about 15% of total employment. Most Indians are self-employed out of necessity. Mr. Modi extolled the job-creating impact of the MUDRA loan scheme. In contrast, MUDRA’s CEO is on record saying that it cannot be verified that the agency has created large numbers of jobs. Another misguided Union minister recently gloated about “job creation” under MGNREGS — not realising that it is a social protection scheme that people turn to when they have no alternative employment and not exactly a reason for cheer. Overall, the real state of India’s economy is deeply worrying. The latest RBI surveys of consumer confidence, industrial outlook, and professional forecasters point to pessimism on all fronts except inflation management. Mr. Modi spoke of how a train slows down as it changes tracks. Unfortunately, Economic Survey II’s numbers suggest that the economy has actually been derailed. The sooner the government understands this, the better. M.V. Rajeev Gowda is a Member of Parliament and Chairman, AICC Research Department. Salman Soz is Regional Coordinator (North Zone), All India Professionals’ Congress
Letters emailed to [email protected] must carry the full postal address and the full name or the name with initials.
extremely worrying (“15%29% AES fatality rate at BRD Hospital”, August 17). That 20 deaths daily are recorded on average seven decades after we achieved independence reflects the terrible functioning of the hospital and the state of health care in India. We still have many government hospitals in the country where maintenance and service are both poor. Governments are always ready to spend on capital expenditure, which will fetch commissions and kickbacks, but don’t give enough importance to health-care services. Kshirasagara Balaji Rao, Hyderabad
It seems as though there is enough evidence to prove that the hospital and the
State administration ignored reminders by the private firm that supplied oxygen for payment of outstanding dues. Yet the Central committee report says that the deaths were not due to oxygen. This argument does not cut ice. Who were the members of this committee? We need to know their names and affiliations. Matters of this magnitude cannot be allowed to go unverified. V. Lakshmanan, Tirupur
Right to free speech Free and fearless exchange of ideas is essential for the evolution of a democracy (“The architecture of censorship”, Aug. 17). However, as a society we have failed to realise that the right to free expression
does not mean only expressing those ideas that are in line with what a majority of the people think. It’s no coincidence that we are yet to come out with a serious political film in India in recent times, for instance. Compare this with Hollywood where films like All The President’s Men and Frost/Nixon have released. They had the names of actual political figures. This is unlike in India where we give them fictional names and allude to them only through clothes or mannerisms. This is because there is fear that a legal case might have to be fought later. It is a pity that courts do not uphold this basic right to expression. Bipin Thaivalappil, Payyannur
Defending racists With Donald Trump as U.S. President, the far right clearly feels emboldened to unleash violence with impunity against those who seek to protect liberalism (“Both sides at fault, says Trump on racial violence”, Aug. 17). Rather than condemning the
Charlottesville incident in strong words, President Trump has sided with the white supremacists, which is a great pity. He should not pander to obscurantist elements on the ground. M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan
more letters online: www.hindu.com/opinion/letters/
corrections & clarifications: >>In the report headlined “They wanted to create terror: witnesses” (August 15, 2017), there was a reference to the “decoration” of American independence. It should have been declaration. >>Correction: The report headlined “46 killed as massive landslip buries vehicles” (August 14, 2017) erroneously said a Volvo bus was involved in the accident. It was not a Volvo bus. The correction above — published in the Corrections and Clarifications column on August 17, 2017 — had inadvertently given the date of publication of the report as August 14, 2016. It is the policy of The Hindu to correct significant errors as soon as possible. Please specify the edition (place of publication), date and page. The Readers’ Editor’s office can be contacted by Telephone: +91-44-28418297/28576300 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday); Fax: +91-44-28552963; E-mail:[email protected]; Mail: Readers’ Editor, The Hindu, Kasturi Buildings, 859 & 860 Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002, India. All communication must carry the full postal address and telephone number. No personal visits. The Terms of Reference for the Readers’ Editor are on www.thehindu.com
Should Hamid Ansari have spoken his mind? Every Indian would agree with his comments about increasing insecurity in segments of our citizenry
D. Raja is national secretary of the Communist Party of India and a Member of the Rajya Sabha
The reaction of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party to the views and LEFT concerns expressed by former Vice President Hamid Ansari is horrifying. RSS-BJP leaders have stooped low in launching their attack on him, making subtle reference to his religion and asking him to quit India and migrate to any other country where he can feel secure. The question is, did he say anything wrong or should he have spoken? Every citizen would agree with Mr. Ansari when he pointed towards “enhanced apprehensions of insecurity amongst segments of our
citizen body, particularly Dalits, Muslims and Christians” and the “illiberal form of nationalism that promotes intolerance”. The situation in the country is really scary. Citizens do not feel secure. Assaults on the rights of people are on the rise. The RSSSangh Parivar have become aggressive in redefining “nation and nationhood” and rewriting history. Swami Vivekananda took pride in India’s extraordinary history of inclusion and acceptance. When the sense of oneness and unity breaks down, people who are numerically less in terms of their faith or are at a disadvantaged position
Instead of becoming a bridge between the government and the Muslim community, he has burnt his bridges
Seshadri Chari is a former editor of ‘Organiser’, commentator on strategic, security and foreign affairs, and member of the BJP National Executive
No former Vice President would have got into controversies as as Hamid Ansari RIGHT easily did and no one would have got out of it too as easily as he has, at least so far.
Man of controversies He was once accused of “influencing” Rajya Sabha TV, of which he was the chief as Chairman of the Upper House, of total blackout of the live telecast of the Yoga Day event. Mr. Ansari was accused of not saluting the national flag during the Republic Day parade in 2015.
His office clarified that as per protocol, only those in uniform (and probably the head of state) salute the national flag while the national anthem is being played. Again in August 2013, the Chairman wondered if “members (of the Rajya Sabha) wish the House to become a federation of anarchists”; both Congress and BJP members protested. In 2010, it was alleged that a poor farmer’s hut was brought down to make way for his helicopter to land. For the record, Mr. Ansari also castigated Pakistan in very strong words for using terrorism as a state
He should have spoken out when Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched. He should have gone for Akhlaq’s burial
Manish Tewari is a lawyer and was the Information and Broadcasting Minister in the UPA 2 government
Article 60 of the Constitution lays down the oath to be sworn by President before CENTRE the entering office. What is vital in this oath are the words “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law”. The oath of the Vice President contained in Article 69 is virtually analogous. Article 65 further states that in the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President, the Vice President shall act as President until the date on which a new President is elected.
Though the Vice President is also Chairperson of the Council of States and theoretically is but a heartbeat away from the presidency, in real terms it means nothing. Both the President and the Vice President are but mere symbols of the state rather than its pillars. Nonetheless, both the President and the Vice President have a constitutional and moral obligation to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. That provides the constitutional leeway to step beyond the straitjacketed confines of their ceremonial existence. However, the timing
because of caste or other identities feel threatened, excluded and persecuted. It is in such a situation that it becomes the duty and responsibility of society and the state to make them feel secure. Mr. Ansari was only reminding those in power to be inclusive in their approach.
Addressing anxieties In the modern era, we made attempts to remove anxieties of minorities when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, as Chairman of the Constituent Assembly committee on the rights of minorities, recommended special safeguards for them which were eventually incorporated in the Constitution. policy and rearing terrorists to be deployed in India. I don’t remember if anyone commended him then. Naturally, therefore, I was surprised at some parts of the last speech he made [as Vice President, at the 25th annual convocation of the National Law School of India University in Bengaluru] and some points he flagged in an interview to Rajya Sabha TV while answering questions on Muslims in India and how they feel, about “a feeling of unease, a sense of insecurity creeping in”.
Not a Muslim spokesman Now, Hamid Ansari is no ordinary of their actions or interventions is of the essence.
Profound differences The first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, differed with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the Hindu Code Bill. Prasad wrote to Nehru on September 15, 1951: “My right to examine it (the Bill) on its merits, when it is passed by the Parliament, before giving assent to it is there. But if any action of mine at a later stage is likely to cause embarrassment to the Government, I may take such appropriate actions as I may be called upon to avoid such embarrassment consistently with the dic-
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote a letter to Chief Ministers in 1948 and said that if Muslims were subjected to discrimination and ill treatment, they would become a festering sore poisoning the whole body politic. So it is quite clear that the anxieties and fears of Muslims and other minorities were being expressed by our leadership since the formative stage of nation building. Swami Vivekananda in his ‘From Colombo to Almora’ lectures conveyed the worries and apprehensions of Dalits and sought measures for their access to education, livelihood opportunities and other entitlements. Mahatma Gandhi explained communal violence by
referring to the practice of untouchability in Hindu society. He said that all those who were victims of untouchability were attracted to Islam because of its ideals of equality and brotherhood and there would have been no communal violence and Hindu-Muslim disunity had there been no untouchability.
Muslim from a poor background. He is an educated former Indian Foreign Service officer who has effectively represented India abroad, especially in Islamic countries. Does he reflect the views and sentiments of the ordinary Muslim? I don’t think so. By creating a halo of victimhood around Muslims, the Congress effectively insulated the community from mainstream politics, empowerment and benefits of development. In the bargain, a readymade vote bank was created. The Left parties, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and others took over from where the Congress had
left and benefited politically. What they actually did was to create a false sense of insecurity among sections of the Muslims and use the influence of the clergy to corner their votes. The 2014 elections and others held after have shown that sections of Muslims are turning towards the BJP, or at least turning away from the Congress and other parties that trumpeted that they are the true representatives of Muslims.
tates of my own conscience.” This was before the Bill was even formally presented to Parliament by the government. Giani Zail Singh had profound differences with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He refused to sign the contentious Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill, 1986, that would have empowered the government to censor personal mail; sought the government’s reason for not embracing a clear policy on the appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges; queried the government’s media coverage policy… the list goes on and on. Was he right on doing so? Perhaps not. However,
he did not wait for the end of his term to articulate his opinion. President K.R. Narayanan repeatedly wrote rather tough missives to Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee between February 28 and March 15, 2002, calling for an explanation on why the NDA/BJP governments failed to pre-empt, prevent and then stop the Gujarat pogrom. It is sad the Delhi High Court blocked the release of those critical letters even 10 years later in 2012.
Root of communal violence Why is nobody paying attention to the anxieties caused by the practice of untouchability, which is at the root of all communal violence and for which Dalits are being treated with contempt? The Hindutva forces are conveniently forgetting all such issues and anybody who articulates the concerns of minorities and Dalits — even a student — faces sedition charges and is criticised in
Indian secularism India is secular not because the Constitution says so (since 1976) but remains secular because of its centrist Hindu ethos. The real danger to secularism is from Islam-khatreymein-hai (Islam is in danger) brigades as much as it is from the so-
Timing is of essence In that context, the track record of the previous presidency and vice presidency is perhaps blotted. The President could have stayed his
disparaging terms. When Dr. B.R. Ambedkar expressed the anxieties of Dalits and demanded legal safeguards, he was opposed by those who wanted a Hindu Rashtra. Those articulating the anxieties of minorities and Dalits in a constitutional framework are articulating a grammar of unity which is a crying necessity for an India facing a counterculture of discord and disunity. The Constitution and constitutional morality are not being kept in mind and people are being targeted violently for their stand in support of the exploited people. The former Vice President was only reminding people to uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution — a position the Left has articulated from time to time.
called Hindu fringe. I don’t know why Mr. Ansari said what he said. I had even tweeted expressing my surprise at his views and felt that he has actually done a disservice to the Muslim community. Instead of becoming a bridge between the government and the Muslim community, he has probably burnt his bridges. In many of the controversies, reported and unreported, I was on Mr. Ansari’s side as he is sober, logical, and not the kind who can be compelled or convinced to wear his religion on his sleeve. For once, I am surprised that he chose to speak like a politician rather than a centrist thinker whose views may be unpalatable but not wrong on facts.
hand on the promulgation of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, stepped in when sequential constitutional coups were being carried out in Arunachal Pradesh. Similarly, the Vice President should have spoken out when Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched [in 2015] for allegedly possessing beef. He should have gone for his burial. It would have sent a salutary message to both the government and the community, for that is the inflection point that made Muslims insecure. Delivering homilies at the end of the term can end up being critiqued as a case of sour grapes or a parting kick. Does it bestow glory on high constitutional offices? The jury is out on that.
Blacking out comments on TV that don’t appeal to the government is distressing
The Union Cabinet to-day [August 17, New Delhi] postponed a final decision both on the question of switch-over to the regional language as medium of instruction at the university stage, and the proposed legislation to continue English as an associate official language indefinitely. Though the Cabinet has deferred a firm decision on the first issue for a technical reason – that the Lok Sabha has not discussed the Education Commission’s report – it is obvious that the Government wants to review its earlier decision because of the widespread criticism against dispensing with English at the university stage.
Censorship is always abhorrent in a democracy. There are unlikely to be two views about this. However, Indians need to reflect upon the way our allegedly autonomous publicly owned broadcasting corporations treat comments by Opposition leaders which could offend the government of the day. This month alone we’ve had two distressing instances. In one case, a Chief Minister’s speech was recorded but not broadcast. In the other, an outgoing Vice President’s interview was not repeated even though the repeat telecast times had been broadcast. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s Independence Day speech no doubt made points that would make the Modi government uncomfortable. He said “the spirit of secularism is under attack.” He added: “Conspiracies and attempts are under way to create an undesirable complexity and divisions in our society; to invade our national consciousness in the name of religion, caste and community, by inciting passions to convert India into a particular religion country and in the name of protecting the cow.” It’s clear who Mr. Sarkar was targeting although he did not name anyone. But his concerns are widely shared. More importantly, Independence Day is an appropriate moment to voice apprehensions about the nation’s future. To have censored the speech on the grounds that it wasn’t “very positive” is bizarre. Honest and reflective criticism should always be considered positive content. Possibly more inexplicable was Prasar Bharati’s request that Mr. Sarkar “reshape” his speech. If anything, this compounded the censorship by trying to tell an elected head of government what to say or how to express himself. What happened to former Vice President Hamid Ansari’s interview was not as extreme but it was still unfortunate. The interview was shown in full on August 10, his last day in office. But the repeats scheduled and announced for August 11 were either altered at the last moment or altogether dropped. It was ‘understood’ that once Mr. Ansari was no longer Vice President, Rajya Sabha TV felt no compulsion to repeat his interview. I’m not sure if Prasar Bharati or Rajya Sabha TV were acting under instructions. Indeed, it’s quite possible that pusillanimous officers chose to drop a speech or not repeat an interview that would upset their masters. And I have no doubt that if a Congress government had been in power, a BJP Chief Minister’s speech or a BJP-appointed Vice President’s interview would have been similarly treated. There’s no doubt Ministers often demand that opposition viewpoints are dropped. But, almost as often, officials act according to what they believe their political masters desire. In many instances, it’s this anticipation that undermines our public broadcasters. It happens because inappropriate people are appointed but also because the system does not give them security. Just 11 months ago, the Prime Minister told Network 18: “... There should be the strictest possible analysis of the government and the work done by it. Otherwise, democracy cannot run … That’s why I want the media to be very critical.” Now he must insist public broadcasters act accordingly. Karan Thapar is a broadcast journalist and interviewed Hamid Ansari for Rajya Sabha TV .
Public works may be allowed within 100m of monuments
This is a policy adopted by the U.S. in 1823 whereby it decided to oppose colonial intervention into the Americas by European empires. It is named after American President James Monroe, who spelled out the doctrine in his State of the Union address to the U.S. Congress. The Monroe Doctrine was aimed at preserving the political independence that Latin American nations won from their European colonisers. It stated that any future European intervention in the Americas would be considered an act of aggression that would cause the U.S. to intervene in the matter. CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
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Prohibited areas around monuments and archaeological sites may have to give space for more infrastructure. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which is pending in the Lok Sabha, attempts to address the issues confronting construction for public works due to proposed plans running through ‘prohibited’ area (100m around a protected monument or area). The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 bars any sort of construction within the prohibited area of these structures. The 1958 Act defines ancient monuments to include a structure, erection, monument, any tumulus, place of interment, cave, rock sculpture, inscription or monolith which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been
in existence for not less than 100 years. Delhi itself is home to several UNESCO world heritage sites. The Bill introduces an amendment to Section 2 of the 1958 Act, expanding the definition of public works to construction by any department of the Central government for public purposes. It says the “emergent necessity” of building such infrastructure would be based on a “specific instance of danger to the safety or security of the public at large”. Such public infrastructure would be allowed within the prohibited area of a historic monument or archaeological site only if there is “no reasonable possibility of any other viable alternative to have such a construction beyond the limits of the prohibited area” of the monument. The Bill amends Section 20A of the 1958 Act to allow public works in prohibited areas within the monument or archaeolo-
gical site. Any question as to whether a particular work is of a public nature or not shall be forwarded to a competent authority under the Act, which will make its recommendation and place it before the Centre, whose decision will be final. In case any department of the Central government proposes to carry out any public work within a prohibited area, it will make an application to the competent authority. The authority will make its recommendation and hand it over to the Centre, which will take a final decision and communicate it to the applicant office or department within 10 days of the decision. The Bill also amends Section 20I of the 1958 Act. This is a note to the competent authority to make its recommendations to the Centre only after conducting an archaeological, visual and heritage impact assessment.
Continuous and chiefly bitter fighting has been in progress throughout the day along the front of the renewed offensive. The joint Anglo-French attack appears to have been a success but the situation on the right flank is a little obscure. Our troops hereabouts are moving towards Polygon de Zonnebeke but the Germans have been delivering some very heavy counter-attacks there. Further north we have unquestionably done very well.
T.N. to probe Jayalalithaa’s death The Palaniswami faction recently “nullified” Mr. Dhinakaran’s appointment as deputy general secretary but had not expelled him or distanced itself from Sasikala. For the record, Mr. Palaniswami said that based on various representations from many different organisations, “an inquiry commission headed by a retired High Court judge will be constituted to investigate Amma’s ( Jayalalithaa) death.” While Mr. Panneerselvam did not react to the announcements, his follower former Minister Ma Foi K. Pandiarajan, tweeted “Victory for #OPS dharma yuddham! All 3 key demands by OPS met decisively! Time to transparently negotiate for a merger! #UnitedAdmk”. Mr. Panneerselvam is expected to respond on Friday after holding consultations with other leaders. Welcoming the decision to set up an inquiry commission, Apollo Hospitals in a statement said “the team at Apollo Hospitals, which relentlessly fought to save her, is confident that the Committee will bring to light the outstanding treatment and care she received.” The findings of the Committee “will put to rest all the unfounded speculation in this regard.” The Chief Minister said, “to enable people to know her achievements and sacrifices, Veda Nilayam will be converted into a public me-
morial and people will be given access to it.” Following the announcement, reporters and photographers who went to Poes Garden were not allowed access to the lane leading to Veda Nilayam and were turned away by police personnel. Deepa Jayakumar claimed that she and her brother were the legal heirs to the property and questioned how anyone could take it away from them.
OPS camp divided Leaders in the Panneerselvam camp who spoke to The Hindu however seem divided on the announcement of the inquiry commission. While Mr. Pandiarajan welcomed both the announcements, party presidium chairman E. Madhusudhanan said a CBI inquiry was important and it was necessary to go into the medical records of Jayalalithaa since the time Sasikala was readmitted into the Poes Garden household in 2012. Mr. Pandiarajan, however, said the time was ripe for transparent talks. “We welcome these announcements. We need to move to the next stage. While I can’t disclose what will be the scope of discussions, it is for both OPS and EPS to sit down and work out the finer details,” he said. Issues such as party structure and who gets what responsibility need to be thrashed out, he added.
SC puts T.N. medical admissions on hold A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar underlined that the Supreme Court will not allow NEET to be “demolished” at any cost. “This is a human problem... Our motto is ‘whatever we do, a student who has laboured for NEET and got a rank should not suffer, whatever be the cost’,” Justice Misra observed. The court further directed the State government to file the list of students from the Tamil Nadu State Board who appeared for NEET this year. The Bench was hearing a petition filed by senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram and advocate Anushree Menon, appearing for a batch of CBSE students who cleared NEET in Tamil Nadu. They argued that the ordinance was unconstitutional and played with the lives of thousands who had cleared NEET. Senior advocate Vikas Singh, for MCI, opposed any further delay in admissions. He submitted that Tamil Nadu had violated the man-
date of the Supreme Court’s orders that NEET would be the sole basis for medical admissions. Mr. Singh said the State was acting in contempt of the court’s orders. He said other States have already finished their second round of counselling, while Tamil Nadu had neither published its rank list nor started counselling. “The State cannot create a fait accompli and say ‘I will only do it this way’. They have to declare the rank list. It seems the State does not want its students poised on the equal platform NEET offers and is trying to create various categories of students – Plus Two and NEET,” Mr. Singh submitted. He said any change in the admission mechanism now would render the NEET merit list redundant. To this the Tamil Nadu government, represented by senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, justified its ordinance, saying “every change in law is bound to bring some inconvenience to somebody. Does it mean the State cannot bring a law?”
U.P. hospital’s oxygen supply not cut: firm He also raised questions if financial irregularities in the hospital were behind the “missing” cylinders. A note circulated by Meenu Walia, the HR manager of the firm, said the company maintained supply of liquid oxygen to the BRD hospital “irrespective of overdue payment.” “First supply for the month of August was made on August 4. The next intimation of refilling request from BRD medical college was given on August 11, which was also made available on August 12 by Pushpa Sales,” said Ms. Walia. While the DM’s report talks about the interruption of oxygen supply in the hospital, blaming the firm as well as senior hospital management, it remains silent on the cause of death of the children.
Audit recommended Raising suspicions of irregularities, DM Rautela also found “over-writing” in the stock book of the hospital. The report said anomCM YK
alies in the hospital log book of oxygen cylinders, instances of “over-writing” in the stock book and the failure of the management to maintain a “serial-wise and date-wise” payment of bills to the private firm “prima facie” indicated “financial irregularities.” It recommended that an audit be conducted and that a high-level probe be held by the medical education department.
Doctor faulted The DM indicted Satish Kumar, HoD of anaesthesia ward, and Gajanan Jaiswal, chief pharmacist of the medical college, for laxity in executing their duty of maintaining the oxygen cylinder log book and stock book. “They did not maintain their records well and over-writing was found in the stock book,” the twopage report said. Mr. Kumar was also held “guilty of not discharging his duties” as he was in-charge of the log book as well maintaining the supply of liquid oxygen.
SC to hear bomb ‘conspiracy’ in Rajiv case Court to look into the plot behind the making of the explosive device, following a plea by convict Perarivalan Krishnadas Rajagopal NEW DELHI
The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to hear the government on the conspiracy and making of the belt bomb that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. The court is considering the plea by one of the convicts in the case, A.G. Perarivalan, who was found guilty of supplying a ninevolt battery for the bomb. Perarivalan has suggested a larger conspiracy behind the assassination. His counsel, advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, has poked holes in the prosecution version that the makers of the bomb, who were resourceful enough to get hold of highgrade explosives and other complex parts of the IED, would have actually depended on Perarivalan to buy a battery for the bomb. A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Naveen Sinha ob-
served that the court would hear only on the point of an alleged larger conspiracy behind the making of the IED. It has scheduled a hearing next Wednesday. “Only that point concerns you [Perarivalan],” Justice Gogoi observed. The court refused to look into other points pressed by Perarivalan, including the possibility of an ‘international conspiracy’, saying all that is a ‘closed chapter for you.’ The hearing was based on a sealed cover report submitted in court. Perarivalan has alleged that there has not been an effective probe into the ‘larger conspiracy’ behind the 1991 killing of the national leader. He has claimed that an “effective and straight-forward investigation may bring material contrary to the prosecution case.” Perarivalan, who is lodged in the Vellore Prison in Tamil Nadu, claimed that he has
No closure: Rajiv Gandhi, moments before he was killed by a suicide bomber at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. AFP *
spent 25 years in prison, and has every right as a citizen to seek a proper investigation in the assassination of a national leader.
Multiple hurdles Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh had in the previous hearing submitted that the probe is prolonged because there are several dif-
ficulties, including the fact that many of the suspects are absconders and outside the country, and so they require to be extradited first. To this, the Bench said the probe has to be completed and if there is any benefit accruing to the petitioner (Perarivalan) from the result of the enquiry, he should surely get it. The story of the ‘larger
conspiracy’ angle started in 1998 when the Justice M.C. Jain Commission of Inquiry ( JCI) recommended further probe into “various conspiracies behind the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.” After placing the recommendation before Parliament, the government set up a Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) in the CBI to follow up on the Jain Commission’s work. In July 1999, the designated TADA Court allowed the MDMA to probe the larger conspiracy angle. However, in 2013, Perarivalan complained to the TADA Court that the probe was both “feeble and pandering.” But the TADA court dismissed the plea. A subsequent appeal in the Madras High Court to direct the TADA Court to effectively monitor the investigation was not entertained in 2015. He claimed that the TADA court had not even deemed it necessary to open
the several probe reports filed before it in sealed covers.
‘Feeble investigation’ In his petition before the Supreme Court, Perarivalan condemned the almost twodecade-long CBI investigation, which he said was cloaked in secrecy. “...the persons who benefited from the assassination would be powerful and the suspects/accused may be one among them. All these aspects cannot be based on surmises and assumptions but have to be the outcome of a thorough investigation. However the CBI has only undertaken a namesake and feeble investigation so far in the left out aspects of the assassination case for the past 16 years,” Perarivalan said in a petition. He claimed that the CBI has more to conceal than to reveal and “is scared of the skeletons which may tumble out of their own cupboard.”
‘Pangong scuffle a routine affair’ Kovind to visit It drew attention only because of Doklam and Independence Day, says expert
‘Beijing may set deadline for India’
Dinakar Peri NEW DELHI
A local flag meeting between military commanders of India and China in Eastern Ladakh on Wednesday has agreed to maintain peace in the area. The meeting came in the wake of incidents of scuffle and stone-throwing between the two sides at Pangong lake on Tuesday. “At these meetings, each side tells the other their side of the story. Both sides agreed to ensure that such incidents do not occur and resolve them as per the existing agreements and mechanisms,” a defence source said on Thursday. The Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) was held at Chushul in Eastern Ladakh. It was chaired by Brigadierlevel officers and lasted about two hours and half.
Flag meetings The source said these incidents happened at regular intervals and were resolved through flag meetings. “This time it drew attention only because of the Doklam standoff and Independence Day,” he said. The developments come as the standoff at Doklam entered the third month. Military observers believe the Pangong lake incident would not have a bearing on
RSS labour wing plans stir in Delhi Somesh Jha NEW DELHI
The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has found common ground with other trade unions this year. It will go on a one-day protest outside Parliament during the winter session in November against unequal pay for workers and disinvestment of the public sector units. However, the BMS will not join a similar protest called by 10 other trade unions during the winter session. “We have decided to go for a ‘March to Delhi’ on November 17 to demand equal pay for similar workers and social security for all workers and protest against disinvestment of the public sector units,” BMS general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said. Last week, 10 trade unions announced a three-day dharna from November 9 outside Parliament against rising unemployment and the Centre’s “inaction” on their demands. The decision was taken at a convention on August 8, to which the BMS was not invited. It was attended by representatives of the INTUC, the AITUC, the HMS, the CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and the LPF and a federation of employees representing banking, pharmaceuticals, petroleum and construction sectors.
Atul Aneja Beijing
Tranquillity at stake: The Pangong Lake in Ladakh.
the standoff. A section within the military believed that a better communication strategy was needed to avoid unwanted speculation. Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, former Commander of the Northern Army which oversees the Ladakh region, said the faceoff at Pangong lake was “something fairly routine.” “We patrol till our claims and then we do the banner drills in case of a faceoff. In summer it happens even more,” he told The Hindu.
A one-off incident These incidents were resolved at local flag meetings, Lt. Gen. Hooda said. “The peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has held
because both sides have actually respected the status quo. Every time there is an attempt to disrupt the status quo there is a problem.” However, he cautioned that the longer the problem continued, the greater the chance of something going wrong. “If they want to do something they won’t do it in Doklam. They will do it where they have a physical advantage. The bigger risk is they could do something in other areas,” he said. China expert Lt. Gen. S.L. Narasimhan (retd) too shared a similar view. “I don’t link it to Doklam. It is a one off incident, which seems to have gone out of control,” he said.
China’s media campaign on the Doklam crisis has become sharper, shriller, and a shade bizarre, with a daily newspaper on Thursday threatening that Chinese authorities may soon issue an “ultimatum” to India to end the Himalayan standoff. Simultaneously, staterun Xinhua news agency has released a video mocking India of deliberately disregarding the enormity of the mounting crisis. Both items allude to the urgency of defusing the crisis through India’s unilateral withdrawal from the Doklam plateau. A write-up in the staterun Global Times, which analysts say does not necessarily reflect the governmental view, asserts that China was likely to issue an “ultimatum” before September, calling for the total withdrawal of Indian troops. The daily also highlights China’s combat superiority as well as air power.
Leh on Monday
President to honour Army’s 14 Corps Sandeep Phukan New Delhi
President Ram Nath Kovind will make a day-long trip to Leh next Monday to honour the 14 Corps of the Army headquartered in Ladakh, amid the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam and just days after they clashed in the Ladakh region. Mr. Kovind will present the Presidential Colours, a rare military honour, to the infantry unit of the 14 Corps in recognition of its exceptional service. But the importance of the Supreme Commander addressing the troops in the border region will not be lost. However, sources in the Rashtrapati Bhavan said the visit was a pre-scheduled one.
Tense border Ladakh shares an open border with both Pakistan and China. In recent times, the relations between Indian and Chinese troops have hit a rough patch here too, because of the stand-off at Doklam in the Sikkim sector. Senior officers of the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army met at Chushul (Leh) met on Wednesday to ease the ten-
No move against Chinese firms: Centre Vijaita Singh New Delhi
The Home Ministry said on Thursday that there was no plan to “single out Chinese investments” in India in the wake of the ongoing standoff at Doklam and the August 15 scuffle at Pangong lake. Home Minister Rajnath Singh is all set to attend a key Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on disaster management at Kyrgyztan on September 24-25.
SCO is a China and Russia dominated security group. An official said Mr. Singh was going to attend the first ever meet, as India attaches great importance to the SCO. The Home Ministry is the nodal authority to provide clearance to foreign investments under the National Security Clearance Policy. A Ministry spokesperson said putting security clearances to Chinese companies on hold or cancelling them was not being con-
sidered. “We take adequate steps while giving security clearances. There is no plan to single out any Chinese company,” said a senior official.
Security concerns The Home Ministry’s assurance comes amid redflags raised by Intelligence agencies regarding vulnerability of equipment and products imported from China in the telecom sec-
tor. As many as 15 parameters are fixed in eight to nine sensitive areas such as telecom and ports. On August 3, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in the Rajya Sabha that there was a 37% increase in Chinese investments in India since 2014, the year the NDA government came to power. “China has a major stake in our economic growth,” she had said.
BJP moves poll panel over ‘fake news’ Goa unit also files case with the Cyber Crime Cell over Parrikar video clip cutting. Mr. Parrikar on Thursday described the video as “fake news”, and said this only showed the level of the frustration and desperation of his opponents.
Prakash Kamat PANAJI
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday filed a complaint with the Election Commission, and a criminal complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell of the Goa Police against unknown persons for propagating fake news against Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. The alleged fake video, which went viral on Wednesday on the website www.primenews-goa.com, quoted Mr. Parrikar as saying, “These elections (the Panaji bypoll) are important for me, but if I lose, I can always shift to Delhi as Defence Minister.” The complaint filed by Panaji BJP general secretary Pundalik Rautdessai said, “An attempt has been made by circulating a distorted
Manohar Parrikar and false news item on social media like Facebook, WhatsApp amongst others, to create falsehood, malign the image of our candidate Manohar Parrikar and to misguide the electorate of Panaji constituency.” The complaint said the false news is being circulated under the name of Prime News, Goa, with an unnamed press
Election manifesto He was speaking at a press conference held at the BJP headquarters to release his election manifesto. “There is no such meeting, no such statement. What are they quoting and trying to make some sort of news out of ? The best part is that the news channel they are quoting has also lodged a criminal complaint in this regard for damaging its name,” the Chief Minister said. Bypolls are scheduled in Panaji and Valpoi constituencies on August 23. In Panaji, Mr. Parrikar will take on
AICC Secretary Girish Chodankar, and in Valpoi, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane of the BJP will face Roy Naik of the Congress. “When I am meeting people directly, where is the question of such a meeting happening? People know that these are some frustrated minds doing this. People also know my victory is sure. The only question is what the margin will be,” Mr. Parrikar said. Mr. Parrikar declined to comment on an article in the Renewal Novssorni Renevacao, a pastoral publication of the Goa and Daman Archdiocese, equating the NDA rule with the rise of Nazism in Germany. When asked if the election campaign had taken a communal colour, Mr. Parrikar said, “Not at all.”
Ram Nath Kovind sions after the troops were engaged in a scuffle and stone-throwing. On August 15, Indian troops claimed that the Chinese troops along the Pangong Lake tried to cross over twice. They were stopped by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police before a skirmish started. One-third of the 135-km-long Pangong Lake is on the Indian side and the rest on the Chinese side. Against this backdrop, a presidential visit assumes significance. The last time a President visited Ladakh was in September 2010, when Pratibha Patil travelled to the strategic region after a cloudburst caused largescale devastation.
Gujarat police officers asked to step down Legal Correspondent NEW DELHI
Senior Gujarat police officers N.K. Amin and T.A. Barot, accused in cases of encounter killings, on Thursday undertook before the Supreme Court that they would demit office during the day. Mr. Amin, who retired in August last year as Superintendent of Police (SP), was re-appointed as SP of Mahisagar district, on a contract basis for a year. He had faced trial in the Sohrabuddin and Ishrat Jahan fake encounter killing cases. Mr. Barot was re-inducted in October last year as Deputy Superintendent of Police in Western Railways at Vadodara for a year after his retirement. He was accused in the Ishrat Jahan and the Sadiq Jamal encounter killing cases. A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud considered the statement of the lawyer appearing for the two police officers and asked them to “step down” from their posts during the day. The Bench then disposed of a plea by former IPS officer Rahul Sharma against the re-induction of the two officers. The petition had contended that the appointments were made though they had “questionable records,” and in violation of the public trust doctrine. A ND-NDE
spot the difference The HIndu revisits the B.R.D. hospital premises with frames from its archives. a look at the past and the present
Myriad factors plague communities Unsanitary conditions aggravate an already encephalitis-prone region Damini Nath GORAKHPUR
Cosmetic change: The sewage line next to the emergency ward has got a concrete cover, albeit broken. SUBIR ROY & V.V. KRISHNAN *
In villages racked by encephalitis in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, children play barefoot in mud, with dirty water collecting all around and garbage piled up, ignorant of the fact that their surroundings could lead them to contract the disease. After three decades of high incidence of encephalitis cases and deaths, the Gorakhpur division of U.P. is still struggling to contain the disease that is linked to insanitary conditions and is particularly spread by mosquitoes via pigs and drinking dirty water. Padmavati Devi, who lost her grandson Alok to encephalitis last week, says she does not know what happened to him or how he got the disease. Speaking outside her home in Gorakhpur’s Belipar on what would have been Alok’s 14th birthday, she says: “We are poor and uneducated, what do we know about the disease? All we know is that he had a fever.” Alok was among the children admitted to Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College, where 60 children died in a span of five days starting August 7. Just outside his home, children play in the rainwater that has collected. When asked if they know how encephalitis spreads, neighbours say they did not. “Children are children, they will play,” says one neighbour. In Bichhiya in Gorakhpur, the home of a family that lost a five-year-old child to encephalitis on August 11 is surrounded by filth — dirty drains, faeces of goats, and chicken and trash. The
grandfather of the child, Ilahi, says the family tries to keep the house clean, but the condition of the neighbourhood has always been bad. “The administration should have made roads and drains. We have no option but to dump the garbage outside,” he says, adding that he does not know how encephalitis spreads.
Lack of awareness The lack of awareness spreads to other parts of the region as well. Shamsul Ansari from Gamharia in Bihar says he does not know what had happened to his threeyear-old son, except that it was “serious”. After three days of high fever that medicines prescribed by local doctors could not control, he says he brought his son to Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College, where the child is in the ICU. He says has not heard of encephalitis, or mastikshk jwar, or of the news on the medical college. Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, the president of the Indian Medical Association, said that most cases of encephalitis can be controlled with better sanitation and medicine. “About 10% of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) cases are Japanese encephalitis, which is spread by mosquitoes. This is preventable as culex mosquitoes breed in dirty water,” he said. He added that scrub typhus, another cause of AES that is linked to lice, mites and fleas on the ground, can be “100 % managed” with antibiotics if caught in time. Another type of AES, caused by enterovirus, is linked to lack of sanitation, which can also be addressed.
Mulayam slams hospital ANi New Delhi
Monkey business: Patients no longer occupy the corridor as monkeys have a free run now. SUBIR ROY & V.V. KRISHNAN
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday said the BRD Medical College authorities should have taken prior precautions to avoid such tragic death of children.
“These children would have made the nation proud had they lived, but they lost their life in the Gorakhpur tragedy. This incident was very shameful and horrifying. The precautions should have been arranged beforehand,” he said.
Rights groups urge India to honour duty to Rohingyas
Army to get six Apache helicopters
This comes after Centre firmed up plans for deportation
Suhasini Haidar Vijaita Singh New Delhi
Days after the United Nations expressed concern over the government’s plans to deport about 40,000 Rohingya immigrants from Myanmar, international human rights agencies Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called upon India to “abide by international legal obligations” and not force them to return, which they termed an “outrageous” move. “While India is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, it is still bound by customary international law not to forcibly return any refugee to a place where they face a serious risk of persecution or threats to their life or freedom,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement issued in New York on Wednesday, referring to the international principle of “non-refoulement” adopted by the UN. “Indian authorities are well aware of the human rights violations Rohingya Muslims have had to face in Myanmar and it would be outrageous to abandon them to their fates,” said an Amnesty International spokesperson, a day after the UN Secretary General’s office had expressed concerns over the Indian Home Ministry statement on identifying and deporting Rohingyas, including about 16,500 who have been registered by the UN High Commission for Refugees in India. The Rohingyas who fled to India after violence in the CM YK
In solidarity: Rohingya refugees during a protest in New Delhi against atrocities in Myanmar last December. R.V. MOORTHY *
Western Rakhine State were mainly settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan. Both the Ministry of External Affairs and Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju did not respond to The Hindu’s request for a comment on the UN Secretary General’s statement of concern.
Ahead with plans Despite the appeals, a Home Ministry official said India was going ahead with plans to deport Rohingyas, and is in discussions with the Myanmar and Bangladesh governments on the issue. The official also said that the government was planning to set up “detention centres” for the refugees, and if required “push them back” over the India-Myanmar border, if Myanmar refuses to accept the refugees back. Speaking in Parliament last week, Mr. Rijiju had said that the government has directed States to conduct surveys and prepare to deport
them in a “continuous manner.” According to the MHA’s advisory (No. 24013/29/ Misc./2017-CSR.III(i)) of August 8, all State governments were also told that the “powers to identify and deport the foreign nationals staying illegally in the country” had been delegated to them, and that they should “sensitise all law enforcement and intelligence agencies” to the risk from Rohingyas. “Infiltration from Rakhine State of Myanmar into Indian territory…besides being burden on the limited resources of the country also aggravates the security challenges posed to the country,” the advisory warned. India’s decision is in step with the government’s decision to “disassociate itself” from a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution in March this year proposed by the European Union and the United States to enquire into human rights abuses in Myanmar against the Muslim minority Rohingya community.
Left vulnerable: Sanitary conditions leave much to be desired in this village on the outskirts of Gorakhpur.
Situation grim in Bihar as well More than 100 children have been dying of encephalitis every year Amarnath Tewary Patna
Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh might have hit the headlines for the death of over 62 children in less than a week’s time. But in the neighbouring State of Bihar, too, more than 100 children have been falling prey to encephalitis every year. This year, until July, Bihar has seen the deaths of altogether 30 children from encephalitis. According to a government report, in 2016, 773 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), resulting in 196 deaths of children, were reported from Gaya, Patna, West Champaran and Muzaffarpur districts. The same
year also witnessed 145 cases of Japanese Encephalitis ( JE), with 17 deaths attributed to the disease. The worst year for the State seems to have been 2012, when 1,095 cases of AES, with 395 deaths, were reported. In 2014, the State saw 1,005 cases of AES, with 372 deaths reported from the referral hospitals of Muzaffarpur, Patna, East Champaran, Vaishali and Gaya. This year till July, the number of AES cases and deaths have been comparatively less, with 126 cases reported and 30 fatalities. The State has, however, seen less cases of JE, with 2011 being the worst year, when 181 cases and 21 deaths
were recorded. In 2016, 17 children died from a total of 145 cases of JE. This year till July, 20 cases of JE have been reported, with 4 deaths.
Most vulnerable Children aged 0-14 years have proven to be most vulnerable to AES and JE. During 2011-2017, both male (53%) and female (47%) children were affected in almost equal numbers. The peak period for the outbreak of these ailments has been April to October. “The number of AES and JE cases in the State have come down as we conduct regular meetings and training sessions with doctors and para-medical staff. We
also advise people not to waste the precious hours of the patients in consulting quacks and local doctors,” State programme Officer for AES and JE, Dr M.P. Sharma told The Hindu. Asked if referral hospitals were better equipped to deal with these cases compared to the hospital in Gorakhpur, Mr. Sharma said, “Yes, we do regular inspections and are therefore well equipped to prevent a Gorakhpur-like tragedy.” However, referral hospitals sources said that the figures for AES and JE deaths have often been fudged, with fatalities recorded under the category of ‘suspected/unknown and confirmed’ cases.
The Army on Thursday got a step closer to having its own dedicated fleet of attack helicopters, with the Defence Ministry approving the purchase of six AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the U.S. “The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, cleared total capital acquisitions worth about ₹4,700 crore. It also took stock of various proposals in the pipeline and insisted on expeditious clearance of proposals in final stages,” a Ministry source said.
Another deal In another deal, the DAC gave approval for procuring two gas turbine engines from Ukraine, to be fitted on the two stealth frigates under construction in Russia. They will cost over ₹490 crore. The cost of Apaches, including associated equipment, spares, training, weapons and armaments, is about ₹4,168 crore. Optional clause For this, India will exercise the optional clause in the original deal signed with the U.S. in November 2015. Under a $3 bn deal, India has contracted 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters through the Foreign Military Sales programme. The optional clause has a provision for 11 helicopters and the Army was hoping to get all of them, but the Government has limited it to six, at least for now. A ND-NDE
U.S., U.K., Germany condemn Barcelona attack Huge collision between the van and pedestrians, say police Agence France-Presse Barcelona
Trump defends civil war statues ‘The history and culture of our great country are being ripped apart with the removal of monuments’ Associated Press WASHINGTON
President Donald Trump bitingly decried the rising movement to pull down monuments to Confederate icons on Thursday. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he tweeted. Mr. Trump’s new remarks came even as the White house tried to manage his increasing isolation and the continued fallout from his combative comments on last weekend’s racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Pressured by advisers, the President had taken a step back from the dispute on
Monday, two days after he had enraged many by declining to single out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis whose demonstration against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statute had led to violence and the death of a counter-protester in Charlottesville. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it,” he tweeted. “Robert E. Lee. Stonewall Jackson who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish... Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Wednesday that Mr. Trump “took a step backward by again sug-
gesting there is moral equivalency” between the marching white supremacists and the people who had been demonstrating against them.
Nuanced remarks Other Republicans, including the most powerful in Congress, have been making strong statements on Charlottesville and racism, but few have been mentioning Mr. Trump himself. The Senate’s top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, condemned “hate and bigotry”. House Speaker Paul Ryan charged that, “White supremacy is repulsive”. But neither criticised the President’s insistence that there were “very fine people on both sides” of
Sharif, sons summoned by anti-corruption body To be questioned over offshore assets Press Trust of India Lahore
Brigitte Macron to be ‘first lady’, informally PARIS
Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, said she will adopt the role of first lady, but only in an informal capacity after opposition to plans to give her an official status. She spoke to Elle magazine in her first interview since Mr. Macron’s election in May. AFP
Pro-democracy leaders jailed in Hong Kong HONG KONG
A Hong Kong appeals court jailed three leaders of the democracy movement for six to eight months on Thursday, dealing a blow to the youthled push for universal suffrage. Joshua Wong was jailed for six months, Alex Chow for seven months and Nathan Law for eight months. Law had been the city’s youngest ever democratically elected legislator. Reuters
Venezuela prison riot leaves 37 dead CARACAS
A prison riot in Venezuela that took place between Tuesday and early Wednesday has left at least 37 people dead in what local Governor Liborio Guarulla called a “massacre”. The prosecutors’ office said an investigation had been launched into “the deaths of 37 people” in the facility in the remote town of Puerto Ayacucho in the southern State of Amazonas. AFP
Iran’s Opposition leader hospitalised ANKARA
Mehdi Karroubi, an Iranian opposition leader under house arrest since 2011, was hospitalised on Thursday after starting a hunger strike asking for a public trial. Opposition leaders Karroubi, Mirhossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard have been confined to their homes for six-and-a-half years after calling for rallies in solidarity with pro-democracy uprisings. Reuters
Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his two sons have been summoned by the top antigraft body to appear before it on Friday for interrogation in connection with the money laundering and corruption cases against them. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the directive of the Supreme Court issued summons to Mr. Sharif and his sons — Hussain and Hasan — to interrogate them in its Lahore office in connection with their offshore property revealed by the Panama Papers case. The NAB said that it will take up the reference against Mr. Sharif ’s close aide Ishaq Dar on August 23 and that summons has been issued to him. Mr. Sharif, who has denied any wrongdoing, has not yet decided to appear before the NAB. “Nawaz Sharif is considering boycotting the NAB
proceedings because he thinks it is very much likely that like the Panama Papers case he may not get justice in its case as well,” said a PML-N senior leader. He said Mr. Sharif has already expressed his concern over a Supreme Court judge who is supervising the NAB’s investigation against him, fearing that he ( judge) will ensure an adverse verdict against him.
Case against Zardari Also, an accountability court in Rawalpindi is set to start proceedings against former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in an old graft case, Dawn News reported. It said that the court will initiate day-to-day proceedings against his over his allegedly illegal assets, both in Pakistan and abroad. NAB prosecutor Tahir Ayub hoped that proceedings would be completed in the next few days after which the court would pass a verdict.
the violent weekend clash in Virginia. The nuanced statements reflect the party establishment’s delicate dance. Few top Republican officeholders want to defend the President in the midst of an escalating political crisis, yet they are unwilling to declare all-out opposition to him and risk alienating his loyalists. In another major sign of discontent within the Republican Party, Mr. Trump abruptly abolished two of his White House business councils on Wednesday as corporate chiefs began resigning in protest of his statements. The White House is trying to deal with the repercussions from Mr. Trump’s defiant remarks on the Virginia tragedy. Advisers hunkered
down, offering no public defence while privately expressing frustration with his comments. But Mr. Trump himself was increasing rather than slowing his tweet-a-thon. On Wednesday, he had told associates he was pleased with how his combative press conference had gone a day earlier, saying he believed he had effectively stood up to the media, according to three people familiar with the conversations who demanded anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly about them. CEOs had begun tendering their resignations from White House panels after Mr. Trump’s initial comments following the Saturday violence.
U.S. President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all voiced voiced condemnation over Thursday’s attack in Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city. Regional Interior Minister Joaquin Forn initially said that at least one person had been killed and 32 others were wounded, warning however that the toll could rise. He later updated the toll to 13 and said at least 50 had been injured. Vehicles have been used in several terror attacks in Europe in recent years, including a jihadist massacre that claimed 86 lives in the French Riviera city of Nice. Police said there had been a “huge collision” between a van and pedestrians on the thoroughfare and a police source said officers were seeking a total of two suspects.
‘Bodies on the floor’ Xavi Perez, who works in a sports shop near the site of the attack, described a scene of carnage. “When it happened I ran out and saw the damage,” he told AFP. “There were bodies on the floor with people crowding round them. People were crying. There were lots of foreigners.” Witness Aamer Anwar told Britain’s Sky News television that he was walking down Las Ramblas, which he described as “jampacked” with tourists. “All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids. Spain had been hit by
what is still Europe’s deadliest jihadist attack in March 2004, when bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda-inspired extremists. Leaders from the U.S., U.K., and Germany condemned the attack. “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help,” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted. “Be tough & strong, we love you!” Britain “stands with Spain against terror”, Prime Minister Theresa May said. “My thoughts are with the victims of today’s terrible attack in Barcelona and the emergency services responding to this ongoing incident. The U.K. stands with Spain against terror,” Ms. May wrote on Twitter. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it a “revolting attack”, said her spokesperson.
The Nice onslaught in July last year and other similar attacks including the carnage in Paris 2015 were claimed by the Islamic State (IS). Spain has emerged as a potential target for jihadists, with extremist websites mentioning it for historical reasons, since much of its territory was once under Muslim rule. Generally, authorities in Spain — the world’s third largest tourism destination — remain discreet on the terror threat. But they publicise every arrest of alleged jihadists, most of them detained for propaganda, recruitment for extremist groups or “glorifying terrorism”. According to the Interior Ministry, more than 180 “jihadist terrorists” have been arrested since June 2015 when Spain raised the terror alert level to four out of a maximum of five, in domestic and foreign operations.
Senator Nasar is new PML-N chief
Trump’s new ‘South Asia strategy’ for Afghanistan likely today
Press Trust of India
The plan will involve India and Pakistan, but what role they will play is unclear
Pakistan’s ruling PML-N has appointed Senator Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar as its interim chief, days after the Election Commission asked the party to replace Nawaz Sharif after he was disqualified from premiership, a media report said on Thursday. Mr. Nasar’s name had been approved a day earlier by Mr. Sharif after the proposal did not meet much resistance from party leaders, Dawn News reported, citing party sources.
Sharif named ‘quaid’ A source was quoted as saying that the name for PML-N’s permanent party chief will be decided upon on September 7. The central committee also unanimously approved a resolution to name Mr. Sharif the party’s quaid (leader) while paying tributes to his services to the PML-N, the report said.
Varghese K. George Washington
President Donald Trump will brainstorm on Friday with his national security team on a fresh strategy to break the logjam in Afghanistan, where 8,400 U.S. soldiers are currently deployed. The meeting at the Camp David Presidential retreat in Maryland, 100 km northwest of the U.S capital, will discuss “the South Asia strategy,” the White House said in a statement. “We are not winning in Afghanistan,” Defence Secretary James Mattis had told a Congressional hearing in June. A South Asia strategy to deal with the Afghanistan crisis will involve India and Pakistan, but questions remain on the role and context of both countries. India has been involved in the reconstruction and stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan and a Pentagon report recently described India as Kabul’s “most reliable regional part-
ner”. However, India is strongly opposed to any discussion on Jammu and Kashmir in the context of Afghanistan, as being demanded by Pakistan. Pakistan has been trying to impress upon America that Kashmir and Afghanistan are part of the same problem and solution to one is impossible without the other. A new strategy was to be in place by mid-July, but Mr. Trump shot down the plan formulated by Mr. Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which proposed to raise troop levels in Afghanistan by 4,000-5,000. The President reportedly demanded to know why America has not won after 16 years of fighting, how and when did they plan to win.
Private soldiers The President was unsatisfied with the explanation and the plan has been on hold since then. Meanwhile, White House Chief Strategist
Far-Right Oz leader wears burqa in Parliament Anti-Muslim party leader Pauline Hanson’s gesture, aimed at having burqas banned, triggers outrage Associated Press
Political point: Senator Pauline Hanson pulls off her burqa at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Thursday. REUTERS
Opposition Senator and an Iranian-born Muslim, said: “We have seen the stunt of all stunts in this chamber by Sen. Hanson.” “The close to 5,00,000 Muslim Australians do not deserve to be targeted, do not deserve to be marginalised, do not deserve to be ridiculed, do not deserve to have their faith made some political point by the desperate leader of a desperate political party,” Mr. Dastyari said.
he said his government would not ban the burqa, and chastised Ms. Hanson for what he described as a “stunt” that offended Australia’s Muslim minority. “To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling
Ban in 2014 Senate President Stephen Parry said Ms. Hanson’s identity had been confirmed before she entered the chamber. He also said he would not dictate the standards of dress for the chamber. Parliament House briefly segregated women wearing
An Australian Senator provoked an angry backlash from lawmakers by wearing a burqa in Parliament on Thursday as part of her campaign for a national ban on Islamic face covers. Pauline Hanson, leader of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigration One Nation minor party, sat wearing the garment for more than 10 minutes before taking it off as she rose to explain that she wanted such outfits banned on national security grounds. “There has been a large majority of Australians (who) wish to see the banning of the burqa,” said Ms. Hanson, an outspoken fan of U.S. President Donald Trump, as Senators objected. Attorney-General George Brandis drew applause when
Shell-shocked: People attending to the injured after the attack in Barcelona on Thursday. AFP
thing to do and I would ask you to reflect on what you have done,” Mr. Brandis said. Opposition Senate leader Penny Wong told Ms. Hanson: “It is one thing to wear religious dress as a sincere act of faith; it is another to wear it as a stunt here in the Senate.” Sam Dastyari, an
burqas and niqabs in 2014. The department that runs Parliament House had said that “persons with facial coverings” would no longer be allowed in the building’s open public galleries. Instead, they were to be directed to galleries usually reserved for noisy schoolchildren, where they could sit behind soundproof glass. The policy was branded a “burqa ban” and was widely condemned as a segregation of Muslim women, as well as a potential breach of anti-discrimination laws. Officials relented, allowing people wearing face coverings in all public areas of Parliament House after the coverings were removed temporarily at the building’s front door so that staff can check the visitor’s identity.
Steve Bannon has floated a proposal to hire a private security firm that will employ mercenaries to fight the war in Afghanistan, overseen by an “American viceroy”. Subsequently, reports have also emerged that the President could consider a complete withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, which is contradictory to the position that Mr. Mattis has taken publicly, to stay engaged for an openended timeline. The new strategy won’t work “unless we have a higher degree of cooperation from Pakistan,” U.S Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunfordtold a Congressional hearing last month. The key player in the regional approach is neighbouring Pakistan, Gen. Dunford said. The U.S. approach to resolving the Afghanistan situation must be narrowly focussed on the conflict and leave out other regional questions, argued Ashley J.
Tellis, the Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Jeff Eggers, another expert in a report, “U.S. Policy in Afghanistan: Changing Strategies, Preserving Gains”.
Regional approach Stephen J. Hadley, former National Security Adviser to George W. Bush, travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, and has been arguing for a “regional approach” that takes on board Pakistan’s strategic concerns. In his latest Washington Post op-ed timed to coincide with the meeting on Friday, he said on Thursday: “This means helping to restart a discreet dialogue between India and Pakistan on issues of mutual concern... At the same time Pakistan must show progress in cutting off terrorist activity against India and Afghanistan, (including by the Haqqani network).”
Saudi reopens Qatar border for haj pilgrims Crown Prince meets Qatari royal Associated Press Riyadh
Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that it is reopening its border with Qatar to allow Qataris to attend the haj, despite a months-long rift between Doha and four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia. The decision came after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a surprise meeting with Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, a Qatari royal family member whose branch of the family was ousted in a palace coup in 1972. Saudi state media broke the news overnight on Thursday. Qatar did not officially comment on the deal until its Foreign Minister
was pressed by reporters during a briefing in Sweden some 12 hours later.
Call to lift blockade Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said he welcomed the Saudi decision, but that the measures must also include a full lifting of the blockade. The official Saudi Press Agency reported that Qatari pilgrims will be allowed to enter the kingdom by land and would then be flown onward from two Saudi airports in Dammam and alAhsa at the king’s expense. Saudi state TV also said that 100 Qataris had arrived at the border crossing on Thursday. A ND-NDE
India should leverage its coal assets while it is still economical to do so before ramping up its renewable energy capacity, Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian said on Thursday. He added that the low tariffs seen in the renewable sector do not include several implicit costs that are, so far, being subsidised. Mr. Subramanian also said that India should not be influenced by ‘coal imperialism’, with developed countries trying to influence developing countries to cut their fossil fuel consumption at a rate not in keeping with historical factors and equity.
‘Properly costed’ “Renewable energy must be properly costed,” Mr. Subramanian said, delivering the Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture organised by TERI.
IN BRIEF HDFC Bank cuts savings account interest rate MUMBAI
HDFC Bank has reduced its savings account interest rate by 50 basis points to 3.5% for balances up to ₹50 lakh. The new rate will come into effect from Saturday. For balances more than ₹50 lakh, the rate is kept unchanged.
Social risks: Costs of moving away from coal are significant as it will impact employment, says CEA Subramanian. AFP *
“There are several social costs of moving away from coal. We must be abundantly cautious about claims on behalf of renewables. Properly costed, renewables will achieve true parity in social terms with coal only in the future.” “We should maximise the use of natural assets while
Factories Act: Centre firm on amendment Panel opposed move to ‘lift’ threshold SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Among the costs of adopting renewable energy that are not factored into the tariff currently, Mr. Subramanian included the cost of intermittent supply of power from solar and wind sources, the land acquisition costs, the upgradation of the grid to support energy from renewable sources, and the cost of stranded coal assets.
The Centre will go ahead with its proposal to amend the Factories Act of 1948 by giving flexibility to State governments to enhance the threshold limit over which a unit will be considered a factory despite concerns flagged by a Parliamentary Standing Committee. The proposal was discussed at a tripartite meeting chaired by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya with representatives of trade unions, industries and State governments. The Standing Committee, examining the proposed changes, however, observed
in 2014 that “if the amendment is carried out more than 70% of the factory establishments in the country will be out of the coverage of the Factories Act and workers will be at the mercy of employers.” The Ministry of Labour and Employment did not agree with the committee’s observations and said that it had only given flexibility to State governments to fix the threshold limit and “all the factories, including the one which employs a single worker may also be brought under the purview of the act thus, in fact, increasing the total number of workers covered under the Act.”
economics permits it, and then ramp up the free assets such as renewable sources when needed,” he added. “There is a window, perhaps narrow, until renewables become truly viable, for accelerating expansion of coal, and driving up capacity utilisation sharply in thermal power generation.”
‘Trump decision won’t hit GES’ Firms’ participation based on keenness to invest: U.S. official ARUN S New Delhi
U.S. President Donald Trump’s dissolution of two business advisory bodies won’t adversely impact the participation of leading American companies or top executives at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, according to a U.S. official. Mr. Trump, on Wednesday, announced the breakup of the councils after several chief executives who were on the American Manufacturing Council quit as members and the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum broke up on its own. The CEOs resigned in protest against Mr. Trump’s response to the violence in Virginia.
Raymond buys Ansell’s stake in JV
Realty sector eyes $10 bn private equity
To improve focus on KamaSutra brand
‘Banks not funding affordable housing’
Special Correspondent MUMBAI
Raymond Group has acquired Ansell’s 50% stake in J.K.Ansell Pvt. Ltd., a joint venture that owns the KamaSutra brand of condoms, for ₹19.3 crore. With this transaction, the sexual wellness and personal care business will continue to remain in J.K. Ansell which will become a wholly owned subsidiary of J.K. Investo Trade (India) Ltd. ( JKIT), a Raymond Group Company, according to a statement. As per the proposed deal, JKIT will sell its stake in the gloves business to Pacific Dunlop Holdings (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Ansell Group Company) for ₹11.3 crore. This acquisition will pave the way for Raymond
to further scale up the FMCG business and unlock the potential of KamaSutra brand globally. Raymond announced the formation of its FMCG group last year with a vision to be a player of choice amongst the new India, offering premium products for personal and home care categories. Gautam Hari Singhania, CMD, Raymond Limited said: “As a part of our Raymond Re-Imagined journey, scaling up and creating a strong FMCG business is an important driver of value creation for the group. This acquisition gives us the full ownership of Brand KamaSutra that strengthens our FMCG portfolio and is a step towards value creation.”
‘Implicit subsidies’ “The proper estimates of the full costs of renewable energy are elusive,” Mr. Subramanian said. “Recent bids are not indicative because of the implicit subsidies and the factor of strategic bidding that has entered the renewable energy space as it did with coal and spectrum auctions.” He also added that the costs of moving away from coal are also significant, since it will impact employment, and the regional eco-
nomies where coal mines are located. He also said that increasingly using renewable sources would further reduce the plant load factors of coal power plants, which, in turn, could further worsen their finances and the nonperforming assets problem. “If India achieves its target in renewable energy (of 175 GW by 2022), the plant load factor will decline by 13 percentage points, which is significant since the PLF is already so low,” Mr. Subramanian said. “The burden of combating climate change should be consistent historically and equitably,” he added. Subsidising renewables at a time when the social costs were higher than those of coal “seems a double whammy for the government which then also has to pick up the tab for the resulting stranded assets,” Mr. Subramanian observed.
“Many U.S. technology companies have deep ties in India,” the official, who did not wish to be identified, said. “They see India as a growth market,” the official said, adding that U.S. firms, particularly in the online payments sector anticipate huge opportunities due to the Indian government’s de-
monetisation move and the consequent push for digitisation. The GES, which aims to help “connect American entrepreneurs and investors with international counterparts”, is a U.S. government initiative. The event will be held in South Asia for the first time when it takes place in Hyderabad, from November 28-30. Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump’s daughter and Advisor to the President, will be heading the U.S. delegation. Several U.S. companies plan to increase investments in India, the official said, adding the U.S. government was in the process of approaching top firms to ensure their participation in the GES 2017.
Gen Re wants ‘hurdles’ removed Reinsurer aims to focus on bottomline MANOJIT SAHA Mumbai
Global reinsurance major Gen Re, which has received a branch licence for India operations, said there still exist a few regulatory hurdles that can be removed for the market to benefit. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has mandated that state-run general insurer GIC Re will have the right of first refusal under which the reinsurer has the first right to accept or refuse any reinsurance contract in the country. “We are glad that there is something now like a legal form of a branch that did not exist a couple of years ago,” Winfried Heinen, chairman of the executive board of directors, General Reinsurance AG, told The Hindu. “But to be frank, there are still quite some hurdles that could be removed,” he said. Gen Re, a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies, has been in the Indian market for the past 15 years through various channels with focus primarily on life and health sector.
Open competition “I think I am not speaking on behalf of Gen Re alone but for all international reinsurers. Reinsurers do like open competition. The more we diversify, the better we can use our capital,” he said. “Clearly there is a consensus in the international reinsurance market that minimum protectionism and low legal hurdles will benefit the market,” he said. Gen Re commenced its operations through its branch in India earlier this month. Major reinsurance firms
Winfried Heinen like Swiss Re, Munich Re, Hannover Re, SCOR and RGA (Reinsurance Group of America) started their branch operations this year. “Indian reinsurance regulations are evolving. IRDAI has formed a committee to review the existing regulations. This is most welcome,” said Venkatesh N. Chakravarty, Gen Re’s India CEO.
Capital norms Regarding regulatory mandate of having ₹100 crore initial capital to start branch operations, Mr. Heinen is of the view that branch should not have its own capital since it is part of a larger entity. “In my opinion, since we are a branch, the branch should not have capital of its own. A branch is part of a much bigger entity,” he said. “To grow more in India, we have to bring in more capital — which we cannot use anywhere else, and that makes it more expensive to do business in India. This will be reflected in the prices we can offer to our clients, and probably this will again be reflected in the prices they offer to their clients. This inefficiency has a knock-on effect on the customers,” he added. Observing that reinsurance in life offered more opportunities in India, Mr. Heinen said focus will be on profitability from day one.
Lalatendu Mishra MUMBAI
Real estate developers are eyeing $10 billion in private equity funding to kick-start the investment cycle to augment funding for affordable housing projects, a thrust area of the government, a top industry official said. “Under the current environment, we do need private investment to provide housing for all by 2022,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, president of the Maharashtra chapter of realty body NAREDCO . “As banks are not lending, the sector needs private equity funding to the tune of $10 billion a year to kick-start the momentum and to respond to the new opportunities arising out of affordable
housing,” he said. A large part of the funds would be sourced from abroad, he added.
Pension funds “We are eyeing investment from pension funds from Canada and Europe.” The national realty body is organising Real Estate & Infrastructure Investors’ Summit 2017 in Mumbai next week.
BMW to focus on premium cars in India Segment forms about 1.4% of total market offering room for growth: India chief K.T. Jagannathan K. Bharat Kumar CHENNAI
Growing the premium car market will remain a top priority for German auto major BMW in India, according to a top official. With the premium car segment accounting for just 1.2% to 1.4% of the total car market, India, according to Vikram Pawah, president BMW India Pvt. Ltd., offers enough headroom for growth. In a free-wheeling interview here on Thursday, Mr. Pawah said BMW grew 11.7% in the first six months of 2017 despite uncertainties caused by demonetisation and the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Asserting that “it is impossible to control uncertainties,’’ Mr. Pawah said BMW would remain focussed on its basic proposition of being the leader and benchmarking whatever it did. Celebrating 10 years of its production in India, BMW had lined up for introducCM YK
Eyeing leadership: For BMW, the 5 Series has been a critical component of its India game plan.
tion “some class-defining products’’ to lure more Indians to own and experience world class cars. It set the stage for segment expansion with the new 5 Series vehicles.
‘Good response’ Mr. Pawah claimed the new 5 Series offered ‘never heard of things’ such as gesture control and remote parking in the premium segment. Declining to divulge the numbers, he said response
for new cars ‘is fantastic’. For BMW, 5 Series has been a critical component of its India game plan. Of the 66,000 vehicles sold by BMW thus far since it set up production base 10 summers ago, 5 Series accounted for about 19,000 units. The new 5 Series comes at a time when competition is hotting up in this space from peers. Mr. Pawah indicated that the new 6 GT would be a part of the 2018 launch list in
India and would be slotted in between the 5 and 7 Series. BMW would be creating another value proposition with the introduction of new X3 Series in India next year, he added. The new X 3 Series is developed on new CLAR modular platform, which is claimed to be very light. To a question, he said expanding the dealer network from 41 to 50 and driving BMW mobile studios around 50 ‘emerging cities’ were part its larger exercise to develop the premium car segment in the country. “The next wave of customers will come from these emerging cities,’’ he added. To a query on BMW Motorrad, he said it had been selling 11 products, imported in completely-built units. “We are setting up the foundation for the business in India,’’ he added. On its collaboration with TVS Motors, he said the jointly developed products were currently exported. The domestic sale of the would happen next year, he added. A ND-NDE
‘We reorganised the company around digital’ ‘You have to continuously evolve with technologies’ Infosys to consider ₹13,000-crore buyback The board of Infosys will meet on August 19 to consider a ₹13,000-crore share buyback proposal. ”...The board of directors of Infosys Ltd. will consider a proposal for buyback of equity shares of the company at its meeting to be held on August 19, 2017,” Infosys said in a regulatory filing. It said the outcome of the board meeting will be disseminated to the stock exchanges after the conclusion of the meeting. PTI
Tata Coffee begins work on Vietnam plant BENGALURU
Tata Coffee said it had become the first Indian coffee manufacturer to begin work on setting up a plant in Vietnam. The plant will start manufacturing 5,000 MT a year of freeze-dried coffee in the next 18-21 months, according to a filing. The product will serve the company’s global customers and the foray “is a significant milestone in our journey to become a global coffee major,” said Sanjiv Sarin, CEO, Tata Coffee.
Deadline extension for transitional input credit NEW DELHI
The Centre extended the GST return filing deadline for those seeking to avail of transitional input tax credits to August 28, citing concerns among taxpayers regarding the non-availability of the relevant form on the GST Network website. The form will be available from August 21. “Concerns were raised about the form for claiming transitional input tax credit not being available on the GSTN website,” the Finance Ministry said.
Cognizant’s chief strategy officer Malcolm Frank is convinced that machines won’t kill jobs and that one is not going to witness a war between machines and humans. Instead, they will work together, he said during a talk on ‘What to do when machines do everything!’ organised by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Chennai in association with Nasscom in Chennai. The Hindu caught up with him for a quick 10-minute interaction after the session. Edited excerpts: You spoke about how robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machines are changing the world. So, when it comes to acquisitions, especially in the digital space, do you keep these things in mind?
Our strategy around acquisitions, as you know, has been acquiring for capability and not for capacity and that’s going to continue. We are a huge organisation and we don’t have to acquire for capacity. In the digital world you are going to see us become more and more aggressive. So, we have been acquiring [a] number of firms around specific geographies. We had some design and strategy houses like Idea Couture (a privately held firm that offers a broad range of digital innovation, strategy, design and technology services) in Canada, Mirabeau BV in Netherlands. So, you are going to see us acquire firms like that and also [in] machine learning, AI organisations that are focussed on very specific vertical industry problems. ■
the digital world, < > In you are going to see us become more and more aggressive How easy or challenging is it for employees to adapt to the changes that are happening in the digital space? The employees in the mid level in specific, can they be trained?
Trainable, yes. [It is] the willingness that really varies. But it’s not necessarily a function of age. There are lot of things that go into that. Some times people appear as aged — but when somebody is comfortable with that technology they are emotionally invested they feel that they have mastered it and their reputation and self-esteem is tied up with that. But I think anybody, particularly when they come into services business, you come in knowing that technologies continuously evolve and you have to continuously evolve with them. The big trigger quite often is when you see it through your customer’s eyes. Sometimes people can get into denial and think I ■
won’t invest in those skill sets because I can just do this for the next five or ten years. But when you sit down with the client and the client tells you what you’re currently doing with those technologies was important to me ten years ago but now I view it as a commodity. That’s when we see people more motivated to make the shift. It’s easy to talk about change but change is hard, particularly when change is somebody else’s idea it’s doubly hard. One of things we have done at Cognizant Academy is we have got this institutional capability to help with this transition and scale. Where does Cognizant stand when it comes to digital shift?
We re-organised the whole company 12-13 months ago all around digital. We quietly reorganised the whole firm because the client, when we make this transition, they have to change their operations, technology and we need to align with the needs of our clients. ■
Are you considering hiring non-graduates?
I believe deeply in the college experience. Certainly you learn very tangible skills. But those skills are going to evolve quickly. I believe in getting graduates. We are reasonably young firm. Are we going to separate headcount from revenue? I have been in this industry for three decades and everyone has been talking about it. We have started seeing automation in certain pockets of the business but you’re still going to see good head count growth. We will be a fairly strong hirer. ■
TGB offers black tea to China’s youth Tata Global Beverages has identified 3 nations as large tea consuming markets our business.” Indications are restructuring may be on the cards in Poland.
Special Correspondent KOLKATA
Tata Global Beverages (TGB) is exploring new markets in Asia beginning with China, where it made a pilot entry to woo the country’s youth with black tea, according to a top official. “We are also testing waters in Malaysia,” Ajoy Misra, managing director, TGB, told the media. In China, TGB had made a B-to-C (businessto-consumer) entry through Alibaba. “We are appealing to the new generation with black tea”, Mr. Misra said. The firm’s move to expand to newer markets comes even as it re-examines its business portfolios worldwide. Singapore, Malaysia and China have been identified
Srei Equipment Finance plans IPO
Ajoy Misra as large tea consuming markets, TGB said at a recent investor call. The Tata group company is engaged in three beverage segments — tea, coffee and enhanced water. On TGB taking a relook at its business portfolios, Mr. Misra said, “We continue to look at ways to rationalise
Poland’s market To a question on Poland, he said this was the secondlargest tea market after Russia and TGB’s play involved offerings of fruit and herbal teas through a local brand, Vitax. “We have restructured operations and also changed the distribution system.. we are in no hurry to exit.” However, the company may take a call if necessary, he said. He said U.K. had given strong growth across all categories amidst declining black tea consumption. TGB had closed 2016-17 with ₹6,780 crore in operational revenue and a post-tax profit of ₹455 crore.
Within India, he said TGB was the largest player in the packaged tea market (as per Nielsen) and a third of its business was from India. TGB had identified States like Maharashtra where it would increase focus. The western State and Gujarat were two of the largest tea markets in India. “We are consolidating our position in Maharashtra with improved product mix.” TGB was maintaining its mass-market products while focussing on ‘premiumisation.’ Fruski, a tea-based ready-to-drink beverage had been recently piloted in North India, and would go national depending on the response. The firm had also introduced ayurvedic ingredient-suffused teas.
Private banks in the South set up facilities for Aadhaar Initiative to hasten enrolment process, says UIDAI official
Special Correspondent KOLKATA
Srei Equipment Finance Ltd. (SEFL), a whollyowned subsidiary of Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd. (SIFL), is planning to get listed through an initial public offering (IPO) of its equity shares which will result in dilution of up to 25% of the post paid-up equity share capital. “This is an opportune time [for an IPO],” said Hemant Kanoria, CMD, SIFL. The company hoped to raise about ₹2,000 crore, depending on the valuation, he said. Mr. Kanoria said the IPO would enable the firm infuse fresh capital into the business. He said the initial public offering was scheduled to happen within six months at the most.
Private sector banks in the South are in a race to set up Aadhaar enrolment and updation facilities, following a recent directive from the Centre, according to an official.
More touchpoints “The new initiative will enable us to speed up the process of Aadhaar enrolment,” said D.M. Gajare, Assistant Director General, UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India). “The idea is to have more number of touch points,” said he said. On July 13, the Centre had advised all commercial banks to provide Aadhaar enrolment and updation facilities at their branches. “Karur Vysya Bank has become the first bank in the
country to set up the facility within a short time. Here, Aadhaar enrolment or updation can be done in 15 minutes,” said Mr. Gajare after inaugurating the new facility at the bank’s Nungambakkam branch. Lakshmi Vilas Bank, City Union Bank, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank in Tamil Nadu
and Catholic Syrian Bank in Kerala will follow suit. “These touch points will be in addition to the ones at nationalised banks, post offices, State government agencies and common service centres. In Tamil Nadu, we have achieved 94% in Aadhaar generation. But, when you take those above 18 years of age, it is 99%,” he said. “Unlike the touch points of nationalised banks (located outside the premises), we have installed our enrolment facility within the premises,” said C. Saravanun, general manager, Karur Vysya Bank. “We have invested close to ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2 lakh per installation and plan to add the facility in 75 more branches throughout Tamil Nadu by September,” he said.
Dhoni corners attention ahead of ODIs Questions on the former India skipper’s future now likely to be more pronounced than ever past 300 after the Indian toporder faltered. Yet, there is no denying that the former skipper has looked a pale shadow of his past glorious self on many occasions, the last of which was in the West Indies recently, when he scored a painful 54 off 114 in the fourth ODI at Antigua, again as India lost the game by 11 runs.
INDIA IN LANKA Press Trust of India Dambulla
Suarez ruled out for a month BARCELONA
Troubled Barcelona was dealt a new blow ahead of the start of the Spanish league season when Luis Suarez was ruled out for a month with a knee injury on Thursday. “Luis Suarez will be out of action for around four weeks. Tests carried out on Thursday morning confirm that the Uruguayan has a distension in the posterior articular capsule in his right knee picked up in the second half of the Clasico on Wednesday in the Santiago Bernabeu,” said Barcelona on its website.AFP
MacGill declines Bangladesh offer DHAKA
Former Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill has cited personal reasons and turned down a Bangladesh offer to join the side ahead of twoTest series against his home country, a senior cricket official said on Thursday. Bangladesh has been without a spin bowling coach since the BCB sacked Sri Lankan Ruwan Kalpage, who failed to report for duty following a deadly Islamist extremist attack at a posh Dhaka cafe in July last year. AFP
Sigurdsson completes record move to Everton LONDON
Everton signed Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson from Premier League rival Swansea for a club record £45 million on Wednesday. The 27-year-old penned a five-year contract worth a reported £100,000 a week to become Everton’s record signing, topping the £31.8 million it paid Chelsea for Romelu Lukaku in 2014. AFP
TV PICKS England vs West Indies: 1st Test: SS Select 2, 2 HD, 6.30 p.m. La Liga: Sony TEN 2, TEN 2 HD, 11.30 p.m.
Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the centre of attention as India’s ODI specialists enjoyed their first training session, here on Thursday. It was an optional session where Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah looked like hitting the right notes ahead of what will be the start of a long limited-over engagement for the Men in Blue. The spotlight, though, was on the 36-year-old Dhoni, who now has to fend off questions about his future with alarming regularity. He warmed up by facing different bowlers in the nets, both Indian and local bowlers. Initially, he looked a bit rusty, given that he has not played competitive cricket for almost a month now. But he shrugged it off easily and played some handsome shots against both the pacers and spinners.
MSK’s analogy In the past week, chief selector M.S.K. Prasad came to his aid, likening him to Andre Agassi in his latter years.
Pressure point: M.S. Dhoni’s performance in the series will come under a close scrutiny as the team management attempts to arrive at the core group for the next World Cup. *
PICTURE COURTESY: BCCI TWITTER PAGE
“He played till 36 and won so many Grand Slams,” he had said of the former USA tennis player. Dhoni had led India to the 2014 World T20 finals in Bangladesh, and then to the semifinals of both the 2015 ODI World Cup (in AustraliaNew Zealand) and the 2016
World T20 at home. Then, there are the individual statistics to ponder over. However, it is never easy to judge a batsman like Dhoni on form, as he bats lower down the order wherein the impact made is higher than even averages
swelled by unbeaten innings. It can be seen in his partnership with Yuvraj Singh at Cuttack against England as both batsmen turned back the clock to hit hundreds or the one against Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy encounter at the Oval, where he helped push the score
Root and Cook dig in
Impactful presence However, it cannot be denied that Dhoni continues to maintain an impactful presence in the Indian dressing room. Much of it is to do with his high standards of fitness, comparable to the youngsters in the Indian squad, certainly miles ahead of the likes of Yuvraj and Suresh Raina. Then there is the element of experience that he brings to the table. He was brilliant with the usage of DRS and even gave inputs about bringing on Jadhav to bowl at vital match situations, an advice which proved valuable against both Lanka and Bangladesh in the semifinal as outlined by Kohli himself. And so, Dhoni returns to the Indian side, looking to answer a few questions about his impending future.
The skipper’s century helps the host shake off early wobble
U-19 WC: India meets Australia
Press Trust of India
Joe Root and Alastair Cook played sublimely to lead England to a commanding 215 for two at tea on the opening day of their first day-night Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston on Thursday. Captain Root was batting 103 and Cook on 85 as England recovered strongly from another poor start with the bat when it slumped to 39 for two after winning the toss. Root would have been hoping for a steady opening stand but Mark Stoneman, making his debut as Cook’s latest partner, was bowled off-stump by a fine delivery from Kemar Roach. Miguel Cummins trapped Tom Westley lbw, the West Indies successfully reviewing the umpire’s not out decision to leave England in trouble at the start of the three-match series. Cook and Root dug in, however, taking advantage of good batting conditions and wayward bowling with a flurry of crisp boundaries to give their side a solid platform. Cook brought up his 50 shortly before lunch and Root soon followed him to the milestone, posting a half-
Three-time champion India and Australia are set to clash in their tournamentopener of the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup scheduled to be held from January 13 to February 3 next year. India and Australia are clubbed together in Group B along with Zimbabwe and East Asia Pacific qualifier Papua New Guinea, according to the schedule of the tournament announced by ICC on Thursday.
Leading from the front: Captain Joe Root’s century and his 176-run partnership with Alastair Cook took England to 215 for two at tea on the first day of the pink ball Test. REUTERS *
century for the 11th Test-in-arow to equal the record in five-day cricket.
Immaculate strokes The prolific right-hander continued to play immaculate strokes all round the ground and he reached his 13th Test hundred by sweeping off spinner Roston Chase for his 19th four. England, fresh from beating South Africa 3-1, is strong favourite to overcome a cal-
low West Indies side without many of its leading players due to contractual disputes with their cricket board. The fifth ever day-night Test and first in England, played with an unfamiliar pink ball, was expected to offer the touring side its best chance of an upset and it will be hoping the ball behaves more unpredictably when the floodlights are turned on in the final session.
SCOREBOARD England — 1st innings: A. Cook (batting) 85, M. Stoneman b Roach 8, T. Westley lbw b Cummins 8, J. Root (batting) 103; Extras (lb-8, nb-1, w-2): 11; Total (for two wkts. in 55 overs, at tea): 215. Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-39. West Indies bowling: Roach 14-4-49-1, Joseph 10-1-53-0, Cummins 14-3-40-1, Holder 112-43-0, Chase 6-0-22-0. Toss: England
16-team tournament Defending champion West Indies will play host New Zealand on opening day of 16-team tournament which will be played across seven venues. The West Indies will play host New Zealand in the inaugural Group A day-night fixture at Bay Oval on the opening day of the event, featuring 16 teams across seven venues in four cities: Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga and Whangarei. The other teams in Group A are 2012 champion South Africa and Africa qualifier Kenya.
India ends European tour on a high Sheykh does the star turn for Delhi Press Trust of India AMSTELVEEN
Ramandeep Singh and Chinglensana Singh Kangujam struck twice to guide the Indian men’s hockey team to a 4-3 win over Austria in its final encounter of the Europe Tour here. Austria took the lead thorough Oliver Binder’s goal in the first quarter. India, however, made amends in the second quarter when it won a PC in the 25th minute. A clever variation saw comeback-man Amit Rohidas pass the ball to Raman-
deep, who deflected the ball into the circle to equalise.
variation by Varun Kumar.
The 10-minute half-time break saw India come back into the game as the team with a better attack.
Austria won a penalty corner in the 53rd minute and Michael Korper obliged. Austria then scored in the 55th minute via Patrick Schmidt to draw level.
It made better circle penetrations and the lead came when Ramandeep scored a rollicking field goal, a reverse hit from the top of the circle, in the 32nd minute. Another opportunity created by Mandeep Singh was converted by vice-captain Chinglensana in the 37th minute through a superb
With just 10 seconds left, Chinglensana scored a sensational goal when Ramandeep made a brilliant circle penetration to find Gurjant Singh. A cross hit by Gurjant saw Chinglensana deflect the ball into the goal and seal the match.
Intense action: Mandeep Singh tries to slot one past the Austrian goalkeeper. CM YK
Fellow-Iranian Maghsodlou excels in a cliffhanger PKL G. Viswanath AHMEDABAD
Meraj Sheykh’s singlehanded effort helped Dabang Delhi KC win a cliffhanger against Tamil Thalaivas 30-29 in a ProKabaddi League match at the Arena by Transstadia on Thursday. Delhi captain Sheykh was the clear-cut winner of the GFG ‘moment-of-the-match’ when, against all odds, he not onky wriggled out of a chain tackle and won three massive points for his side to convert a deficit of 27-28 to a lead of 30-28, but also left the Thalaivas’ captain Ajay Thakur as the lone man standing in defence. After a lacklustre showing in the previous matches, Thakur made amends winning 14 points. With 62 seconds remaining, the Chennai side would have hoped for a second win, but Sheykh’s magnificent raid stunned the rival camp; Sheykh tallied 9 points (8 touch and 1 bonus). Delhi made a crucial substitution bringing in the second Iranian Abolfazl Maghsodlou before the first
Apex Court to focus on CoA’s fifth status report The heart, kidney and lungs are being taken out of these reforms: Lodha Vijay Lokapally NEW DELHI
The Supreme Court, on Friday, will consider the fifth Status Report filed by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) with regard to implementation of the Lodha Committee reforms. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), in CoA’s scathing observations on Wednesday, had been stalling all efforts to introduce the new administrative structure which insists on accountability and transparency. The Apex Court had directed the BCCI to come back with its areas of difficulties in implementing the reforms. At its Special General Meeting held in Delhi on July 26, the BCCI had concluded that it was opposed to the following reforms: a) Matters pertaining to membership (One State one vote, membership of All India Universities, Services Sports Control Board and Railways Sports Promotion Board); b) Number of persons in selection committees; c) Functions, powers, duties, and obligations set out for the employees, office-bearers; functionaries, committees, etc., to be decided by the General Body
from time to time; d) Restrictions/disqualifications of office-bearers (age, tenure, cooling-off period, government servants, minister); and e) Constitution of Apex Council. The BCCI has steadfastly stalled all efforts to implement the reforms to the extent that the CoA has requested the Supreme Court to dismiss the top three office-bearers of the BCCI (acting- president C.K. Khanna, acting-secretary Amitabh Choudhary and acting-treasurer Amitabh Chaudhry). In its fifth Status report, the CoA had also quoted Justice R.M. Lodha, who had said, “the heart, kidney and lungs are being taken out of these reforms” in reference to the BCCI describing the core of the reforms mandated by the Supreme Court as “impracticable.” Some of the BCCI’s State units have been functioning on an ad-hoc basis even as some have begun a hurried but discreet exercise to form the players’ associations. “It is time for the players to come together and realise the need to fight some of these officials who have been in power for decades,” said former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi.
Best of luck: Virat Kohli being welcomed on the Indian team’s arrival at Dambulla for the first one-dayer to be played on Sunday. PICTURE COURTESY: BCCI TWITTER PAGE *
Donaldson has the measure of Ramkumar Wild card Tiafoe snaps Zverev’s run Agencies Cincinnati
Ramkumar Ramanathan crashed out in the second round of the Western & Southern Open, going down to American wild card Jared Donaldson 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in one hour, 56 minutes, here on Wednesday. It was second straight defeat for Ramkumar against the World No. 60, having lost to him in the second round of the Roland Garros Qualifier in 2015. Rafael Nadal cruised to victory in his first match since taking over the World No. 1 ranking, while Alexander Zverev’s 10-match win streak was halted by US teen wildcard Frances Tiafoe. Important results: Men: Second round: Jared Donaldson bt Ramkumar Ramanathan
6-4, 2-6, 6-4; Rafael Nadal bt Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4; Frances Tiafoe bt Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Grigor Dimitrov bt Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5), 6-4. Juan Martin del Potro bt Mitchell Krueger 6-4, 6-4; Nick Kyrgios bt Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6(6); Albert RamosVinolas bt Gilles Muller 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Women: Second round: Karolina Pliskova bt Nadia Vikhlyantseva 6-2, 6-3; Elina Svitolina bt Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-4; Carolina Wozniacki bt Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4; Ekaterina Makarova bt Angelique Kerber 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(11); Ashleigh Barty bt Venus Williams 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Madison Keys bt Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1. Doubles: Pre-quarterfinals: Sania Mirza & Peng Shuai bt Julia Gorges & Olga Savchuk 7-5, 6-4.
Iranian impact: Dabang Delhi skipper Meraj Sheykh throwing a kick for a touch point against Tamil Thalaivas. SPECIAL *
half. The tall and strong allrounder turned out to be the game-changer, tallying 11 points (4 touch points, 5 bonus and 2 tackle points). Sheykh — with his side leading by a point opted for time to lapse during his last raid — would have been delighted with the result because, at the stroke of half time, he conceded super tackle points to the Thaliavas’ D. Pradab and Vijay Kumar. Usually he would have won a 1-2 situation hands down , but after a desperate attempt he became a victim himself for the teams to be tied at 12. While
PLAYING TODAY DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
U.P. Yoddha vs U Mumba, 8 p.m. Bengaluru Bulls vs Jaipur Pink Panthers, 9 p.m. , STAR Sports 2, 2 HD
Thakur held centre-stage, his colleague K. Prapanjan (1 raid point) was not given leeway by the rival corners and Thalaivas paid a heavy price for his absence from play at regular intervals. The results: Dabang Delhi KC 30 bt Tamil Thalaivas 29; Gujarat Fortunegiants 26 tied with Bengal Warriors 26. A ND-NDE
Dhopade stuns Aravindh, takes lead Nikhil Dixit stuns Tejas Bakre; Udit Kamdar holds Swayams Mishra
MRF FF 1600 headlines penultimate round As many as 14 races to be held
Rakesh Rao AHMEDABAD
Real Madrid lifts Super Cup Real Madrid won the Spanish Super Cup for the 10th time with a 2-0 win over Barcelona at a joyous Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday to complete a 5-1 aggregate victory. Marco Asensio’s stunning effort from 30 metres in the fourth minute proved a punishing blow for the Catalans. The result: Real Madrid 2 (Asensio 4, Benzema 39) bt Barcelona 0 (Real Madrid won 5-1 on aggregate).
Barca close to Coutinho, Dembele deals: Segura MADRID
Barcelona sporting manager Pep Segura said the club is “close” to signing Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund. “We are close to Coutinho and Dembele, we are discussing their conditions but we do not know when they will be sealed,” Segura told TV3. REUTERS
Murmu shines for Sporting
Grandmasters Swapnil Dhopade and Himanshu Sharma produced clinical displays to stay in joint lead at 6.5 points after the seventh round of the National Challengers chess championship here. As the competition crossed the halfway mark, race for the nine qualifying spots for this year’s National championship showed signs of warming up with 13 players, with 5.5 points, following the leaders. Sustained pressure from Dhopade saw top seed Aravindh Chithambaram crack in 79 moves. The Tamil Nadu teenager first traded his rook for a bishop and later sacrificed a bishop for two kingside pawns. Dhopade, armed with an extra rook, continued accurately and scored an important victory. Earlier, Dhopade’s Railway colleague Himanshu needed 41 moves to end the unbeaten run of fellow overnight joint-leader Sammed Shete on the top board. Second seed S. L. Narayanan, third seed M. R. Lalith Babu, eighth seed De-
Sports Reporter Chennai
The MRF FF1600, which offers the eventual champion a ticket to the prestigious Mazda Road to Indy shootout in the USA, will yet again headline the fourth and penultimate round of the MRF MMSC FMSCI INRC at the MMRT track this weekend. In all, 14 races in various categories have been scheduled over two days after Friday’s practice and qualify-
ing sessions. The second round of MMSC FMSCI National Drag Racing Championship is also part of the main card and will be held on Saturday (practice) and Sunday (final) evening. The MRF FF1600 class is developing into an exciting, four-driver contest involving Bengaluru’s Sandeep Kumar (72 points), local challenger Chetan Korada (66.5), Kolkata schoolboy Arya Singh (52.5) and Ishaan Dodhiwala (44) from Hyderabad.
Udit enters semifinals Sports Bureau
Upset victory: Swapnil Dhopade (right) awaits top seed Aravindh Chithambaram’s response during their seventh-round battle in the National Challengers chess championship in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Dhopade won in 79 moves to stay in joint lead.
bashis Das and holder Ravi S. Teja stayed on course of recovery with fine victories. The day also saw two teenagers – Pune’s Nikhil Dixit (1847) and Rajkot’s Udit Kamdar (1947) – pull off surprise results. In 27 moves, Dixit (5) annihilated local GM Tejas Bakre (2464) and Kam-
dar (5.5) drew with IM Swayams Mishra after missing a winning continuation. The results: Seventh round: Himanshu Sharma (6.5) bt Sammed Shete (5.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (5) lost to Swapnil Dhopade (6.5); Akash Iyer (5.5) drew with Abhijit Kunte (5.5); Deepan Chakkrav-
arthy (5.5) drew with Arghyadip Das (5.5); Swayams Mishra (5.5) drew with Udit Kamdar (5.5); S. L. Narayanan (5.5) bt Ram S. Krishnan (4.5).
Satyapragyan (5) drew with Koustav Chatterjee (5); Rajesh Nayak (4.5) lost to S. Ravi Teja (5.5); S. Jayakumaar (5) drew with Sriram Jha (5).
Shashikant Kutwal (4.5) lost to M. R. Lalith Babu (5.5); Sankalp Gupta (5) drew with P. Shyam Nikhil (5); S. Nitin (5) drew with N. Lokesh (5); S.
Jennitha Anto (5) drew with Hemant Sharma (5); Joy Shah (4.5) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (5.5); Fenil Shah (5.5) bt Raja Rithwik (4.5).
Udit Gogoi beat Rishi Krishna 6-4, 7-5 in the boys’ quarterfinals of the AITA National Series under-16 tennis tournament on Thursday. The results: Boys (quarterfinals): Krish Patel bt Vansh Bhagtani 6-2, 6-3; Udit Gogoi bt Rishi Krishna 6-4, 7-5; Sushant Dabas bt Aditya Balsekar 7-5, 6-3; Kushan Shah bt Aaryan Zaveri 6-2, 7-5.
Jiten Murmu struck a brace as Mohammedan Sporting outsmarted Tollygunge Agragami 5-1 to record its first win in the Premier Division-A Calcutta Football League here on Thursday. The result: Mohammedan Sporting 5 (Shiekh Faiaz 7, Jiten Murmu 48 and 83, Dipendu Duary 56, Debasish Pradhan 90+2) bt Tollygunge Agragami 1 (Bijay Mandi 87).
Sportspersons feted Eminent sports personalities, including cricketer Sambaran Banerjee, chess GM Dibyendu Barua and mountaineer Ujjal Roy, were felicitated by Indus Valley World School here on Thursday. Several students who excelled in different sports were also feted.
Akhlaq and Bharti reign NEW DEHLI:
Mohammmed Akhlaq and Bharti Narayan won the men’s and women’s titles in the Delhi State carrom championship on Thursday. The results (all finals): Men: Mohammed Akhlaq bt Danish Mohammed 5-20, 25-0, 25-0. Boys: Mohammed Anas bt Akhtar Ali 25-11, 25-17. Women: Bharti Narayan bt Neha Rani 25-6, 25-4. Girls: Ishita Bajaj bt Kirti 25-4, 25-6.
Sandeep posts win NEW DELHI:
V.M. Sandeep stepped up his game to beat top seed Joel Pierleoni 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2) in the boys’ quarterfinals of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon UK under-14 tennis championship on the grass courts of Wimbledon on Thursday. In the girls’ pre-quarterfinals, Sandeepti Singh Rao fought her way past Rachel Cranley. The results: Boys (quarterfinals): V.M. Sandeep bt Joel Pierleoni 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2). Girls (pre-quarters): Huang Ziyi (Chn) bt Sarah Dev 6-1, 6-1; Sandeepti Singh Rao bt Rachel Cranley 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Ace Badraan wins BENGALURU: Ace Badraan (Nazerul Alam up) won the Stewards Trophy, the feature event of the concluding day’s races held on Thursday (Aug. 17). The winner is owned by Mr. Sunil K. Vasant and trained by Irfan Ghatala. LEADING INDIVIDUAL OWNER: Ms. Ameeta Mehra (earned stake money of ₹1,92,45,707) LEADING JOINT OWNERS: M/s. Five Star Shipping Co. Pvt Ltd rep by. Mr & Mrs. K.N. Dhunjibhoy and Mr & Mrs. Z.K. Dhunjibhoy and Mr. Vispi R. Patel (earned stake money of ₹48,17,872) CHAMPION TRAINER: Mr. S. Attaollahi (16 winners) CHAMPION JOCKEY: P. Trevor (24 winners) CHAMPION JOCKEY CLAIMING ALLOWANCE: Rayan Ahmed (9 winners) LEADING STUD FARM: M/s. Kunigal Stud Farm (25 winners) HORSE OF THE SEASON: Serjeant At Arms (won all four starts) CHAMPION HORSE: Manifold (earned stake money of ₹2,14,51,920).
MOONLIGHT ROMANCE CUP (Div. II), (1,200m), maiden 3y-o only, (Terms): MANSUETUDE (Dhanu Singh) 1, Amazonite (Neeraj) 2, Tevoda (Mudassar) 3 and Set To Win (Srinath) 4. Not run: Optimisticapproach. 10-3/4, 5-3/4 and 2. 1m, 16.47s. ₹30 (w), 12, 13 and 17 (p), SHP: 31, THP: 39, FP: 73, Q: 45, Trinella: 232 and 156, Exacta: 291 and 106. Favourite: Set To Win. Owner: Mr. Hiro G. Matai. Trainer: Prasanna Kumar.
AMAZING GRACE STAKES (1,600m), rated 00 to 20: EL MATADOR (A. Vishwanat) 1, Mystical Shadow (Rajesh Kumar) 2, Appy’s Glamour ( Jagadeesh) 3 and Perfect Prince (A. Ramu) 4. Not run: Reverberating. 2-1/4, 11/4 and 1-1/2. 1m, 45.74s. ₹50 (w), 18, 21 and 14 (p), SHP: 69, THP: 60, FP: 612, Q: 370, Trinella: 2,865 and 921, Exacta: 6,675 and 6,293. Favourite: Appy’s Glamour. Owners: Mr. Syed Sha. P & Mr. Mahmood Khan. Trainer: Mahmood Khan.
GLORIOUS COLOURS STAKES (1,100m), rated 15 to 35: LADY MAJESTIC (Arshad Alam) 1, Top Brass (S. John) 2, Master Of War (Rayan Ahmed) 3 and Purity (Vinod Shinde) 4. Not run: Perfect Stride. 1-3/4, 6 and 1. 1m, 10.50s. ₹44 (w), 14, 11 and 25 (p), SHP: 41, THP: 53, FP: 108, Q: 34, Trinella: 404 and 299, Exacta: 4,602 and 3,586. Favourite: Top Brass. Owners: Mr. S. Narredu & Mr. P.S. Somakanthan. Trainer: S.
CLASSIC ACT STAKES (1,400m), rated 30 to 50: CHERIE AMOUR (S. Shareef ) 1, Goodwill Warrior (Arshad Alam) 2, Royal Serenity (P. Trevor) 3 and Reference (Irvan Singh) 4. 2, 2-1/2 and 1-3/4. 1m, 28.97s. ₹107 (w), 30, 136 and 17 (p), SHP: 515, THP: 56, FP: 14,083, Q: 5,464, Trinella: 90,571 and 38,816, Exacta: 1,21,681 (carried over). Favourite: War Envoy. Owners: Mr. A. Muniraja & Mr. A. Ravi. Trainer: G. Nityanand.
STEWARDS TROPHY (1,200m), rated 60 & above: ACE BADRAAN (Nazerul Alam) 1, Life Awaits (P. Trevor) 2, Taqdeeer Ka Badshah (Rajesh Kumar) 3 and Antananarivo (S. John) 4. 2, 4 and 2-1/2. 1m, 15.04s. ₹201 (w), 26, 16 and 43 (p), SHP: 42, THP: 91, FP: 1,050, Q: 353, Trinella: 4,247 and 7,645, Exacta: 1,31,442 and 18,777. Favourite: La Dona. Owner: Mr. Sunil K. Vasant. Trainer: Irfan Ghatala.
PRINCE KHARTOUM CUP (1,600m), rated 45 to 65: TORSORO (Neeraj) 1, Michaela (P. Trevor) 2, Mystic Music (S. John) 3 and Frenemee (Rayan Ahmed) 4. 4-1/4, 1 and Nose. 1m, 43.18s. ₹19 (w), 11, 13 and 21 (p), SHP: 38, THP: 51, FP: 57, Q: 30, Trinella: 224 and 145, Exacta: 1,951 and 1,185. Favourite: Torsoro. Owners: Mr. Sunil Damani & Mr. Irfan Ghatala. Trainer: Irfan Ghatala.
MOONLIGHT ROMANCE CUP (Div. I), (1,200m), maiden 3y-o only, (Terms): ANIMAL KING (Srinath) 1, So Mi Dar (A. Ramu) 2, San Bernardino (Dhanu Singh) 3 and Panama (S. John) 4. 8-1/2, Lnk and Hd. 1m, 15.37s. ₹19 (w), 11, 22 and 16 (p), SHP: 68, THP: 43, FP: 400, Q: 199, Trinella: 606 and 251, Exacta: 1,503 and 560. Favourite: Animal King. Owner: Mr. Ravi Pathak. Trainer: Rajesh Narredu.
ROMANTIC DANCER STAKES (1,200m), rated 15 to 35, 4-y-o & over: RECZAI (M. Naveen) 1, Dont Trust Anyone (Srinath) 2, Indian Brahmos (Irvan Singh) 3 and Extremelydangerous (Arshad Alam) 4. Hd, 4-1/4 and 2-1/2. 1m, 16.29s. ₹42 (w), 17, 16 and 23 (p), SHP: 50, THP: 60, FP: 342, Q: 145, Trinella: 1,422 and 657, Exacta: 5,071 and 2,301. Favourite: Dont Trust Anyone. Owners: Mr. R.M. Ramaswamy & Mr. R.N. Vijaya Kumar. Trainer: Sharat Kumar. Jackpot: ₹74,648 (eight tkts); Runner-up: ₹4,570 (56 tkts); Treble (i): ₹6,512 (three tkts); (ii): ₹276 (161 tkts).
7 athletes get four-year suspension
State-of-art gymnastic stadium coming up soon Dipa Karmakar’s coach Bisweshwar Nandi will be the High Performance Expert Vijay Lokapally
A state of the art Gymnastics Academy will soon be launched at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex (IGSC). Sharing details of the ambitious project, the IGSC Administrator Manjushree Dayanand said here on Thursday, “It will be a modern gymnastic centre with some of the best facilities. It will prepare gymnasts for world class events and will be one of its kind in this part of the world.” The stunning show by Dipa Karmakar, who finished fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has galvanised the gymnastics fraternity into top gear with hundreds of young girls taking to the sport with a carer in mind. “Dipa is the ambassador for gymnastics in India and her coach, Bisweshwar Nandi, is going to be the driving force of this academy,” said Manjushree. To be called the National
Seven athletes have been handed four-year suspensions by the NADA Disciplinary Panel for various doping violations. The ineligible athletes are Kulwinder Singh and Shamsher Singh (both kabaddi), Murali Mohanti (powerlifting), Tahamina Khatun and Mahesh Kale (both athletics), A. Krishna Moorthy and V. Santosh (both weightlifting), according to a NADA statement on Thursday. Five others have been placed under provisional suspension for anti-doping rule violations. They are Asian champion woman shot-putter Manpreet Kaur, Jagtar Singh, D. Sreekanth, Rohit and Ashish Lathwal.
Wrestling team named NEW DELHI: The Indian men’s wrestling team for the 2017 Cadet World Championship, to be held in Greece from September 4 to 10, was announced here on Thursday.
Gymnastics Academy, it will have Nandi as the High Performance Expert. He will be assisted by Swapna Verma, Sushma Joshi, E. Chandrakanth Rao, Vishal Deep Saini, Gurdial Singh Bawa and Raj Duria. “The Academy will have everything that goes into making of a good gymnast. We will provide the best fitness centre and upgrade the existing facilities. “The Academy shall provide strength and condi-
tioning equipment, rehab and recovery programme, a modern kitchen, a library, and a gymnasium. We are gong to have international tie-ups,” added Manjushree. Dwelling on the modern methods of training, Manjushree said, “The campers will receive a diet chart that caters to different phases of preparation from training to competition. There will be a different diet for non-competitive phase too. We have roped in sports medicine expert (Dr. Anant Joshi) who will provide services free of cost. He had treated Dipa for free when she was injured. He will also train the coaches on certain aspects of specialised coaching based on scientific methods.” The Academy has already received a sanction of 3.5 crore from Coal India. “We are using that fund to upgrade the old boxing and gymnastics hall at the IGSC. We will soon have a 300metres running track. It is a matter of pride for the IGSC
that we now have an inhouse Ayurveda expert to impart lessons in yoga and meditation. The campers can also avail of Ayurvedic massage. We intend to have a systematic selection and sustainable programme,” she stated. In a first, Manjushree said the Academy will also focus on the education of the campers. “We would help them with securing admissions in good schools for them to pursue their education. I believe in strict discipline and I want the young athletes to understand that education helps you take the right decisions. I want to see my gymnasts as officers who can help other athletes.” “A holistic personality development is what I am looking at,” said Manjushree. “I want them to be the best ambassadors. To achieve that I have to create the ideal sporting environment. The Academy is a step in that direction.”
rode on Rocky’s brace to earn full points with a 2-0 win over Uttarakhand FC in a Group-A match of the DSA senior league championship at the Ambedkar Stadium on Thursday.
points from five games while Hindustan has the same number of points but has an extra game in hand. Delhi United has six points from four games and Uttarakhand is yet to open its account. The results: Group ‘A’: Delhi United 2 (Rocky 2) bt Uttarakhand 0; Hindustan 1 (Khushwant Chauhan) drew with Garhwal Heroes 1 (Bala al-Hassan).
Khanna (94) missed a welldeserved century but helped Telefunken Club thrash Delhi Cricket Academy by 107 runs in the Rising Star under-12 cricket tournament. Nischay Juneja picked up four for 10 for the winner. The scores: Telefunken Club
Akash Antil top-scored with 82 and Vivek Yadav picked up four wickets as Yousuf Academy beat Ravindra Academy by 21 runs in the Swastik Cup cricket tournament. Siddhant Sharma’s all-round performance went in vain. The scores: Yousuf Academy 196 in 34.4 overs (Akash Antil 82, Sachin Singh 44, Aditya Tyagi four for 34, Siddhant Sharma four for 39) bt Ravindra Academy 175 in 33.2 overs (Siddhant Sharma 71, Vivek Yadav four for 43).
In another league match, last year’s runner-up Garhwal Heroes FC fought back to draw 1-1 against Hindustan FC with both goals coming in the first-half.
Vaibhav, Nischay shine
204 for nine in 25 overs (Vaibhav Khanna 94, Piyush Mittal 38, Sonu Singh three for 30) bt DCA 97 in 20.2 overs (Sonu Singh 35, Nishchay Juneja four for 10).
12 Incentives limit us, unfortunately (7) 13 They are involved in rows every day (7) 14 Understand it could be anything from 0 to 9 (5) 15 How to make taco for a traitor? (8) 18 Practice on vehicle, for the ultimate ride (8)
5 What you do while playing in the beach to get experience (3,4,4,3) 6 Stranger from revolutionary Communist party (5)
23 Unprofessional friend in a city of ancient Mesopotamia (7)
8 Maid from bar near small US city (6) 9 Reprinted items could be understood wrongly (14) 16 Auditor's notices to cashier for an amicable settlement (5-4)
27 Pant, tired, worn and scared (9)
17 Gave evidence — "Had to win cricket match by fraud eventually" (8)
1 Pop off to participate in race — it's not hard (6)
28 Drinking cups in brown, dark, blue, and a shade of silver (8)
19 Daughter perhaps runs away to get happiness (7)
4 Inexperienced girl ran into criminal (8)
29 Setter and the lady had become engaged (6)
21 Back in Calais, sailor gets a shower and time to rest (7)
22 Struggling actor wins Oscar ultimately — it's an incentive for performance (6)
10 Control the others outside school (9) 11 Bird, first from England to go around the world (5)
3 Leg spin? (9)
20 Like to arrange one's home, say (5)
26 Intensify beginning of rapid change in India, after leader is removed (5)
1 Evergreen tree finally dies…perhaps it could provide warmth (8)
Rama, a true leader
2 Coup — essentially, a covert operation for removing leader (7)
7 Following a treatment for amnesia, son dies — it could be a life-threatening condition (7)
25 Shake three times, adding a drop of milk inside (7)
24 Swelling a bit, excitedly made out (5)
Solution to puzzle 12088
Solution to yesterday’s Sudoku
A real leader is one who leads from the front. He does not hesitate to take on the opposition; in war, he is at the head of the army, inspiring his soldiers and urging them to put the enemy to flight. Lord Rama was one such leader, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan in a discourse. The Lord is seen as the One who protects us. A protector has to be at the forefront, guarding those who have put their trust in him. And whether it is in the Rama avatar or Krishna avatara, we observe this trait of the Lord. Lord Rama heads His troops, whereas Ravana sends all the others out to fight, and only when none is left does he venture to face Rama. Ravana comes to the battlefield in his chariot, but Rama is on the ground. Sage Narada urges Indra to lend his chariot to Rama. Rama tells Indra’s charioteer to drive forward to meet Ravana. Indra himself usually sought the Lord’s help when he found himself in trouble. So perhaps being asked to drive forward was a new experience for Indra’s charioteer. In the Kurukshetra war, Lord Krishna is Arjuna’s charioteer and Arjuna tells Him to drive the chariot and place it between the two armies so that he (Arjuna) can see his opponents. Tirumangai Azhvar, in one of his verses about Lord Parthasarathy of Triplicane, extols Krishna who was in front of Arjuna steering the chariot. But why does Tirumangai Azhvar say that Lord Krishna stood on the chariot? Which charioteer stands on the chariot? There was a reason for Tirumangai Azhvar’s choice of words. Lord Krishna stood up in the chariot to save Arjuna from the arrows that came towards him. The processional idol in the Triplicane temple has marks that indicate the scars from the arrow wounds of Lord Krishna. The Lord, by standing up, saved Arjuna’s life. A ND-NDE
Lakshya reigns Junior World No. 1 overcomes Croatian Durkinjak in final
Five Indians — S.P. Sethuraman, M. Karthikeyan, D. Harika, Shardul Gagare and P. Iniyan — were part of 23-player leaders’ group at 2.5 points after three rounds of Abu Dhabi Masters chess tournament here. GM Harika eked out a draw against GM GM Stupak Kirill from Belarus. Important results (involving Indians): Third round: Idani Pouya (Iri, 2.5) drew with S.P. Sethuraman (2.5); Stupak Kirill (Blr, 2.5) drew with D. Harika (2.5). Aryan Chopra (1.5) lost to Amin Baseem (Egy, 2.5); Abhimanyu Puranik (2) drew with Anton Korobov (Ukr, 2.5). Abhijeet Gupta (1.5) lost to Valery Sviridov (Rus, 2.5); Raja Harshit (2) drew with Salem Saleh (UAE). Adly Ahmed (Egy, 2) drew with Nihal Sain (2); MirceaEmilian Parligras (Rom, 1.5) lost to Shardul Gagare (2.5). P. Iniyan (2.5) bt Robert Hovhannisyan (Rom, 1.5); Parham Maghsoodloo (Iri, 2) drew with N.R. Vignesh (2); Sreeja Seshadri (2) drew with Alexander Fier (Bra, 2). M. Karthikeyan (2.5) bt Neelotpal Das (1.5).
Press Trust of India SOFIA
Lakshya Sen clinched the Eurasia Bulgarian Open men’s singles title after rallying to a hard-fought win over Croatia’s Zvonimir Durkinjak in the final here on Thursday. The junior World No.1, who celebrated his 16th birthday on Wednesday, overcame the second seed 18-21, 21-12, 21-17 in a 57minute match. Lakshya had beaten Sri Lanka’s Dinuka Karunaratna 21-19, 21-14 in the semifinals. “It is a creditable achievement for Lakshya. He had a good tournament. He beat the top seed Sam Parsons in the first round. “He is still a junior but he has been able to win tournaments and that is a good sign. “We had sent five players on a 10-day training trip with the French national team. He trained under the great Peter Gade and it has benefitted him,” said coach Vimal Kumar. “So if groomed properly, he does have a great future.
Super show: Lakshya Sen with his rewards after vanquishing Zvonimir Durkinjak, left, in the summit clash on Thursday. *
PICTURE COURTESY: OLYMPIC GOLD QUEST
“In two months time, he will be playing Vietnam Grand Prix and then it would be the junior World championship,” added Vimal. Last year, the Indian had
Anand and Kasparov bring up the rear The two lose their last rapid games; Aronian tops chart
won the India International Series and clinched a bronze at the CPB Badminton and Sports Science Training Center in Thailand.
Zidane leads nominees for FIFA coach prize Agence France-Presse
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane heads the list of 12 nominees for the FIFA men’s coach of the year award announced on Thursday. Other candidates include Antonio Conte, who led Chelsea to the English title, Manchester United’s Europa League-winning coach Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus. Zidane has enjoyed a glorious year in charge of Madrid as it successfully defended the European Cup — the first team to do so in the Champions League era. Real also won La Liga, the first time it had been champion of Spain and Europe in the same year since 1958. He has won seven trophies since succeeding Rafael Benitez as coach of Madrid in January last year, including the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup this month. The prize — one of a new set of awards organised by FIFA following their split with Ballon d’Or organisers France Football magazine — will be handed over in London on October 23.
Viswanathan Anand signed off with a loss, that resulted in Sergey Karjakin’s lone victory, and finished tied eighth with Garry Kasparov and David Navara after Levon Aronian topped the table in the rapid leg of the St. Louis rapid and blitz chess tournament here on Wednesday. Having brought up the rear in the 10-player event, Anand and Kasparov will be keen to gain ground when the action shifts to 18-round blitz. During the third day of the rapid leg, Anand easily drew with Vietnam’s Le Quang Liem and Fabiano Caruana but was severely punished for his only mistake by Karjakin. Kasparov was involved in three decisive games during the day. He gained from a blunder from Liem in the eighth round and won to make amends for falling to a tactical shot in a winning position against David Navara. However, in the final round, like Anand, Kasparov too lost, after facing Caruana. Aronian topped the table with an inspired performance on the final day. He started the day by beating
Best of the lot: Armenia’s Levon Aronian took the bragging rights at the end of the rapid leg. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
Karjakin, then drew with Hikaru Nakamura and returned to stay atop the points table with a muchneeded victory over Leinier Dominguez Perez. The results: Ninth round: Sergey Karjakin (Rus) bt Viswanathan Anand; Leinier Dominguez Perez (Cub) lost to Levon Aronian (Arm); Fabiano Caruana (USA) bt Garry Kasparov (Rus); Hikaru Nakamura (USA) bt Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus); Le Quang Liem (Vie) lost to David Navara (Cze). Eighth round: Anand drew with Caruana; Kasparov bt Liem; Aronian drew with Nakamura; Nepomniachtchi drew with
Karjakin; Navara lost to Perez. Seventh round: Liem drew with Anand; Kasparov lost to Navara; Caruana drew with Nepomniachtchi; Nakamura drew with Perez; Karjakin lost to Aronian. Final rapid standings (from nine rounds): 1. Aronian (6 points), 2-3. Caruana, Nakamura (5.5), 4. Nepomniachtchi (5), 5, Perez (4.5), 6-7. Liem, Karjakin (4), 8-10. Navara, Kasparov and Anand (3.5). Note: For the purpose of combined rankings of rapid and blitz games, the points scored in rapid games will be taken as 2 for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss).
Rashmmi transcends tragedy to triumph Shooter recovers from father’s death to strike Asian gold A. Joseph Antony Hyderabad
When the National Anthem played, Rashmmi Rathore put up a brave front. She’d just received the mixed doubles skeet gold medal with Mairaj Ahmed Khan in the Asian shotgun shooting championship at Astana, Kazakhstan. Ceremony over, she deserted the podium, heading for the closest corner. Pent up grief gave way to a torrent of tears. For the one she most longed to share that euphoria with was gone. Barely a month before, her father Capt. Y.S. Rathore had succumbed to a second heart attack. If Rashmmi’s mother Annie Mathew was the more prudent parent, chaperoning her to a career, her dad had veered towards valour. Chase your dreams, he’d seemed to suggest, spotting the spark if not her soft spot for the shotgun. Incidentally, he introduced her to the weapon, cautioning his only child against robbers lurking in the shadows of their Sainikpuri house. The Secunderabad suburb, that’s home to mostly retired army ofCM YK
Rashmmi Rathore. *
ficers, was almost jungle when her grandfather Lt. Col. R.S. Rathore built the bungalow. “I went into the championship with a heavy heart. As if at my departed dad’s prompting, I felt stronger each time I shot down a clay bird and my confidence soared,” recounted Rashmmi of her triumph in tragedy. The Hyderabad crack shot had defied the odds of very cold and windy weather, Mairaj’s encouragement adding motivation to come up trumps. She’d missed the national
camp at Delhi shortly after death stole her dad. “Knowing how much my success mattered to him, I’d begin practice as early as 6 a.m., thanks to Sports Authority of Telangana State (SATS) range Administrator Alexander Francis,” she said of her preparations for Kazakhstan’s capital. Fate’s hardly been kind to Rashmmi as has the firing fraternity been indifferent. She was forced to quit a lucrative accounting job in the Netherlands, when her father had the first cardiac arrest. With no financial support forthcoming from any quarter, her father sold his farm, his last source of income apart from an army pension. “My parents’ last fixed deposit will fund this year’s practice, equipment and ammunition,” says the fourtime National champion, uncertainty looming large over a future-imperfect career. “All along, prospective sponsors set the condition that I must win an international medal. Now that I’ve two — a team silver and the mixed doubles gold — I wish they’ll back me so that I can focus on my shooting,” she hopes.
The shortlist: Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus/ITA), Carlo Ancelotti (Bayern Munich/ GER), Antonio Conte (Chelsea/ENG), Luis Enrique (Barcelone/ESP), Pep Guardiola (Manchester City/ENG), Leonardo Jardim (Monaco/ FRA), Joachim Loew (Germany), Jose Mourinho (Manchester United/ENG), Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid/ ESP), Tite (Brazil), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid/ESP).
Akash in lead Sports Bureau Porpetto, Italy
Akash Saharan led with 49, following rounds of 24 and 25, in junior men’s trap on the opening day of the Junior Shotgun World Cup in Porpetto, Italy, on Thursday. He was followed by Vivaan Kapoor and Janmajai Singh Rathore with 46 and Lakshay on 45. Manavaditya Singh Rathore was struggling with 39 in a field of 71 shooters. There will be three more rounds on Friday, followed by the final for the top six. In the junior women’s trap, Nivetha Nenthirasigamani and Soumya Gupta shot 56 and missed the final by six points. Manisha Keer (53) and Kirti Gupta (51) placed 23rd and 32nd respectively. A ND-NDE
A befitting tribute The sitar and cello jugalbandi by Shubhendra and Saskia Rao and Swarnima Gosain’s vocal recital in memory of Kishori Amonkar, instilled faith in the vitality and endurance of Indian classical music Manjari Sinha DDDDDDDDDDDDD
AUGUST 18 AUDITORIUM 6.30 p.m.: On the first day of the Vishnu Digambar Jayanti, one of the oldest and most prestigious music festivals will feature vocal recital by Jayashree Patnekar with Vinay Mishra on harmonium and Bharat Kamat on tabla. This will be followed by sarod recital by Ayaan Ali Bangash who will be accompanied by Shubh Maharaj and Akbar Latif on tabla.
INDIA HABITAT CENTRE
AUGUST 18 STEIN AUDITORIUM 7 p.m.: IHC in collaboration with Ranjana’s Odissi Dance Academy will present “Saare Jahan Se Achha 2017” featuring Odissi by Ileana Citaristi and disciples followed by Kuchipudi by Vyjayanthi Kashi and disciples. This will be followed by Kathak by Uma Dogra and disciples and Bharatanatyam by Saroja Vaidyanathan and disciples.
INDIA INTERNATIONAL CENTRE
AUGUST 18 ANNEXE ART GALLERY 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: IIC will be holding a solo exhibition of black and white photographs by Bivas Bhattacharjee from Kolkata.
ALL INDIA FINE ARTS & CRAFT SOCIETY
AUGUST 18 GALLERY 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.: AIFACS will be holding a group art exhibition “Abhivyakti 2 - An Expression Beyond Canvas”. The participating artists include Rachana Saini, Rashmi Manchanda, Monica Handa Arora, Monica Singh and Simi Gujral among others.
Beyond the usual Art works by Shuchi Khanna
Sonorous voice Jayashree Patnekar
he ringing voice of late Gana Saraswati Kishori Amonkar still rings clear in the memory of music lovers. Many of the musicians both vocalists and instrumentalists are greatly inspired by her inimitable music. Many organisations still keep organising concerts as a tribute to her. Siddha recently presented “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, a classical concert in memory of Kishoriji, featuring Shubhendra and Saskia Rao, in a sitar and cello jugalbandi and Swarnima Gosain, her disciple, in Hindustani vocal, at the Stein auditorium, India Habitat Centre. A worthy disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar, Shubhendra is a renowned sitarist and a versatile composer. He is an acclaimed artiste of the present generation of musicians and Saskia Rao, the gifted Dutch cellist also happens to be his wife. Originally trained in Western music Saskia de Haas was attracted to Hindustani classical music when she met and listened to Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia teaching as a visiting professor at the Rotterdam conservatory in the Netherlands. She came to India in the ‘90s and studied under Dr. Sumati Mutatkar at the Delhi University. Subsequently, she was tutored by the Hindustani violinist Pandit D.K. Datar and Shubhendra Rao. Playing jugalbandi together with her Guru Shubhendra, she realised that they were made for each other and got married to him. This evening the couple presented a detailed alap-jodjhala exploring the intrinsic beauty of Yaman, one of the the most melodious evening ragas. This was followed with Vilambit and Drut Teen taal compositions in raga Kirwani. The excellent performance proved that a husband-wife jugalbandi is logically the finest musical dialogue, un-
Appropriate gesture Jugalbandi of Shubhendra Rao and Saskia Rao with Sarit Das on tabla; (below) Swarnima Gusain * SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
forced and natural. The duo complimented each other playing by the subtle chemistry of their understanding of the art and the level of each other’s musicianship. The ragas they played seemed planned meticulously, felt sensitively and delineated admirably as though aimed at bringing out their essence. It was a delight to listen to both of them sharing their pathways carefully separating and joining together in the initial alap and the following gatkari respectively. The brilliant tabla accompaniment by Sarit Das nourished the performance most unobtrusively.
pace, painting it with the subtle shades of Malhar. The alap badhat proceeded to the pleasing showers of a variety of taans with clarity and melodic appeal. The Chhota Khayal adorned with refreshing sargam and akar taans followed in Teen taal.
Guru’s instructions Swarnima shared the secret that her Guru Kishori Tai had herself advised her to go to Vidushi Girija Devi
where she is being groomed in Thumri style these days. The concluding presentation therefore was the Thumri Bhairavi “Nahak Laye Gavanvan...” rendered in authentic Purab Ang gayaki. She also sang a Meera Bhajan on popular demand. Both the instrumental and vocal concerts presented this evening as a tribute, instilled faith in the vitality and endurance of Indian classical music.
Sensitive rendering Swarnima Gosain took the stage thereafter and made the audience literally remember her departed Guru Vidushi Kishori Amonkar, with her sensitive rendering of raga Nat-Malhar that had notable clarity of intent and allure of the most evocative and attractive elements of her Guru. The Vilambit Khayal “Barkha Ritu...” set to Rupak taal of seven beats cycle saw Swarnima opening the raga in a reposeful manner at a leisurely
ALLIANCE FRANCAISE DE DELHI
AUGUST 19 GALERIE ROMAIN ROLLAND 6.30 p.m.: The solo exhibition “Transcending Thoughts” will display art works by the renowned artist Shuchi Khanna. The show is presented by VeVa Art.
AUGUST 19 AUDITORIUM 7 p.m.: Gopal Sharman’s “The Ramayana for our Times” based on Sharman’s theatrical masteripiece will be staged. Written and directed by Jalabala Vaidya, the performers include Jalabala Vaidya, Vikalp Mudgal, Nisa Shetty, Vidur Mohan, Dhruv Shetty, Pragya Priyadarshini and Yashna Shetty
Reflecting emotions Kanchan Chander’s show “Whispering Torsos” brings to fore a woman of substance The Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, has mounted a solo exhibition “Whispering Torsos” displaying art works by artist Kanchan Chander. A woman of today, Kanchan creates expression though her drawing and painting on canvases, paper, mixed media and installa-
tions to engage the viewers. The works in the show communicate the physical and mental being of a woman of substance which she carries in the aura of her personality with esteem. The torso is the most vital part that cages emotions, sensuality, sensitivity and probably is the most
attractive. Kanchan's torsos are headless and limbless, a deliberate exclusion to emphasise and treat the object as the subject thereby giving her the liberty to experiment with extensions and additions of other forms to the torso. The exhibition is on till August 23, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Theatre of relevance The Experimental Theatre Foundation’s two fine productions, “Garva” and “Anhad Naad”, directed by Manjul Bhardwaj raise voice against exploitation and market forces
Quintessential Odissi Pulsating with rhythm and expression, Nitisha Nanda’s solo performance was a combination of traditional pieces Ranee Kumar DDDDDDDDDDDDD
Seeking direct dialogue Artistes enacting a scene from “Garva”; (below) Manjul Bhardwaj * SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT Diwan Singh Bajeli DDDDDDDDDDDDD
n its pursuit of evolving a theatre of relevance, the Experimental Theatre Foundation (ETF) has completed its 25 years’ journey under the creative direction of writer and director Manjul Bhardwaj who defies the concept of conventional dramatic art. According to his artistic credo, theatre has nothing to do with entertainment and treats the concept of the fourth wall as the biggest impediment to the growth of theatre of relevance, seeking to establish a direct dialogue between the audience and the performers. It treats audience as the biggest creative force, seeking to expose existing political and moral values shaped by market economy which brings miseries to the masses. Breaking from the conventional theatrical art is a tall claim. In fact, new trends in the theatre are linked in one way or another to earlier traditions. Based in Mumbai, ETF brought its three productions to Delhi as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. It staged two plays at Muktadhara this past week to a packed hall mostly attended by those serious theatregoers who love to see experimental theatre. The Delhi event is organised by Smriti Raj. Foetal movements
The festival opened with the presentation of “Garva”. We watch foetus making movements in its mother's womb. It is in a dilemma whether to take
birth or not in a world where exploitation and vices prevail. The production shifts from one idea to another to illustrate its thesis that the world is being debased by dark forces. We hear references to the Mahabharata's characters like Bhishma, who did not raise his voice against injustice and Abhimanyu, who just listened about the martial art of Chakravyuh and because of his incomplete knowledge of this complicated war strategy, he got killed at the hands of the Kaurava warriors. The foetus reflects on a variety of facets of human life outside the womb of its mother. It resolves to come out of its mother's womb and combat dark forces to uphold its conviction about life which is after all beautiful. “Anhad Naad” with the subtitle “Unheard Sounds of Universe” is featured on the second evening of the festival. It makes an attempt to liberate artist and his creation from the decaying market forces. Writer-director Bhardwaj uses sketchy and unconnected images from soci-
ety and nature to inspire artists and create a high form of art. The production exhorts creative people to free themselves from the psyche of formless, aimless and chaotic crowd and listen to the fine, tender and life-affirming voice within and to the music of nature. With his will power and sensitivity, creative mind should resolve Shakespearean dilemma “To be, or not to be, that is the question”. Then the production shifts to another point to bring home its inspiring message to the artist. It talks about flowing river beginning from the rocky hills in the shape of a rivulet and gradually acquiring great dimension, finally merging with the vast sea. Like river, artists should not be cowed by social, political and economic obstacles. Then it refers to high sounding phrases like progressive, development and revolution, commenting that these are mere high sounding words meaning little. It ridicules the talk of development and asks whose development? To express his aesthetic idea, he declares “we are alive, let us celebrate it.”
Similar pattern As far as the structure of the script and the style of presentation are concerned, both the productions follow the same pattern. There is no such thing as storyline and character building. The language is highly Sanskritised. Verbosity and preachy tone are the main features of Bhard-
waj's theatrical craft. In fact, it appears that he has penchant for dialogue and wordy narrative. Before the show begins, he tells the audience about the concept of his theatre and why there is need for a relevant theatre. Again, after the show, he invites the members of the audience to the stage to comment on his productions. However, his form is visually fascinating. The performers create a variety of choreographic patterns. The movements are imbued with lyrical beauty, trying to interpret the high sounding dialogue, describing forest, sweet chirping and twitter of birds among the trees. Other significant aspects of productions are the subtle use of offstage sounds and lighting effects. Bhardwaj's productions are high on the presentational style which creates at places abstract image making viewing tedious. To make his Samvaad with the members of the audience Bhardwaj should impart certain amount of cohesiveness to his content rather than bombarding them with high sounding phrases. Viewed as a whole, all the five members of the cast — Ashwani Nandekar, Sayali Pavaskar, Komal Khamkar, Yogini Chauk and Tushar Mhaske — give fine performances. Together, they create beautiful poetic images. Though they are all Marathi speaking, they deliver Sanskritised Hindi dialogue in a flawless manner. Their voices are aptly modulated; we can hear even when they whisper.
t was Odissi with a difference. Sometimes old choreographies especially by genius like Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, if not tampered with, have a magnetic appeal that seems timeless. Nitisha Nanda’s solo performance revisited some of the traditional pieces of the legendary maestro under the able guidance of Sharon Lowen which was so refreshing to watch with its quaint beauty intact. The very first Mangalacharan itself was appealing simply because it was not the run-of-the-mill; it was on Lord Shiva — the raga Pahadi tuned by Raghunath Panigrahi found its sweetest expression in Gopinath Swain’s violin which traced the raga’s contours before handing over the stage to the dancer. Excellent footwork and gesticulations with graceful, fleeting movements set to a steady pace (within the confines of Odissi framework) that gathered momentum as the beat doubled and tripled marked Nitisha’s presentation. She drew the divine persona of the Lord of dance, now pleasant, now serene, now ferocious — at all times pulsating with rhythm in vivid expressions through mime and movement. Endowed with eyes and facial expression that spoke more than words could, the artiste breathed life into every piece she chose to present be it pure dance (sans song) or pure song! Pure dance set to mnemonics alone in raga Mohana was like the litmus test to her artistic propensity and she stood out carrying the most complex footwork patterns with ease and grace. Some of these were so impressive to watch since we hardly come across them in the mainstream Odissi! The dancer’s balancing power and her skill to use the stage space is something to write home about. The sculpturesque postures as she eulogises the deities Saraswati, Krishna and other temple frescos, were markedly defined and propped up by her facial expression (mukhabhinaya).
Contrasting emotions An Odissi recital can never be complete without an Ashtapadi or two and “Pashyati dishi dishi...” in Desh brought out Nitisha’s virtuosity on the abhinaya front to the fore. She was able to show contrasting emotional states of the nayika (Radha) that oscillate between dream and reality with clarity and conviction. Certain finesse in depicting details like decking herself with jhumkis and playfully touching them with a finger as if stirring them as the heroine looks at herself in the mirror; the ‘namaaz’ stances to underline the religion of the poet who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu/Krishna, fixing of the dice board prior to commencing the game — are where one feels the Kelucharan aesthetic touch for which he was well-known. By incorporating such finer touches with care, Nitisha made her performance rise to a newer realm. So were the depiction of the crocodile-tusker struggle (Gajendra Moksh episode) and the Draupadi disrobing executed to rhythm — done in brisk moves. The Moksh was a harmonious blend of dance and dedication of the art as a spiritual tool to ultimate peace. Prafulla Kumar Mangaraj on mardala, dancer Vishwanath Mangaraj on manjira and vocalist Sushanta Kumar complemented the dancer. The show under the aegis of Manasa and Tapaswini Nav Sadhna was staged at India International Centre.
Refreshing recital Nitisha Nanda * SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
The scale tilts towards the courtesan The ascetic is astounded — she has moved the Ganga with her power Growing up, I was familiar with the stories of women like Savitri, who were chaste, loyal and sacrificed everything for their families and husbands — cultural and traditional models to be venerated. But our lore of myths and stories conceal other stories — stories that offer different norms and ideals, and yet in our last generations we have pushed these stories under the carpet; some of these stories are uncomfortable to tell our children, or even, to tell ourselves. I came across one of these stories a few years back, in an anthology of world myths, a tale that it was claimed to have originated in India — but I had never come across such a story in my childhood. In this story, on the banks of the river Ganga, a lowly courtesan, named Bindumati, challenges a powerful yogi, who claims that truth is nothing without action.
Great Truth Bindumati claims that truth, by itself, is powerful enough to turn the waters of the Ganges backwards — and to prove her claims, recites mantras — and the river, starts to flow in reverse. The King, watching this feat, is astounded — astounded that a courtesan, a prostitute, a woman who lives outside the bounds of proper society, has so much power. What is the source of her power? Bindumati replies that she lives by the Great Truth — that she treats all those who come to her equally, without distinction, whether they be
princes or servants, tradesmen or thieves. There’s a similar thread to a play by the great king, innovator and architect, Mahendravarman Pallava, who elevated the dramatical farce to an art form. Despite being a builder and patron of the great temples in Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram, Mahendravarman had an iconoclastic streak; both plays that are attributed to him are an attack on the religious conventions of his time. In one play, Bhagavadajjuka, an ascetic exchanges souls with a courtesan who has just died; and it is in this exchange that the true nature of both can be discerned. The courtesan’s nature, now cast in the body of an ascetic, shines forth — she is generous, open of heart and desperately concerned for those whom she loves. In contrast, the ascetic, now in the body of the courtesan, is revealed by this contrast to be vain, pompous and condescending. The doctrine of non-attachment has been interpreted to mean to be non-attached to the senses and sensuousness; but this is misleading, the playwright seems to suggest, one can be attached to the mind, to knowledge, to doctrine; and this, too, can lead to ignorance. The play ends with both the ascetic and the courtesan being returned to their original bodies, and Yama’s agent, who had come to pronounce death on the courtesan, realises that he has made a mistake — and she is restored to life.
A view of the Freemasons Hall, Chennai
In Search of Music
Masons, music and Madras Freemasons of Chennai celebrated the tercentenary of its apex body with works of Mozart Sriram V DDDDDDDDDDDDD
The writer is the author of ‘The Mahabharatha - A Child’s View,’ ‘Sita’s Ramayana’ and ‘The Missing Queen’
The United Grand Lodge of England, the apex body for English Freemasonry all over the world is presently celebrating its tercentenary. As part of the same, the 18 Masonic Lodges that come under the District Grand Lodge of Madras of English Freemasons held a music performance by the Madras Chamber Orchestra. The bill of fare was largely dedicated to the works of Mozart, arguably the most famous among the musicians who were also Freemasons. The venue chosen – The Museum Theatre, was rather appropriate. This architectural masterpiece stands along with the Museum and the Connemara Public Library on land once occupied by the Pantheon, the principal assembly and meeting rooms in Madras for much of the 18th century. And that is why the road alongside is still known as Pantheon Road. Almost from its inception, the Pantheon became the centre for Freemasonry in our city. The movement itself had taken root here in 1752 when the Lodge Madras in the East Indies was founded, with its meeting room being in Fort St George. The oldest Lodge in existence in South India today is Perfect Unanimity (PU), warranted in 1787. The formation of PU itself was an occasion for music, for there are records of the Masons marching around the venue thrice, to the accompaniment of a band. The funeral of Col. Joseph Moorhouse is recorded in detail. That was in 1791 and we get to know that the Masons acted as pallbearers and took the body to their Temple (meeting hall), which stood where the St Andrew’s Kirk now is. Thereafter, to the accompani-
ment of music, the remains were transferred to St Mary’s Church in Fort St George. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was inducted as an Apprentice Mason on December 14, 1784, into the Lodge Beneficience, at Vienna. He rose in the order, becoming Journeyman in 1785 and finally a Master Mason a few months later. He was a regular attendee of events at his Lodge and also that of another – True Concord. He composed a considerable amount of Masonic music.
Masonic music His cantata The Mason’s Joy (K.471) and Masonic Funeral Music (K.477/479a) are but two of several pieces. It is significant that two of the greatest influences on Mozart, his father Leopold and the composer Joseph Haydn were both inducted into Freemasonry after him and probably at his insistence. Haydn too composed music for Freemasonry, his first such commission being for six symphonies to be performed at the Lodge Olympique in Paris. When Mozart died in 1791, a Masonic meeting eulogised him thus – “Half Europe revered him, the great called him their darling, and we, we called him our Brother.” Coming back to Madras, it is noteworthy that the 19th century saw much music being performed for Masonic events. The laying of the foundation stone for Presidency College, on February 6, 1867 by Lord Napier, the Governor and an ardent Freemason, was one such. The architect, R.F. Chisholm was a Mason too and was then the Worshipful Master of Lodge PU, which was celebrating its centenary. It is, therefore, no wonder that most Lodges had a position for Organist among their office-bearers.
The 19th century was, however, a time when Freemasonry in Madras was in fairly straitened circumstances and so music was provided by means of a harmonium, or at most an upright piano. The Lodge Anchor of Hope in the Nilgiris, however, had a unique tradition that is still followed – bagpipes being played. Music reached its apogee when the Freemasons built their magnificent Hall on Commander-in-Chief (now Ethiraj) Road in the 1920s. The larger Temple in the building had a 100 pipe organ. The keyboard was set in the thickness of the wall so that the organist could sit within the organ chamber and play. Rosewood grilles around the opening to the organ chamber were an integral part of the decorations of the larger Temple. But in recent years, music as a part of Masonic ceremony has been forgotten, though it is used like a filler in the background when there is a lull in the proceedings. The office of Organist is a mere formality and as for the Organ, it was done away with during a restoration in recent years. A few music score sheets are all that remain. Mozart would not have approved. The recent music event featured among other pieces the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, a work that is said to be full of Masonic symbolism. Conducted by Bernard Wacheux, the orchestra had violins, viola, cello and bass beside the flute and the recorder. Malavika Shankar was the soprano. It was an exquisite experience and may it inspire Masons of our city to bring back music into their ceremonial. The author is passionate about Chennai history and Carnatic music and has several books to his credit
ishwarya Shankar was only two-and-a-halfyears old when her rendition of ‘Himagiri Thanaye’ caught her father’s attention. A veena student himself, he took her to Indira Renganathan, an association that laid a strong vocal foundation in the next fourteen years. “I was equally interested in academics. But after completing school, I decided to pursue music,” says Aishwarya. Exposed to the stage through Kolkata’s Tyagaraja utsavams and a small church concert in London, Chennai’s sabha culture was alien to her. She entered the Sangeetha Sri music competition organised by Tiruchi’s R.R. Sabha and emerged winner. At this stage, her teacher decided that she could go in for advanced training under Suguna Varadachari.
A boon Concurrently receiving admission to the Bachelor of Music course at Queen Mary’s proved a boon. But the winning spree continued with Aishwarya sweeping the competitions at the Music Academy, Narada Gana Sabha and the Mylapore Fine Arts Club. She thanks Guru Suguna Varadachari for all the success. “Learning from her has been a blessing,” says Aishwarya. It taught her the value of self-worth, discipline and intense practice. She felt rewarded when the veteran
gave her the opportunity to accompany her at the Music Academy concert in 2010. With this performance Aishwarya made her Margazhi debut. “Although it wasn’t my solo debut, it was the perfect way to enter the December Season.” There has been no looking back since. Presenting her first solo Season’s concert at Ragasudha Hall in 2011, Aishwarya continued to grow both as a performing and academic musician. Competitions continued to challenge her. She composed, presented, and won Carnatica’s first Pallavi Darbar competition held last year. Aishwarya is pursuing a doctorate in music at Queen Mary’s College. According to Aishwarya, the potential of the art form is limitless, both for those who have studied it for years and for those who have just got started. “As students, we have to learn as well as contribute in whatever way possible. Personally, I feel that the best way to contribute is to offer a platform to youngsters — people like me who came to Chennai with music as the only aim.” As a part of the Indira Renganathan Trust, she takes on the role of an organiser as well — arranging concerts for the Trust’s music series, Sunaadalahiri. For Aishwarya, it is a salutation to the teacher who initiated her into the art, groomed her and showed her the path ahead.
It is possible to positively revise the programmes in a way that leads to health and happiness A.G. Mohan and Ganesh Mohan DDDDDDDDDDDDD
What is yoga? Yoga is updating your mental software. If you update your mental software, you will have happiness and peace. If you don’t update it, you will be a mess. Patanjali, the great sage, who synthesised the yoga sutras two thousand years ago, summarised in them the essence of yoga. Millions of people around the world are now engaged in various practices that go by the name of “yoga.” Students in sleepy hamlets as well as in bustling cities are experiencing the benefits of yoga. Many including thousands of yoga students think of yoga as simply a series of stretching exercises. It has even become a competitive “sport!” And many others consider it a method of relaxation. Some think that it is an alternative treatment for physical diseases and mental disorders. Still others view it as a way to tap into esoteric or “secret” knowledge. And certain critics of yoga view it as a set of cultic religious practices.
Timeless concept In its uncorrupted state, yoga is not an abstract concept such as “happiness” that can mean different things to different individuals. Its purpose is not a matter of opinion, whim, or personal preference. Its basic objectives are not — and should never be — subject to revision, reinterpretation, or updating. They are timeless and ageless. Yoga is the means to update our mental software. Actually, our mental software is continually being updated by the experiences in our lives. These automatic updates are out of our control. Sometimes they result in improvements; sometimes they degrade the system. Fortunately, it is possible to intentionally and positively revise our mental and physical programs in a way that leads to health and happiness. This is the possibility — and the promise — of yoga. Our unconscious mental software updates are based on this universal wish: I want to live happily forever. By ‘I’ we mean our body and mind. By ‘happily,’ we mean in such a way that we get what we want, that we experience pleasure and avoid pain. By ‘forever,’ we mean an unchanging, everlasting continuum of pleasure. The search for happiness begins in infancy and leads to endless cycle of pleasure and pain throughout our lives. For example, an infant feels the pangs of hunger and cries. When she is nursed by her
As our minds keep changing, we are likely to experience cycles of happiness and unhappiness throughout our lives mother she stops crying and becomes happy again. Another instance, a child covets his playmate’s new toy. The playmate will not share the toy, so the child becomes unhappy. When the child’s parents buy him the toy, he is happy. A teenager longs to have a new racing motorbike and when he gets one he is happy. An adult dislikes his job and is unhappy. When he is hired for his “dream job,” he becomes happy. An older adult wishes to live closer to her family. When her son invites her to live with his family, she becomes happy. An American student of mine told me that when he was a young man, his father gave him this prescription for a happy life: “By the age of thirty five, you should have two houses — one in the city and one in the country — two kids, two cars, and a million dollars in the bank.” My student said that he had actually achieved all of those things by the age of thirty five, but, because of other changes in his life, he did not have lasting happiness. But things can, and do, change in our lives. The child’s new toy breaks. The teenager’s bike gets damaged. The adult loses his dream job. The older adult can no longer climb the stairs to her bedroom in her son’s house. All of these are external changes that in-
terrupt happiness. Coupled with this are the internal changes that interrupt happiness. The mind changes, too. The child loses interest in the toy and wants another. The teenager becomes tired of the old bike and wants a new model. The adult loses interest in his career and wants a more exciting one. The older adult convinces herself that her family is ignoring her needs. Absence of change can also lead to unhappiness. How happy would a parent be if his two-year-old child remained two years old for several years? Everything in the material world changes. And this fundamental fact — that everything in the external world is always changing in one way or another — suggests that there will always be a cycle of happiness and unhappiness for us. Likewise, because our minds are always changing, we are likely to experience cycles of happiness and unhappiness throughout our lives. But this does not have to be so. External circumstances are partially, and often totally, out of our control. But internal changes are within our control. To accomplish this, though, it is important to know what we are dealing with when we speak of “mind.” Yoga gives us this understanding and provides the means to steady our minds. We can be less affected by these cycles of pleasure and pain by steadying our mind. This is yoga. A.G. Mohan, a disciple of the legendary T. Krishnamacharya, is the author fo several book son yoga. Dr. Ganesh Mohan, a yoga practitioner from childhood, specialises in integrative health
With sky as the canopy The dawn-to-dusk ‘Incredible India’ fest at Houston, Texas, will showcase the diversity that makes the country so unique S. Jayanti DDDDDDDDDDDDD
inston Churchill said, “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.” It is perhaps this love that inspires and motivates Samskriti, a non-profit arts organisation, to showcase Incredible India, a cultural extravaganza that celebrates India every year on the occasion of its Independence. This popular event is presented in association with the Consulate General of India in Houston and funded by the Texas Commission on the Arts and the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board. The spirit of Independence is best conveyed through arts. And in
PHOTOS BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
a culturally-rich country like India, national sentiments have been beautifully expressed by poets, musicians, dancers and theatre artistes. So a festival that celebrates this has to be diverse in its expression, the premise on which Samskriti is curated. Talking about this annual event, Hon. Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India in Houston says, “The Indian diaspora in Houston is a very successful one, which represents the best of India in many ways. It is a matter of great importance that it retains the links with its heritage and anything that is done in that direction is something we wish to encourage. And that is why we are happy to support Samskriti and what better occasion than the 70th anniversary of our Independance. The Indian Government is proud to
be associated with this organisation and whatever we can do we will continue to do.” Freedom is looking beyond divides and boundaries; Incredible India focuses on the sound of oneness. Each year, the festival strives to come up with performances that establishes a link between the past and the present. So there are classical dances, classical with a contemporary touch performances and folk ensembles. Spread over 7.5 acres, Miller Outdoor Theatre makes a perfect venue for an event of this magnitude. It can accommodate more than 10,000 spectators and provide reserved seating for 1,700. Entrance is free for all shows and people come to enjoy the show and also picnic on the hill which is a tradition.
The Indian diaspora in Houston is represents the best of India in many ways. It is a matter of great importance that it retains the links with its heritage
Designed originally like an amphitheatre by William Ward Watkin in 1922, the refurbished space was opened in 1998 and is among prestigious performance venues in the U.S. With an eight-month busy schedule of events, the theatre offers the experience of sitting under the sky and enjoying concerts. Cissy Segall Davis, managing director of Miller Outdoor Theatre says, “Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. and the Miller Theatre Advisory Board strives to create a series of free high-quality productions that are representative of the many communities that live in the city. We have awarded grants to Indian Performing Arts, Samskriti, for many years. Rathna Kumar has produced and presented a number of shows
that have brought the incredible beauty, colour and cultural heritage of the many states of India to this stage, sharing them with the entire Houston community. They are making the performing and cultural arts of India available to all, regardless of age, ethnicity, socio-economic status and ability to pay. This is a wonderful gift.”
Financial support According to Sanchali Basu, president of Samskriti, Miller Theatre Advisory Board’s continued financial support has helped Samskriti reach larger audiences beyond the Indian community. “It is encouraging to have several local Indian organisations come forward to partner and support this event in different ways. The active participation of cultural organisations and dance companies from Houston and other states gives Samskriti the impetus to create a beautiful tapestry of Indian classical dance and music year after year. The wonderful feeling of solidarity that we all share motivates us to do better every year.” This year’s line-up is as diverse as it has been over the years. Anjali Center for performing arts is a beehive of activity with rehearsals in
full progress and dancers involved in preparations for the show on August 19. Rathna Kumar, artistic director, takes a break to share her enthusiasm and involvement and talk about her curating Incredible India. “This is the 11th year in succession that we are conducting this show at the Miller Outdoor Theatre and it always draws huge crowds. The idea behind it is to show the non-Indian population of Houston how truly incredible India’s cultural heritage is, how timeless are her classical music and dances and how vibrant her folk arts are. Each year we select a theme to highlight certain aspects. One year, we took the audience on an imaginary train journey with ‘A Passage through India’, making the different regions come alive through their folk dances. Last year, we celebrated the harmonious coming together of East and West by having Americans performing Indian themes. Our culture is so vast and varied that we are able to come up with interesting new concepts. The theme for this year is ‘Unity through Diversity’ and we have been working hard to create a line up thaat will reflect the theme’s essence. I feel that juxtaposing various classical dance
forms of India will bring greater awareness about the diversity that makes each one so distinct and beautiful.”
Cultural tour The ‘Unit in Diversity’ theme will embark on a dawn to dusk tour from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The programme will commence with suryanamaskar and yogasanas, primary energy forces for well being. This will be performed by Venugopal Josyula, Vijay Kumar and Vasanth Kumar, students of the Narasimhacharis from Chennai. The classical dance artistes are from the Houston branch of Aruna Mohanty’s Odissi Academy, Shivangini School of Kathak and Anjali Center for Performing Arts. Kalari, the vibrant martial art of Kerala, will be demonstrated by Vasanth Kumar. A multilingual thematic presentation on integration with representation of 15 Indian states through their culture and language has been choreographed by Rathna for this occasion. The dance will be enhanced with visuals of natural and architectural splendour associated with each State. The show will end with ‘Vande Mataram’, a glorious salutation to Mother India.
atna Kumar, artistic director of Samskriti festival has the line up ready for next year. “The plan has to be submitted a year in advance. So my work is a seamless sourcing of artistes,” she adds. “And the viewers love what we offer. Samskriti comes up with something new every year. For 2018, Ratna has invited troupes from Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. “Samskriti will showcase the strong bond among Asian countries in terms of culture,” she says. Ratna’s Anjali Centre (1975) was the first to be set up in Texas and one of the first in the U.S. Apart from Padmini Ramachandran’s dance school, there was very little for the Indians in terms of art, especially in Houston. “I belong to Chennai, the cultural hub, and couldn’t accept the vacuum. Thus was born Anjali,” laughs Ratna. But Samskriti is not about her school. It is a pan-India spectacle. From Pt. Birju Maharaj and Balamuralikrishna to Padma Subrahmanyam and Lalgudi Jayaraman, the cream has come under the Miller Theatre spotlight. Also theatre persons such as Lillete Dubey. Ratna was on the advisory board of the Miller Outdoor Theatre and fell in love with it. “So when I was asked whether I wanted to continue after my term of three years, I said I wanted to be up there, performing. And Samskriti was started in 1994,” says Ratna, who managed to put Poikkal Kudirai and Karagattam on stage. The show is as much for Indians as for the Americans. “Children born and raised here need to experience the diversity of our culture. What better way than to make a visual presentation in one of the most gorgeous spaces — the Miller Outdoor Theatre,” says Ratna.
Bringing out the nuances Ashwini Bhide, Shruti Sadolikar and Shubra Guha
The romance of thumri The finale of Purab Anga Gayaki Utsav will showcase the essence of this style Meena Banerjee DDDDDDDDDDDDD
ho can forget Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s hauntingly melodious ‘Aaye na balam’ or ‘Yaad piya ki aaye’. His singing epitomised the romance of thumri, an aspect of Hindustani music that was not celebrated as much as khayal. But not so any longer. It’s that time of the year when the spotlight will be turned on thumri when the popular Purab Anga Gayaki Utsav (PAGU) will be held. The festival will bring together musicians who will focus on the nuances of this beautiful style of singing that talks of love and relationship. Vinod Kapur, the man behind the event, says, ‘Initially, almost all the stalwarts refused my request to sing thumris on stage. I am happy today that the fest features eminent names such as Pt Rajan Sajan Mishra, Pt Chhannulal Mishra and many oth-
Khayal breaks free of its composition after establishing its mood and moves towards the intangible depths of the raga, while thumri stays grounded on the lyrics and etches varied moods Girija Devi
ers. This year we have Ashwini Bhide, Shruti Sadolikar and Shubra Guha apart from the semi-finalists of Girija Devi Puraskar.” “Ammi (Begum Akhtar) had predicted,” says Rita Ganguly, thumri/ ghazal exponent and one of the fest jury, “that thumri will mesmerise everyone one day. How correct she was! Then why not give thumri due respect as an independent classical genre? Why not remove the ‘Mishra’ epithet from ragas and why not authenticate all its varied singing styles other than just Purab?” This festival may or may not be able to bridge the love-hate relationship between the classical and light classical; but it is an effort to revive thumri’ that is served as dessert after the main course of khayals. Ironically, even Vidushi Girija Devi, the queen of Purab Ang Gayaki of Benaras, offers khayals as (rather lacklustre) preamble. Maybe because not long ago thumri was the entertaining art practised only by courtesans. As a result, thumri was not considered purely classical and never entered the concert arena. With lack of patronage and support, it was on the verge of extinction. Girija Devi, who will perform on the last day of the festival , further clarifies, “Khayal breaks free of its composition after establishing its mood and moves towards the intangible depths of the raga, while thumri stays grounded on the lyrics and etches varied moods. This earthy quality of thumri is closer to life despite its deep philosophy. The shorter span of its tala-cycles give it a lighter character. Then there is laggi, actually associated with dance but very special feature of thumri idiom. All these factors worked behind this ‘light classical’ tag and I am not in favour of changing the age-old tradition.”
Independent genre Ashwini Bhide Deshpande feels the same, “Since this genre evolved as dance-accompaniment, hence this ‘upa-shastriya’ label, I suppose. Thumri’s full potential as an independent genre was discovered
gradually. Whatever be the label, music remains either good or bad. Though my mother initiated me into khayal, I got attracted to my paternal aunt Sarala Bhide’s music, who was an eminent disciple of Vidushi Shobha Gurtu. Unfortunately, my aunt died very young; but she had recorded 200-250 thumris.While listening to those I realised the difference between Maharashtra’s NatyaSangeet and thumri despite the fact that both are lokabhimukhi (entertaining) genre and grounded on abhinaya (drama element).” Another Maharashtra-based Jaipur gharana exponent Shruti Sadolikar Katkar says, “Mere liye gaana pahle, bhaasha baad mein (I sang first, spoke later)”; and that she, as a twoyear old, would sing ‘Nahi mee bolat’, a NatyaSangeet set on a famous thumri ‘Hamse na bolo’; even before she was initiated to music by her renowned musician father, who would also participate in Marathi theatres as actor-singer-composer. “My father believed that while ‘classical music is ‘doodh’ (milk), light classical is ‘navneet’ (butter). I learnt a lot of thumri elements from him as he was active in Marathi theatre as actor, singer and composer. Neither my father nor his guruji discouraged me from singing thumri,” says Sadolikar. “Conversely, they made me listen to Begum Akhtar, Siddheshwari Devi, Rasoolan Bai; and I attended concerts of Girija Deviji at a time when her long braided hair were jet black! My involvement with Haveli Sangeet opened new vistas and when I first sang ‘Ab ke sawan ghar aaja’ at a Kolkata concert in 1977, it was hugely appreciated.” Kolkata’s Subhra Guha does not hail from a musical family but since Bengal is steeped in a heady blend of melodies of varied genres, her Agra Gharana musical sensibilities did not clash with any. “In fact exposure to an idiom like thumri nourishes one’s singing,” she says. “Dhrupad maestro Ustad Aminuddin Dagar had a fantastic collection of khayals and thumris that he
would sing with finest possible harkat and murkis. They all learnt thumri to decode the nuances of musical language.” Quoting Manna Dey’s immortal number she threw a question, “Kawjona hriday diye gaaite jaane” (How many can sing through heart)! The answer is: learn and sing Purab Anga Gayaki with all its adayegi (art of expression). Apparently, these khayal virtuosos are ready to break the socio-cultural shackles which had earlier restricted the masters of dhrupad and khayal from singing thumris in public. Both as performers and as gurus, they find that it hugely enriches their vocalism by injecting romanticism in classicism with a barrage of emotions that rise from the singer’s heart and reach the ultimate destination – listeners’ hearts! (The finale of Purab Aanga Gayaki Utsav will be held in New Delhi at Godrej auditorium WWF, Lodhi Estate from August 25 to 27)
Ammi (Begum Akhtar) had predicted that thumri will mesmerise everyone one day. How correct she was! Then why not give thumri due respect as an independent classical genre? Rita Ganguly
Many shades of freedom Celebrating 70 years of Independence, New Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art is hosting an exhibition that seeks to awaken our political consciousness Uma Nair DDDDDDDDDDDDD
‘The Universe has come out of Ananda (supernal delight),’ says the Upanishad. This delight includes and transcends all joys and sorrows in NGMA Delhi’s ‘ Quest for Freedom’. Adwaita Gadanayak, Director General NGMA, wanted to celebrate 70 years of Independence with works that breathed the nationalist spirit and fervour. Paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures give us images that awaken our political consciousness at large.
Nandalal Bose’s temperas The New Wing at the NGMA boasts of a series of Nandalal temperas that bring alive the past. “ Nandalal and his associates produced around 400 posters for the Congress convention at Haripura, held in February 1938, ” reflects Gadanayak . “ These posters were all produced on handmade paper with pigments ground from local earth and stones, and mounted on straw boards; none were printed or massproduced,” he affirms. They depict genre scenes within arched niches, and these appear like windows into vignettes of Indian village life. To imagine that they are executed in 1937; commissioned by Gandhi for the Indian National Congress Party meeting 1938, Haripura – these are a benchmark in Indian history. An esraj player, a veena player, women doing their chores, Nandalal brings an authenticity and sincerity through his choice of materials and techniques, underlying devotional motivations, and by ensuring its quality as non-derivative from Western models. The best pair of works are a woman milking a cow and a monk at a potter’s wheel. The fluidity of contours and the weaving in of colour tones in the images that personify the rural idyll are a lesson in the roots of modernism.
Reflecting nationalism (clockwise from above) Nandalal Bose’s “Milking of Cow”, V. Ram Sutar’s sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi, M.R. Acharekar’s sketch of Katta Bommon, who was captured and hanged publically, Kulwant Roy’s photograph showing Jawaharlal Nehru being given a send-off by the ladies at Willingdon Airport, now known as Safdarjung Airport, sculpture of Rabindranath Tagore by Ramkinkar Baij Of great candour and natur- chieftain Veerapandiya KatArchival images ality are Gandhi stepping off tabomman hanging from the Associated Press Chief pho- a third-class railway car- branch of a tree and a host tographer Kulwant Roy’s im- riage, Sardar Patel speaking of people looking up at him. ages revel in the proximity to the dwindling royalty of Acharekar, who belonged he had to India’s nationalist India with a smirk on his to the film world, is known leaders and also shows his face, and the many images to have explored new areas passion for capturing mo- of the handsome Caesarian of expression like photoments that were both iconic nosed Nehru. Obviously Roy graphy and lithography. He as well as full of the milk of had a yen for what consti- started a lithopress in Bomhuman kindness and tuted the ‘ decisive moment bay and was noted for his compassion. ’ and he knew how to seize brilliant career with an early Of course, Gandhi in dif- it to give us images of mo- success at various exhibiferent moods and different mentousness and tions at home and abroad. places is a fascinating matrix immortality. While he was a great porof moments but there are trait artist, it is the collective some more rare images that Drawings of Freedom aura of unity that makes catch your gaze. The Maha- Movement these drawings worthy of raja of Kapurthala and A series of pencil studies by scrutiny. Sardar Patel are a picture of M.R.Achrekar give us a earnest conversation. Ima- glimpse of 100 years of the Expressionist sculptures gine an age when there were Indian Freedom Struggle At the entrance of the show no zoom lenses, nor the and tell us about the shades is sculptor Ram Sutar’s mosophistication of light of extremism in the face of numental bust of Mahatma meters, or even flashes and exploitation. The drawings Gandhi. Known for his mocontact sheets to facilitate are like a dramatic mono- numental image of the perfect shots –everything logue of upheaval and great seated Gandhi in front of the was just for the fraction of unrest and the anguish of Parliament, this bust is a the moment. death and destruction. A brilliant example of the But Roy took riveting drawing of great poignancy power of a portrait. The photographs of his subjects. and deep angst is that of sculpture captures Gandhi’s
lustrous moustache, his eyes his eloquent lips and his monarch like forehead. The work is the epitome of the spirit of freedom of India’s impassionate representative for satyagraha and ahimsa. Yet another Gandhi image is a small image of a walking minstrel by the Polish Fredda Brilliant. Then there is Ram Kinkar’s famous small maquette of Gandhi’s Dandi with a skull at his feet. It is an exemplary evocation of a man who created his own path through his ideology. However, it is Ram Kinkar’s cement portrait of Rabindranath Tagore with his head held in a downward gaze lost in thought that is the piece de resistance – the diversity of the material and the textured terrain visible in the furrowed forehead and brows draw attention to the animated expressionist surface. The downward gaze adds to the temporal and contemplative qualities that speak to us about Ram Kinkar’s response to the pictorialism of a portrait. This bust is an exercise in reverence, it personifies Tagore as Gurudev – the thinker, the poet, the radical and the story teller. Look deeper there isn’t any exuberant praise expressed by the sculptor Ramkinkar Baij, who was then at the height of his artistry, but it does reveal to us the primordial role awarded to the human body in his oeuvre, far beyond simple questions of anatomical accuracy. There is also Sankho Chaudhry’s Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan a portrait that stands as an example of the source of inspiration in which Sankho combined an ideal human strength of character with the integrity of nature. This mélange of works from the NGMA collection creates a resonance of the spirit of patriotism, fearlessness and myriad sacrifices within the mind and heart of the viewer. (The exhibition is on till September 17 and will travel to NGMA, Mumbai and Bengaluru.)
That fragrance of soil... The ninth IHC Lok Sangeet Sammelan presented an extensive repertoire of folk music of Uttar Pradesh which needs to be preserved, promoted and documented Anuradha Vellat DDDDDDDDDDDDD
olk music enjoys a special position in the hearts of Indian music aficionados. From learning from it, deriving from it and appreciating music in its most natural form, folk music seams together our cultural heritage in endless ways. And bringing together a number of styles and cultures from the folk music of Uttar Pradesh was the ninth IHC Lok Sangeet Sammelan, curated by renowned singer Shubha Mudgal. Khazane Lok Sangeet Ke – as it was titled – showcased intrinsic lyrics coupled with mesmerising tunes in lively ragas and talas, wherein the audience got to witness performances from an extensive repertoire, some of which date back to over a century . Speaking about the hierarchies of music in India, especially the classical versus folk debate, Mudgal says, “I personally do not believe in hierarchies in the arts, but there are some who would insist that the classical arts are the most evolved of high arts. I do not subscribe to this view
even though I am myself a student of Hindustani classical music. I believe lok sangeet forms an important, very beautiful and rich segment of the many forms of music in India, and like other forms of music, it is dynamic and changing constantly with the times. People in different parts of India have been persevering for decades to preserve, promote and document folk music.” The selections this year were precisely ones that have been preserved by the two eminent enthusiasts, scholars and conservators - Pandit Radhavallabh Chaturvedi and Dr Suresh Chandvankar. On day one, Shweta Deshpande sang compositions from Chaturvedi's “Oonchi Atariya Rang Bhari”, a book that contains a variety of folk songs ranging from ones related to life cycle (sohar) to seasonal songs such as kajri and sawan. “Chaturvedi, an exponent of the folk music of Uttar Pradesh, compiled and notated dozens of compositions of folk songs for his book, which sadly, is now out of print. The book, therefore, is a valuable archive of compos-
itions. I made a selection of some of the compositions from my personal copy of his book, taught them to a group of young artistes, who then presented these at the festival,” says Mudgal.
Challenging role Mudgal adds that music events in India often end up repeating artistes due to lack of funds. But, playing a little with the themes and different repertoires enable curators to make concerts refreshing. She says that her role as a curator was both challenging and enriching. “Usually music events in India work around artistes and personalities. If you have the funds, you call the most celebrated names in a particular area of specialisation. If you don’t have the funds, you go with younger, lesser known names. This often leads to a repetition of both artistes and repertoire. However, if you work with a theme and select exclusive repertoire, I believe it may be possible to present music events with a slightly fresh approach.” “I must hasten to add here that I am by no means sug-
Effortless performance Indrani Mukherjee
gesting that the regular festivals or events that feature classical music, or Bhakti Sangeet, or other arts like dance for that matter, are in any way, passe. To the contrary, they have proved that focusing on a theme like bhakti, for example, can be extremely successful both in terms of presenting varied expressions and artistes as well as attracting large audiences. Folk music in India is so diverse that it would be impossible for me to curate all kinds of folk music, simply because I do not know enough. I, therefore, restricted myself to the folk music of Uttar Pradesh, with which I have some degree of familiarity.” Day two of the festival saw the eminent vocalist from Kolkata, Indrani Mukherjee, render seasonal song forms
such as hori, chaiti, kajri, jhoola etc., from the thumridadra repertoire illustrating the overlaps between folk and classical arts. Mukherjee's archival references came from 78 RPM recordings of the late-19th-early-20th centuries, preserved by Dr Chandvankar of the Society of Indian Record Collectors. These recordings were by people like Gauhar Jan, Janki Bai and Malka Jan. Before Indrani's renditions, an excerpt from each of the selected tracks were played. Mukherjee subtly brought together two eras in her singing. Having learnt taalim from her grandfather Sanjib Banerjee and later from Pandit AT Kanan, Vidushi Purnima Choudhury and presently from Vidushi Manju Sundaram, Mukherjee's onstage ardour came efforlessly.
Step into the Past
A slice of Kongu culture The banks of the Bhavani and the Noyyal in Tamil Nadu have retained the flavours of a different era Pradeep Chakravarthy DDDDDDDDDDDDD
‘Kongu’ — the very word denotes, in Tamil, freshness, honey, fertility and green. Kongu Nadu is all that. Completely off the tourist trail, the area is rich in history; we have Palaeolithic burial sites along the Bhavani and Noyyal and evidence of a flourishing international trade. It is said that the Togas that Romans wore, went from here. Thagadur in Sangam literature also refers to this region. Despite its rich history, the region is relatively lessendowed with temples, notwithstanding the important seven dedicated to Siva. For our heritage tour, we chose Pollachi for the grand zamindar palaces and the coconut plantations along the river. Arisil Kizhar in his poem mentions the cowherds of Kongu Nadu and they continue to be passionate about their native breeds especially the Kangeyam
bulls. Traditional poems talk of Kongu Nadu being bordered by the Talaimalai hills in the North, Velliyangiri in the West, Kulitalai in the East and the Palani hills in the South. Owing to its proximity to both Kerala and Karnataka, the region had rulers from both areas. Till the ninth century, the Cheras were the dominant rulers followed by the Cholas, and the Vijayanagar kings from 1348-1565, when the stunning Taramangalam temple was developed. Tipu ravaged the region in the 17th-18th century after which the British supported the zamindars. Kongu Nadu and the zamindars help one understand the ancient Velir (local chieftain) system, which prevailed here for much longer than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. Their palaces are not open to public and access is extremely limited but worth the effort because they are not only immaculately
maintained but also for the old-world charm and hospitality.
In Kerala style The sylvan surroundings of Coconut Lagoon were ideal for starting the day. Our first stop was Samathur. The oldest part of the palace is 700 years old. The low tiled roofs had quaint iron pendants in peepul tree leaf shape at regular intervals — unique to this region. The craftsmanship of the doors in Kerala style indicate frequent travel of artisans across the borders. The floors were swept clean with cowdung and perhaps, a hint of turmeric and one did not spot a single fly. The granaries were large wooden structures with complex opening mechanisms and reminded one of the many references to similar structures in the Sangam poems set in this region. Within the palace were several old family photographs , showing
Preserved The palace at Samathur
beautiful jewellery, weapons, palanquins and other symbols of royal living. The woodwork in the first floor balconey with elephant carvings added to the oldworld splendour. We had a taste of farm fresh sugarcane juice and a small helping of padhaneer (toddy to which lime is added to stop the fermentation process). Moving on to the Uthukuli estate, we were regaled with the story of how the zamin was founded. In 1235, Lingayyan was born in Vellodu near Erode. He became a chieftain under the Pandya kings. He
constructed a canal on the Bhavani before it joins the Cauvery to bring water to the Poonthurai region. The canal was complete with great difficulty by 1282 on the fifth day of the Tamil month of Thai. The canal weaves in and out to increase the drainage area in the region and remains in use even today, to the amazement of experts. In a supreme act of sacrifice, the chieftain moved away to allow the farmers to use the area. In Uthukuli, he struck water and restarted his life . We were given a royal welcome at the Agathur
She says that the experience of working with folk songs from a bygone era added to her own vocabulary. She chose a few from the 14 tracks provided from Dr Chandvankar's collection. She was accompanied on the instruments by Vinay Mishra (harmonium), Vinod Lele (tabla) and Bharat Bhushan Goswami (sarangi). “The bol is not khari. It has words and lyrics in Bhojpuri, Mirzapuri, Awadhi etc., which are not common. The fragrance of these songs are different and when you stylise and modify them, the lyrics play a very important role. They were often short, sometimes sung with dance pieces, sometimes for their patrons, etc., so the atmosphere itself was different. People who composed them did not think so much about the words as much as they thought about the literature itself. The literature is extremely refined and rare,” says Mukherjee. Mudgal says that as a theme, she does not know whether this is going to be accepted. “I am unable to predict whether or not audiences will accept a theme or concert idea such as this. But I believe in the power of music, and am glad that both performances were well received.” As an audience, one can definitely say that the theme as well as the music were exhilarating, at the same time, unique.
Amman temple. It is small but beautifully planned with many open areas and pillared verandas. Devoid of sculptures except for those of a few ancestors, it gives us an insight into how ancient temples would have looked. A local palm leaf artiste delighted us with his toymaking skills. A sumptuous lunch at the palace was a traditional spread, including — corn pongal and kollu masiyal. Coconut water and sweets made of lentils were served too. The palace stands out for its Indo-Saracenic architecture , shingled roof and magnificent collection of weapons and old hunting photographs. We also visited the elegantly designed Shenbaga Vilasam, a part of the Samathur estate, now run as a homestay that is replete with exquisite antiques. We watched a performance by an all-male kolattam group. The estate boasts of several native bulls that appeared strong and majestic. Afternoon, we had planned a trip to Perur, where the temple has the first recorded reference to ‘Koyam Pudur,’ but had to give it a miss due to time constraints. ([email protected] gmail.com)
Be wonder-full Author and clinical neurologist, Raymond Tallis suggests a change in the way we view things, will make us more caring and respectful Sudhamahi Regunathan DDDDDDDDDDDDD
LIFE IN THE TEMPLE TOWN “Shiva Moves On” by Harry Peronious is a collection of photographs from the temple town of Gokarna. It is an outcome of a three-decade relationship with the place and its people DEEPA GANESH DDDDDDDDDDDDD
hiva Moves On -- In Gokarna, is a collection of photographs by Harry Peronious, taken over a period of three decades. He came to India in 1986 from Sweden, during the final lap of his specialisation in documentary photography. “I wanted something fascinating to focus on,” writes Harry, and then he found Gokarna and Kudle. “During my stay,” he continues, “I focused on photographing the people and everyday life scenes. I became friends with farmers in Kudle and priests in Gokarna. I also found new friends among barbers, farmers, doctors, teachers and ordinary people. I met a few Western and Indian visitors as well. The book depicts my fascination with Gokarna, and how it evolves and moves on.”
This is a short blurb on the back cover of the book: but for this, there is no information on how Harry landed in Gokarna and why he felt he should come back each time to take photographs of this temple town. The book, has lovely black and white photographs (from his early trips in the Eighties), and also telling colour pictures from the later years. The beach, the temple, the priests and the atmosphere of this temple town is the mainstay of the first part of the book. You find plenty of photographs of priests in the over 100 temples in Gokarna — in relation with God and the devotees. Harry is attracted to faces, and the manner in which they engage with their profession and surroundings. There are stunning pictures of people, capturing their personas as well: alongside is
small bits of information on who they are and what they do. The chariot, the festivity, people of various communities playing a role in the Car festival... all of these find a place in the book.
Geared for change The second part of the book is a record of how Gokarna, over the years, has geared for change. The huge influx of foreign visitors has quietly changed this otherwise laid back town. Upgraded barber shops, restaurants selling coco-cola, ice-cream and sandwich, internet cafes... have become a feature of the new Gokarna. Harry records all this in his book with great curiousity and wonderment. He documents most of these changes through the lives of people: for instance, the transformation of Maneshwara’s family -- these agricultural labourers now own a restaurant. Maneshwara, he writes, started a chai shop in 1995. He expanded it to the “German Bakery” in 1996, and now it is called Sunshine Cafe which also provides lodging. Adjacent to Sunshine Cafe is a popular yoga and meditation site, flocked by fir-
angs. The school in Kudle which started in 1990, the small number of students, its growth over the years, Harry’s enduring association with the families and the kids... all this forms the poignant part of the book. Without much ado, Harry captures the metamorphoses of human life, even is small places far from the cry of the madding crowd. The book could have, however, done with better notes. It not only lacks detail but also an editorial hand. To get in touch with Harry, write to [email protected]
o you wonder? Or just whisper those lines,”What is this life if full of care/There is no time to stand and stare”, unintelligible to many under-eighteens? Raymond Tallis suggests you stop to wonder. In his book “In Defence of Wonder”, the clinical neurologist and philosopher says that caught as we are in the “reductionists” way of looking at the world, we tend to see time as a single line and the Universe as a series of mathematical equations. Where is human experience? Tallis says, “...in an attempt to reducing everything to mathematics, they (scientists) are missing the essence of human experience and intuition...If you wonder it may make you more caring of things, you respect the complexity of things... we should always be in a state of wonder, that is we should be completely awe struck by the mystery and complexity of things...But, most often than not we are taking things for granted, there is a kind of staleness about things. There are also people who think wonder is a childish thing. There are others who think wonder is covered by religion or science.” If that explains your ennui in parts, he continues, “Wonder is a positive experience that can be shared...It is an end by itself. Philosophy is articulate wonder...the purpose of philosophy is to see how things hang together in the broader sense...it could come from wonder...Philosophy should begin with wonder, but we do not know where to begin...philosophy should be located somewhere between the inarticulate wonder of the child and the complex sentences and researches we have undertaken in time. And begin to wonder on the fact that I am...why am I here? Why there is something rather than nothing...”
Human welfare This kind of thinking seems to come from Talllis’s past as a doctor about which he says that we tend to reduce illness to its symptoms...and forget the people who are coping with the illness...when we understand the people, we do justice to them. So while reductionism has its uses, particularly while choosing the medication, human welfare is more than just medicine or the illness itself.” Tallis encourages us to think thoughts that have not been “thunk”, “I am trying to make sense of the paradox of time: where is yesterday? What is the future? Why does half an hour seem so short and two hours so long?...I am interested in rescuing time from the jaws of physics, in particular to put living time at the centre of lived time...” Tallis believes that the arts and literature also play a role in helping us wonder and asking the right questions. So we come to the engaging conundrum philosophers revel in: What is the question? The answer can wait for we may not have it, but have we understood our question? Can we “untake” what we take for granted? I wonder.
Blast From The Past mala is considered the best of the southern queens and why she alone had the distinction of ruling the Tamil, Telugu and Hindi cinema concurrently for over a decade and why she was hailed as the first “female superstar” of Indian screen!
Joy forever As the first female superstar of Hindi cinema turns 81 this week, let’s celebrate the irresistible charm of Vyjayanthimala Deepak Mahaan DDDDDDDDDDDDD
t almost seems the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten had actress Vyjayanthimala in his mind when he observed that “when virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the lustre of a beautiful woman is brighter than stars”. Endowed with an immaculate combination of beauty, brains and talent, Vyjayanthimala sparkled on screen with such exemplary grace that audiences yielded to her overwhelming appeal without a murmur. In an era dominated by the likes of Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nargis, Suchitra Sen, Waheeda Rehman, Mala Sinha and Nutan, she gave many outstanding performances that are still spoken and dissected. Her chutzpah, hour glass figure, fascinating eyes and arresting simplicity made Vyjayanthimala a heady combination of alluring charm with pious dignity! She could carry metropolitan sophistication as well as rustic innocence with equal ease while radiating a wide range of emotions to give substance to her numerous characters. Her impeccable dialogue delivery, next only to the inimitable Meena Ku-
mari, meant her class act could provide penetrative glimpses into a character’s personality and she could hold attention with her magnetic skills rather than lean on crutches of glamour.
Director’s delight Her roles in “Nagin”, “Devdas”, “Naya Daur”, “Paigham”, “Sadhana”. “Madhumati”, “Gunga Jamuna”, “Leader”, “Sangam”, “Amrapali”, “Sangharsh”, “Jewel Thief ” and several other films compel ovation for her guts and conviction. Despite her south Indian lineage, her modulation of Hindi and Urdu dialogues were near flawless thus lending her portrayals a remarkable credibility on screen. Director Lekh Tandon asserts, “Vyjayanthimala’s forte was becoming a character rather than acting out a character.” Tandon, who directed her in “Amrapali” and “Prince”, confides Vyjayanthimala was a director’s delight who would never quit till the director’s vision had been achieved. He admits, “If ‘Amrapali’ is a cult film, it is thanks largely to Vyjayanthimala who brought the courtesan alive with her phenomenal talent.”
Charming persona Vyjayanthimala * HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES
This unremitting attitude for perfection is visible in most of her performances. Would you believe that Chandramukhi in “Devdas” was enacted by her at the age of 19 and that she subsequently refused the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress award because she considered herself as the parallel heroine! It is obvious why Bimal Roy took her help again to carve “Madhumati” as an unforgettable cinematic saga of suspense and super natural. Similarly, if “Gunga Jumna” is deemed an all time classic entertainer, it is in large
measure due to Vyjayanthimala’s histrionics as well as Bhojpuri diction that are as good as Dilip Kumar’s and which help provide viewers with immortal moments of pastoral romance, revelry, humour and anguish. Matching Dilip Kumar's prowess is a significant pointer to her mettle since Bhojpuri was an alien dialect for her and she had to take lessons to learn the same for the movie. That is why it isn’t too difficult to understand why, despite entry of many regional actresses in to Hindi cinema, till date Vyjayanthi-
Dancing diva Moreover, Vyjayanthimala was probably the only heroine of that era, except Waheeda Rehman, who could dance and dance extremely well. However, it is doubtful if anyone else could have provided the saucy and impish nuances of “Main Kaa Karun Raam Mujhe Buddha Mil Gaya” (“Sangam”) with such aplomb and oomph as Vyjayanthimala. Using her classical grounding to the hilt, she provided the appropriate “postures and gestures” without being loud, thus conveying the tiff, tease and ire of a miffed wife to perfection. There are scenes galore from various films where Vyjayanthimala brought forth gaiety, misery, happiness, rage or desperation with remarkable ease, making you wonder if there was anything which she could not emote? Rewind just a few scenes and you’d agree that Vyjayanthimala was amongst the best the world has seen on silver screen anywhere. Remember her mid street duel with Gunga (Dilip Kumar) in “Gunga Jamuna” for throwing off her bundle or her teary-eyed entreaties to Jamuna (Nasir Khan) that blow your guts apart? Even
her silent reactions, which experts say are most difficult to enact, are amazing spectacles of dexterity. Relive her expressions and eye movements in tandem with each word of Hasrat Jaipuri’s poetry “Ye Mera Prem Patra” from “Sangam”. It is her favourite song as per her confession but observe minutely how the poem is brought alive by her sensitivity on screen. Of course, Rafi Sahab, Shankar Jaikishan, Raj Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar have together created an outstanding melody but Vyjayanthimala’s fragrant impressions make it an unforgettable scene of tender romance for all times to come.
Graceful exit The solemn dignity that marked Vyjayanthimala’s screen journey continued to mark her personal domain also. Making a graceful exit from reel life after marriage, she never re-entered the arena much to the chagrin of her admirers. But in later years, after her husband’s demise, she did take up a Parliamentarian’s role for nearly fifteen years and apart from her social and political work, her dedicated services to Bharatanatyam earned her laurels as well as the revered Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. A mentor to several practitioners of dance in Chennai, Vyjayanthimala still remains a beautiful person whose cinematic contributions will provide generations of viewers with tons of joy and happiness forever.
Converting dreams into reality
Sushant Singh Rajput on why and how he pursed his acting ambition Aastha Kaur DDDDDDDDDDDDD
e literally started from a scratch to get into the tinsel town. Actor Sushant Singh Rajput tried every trick like being a dance student of Shiamak Davar to working in Ekta Kapoor’s serial to attract attention of filmmakers. With his flair for acting and being clear about his goals, the actor has shown his versatility right from his debut film “Kai Po Che!” to his last “Raabta”. Excerpts from an interview How was Sushant as a child? As a child, I was shy yet mischievous. I was academically bright, won National Olympiad in physics. I got enrolled for studying mechanical engineering at the Delhi College of Engineering, but dropped out in fourth year to follow my showbiz dreams.
On track Sushant Singh Rajput *
My family was supportive of my decision to pursue my passion for acting. My mother told me was that I want you to have a very good education – not because you will become an engineer or a doctor one day, but it will decide the way you think. She
always encouraged me to chase my dreams, follow my heart! You have played Dhoni and would now play an astronaut in ‘Chanda Mama Door Ke’. How difficult is character transition? The word difficult is very
subjective. If it is applied to something one does not like to do, then it is surely difficult. However, if we take the example of playing a videogame, if I like it and don’t know what is going to happen in the next level, it never seems difficult, rather interesting. The only reason we are excited about the next level is just because it is unknown. So, ‘not knowing’ what is going to happen, using your skill, and enjoying what you do is my secret. As long as the story and the character resonate with me, it is enough to keep me going. I am doing one film at a time, taking breaks in between, preparing for the next and giving my best to everything. I step up my game so that I continue to get the work I really want to do. It’s making me a better actor this way. What is your take on the
debate about insiders versus outsiders in Bollywood? Somebody who says it isn’t there is either very powerful or very ignorant. But I feel it is okay because I am an outsider and I am here just because of my hard work and talent. All the films I have done and the projects I am doing are the ones I really wanted to do. As an outsider if I can do it then anybody can. Any message for young souls? I was always told to answer all the questions asked by teachers as it is a way of measuring intelligence. However, my advice to you is that only answering questions limits your understanding, ask questions to gather better information and learn more. As a kid, I used to enjoy the evening play time with friends. The 1 ½ hours of play
time just went by, like in 5 minutes. My last 11 years in entertainment industry have also been just the same, because I truly enjoy my work. So, enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy! I want all you kids out there to ponder if you can be successful in things you don’t like, then think how successful you would be while doing things you really love to do. That would be success in its real essence. What made you become ambassador of Behtar India campaign launched by NDTV? It is an honour to be a part of a campaign of this magnitude. I truly believe that students are the future of our country and only they can help bring the right difference in the mindset of people regarding health, hygiene, and environment, the three main pillars of the campaign.
‘The attackers threatened to rape me’ JNU student recounts horror at Asola Wildlife Sanctuary, accuses Faridabad police of not cooperating Staff Reporter
was slapped and < > Iabused for being in
Girl strangulated by friend in Rohini NEW DELHI
A 17-year-old girl was allegedly killed by her friend on Wednesday in Rohini after the two got into an argument. The accused was arrested early on Thursday, the police said. “She had gone for class around 5 p.m. but we got worried when she didn’t return till 8 p.m.,” said her father. CITY
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Police on toes after bomb threat at HC NEW DELHI
The Delhi Police and several security agencies were on kept on their toes after the Police Control Room received a threat call regarding a bomb on the High Court premises. However, the call was declared a hoax after hours of search. A bomb disposal squad, quick response teams, fire tenders, and a SWAT team searched the premises. CITY
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L-G approves pay hike for Anganwadi workers NEW DELHI
Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal has approved the Delhi government's proposal to double the honorarium of Anganwadi workers, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Thursday. A Cabinet decision was taken last month to raise the allowances for the workers and helpers to ₹10,170 and ₹5,089, respectively. PTI
The female student of Jawaharlal Nehru University ( JNU), who along with her friends was allegedly attacked by a mob at the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary on August 14, said she was slapped and abused for “being in the company of men”. The accused also allegedly threatened to rape her. The student and her six male friends were returning from a picnic at the Bharadwaj Lake, located inside the sanctuary, when a group of eight to nine men allegedly attacked them.
‘Murder threats’ “I was slapped and abused for being in the company of men. Then, one of the accused dragged me to a temporary shelter, while another advised him to rape me,” recounted the woman. In the FIR registered with the Delhi Police, the woman said, “The men were constantly giving suggestions to each other to torture us. They were planning to tie us to a tree, cut us into pieces and throw us into the lake. One of the suggestions made by an attacker was to throw the men and keep the woman. For the first time in my life, I felt that I had only a few hours left to breathe.” The woman added that the attackers were constantly calling other men to come rape her. All this while, she said, her male friends were being beaten up and accused of being “Muslims” and “cow thieves”. The victim suffered injuries in her chest, abdomen,
the company of men. Then, one of the accused dragged me to a temporary shelter, while another advised him to rape me Victim
Nightmarish experience: Seven students were allegedly attacked by a group of eight to nine men at the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary on August 14. FILE PHOTO leg and knee and is currently admitted in a hospital. The students managed to escape when their cab driver along with two locals came to their rescue and took them to the Surajkund police station.
‘Police inaction’ The police, however, allegedly refused to file a complaint and made remarks at the woman’s character. “My character was questioned by the police officers. They made comments like “Tera kapda cheena huwa hai ya itna hi hai (were your
clothes taken away or were they short anyway)” and “Yeh free sex ka culture jail mein karwatey hai (we’ll show you how to indulge in free sex in jail).”
Apology letter She also claimed that she was force to write an apology letter that was dictated to her. One of the male students said, “The police constantly harassed us, adding to our nightmarish experience. It shames us to see how quickly and unpredictably such incidents could change your idea of
Why are adults becoming victims of Blue Whale Challenge, asks HC Court expresses concern over increase in suicides linked to cyber game
sensibility.” Later, the Delhi Police registered a zero FIR in the matter. “The students filed a complaint at the Vasant Kunj police station claiming that the Faridabad police did not listen to them. We have registered a case and it’ll be transferred to the police station concerned,” said Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Chinmoy Biswal. The case has been registered under Sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punish-
Nasscom proposes hotline to get tip-offs
ment for wrongful restraint), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC. Station House Officer, Surajkund police station, Inspector Pankaj Kumar, said the matter came to his notice on August 18 after the FIR was registered in Delhi and that the allegations would be verified. He said a couple of senior officers, including himself, were on leave the day the attack happened.
In trauma The incident, meanwhile, has left the woman traumatised. “The incident traumatised me to the extent that I am still in disbelief that it happened. Even when the cab driver and the two locals came to rescue me, I started doubting them,” she said.
Goel allotted land illegally, says AAP CM accuses DDA of favouring Minister Soumya Pillai New Delhi
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday hit out at the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for changing its layout plan to allocate land to an NGO that is closely associated with Union Minister Vijay Goel. Mr. Kejriwal tweeted that the DDA had been ignoring the Delhi government’s demand for land for setting up of mohalla clinics despite repeated requests. “It pains me dat Delhi Govt not being given land 4 setting moh clinics. Even Del Govt’s own land not being allowed for moh clinics n this..[sic],” the Chief Minister tweeted. He also provided a clipping of a media report which claimed that the land allocated to Mr. Goel’s NGO was originally meant for setting up of a post office.
Media report The report said that in January 2014, soon after Mr. Goel became a Rajya Sabha member, the NGO, Vaish Aggarwal Educational Society (VAES), in which Goel is shown to be the vice-president, and his son Siddhant and daughter Vidyun as members, sought land from the DDA to set up a toy bank in Derawal Nagar. AAP’s Delhi spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said a branch of the Aadharshila schools run by Mr. Goel’s NGO was adjacent to the DDA plot, which was supposed to have been allocated for the construction of
a post office. The NGO, however, has been eyeing the land to convert it into a playground for the school. “One of the gates of the school opens into this plot, which is completely developed and being used as a playground of the school. A scrutiny of DDA documents has revealed that all rules of land allocation were ignored while allotting this plot to the NGO,” Mr. Bharadwaj said. The media report said that the allotment request was cleared despite the lack of a valid sponsorship letter. “Instead of asking the VAES to provide a valid sponsorship letter, the DDA requested the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to ‘consider the application’ and furnish ‘sponsorship/recommendation for allotment of land’ in the prescribed format, adding that ‘this may please be treated as urgent’,” the media report read.
Requests in vain Mr. Bharadwaj alleged that despite repeatedly writing to the DDA and its the then chairperson Najeeb Jung asking for land to build mohalla clinics, no response had been received. The DDA is also yet to allot land for the construction of DTC bus depots, despite assuring the High Court and the National Green Tribunal in the matter, Mr. Bharadwaj said. The party also demanded that the BJP respond to the allegations.
IT body Nasscom and the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) have recommended setting up a hotline or web portal to receive tipoffs to identify sources of the deadly ‘Blue Whale’ game, which has been allegedly linked to the deaths of several children worldwide, including in India. “We have also reached out to the Ministry of Women and Child Development to issue alerts to parents, schools and colleges, and recommended that it activates a hotline or web portal to receive tip-offs to identify sources of the game,” Nasscom-DSCI said in a statement.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday questioned why adults were becoming victims of the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’. A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar said it could understand children getting influenced, but wondered why were adults getting involved in the game. “If an adult is told to do a task, why would he/she go and jump from a building?” it said, adding that “we are wondering why both children and adult are doing this”. The High Court, however, refrained from passing any order on the plea seeking directions to Internet companies to take down the links of the game. It said it wished to know whether the government had issued any prohibition order with regard to downloading of the game.
Hearing on Aug 22 The court also sought to know from the petitioner, advocate Gurmeet Singh, whether any such incident had happened in Delhi. It asked the petitioner whether any prohibition order could be passed and fixed the matter for further hearing on August 22. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Electronics and IT had directed the Internet majors — Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo — to immediately remove the links of the game. The petition also sought directions to the Delhi Police to appoint a five-member team to oversee whether the Internet companies complied with the court’s direction. CM YK
Advisory issued It added that an advisory has been issued for all stakeholders concerned to “annihilate the danger posed by this game. The infamous Internet game has administrators assigning dangerous tasks to players, including self-inflicting wounds on the body during a 50-day period. The players are asked to share photos after finishing every task.
Countdown begins: An artist from Kumartuli in West Bengal works on an idol of Goddess Durga at a workshop in New Delhi on Thursday ahead of Durga Puja festivities. SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY *
Three youths kill dog with bricks; act caught on CCTV Police register FIR following complaint by animal lovers Staff Reporter NEW DELHI
Watch out for erratic behaviour in kids Bindu Shajan Perappadan NEW DELHI
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued an appeal to parents and teachers asking them to watch out for abnormal behaviour in children, which could be linked to the deadly Blue Whale game. In a release issued on Thursday, the Commission
noted that several children across the country had apparently committed suicide after playing the game.
‘Duty of parents’ It said parents, teachers, students and all individuals concerned should keep a close watch on children who showed erratic behaviour, as the same might be the fallout of
playing the game. Psychologist Pallavi Joshi said children could be easily manipulated. “It is the duty of parents to teach their children the difference between right and wrong.”
Lurking danger The game is said to involve 50 challenges which are monitored by a curator online.
These daily tasks start off easy — such as listening to certain genres of music, waking up at odd hours and watching a horror movie—and then slowly escalate to self-mutilation and eventually suicide. Participants are expected to take photos of them undertaking the challenge and upload them as proofs for the curator’s approval.
In a disturbing video that has emerged on social media, three persons can be seen hitting a street dog with bricks and trying to put its body in a plastic bag in south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar in the small hours of Tuesday. The police registered a case after the video was brought to their notice.
Head smashed In the video (timed 4.04 a.m.), captured in a CCTV camera installed near the spot, three youths can be seen smashing the head of
the dog sleeping outside a house. First, a youth wearing black shorts and a t-shirt picks up a brick from the street and hits the dog. This is followed by another strike, this time by the second youth after which the dog seems to lose consciousness. The third youth, wearing a white t-shirt, then picks the dog and throws it in a narrow lane down the street. The three are then seen moving away from the spot, looking for a plastic bag. Meanwhile, a few people cross the street, giving the a suspecting look.
Nearly two minutes after hitting the dog, the three youths are seen bringing a plastic bag and walking towards the dog. A complaint regarding the video was filed by some animal lovers with the south district police. An FIR was registered on Thursday. “A case has been registered under Section 428 (mischief by killing or maiming animal) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960,” said Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Chinmoy Biswal. B ND-NDE
Focus on safe campus in NSUI Teenager collapses during school assembly, dies manifesto for DUSU elections
The only child, he was born years after his parents married
North Corporation seizes 150 kg of polythene bags
‘We want to address real issues instead of abstractions like national, anti-national’ Staff Reporter Staff Reporter
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation on Thursday seized carry bags weighing 150 kg from Azadpur Mandi in Civil Lines as part of its drive against the use of polythene bags. The National Green Tribunal had recently imposed a ban on use of polythene bags of thickness less than 50 microns. PTI
The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) on Thursday launched its manifesto for the upcoming Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections, scheduled to be held next month. The NSUI promised to fight the elections on real issues faced by students instead of addressing abstractions like “national” and “anti-national”. Promising to be a torch bearer of “democracy”, “freedom” and “transparency”, the NSUI alleged that ₹35 lakh of ₹41 lakh was spent by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad-led DUSU on miscellaneous expenditure over the past two years instead of tea, coffee and photocopy bills.
A 17-year-old student of Class XI collapsed during school assembly and died on Thursday morning. His postmortem has been conducted and the police are awaiting the report to ascertain the cause of death. Sonu Kumar collapsed during the assembly at Kendriya Vidyalaya in Gole Market around 7 a.m. He was rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
NGT seeks report on rainwater harvesting NEW DELHI
The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government and other agencies to submit a status report on whether government buildings, bridges and flyovers have rainwater harvesting systems and if they are functional. The counsel for the Delhi government, DDA and other authorities have been asked to submit the report before August 29. PTI
‘Prepare SOP for dust control at building sites’ NEW DELHI
Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday asked the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to prepare a standard operating procedure (SOP) for dust control at construction sites here in consultation with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) within two weeks. PTI
Budget allocation NSUI national president Fairoz Khan said budget allocation will be open to public scrutiny. If voted to power, Mr. Khan added, the NSUI will help create a safe environment by working closely with the police to create a secure campus and will ensure that re-enforcement agencies take action against perpetrators of violence. “We will raise issues with appropriate authorities and use the office of DUSU to track violent incidents that need institutional support,” AICC in-charge for NSUI Ru-
Fighting for change: The National Students’ Union of India released its manifesto for the DU Students’ Union elections, in New Delhi on Thursday. SANDEEP SAXENA *
chi Gupta said, adding that as a student organisation they cannot take up the role of policing but can ensure that proper procedure is followed when a case is reported.
party alone cannot change the way elections are fought. But we can bring in change by ensuring that pamphlets are not thrown around and actually read by students,” she said.
Campaign plan Ms. Gupta said the NSUI released the manifesto before the DUSU elections dates were announced as it plans to conduct a classroom-toclassroom campaign and reach out to every student individually. She said the NSUI would like to bring in a culture where DUSU elections are fought on the basis of issues and not muscle power. “The culture of DUSU elections is such that one
Misogyny on campus The NSUI said it wants to reach out to the more thoughtful students who usually stay away from the election process due to the use of money power and glamorous campaigns. The NSUI is also actively trying to encourage female voters to come out and vote against the ABPV. Ms. Gupta said, “We are going to run a campaign against misogyny on campus brought in by the APVP.”
Some of the issues the manifesto deals with include setting up of grievance redressal mechanisms, opposing privatisation of the varsity, fighting to make it accessible through fee rationalisation, and ensuring affordable paying guest accommodations and hostels. Mr. Khan said the NSUI plans to organise English classes for first-generation students from marginalised communities, and ensure equal exposure and opportunities for all DU colleges. Last year, the NSUI managed to win one of four seats in the DUSU panel — that of the joint secretary. The ABVP has been in power for the past four years.
Call from school “He woke up at 6 a.m., got ready and went to school. Around 7.30 a.m., his father Vishwamitra Prasad received a call from the school authorities stating that Sonu’s condition was serious and he was hospitalised,” said his uncle Manoj. Mr. Manoj said Sonu fell face down, broke a tooth and his nose was bleeding when he collapsed. The school authorities found Mr. Prasad’s number on Sonu’s identity card. “Inquest proceedings
Remembering S. Paul The veteran photographer died at 88 Staff Reporter
18% tax on recyclable items has hit business, livelihood Staff Reporter New Delhi
The implementation of 18% Goods and Service Tax (GST) on recyclable items has hit business for waste pickers. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Safai Sena, a collective of waste pickers in the Capital, has demanded that the tax on recyclable items be brought down. The letter stated that there has been an aggregate loss of 40% to 50% in the daily wages of the waste pickers, who were already struggling to make ends meet. After working for eight hours a waste picker earned between ₹300 and ₹400 on an average earlier, the letter read, adding that the daily income has now reduced to ₹180-₹200.
Swachh Bharat Mission “We are finding it hard to even put food on the table for our families, let alone other basic expenses like clothes or medicines,” they said. Under the GST regime, most recyclable items have been taxed at 18%, while some are taxed at 12%. This has led to recyclable items being sold in the market for the same price as brand new items, driving down demand
Issue of survival: Safai Sena, a collective of waste pickers in the Capital, has written to the Prime Minister FILE PHOTO: REUTERS *
are finding it < > We hard to even put food on the table for our families, let alone other basic expenses like clothes or medicines Safai Sena A collective of waste pickers in the Capital
and directly affecting the waste pickers’ daily income. “We are the true soldiers of the Swachh Bharat Mission that was launched by you [Mr. Modi], who are doing their jobs of maintaining the environment and health of the people. But this move by the government has marred the livelihoods of
over 15 lakh people who deal in scrap,” the letter read. Chitra Mukherjee, the head of programmes (operations) with NGO Chintan, said there is a major anomaly in the implementation of GST on recyclable goods. Since municipal solid waste stands exempt from GST, logically these goods too should be exempted. “If waste pickers are unable to recycle waste, it will lead to accumulation of waste over time. This will mean more waste in landfills and public spaces. This will further exacerbate pollution problems in a country already grappling with a pollution crisis,” she said.
“If I had to describe him in one word, it would be crazy,” said 76-year-old photographer Bhawan Singh, while remembering his colleague and friend S. Paul who passed away on Wednesday night. “He was crazy about photography. It was more than a job for him. It was his life,” Mr. Singh added. Late on Wednesday night, the world of Indian photography lost a gem. At 88 years, Paul Sahab, as he was lovingly known by colleagues, passed away after a bout of illness. He is the elder brother of veteran photographer Raghu Rai.
Fascinated by people “He would just take his camera and walk around the streets looking for stories. People used to fascinate him. More than the usual news stories, Paul Sahab, was interested in telling stories of the every day lives of people. Their struggles, aspirations, and dreams,” Mr. Singh recalled. Mr. Singh was with The Indian Express when Mr. Paul joined as photographer in the 1960s. What followed was the camaraderie of over a decade, which continued even after Mr. Singh moved to The Hindustan Times. Mr. Paul, however, stayed
Photographer Raghu Rai’s elder brother S. Paul passed away on Wednesday night. *
with The Indian Express till he retired in 1989. “I can confidently say that no one from our generation was as good as he was,” Mr. Singh added. Born in Jhang in Pakistan in 1929, Mr. Paul’s family moved to Shimla after Partition. A self-taught photographer, he discovered his passion for the camera as a teenager. Juniors in the industry fondly remember him as a selfless mentor ready to impart the tricks of the trade to anyone who came to him. “He would take photographers for photo walks and tell them about intricacies of angles and shots. Many in the industry looked up to him as their mentor,” said senior photojournalist Saraswati Chakravarty.
have been initiated. No foul play has come to the fore but the district police are questioning all those present in the assembly to investigate the death,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) B.K. Singh.
‘He was in good health’ According to the family, Sonu was in good health and never complained of any serious illness. “He was absolutely fine...We don’t understand how this happened,” said Mr. Manoj. According to him, Sonu was the only child of Mr.
Govt also needs to weed out unlicensed suppliers: AiMeD New Delhi
The Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) has welcomed the government’s move to cap prices of orthopaedic knee implants to ensure no profiteering and affordable access. “We, however, wish for a smooth transition for relabelling and a systemic correction of skewed market place that currently does not allow choice of brands to consumers and free market competition,” the group said in a statement.
Cost of procedure “The prices are reasonable and we are with the government. We believe this price cap will help every person in the country who needs implants. That said, without reduction in total procedure
cost by hospitals the move may not yield desired results,” said AiMeD forum coordinator Rajiv Nath.
Certified facilities Cautioning the government, Mr. Nath said the “government also needs to weed out unlicensed suppliers who do not have certified facilities and play its role as regulator — there are many such unlicensed manufacturers of orthopaedic implants functioning in India but only Maharashtra FDA has acted against them.” Beneficial for patients Dharminder Nagar, the managing director of Paras Healthcare, said the cap on knee implant prices will be beneficial for patients. “The cap on prices of knee replacement implants by the government is wel-
Staff Reporter New Delhi
A Bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar imposed penalty of ₹3 lakh each on Hotel Leela Venture Ltd., Fraser Suites, Royal Plaza and Mahagun Hotels Pvt Ltd.; ₹2 lakh each on Chhatarpur-based Radiance Motel and Golden Petal Hotel and Banquet; and ₹2.50 lakh on Park Inn for not complying with solid waste management rules.
The establishments were found defaulting in proper management of waste and sewage treatment.
pollution devices within four weeks, and ensure that the STPs function properly on a regular basis.
Fine amount The NGT has directed these establishments to submit 25% of the fine amount with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and rest with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). The NGT also asked the hotels to install sewage treatment plants (STPs) and anti-
Urgent steps needed Meanwhile, the green panel has asked the Delhi government to provide a list of all mass generators of waste, while noting that the problem of waste generation was being faced by the entire country and urgent steps were needed without “demur and default”.
Six-member team will start journey in early September to circumnavigate the globe; the voyage will culminate on their return in March next year A six-member all-woman team of the Indian Navy will set sail in early September to circumnavigate the globe on the sailing vessel, INSV Tarini. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-woman crew. Titled Navika Sagar Parikrama, the voyage will begin from Goa in the first week of September and culminate on their return in March next year. The distance will be covered in five legs, with stop overs at four ports — Fremantle (Australia), Lyttelton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands) and Cape Town (South Africa). “The Pacific leg between New Zealand and Falklands would be the longest one. Some of the roughest seas are in this stretch,” said LieuCM YK
tenant Commander Vartika Joshi, skipper of the vessel, in an interaction with the media. The other members of the team are Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P. Swathi, and Lieutenants S.Vijaya Devi, B.Aishwarya, and Payal Gupta. They were selected from about 20 volunteers.
Sources of entertainment “We will carry all sources of entertainment with us, books and DVDs to keep us occupied,” said Lt Cdr Joshi on ways to fight boredom on the high seas during the eight-month-long journey. As part of the safety measures, Navy has contacted the search and assistance regions across the globe and the team would update their locations periodically. “There are enough communication and emergency
systems on board to take care of any emergency. In addition all major Navies do patrols. Our aircraft on routine patrols would also swing by to pass over their location,” explained Vice-Admiral A-K- Chawla, Navy’s Chief of Personnel. INSV Tarini is a 55-foot sailing vessel, which has been built indigenously, and was inducted in the Navy early this year. On Wednesday, the team had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who asked them to project India’s capabilities and strengths across the world. He also encouraged them to write and share their experiences, after the successful completion of the voyage. In preparation for the big voyage, the team had sailed from Goa to Mauritius from May to July this year.
‘Provide incentive’ “Also, the government should make sure that healthcare providers — who are operating in areas that have no specialised care and have to deal with procurement of the implants, lack of vendors and making doctors available — are given some incentive. Providers who are actually bridging the gap and making healthcare affordable by making it accessible in the patients’ own city need to be given the status of a positive differentiator,” he said.
For not complying with solid waste management rules
Indian Navy’s all-woman team gets set to sail around the world NEW DELHI
come as it will make the procedure more affordable, and thus more and more people will be able to undergo such treatment,” Dr. Nagar said. However, he said there should be no impact of the decision on the quality.
Prasad, a Railways employee, and Jeera Devi. He was born several years after their marriage and was a pampered child. “He was born after years of prayers. Even if he caught a cold or got fever, his parents would take him to a doctor instead of giving medicine on their own,” said Mr. Manoj. Remembering Sonu, the uncle said he was a quiet boy who never fought with anyone. “He hardly spoke. We’ve never saw him quarrel with anyone and never received any complaints from the school either.”
Doctors, industry welcome move to cap knee implant prices Staff Reporter
Remove GST on recyclable items, waste pickers urge Modi
Sudden death: Sonu Kumar’s post-mortem has been conducted and the police are awaiting the report to ascertain the cause of death. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
UGC bats for grievance redressal mechanism Press Trust to India New Delhi
Bon voyage: The team includes Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, skipper of the vessel, Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P. Swathi, and Lieutenants S.Vijaya Devi, B.Aishwarya, and Payal Gupta. PTI *
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked universities in the country to put up noticeboards to ensure awareness about the establishment of grievance redressal mechanism and their students’ grievances portal. The universities have also been asked to ensure they have grievance redressal cells manned by a nodal officer. “All universities and higher educational institutions have been directed to have a notice or flex board fixed to ensure publicity/ awareness of the establishment of grievance redressal mechanism and UGC’s students grievances portal,” the UGC said in a communiqué to varsities. B ND-NDE
Girl strangulated by friend in Rohini Victim, a Class XII student, was killed over an argument; 18-year-old accused confesses to crime
She was a bright, studious girl: kin
Hemani Bhandari NEW DELHI
Cops get call threatening to harm Adityanath NEW DELHI
The Delhi Police on Wednesday informed UP police after receiving a call threatening to kill CM Yogi Adityanath. "The caller said you have only one hour to save Adityanath and then disconnected," the police said, adding the call turned out to be a hoax. PTI
Man held for trying to film woman on Metro NEW DELHI
A 40-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly trying to film a woman on his mobile phone on board a Metro train here, the police said. The incident was reported on Wednesday by a 25-year-old woman and the accused, Kumar, was later arrestedd. PTI
One held for cloning ATM cards, stealing cash NEW DELHI
A 37-year-old Ghana national was arrested for allegedly cloning debit cards and fraudulently withdrawing money from ATMs, the police said. The accused, Kingsley Boafo, was arrested on August 12 near an HDFC Bank ATM on Main Najafgarh Road in Uttam Nagar. PTI
A 17-year-old girl was allegedly killed by her friend on Wednesday night in Rohini Sector 17 after the two got into an argument. The accused was arrested early on Thursday, the police said. Parents of the victim, Shreya Sharma, who was a Class XII student at a public school in Rohini, started looking for her around 8 p.m. on Wednesday when she didn’t return home after tuitions. “She had gone for tuition around 5 p.m. but we got worried when she didn’t return till 8 p.m.,” said her father Yogesh Sharma, an assistant manager with a bank, standing outside the cremation ground.
Suspicious statements The father said Shreya didn’t pick up any of their calls. “After 8:15 p.m., the phone was switched off,” he said. Mr. Sharma then called her friend, the accused Sarthak Kapoor (18). “When I called him, it so happened that his mother picked up and she said his phone was switched off,” he said, adding that the statement made him suspicious. Sarthak’s mother allegedly told Mr. Sharma that they Sarthak is coming home, after which he went to the accused’s house in Rohini Sector 11. “Once there, I asked him if he knew where Shreya
Police on toes after bomb threat at HC Hoax call made from east Delhi
Accused allegedly troubled her at school Hemani Bhandari NEW DELHI
Tragic: The grieving family of Shreya Sharma, who was allegedly killed by her friend Sarthak Kapoor (inset). SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
was and he said he didn’t,” said Mr. Sharma. The father then reached the K.N Marg police station, taking the accused with him. “The police immediately suspected his involvement as he was constantly changing his statement,” he said. According to Mr. Sharma, who was at the police station through the night, the accused kept lying and dissuading the police and his parents supported him. “I am planning to file a complaint with the police against the parents. I suspect the boy told his parents about committing the crime and they were trying to save him,” he alleged.
Body found near home It has been learnt that the accused finally confessed to the crime around 4 a.m. The body was found barely on a narrow pathway a km from
the victim’s house “My mother-in-law sleeps in the room adjacent to the pathway but didn’t hear any sound of a fight,” said Jyoti Dahiya (35), who lived in the locality. DCP (Rohini) Rishi Pal said the accused told the police that he picked up Shreya around 5 p.m. “They reached a park in Sector 17 around 5:30 p.m. They went to a narrow lane nearby where a scuffle took place between them and he strangled her. Panicked, he left for home,” he said, adding they are probing the reason for the scuffle. Back home, sitting on the road inside a white-coloured tent, Shreya’s mother Lalita Sharma, a therapist at a Naturopathy institute, almost fainted and wished her daughter would come back alive. “They talk about miracles, why didn’t my daughter wake up..?” she said.
Shreya Sharma (17), the Class XII student who was allegedly strangled to death by her friend on Wednesday night, is fondly remembered by her relatives and neighbours as a girl who aced everything she participated in. “Bohot intelligent ladki thi. She was always studying,” said a 39-year-old neighbour who was present during the post-cremation ceremony near the victim’s residence. Shreya’s 10-year-old brother Kartik, who held a relative’s hand throughout the cremation, said: “Didi mujhe sums solve karne main help karti thi hamesha (she used to help me with my math problems).” Trying to hold back his tears as people expressed their condolences, the victim’s father Yogesh Sharma responded to everyone saying she was a bright child. “She had so many medals and certificates. She topped her Class X exams, came first in Yoga competition. She wouldn’t even tell us be-
High alert: Police officers were deployed after the call about a bomb on the HC premises. V. SUDERSHAN *
Staff Reporter NEW DELHI
Shreya Sharma fore participating in a competition, would only come back and tell us after winning,” he said.
Complaint to authorities Shreya was allegedly strangulated by her friend Sarthak Kapoor. The two used to go to the same school from where he graduated this year and was pursuing a computer course from a private college. The incident happened after the two got into an argument, said the police. Mr. Sharma claimed that the accused used to trouble her and often came outside her school for which he had complained to the school authorities as well.
The Delhi Police and several security agencies were on kept on their toes after the Police Control Room received a threat call regarding a bomb on the High Court premises. However, the call was declared a hoax after hours of search. The police received a call around 11 a.m. stating that a bomb will go off in the court after which a bomb disposal squad, quick response teams, fire tenders, dog squad and special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team and other security personnel rushed to the spot as part of the standard operating procedure during such incidents. Meanwhile, a team was
also tracing the number from which the call was received.
No contact with kin “Though the call was made from east Delhi’s Nand Nagri area, the number was traced to Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat. Teams were sent to the region but the family of the caller said that he hasn’t been in touch with them for over a month and a half,” said a senior police officer. After making the call, the phone was switched off immediately, said the police, but the court was put on high alert. The court proceedings were not affected, the officer said. The police have registered a case and are now looking for the culprit.
Man gets 10 years in jail for raping minor Convicted for sexual assault of 13-year-old girl inside factory, fined ₹11,000 Nirnimesh Kumar New Delhi
A Delhi court has sentenced a man to 10 years in jail for sexually assaulting a 13-yearold girl in a factory. The court convicted and sentenced Chhedi Paswan, saying “the prosecution has proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.” However, the court took a lenient view and awarded the minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment to him. “It is proved on record that the accused ad kidnapped the victim, wrong-
fully confined her for a night in a factory room and committed rape/penetrative sexual assault twice upon her,” Additional Sessions Judge Ashwani Kumar Sarpal said.
Forensic report The court also said the testimony of the victim was reliable, convincing and trustworthy and the forensic report also confirmed that the girl was subjected to sexual assault. Imposing a fine of ₹11,000 on the convict to be paid to
the victim, the court directed the Delhi Legal Service Authority to pay an appropriate compensation to the victim for the mental torture and agony she suffered. Victim’s mother had on February 11, 2013 lodged a missing person’s report stating that her daughter had gone to the market the previous day but had not returned home. During investigation, the police recovered the girl from the factory in front of her house. The girl told the court in her evidence that on the day
of incident, the accused took her to the factory saying that there was a call for her on his mobile phone. When she went there to attend the call, the accused misbehaved with her to which she objected and sought to leave. The man then gagged and raped her twice and left her in the factory room after wrapping her in a blanket. Due to suffocation, she fell unconscious and was rescued the next morning by her family members and the police.
Two held with ₹40-cr cocaine Press Trust of India New Delhi
Two African nationals, including a Tanzanian woman, have been arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) here after drugs worth ₹40 crore were allegedly seized from them, officials said on Thursday. Officials in the central anti-narcotics agency said the other person arrested in the case is a Nigerian man, identified as Augustin (33). They said the two were apprehended on Wednesday after the Delhi zonal unit of the NCB first nabbed the woman, Tanzanian national Beatrice K Ndyetabula (40), from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here.
Frisked at terminal They said the woman landed in Delhi from Mumbai and when she was intercepted and frisked in the terminal area, 27 ribbon rolls concealing 4-kg of cocaine powder were recovered from her hand baggage. She had arrived in Mumbai early on Wednesday from Kenya and the alleged drugs consignment was to be handed over to the Nigerian man in the Capital, they said.
DELHI TODAY Talk: Panel discussion on “The Facade of Growing Telecom Services in India” Panellists: Sunil Bajpai, Principal Advisor (IT) at TRAI; Rajan Mathews, Director General at Cellular Operators Association of India; Prof. Aaditeshwar Seth, IIT Delhi at Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre (IHC), 7 p.m. Talk: “Interpreting the past through Science” by Dr. V. N. Prabhakar, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India. Chair: B.M Pande at Conference Room - I, Main Building, India International Centre (IIC), 6:30 p.m. Music: Vishnu Digambar Jayanti Sangeet Samaroh 2017 music festival. Jayashree Patnekar (vocal); Vinay Mishra (harmonium); Bharat Kamat (tabla); Ayaan Ali Bangash (sarod); Shubh Maharaj (tabla) and Akbar Latif (tabla) at Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House, 6:30 p.m. Dance: Saare Jahan Se Achha 2017 - Odissi by Ileana Citaristi and disciples; Kuchipudi by Vyjayanthi Kashi and disciples; Kathak by Uma Dogra and disciples; Bharatanatyam by Saroja Vaidyanathan and disciples at The Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre (IHC), 7 p.m. Exhibition: Women During Partition: Courage, Compassion & Survival - Independence week special exhibition curated by Aanchal Malhotra at Convention Centre Foyer, India Habitat Centre (IHC), 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Exhibition: "Through my Eyes" - An all women group show will feature 4 talented artists, who will show case their painting, drawing, ceramic and terracotta creations at Shridharani Art Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam, 205, Tansen Marg, Mandi House, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Mail your listings for this column at [email protected])
Oppn attacks SDMC over staff crunch AAP, Cong hit out at BJP over rise in vector-borne diseases; say 600 positions vacant in Malaria dept. Soumya Pillai
‘Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali’ drive launched NEW DELHI
The Centre on Thursday launched a campaign to encourage children to combat pollution by not bursting firecrackers on Diwali. Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan launched the ‘Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali’ campaign under which activities to create awareness and encourage people to combat air pollution will be organised. PTI
28-year-old woman shot dead in Ghaziabad GHAZIABAD
A 28-year-old woman was allegedly shot dead on Thursday when she was seeing off a friend outside her house in Rajendra here, the police said. Rama Chakravarti alias Riya from Uttarakhand’s Rudrapur district suffered two bullet injuries. She died on the spot, they said. A youth shot at her and fled with his accomplice on a motorcycle. Her friend also left after the incident. PTI
Sentence quashed as man had no proper legal aid NEW DELHI
A Delhi court has set aside a two-year jail term awarded to a truck driver for mowing down a person over a decade ago, saying “prejudice” was caused as he did not have proper legal aid. Special Judge Savita Rao remanded the matter back to the magisterial court while allowing his appeal to crossexamine some prosecution witnesses. PTI
Staff Reporter GURUGRAM
Lack of basic facilities “The workers are not given basic facilities like proper wages and accidental and health insurance. How can we expect them to work efficiently without basic benefits,” said Mr. Matiala. The AAP councillor said that two months ago the corporation had sanctioned hand-held devices for the DBCs to maintain digital records of checking. However, he claimed, DBC workers in his area complained that a lot of these tablets were not
are not < > Workers given basic facilities like proper wages. How can we expect them to work efficiently without basic benefits? Ramesh Matiala Leader of Opposition
Rapid Metro commuters in Gurugram will now be able to book cabs from kiosks set up at three of its stations. The move, which looks to address the issue of last-mile connectivity in the Millennium City, comes after the Rapid Metro joined hands with Ola. The facility is expected to be extended to all Rapid Metro stations in six months.
Up in smoke: The Opposition attacked the BJP for non-availability of fogging machines in several wards during a discussion on vector-borne diseases. SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR *
working while many of them didn’t know how to operate them. The issue of vectorborne diseases was taken up for the half-an-hour discussion and the short notice by the House on Thursday.
Seeking efficiency The Congress, which criticised the BJP for non-availability of fogging machines in several wards, also alleged that in many areas DBCs were being appointed on the recommendation of local councillors, and that they
Narmada Andolan activist to be produced before court in Sept Nirnimesh Kumar New Delhi
Exemption was sought Earlier, the proxy counsel for the activist had sought exemption from personal appearance, stating that Ms. Patkar had been arrested by the Indore Police last week and sent to the Narmada jail. Mr. Saxena’s counsel, however, opposed the plea arguing that she had re-
Ola kiosks, zones set up at three stations
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is battling shortage of staff and equipment to control the spread of dengue and chikungunya, the Opposition alleged in the House on Thursday. Leader of Opposition, Aam Aadmi Party’s Ramesh Matiala, said that the number of dengue and chikungunya cases had hit a record high in the Capital because the civic body had just about 1,171 domestic breeding checkers (DBCs), which is way less than the requirement. He added that over 600 positions in the Malaria Department were lying vacant.
Production warrant against Patkar in cross-defamation case A Delhi court has issued a production warrant against Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar in cross-defamation cases filed by her and Khadi and Village Industries Commission chairman V.K. Saxena. Metropolitan Magistrate Ashok Kumar issued the warrant directing the Narmada jail authorities to produce her before the court on September 21, which is the next date of hearing.
Now book cabs from Rapid Metro stations
On August 3, the Magistrate had imposed ₹10,000 as cost on Medha Patkar for repeated failure to appear before the court. FILE PHOTO *
peatedly been absent from court proceedings. The counsel also apprised the court of the non-bailable warrant issued against Ms. Patkar and the imposition of a cost of ₹10,000 on her in the matter earlier. On August 3, the Magistrate had imposed ₹10,000 as cost on Ms. Patkar for her repeated failure to appear
before the court. He had also warned her that he would dismiss her complaint against Mr. Saxena if she failed to appear again. On June 26, the court had warned her to be careful and cancelled the non-bailable warrant issued against her on May 29 for non-appearance. Earlier, in January 2015, it had imposed ₹3,000 as cost on her. Mr. Saxena had filed the case against Ms. Patkar alleging that she had defamed him by stating that he had donated money to her trust through a cheque that was dishonoured by the bank. He denied having issued any cheque. Ms. Patkar had responded by filing a counter defamation case against Mr. Saxena alleging that he had made defamatory references vis-avis her in an article.
were not reporting for work. Congress councillor Ved Pal demanded that a mechanism be put in place for monitoring the workers. “For better efficiency, the DBCs should not be assigned duties in the ward they live in,” Mr. Pal said. He also said that door-todoor inspection was seasonal work with employees working for only three months in a year. Maximum efficiency should be ensured in this period, said the councillor.
Last-mile connectivity Rajiv Banga, MD & CEO (IL&FS Rail Ltd.), said, “The commuters will now have seamless last-mile connectivity to and from metro stations. Ola’s network will further ease the commuting experience for Rapid Metro users.” With this, Ola Kiosks and Ola Zones have come up at three stations — Vodafone Belvedere Towers, Sector 54 Chowk and Sector 55-56 Rapid Metro stations. The partnership will allow commuters to book cab with assistance from Ola representatives stationed at
After HC directions, AAP govt releases money to Delhi State Legal Services Authority New Delhi
The AAP government on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that it has disbursed ₹15 crore for payment of compensation to victims of sexual offences and other crimes like acid attacks. The submission by the government was made before a Bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and S. P. Garg, which had on August 11 directed it to release the
amount by Thursday to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA).
Cheque received: DSLSA The DSLSA, which processed the claims of victims, informed the court that a cheque for ₹15 crore was received on Wednesday. The Bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by it after the December 16, 2012, gang rape-cummurder case after which the
Delhi Victim Compensation Fund was created. The court has been giving directions in the matter from time to time with regard to improving investigation of crimes and protection of women in the Capital. On May 4 this year, the court had directed the government to disburse ₹10 crore within seven days for granting interim compensation to victims of sexual and other offences. It had also directed the
government to prepare a roster with regard to testing of DNA samples by forensic science laboratories (FSLs). On Thursday, the court noted that its direction with regard to the FSLs had not been complied with. It has now directed the Delhi government to file an affidavit indicating a year-wise record of DNA samples received by the two FSLs here and to ensure that the oldest ones are sent for testing first.
‘Public-private participation need to rejuvenate Najafgarh drain’ Minister addresses workshop on transforming the basin Ashok Kumar GURUGRAM
Water is of great concern to future generations and the government and private companies should come together to rejuvenate the Najafgarh basin, said Union Minister of State for Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh on Thursday. He was speaking at a workshop on ‘Transforming the Najafgarh Basin’, which aimed to identify challenges in rehabilitation of the basin and devise strategies to address the crisis. Various stakeholders were in attendance at the meet.
‘Re-use water’ The flooding of the DelhiGurgaon Expressway last year is seen as a fallout of the issues concerning the drain. Deputy Commissioner (Gurugram) Vinay Pratap Singh said, “It is important to manage water at the local level. Water should be re-used for irrigation, gardening or construction. CM YK
Flooding of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway last year was seen as a direct fallout of the issues concerning the drain. FILE PHOTO *
Public and private partnership is of immense importance; corporates should use their funds to rejuvenate water bodies.” Environment Secretary (Delhi) Keshav Chandra said urban planning was of utmost importance to avoid sewage being drained into water bodies. The need of the hour, he said, was watershed management. According to him, traditional village ponds should be taken care of. “After cleaning water bodies, it is important to create recreational value,” he added.
The workshop also saw interactive presentations that highlighted the critical urban water scenario of Gurugram. Chaired by former chairman of the Central Water Commission, A.B. Pandya, the presentations identified water-logging and water scarcity as issues that need to be tackled immediately. The second session was chaired by secretary general of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, Avinash Tyagi. The session began with Rajat Bhargava from Bombay Natural History Society drawing attention to the unique biodiversity of Najafgarh Jheel. The presentation by Suresh Babu, WWF director (Wet Lands & Rivers), deliberated on means to revive the Najafgarh basin. The workshop also saw the laying of a plan of action for rejuvenating the Najafgarh drain. It was moderated by Manu Bhatnagar from INTACH.
Easier commute The move is targeted at commuters who haven’t downloaded the Ola application or are not carrying mobile phones. It will also benefit those who are not comfortable booking cabs online, especially senior citizens. Saurabh Mishra, Director (Alliances) at Ola said, “Over the last one year, we have successfully set up Ola kiosks and zones at various public utilities like railway stations, airports and metro stations. Similar partnerships with South Western Railways and Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata Metro have proved successful. We have been able to facilitate last-mile connectivity and an integrated mobility experience for thousands of users. We hope to replicate the same experience for Rapid Metro commuters.”
Fast track: The facility is expected to be extended to all Rapid Metro stations in the next six months. FILE PHOTO
‘₹15 cr handed out for victims of sexual offences’ Press Trust of India
the kiosks. Further, Ola cabs will be parked at dedicated spots near or within the station premises, which will be called ‘Ola Zones’, to reduce waiting time.
Road oft travelled: Commuters walk past a man sitting under an umbrella on a foot overbridge near the Akshardham metro station on a humid Thursday afternoon. SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY *
141 ‘black spots’ identified Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Delhi government on Thursday decided to remove over 140 ‘black spots’ prone to accidents from the city’s roads in the next four months. The decision was taken during a meeting of the State Road Safety Council, which was reconstituted by the AAP government last month.
Corrective steps soon Talking to reporters, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said 141 black spots had been identified on the basis of three fatal accidents that occurred within a 500-metre radius of a particular stretch every year. “The council held its first meeting [on Thursday] where we decided to remove all 141 black spots in the next three to four months. All District Magistrates have been asked to identify more such spots under their jurisdiction and share the information with the PWD, the traffic police and other agencies concerned,” said Mr. Gahlot. He said corrective measures will be taken at the earliest. As per the government, there are certain accident-prone areas such as Shastri Park, which has 10 such black spots. Also, NH-8 (Rajokri) has the second highest number of black spots at nine, followed by eight each in ISBT Kashmere Gate, Peera Garhi, and seven in Majnu ka Tila among other areas.
Pre-flight breathalyser test rules not properly followed: HC Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that though pre-flight breathalyser tests were mandatory for flight and cabin crew under the Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR), the DGCA was not following these rules properly. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva has directed the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Air India (AI) to ensure this requirement is not circumvented in the future and, if necessary, to consider making amendments to the CAR.
The court was of the view that the tests were not being correctly followed by the DGCA as these were being held at the start of every flight cycle, which comprises several flights, instead of after every flight. It noted that this practice was being followed on the assumption that after the pre-flight test, before the first flight of the day, the pilots and crew would not leave the sterile area till the end of their duty. “According to safety regulations under the CAR, it is mandatory for flight and
cabin crew to be subjected to pre-flight breathalyser examination prior to each flight. This negates the submission of the respondent [DGCA] that pre-flight breathalyser examination is required to be taken only once during the flight cycle,” it said.
AI pilot under the lens The observations came on a plea by a pilots’ association, which had sought stringent action against a senior AI pilot, Captain Arvind Kathpalia, for missing a pre-flight breath analyser test in January this year.
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), in its plea, had contended that the senior pilot had flown a flight to Bengaluru from Delhi without taking the breathalyser test, and then operated the return flight too without taking the test. Thereafter, he made an ante-dated entry in the preflight medical register in Delhi after arriving here, the ICPA alleged. The DGCA had suspended the flying licence of the pilot for three months. The ICPA had contended that since pre-flight tests were missed
before both the flights to and from Bengaluru, the punishment of three months be enhanced to three years. The court, however, did not enhance this punishment as the DGCA had considered the two flights operated by the pilot as one flight cycle. It, however, took serious view of the senior pilot’s act of making an entry in the pre-flight test register, saying it “acquires serious proportions in view of the very purpose of CAR — to ensure flight safety and safety of passengers.” B ND-NDE
Actor-activist Dia Mirza on championing elephant corridors through Gaj Yatra
As Minissha Lamba becomes a professional poker player, the actress says her histrionic talent doesn’t help on the table
For quite some time now, actor Dia Mirza has played a role beyond the big screen; as a social activist, she has been actively involved in several campaigns to raise awareness about female foeticide, HIV-AIDS and animal protection. Recently, Dia, who is also the brand ambassador of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), launched Gaj Yatra on World Elephant Day (August 12). The initiative, partnered with International Fund for Animal Welfare, aims to talk about shrinking space for India’s wild Asian elephants and importance of securing ‘corridors’ – safe passages of transit – pivotal to the survival of the estimated 30,000 pachyderms in the country. In the wild, elephants are necessary for the selective clearing of forests, for seed dispersal and providing access to water by digging holes during drought. “The Gaj Yatra is not merely about security and protecting 101 elephant corridors, but taking our heritage animal, which has a special place in our culture and is worshipped too, to the people,” says Dia. “Besides engaging Government, nongovernment agencies and corporates, we must involve people and help them fall in love with the animal. I strongly believe that what we love, we will protect.”
Missing from screen for some time now, Minissha Lamba is busy honing her skills in poker. Minissha, who has been appointed the professional poker player of Adda52.com, India’s largest poker website, started playing poker initially as a modest hobby during one of her vacations with friends. The game’s unpredictability pushed the actress to out-do the game and now she calls it a passion, which she luckily follows professionally. She has been playing poker for the last seven years and has made appearances in many tournaments in Goa, Indian Poker Championship and most recently the WPT 500 Aria Poker Tournament in Las Vegas. Talking about her experience in the ‘Poker Capital’ of the world, Minissha says that the tournament saw a contingent of players from across the globe and was an overwhelming experience to play alongside professional poker players. Minissha who moved from acting to poker, loves the game for its non-banality and need of mental agility. She says that the game requires Belief in action: Dia Mirza is the face of the campaign for protecting elephants
tion was possible because of the great work done by the people on the ground but (Amitabh) Bachchan too played a great role. He managed to take the message and convince every Indian because of his star status. His voice made a big difference.” Gaj Yatra will move through over 25 cities, towns and villages in 12 elephant range States, including Uttarakhand, Odisha, Assam, Karnataka and Kerala among others. It will stage concerts, parades, street plays and activities for children. “The yatra will identify grassroots champions, forest department personnel and
NGOs, working to create awareness and mitigating the man-animal conflict. The aim is to acknowledge and recognise their work,” says Dia. With so much on her plate, will Dia stay away from acting and producing films? “No, next year I will be seen in Rajkumar Hirani-directed Sunjay Dutt biopic besides which I am currently involved in other digital, TV and cinema projects and also producing three films.” Tough indeed! “I am able to balance my work and social commitments well,” she replies with a twinkle in her eyes.
A book for baby and me
that the original did not have. “I have almost doubled the number of chapters. I have added more explanations. One of the chapters is devoted entirely to women who have fibroids and get pregnant. It is a common problem that is not usually addressed. A completely new addition is boxes with real-life questions that mothers ask during pregnancy. Many women have told me that they feel happy with the explanations, and also that they are not the only ones with those doubts!” she says. Most of the additions are based on feedback from readers, as well as on frequent queries that Dr Arjun had come across in her years of practice. A book, after all, provides a wider reach than a doctor can physically attain. “The book answers so many questions that couples forget to ask their obstetrician, or are too scared to ask,” she points out. Dr Arjun also emphasises on the role of the father both during and after a pregnancy, and is part of a school of doctors who insist that both parents be present in the delivery room. She notes
how it is usually a woman — like the mother or mother-inlaw — who accompanies an expecting mother to checkups. Fathers, she says, are often either hesitant, or told to leave it to the ladies. “In fact, a father-to-be had written in his review that he was so much more confident regarding going to the obstetrician after reading the book, because he was no longer stumped by the medical terminology,” says Dr Arjun. Complicated medical terminology isn’t just a hindrance in the doctor’s cabin; it also trumps the “savvy young couples” of today when they try to clear their doubts online. Information is everywhere, but it is valuable only when it comes from a respected medical practitioner, and when it understands and addresses your particular breed of concerns. Passport to a Healthy Pregnancy seems to be doing just that. Dr Arjun stresses on this need to have the right information, saying, “Women need to be confident about their pregnancies, and the only way to be that is to empower oneself with knowledge about the pregnancy.”
The path ahead “It is mammoth effort,” she quips, “but involving multiple groups of people, including the Ministry of Environment and other stake holders, we are confident of achieving the goal.”
Obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Gita Arjun on what has kept her book on pregnancy a favourite for expecting couples over the years Meghna Majumdar
When noted Chennai-based Ob-Gyn Dr Gita Arjun first released her book Passport to a Healthy Pregnancy (Westland) in 2009, she had decades of experience in the field of reproductive medicine to back her up. Now, as she returns with a second edition, she is backed by rave reviews, a lot of constructive feedback, and a well-selling Tamil edition to boot. Dr Arjun has a good grasp of the reason this book has remained the go-to for parents to be. According to Dr Arjun, the barrage of information that a pregnant woman is met with in India can be overwhelming and confusing, and there was a need for a book that sifts through all of it and presents the most reliable. There was also a need for expert guidance in the Indian context, in matters like diet.
How to expect better: Dr Gita Arjun with the second edition of her book SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
“I was encouraged by the phenomenal reviews that couples had given the book. It also seemed that some of them wanted more details,” says Dr Arjun, explaining her
reasons for writing a second edition. The response from the first edition was so strong that a Tamil edition was launched in 2014. There is a lot in this new edition
Lack of understanding The game is largely seen as a taboo in India, and she feels that is due to a lack of understanding of the game and the common perception that sees it as gambling. She says that with more professional tournaments, hopefully, the taboo will lift, and poker will be rewarded its place as a sport and more avenues to
play the sport will open up. Speaking about women poker players in India, Minissha said that they are too few in number and like in any male-dominated arena face the brunt of patriarchy in trying to break into the field. She says that while it is challenging to do that, women work harder and make it through with time. The actress also harbours a deep passion for reading and writing, and wishes to follow them through. Minissha reads when she’s not playing and plans on writing a book with the stories she has penned down. The actress wants to take up a creative writing course to learn about the art’s technicalities and various genres. She says that following one’s passions when one has the opportunity and time to explore is a necessity to break through the monotony and do something that they truly love. According to her, a person’s development hinges on their ability to follow through their passions. Besides a poker tournament in Goa, the actress is also exploring avenues in television and will be more visible now as an actor and as a professional poker player.
Will Dia’s role be confined to just being the face of the campaign? “No,” she replies emphatically. “I believe in thought to action. I will work closely with all those on board, facilitating the road show, besides bringing in celebrities and personalities from all walks of life, to espouse the cause. I will be binding the campaign for the next 15 months.” Doesn’t celebrity involvement usually distract public attention from social causes? “I would not say that. The cause is always highlighted by the celebrity,” argues Dia. “For example, polio eradica-
Making it feasible It’s a laudable idea, but considering that over 400 people and 100 elephants are killed annually because of the man-animal conflict, is it feasible? Dia says, “We will focus on areas where this conflict is high. There are six corridors which are secured — Thirunelli-Kudrakote (Kerala), Edayarhalli-Doddasampige and Kaniyanpura-Moyar (Karnataka), Siju-Rewak and Rewak-Emangre (Meghalaya) and Chilla-Motichur (Uttarakhand). These are living examples of how proper rehabilitation, providing sus-
tainable livelihoods and better growth opportunities to people dependent on the corridor, can make them realise that because of the elephant, their life has improved.” She cites the example of tiger conservation. “The involvement of locals as protectors has worked wonders. So will it in this case also.”
constant strategising and analysing not only about the next move but also about the temperament of the contenders on the table. Poker, a game which requires one to be a step ahead always is challenging to say the least, and that is what excites Minissha. The actress, who has also appeared in the television reality show Bigg Boss, says that acting is not a full time profession and one needs to look beyond that and do something else when free without work. Her acting experience, says the actress, is of no help on the table because everyone playing poker is a master at bluff and her experience does not give her an edge over others. She like all other players, finds a style and strategy that suits her and exploits it to win the hand.
Mentally challenging: Minissha Lamba says poker requires constant strategising and analysing *
SHORT TAKES Back with a sinister plot! Sangita Ghosh is making a comeback to television with Rishton Ka Chakravyuh on Star Plus where she is playing a villain. The actor says that there are vamps in TV shows, but Sudha is something else. “Her style of silently changing the game with her profoundly wicked ways is far ahead of what you’ve seen an antagonist doing in a television series. I found that to be very unique and it was a little challenging but interesting to step into Sudha’s character,” says Sangita. Explaining the character, she adds that Sudha is a mixture of being very eccentric and temperamental and sweet and soft. “She helps everyone and is a difficult character to understand and essay. Slowly, you will realise in the show that she is moving everyone like a puppet; she creates situations which are very problematic for others.” When asked about her playing the role of an antagonist, she responds, “This is the first time that I’m portraying the role of an antagonist and I was very anxious as I’ve never done a role like this. I had no clue how I have to act, how the scenes will be composed. I was conscious that the character should not look caricaturish and dialogues should not sound stereotypical. But once I started shooting, my mind was at rest, as it was fun to shape such a role. It is tiring though, as it keeps me on my toes.” MEGHA GADI
Travelling flick Bollywood stars Kalki Koechlin and Richa Chadda, cast of the film Jia aur Jia, were present at the teaser and poster launch at Hotel Taj Palace in Delhi recently. Presented by Bluefox Motion Pictures Pvt Ltd., the film takes audience on a road trip along with two strangers played by Richa and Kalki. The two girls are travelling in a foreign country where they discover that life no matter how short or complicated can still be a one big deal. This movie gives a positive message to never give up. Directed by Howard Rosemeyer, the film also introduces Babrak Arslan Goni as the male lead.
5 EVENTS WORTH-YOUR-WHILE
The Velocity of Darkness
A Mother Is A Mother
I’m Your Venus
Fio Cookhouse will be hosting the six-piece band Paper Plain who will be performing live. The music played by the group of three vocalists, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer is a blend of different genres and gives a distinctive vibe. Their genre includes R&B, pop, jazz, soul, pop rock and country among others. Venue: Epicura, Nehru Place Time: 9.30 p.m. onwards
Prism Theatre will stage the famous Italian play “A Mother Is A Mother” in Hinglish. Adapted and directed by Sahil Singh Sethi, the play is about a former sex worker whose 25 years of companionship to a wealthy Don has been repaid with betrayal, with his taking up a younger woman. Venue: Shri Ram Centre, Mandi House, New Delhi Time: 7.30 p.m. onwards
At Punjab Grill Tappa, Bhavya Raj will perform live. From acoustic folk to pop rock and from jazz to R&B, he will create a magic with a mix of soulful compositions and foot tapping numbers. He will also perform original tracks from his albums “Zoning Out” and “Spexy Girl” along with renditions of popular artists. Venue: DLF Cyber Hub, Gurugram Time: 9 p.m. onwards
India International Centre is holding an exhibition “The Velocity of Darkness” of black and white photographs by Bivas Bhattacharjee from Kolkata. The photographer has been working on this project for 2 years in the city of Kolkata, capturing the surreal outpouring of a soul when no one is looking. Venue: Art Gallery, IIC Annexe, Max Mueller Mg. Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Akshara Theatre will be staging an English play “I’m Your Venus” which is stage adaptation of the “Venus In Fur” written by Leopold Von Sacher Masoch. Directed by Anasuya Vaidya, it is about a desperate actress and a sceptical playwright as they turn a late evening audition into a play within a play with a play. Venue: 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg Time: 8 p.m.
The essence of cuisine, worldwide, seems to stem from one seed, with branches reaching out to one and all
One world, one kitchen
Hola India Take Mexican cuisine that revolves around three main components: corn, chillies and beans. Ambassador of Mexico to India, Melba Pria, elaborates, “Tortillas, which are a type of soft, thin flat bread made from finely ground wheat flour, are identical to the Indian chapati. Other commonalities are the use of pulses, especially beans or rajma, and the rich Mexican mole and adobo, which are heavy sauces made with chillies and spices, similar to the Indian curry in depth and complexity, although different in taste.” Though there are many theories on how the chilli peppers, which originated in Mexico, made their way into Asia, one of them states the help of Portuguese navigators, during the 16th Century, as an important one. It doesn’t end there. Salsa, a mix of chopped tomatoes, chillies, onions and coriander, finds its cousin in the Indian chutney. In fact, traditional salsa is made in a stone tool called molcajete, parallel to the Indian stone mortar and pestle or sil batta. That’s not all, the Mexican dessert arroz con leche has an uncanny resemblance with the Indian kheer. Sonal Madan, a travel enthusiast, finds Mexican cuisine to be one of her favourites: “It is an interesting combination of so many different ingredients, with varieties for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, that one never ceases to be amazed. I love tacos the most. They are my all-time favourite. Besides this, botanas or Mexican snacks are a musttry. These can include peanuts, corn and other derivatives, spiced with chilli.” Her choices find resonance with Indians on a large scale, who find Mexican food to be similar to Indian, but with interesting ‘twists and turns’.
More of Morocco
“Food is our common ground — a universal experience.” These words find resonance with most of us, especially when one, joyfully, discovers a common thread of similarities, even in diversity.
DID YOU KNOW?
Mexican cuisine is an amalgamation of thousands of dishes, making it a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In Korean food, ‘balance’ is the key. Nutrition is balanced in terms of colours, textures and flavours, representing the elements. Moroccan cuisine is one of the top five best cuisines in the world.
The Baekban Thali Travelling to Korea and unsure if any of the food will be familiar? Jinbeom Kim, who manages his familyowned Korean restaurant Gung the Palace in Delhi NCR, says, “You see, I started off with the aim of serving Korean guests, but now almost 50% of my guests are Indians. The essence of Korean cuisine is texture and spice, which is also the case with Indian cuisine. The uttapam and jeon find in each other a mirror image, in terms of the generic look of the dishes. Another example is a striking similarity between the thali and the baekban. Both comprise a number of different sub-dishes, served on a platter. “Though the compositions are different, the concepts are very similar. There are a number of differences between both cuisines, from the style of cooking to even the hour at which meals are eaten. However, spicy flavours are what make both cuisines attractive, especially to the people of either country,” says Kim. So, what does he feel are the top hits with Koreans as far as Indian dishes are concerned? “Curries, naans, tandoori chicken and the list goes on,” he adds with a smile. In fact, the most popular dish at the restaurant seems to be bibimbap, which is rice topped with different vegetables and ingredients. Interesting is the fact that this dish can make for a great fusion recipe, as the ingredients can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways, suitable to different palates.
The popular eatery Cha Bar has introduced an array of new dishes
The opposite end of the food spectrum, far away from pretty cakes and meringued loveliness
Cha Bar, Delhi’s popular tea café has extended it’s much loved menu. To provide a different experience Cha Bar has added 15 new offerings to its menu. To start it offers an interesting wrap, burrito, a delicious Mexican roll with served with salsa dip. Another international flavour added is the tangy Greek salad made with fresh vegetables and goes perfectly with the heavy summers. The carte is appetising for the vegetarians and non-vegetarians as some amazing sandwiches like summer cucumber fetawith mint, chicken mortadella with jalapeno and cheddar cheese and shredded chicken made with hand torn chicken, gherkins and olives have been added. In the Indian cuisine section, chicken koliwadaa Maharashtrian special fried chicken served with tomato and mint chutney, the much loved matar kulcha, karari aloo tikka and vada pao have found place. There is also the Hindus-
I am the sort of person who loves to gross out squeamish types by bragging about having dined on baby octopus, delving into a detailed description of its rubbery texture, expounding at length on the proper technique to cook goat’s brain, explaining why I find Japanese-style eel entirely eww, or expressing my longing to someday try out crunchy, deep-fried lizards with a side of jing leed (grasshoppers) and centuries-old egg. My Facebook profile picture is far more likely to depict me stuffing my face with frog legs rather than striking a pose against a Balinese sunset, while pondering if there is room in my belly for more turtle soup. It all began when as a child, I read the oft-told tale of the foolish crocodile that dreamed of eating a monkey’s heart, but allowed itself to be suckered out of what would have no doubt been quite the gourmet repast. Wilbur Smith fired up my already morbid fascination for macabre morsels with his mouth-watering prose, as he extolled at length on the culinary pleasures afforded by a properlycooked cobra in his River God: ‘…I stuffed it with wild garlic and other herbs, together with a dollop of mutton fat from the tail of a prime ram. Then I coiled it in a ball and wrapped it in banana leaves and covered the whole bundle with a thick coating of wet clay. I built over the lump of clay a hot fire which I kept burning all day. That evening when I cracked open the hard-baked ball of clay, the aroma released by the succulent white flesh flooded our mouths with saliva.’ Surely, dear reader, you wouldn’t blame me for wanting to sink my teeth into a CM YK
“The ingredients adopted in our cuisines, ie Indian and Moroccan, are strikingly similar, for example, ginger, garlic, chilli, cumin, paprika, coriander and the list goes on. Just to give yet another example: Biryani is common in both countries, but the difference in proportion of the ingredients and the timing of mixing these, at the elementary level of preparing the dish, is what makes the difference. I, personally, love all the tikkas and biryanis. Even when the spices are challenging on the palate, it is difficult to stop,” says Mohamed Maliki, ambassador of Morocco to India, with a smile. Chef Wassalem Ahmed, former executive chef of the Moroccan ambassador, who supervised the recently concluded Moroccan food festival in Delhi’s Hotel Taj Palace, couldn’t agree more. He says, “You see, some of our dishes look similar, but they are actually prepared differently; for instance, chebakia and jalebi. Then there are dishes such as the pastilla, where the basic ingredient could be something like chicken, but instead of the same being spiced, it is sugarcoated. These kind of similarities leave a lot of room for fusion cuisines, where mix-and-match can yield some very interesting results.” Guests who brunched at the hotel, where Moroccan delights were served, had praise to offer for the innovation and creativity applied to the culinary delights. What was also reassuring was the variety available for vegetarians: Harira Soup, Couscous, the Vegetable Tagine, Seffa and a variety of salads and desserts. “A favourite Moroccan dish is Mechoui lamb roasted, but the Tagines are a hit too. I think the most important thing with such exchanges is that one gets to know so much about the other country and culture,” says chef DN Sharma, chef de cuisine at Hotel Taj Palace, who worked closely with his team, along with chef Ahmed. As Friedrich Durrenmatt, author and dramatist, once said, “The art of the cuisine, when fully mastered, is the one human capacity of which only good things can be said.” How true, indeed!
tani vegetable burger with its desi twist, served with fries and salad. This apart there is kori sukka popiah rolls inspired from Mangalorean cuisine under the small nibbles segment. This segment has lamb lbondigas, a platter of Spanish meat balls served with garlic bread, too. The desserts segment now has palmier (French heart) cookies, Flury’s famous rum balls and pineapple pastries. All this in addition to the existing menu which includes Mediterranean salad, classic Caesar with a choice of dressings, chilli cheese toasties, Cha piazi and fish and chips.
Care for a plate of fried insects: Or what is your poison?
flaky fillet or two or three? Other gastronomic delights introduced to me by Smith include the tail of crocodile and bull’s testicles cooked in honey. Gary Jennings, epic histor-
ical novelist who outdoes Wilbur Smith when it comes to painstaking research, graphic descriptions of violence and sex, while providing glimpses into the most lurid of human foibles, took things up a notch, where this writer is concerned, by providing a disturbing account of human sacrifice and the consumption of the remains in his Aztec: ‘The meat, my lords? Why, it was nicely spiced and well cooked and served with an abundance of side dishes: beans and tortillas and stewed tomatoes and chocolate to drink… It was most savoury and tender and pleasing to the palate. Since the subject so excites your curiosity, I will tell you that cooked human flesh tastes...’ It is one reason I will
It all began when as a child, I read the ofttold tale of the foolish crocodile that dreamed of eating a monkey’s heart not touch pork, despite my somewhat disturbing tastes. That, and the fact that pigs have a reputation for rooting about in their own faeces and even chowing down on it.
Blood and gore Having inflamed my imagination with his especial brand of gore and grotesquery, Jennings provided a delish titbit about an ancient practice that I have no doubt, mod-
ern-day readers will relish. Apparently, when a few drops of blood are stirred into a cup of chocolate, which was the preferred poison of the Aztecs, it made for one hell of a potent love portion. On the insistence of my lawyer, allow me to add a disclaimer that I will not be held responsible for putting crazed ideas into the already addled brains of Virat Kohli’s / insert name of your celeb crush, frenzied female fans. Of course, this scrumptious article will not be complete without mentioning the granddaddy of all psycho serial killers, Thomas Harris’ Dr Hannibal Lecter himself. Thanks to the movies, I am sure my readers are familiar with the terrifying yet charming cannibal’s infam-
ous penchant for his victim’s liver, best enjoyed with a nice Chianti and fava beans, or his idea of the perfect dish to be served to a special lady guest — an enemy’s brains cooked and served even as he was kept alive to watch. Enough said. Small wonder then that I grew up to become the author of mythological books with endlessly aberrant angles and the occasional twisted twist. Not to mention the otherworldly delights I serve up in the fantasy genre with generous helpings of horror and unholy terrors, and oodles of blood and gore! The writer is the author of Arjuna, Kamadeva, Shakti and Yama’s Lieutenant
Waffles all the way Whether it’s an urge for a satisfying breakfast on a lazy morning or the need to feed your undying craving for something sweet; freshly made waffles are always the right answer. Now Smoke House Deli are waffling their way into your stomach, with our all-new waffle menu at Khan Market. Introducing for the first time, are crispy, golden, and fluffy on the inside waffles that are irresistible. Drizzled with maple syrup and topped with castor sugar, the Just Waffle is an ode to the mouth-watering classic, made delicious in an instant. A dish that is sure to whet the appetite is the fruity
burst, waffle with freshly cut fruits and lots of blueberry syrup, served with ice cream. For those who pride their sweet tooth, there is waffle with toffee and banana, served with chocolate syrup and ice cream. B ND-NDE