1 he State Government on TSaturday signed a tripartite MoU for expansion of Deoghar Airport with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Airport Authority of India here on Saturday. In order to boost religious tourism and enhance intra State connectivity the Deoghar Airport will be completed by December, After the MoU the expansion work worth crore will begin extending the length of the airport from 3500 feet to feet. After the completion of the work big flights such as A 320 will be able to land at Deoghar and the site will be connected through major airports of the country. After the MoU signing, Chief Minister Raghuabar Das said that once completed the Deoghar Airport will prove to be a milestone for comprehensive and composite development of Jharkhand. It will serve as a link between Jharkhand and north-east States. It will boost up tourism and will be beneficial for AIIMS. A large number of investors are going to invest in the state after the investors summit and a new airport will boost up connectivity, said the CM. Das said that work for inter-connectivity among Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dumka, Palamu and Bokaro is in progress. Moreover, a proposal has been given for a flight from Ranchi to Hyderabad and Chennai. The Government is working seriously on water connectivity apart from air and road connectivity in the State. Construction of bridge on the Ganga River in Sahibganj and multi-model hub will increase economic activities in this area, he added. The airport is proposed to be expanded in acres of land. The Government has already started actions for acquisition of land for setting up the airport. During the MoU signing programme at CM s official residence, Union Civil Aviation Minister for State Jayant Sinha, Urban Development Minister CP Singh, MPs Ram Tahal Choudhary, Nishikant Dubey, Chief Secretary Raj Bala Verma, Development Commissioner Amit Khare, Additional CS, Principal Secretaries, Secretaries of State government alongwith officers of DRDO and Airport Authority of India were present.
2 his is the film of the week Traunchy but not crude, unapologetic but not unreasonable, shameless but not shameful, audacious but not embarrassing. The centre point of all this intense paradox is the stunning, captivating and entirely enervating Swara Bhaskar as bombshell Anarkali, Anar to her fans. It is entirely Swara s film in which she finally gets a role deserving of her powerhouse of histrionic excellence. Playing a rustic singing superstar in the town of Arrah, she gives the film energy, pace, emotion and the right dose of unfailing raunchiness without which the film would have fallen flat, something that the keen eye of debutant director Avinash Das has written and unfolded as a seasoned man behind the camera. Other than the fact that Swara helms the film, it is delightful that other characters around her are equally excellent in their skin, more so the ever-brilliant Sanjay Mishra. He encapsulates Bihar and its gundagardi as it has been down the ages. As the Chief Minister s pala hua gunda who gets the reward of becoming the Vice-Chancellor of Arrah University, and is brazen with his sexual exploits and hidden aggression, cloaked in humour when at ease and wanton violence when poked, Mishra is stellar. So is Pankaj Tripathi as Anar s bhadva and bed partner with a wife on the side. The film which has double-meaning songs that merge with the ambience of the locale in which the story unfolds, is actually a capsule of real life and times of girls in the profession of song and dance who are treated as everyone s property, especially of men in power who can demand anything and everything from them, be it in bed or on the stage where molestation gets catcalls instead of horror. Anar faces this when she is pawed and molested on stage with the entire town watching. She protests, slaps and has to go on the run pretty much signifying the death of the rights of a citizen in Bihar. Her anger, her helplessness, her longing to sing again, her boldness are all paraded with a realness that is captivating. The playback singers, mainly Lehenga jhanke by Indu Sonali and Donali ma jung by Swati Sharma, are catchy. The film is a crackling tale from which there is no escape, including the ultimate challenge that she throws at her tormentors. It s a story we all know about but it s a film that makes you live through it. Kudos to the entire cast and crew. A must watch. I t is a beautiful film with a lot of heart. It is hilarious when required and moving when in the flashback. It saddles two worlds one 98-yearsold when it was beneath good family girls to even consider writing poetry, and the other where the widowed granny, and the rest of the family, is a whiskey-guzzling song and dance family. As producer, Anushka has literally done a ghost of a job. No really. The sets of pre-independence India are keenly stitched up, the shades are just right for a sleepy Punjabi village and the love story is crackling chemistry between an earthy Diljit Dosanjh and a deceptively docile Anushka Sharma. But the film opens 98 years after both are dead and gone, almost. We see Anushka as a glitteringly beautiful ghost in gold and tissue, floating around confused in a Canada-returned rapper Punjabi munda s bedroom. The interactions between her and the munda, aka Kanan, are funny but too short which leaves you wanting for more. Herein lies the movie s first faultline. There is humour but not enough. The situation that Anushka stitches up had so much potential for gentle laughter but somehow the director limits it rather ridiculously. What he concentrates on is the romance of yore between Anushka and Diljit. He does justice here. The story is both taut and meaningful and the ambience of conservative Punjab is captured with a lot of realism. The songs are heart-moving and the story weighs enough to keep you on your seat. The back and forth is also a good idea but the present which is meant to be light is not good enough despite a clueless Kanan and his bimbo-ish but pristinely beautiful fiancée Pirzada. Laughter is needed here much more than the laughter that happens. On the whole though, Anushka is lovely, Dosanjh is real and happening but the film is somewhere between beauty and moment, a little here, little there event which just about reaches your heart. his slow starter seems to have lost the race Tin the beginning but moves can be deceptive and this one is extremely so. After the first half-hour, the film an extra terrestrial horror show with an unexpected end picks up like rocket fuel on the burn and keeps you on the edge through the rest of the one-and-a-half-hour movie. After the biologist on board a space ship on a mission in Mars, taps a hibernated life cell on the Red planet and shocks it into life in a lab experiment, the deadly turn of events start never to look back. Though the confines of the space ship can be claustrophobic for a two-hour drama mainly focussing on sealing the escape pipes and tunnels of the ship apparently to save the earth from the catastrophic lab alien, the drama around this octopus-like shape is enough to catch you unawares and make you wonder if at all space missions should looking for life outside Earth. As the alien, named Calvin, gets more and more aggressive and unrelenting, not to mention fatal, and is kind of protected by the scientist who made it as someone who does not hate you but has to kill you for survival the audience gets into the room with the hapless crew which goes into the calorie count of the alien till a plan seems to work. As claimed, the film is a thriller indeed, a differently-enabled one at that. A taut, pacey and engrossing saga after it tides over its teething problem. Any difficulties playing a princess? There were no inhibitions because I always wanted to play a character which is larger than life. I wanted to play a goddess in a mythological show but when I got the opportunity to work in a historical drama to play mother to Maharana Ranjit Singh, I took it up. Who did you discuss your role with? My mother. I was contemplating whether I should do a mythological or a historical show. My mother advised me to play Rani Raj Kaur. Whatever I get out of this show, the credit will go to her. Your look is completely different In my previous show Ek Veer Ki Ardaas Veera, I wore no make-up. I used to only apply the Vicco turmeric cream. But in this show, everything has done up. It takes two-and-a-half hours only to get into the costume. But I love wearing the traditional attire and jewellery which has so much meaning. I did six test trials which were not even finalised till the day we started the shoots as we were experimenting with the look. Sometimes, your expectation for things is so high that you don t feel satisfied till the last moment. What s been most difficult till now? Getting into the attire is not as difficult as carrying it the whole day on the sets, especially in the growing heat and humidity. Dialect didn t come easy either but I was aware that I would have to speak royal Punjabi language. So I have to go through my scripts carefully. Since we have been shooting for the past three months, we have adapted to the set-up now. Since it is a true historical tale, we don t want to take any liberties with anything. Even an expression would have a big impact on the show. We don t want to hurt the sentiments of anybody. How was it working with the producer Abhimanyu Singh? He is the king of historical drama. Since they have done so many historical dramas now, it is very easy for them and they know what they want and how they are going to get it. When I stepped into the shoes of Rani Raj Kaur, it took some time for me to settle down in that new set-up and new character. But everything has gone off well so far. How is the bonding with the star cast? It s amazing. I have always maintained a professional relationship with everybody. Work is more important than anything else. With Tunisha and Damanpreet, I share a love-hate relationship. We have a lot of fun on the sets, call each other by funny names and don t leave any opportunity to pull each other s leg. How do you take time out for yourself? Usually, we don t have time outs. Whenever we get a holiday, I catch up on a lot of sleep. I just rest and eat. Shooting is a time-taking and tiring process. Emotionally, mentally and physically you get drained out. To recover and repair myself is something that I look forward to whenever I get opportunity. Do you see your shows on TV when you go back home? I don t like to watch myself on the small screen as I know how I am and how I have performed. Sometimes we start making fun of what we have done on the show. There are self-obsessed people who would see themselves on TV and praise themselves continuously. I am not one of them. Whenever my show comes, I change the channel and watch English GECs. If I am sitting with family or friends, I just move out. People, who know me, talk to me about my performance. But people from the industry don t try to joke around me or pull my leg as they think of me as a senior actor. Any Bollywood plans? I have done several Marathi films but those are like art films that travel across films festivals. If I think of Bollywood, I don t know if I fit into that genre. But if something really excites me, I will take it up. You have played mother on TV shows. Would you be open to play the same in movies as well? Never! This is not the age to play mother in films and be typecast forever. Films are for life. Hasn t Marathi cinema become quite popular? I m proud and privileged being a part of Marathi cinema. To see Marathi cinema grow is a beautiful feeling. I tell people that if they have something good for me, just let me know as I love those films and it allows me to get into the skin of the character. he temperature has peaked, Tso has the battle of the MTV Roadies Rising Season 15 warriors. The situation is do or die. The four mentors Neha Dhupia, Nikhil Chinapa, Rannvijay Singh and Prince Narula are all geared up with their teams to win the next task which is about balancing two bowls filled with water through zig-zag panels in the front and walking on a thin log kept over burning coal. Looks tough? Nah not for googly master Harbhajan Singh who surprises everyone with a twist. He not only decides to swap one member from each group but also, to make their comeback on the show, the teammates have to win this balancing task. The failed swapped member and the performer will bid adieu. The survival stakes are high and mentors in a tizzy as they have to pick the best from the lot. After a brainstorming team session, the task finally resumes around midnight on the barren farm land of the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar. To be the gang leader is no cakewalk. The mentors are equally a part of the task and making decisions doesn t come easy either. When a task is presented to us, gang leaders have to decide which contestant will take up the challenge and give suggestions about how to approach the task, what to focus on, where one might make mistakes. There is a certain thought process and logic that goes into it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn t. But that s okay, Chinapa says. As each team performs the balancing act, its mentors scream and shout to encourage the contestant to keep moving carefully. Not just the contestants, even the competition with the gang leaders is fierce. When it comes to the task, we are cool and collected but when our teammates perform, we scream and kick like nine-year-olds. This transformation is unbelievable. As gang leaders, we also spend a lot of time hanging out, chatting and playing games, Chinapa adds. Themed around bringing out the warrior instinct in roadies, the journey will travel across the destinations where the war took place in India like Jhasi, Gwalior, Alwar, etc. The crazy four mentors have given five contestants each who compete the task and get eliminated on the basis of their performance. Each gang has its own symbol that defines who they are. My gang symbolises the Sher. There is Saiyukta Hegde (18) from Bengaluru and has done a Kannada film which is the highest grosser ever in regional cinema. Despite the fact that everybody asked her not to join Roadies she pursued her dream and I like the fact that she is not doing it for fame and money. Aggy (27) from Goa had a disturbed childhood as he grew up watching domestic violence between his parents. He has stammering problem and is into fitness and aspires to be an actor. For him, being on the Roadies will make him gain confidence. Samar lived alone in Thailand and used to clean mats at a kickboxing school where he also got trained in the sport. He returned to India and started his kickboxing school in Guwahati. He has also represented India at international kickboxing championships. Shiv from Maharashtra used to live in a slum where he would have to walk half a km to access a toilet. He got into dancing and now teaches the children by charging 500 a month. After a lot of hard work, he and his sister have bought a house with an attached bathroom. Another contestant Virpal aspires to give back to her mother and aunt for bringing her up single-handed, Chinapa tells you. The logo of Neha Dhuipa s gang is a gladiator helmet, Prince Narula s team represents the Skull. Talking about his gang, Chinapa says: My gang is the wolf pack. One of the contestants is Rahul from Delhi who does several jobs, one being a DTC bus conductor. Khushnuma is an aspiring model and actress from Gujarat. Priyank from Mumbai is into performing arts and a dancer, model, actor and choreographer. Chiranjeevi comes from a village in Andhra Pradesh from where you would not expect a roadie to emerge. He is a priest and at times has performed his tasks wearing a lungi which he likes to be in. Prabhjyot is from Mansa district in Punjab. She left her home 10 years ago, studies and stays in a hostel and a TV reporter by profession. She has been making her ends meet all alone. She is a extremely strong, motivated and fiercely independent girl. All these contestants come from diverse background which makes for a good balance in the team, Chinapa says. Watch out for the Roadies Rising on MTV on every Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm.
3 in a day or two, the State Jmust be busy in celebrating Special Olympics Bharat Team Floor Ball winning Gold Medal in Austria on Saturday in which a Jharkhand boy Abhiranjan Kumar played wonders for the team in finals. However, having no dedicated District Sports Officer (DSO) in any of the districts of the State since years tells a different story altogether about the government's seriousness for nurturing talents he Department of Botany Tof St. Xavier s College, Ranchi will organise threeday International Conference on Environment and Ecology (ICEE-2017) from March 27 to March 29 on campus premises. The third international conference will focus on some prominent issues ranging from food security and safety under climate variables to green chemistry and technology assessment. Head of the Department and organising secretary of the programme, Dr. Ajay K Srivastava, said, that for the first time, the department will organise the event on a wide scale involving speakers from both national and international domain. With the aim to provide world class exposure to the students and research scholars and to provide them a glimpse of the development being made in the scientific field, the programme has been planned where more than 500 research papers will be presented on different topics, added, Srivastava. The conference will be inaugurated by Governor, Droupadi Murmu including other dignitaries. Research papers from Turkey, England, Kuwait, USA, Germany, Costa-Rica including other foreign nations have come and will highlight on some relevant issues affecting environment, ecology and its impact. Some former students of the college will also present their theses and research papers on different topics. Some prominent themes like environmental biotechnology and microbiology, biodiversity dynamics and crisis, air, water, soil, noise pollution and its control strategies, environmental toxicology and human health issues, aquatic resource management, role of NGOs to protect the environment, environmental policies, laws and legislations, remote sensing, environmental auditing and life cycle assessment will be covered up during the technical sessions. from grassroots in districts and villages. Though the vacancies have been sent to the Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC) which is going to take another 6-8 months in final recruitment, a senior government official didn t hesitate to say on Saturday that the situation was not portraying good picture in many ways. It is true that we have managed to have at least one officer In-Charge as District Sports Officer (DSO) in every district after consultation with Deputy Commissioner (DC) in respective districts so that routine activities don t get hampered. But it is true that we don t have a single DSO solely appointed for this role since years. However, we have tried that athletes and sportsmen don t suffer in any district, said Sports Director Ranendra Kumar. He said that JPSC had he Food and Civil Supplies TDepartment has pressed the accelerator paddle for setting up State Food Commission. This has been done in the light of recent Supreme Court directive that has summoned drought-hit states, including Jharkhand for failing to comply with the Food Security Act (FSA) mandate. Caught napping, top brass of the Department has asked its subordinates to find whereabouts of the file that is still rolling since the Cabinet okayed the Commission to be formed along with the required guidelines about a year ago. I have sent a reminder to the Department s Principal Secretary to enquire where the file has stuck. Everything has been done in this regard. Applications have come, their scrutiny has taken place but the final selection and decision is pending, said Food and Civil Supplies Minister Saryu Roy. As per the National Food Security Act, 2013, every state government shall, by notification, constitute a State Food Commission for the purpose of monitoring and review of implementation of the Act. The Centre is also to provide one-time financial assistance to it for non building assets for the Commission to the states as well as to strengthen the PDS, capacity building, quality control, consultancies and research R anchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) is ready with a proposal to curb the mosquito menace in State Capital after the recent orders from Jharkhand High Court (HC) to make immediate proper arrangement and sort out the issue at the earliest where the mosquito menace is causing discomfort to the city residents. According to the Additional Municipal Commissioner (ACM), Bidyanand Pankaj, the civic body has submitted a detailed draft to the HC after the order was passed to draft a proposal to curtail mosquito menace in municipal area. Tenders for etc of the Department. The Act came into force in Jharkhand way back in September 2015, but it is yet to constitute the Food Commission at the top level. Similar are the cases with eight other states that prompted the Supreme Court to ask their Chief Secretaries to explain the delay in person before it. Along with this details in regard to Section 15 of the NFSA by which state governments have to frame rules for the appointment or designation of the District Grievance Redressal Officer have to be shared. The apex court also directed the Chief Secretaries to inform whether a social audit can be conducted, as provided under the FSA, or not. Joint Secretary of the Department Alok Trivedi while admitting to the apprehension coming from the Minister expressed hope that the Commission would be in place very soon. All the perquisites have been completed and final list of the applicants qualified for the posts of a Chairperson and five Members has been prepared. Now, the selection committee headed by the Chief Secretary would sit and decide the office bearers, said the official on Friday. Sources in the Department said that the onus now is on the Chief Secretary Office which has to clear the names for the panel and apprise the Supreme he city traffic police will Texecute a revised plan for the operation of battery operated rickshaws plying passengers along the selected routes in Capital City from April 1. Traffic SP, Sanjay Ranjan Singh has claimed that this time irrespective of any constrains following all prescribed norms sternly, traffic department will implement the new proposal. From April 1, new plan for traffic management will be implemented. Due to some change, the department had to reluctantly postpone the dates of implementation. The route plans have been revised back adding some new routes. Recently, few registered e-rickshaws were given stickers with the unique IDs, remaining e-rickshaw owners will get the IDs, added, the traffic SP. To ease down the traffic snarl along the major routes, recently the traffic police department along with the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has restrained the number of green autos at specific roads. However, after the protest from various independent groups on issues like route allotments, colour codes, QR system including the number of the e-rickshaws on each selected routes, the department concerned have to again modify the plans for easy penetration of battery operated rickshaws and for driver s convenience. Notably, RMC, regional transport office (RTO) and the traffic police were all set to execute the traffic plan for e-rickshaws operation from March 2017 onwards. Nevertheless, the plan took a backseat amid machines, chemicals have been floated. Additional staffs will be deployed in slum areas to ensure cleanliness this time and to eradicate the larvae breeding at an early stage, he pointed out. RMC Health Officer, Dr. Kiran Kumari, said that they have only 11 auto-mounted fogging machines, which are not adequate to carry out fogging in every ward daily. However, RMC will soon purchase 20 auto-mounted fogging machines so that fogging is carried out on daily basis at a fixed interval, she added. Before April 10, approximately, 500 additional labourers will be deployed to carry sanitation task in all the 55 wards. A special drive will be protest. After the revival of route chart, approximately 11 new routes have been identified for approximately 1,200 e-rickshaws that will ferry commuters within municipal periphery increasing the total number of routes to Court in time. If we are asked, we would appear before the court and present our position and the steps that we have taken so far in this direction, said an official. The Department is also working on a software that would assist the Commission in a big way. The software would assimilate and verify the information coming from grassroot level about implementation of the FSA. It would be a grievance redressal mechanism on electronic platform for verification and debugging the complaints coming in, added the official. On the other, activists related to the FSA maintained that the non-existence of the Commission has hampered the implementation of the constitutional rights in many ways. Redressal of the complaints coming in are not being looked into, relating to addition and removal of names into the list of FSA beneficiaries. There is a provision of Rs 6000 compulsory maternity benefits to a pregnant woman which is not being implemented here. ICDS programme is in limbo. Even most of the Additional Collectors designated at district levels as District Grievance Redressal Officer are unaware of their duties even now, said Balram, who has worked as advisor to the Supreme Court Commissioner on Right to Food. conducted, where the labourers will go and clean each house. Slums areas are being identified and cleanliness will be carried out there in a short while, Kumari said. Weekly roster plan is also being changed and now after 28 now. Around, seven old routes have been stripped off from the revised route chart plan. Earlier, 24 designated routes were allotted to the drivers. To curb the irregularities, the civic body has planned to appoint five squad teams to moved forward to recruit DSOs which might take another 6-8 months for the agency to come up with finally recruited names. Ironically, Sports department was scrutinising he ICAR-Indian Institute of TAgricultural Biotechnology, Namkum today organised a two-day Farmers First workshop attended by about 150 farmers from across the State. Director of the Institute Keval Krishna Sharma inaugurated t h e workshop by w e l - coming t h e farmers and scientists and asked the farmers to put fourth their problems before the experts after the end of every session. Two technical sessions were conducted in the worshop on the first day where BAU HOD and chief scientist Dr DK Rusiya and Dr S Karmakar respectively gave their presentations. In the second technical session Dr VK Yadav, Dr Viplav Sarkar, Dr Navlesh Sinha, Dr Nirmal Kumar, Dr VP Bhadana among others gave their lectures. On the second day of the programme Union Minister of State for Agriculture Sudarshan Bhagat and BAU VC Parvinder Kaushal will attend the programme as Chief Guest and Distinguished Guest respectively. 478 applications submitted for the interview of DSO in April- he Central Peace TCommittee (CPC) has asked for cleanliness, low or if possible no power cuts, availability and supply of adequate water and other basic amenities during upcoming Summer Durga Puja and one of the most important local festival of tribals, Sarhul, starting in couple of days. Members of the Committee in its meeting with local administration on Saturday also advised a number of things which could help avoid difficulties and chaos faced during last year on similar occasion. Deputy Commissioner (DC) cum District Magistrate Manoj Kumar and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kuldeep Dwivedi has in a joint order after the meeting asked all the Pooja Samitis organising and observing Durga Pooja and Ramnavami procession to acquire all prerequisite papers within time. Electricity department has been ordered to provide uninterrupted power supply to locations and pandals organising special lighting and decoration competition on Maha-Ashtami and Ramnavami. Ramnavami will be celebrated on April 4 this year with Durga Pooja procession on April 6. This is why the administration has kept its personnel check the e-rickshaws operation on designated routes. The city enforcement team will check the e-rickshaw driver s operation routes through scanning the QR code embedded on vehicles on their mobile phones that will provide all consolidated the purchase of equipments under the zonal supervisors, cleanliness task will be carried out three times in a week at every ward, claimed the RMC Health Officer. Some chemicals also have been changed for more effective results. At present, around 220 handy-mini fogging machines are there. Consignment of some 500 handy-mini fogging machines will be purchased to meet the requirement. For getting more effectual results, drain coolies are being trained and are being explained about the usage of chemicals as well. Notably, the high court passed the order on March 24 in a PIL filed by a city resident seeking judicial intervention to curb breeding of mosquitoes in the Capital. Chief Justice PK Mohanty too admitted that he himself was a sufferer of this menace and wondered that a citizen has to approach the court on the issue and directly held the RMC officials responsible for all this problem. details about the driver including the penalty that has been charged from him in the past. At present, two squads have been appointed for conducting checking drives under one magistrate. The numbers will be increased soon. Dedicated teams will work only for a specific purpose to check the route passes given to the drivers. Those breaching the set norms will be charged accordingly, said, RMC City Manager and a member of e-rickshaw management committee, Saurabh Kumar. According to the altered traffic plan, those breaching the rules or plying in different routes will have to pay 5000 for the first time. Similarly, 15,000 and 25,000 will be charged as penalty amount for violating the orders for the second and third time respectively, asserted Kumar. pecial Olympics Bharat Team Floor Ball won Gold Medal, Sbeating SO Nigeria in the finals at the ongoing Special Olympics World Winter Games - Austria. Special athlete from Jharkhand, Abhiranjan Kumar from School of Hope - Jamshedpur played a very important role in the finals. Team Floor Ball, Women finished 6th in the games, in which another Jharkhand talent, Jagriti Kumari, played an important role. May 2015 on contract basis, the entire process of which was quashed later on. The entire process was abandoned because the department started preparing regulations for a permanent recruitment. Once the cabinet approved it around a year ago, the matter was sent to JPSC for fresh appointments, added Kumar. Government s seriousness to nurture athletes in schools of villages also comes under question, as the government itself hyped much about setting up Kamal Clubs in all the districts from July last year to identify and nurture talents from rural areas and promote sports. However, routine activities have not got hampered, as assigned DSOs are taking care of them. Camps have been organised, required selections have been done, fund mobility has not been such a huge issue and centres are being run in districts, said Kumar. on alert for those three days, so that any unwanted situation could be avoided then and there. Notably, electricity supply at Mahavir Chowk during decoration competition had been interrupted last year, leaving things in chaos. In the meeting where City SP Kishore Kaushal and Rural SP Rajkumar Lakra, Traffic SP Sanjay Ranjan Singh, Deputy SPs, SHOs, Civil Surgeon Dr Shivashanker Harijan, few of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) ward members, members of CPC and others were also present, Mahavir Mandal president Rajeev Ranjan Mishra requested the administration to take all measures and ensure law and order situation in the city, which usually sees around one lakh people on the day of Ramnavami and its procession. Dwivedi said on the occasion that the city will remain under CCTV scanner for which processes were on. We have started deploying additional CCTVs and ensuring that there is no law and order situation. RIMS has been asked to keep its emergency services opened with one separate ambulance for Pooja purposes. Home Guards Commandant has been asked to provide as many as 300 Home Guards personnel to keep a tab on security, said Dwivedi. Apart from no entry for heavy vehicles and deployment of Magistrates, the administration has also asked RMC and hospitals to be ready with their part of works. Control rooms will be in function for 24 hours on those three days, Said DC Manoj Kumar. The Police have also kept its informer network on alert in sensitive areas.
4 ase on a tip-off the Giridih police of cyber Bcrime cell on Saturday busted a cyber criminal gang and arrested six of its members at Ghosko village near Government school of Giridih. The police also seized 3 no of smart mobile, 9 no of normal mobiles,22 fake Sim cards, and one pocket dairy its having written 100 ATM card numbers, accounts no, and OTP number from the accused, said SDPO, Manish Toppo. The accused have been identified as DinDayal Mandal, Deepak Mandal, Tahal Chand Mandal, Dilip Mandal all belonging to Ghosko village under the Ahilayapur police station while two others are Rajendra Mandal,and Hila Lal Mandal, both have residence of Korbandh village of Laratard police station in Giridih. According to the police sources, on receipt of specific information that some cyber criminal who have gathered at Ghosko govt school and having some plan t is a windfall gain for the IPalamu police wherein three top Maoists were found dead and lots of naxal literature exposing their plan and design. Speaking to The Pioneer SP Palamu Indrajeet Mahatha said We found lots of naxal literature. It gives a big insight into their organisation. There is every detail there like levy, levy donors, their amount, naxals intervention in land disputes, settlement of land disputes on caste line, commission of oppression and suppression of rights of the poor and the denied etc. Mahatha said the documents show how deep is the inroads of the Maoists in zameen vivad (land dispute) which used to be settled on caste line more than on another consideration like possessing of land etc. He said Maoists have set up Gram Kranti Committee and there is a huge list of villagers drawn from many places. Such people whose names figure in the Gram Kranti Committee will be served notices from the police to explain their side and police will first try to wean them away from Maoists this trap of Gram Kranti Committee and will be further motivated to return to or to show faith in the democratic set up of the state and the country. SP quoting Uday Oraon the naxal caught and detained at Sita Chuan on March 24 said a dog fight had erupted over the levy booty among the Maoists on the intervening night of March 23/24 leading to the gunning down of three Maoists there. meeting on laws and act to Abe followed in upcoming festivals Sarhul and Ramnavami was called at district collectriate office in the joint chairmanship of the DC Vinod Kumar and the SP Karthik S. On the occasion Kumar said, On Sarhul and Ramnavami the negligence of law and act would not be tolerated. The leaves of all the officials and policemen must be cancelled. The BDOs, COs and thana-in-charges must collect the list of registered and non registered Akharas, decide the route chart and submit that to cheat innocent villagers a raid was conducted by officer-in charge of Ahilayapur PS alongwith SI, Sashi Ranjan Kumar, ASI Sunil Topno, Sidheshwar Singh Kulia, and others on Saturday and were picked up, said SDPO Manish Toppo. Disclosing the modus operandi of the accused, the SP Akhlesh V Varier said that the accused used to call the debit and credit card holders on the pretest of solving various technical problems related to the cards or telling them that their cards could be blocked if they did not share their details. They could have truncation of several thousand of rupees from different account no of the different people of Giridih.SP further added. A Case (15/17)have been registered with Ahilayapur police station under section of 419, 420, 467, 471, 120B and 66 (C)(D) IT act. he momentous occasion Tof 61st Annual Convocation was celebrated at XLRI- Xavier School of Management with great zeal. Students donned their graduation hats and gowns and received their medals and certificates in the presence of TV Narendran, chairman, Board of Governors at XLRI & MD - Tata Steel India and South East Asia, Fr. E Abraham SJ, director of XLRI, Dr Ashis K Pani, Dean, Academics at XLRI and other dignitaries. On this significant day, 606 XLRI students received their graduating certificates and medals including students of batch of Twoyear Postgraduate Diploma in Management HRM and BM; 117 students of batch of Postgraduate Diploma in General Management (GM) 15 -Months Programme; 56 students of batch of Three-Year Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management (Evening); 17 students of batch of Three-Year Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management (Dubai); 30 students of batch of Three-Year Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management (Dubai) and 11 students of Fellow Program in Management (FPM) from Jamshedpur Campus. The first five rank holders in the Two-year Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (HRM) batch are Jayna Maheshwari, Arbab Kausar, Abhinav Shivshankar Temani, Medhavi Gupta and Debaditya Mitra respectively. The first five rank holders in the Two-year Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management (BM) batch are Anshul Jain, Anunay Arora, Prakhar Agarwal, Pranav Sanjay Mulay and hree buses parked in THazaribagh private bus stand burnt to ashes in broad day light within two days. On Friday it was Manokamana Bus which runs between Ranchi- Hazaribagh and on Saturday Pammi Bus and Maa Jaanki bus turned into ashes. It is noteworthy here that the private bus stand always remains busy and it is not an easy job for anybody to burn buses in broad day light. Yesterday when people saw Manokamana bus covered with flames it was thought that the electricity wire beneath which the bus was parked is responsible for the fire but after today s incident everyone is confused and are talking the broken electricity wire seen yesterday were the result of flames of the bus. Today on about same time people again noticed two buses covered with flames. Both Pammi and Maa Jaanki bus were parked in the back area of private bus stand merely some yards away from the remains of yesterday incident. People tried to save the buses but their efforts went in vain and within minutes both buses changed into ashes. The incident has created panic among the bus owners as the incidents are taking place in broad day light. It is a time when crowd remains at its peak in the private bus stand. Speculations are going on in the town in which some are relating these incidents with Ramnavmi and some are arguing about personal rivalry. However police has registered case and has started investigation. Our police sources said that we will proceed taking all the assumptions in mind. within three days. All the Penalty officers and police officers must verify physically the route chart for procession. The SDO must organize meetings in each block before the festival. The videography of the procession must be assured so that the persons violating the rules may be detected. The Penalty officers and the volunteers should be marked distinctly with wearing T-shirts. SP Karthik S said, In festival the city would be equipped with CCTV cameras. All the thana-in-charges must assure the patrolling at all the religious places. The list of act 107 should be submitted to the SDO. Akshar Anil Shah respectively. The first five rank holders in the Postgraduate Diploma in General Management (GM) 15 -Months Programme batch are Shashank Jain, Dhiraj Kumar, Sumit Kumar, Samudra Kallol Mukherji and Manoj Kumar Mohapatra respectively. Congratulating the students on their graduation day, TV Narendran, Chairman, Board of Governors at XLRI said, You will be facing a lot of challenges and will be making a lot of decisions which will impact the lives of many of your colleagues and fellow citizens. It is important to exercise your discernment and do the right things at all times. In his address Narendran further said, Helping educate coial organisation Empower SJharkhand on Saturday organised a say no to polythene save the environment programme at Khadgarha Sabzi Mandi. During the awareness programme 1000 paper bags and 200 Tulsi plants were distributed among the vendors and common people. State Congress Secretary and Empower Jharkhand President Aditya Vikram Jaisawal said on the occasion that the Government had banned polythene nags long back but it is still in use. The Government should form a special team to curb the plastic menace, he added. The team will first make small shopkeepers aware and then set up kiosks for big shops. The awareness programme will be led by Pancham Singh, Shubham Singh, Prince Singh, and shape the next generation of scholars and business leaders is a significant task. For over six decades XLRI has steadfastly held on to its mission of proffering world-class education across various managementcentric programmes. There has never been a more exciting time to pursue management education. Exposing management students to innovate practices and new rising sectors of growth also calls for skilling today s students with ideas and skill-sets to help shape the world around them. XLRI diligently strives to create a valuebased and ethics driven teaching and learning environment whilst underscoring the need for all- round development. This emphasis on inculcating certain core- values is what sets XLRI apart from other B- schools in the country. In continuation of fortyeight years tradition, this year XLRI conferred the prestigious Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Social and Industrial Peace on Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman, The Godrej Group. He also delivered the convocation speech to the graduating students. Rahul Ray, Sumit Sahu, Amarjeet Singh, Rishikesh Singh, Kumar Pranav, Abhijeet Kumar, Ritesh Mishra, Shubahm Seth, and Deepak Solanki. nder the facade of a dhaba Uillicit arms were sold in black here in Palamu. SP Palamu Indrajeet Mahatha said, A Jharkhand dhaba on Daltonganj Panki road was selling not food to travellers but illicit arms. He said one of the owners of Jharkhand dhaba Jitender K Gupta has been jailed with two pistols of 9 mm and more than a dozen live bullets. He said Gupta's second partner Sudhir is running away from police. SP said this dhaba was just a show where came the buyers of illicit arms and the operators of this dhaba Gupta and Sudhir were doing brisk business of the illicit arms. Police are now trying to find out the source from where these two dhaba runners got illicit weapon for sale.
5 f you go by the details of rail- ticket booked by Shiv Iway Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who is in the thick of a controversy for assaulting a staffer of the Air india, the man is 99-years-old. After seven domestic airlines banned him from taking their flights, Gaikwad took a train to Mumbai on Friday. He however, deboarded the train enroute Vapi station to avoid media at Mumbai Central. Interestingly, while booking the ticket for AC 1 class, this 44-year-old MP from Osmanabad in Maharashtra registered him as a 99-year-old. This might have passed as an error of writing, but for the fact that the MP also showed his wife and companion were also one year less than hundred. Obviously, the Travel oncerned over the slow Cprogress of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAYurban), Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked States and Union Territories (UTs) to suggest a roadmap to meet the 2022 deadline. The total number of houses approved for the benefit of urban poor under PMAY (Urban), launched in June last year, has reached 15,48,846 entailing a total cost of 82,708 crore. A total number of 603,854 people have been sanctioned houses till date. Ticket Examiner of the August Kranti Rajdhani Express did not dare to question his age during the 16-hour journey between the Delhi and Mumbai. As per the Reservation Chart of Northern Railway, R Gaikwad, MP bearing PNR travelled in Coach A1, berth 21 as a male of 99 years. The MP s spouse and companion were also shown in the same age bracket of 99-years on the same PNR number. While top railway officials avoided any comments on this expose, one of them on condition of strict anonymity said that the MP has committed an offence by mentioning incorrect age particulars and simultaneously the TTE (travel ticket examiner) too committed a blunder by not verifying the passenger details as mandated by the railways journey for ticket examiners. Action should be taken against the MP and his cotravellers for faking age. The TTE should also be punished for not verifying y the details, said the official. Gaikwad took the fake age step to travel in a train on a day Parliamentarians from espite protest by employ- of Dr Ambedkar Dees Foundation (DAF), the controlling Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MOSJE) has gone ahead with the recruitment of staff for combined cadre of DAF and Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation (BJRNF). Last month DAF employees had appealed to the Secretary of Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) G Latha Krishna Rao to protect the Foundation from discriminatory actions by the vested officials in the Ministry. The staff alleged that the Ministry encroached upon the prescribed mandate of DAF which has been empowered by the Centre to recruit their own staff. They alleged that the recruitment notification is illegal which is flouting the Recruitment Rule (RR) regulations as it was never brought to the DAF governing body as mandated by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). A representation was made by employees to the Ministry against the notification issued by Joint Secretary B L Meena of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment. The MOSJE officials have however claimed that DoPT was duly consulted before the notification. In their memorandum, the employees had mentioned that Ministry made a mockery of recruitment process with blunders which includes a Group D post (MTS) notified as Group A post. Following a report in The Pioneer on January 23, 2017 about the violations by the Ministry, a cosmetic charge in the form of omission and addition of a couple of words was done through an order by Government of India Press. But that did not change the format of recruitment which flouts all norms and will not even stand in the rule of law, said a DoPT official. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assigned priority to DAF still such things are happening. The said RR are going to serve no purpose in the BJRNF either, as there is no staff presently holding any post on regular basis, said a senior officer in charge of the BJRNF. Among the States, West Bengal has topped the list as it has provided houses to 165,360 beneficiaries under the scheme. West Bengal is followed by Gujarat, where 127,300 beneficiaries given the houses. Other States that have done fairly well include Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Manipur and Nagaland. Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh have sanctioned 41,282, 10,555 and 33,470 houses respectively during the same period, while Goa has been able to identify and provide benefit to just five persons in the State. However, across the party lines condemned his unruly behaviour of beating with slippers an AI official last Thursday. While Air India has flied an FIR against him, the MP was banned by all the domestic airlines from flying thus forcing him to take Rajdhani train to Mumbai on Friday evening. AI took the bold step and cancelled Gaikwad s return ticket to Pune from New Delhi on Friday evening. The MP then booked himself on an IndiGo flight to Pune which too refused to take him onboard. Later, he was forced to undertake a train journey. The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) then issued a statement saying that the member airlines have decided to ban this MP from flying on all our flights with immediate effect. Delhi Police had registered two separate FIRs, one against Gaikwad for assaulting the AI staffer and transferred the case to its Crime Branch, and another against the AI staffer with Gaikwad being the complainant. Gaikwad has since said that he would not apologise for his action. he CBI on Saturday regis- a case against two for- Ttered mer AGMs, two ex-chief managers of Syndicate Bank s Jaipur and Udaipur branch, and six others for allegedly causing loss of nearly 209 crore to the bank. Searches were underway at the residences of the accused including in Jaipur and Ajmer, a senior CBI official said. The accused were identified as former Assistant General Managers -- A K Tiwari and AGM Adarsh Manchanda, Chief Managers - - Santosh Gupta and Deshraj Meena who worked at the bank s Udaipur and Jaipur branch, the official said. Udaipur-based Chartered Accountant Bharat Bomb, his builder brother-in-law Pavitra Kothari, Kothari s employees - Piyush Jain and Vineet Jain, and builders Shankar Lal Khandelwal and Anoop Bartaria were also booked for the alleged fraud. A complaint was lodged that the accused hatched a criminal conspiracy to avail home loans/credit facilities from the bank by submitting forged and fabricated documents. The funds then disbursed by the bank s two branches were diverted and fraudulently siphoned off to the companies owned by the accused, allegedly causing loss of approximately 209 crore to the bank, the official said. The case has been registered under sections 420 (cheating) 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 467, 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the official added It was alleged in the complaint that the said accused availed home loans and credit facilities from Jaipur and Udaipur branches of Syndicate Bank on the basis of forged and fabricated documents, CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said here. Searches are being conducted at four places including Jaipur, Ajmer at the residential and official premises of accused persons, he said. he verbal dual between the Truling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Opposition National Conference (NC) has intensified in Kashmir as the campaigning for the bypoll in two parliamentary constituencies progressed. On Saturday Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti addressed a series of gatherings in central Kashmir s Beerwah pocket while Farooq Abdullah who is joint candidate of NC and Congress from Srinagar Constituency addressed partymen in Budgam. While the NC castigates the ruling PDP for its alliance with the BJP, the ruling party is justifying the alliance for the development of the region. We assure everyone that we stand by our political, economic and developmental agenda, Mehbooba said while campaigning for her party candidate Nazir Ahmad Khan. In parallel campaign, Farooq Abdullah said the upcoming by-poll is not just the battle of ballot but fight for survival of secularism, which is at peril in the wake of communal and divisive forces taking centre stage in the state polity. States such as Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh have also not been able to perform much as far as urban housing is concerned. Earlier, the Urban Development and Housing Ministry had asked State Governments and UTs to submit proposals for construction of affordable houses at the earliest so that the Narendra Modi Government s Housing for All Scheme target in urban areas could be met by 2022 as envisaged. Top sources told The Pioneer that the Prime Minister he Congress is likely to Tlaunch a campaign against the Modi Government alleging a sharp decline in job growth figures in key sectors. The party termed this as the sideeffect of demonetistion and hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over saying his claims do not match with ground realities and the economy is contracting. Citing official figures, Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Singhvi said on Saturday that eight key sectors including the ith the Bareilly Police Wstill groping in the dark to identify the miscreants who unleashed panic in Jiyangla hamlet, fresh tension prevailed in neighboring Subashnagar area after more posters appeared on walls in the area threatening members of the minority community on use of loudspeakers at religious places. On March 15, some mischievous elements put up posters threatening members of has expressed annoyance over slow pace of work under PMAY programme. At a meeting with all secretaries of States and UTs, the Prime Minister has directed to prepare an action plan and send the roadmap of 2022 to his office. He asked them to hold weekly review meeting in this regard and adopt a mechanism to fasttrack sanction of houses and to ensure adequate budget in the background of the assessed demand in each State/UTs, said the sources. Aiming to provide housing to common people across the country, the Prime Minister transport, manufacturing, health, education, hotels and restaurants have seen a decline in the third quarter of this fiscal. From the figures, he said, it is clear that there is a vast difference between Prime Minister s claims and reality. The Congress has pointed out that women employment witnessed the sharpest decline in this quarter, as 25,000 jobs have been lost. Modi promises more jobs but in the third quarter of this financial year there is an increase of 69,000 jobs against an increase of 1.7 judicial order passed in an Aeviction suit by the Supreme Court last week created a history as the tenant was allowed time till October 2019, almost two-and-a-half years, to evict a rented premise owned by an NRI in Ludhiana. This is by far the longest time given by any court to a tenant to hand over possession. By ordering so, the Apex Court brought down the curtain on a 12-year-old dispute between a tenant Gurbachan Singh and his NRI landlord Ravinder Paul Mohindra, who owns the commercial building situated at a prime locality on Mata Rani Road in Ludhiana. On Wednesday, the matter pending in SC since 2007 was taken up by a Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi. The lawyers appearing on both sides stuck to their positions with the tenant unwilling to hand over possession of the rented premise held by him since October 26, 1985 on a monthly rent of 1,250. The landlord claimed that he needed the premise for setting up office for business and claimed to have suffered huge losses since the property in question was worth several crores on which rent paid was pittance. The Bench asked both lawyers if they wish to end their dispute and seek an amicable settlement to the long-standing issue. With the landlord clear over getting back possession and the tenant seeking at least five years to vacate, the Bench asked advocate R Balasubramanium to mediate between the parties. After an hour of negotiations, Balasubramanium ironed out a solution by making the tenant agree for a lesser period to hand over possession and the owner to forgo claim on losses suffered due to under-payment of rent. The Bench gave time till October 2019 for the tenant to evict possession and asked him to furnish an undertaking to this effect in three weeks. Violation of the same would amount to contempt of Court, the bench said. a community to leave the village or be ready to face the consequences. Last time the poster was released in the name of Bharatiya Janta Party s MP but in fresh posters, the publishers name was printed as Entire Hindu Commmunity. The local police once again registered a case against unknown miscreants. They also quizzed some youths engaged in printing and running photostat centres. However, so far no breakthrough could be made. had launched the Housing for All initiative in June 2015 with a target to construct 2 crore houses by About 4,000 cities are covered under the scheme. In the first phase, the Government has planned to construct one crore houses by However, the scheme is moving at a slow pace because of lack of response by some States. Under PMAY (Urban), central assistance of 1 lakh to 2.30 lakh per each dwelling unit is provided to eligible beneficiaries under the four components of the scheme. A total of 1, crore was As per fresh reports, some posters were pasted or thrown at two mosques at Kargaina hamlet of Subashnagar which is located adjacent to Jiyangla in Bareilly on Saturday morning. Through the posters, the minority community was asked to stop playing loudspeakers on mosque tops or be ready to face the consequences as the majority community would not allow them to do so. Senior police officers rushed to the scene and later got the objectionable posters removed sanctioned during the financial year , and a total of 99.13% of the total budget was spent for the Prime Minister Awas Yojna (Urban) mission. As per data provided by the Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Ministry, the construction of 2,21,373 houses has started. State-wise approvals include: Andhra Pradesh(1,94,884), Gujarat (1,20,782), West Bengal (1,22,915), Maharashtra (1,18,252), Karnataka (82,964), Telangana (81,920), Madhya Pradesh (67,893), Bihar (63,017), TN (61,711), Odisha (46,798) and Tripura (45,905). lakh jobs in the previous quarter, which is less by about onethird. This is, God forbid, showing a trend of contraction and let us hope that Mr Modi s jumlas and claims and the BJP s self congratulatory, selfpatting on the back succeeds, otherwise the Indian economy will be prejudiced and hurt irreversibly, Singhvi said. Figures show that the growth in third quarter was exactly half of the previous quarter, when only 32,000 new jobs were created against the 77,000 created in second quarter. Barring manufacturing and IT, other sectors have suffered a steep decline, and the four badly hit sectors are trade, construction, hotel and restaurant and education, registering an absolute decline of 18,000 jobs, Singhvi said. If you take total overall employment figures, it is even more distressing in the comparative previous quarter, addition of jobs is 1.69 lakh i.e. Almost 1.70 lakh which is way below, he pointed out. He said one gets clear glimpses that are indications to rmy Chief General Bipin ARawat on Saturday exhorted the Indian industry to manufacture weapon systems keeping in mind local conditions and said the Army wants to fight the next war with technology on our side. He also asked the industry to come up with robust, rugged, miniaturised yet technologically compatible solutions. Addressing a seminar on The User and The Provider organised by Corps of Signals, Army Design Bureau (ADB) and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Rawat also released the second volume of a compendium of problem statements prepared by ADB about issues related to weapon systems. The ADB came up with this document after detailed interaction with all stakeholders, including soldiers deployed in the field. The first volume, with 50 problem statements, was released in December last year and 28 new problem statements were added in the second volume which will enable industry and academia to understand the needs of the armed forces and evolve indigenous solutions incorporating the latest technology trends for India s military power. Rawat asked the industry to align the solutions to the said problems and sought efforts to bring in transparency in the battlefield to allow better decision making. Pointing out the drawbacks in trial equipment, he asked the industry and academia to focus on the fact that Indian Army will fight its A few days ago, residents of Jiyangla hamlet on the fringes of Bareilly district were shocked to find several posters with hate messages pasted on ewalls The posters said, The BJP is in power in UP. So Hindus will do the same what Donald Trump is doing with Muslims in America. The minority community was further threatened to leave the area by the end of this year or be ready to face the music. When the local pradhan noticed the mischief, he which way the wind is blowing, not only demonetisation but the general mismanagement of the economy. The Congress leader also said that the third quarter figure shows there is a clear increase in Current Account Deficit (CAD) despite all the claims of deficit management to USD 7.9 billion almost USD 8 billion against just over USD 7.1 billion. So that is almost a billion dollar increase and connected to that in marginal decrease in net FDI to USD 9.8 billion, down from previous figures, he said. wars in varied terrain and weather conditions and sought them to come up with robust, rugged, miniaturised yet technologically compatible solutions. In the backdrop of revolution in war fighting strategies and tactics, the Army Chief said in the present complex environment, technology is imbibed by the Armed Forces in a manner that will rapidly keep pace with the changing technologies. He stressed the need for the ability to identify the correct type of technology and equipment to be inducted into service. As the battlefield is now dependent on satellite and digital technology, Rawat emphasised that the Army has to keep abreast with the digitised world and ensure that most of its systems are digitised as early as possible. He also said that since war will be fought on the borders and therefore technology to be incorporated into Army s communication systems has to be rugged and light weight and stressed on Indian solutions to these issues. informed the police after which cops and senior officers including SP (rural) Yamuna Prasad reached the spot. The posters were later removed and a case was registered against unknown persons. But no arrests could be made till date. Local BJP leaders chose to dismiss the incident as a mischief to disturb communal harmony in the area and to defame the party. Security has been beefed up in the area to avert any exigency and investigations were on. n effort to end the Istand-off with the Opposition over farm loan waiver, the Maharashtra Government may revoke the suspension of 19 Congress and NCP MLAs, when the State Assembly meets after a long recess on March 29. Giving an indication to this effect, Maharashtra Legislative Affairs Minister Girish Bapat said in the State Assembly on Saturday: It is not the case that we will not revoke the suspension of the Opposition MLAs. We also would like the House to function in a cordial atmosphere. Our approach towards revoking the suspension of the Opposition MLAs is position. Let the Opposition members come to the House on March 29, after recess. Let s sit across and find a solution... We also do not like colleagues to sit outside the House.
6 he apex policy making Tbody for indirect taxes, CBEC is being rechristened as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) in the run up to the Goods and Services Tax regime to be rolled out from July 1. The Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) is being renamed as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC), after getting legislative approval, a Finance Ministry statement said. CBIC would supervise the work of all its field formations and directorates and assist the Government in policy making in relation to GST, continuing central excise levy and customs functions, it said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has approved the reorganisation of the field formations of the CBEC for the implementation of GST, it added. The existing formations of central excise and service tax under the CBEC have been re-organised to implement and enforce the provisions of the proposed GST Laws, it added. The renamed Directorate General of Goods & Service Tax Intelligence is also being strengthened and expanded to become an important wing of the Government in its fight against tax evasion and black money. Indirect tax reform GST is expected to curb tax evasion, make commodities cheaper and add up to 2 per cent to India's GDP growth. GST will subsume excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies. The CBIC will have 21 zones, 101 GST Tax payer Services Commissionerates comprising 15 sub-commissionerates, 768 Divisions, 3,969 Ranges, 49 Audit Commissionerates and 50 Appeals Commissionerates. TENDER NOTICE Directorate General, CRPF Block No.1, CGO Complex, Lodhi Raod, New Delhi-03 (Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India) (Tel No/Fax ) F.VIII-1/ Adm Store (AMC/ACs) Director General, CRPF New Delhi, for and on behalf of the President of India invites Online tenders under Single bid system from reputed firms engaged for undertaking the Comprehensive Annual Maintenance Contract(AMC) of Air Conditioners & Drinking Water Coolers of this Directorate General, CRPF, CGO Comlex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi and its Branches located in R.K.Puram/ Pushp Vihar / Saket, New Delhi for the period of one year. Tender No:- No.F.VIII- 1/ Adm Store (AMC/ACs) dated 9/03/2017, Description of stores:- Annual Service & Maintenance contract (AMC) of Air Conditioners and Drinking Water Coolers, Qty Specification:- As per Appendix-''A", EMD:- 23,000/- (Rs Twenty three thousand) only, Cost of tender document Non refundable:- 100/- (Rs one hundred) only, Critical Dates:- a)time & date of receipt of tender online /offline:- on 18/04/2017 at 1030 Hrs. b)time & date of opening of tender online /offline on or after 1130 Hrs on 19/04/ Bids will be accepted only online at e-procurement web site (Certain documents are required to be submitted in original as per clause 21 of schedule-1 to tender enquiry. 3 All relevant details, including specification, terms & conditions etc are available on e-procurement website same may be downloaded by the bidders. Details can also be seen at CRPF website htm. 4 For any changes in Tender Enquiry /specifications etc, tenderers are requested to visit the CRPF/CPPP web sites regularly. 5 Date of availability of tender on CPPP: 14/03/ In case of any problem please contact on the following telephone numbers :- Tel No/Fax No ) Sd/ davp 19111/11/0871/1617 DIGP ( Adm) Dte, Genl. ndustrialist Sajjan Jindal on ISaturday said his JSW Group will invest 7,000 crore more in the ports sector over next three years to create assets in the country as well as abroad. The company is also looking at diluting up to 15 per cent stake in the ports operating company, JSW Infrastructure, to a private equity player soon, and take it public by We will be investing 9,000 crore more in the ports sector till 2020 (including the 2000 crore already invested), he told reporters at JSW Infrastructure-run flagship port here in Ratnagiri district. The company has already invested 2,000 crore in the project at Jaigad and the overall investment plan for the company includes 2,000 crore for capacity expansion here, Jindal added. Of the remaining 5,000 crore of investments (excluding the 4,000 crore in Jaigad), Jindal said the company is looking at putting up four berths in Paradip that will have a 50 mtpa capacity and a greenfield project in Fujairah in the UAE. The 4,000-crore Jaigad Port project has a capacity of 40 million tonnes per annum now, which will be doubled by 2020 and raised further to 125 mtpa by 2025, he said. At the company level, total capacity target is 200 mtpa by 2020, Jindal said, adding the port now handles dry bulk cargo but has plans to enter container handling. One of the biggest opportunities that the port is eyeing is the proposed public sector mega refinery by IOC- HPCL- BPCL in the Konkan belt of Maharashtra, even though the exact location is not finalised yet. Jindal said JSW is pitching to act as a captive port for the proposed refinery project which will host the very large crude carriers to ferry in crude, and also ships to evacuate refined products. The JSW group has tied up with the Hiranandani Group, which is investing up to 4,000 crore to construct an LNG terminal at the Jaigad Port and then evacuate the cargo through a dedicated pipeline that will be connected with GAIL s pipeline at Dabhol. It can be noted that the Ratnagiri Gas & Power (formerly Dabhol Power) does the same work already, but Jindal is confident that the growing market will ensure there are opportunities for all.the JSW Group is also looking at sites in the Palghar district which is north of Mumbai, G ujarat Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF), which sells its products under Amul brand, on Saturday defended its TV commercial for ice cream and accused HUL of resorting to stunt to pressurise and frighten it. FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has moved Bombay High Court against Amul over the commercial, which suggests to consumers to buy Amul ice cream and not the frozen dessert as the latter was made from vegetable oil and was not healthy. Talking to reporters here, GCMMF Managing Director RS Sodhi said HUL's litigation is a stunt. HUL, which makes frozen dessert, has challenged our latest TV commercial that aims to create awareness among consumers about the difference between ice cream and frozen dessert. The latter is made from vegetable oil, while ice cream is made from milk fat, he said. This is HUL s stunt to pressurise and frighten us into he European drug regulator Thas recommended suspension of around 300 medicines on which bioequivalence studies were conducted by Chennaibased Micro Therapeutic Research Labs, citing unreliability of data. Bioequivalence studies are usually the basis for approval of generic medicines. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that the suspension has been ordered for all drugs for which the bioequivalence studies were conducted by Micro Therapeutic Research Labs at two sites in India. The review, by EMA s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), concluded that data from studies conducted at the (two) sites between June 2012 and June 2016 are unreliable and cannot be accepted as a basis for marketing authorisation in the EU, EMA said in a statement. NEW DELHI: Bank officers union AIBOC has registered a protest against the RBI s decision to keep bank branches open on all holidays till April 1 to facilitate Government tax collection. In our opinion, the necessity to open the branches for transacting government business on all holidays one week before the end of the financial year is not at all required. There are four full normal working days between 25th submission. But they don t know that we are backed by 36 lakh poor farmers who want to make consumers aware about the products they are buying, he said. He further said HUL had dragged Amul to Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) last year objecting to the latter s move to distribute pamphlets on the same issue, but the ASCI ruled in its favour, saying that Amul s campaign "does not disparage the entire campaign of frozen dessert. Sodhi said ice cream is made from milk fat while frozen dessert is made from vegetable fat, and cannot be called an ice cream. FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has named this category as frozen dessert. We thought of informing our consumers to check on the packet of the product to ensure if it is icecream or frozen dessert, he said. Even FSSAI allows us to inform our users about our products, and I don't think we have made any mistake. We have just informed consumers and left it for them to decide. Amul is looking at 1,000-1,100 crore market share in ice cream segment this year, he said. Sodhi said Amul had created a similar awareness campaign differentiating between butter and margarine, and is also planning to launch another campaign regarding cheese and cheese analogues. and 31st March 2017, which is more than enough to complete all government transactions, AIBOC said. In a letter written to RBI Governor Urjit Patel, All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) said that due to the notification, bank employees won t be able to celebrate Navaratri, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa and many other festivals falling between March 25 and April 1. PNS JAIGAD (Maha): Union shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday alleged a stop-work order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last year on a dredging project at the Mormugao Port in Goa has resulted in a loss of 250 crore to the exchequer. The NGT judge had stopped the dredging work at the Mormugao port, leading to a financial setback worth 250 crore, Gadkari said at a JSW Infrastructure event. He said the Centre wants to make the Mormugao Port as the first facility with an 18 metre draft in the country, but the judicial intervention ensured it did not happen. The 18 metre draft would have helped handle very large vessels. But I am very happy that Jaigad Port operated by JSW Group, has become the first harbour in the country to have an 18 meter draft. We could have also succeeded in making similar draft in Goa, had it not been for NGT, Gadkari said.pti NEW DELHI: Bajaj Auto on Saturday said it has agreed with Japan s Kawasaki to end their decade-old alliance for sales and services in India from next month. The Pune based company is focusing on its partnership with Austrian firm KTM, under which it has been converting its Probiking outlets, where Kawasaki motorcycles were also sold, into KTM dealerships. Kawasaki, Bajaj have mutually arrived at an amicable decision to end their alliance in India from April 1, 2017, Bajaj Auto President (Probiking) Amit Nandi said. PTI AHMEDABAD: Axis Bank will open an international finance branch at Gujarat International Finance Tec- City (GIFT) in Gandhinagar, its CEO and MD Shikha Sharma said on Saturday. Yes we are planning to open an international finance branch at GIFT City, Sharma said when asked about the bank s plan regarding the GIFT City. PTI NEW DELHI: The World Bank has approved a $100-million loan for a health project in Uttarakhand to provide medical services in the state. The financing agreement from World Bank s arm International Development Assistance (IDA) for Uttarakhand Health Systems Development Project was signed here, an official statement said. One of the components of the project would entail engaging private sector for health services in these regions while the other on stewardship and system improvement. Total cost of the project is $125 million, of which $25 million will be funded by the State government. Under the project, there will be multiple selfcontained clusters of clinical services from operators on a PPP model. They will provide services for free or at nominal charges, the statement said. Health services under the project will have a robust oversight and monitoring mechanism that will be fully integrated with the expanded health insurance programme in Uttarakhand. This will be concurrent with strengthening the state s capacity to implement the project, it said. The project is slated to be completed by PNS to build a greenfield port, Jindal said, without specifying the details. Jindal said the Palghar project will be independent and not a part of the Wadhawan Port being developed by the Centre and the state. He said the company, which primarily handles captive cargo for group companies, had a turnover of 4,000 crore and a pretax profit of 800 crore in last financial year. JSW Infrastructure is fully-owned by the Jindal family now and is looking at first diluting up to 15 per cent before launching an IPO, Jindal said. It has decided on milestones before it going public, he added, specifying that a capacity of utilisation of 100 mtpa is essential before it goes public, which at present is around 30 eneral Motors India on GSaturday signed a threeyear wage agreement with workers of its Talegaon plant in Maharashtra, with average salaries set to go up by Rs 22,000 at the end of the period. The new wage pact would be effective from April 1, 2017 and come to an end on March 31, The Talegaon plant has over 2,500 workers. As per the new agreement, the workers will receive 80 per cent f the increased component in the first year followed by 10 per cent each in the remaining two years, respectively, General Motors India said in a statement. Commenting on the development, GM India Vice President, Human Resources, Pritpal S Kular said: It is an important step in our plan to consolidate GM India's manufacturing at the Talegaon plant in Maharashtra. It is a reflection of the trust and commitment between the parties and how the company works collaboratively to resolve mtpa and 100 mtpa target can be achieved by 2019 and will be jacked up further to 140 mtpa by The total debt of the company stands at 1,500 crore at present. With a focus on port connectivity, the company has invested 50 crore on a 42-km road link with the National Highway 17, which was inaugurated on Saturday. The company also laid the foundation stone for a 34-km rail link between Jaigad and Digni on the Konkan Railway route, which includes 18-km of routes passing through tunnels. Jindal said establishing rail connectivity between Chiplun and Karad on the Deccan Plateau being carried out by the government now will enhance the port's addressable hinterland. all issues in an amicable manner, he added. General Motors Employee Union President, Talegaon, Tushar Kamthe said that the timely settlement will help drive quality and enhanced productivity which is beneficial for all employees. General Motors has decided to consolidate manufacturing in India at the Talegaon plant and stop production at its first plant at Halol in Gujarat from April 28. In January this year, SAIC Motor HK, part of China s SAIC Motor Corp, had received the Competition Commission's approval to acquire certain assets of the Halol plant. Struggling to make a turnaround in India, General Motors has put on hold its investments on new models for the country as the US auto major undertakes a full review of its future product portfolio here. The company, which in 2015 had announced plans to invest $1 billion to enhance manufacturing operations and roll out 10 locally produced models, has not put any timeline for lifting the freeze on investments on the new products.
7 onald Trump has suffered Da humiliating legislative defeat as Republicans were forced to pull their repeal of the Obamacare bill, prompting the US President to declare that his predecessor's flagship scheme will fall apart, as he promised to make a "great" new healthcare plan for Americans. House Speaker Paul Ryan failed to garner enough votes in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives for the passage of the new healthcare bill to replace the Obamacare due to opposition from some of Trump's own party lawmakers, in particular the one that have grouped themselves under the banner of Freedom Caucus. The US House of Representatives similar to the Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament has 435 members. The Republican party enjoys a simple majority in the House with 235 members. However, Ryan, who had been leading the effort on behalf of Trump, could not muster the majority 215 votes. As a result, in an effort to avoid the humiliation of a defeat, Ryan announced that he was withdrawing the move to have a vote on Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Unlike India, US Congress does not have an anti-defection bill, as a result of which US lawmakers are free to exercise their right to vote on a bill as per their wish and not according to dictate of the party leadership. Blaming the opposition democrats for the failure, Trump on Saturday declared that Obamacare will fall apart and promised to develop a "great" new health care plan for Americans. "ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!" Trump said on Twitter. Trump yesterday expressed disappointment over the defeat of the bill and warned Americans that "bad things are going to happen". He warned that now Obamacare is going to stay, people would see a sudden rise in their insurance premium. "It's going to happen (explode). There's not much you can do about it. Bad things are going to happen. There's not much you can do to help it. I've been saying that for a year and a half. It's not Beirut: At least 16 civilians were killed and dozens wounded this in an airstrike on a rebel-held area outside Syria's capital Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said. It said it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the strike on the town Hammuriyeh in the opposition bastion of Eastern Ghouta. "Sixteen civilians, including a child, were killed and around 50 others wounded in an air strike on the main street in the town of Hammuriyeh," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said. It was not immediately clear if all the wounded were civilians or if some were rebel fighters, he said, adding that the death toll could rise further because a number of the injured were in serious condition. The Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus has been under a devastating government siege since 2012, and is also the regular target of regime air strikes and artillery fire. AFP sustainable. There's no way out," Trump told reporters at the White House after the bill was withdrawn. "As we got closer and closer everyone was talking about how wonderful (Obamacare) was. Now it will go back to real life, people will see how bad it is and it's getting much worse. When President (Barack) Obama left, 2017 was going to be a very bad year for Obamacare," Trump said. "Going to see explosive premium increases and the deductibles are so high that no one is going to be able to use it," he said. Having fought and won the presidential elections on the platform of repealing and replacing Obamacare, Trump said he honestly believe that the Democrats will come to the Republicans and say "let's get together and get a great health care bill or plan that's really great" for the people in this country. "I think that's going to happen," he said. Trump said he was very close to getting enough votes in the House, but fell short of votes. "We were very very close. It was a very tight margin. We had no Democratic support," the President said. t least three people were Akilled and 31 injured on Saturday in two blasts when Islamist terrorists hurled explosives on people as army commandos stormed their hideout in Bangladesh's northeastern Sylhet city following a 30-hour security siege. "Two civilians and a policeman have been killed in separate blasts outside the militant hideout," said Golam Kibria, commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Paris: French anti-terrorism judges have charged two men suspected of involvement in supplying a weapon to the gunman killed at Paris's Orly airport after attacking soldiers, a judicial source said on Saturday. The suspects, aged 30 and 43, were charged Friday for "association with terrorist criminals" over the March 18 attack and are being held in custody, the source said. The younger one was also charged with arms possession related to a terror plot. They are both from the Paris area and lived close to the assailant, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, according to a preliminary investigation. Ben Belgacem, 39, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he attacked the capital's second busiest airport, according to judicial sources. Ben Belgacem, born in France to Tunisian parents, grabbed a soldier on patrol at Orly's southern terminal and put a gun to her head and seized her rifle, saying he wanted to "die for Allah". His father insisted his son who had spent time in prison for armed robbery and drug-dealing was not a extremist. He had, however, been investigated in 2015 over suspicions he had been radicalised while serving jail time, but his name did not feature on the list Dubai: Dubai International Airport and its flag carrier Emirates began implementing a ban on laptops and tablets on direct flights to the US, on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Around 1.1 million people are expected to pass through the busiest international airport as the city marks UAE spring break, Dubai Airports' senior vice president for communications Anita Mehra said. An estimated 2,60,000 travellers were expected to pass through each day from Friday through Monday. Dubai International Airport expects 89 million passengers this year. The United States announced a ban on all electronics larger than a standard smartphone on board direct flights out of eight countries across the middle East. US officials would not specify how long the ban will last, but Dubai-based Emirates told AFP that it had been instructed to enforce it until at least October 14. Travellers using 10 airports across the Middle East and North Africa are subject to the ban. The ban also covers all electronics sold at Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Police. "Five of the injured are law enforcers," he told The Daily Star. The first blast happened around 7:00 pm About 400 metres off the five-storey building where the militants were hiding. It targeted the huge crowd witnessing the operation codenamed "Twilight" and policemen deployed there as part of a cordon, killing two civilians. Another blast took place in front the hideout an hour later that killed the policeman. "The Rapid Action Battalion Griffiths told local radio earlier this week. Government-owned Emirates operates 18 flights daily to the United States out of Dubai. In an attempt to appease its customers, the airline announced it would be offering complimentary packing and shipping services at gates to enable passengers to use their electronic devices after checkin and until boarding. Adding to the complication on Saturday, a number of flights out of Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports were delayed due to thunderstorms, including an Emirates flight to Houston. The US ban affects nine airlines from eight countries: Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Britain has also announced a parallel ban, effective Saturday, targeting all flights out of Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Lebanon. Abu Dhabi, home to UAE national carrier Etihad Airways, is one of the few international airports with a US Customs and Border Protection Facility, which processes immigration and customs inspections before departure. AFP of those thought to pose a high risk. The attack at Orly came with France still on high alert following a wave of jihadist attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives in two years. The violence has made security a key issue in France's two-round presidential election on April 23 and May 7. Soldiers guarding key sites have been targeted in four attacks in the past two years but escaped with only minor injuries. In mid-february, a machete-wielding Egyptian man attacked a soldier outside Paris's Louvre museum, injuring him slightly, before being shot and wounded. AFP Islamabad: Pakistan has agreed to allow former Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif to head a Saudi Arabia-led 39-nation Islamic military coalition formed to combat terrorism, according to a media report. This was disclosed by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in a programme of private Geo TV. Citing Asif, the channel said official documentation to issue the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) had not been done but the government has agreed in principle to issue the permission because the Saudi leadership had formally requested through a letter to let Raheel take up the command of the coalition. Asif said he had visited Saudi Arabia for Umrah earlier this year, and had also met officials of the Saudi Government. In May, the advisory board of defense ministers of member countries will attend a meeting on the issue, he said, adding the structure of the alliance had not been decided so far. "When General (Retd) Raheel Sharif joins he will define a structure," he said. In January this year, the defence minister had informed the Senate that the former army chief had not sought an NOC to lead a Saudi-led military alliance. Asif had said Raheel had returned to Pakistan after performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia and if he applies for the NOC, then it will be decided according to law. From a few politicians to retired army officers, journalists, intellectuals all had questioned the decision of a former Pakistani army chief to join a foreign military alliance after his retirement. Pakistani leaders were initially taken aback when Saudi Arabia, without proper consultation with them, had announced in 2015 that Islamabad was also part of the new alliance. PTI and armed policemen had replaced onlookers at the first blast site when the second attack happened," an eyewitness said. The injured have been admitted to hospitals, officials said. The first blast occurred shortly after an army spokesman hinted that the commandos were set for the final assault on the extremists, after they had evacuated the building of the residents with the help of firefighters and other officials. New York: A Sikh-American girl was harassed on a subway train when a white man, mistaking her to be from the Middle East, allegedly shouted "go back to Lebanon" and "you don't belong in this country," the latest in a series of hate crimes against people of South-Asian origin. Rajpreet Heir was taking the subway train to a friend's birthday party in Manhattan this month when the white man began shouting at her, according to a report in the New York Times. Heir recounted the ordeal in a video for a Times section called 'This Week in Hate', which highlights hate crimes and harassment around the country since the election of President Donald Trump. Heir said she was looking at her phone when the white man shouted at her saying, "Do you even know what a Marine looks like? Do you know what they have to see? What they do for this country? Because of people like you." He told Heir he hoped she was sent "back to Lebanon" and using expletives said, "You don't belong in this country," before he left the subway. Heir, a Sikh, said she was born 30 miles from Lebanon, not the Middle Eastern country but a namesake city in the American state of Indiana. Heir said as the man left the train, she saw a young white woman in the train staring at her "with tears in her eyes." "What had just happened provided evidence of what I had sensed beneath the surface for a long time racism that can turn violent and lately does," she said. PTI London: Britain's charity watchdog has disqualified the trustee of a British Sikh charity and barred him from being involved in any charity in future after he was found guilty of misusing the organisation for visa fraud to bring Indian nationals to the country. The Charity Commission had already removed the Khalsa Missionary Society from the UK's national register in February 2016 and its statutory inquiry concluded yesterday that 57-year-old trustee Ravinder Singh had misused the charity to facilitate immigration fraud. The regulator had opened its statutory inquiry in 2014 after the UK Home Office began a criminal investigation into charity, set up to advance the Sikh religion in the UK through prayer meetings and lectures, and producing literature on Sikhism. As part of the visa scam, Indian migrants paid the Khalsa Missionary Society around 4,500 pounds per head to sponsor their visa applications as religious ministers to be employed by the charity. "The charity had been used as a conduit for the immigration fraud, which worked by the charity sponsoring individuals as ministers for religion, while funds were circulated through the charity's bank accounts to give the appearance that the charity was receiving legitimate donations," the commission said in its report on Friday. "The inquiry concluded that there had been misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity. He had breached his legal duties to protect the charity's assets by using the charity as a conduit to commit immigration fraud," it adds. PTI Dhaka: A suicide bomber on Saturday blew himself up at the international airport in Dhaka in an attack claimed by Islamic State terrorist group, a week after a similar attack on a camp of Bangladesh's elite Rapid Action Battalion nearby. The bomber, wearing jeans and shirt, was said to be in his early 30s. He blew the explosives tied to his waist at a police outpost at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The attacker could not be identified immediately and no other person was injured in the bombing. Police said he was carrying a trolley bag filled with three more bombs, detonated in a controlled-explosion later by a bomb disposal unit during which five people, including a policeman, were wounded. "The man exploded a bomb in front of the police post and killed himself," a senior police officer told reporters. Dhaka's police commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia told newsmen that the police vigil at the airport prompted the militant to commit suicide before he could attack the outpost. According to a report on Bdnews24.Com, the attacker triggered the bomb apparently in an attempt to target the security personnel present at the entrance of the airport. Hours later the incident the Islamic State group claimed responsibility through its propaganda news agency 'Amaq'. It said the attack "targeted a Bangladeshi police checkpoint near the international airport in the city of Dhaka." Bangladesh, however, has dismissed several previous IS claims, saying no foreign terrorist group has presence in the country. Rome: European Union leaders renewed their vows at a special summit in Rome on Saturday, celebrating the troubled bloc's 60th anniversary with a commitment to a common future without Britain. Meeting without Britain just days before it triggers its divorce. From the EU, the other 27 countries signed a new declaration on the Capitoline Hill where six founding states signed the Treaty of Rome on March 25, With the EU facing crises including migration, a moribund economy, terrorism and populism, as well as Brexit, EU President Donald Tusk called for leadership to shore up the bloc. "Prove today that you are the leaders of Europe, that you can care for this great legacy we inherited from the heroes of European integration 60 years ago," Tusk said. "It is it a bit of a tighter squeeze in the room today" than when the original six states signed up, joked Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni after welcoming the leaders to the Renaissanceera Palazzo dei Conservatori for a ceremony long on pomp and short on real politics. "We have had 60 years of peace in Europe and we owe it to the courage of the founding fathers," Gentiloni said, adding that after recent crises "we have to start again and we have the strength to do that." The Rome Declaration that the leaders signed, followed by a round of applause, proclaims that "Europe is our common future" in a changing world. But it also enshrines for the first time a so-called "multispeed" Europe, in which some countries can push ahead on key issues while others sit out, an idea pushed by France and Germany but opposed by many eastern EU states. AFP According to a report on Bdnews24.Com, the attacker triggered the bomb apparently in an attempt to target the security personnel present at the entrance of the airport. Armed Police Battalion Assistant Commissioner Tanzila Akter told reporters the incident happened around 7 pm. The attack comes after a similar attack on a RAB camp nearby on March 17. Security had been tightened at airports and prisons across Bangladesh after the attack. A suspected suicide attacker was shot dead at a RAB check post in Khilgaon the following day. The attack at the airport came on a day Army commandos were called out to launch an assault at a terrorist hideout in northeastern Sylhet city. The elite police units have laid a siege to a five-storey building there since Thursday. PTI Washington: The White House on Saturday congratulated the European Union on the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, which furthered continental integration. It is a notable shift in tone for Donald Trump's administration, which has voiced deep skepticism about Brussels. "The United States congratulates the European Union on the sixtieth anniversary of the 1957 Treaties of Rome and the founding of the European Economic Community," the statement said. "Our two continents share the same values and, above all, the same commitment to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy, and the rule of law." "Together we look forward to another sixty years and more of shared security and shared prosperity." AFP
8 D ebutant left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav's four wickets helped India skittle out Australia for 300 in their first innings on the opening day of the fourth and final cricket Test here on Saturday. Electing to bat after winning the toss here, skipper Steven Smith (111) and opener David Warner (56) set the tone for a massive Australian total, before chinaman Kuldeep triggered a batting collapse to bring India back into the game, with figures of 4/68. Pacer Umesh Yadav complimented the rookie spinner well to pick 2/69 while seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin took a wicket apiece. India batted for an over and are still to open their scoring with both the openers Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay intact at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium. With the series locked at one-all, India suffered a big blow when captain and batting mainstay Virat Kohli was ruled out of the match due to a right shoulder injury he suffered in the third Test in Ranchi. India didn't replace Kohli with a batsman but decided to field an extra bowler, in the form of Kuldeep. Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane lost the toss and Australia decided to bat first. The tourists endured a big blow early in their innings when opening batsman Matt Renshaw (1) jinkya Rahane became India's A33rd Test captain after injured Virat Kohli was ruled out of the fourth and deciding Test against Australia, here on Saturday. Kohli suffered a shoulder injury while fielding in the Ranchi Test match. Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will be making his debut as India go back to five bowler theory with Bhuvneshwar Kumar replacing Ishant Sharma. Yesterday Kohli had said that he will only play he is hundred percent was bowled by Umesh in the second over of the day. Smith joined hands with Warner and the experienced duo helped Australia not only recover from the early blow but also put their team in command with a 134-run stand for the second wicket. Smith, who has been in superb form in this series, handled the Indian bowlers with ease, registering his third century of the series and 20th in his Test career. The right-hander hit 14 boundaries during the 173 deliveries he faced. Smith's smooth batting helped Warner overcome his early struggles and adopt his trademark aggressive style. He hammered eight boundaries apart from a six over the mid-off fence off the bowling of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. fit but had admitted that there is every chance of the injury being aggravated during fielding. The Indian skipper missed a Test after playing 54 matches in the longest format at a stretch. It started with a Test match against West Indies in Mumbai back in November, Coming from India's cricketing nursery Mumbai, Rahane joined the league of legends like Polly Umrigar, Nari Contractor, GS Ramchand, Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri and Sachin Tendulkar to captain the country in Test cricket. The partnership was broken by Kuldeep, who removed Warner shortly after lunch with the Aussie southpaw staying back on a fuller delivery that extracted bounce off the wicket taking the edge of the bat with skipper Ajinkya Rahane pouching it. The Uttar Pradesh spinner surprised one and all with his craft on debut. Kuldeep made the most of the bounce off the pitch and turned the ball sharply with his variations leaving the batsmen flummoxed more often than not. The last Test's saviours Shaun Marsh (4)and Peter Handscomb (8) did not last long, leaving the visitors FIGURATIVELY at 168/4. Marsh could not cope with Umesh's short delivery with the ball kissing his gloves through to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. Righthander Handscomb went for the drive to what looked like a fuller delivery but the drift did the trick with the Aussie caught having too much gap between bat and pad and the ball beating his inside edge and knocking the bails off. Kuldeep, whose best first class figures are 6/79, was bowling beautifully and barring Smith none of his teammates seemed to be picking him. Glenn Maxwell was next to go as the in-form batsman failed to pick the wrong one after Kuldeep bowled with a scrambled seam with the ball crashing onto his stumps. The biggest wicket though came towards the end of the second session. Smith, who until that point looked to be playing against a different bowling attack than his colleagues who huffed and puffed, played for the turn but the ball took the edge of his bat and Ajinkya Rahane pulled off another sharp catch at first slip, as Australia reeled at 208/6. After the tea session, Mathew Wade (57) and Pat Cummins (21) showed some fight but Kuldeep removed the latter with a catch off his own bowling. Wade waged a lone battle at one end, while Steve O' Keefe (8) ran himself out. Wade registered his fourth fifty in Test cricket before being bowled by left-arm spinner Jadeja as his team lost its ninth wicket for 298. Bhuvneshwar chipped in with a wicket after Nathan Lyon (13 offered a catch to Cheteshwar Pujara to end the Australian innings at 300, as Josh Hazlewood remained not out for two. oung chinaman bowler YKuldeep Yadav, who on Saturday made a memorable debut with a four-wicket haul against Australia, revealed that legendary Shane Warne taught him to bowl the flipper which he used to get his maiden Test wicket of David Warner. At the start of the Test series in Pune, chief coach Anil Kumble took Kuldeep to Warne for a session and it paid dividends. Asked about the kind of tips he got from Warne, the 22- year-old Kuldeep's reply brought the house down. "Did you see the first wicket (that of Warner)? That was not a chinaman. It was a flipper which I learnt from Shane Warne. So learning from Warne and then getting out his countryman is a nice feeling," Kuldeep replied cheekily as everyone had a hearty laugh. For Kuldeep, it was a dream come true to meet Warne and talk about the art of spin bowling. "My idol is Shane Warne and I have followed him since my childhood. I only watch his videos and it was a dream-come-true when I met him. I could not believe I was speaking to my idol and sharing my thoughts on bowling and what all I should be doing. I did exactly what he (Warne) told me to do. He has promised that he will have another session with me in near future," the youngster said. Kuldeep was brilliant on the field on his debut but equally impressive was his spunky answers after the day's play. And then, Kuldeep said something that indicated maturity beyond his years. "From childhood I have been told that spinner is someone who would take wickets even if he gets hit (Spinner woh hain jo maar bhi khaaye aur wickets bhi leta rahein). My theory remains the same," he said. Kuldeep is satisfied that his execution against Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb went as per plan. "All four are precious scalps and first one (Warner) is very special. The next two (Handscomb and Maxwell) were satisfying as you got them exactly how you had visualized their dismissals." Opposition wicketkeeper Matthew Wade said that Kuldeep was difficult to pick as both his conventional chinaman and googly were being bowled with scrambled seam. "Good that he (Wade) said this which means he is having difficulty! (laughs) You need to change as per demands of game. I don't bowl like that but I did not want him to know what I was bowling," said Kuldeep. India Test team never had a chinaman bowler before Kuldeep and coaching this particular breed is unheard of. "I think people find it difficult as normally they don't bowl chinaman. When I started, my natural action was chinaman and I had no clue that this is called chinaman or there existed an art called chinaman. It was a new thing but then I enhanced my skills further. It is difficult for a wrist spinner to bowl chinaman. You need to work hard," said the Uttar Pradesh cricketer. "As a leg spinner, if you don't get the spot, you will be hit. It's just that legspinner and chinaman are similar forms of bowling with one being right handed and other left handed," he said.
9 CUTTING THE CORD Is it time to cut the cable? In the past year and a half, online television streaming services Hotstar Premium, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have launched their services in India. There is also Voot from Viacom18 and Sony LIV from the Sony-ESPN network. Each of these services has come out with exclusive online-only shows, including several from India. This in conjunction with the rapidly falling data prices have made cutting the cable a viable proposition. Or have they? Entrepreneur Rishi Seth, founder of public relations firm Evoc, has not bothered to get a cable or direct-tohome (DTH) satellite connection at his home. It is impossible to plan for appointment viewing nowadays, says Seth, because it is impossible to plan my life around a television show. He explains that among millennials, the concept of a 9 to 5 job has ended, and even if you have regular hours, many times you want to hang out with your colleagues or friends after work, and you re not going to rush home just because your favourite show is coming. With subscription packages not taking a huge hit on the pocket, the most expensive package being Netflix at 650 per month. Other services are far more affordable: Hotstar costs 199 per month and Amazon Prime Video has launched in India with a package of 500 per year, which is free to existing Amazon Prime customers. The three services have gone on a buying binge, picking up movies across Indian languages as well as the online broadcast rights of Hollywood movies and the latest American television shows. In the United States, after the success of shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, hour-long shows have moved beyond free network television and onto premium cable channels and there is a dramatic surge in television shows with Hollywood actors and directors alike moving to the small screen. Technology has enabled this, not so much through computer graphics but more through altering the concept of television viewing. It started with delayed television viewing, once done through recording shows on a video cassette recorder and DVD player. But then TiVo came armed with a (then) high-capacity hard drive, and Americans began to record shows to watch later. Time-shifting, or delayedviewing was born. Other technologies allowed for viewing shows in different geographies, which became possible through Boomerang. Plug in the cable in one place and watch television shows abroad. And then Netflix came along, initially a service that allowed people to rent an unlimited amount of DVDs for a small sum of money. Netflix killed off the video rental store, and companies, such as Blockbuster, went bust. But as connection speeds went up with the rise of broadband and now mobile broadband, thanks to 4G mobile networks, physical storage devices were doomed. When YouTube launched in 2005, many internet experts doubted the video service could survive, given the immense costs of data and storage at the time and laughed when Google bought the service for $1.65 billion in Yet today, over 300 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute and viewers see close to five billion videos on the streaming service every day. Even before 3G and 4G services came to India, YouTube rapidly became one of the largest, if not the single-largest, broadcaster in India. And this realisation started to dawn on Indian broadcasters as well; several of them started to stream their popular soaps and reality shows on YouTube and discovered that shows received hundreds of thousands of views. While India s giant population meant that the reach on regular cable television dwarfed that of YouTube, the fact that most YouTube users were uniquely addressable made advertising on the platform much more targeted. But advertising-based services had several users clamouring for something else that they would be willing to pay a small sum in return for a videostreaming service that did not show adverts. The first off the blocks, almost a decade ago, was Netflix. Instead of sending millions of DVDs through the post every month, what if Netflix subscribers could just pay to stream their movies? And they did. From seven million users in the United States alone in 2007, Netflix has climbed to almost 90 million users today, with close to half that number coming from global markets. The rise of Netflix proves a point that India s largest broadcaster Star was thinking of going online from the era of its now disgraced former chief Peter Mukerjea, but under the stewardship of Uday Shankar, the broadcaster started Hotstar, an online video streaming network. Star s ace up their sleeve is live sports; after they won the rights to broadcast Indian cricket matches live, the matches came online as well. Star also had the rights to European football, Formula 1 racing, several tennis tournaments, and for the past few years, the Indian Premier League as well. Soon afterwards, Star also moved to broadcasting many of their soap operas online, and some shows which were discontinued on television came onto Hotstar. The success of Hotstar also made other Indian broadcasters move to online platforms; Viacom18 started Voot, their online and app-based online platform. But Hotstar had the firstmover advantage and something they hammered home when they brought in several American television shows as well, notably Game of Thrones. These shows were brought in with a one-day delay, and in the case of the popular Game of Thrones, they came online with little or no censorship. But it wasn t the lack of censorship that appealed to most viewers, it was the one-day delay, rather a few hour delay, the moment the clock ticked over past midnight on the US West Coast. The advent of social media has led to spoilers all over the internet. What are spoilers? Well, spoilers is when someone reveals a bit, particularly plot twists of a show or movie to spoil the experience for other viewers. It is like people revealing (spoiler alert) that Bruce Willis is a ghost in The Sixth Sense.
10 Amaster craftsman and an offroader, Allan Almeida aka Allan of Sara 4x4, has recently completed a very difficult project of restoring a vintage car, a 1936 Cord 810 Westchester, from nothing but scrap. Allan has been restoring cars for a long time now and has also won various awards like at the prestigious Cartier show and other such exhibitions. What is your work like and how did you get into this field of restoring vehicles? My extreme love for cars brought me into this work. I have been working for a long time now with Viveck Goenka, India s top car restorer having the largest collection of 4x4 vehicles. This field is not something which we think about getting into, rather it is one s passion which makes one follow this path. It is a stressful job as it requires constant hard work, but I was nevertheless drawn towards it. How long did you work for restoring this 1936 vintage car? It took me about six months to complete this frame-off restoration, which is a term used for vehicles which are completely disassembled with the parts cleaned or replaced. This is to say, this car has been restored from scratch, using scrap. How did you financially manage such a project? It was difficult managing the costs of finding rare parts of the vehicle. A lot of the parts are made by us in order to cut down the production cost. How many cars have been restored by you till date? I started restoring cars since I was 24 or, so I have managed to restore over 50 different vehicles till date. Where do you get the parts of the project you work on? Our chairman, Viveck Goenka, encourages us to go out to different places in search of the parts. We try and make most of the required parts of the vehicle, remaining of which are imported from different countries. What is the most difficult part of taking on such a challenge? The biggest challenge we face while restoring a vintage car is that those cars are one of kind. We cannot even find pictures of such a car, like the Maharaja car which was a single piece in the world. It then becomes difficult to recreate its parts. You are also a part of this team, Off-Road Junkies. What is that like? We are three people together in this team and we do off-roading in various parts of the country. We organise small events and exhibitions, drive cars of different brands and do four-wheeling. A one-day pop-up show curated by The Wishlist for showcasing the talent of various designers, weavers, collectors and artisans from all over the country was held recently in Mehrauli. This was the fifth season of its kind, which celebrated the Spring- Summer collection of stylish apparel, accessories, handicrafts and much more. The vision of The Wishlist is to curate a pop-up show every season that can give a platform to new and enthusiastic designers in the realms of garments, home apparel, accessories, and also to celebrate and highlight the real creators and craftsmen of all things beautiful. Sadhana Talwar Mehta was the curator of this season s blends of the fashion world show. She has previously were seen everywhere in the worked with the Padma Shri show. Other than that, brands awardee, Sribhas Chandra showcasing handcrafted skincare products, leather bags and Supakar, who works in handloom designing. With an extensive background in art and decor and innovative stationery bead pouches, ceramics, home fashion, Sadhana and her team were also present. The Secret came together to reveal the Ink caught the eye of people crafts of many gifted designers. with its beautifully personalised cards and envelopes. The show seemed to be the best retail therapy anyone could Besides being a paradise ask for. With carefully selected for fashion and art enthusiasts, the event was a treasure jewellery to intricately designed saris, the place was in itself a for foodies who care about treat for the eyes. Some of the their health too. Happy Belly participating brands were was mindblowing with its low NIMAI, White Champa, calorie munchies, especially Aavaran, Akaaro, Urvashi their innovation of light and Kaur, The Lohasmith, and crispy beetroot chips. Low-fat Banarsi Weavers. dips and pickles, healthy and Artisans from Kolkata, organic teas were also seen at Lucknow, Mumbai, Delhi, brands Spice Craft and CAHA Odisha and other parts of the respectively. country showcased their specialties such as Chikenkari, Wishlist show successfully The fifth season of The Kalamkari, Chanderi work etc. managed to bring forth art and The Lohasmith, a brand based culture from different parts of in Delhi, had put up a stall of the country in an attempt to home décor items made predominantly with metal. While handicrafts and handmade highlight the importance of talking of innovation, many works of local craftsmen. The brands were full of amalgamation of the contemporary and surprise the world with its fashion industry never stops to traditional. Denim kurtis, innovations, something which Indian palazzos, western blouses and other such wonderful this pop-up show stood for. W ith many shows being broadcast in India and elsewhere, often weeks after they were first shown in the US, the experience was ruined for non-us audiences. Fans got around this by downloading shows illegally using torrents, a distributed network of file sharing. Shows such as Game of Thrones and the BBC s popular Top Gear were heavily downloaded by fans hours after the initial broadcast. But now that the shows are legally available, many fans, including this writer, have moved to legally watching shows as the risk of viruses via illegal downloads is eliminated. But now that online sharing platforms have begun to enjoy success and profitability, they are taking on traditional broadcasters in another way by producing their own exclusive shows. Netflix was the first in the game: The extremely popular Orange is the New Black, a show about a women s prison, and House of Cards, a political drama in the innards of Washington DC were mega-hits for the streaming service. Amazon Prime Video signed on the erstwhile presenters of the BBC show Top Gear Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May for a huge sum of money and have encountered prompt success with their show The Grand Tour. This past year, Netflix produced The Crown, a show about Queen Elizabeth, that purportedly cost over a billion dollars to make. In fact, even the wedding gown that Queen Elizabeth II wore was meticulously replicated at the cost of millions. And the shows are winning awards as well all three shows have won US Emmy Awards, most notably Claire Foy, the British Actress playing the Queen, won the Screen Actors Guild for best actress in a television drama earlier this year. Shows and stand-up comic performances have given major opportunities to performers from India as well. Sourabh Pant, a standup comic whose performances are available on Amazon, mentions that the online video service brings in new quality control standards and a whole new audience. Indian show producers are looking at major opportunities going forward. But the services are still quite expensive for the public at large. Digital strategist Narendra Nag says these services only reach a small sliver of the Indian audience and that YouTube, by virtue of being free, is still by far and away the big daddy of the Indian online video space. The other issue, he feels, is that in the short-tomedium term, data connectivity and prices even with rapidly falling prices remain quite pricey for the large mass of Indian consumers. Also, data streams being data-intensive an hour of high-definition video consumes over three gigabytes of data on a computer or laptop and over a gigabyte on mobile phones mean that for mass appeal, data prices have to go even lower. But these services have made a start. It might be too soon to cut the cable in 2017 for most people, but 2020 is not that far away. Television, as we know it, is changing.
11 Professor ML Sondhi, who passed away in 2003, was a multi-faceted personality. A topper of the erstwhile civil service in 1956, he opted for the prestigious Indian Foreign service and had brief stints at the Indian Mission at Prague in Czechoslovakia and also at the Historical Division of the Ministry of External Affairs. He was also a Rhodes scholar, Professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). The cerebral and intellectual spark in him, however, impelled him to quit the narrow confines of the hallowed diplomatic career. After that, he plunged in to public life as an activist intellectual, commentator, Parliamentarian and politician. He had clarity of mind and he tenaciously pursued his ideals and ideas. He was an iconoclast who debunked conventional thinking and wisdom. The book, India s Foreign Policy: Selected Writings of Prof ML Sondhi, ably edited by Harsh Pant, Professor at King s College, London, and a prolific commentator of foreign policy issues attempts to put together some of selected writings of Professor Sondhi. The book is a snapshot of Professor ML Sondhi s unconventional wisdom, belief and faith in some aspects of India s foreign policy. He had the courage of conviction to think out of the box and go against the current and articulate his postulates with great passion and today many of his ideas and visions have been vindicated. If today there has been a paradigm shift in the orientation of India s foreign policy, it was Prof ML Sondhi, who advocated for a paradigm shift of India s foreign policy much ahead of the time. For example, within a few months from now, breaking a new ground, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to Israel in a major paradigm shift of India s foreign policy. Such a shift would have been considered blasphemous during the earlier years of India s foreign policy. How prodigious and prophetic Sondhi was is evident from an article he wrote for this newspaper (Time for Closer Ties with Israel, 19th March 1993) and which is reproduced in this book. This article was written immediately after the Bombay blast on March 12, 1993 in which many innocent lives were lost or grievously injured and the visit of the Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. In this article he made a strong plea for forging ties with Israel to fight the scourge of terrorism and for giving an impetus to India-Israel strategic ties. He wrote, The inertia of political interests has slowed down the process of upgrading political and economic relations between the two countries. It is not enough to convey at the bureaucratic level that both sides recognise the future potentialities of the two leadership. The structural perception of the threats facing the two countries should lead to new political thinking at the highest level of Government. If a narrow view prevails we can only witness development of bilateral relations in social and economic spheres without encompassing crucial changes in the policy process at the global level in a systematic perspective. Yet in another place in the same article, what he wrote finds resonance in the context of Modi s forthcoming visit to Israel. He wrote, The India-Israel summit may of course catalyse changes in the doctrines of national security on both sides, it can also clear the way for a more constructive participation in the peace talks. India can start a process which brings up new ideas and priorities for tackling international terrorism and also strengthening its bargaining position vis-a-vis the Arabs the Arabs by articulating the interdependence between itself and all the participants in the West Asian peace process. His narrative and analyses of the normalisation of India-China relations in the mid-1970s in the chapter Peace and Diplomacy between India and China reproduced from Pacific Community (October 1976) are very informative and insightful, particularly for scholars of contemporary generation who do not have the institutional memory or the knowledge of those times. Recapitulating the circumstances that led to the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, he wrote, The question of a proper Indian posture towards China was considered in a more realistic vein after the conclusion of the Indo-Pakistan hostilities and the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state. India was not prepared to counterpose the Indo-Soviet relationship and a dialogue with China as doctrinaire alternatives. There was no question of returning to the euphoria of the Bandung days, but the task of innovation was to put Sino- Indian relations on a bilateral basis in which differences not glossed over but would be looked at from the standpoint of availability and choices of policy options. That seems to be the persistent narrative of the complex India-China engagement. Yet another insight of the article is the analysis that internal development in both China and India can impact the bilateral relations between the two countries. It is in this context he analyses the impact of the end of Mao era in China and the imposition of national emergency in India. The way the Chinese media observed the election results in the states in the recent election in the country only buttresses this point. A message that emerges from this point is that Indian scholars working on China need to do more in-depth research on the domestic political and economic development in China. In this respect the Chinese scholars researching on India are far ahead of their Indian counterparts. There are also articles that critique the Non-Alignment, and also on India- Japan relations. A long introduction commenting on Professor Sondhi s writings and juxtaposing them in the present context adds great value to the book. The book on the whole is useful to understand how Indian foreign policy has evolved over the years not withstanding that Professor Sondhi s held strong views on certain issues. Perhaps some of his Parliamentary debates could have been edited and added to the volume, may be it can considered as a separate publication. P olitics, murder, homosexuality, gender equality these topics individually are enough to grab anyone s attention. And Sabyn Javeri in her novel Nobody Killed Her, very intelligently has interwoven all these subjects and presented it to her readers in the form of a captivating story. Javeri s novel made it to Huffington Post s List of books we can t wait to read in Javeri was born in Pakistan and now lives between London and Karachi where she teaches creative writing at university level. A graduate of the University of Oxford, she has a PhD from the University of Leicester. Her short stories have been published in several reputed literary journals and in award-winning anthologies and creative writing textbooks. She has also received the Oxonian Review Short Story Award and was shortlisted for the first Tibor Jones Award. This is her first novel. Nobody Killed Her is a political thriller inspired very loosely by actual events. Pakistan sinks deep into mourning as news of former Prime Minister Rani Shah s assassination arrives. Intelligence agencies, opposition leaders, the army top brass, her closest relatives all seem to be shifting in their chairs even as special investigative teams gear up to file a report. Conspiracy theories abound for there were many who stood to gain if she pulled out of the imminent elections. The needle of suspicion points most immediately to Madam Shah s close confidante Nazneen Khan, who was seen sitting right beside her in the convoy and, oddly, escaped the bomb blast unscathed. Javeri s tale of intense friendship between two ambitious women unfolds in a country steeped in fanaticism and patriarchy. This is dark noir meets pacy courtroom drama. Each chapter in this novel starts with a conversation taking place in a courtroom between the Prosecutor (Mr Omar), Counsel (Mr Hamidi), Defendant (Ms Nazneen Khan). Whatever question is asked by the Prosecutor the Defendant, Nazneen aka Nazo goes back in time and tells the reader everything that happened, thus making it in the form of a story rather than the monotonous conversation format. The whole story and all the events occurring in it are seen through the eyes of Nazo and throughout the story she s always using you to refer to Rani as if she is speaking directly with her. Throughout the novel the reader s attitude towards Nazo keeps oscillating between her being the murderer of Rani Shah to her being absolutely innocent. Sometimes it feels as if she did commit the deed as she s planning the worst things against Rani, though she insists that it s for Rani s own good, to benefit their agenda and for the greater good of the country. Other times, it seems totally impossible given her crazy devotion towards Rani Shah. Her schizophrenic behaviour towards Rani totally confuses the readers. However, there are other characters such as Rani s husband, the army, the opposition, the Jihadists who also have a motive to kill Rani. This is a headscratcher novel in which the readers are constantly wondering who the killer is with the needle of suspicion pointing almost towards everyone, which sort of makes the title apt. In an interview Javeri had said, My novel has two main female characters. One is Rani who is loosely inspired by strong empowered women like Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Perween Rehman and Aung San Suu Kyi who really fought for their beliefs. The other character is Nazo, who embodies the controversial side of power. She had said that in Nazo, she intended to have an anti-heroine who rose from the ashes like Mayawati, was dangerous and cunning like the Palestinian terrorist/liberator Leila Khalid, and had Jayalalithaa s beauty and ruthless ambition. Javeri wanted to build female characters that were headstrong and unapologetic and thought and acted differently other than what was expected of them. Maybe it s the bold attitude of both the women, the special bond they share, or how the book reveals the harsh reality of all the injustices that women have to suffer that makes this book so engrossing. The story is narrated through the perspective of someone who being so close to all the power, glitz and glamour, and money that comes with belonging to high status political family, yet for the narrator, Nazo who is just a mere servant girl, all this is so far away and this gives the story an edge. Like Aamer Hussein states in the blurbs, This long-awaited debut is a bold, candid exploration of how power and ambition corrupt ideals and distort the most intimate relationships. The book shows how it s easy for someone to achieve something if they come from a privileged background, however the same thing for a person not coming from a high status family wouldn t even dare to dream of. The book also very intelligently speaks about all the issues in Pakistan s political machinery. This novel opens up various topics of discussion from women empowerment, to homosexuality, to domestic abuse and to the dirtiness in politics. The author also tries to convey through her book very subtly that in the end the love of power always wins over the power of love, that power is an addiction to which once you get addicted it s nearly impossible to get de-addicted. The revelation of the murderer leaves the readers dumbstruck and in awe. No one could ve ever guessed it. This just shows what a prolific writer Javeri is. It s a must read political thriller. The ending is so shocking that it sent a shiver down my spine and left me wide-eyed for at least a few seconds. I guess this is what sets this book apart from the rest. This whodunnit is about power, love, betrayal, loyalty, obsession, deception and exile.
12 I n an amazingly bizarre twist to the seemingly endless and tortuous judicial process to decide ownership of the disputed land in Ayodhya that has been the subject of much controversy since the mid-1980s, the Supreme Court has suggested a negotiated resolution of the problem that has vexed successive Governments and wellintentioned individuals. Hindus believe Sri Ram was born, and a temple stood commemorating his birth, on this plot of land in the holy town of Ayodhya before being destroyed in 1527 by the marauding army of the Mughal invader Babur, and the building of a mosque, Babri Masjid, at the site with the ruins of the mandir. Muslims fiercely contest this claim. The dispute has played out over centuries in the realm of courts, politics and society at the local, regional and national levels. Given the sentiments and sensitivities attached to the contesting claims, politicians, administrators and judges have simply passed on the proverbial hot potato to their successors. The first communal clashes, as per extant records, over the ownership of what was later to be referred as Plot Number 583 in land records, was in Three years later, Awadh was annexed by the East India Company. In 1859, British administrators installed fences at the disputed site, demarcating areas for Hindus to worship and Muslims to pray. That arrangement came to an end nearly a 100 years later in 1949 when an idol of Ram Lalla, baby Ram, miraculously appeared under the central dome of Babri Masjid. Hindus insisted this was the sanctum sanctorum of the temple that once stood there; it was Ram Janmasthan, the very spot where Sri Ram was born. Muslims vehemently refuted it. Civil suits staking claim and counter-claim to the land were swiftly filed in the local court. The district administration responded by putting locks on the doors and ordering status quo to be maintained. Meanwhile, in 1961, a case was filed against the forcible occupation of Babri Masjid. With that, the Sunni Waqf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara became the main litigants. Later, the Hindu Mahasabha was to implead itself on behalf of Sri Ram, the presiding deity. In 1986, the district court ordered the locks to be removed. That spurred the ongoing VHP agitation to liberate Ram Janmasthan; this became the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement of the late- 1980s with the BJP, then led by LK Advani, joining in. Like everything else that preceded the Somnath to Ayodhya Yatra and the Shilanyas ceremonies, the destruction of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992, by a large crowd of kar sevaks is now history. Before Sixth December, several attempts were made by the Governments of the day to ward off the looming flashpoint through a negotiated settlement. The efforts continued after Sixth December a makeshift plastic sheet Ram Mandir was clearly not an option, nor was rebuilding the Babri Masjid, as was promised by then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. More important, a negotiated settlement on Ayodhya would pave the way for an amicable resolution to the festering disputes in Kashi and Mathura. All these efforts were in vain. As Murli Manohar Joshi, then BJP president, told me in an interview in the summer of 1992, A negotiated settlement is like the Vienna Congress dancing, dancing, but not advancing. The BJP formulated its post- Sixth December position by keeping all options open. Masterful at penning political text, LK Advani put it down as: The BJP will explore all possibilities, including negotiations and judicial proceedings, to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. In the party s 2014 manifesto, that position was modified to, The BJP will explore all possibilities within the purview of the Constitution to construct a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. This sentence was replicated in the BJP s manifesto for the just-concluded 2017 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh which the party-led coalition swept, winning 325 of the 403 seats. For a moment, let s step back in time. In 2010, after more than 50 years of the filing of the first civil suits in the dispute and nearly 500 years of the original Ram Janmasthan Mandir s destruction, the Allahabad High Court gave its verdict, carefully crafted and, as some commentators pointed out, politically weighed. A third of the property went to Sri Ram, a third to the Nirmohi Akhara and a third to the Sunni Waqf Board. On the face of it, the verdict was acceptable to all. Everybody cautiously welcomed it. There was even boastful talk that Muslims could be persuaded, through amicable negotiations, to give up their share of a third of the property and adequately compensated. That s how long-running property disputes are settled in India, partly by courts, partly by discussing a full and final settlement through adjustment process. But the parties to the litigation, the claimants of Plot Number 583 in Ayodhya, knew better than others to walk down the road of negotiation to nowhere. They had been down that road before. So they filed an appeal against the Allahabad High Court s verdict in the Supreme Court, rejecting their share of a third of the property and claiming all of it. It was either a mandir or a masjid; it was either Sri Ram s Janmasthan or a monument to Babur. To concede a third was akin to owning two-thirds of faith. It was and remains unacceptable to Hindus there s no way the title holders could sell it to the faithful. To concede two-thirds was owning a third of faith. It was and remains unacceptable to Muslims there s no way the Sunni Waqf Board could sell this settlement; it would stand accused of a sellout. This elaborate backdrop is necessary to understand the near impossibility of resolving the Ayodhya dispute through negotiations, amicable or otherwise. Even a court-determined settlement would be difficult, if not impossible, to implement. But had the Supreme Court done what was expected of it determine the ownership of the disputed land on the basis of law and indisputable claim, apart from the fact that Hindus have been in constant occupation of the property since 1949 there would have been a sort of final acceptance, even if grudgingly so. It would have also reiterated the supremacy of law over an entitled minority s sentiments and a bruised majority s sensitivities. Instead, the Supreme Court, after sitting on the appeal for nearly seven years, has chosen to respond to BJP MP and all-purpose interventionist Subramanian Swamy s urgent petition seeking immediate construction of the Ram Mandir. A Bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar last Tuesday said that such religious issues can be solved through negotiations and also offered to mediate to arrive at an amicable settlement. These are issues of religion and sentiments. These are issues where all the parties can sit together and arrive at a consensual decision to end the dispute. All of you may sit together and hold a cordial meeting, the Bench, also comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said. Swamy has been cautious in his response, suggesting Muslims can build a masjid across or along Saryu river. Zafaryab Jilani of the Babri Masjid Action Committee has rejected an out-of-court privately negotiated settlement. The Sunni Waqf Board has said a negotiated amicable resolution is impossible. A more clear view will emerge by March 31. How that would help boggles the mind since third party mediated negotiations have routinely foundered on the rock of obstinacy in the past. As of now, it is a terrible idea to try and go back to sitting across the table to untangle the Ayodhya dispute. The same points will meander their way through pointless chatter. Tethering the proposed talks and their presumed outcome to the BJP s majority in New Delhi and Lucknow would be both politically and strategically wrong. This may be a cynic s view, but it is not an invalid view. Had former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar been alive, he would have endorsed this view. Somewhere, wherever he is, I can quite visualise him smiling sardonically as do-gooders prepare to journey once again on the road to nowhere. (The writer is Commissioning Editor & Commentator, ABP News) T he space for liberal discourse in India is shrinking. The choice to elect the BJP to power was a deal with the devil. We knew of its Hinduvta tendencies but five years of UPA-II left the country craving for development, with no choice in hand. The rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was orchestrated with the support from electronic, print and social media, through campaigns, which narrated his development credentials. But the choice has left us with less freedom for discourse than we bargained for. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is asserting itself in universities, there are paid-trolls on social media and jingoistic anchors dominate news channels. We prided ourselves in not being Pakistan, on being plural and on being able to speak our minds. Indian libtards, welcome to Pakistan. With the just-concluded elections to Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand, the Modi wave, which lifted the BJP to power at the Centre has transmitted to State, municipal and college elections. Modi can get away with radical measures like demonetisation and other programmes by sheer verbal eloquence, gesticulation, and jibes at the Opposition. Nevertheless, the BJP provided the opposition parties enough opportunity to seize the narrative with its demonetisation fiasco, actions of the ABVP and cow brigade, Vyapam, farmer suicides, and failure to create jobs. The BJP still succeeds in blaming the Congress for the country s problems after almost three years in power. Presently, the BJP not only has numbers in the lower House, it also has an extremely weak Opposition to deal with. India s oldest party, the Indian National Congress (INC) has been reduced to eight per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha. However, as the largest opposition party, it is incumbent on the Congress to question the policies of the Government. In its current form, the Opposition is not only fractured, but is also oblivious to opportunities, to take control of the narrative and hold the Government accountable. Congress loyalists have pinned their hopes on the ascendance of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to lead the party to victory. For the non-loyalists, Rahul Gandhi is a caricature. At 47 years, he is still learning the ropes. Whereas, his father had already served as the Prime Minister at the same age. The party, which led the independence movement, is now perceived as a party of sycophants and courtiers. The dwindling fortunes of the Congress have little to do with the BJP. The grand old party has brought this upon itself by the lack of engagement. Victories in Delhi and Bihar have lulled the Opposition into thinking that all you need is a non-upper caste alliance. The BJP presents a much bigger challenge than its opponents are willing to concede. No political party gains a 40 per cent vote share solely relying on upper class aspirations. The power of the BJP is omnipresent in the country. The saffron party, though is not an unstoppable force. The idealistic liberal and development narrative is compelling for young India. And, in this regard, the Government has clearly not delivered. This is also the reason why the ruling party is uncomfortable with the likes of Kejriwal, the Kanhaiyas and the Rohith Vemulas. What doesn t scare them is the Rahuls. The Congress is a spent force. However, it still has a platform a decidedly liberal platform which has survived abuses from the 1975s to the 1984 to Regional parties have been ascendant for over two decades now. Tamilian parties provided a roadmap of how to play the national parties to corner resources for their States. The AIADMK and the DMK have both tied up with the Congress or the BJP as and when they desired. There is no ideological overlap, just pure trading. That is the nature of the game. The only natural and permanent allies the BJP has are the Right-wing parties like the Shiv Sena. The remaining parties are up for grabs. The obvious recourse for the Congress is to forge ties with these players and consolidate its platform against the self-proclaimed nationalists. As the BJP displaces Congress as the pole around, which political competition is organised, the Congress is going to be a bit part player in national politics. The party must go back to its 1885 founding principles and become a Congress of Parties, the sutradhaar. What it lacks in leadership and votes can be resurrected in a Congress of parties. According to Milan Vaishnav, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, regional parties have struggled to translate their regional standing into a platform for success at a broader, pan-indian level despite being accorded national party status. It is a win-win for both the Congress and the regional parties. On the one hand, the Congress continues to exist and averts obliteration, while the regional parties receive a national platform. There are many leaders in the country whose policy initiatives and political credentials make them potential prime ministerial candidates. These leaders do not invite the snort and derision that Rahul Gandhi does. Meanwhile, it s time for the Congress to look beyond the Nehru-Gandhi clan. Although dynasty politics is observed across the globe, including the US, the UK, Japan, Ireland, Iceland etc, matters get worse in India due to the chronic antiincumbency associated with certain political dynasts. The Congress needs to get rid of its image of being a maa-beta party for starters. (Saurabh Roy is fellow, and Gunja Kapoor is associate fellow, Pahle India Foundation)
13 It s been some time since almost all anti-bjp parties have been pondering over forming a Bihar-style grand alliance, albeit on a national level. Although, a senior leader has reservations on comparing it with the Bihar Mahagathbandhan. He says that after the Emergency, all parties had united to ensure the defeat of Indira Gandhi, and in the same manner, all parties are now coming together to stop Narendra Modi. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said that all parties had burnt their boats and were sailing on the ship of the Janata Party. But in the present scenario, nobody has to burn their boats if the new formula for alliance is adopted. Be it Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, or Naveen Patnaik, all have started gearing up for the grand alliance before But the question is who will be the leader of this front? Will all the kshatrapas come together under the command of the Congress? This is a crucial question because it is a fact that no regional stalwart will agree to challenge Modi under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. It is also true that there can be no such alliance without the Congress. That is why leaders of the Congress are demanding that Rahul should be made the leader of the grand alliance. Some are possibly waiting for Priyanka to join active politics; they think that if the winning streak of the BJP continues, she might plunge into politics. But one thing is clear: The kshatrapas will never get ready to fight the BJP even under the leadership of Priyanka. There are many people in the Congress who think that Rahul should concentrate on 2019, and before that, the party should allow the fight against the BJP under the leadership of any local kshatrapa. Even then, the grand alliance will need a face to lead. Nitish Kumar can be a candidate of consensus as he had stopped the BJP s vijay rath in Bihar. Amidst the political tension in Bihar, Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav has said that next time only a Bihari will be able to stop Modi. That means the JDU and RJD can agree to push Nitish as a strong contender against Prime Minister Modi. Right now, Akhilesh Yadav doesn t want to project himself as a PM candidate, so he might also support Nitish. Nitish could also get the backing of the Left parties and Naveen Patnaik. Then there is a question mark only on Pawar and Mamata, as both are also in the race for the PM s post. There is unusual calm in Parliament. After the results of elections in five States, the Opposition parties are in a sombre mood and that is why the Government is not facing any problem in any of the Houses of Parliament. However, managers of the BJP and Parliament feel that the party s victory is not the real reason behind this peace. According to them, the first reason is that the TMC leaders are stuck in Saradha, Rose Valley, and Narada cases. In the Narada case, more than half a dozen leaders could be grilled by the CBI. In the same manner, leader of TMC s parliamentary party, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, is in jail as he is an accused in the chit fund scam. Another TMC MP, Tapas Paul, is also behind bars. So, Mamata has gone meek. This can be well understood with the stand taken by lone MLA of the TMC in Manipur, Devendro Singh, who has given his support to the BJP Government. The party is trying to save its face by saying that he has taken the decision on his own, but the MLA has openly said that his party had given him a green signal to do so. That is probably why no action has been taken against him. Giving a justification for this, TMC leader Mukul Roy had said that he doesn t want to put his MLA s life in danger. What s confusing is if he takes any action against the MLA, how will that endanger his life? So, the TMC MPs are weakened now. They had not even supported the Congress walkout in Parliament over the Goa and Manipur issue. The other reason is the absence of Rahul. At present, Sonia and Rahul are out of the country. No meeting of the parliamentary party of the Congress is being held and no strategy is being devised. In the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge is not very effective. On the other hand, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha is in a state of shock after the defeat in UP. The third reason behind peace in Parliament is the AIADMK; some MPs of the party are extending support to the Government, while others are absent. It is being said that Rahul will not be allowed to choose his team and rather Sonia will have the final word. Earlier it was being said that Rahul had already finalised his team and an announcement was due, but this is not true. Sonia has taken stock of young leaders in Rahul s team with the help of her close aides and it is being said that most of them are capable of working only at the second level. Most of the young leaders have also failed in election politics. Right now, Sonia is in the US for treatment and might return by the end of this month. Rahul is also with her. Sources say that the Congress president can change her team either in the end of March or in the first week of April. The Congress leaders are not sure whether Sonia will continue as party president till the end of this year or if she will hand over the command to Rahul in April. Some leaders say that the Congress is not going to gain anything in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat elections. It is also being speculated that elections in both States could be held earlier. That is why Rahul will not be given the party reins just yet. The extended tenure of Sonia is till the end of this year. Rahul will be given the president s post after the elections in the two States. The Congress is expecting better results in the elections of Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, which are scheduled for next year. It doesn t matter when Rahul becomes the party president, but this is certain that he will not run the party with the youth brigade only. Sonia s close aides in the party will also be a part of his team. The young leaders who are close to Rahul including Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deependra Hooda, Milind Deora, and Ravneet Singh Bittu might be given responsibility of States. Either Jitin Prasada or RPN Singh can be made the president of UP Congress. As far as the central organisation is concerned, the veterans will continue to hold prominence. Rahul s youth brigade doesn t have much knowledge of the organisation. They also have no coordination with other Opposition parties. Leaders of anti-bjp parties only want to talk to the Congress veterans. That is why Sonia will keep the old hands in the central organisation. The veterans will also occupy parliamentary posts. Youth leaders who aren t sent to States will be accommodated in the central organisation. Many leaders say Rahul and Sonia will be preparing the blueprint of change during their stay in the US. The BJP Government has stayed strong in Gujarat for the past 20 years, while the Congress has been ruling in Himachal for the past five years. In Himachal, voters choose the BJP and Congress alternately. After the results of five States, some say the BJP wants early elections in the two States. Sources say there is a Modi wave in the country just like the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. In this wave, if Gujarat and Himachal go for elections, then the BJP can win in both States. This will be the first election in Gujarat after Modi s elevation to the PM s post. In UP, Modi had said that he was the adopted son of the State. Now, the BJP leaders argue that if an adopted son can get such a huge victory in UP, then the real son of the State can get a bigger victory in Gujarat. In the same manner, the BJP believes that in Himachal, there will be a positive effect of its win in UP and Uttarakhand. Sources say elections can be held in both States in June, if not, then in September for sure. When the UPA Government was in the Centre, Kerala was considered a seat of power. Manmohan Singh s principal secretary TKA Nair was from Kerala. NSA MK Narayanan and SS Menon were also from the State. That was why officials from Kerala held almost all important posts. Right now, Gujarat is said to be the power centre. But apart from Gujarat, Pauri Garhwal of Uttarakhand has emerged as a small power centre. In a span of 24 hours, two CMs hailing from this small area took oath. The CM of the largest State of country, Yogi Adityanath, is from Pauri and his parents still live there. CM of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Rawat, is also from Pauri. Satpal Maharaj and Harak Singh Rawat have become ministers in Trivendra s Cabinet and they are also from Pauri. Rita Bahuguna Joshi, a Cabinet Minister in the UP Government, also hails from this area. C hina is irked with the THAAD deployment. The THAAD system is designed to intercept and destroy incoming short and medium-range ballistic missiles that threaten civilian populations during flight. Beijing is concerned that THAAD s capabilities might offer early tracking data to parts of the American ballistic missile system, eroding China s ability to target the US in the event of war. China believes that THAAD threatens its security, as the radar is capable of peering deep into the northern part into Chinese territory and parts of Russia. Thus theoretically both the US and South Korea can monitor Chinese flights and missile launches. South Korea justifies its need for defending against North Korea s missile threat and says it s not targeted at any regional states. But as said, with North Korea increasing the number of missile and nuclear tests in 2016, both the US and South Korea see compelling reason to speed up the deployment of the technology. US, Japan and South Korea are in the same page on this and are in constant consultation to cope with this situation created by North Korea. To allay the Chinese concern, the Pacific Command, which oversees US military operations in Asia- Pacific, clarified that the system is a strictly defensive capability and it poses no threat to other countries in the region. China remains unconvinced and has resorted to retaliatory measures, which further vitiates the situation. China protested South Korea s anti-missile system with consumer boycotts. China is South Korea s largest trading partner and a key source of inbound tourism. Therefore, it remains vulnerable to Chinese economic disruptions. Since China is a huge market for South Korea s consumer products, China is now in a position to use its consumer buying power as a foreign policy weapon to punish South Korea. As a first step, China started boycotting South Korean products in protest, as a means of sanctions. American and Japanese products also could come under the same category for China s retaliatory measures. Though the Chinese Government has denied any such measures, several Government-controlled Chinese media have called for coordinated voluntary boycotts against South Korea s imports. There were other means of reprisals too. Diplomatic tension spread to tourism. South Korea has been a popular destination for Chinese tourists in recent years. About 8 million Chinese citizens visited South Korea in 2016, accounting for nearly half of the 17.2 million total foreign tourists to the country. An advisory was sent to travel agencies against selling group trips to South Korea with a view to strangulate its tourism economy. Even Korean cultural exports popular in China came within the ambit of political dispute with Chinese Government blocking videos of South Korean music and TV dramas on several streaming services. The share prices of several South Korean companies, that heavily rely on trade with China, saw a sharp fall. Even in the past, there is precedent when China went overboard and expressed disapproval on international issues. For example, in 2012, Chinese consumers targeted Japanese cars over the disputed Senkaku Islands. Also, when on July 12, 2016, the international tribunal gave a verdict against China on the South China Sea issue, China boycotted US products, including KFC and iphones. China is likely to use such reactive measures more freely in the future. China even threatened South Korea over the land swap with Lotte Group to end diplomatic relations. Such threats are undiplomatic. What does it portend for the future? Now that the THAAD deployment seems is given, will China execute its threat to cut off ties with South Korea? Given that Trump s foreign policy is steering into an uncertain course, there could be unintended conflict somewhere. The East Asian nations could be caught in this quagmire if such a situation develops and ways to get out of such a situation, if develops, remains in the realm of the unknown. In view of this, such strong reaction on China s part becomes tough to appreciate. Apart from the bilateral differences and frictions, the question that arises is, will China abandon North Korea or to put it in another way, will China continue to remain friendly with North Korea because it needs a secure, private buffer between itself and its Asian neighbours aligned with the US? The answer could be problematic because there is a perception that Beijing views the alliance relationship with Japan and South Korea as a larger plan of America s encirclement and containment strategy. For Beijing, any measure that deters consolidation of US-South Korea alliance could be a welcome strategy. So, the issues are too complicated for an easy solution. As the US and South Korea go ahead with the decision to advance deployment of THAAD in the face North Korea s accelerated testing and development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, China s reaction could be more belligerent. Developments are happening at a faster pace than expected, with THAAD expected to be operational as early as April. Like the Patriot missile system, THAAD uses missiles to shoot down incoming missiles. According to a recent report, THAAD is a battery of 48 missiles on mobile erector launchers that uses powerful radar and infrared technology to intercept missiles within a range of 200 km, while they are in their descent phase. North Korea s state-run news service KCNA said the missile launches of March 6 were a part of a drill to test artillery capabilities to target US military bases in Japan. China s strong opposition to THAAD has unnerved South Korea. Beijing objects to the advanced US weapons system as an unnecessary and provocative military escalation as it poses a potential threat to China. The South Korean Government is likely to file a complaint to the World Trade Organization against China for allegedly retaliating against some of its companies and cancelling performances by Korean artists in response to Seoul s decision to deploy THAAD. South Korea considers China s action in violation of the bilateral free trade deal, while at the same time taking measures to minimise damage on its industries. Even when South Korea-China ties nosedive over the THAAD issue, Japan too is rattled by North Korea s firing of four missiles on March 6th, three of which fell in Japanese EEZ. Influential lawmakers are pushing harder for Japan to develop the ability to strike preemptively at the missile facilities of its nuclear-armed neighbour. So far Japan avoided taking the controversial and costly step of acquiring bombers or weapons such as cruise missiles with enough range to strike other countries, relying on the US support. But the argument in favour of revisiting the option is gaining currency. Thus far, Japan has been stretching the limits of its post-war, pacifist constitution. Past governments have claimed Tokyo has the right to attack enemy bases overseas when the enemy s intention to attack Japan is evident, and the threat is imminent but there are no other defence options. Such a policy might change soon in the wake of threat from North Korea. If Japan decides to acquire a weapon system that can reach to hit North Korea, parts of China s eastern seaboard also come within range of Japanese munitions for the first time. That would anger China. Beijing is strongly protesting the deployment of THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea and surely will protest if Japan too does the same. However, China itself possesses missiles that can hit Japan and therefore objections to Japan possessing similar weapon system would be invalid. A Japanese decision on this will have international support in view of the deteriorating security environment in the region. Japan is now considering beefing up its ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability by introducing a sophisticated multi-layered BMD system that would be able to cope more effectively with any future missile launches. The current Japan s BMD system consisting of two main parts Maritime Self- Defence Force (MSDF) SM3 interceptor missiles carried on Aegis destroyer, and PAC-3 (Patriot) ground-based interceptor missiles is considered insufficient and not robust enough to intercept missiles fired by North Korea and therefore suffers from self-doubt whether it would be able to cope in the future with the existing two-tier BMD system. Japan is also likely to start a $1 billion upgrade of the existing PAC-3 Patriot batteries. Therefore, Japan is debating whether it should also opt for THAAD or an Aegis Ashore system of land-based radar and SM3 missiles. If Japan decides on THAAD deployment, it could step up a two-tier to a three-tier BMD system consisting of SM3, THAAD and PAC-3 missiles capable of intercepting approaching missiles at altitude of about 500 kilometres, 150 kilometres, and 15 kilometres respectively. The National Security Council is now debating on future countermeasures. Fearing that North Korea in the future will continue to provoke by launching a new type of inter-continental ballistic missile, Japan is getting prepared to cope with the new situation. However, the changes that Japan is contemplating in its security strategy may not be enough to keep pace with rocket technology advances by Pyongyang as it would take years to complete. A quicker option that might look attractive for Japan is to deploy ground-toground missiles to defend against an attack on its Yonahuni Island near Taiwan fired from bases on Japanese territory several hundred kilometres to the east. Japan may justify a strike as self-defence but at the same time it ought to be mindful of the response it could provoke. Though North Korea s banned missiles have rattled its neighbours, there is a view that Pyongyang was testing the efficacy of its missile system by firing the missiles. At present if Pyongyang launches a swarm-like attack using multiple missiles, these could overwhelm Japan s already stretched defences. It is also unclear if THAAD will be the final deterrent to intercept and destroy a ballistic missile in its final phase of flight as its specifications are secret and the system has never been used in wartime. Therefore, THAAD s ability to deal with a barrage of missiles remains uncertain. The fact that the missiles were accurately fired proved an attack strategy that could put THAAD to real test for the first time. According to South Korean military intelligence, the four missiles fired on March 6th appeared to be an upgraded version of the Scud type the ER or Extended Range Scud. Since ER Scud is cheaper than the Rodong, Pyongyang could take advantage to build more ER Scud to overwhelm THAAD. According to Michael Elleman, a US based rocket expert with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, this could empower Pyongyang to fire off more than four, or could be even 10, ballistic missiles at one time to inundate a THAAD battery. How then to de-escalate the heightened tension? Kim Jong-un has declared in no uncertain terms that his country shall pursue its nuclear deterrent and weapons program in response to the joint military drills by the US and South Korea, which it says is a preparation of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on North Korea. North Korean diplomat Ju Yong Choi told the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament that the allies annual exercises were a major cause of escalation of tension that might turn into actual war. So, the allies argument that the drills are of only defensive nature is not valid from Pyongyang s perspective. While the diplomats of all other countries condemned and rejected Choi s defence of his country s action, China s ambassador Fu Cong opposed the deployment of THAAD and that his country shall take necessary measures to safeguard its own security interests. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi likened escalating tensions between the Pyongyang on the one hand and Washington-Seoul on the other to two accelerating trains, coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way and moving towards a head-on collision. He then proposed that North Korea could suspend its nuclear activities in exchange for a halt in joint US-South Korea military drills. Wang argued, This suspension-for-suspension can help us break out of the security dilemma and bring the parties back to the negotiating table. Such a proposal not only demonstrated Beijing s diminishing influence on Pyongyang despite the fact that it has stepped up pressure and even suspended imports of coal for the rest of 2017, but also lacked any indication that Kim Jong-un would be responsive to the proposal. Compromising to live with a recalcitrant neighbour is a preferable option for Beijing than to see US forces closer to its border. Kim Jongun is unlikely to barter his strongest treasured sword of possessing powerful nuclear deterrence for any attractive carrot on offer. So, the nuclear conundrum continues and no one seems to have an answer. Diplomacy must continue and there is no better option on the table.
14 There is a long-standing theory in the science of happiness that we each have a set point we return to; a happy medium, however high the highs or low the lows, in between. This hedonic adaptability means that even as we achieve our dreams finding true love, starting a family, making a million our expectations rise in tandem, resulting in no permanent gain in happiness. And perhaps explaining the trope of the unhappy lottery winner. Yet more recent theories suggest we can beat the odds: While our genes may influence about 50 per cent of the variation in these personal averages, and our circumstances (being born in a wealthy Western country, say, versus a war zone) another 10, that still leaves as much as 40 per cent that can be shaped by our own choices. According to Haemin Sunim the mega monk author of a multimillioncopy bestseller on the subject, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down there is no happier habit we can cultivate than that of taking our time. In fact, the only thing Sunim, whose thoughtful social media posts have earned him over one million Twitter followers, seems to do at speed is smile so frequently during our Facetime call from his study in South Korea, that it is impossible not to reciprocate. Slow thinking seems an anathema to our current cult of busyness and climate of rolling news, social media storms and neverendums: Where decisive, definitive action is constantly called for and cogitation is dismissed as dithering. But it is also, in many ways, a synonym for mindfulness a term now so overused to peddle everything from smartphone apps to adult colouring books that it is easy to forget it is a medically respected route of enhancing mental wellbeing. The largest-ever analysis of research on the subject last year found mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) helped people just as much as commonly prescribed anti-depressant drugs. Last week, the Department of Education announced that children as young as eight will be taught mindfulness techniques in school, in an attempt to counter the fact that the UK s children are among the unhappiest in the developed world (second only to Japan s youngsters). Mindfulness itself does not have any Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le Veon Bell honoured a bet with a Wisconsin fan to be her prom date, but the girl s school won t allow him to attend because he violates district s age policy. The story began when lifelong Steelers fan Ava Tarantino met Bell at a game last season. The two began following each other on Twitter. Last week Tarantino tweeted Bell a bet, that if her message could be retweeted 500 times, Bell would have to be her prom date. He responded 600 and it s a deal. particular form, says Sunim, acknowledging that few would be happy starting their day, as he often does, with a 3am meditation session, and many get stressed just at the thought of getting it wrong. Becoming aware of that thought is mindfulness, he explains. That s it. Having self-awareness. You can be waiting in line in the supermarket, listening to somebody behind you being really annoying. Realising, Oh, I am annoyed? That is mindfulness. Perhaps more of us are masters than we think. I can imagine someone wondering, What is so great about observing? Isn t it just avoiding reality?, he writes in the book. The answer is quite the opposite: you are not avoiding it; you are actually staring straight into it. The key, he says, is to recognise that negative emotions are not a fixed reality and will naturally release their grip, if you give them the space to do so: Regard them as a passing cloud, instead of identifying with them as a defining part of yourself. Raised just outside Seoul, 43 year-old Sunim whose name means nimble wisdom was curious about Buddhism from a young age, but it was only when he arrived in the hard-partying college culture at the University of California, Berkeley to study film aged 18 that his interest really took root. Taking refuge in a local Zen centre, he found himself enjoying the early starts and daily meditation practice and switched his major to religious studies, going on to pursue his Master s at Harvard Divinity School and doctorate at Princeton. After receiving formal monastic training in Korea, he taught Buddhism at a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts before returning to his homeland to set up group therapy programmes for young people. It was here, frequently asked for advice on dealing with life s daily challenges, that he took to social media to share his answers and received an outpouring of responses to his tweets and Facebook posts in return. As he swiftly amassed followers from around the globe, publishers took note and he was able to take his pick in order to compile his advice into a book. What could have simply been a collection of homilies instead read like haikus (bar the odd life is like improvised jazz aphorism, you might find on a fridge magnet), sparingly but beautifully illustrated by Korean artist Youngcheol Tarantino, 17, exceeded the number within a few hours and Bell responded, wellll a deal s a deal... I ll see youu at your prom. Officials at Waukesha West High School put the brakes on the dream date because the 25-year-old running back violates a longstanding district policy regarding the age of prom dates. Officials said they have had to enforce the rule before and had to be equitable. It all came down to a missing comma, and not just any one. And it s reignited a longstanding debate over whether the punctuation is necessary. A federal appeals court decided this week to keep alive a lawsuit by dairy drivers seeking more than $10 million in an overtime pay dispute. It concerned Maine s overtime law, which doesn t apply to the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of foods. There s no Oxford, or serial, comma in the packing for shipment or distribution part. The drivers said the words referred to the single activity of packing, which the drivers don t do. The defendant, Oakhurst Dairy, said the words referenced two different activities and drivers fall within the exemption. Circuit Judge David Barron wrote: For want of a comma, we have this case. The court sided with the drivers. Comma sense ain t so common, Jeffrey Neil Young, an attorney for the drivers, said Friday. Lee. I am much better at condensing my message and putting it into four or five different sentences, he says. Nowadays we have a very short attention span. So people actually like that. They do: The book has now sold more than three million copies worldwide, after topping the best-seller list in his home country for 41 weeks. Published in the UK and US at the end of the last month, it is currently being translated into a further 16 languages, from Swedish to Russian. Why does it resonate so widely? The news! he exclaims. It s just so intense. We want to take a break, to come back to our own body, our own emotions, and to the people who are sitting in front of us. I heard that sometimes it s easier for parents to attract their children s attention by texting them. We are really connected but at the same time desperately lonely. This book is a gentle reminder to get back in touch with our own being... and then get in touch with the people around us, face to face. The irony of using social media to spread his message is not lost on him. I think, like anything else, it can be good or bad. It just depends on how you use it, he says. A knife can be very dangerous to a violent person, but to a doctor it s very useful. I wanted to tweet something beautiful, something that really touches our heart, or calms us, so that it becomes a little bit like a little oasis, a refuge, in the middle of all this intensity. Could President Trump, say, use a few of his techniques in his life? Anybody can, he smiles. Especially politicians. His advice is already sought by the great and good; he related the story of a famous ( well, semi-famous ) South Korean actress, whose own popularity was causing her angst. She told me, Oh, I m so self-conscious about my looks and how other people think about me, so I rarely go out. I told her the truth: We really don t think about you that much. Did she find that liberating? Yes! That people may notice you, but then move on? Or, a lot of the time, we don t [even] notice you, he smiles again. We worry about things we don t have to worry about. And is he happy? Yes, I am generally quite happy, he beams, belying the true moderation of a monk. Sometimes I feel very tired and realise I am not as happy. But when I wake up, the next day, I am usually back. ANew York-based fragrance company has released a new perfume to allow cat lovers to recreate the scent of kitten fur. The new fragrance by Demeter Fragrance Library, accurately named Kitten Fur, was manufactured to capture the smell of the PURRfect spot just behind a kitten s neck. 15 years in the making, we ve captured the olfactory essence of warmth and comfort, the company said. Cat lover or not, this beautiful scent is sure to satisfy your curiosity! The exclusive fragrance is available on Demeter Fragrance s website in a variety of sizes and prices, ranging from a half-ounce cologne mini splash for $6 to a four ounce atmosphere diffuser oil for $25. Some of Demeter Fragrance s other most popular scents include baby powder, gin and tonic, moon beam and cannabis flower. Wisconsin resident Jean Smith snatches up entire stocks of her beloved Kerrygold Irish butter from stores when visiting family in Nebraska, thanks to an antiquated law in her dairy-obsessed state that bans it and any other butter that hasn t been graded for quality. We bring back 20 bricks or so, Smith said, noting she plops a tablespoon of the Ireland-made butter into F ugitive director Roman Polanski could face a tough US court battle next week as he seeks to resolve his four-decade rape case without spending more time in jail. Los Angeles prosecutors said in a court filing before a hearing on Monday that the Oscar-winning movie maker could not dictate the terms of his return to the US from afar. Polanski s attorney will ask a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to rule that Polanski fulfilled his time behind bars in 1977, when he served 42 days ahead of sentencing for the rape. Attorney Harland Braun has said Polanski wants to travel freely, without risk of extradition, and to return to the United States to visit the grave of his wife, Sharon Tate, who was murdered in Los Angeles by followers of Charles Manson in The case of French-Polish Polanski, 83, has been a cause celebre for 40 years. He pleaded guilty in Los Angeles in 1977 to having sex with a 13-year-old girl and served 42 days in jail after a plea bargain. He later fled T he life of staffers in Obama s White House will be the focus of a new big-screen workplace comedy. According to the Hollywood Reporter, a book proposal by White House stenographer Beck Dorey- Stein has been optioned by Universal Pictures and Anonymous Content. Titled From the Corner of the Oval, it follows a woman who goes from being a waitress to working in the White House. The proposal was picked up by Random House imprint Spiegel and Grau as part of a seven-figure, twobook deal. The film will be produced her tea each morning. It s creamier, it doesn t have any waxy taste and it s a richer yellow. Tired of trekking across state lines to stock up, she and a handful of other Wisconsin butter aficionados filed a lawsuit this week challenging the law, saying local consumers and businesses are more than capable of determining whether butter is sufficiently creamy, properly salted, or too crumbly. No government help needed, they say. On the books since 1953, the law is strict: It requires butters to be rated on various measures including flavour, body and colour by the federal government or people licensed as butter and cheese graders with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Rhode Island-based game maker Hasbro announced three new pieces will replace classic tokens in Monopoly following a fan E mma Watson is taking legal action after private photos of the star were allegedly stolen and leaked online. Photos from a clothes fitting Emma had with a stylist a couple of years ago have been stolen, her publicist said. They are not nude photographs. Lawyers have been instructed and we are not commenting further. Reports suggest that the pictures have been shared on the so-called dark web an encrypted network not easily accessible by the average user. The Harry Potter star is the latest actor to be the focus of a leaked photo scandal and confirmation of legal involvement follows the recent nine-month sentence handed to Edward Majerczyk, the man who hacked the phone of Jennifer Lawrence among others. Watson has previously been threatened with the leak of nude pictures as retaliation for her speech about gender equality as a UN ambassador for women. I knew it was a hoax, I knew the pictures didn t exist, Watson said. The minute I stepped up and talked about women s rights I was immediately threatened, within less than 12 hours I was receiving threats. She also tweeted: Even worse than seeing women s privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy. the US, fearing a lengthy jail sentence if the agreement was overruled. Prosecutors said in the court documents filed on Thursday the director had made repeated requests for special treatment. The defendant is, once again, trying to dictate the terms of his return without risk to himself... [He] wants answers but will only show up if he likes the answers, LA district attorney Jackie Lacey wrote. by Michael Sugar, whose credits include Spotlight and The OA. The project follows in the footsteps of two films focused on Obama s youth: Barry and Southside with You. The news also joins a number of politically themed small-screen dramas focused on the rivalry between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Tom Hanks is set to produce an HBO mini-series, Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal will pen a competing show, and Ryan Murphy has announced that the next season of American Horror Story will also take place around the 2016 election. vote. Hasbro announced the newest edition of Monopoly will ditch the classic wheelbarrow, boot and thimble tokens, and introduce the T-Rex, rubber ducky and penguin pieces selected by a fan vote to join five other classic pieces. Fans across the globe have spoken, and the eight tokens set to pass GO in the next generation of the Monopoly game are the Scottie dog, top hat, car, battleship, cat, T-Rex, rubber ducky and penguin tokens, the company said in a press release. More than 4.3 million people voted in the Token Madness campaign, which asked fans to select a new line-up from a mixture of 64 pieces including eight Monopoly classics and 56 new choices including a hashtag, emoji or computer.
15 If someone were to tell us that somewhere in our backyard, deep in the ground, lay a buried treasure worth millions of dollars, what would we do? Where would we be in our every spare moment? We would probably be out there in our backyard, digging frantically until we found our pot of gold. How could we concentrate on anything else knowing that we were living on top of a gold mine? Yet, this situation is not far from what is actually happening to each of us. We have a buried treasure within us containing riches far more fulfilling than having millions of dollars. We have a way to connect with our Creator waiting to be found within us, yet we go about our lives oblivious to our limitless potential. The happiness that we think can be attained through outer wealth is illusory. The reason we want money is to buy things, thinking those objects will give us happiness. Yet, look at the wealthy nations of the world. Are their people happy? If they were, why are so many people drowning their sorrows in drugs, alcohol, or destructive pastimes? Some of the people who have everything money can buy, plus fame and power, are often so miserable, that they sometimes end their lives tragically by overdosing on drugs and alcohol. Apparently, money, fame, and position are not offering people promised happiness. The satisfaction we seek is available from a source not made of matter. The happiness we seek is within us at the level of our soul. Bliss, unlimited knowledge, power, fearlessness, happiness, and peace are the riches of the soul. If we can dig in the right place, they will all be ours. If we knew there were riches buried in our backyard, we would not have any trouble finding time to dig. We would steal every spare moment to take that shovel and search. If we could apply that same level of urgency and commitment to finding our soul, we would find the riches within. Unfortunately, what do most people do? They spend a few minutes here and there, often with gaps of days, weeks, or months, searching the spiritual treasures. Expecting success with such little effort is like expecting to earn a medical degree by going to classes or studying few minutes every few weeks. Spending only a few minutes occasionally in spiritual pursuit will get us to our goal, but it may take centuries. Time is ticking away every moment. With each motion of the clock s second hand, our life grows shorter and shorter. Every minute is precious. If we wish to uncover the riches of the soul, we need to make the best use of our time. When we are in pursuit of something we really want, finding time is not difficult. When we are committed to our goal, we find that we stay focused on the task until it is completed. We can hardly tear ourselves away from the work that is going to take us to our cherished goal. It is when we feel we must force ourselves to do something that we worry about finding time. Finding time to dig is only a problem when we are not committed to the search. Then we have to discipline ourselves to spend time in whatever task we want to attain. It is a lot easier if we have a strong desire and yearning for the goal. If we have an overwhelming desire to find our soul and unite with the Creator, finding time is not an issue. We will become so engrossed in our inner search that we will lose ourselves in its pursuit. What are the benefits of discovering our soul? Some people want to find bliss. Others want the knowledge of what lies beyond this world. For some, conquering fear of death is the motivating factor. For others, it is empowerment. Let us not lose precious time. How many of us know someone who s life was unexpectedly cut short? It may have been a child or a teenager who passed away; it may have been a loved one. It could have been someone who was in the best of their health. When we least expect it, someone we love can die. We do not know when our turn will come. Even if it is not death that takes us, sometimes a sickness can afflict us. Some illnesses are so debilitating we can no longer perform our normal functions in life. It is crucial that we take advantage of the time we have when we are fit, healthy, and functioning. Who knows what will happen? An anecdote from the life of Kabir Sahib illustrates this point. While visiting Benares, Kabir Sahib always passed by the same man daily, who was always sitting in his garden. One day, Kabir Sahib said to him, Good Sir, instead of merely sitting in your garden doing nothing, why not sit in meditation and make spiritual progress? The man replied, I have a family. My children are young, and I cannot find enough time for spiritual practices now. But I will practice spirituality when the children grow up. Years later, after the children had grown up, Kabir Sahib met the same man again. Now that your children are older, do you find time for meditation? This time the man responded, I am in the process of getting my children married off so they can live independently. As soon as they are all married, I will begin my spiritual practices. A few years passed, and Kabir Sahib met the man again. He again inquired about the man s spiritual life. Now that your children are married, do you have time for meditation? My children have grandchildren, and I am watching them grow up, receive an education, and then marry. Some years passed, and Kabir Sahib returned to find that the man had passed away. Kabir Sahib shook his head and said, The poor man had spent his whole life thinking he would find time for meditation, and passed away without devoting any time to discover his soul. His mind led him into such a deep attachment to this world that he did not take any time for his own meditations. We do not want to end up like the man who was always too busy to search for God until it was too late. If we were to take a circle and divide it into three slices, label each slice: physical goals, intellectual goals, and spiritual goals, what would we have in each of these arenas? All three are important. Many people think that when they pursue spiritual goals, they have to give up everything else. That is what Sant Darshan Singh Ji called negative mysticism. Spirituality can be a path of what he termed positive mysticism. This means that while pursuing our spiritual goals, we still take care of the other two aspects of our life: Our physical existence and our intellectual life. We first need to prioritise. We can live a balanced life and attend to our physical, mental, and spiritual pursuits. U ttar Pradesh elections shocked many and surprised most. While the post-mortem may persist there is need to see more objectively what really went behind this modivating performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). We are talking about UP because this State mattered most last time and will also matter most next time. The analysts may offer many reasons for division of the so called secular votes. From confusion of the minority votes to similar other gibberish that comes almost always after results of every election. But there is need to see the historical side of this story. UP was not won in a day. Nor was it the simple caste equation that mattered. It was much more than what simple poll arithmetic can explain. Some credit for this is also due to the old guard of BJP. It all started in the Eighties when the BJP had only two members in Parliament. The party was on the verge of extinction. It was the post-mandal era that the caste divisions of a fragmented Hindu society were further accentuated and a new power block called Other Backward Class started extracting its pound of flesh. This was the time when the BJP found itself in an unenviable position. It was now or never kind of situation. The challenge was to reinvent the Hindu society badly divided on caste lines. It was then that BJP came with the catchphrase that meant they will divide through caste and creed; we will unite in the name of Ram. For the Hindu psyche, facing a conditioned subjugation after centuries of alien rule this was just a feeble spark. But it did give some ray of hope for a revival of the Hindu identity. That was the time when for the young Hindu youth, a popular slogan was coined Garva se kaho hum Hindu hain be proud to proclaim that you are a Hindu. This was the post-independence generation that had been brought up in a milieu of a misplaced secularism, which was more like selective appeasement than neutrality. The march of the BJP and revival of assertive Hinduism that began then was slow but steady and subsequently paved the way for a BJP-led Government with noted Lohiaites and secular socialists like George Fernandes joining the government of what the western media called Hindu Nationalist Party. The turnaround was just beginning. Subsequent elections saw further rise in the Hindu assertiveness and with more and more youth joining the voting class the ancient religion got a modern boost. There was a time when the sign of modernity was being irreligious as the so called secularism was the fashion. Sporting a tilak on the forehead was not correct socially and wearing saffron was a sign of backwardness. All that started to change as the Hindu youth embraced religious symbols with confidence. The participation in shravaini melas became fashionable. What happened in the recent UP elections is a continuation of that trend! With the Prime Minister Modi symbolising the assertive Hinduism, the UP results portend even more. So wishes are not horses and the BJP is here to stay. The 19th Century renaissance of Raja Ram Mohan Roy was just a reform having the endorsement of the west. But this Hindu renaissance is a kind of cultural nationalism that may once again pitch fork India to its pristine glory of the past. The Zeitgeist has arrived with Modi as the Renaissance Man. T wo top football teams were playing in the Champion s League the top tournament of European clubs. In the first leg, PSG won handsomely and unexpectedly by a margin of 4-0 over the formidable BFC. The second leg was full of drama. BFC attacked from the very beginning and managed three goals. Now the score line stood at 4-3. PSG scored near half-time, and now BFC had to score three more goals to win. This they accomplished in the final seven minutes of the game and won the match against all odds. The final score stood at BFC 6 and PSG 5, i.e. aggregate of both legs. Let us see some more examples. When someone falls sick, what does everyone try? That the person should recover, because what happens finally counts. All the troubles and pains are forgotten if full recovery is made. What happens when someone starts a business? If the business turns profitable, all the pains taken are forgotten. If the result is opposite, one feels terrible. Who is a successful artist? The one who succeeds in painting masterpieces. Who cares if this person made hundreds of paintings, which are stored in this person s basement? Same truth holds for successful poets. One poem makes the poet well known. In debates, what counts? The final score. When in an election, the votes are counted; the lead may be changing as votes come from different areas. But who wins? The one who, ultimately, has more votes. Similarly, in life one is looked as success or failure depending upon whether he or she was able to accomplish his or her goals and fulfilled the responsibilities thrust upon him or her. Finally, and I literally mean finally, a person s human life is considered success or failure depending upon whether he or she has been able to achieve a bond with God prior to death or not. Has he or she been able to achieve peace and bliss or is still struggling with material forces? There is a saying in Hindi, which goes like this anta bhala to sab bhala. Translated into English, it is, If the end is good, everything is good. If we have this mentality, we will have a successful life. We will never quit, no matter what difficulties we are faced with. However, extreme care has to be taken to ensure that our aims and goals are properly chosen according to our desires and resources, and should include spiritual progress. When I say resources, they include time, money, intelligence, health, nature, habits, sanskars, etc. Then, one must have a load of patience because long-term goals are not achieved any time soon, especially a bond with God. Tolerance is a similar quality one must have in plenty, because important goals do exact their price. How does one develop this mentality that the final score counts? The first requirement is realisation that what we sow is what we reap, ie the karmaphala principle. The results will come; when will this happen cannot be accurately predicted in most cases. The second important requirement is faith in God. That He is overseeing all we are doing, and justice will be done, and if we are connected with Him, God will help also in our efforts. The third and the most important requirement is belief in self. This belief comes from realistic assessment of one s resources. I have already written about having a bundle of patience and tolerance. The best part of this mentality is that we can see at every stage that we are progressing in the right direction, i.e. the overall score at different times in our lives. This overall score is no less important to maintain equanimity and, most importantly, to reduce anxiety. Are we ready to now fulfill our dreams and give them the proper shape in order to lead a well-directed disciplined life? Human birth is meant to allow us this chance.
16 S tress, a mental malaise, has of late become the order of the day. The worst is that even children, supposed to enjoy an unburdened life, are not spared of this malady any more. They are under such pressure to perform that they re deprived of privileges of childhood and thus come under stress. Not that stress had no ground to play upon in earlier times. The way the living world is made out, life can t move to one s asking. But given the sense of freedom prevailing in each mind, one would wish to move undeterred on one s own exclusive terms, and which evidently comes in conflict with ground realities. So, life never has an easy go. The difference, however between callings of the present and past is that with not many opportunities available in earlier days, people s expectations were relatively lower. And with limited communication facilities, they had hardly any exposure to the outer world. They, therefore, had no ground to compare and grudge against those enjoying better comfort level in a distant world. Also, their blind belief in destiny made them reconcile with their fait accompli easily. So, the stress level was relatively lower. Ever since communication explosion, we are now in know of comfort level enjoyed by the developed world, raising one s aspirational urges. Enamoured by the speed at which information flows, our mind too has virtually acquired similar pace. Our academic skills have grown. Scientific and technological developments now offer manifold opportunities. The paradox, however, is that if our comfort level has improved thereby, the emerging challenges thereof have been no less, and of great dimension. Our egos added to all that has bred in a sense of having become all-knowing. So, not simply our expectation levels have grown beyond proportion, but also made us overconfident of striking even the moon. Consequently, we seldom care to go for reality check before jumping into action. As a consequence, while passionately pursuing one s dream destination, often we are taken for a ride by unforeseen challenges on the way. For, we are not well geared up from before. So, we come under pressure. And, if ever confronted with failure and frustration, the feel thereof invites stress. Mind then, loses its sense of direction, whence many of us, particularly the over sensitive ones, keep mulling over them for long. Caught up in the melee, the thought process becomes incoherent, often leading to depression. The question now is: Are we so helplessly fated? Truth, on the contrary, is that we are very much empowered to intelligently carry forward our cherished desires to their logical ends. For, the indwelling faculty of discriminate intelligence enjoins upon us the capacity to weigh our options dispassionately, filter off unworkable and opt for what is achievable. Also, it enables us to improve our skill sets and get well geared up to succeed well in our endeavour. Provided, we invoke our indwelling empowerment tool and allow it necessary time and space for due diligence and homework. The paradox is that more often than not, our ego identifies itself with indwelling desires and blindly gets fixated to them. In the process, often the use of our most profound empowerment tool gets ignored. What further compounds our problems is the high pace at which minds have been of late moving. That doesn t stand true to the callings of mind s usual chemistry, which needs necessary time and space for objectively processing the tasks in hand. Second, our inherent mental frailties stand in way of our performing-self coming out with its best. The result is inevitable. Here comes the role of spirituality, which carries the potential to get over these vulnerabilities and help steer life towards a better tomorrow. The process as such, first helps clear off the clutters of mind. Following which, sufficient mind-space becomes available for absorbing fresh educative inputs and also processing our thoughts objectively. Towards the next step, one s true nature potentials and vulnerabilities get revealed. Accordingly, one could get over the limitations of mind through self-education. Further, one becomes aware of the true nature of mind in its pure form. With wholesome powers of mind thus becoming available, one is able to explore and become aware of existential dynamics. Following which, mind begins to spontaneously function in an orderly fashion and in sync with larger orderliness of nature. One then makes most appropriate choices, whence life turns into a pleasant experience, leaving no scope for stress.
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