june 4, 2017

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EVMs have got vote of conidence, claims EC NEW DELHI

The Election Commission’s Electronic Voting Machine went unchallenged on Saturday, with the CPI-M deciding to only understand its functioning and the Nationalist Congress Party opting out. NEWS 쑺 PAGE 11 DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Muzafarnagar tense over ‘cow slaughter’ MEERUT

Muzafarnagar was tense after a dozen people were injured in a clash between the police and the public over rumours of cow slaughter at a village on Friday. NEWS

On terror funding trail, NIA conducts raids on separatists

Conlict of interest led to Mistry removal: Ratan Tata

Cash, letterheads of banned terrorist organisations seized during searches

Poor governance and a tendency to concentrate control were other reasons, he says

Peerzada Ashiq vijaita Singh Srinagar/new delhi

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday conducted searches at 26 locations in Kashmir, Haryana and Delhi in a case relating to funding of terrorist activities by Pakistan-based terror outfits. In the raids, which started around 6 a.m, at least four NIA teams, along with police and CRPF personnel, fanned out across Srinagar and raided 14 premises of separatists and businessmen. Seven senior separatist leaders were questioned.

Cash track: NIA oicials conducting a search at the Khari Baoli market in New Delhi on Saturday. V. SUDERSHAN *

An NIA spokesperson said the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) was converted to an FIR on Saturday. “Had there been no FIR, the searches would

not have been possible,” he said. “During the raids, NIA recovered ₹1.15 crore in cash, property-related documents, letterheads of banned terror-

ist organisations — Lashkare-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen — pen drives, laptops and incriminating documents. Fresh locations revealed during the questioning of inmates will also be searched,” the spokesperson said. The bank accounts and lockers revealed during the investigation have been ordered to be frozen, the spokesperson said. The concerned persons have been summoned for questioning, it said. CONTINUED ON 쑺 PAGE 10 MORE REPORTS ON 쑺 PAGE 10

Naidu predicts easy win for TDP in 2019

New GST rate of 3% for gold, diamonds

No Opposition in A.P., asserts CM

Rates inalised for all products

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Though the Assembly elections are a good two years away, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday asserted that he would return to power in 2019 on the strength of the “big achievements” of his government and “virtually no Opposition.” “It is going to be a walk over for us in the 2019 As-

sembly elections,” he told The Hindu during an interview marking the completion of three years in office. “Where is the Opposition in Andhra Pradesh? It has neither head nor tail. I am my own opposition, constantly questioning myself and raising the bar of governance and implementing schemes to benefit the people,” Mr. Naidu said. INTERVIEW ON 쑺 PAGE 11

Special Correspondent New Delhi

The Goods and Services Tax Council on Saturday finalised the rates on all the remaining products, including gold, footwear, textiles, agricultural implements, biscuits, and beedis. The Council also cleared the rules regarding return filing, and transitional provisions. Union Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley, while brief-

ing the media following the conclusion of the one-day meeting, said gold, silver, and diamonds would be placed in a new rate category of 3% while rough diamonds would attract a nominal rate of 0.25%. Biscuits, currently taxed at a combined State and central tax rate of 20-23%, have been placed in the 18% GST rate category.

Oommen A. Ninan MUMBAI

The October ouster of Cyrus Pallonji Mistry from his post as executive chairman of Tata Sons Ltd. was the denouement of a series of issues that included “conflicts of interest,” “poor governance” and a “tendency to concentrate control” of the Tata group companies, according to Ratan N. Tata. “Mr. Mistry accused me of wanting to come back,” Mr. Tata, the 79-year-old chairman of the Tata Trusts and Mr. Mistry’s predecessor at the group’s helm, said in an exclusive interaction with The Hindu, his first with a journalist on the issue. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Unease built up Piecing together information gleaned from documents that include e-mails between Mr. Tata and Mr. Mistry and conversations with senior group executives, who did not wish to be identified as the matter is in court, it emerges that the Trusts’ unease with Mr. Mistry’s management of the group had been building up over time. While friction within the Tata Sons board, and

between the Trusts and Mr. Mistry, started intensifying in 2014-15, as the Tata Sons board believed it was being ignored in decision-making, things came to a head in 2016. Tata Power’s June 2016 acquisition of Welspun Energy’s renewable assets is believed to be one of the

SUNDAY EXCLUSIVE main bones of contention in the Mistry-Tata standoff, with questions remaining over the extent to which the boards of both Tata Power, and more importantly that of Tata Sons, were in the loop and supportive of the decision. The flashpoint was Mr. Mistry’s decision to acquire Welspun Renewables Energy at a price of ₹9,500

crore, which a group veteran said was presented as a fait accompli to the board, after the decision had been taken. “That was the point in time we got to believe that he had a tendency to do things on his own against the earlier practice of collective decision making,” said the group veteran. While all important decisions, particularly those that involved acquisitions or fund raising, were earlier always discussed and approved by the Trusts’ representatives on the Tata Sons board, the Tata Trusts — the majority shareholders in the steel-to-software conglomerate’s holding company — now found themselves marginalised. CONTINUED ON 쑺 PAGE 10


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Delhi’s pass percentage down 13% in Class X

Pak claims ive Indian soldiers killed

Region-wise performance also shows the Capital has performed poorly

Only a resident of Poonch was injured in iring, says Army

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The pass percentage of the Class X board examinations, the results of which were announced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Saturday, dropped by more than 5% nationally and by over 13% in the Delhi region. While the all-India pass

percentage in 2016 was 96.2%, it was only 90.25% this year, a dip of 5.25%, according to the CBSE. The results also showed boys outperforming girls, a shift from previous years. According to CBSE officials, Delhi recorded a pass percentage of 78.09% against last year’s 91.76%, a fall of 13.67%.

The pass percentage has been steadily dipping over the years. From a pass percentage of 98.40% in 2013, the number has slumped to the seventies. The region-wise performance also shows that Delhi has performed poorly. With a massive 99.85%, Trivandrum has the highest pass percentage followed by

Chennai and Allahabad with 99.62% and 98.23% respectively. In comparison, Delhi’s pass percentage is a poor 78.09%. This includes 94.02% under the schoolbased examination, 94.78% under the board-based examination and a mere 2.56% under the private category.

Special Correspondent Islamabad/New Delhi

Pakistan on Saturday claimed that five Indian soldiers were killed and many injured in its firing across the Line of Control. The Indian Army was quick to deny any such casualties.

A senior Indian Army officer said there was ceasefire violation in the Krishna Ghati sector, which is on the Indian side opposite Tatta Pani. The officer said there was no injury to Indian soldiers, but a woman was injured on Friday. The injured woman

was identified as Shehnaz Akhter, a resident of Shahpur area in Poonch district. Meanwhile, two soldiers were killed and at least four others injured when militants attacked an Army convoy on the National Highway. DETAILS ON 쑺 PAGE 10


Friend arrested for Noida techie’s murder Slain woman was avoiding accused Staff Reporter Noida

Ashvini Yadav alias Shannu, a friend of Noida techie Anjali Rathour, who was shot dead in her apartment complex earlier this week, was arrested on Saturday for her murder. Shannu and Ms Rathour studied together at Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar, and he claimed to be in a relationship with her. The accused told the police he killed her as she wanted to discontinue their five-year-old relationship. Shannu had been absconding since the murder and was nabbed from his aunt’s house in Mainpuri district. The murder at the Shatabdi Rail Vihar residential society in Sector 62 here on Wednesday was caught on CCTV camera. The footage shows a woman being chased and shot by a man with a backpack in the apartment’s basement parking lot. The accused told his interrogators that Ms Rathour had been avoiding him as she had befriended another man. According to the police, CM YK

Ashvini Yadav


the duo even had an argument over the issue on the night before the murder. The accused then spent the night outside a restaurant with a companion. Around 6 a.m., they went to Shatabdi Rail Vihar, where he asked Ms Rathour to come down for a talk. When Ms Rathour arrived, he confronted her about her relationship with the other man, leading to another altercation. As the argument got heated, Ms Rathour tried to run away. “The accused then followed her and shot her in the parking lot of the society,” said Noida SP Arun Kumar Singh, adding that the accused had brought the weapon from Etawah. The accused said he had also tried to shoot himself but the revolver misfired. A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



City’s vehicle count zooms to 1.05 cr Experts attribute rise in vehicular population to dismal state of public transport Jatin Anand New Delhi

Sisodia opposes higher taxes on low-cost items NEW DELHI

Finance Minister Manish Sisodia said that he had opposed increasing taxes on necessities like rice, dal and atta at the meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Saturday. Mr. Sisodia said he was against higher taxes on low-cost items, including biscuits and slippers, as it would burden people. STAFF REPORTER

Illegal water plants sealed in north Delhi NEW DELHI

Seven illegal water extraction and bottling plants have been sealed in north Delhi’s Ghogha village. North Delhi District Magistrate Amit Satija said villagers had complained about large amounts of water being extracted illegally and sold to commercial tankers or bottled for sale. Subsequently, the plants were sealed. STAFF REPORTER

AAP meet put off due to India-Pak match

The Capital’s vehicular population has officially breached the 1.05-crore mark with over 94% constituting private vehicles. This, along with a proportional increase in road space for a city that has houses over 2.7 crore residents.

1 crore private vehicles According to the latest figures compiled by the Delhi Transport Department, the city’s population of privately-owned vehicles is just shy of 1 crore, an estimated 99,38,656 till May 25 if one combines the total number of privately-registered cars and twowheelers across categories. This, despite two arguably effective phases of the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme, which sought to affect a behavioural change in vehicle usage patterns and wean the average citizen onto public transport, being implemented in separate phases by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government last year.


The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday said it had postponed its first-ever volunteers’ meet scheduled for Sunday on account of a cricket match between India and Pakistan. The AAP volunteers were supposed to meet in each constituency at 7 p.m. with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to join in at 8 p.m. via video. STAFF REPORTER

Poor public transport Expected to breach the 1.6crore mark by the beginning of next week when fresh figures are compiled, these numbers are also an indication of the fact that Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal’s de-congestion programme, which is expected to be brought in soon in south Delhi, will be relat-

Alarming ozone levels in NCR Press Trust of India New Delhi

Ozone pollution has reached alarming levels in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), which are in the grip of a multi-pollutant crisis, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said on Saturday.

ively more difficult to implement. Experts have attributed the sky-rocketing vehicular population to the dismal state of the public transport system, of which the Delhi Transport Corporation’s (DTC) fleet of 4,000-odd buses is a significant but neglected part. Not just this, lack of last-mile connectivity and technical constraints related to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) network lead Delhiites to keep away from public modes of transport.

Metro can’t service all city “The Delhi Metro cannot be expected to service the entire length and breadth of the National Capital Region

(NCR). The DTC’s fleet of buses, meanwhile, is not equipped to handle the sheer footfall of commuters. More and more citizens are being forced to opt for private vehicles, especially two-wheelers, because complementary modes of last-mile connectivity have not been enhanced,” said Dr. S. Velmurugan, head of the Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, CSIR-CRRI.

Over 67 lakh two-wheelers At a combined number of 67,65,814, motorcycles, scooters, motorcycles with side cars and mopeds account for over 64% of the vehicular population. With around 400 DTC

buses remaining off the roads due to operational issues, despite its already minimal fleet, and the Delhi Metro yet to reach several far-off populated locations in the NCR, two-wheelers, Dr. Velmurugan said, have emerged as the sole alternative.

Boost for DTC fleet soon A senior government official said efforts were now under way to add both lowfloor and semi low-floor buses to the DTC “in the coming days.” “We are aware that the DTC fleet has to expanded sooner than later. We expect to begin the process to induct new buses within three to four months,” the official said.

Public health crisis The CSE noted that due to the high pollution level and growing heat stress owing to climate change, the ozone level was frequently exceeding the standards as classified by the National Air Quality Index (NAQI). “Without a time-bound strategy and preventive action, this can deepen into a serious public health crisis. This will spare neither the rich nor the poor,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, head of CSE’s air pollution programme. ‘Very poor’ Building up to World Environment Day on June 5, the CSE analysed real-time air quality data available from key monitoring locations of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee for the summer months of 2016 and 2017. This summer (April-May), 8% of days are in ‘very poor’ category, which is up to 4.2 times the standards, as opposed to 4% during the same months in 2016.

Party attacks AAP govt for delay in desilting of drains; warns of disease outbreak

Accused were also charging higher fee

Staff Reporter New Delhi

New Delhi

The Delhi Police have arrested two persons from outer Delhi’s Mongolpuri for allegedly making Aadhaar cards without documents for a higher fee. Syed Saddam Hussein, who runs a shop by the name of ‘All in one documentation’ in Mongolpuri’s Y Block, has also been accused of bypassing fingerprint authentication while making Aadhaar cards in the absence of valid documents by charging ₹200 for the same. A complaint in the regard had been made by Arun Singh Rawat, Deputy Director, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), to the police.

Decoy customer The police then hatched a plan to nab the accused and sent a decoy constable and another as witness on Sat-

urday along with two notes of ₹100. “The serial number of the note was noted,” said a senior police officer. The two found Saddam and another man named Mohit. “The constable told him that he wanted an Aadhaar card. The two then made it without asking for any documents,” said the officer. The police then conducted a raid and recovered the notes given by the constable, among other material used in making the cards, said the officer, adding that a case under relevant sections of the IPC, Aadhaar Act 2016, and IT Act has been registered.

Staff Reporter New Delhi

Dismissing the Election Commission of India’s challenge asking political parties to hack its Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) on Saturday, the Aam Aadmi Party has invited participants for its own challenge to be held in about a week.

ECI challenge restrictive The party had refused to participate in the EC’s challenge, calling it “fake” and saying that the conditions set by the panel were too restrictive. AAP spokesperson and Delhi MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj said that the party had opened registration for its own challenge on Friday. Registrations would remain open for a week, added Mr. Bharadwaj. The party has also written to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, chairman and managing director of Bharat Electronics Limited M.V. Gowtama, and the chairman and managing director of Electronics Corporation of India Debashis Das. The two companies manufacture EVMs. Mr. Bharadwaj said that participants would be given four hours to tamper with the AAP’s EVM-like device, which had been fitted with a tampered motherboard. The device

EC’s exercise < > The was fake. The EVMs are supposed to get auto-locked if anyone tries to tamper with them. If that is the case, why doesn’t the panel give us access to the machine? Saurabh Bharadwaj AAP MLA

was used at a session of the Assembly last month to show how codes could be used to transfer votes from one party to another by changing the motherboard.

‘Many interested’ “The EC’s exercise was fake. Nothing was proved. The EVMs are supposed to get auto-locked if anyone tries to tamper with them. If that is the case, why doesn’t the panel give us access to the machine,” he asked. In the EC’s challenge, participants were not allowed to open up the machines. Instead, they had to prove their vulnerability by pressing buttons or using mobile and bluetooth devices. Though he didn’t say how many people had signed up for the challenge, Mr. Bharadwaj said that “many people” had expressed interest in participating.

Delhi not prepared for monsoon, says Congress

Two arrested for making UID card without papers Hemani Bhandari

Registrations open for AAP’s EVM show

The Delhi Congress on Saturday said that the Capital was headed for another season of water-logging and vector-borne diseases. Lashing out at the Aam Aadmi Party government over delayed monsoon preparations, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Maken said that Delhiites would “suffer” once again as the AAP and the

BJP-ruled municipal corporations blamed each other.

‘No lesson learnt’ “Both of them have not learnt any lesson from last year’s record-high chikungunya cases,” said Mr. Maken, referring to the over 7,000 cases of the disease in 2016. He added that the June 15 deadline for all drains under the Public Works Department to be cleared of silt was

likely to be missed.

June 15 deadline Citing information available on the PWD’s website, Mr. Maken said that of the 1,042 PWD roads, only drains along 4.7% or 49 roads had been cleared of 95% to 100% silt as on May 29. Most roads — 327 or 31.38% of the total — had seen only 0 to 5% desilting. “When the Congress was in power, we had set June 15 as

deadline for all PWD drains to be cleared in time for the pre-monsoon showers. The AAP government is far from achieving the targets,” said Mr. Maken. He added that the PWD had only floated a tender to procure super-sucker machines on May 29. With the date for opening the financial bids set for June 7, the new machines would miss the June 15 deadline, said the party.

Loud and clear: AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj at a press conference on Saturday. SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY *

We should meet more often, Kejriwal writes to Baijal CM missed scheduled weekly meeting, says he was occupied with the Assembly session Staff Reporter New Delhi

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal on Saturday saying that they should “meet more often to discuss issues related to the development of the Capital”. The letter comes after the

CM missed his scheduled weekly meeting with the L-G due to the special session of the Assembly on Wednesday.

Meet pushed to next week A spokesperson for Raj Niwas said that Mr. Baijal and Mr. Kejriwal meet every Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Mr. Kejriwal wrote that his office had tried to re-schedule, but was informed by the L-G’s office that he was busy and would only be able to meet him next week. The CM added that while he appreciated that the L-G had “too many things on his plate”, the two should meet


NCR becoming a death trap for birds: report Pollution, degradation of water sources, radiation from mobile towers are threatening survival of birds

“more often”. “This Wednesday was the Assembly session. On Thursday, the L-G’s schedule was already fixed. On Friday, we coordinated with the Chief Minister’s office and confirmed the meeting for next Wednesday,” the spokesperson said.

AAP MLAs, however, did not buy the argument. Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba tweeted that she could not understand how Mr. Baijal had the time to meet suspended AAP MLA Kapil Mishra and BJP MLAs, who met the L-G on Friday, but not Mr. Kejriwal.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. FILE PHOTO *

Class X pass percentage goes up by 3% in govt schools

Ashok Kumar

Staff Reporter


Rapid urbanisation in the last three decades is responsible for the disappearance of over 70% species of migratory and endemic birds in south Haryana’s Aravalli range, said Dr. Kushagra Rajendra, Head of Department, Environmental Science, at Amity University here.

Alien urban planning Studying the behaviour of birds in the National Capital Region for the last several years, Dr. Rajendra said the birds were suffering because of air pollution, degradation of water sources, radiation from mobile towers, alien urban planning that includes high-rises and ample use of glass, and the noise levels near urban areas of Manesar and other locations. “Apart from these hurdles, crop residue burning around Delhi in the summer and beginning of winter is a potential threat to avian livelihood. It has not only aggravated deterioration of air quality and choking of birds, but is also a threat to their habitat during the breeding period. Birds are also prone to respiratory CM YK

New Delhi

Flight of fancy: More than 70% species of migratory and endemic birds in south Haryana’s Aravalli range have disappeared in the last few decades. KUSHAGRA RAJENDRA *

infections due to the poor air quality in NCR, with survival rate as low as 5%. It is speculated that more than 70% of birds around this area have vanished.”

Not all is lost Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Rajendra said that he had documented over 70 resident and migratory bird varieties around the Amity campus in February this year, when several reports had claimed that as many as 400 species could be spotted here in the early 1980s. In May, Dr.

Rajendra explored the Aravalli hills of Manesar and documented 51 varieties of endemic birds near the IMT Industrial complex. These included the bank myna, brown-headed barbet, yellow-footed pigeon, paradise flycatcher, Indian silverbill, yellow-crowned woodpecker, black-rumped flameback and red avadavat. He added that finding a comparatively large number of winged residents in the semi-arid hills of Aravalli, that too in the harsh summer, was encouraging.

Compared to the plains nearby, these hills still contain some moisture that can support natural forests, animals and birds, said Mr. Rajendra, adding that all was not lost yet.

Cultural connect According to him, the cultural connect between birds and humans in the area was evident in the cultural and religious practices. “There is a tradition of offering water and grains to animals and birds. Hospitals dedicated to birds and wild

animals are a unique feature in the NCR and its surrounding areas, which signify regional sensitivity toward birds,” said Dr. Rajendra, stressing on the need to conduct a survey to understand the lives of birds better and the link between natural resources, human beings and birds. He added that he now has plans to study the quantitative and qualitative impact of depleting groundwater level and air pollution on the behaviour of birds.

Over 92% of Delhi government school students who appeared for the Class X CBSE examinations passed this year, taking the number up by 3% from last year. According to the government, the pass percentage went up from 89.25% in 2016 to 92.44% this year, an increase of 3.19%. The overall percentage across the country was 90.95%, said the CBSE. Congratulating the students, Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia said that 282 schools out of 1,100 had achieved 100% pass percentage with 428 students scoring a perfect 10 CGPA. The number of schools with a pass percentage of 90% and above rose from 640 in 2016 to 734 this year. The government’s Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalayas got a near perfect score, with 99.68% students passing, an increase of 0.3% from 2016. Advocate and activist Ashok Aggarwal, however, said there was a need to understand the results better. “The pass percentage

doesn’t reflect the true picture. Last year, about 1 lakh students had failed in Class IX, so by the time the students came to Class X, the better students and those with access to private tuitions remained. That doesn’t meant that the government is performing bet-

ter,” said Mr. Aggarwal. “The general perception about government schools that they don’t perform is right to an extent. If the situation was truly better, then why would government employees send their children to private schools,” he asked. A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


Gang which lifted high-end cars busted, 53 cases solved Accused allegedly sold stolen vehicles at high prices; racket spread to UP documents and stealing high-end cars of the same make.

Staff Reporter NEW DELHI

The Delhi Police have solved 53 cases of motor vehicle theft with the arrest of three members of an inter-State gang of auto-lifters. Anil Kumar (29), Raunaq Ali (34) and Shanu (25) allegedly stole high-end cars and sold the same to unsuspecting customers. The three were nabbed from Somnath Marg on May 30 based on a tip-off. The alleged mastermind of the gang is Anil, a former cab driver in the Capital. Raunaq owned a car workshop, where Anil used to often go to get his vehicle repaired. Shanu was Raunaq’s employee.

Big haul: The Delhi Police have recovered 20 luxury cars from the accused. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Conspiracy hatched The idea of stealing vehicles struck Anil when one day he have enough money to pay Raunaq. “It occurred to him that he could earn money by

selling the spare parts of stolen vehicles. He then roped in the other two in the plan and together they started stealing cars,” said Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Chinmoy


Biswal. Anil and Raunaq were arrested last year for stealing a car from Vasant Kunj. After being released, they allegedly started buying damaged cars with proper

Court grants bail to rape accused Nirnimesh Kumar New Delhi

A court here has granted bail to a man accused of raping a woman after offering her a spiked drink. The accused also allegedly took obscene photographs of the victim. Granting bail to Rakesh Kumar Singh, Special Judge at the Rohini district courts, Dinesh Bhatt, said: “No purpose would be served by

keeping the applicant in further custody. He is admitted to bail on furnishing a personal bond in the sum of ₹1,00,000 with two sureties in the like amount...’’

‘Falsely implicated’ The counsel for the accused, Pradeep Rana, submitted that his client had been falsely implicated in the case as the complainant was in

the habit of lodging false cases against people. She had earlier levelled similar allegations against three persons and later filed settlement deeds in courts, Mr. Rana submitted. He also said that the complainant had on her own accompanied his client to various destinations. He also submitted photographs to support his claim.

Pocketing money They then sold the stolen cars at high prices in other States using the documents of the damaged cars. The police have recovered 20 luxury cars from the accused. Four of the vehicles were recovered from Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh. “The accused said they had sold the stolen vehicles to one Arsad, who owned a car repair shop in Aligarh. Raids were conducted there, and the vehicles were recovered,” said Mr. Biswal. Arsad, however, managed to escape. The officer said Arsad would dismantle the vehicles and sell them in parts. “Raids are being conducted to nab the other members of the gang and to recover more vehicles,” said Mr. Biswal.

Man arrested for job con

Satta racket unearthed Cash, jewellery seized from Garhi lat

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter New Delhi

Staff Reporter

A man has been arrested for allegedly posing as a government official and duping people on the pretext of providing them public sector jobs in foreign countries.


Women targeted Jojo Mathew (50) especially targeted women from Kerala who came to the Delhi Nursing Council for registration of their degrees, DCP (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said. A couple, Shinimol P. George and her husband Jobin who were cheated of ₹1.5 lakh by Mathew, lodged a complaint against him.

Two held for Rohini iring

The Delhi Police have arrested three persons for allegedly running a ‘satta’ racket in the city. Sunny alias Bablu (30), Sanjay (43) and Sagar (28) were nabbed from a DDA flat in Garhi. Gold jewellery, ₹2.43 lakh in cash, five mobile phones, playing cards and dice mixers were seized from the accused.

‘Links with criminal’ Bablu is allegedly the financier of criminal Ravi Gangwal, who was arrested last week, and it was during Gangwal’s interrogation that the police learnt about the racket.

Bablu is allegedly involved in several cases of murder and the Arms Act. Sanjay is an electrician, while Sagar works with a catering company. “A case under Sections 3 and 4/9/55 of the Gambling Act has been registered at the Amar Colony police station. Further investigation is in progress,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East) Romil Baaniya. Gangwal, along with two of his associates, was arrested from near south-east Delhi’s Iskon Temple on May 25. The police had seized knives, a Turkeymade pistol and live cartridges from their possession.


Two persons have arrested for allegedly firing at a lawyer and his associate when they were stepping out of the Rohini district courts on Thursday. Pradeep, a resident of UP’s Sannaut village, and Naresh, a resident of Jhajjar, were nabbed from Sector 20, Rohini.

Property dispute According to the police, the duo had come on a bike to eliminate Virender (45), a resident of Dwarka, with whom Pradeep had had a tiff over property in Sannaut. The bullet, however, hit Virender’s associate Praveen.

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Published by N. Ram at Kasturi Buildings, 859 & 860, Anna Salai, Chennai-600002 and Printed by S. Ramanujam at HT Media Ltd. Plot No. 8, Udyog Vihar, Greater Noida Distt. Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P. 201306, on behalf of KASTURI & SONS LTD., Chennai-600002. Editor: Mukund Padmanabhan (Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act). Regd. DL(ND)-11/6110/2006-07-08 RNI No. TNENG/2012/49939 ISSN 0971 - 751X Vol. 7 No. 22 ●







SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017




CSI CHRISTIAN Nadar Girl Fair, Good Looking, 03−04−1986 born / 152cm / M.Sc M.Phil, Working as Assistant Professor in a Reputed Women’s College, Mount Road, Chennai. Both Parents Doctors (Private), Suitable Alliance, Employed / Settled in Chennai / With Clean MALAYALAM Habits from Same Community. ConMALAYALEE GIRL Ezhava, 29, Uthirat- tact: 9841182514 tathi, BTech, SWE, INFOSYS, TrivanCSI T.Veli Nadar 173/MBA & MS / drum. 09746769108, 09633193981 1978 MNC Director Bangalore Seeks NAIR GIRL Msc.Sr.Analyst MNC Educated Groom. 9840030407 / Aswathy Fair 26/164 seek fair Edu- 9444070607 cated good Job Chennai Based Bridegroom− 9710202772/ ramanathan4uall@ SAIVA VELLALA Pillai (Veg) 36/162 BE Divorcee seeks BE/PG Well Emgmail.com ployed Groom Below 41Years / Mail:[email protected] Mob:8903143181


MUDALIAR HASTAM 29/154 Fair MCA UpprMidle Class seek Profly Qlfd Mudaliar/Pillai setld Chennai 8220757159 SAIVA VELLALAR Ayilyam−2 37/165 MCA,SWE Chennai seeks Qualified Employed Settled Veg Groom Ct: 8754575999 NAIR GIRL, Sept 83 Born, 157cms − Pooram, B.Tech & MBA working as Dy. Manager Finance in L&T, invites suitable alliance. Contact: Mob.7227850010. Email: ak_anjali@ yahoo.co.in

SC HINDU Adhi Dravidar, Smart looking 25/154, B.Tech, Master of Fashion Management, working at Bangalore − both parent doctors. Seeks alliance from same caste engineering graduates, preferably from doctor parents. 97914 60427 / 94432 NAIR GIRL, (Parents F Nair, M Brah- 85905 min) 31/155, M.Sc SWE PSG Tech, Fair, Slim, Beautiful, Software THANJAVUR Karkatha Vellalar Bride Project Manager MNC Bangalore suit- 26/158 fair, good looking, well to able alliance invited. do, Chartered Accountant, Very de9486882468,9442242468 cently employed in Chennai with excellent future prospects, Chennai NAIR GIRL B.A. 26yrs/157cms Magam, Based groom preferred. Confair good looking soft spoken and tact:9842322521/9965529665. helping family owned business in Chennai (Father−Nair & Mother−Telugu) is looking for well settled HINDU VALLUVAN Age 34/160 BE lT smart caring Malayali boy with SWE Chennai 65000/−PM Seeks Educatclean habits, Speaking Hindi & En- ed, Well Settled Groom CNB: glish. Email: cherukole104@ 09663294760 gmail.com Hindu AD 27 M.Sc, M.Phil, P.hd, VISWAKARMA 29/160 Chadayam BTech Fair Looking Bharani Mesham Seek Asst Mgr Nationalised Bank,Chennai Qld and Well Empld Groom CT− CNB seek Profly Qlfd Groom 9597756712 8124239327 HINDU NADAR 40 yrs MCA/ MBA SWE MALAYALEE MIDDLE Class Fly Astham Project Manager, C.Govt 15 LPA 29/157 MSc, IT, MBA London TCS Fair & good looking parents seek Chennai seek Malayalee groom. qualified employed Groom. Ct: 9444064902 09717028822


BUSINESS FOR SALE RUNNING SOLAR Power Plant (4.40MW) for Sale in Telangana. PPA Signed with Government, Rs.35 Crores. Very Strictly No Brokers. Contact: 9677078768 (Consultant)



42 / 168 / Ph.D/ SC−AD Never Mar- A TELUGU Brahmin MD(HOMEO) Bride, ried seeks alliance from USA / U.K 38,163 seeks a never married Brah/ Foreigners Ct: 04327−256089. min Groom N/S India age 38−40. Defence Profnls/Medical Faculty or HINDU AD 25/165 Chithirai− Thulam Doctors/Scientists/Other Profnls. BE MBA Pvt Sector, Chennai seeks 09490573053 well educated employed boy prfbly Engr from well−to−do family Caste IRS(CUSTOMS) Asst.Commissioner 26/ no bar. Ct:9940142431/ jnethra@ 158 Telugu Chettiar from Rich afgmail.com fluent family in chennai seeking Hindu Groom Entrepreneur/Business VANNIYAR 34/160 Uthiram fair M.Sc IAS IRS/Professionals in India IT seeks same caste only. 9444151500 9445540326/ 9962028556/ ramasun@ hotmail.com HINDU NADAR 22/168 CS,SWE Microsoft,US Fair Reputed Family MUDHALIAR SWATHI 28/163 IRS Asst. seeks well setld Groom,Clean Commr(Customs & Central Excise) Habits 9790504601 Chennai seeks Groom from Good Family with Similar Employment Civil TAMIL VISWAKARAM Maharam (ThiruvonService 9840136141 E.Mail:dskflats@ am) 25/150 M.Com.M.Phil, set seeks gmail.com educated employed same Caste Bride Groom Contact:9442259084 TAMIL VISWAKARMA 34/150 ME Thiruvonam Fair Rich seeks same caste MUDALIAR DOCTOR 28/165 Thiruvonam BE/SW Er, India/Abroad. 9486320982 rich wheatish seeks affluent Doctor Engr Business 9790975130/ HINDU NADAR Tiruchengode 37years 9840504721 Punarpusam B.E. well settled girl looking for a suitable boy. Caste SC PR 41/160 Rohini Rishabam no bar Ct:09865541299 Email: M.Sc.,Ph.D Govt.Lecturer Chennai [email protected] 85000pm seeks Stble Qlfd Groom. 09940564654 SAIVA PILLAI Karkathar, 24/170, Thiruvathirai, Mithunam, BDS (MDS MARUTHUVAR 28/163 Pooradam MCA 1st Yr) TNGDCH Chennai, Seeks Pure Fair Bride, Seeks Suitable Groom. Veg, Wellsettled Groom. Contact: 09444772574 / 09789020866 9381022886/ Email: sbarmk@ gmail.com MUDALIAR 43/163 MBA MNC Indonesia P.Pusam Seek Well Qlfd Abroad ProHINDUNADAR BE,MS 27/160. 75K pm file seek same caste Groom− 9380791999/r CNB.Geetham:9884858014/9884658014 [email protected]/www.srirmt.com CNB,VISWAKARMA, 31, MBA, 60000, Hindu, Well settled Tamil girl 29, seeks suitable groom. :9840868303 MBA,PhD,Magaram (Avittam) prefers / 9865575077 / sujatha29785@ profile with Ragu Kettu, in & gmail.com around CBE Ph:9344021249 PILLAI (Share:10crs) very fair 26/ YADHAVA GIRL 23/ 168, B.Tech / SW 165 MBBS,MD (Merit Seat) seeks Drs/ in Chennai, fair seeks BE / SW, Engg groom 9385599033/9842127777 Well settled India / Abroad. 9003052419 MUDALIAR BEAUTIFUL 23/165 B.Tech/ Engg TCS/Chennai 30Kpm seeks any graudate 044−26162030/0424−4272030



BALIJA TIRUVATHIRAI 26/156 MSC Em- BALIJANAIDU FAIR 25/167 M.Tech/ pld Ragu Kedu Dosham seek Qlfyd Research/IIT/Chennai seeks India/ settled emplyd groom 26610234/ abroad 9380475999 / 9383199099 9003212809 KAMMA 25/165 Fair BTech, MS, very welltodo seeks any professional or HINDU SC Madhiga 26 B.Tech(IT) Businessman 9380879808/9842961666 seeks suitable Groom from reputed Software Company/Govt sector.Send REDDY 26/165 v.beautiful BTech,MBA BHP: [email protected] / well to do−seeks job / business7397314810 man. 044−26162030 / 0861−2314031 TELIKULA GANDLA / Telaga Telikula, Kapu, 31/168, MS (Comp), SW Developer, CTS (USA) requires groom settled in USA. 09959687730, 09705618590

KAMMA/ DOCTOR/ MS OBG/ Beautiful, Chennai, 25/168, Pooram 4th Padham, Simha rasi, seeks MD/ MS/ DM/ MCH, Kamma Doctor Groom. Ct: 09396366200

NAIDU, 26/170,FAIR,PG.Doctor, FaGAVARA NAIDU 32 MA,ML, CS, Manager ther doing Busi,100Cr,EliteFmly, Legal in MNC, Chennai 7.5L pa. Sks Dr/Eng/Busi, 7358378866, Ct:9790548816 / govindappan50@ 8056091059 gmail.com TELUGU BRAHMIN 29yrs/158cms KAPU GIRL 29/163 BTech business Koundinya ACA+CS girl, working in seeks decent family BE/MS job 30− Top MNC, Bangalore, seeks profes33y 172−183ht US/Ind. Father sionally qualified INDIA or NRI−US Brahmin boy. Email: maruthi5258@ 09985118618 gmail.com KAMMA BE, MS in USA 1980 Uthiram URDU 163 cm seeks BE, MS (USA) Contact : 099762 54300 PARENTS OF Islamic Sunni Girl, Msc Microbio, 22/155 wheatish, Seeks Sunni Groom Ph. NAIDU 34/157 BE/SWE Employed seek Islamic helloprofile90@ Qualified&Employed In India/Abroad 9840616251, gmail.com CNB 9543323082 yamini.hari@ gmail.com Urdhu speaking muslim aged 27 years BE, MS UCSB − USA IT profesHINDU REDDIYAR CBE Fair 23/157 sional in Chennai 167 CM seeks Thiruvathirai MBA seek Profession- suitable groom of same caste. Moly Emplyd Groom,decent fmly. bile:9940379122/9884461998 email: CT:9842253563 [email protected]. BALIJA NAIDU 26/167 Rohini Rishabam Fair BE Infosys,Chennai SMU 36 158 MBA P.hd Rich seeks ME seeks Well Settled Qualified Groom BE Employed Muslim Professionals below−41. 9080578891 9444110342

COMPUTER / IYER Girl /MSc biotech/27/163/ Bhardwaj/Pooram Handling family INFO.TECH. business in Bangalore seeking alTAMIL SC/AD 39/170 BE SWE in IBM, liance. Call Gowrishankar 9845005033 / malashankar1@ seeks graduate bride. Caste/ Religion no bar. Ct: 07829444777 gmail.com

TAMIL CSI CHRISTIAN Thevar 36/176 MBA, PGDBM working in MNC Chennai seeks suitable Bride same caste.94450 11287

CHENNAI BASED Tamil Muslim Doctor parents seek for their son Doctor Men PG Seeks Women Age, Caste No 27/186 doing MD Radiology final an educated good looking Bar, for 2nd Marriage Immediately year bride from affluent broad minded Ct: Kurian − 9940335229 Muslim families. Mail: mohdj1824@ gmail.com



SC SAMBAVA 36/164 BE Central Govt 45000 PM, Divorcee. Seeks Fair & Educated Bride Caste No Bar, Ph: 9629167762, gnanatheebam123@ gmail.com

FINANCE LOAN ON Prop/Proj/T−over @low int/ emi agent req 8745080704

RC CHRISTIAN −AD, B.E. 29yrs /180 cm, MNC Bangalore 12 Lakh P.A. Seek Educated BC, OC, Girl CT 9952522015

CHRISTIAN SWE TCS/Pune, 32/165, Parents settled Chennai, Seeks BE/ HINDU NADAR, 38, B.Tech, Well Set- PG girl. Contact 9442108496 tled Chennai, Divorcee seeks 30−37 Fair, Educated without issue. CT: 9894559007

GENERAL FINANCE FOR property foreign project & 3rd party Investment 9003092121

DOCTOR TRICHY BASED Rich & Affluent Reddiar family−Businessman’s Doctor son 19.12.1984/180cms/MD with own Nursing home,Seeks Doctor Bride. Contact−09486155857/ kpr.thambu@ gmail.com. SC ADIDRAVIDAR, 36/178 M.D. USA Seeks U.S. Bound/ Willing Doctor Brides CNB Ct:044−22250155 / 09677177149

ENGLISH BRAHMIN, 36, 167 cm, lean and gentle, MBA, working in MNC seeks an educated girl with affable nature. Sub−caste, Language no bar. [email protected] / 044− 24362157


Funds Available 1Cr&Above, Personal,Property,Business,Mortgage,Collateral,Foreign Projects,NPA Acct @Low Interest Ct:09952075100/ 09952077420

HOTELS International Group of Hotels Requires Exp. Area Manager/Managers Sal: 18000−30000. Email:[email protected]

MARKETING LEADING PHARMA, Food, Nutra Ingredients Marketing Company with branches at Chennai, Mumbai & Delhi requires "Sales Executives" based at Chennai & other locations. Chemistry, Botany, Pharma Graduates with Min 2 yrs experience, apply at: [email protected], Contact: +917358639312

SHREE SAKTHI Narayan Steel Ltd., authorized dealers for SAIL and Vizag Steel needs dynamic and sincere M/F Sales Executives with very good communication skills, preferably with exposure in Iron & Steel Trading, for In−House and Industrial Area Marketing. Salary and perks would not be constraint for deserving candidate. Place of posting will be Chennai and Vizag. Assistance will be provided in finding accommodation for finally selected outstation candidates. Contact 9444400760, 9381323258 or e−mail [email protected], [email protected]


TAMIL PARKKAVAKULAM NATHAMAN 25/ 161 Sadhayam BE− CSE, MNC, seeks well educated, employed groom. Ct: 09025393766. Email: mmanilawyer@ gmail.com

PROPOSALS INVITED for Nair girl 46 years never married 160 cm fair B.Tech MS in computer Science WANTED UNMARRIED Groom Wellsettled green card holder employed in USA. Clean habits for 42yr old Tamil Write to [email protected] or Bride 9849206625 sree_kala93@ Box No−BA−108,THE HINDU Bangalore− HINDU SC AD Doctor Parents 30/157 yahoo.com 560001 MBA Fair good looking. Seeks DR’s / ER’s/ Officers − Govt/ Bank from TAMIL / Hindu,27/160, Pooradam, good educated family. Ct: Poosam Nair Good Looking girl 22/ Dhanusu−IAS. Indian Administrative 09500390801 Service,Maharashtra seeks IAS,IPS, 162/BE. Parents of well educated 09443090423, IRS Hindu Bridegroom. caste Nobar. and employed boys. Subsect no bar. [email protected] 9841066666, [email protected] 9445282905,9941137112 Isaivellalar Subsect NoBar Employed @CTS chennai, Age24, wanted DIVORCEE BE/B.tech. Mail: MARATHI [email protected] . Doctor MBBS MD Paediatrics 32/167 9841233711, 9444414042 Fair Protestant Christian Nadar BC DESHISHTA MADHWA Brahmin Gauthama, Tamil Innocent Divorcee No Issues Never Married 49/160, Ph.D., Very Seeks Christian Doctor Groom MBBS/ Fair, Slim, 18lakhs P.A. Wkg as Se- ARCOT MUDALIAR BDS 26/165 Fair nior Scientist Central Govt. Seeks Poosam, Raghu kethu Dosam Upper PG Caste Nobar CT−9843526370 Well Educated and Employed Brahmin Middle Class Seeks Dr or Engr. E−Mail: narahari91@ 9444157795 Legally Divorced Teacher, 34, Groom. Fair, Hindu SC Seeks Below 40, in- yahoo.com SC, DKV, 37, Divorce, BE, MNC, dependent, Broadminded Divorced/ Chennai 35000, Own House, Suitable Widower. 9940379954, Groom. Call: 9445115944. [email protected] TAMIL


Finance against Properties, Cheques & abroad projects. Ph− 09840024113

TAMIL HINDU NADAR 42 yrs PG C.Govt 6 LPA Divorcee very fair parents seek qualified & Employed Groom settled/ to be settled in Delhi Ct:09958876667

REQUIRE 50 to 500 Crores for various Projects in India & Abroad. MUDALIAR DENTIST MDS 34yrs Prof/ RC CHRISTIAN SC Fair 158 wealth Vaidyanath Estates (Financial Con- Clinic Seeks Post Graduate Groom Girl 29 Msc Chem. MPhil Phd Asst. Any Discipline Well Settled Prefer- Prof ct: 9443809243, 8807752214 sultants) 9710424456 ably Chennai age 35−38yrs Ct: 9445312251 RC VISWAKARMA B E, 23 years well settled family seeks same caste DOCTOR Bride Groom Ct:9382142626/ CHRISTIAN, BC−30/163, MBBS working 9442331017 SELLING in Govt − PHC seeks Groom MBBS / MD / MS / MDS others in Govt. Call− CSI NADAR 36/F/160 PhD SET Asst 08110094098. Prof Chenai seek unmaried educated& COMMERCIAL LAND settled/Govt/suitable Groom SEEKING MBBS/MD/MS for 22yrs MBBS 9444514097 VALLARPURAM − 4kms from Bangalore wheatish 163cm Gavara Naidu Kettai− highway on Arakonam state highway. 4th Email−[email protected] 5 acres in whole or in parts of RC MUDALIAR, 35/155cm, MDS, 10 1.5/1.5/2 acres. Ct 9941717517 anulled, no issues, HINDU SC AD, 36/160, Dr MBBS, MD lakhs/yr, Wkg Pvt Medical College, Seeks Dr, seeks groom <38yrs. 08800395337 / RESIDENTIAL HOUSE MD, MS Only in Chennai Surround- 9894525536 ing. (Caste No Bar). Ct: 6000SFT 7BHK Posh Bungalow with 09566265944 CHRISTIAN SETTLED in U.S.A 46, Pooja & Servants Quarters in looking for Groom settled in 3900Sft Land Abiramapuram 1st St, PILLAI 29/168cm/ MBBS, MS, good U.S.A, U.K,Abroad. Email: Chennai Ct 09841073973, looking seeks MD/MS (Clinical) Doc- [email protected] tors Only Contact:8056285255/ [email protected] 9884369904 RESIDENTIAL LAND KARAD BRAHMIN 28 yrs girl M.D CSI AD 34/168cm Wheatish ME Design Engineer MNC Company Coimbatore,Exopthal is looking for suitable alTHIRUVANNAMALAI BEAUTIFUL Residen- liance from PG Doctors. Contact pects Engineer,Doctor or suitable Groom Preference Local. tial plot. East Facing 5500 9449936346 CT:9843562566 (55*100) sq.ft. Approved Layout. Clear Title.Very near to ENGINEER RamanaAshram.Posh & Peaceful LocaCHRISTIAN NADAR Indian Foreign Sertion With Abundant Water & Mounvice 27/163 looking for a suitable tain View. Brokers Excuse Contact GARHWALI RAJPUT 16/02/86, fair guy. Either RC/Hindu Nadar. Con151cm s/w engineer girl in MNC at 92451 03510 Bangalore. Org Bikaner. Preferred tact: 9944134222 well placed Garwali/Kumaoni boy. Ph : 9929347861 negibikramsingh@ CSI NADAR 25/172 BE empld−CTS Chengmail.com nai seeks equally qlfd, empld COMMERCIAL groom, Tirunelveli Nadars prfd 9382239099 MALAYALAM READY TO occupy 4 storey commerHINDU VISWAKARMA(C) girl, 35/150, cial building facing Cochin bypass, Padivattam. Each floor 4350 Thrikketta, BTech, Business Ana- CHRISTIAN / SC, 34 Female, Fair / sq.ft., with lift and all facili- lyst, MNC Technopark, Trivandrum, Indian / Australia Settled, want ties. [email protected]. seeking groom. Caste no bar. to go to abroad, seeks Groom. Con9895270334 tact: (Mon − Sat) Ph: 9600719121 9388608206

NANJILNADU VELLALA Kettai Very Fair Beautiful young looking 49/ 165 B.Sc, B.Ed, Divorcee without issue seeks well qualified Chennai based Veg. Groom About 50Yrs,. Sub caste accepted. Box No. PM−155015, THE HINDU Chennai−600002 HINDU NADAR Sadhayam 26/158 Fair, Dr. BSMS, Private Practice seeks well Educated Employed Bridegroom. Ct: 9443097010/ 9500700224 VISWAKARMA, ROHINI, July77, 155cm BSC, MBA Sr. Manager Standard Chartered Bank (GBS) Ch, 85K pm seeks groom 9840616326 / gans_74@ yahoo.com

SC HINDU AD/ 29/ 155, BDS Lecturer, need Doctor/ Engineer/ PG Groom, below 34yrs. 9791716126, 9626459147 CSI NADAR MBBS,(MS) 24/164 seek SameCaste Bridegroom−9380791999/ [email protected] /www. srirmt.com HINDU SC/AD 31/162 B.Tech, SWP Fair Moolam(3), Dhanusu seeks Qualified Groom with Good Family background from India/Abroad. Ct− 9840201174 DEVENDRAKULA VELLALAR 30.1.1983/ 160 BE Maham Simmam SBI Officer Chennai seeks Prof Qlfd Groom 09445234067

ADIDRAVIDAR, 26/168, FAIR, B.E, MBA, Officer, SBI Bank, 50000PM, KANNADA Sks Dr/Eng/Busi, 9500085718, 9500147440 BRAHMIN MADHAVA Kannadam Salavatsa Kettai 30/165 Petroleum Engg Soudi NADAR(CNB), 24/170, FAIR, PG (UK), Arabia 20Lpa Own House seeks BrahFamily Busi, 500Cr+, EliteFmly,Sks min Bride Divorcee/Widow without Elite Fmly, 9677086774, 8754415378 Issue. 9486867844 MUDALIAR, FAIR, 24/160, BE, FamilyMALAYALAM Busi, 50Cr prop, Only daughter, Seeks any profl, 9500085718, PANICKER 33/165 Diploma Own Busi9500147440 ness OwnHouse settled in Chennai Seek Suitable Girl−9841167783/ PILLAI, FAIR, 26/170, B.Tech, In- 8220729296 fosys, SWE, Ch, 5 LacPA, Settled, Sks India/Abd, 9566002501, Nair 34/175cm Puram Employed Manag8754415378 er Textile Mill Mumbai Seeks Suitable Bride Cell−9486830157 MUDALIAR DIVORCEE, 32/168, FAIR,B. E, Fmly Busi,Elite,500Cr +,No Is- 82 BORN Hindu boy, Vaniya Kula sue,CNB,Sks any, 9500085718, Kshatriya, caste no bar. B.com pur9500147440 suing MBA seeking proposal. 9061868686 YADAVA, 25/160, FAIR, B.E, Herrickson, Eng, Bangalore, 50000PM, Sks Menon 43/182 B.tech Mba well emdivorce no issue fiDr/Eng/Busi, 9677086774, ployed kochi nancially sound invite healthy 8754415378 cute and educated .9633001187. IYER/Pooradam/Athreya Slim, Delhi Ph.D. Girl, 32/5’3" seeks suitable HINDU BOY 33, Makayiram, BTech, well placed match #9971885061, Deputy Manager, Nationalised Bank, Caste no bar. 9497267057 Email: [email protected]

IYENGAR GROOM below 44 Chennai based, professionally qualified, well employed, divorcee/ widower/ bachelor without issues for Vadakalai girl, innocent divorcee, NaithrubaKashyapa, Uthradam 40, M.Phil English, Not Employed. Ct: 044−22240152/ ts_srinivasan_1942@ VANNIAR MIRUGASIRISHAM 27/160 BE yahoo.com Fair Working SWEngr MNC AuditingFirm 80Kpm Seeks Sutble Qlfyd SEEKING ALLIANCE from well emGroom SameCaste ployed Brahmin boys for career ori9986994775/[email protected] ented girl, PostGraduate, 26/ 163cm, beautiful, fair, talented ARUNTHATHIYAR 27 M.com seeks dancer Bharadwaja. Krithika. Horostate, central govt officers or scope must.Ct− shambuji1947@ leading company officer contact gmail.com no: 8903751633 BRAHMIN GIRL Sandhya 26 Seeks Suitable Match / Any Brahmin Any GraduMUDALIAR SWATHI, 27 B.E TCS seeks ate Call: 9555320033 well educated and well employed good looking groom. CT :7358610962/ SEEKS WELL Educated, well placed 044−47490457 groom from good family for a girl 1987/168, B.Com, Bharadwajam, SEEKING GROOM for US Citizen Hindu Makam Star. Ct with horoscope to Mob: Vellala girl, 32yr, MD starting [email protected], residency soon. Doctor settled in 9845039454. US wanted. Contact 609 949 4265 BRAHMIN, GOOD looking, Fair, 33/ USA [email protected] 151, currently Ph.D Medical Informatics USA with prior work experience, seeks matching Groom. Contact: 9840159540, ramram7@ gmail.com Mudaliar(Caste−No−Bar) 27/ 159 / B.E. V.Fair Thiruvonum Well Settled family seeks B.E , B.E M.B.A, B.E MS. Ct :044−23640482 / 08939213022 e.mail : babupadma5@ gmail.com

CSI NADAR 46/176 Handsome MPhil cGovt−Officer 11L,seeks unmarried educated/Govt/suitable Bride 8667409816 CSI CHRISTIAN, AD, 27/170, BE, SWE, IBM, B’lore, 8.4 LPA seeks bride BE/PG, age 22−26. Ct: 9980621767. HINDU AGAMUDAYAR 29/171 Thiruvonam MBA working settled Chennai 30k/m. Seeks Bride 9841599181/ 04422236541

RC NADAR a well settled Businessman 163 cm seeking Fair, Educated, widow, Caste no Bar. Ct: HINDU VISWAKARMA, son 28 yrs, 166 9790345751 Cm, B. Tech, PGDM (IIM), working in Mid. East MNC, Kuwait, Upper Age: 28 MCA/RC Christian, Yadhava class parents seeks alliance from seeks Girl with Govt Profession Hindu Mid/Upper class prefer any from Good Family Background. PG Medical/Tech/CA/ Ph.d . Ph. 9087879939 90483 95486. GOVT JOB B.Com.40 OwnHouse, 50K pm NAIR 26/180 B.Tech MNC, Aayilyam Divorcee,ChristianChettiar Chennai, seeks suitable Bride. Ct: Castenobar.7845791450/ cbcmat2015@ BHP, 8807098341 vinodhkarun@ gmail.com gmail.com RC CHRISTIAN 1971 born/170, MTech, MBA, Mgr in MNC, 30L/pa, Divorced ALLIANCE INVITED for Male 44/168, (10 months lived) and Annullment Hindu Malayalee Menon Divorcee, from the Church, No issues, seeks settled at chennai.Seeks suitable bride from RC. Ct: 9787365685/ alliance from Malayalee family.Rsp 9900750257. emailid: glicsrap@ with BHP to [email protected] rediffmail.com Mob:08763493306 / 09840989777 / 09600076663 HINDU, 33/ BA, Business, Father: Brahmin, Mother: Malayalee, Caste No bar. Ct: 9884602180, 9822167867. [email protected]

MBA / CA / ICWA Alliances invited for handsome groom, divorced, 37, highly successful, 5’4", Hindu, Bride should be good looking from decent educated family (caste no bar). Contact 7899761284 / 8105872864


SAURASHTRA, 41 YEARS, Lean, Fair, TELUGU Unmarried, looking for Good lookNAIDU Uthiram 34/160 MBA Manager ing simple educated girl. Contact: MNC Bank Blr seeks Profly qlfd boy 9840129063, [email protected] 9945510556 [email protected] VANNIYAKULA KSHATRIYA, Nakshatra Uthradam Age&Height 24&164.5cm Qual:B.Arch Conatct:9894226404, 9597396344 DR. AK. KANNAN Salem seeks alliance for Daughter Meenakshmi 31/ 180 PHD from Canada CT : 09843030324 kannankumaraswami@ yahoo.com


BALIJA NAIDU, 26Yrs /165cm, Asst Professor, Dhanusu Rasi, Uthiradam (Chevvai Dosham) Seeks Groom in India/ Abroad. Ct:8939585851/ 9884058585

TAMIL MUSLIM BE MBA 26/185 Marketing Manager in MNC seeks goodlooking well educated bride. 9444063553 / kjafarali2003@ yahoo.com

CSI Maravar / MBA / Working MNC, 37/ 179, seeks Educated & Employed Bride. Ct: engrsubburaj@ yahoo.co.in

HINDU, CHATTADASRIVAISHNAVA, 25/5/ 1987/157cm, Aswani, B.Tech, SWE, Hyd, seeks suitable groom:9248395200. A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Court takes cognisance of Jain’s defamation plea

Mishra names 3 AAP MLAs in complaint Former Minister says legislators assaulted him in Assembly


Staff Reporter

A Delhi court on Saturday took cognisance of a criminal defamation plea filed by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain against BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa who had alleged that he was circulating illegitimate money. The Metropolitan Magistrate listed the matter for July 14. PTI

New Delhi

Jewar case: deceased’s kin get ₹5 lakh relief cheque GREATER NOIDA

A relief cheque of ₹5 lakh was handed over to the family of the man killed in the Jewar robbery and alleged gangrape case on May 24. Jewar MLA Dhirendra Singh, along with ADM (finance) Ghanshyam Singh and SDM Shubhi Kakan, went to the victim's house and handed over the cheque. Ms. Kakan said that the police hope to crack the case soon. STAFF REPORTER

Three held for raping, blackmailing minor girl NEW DELHI

Three men have been arrested for allegedly raping and blackmailing a 16-year-old girl over a span of a year in northwest Delhi's Mahindra Park area, the police said. The girl's relatives had informed the Delhi Commission for Women, following which the trio were arrested. A fourth accused is currently in Bihar, the panel said. PTI

Sacked Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Minister Kapil Mishra on Saturday approached the Delhi Police with a complaint against three of his former MLA colleagues charging them with assaulting him in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha here last week. The former Minister alleged that Amanatullah Khan, Madanlal and Jarnail Singh attempted to choke him during the one-day special session of the Delhi Assembly on May 31 at the Civil Lines police station.

Assault complaint A senior police official said that as per protocol Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel’s nod had been sought in relation to filing an FIR. The official said that Mr. Mishra had presented a pendrive containing a video of the alleged assault as proof. Meanwhile, at a gathering at the Constitution Club here, Mr. Mishra floated “India Against Corruption 2.0” where a seven-point charter was passed that included demands such as the appointment of a Lokpal within the


Delhi University teachers on Saturday criticised the UGC for coming up with regulations that aimed at "privatising" higher education. The teachers said that the "socalled" autonomous institutions under the new rules would have marketoriented fee structure soaring into lakhs. PTI



Aam Aadmi Party and an “open session” of the Delhi Assembly at the Ramlila Maidan. A minor scuffle between Mr. Mishra's supporters and alleged AAP volunteers occurred during the event.

Many demands Other demands of India Against Corruption 2.0 included making details of donations received by the

AAP public on its website, a discussion on allegations of corruption that have emerged against the AAP recently at the Ramlila Maidan and the stepping down of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain from their respective offices so that investigation of the allegations against them is undertaken in an impartial manner.

Two kids hurt in iring in NE Delhi Staff Reporter NEW DELHI

DU teachers oppose new UGC rules on autonomy

Taking charge: Kapil Mishra is presented a mace by his supporters during the launch of the ‘India Against Corruption 2.0’ at Constitution Club on Saturday. SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Two separate cases of firing were reported from North East and South East Delhi on Saturday. Two children — 8-year-old Zakiya and 12-year-old Vikas — were injured when unknown assailants allegedly fired at a man in North East Delhi’s Shastri Park. The police are verifying the claims of one Haji Qureshi who told them that the men had come to attack him

as he had complained against illegal buildings in the area. The children were rushed to the hospital where they are undergoing treatment.

Caught on camera Meanwhile, in South East Delhi’s New Friends Colony, many panicked when they saw a few men holding country-made pistols and running on the streets of Sarai Junela, firing in the air. No injuries were reported, but the police have registered a case under

relevant sections of Arms Act. The incident was caught on CCTV camera installed in one of the shops. The footage is being analysed by the police. “Officers in the PCR van, which was standing at its base near Sarai Junela, were informed that some person fired near the juice shop. Suspects fled in an auto. We have CCTV footage and we are analysing it. It shows faces of two people,” said DCP (South East) Romil Baaniya.






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


Naveen urges Raman to release river water ‘Unrest in Odisha districts may go out of hand’ Special Correspondent Bhubaneswar

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday wrote a letter to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, urging him to instruct the officials of the Water Resources Department of his State to immediately open the gates of Kalma barrage and ensure free flow of water in the Mahanadi river. “The reports available with my government definitely convey that your government has gone ahead and closed the gates of Kalma barrage, stopping the flow of water. This unilateral decision to stop the flows has caused severe distress situation in the downstream areas in my State, inter alia, affecting the drinking water

Naveen Patnaik.

Raman Singh.


needs,” Mr. Patnaik said his two-page letter addressed to Dr. Singh. Mr. Patnaik pointed out that the people in Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Bargarh and other districts had been affected and there was widespread unrest due to the unilateral action of the Chhattisgarh government. The unrest may go out of hand, Mr. Patnaik added. The Kalma barrage was one

Assam will help Tripura grow, says Sonowal

Militant nabbed Press Trust of India Imphal

The Army personnel have nabbed a militant involved in several extortion cases from Saikul Bazaar area in Kangpokpi district and seized a pistol and some ammunition from his possession. The militant, identified as 49-year-old Seikham Chongloi, is said to be the ‘finance incharge’ of the Kuki Unification Frontal Organisation.


of the six barrages unilaterally taken up by the Chhattisgarh government across Mahanadi without any reference or regard to downstream interests of Odisha and its inhabitants, Mr. Patnaik claimed. The Odisha government has already filed a complaint before the Central government and a suit in the apex court with regard to its disputes over the waters.

Two killed in mishap Press Trust of India Puri

Two persons were killed and another was critically injured when a van in which they were travelling rammed a truck at Bhanapur in Odisha’s Puri district, police said on Saturday.



Syed Sajjad Ali Agartala

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said his State will help Tripura grow in every sphere after the BJP installs its own government there. He also alleged that the CPI(M) has exploited people at large and the youths to remain in power for past 24 years. “Tripura is lacking development, so no remarkable change has taken place in the State. From farmers to youths all are suffering due to absence of concrete policies,” Mr Sonowal said on Saturday evening. Mr Sonowal also attended the Modi Fest at Santirbazar in south Tripura. He appealed to the youths to be ‘game changer’ in Tripura as they did in the rest of the country to complement good works and vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I am sure there will be a BJP government in Tripura after 2018 Assembly elections as people want development and progress,” he asserted.


Sri K.R.SRINIVASAN (91) Retired Senior Personnel Executive, The Hindu, Chennai passed away on 03−06− 2017. Address: 2 C, A J Flats, Brahmin Street, Velachery, Chennai− 600042. Phone No: 044−22441645






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


Draft Social Security Code raises doubts about eicacy ‘It is evasive about the beneits accruing to workers in the unorganised sector’ Special Correspondent Jaipur

The Centre’s draft Social Security Code, purportedly consolidating as many as 44 labour laws, has created doubts about its efficacy, as it has retained the drawbacks of earlier legislations and is evasive about the benefits accruing to workers in the unorganised sector. At a meeting of the Social Security Rights Campaign here over the week-end, activists said the code was a “complicated set of rules” and it did not address the concern of labourers in the domains of wages, welfare, industrial relations and safety and work conditions. Trade Union leaders from

15 districts of Rajasthan, representatives of voluntary groups and social activists said the fate of important institutions such as Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation would be unclear if the new code was adopted.

Privatisation move Besides, there seemed to be a move to privatise the management of funds collected for workers’ social security. Ashok Khandelwal, advisor to the Supreme Court’s Commissioner in the right to food case, said the code was “anti-labourers” and was more of a political gimmick than a welfare measure.

Pension Parishad’s Shankar Singh said the code was unclear about the social security benefits for unorganised labourers and would require them to make monetary contribution to claim the benefits. Mr Singh also took exception to the provision for registration fee in the draft code. Vaibhav Raaj of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Centre for Political Studies said there were some States where social security for workers was even more advanced than the Central laws. If the new laws came into force, the progress made in some States for advanced protection of work-

ers would be defeated, he said. While senior advocate Prem Krishna Sharma said the workers’ opinion should be obtained before giving final shape to the code, activist Mewa Bharati said the domestic workers, who do not get any certificate of work by their employers, would be completely out of the social security net.

Campaign planned A consensus emerged in the meeting for launching a campaign against the Centre’s move to give final shape to the code if it does not accept the suggestions for changes and fails to meet the concerns of labourers.

Heatwave grips Punjab, Haryana Press Trust of India Chandigarh

Intense heat wave swept Punjab and Haryana on Saturday with maximum temperature soaring several degrees above normal in most parts of both the States. In Haryana, Hisar was the hottest place as it recorded mercury at 46.2 degrees Celsius, four notches above normal, as per Met report. Ambala recorded a maximum of 42.3 degrees, three notches above normal while maximum temperature in Karnal settled at 43 degrees, three degrees above normal. Chandigarh recorded a maximum of 42 degree, three notches above normal. In Punjab, Amritsar’s maximum was 44.5 degrees, four degrees above normal while Ludhiana and Patiala recorded maximums of 42.8 and 43.8 degrees respectively, up to four notches above normal.

Cong worker killed in factional feud Press Trust of India Dhar

A Congress worker died and two others were injured as two groups within the Dhar district unit of the party fired upon each other at Ghatabillod, 25 km from here on Friday night, police said. Local Congress leader Chandan Singh and his men allegedly pelted the car of district Congress chief Balmukund Singh Gautam and his associates with stones when Gautam was returning from a function, superintendent of police Birendra Singh said. This led to exchange of fire between the two groups, in which Ballu Choudhary (35), Gautam’s associate, died. Another member of Gautam’s group, Pintu Jaiswal (42), who is Dhar city Congress chief, was seriously injured. He, alongwith Suresh (28) who was also injured, was admitted to a hospital. Police arrested four persons including both Gautam and Chandan Singh.







SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Crisis in Kerala cattle markets Hindutva groups in T.N. resist transport of animals through Tirupur, Coimbatore K.A. Shaji Palakkad

KCR distributes maternity kits HYDERABAD

The Telangana government kicked off the distribution of kits for newborns and mothers across the State with Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao giving them away at the Government Maternity Hospital. Six women, who gave birth to children recently, received them.

Amit Shah meets BJP, RSS leaders in Kerala THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

BJP president Amit Shah held a series of meetings on Saturday with the officebearers of the party and the RSS as part of the efforts to strengthen the party base in Kerala. Mr. Shah’s three-day visit is aimed at wooing the Dalits and the minority communities in the State. PTI

With Hindutva outfits in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts of Tamil Nadu resisting the transport of bulls and buffaloes to Kerala through the region, and cattle traders in Erode district shutting shop — in the backdrop of the Centre’s slaughter orders — livestock markets across the State are facing closure. The 40-odd livestock markets across Kerala, including the 400-year-old Vaniyamkulam market in Palakkad, stare at a crisis. Forums such as the Hindu Makkal Katchi and the Hanuman Sena stop the trucks bound for these markets. They prevented over 40 trucks carrying livestock from entering Kerala at Kanathukadavu, near Pollachi, on Thursday and Friday.

‘No arrivals’ Officials at the border checkposts of Velamthavalam, Chemmanampathi and Go-

Trade hit: Livestock markets across Kerala face closure. A scene at the Kuzhalmannam cattle market. K.K. MUSTAFAH *

palapuram confirm that no animal-laden vehicles entered Kerala in the last two days. The price of beef is going up as most slaughterhouses are being closed. Operators of the Vaniyamkulam market, established when the Kozhikode Zamorin was ruling the area, have approached the district authorities saying they wish to close it down as they

could sell only 400 head of locally sourced cattle this week. Before the regulations, the market had a weekly sale of 7,000 head of cattle. The centuries-old weekly cattle market at Kuzhalmannam saw hardly 120 transactions on Saturday, with no arrival of stock from outside the State. Cattle markets at Kongad, Kottathara, and


Mysuru will go ‘Trin Trin’ from Sunday Bright yellow bikes set to boost non-motorised transport, in irst-of-its-kind project

Elippara in the Palakkad district face a similar situation. “We purchase buffaloes and bulls from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh but they can be transported only through Tamil Nadu. Hindutva groups did not let the animals enter Kerala though we had produced sufficient documents. If the situation persists, Kerala will face a severe shortage of cattle even for agriculture,” said E.R. Sukumaran, an operator at the Kuzhalmannam market. “The groups claim they are against cow slaughter. But, in practice, they are preventing the movement of all livestock.” Another trader said: “Over five lakh families are dependent on the livestock trade here. The government should protect the sector.” Hindu Makkal Katchi leader Arjun Sampath, however, claimed that cattle transportation to Kerala involved severe violation of animal rights.

all set for a formal launch on Sunday. Renting is free for the first one hour and users have to pay ₹5 for up to two hours, ₹10 up to three hours and so on. Of the 450 bikes, 30 geared ones are for those pedalling up to Chamundi Hills, a distance of seven km.


The humble bicycle, which has been edged out by cars and other vehicles on Mysuru’s roads over the last few decades is all set to make a comeback. Trin Trin, the country’s first smartcard-based public bicycle sharing (PBS) initiative under a six-year ₹20.5 crore plan will be seen all over the city of palaces. With broad tree-lined roads, steady tourism and smartphone-savvy citizens, Mysuru scored over other cities when Karnataka’s Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) looked for a candidate for the bike

For smart people: The bicycles are free for the irst hour, but need a smart card to use. ANIL KUMAR SHASTRI *

venture. About 450 bicycles will be available, reviving memories of a Mysuru that had neighbourhood bicycle rental shops. But unlike those, Trin Trin offers commuters, for a

fee, the convenience of picking up a bicycle from one of 48 docking stations across the city and dropping it off at another. After a month-long trial in December 2016, Trin Trin is

Vehicles dominate Bike sharing offers the city with 8.87 lakh people an alternative as it grapples with 8.15 lakh vehicles. The city’s Traffic and Transportation Plan said traffic woes would worsen if, along with public transport, walking and cycling were not promoted.

Palarivattom to Aluva in 20 mins

Special Correspondent

Kochi Metro travels at 80 km/hr speed


A Maoist, suspected to have been involved in several killings in the Andhra Odisha Border, was found dead in an encounter with the police in the forest area near Kapakuti under the Chitrakonda police station limits in Malkangiri district of Odisha on Saturday. “The incident occurred during routine operations by our special party. The deceased has been identified as Gadda Nageswara Rao alias Chinnabbai, 38, an area committee member of Kalimela dalam,” Malkangiri SP Mitrobhanu Mohapatra told The Hindu.

Special Correspondent

A 24-year-old ragpicker was arrested by the K.G. Halli police for allegedly abducting and sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl early on Saturday. Around 3 a.m., Veeresh spotted the girl coming out of her makeshift house to go to the toilet. He abducted her, took her to an isolated place and raped her before dumping her in a semi-conscious state a few metres from her house, the police said.

Collapsed on the road The accused, who was in an inebriated condition, threw stones at the window of a parked car while leaving the

Steering the project: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan in the driver’s cabin of a metro train in Kochi on Saturday. PTI *

John L. Paul

₹4 lakh reward The deceased carried ₹4 lakh reward and was suspected to be involved in the killing of Budu Hantal of Colony Tekguda, Sama Padiami alias Bikram at Sanateguda and Suresh Talar of Sablur.

Ragpicker held for raping 5-year-old in Bengaluru Bengaluru

Laiqh A Khan

‘Wanted’ Maoist killed in Odisha

scene. The car alarm woke up a resident, who noticed the girl in a collapsed state on the road. The police were alerted, and they admitted the child to the hospital. CCTV footage from the area showed a man carrying the semi-conscious girl. After questioning residents, the police narrowed down on Veeresh. He was arrested on Saturday evening. He has confessed to the crime, said officials. The family members of the victim had migrated from Chitradurga and were working as construction labourers in the city. Veeresh is also from Chitradurga and was acquainted with the family.


A turquoise blue Kochi metro train zoomed along the 13-km-long PalarivattomAluva elevated corridor on Saturday morning, carrying among others Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, metro officials and a media contingent. It was a new experience for the passengers, most of whom were travelling in a metro for the first time. The Palarivattom-Aluva stretch was covered in just over 20 minutes. Even ambulances with sirens cannot commute so fast through National Highway 47 that runs beneath the metro viaduct, given the congested junctions at Edappally, Edappally Toll, Cusat, Kalamassery, Pulinchodu and Aluva town. “The train cruises at 70 km per hour speed on the viaduct, though it can attain up to 80 km,” said Gopika Santosh, a driver who travelled as a passenger. It was exhilarating to view the city of Kochi, with its green cover and many landmark buildings, pass by from a height of over eight metres from the road level. On either side of the barricaded metro viaduct is a rescue ramp that will be used

to evacuate commuters from trains stuck on the viaduct. They can walk through it to reach the nearest station, keeping away from the 750-volt third track that supplies power to the trains. Four of the 23 persons from the transgender community, who have been appointed for housekeeping duty at metro stations (a first for any government firm in the country), workers from Kudumbasree and a few metro workers also travelled on the train.

Tusker-shaped facade As the train halted at Aluva, Mr. Vijayan walked into the driver’s cabin, where Anju J.H., who steered the train, explained its salient features. She is among the seven women drivers-cumstation controllers of the Kochi metro. The train’s facade resembles a tusker, with the headlight cluster shaped like a pair of tusks. “They are arguably the most modern in the country, but came cheaper than coaches of other metros, with the capability to be converted into driverless trains in the future,” said Elias George, Managing Director of Kochi Metro Rail Limited.

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SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


‘Ending BJP regime would be best gift for Karunanidhi’ Parties come together on DMK leader’s 94th birthday

United we stand: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, CPI leader D. Raja, DMK working president M.K. Stalin, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Rajya Sabha member Majid Menon, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, J&K opposition leader Omar Abdullah, and Trinamool Congress MP Derek O' Brien at a public meeting in Chennai on Saturday. M. VEDHAN *

Special Correspondent CHENNAI

The function held on Saturday to celebrate Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader M. Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday here provided a platform for national leaders opposing the BJP to come together, and declare that putting an end to its government at the Centre alone would be a fitting tribute to the nonagenarian leader. “All of us on the stage and among the crowd will not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the ideology of the RSS,” said AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi. “We will not let the RSS and Mr. Modi impose one idea on this country.” Recalling the demonetisation move and how the Prime Minister decided that the money in the pocket of everyone was worthless, Mr. Gandhi said the BJP and the RSS did not believe in discussion and conversation. CPI(M) general secretary

Sitaram Yechury said leaders of all parties except the RSS and the BJP had come together when the country was passing through a critical phase. “Politics is not just arithmetic. Two plus two could become twentytwo if we strengthened people’s struggle,” he said.

‘Larger role for Stalin’ Mr. Yechury said DMK working president M.K. Stalin would have a larger political role in the coming days. “It was not the U.S. flag or the U.K. flag, but the red flag of Josef Stalin that announced the end of Hitler’s regime. The name Stalin has a lot of responsibility. We should jointly strengthen the struggles,” he said. While CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy said democratic and Left forces had an important role to play and the birthday meeting of Mr. Karunanidhi was a “political summit at a national level”, party MP D.

Raja said the time had come for the Marxists and leaders of the Dravidian movement to walk shoulder to shoulder against communalism. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, while recalling the relationship that his family shared with Mr. Karunanidhi spanning three generations, called upon the leaders to defeat the “anti-people BJP.” Likening the meeting to the rally organised in Chennai in 1988 by Mr. Karunanidhi to launch the National Front, Mr. Stalin said the challenge before the leaders was to put an end to the dictatorial BJP regime. “The BJP is making every effort to convert India into a communal nation and they are making sanyasis Chief Ministers to fulfil their agenda. The DMK will stand by the secular forces.” Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy also attended the rally.

Trap laid to catch leopard in Odisha Staff Reporter Bhubaneswar

Residents of Haladi village in Odisha’s Nuapada district continue to live in fear even as forest department personnel stepped up their efforts to trap a leopard that dragged a four-yearold boy into the forest last week. The boy was sleeping beside his parents when the tragic incident occurred. Most residents are spending sleepless nights ever since. Villagers spotted a leopard around the village temple on Saturday. After villagers alerted the forest department, traps and ‘goat bait’ are being used by the personnel. CM YK






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



NIA conducts raids on separatists "The subject matter of investigation is to probe the entire chain of players behind financing of terrorist activities including pelting of stones on security forces, burning of schools, damaging government establishments, etc. Cash amount worth a few crores, gold jewellery, coins worth about ₹40 lakh, large number of property related documents have been seized from the financiers, hawala operators, office bearers of separatist groups," NIA said in a statement. The NIA team sealed off the Qamarwari residence of Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah. Sources said he was questioned about his bank and property details. Electronic gadgets were also screened. Another Geelani confidante Mehraj Kalwal, district president of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, was also questioned at his Srinagar residence. Hurriyat faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s

spokesman Aftab Ahmad alias Shahid-ul-Islam was detained for several hours at his Sanat Nagar residence. According to sources, money was recovered during searches at the residence. Another leader of Mirwaiz’ Hurriyat faction, Zafar Akbar Bhat, was also faced questions from an NIA team. Residences of three other separatist leaders — Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Javaid Gazi Baba and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate — were also raided. These separatists figured in a sting operation carried by a TV channel recently, in which they admitted to having received funds from Pakistan and Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT) to continue unrest in the Kashmir valley. The NIA also carried out simultaneous raids on residences of four businessmen, including Zahoor Watali, brother of former inspector general of police Ali Muhammad Watali.

New GST rate of 3% for gold, diamonds The Finance Minister said there was consensus among all the ministers on rolling out the indirect tax regime on July 1, and added that the Council would meet again on June 11 to discuss the remaining rules. The existing four categories of footwear on which different rates of tax applied have been simplified into two categories, those costing below ₹500 and those costing above this amount. They will be taxed at 5% and 18%, respectively. Within textiles, silk and jute yarn have been placed in the exempt category, while cotton and other natural fibre will be taxed at 5%. Man made yarn will attract a rate of 18% while natural yarn will be taxed at 5%. All fabric will be taxed at 5%. Apparels and made-

ups priced below ₹1,000 will be taxed at 5% and those above ₹1,000 will be taxed at 12%. Beedi leaves, currently taxed at anywhere between 5% and 28%, depending on the State, will be taxed at 18%. Beedis will be taxed at 28%, with no additional cess being levied. Agricultural implements will be taxed at 5%. “There was almost a vertical division in the Council regarding the tax treatment of gold, with half wanting 2% and the other half wanting 5%,” Mr Jaitley said. “So, it was decided to tax it at 3%.” The creation of a new tax slab could, however, create problems for the GST Council as it will encourage other sectors to make demands for a similar treatment, according to experts.

Conlict of interest led to Mistry removal: Tata Always polite to a fault in their written communications with each other (the senior Mr. Tata always addressing Mr. Mistry as “Dear Cyrus” and Mr. Mistry unfailingly starting with “Dear Sir” and closing with “warm regards”), the growing tensions and widening gap in perspectives on a range of issues between the two was clearly apparent. The issue of governance was another key flashpoint. Having agreed to dissociate himself from his family’s construction businesses — Mr. Mistry is the younger son of Pallonji Mistry of the Shapoorji Pallonji group — when he assumed office, Mr. Mistry is said to have reneged on that commitment by awarding contracts valued at about ₹2,000 crore to the group’s SP Corporation, till date; a clear conflict of interest. Among the group companies that contracted large projects to SP Corp. were Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Motors.

Conflict of interest After Mr. Tata repeatedly flagged this concern in several communications, Mr. Mistry wrote in October 2013 to the group’s companies, “to avoid any perception of a potential conflict of interest, I believe that, as long as I am the Executive Chairman of Tata Sons, it would be appropriate that the Tata group of companies no longer engage with the Shapoorji Pallonji group of companies for any engineering and construction contracts.” However, the issue lingered on as another point of contention between the two men as they continued to exchange communications on it. Mr. Mistry also appears to have not fulfilled the requirement of a five-year CM YK

strategic plan and a oneyear operating plan for Tata Sons. Mr. Mistry’s own Vision 2025 plan, which ‘proclaimed’ Tata Sons would become the 25th most preferred group company in the world by 2025, “contained nothing specific,” according to Mr. Tata. “It was a travesty,” said Mr. Tata. The Tata Trusts and Mr. Tata were also disconcerted by Mr. Mistry’s approach to fees and commissions for directors on the boards of the group’s operating companies, as well as a departure from long-running tradition of elevating senior group executives to the Tata Sons’ board. For instance, some of the group’s companies paid as much as about ₹1.3 crore to their directors by way of annual fees and commissions, and this at a time when they were posting losses and withholding dividends to shareholders. Also, at the time of Mr. Mistry’s exit, Tata Sons had only one other group executive on its board — Ishaat Hussain who was Director, Finance, Tata Sons. This was after Mr. Mistry, who assumed office in December 2012, had chosen to let board vacancies created by the retirement of as many as four former Tata group executives remain unfilled. Still, the Trusts withheld their counsel, in order to allow the incumbent group chairman the freedom to operate. “It’s absolutely untrue that the Trusts were interfering with the functioning of Tata Sons and operating companies”, said Mr. Tata. But on October 24, 2016, the Tata Trusts and Mr. Tata appeared to have decided it was time to call time on the long-running feud. The outcome — Mr. Mistry’s muchdebated ouster.

Kashmir violence will not last long: Rajnath Home Minister blames Pakistan; NIA says extensive NIA raids will expose wealth, property amassed by separatist leaders Vijaita Singh New Delhi

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that his government was looking at a “permanent solution for Kashmir” but stressed that the issue, which has been lingering on since 1947 could not be solved by “snapping fingers”. The Minister’s remarks at a press conference came as the NIA conducted extensive searches in Kashmir, Haryana and Delhi to track down sources of funding for terrorist activities. “We are working for a permanent solution. I have said this with utmost responsibility, after much thinking and deliberations. We have some

plans and are working in this direction and will find a solid solution in future. It may take some time,” Mr. Singh said.

Pakistan blamed He blamed Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir but stressed that the violence will not last long. The multiple raids conducted by the NIA were aimed at alienating separatist leaders among the Kashmiri population by exposing the wealth and property amassed by them, a senior government official has said. The NIA went ahead with the raids after collecting “hardcore evidence” for over sev-

formation Report (FIR), the agency has not named any separatist leader and has instead referred to them as “Hurriyat leaders”. The others named in the FIR are Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafeez Saeed, the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and Dukhtaran-e-Milat.

An NIA team in Srinagar on Saturday. eral months, he said. Jammu and Kashmir ( J&K) Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was on board, the official added. This is the first time in three decades that searches have been carried out at



premises of separatist leaders. The Centre has often blamed the State government for “pampering” the separatists and adopting a “kid-glove” approach. However, in its First In-

Hurdles ahead An NIA official said the persons raided were mainly middlemen and hawala operators, part of a well-oiled network to manage funds to incite terrorist incidents in the Valley. Another official in the security establishment said it would be difficult to prove the flow of funds as hawala

operators did not leave a money trail. The NIA had earlier registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against Kashmiri separatist leaders, for allegedly receiving funds from Lashkar-e-Taiba’s chief Hafiz Saeed to create unrest in the Valley. “The PE and on the basis of information from multiple sources, we registered an FIR. We have strong evidence,” said an NIA official. The NIA had said earlier that it would be probing over 150 cases of rioting and stone pelting registered in the valley post-Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8, 2016, to find possible links to separatist leaders.

‘Those raided have been funding terror’

Separatists denounce NIA raids

NIA Director-General says the action was taken as the agency had collected hard evidence

Special Correspondent


Vijaita Singh

The National Investigation Agency has registered a first information report against the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba; Hurriyat leaders; Dukhtarane-Milat, a member of the Hurriyat Conference; the Kashmir-based militant group Hizbul Mujahideen; and known hawala operators for criminal conspiracy and waging war against India. NIA Director-General Sharad Kumar spoke to The Hindu on the case pertaining to terror funding in Jammu and Kashmir.

Why have you not named the separatists in the FIR?

■ We have been collecting evidence regarding terror funding in Kashmir. This is the result of a preliminary inquiry done by the NIA and information collected by us.

What is the significance of the raids and why now? ■ You will see. We have recovered lot of incriminating documents. We will scrutinise them and then take further action. Investigation has been on for the past few months; we had to verify that any innocent

Have you found any link to separatists so far? ■ They [those who have been raided] are involved in terror funding.

person is not raided. A sum of ₹2crore to ₹3 crore has already been seized. Will you raid the houses of separatists? ■ It is premature to say whether I will raid [separatists’ houses] or not; it depends on the evidence collected.

Who are the persons against whom raids have been conducted?

These people are middlemen, hawala operators, who are channelling funds from one end to another. ■

What is the next course of action? ■ Once we analyse the documents, we will take further action.

premature to < > It’s say if houses of separatists will be raided In all, 24 places have been raided in Delhi, Haryana and Kashmir.

Hawala trail goes back decades Illegal transactions started with overseas funding to JKLF and Hizb business houses, making it a round-the-year revenue generating mechanism,” said a police official. The cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade, which started in 2008, is believed to have fallen into the hands of money launderers and is under the NIA scanner.

Peerzada Ashiq Srinagar

The trail of money transactions through hawala to fuel militancy in Kashmir goes back to the early days of insurgency in the 1990s, with overseas conduits spread across Pakistan, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, the United Kingdom and the European Union, says the counter-insurgency cell of the Jammu and Kashmir Police. The security establishment’s assessment suggests that anywhere between ₹200 crore and 400 crore are pumped into J&K annually to aid militancy and promote separatism by Pakistan. The funnelling of money started in the 1990s with overseas funding to the JKLF and Hizbul Mujahideen.

Channels of funding Sources in the security establishment admit that “smaller hawala transactions

Covert operations: Trucks from Pakistan cross the LoC in Poonch. Money launderers are believed to be now controlling the cross-LoC trade. NISSAR AHMAD *

miss the radar at times”. The hawala racketeers have roped in smaller and big business houses across continents “to manage annual funding”. Thirty-five percent of hawala money, according to sources, is channelled directly through militant outfits

such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Hizbul Mujahideen and another 40% through overseas religious and charity organisations. The rest comes through businessmen and conduits, with many spread in parts of India. “A lot of money has been invested in real estate and

Fake notes According to official figures, 37 persons have been arrested so far for using money obtained through hawala and fake Indian currency notes for militant-related activities. Since 2013, 17 cases of hawala transactions were registered in Kashmir. Over ₹36.70 lakhs, $900 and 33 gold coins were also recovered from these persons. In 2011, ₹21 lakh was recovered from three persons, including advocate Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, who in 2008 was carrying ₹55 lakh in a concealed gas cylinder.

Any estimate on the number of people who would have received funds from them? ■ Can’t say. The locations were raided as we had hardcore evidence.


Separatist leaders in the Kashmir Valley described the National Investigation Agency raids on their leaders and supporters as “diversionary tactics aimed at shielding atrocities and barbarism committed against the civilians in J&K”. “These raids are nothing but attempt to divert attention from the real issues New Delhi is facing in Kashmir now. We faced worse in 1996 and 1999. Situation in Kashmir is only worsening that demands an immediate solution,” JKLF chief Yasin Malik said.

Separatist leader told to appear before ED Shabir Shah to be quizzed on June 6 Special Correspondent NEW DELHI

The Enforcement Directorate has served fresh summons on Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Ahmed Shah in connection with an alleged terror financing case, as he did not turn up for recording his statement last month. Mr. Shah has been asked to appear before the investigating officer on June 6. He was earlier told to come on May 25, but he did not turn up.

Money laundering The money laundering investigation pertains to a case registered by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in August 2005 when it had arrested one alleged hawala operator, Mohammed Aslam Wani, who purportedly disclosed that he had routed ₹2.25 crore for Mr. Shah and his kin. The

Shabir Ahmed Shah Separatist leader has, in the past, dismissed the charge, terming it politically motivated. The “hawala” operator was arrested with a large cache of ammunition and ₹63 lakh in cash, which he allegedly received through his contacts in the Middle East. During questioning, he allegedly disclosed that ₹50 lakh was to be delivered to Mr. Shah and ₹10 lakh to Abu Baqr, a Jaish-e-Mohammed area commander in Srinagar.

Muzafarnagar tense over Five Indian soldiers killed in LoC iring, claims Pak. cow slaughter rumours Only a resident of Poonch was injured, says Army oicer

People clash with police after latter fail to ind evidence

Special Correspondent Staff Reporter

Islamabad/New Delhi


Pakistan on Saturday claimed that five Indian soldiers were killed and many injured in its firing across the Line of Control. The Indian Army was quick to deny any such casualties. “Indian unprovoked CFV [Cease Fire Violation] at Tatta Pani along the LoC violently responded. Indian bunkers destroyed, 5 Indian sldrs [soldiers] killed many injured,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, the official spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces, said on Twitter. A senior Indian Army officer said there was ceasefire violation in the Krishna Ghati sector, which is on the Indian side opposite Tatta Pani. “There have been firings from the Pakistani side since yesterday [Friday], which ceased around 1 p.m. today [Saturday],” he said. The officer said there was no injury to Indian soldiers, but a woman was injured on Friday. The injured woman

The riot-hit town of Muzaffarnagar was tense after a dozen people were injured in a clash between police personnel and common public over rumours of cow slaughter at the Sherpur village on Friday. The clash erupted moments after the police personnel were returning from the village after failing to find evidence to back the alleged reports of cow slaughter in Sherpur. The villagers took to stone pelting when some of the police personnel allegedly beat up some villagers. According to Mehraj, one of the villagers who sustained injuries during the clash, the police entered households and started beating people who were sick and bedridden while searching some of the houses for alleged cow slaughter. “When the villagers protested against the beating of

Police conduct a search after receiving information about cow slaughter in Sharnagar village, Muzafarnagar, on Friday. PTI *

people, the police lathicharged us. Some of us got badly injured. This is no way of policing and investigating cow slaughter. We are no criminals. This worsened the situation and agitated and angry villagers started stone-pelting. Two police vehicles were burnt in this process,” he said.

More force rush to site Extra police force was rushed to the spot to control law and order.

According to the Deputy Inspector General (Saharanpur range) Kattarpu S. Emmanuel, police had gone to the Sherpur village after they got a tip-off about cow slaughter in a particular house. “The police team tried to verify the tip-off and see if it was true. The police did not find anything in the particular house and even in its neighbourhood. The team was returning when the violence happened,” he said.

Search operation: Jawans cordon of the area after an attack in Qazigund, south Kashmir, on Saturday. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *

was identified as Shehnaz Akhter, a resident of Shahpur area in Poonch district. Sources said the Pakistani troops had been resorting to firings along the LoC in Krishna Ghati and other parts of Poonch in the last 48 hours, with mortar shelling and automatic weapons.

Two soldiers killed Meanwhile, two soldiers were killed and at least four others injured when militants attacked an Army con-

voy on the National Highway. The convoy was on its way to Srinagar from Udhampur, the headquarters of Northern Army Command. The attack took place at Qazigund in Anantnag district, when the convoy was near the Lower Munda tollpost. A senior police officer said that the militants opened indiscriminate fire at Army vehicles. Following the attack, the SrinagarJammu National Highway was closed and a search was launched. A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017




‘We will go with the BJP in the 2019 elections’ On completion of three years in oice, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister rated farm loan waiver among his chief achievements K. Venkateshwarlu

‘Anxiety’ in Goa on beef controversy: Minister PANAJI

Union Minister of State for AYUSH and north Goa MP Shripad Naik on Saturday admitted that there was a sense of “little bit” anxiety in Goa about the ongoing beef controversy. Answering questions from the media persons at the BJP headquarters on Saturday, Mr. Naik said the BJP leadership in Goa was making efforts to apprise the party leadership of the situation. PTI

One killed, three injured in TMC-BJP clash KOLKATA

One person was allegedly shot dead and three others were injured in a clash between the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party workers in North 24 Paraganas district on Saturday. The incident took place over a land dispute between two groups in the Jelekhali area in Sandeshkhali. “One person died in the clash. I don’t have any further information about the incident,” Bhaskar Mukherjee, SP, North 24 Paraganas, said.

India a strong nation under Modi, says Nadda SHIMLA

Union Health Minister Jai Prakash Nadda on Saturday said that the image of India has changed from a corrupt nation under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to a strong nation under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Corruption was at its peak during the UPA government but people changed it and now the country is changing,” he said, while highlighting the various projects initiated by the Centre. The Union Minister was speaking in the ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ programme.

At his modest residence at Undavalli on the banks of the Krishna near Vijayawada, a relaxed Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, spoke to The Hindu on his vision for the transformation of the State How do you look back at your three-year rule? What were your big achievements and challenges?

the BJP. Congress vicepresident Rahul Gandhi is participating in a rally in Guntur on Sunday to highlight your failure.

I look at it with great satisfaction of having been able to deliver most of the election promises, the biggest one being farm loan waiver of ₹1,50,000 each despite financial crisis. No other State, including neighbouring Telangana, could do this. I have leveraged technology to see that there are no leakages in schemes like ration for the poor and pensions for senior citizens.

■ The Congress and the YSRCP are playing politics with the SCS. What is wrong in accepting an alternative Special Package that is equal to the SCS when the Centre has expressed difficulties in granting the SCS? The Congress is shedding crocodile tears now after perpetrating grave injustice to Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation. A half-baked Bill was passed shutting the doors of Parliament and snapping the live telecast. The people of the State punished it by not returning a single candidate in 2014 elections. It has not

The Special Category Status is still a contentious issue. The YSRCP accuses you of compromising with

learnt a lesson yet and continues to play politics. Less said the better of the YSRCP. Why has it not carried its threat of making its MPs resign?

ject that was completed in time. We want avoid delays. It is for closer and better supervision of works that we undertook the project. What do we gain by inflating the costs? Opposition should know that the 80% of the project cost will go towards an R&R package in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act of 2013.

You often assert that the capital, Amaravati, and the Polavaram irrigation project are like two eyes for you, but both projects are bogged down in delays…

Who says there is delay? We completed the gigantic task of pooling 33,000 acres of land in about year’s time. Yes, finalising the design of capital took some time as my vision is of building a worldclass capital with iconic buildings. You know what time it took for Chandigarh, Gandhinagar and Naya Raipur ? We have already started laying roads and some of these iconic buildings like that of Assembly will surely come up in the

next few months. Polavaram too, is on right track with 48% of the works being complete. Now that the Centre has started funding it, there no problem on that count. I am sure by the end of 2018, water will flow by gravity from the project. How do you respond to the Opposition charge

got irst rank in < > We ease of doing business and will transform AP into a manufacturing hub that the State lobbied to execute Polavaram, a national project on its own and that costs were inflated ■

Show me one national pro-

Your relations with the BJP seem to be strained of late. During his recent visit to Vijayawada, BJP president Amit Shah spoke of strengthening the party in Andhra Pradesh. Don’t you think it is going to create a problem for Telugu Desam?

There is no irritant in our relationship and we will go to 2019 elections together. I have asked my party leaders not to speak out of turn on relations with BJP. ■

India, France to join hands on Paris pact

Despite financial and other problems, we did fairly well. We were able to get Kia Motors, Hero Motors, Isuzu, Apollo Tyres and Ceat Tyres, a couple of aerospace and defence industries, etc. In the IT sector, HCL is setting shop here… what more do one want? We got first rank in ease of doing business. We will transform A.P. into a manufacturing and logistics hub.

How do you rate the performance of Nara Lokesh (his son), IT and Panchayat Raj Minister ?

It is for the media to judge.

Leaders of the two countries also vow to unite to boost maritime security and ight against terrorism

RS term is party’s call, says Yechury

Press Trust of India

Special Correspondent


India and France on Saturday vowed to work together for the implementation of the landmark Paris climate agreement and fight the challenge posed by terrorism, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron here. Mr. Modi said India was committed to “go above and beyond” the Paris deal to protect climate for future generations as he termed the U.N.-brokered agreement a shared legacy of the world, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump walked out of the

accord. After holding two hours of wide-ranging talks with Mr. Macron at the presidential Elysee Palace here, Mr. Modi said the Paris climate deal reflects “our duty towards protecting the mother Earth and our natural resources. For us, this (protection of environment) is an article of faith.”

Shared legacy “Paris climate agreement is a shared legacy of the world. It will benefit the future generations as well,” Mr. Modi said addressing a joint press event with Mr. Macron. Describing the city of Paris as an important part of


On the draw Surendra

his political journey, the Prime Minister said India and France had worked shoulder-to-shoulder for this agreement. On his part, Mr. Macron said he wants to restate France’s full commitment to the fight against climate warming. The two leaders voiced concern over the growing threat of terrorism worldwide. “Terrorism is one of the biggest challenges the world is facing today,” Mr. Modi said. “We cannot see the danger of climate change but we can see the horrific effects of terrorism, we can feel it. Innocent people, wo-

men, children lose their lives to terror. Every child in France knows the face of terror,” Mr. Modi said, referring to a series of terror attacks that rocked France in recent years. Mr. Macron said, “We are committed to work together in defence cooperation, maritime security and fighting terrorism on the Internet. France will stand by India in the fight against terrorism.” Mr. Modi invited the French president to visit India. Mr. Macron said he would visit New Delhi by the end of the year for an international summit on solar power.


Till we meet again: Narendra Modi bids goodbye to French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Saturday. AFP *

EVMs get vote of conidence CPI(M) only wanted to understand its functioning, NCP opts out of contest Devesh K. Pandey NEW DELHI

Congress overhauls some of its departments Seeks to strengthen traditional vote bases, reach new ones Smita Gupta NEW DELHI

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Congress is working on expanding its support base by reaching out to new sections of the electorate, even as it seeks to strengthen traditional vote bases. On Thursday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi approved the renaming of the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) ST (Scheduled Tribe) Department as the Adivasi Congress Department (ACD), constituted a Research Department, and created two new departments — the Overseas Congress Department and the Fishermen’s Department. The appointment of former Cabinet Minister and former general secretary V. Kishore Chandra Deo as the Chairman of the Adivasi Congress, as well as the change in its name, suggests the party wishes to give this department a higher profile and a centrality in its functioning. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Deo said his mandate was to both educate tribals about their Constitutional and other legal rights as well as organise agitations when the department came across cases of denial of rights or justice, adding, “Today, for CM YK

You have made several trips to foreign countries and held two CII partnership summits so far. But investments attracted by the State are not very impressive.

Sonia Gandhi

instance, an NGO gave us information that a district magistrate was blocking the collection of tendu leaves by tribals: for such cases, we will adopt an ‘agitational’ approach.” The ACD will also monitor cases where mining is disrupting the lives of tribals. It will also tell tribals about the many laws — such as the Forest Rights Act — that the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had enacted during its tenure. Mr. Deo will have five vice-chairmen assisting him — Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya from Rajasthan, Shyam Sunder Hansdah from Odisha, Bellaih Naik from Telangana, Manoj Mandavi from Chattisgarh and Atuwa Munda from Assam. Similarly, the new Research Department will re-

place the Research and Coordination Department, the Research and Reference Department and the Department of Policy, Planning and Coordination (DEPCO), populated by some of the seniormost people in the party. Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda has been appointed Chairman of the Research Department: the role of Mr. Gowda, whose responsibility earlier was to research issues for Parliament, would expand with the appointment of an advisory committee of party seniors.

The electronic voting machine (EVM) went unchallenged on Saturday, with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) deciding only to understand its functioning and the Nationalist Congress Party opting out on grounds that the Election Commission did not provide the memory and battery numbers of machines not even four days in advance. Calling it a mutual learning exercise, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told presspersons that the memory and battery numbers of the machines could not be provided to the NCP in advance as they were kept sealed in warehouses.

Academic exercise The EC, through a letter to the NCP, said the party on

Two days after a resolution was adopted at the West Bengal State committee meeting of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) seeking a third Rajya Sabha term for him, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury said here on Saturday that the party’s decision would be final. Mr. Yechury is a Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal, and his term expires on August 18. “The norm in our party is that nobody goes into a third term [in the Rajya Sabha]. And I have already stated — there is nothing more to state on that — that, as the general secretary, I will adhere to the norm. But it is the party that will decide,” he said. The CPI(M) polit bureau has scheduled a two-day meeting on June 6 and 7. On Thursday, the party’s West Bengal State secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra had written to the polit bureau in favour of a third term for Mr. Yechury. The Congress has offered to support Mr. Yechury’s candidature. He is the first from the CPI(M) to be an MP and a party general secretary at the same time.

How it works: A CPI(M) delegation being given a demonstration of the internal circuitry of the control units of the EVMs in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI *

Saturday conveyed that it would only participate in the event as an “academic exercise”. The NCP’s representatives

also had two rounds of meetings with the EC, and a detailed interaction with the Technical Experts Committee on EVMs. Expressing

hope that the exercise had put to rest all the doubts about EVM security, Dr. Zaidi said the NCP could participate in future.

Preparing reports Earlier, Mr. Gowda had headed the party’s research team that produced the detailed ‘Real State of the Economy’ report a few months ago, “a sort of surgical strike on the government’s numbers”. To produce that report, former PM Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram were consulted. Currently, he is engaged in preparing a report on the Jat, Maratha, Patel and other agitations in the country. Another report will be on the BJP-led NDA’s track record on corruption. The Overseas Indians Department, headed by Sam Pitroda, is to counter the influence of the BJP’s friends abroad. A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017




Q q

Jeremy Corbyn Socialist rebel

In November 2015, just two months after his landslide victory in the Labour leadership election, Jeremy Corbyn found himself immersed in a controversy on Remembrance Sunday (marking the contribution of World War service personnel). Mr. Corbyn, whose anti-monarchist, anti-conflict views already had many of Britain’s tabloids in a tizzy, was lambasted for supposedly refusing to bow as he laid a wreath at the ceremony. It subsequently emerged that not only had he done so but he had also stayed on after the ceremony to talk to veterans, while other politicians attended a meal for VIPs.

Why the attacks on Mr. Corbyn? British politics has long been infamous for the personal nature of media attacks on leaders, but the hostility faced by Mr. Corbyn has been something else. It’s been driven in part by his steadfast refusal to play ball with the mainstream media — he doesn’t take press questions after every public speech, and often ignores questions out of the context of a

planned interview, often preferring to respond to criticism on his own terms, through social media. He doesn’t wheel out his family for photo opportunities. He’s made a point of focussing on talking to people directly, as was the case with his first performance at Prime Minister’s Questions in 2015, when he relied on questions gathered from the public. An avowed socialist, he has no qualms talking about re-nationalising infrastructure or raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy, an approach shunned by Labour since the days of Tony Blair. He doesn’t even look like many think a politician should: his trademark beard came well before fuzz became fashionable while his casual, sometimes maverick, dressing style had some Conservatives seething when he first entered Parliament.

How did he get to where he is? Born to peace activists, Mr. Corbyn was involved in politics from a young age, as an early member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a volunteer in Jamaica, and a trade union organiser. He

entered Parliament in 1983, representing the London constituency of Islington North, which he has held to date. His radicalism continued in Parliament — he was arrested outside the South African embassy demonstrating against apartheid, brought striking miners into the House of Commons, and invited former Irish Republican Army prisoners to the Commons. His journey to the Labour leadership was just as unconventional. He reluctantly agreed to run, after others insisted they’d had their turn, and just managed to scrape together the necessary number of nominations from other Labour MPs to stand, including from

those who saw him as a political nohoper but wanted a token left-wing candidate.

Rebel or man of principles? His detractors denounce him as a rebel (he voted against the party whip over 400 times while Labour was in power, between 1997 and 2010), but to his supporters he is a deeply principled politician, willing to stand up to the party, and his family, when those values are on the line. His opposition to grammar schools, a selective form of state school to which his second wife hoped to send one of his sons, cost him the marriage. He was probably the most prominent parliamentary campaigner against the war in Iraq. He’s also been an active local MP, taking up issues raised with him by campaign groups, such as a commitment to

eliminating caste discrimination. For years, he chaired Britain’s Dalit Solidarity Network. He’s been an active member of global socialist networks, attending the 2004 World Social Forum in Mumbai. He has pledged to work with socialist groups across Europe as Britain faces up to Brexit. In 2013, he won the Gandhi Foundation’s International Peace Award.

A liability or an asset? Some of the causes he has championed have made him easy prey to nationalist hysteria. Leading the party has also forced him to compromise on others, such as on Britain’s nuclear deterrent. However, as he has developed in stature as a leader he has sought to turn some of his perceived vulnerabilities on their head. Mr. Corbyn attacked Britain’s foreign policy, just days after the Manchester atrocity, appealing to the very soldiers the right-wing media had accused him of betraying, with a promise not to send them into futile wars. VIDYA RAM




virus spread in many African and Asian countries but caused no harm. But in 2007, more than a hundred cases were reported at Yap, a tiny island in the south-western Pacific. Six years later, Zika spread to French Polynesia, where nearly 30,000 people required medical attention. Among them, more than 70 people had severe neurological symptoms and 40 contracted the GuillainBarré syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis.

Q q

The lowdown on the Zika virus

In north-eastern How did it come about? Brazil, towards the Zika is an arbovirus infection which occurs through the bite of several different species of Aedes mosquitoes, including the Aedes aegypti which is active during the day; it can also be transmitted sexually. The virus was first isolated from a rhesus monkey in Uganda in the Zika forest, near the western shore of Lake Victoria, in 1947, and hence the name. The mosquito-borne

What is Zika?

end of 2015 and within months after the outbreak, the Zika virus was seen to have a possible link to birth defects in babies. While nearly 80% of the people infected with Zika did not have symptoms, the infection became dangerous if it occurred during the early stages of pregnancy. In some cases, if the virus attacked the brain tissue of the foetus, it led to microcephaly, a condition that results in ba-

bies being born with tiny heads, causing severe neurological disorders. By the end of January 2016, 4,200 suspected cases of microcephaly were reported, and the virus spread to several other Latin American countries and to the Caribbean, with El Salvador, Jamaica and Colombia advising women to delay pregnancy. Last year, on February 1, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern. The WHO issued an advisory to pregnant women to avoid travelling to countries with an outbreak of the Zika virus. Besides being spread by mosquitoes, the sexual route of transmission was confirmed in France by last February-end; in a matter of days the WHO said sexual transmission of the virus is “relatively common.” And by mid-April, in a turning point in the Zika virus outbreak, the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the virus caused

Why does it matter?

severe foetal brain defects. Though it was widely suspected, scientists finally pinned down the Aedes aegypti mosquito, common in many tropical countries including India, as the vector responsible for transmitting the virus. The virus can be spread through blood transfusion. It has also turned up in urine, tears and saliva, but it is not confirmed that it can spread through them. Since the virus can stay in semen longer than in blood, the WHO recommended that couples abstain from sex for at least six months after a man has been diagnosed with Zika. Besides spreading to a few States in the U.S, the virus reached closer to India when it was reported in Singapore last August: 330 cases in two months. The virus soon spread to Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar. In midNovember 2016, the WHO declared that the Zika emergency was over. By the end of the year, Brazil had confirmed about 2,230 microcephaly cases. The U.S. reported nearly 4,600 Zika cases by December. Even as Brazil announced

the end of its public health emergency on May 12 this year, the virus appeared in India. Between November 2016 and February 2017, India reported three locally transmitted cases (two women and a man) of Zika in Gujarat; but the news came to light only on May 26, 2017 when the WHO published it on its website. A year after the WHO declared Zika a public health emergency, there has been some positive news on the vaccine front. A single dose of Zika vaccine made from the Zika virus showed promise in mice and monkeys. More than 40 Zika vaccine candidates are in the pipeline and five are entering human clinical trials (Phase I). Back home, the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Zika vaccine was found to confer 100% protection on mice. The company has just begun clinical trials in humans (Phase I) in two centres in India.

What next?



Pp WHY Q q

...has Djokovic lost his winning touch?

When did he lose form? * Exactly a year ago, after winning the French Open, Novak Djokovic had achieved something no man had managed since 1969: to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles at the same time. He was at the peak of his powers and pretty much invincible. Tennis, even during Roger Federer's heyday, didn't seem so monopolistic. Then, in an astonishing turn of events, Djokovic lost his form. Such has been the free fall that since the success in Paris, he has won only two of the 13 tournaments he has played, crashing out of Wimbledon in the third round and losing the U.S. Open final to Stan Wawrinka. He had to surrender his No.1 ATP ranking to Andy Murray last November. Is it mind or body or just his game? * When he was younger, Djokovic struggled with all three. His plight was akin to that of the mythological Greek king Sisyphus – condemned to eternal, hard, frustrating and ultimately unre-

warding labour. But his current slump is more a result of one following the other, showing the chinks in his armour. At first, Djokovic appeared to have lost the hunger to win. It was perhaps understandable for he had nothing much left to win. Later, when he cited “personal issues” it seemed he needed a life coach. So in came the mysterious spiritual guru Pepe Imaz, who, apart from being a former player and the owner of a tennis centre at Marbella, Spain, specialises in meditation and ‘extremely long hugs.’ Yet Djokovic, who turned 30 on May 22, looked spent much of the time. Now, in 2017, when his game seems to be mimicking his state of mind, the impression of a full-blown crisis is unmistakable. What has he done to turn things around? * Imaz is still there but the first step Djokovic took to shake things up was to relieve Boris Becker of his coaching duties in 2016. The three-year association with Becker saw him being at his domin-

ant best and brought him six Majors. But it looked to have reached a saturation point. His form in the first half of this year brought little cheer — he lost in the second round of the Australian Open in January to the 117th ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. In May, he parted company with all three of his decade-long associates — coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic. On the eve of the French Open, Djokovic announced that he would be, at least on a part-time basis, under the tutelage of the legendary Andre Agassi. Can the partnership with Agassi work? * On paper it should. Agassi, who has won eight singles titles, four less than Djokovic, seems to have the skills of a tennis coach and life coach rolled into one. Agassi knows how to get out of a slump in the late 20s and the early 30s. He knows how to achieve a balance between work and life, which is essential for any sportsperson. As for tennis,

Agassi understands, better than anybody, how a game based on an incomparable return of serve ought to work. If anything Djokovic is this era’s upgrade on Agassi and the American should have an ace or two up his sleeve. But things aren’t decided on paper. If they were, the Djokovic-Becker combo should have never worked, so divergent are their styles of play. How long before Djokovic is back to his best? * There have been flashes of brilliance like the 6-1, 6-0 demolition of the formidable clay-courter Dominic Thiem in Rome. But his defeat to the up-and-coming 20-year-old Alexander Zverev in the very next match showed his inability to put together a streak. This means he still has a fair distance to cover. Also, the crushing loss to Rafael Nadal in Madrid, his first in eight matches against the Spaniard, would have definitely left a scar. Not just the defeat but the manner of it. The familiar

trope in this match-up is of Djokovic pounding Nadal with his return of serve and double-handed backhand. But it was to Nadal’s credit that he was able to turn this dynamic upside down. The two are drawn to meet in the semifinals at Roland Garros. The result will go a long way in determining who stands where. N. SUDARSHAN




Q q

26 May 2017

Bridge of the future: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India's longest bridge across the Lohit river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, in Assam last Friday, naming it after famous singer Bhupen Hazarika. The bridge, 9.1 km long, connects Sadiya and Dhola, in Tinsukia district, situated close to Arunachal Pradesh. It will reduce travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from six hours to one hour. Built at a cost of ₹2,056 crore, the Bhupen Hazarika bridge has been designed to allow movement of military vehicles, according to oicials. This will make it easier for Army convoys to reach border outposts. Mr. Modi said the Northeast region must lay stress on development of infrastructure so that it can attract more tourists. China, which has a dispute with India over Arunachal Pradesh, put out a statement, asking India to be "cautious" about building infrastructure in the State. PTI *




Q q

In a T.N. market, anxiety over slaughter ban

Only a third of the usual herds of cattle arrived at the Vadipatti market this Tuesday. Many owners, confused how the Central notification on the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter or for religious sacrifices in the markets will play out in the State, preferred to stay away. This over 100-year-old market near Madurai is particularly famous for its trade in cows, buffaloes and bulls. Though traders and farmers, who throng the market, were unaware of the finer details of the notification under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, they feel that banning of the sale of cattle for slaughter and imposing stringent regulations on the way animal markets are run will deal a severe blow to their livelihood. Why the confusion? Their fears showed in the numbers. M. Kumar, the person in charge of collecting fees from traders for using the market, said that on an average, roughly 1,200 to 1,300 cows and bulls are


brought every week, but only around 400 came on Tuesday. According to P. Ramalingam, a trader from Theni, many owners did not turn up fearing harassment from the police, who have been cracking down on vehicles overcrowded with cattle. Transporting four to five cows or bulls in a truck is economically not viable, he pointed out. At the market at Oddanchathiram in Dindigul district earlier this week, farmers and traders were warned by the police about the new regulations and were threatened that vehicles overcrowded with cattle would be seized. The price fetched by the cows and bulls also came down at the market on Tuesday, at least by a couple of thousand rupees, according to farmers, since traders said they had to factor in the additional cost for transportation, hiring more trucks. What are the fears? Farmers and traders said they found the ban illogical. N. Mayandi from nearby

Poochampatti village, who managed to sell his jersey cow at the market, said the cow had served him for more than 10 years. He said since it had become unproductive, he had to sell it so that he could

buy a calf. The drought too was making it more difficult to feed the cow. P. Rajangam, another farmer from Sholavandan, who had come to sell his bull, said certain breeds like the Bargur are reared for meat. “The government gives goats and cows to the poor to earn a livelihood. Why should selling cattle for slaughter after they become unproductive be illegal,” he asked. The biggest fear of traders and farmers appeared to be the possible harassment and corruption they may face once the regulations come into force. “We already have to bribe the police during transportation. Now, we may face harassment from officials in the veterinary department as well since they are supposed to monitor the facilities in the markets,” Mr. Ramalingam said. Will new facilities charge more? Pointing out that most of these markets were set up on “poramboke land,” land which is not assessed by the Revenue

Department, the farmers and traders wanted to know who will take up the responsibility of setting up new facilities. They feel higher rates will be charged. “Now, I pay Rs. 180 for a cow for utilising the space if I manage to sell. Otherwise, I do not pay anything. What is the guarantee that we will not be charged exorbitant rates irrespective of whether we make a sale or not,” asked Mr. Mayandi. Farmers and traders are aware of the protests against the new notification at various places in the State. They are hopeful that the Centre will revise the notification or the State government will intervene to make the market a thriving place again. The Madras High Court’s four-week stay on the ban has come as a small reprieve. S. Selvagomathy, an activist and lawyer in Madurai, had filed a public interest litigation petition challenging the constitutional validity of the new rules. PON VASANTH ARUNACHALAM A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


The modern-day ‘no stroll zones’ ‘Normal’ walking in Indian cities is now conined to those who have no choice but to be pedestrians


Ruchir Joshi

but to be pedestrians. So, while south Calcutta still retains what one might call ‘walkability’, the area around where I live (central-south) is impossible to traverse on foot with any ease or pleasure. The sidewalks are occupied by food stalls, the bits that aren’t are constantly dug up, the bits still remaining have the constant dripping from the overhanging air conditioners. The pedestrian has no choice but to walk on the road, which is dangerous because, with typical sadistic perversity, Calcutta’s drivers think the asphalt — all of it — belongs to them.

is a writer, ilmmaker and columnist

Sometimes a change of location throws up some stark realisations. Things that have been staring you in the face that you hadn’t fully articulated suddenly become clear, or, if you’d forgotten them, become clear yet again. For instance, I move between India and the U.K. most years because of work and family reasons and there is a pattern that repeats itself as I make the transition from Calcutta or Delhi to London.

conversely, in London it is rare for me to find myself in a taxi or what we in India call a ‘private car’. This results in a kind of osteo-schizoid condition that is both painful (to me) and hilarious (to spectators, aka family and friends). As a child growing up in Calcutta, I have memories of doing a lot of walking. We lived in an underdeveloped enclave in south Calcutta. In order to get to the city proper, to catch the school bus or the public buses, one had to walk. In south Calcutta generally,

Walking the walk One of the first changes involves my creaking bones having to wake up and deal with the fact that this vilayat is a place where they need to propel me from point to point, i.e. make me walk. In India, I live in cities and it is rare for me to walk from one point to another;

between the Avenues of Rashbehari and Southern, between the Parks of Gol and Jodhpur, you could walk. Visiting Bombay, you walked around the Fort area and, of course, on Marine Drive or Chowpatty; sometimes you were driven all the way to the wilds of Juhu, to walk on the beach there. Ahmedabad, another of my childhood cities, involved a lot of walking, some of it on hot sand, some of it on ancient stone in the old ‘pols’. The south Delhi of the late ‘60s was a

wasteland and needed motorised transport, but I imagined you could walk if you needed to because where’s the problem in walking on a flat expanse of dirt? Returning to London, it hits me again that the walking areas in all these desi cities have shrunk radically. In fact, in all these towns you have to take some form of motorised transport to reach an area reserved specifically for perambulation because ‘normal’ walking is now confined to those who have no choice

Anti-pedestrian cities If anything, large tracts of Delhi are worse. In no other city have I seen pavements specifically designed to be antipedestrian. I don’t know how succeeding governments justify the minicanyons at every bungalow entrance in the Lutyens area. As you walk down these roads, you are constantly stepping down and up about a foot at every gate. Around the really large government haciendas, you get to walk about 30 undisturbed feet between the steep steps; around the smaller bungalows, the distance

shortens. Around the Capital’s flyovers and major crossings, the biped is really shown his place — ‘do not dare to cross here or you will die’ seems to be the message, so, even in the blowing loo, you end up walking an extra kilometre or more to be able to cross a road safely. No matter which metro or sub-metro in India, besides the traffic and the bad pavements, the other factor is the pollution. To walk briskly or slowly is to fill your lungs with oxygen. This fresh air powers your stride, lightens your bones, puts a spring in your step. Or, in the case or Ahmedabad or Agra, Bombay or Bhubaneshwar, Calcutta or Calicut, Delhi or Dinajpur, not. Coming to London and walking under the glorious canopy of the newly green trees, you can’t help but feel, perhaps not completely fairly, that among the things that Empire stole were also our fresh air and our promenading areas. Then you realise that no, this is one bit of damage we have caused entirely by ourselves. In any case, pushing your bones out of their half-year sedation, you realise what a luxury it is, to be able to complain about needing to walk so much even as you crave the activity while waking up every morning.

When a peasant revolts

Pushing the boundaries

The state needs to ind holistic solutions to India’s chronic agrarian distress

As India and Pakistan face of, some questions about the cricket calendar

It didn’t last long enough to turn public attention away from more weighty matters like cattle trade and peacock tears, but nevertheless, the two-day ‘strike’ by farmers in Maharashtra ought to have politicians and policymakers worried everywhere. That is because when the Indian farmer decides to take collective action, there is really no way to counter it. Chaudhary Charan Singh demonstrated this way back in 1978. His ‘kisan rally’ remains the largest gathering witnessed in Delhi’s Boat Club lawns to date. It was an awesome display of political power which propelled him — howsoever briefly — into the Prime Minister’s office. Mahendra Singh Tikait demonstrated it again a decade later at the same venue. Half a million farmers squatting on the lawns off Rajpath soon brought the Rajiv Gandhi government to its knees, which accepted Tikait’s long charter of demands, ranging from higher price for sugar cane to waiving of electricity dues. More recently, the Jats of Haryana once again demonstrated the might of farmer power, seeking ‘Backward Class’ status — and associated reservations in jobs and education — for themselves by coming out into the streets. So, it is hardly surprising that the Devendra Fadnavis government had to cave in, in a span of just two days. With fruit and vegetable prices soaring 50% and faced with an imminent milk shortage, the Fadnavis administration bought peace by agreeing to waive the loans of “small and marginal” farmers — nearly 80% of the State’s 13.7 millionstrong farmer population — as well as waiving interest and penalty on pending power bills. The government also agreed to hike the procurement price of milk — though perhaps not to the ₹50 per litre farmers demanded — and promised to bring in legislation to make procurement of agricultural produce at prices below the Minimum Support Price


is Editor, The Hindu Business Line

(MSP) a criminal offence. It also agreed to set up a State-level commission on agricultural costs and prices. Of course, the ruling party has accused middlemen of machinations to jack up prices (quite true) as well as the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party of political shenanigans (also quite true), but that shouldn’t distract us from the real takeaways from this episode. The first one is this: when the Indian farmer is roused enough to march on the streets, it is almost impossible for any government to counter it. That is what 65% of the population means. Faced with large-scale farmer protests, Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress caved; the Janata Party caved; the UPA caved and, now, the BJP has caved in — in Haryana and Maharashtra. The second is this: unless the powers that be stop merely paying lip service to agrarian distress and actually double down efforts to find meaningful solutions, we are looking at potentially much larger, much more impactful uprisings in times to come.

A distorted subsidy regime It is paradoxical that agrarian distress has risen even as agricultural output has grown. There are many reasons for this. At the core is a distorted subsidy regime which has pushed cereals in favour of oilseeds and pulses, and water or input-intensive cash crops like sugar cane or cotton in areas which are agroclimatically not suited for them. On the other hand, with rising incomes, education levels and prosperity, the nature of food demand has also

Mini Kapoor is Ideas Editor, The Hindu

Most of us in South Asia, even the occasional cricket watchers, set a calendar alert for the next India-Pakistan match. And today’s match between the two teams in Birmingham is bound to be particularly charged — expectedly so, given how cricketing ties between the two countries are so dismal that an India-Pakistan encounter is a rare thing. This lazy Sunday is bound to be given over to the match, the English weather permitting. Yet, such meetings of the two teams only in multilateral tournaments, such as the rather pointless ICC Champions Trophy currently in progress, cannot be good for the sport. To amount to something more than wholly partisan account-keeping of the final result, fixtures between the keenest rivals in team sport need to be embedded in a larger narrative — such that cricket in its normal calendar allows, with bilateral Test tours, the odd tri-series, the rare friendship match setting up individual sub-plots (such as the Sachin Tendulkar-Shoaib Akhtar competitiveness), imbuing nuance (a record of relative strengths in different formats and conditions putting each victory/loss in perspective) and reminding the viewer of context. Else, for the hysterically loyal fan as well as the may-the-bestteam-win purist, these sporadic fixtures would amount to just point-scoring between teams (or rather, their fans), nothing more.

On whose side? What a cricket match between India and Pakistan means in the time of suspended bilateral tours is a complex question, but it’s useful to be guided along in some aspects, obliquely, by a new book, Knowing the Score: How Sport Teaches Us About Philosophy (And Philosophy About Sport) by David Papineau, a professor of, no prize for guessing, philosophy. He inquires into questions such as “what makes someone a fan, beyond appreciating the objective merits of a team?” Every


R. Srinivasan

changed. India’s per capita cereal demand, as Credit Suisse’s Neelkanth Mishra pointed out in a recent article, has been declining by 1% a year for the last 30 years. This means that domestic demand for cereals isn’t growing any more — while output, even in bad monsoon years, has risen. Farmers continue to grow cereals, tempted by rising MSPs. Procurement, faced with growing grain mountains and tightening of subsidies, has reduced, except in traditionally strong agri-markets like Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. This forces distress sales at below MSPs, as was also seen in the case of toor dal this year. Last year’s record price surge forced the government to announce higher MSPs and incentives. However, an immediate and overwhelming response from the farmers found it unable to actually procure at the promised support price, leading to distress sales, and a continuing cycle of rising agricultural debt and unpaid bills. In Maharashtra, for instance, one of the subsidiary demands was to stop ‘harassment’ by microfinance companies, which leads me think that another Andhra Pradesh-type crisis may well be brewing there. This in turn triggers demands for loan waivers and other write-offs. Yogi Adityanath set the ball rolling with a loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh — now the demand is spreading. Tamil Nadu farmers, despite a high-profile demonstration in Delhi and a half-hearted strike, have not managed to get one yet, but that is only because they haven’t yet found a forum — or a leader — they can rally behind. If Tamil Nadu finds a Tikait, the tale would unfold quite differently. The point is, given the manifest shortcomings in execution capability, and the limits on capacity, state intervention — of the type which Fadnavis and the Yogi have preferred — can never really solve the problem. There isn’t enough capacity and there isn’t enough money. What needs to be done instead is to find holistic solutions — actual, rather than theoretical access to credit, lifting of market access controls, better rural infrastructure, affordable and reliable power supply and a crackdown on middlemen. Otherwise, it may not be milk that flows down the streets the next time around.

thoughtful, long-term cricket fan tries to work out an answer to that, and there’s no set progression. One way of doing so, suggests the book, is to take notice of the presence of teams in the fray in different sports that inspire a following that is not confined to their geographical/national boundaries. They pull us out of partisan selves, so that we become partisans of the sport, not its teams. For long, that team has been the West Indies for cricket. For the longest time — especially from the seventies to the mid-nineties — to beat the team was to announce one’s claim to a place in the sun. But the West Indies, before that dominance and now even after its decline, pulled spectators out of their corners, it forced them to appreciate cricket’s social history, its anti-colonial subtext and its capacity to be enriched by newer influences on and off the field. To truly enjoy a game of cricket, you needed to be aware also of how it was watched in the stands in Kingston, Port of Spain, Bridgetown, and other iconic venues in the Caribbean. You needed to know the game, and equally you needed to be awash in the spirit of the game. It is, of course, the case, as Papineau points out, that the “sporting country” of the West Indies isn’t “a real country”. And even as the islands (as well as Guyana) increasingly turn to other sports such as football and basketball, and lose aspiring cricketers such as Usain Bolt to track and field, and even as the West Indies struggles to keep up with other teams (it’s not even in the fray in the Champions

Trophy this year), Papineau says it matters little: “…the future will not undo cricket’s role in creating a postcolonial identity for Anglophone West Indians.” It’s part of a vivid chapter in the book about “national teams that demand loyalty to countries that don’t appear on the official map of nations”. Hong Kong sends a separate team to the Olympics; in most sports Ireland teams include the north and south of the island (that is, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland); it’s England and Wales Cricket Board, but “the team itself is ‘England’”; and Scotland has its own cricket and football teams. (Interesting fact: “The annual Scotland-England [football] match was one of the great sporting fixtures, until it was discontinued in 1989 because of the fans’ excesses.”) In this context, Papineau points to the American exception: “When it comes to international sporting competition, it is almost invisible.” This relative lack of enthusiasm for team sports on the international stage, compared to national leagues, requires its own sociological study, but in a week when the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate pact, Papineau’s words have particular resonance: “Exceptionalism on the sports field encourages exceptionalism off it. A country that shies away from international sport can be tempted to stop thinking of itself as one nation among other.” Food for thought as we wonder, this weekend, why exactly India and Pakistan don’t play each other more often, and as we work out how bilateral cricket has over the decades enriched more than just the game.

Cryptocurrency: An idea whose time has come

Keerthik Sasidharan is a writer and is on Twitter @KS1729

A spectre is haunting global capitalism: the spectre of cryptocurrencies. Three distinct forces of our modern age have come together to breathe life into this strange and wondrous monetary artifice. One, the rise of computational power that allows algorithms to programmatically issue currencies; two, a distrust towards governments that can idiosyncratically debase currency or even demonetise at will; and three, a scarcity of safe assets to store wealth over the long term. The birth of the first cryptocurrency — bitcoin — was announced to the world in 2008 by still unidentified inventor(s) who goes by the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’. CM YK

If you have never heard of bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, one way to think of it is as tokens sold by temples — for special rituals or prasadam — in exchange for cash. These temple tokens, typically, can only be used within the premises. They are often exchangeable between individuals without the permission of any supervening authority. And if you lose the token or forget to use it, it is as good as losing money. This analogy is useful, but it can only go so far. Unlike tokens in a temple which are controlled by authorities, cryptocurrencies are generated by a network of computers that run a software called ‘blockchain’. Most networks — be it, businesses or families — rely on trust to build consensus. What happens to consensus formation if there is no trust in families or businesses? A network that uses ‘blockchain’ transcends this requirement of trust among members to form consensus. It is does this by relying on two fundamental ideas: the near-impossibility of reverse engineering a mathematical algorithm (‘SHA-256 hash function’) and human self-interest. In a blockchain


China, South Korea and Japan have adopted use of bitcoins with regulations. India can either follow its Asian counterparts or drive the whole enterprise underground

(think of units of information arranged as separate blocks which are concatenated to form a chain), when a new piece of information arrives, it is appended to a previous block to create a new block. This new block is arranged in a specific architecture (‘the Merkle tree’) and the ‘header’ of this new block is passed through the hash function. This function spits out transformed output. We

check if this output has specific preset properties. If not, then the block header is incremented by a random number (‘nonce’) and this new set is passed through the hash function again. Finally, after many trials, when we find the appropriate nonce, the ‘miner’ announces this random number to the rest of his peers in the Bitcoin network. They check using this nonce if adding this information produces an output with specific properties, including an untampered old block. If verified, then this new block is deemed valid. The new public ledger with updated information is now deemed as the new consensus. Thus we have a cleverly-engineered consensus via a system that doesn’t rely on trust but rather on a ‘proof of work’.

Known unknowns A natural question: why would anyone bother to mine for this random number? This is the part of the system that relies on human self-interest. For every verified number that is ‘mined’, the Bitcoin network allocates 12.5 bitcoins [~ $30,000] to the miner. When more

people (as of 2015, nearly 1,00,000 merchants) accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for goods and services, their value increases. The real, and perhaps unanswerable, question is what is their true value— i.e. how many rupees is any given cryptocurrency worth? The real answer is: no one knows. Unlike fiat currencies, whose long-term relative values are driven by differentials in purchasing power, we do not have a good understanding of what determines the longterm relative value of these cryptocurrencies. But this has not stopped investors from betting on the increased acceptance of various versions of blockchain technology and its currency units. Since 2014, the American tax authorities have treated cryptocurrencies as ‘property’ subject to appropriate capital gains tax rate. On April 1 this year, Japan deemed bitcoin as a legitimate payment method; on July 1, Australia will follow suit. Chinese authorities have aggressively stepped in, when needed, to ensure cryptocurrency exchanges function well. However, over the past seven years,

successive Indian governments have ignored cryptocurrencies. Finally, on April 12 this year, the Indian government constituted an inter-disciplinary committee to study regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies. It has sought public comments. However, prominent voices like the BJP parliamentarian Kirit Somaiyya have called for an outright ban citing some understandable (what happens to the monopoly of rupee in India as medium of exchange?) and many absurd fears (drugs, money laundering, Ponzi schemes). What the Indian government ought to do instead is follow, learn, and innovate based on what China, South Korea, and Japan have done: enshrine minimum capital requirements, force segregation of customer accounts, and make potential criminal activity difficult. The Indian state can either help structure the growth of cryptocurrencies or drive the whole enterprise underground beyond its control. As a wise Finance Minister, quoting Victor Hugo, said during his 1991 budget speech: “no power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come”. A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Improving access to mental health services in remote areas The study roped in accredited social health activists and primary care doctors

Coral skeletons A new study, published in Science, about how coral form their carbonate skeletons finds that it is a biologically controlled process mediated by organic molecules rather than depending on physical and chemical processes. This is important to start effective conservation programmes.

African botany A study of various species of Arabidopsis in Africa rejects the idea that the plant was introduced recently, finding that it is native to Africa. The spread of the plant outside Africa shows a pattern of genetic diversity seen even in humans, suggesting a response to climate change like in disparate organisms.

Puzzle in cosmology A study of galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, puzzles us. While simulations suggest the movement of these galaxies should be radial, observations show them moving circularly. So, does the Milky Way behave differently from most galaxies?

R. Prasad

While about 10% of the population in India suffers from common mental disorders, only about 15-25% of this receives mental health care. But a smallscale study carried out on approximately 5,000 people living in 30 tribal villages in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh was able to improve the practice of seeking out mental health care significantly. The intervention was carried out for three months from November 2015 to January 2016 by involving 21 ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) workers and two primary health care doctors who were trained for about 10 days. A mobile technology-based mental health service delivery model was used by ASHA workers and doctors for screening, diagnosing and treating people with common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, suicide risk and stress.

Destigmatising Of the nearly 5,000 people who were screened, 238 were identified as being positive for common mental disorders and were referred to primary care doctors for treatment. Thirty of the 238 people visited a primary care doctor for further diagnosis and treatment. The percentage of people who sought mental health care shot up from 0.8% at the beginning of the intervention to 12.6% at the end of the three-month intervention period. The results were published in the Journal of Global Health. “This is a significant increase in the number of people who

Cold brown dwarf A citizen science initiative supported by the U.S.-based Backyard Worlds project has led to the discovery of a brown dwarf, somewhat warmer than Jupiter and nearly 100 light years away from the Sun. This discovery, confirmed using an infrared telescope, happened a few days after the Backyard Worlds website was launched.

ODD & END Molecular gear system A group of researchers from the Netherlands have assembled a tiny molecular machine with a “gear” and “brake” that works! Molecular machines are tiny chemical compounds that absorb energy from molecules like adenosine triphosphate and convert that into movement. More complex systems that help in rotatory and translatory motion, have not been explored until now. As per the article published in Science, the molecule consists of upper and lower halves connected by an axle-like central carbon double bond. On shining ultraviolet light, the two halves rotate unidirectionally around the central bond. In addition, thermal excitation can cause the rotor to rotate. This is like a light-triggered, molecular gear system.


Aswathi Pacha

Addressing shortage: The irst small-scale intervention stretched over three months, while the second, larger intervention will last a year. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *

accessed a doctor for mental disorder,” says Dr. Pallab K. Maulik from Delhi’s The George Institute for Global Health and the first author of the paper. “There was significant reduction in the depression and anxiety scores between the start and end of the intervention in those who were screened positive.” Considering that there were not sufficient mental health professionals to treat all patients across the country, the study has been successful in training ASHA workers and PHC doctors to provide basic mental health care that included screening and providing treatment. Prior to intervention, an antistigma campaign was carried

Question Corner


Why do we see a higher number of young children wearing eye glasses? Is it because of increased usage of gadgets and watching television?

A second look at Curiosity Rover data points to a stratified lake-like structure, with different properties at shallow regions and its depths. This lake had environmental conditions that differed from one part of it to another, according to the study that probes the possibility of life on Mars in the past.

A new approach to recover sulphur from eluents


Refractive errors

Layered Martian lake

Sewage to battery grade

■ Nisha, Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu

Refractive errors particularly myopia (minus power) is on the rise world over. More children are wearing spectacles than before. One main reason for this is increased awareness and early diagnosis. It is very common for schools to screen children. This helps in diagnosing refractive errors earlier than in the past. Several theories have been postulated for increase in myopia among children. One proposed causative factor is increase in near-work, be it reading or computer usage. It is not clear

whether gadgets such as laptops and cell phones and other hand-held devices are more to blame. The second theory is that reduced sunlight exposure has a role. It is postulated that children who spend more time indoors than outdoors are more prone to developing myopia. This, again, is unproved. Whether it is early diagnosis, higher levels of awareness, more nearwork or reduced sunlight exposure, it is true that refractive errors are increasing in the population. For now, the answer to this may be encouraging children to spend more time outdoors in the sun. ■ Dr Arulmozhi Varman, Uma Eye Clinic, Chennai

Readers can send their questions/ answers to [email protected]

out for three months. The campaign improved the awareness level and changed the attitude and behaviour related to mental health. “Our study showed that it is feasible to carry out an intervention of this kind, and acceptability was high among the people, especially since we carried out an anti-stigma campaign,” says Dr. Maulik.

Larger study Following the proof-of-concept study carried out in the 30 villages, Dr. Maulik and his team members are carrying out a larger pilot study in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh involving around 40,000 people

living in 12 non-tribal villages. While the other protocols such as training of ASHA workers and doctors and anti-stigma campaign are essentially the same, the intervention was carried out for one year, much longer than the intervention in the smaller study, which was only for three months. The primary outcome of the study is to evaluate the use of mental health services by people with depression, anxiety, stress and suicide risk. “The uptake of mental health services by the affected people was more than the smaller study and very encouraging,” says Dr. Maulik. The results of the study are being evaluated and are yet to be published.

Sulphur from a contaminated pond has been successfully recovered and used in a high-performance battery. This waste-to-wealth feat was achieved by a group of researchers from CSIRCentral Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, in Tamil Nadu. Published recently in the journal Separation and Purification Technology, this is the first time that the sulphur recovery process was done by an integrated approach of biological and electrochemical oxidation process. Water from a pond contaminated by sodium dithionate-processing industry was collected and studied. Sodium dithionate salt is used in many textile industries to remove the excess dye and unintended colours, thereby improving overall colour quality. It is also used in processes in leather, certain food and plastic industries. The effluents from these industries can cause a range of health and environmental hazards. Removal or reduction of the sulphur in the waste water has always been a challenge. Bio-electrochemical process Sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB), which have a natural ability to convert sulphate to sulphide, were used in the biological treatment process. The bacteria are capable of using sulphate instead of oxygen for their energy source. Due to reduced nutrients, the conversion rate to sulphide was very low in the pond. After 72 hours of incubation in lab conditions with additional supply of

nutrients, three dominant strains— Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus licheniformis— in the pond were identified. These bacteria are already used in many industries for treatment of their effluents before discharge. When the researchers simulated the micro-enviroment where oxygen supply is less by keeping the bacteria without oxygen for 20 days and added iron powder, the bacteria liberated hydrogen sulphide gas. The gas was collected and dissolved in sodium hydroxide to form sodium sulphide. The sulphide was further oxidised to elemental sulphur using an electrochemical process. A double-compartment cell was constructed, and on passing current, the elemental sulphur precipitated at the electrodes. Though the bacteria are used to treat industrial wastes, this is the first time an electrochemical approach is applied to further convert sulphide to elemental sulphur. This sulphur can be used in various applications such as production of sulphuric acid and liquid sulphur dioxide. Since the cost of pure sulphur is high, the new approach can help recover sulphur from waste and turn it into a resource. When the recovered sulphur was used as cathode in lithium sulphur (LiS) battery, a current of 1050 mAh/g was produced. After 10 cycles the current produced reduced to 840 mAh/g. The researchers are planning to conduct more studies to improve the conductivity of the sulphur in order to get higher discharge capacity.

Animal presence does not mean more attacks While the leopards moved in all the 34 tea estates, only ive had records of attacks. Aathira Perinchery

With wild spaces shrinking, large carnivores such as leopards frequenting human-dominated landscapes is becoming more common. However, a recent study published in PLOS ONE shows that increased use of such landscapes by leopards does not necessarily translate into more leopard attacks in those areas. India is no stranger to human-leopard conflict—be it in Maharashtra’s sugar cane fields or the tea gardens of Valparai in Tamil Nadu or even in some parts of northeast India: 352 leopard attacks occurred in West Bengal's Gorumara Wildlife Division (in Jalpaiguri district) alone between 2009 and 2016. While the Division is spread across 2,500 square kilometres (sqkm), almost half of these attacks occurred in an area within it which measured a mere 630 sqkm. Aritra Kshettry, of the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, National Centre for Biological Sciences and the first author of the paper, and his col-

Causative factor: Leopard attacks occurred mostly between January and May during large-scale human activity. GANESH RAGHUNATHAN *

leagues examined the 171 records of leopard attacks across Gorumara’s forests, tea estates, villages and agricultural fields. Speaking to victims to ascertain leopard attack patterns, the team also quantified indirect signs to see how the large cats use different habitats and whether attacks correspond to the areas that they use more frequently. The results showed that leopards used all the 34 tea estates in the area and some forest patches (both with dense ground vegetation) much more

than agricultural fields or humandominated areas. More than 90% of the leopard attacks occurred in tea estates, mostly concentrated in five. “We do not know why,” says Mr. Kshettry. “Several estates had no leopard attacks at all.” Thus, leopard presence in estates did not necessarily result in more attacks. “Locations of leopard attacks on people did not coincide with areas that showed a higher probability of use by leopards,” they write. Interestingly, most leopard attacks occurred between January and May in

these estates, when large-scale activities such as pruning of tea bushes and irrigation disturb the ground vegetation, which leopards use for cover and even denning. The scientists also mapped the location of leopard attacks and delineated hotspots of conflict, which include the five estates where most leopard attacks occurred. “We have a simple solution: of announcing human presence before people work,” says co-author Srinivas Vaidyanathan of the Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning. Making loud noises before commencing work help warn leopards of human movement, the scientists say. “Our results highlight the importance of non-protected human-use areas as conservation landscapes for wide-ranging carnivores and underscore the need to devise effective and proactive mitigation strategies to avoid accidental encounters between people and leopards,” says co-author Vidya Athreya, Scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society-India.

Myriad ways in which plants handle drought stress There are at least ive ways in which plants develop the required traits, and this is a major area of study among plant biologists

SPEAKING OF SCIENCE D. Balasubramanian

Year after year, we find several parts of India hit by drought, food-grain production affected and farmers suffering greatly. During the recent decades, this climate change-induced effect has affected not only India but many lands across the globe. How do plants react and adjust to drought mediated stress? This is an area of considerable interest and activity and we have come to understand same aspects of it. Every school child knows that plants collect energy from sunlight, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, pick up water from the soil, and using theses, make food for us. This seemingly simple chemical reaction called photosynthesis generates not only carbohydrates but produces oxygen as well, letting us breathe and use it to help our metabolism and gain energy. The key needs for the plants are thus simple - sunlight, carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and water. If there be a shortage of any of these three, plant productivity falls.

Water crisis Fortunately, sunlight is regular and abundant during day time. Carbon diox-

Strategies Some plants are smart, prepare in advance to escape drought.

ide is also available in plenty (indeed it happens to be in excess, and increasing every year, thanks to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, petrol and natural gas) but it is the water shortage that has reached famine proportions in many parts of the world. How do plants react to drought conditions, what built-in mechanisms do they have, and how do they cope with drought stress—this is an area of intense activity among plant biologists. Two recent papers throw light on these aspects of how plants adapt to drought stress. The first one comes from the group of Dr Andy Pereira of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, in the US, who used rice as the crop plant to study (see their paper: Basu S, Ramegowda V, Kumar A, Pereira A. ‘Plant adaptation to drought stress’: F1000Res.



2016 Jun 30;5. pii: F1000 Faculty Rev-1554. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.7678.1. eCollection 2016., free on the web) The paper describes the various strategies that plants adapt. Drought resistance (DR) is one aspect in which enables plants to escape, avoid and tolerate drought stress. Drought escape (DE) is where a plant attempts to complete its life cycle before the onset of drought; this would involve the plant capturing a signal for the onset of drought conditions and preparing ahead of time— ‘smart’! Drought avoidance (DA) involves the ability of plants to maintain relatively higher tissue water content, despite the water the water scarcity in the soil (saving for a deficit day) and drought tolerance (DT) where in the plant endures low water con-

tent on its tissues through various adaptive traits. How does a plant display all these traits under conditions of drought stress? The authors point out that there are at least five different ways used by plants. The first is to reduce the level of photosynthesis (recall it uses water) by decreasing the leaf area (close and expose less) and slowing down the rate of photosynthesis. The second is by regulating the action of the hormones present in the plant, in particular, one called abscisic acid (or ABA). During drought stress, ABA moves from the roots to the leaves, helping them close the very small openings (called stomata) in them, which allow for the entry and exit of gases (CO2 , oxygen, water vapour), and reduce plant growth. Other signalling molecules called cytokinins in the plant cells also act up, delaying premature leaf ageing and death. The third is to control transpiration (water release from the plant to the air) by closing the stomata, reducing water loss and reducing CO2 uptake. The fourth way is to change the growth, size, shape and branching out of the roots, and the fifth is through what is termed osmotic adjustment. Here the pressure exerted by the contents of the cell against the cell wall or membrane is maintained sufficiently tense for stiffness (and no collapse or breakdown). Botanists call this turgor (from the Latin for swelling). Clearly, these five processes must be controlled and triggered by genes that express proteins and other molecules that carry out the stress response. How this process is controlled has been the study

of another group, led by Dr. Yanhai Yin of Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa, USA. Their paper has appeared three weeks ago (Ye H et al., Nature Communications 2017 Feb 24;8:14573. doi: 10.1038/ ncomms14573). They discuss the roles of two molecules called BES1 and RD26 which play key roles in regulating plant growth under drought conditions. These two belong to the class called transcription factors, which are molecules that regulate (allow or stop) the expression of chosen genes into making the relevant protein molecules.

Frenemies These two molecules thus look like they are working at cross-purposes, yet the pathways that these two regulate are highly interconnected. Dr. Yin has described them as ‘frenemies’, when the science writer Rashmi Shivni interviewed him. (Frenemies are individuals who combine in them characteristics of friends as well as enemies). “We found that these pathways are kind of like frenemies that stay together but ‘antagonise’ each other most of the time. They both bind to the same site on the DNA, but only one pathway is active, depending on the environmental conditions”. BES1 is involved in the process by which certain plant steroids regulate plant growth. RD26 is active only when the plant experiences drought stress. Greater understanding of the ‘frenemical’ action would thus lead us to help increase crop yields when drought strikes. [email protected] A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017




Wrapped in a haze of smoke While the health hazards make a strong case for regulating hookah bars, legislation has taken an opposite route Cinthya Anand


AROUND THE WORLD Yale’s lead in search for new antibiotics Yale University scientists have developed a novel chemical process that may lead to the creation of a new class of antibiotics. The discovery Getty Images/iStockphoto comes at a time when more types of bacteria are becoming resistant to existing antibiotics, increasing the occurrence of lethal infections. The ability to create new antibiotics would have signiicant ramiications for medical treatment and public health, say the researchers. The new process makes it possible to create molecules related to the natural product pleuromutilin from simple commercial chemicals in the laboratory. Pleuromutilin is produced by a fungus and was found to have useful antibacterial properties in the early 1950s. A practical full synthesis, which would make a wealth of additional antibiotics possible, has remained elusive. “This is one way to focus our talents as synthetic chemists in a direction that can immediately help patients,” says Dr. Seth Herzon, a chemistry professor at Yale and member of the Yale Cancer Center. Dr. Herzon is principal investigator of the new study published on June 1 in the journal Science.

nce the pastime of royalty, smoking hookah or shisha has become another “cool thing to do” for today’s millennials. But while the sustained campaign against cigarettes has raised awareness on its perils, the hookah is somehow considered a “safer” choice. However, as per an advisory note issued by the World Health Organisation in 2005, a one-hour session of hookah can be as harmful as smoking a hundred cigarettes. A more recent 2016 study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine published in the Public Health Reports journal paints an even more terrifying picture: one hookah session delivers 25 times the tar of a single cigarette. Even tobacco-less hookah can be toxic to health, as the smoke is filled with carbon monoxides and other harmful carcinogens. One reason that the smoke is so toxic is the manner it is ingested, says Shashidhar Buggi, director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, Bengaluru. “The water pipe is designed in such a way that hookah smokers

After 60 minutes: A one-hour session of hookah can be as harmful as smoking a hundred cigarettes, says a World Health Organisation advisory note. GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO *

need to take deep drags, and so a large amount of smoke goes straight to the bottom of the lungs,” says Dr. Buggi, adding, “Even without tobacco, any particulate matter is harmful to the lungs. Any smoke contains a large amount of hydrocarbons which are carcinogenic.”

Exploiting legal loopholes While the health hazards make a strong case for regulating hookah bars, legislation in India has taken a diametrically opposite route.

Since the Supreme Court lifted a three-year ban on hookah smoking in December 2014, restaurateurs have exploited a loophole in the law, saying that since they sell “tobacco-less” or “herbal” hookah, they need not comply with the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). However, more often than not, tobacco is one of the ingredients that goes into the mix. This has led to an interesting paradox , since under COTPA, restaurants cannot advertise that they

serve tobacco, they can only set up designated zones where smoking is allowed. “A government order from the Urban Development Ministry clearly states that restaurants that do not comply with COTPA Act are liable for cancellation of their trade licence,” says Vishal Rao U.S., oncologist and member of the Karnataka High Powered Committee on Tobacco Control & Cancer Prevention. In effect, this would mean that nearly all the 400-odd hookah bars running in Bengaluru could be violating COTPA, says Dr. Rao.

Cracking down slowly In the last one year, health officials have raided and closed down 15 hookah bars in Bengaluru. The city police have closed down another 30, according to Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) S. Ravi. The situation replays itself in other metros in the country. Last year in Mumbai, more than 150 cases were registered against hookah parlours flouting rules. In February 2016, the Mumbai police made their first arrests — a manager and owner of a hookah par-

he brain has an amazing capacity for recognising faces. It can identify a face in a few thousandths of a second, form a first imnicholas wade pression of its owner and retain the memory for decades. Central to these abilities is a long-standing puzzle: how the image of a face is encoded by the brain. Two Caltech biologists (U.S.), Le Chang and Doris Y. Tsao, have reported in Thursday’s issue of Cell that they have deciphered the code of how faces are recognised. Their experiments were based on electrical recordings from face cells, the name given to neurons that respond with a burst of electric signals when an image of a face is presented to the retina.


Why these frogs have radio collars

In a study published in the international journal Antiquity, Professor David Pearce, Director of the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has Getty Images/iStockphoto shown that paintings in south-eastern Botswana are at least 5,500 years old, whilst paintings in Lesotho and the Eastern Cape Drakensberg, South Africa, date as far back as 3,000 years. Research was conducted in the Thune dam in Botswana, the Metolong dam area in the Phuthiatsana Valley of Lesotho, and the Drakensberg Escarpment of the Eastern Cape in the ‘Nomansland’ region of South Africa. A total of 43 new dates were produced from these three areas, including the irst direct dates on rock paintings ever in Botswana and Lesotho. These dates open the loodgates for researchers to ask and answer questions about the rock art that have baled them for decades.

Meet the dexterous robot Grabbing the awkwardly shaped items that people pick up in their day-to-day lives is a slippery task for robots. In a signiicant step toward overcoming this problem, roboticists at UC Getty Images/iStockphoto Berkeley, U.S., have built a robot that can pick up and move unfamiliar, real-world objects with a 99% success rate. Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg, postdoctoral researcher Jef Mahler and the Laboratory for Automation Science and Engineering (AUTOLAB) have created the robot, called DexNet 2.0. The high grasping success rate of DexNet 2.0 means that this technology could soon be applied in industry, with the potential to revolutionise manufacturing and the supply chain.

DEMYSTIFYING SCIENCE What is Mazaalai? It’s the name of Mongolia’s irst miniature-sized satellite that will blast of to space aboard a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket. It is scheduled to be launched on June 4. Named after Mongolia’s endangered Gobi bear, the satellite was developed through a project supported by UNESCO and Japan, Xinhua has reported. The satellite is capable of taking 100 m resolution images, identifying satellite locations, determining air density, detecting space radiation and using ground stations as an international network. A signiicant part of the satellite has been designed by students as part of a consortium of non-space faring countries to develop their irst satellites. The two-year project has 15 students from participating countries including Mongolia, Ghana, Japan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. The students will design, develop and operate ive units of identical 1U CubeStats, a type of miniaturised satellite for space research. A second satellite is likely to be launched in 2019.


[email protected]

The code of recognition?

A resurgent cholera

A research group at the University of Helsinki, Finland, has discovered the fastest event of speciation in any marine vertebrate when studying lounders in an international research collaboration Getty Images/iStockphoto project. This inding has an important implication on how we understand evolution in the sea. The researchers found that the pace at which two groups of lounders in the Baltic Sea became distinct species had been extraordinarily fast — approximately 2,400 generations. This is by far the fastest event of speciation in any marine vertebrate to date. “This is possibly one of the best examples of ecological speciation, that is the process by which selection generates new species, in the marine environment because the species evolved by adapting to diferent ecological niches, rather than by being separated by geographic barriers for a very long time,” says Paolo Momigliano, postdoctoral researcher from the Ecological Genetics Research Unit.

The earliest rock paintings in Africa

with Bindu Shajan Perappadan in New Delhi, Rohith P.S. in Hyderabad, Jyoti Shelar in Mumbai and Zubeda Hamid in Chennai


When lounder 1 became lounder 2

Ninety Limosa harlequin frogs (Atelopus limosus) bred in human care are braving the elements of the wild after Smithsonian scientists sent them Getty Images/iStockphoto out into the Panamanian rainforest as part of their irst-ever release trial in May. The study, led by the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, aims to determine the factors that inluence not only whether frogs survive the transition from human care to the wild, but whether they persist and go on to breed. The Limosa harlequin frogs, which were released at the Mamoní Valley Preserve, have small numbered tags inserted under their skin so that researchers can tell individuals apart. Limosa harlequin frogs are especially sensitive to the amphibian chytrid fungus, which has pushed frog species to the brink of extinction primarily in Central America, Australia and the western United States.

lour in Malad — under the stringent Juvenile Justice Act for serving hookah to two minors. In Delhi, although most restaurants claim to offer ‘herbal’ hookah, public health officials say reality is different. “Most add nicotine to it. Already 30 samples have been sent for testing from the 100-plus bars that run across the city,” says Additional Director Health (Tobacco Control) Delhi S.K. Arora. One city where officials have made some headway in stemming the rise of illegal hookah parlours is Hyderabad — in the last six months, the city police have shut down 70 parlours, say police. Another 30 are currently open within city limits. It stands to reason that without a concerted effort from civic bodies and awareness being spread among the younger generation, the dense haze from the water pipe isn’t going anywhere soon.

Tearing through South Sudan: South Sudan is facing its longest and most widespread cholera outbreak to date and there are concerns that the episode this time may intensify during the rainy season. The outbreak comes on top of already high humanitarian needs, ighting and a severe food crisis. Exacerbated by poor sanitation, a lack of safe drinking water, and high levels of displacement, cholera broke out in 2016. Since then, more than 7,200 cases of cholera have been reported, including 229 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation and the South Sudan Ministry of Health. The highly contagious disease has travelled along the path of the Nile river to many other areas in the country. A cholera epidemic is also raging in Yemen and the Horn of Africa. Picture shows patients receiving treatment inside a tent converted into a temporary ield hospital near the remote village of Dor, in south-central Sudan. AFP/STRINGER *

The milk you drink may be laced with detergents Gap between milk production and demand is what incentivises adulteration Jacob Koshy

ndia may be the largest producer of milk in the world but is the milk really safe? A study which analysed samples in Delhi found that it contained “harmful adulterants”, the most common among them being starch, chlorine, hydrated lime, sodium carbonate, formalin and ammonium sulphate. Milk producers are known to use these substances to scrimp on milk portions and prepare “synthetic milk” by mixing urea, caustic soda, refined oil and common detergents. Adulterated milk is linked to a range of health hazards which include gastrointestinal disorders, renal and skin diseases, eye and heart problems, and cancer, according to the study which will be published later this month in the peer-reviewed Current Science.


Results of study For their study, the researchers, led by Brototi Roy and colleagues at Maitreyi College in Delhi, randomly collected 75 milk samples (packaged and unpackaged) from different regions of Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad. These were tested for adulterants such as neutralisers, skimmed milk powder, urea, detergents and ammonium sulphate. The study found that all the milk samples were adulterated with neutralisers.

Glass full: Adulterated milk is linked to a range of health hazards, according to the study. GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO *

These are substances added to prevent curdling and increase the shelf life of milk. They could be added in the form of caustic soda, sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate. Packaged milk, that now forms a significant chunk of the milk delivered to homes, was found to contain a higher amount of neutralisers, solid milk products and urea. A higher proportion of unpackaged milk samples contained detergents and ammonium sulphate. Milk adulterated with detergents is known to cause food poisoning and gastrointestinal complications. In addition, some detergents contained dioxane, a carcinogenic agent. The

concentration of urea in natural milk ranges from 0.2 to 0.7 g/l whereas adulterated milk contains almost 20 times its natural concentration and stresses the kidney to the point of renal failure. It is also reported to weaken the eyesight and trigger headaches and diarrhoea in children. In excessive quantities, ammonium sulphate can lead to coronary disease, gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Demand is the catalyst Even though a majority of Indians are lactose intolerant — i.e. they lack the gene that allows milk to be digested beyond childhood

— the consumption of milk and dairy products in India outstrips milk production. At roughly 160 million tonnes annually, India accounts for a fifth of world production. This is primarily due to the overwhelming popularity of milk in north and north-west India. North-eastern States such as Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur have reduced milk consumption, according to the National Sample Survey Office. The discrepancy between production and demand incentivises adulteration. Earlier investigations, similar to the Delhi study, have also found several instances of adulteration in other parts of the country. A 2012 report by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India said that 68.4% of samples from across the country were found contaminated with various adulterants and fell below required milk quality standards. The study tested samples from States and Union Territories and found that barring Goa and Puducherry, all States had a significant fraction of their milk adulterated. At the other end, all the samples tested in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Mizoram were completely adulterated. Of these, 33.4% of packaged milk and 66.6% of unpackaged milk sold by milkmen were adulterated.

Parallel with monkeys By noting how face cells in macaque monkeys responded to manipulated photos of some 2,000 human faces, the Caltech team figured out exactly what aspects of the faces triggered the cells and how the features of the face were being encoded. The monkey face recognition system seems to be very similar to that of humans. Just 200 face cells are required to identify a face, the biologists say. After discovering how its features are encoded, the biologists were able to reconstruct the faces a monkey was looking at just by monitoring the pattern in which its face cells were firing. The finding needs to be confirmed in other laboratories. But, if correct, it could help understand how the brain encodes all seen objects, as well as suggesting new approaches to artificial vision. “Cracking the code for faces would definitely be a big deal,” says Brad Duchaine, an expert on face recognition at Dartmouth, U.S. It is a remarkable advance to have identified the dimensions used by the primate brain to decode faces, he adds — and impressive that the researchers were able to reconstruct from neural signals the face a monkey is looking at. Human and monkey brains have evolved dedicated systems for recognising faces, presumably because, as social animals, survival depends on identifying members of one’s own social group and distinguishing them from strangers. How it works In both species, the face recognition system consists of face cells that are grouped into patches of at least 10,000 each. There are six of these patches on each side of the brain, situated on the cortex, or surface, just behind the ear. When the image of a face hits the retina of the eye, it is converted into electric signals. These pass through five or six sets of neurons and are processed at each stage before they reach the face cells. As a result, these cells receive high-level information about the shape and features of a face. One way in which the brain might identify faces is simply to dedicate a cell to each face. Indeed, there are cells in another part of the brain that do respond to images of specific people. They are known to neuroscientists as Jennifer Aniston cells, after one such cell in an epilepsy patient undergoing surgery in 2005 responded when the patient was shown images of the actress. The cell ignored all other images, including one of her with Brad Pitt. But this can’t be the way the brain identifies faces, because we can perceive a face we have never seen before. Instead, the Caltech team has found, the brain’s face cells respond to the dimensions and features of a face in an elegantly simple, though abstract, way. In their experiments, the biologists first identified groups of face cells in a macaque monkey’s brain by magnetic resonance imaging, and then probed individual face cells with a fine electrode that records their signals. The monkeys were shown photos of human faces that were systematically manipulated to show differences in the size and appearance of facial features. Cells at a high level in the brain often respond to a medley of things, making it hard to figure out what the cell is meant to do. The Caltech team was able to create faces that showed exactly what each face cell was tuned to. The tuning of each face cell is to a combination of facial dimensions, a holistic system that explains why when someone shaves off his moustache, his friends may not notice for a while. Some 50 such dimensions are required to identify a face, the Caltech team reports. Dr. Tsao says she was particularly impressed to find she could design a whole series of faces that a given face cell would not respond to, because they lacked its preferred combination of dimensions. This ruled out a possible alternative method of face identification: that the face cells were comparing incoming images with a set of standard reference faces and looking for differences. NYT

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The call of the wild


A primer for wildlife enthusiasts and policy-makers on how to protect our animals by India’s leading tiger expert These peer-reviewed papers are the essential works of Karanth since 2008. An earlier collection of his papers, which we are told in the preface was well-received and hence this book, was published in 2011. Some of these papers are available as open-access online. The only addition to this compilation of papers is a foreword by Melvin E. Sunquist, a stalwart in mammal studies and a mentor to Karanth; and the preface by Karanth. Since these papers have been in the public domain for some time, what would have enriched this interesting though a bit academic collection of essays would be the letters, correspondence and criticisms that appeared in journals where these were published.

Pranay Lal


eviewing a book by K. Ullas Karanth, one of India’s leading tiger experts, is an education. The book uses the apex predator, the tiger, around which most conservation efforts in India hinge, and who better than Karanth to tell us about it. In 26 chapters, divided into three sections, with Karanth as coauthor in all, he sets about educating us on how to protect our animals. The first section, comprising three chapters, briefly tells us about the tools, techniques and analysis for the study of carnivores—although later chapters also deal with elephants and the giant Malabar squirrel which suggest that these also have application for non-carnivores as well! The second section, which forms the bulk of the book (15 chapters in all), deals with population studies for wildlife biologists, conservationists and managers. The principles discussed here are central to the book and provide guidance on how to conduct field surveys, from simple count studies, camera ‘traps’, pathological analysis of what the animal ate last (diet study), isolating DNA from scat, to name a few. Section three comprises eight case studies which provide practical insights for the reader; these include relocation of communities out of core areas (Nagarhole and Bhadra are discussed), re-wilding efforts in Kudremukh and the politics, cost-benefit and ethics of tiger tourism.

Past, present, future I particularly enjoyed reading Chapter IV (The Shrinking Ark: Pat-

Science and Conservation of Wildlife Populations K. Ullas Karanth Natraj Publishers ₹895

terns of Mammal Extinctions in India) which looks into the past to predict the future. It analyses 30,000 records to map extant and local extinction in 25 mammal species ranging from mouse deer to the lion, and plots the rich data in small grids using the time-elapse model for the entire country. Putting it very simply, the study found that in general, and not as rule of thumb, habitat specialists like mouse deer, Nilgiri tahr, rhino and swamp deer are more vulnerable to extinction than habitat generalists like leopards and wild pigs. The paper further refines the distinctions and offers insights for planning conservation efforts and predicting factors that can push species to extinction. I wish that the volume could have included colour-coded grids, as it has for the tiger on page 95, for all mammals, fully knowing that the journal in which this paper had appeared would not have given

Eye of the tiger: The book uses the apex predator around which most conservation eforts in India hinge. *


the authors the space. It would have helped conservationists—and the few policy-makers who read— to be better informed about possible future trends by species. The three subsequent chapters (Occupancy modelling of tigers, elephants and ungulates respectively at the landscape scale) provide invaluable practical information for field biologists and conservationists on the range occupied by large mammals and inform us on designing conservation spaces. The case studies at the end of the book are also enlightening.

The volume provides a discussion on a wide range of issues in the science and practice of conservation, and points to areas which need to be studied to understand nature. Development experts often rue that papers by ecologists do not deal with ‘real’ issues behind the decline of tigers, like hunting and trade of tiger parts, poisoning, accidental deaths among others, but focus on modelling studies based on forest fragmentation, habitat destruction, declining prey population and human-animal conflict. Karanth is

mindful of this. He does not shy away from pointing to the impact of mining, ecotourism, translocation and other such issues. He discusses the flaws in census methods and questions the enumeration of tigers in two elegant essays—a shorter comment (chapter 19: Counting India’s Wild Tigers Reliably) followed by a longer scientific critique (India’s Tiger Counts: The Long March to Reliable Science) both published in 2011. But I have to admit I was a tad disappointed with the volume.

More on policy An additional commentary about how these research papers have impacted policy would also have made this volume a lifelong keep than it being just an educational read. I would have been delighted to see a concluding essay of how Karanth foresees the future of the tiger, the current policy framework and perhaps even an outline of the research agenda for the next decade. These small additions would have lent this volume a voice and soul. Nevertheless, it is a compilation of excellent papers and should find a place in bookshelves of doctoral students of ecology and every respectable library. This volume will also serve as an essential text for practitioners and amateur wildlife enthusiasts who want to understand the science behind conservation.

Shades of grey

Between two worlds

A meticulous documentation of anti-Semitism serves as a warning for hate groups burgeoning in the world today

Josy Joseph


Integrating history: At the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933–1949 David Cesarini Macmillan ₹599

War and seen as the enemy within. Yet when he became Chancellor (1933), there was little indication that Germany’s Jews would be exterminated. Hitler’s rise to power was fueled by idealism—a desire for strong communities and his love for Germany. Judenpolitik in his first years in power was erratic and lacked consistency and central direction. It was Hitler’s preparation for war that galvanised and focused Judenpolitik in 1936-37 as the German economy struggled to meet the armament targets set by Hitler. The despoliation of the Jewish population became an income stream for the German war machine. Once at war, the position of the Jews deteriorated rapidly; each expansion of the Third Reich was characterised by ritual violence against the Jews with the mass shootings of Jews in Poland serving as a prélude to what was to unfold across Eastern Europe and Russia.

Taking control Throughout this litany of atrocities, Cesarini shows how the Jews, far from being either naïve or passive, organised to protect their interests as best they could. The role that Jews overseas played and how these interactions both assisted and boomeranged against European Jews, and the malign role played by the West in refusing sanctuary to Jews who were fleeing the death camps of Europe are also detailed.

hen Abhishek Verma, an alleged arms dealer known for his flashy lifestyle and tall claims, was released in October 2016 from Tihar Jail, he and wife Anca threw a party at Maurya Sheraton’s Bukhara restaurant. Bollywood actor Rajpal Yadav flew in for the celebrations. Yadav had spent 10 days in jail, after he failed to return ₹5 crore borrowed from a businessman. When Yadav landed in jail, Verma, who was already in Tihar, made his stay comfortable. “That’s the thing about incarceration—the bonds and memories you make, stay with you for life,” Sunetra Choudhury writes in her book Behind Bars: Prison Tales of India’s Most Famous. The book is an unusual experiment in chronicling what is behind prison walls in an Indian context, through the eyes of its elite. who have had to spend some time in those crowded hellholes in recent years. Prisons have done two things to the world of writing: It has offered a blissful isolation for many writers to produce some outstanding literature. From Marco Polo to Jawaharlal Nehru and



Other victims While the book is unapologetically about Jews, Cesarini underlines that there were many other victims of Nazi political repression and racial biological policies. For example, a vivid account is given of how the war created the infrastructure for expanding the introduction of voluntary euthanasia to eliminate the severely mentally and physically disabled as a cost-saving measure and to contribute to the biologically pure Volk. The Nazis built killing centres connected by transport hubs, to which selected inmates would be shipped to their deaths. In the 1940s, these facilities were equipped with gas chambers, so that the disabled no longer had to be killed by poisonous injections. Between October 1939 and 1941, over 700,000 men, women, and children, labelled as “unworthy for life” by their physicians and psychiatrists, were murdered at these sites. These facilities to murder the disabled were the blueprint for the concentration camps and gas chambers constructed to eliminate the Jews that are most vividly associated with the Holocaust today. Thus, Cesarini argues that though Auschwitz-Birkenau represents the apex of genocidal technology, it evolved from the Nazis’ treatment of the disabled and with no clear design. He contends that the construction of concentration camps and the organisation of deportations was never the Nazis’ highest priority but evolved, as the enmity towards Jews was translated into practical policy steering the Gestapo towards the enforcement of racial doctrine and tackling the Jewish threat. Anti-Semitism was central to Hitler’s worldview—Jews were deemed responsible for Germany’s defeat in the Great

Churchill & Orwell: The ight for freedom Thomas E. Ricks Penguin Random House ₹1,362

A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell looks at their role in preserving democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, both from the left and right. Churchill may have played the bigger role in the defeat of Hitler, but Orwell too with his dystopian work like Animal Farm and 1984 inspired ighters for freedom, the writer argues.

All out War: The full story of how Brexit sank Britain’s political class Tim Shipman HarperCollins ₹599

Why and how did Britain vote to leave the European Union? Filled with anecdotes, the book explores why David Cameron chose to take the biggest political gamble of his life and explains why he lost. Based on access to key politicians including Dominic Cummings, the mastermind of Vote Leave, this political history reads like a thriller.

Looking at the privileges of the elite, even inside jail

Jael Silliman

he late David Cesarini, a British historian and leading expert on Jewish studies and, in particular, the Holocaust, was also a public figure who opposed Holocaust deniers. Two weeks before his death on October 26, 2015, he was completing this book and Disraeli: The Novel Politician, both scheduled for publication in 2016. Final Solution is a timely tour de force for our times, where Holocaust memorialisation, commemoration, and denial have become increasingly charged and politicised. Furthermore, the documentation of how anti-Semitism had far-reaching global consequences serves as a warning signal for hate groups burgeoning in the world today. In this dense and meticulously researched volume, Cesarini builds an integrated history of the period between 1933 and 1949 that debunks traditional concepts that have framed conventional Holocaust narratives. Cesarini’s “chaotic and contingent” course of that history forcefully argues that Hitler’s extermination of the Jews was neither planned nor inexorable. Indeed, it unfolded in accordance with war exigencies, though it was built on deep-rooted and virulent anti-Semitism.



Cesarini does not shy away from recording the terrible depravities that also occurred, especially in the Warsaw ghetto, where some Jews stooped to cannibalism and young Jewish children tickled corpses as a game. Rich in documenting the human condition in all its greatness and dissoluteness, he also underlines how, within weeks of their being freed, the Jews took control of their own destinies and the camps became sites for rituals through which they recovered their identities. He recounts how they reburied their dead found in mass graves and interned them according to Jewish rituals. Cesarini does not shrink from discussing the old antipathy between German Jews and the Ostjuden that existed even after the horrors of the war and that worked against a unified representation of the Jews. Cesarini’s knowledge of the period, his unflinching integrity to present the Holocaust in all its complexities and scope, and his noting of the distinct policies and programs that occurred during these fateful years across different parts of Germany, Eastern Europe, and Russia, make the book compelling. He forces the reader to go beyond the gas chambers to acknowledge that more Jews died in Warsaw than were deported from France to the killing fields of Eastern Europe, and to comprehend that more Jews were shot within walking distance of their homes in Kiev on September 29 and 30, 1939 than those sent in box carts from transit camps in Belgium to the death camps in Poland. Cesarini concludes noting that the end of the war did not mark an end to Jewish death and suffering. Rather it was “a liminal period” during which they had to rebuild their lives and communities, with no certainty of where they could settle. The struggle for restitution and reparation was another battle waged to achieve justice against Nazi criminals and their collaborators. The opening of archives in Eastern Europe in the 1990s enriched Cesarini’s sources for this authoritative account and brilliant work of scholarship.

Behind Bars: Prison Tales of India’s Most Famous Sunetra Choudhury Roli Books ₹395

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, many have written some of their best while in jail. Second, life inside jail has been subject of many popular books, novels, autobiographies and other forms. In contemporary India, very few have attempted to bring out details of jail life. While L.K. Advani and Kuldip Nayar wrote two significant books about Emergency period in jails, generally jail has remained away from the imagination of contemporary writers. The only recent exception is journalist Iftikhar Gilani’s My Days in Prison about the time he spent in jail while accused of violating the Official Secrets Act. Behind Bars is a fascinating effort, especially since the book is dripped in palp-

able anger against the many privileges of the elite, even inside jails. In that, it is a first draft of a sociological mapping of contemporary India, its many immoral famous ones, its heart-wrenching cruelties, the many individual sacrifices and the hidden secrets of its wealthy and powerful. Through its 13 chapters, the book tells the experience of famous prison inmates— from politician Amar Singh to Maoist-accused Kobad Ghandy, from A. Raja to a young Muslim girl who landed in jail even before her marriage celebrations ended. “If you steal 1,000 rupees the hawaldar will beat the shit out of you and lock you up in a dungeon with no bulb or ventilation. If you steal 55,000 crore then you get to stay in a 40-feet cell which has split units, internet, fax, mobile phones and a staff of ten to clean your shoes and cook you food (in case it is not being delivered from Hyatt that particular day)- Incredible India,” Anca describes her jail experience. Probably the foreigner summed up modern India better than most of us journalists/writers, by spending just four years in Tihar jail.

The handmaidens’ tale On why we shouldn’t fall into the gender trap Shelley Walia

ilence diminishes, devalues and dehumanises women. To be not silenced is to tell your stories. This is the method that Solnit followed in her earlier book Men Explain Things to Me where she used the word “mansplaining” that is underpinned by the deep-seated notion that knowledge resides within the purview of man. The anecdote where a man tried to explain Solnit’s book to her after reading a review unaware that she was the author displays the blatant arrogance of a male world that presumes to know all. Drawing on history, literature and culture, Solnit uses her anecdotal style to speak of male aggression and female indignity evident in the story of a girl made to sign a no-disclosure agreement by the college establishment before reporting her rape, or a fellow colleague presumptuously explaining the rudiments of a novel like Lolita when Solnit expresses her sorrow for the heroine. Such personal narratives raise the


The Mother of All Questions Rebecca Solnit Haymarket Books ₹728

consciousness of sexist oppression. How women are silenced is one way of speaking up for them, a strategy of “breaking through the shame that had kept them silent and alone.” Solnit addresses ‘the mother of all questions’ thrown at women incessantly as to why they did not opt to have children. Her rejoinder is incisive. Being asked at a lecture on Virginia Woolf why she decided to not have children, Solnit is taken aback as this question would never be put to a man. To her mind “many people make babies; only one made To the Lighthouse.” Such closed

questions “contain their own answers and their aim is enforcement and punishment.” When you refuse to be treated as a “bovine non-intellectual” it flies in the face of the established mindset that expects women to be “handmaidens to domesticity” and “let men in and babies out like some elevator for the species.” The question therefore need not be asked or answered. Solnit has lived her life to the full, writing books, surrounded by adventure and “generous, brilliant men.” She has never allowed herself to fall into the conventional “recipes of fulfillment” and has unapologetically resisted and opposed misogynistic violence, gender bias and the masculine canon. Her writing contests gender binaries and acknowledges the fluidity, the ‘leakiness’ between genders as a valid step towards the evolution of our species, challenging the status quo by changing our understanding of representations of consent, power and silence.

Anatomy of Terror: From the death of Bin Laden to the rise of the Islamic State Ali Soufan WW Norton & Company ₹1,403

A former FBI agent dissects Osama bin Laden’s brand of jihadi terrorism and its major ofshoots, revealing how these networks are formed, how they operate, their strengths and also their weaknesses. It examines the movement through the eyes of its lag-bearers, including an Air Force colonel who once served Saddam Hussein.

Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald David S. Brown Harvard University Press ₹1,496

American writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who coined the word Jazz Age and wrote about it, gets a new interpretation. Brown veers away from the known image of the writer and looks at him as a moralist, who, struck by America’s shifting mood and manners after World War 1, wrote powerfully about the change in the country.

Restless Continent: Wealth, Rivalry and Asia’s new Geopolitics Michael Wesley Bloomsbury India ₹499

Asia has seen rapid growth in recent decades. But what is it doing about its future? An expert on Asian and international afairs examines the economic, political, social and strategic trends across the world’s largest continent and presents a roadmap for the future. It also explores the politics of conlict in the region. A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Murray in a hurry after straight-set victory Anderson recovers twice from a set down to beat Edmund and set up a fourth round meeting with Cilic had great < > Iopportunities in the


irst two sets. Those sets were very decisive. I felt I was playing well. I could feel I was hurting him


Numbers are a worry for Nadal PARIS

Rafael Nadal says that maths and numbers have always worried him since school. His 100th best-of-five claycourt match win over Nikoloz Basilashvili doesn’t change that according to the Mallorcan. “Maths was the only subject that I failed in the last year at school. That doesn’t mean that the numbers don’t worry me now.” AFP

Dimitrov supporting singing partner PARIS

Grigor Dimitrov is certainly looking forward to seeing Roger Federer’s return in Stuttgart later this month. Dimitrov alongside Federer and Tommy Haas performed a song during an on-court interview at Indian Wells earlier this year. “He’s my singing partner so I need to support that,” the Bulgarian said about the Swiss player’s return. AFP

Top seed Andy Murray eased into the last-16 of the French Open 7-6(8), 7-5, 6-0 on Saturday, over a flagging Juan Martin del Potro. Murray did enough to keep his nose in front throughout, while the giant Argentine was unable to reprise the heroics that saw the pair produce such magic in last year’s Rio Olympics gold medal match. While Murray won that affair too — and their only previous Grand Slam meeting — del Potro had triumphed in their most recent clash, so the Scot was alert to the dangers. del Potro, whose career has been blighted by a recurring wrist injury, needed a good start against the World No. 1, but when he lost a tight first set tiebreak, the stage was set. Losing that opener on a disputed line call cut del Potro deep. Murray jogged to his seat at the changeover, the Argentine stood at the net, bent at the waist, his head resting on the net cord. There he stayed until the umpire called time. The pair traded blows in the second set with Murray creeping ahead. But a monumental effort by del Potro saw him break back for 5-5, only to instantly drop serve again as Murray yanked him around the court with tight

del Potro

ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska who lost all her seven service games. Garcia, seeded 28, made the fourth round of a Slam for the first time with a 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 win over Taiwan’s World No. 109 Hsieh Su-Wei. Those wins guaranteed the home nation will have at least one quarterfinalist in Paris for the first time since Marion Bartoli in 2011.


Breezing through: With some exquisite returning and acutely angled groundstrokes, Andy Murray downed long-time rival Juan Martin del Potro. AP *

angles, drop shots and lobs. This time the Scot would make no mistake and crunched it out with his fourth ace of the match. del Potro’s spirit was broken, and the vocal Paris crowd were quelled.

Exquisite groundstrokes With some exquisite returning and acutely angled groundstrokes, Murray raced through the final set to set up a fourth-round clash with either American 21st seed

‘Baled’ Gavaskar hits back at Guha Press Trust of India New Delhi

Baking helps Muguruza bust stress PARIS

Spanish tennis player Garbine Muguruza gave a sneak peek of what she does to unwind at Wimbledon when she is off the court. “I know in Wimbledon I will go to the same house. I know the kitchen, and I know that the owner, the woman loves to bake, so I have everything I need to bake muffin, cakes and stuff,” she said. AFP

3-on-3-basketball proposal in Tokyo 2020 LONDON

If things go right, 3-on-3 basketball could list in the official program for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Officially known as 3 basketball, it has its own World Cup that tips off in Nantes, France, on June 17 of this year. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board next week will finalise a full list of 2020 Tokyo Olympics medal events. And among more than 60 proposals, 3-on-3 basketball is an expected favourite after all were analysed by an IOC advisory panel. ANI

Sunil Gavaskar on Saturday counter-attacked Ramachandra Guha’s ‘conflict of interest’ accusation, saying it’s “baffling” to find his integrity being questioned. Guha wrote in his letter to Vinod Rai that the Supreme Court-appointed panel had failed to curb instances of conflict of interest among former players like Gavaskar. “I’m very, very disappointed if anyone is doubting my integrity. I do not have a conflict of interest. “It’s baffling to find my integrity has been questioned,” Gavaskar told NDTV.

In his letter, Guha had stated Gavaskar’s commentary duties are in direct conflict with his other role as head of a player management firm. “I am absolutely confused as to where the conflict arises. What disappoints me really is that I have been, with whatever ability I have, trying to serve Indian cricket in my own way as a player, then as an administrator for a little time with the cricket committee, the technical committee and I was there for two months as the BCCI president.” According to Guha, either Gavaskar must step down/ withdraw from PMG completely or stop being a commentator for the BCCI.

Sunil Gavaskar & Ramachandra Guha.



Agence France-Presse Basseterre

Sunil Narine snared three wickets and mesmerised Afghanistan to set up a sixwicket win for the West Indies in the first fixture of a three-match Twenty20 International series at Warner Park here. Having missed out on the meeting with the Afghans at last year’s World T20 due to issues with his bowling action, the off-spinner was at his unplayable best in taking three for 11 off his four overs as the visitors were dismissed for 110. Afghanistan’s top-order, including captain Asghar Stanikzai, showed little responsibility at the crease and a succession of reckless shots saw the team slipping to 58 for eight at one stage. In reply, Marlon Samuels struck a fluent 35 to lead West Indies to victory with almost four overs to spare. The host now has a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. The scores: Afghanistan 110 in 20 overs (Rashid Khan 33, Sunil Narine three for 11) lost to West Indies 114 for four in 16.3 overs (E. Lewis 26, M. Samuels 35).

born in Johannesburg. In the women’s event, France has three women in the last 16 for the first time in 23 years.

Bitter feud However, that success is overshadowed by a bitter feud between compatriots Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia who will clash for a place in the quarterfinals. Cornet reached the last 16 for just the second time with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Polish

Kumble applies afresh for head coach post G. Viswanath Mumbai

Anil Kumble has applied afresh for the post of head coach of the Indian cricket team. His decision to apply for the post he has occupied since July, 2016, is a matter of intrigue because the BCCI has allowed him direct entry into the selection process. Reliable sources said the former India captain put in his application on May 30. Clearly, Kumble, who demonstrated plenty of gusto during his first stint that will come to an end soon, is interested in continuing. The BCCI invited applications on May 25 citing that Kumble’s tenure would conclude with India’s Champions Trophy campaign in England and making it clear that the former India captain had been exempted from the application process. The BCCI has not revealed the number of applications it has received by the May 31 deadline, but reports confirm that former India players Lalchand Rajput and Dodda Ganesh, and Richard Pybus, Tom Moody and Craig

Anil Kumble.



McDermott have applied. Virender Sehwag, who was asked by BCCI officials and India captain Virat Kohli to apply a few weeks before the BCCI initiated the selection process, has also thrown his hat in the ring. The BCCI also declared: “To ensure a fair and completely transparent process, a nominee of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) will oversee the entire process along with the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC)

[comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman].” While Kohli appears to have conveyed to the authorities the need to look at someone other than Kumble during IPL-10, the CoA came to know of the “minor upheaval” in the Indian dressing room when BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, at a meeting in Hyderabad on May 21, showed it a text message he had received from Kohli. BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary was among the officials present at the meeting when the CoA raised the question of the need to invite Sehwag. Ramachandra Guha, who resigned from the CoA recently, has said the selection of head coach has been “handled in an extremely insensitive and unprofessional manner by the BCCI CEO and BCCI officebearers with the CoA, by its silence and inaction, unfortunately being complicit in this regard.” CoA chairman Vinod Rai is expected to meet the CAC members and BCCI officials in England on June 5.

B. Chethan of Karnataka won the men’s high jump at 2.18 metres in the 21st Federation Cup athletics championships at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports Complex here on Saturday. On a day when even Asian Games gold medallist Sudha Singh could not come anywhere close to her best timing in women’s 3000 metres steeplechase, the focus shifted to high jump arena. However, National record holder Tejaswin Shankar was not at his best as he is returning from a lower-back injury. Chethan managed to pip Ajay Kumar for gold as he cleared the height on his first attempt. Both failed to clear 2.20 metres. There were two bronze medals as Sarvesh Kushare and Ritesh Kumar cleared all their heights on their first attempt till they failed at 2.16 metres. Tejaswin, who holds the National record at 2.26 metres, started at 2.05,

CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC 앫 Sudha Singh wins 3000m steeplechase, but does not inish anywhere near her best timing CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

cleared 2.10 on the second attempt, passed 2.13 but failed thrice at 2.16. Coach Nikolai Snesarev was not too pleased with the pace of the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase. Sudha cannot be blamed considering the conditions, and a lack of competition to push her. The men’s discus gold was won by Dharamraj Yadav at 58.32, his third throw, following efforts of 57.34 and 56.92. He could not get a mark with the next three throws.

Sandeep walks to gold In the morning, in men’s 20km walk, Sandeep Kumar won the competition but was unable to get close to his best timing. He clocked 1 hour 27 minutes 43.28 seconds. The experienced Chandan Singh

Praneeth enters inal; Saina loses Bangkok Press Trust of India

India’s B. Sai Praneeth sailed into the final with a straight-game victory but Saina Nehwal’s campaign ended in the semifinals of the $1,20,000 Thailand Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here on Saturday. Third seed Praneeth scored a comfortable 21-11, 21-15 win over Pannawit Thongnuam of Thailand in the men’s singles last-four clash that lasted 36 minutes. Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan posted a 2119, 21-18 victory over Saina in 53 minutes. Singapore Open champion Praneeth, ranked 24 in the world, will take on fourth-seeded 19-year-old Indonesian Jonatan Christie, who got the better of Joo Ven Soong of Malaysia 21-9, 21-18.

Indian challenge ends Press Trust of India Dusseldorf

Sharath Kamal lost to Chinese Lin Gaoyuan in the preliminary round as India’s challenge came to an end at the World table tennis championship here. Gaoyuan won 11-13, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4 in a late round of 32 match on Friday night. Sharath warded off early threats to win the first game on his second game point to give himself and the country a glimpse of hope. But Gaoyuan, ranked 40 in the world and seeded 33, had other ideas as he surged into 2-1 lead before dropping his second game when Sharath came close to realising his ambitions. However, the Chinese steadied his game thereafter and did not allow the Indian, ranked 54, any opportunity.

India loses to Belgium Press Trust of India Dusseldorf

The Indian men’s hockey team went down 1-2 to Belgium in the opening match of the three-nation invitational tournament here. Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the third quarter through a splendid penalty corner conversion by Harmanpreet Singh, India conceded two goals in the final quarter to lose the match.

Sriram Balaji falters in the inal

was pushed to bronze by Sunil Rathee. Except for a jump of 12.98, N.V. Sheena of Kerala crossed 13 metres with every attempt, in clinching the women’s triple jump at 13.31 metres, her fourth jump. Joyline Lobo won the silver at 12.99, ahead of Bharabi Roy. The results: Men: 3000m steeplechase: 1. Naveen Kumar 8:50.85; 2. Durga Bahadur Budha 8:52.81; 3. Jaiveer Singh 8:57.72. High jump: 1. B. Chethan 2.18; 2. Ajay Kumar 2.18; 3. Sarvesh Kushare and Ritesh Kumar 2.13. Discus: 1. Dharamraj Yadav 58.32; 2. Kirpal Singh 55.43; 3. Baljinder Singh 54.23. 20 km walk: 1. Sandeep Kumar 1:27:43.28; 2. Sunil Rathee 1:27:49.39; 3. Chandan Singh 1:26:28.14. Women: 3000m steeplechase: 1. Sudha Singh 10:03.01; 2. Parul Chaudhary 10:18.10; 3. Chinta Yadav 10:21.20. Triple jump: 1. N.V. Sheena 13.31; 2. Mural Lobo Joyline 12.99; 3. Bhairabi Roy 12.92. Pole vault: 1. KM Sangeeta 3.70; 2. KC Dua 3.60; 3. Mariya Jaison 3.60.

Roland Garros: SS Select 1 & SS Select 1 HD, 2 HD, 2.30 p.m. NBA Finals: Sony Six & Sony Six HD, 5.30 a.m. (Monday)

For Belgium, Cedric Charlier (52nd minute) and Tom Boon (55th minute) scored.

Dharamraj inishes on top of the podium in discus PATIALA


Narine shines in WI’s win

his smooth progress, seeing off Feliciano Lopez, who was limited by a neck injury, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. Croatian seventh seed Cilic will next meet South Africa’s Kevin Anderson who matched his best run at Roland Garros with a five-set win over Britain’s Kyle Edmund. Anderson twice recovered from a set down to advance 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in just under four hours in a duel between two players

Chethan claims high jump gold Kamesh Srinivasan

Solution to yesterday’s Sudoku

John Isner or Russian Karen Khachanov “I expected a very tough match. Whoever won that first set would have the momentum as it would have been very difficult to come back in these heavy, slow conditions,” said Murray. “He was playing much better than me in the first set. He had chances in the first set, he double-faulted on set point.” Former US Open champion Marin Cilic continued

Men: Third round: 1-Andy Murray (GBr) bt 29-Juan Martin del Potro (Arg) 7-6(8), 7-5, 6-0; Kevin Anderson (Rsa) bt Kyle Edmund (GBr) 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-1, 6-4; Fernando Verdasco (Esp) bt 22-Pablo Cuevas (Uru) 6-2, 6-1, 6-3; 7-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Feliciano Lopez (Esp) 6-1, 6-3, 6-3; 3-Stan Wawrinka (Sui) bt 28-Fabio Fognini (Ita) 7-6(2), 6-0, 6-2. Women: Third round: 21-Carla Suarez Navarro (Esp) bt 14Elena Vesnina (Rus) 6-4, 6-4; 3Simona Halep (Rom) bt 26Darya Kasatkina (Rus) 6-0, 7-5; 28-Caroline Garcia (Fra) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (Tpe) 6-4, 4-6, 9-7; Alize Cornet (Fra) bt 9-Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) 6-2, 6-1; Caroline Wozniacki (Den) bt Catherine Bellis (USA) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.


Sports Bureau Andijan (Uzbekistan)

Top seed Sanjar Fayziev of Uzbekistan proved too strong for second seed Sriram Balaji as he won the final 6-3, 6-3 in the $25,000 ITF Futures tennis tournament here on Saturday. Balaji had earlier won the doubles title with Vishnu Vardhan. Ramkumar Ramanathan made the final of the $15,000 event in Singapore, outplaying compatriot Vijay Sundar Prashanth. It was Ramkumar’s first victory in three meetings on the international circuit against Prashanth.

I’ve done it: Dharamraj Yadav heaved the discus to 58.32m on his third attempt. KAMESH SRINIVASAN *

The results: $25,000 ITF, Andijan, Uzbekistan: Final: Sanjar Fayziev (Uzb) bt Sriram Balaji 6-3, 6-3. $15,000 ITF, Singapore: Semifinals: Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-3, 6-2. A ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


India starts strong favourite ‘There are no problems whatsoever’ India captain rubbishes reports of rift with coach Kumble

Kohli has a problem of plenty; underdog status could liberate Pakistan

Shreedutta Chidananda



Virat Kohli has dismissed all talk of differences between him and Anil Kumble. “There have been a lot of speculations and a lot of things being written by people without actually being a part of the changing room, which is very strange. There are no problems whatsoever,” he said here on Saturday, ahead of India’s clash with Pakistan in the Champions Trophy. “If something is put in

Shreedutta Chidananda Birmingham

There is a reason India goes into Sunday’s Champions Trophy game at Edgbaston ranked third in the world and Pakistan eighth, having qualified for the competition by the skin of its teeth. The last time Pakistan won a one-day series of note was in 2013, away to South Africa. In the years since, the team has only put together series wins against Zimbabwe, West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka, losing to Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. Earlier this year, the Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said his side was still playing limited overs cricket that “belonged in the 20th century”. There is a sense that modern cricket has outdistanced Pakistan, a team still gloriously stuck in an age of unhurried run-accumulation, still happy to leave six hitting to one or two dashers, still fielding and running between the wickets like it’s 1993. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking this is an incompetent unit though, and there has been much progress under Arthur. “We’ve worked massively on strike rate,” he pointed out on Saturday. “We know we’re playing a different brand of cricket, in terms of awareness. Over the last 12 months, we’ve scored the third-most number of threehundreds (6).” This yawning gulf between the teams could, however, liberate Pakistan, the firm underdog here. It is India, instead, which has a reputation to live up to. In light of the build-up, this is a game, it seems, India simply cannot afford to lose. Virat Kohli, player of the match in the last three meet-

place as a process (applications for the coaching job), I don’t see why people are creating so much speculation about it. It was followed last time as well, and I didn’t see any issues being created last time.” The team was totally focused on the Champions Trophy, Kohli maintained. “I honestly don’t even know... people who even try to tell me about this, I don’t even want to know anything of this sort. A lot of people like to find a lot of rumours fly-

ing around, especially before the start of a tournament like this. “They’re doing their job, they’re trying to create some nice livelihood. We’re focused on our livelihood, which is on the field. Unless someone is part of something, I don’t think they should sit at a distance and speculate and give judgements on what’s happening. I’m not here to give judgements on anyone’s life.” Kohli was asked what he felt of Kumble’s term as

coach, during which India’s performance has been exceptional. His answer could have been a little more emphatic. “It’s been really good. The whole journey has been good,” he said. “And as far as the process is concerned, I’ve answered that before. It’s something that I don’t need to elaborate on sitting here. “There are people who would know better about that and can elaborate much better. But, yeah, it’s been good.”

Pakistan can surprise you, says Kohli Special Correspondent Birmingham

Pressure? What pressure? While an India-Pakistan clash is always a high-stakes game, captain Virat Kohli, left, and Shikhar Dhawan take their mind of cricket with a round of football. AP *

ings between the sides, has decisions to make about his eleven. The top six is more or less settled and in his press conference on Saturday, Kohli appeared to suggest that Hardik Pandya would play. The Baroda all-rounder’s bowling still needs work, but his ball-striking skills, in a side that needs finishers, make him greatly useful. Should Pandya feature, Kohli must choose four of Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. A strong case can be made for all of them; it cannot be an easy decision to make. “That’s been on my mind

the last five-six days,” Kohli said. “In both the games, all the guys have bowled beautifully and the attack looks really balanced. “But Hardik has come into the equation as an allrounder; you can only play four bowlers apart from him. We’ll have a look at the wicket and decide. There are all kinds of possibilities: two spinners, two fast bowlers; three fast bowlers and a spinner.” Arthur announced Pakistan’s 12, stating that Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail and Fakhar Zaman would not feature. Wahab Riaz, Md. Amir, and Hasan Ali form a potent pace attack, with the teenaged leggie Shadab

Khan and left-armer Imad Wasim spin-bowling options. This is a green side, however, with only two players — Shoaib Malik and Md. Hafeez — with more than 100 caps. In contrast, India has six. In days gone by, these matches were always a battle between India’s batsmen and Pakistan’s bowlers. Now, it seems India is simply the better side man for man. There is only one way to prove that any rifts in the camp have no bearing on performance: win on Sunday.


vs Pakistan: STAR Sports 1 (SD & HD), 3 p.m.

India and Pakistan do not play each other often. The last time the teams met in an ODI was at the 2015 World Cup. Much has changed about Pakistan since. “They can surprise you because you don’t play against them so much,” Virat Kohli said here on Saturday. “You know of their abilities. But you’re not too aware of how they react in different situations. As individuals, some people like to watch videos and go through bowlers and batsmen and all that. Some people don’t. I personally don’t. “If a cricket ball has been bowled, you should be good enough to handle it, whether it’s bowled by someone you play regularly or you don’t.” Captaincy or the reported issues between him and the coach, would not change the way he batted, Kohli felt. “About wanting to win games for the country, I’ve had that mindset since the beginning. So it hasn’t changed anything just because I’m captain. I never played irresponsibly even when I wasn’t captain,” he said. There was nothing different about playing Pakistan, Kohli stated. “I know it sounds pretty boring, but this is exactly what we feel as cricketers,” he said.

Will think out of the box: Sarfaraz SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT BIRMINGHAM

Pakistan has promised to bring a bold, renewed approach to its cricket at Edgbaston on Sunday. “We have told the boys not to take too much pressure and play the way they want to. You will see a new Pakistan team. We will think out of the box. It will be a different Pakistan side,” said captain Sarfaraz Ahmed on Saturday. Mickey Arthur, the team’s coach, stated that the dressing room had been calmer than he’d ever known. “It’s the most mature I’ve seen them at a training session the day before a game,” he said. “Our changing room was completely calm. It’s amazing. It’s just on the outside that there is noise. Within the dressing room, it is unbelievably calm, unbelievably focused and very, very excited.” Arthur, who has previously coached Australia and his native South Africa, felt that the rivalry was similar in intensity to the one between India and Pakistan. “To be honest, I got sacked (as Australia coach) just before The Ashes,” he laughed. “So I never ever experienced that. But in terms of the rivalry I’ve had, it’s been South Africa-Australia because when I was the South African coach that was the team we always liked to beat.”

Same page Arthur was asked if the reported disagreements between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble offered his side an advantage. “That’s India’s problem, to be honest,” he said. “All I know is that the captain/coach relationship is almost like a marriage. You’ve got to be on the same page all the time. And if you’re on the same page you get correct decisions and you give clarity to your team. And that’s certainly where Sarfaraz and myself find ourselves.” CM YK






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


An Amla special

Smith admits his side ‘got away with one’ Special Correspondent

Becomes the fastest to 25 ODI tons


Steve Smith admitted his side “got away with one” after Australia escaped with a point against New Zealand at a wet Edgbaston on Friday. The two teams had played out a draw at the same venue in the last edition of the Champions Trophy, and there is no doubting which side would have been the happier one when this

Group A game was abandoned. “We obviously still had some batters in the shed that can certainly play when you need to be chasing a total like that. But I probably would have preferred to be in New Zealand’s position when we came off at the end there. We still had a lot of work to do and they’ve got a quality bowling attack as well. So we perhaps got away

with one there,” Smith said. He was scathing in his assessment of the bowling performance. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Patrick Cummins were all off-key, and the all-rounder John Hastings received much punishment too. “It was probably one of the worst bowling displays that we’ve put on for a very long time,” Smith said. “We bowled both sides of

wicket. We gave them a lot of freebies. Let’s hope it’s rust and let’s hope it’s gone.” Kane Williamson was entitled to grumble about the outcome but he did not. “We can’t control the weather. Although it is a little bit frustrating,” he said. The scores: New Zealand 291 in 45 overs vs Australia 53 for three in nine overs. Match abandoned due to rain.

Falling early: David Warner was dismissed by Trent Boult for just 18. MICHAEL STEELE/ GETTY IMAGES *

Standing tall: Hashim Amla posted his ifth ODI century against Sri Lanka on Saturday. AP *

Agence France-Presse



Big win for SA

A fine century from Hashim Amla helped South Africa post 299 for six in its opening Champions Trophy fixture against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Saturday. The 34year-old is the fastest to 25 centuries having achieved the milestone in his 151st innings. It was his fifth ODI hundred against Sri Lanka. South Africa was slow out of the blocks after being asked to bat. There were no boundaries in the first six overs and Sri Lanka — which suffered a huge blow before the start of play when captain Angelo Mathews was ruled out with a calf strain — contained it to 32 runs in the first 10 overs. Nuwan Pradeep provided the breakthrough when



Quinton de Kock was caught behind for 23. South Africa then made merry as Amla and Faf du Plessis added 145 for the second wicket — Lasith Malinga dropped du Plessis when he on eight. The stand was broken when du Plessis was spectacularly caught by Dinesh Chandimal for 75 off Pradeep. Amla reached his halfcentury off 53 balls and brought up his century in 112 balls with a single off Suranga Lakmal.


South Africa: H. Amla run out 103 (115b, 5x4, 2x6), Quinton de Kock c Dickwella b Pradeep 23 (42b, 2x4), F. du Plessis c Chandimal b Pradeep 75 (70b, 6x4), A.B. de Villiers c Kapugedera b Prasanna 4 (4b), D. Miller c Prasanna b Lakmal 18 (22b, 1x4, 1x6), J.P. Duminy (not out) 38 (20b, 5x4, 1x6), C. Morris run out 20 (19b, 3x4), W. Parnell (not out) 7 (8b), Extras (lb-1, w-10): 11; Total (for


앫 South Africa, helped by Imran Tahir’s spell of four for 27, scored a thumping 96-run victory. Chasing 300, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 203 in 41.3 overs.

six wkts. in 50 overs): 299. Fall of wickets: 1-44 (de Kock, 12.1 overs), 2-189 (du Plessis, 33.4), 3-194 (de Villiers, 34.4), 4-226 (Miller, 41.4), 5-232 (Amla, 42.3), 6-277 (Morris, 47.5). Sri Lanka bowling: Malinga 100-57-0, Lakmal 10-0-51-1, Pradeep 10-0-54-2, Gunaratne 10-0-64-0, Prasanna 10-0-72-1. Toss: Sri Lanka.






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



‘We have a lot to learn’ We wish to be among the elite and I don’t see why we can’t be there: Lyngdoh and country and the difference playing for BFC and India

Nandakumar Marar MUMBAI

It’s Durant-Rihanna match now OAKLAND

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant denied deliberately staring down singer-actress Rihanna, a devout LeBron James fan, in the NBA Finals opener. The moment came late in the fourth quarter after the ball was stolen from James and Warriors’ Stephen Curry flipped a pass to Durant, standing in front of Rihanna’s courtside seat. Durant sank an uncontested 3-pointer and as he turned upcourt, swung a glance toward the Grammy Award winner. AFP

Eugeneson Lyngdoh is a vital player for every team he represents. Bengaluru FC playmaker and schemer for India, he took a break after the Federation Cup in Cuttack and joined the National camp for the Asian AFC Cup Qualifier in progress at the Mumbai Football Arena. Two training sessions later, he spoke about the targets ahead for the National squad under Stephen Constantine. A friendly against Nepal next week here is the first stage of preparation for tougher contest ahead against Kyrgyz Republic in Bengaluru. Excerpts from a chat with Lyngdoh: On memories of his first international against Nepal (World Cup Qualifier 2015) and journey with India till now

Froome aiming for record Dauphine win PARIS

Chris Froome heads into the start of the week-long Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday with uncertainty surrounding his form and fitness. The Briton is aiming for a record fourth Dauphine victory and third in a row after also succeeding in 2013, 2015 and 2016. AFP

Diriba wins 3000m in record time BOSTON

Ethiopia’s Buze Diriba won the women’s 3,000m at the Boost Boston Games track and field meeting on Friday with a time of eight minutes, 45.44 seconds. Diriba shattered Rosemary Wanjiru’s previous fastest time of 2017 by six seconds. AFP

Aditi tied 28th; Sharmila battling to make the cut GALLOWAY (USA)

Aditi Ashok got off to a fine start with a one-under 70 that saw her tied 28th in the first round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic golf. Aditi, playing in her sixth LPGA event of the season, had four birdies and three bogeys in a fairly steady round. Sharmila Nicollet had a five-over 77 and will have to do well to make the cut. Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, with a sevenunder 64, had a one-shot lead over Moriya Jutanugarn. PTI

I remember standing with the team for the national anthem and felt as if I achieved something. The journey has

Former Italy striker Fabrizio Ravanelli would love to manage his former club Middlesbrough, freshly relegated from the Premier League, he said on Saturday. “Middlesbrough is in my heart every day,” said Ravanelli, whose remark may surprise some who recall his constant criticism about the town and the training facilities. I love the Middlesbrough fans, they are fantastic, and I hope one day it is special for me there again.” AFP

DAV boys win title Special Correspondent KOLKATA

DAV Public School, Chandigarh, and La Martiniere, Kolkata, emerged champions in senior boys’ and girls’ sections in the 45th K.C. Mahindra all-India invitation schools regatta here on Saturday. The Chandigarh team, represented by Akashdeep Singh, Harpreet Singh, Shahwinder Singh, Harpreet Singh and Karamchand, beat National HS in a closely-contested final. Chandigarh clocked 2m 0.96s against National HS’s 2m 03s. La Martinere, comprising Mahi Lal, Ishani Bachwat, Sanjana Ghosh and Viveka Mansata, clocked 2m 17.58s to beat St. John’ Diocesan. Jatragachi HS and South Point took the junior boys’ and girls’ titles. CM YK

Looking ahead: Indian playmaker Eugeneson Lyngdoh says the team has set some goals under coach Constantine.

always been tough. We have had ups and downs, games where we played badly, other games which went off very well. On the mood within the national squad and whether a friendly against Nepal (replacement for Lebanon) is the right preparation

The right preparation is to

gel as a team, the 11 who are going to play and the guys (on the bench) who will come out need to understand each other. The mood is great, players are excited. The Kyrgyz Republic match (Asian Cup Qualifier 2019) is going to be crucial. On adjusting to different coaching styles between club

This is just the start. We have a lot to learn, a lot to progress. There are others ahead of us. We wish to be among the elite and I don’t see why we can’t be there. On the effect of Sunil Chhetri’s availability for international games (supposed to miss the Nepal tie due to recovery)

Sunil’s presence is a big boost to the side. He has been great for the country and the club (Bengaluru FC), he gets things done on the pitch and gives the players confidence.


With this week’s summer season races deferred indefinitely over licensing issues at Bangalore Turf Club (BTC), all eyes are now set on the crucial meeting between the BTC delegation and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday. The Finance Department, licensing authority for the races to be renewed every month, has refused to renew the club’s licence for June, putting all races on hold. The summer season that started from May 13 and scheduled to conclude on August 4 has already been disrupted. While BTC conducted four races in May, races scheduled for the last weekend of May were rescheduled to this weekend owing to rains. However, since the licence has not been renewed, these races are deferred indefinitely. Sources said that the Finance Department was not keen on renewing the li-

cence till Criminal Investigation Department completed its probe into a litany of allegations of mismanagement of the club affairs. The Chief Minister, also the Finance Minister of the State, recently ordered a CID probe following an alleged doping scandal in the club and a report by the government’s nominee to the club on a series of alleged financial mismanagement. The final decision to renew the club’s licence pending a CID probe or not will be taken by the Chief Minister. “The file is put before the Chief Minister and he will take a final call,” confirmed a senior official in the Finance Department. Y. Jagannath, chairman, BTC, said that a delegation from the club met the Chief Minister on Friday. “He was busy and has asked us to meet him on Monday. We hope the issues will be resolved then,” he said. He hoped that the racing would go unhindered and the State government would

renew the licence. Not just on course, the non-renewal of licence has affected off-course betting too. Off-course betting operations for Udhagamandalam races on Friday were cancelled too. A senior member said that the summer season races usually nets a total turnover of around ₹300 crore in oncourse races and over ₹200 crore in off-course operations, of which BTC earns a commission of 4.5%.

No deadline With no deadline set for the CID inquiry, the entire season is being held at ransom, complain racing enthusiasts. “Let the CID continue with its probe and the BTC management has been cooperating with the sleuths. We are trying to impress upon the State government to allow the races to continue,” said a senior member of BTC. This is the first time in over two decades that races have been deferred due to licensing issues, he added.


Giroud hat-trick thumps Paraguay

Nitin and Mihika win Asian junior titles

Agence France-Presse Rennes (France)

An Olivier Giroud hat-trick helped France brush aside Paraguay 5-0 in a friendly here on Friday. He became the first France international to score a treble since David Trezeguet achieved the feat in 2000. He opened the scoring for Didier Deschamps’s team in the sixth minute, doubling up in the 13th and getting his hat-trick and his 16th international goal in as many games in the 69th minute. The scoring was completed by Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann to give France the perfect confidence booster

ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Sweden in Stockholm on June 9. In Group A the Euro 2016 finalist France heads Group A by three points from Sweden. The win put France back on track after its 2-0 loss to Spain in a friendly in March. After five qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, France tops Group A on 13 points, three ahead of Sweden in second with Bulgaria on nine in third and the Netherlands on seven in fourth. The results: At Rennes: France 5 (Giroud 6, 13, 69, Sissoko 76, Griezmann 77) bt Paraguay 0. At Belfast: Northern Ireland 1 (Boyce 6) bt New Zealand 0.


South Zone posts 334 Chennai


On realisation in players that India, having broken into the FIFA top 100 ranking, is no longer the underdog

Aditya Bharadwaj


Sports Reporter

Ravanelli keen to return to Middlesbrough

As a professional, it is our duty to be able to adapt. At BFC we try to play with the ball, focus on possession. For India, we try to take control and be aggressive from the start.

Licensing issues threaten BTC’s summer season

Aditya Barooah (116, 235b, 13x4) and Devdutt Padikal (77, 122b, 10x4, 1x6) were involved in a 121-run firstwicket partnership as South Zone ended day one on 334 for nine versus Cenral Zone in a fourth round match of the BCCI inter-zonal u-19 cricket tournament here. The scores (round four, day one): South Zone 334 for nine in

90 overs (Aditya Barooah 116, Devdutt Padikal 77, U. Mukilesh 48, P. Girinath Reddy 40, Aditya Thakare three for 48, Parth Rekhade three for 59) vs. Central Zone. Toss: South Zone. At VB Nest: East Zone 207 in 51.3 overs (Atul Singh Surwar 105, Jitumani Kalita 33, Saqlain Haider four for 74, Ayush Jamwal three for 34) vs. North Zone 194 for two in 36 overs (Qamran Iqbal 82, Manjot Kalra 89 batting). Toss: East Zone.

Sports Bureau Pune

N. Ganeshan.


N. Ganeshan, the assigned Competitions Manager of the ITTF, has become a member of the prestigious Umpires and Referees Committee (URC), the technical arm of the ITTF. Ganeshan is the first official from India to become a member of the committee which looks into the technical aspects of the game. The term of a URC member is two years. Ganeshan will also be the technical commissioner from Asia for a four-year term. He was recently nominated chairman of the South Asian Federation technical committee. Ganeshan is also a member of the technical committee of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation. He has officiated in several international tournaments as Competitions Manager and referee, including the 2016 World Championships and 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Wild-card entrant Nitin Sinha and Mihika Yadav emerged champions in the boys’ and girls’ events in the HCL Asian junior tennis championship at the MSLTA school of tennis courts in the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports City. Nitin, the India No. 2, rallied past Chin Christian Didier of Malaysia 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 20 minutes. Second seed Mihika, on the other hand, had little trouble in overpowering Mahak Jain with a 6-3, 6-3 win. Nitin attributed his victory against an opponent ranked 98 places above him

was advised by < > Isenior players to play aggressive and it helped me a lot Nitin Sinha

in the world to his training stint with India's Davis Cup practice squad. “I was advised by senior players to play aggressive and it helped me a lot. The quarterfinal match was the toughest match of the tournament,” he said. The victory fetched him 180 ITF ranking points. The results: Final: Boys: Nitin Kumar Sinha bt Chin Christian Didier 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. Girls: Mihika Yadav bt Mahak Jain 6-3, 6-3.

Reason to smile: Mihika and Nitin pose with their winnings.



Subhania rides on Chaitanya’s all-round show It was a stroll in the park for Subhania Cricket Club in the 42nd Lala Raghubir Singh Hot Weather cricket tournament on Saturday. The side rode on a brilliant all-round performance from Chaitanya to win by eight wickets against Hari Singh CC in the first quarterfinal match. Put in, the Hari Singh openers Manav Goel and Ashish Sehrawat added 97 before the former was dismissed for 54 by left-arm spinner Chaitanya. The spinner added four more to his tally, conceding just 37 runs, as a regular fall of wickets meant Hari Singh could not find the sustain the momentum. It was bowled out for 215 in

36.5 overs. In reply, Yashpal Dagar’s whirlwind 14-ball 48 gave his team a rollicking start. Though he fell in the fifth over, Chaitanya (57 not out) and Shivam (74 not out) strung together a 108-run stand off 81 balls to steer their side home.

Sporting sneaks past ASPB In another pre-quarterfinal, Sporting CC sneaked past Army Sports Promotion Board by two wickets with a ball to spare. Electing to bat, the Army team began well as the openers put on 64 for the first wicket. However, there was little of note from the rest of the batsmen once Mohit Mann (38) was trapped in front by Vision Panchal and Nakul Verma (68) was caught at

long-off off Manish Sehrawat. Panchal picked up four wickets. In reply, Himanshu Rana and Sagar Dahiya posted a 94-run stand to put their team on course. Sporting made things difficult for itself, losing wickets at regular intervals, before scampering home in the 40th over. The scores: Hari Singh CC 215 in 36.5 overs (Manav Goel 54, Chaitanya five for 37) lost to Subhania CC 216 for two in 22 overs (Shivam 74 n.o., Chaitanya 57 n.o., Yashpal Dagar 48). ASPB 216 in 37.4 overs (Nakul Verma 68, Mohit Mann 38, Abhishek 31, Vision Panchal four for 60) lost to Sporting CC 220 for eight in 39.5 overs (Sagar Dahiya 73, Himanshu Rana 56).

YMCA exhibition basketball match Special Correspondent NEW DELHI

To mark the 125th anniversary of the origin of basketball, the Delhi chapter of YMCA organised an exhibition match here on Saturday which also marked the celebration World Challenge 2017, a global initiative by the Geneva-based World

Alliance of YMCAs. With basketball being the focus of YMCA’s outreach attempts through sports this year, the exhibition match between teams led by YMCA president Vijay Russell and general secretary Joy Benjamin included YMCA staffers and members while general workers

at YMCA including electricians, attendants were felicitated on the occasion. Former India international Harsharan Singh Sethi and wrestler Jagdish Kaliraman were also present at the function that saw New Delhi YMCA release its annual sports calendar. A ND-ND


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Sunday, June 4, 2017


Abhijit Kumar Pathak works mostly at night, with cloth, paint and some cement dust

Why the 70s were by far the inest hour for mothers in Hindi cinema

‘I dream that someday a transgender person will win a medal for the country’

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page 5

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Ghost of the mountains In its quest to conserve the elusive snow leopard, India has found an unlikely ally in Kyrgyzstan


t was drinking water from a river,” says head ranger Emil Japarov, 49, describing that rare moment he caught a glimpse of the ‘ghost cat’ at Kyrgyzstan’s Shamshy Reserve. “And then in a second, it was gone.” Japarov comes from a family of herdsmen in Kyrgyzstan who have roamed these mountains for generations with their livestock. Yet in his entire career spanning two decades he has seen the cat just once or twice. The ‘ghost of the mountains’ as the snow leopard is called in these parts is one of the most elusive cats in the world. In the last 20 years, both the distribution and population of the cat are believed to have shrunk by 50%. Celebrated author Peter Matthiessen wrote an entire book on his search for this big cat in the Himalayas, but he did not see it even once. Now, almost 40 years after Matthiessen’s book, the 12 countries where the beasts roam—including India—will come together at a conference, hosted by Kyrgyzstan in August this year, to chalk out a roadmap to secure at least 20 healthy snow leopard populations across the globe by 2020. The small mountain country of Kyrgyzstan has indeed taken the lead in protecting the species internationally. And partnering with it is India.


Success story Some of India’s best wildlife brains are now in Kyrgyzstan, working closely with the government there to evolve management plans and train field staff in the latest technologies to protect the animal and its habitat. Indian wildlife biologist Koustubh Sharma, who works with the U.S.-based Snow Leopard Trust, moved from the heat and dust of the central India to the mountains of central Asia two years ago. He is here to impart technical skills and implement management plans. India, with an estimated population of 200-400 snow leopards, has much to offer the world through its own conservation success story. Many Kyrgyz scientists and field staff have visited India to understand how communities are involved in conservation, eco-education and ecotourism in areas such as LahaulSpiti and Ladakh. Sharma is working with researchers and statisticians from various parts of the world to assess snow leopard populations and the big cat’s prey in the CM YK

mountains using methods such as camera traps, drones, and sophisticated statistical models. Less than 2% of the cat’s habitat has ever been sampled systematically; the terrain is so tough. “But unless we know how many snow leopards and ungulates there are, how can we protect them?” asks Sharma. We are in Shamshy Reserve, just 60 miles from Kyrgyzstan’s capital city of Bishkek, where the summit has been planned. Around us are rolling green pastures flanked by jagged snow-draped mountains. A river gushes by and the chorus of bird calls makes a volunteer

The cat that chuffs or its relatively small size, the snow leopard has an extraordinarily long tail— sometimes measuring a metre. It is flexible and helps the animal keep its balance while leaping through treacherous and rocky terrain. While asleep, the animal wraps its tail—which contains a large amount of fat and is covered with thick fur—around itself to keep warm. The physiology of its throat oddly does not allow the big cat to roar, unlike say a tiger or lion. But it can ‘chuff’. Chuffing, a sort of snort, is a nonaggressive vocalisation generally used when two cats meet. Captive snow leopards are also known to chuff at their human keepers. The animal can purr, mew, hiss and wail too.


In the last 20 years,

< > both the distribution and population of the cat are believed to have shrunk by 50% from Spain and an ornithologist from Switzerland whip out their binoculars and cameras every few minutes. An old hunting lodge, (legend has it that it was built for the Shah of Persia) functions as a base for the field staff in an area where there are few humans for miles around. Shamshy is resplendent with wildlife, but very little is known about it even today. Neither are full lists of flora and fauna available, and that’s why volunteers, who spend weeks at the lodge making basic checklists, are the first building blocks of a management plan. This reserve hit international headlines last year when the first camera traps revealed snow leopards. They were photographed at five different locations within the reserve. The images are the first photographic evidence of the animal in the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Range (Snowy Mountains). It is hard to imagine that the cat had established its home just 30 km from a bustling city. The valley of Shamshy lies on the northernmost edge of Kyrgyzstan’s snow leopard habitat. For several years, the area was managed as a hunting concession. While hunting is no longer allowed here, local communities, who have grazed their livestock in the area for decades, continue to have the right to do so. Leading the conservation effort here is biologist Kuban Jumabai Uulu, the director of the Snow Leopard Foundation-

Alpine feline Snow leopards can kill creatures up to three times their body weight. REUTERS & Vijay Bedi Kyrgyzstan, who believes that the involvement of local communities is central to the success of the programme. The biggest threats to snow leopards are poachers with guns, he says: “Some of them have illegal guns, that is a problem. The idea is to stop them from bringing guns inside the reserve; and protecting the wild ungulates is priority.” The leopard’s principal prey are ibex and Himalayan blue sheep (bharal): they can kill creatures up to three times their body weight.

Local help Uulu entered into a ‘conservation agreement’ with the local communities. His organisation, and their partner Snow Leopard Trust, offer to train them to make products with wool from livestock and help market them. In return, the local people have to declare an area in the vicinity as a ‘community protected

area’ and vow not to support hunters who may venture in. If there are no cases of hunting or poaching, the community receives an annual bonus. Such a local partnership always helps in conservation. In India, for instance, some of the most successful programmes to protect snow leopards have involved the construction of predatorproof corrals to protect livestock from snow leopard attacks, thereby reducing financial losses for herders. This, to a large extent, has reduced human-leopard conflict. Responsible tourism interventions such as Himalayan homestays have ensured that tourists who want to sight snow leopards also get a flavour of local culture, helping generate income for the local families. This too has generated goodwill towards the animal. Not far from Shamshy is Issyk-Kul, a tourist attraction, where a wildlife res-

< >

India, with its 200400 snow leopards, has much to ofer the world through its success story

cue centre is run by a German NGO, Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). The three snow leopards that live here are a wretched commentary on the impact of poaching. One female cat was injured in a trap set by poachers and now has a permanent limp that makes it impossible for her to go back to the wild. There is one highly endangered Eurasian lynx as well as injured birds such as the golden eagle, all rescued from poachers or traffickers. As we leave the limping snow leopard

to the caring hands of its keepers, we are heartened by the knowledge that a battalion of people—from political leaders to scientists to herdsmen—are galvanising support for the species worldwide. India, Kyrgystan and 10 other countries have agreed to do what they can with support from some of the world’s leading organisations including Global Environment Facility, NABU, Snow Leopard Trust, United Nations Development Program, United States Agency for International Development and World Wildlife Fund. With some political will, good science and cooperation from local communities, there is hope yet for the mysterious denizen of the mountains. May we never have to bid it dasvidaniya . The author is a conservation biologist currently working on a book for Oxford University Press. ND-X







A Gandhian in Nagaland < >

The story of an extraordinary woman from an Ao Naga village who embraced Gandhian thought in the charged 1950s BY AJAY SAINI


fter circling around a bit, the kitten eventually jumped on the wooden table. I nervously raised the plate with the last kata biscuit. Despite my pleas and mild threats, the kitten kept staring at the kata, whose edges I was nibbling while reading. I glanced helplessly at Utsu, who looked at the kitten and said “kwakwa-kwa” authoritatively. The kitten instantly left the kitchen-cum-meeting room of the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram. “So, Utsu,” I said, as I resumed reading the Ashram’s visitors’ diary, “Jayaprakash Narayan has saluted your voluntary work. How did you choose to become a Gandhian and survive the extreme circumstances in the Nagaland of those days?” She smiled and raised her left hand while tilting her head down—a gesture that gave all credit to god. Lentina or Utsu (grandmother), as she is popularly addressed, is an 84-year old Gandhian who lives in Chuchuyimlang—an interior Ao Naga village in Mokokchung district of Nagaland. Besides being the first woman from her village to study up to Class VII, she was also the first Naga woman to be trained as a Gandhian voluntary worker at the Kasturba Ashram in Guwahati in the early 1950s. After serving as a gram sevika for decades, she now does voluntary work at the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram. Utsu’s is an extraordinary story of a Naga woman from a remote village who, against all odds, pursued her passion for education, Gandhian values, and voluntary service.

A giant leap Born and raised in a modest Naga family in a small village called Merangkong, Utsu showed keen interest in schooling, and studied in three places—Merangkong, Chuchuyimlang and Mokokchung. In the 1940s and the 50s, among the Nagas, formal schooling served no special purpose; it was considered redundant. The tribes had negligible access to public infrastructure—schools, roads, transportation or communication. Completing Class VII, especially for a girl from a small village, was a giant leap,

the credit for which Utsu gave her father, Tinuzulu. “My father encouraged all children to attend the lower primary school in Merangkong where he was a teacher. Four girls from our village were enrolled; all dropped out except me,” she said. The first attempt to spread education among the Ao Nagas was made by missionaries in Impur, the headquarters of the Ao Baptist Church Association. The British administration in쐽 Lentina was the irst Naga woman to be structed every viltrained as a Gandhian worker in Guwahati lage to send nomin the 50s inees to Impur to 쐽 Also a trained midwife, she has travelled be taught the far and wide to assist pregnant women three Rs. Tinuzulu was 쐽 As a student, she would walk 60 km to one of them. After school, carrying rice to cook on the way his training, he 쐽 Ran the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram by taught in the only herself from 1994 to 2014 school in Merangkong, where Utsu studied up to Class II. For middle school, Utsu came to Chuchuyimlang, about 30 km from Merangkong. And after that, the nearest school was in Mokokchung, 60 km away. “There was no transportation; we had to walk all the way. We also had a Low proile Lentina’s contribution has remained unnoticed and unreported down the years. special Arrangement constant fear of wild animals. We always walked in a group, where I was the only over his glasses. “Natwarbhai, do you trying times. Forget proper sleep, I to get married, not an easy affair in the girl. It would take us two days to reach remember when you came to Chuchuy- didn’t have enough time to even finish prevailing milieu of the 1950s. Even my meals. All day long, I used to walk after 60 years, Utsu distinctly rememMokokchung. So, along with books, we imlang?” I asked. Putting aside the copy of Mangal from one village to another to attend to bers the strongest argument against the used to carry rice in our bags to cook on marriage, “My elder brother said, ‘We the way,” recollected Utsu. Prabhat , the 85-year-old replied softly, needy women and children.” In 1956, Utsu was at a crossroads. At will get independence in a few months. When Utsu completed Class VII, her “I even remember the day. You see, a Why are you marrying a foreigner?’” In brother enrolled her into Kasturba day before my arrival, fire had gutted 30 the kendra, she had come close to NatAshram, the headquarters of the Assam huts in Chuchuyimlang and a tiger had warbhai—an idealist Gujarati who, un- those days, marriage with an outsider branch of Kasturba Gandhi National Me- killed a pig in front of the Ashram. It der the influence of Kaka Kalelkar, had was unimaginable for a conservative morial Trust. was April 1955 and Utsu’s gram seva vowed to devote his life to Gandhian Naga family. Secessionist forces were at She trained four years as a gram kendra was set up a month later, in May constructive work in border areas. At their peak. sevika and then enrolled for a mid- 1955.” Utsu looked at me and nodded, 23, Natwarbhai had settled in Chuchuyimlang and established the legendary Catalysing social change wifery course in Guwahati civil hospital. “Hoito”. Finally, Utsu and two Assamese gram Utsu, the lone trained midwife at the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram in 1955. But Utsu didn’t cave in. Her marriage Soon, Utsu and Natwarbhai decided grounded her deeper into Gandhian sevikas were deputed to a new gram seva kendra, travelled to far-flung areas seva kendra at Chuchuyimlang. to assist pregnant women. But soon, thought. She began work in the There, they offered midwifery ser- militants ordered all Assamese sevikas Ashram, helping to expand its activitMy elder brother said, vices, pre-basic schooling, and spinning to leave the village. Utsu recollected ies—bee-keeping, khadi sales centres, oil and weaving classes. When was this how “their thatched hut was blown mills, gur-making, horticulture and so ‘We will get kendra set up, I asked, and Utsu paused, away and they left under pressure. After on. Later, when the central government independence in a few then said, “After Thakkarsahab came to this, we didn’t know what to do.” appointed Utsu as a member of the the village.” Utsu decided to run it herself. She did Khadi and Village Industries Commismonths. Why are you This attracted the attention of Natall the work, with some support from sion, she actively negotiated the trajectmarrying a foreigner?’ ory of development in the villages. warbhai (Thakkarsahab), who peered local, untrained helpers. “Those were

< >

You see, a day before my arrival, ire had gutted 30 huts in Chuchuyimlang and a tiger had killed a pig in front of the Ashram. It was April 1955

By now, the Ashram began to attract visitors ranging from Kaka Kalelkar, Jayaprakash Narayan and Verrier Elwin to Morarji Desai, Umashankar Joshi and Manmohan Singh. But in 1994, the Ashram received an unexpected demand from militants—an annual tax of Rs. 25,000. When Natwarbhai refused to pay up, the militants issued death threats, resulting finally in the district superintendent of police being shot dead. Natwarbhai had to leave the Ashram. Once again, Utsu took charge. Finally, the militants gave in to the powerful village council of Chuchuyimlang and withdrew the death threat but by then Natwarbhai had already set up a camp office in Guwahati and handed over the Ashram entirely to Utsu, who ran it till 2014. Despite her lifelong service, Utsu’s contribution has remained unnoticed and unreported. I asked her about this and she said, “Throughout my life, I have served quietly. I only worked for my own satisfaction. Now, when I see the babies delivered by me become grandparents, it’s my greatest reward.” The one-eyed kitten returned, and Utsu picked it up. I browsed through the Ashram’s archives. Two newspaper clippings caught my attention. In the early 80s, a bust of Mahatma Gandhi was installed in Kohima, which the insurgents instantly destroyed, arguing that Nagaland didn’t need any Indian’s statue. In 2012, another Gandhi bust was beheaded in Ukhrul. Being a Gandhian in the Naga Hills, more so in the charged 1950s, was never without conflict. It took a woman of extraordinary courage to embrace Gandhi and work in his name. The writer is an assistant professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and chairperson of Mahatma Gandhi Academy of Human Development, Chuchuyimlang, Nagaland.


Jumping the gender hurdles Heard at India’s irst transgender sports meet: ‘For the irst time I feel my talent is more important than my gender’ However, they said an athlete transitioning to a woman must demonstrate a certain level of male testosterone at least a year prior to competing. This guideline too was challenged in the case of Dutee, due to hyperandrogenism, but later cleared by the court of arbitration for sport (CAS), as there was no concrete scientific evidence to prove that women with naturally high levels of testosterone had a competitive edge.



agini completed the 100 metre sprint in a record timing of 12.8 seconds. The national record at 11.24 seconds is held by Dutee Chand, present national sprint champion. Viji, Ragini’s manager, was exhilarated. “Can you believe that Ragini achieved this feat after just 10 days of training and without any prior experience in athletics?” she asked. We were at India’s First Transgender Sports meet, which was organised by the Kerala State Sports Council at Thiruvananthapuram earlier this year. Over a hundred transgender persons from 14 districts participated in the day-long event, which included the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints, the 4x100 relay race, shot put, and long jump. Ragini is from Malappuram. When she and Viji went back home after the meet and alighted at the town’s railway station, a grand celebration awaited them. Said Viji, “There was new-found respect in the eyes of the auto drivers and friends who welcomed us. What more could we ask for?”

Bridging the gap In 2014, following an in-depth survey by the Department of Social Justice of Kerala, the State formulated the Transgender Policy to enforce the constitutional rights of transgenders and create an inclusive and empowering milieu for the community. This sports event is one of the many outcomes from the effort to close the gap between legislation and its enforcement on the ground. “I feel safe and secure being just who I am and competing with members of my community. For the first time I feel like my talent is more important than my gender,” said Daya, a transwoman from Ernakulam. While there is greater visibility and increased advocacy bringing transgender rights at the forefront of gender dialogue, the community continues to face stigmatisation, oppression and violence on a daily basis. The


Victory run Despite greater visibility and advocacy, the transgender community continues to face stigma. The many moods at the transgender sports meet held in Thiruvananthapuram. Sindhuja Parthasarathy fact that some of the teams had to take loans to even travel to Thiruvananthapuram for this sports event shows how much remains to be done to empower the community economically. “I think this is a radical move. In Kerala, the transgender community has not just been excluded but is practically invisible. This event is a newfangled platform to showcase their skills beyond the few existing cultural avenues of expression. I dream that someday a transgender person would bring in a medal for the country,” said

There was new-found

< > respect in the eyes of auto drivers and friends back home. What more could we ask for?

Prijith, a transgender activist and organising committee member. Kameela, who won the 400 metres, spoke of the humiliation she faced in school which discouraged her from taking up sports seriously, until now that is. “I tried to participate in athletics, but when I was in the men’s team, people taunted my effeminate ways. When I asked to join the girl’s team, the coaches ridiculed the idea. Sport is sport; I wonder why anyone should care about what is beneath my t-shirt.” Sporting categories have always been on gender binary lines. International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been rigorously monitoring gender boundaries to catch male athletes masquerading as women to gain an advantage in the quest for victory. However, most athletes they spotted have been inter-sex women. Santhi Soundarajan, for instance, was

unfairly stripped of the silver medal she won at the 2006 Asian Games after she failed a sex verification test. She was also made ineligible to participate in the women’s category as she was found to have androgen insensitivity syndrome. The chromosomebased gender verification tests at the Olympics were dropped after the 2000 Sydney Games. The IOC became more liberal and issued a new guideline in 2016 allowing trans-athletes to compete in the Olympics and other international events without undergoing sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.

Inclusive Anil Arjun, sports meet coordinator and transgender activist, argued, “I don’t think strength is a measure of hormones or testosterone. And I’m not sure whether sport categories are based on sex or gender. If it’s gender, then that’s a personal choice, and a self-declaration should do. The ideal situation is to make the current gender categories inclusive, so that we can uphold the dignity and basic human rights of the transgender community.” Where will the winners go from here? Will other States in the country follow suit? Will sport be the vehicle to empower them? Will these athletes stay motivated enough to take up sports given the lack of jobs and remuneration around it? These questions remain largely unanswered, but a beginning has surely been made in Thiruvananthapuram. Sreekutty, the president of the Sexual Gender Minorities Forum Kerala, said, “I think this is a historical event and just seeing the winners rejoice is overwhelming. While this event has given a great opening to the transgender community, their talent has to be nurtured in the long run. The State sports committee has decided to start district-level sports clubs exclusively for transgenders and hopefully there will be a national event next year.” A freelance photojournalist, the author documents human rights violations and sustainability issues.






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


don’t disturb the habitat. But the lake continues to be under threat from several other sources, and a single clean-up is not going to help.” .


Fish for everyone Ameenpur Lake becomes the irst Biodiversity Heritage Site in the country. Fish and birds return, but much remains to be done BY SERISH NANISETTI


n the western fringes of Hyderabad, surrounded by fantastic primordial rock formations, modern apartments, factories and a village, is a sprawling and ancient man-made lake. Ameenpur Lake dates back to the time of Ibrahim Qutb Shah, who ruled the kingdom of Golconda between 1550 and 1580. According to one account, the tank was excavated to irrigate a large public garden. The lake is now divided into two parts called Pedda Ameenpur and Chinna Cheruvu. Today, Ameenpur Lake has the distinction of being the first water body in the country to be declared a Biodiversity Heritage Site. The biodiversity tag was awarded for the Pedda Ameenpur Lake, which is at a higher elevation than Chinna Cheruvu. The lake brims with life: bar-headed geese, cormorants, ruddy shelducks, and grey herons. The checkered keelback snake snaps up fish and buffaloes wallow in the deep end. Farmers har-

vest paddy at the shoreline. The teeming birdlife was one of the reasons Ameenpur Lake caught the imagination of the average person; birders and photographers throng the lake to catch sight of flamingos, pelicans and cormorants swallowing fish or—even better— birds swooping down to steal a fish from a water snake. During the famous annual bird race, Hyderabad’s birdwatchers generally make the lake their first stop. At last count (in 2016), the lake recorded 186 species, up from 171 in 2015.

Urban mess The biodiversity tag, says G. Sailu, project coordinator of the Telangana State Biodiversity Board, can play an important role in protecting such lakes that are otherwise rapidly disappearing due to the ravages of urbanisation. “We have been able to stop encroachments, garbage dumping and the disturbance to birds that used to occur here. If we can conserve this lake, we can use it as a role model for other lakes across the country,” says Sailu.

Despite this, all is not well with Ameenpur Lake. Spread across 93 acres, the lake is still less than a third of its original size of 300 acres because of rampant encroachment. A new cinderblock brick kiln has come up on one side of the lake. Satellite images show a sewer from a chemical industry complex on its western shore discharging effluents into the lake. Sitting in the shade of an ancient peepul tree, Narasimha Reddy, the village

Spread across 93

< > acres, the lake is

still less than a third of its original size of 300 acres because of rampant encroachment

Food or fun Ameenpur Lake today brims with life. K.V.S. Giri & Nagara Gopal patel who looks equally ancient, tut-tuts the biodiversity tag. “It has not changed anything. Do you see a change? The water is green. Even 10-15 years ago, we used to drink the water from the lake. If you threw a coin into the water, you could see it clearly deep inside. Now your skin will peel off if you dip your

hand into the lake,” he says. Srikant Bhamidipati of the Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh also sounds a bit sceptical. “The number of bird species appears to have come down; there are fewer trees now; and a foul smell pervades the lake. Birdwatchers and fishers—they come and go, they


No more thermocol On the other hand, many of those who depend on the lake for their livelihood are delighted. The fish catch has gone up, for one. “Earlier, the lake would shrink every summer reducing the catch, but this year the water spread has been consistent and we didn’t have to spread our nets across the whole lake,” says Venkatesh, a fisherman from Ameenpur village, as he picks out the smaller fish still entangled in his fine net. Until two years ago, fishermen used drums and firecrackers to shoo away the birds that competed with them for the catch. But now there is enough fish for everyone. The cleanliness of the lake has improved too, he says: “We used to get plastic bottles, plastic sheets, pieces of thermocol, and bits of rubber tyres entangled in our nets. Not any more.” In turn, the fishermen have been forbidden from bringing their vehicles right to the edge of the lake as they used to before. “We have to carry the catch to the road now,” says Venkatesh. “It was because of the biodiversity tag that the government was granted ₹3.72 crore to improve the weir, open up inlets and clean up the lake,” says Tejdeep Kaur Menon, an IPS officer who has commanded and cajoled the neighbourhood as well as the trainees at Telangana State Special Protection Force to clean up the lake. “We have helped sensitise 123 housing colonies in the area about sorting garbage and littering. We blocked off the road on the lake bund after we discovered that aluminum cans containing chemicals were being dumped in the lake. “The offending pharmaceutical company agreed to pay up ₹16 lakh as penalty to the Pollution Control Board,” says Menon. Other companies are being persuaded to set up sewage treatment plants. A number of borewells had been sunk in at the shore, with water siphoned off to nearby colonies. That has also been stopped. A survey for marking the Full Tank Level has been carried out. Once the markers are in place, it will reduce chances of further encroachments. Meanwhile, other birders are not complaining. They say that the number of birds and their diversity has gone up. Pelicans would not typically visit the lake, but they arrived in large numbers last year. Recently, a few bar-headed geese were spotted for the first time too. The recently formed Biodiversity Management Committee is obviously still finding its feet. “We have begun in a small way. We are planning to construct a fence around the lake once the funds kick in. Our panchayat has sanctioned ₹5 lakh for the project. Right now, our biggest role is to raise awareness about the lake’s ecological importance,” says village sarpanch Srinivas Goud, who is part of the committee. “Most school children now understand the importance of protecting the lake. That I think is a good beginning.”


Mumbai’s ocean warrior Every weekend, the lawyer can be seen picking up trash on Versova beach BY RAMA DEVI MENON


hen Bombay High Court lawyer Afroz Shah moved into his new home along Versova beach some two years ago, he dreamt of waking up to cool sea breeze and morning walks on the shore. Instead, what greeted him was the sight of debris strewn all along the 2.5 km coastline that now resembled an open garbage dumping yard. Concerned, Shah and his 84-year-old neighbour Harbansh Mathur, who has since passed away, decided to take matters into their own hands, literally. In October 2015, they began to manually rid the beach of plastic waste, glass bottles, shoes, rubber and metal articles. Soon, every weekend, they could be seen walking along the beach, picking up trash. In time, they were joined by people from the neighbourhood, slum-dwellers, fishermen, Bollywood stars, students and politicians. And, at last, Mumbai’s civic body joined in. Now, more than 85 weeks later, Shah and his army of volunteers— the Ocean Warriors—have cleared 5.3 million kilos of trash from the seafront. On May 20, he tweeted, “Versova beach is gorgeous and clean now. We have done our bit. We need to maintain it.”

Warning: This Drug May Kill You 59-minute documentary By HBO The U.S ‘War on Drugs’ is much celebrated, but when that war does not include the opioids that are freely prescribed with no one to reign it in, the war must look inwards. Prescription opioid abuse has escalated across all demographies of America, with support coming from pharmaceutical and medical industries who display them proudly on their flags. Warning: This Drug May Kill You explores the portraits of four families ravaged by addiction and the overwhelming loss and grief that sweeps those around them. Nothing short of an epidemic, opioid addiction is destroying entire communities across the United States.

Coastal crusader Afroz Shah (right) and Erik Solheim of UNEP at a clean-up drive last December. PTI

Twitterati cheers His efforts have gone viral, with tweets of appreciation coming in from all quarters. Anand Mahindra of Mahindra Group tweeted “If there’s 1 pic that spells Hope for India, this is it. This campaign involved selfless leadership, community spirit & collective effort.” Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said: “Congrats to Afroz Shah and his dedicated team.” Shah has vowed to continue his crusade until there is a change in people’s approach to producing, using and discarding plastic and other non-biodegradable material. He says people hardly realise the damage non-biodegradable products like plastic can do to marine life and the environment. Creatures in the sea and birds CM YK

flocking to the beach ingest these substances. In 2016, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called Shah’s drive the world’s biggest clean-up and conferred on him its highest award for environment protection—Champion of the Earth. He is the first Indian to receive the honour. UNEP is now replicating the project in Indonesia. On June 5, World Environment Day, Vijay Samnotra, head of UNEP’s country office in India, will participate in a clean sea campaign with Shah’s volunteers. Meanwhile, YES Bank and Citi Bank have partnered with Shah to expand his campaign across the country. The team has already identified coastlines in Chen-

nai and Visakhapatnam for the programme. Ironically, the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association has offered a tractor and 10 people to assist Shah for a whole year.

Cashing in on low tide Ocean gyres or rotating currents that circulate within oceans tend to collect a lot of plastic waste from the beach and that ends up getting embedded in the sand or floats on water. Shah plans to clear this pile-up by digging through at least two feet of beach sand when the sea recedes during low tide. He has also launched a drive to discourage people from using single-use plastic bags. “Vegetable vendors are the

culprits here, but we can do our bit by carrying cloth bags to shop. It takes just 10 minutes to sort out the vegetables.” Shah says initially his own family was opposed to the idea. “They said it was a waste of time. I began sorting the vegetables myself to convince them to give up plastic bags.” He has now convinced vegetable vendors visiting his apartment complex to give up plastic bags. Shah’s next project involves cleaning up trash-choked mangrove forests which act as a natural defence against storms and tsunamis. The freelance writer works for the conservation of the common flora and fauna around her.

India’s Reggae Resistance 25-minute documentary By Al Jazeera It’s been three years since Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government came into power, three years in which the shift towards right-wing nationalism in government policy and public discourse has become apparent. With it came dissent, a wave of protests defending free speech, and the sounds of reggae from Taru Dalmia’s Jamaican-style speakers. Taru is convinced his music can play a role in activism, and as a wave of protests erupt at universities, he takes his speakers and hits the road, trying to find his place among the local artists and dissenters. A curation of some of the most interesting news ilms and videos from around the world.








Chaos and creation At artist Abhijit Kumar Pathak’s studio, we discover how a messy workplace inspires art



eople often say the poet needs the pain. Similarly, an artist often produces the best work under difficult conditions. Artist Abhijit Kumar Pathak is a perfect example of this. The boy from Bihar was a relatively young artist burning the midnight oil and waiting for someone to recognise his talent. Cut to his solo show ‘Mosaic of Mysteries’ at Lalit Kala Gallery, Rabindra Bhavan. The exhibition was well attended, he had sales, and, more importantly, his 15- and 12-foot canvases got the eyeballs they craved. Such was the excitement that he is being touted as the next Subodh Gupta, though we may be getting ahead of ourselves here. His studio in Chila Sarda Bangar Village near Mayur Vihar Extension in New Delhi is not exactly the place for a

Method in madness Pathak is known for using a collage technique that involves several materials. vikram singh

SCANNER Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art Masterpieces Of Indian Modern Art Edition II places modern art in the context of the Indian subcontinent. A masterpiece can simultaneously have strong cultural roots and universal appeal— both in terms of subject and style. The exhibition questions what we consider a masterpiece and helps us understand the qualities that celebrated art around the world share. The works of artists including Abanindranath Tagore, Benjamin Hudson, Jamini Roy and C. Douglas will be brought together in a stunning compilation. The exhibition runs till June 30 at Dag Moder, New Delhi.

Man Ray: Views of the Spirit For the first time, India will be home to an exhibition of photographs by Man Ray, the legendary American photographer. A selection of photographs that reflect the essence of Ray’s oeuvre, titled Views of the Spirit, is on display at TARQ, Mumbai. Ray, a master of the Dadaist and Surrealist movements, spent most of his working life in France, and dabbled across the visual medium— from fashion photography to portraiture. The exhibition, held in collaboration with Mondo Galeria (Madrid), will run till July 1.

B.V. Doshi retrospective in Shanghai Ahmedabad-based architect B. V. Doshi’s work is to be showcased in Shanghai in a major retrospective, possibly the first of its kind and scale held for an Indian architect in China. To run for three months starting July 28, ‘Celebrating Habitat’ will span 60 years of the architect’s work starting from 1955 onwards. Doshi, a student of Le Corbusier for four years, has been a major influence on the Indian urbanscape, with works ranging from buildings to campuses to townships. The exhibition, to be curated by his granddaughter, will be spread across 8,000 sq. ft.The retrospective will be held in Power Station of Art, Shanghai’s four-year-old contemporary art museum.


wine and cheese event. Once you have confronted the resident pigs and dogs, you climb up several stairs and reach the fourth floor of the building that serves as his studio. “Sorry, the cooler just conked out and anyway there is no electricity most of the time here,” the artist smiles apologetically. Baking under the asbestos sheet that serves as roof, one understands why Pathak has shaved his head. He often paints in his shorts to beat the heat, sousing the khus-khus of the cooler with water that has to be hauled up the stairs from below.

Ink and dust However, one forgets these pesky details as one steps into the room where Pathak creates his work. Every wall is covered with artwork of all sizes and shapes. It is difficult to call them paintings since Pathak is known for using a

collage technique that involves several materials. This explains the clothesline weighed down by random pieces of cloth that dominates part of his studio. “I collect these rejects from local tailors,” says Pathak. He works at a furious pace, mostly at night, picking pieces of cloth, matching them with globs of paint, pencil doodles, inks, wood shavings and cement dust as if he were a man possessed. He then treats the surface of the canvas bearing the assemblage with a resin and several ‘secret’ ingredients that preserve the cloth and act as adhesive to hold the composition together. “I never plan my canvases. I let them happen spontaneously. I love to be surprised at the end of a work and that is the experience that I like to share with my viewers,” says the 31-year-old. “I do like to make sketches and jottings while

I travel,” he reveals. “Sometimes I don’t let the maid clean my studio since in this organised chaos, I know exactly where things are kept,” he admits sheepishly. There is also a stack of books, most of them moth-eaten. Sachchidanand Sinha’s Chaos and Creation stands out as one of the most thumbed books. “He is my mentor without even knowing it,” says Pathak. Just back from Barcelona, Pathak has brought with him a new stack of tales, that will no doubt take shape in his studio. “I think that if I ever change my working space, it would affect my creativity,” he affirms, proving once more that sometimes the prettiest flowers grow in the most unlikely places. The writer is a critic-curator by day, and a creative writer and visual artist by night. When in the mood, she likes to serenade life with a guitar and a plate of Khao Suey.


Sivagami’s inspirations A warrior queen who imbues the ilm with a modern, feminist sensibility


energy that fights for the greater good. The Kshatriya clans represented by the ruling families of Mahishmati and Kunthala are neatly divided as Shaivites and Vaishnavites, whose forms of worship and rituals of varnas are observed. Thus, caste and class aspects are in place, oddbod spectres and ghouls have no place in this real-fictive narrative, and the lack of a succession plan, the bane of Hindu kingship, feeds into the magnificent scenes of battle.

Many possibilities Especially at this moment in our times, how are the real and the imagined to be reconciled in the realm of fiction? Prasad, who specialises in the genre of the mythic-historical, and who has spoken of his inspiration from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata , creates a consummate flow of possibilities. It is the climactic scene of Baahubali 2 . The great fight between Shiva, son of Bahubali, and Bhallala Deva is under way. It is an evenly matched struggle of crushing muscular power until the shivalinga, object of worship in Mahishmati, looms

Flights of fancy Rajamouli’s panoramic sweep is so humongous that it can easily slip into caricature. All the flights of fancy, of ships that take wing, visionary landscapes and impossible feats of valour, render the film like an animated narrative from Amar Chitra Katha. The two-dimensional delineation of character adds to this sense of a comic book epic. However, the outstandingly redeeming feature would be the role of the women, led by Sivagami, the powerful queen of Mahishmati. No longer young, yet powerful and decisive, she is in fact a reversal of the female figures of the great epics. Prasad’s characterisation imbues Sivagami with all the characteristics of the ugra goddesses, most closely Durga, who can nurture her children even in an embattled state, who can energetically lead armies, and plot vengeance. She even sits on her throne with the open-legged stance that you find in the Shakti peeth of a Kamakshi devi or a Lalitambika temple icon. In some senses, Devasena is a younger clone of Sivagami. She is a feisty warrior princess who can round up bandits and compete in archery and acts of warfare. The writer has spoken of being inspired by powerful women, Indira Gandhi and Jayalalithaa, and perhaps this is his most interesting contribution to the fictive; in imbuing a modern, feminist sensibility to his narrative. Sivagami, played to the hilt by Ramya Krishnan, makes compelling viewing because there is nothing like her autocratic, powerful, on-screen persona. Gandhi and Jayalalithaa, who rendered grown men into hapless schoolboys, have passed into history. The space for a Sivagami is vacant, and waiting.

Gayatri Sinha is an art critic and curator who, while preoccupied with her art website www.criticalcollective.in, is also contemplating a book on the Middle Ages

omila Thapar in her essay ‘The Theory of Aryan Race and India: History and Politics’ opens with the argument that the “invention of the Aryan race” was to have far-reaching consequences. “Its application to European societies culminated in the ideology of Nazi Germany... Some European scholars now describe it as a 19th century myth. But some contemporary Indian political ideologies seem determined to renew its life,” she writes. At a distance from and possibly oblivious to Thapar’s red flag on nationalism couched in constructed pasts, S.S. Rajamouli, director of the fabulously successful Baahubali duology, is soon to launch his television serial Aarambh , written by his father K.V. Vijayendra Prasad, author of Baahubali 1 & 2 and Bajrangi Bhaijaan . The serial centres on the narrative of the Aryans’ quest for Sapta Sindhu—the seven holy rivers spoken of in the Nadistuti Sukta of the Rigveda—and their clash with the Dravidians. Coming close on the heels of Baahubali , Aarambh is in the realm of imagined histories, fictive myths, and a created cultural identity. Arguably, it may also offer redress in terms of an equal exchange between the historically ‘dominant’ and the ‘oppressed’ races.

Feisty Actor Ramya Krishnan as Sivagami in Baahubali. on the screen. Shiva covers his torso with sacred ash and convincingly destroys his opponent. With this gesture of supreme faith, the pastoral idyll of Kunthala, home to Devasena, and the stony palatial presence of Mahishmati, are convincingly grounded in the mythic past of Bharatvarsha.

Mythic imaginary Whether we see fictive histories as posttruth or as feeding the frenzied imagination of a “new India”, their success depends on a balance between the known and the imagined. Rajamouli’s film plays into many of the known tropes of the social and mythic imaginary. If you Google Map the kingdom of Mahishmati, it appears close to the sites of Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and Ujjain, collectively a centre of jyotirlingas that has spawned Shiva worship, scholarship and architecture. Mahishmati’s present location is unknown, although it is believed to have been a part of Avanti, a flourishing kingdom till the 13th century, thus locating it within the realm of possibility. The film’s impeccable taste in cos-

Sivagami sits on her

< > throne with the openlegged stance you ind in the Shakti peeth of a Kamakshi devi or a Lalitambika temple icon tumes seems to draw from Raja Ravi Varma in khadi (Sivagami) and a contemporary version of Bharatanatyam (Devasena). Battles are fought and kingdoms protected against bloodthirsty, disruptive Kalakeya who reside in the forests, their dark skins and wild demeanour according them a racial difference. As he grows, and later in exile, Shiva lives among farmers and fisherfolk, the kind that lived beyond the city walls during the medieval period, famed for their fraternal generosity, the class from which have traditionally sprung bhaktas and religious reformers. Living outside the gates of Mahishmati in the lap of nature, it is their collective






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Mum’s the word Did screen mothers ever come alive, get real, have a life, in the tiresome days of the Kheer Age? BY JUHI SAKLANI


he climax of Johny Mera Naam (1970) is near. Sulochana—white sari, dishevelled bun, Bombay cinema’s widowed mother par excellence—has been kidnapped and forcibly brought to villain Prem Nath’s den by junior villain Jeevan. Her son Dev Anand, a police inspector, has infiltrated the gang, pretending to be one of them. The gang does not know of the mother and son’s real identity, but Jeevan does, and would like to score points with Prem Nath by demonstrating that the trusted ‘Johny’ is not who he says he is. What more conclusive proof than to bring Johny’s mother over and let her rush for succour to her son? And so Jeevan goes to Sulochana while Prem Nath watches with interest and Dev Anand with anxiety. Henchmen are holding her up as she droops exhausted and barely conscious. “There there, behen ,” says Jeevan at his oily best. “No need to fear. Your inspector son has arrested all the villains. Now you can go to him. Go on.” Ma looks up with effort. She sees a ring of men looking at her, Dev Anand among them. She turns to Jeevan with as much dramatic subtlety as she can muster and whispers: “Which one do I have to recognise?” For my money, this is the finest hour of Hindi cinema motherhood. Much has been attributed to our mothers on screen—love, sacrifice, morality, strength of character, greatness—but rarely have our films accused them of sheer intelligence. Writer-director Vijay Anand gives Sulochana heaps of it. Having summed up the situation and turned the tables on Jeevan, she proceeds to cook his goose by affecting a rustic accent and convincing Prem Nath that she has been paid to come and falsely recognise some young man as her son. Mothers of yesteryear Hindi films evoke as much exasperation, indulgent affection, love, and that “here we go again” feeling as mothers do in real life. (Ours may not sit coughing pitifully over sewing machines in a white sari—and mine has never made me kheer either— but they do have their moments.)

Ma on the sly When raised to a pedestal of heroism (Nargis in Mother India , Nirupa Roy in Deewar ), cine-mas become iconic. But did they ever have any other possibilities in what we may now call the Kheer Age? Did Ma ever come alive, get real, have a life, in those days before Reema

Cine-mas of yore (Clockwise from top)Durga Khote, Meena Kumari, Sulochana, Mumtaz Begum and Nargis special arrangement

Lagoo and Kirron Kher charted newer paths? It wasn’t just Johny Mera Naam ; Vijay Anand fared pretty well with mothers in his other films too. A scene between actress Mumtaz Begum and Om Prakash, both playing Dev Anand’s parents, in Tere Ghar Ke Saamne (1963) is quite delightful. The traditional Om Prakash is unhappy that his son has returned from the U.S. with undesirable habits like smoking and drinking. The mother can’t see what the fuss is about: “Tharra to nahin peeta na, Angrezi hee peeta hai. Wo bhi, kya kehta hain, peg aadha peg. Uss se nasha thode hi hota hai. ” (He doesn’t drink moonshine; he drinks English, and that too just a peg or two. That doesn’t get you drunk.) “How do you know,” asks Om Prakash in panic. “Have you tried it?” “No, I haven’t,” says the hero’s Ma. “But I watch women drink in the club every day. Even I have felt like it, but then I stopped myself.” Pratima Devi in Jewel Thief (1967) plays Dev Anand’s mother in a small appearance, but does something that’s practically revolutionary even before she says a word. The camera finds her sitting in bed actually reading a book. This was not a first—as we shall see below—but the sheer relief of it is tremendous. Dev Anand, who has been turned out of the house by his stern father, comes visiting mum on the sly, gifts her a necklace, and takes off when he hears his father approaching. Ma brooks no nonsense from Police Commissioner

I saw a ilm in a ilm When the real and the reel became one

is Associate Editor-Cinema with The Hindu in Mumbai


f the many characters in films that I have felt an intimacy with, the closest and the most familiar would be little Toto in Guiseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. His boundless allure for the motion pictures, his rite of passage with cinema as the constant companion, could well have been my own. That enchanting scene in which Alfredo, his projectionist friend, makes the moving image travel out of the theatre to play on the wall of the town square or the fabulous compendium of censored kisses strung together in the finale—no other film (with films within—from John Ford’s Stagecoach to Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life among many others) has been as affecting in capturing the magic of movies and our memories of viewing them. Rose in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck , a Palme d’Or contender at Cannes this year, also feels Toto-like. Back in 1927, we see the little girl run away from her New Jersey home to meet her silent movie idol Lillian Mayhew. Wonderstruck gives a whimsical nod to the movies; silent cinema to be precise, so as to resound more profoundly with its protagonist’s own deaf and mute reality. The genre is teeming with diversity

‘Meta’ is a term

< > that quite captures the experience of watching ilms within ilms or ilms about ilms CM YK

The reading mother The only other memory I have of a mother reading is in Yash Chopra’s second directorial venture Dharmputra (1961). It’s a pleasure to see Nirupa Roy, for once not in widow’s weeds, reading glasses on her nose, fully involved in her book. When her much-loved adopted son Shashi Kapoor enters, she proceeds to have an intellectual argument with him. The young boy has been seduced by the charms of being a ‘pure’ Hindu and wants everyone to follow what he thinks is the Hindu way of life. But tradition is not an unalloyed blessing, his mother points out, reminding him of how women were burnt with their husband’s dead bodies, or how young eight-year-old widows suffered for the rest of their lives. “But you have to value your religious ties,” says the son. “Khaak hote hain dharm bandhan! ” (Religious ties, what rubbish!), exclaims the exasperated mother, who today might be roasted for sacrilege. “A person should be a good human being. Life

< >

Mothers of yesteryear Hindi ilms evoke as much exasperation, indulgent afection, love, and that “here we go again” feeling as mothers do in real life

is not a stagnant pool of dirty water that a human being lies in it and rots. He should evolve!” You want to stand up and cheer.

My mother, the pirate In dramatic contrast to the morality of repudiating or shooting down your child if he turns rogue, Durga Khote, when forcibly separated from her young son in V. Shantaram’s Amar Jyoti (1936), becomes a pirate herself. It is the son who grows up to be a moralistic creature, loathing pirate queen Saudamini’s outlaw ways. This is a feisty, knife-throwing mother who hardens her heart, kills her enemies, and does it all in her fight against the oppression of a patriarchal state. She refuses to be a ‘woman’ and is quite clear that women mustn’t cry any more: “Auraton ko rona dhona chorr dena chahiye. ” Eventually, when she meets her grown-up son, she is overcome with love as well as overwhelmed by his critique of a mother he does not know. Hurt that her son did not understand

her motivations, she does not reveal her identity and withdraws from his life. Even here, it is the failure of her philosophy that tortures Saudamini: “I used to think that I had banished the woman from within me, but that was just my false pride. That pillar, which supported my life, has fallen.” Remarkably, there is no emotional reunion between mother and son at all. What Saudamini finally takes solace from is the flame of rebellion that she has lit in other women who will now carry the flag.

Other mothers Back in 1967, an unmarried expectant mother in a small town went to the chemist’s. The whole town knew of her ‘condition’. A couple of young layabouts whistled when she entered and the shop assistant rushed forward in his greasiest manner. “Shall I show you some feeding bottles?” he leered. “Not today,” she said, with a straight spine. “I will need it in a few months and will come to your shop to buy it, but right now I just need some coffee.” This scene’s transcendental dignity was in Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan , a film that nobody had ever recommended to me, and understandably so. I’ll be forever grateful to writer-director Kishore Sahu for adding such a shining moment in his debut vehicle for daughter Naina. It deserved a better film. But it has always been my standard bearer for staying open to possibilities of gems in run-of-the-mill fare—cinematic or human. This catalogue of mothers would be

incomplete without a mother figure that I am very fond of. Meena Kumari in Mere Apne (1971) played a universal “Nani Ma” to her neighbourhood’s young thugs, and like many Nanis, became a friend. When Vinod Khanna sings “Koi hota jisko apna… ” (“I wish there was someone I could call my own”), a lovelorn song for the girlfriend he has lost, Nani Ma shuffles over to provide naive succour: “Am I not your own?” The gang of unemployed college drop-outs whiles away time playing cards, and she sits with them, telling stories of dacoits from her youth. They confide that their parents can barely tolerate the sight of them, but she genuinely finds them beautiful and innocent. When one of them wishes she would cook meat for them, another hushes him up piously—widows don’t touch meat. But Nani Ma is more easygoing: “It’s all right, if you do something taboo for the sake of your children, god will understand.” But, here’s the rub, they are not her children, they are no relation of hers at all. She had not even met the young wastrels till quite recently. She is, quite literally, a friend: equal parts spending time together, sharing stories and laughter, helping each other, and at times, worrying for them. Like all friends and mothers do. The author, a Delhi-based freelance writer and photographer, likes to end her bio-note a bit hopefully with the information that her blog is called The Laughter Memoirs.



Namrata Joshi

husband Nazir Hussain. “I heard Vinay’s voice,” Hussain complains. “Throw a young son out of the house and this is what happens,” says his wife, going back to her book in which she is oh so utterly engrossed. He insists that their good-for-nothing son must have stolen the necklace. “He’s given it to me, why are you getting jealous,” she says, practically sticking her tongue out at the lord and master. And goes back to her book.

in unity. From the sheer joy (and hiccups) of transition from silent cinema to the talkies in Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s Singin’ In The Rain to the self-reflexive flamboyance of Federico Fellini’s 8 ½. From Guru Dutt’s autobiographical take in Kaagaz Ke Phool to Sudhir Mishra’s detailing of the social texture of ’50s Bombay filmdom in Khoya Khoya Chand . ‘Meta’ is one of those terms that I am not very fond of. However, nothing else quite captures the experience of watching films within films or films about films. There was Arnaud Desplechin’s Les Fantomes d’Ismael (Ismael’s Ghosts) about parallel disappearances of people—the filmmaker’s wife in real life and the mysterious diplomat called Ivan Dedalus in a film that he is shooting. The real and reel intersect, collide, become almost one and bounce off each other.

Make believe In a similar tenor, Mathieu Amalric’s Barbara pieces together the eccentric singer’s life; the real and the reel become interchangeable. But with a deft stroke Amalric breaks the illusion of performance and performance within the performance, making you aware of the make believe world of a film set. The favourite meta moments, however, had to be in Michel Hazanivicius’ Le Redoutable. Redoutable looks at how Godard along with Louis Malle and Francois Truffaut coaxed the Cannes Film Festival to be brought to a halt as a mark of solidarity with the students’ protest in Paris. But more meta than this was Hong Sang-soo’s Keul-Le-Eo-Ui Ka-Me-La (Claire’s Camera ). Set in and shot during Cannes 2016, it is about taking photographs. As if on cue, there was Pedro Almodovar talking about over abundance of images in our lives and Roman Polanski holding forth on the non reliability of the photograph as the representation of truth. Real paralleling reel.

Among theatre’s last greats A ilm on playwright Elkunchwar by another playwright traces a rich legacy BY VIKRAM PHUKAN


anguid frames that linger on the ageing wood of antique doors and trellises of an old ancestral home (or wada ) in Parwa, a small village in Maharashtra, establishes the biographical turf of Chirebandi , a new documentary feature on Mahesh Elkunchwar, arguably one of the last great playwrights of the Indian stage. At the old wada , Elkunchwar had spent long stretches of his childhood, having been dispatched to the nearby city of Yavatmal at age five for schooling, returning home only during holidays. In Chirebandi, old dust settles on tables and rocking chairs, with the interplay of light and shade exquisitely captured by Aditya Divekar’s camerawork, even as the opening strains of a vintage musical recording by forgotten names from Elkunchwar’s clan allude to the richness of legacy that he was born into. Director Mohit Takalkar, the wellregarded Pune-based stage auteur, infuses the film with a sense of history and heritage, and the cultural markers of a privileged life seen through the haze on an uncertain nostalgia. The documentary, commissioned by the Sahitya Akademi, was screened for select audiences in Pune and Nagpur earlier this year. Takalkar is intimately familiar with Elkunchwar, having helmed productions based on works from his oeuvre—his first fulllength play, Garbo , and the narrative essay, Necropolis . The film is named after one of Elkunchwar’s seminal plays, Wada Chirebandi, written in 1985. The title translates as ‘Old Stone Mansion’; the wadas were, in effect, strongly patriarchal feudal households, and the last bastions of a social order that Elkunchwar had observed crumbling around him. He ultimately added two more plays to what became The Wada Trilogy. The word chirebandi itself means ‘fashioned out

Being alone A still from Chirebandi. of stone’, and immediately brings to mind the antecedents, social and cultural, that may have contributed to the making of a somewhat reluctant literary icon.

Much-travelled man Elkunchwar has been based in Nagpur since his youth, something Takalkar found especially intriguing. It provided him a line of inquiry that could veer his documentary away from the prescribed format of a standard issue Sahitya Akademi offering— usually snatches of interviews interspersed with staid archival footage. Creative souls are usually prone to be migratory birds. On one hand are economic incentives and on the other creative opportunities. One’s own abode could well become an ivory tower, although in Elkunchwar’s case, that has never been betrayed by works that reflect the world-view of a much-travelled man. In the documentary, noted critic Samik Bandyopadhyay says, “I think this was his way of distancing himself from both Mumbai and his roots.” Mumbai and Pune have always been the nerve centres of Maharashtra’s cultural consciousness, to which

< >

The ilm is named after one of Elkunchwar’s seminal plays, Wada Chirebandi, written in 1985

Elkunchwar has contributed vastly from a remote vantage point. When he made occasional forays into unfamiliar terrain, like working on the film adaptations of his plays, Party and Holi , the experiences have been disillusioning. “These choices are never accidental. He stayed back in Nagpur to write the way he wanted to write and still made a mark,” says Takalkar. “There are distinctive phases in his life. His childhood influenced him a lot, and the early plays were completely different,” says Takalkar. Elkunchwar grew up in a world of letters, was familiar with “Phadke and Kandekar” by the age of nine, and knew how being alone, as he frequently was, could feed the fervid imagination. The documentary includes photographic montages, and the penetrative gaze of a young vision-

ary is very much in sight in those sepia-tinted frames. The director’s cut is 80 minutes, but the Akademi has procured only a 27-minute version, which has left Takalkar understandably peeved. “How can such a great life be encapsulated in just a nutshell,” he asks. The talking heads include personages like Vijaya Mehta, Girish Karnad, Shanta Gokhale and Anuradha Kapur. Even though they have all been interviewed separately, Takalkar splices together these interviews in a manner that gives off the vibe of a shared conversation taking place in a communal forum. Elkunchwar mentions that the first play he ever watched was Vijaya Mehta’s production with Vijay Tendulkar. There are points of contention that Takalkar introduces that attempts to keep the film off hagiography. For instance, the influence of Tendulkar, which he acknowledges as “preparing the soil for me to sow the seeds”. Or his perceived lack of a pronounced political outlook, which Kapur disagrees with, saying, “A humanistic approach is always sharply political.” Or the critical failures of some of his later plays, which he distances himself from, married as he is to the arduous but joyful process of creation itself, and not its fruits. Much of the discourse from the talking heads takes place in an academic vein, declaimed from plush livingrooms, which seems at odds with a theatre so rooted in the human condition. Archival footage of staged plays gives us glimpses of Elkunchwar’s intimately-etched characters but we never actually meet them. The sincerity of Takalkar’s effort shines through, as does the quality of production, but the film flows over a bedrock of missed opportunities. The writer has been perennially fascinated with the arclights, and the adrenaline of live performance never ceases to amaze him. ND-X







Heritage on the fringe The Hall of Nations symbolised what India was capable of. With its demolition, the country has lost one of the layers of its rich past BY SHASHANK BHARGAVA


n a Sunday night in April, the India Trade Promotion Organisation, the government agency supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, demolished two iconic structures in New Delhi—the Hall of Nations and the Hall of Industries—along with the Nehru Pavilion. They are now to be replaced by a “world-class” Integrated Exhibitioncum-Convention Centre (IECC) at Pragati Maidan. The proposal for the demolition was met with strong opposition. Various national and international architecture organisations, including the Indian Institute of Architects, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), the Pompidou Centre, the Museum of Modern Art, and several others voiced their concerns. But the government’s Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) refused to classify the structures as heritage, which would protect them by law, and went ahead with the demolition. The reason? The buildings were less than 60 years old. But is age the only criteria to determine heritage? “If you think it might be worth saving when it is 60 years, then you don’t have the right to demolish it today,” explains Swapna Liddle, author, historian and convenor with INTACH. “Otherwise, when that date comes, you won’t have that building because you’ve already demolished it.” Gautam Bhatia, architect and author,

agrees. “Sixty years is a joke. You can’t treat buildings like you treat cars. Many landmarks are quite relevant and yet are not considered heritage,” he adds. The Lotus Temple and India Habitat Centre in Delhi illustrate Bhatia’s point. A.G.K. Menon, former convenor with INTACH, explains why a Taj Mahal won’t meet the same fate. It is because citizens have been educated to understand its significance outside of tourism—something modern architecture is denied. “Also, the Taj Mahal is old, so you believe it cannot be replaced. Modern architecture suffers because it is modern. They think it can be replaced.” So, while heritage buildings older than 60 years are protected by law, the question of what qualifies a building as “modern heritage” is trickier. And it is to answer this that INTACH’s Delhi chapter has suggested six criteria to identify modern architectural heritage. The Hall of Nations met two of those criteria—it was a building of “exceptional architectural significance” and “representative of the works of a master architect”. The other four criteria relate to example of building typology, ensemble structures, religious buildings and buildings associated with the lives of

The demolition of

< > heritage structures disconnects us from our past—the story of how we came to be

celebration, the government held a competition to select the best design for permanent exhibition halls for the International Trade Fair. One of the designs was from architect Raj Rewal—a gigantic exhibition hall built entirely of space frames that would act as sunbreakers from all sides. Moreover, the building was meant to be pillar-less. Rewal won the competition. His design, however, required steel tubes and connectors, both of which, owing to a steel shortage back then, weren’t readily available here. And so, he made the bold decision of using reinforced concrete instead. “I was 36. I had a lot of... bravado. They were all taken aback.” With the collaboration of engineers Mahinder Raj and Durai Raj, Rewal went on to make what would become the largest cast-in-situ concrete space frame structure in the world and the first of its kind—a structure that truly represented a modern, self-sufficient India.

While heritage

> buildings older than <

Landmark no more The Hall of Nations (above) was designed by architect Raj Rewal in New Delhi to commemorate 25 years of independence.

60 years are protected by law, the question of what qualiies a building as ‘modern heritage’ is trickier

special arrangement & wikimedia commons

persons of great significance. In 2013, the chapter submitted a list of 62 such buildings in Delhi to the HCC, which dismissed it. But it’s such buildings, the architecture community feels, which hold more than just a functional value in the lives of people. They embody a certain narrative and are, in a very literal sense, ways for people to physically engage with the past. “If at every stage you change the whole complexion of the city, there won’t be any layers left. Imagine the Mughals destroying every sultanate

building in the city to make their own history in the 17th century,” Liddle says.

Rewriting history To understand the narrative of the Hall of Nations, it is important to get an idea of what led up to its inauguration in 1972. By the time the 70s rolled around, India had fought two wars, resources were scarce, banks were nationalised, and the country would go on to fight a third war with Pakistan in 1971. At the same time, India was also planning the commemoration of its 25th year of independence. As part of the

For Menon, the Hall of Nations symbolised what Indians are capable of. “Americans would have built this structure with all kinds of modern technology. But we had our handicrafts and labour, our skills and imagination. We put it together... and it stood the test of time.” If the argument was that a convention centre requires modern amenities like air conditioning, these could have been easily installed in the existing structure. “Once you have heritage, you should not preserve it as a museum piece. All the listed buildings you see in

Europe, for instance, are pretty modern from the inside,” says Liddle. Other arguments against the demolition have been made. Menon argues that it wasn’t driven by a lack of space; these buildings didn’t need to go to make space for IECC. The move, experts also say, was fiscally irresponsible. “The government’s interest in architecture is very marginal. There is no real understanding of what constitutes heritage,” he says. For historian and activist Sohail Hashmi, the government’s main target was the Nehru Pavilion (built to exhibit the life and times of Nehru). “If they had just demolished the Nehru Pavilion, their game would have been exposed,” she argues. Menon agrees. “They [present government] want to rewrite history in their own way. They’re going to demolish the Lutyens Bungalow Zone and build multi-storey buildings.” The word is “philistine”, says Rewal. In Europe, when looking for an architect, people look for someone with a vision, with a philosophy. “If someone tried to do that here, they’d be held up by the Central Vigilance Commission. They’d ask, ‘Why didn’t you take a quotation from him?’” The demolition of heritage structures disconnects us from our past—the story of how we came to be. It is this narrative that helps us understand ourselves. But people at large remain unaware of the importance of this narrative. Both Liddle and Menon believe it is indeed the failure of the architecture community. “We architects got engaged in our work and forgot we are leaving people behind. We’ve not been able to communicate our problems, our objectives, our goals,” says Menon.

Creating slowness The problem, as Bhatia explains, is also in how we plan our cities. “In India, everything about architecture is insular. We build in subdivisions, plots and compounds with high boundary walls.” He gives the example of Rome, where it’s not just the Colosseum or the Trajan’s Forum that is recognised, but also the street houses of the 18th and the 19th century. “You walk past them every day. You have a cup of coffee outside a place that’s been converted into a small café. You sip wine outside a church. The familiarity with the church and the streets are part of your daily life. In India, you are not exposed to architecture. So the unfamiliar is not worth saving. Who in Tamil Nadu or Bengaluru knew or cared about Hall of Nations?” he asks. “The whole point of a city is to create slowness,” says Bhatia, “so that you notice what’s around you. This is completely missed in the Indian landscape.” This engagement with the city and its architecture affects our behaviour. Liddle says that a badly designed city is likely to encourage further vandalism. A well-designed city, on the other hand, would push you to keep your surroundings the best they can be. “The aesthetic cannot help but affect you,” she explains. In the wake of this demolition, it has become increasingly important to educate people about the importance and the value of modern heritage. “Pride in a city is important,” says Liddle, “because that’s what will ultimately keep it alive.” When he’s not chasing stories, the writer can be found playing Ultimate Frisbee or endless rounds of Catan.


Homegrown homes Why Indian villages are the most vibrant laboratories for urban architecture BY MATIAS ECHANOVE & RAHUL SRIVASTAVA


n 1997, Ashok Jadhav became the first person in his village to build a concrete house. As a BEST bus driver in Mumbai he spent years saving up to fulfil this dream. Though born in Mumbai, Ashok always maintained strong bonds with his grandfather’s village, on the Konkan coast in western Maharashtra. He now divides his time between the city, where most of his family still lives in a one-room chawl and the village where he continues investing his time and energy. Last year, he repainted his entire house in colours that resonate idiosyncrasy, echoing the glamour of the metropolis. Under a purple ceiling, nailed on a golden wall, hang photos of the Buddha and Dr. Ambedkar, side by side, giving an air of nobility to his bedroom. His grandfather followed Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s injunction to Dalits to move to the city and escape social oppression in the village. With him he converted to Buddhism, the most “modern” and egalitarian of religions. But the village that Ashok returned to was not the same his grandfather had left behind. His move to the city, along with so many others, contributed to transform his rural home. The house he built in the village could never have been constructed in

the city where access to land, cost of construction and regulatory restrictions would have made it impossible. But in the village with relatively lesser savings he could most certainly fulfil his urban fantasies.

House full of stories Anyone mapping cultural patterns, lifestyles, biographies and histories would do well to pay attention to the simple arrangements that make up an ordinary house—one which is always unique, special and full of stories for the person living in it. Constructing a house is an activity that remains firmly in the hands of the most ordinary villagers. Whether on a piece of land that is owned or occupied, ancestral or purchased, the simplest of lives culminate in some way or the other with the making or shaping of homes. From a basic reed and mud structure, woven with traditional skills, to the use of aspirational and masonic material, home architecture, particularly in rural settings, is controlled by end-users rather than professionals. Like Ashok, countless people invested hard earned money from the city back into the village. These investments went to new homes and to develop the local infrastructure, roads and schools. Not everyone may choose to go for a modern aesthetic like Ashok, but they all are influenced in one way or the other by

From a basic reed and mud structure, woven with

< > traditional skills, to the use of aspirational and

masonic material, home architecture in rural settings is controlled by end-users rather than professionals CM YK

Two contemporary vernacular houses in Ukshi village, on the Konkan coast in western Maharashtra. The one on the left is built with laterite stone, which is a traditional construction material; and the one on the right was the irst concrete house in the hamlet built in 1997.

their relationship with the city and its culture. Ashok’s neighbours, two brothers also from the Jadhav clan, but a different family, have rebuilt their homes recently. They opted for local laterite stone instead of concrete or baked bricks because they felt it endured the weather much better. The house is built on land that became theirs, thanks to land reforms in the state in the 1970s. It includes a little field where they grow vegetables for

their own consumption and some land where the two buffaloes they own can graze.

Silent invader Amidst this rural setting, however, the urban influence keeps creeping in from all sides, like the reverse of “vegetation breaking through tough concrete” in the city. The Jadhav’s brothers’ house is modelled on the Mumbai chawl, a colonial housing typology once built in the city to house mill workers. The house is

built around one large corridor with three rooms on either side opening into a common living space, facing the front, which resembles the balconies and corridors that are the soul of social life in Mumbai chawls. In all, six brothers and their families have a room each in the house. Two of them are in the village and four of them live in the city. They have invested collectively in this family house, which never seems to stop bustling with people and activities. Both the Jadhav houses, as different

as they may be, are part of a new generation of vernacular architecture, which brings urban aspiration to the village, and in doing so, transforms villages across the country into the most dynamic laboratory for a new aesthetic and typology. These reflect contemporary Indian culture more accurately than any generic skyscraper ever could. The writers are co-founders of urbz.net, an urban network that’s active in Mumbai, Goa and beyond. ND-X





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


Debauchery, dissipation and low pursuits 130 years after his death, the short and plump Wajid Ali Shah’s coital and marital history continues to fascinate BY NIDHI DUGAR KUNDALIA

illustration: Satwik Gade

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He is depicted in most paintings sitting with the women of his zenana , hair curling down to his shoulders, wearing a rich brocade angrakha and sneakily exposing, in his signature style, the left nipple

than 300 in number. In his late teens, the prince’s first marriage was arranged to Begum Khas Mahal, who was a poet. In the better moments of their relationship, the king writes, they read poetry to each other. She became, in time, something of the head of the harem: enabling his polygamous arrangements, producing heirs to the throne, and gifting his courtesans clothes and jewellery.

Betrothed to slaves The prince had a remarkable fondness for women of dark skin at a time when pale skin was considered a sign of nobility. He married many women from the families of African slaves brought in by Arab traders. One of the brides was named Ajaib Khanum, which roughly translates to ‘bizarre woman’, perhaps

Notes from Barkagaon visual of the town’s agricultural economy, thanks to its several small rivers. In the morning, when sunlight is sharp and colours vivid, it is hard not to be charmed by this green valley surrounded by our own ‘high hills’. It was with a friend and a local guide that I climbed my first and so far the only hill in Barkagaon, the southern arm of Mahudi Pahar.



ocated about 25 kilometres from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand, Barkagaon was initially a myth to me. I was told that there existed in its forests a cave where it rained if you chanted ‘Barso Pani!’ A variation of this story had replaced the chanting with clapping of the hands. I was told that the entire region was surrounded by high hills and covered Trekking upstream with thick jungles in which it was im- With no road going up there, my possible to walk. Finally, I was told friend’s motorcycle was useless, so we that it was a dangerous place where parked it in a village and embarked militants hid in the woods waiting to upon a long trek. Essentially, we were shoot any outsider who dared to go following a river back to its origin. As the water flowed past us, we trekked there. The thing with myths is that you upstream, crossing boulders, forest, cannot reason with them. Barkagaon and altitudes. Throughout does have a cave in the trek, it felt the forest where like we were water, condensed walking inside a under the cold, calender with stony roof as drops, each leaf offering falls as rain due to to us a new landvibrations created scape. by sounds. It An hour and doesn’t really matseveral phototer whether you graphs later, we chant ‘Barso Pani’ getty images/ istockphoto arrived at the or whether you bed of a clap your hands— waterfall. though people With no road going It is here that sometimes do up there, my friend’s the river meanboth—for the drops dering over the often fall without motorcycle was hill makes a any external stimuuseless, so we parked steep drop to lus. The science create a pool of does its work, and it it in a village and water. Unfortucreates much awe nately, the among us visitors. embarked upon a stream was dry, Because most of long trek so nothing fell my storytellers from the cliff. Bewere plateau-dwelling bards with little experience of see- side the pool was a rock-cut cave, the ing a mountain as high as the Him- inscription on which said that it was alayas, their perception of ‘high hills’, visited in the seventeenth century by as I understood later, was rather un- Raja Dalel Singh of Ramgarh. Whether the cave too was created on his orders derwhelming too. Barkagaon is a valley town, and to is not yet known. After returning from the hill, we reach there, we descend from the plateau to the level of the rivers that flow stopped to look at the ruins of a temple which was indeed constructed below. by the king. It is called Shivgarh. Smaller quests Weeds and bushes surround its foundOnce we arrive, what we see behind us ation. A tree grows through its as hills are in fact the escarpment of shikhara. Here, my friend and I bid the plateau on which Hazaribagh is goodbye to our guide, and this time, located. My larger experience of trav- instead of a river, we traced our own elling in Barkagaon, therefore, has route back. Despite my many fatal been a series of smaller quests to un- wishes, we did not meet a militant in derstand everything that is fantastical the forest and were still alive. about it. Barkagaon is remarkably scenic, The Hufflepuff wizard is the author of and in some places painfully so. It is Painting That Red Circle White, his first bordered by hills on all sides. The poetry collection for muggles. He lives bowl of the valley is an expansive near a lake with lotuses and cormorants.

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Outram, he left with his many wives, including Khas Mahal. Begum Hazrat Mahal, of half-African descent, and undoubtedly his favourite wife, held fort in Lucknow. The Begum is famous for having spearheaded the 1857 mutiny against the British, holding fort for 10 months.

ascended the throne at a time when the East India Company was bent on seizing Awadh, “the garden, granary, and queen-province of India.” Under different circumstances perhaps, he might have succeeded as a ruler. He was considerate towards his subjects, besides being a patron of the arts, spending most of his annual income on music, dance and drama.

Marriages, menageries Twenty eight years later, impotent and embittered by his treatment by the British, but still full of joie de vivre, Shah continued spending his lavish income of ₹12 lakh on his many passions. Within a few years, a second Lucknow rose in Matiaburj—complete with durbar halls that hosted world-class performances and brought Kathak to its present-day glory. His backyard had a menagerie of giraffes, zebras, tigers and exotic birds. Marriages continued with as many good-looking and talented girls as he fancied, but he also divorced his older wives if their children, his sons, asked for an increase in their meagre allowances. The king divorced his first mutah wife, Mashuq Mahal, after 30 years of marriage. When this happened, she wrote “I ought not to be sacrificed at the shrine of my husband’s whims” and through the intervention of the British agent, Mowbray Thomson, managed to get a small pension for his divorced wives. The king’s descendants in Kolkata narrate stories they heard from their ancestors. I meet Shahenshah Mirza and his wife, Fatima, who belongs to the family of Khas Mahal and is a regular contributor of the royal family’s recipes in local newspapers. “The Nawab was a connoisseur of food. Once his chefs experimented with potatoes in his Luckowi biryani and he loved it. Aloo, since then, became a constant in the Kolkata biryani,” Fatima says with a chuckle. “Wajid Ali Shah’s character was complex,” says Mirza. “Though he was a man of pleasure, he was not a brute. Did you know he was teetotaller all his life? The paanwallahs in Matiaburj refuse to part with the photos of their revered Nawab. So it is unfortunate that he would finally find more pleasure in his zoo than in his massive harem of wives.”

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n his candid autobiography Ishqnama , the last Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah, writes about a particular afternoon. The Nawab writes, in Persian, that when he was sitting in his garden reading his poetry, he was so overwhelmed by it that he ripped his robes apart in a trance. With a mere loincloth around his waist, he smeared himself and his female companions with ash, pretending to be a yogi. As the evening approached, they reclined by a river, watching fireworks in the sky. There is no doubt that the erstwhile king was a hedonist, who enjoyed being surrounded by women and beauty. Known to be short and plump, he is depicted in most paintings at the State Museum in Lucknow sitting with the women of his zenana , hair curling down to his shoulders, wearing a rich brocade angrakha and sneakily exposing, in his signature style, the left nipple. In what must be one of history’s frankest memoirs, the eccentric Nawab describes sparkling vignettes from his early romances, painting a picture of himself as a dreamy figure irresistible to women. In the early chapters of his autobiography he recounts being molested by his female servant Rahiman when he was all of eight. Ameeran, another middle-aged maid, replaced her and exposed the young prince to ‘affairs of love’ and broken hearts. Soon after, the young prince found and lost love in his father’s palace, indulging in adultery every now and then, using his royal authority to whisk women away to deliver his babies in secret. At times, he chased beauty and at others, he found bright, talented women from the lower classes and no one dared to deny him. Shah’s marital and coital history lends an interesting facet to the man who was dismissed by the East India Company even before he ascended the throne in 1847. “The heir-apparent’s character holds out no promise of good,” complained John Shakespear, an East India Company bureaucrat. “By all accounts his temper is capricious and fickle, his days and nights are passed in the female apartments and he appears to have resigned himself to debauchery, dissipation and low pursuits.” Looming large in the account are Shah’s wives, rumoured to be more

The queens enticed him with perfumes and gifts, sometimes scarring themselves to gain his sympathy

for her alien features. And then there was Fizzah, the king’s African bodyguard. Shah was a Shi’a Muslim, which allowed him two types of marriages: nikah (permanent) and mutah (temporary) and both kinds of wives were to be taken into purdah soon after they conceived. The morganatic mutah wives could be Muslim, Christian or Jewish, but Sarfaraz Mahal, a Hindu by birth, was an exception. An illustration in Ishqnama depicts the king holding her hand, and in the other a sword with which he is about to tease her dupatta. A favourite wife for almost a decade, Sarfaraz Mahal converted to Islam after her marriage to Shah but divorced soon after. “Shah certainly married and di-

vorced a huge number of women,” Rosie Llewellyn Jones, author of The Last King in India , on the king’s life and times, tells me. “His attitude seemed to be that they were disposable once they had served their purpose. I’m not sure about the word ‘chauvinist’. But he liked women and seemed quite enchanted by them—just not the same woman though—he was very much a butterfly, flitting from one to the other. And I think this is how he liked to see himself.” The queens of the zenana waited with bated breath for the privileged company of the king, enticing him with aromatic pastes and perfumes on their bodies, hand-crafted gifts, and sometimes, as a desperate measure, scarring themselves to gain his sympathy. Eunuchs were employed to entertain them and sometimes the queens distracted each other with physical play behind the veiled quarters. Often, a wife, tired of the husband’s infidelities, would pick a fight, sometimes serious enough for the king to end the marriage. The Nawab was unfortunate to have

Culture club In the nine years of his reign, soon after he built his own palace at Qaiserbagh, Wajid Ali Shah made Lucknow a cultural centre. He staged the magnificent rahas (musicals) in a state-of art-theatre called Baradari. His dramas on Krishna’s love life were full of intense poetry. His own compositions were written under the pen-name ‘Akhtarpiya’. In dazzling Kathak performances, two of his favourite wives, Yasmin Pari and Hur Pari, often played the leading roles of milkmaids. One of his biggest contributions was the development of Pari Khana, a school for music and dance. In his book Musammi Ba Banni , Shah recorded that 180 female artists were employed in Pari Khana and were taught by instructors in a space heavily fortified by female sentinels skilled in martial arts and weapons. The central hall of the school, decorated with chandeliers, hosted famous musicians and dance masters such as Thakur Prasad and the Kalka-Binda brothers. If the king desired intimacy with any of the paris , he solemnised a mutah wedding. No less than 112 such marriages took place. Satyromania aside, the Nawab faithfully followed Islamic principles, for instance avoiding physical encounters during Ramadan, but it is no surprise that he contracted gonorrhoea and was impotent by 60. In February 1854, Shah was deposed by the British Resident for “dilettantism and neglect of official duties” and exiled to Matiaburj near Calcutta. After tearfully handing over his turban to Colonel

The writer, author of The Lost Generation: Chronicling India’s Dying Professions, digs coffee shop talks and pens them into stories for a living.

It’s a city, it’s a pig, it’s home Gurgaon bought me with its money, but I told myself I truly loved its chaos, its malls, and driving mindlessly down its streets BY NITIN CHAUDHARY


urgaon is like a pig that grows feeding on its own shit,” Anuj said the moment he spotted me. Not a hello, not a smile, just stark frustration. The space around us was dimly lit, like every other Gurgaon pub, trying to escape the harshness outside by turning a shade darker. Indecipherable pub music played in the background, and the chic crowd punctuated it with sinusoidal waves of laughter that lifted and crashed. Anuj and I were meeting after a whole year, following up on a ritual that we set eight years ago when I left Gurgaon to move to Sweden. “That’s quite a judgement, don’t you think?” I said, wiping the condensation off the glass of an iced drink. “Well, for you this must be exotic— the traffic, the dust, no parking space, and this mad rush. Not for those who live it every day.” I wanted to counteract, for I had spent years in Gurgaon, and I still loyally come back to the city and call it home even after having traded my dark blue passport for a burgundy one. I have experienced the abrasiveness of this city, and the venom it spits out carelessly. I have seen the city grow, and I have grown with it. For one reason or another, my history is conjoined with that of Gurgaon’s like a double helix chromosome. This shared history cannot be disposed with; there is no escaping, perhaps, for life. It is as if the city and I had struggled together in our formative years, and then like a selfish escapist, I had left it behind. Now I felt like owning up to it, calling it my home, despite the embarrassing urban monster it had become. This was too much to verbalise. So I kept quiet, letting Anuj settle down. I first came to Gurgaon in 2004, fresh from engineering college, for my first job in this upcoming metropolis. The ochre landscape, sparsely marked with a few high rises, carried a vacant look. The dust was still there, rising in whirlpools in the heat and spreading out on the new roads. What I distinctly remember from that time is the traffic, rather the lack of it. One could drive for kilometres without getting caught in a jam. Public transport was virtually nonexistent, and owning a motorcycle, if not a car, was a necessity.

Changing fortunes The once sleepy city became home to millions. There were only a few malls then, and free slots never seemed to run out in the underground parking lots. A product of the flat world, Gurgaon was a time machine. On one side were the malls and the futuristic buildings of multinational companies. On the other were the leftovers of bygone times—a world that refused to catch up with its other half. The two parts were cut by NH 8. The side of Gurgaon you lived in defined you. I lived on the correct side of the highway, the one tenanted by the outsiders who strove to make this their home. What made Gurgaon so attractive then? The opportunity offered by the multinationals. The pay packages offered were impossibly good, and even though I could not explain properly what I did at work to my once-a-nuclear-scientist father, I relished the perplexed nod he gave. Gurgaon offered an opportunity to tag along on its upward ride. I took the bite, and that was the start of our relationship: the city gave me a career and I gave it my hours and money, like a million others, strolling its malls aimlessly, sitting in its young

Friendships were

< > easy to forge in

Gurgaon. Everyone was an outsider and looked for company

Americanised coffee shops for hours, and mindlessly buying whatever the newly acquired money could get. As I settled down, the garishness of Gurgaon substituted the overpowering self-importance of Delhi where I had spent four years studying engineering. I had comfortable living space in Gurgaon, thanks to my father who spent his savings to buy a cheap three-bedroom apartment far from the shopping malls. Till date, this apartment has remained my home, my anchor in India.

Instant bonding Friendships were easy to forge. Everyone was an outsider and looked for company. The pubs that had begun to pop up like grocery stores offered a twisted relief. Gyrating to loud music, vomiting with excess drinking, spending a neat part of your salary every month in the psychedelically-lit rooms fast became a way of life for the rookies. One evening, in one such pub, I met Anuj from IIT-Bombay who had moved here to work for a consultancy firm. A common friend introduced us. Anuj was lonely. So I took it upon myself to show him the city. Only challenge? There was nothing to show in Gurgaon. A couple of years passed. I graduated to a car and found a girlfriend. So did Anuj. The fortunes of Gurgaon took a turn. The once sleepy city became home to millions. Land prices soared. Abruptly, the city meant

business, and with money, crime soared. One winter evening, Anuj called me. “They stole everything! And hit me with a rod,” he cried into the phone. I rushed to the decrepit hospital a rickshaw puller had taken him to. Anuj had been mugged in the ATM. That was my first encounter with crime. Gurgaon was no more the innocent city that had lucked out. It was fast becoming a monster with uncontrollable tentacles. Stories of crime became frequent. So did complaints about public transport, rising costs, the woeful infrastructure. Gurgaon struggled to become as important as Delhi, but without the bureaucratic shenanigans of its antediluvian counterpart. And it failed. Nothing improved. Gurgaon now seemed like an adolescent destined to do great things that had drifted into bad company. But I stood by, never disclaiming the city. Gurgaon had bought me long ago with its money. I told myself a different story though—that I truly loved the chaos that was this city and how easy it was to glide anonymously through its rippling entropy. I liked driving around on its roads for hours, or roaming the malls amidst a thousand others but still cocooned in myself, or sitting in a pub nursing a single drink. I loved the ease with which I, an introvert, could strike a conversation with a complete stranger. Everyone I met was an immigrant, just like me. I found in Gurgaon the unbarred edginess that I had always desired in my personality—it seemed as if adopting this city as home would give me the licence to claim its traits. When it was time to leave Gurgaon for Sweden, I told myself I would return in a year. Now, eight years later, although I have still not completely accepted that I will never come back, it has begun to sunk in that the city and I have parted ways. Anuj, despite hating Gurgaon, had managed to stick around. Now here we were, sitting in a bar nursing our drinks and chatting about life, work and traffic. Around us, Gurgaon pulsated, a living character in our stories, the stories of us millennials. The author is an adrenaline rush-seeking travel writer who lives in Malmo, Sweden, and hopes to travel the world in a boat. ND-X






Easy like Sunday morning


What pride is this sir? Respected Sir/Madam,


Say chaírete (hello!) to some facts from the Hellenic republic


The Greeks gave us democracy, philosophy, literary classics, mythology, theatre, architecture, and Thales of Miletus—the first individual in Western civilisation known to have entertained and engaged in scientific philosophy. A Greek whose name resounds in all medical academia even today is the one credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally, not because of superstition and gods. Who was this visionary physician from 2300 years ago? (pic right)


The first Greek tragedy was performed in 534 B.C. and was staged by a priest of Dionysus named Thespis. He also wrote and performed a part separate from the traditional tragic chorus, which also designated him as the first actor. What word denoting anything to do with theatre do we get from him?


The city of Rhodes is the most popular location for tourists in Greece. The city is famous for housing one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a gigantic 303-metretall statue of the god Helios, whose legs straddled the harbour. Unfortunately it was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 B.C. What was the name of the statue?


According to Greek mythology, Athena and Poseidon agreed that whoever gave the city the best gift would become guardian over the city. Though Poseidon gave the gift

of water, Athena’s gift was deemed by the other gods to be more valuable (apparently that’s why the capital is named after her). What gift did she give that plays an important role in Greek culture, economy, cuisine and history for more than 10,000 years?


Many Greek structures such as doors, windowsills, furniture, and church domes are painted a turquoise blue, especially in the Cyclades Islands. It is used because of an ancient belief that this shade of blue keeps evil away. What is this particular shade of blue known as?


The perfect sample of this cheese should be tangy, slightly salty, and mildly sour, with a spicy finish that recalls pepper and ginger, as well as a hint of sweetness. Homer describes its recipe in his ‘Odyssey’. Since 2002, this has been a protected designation of origin and only those cheeses produced in a traditional way in particular areas of Greece can be called this. What type of cheese is this?


One of the highest peaks in Europe also gives its name to the highest volcano in the Solar system (22 km tall, 2.5 times more than Everest on Earth). A protected biosphere, this has a hallowed place in Greek mythology. Derivatives of its name have been used by many companies and can even be used as a verb to signify ‘huge’. What is this amazing haven of biodiversity?

Wikimedia Commons


Egypt’s last independent pharaoh is one of the most brilliant and alluring figures of antiquity. A member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, the pharaoh was actually of Greek descent. The pharaoh’s name comes from Greek for ‘glory of the father’. Who is this ancient character who has been immortalised in popular culture?


Alphabet Inc. is the parent company of Google and it was named so because it was a top investment return (alpha-bet) and also one of humanity’s most important innovations—the collection of letters in any language. So how did the word ‘alphabet’ come into being?


This person first created history by setting a National record for the Greek swimming team at the age of 14. Quitting a Ph.D. in psychology in the U.S. midway he turned his attention to music, playing in a rock band called ‘Chameleon’. His

rise to fame came, however, due to a historic concert he performed in 1993 at the 1800-year-old Herodes Atticus theatre in Athens. This was the start of a string of concerts at heritage sites. As the quiz master’s mother says ‘his music brings many cultures together’. Who is this unique artist? A molecular biologist from Madurai, our quizmaster enjoys trivia and music, and is working on a rock ballad called ‘Coffee is a Drink, Kaapi is an Emotion’.

Answers 1. Hippocrates 2. Thespian 3. Colossus (from which we get the word ‘colossal’) 4. The Olive Tree 5. Cyan 6. Feta cheese 7. Olympus 8. Cleopatra 9. From the irst two letters of the Greek alphabet—‘Alpha + Beta’ 10. Yanni




Underwater treadmill


Can accelerate from 0.1 up to 8.5 miles per hour in order to simulate land-based environments


Endless rubberised treadmill belt for traction; can be used with bare feet or shoes



ast played the jack of hearts under West’s ace of hearts lead, but West couldn’t be sure who had the singleton. West shifted to the ace of clubs and East played the queen. This is a standard carding convention promising that East could win the next club as long as West had the king. Not wanting to lead another heart from his hand, West underled his king of clubs at trick three to East’s


nine. East returned his remaining heart, ruffed by South. Obviously, the contract depended on the diamond finesse, so declarer drew trumps in three rounds, ending in dummy. South led the queen of diamonds from dummy and was delighted when that held the trick. He triumphantly led another diamond to his 10, but was crestfallen when West showed out. The king of diamonds was right there where he needed it to be, but he had no way back to dummy for another diamond finesse. He had to concede a diamond for down one. South was certainly unlucky to find the diamonds splitting 4-1, but he could have timed it better. The eight of spades in dummy was an asset that he overlooked. South should have cashed the ace of spades and then led a low spade to dummy’s eight. A low diamond to his nine would work, and he could still return to dummy with the king of spades to run the queen of diamonds. Poor timing loses another contract. Will it never end?


Yours in exasperation, J. Mathrubootham

getty images/ istockphoto

Stainless steel frame for durability and safety

East-West vulnerable, South deals

ver since I took pension and retired from my senior position in a nationalised bank I have maintained a notebook with all the things that I find useless. Some of these items are as follows: cars and buses that make music while reversing, pillows provided by airlines which are totally useless but if you throw it away then air hostess will come and give look like Vallabhbhai Patel, security guards in parking place who do kathakali behind your car for 20 minutes and then ask for tip because suddenly I have forgotten reverse gear or what buffoon, LIC agents, any company that advertises itself as ‘now in India’, bloody fool who is forcing you, get out of my country, and also anybody who will say ‘let us agree to disagree uncle’ like some Abraham Lincoln and then spend 45 minutes arguing same nonsense, while I am sitting and thinking Guruvayoorappa! If stroke is not painful then give me one. Today I have added the latest item to this list: people who are proud of other people’s achievements. This morning I was returning home from the supermarket when I met Mrs. Shanmugham from upstairs. I have previously written to you about this woman. She saw me and immediately came running. (Sir, when will ladies stop running after Mr. Mathrubootham?) I urgently looked for a fast-moving bus to jump under but unfortunately she reached me first. Mr. Mathrubootham, did you hear the good news, she asked. Apparently the daughter of a lady who goes to her same yoga class has scored 95% or something in CBSE exam. And apparently this is a source of great celebrations in our locality. Sir/madam, what madness is this? Last month, Mrs. Mathrubootham suddenly felt a lot of pride because somebody from her native place ran some race in Australia where you have to run and then cycle and then swim like some prisoner who is escaping. First of all, there is no call taxi in Australia? Secondly, he is doing running and swimming and all and you are sitting here in the living room eating fryums and feeling a sense of achievement? My neighbour Dr. Shankaramenon is another one. As soon as anybody with a Malay-

ali type name becomes managing director, writes a novel, or something, he will say look what great thing my people have done, Germanium Chandy is the new CEO of BMW. Bloody fool, just because in Jambuvan time your families shared some mountain near Palakkad for three days means you will feel proud for him also? The worst example of this behaviour is Indian-origin drama. If some IndianAmerican fellow whose family migrated to New York during Mughal period wins some Nobel Prize in Physics, all the newspapers and TV channels will say oh what a great day for all Indians, this will show the world, let us celebrate as if we personally held the test tube when he poured uranium into it and discovered plutonium. Then they will call the poor fellow on the phone and he will say “Namaste but please stop bothering me, I am very busy, you people have nothing to do?” Then TV channels will say shut up scientist, you keep your fraud prize, stupid physics and nonsense America, learn some humility from great Indian scientists like C.V. Raman. Every single Indian is proud of C.V. Raman. Are NRI scientists anti-nationals? Should we ban science? Find out at 9 PM. Sir/madam, I am fed up of this kind of behaviour. Wherever I look people are avoiding any hard work and waiting for other people to do something so that they can feel proud. Useless fellows. Do something yourself and feel proud properly no? No.

Depth-adjustable treadmill floors

Resistance therapy jets and massage hose for deep-tissue massage



he underwater treadmill has made its rounds on the internet as any new fad does, drawing gasps at either the slight absurdity of the idea or at the price the said idea is tagged at. What makes Hydroworx 300 a sly thing though is that it isn’t a new idea, not by a long shot. It’s something we know well (a treadmill), packaged into a sleek contraption that works in a new medium (water). Conducting therapy in water has its advantages. The buoyancy of water takes the pressure of body weight away from the joints, lending greater control over movement and lessening the pain. When chestdeep in water, the body can feel 80% lighter; the joints are relaxed, strength and flexibility are boosted. Not to mention,

aquatic therapy works for all ages—from young athletes with their training schedules to Mr. Mathrubootham in the top right corner of this page, with his joint pains. The underwater treadmill can be easily adapted to those using it. For athletes, it mimics a land-based environment while reducing the stress of body weight. For older adults with chronic body pain, relief can be found in water and the body can be slowly healed. Unfortunately, however, I find myself in neither the athletic category (in fact, I find myself very far from that category) nor am I an ‘older adult’, at least not by physical age. Therefore, with no Hydroworx 300 at my disposal, I suppose I must resign myself to watching from a pool chair or—and this is more likely—on a screen from the comfort of my couch.

Across 1 Planet with hot swamp (5) 4 Shame about getting into argument (9) 9 Film with power, receiving Oscar simply? Not quite (9) 10 Crest belonging to florid gentleman (5) 11 Cordial informer with criminal organisation sacrificing leader (7) 12 Run and play around old platform (7) 13 Item Marx hoped to change, creating incongruous image (5,8) 16 Small high-pitched sound with purpose by bird, not left in tree (7,6) 20 Apparatus used in circus trick with energy, with zest? Not half (7) 22 State one name connected with Roman goddess (7) 23 Frequent search covering area (5) 24 Excessive in scheming in servile style (9) 25 Leave King Edward in charge (9) 26 Delusion caused by fear with time running out (5)

survive (5,3,7) 8 Always remove terribly extreme pieces of ridicule (8) 14 Exclude select group outside main ground (9) 15 Nervous movements from sorceress in endless trial (8) 17 Passivity at home? It rises during time (7) 18 Opponent of innovation, endlessly dreary, upset over new diet (7) 19 Brief film carrying weight (6) 21 Relieved, having finished getting rid of cold (5)

Solution No. 2945

Down 1 Recall opening of event in 2000 poorly, forgetting odd parts (6) 2 Marsupial, fully grown, retaining composure in comfortable warmth (4,11) 3 Cry of triumph, careless about condition in capital of province (7) 4 Fiercely competitive dad got excited, keeping self-esteem up (3-3-3) 5 Instrument among prizes I target (5) 6 Regret capsizing when beginning to inspect a land mass (7) 7 Out of sorts, hurt, need to change and CM YK


june 4, 2017


Section Google to pay up to $200,000 to hunt for Android bugs

A low-down on ive stocks that didn’t measure up

What home buyers must know about Real Estate Regulatory Act

Indian ishermen try new nets for healthier ocean

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Printed at . C he n n ai . C oi m bator e . B e n g a lu ru . Hy d erabad . Madurai . N o i da . Visakhapatnam . Thiruvananthapuram . Ko c h i . V i j ayawada . M a n g a lu ru . Tiruchirapalli . Ko l k ata . H ub b a l l i . M o h a l i . Malappuram . Mumbai . T i ru pati . luc k n ow


Tribal communities in Odisha are speaking up to save their dialects Fearing that extinction of mother tongue would sound the death knell for their identities, people take ownership of languages Satyasundar Barik BHUBANESWAR

From plastic bottles to a mattress COIMBATORE

At a time when plastic water bottles pose an environmental problem in every city, what if these can be recycled and used in textiles? Precisely what PET bottle recycling plants in the country are doing. They produce ‘recycled ibre’ from waste bottles and send it to powerloom weaving clusters, which use it in textiles and non-woven fabrics like mattresses and quilts. NEWS 쑺 PAGE 2 DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Flying car may light the Olympic lame in 2020 TOYOTA CITY

Engineers, backed by Toyota Motor Corp, demonstrated their lying car on Saturday, which they hope will light the Olympic lame for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. A group of 30 engineers started developing ‘SkyDrive’ in 2014 with crowdfunding. LIFE

쑺 PAGE 14

In dozens of nondescript tribal villages in Odisha’s Rayagada district, every time a woman of the Saura tribe cooks rice for the family, she puts aside a handful of raw rice, which is collected for a community fund from which ‘special’ teachers draw their paltry remuneration. What do these teachers do? They teach Sora, the fading dialect of the tribe, to the young of the community. “Handfuls of rice contributed by womenfolk is not enough when we confront the gigantic task of saving the Sora dialect. But with this, we ensure ownership of the community in preserving our language,” says Krushna Sabar, secretary of the Malar Mandir Vigyan Selum (MMVS), a Ramanagudabased cultural forum that runs 30 informal schools to impart language learning. Mr. Sabar has spent 15 years developing software for the Sora script. Hundreds of kilometres away, in the Kuanrmunda

enga (population of 9,445) people speak their mother tongue. Small numbers of Didayi tribals residing in 17 hilltop villages in the Malakangiri district know the language. Less than 1% of the 8,88,581 Gonds, who constitute the second largest tribal community after the Santhals, can speak Gondi, their language. “Odia, English and Hindi are State-promoted languages and a tribal student does not want to be left behind as these languages help him get mainstreamed into the development process,” says the ATLC researcher.

and Lathikata blocks of Sundargarh district, every Thursday, elders of the Oraon tribe make it a point to converse with younger members in Kurux, their mother language. “Communities are apprehensive that the extinction of their dialects would sound the death knell for their ethnic identities,” says Parmanand Patel, a lead researcher with the government-run Academy of Tribal Languages and Culture (ATLC) in Bhubaneswar. The Saura, Oraon and


Food for thought: Children of the Tala Nagada village eating free food at an informal teaching centre being run by a voluntary organisation. BISWARANJAN ROUT *

Bhumija communities recently sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking inclusion of their languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, which the PMO forwarded to the State government. The Odisha government has also been receiving petitions from Gram Sabhas for the inclusion of different dialects in the Eighth Schedule. Community leaders of five tribes

— Munda, Bhumija, Koya, Khadia and Oraon — have developed the script for their respective dialects.

Home to 62 tribes Odisha has one of the most diverse tribal populations in India, with 62 tribes, including 13 primitive tribes, residing in the State. They speak 72 mother tongues broadly grouped into 38 languages,

19 of which are nearly extinct. Only four tribal languages here — Santhali, Ho, Sora and Kui Lipi — have a written script. Santhali has already been included in the Eighth Schedule and the Odisha government has recommended Ho be included as well. In the Gadaba tribe, with a population of 84,689 (2011 Census) in two blocks of the Koraput district, very

few can speak their mother tongue Gutab. Researchers apprehend its speakers will be halved over the next 10 years. Most members of this tribe now speak either Odia or Desia, another dominant tribal dialect of the region. The purity of Gta, the language of the Didayi tribe (population of 8,890 as per the 2011 Census) is almost gone, and barely 100 Par-

Television effect Tribal dialects began fading more rapidly after Direct-toHome televisions gained popularity even in forested tribal areas, fetching avid viewership for soap operas in languages that were once alien to the region. In some instances, young tribals are now embarrassed to be seen speaking their mother tongues in public. Experts feel that a strong

community-driven movement can help tribal dialects survive. The Santhali language — now a medium of education in 550 primary schools — has been revived in large areas of Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj after the Santhal community made consistent efforts to save it. The State government adopted the Multi-Lingual Education (MLE) programme in 2006, in which the mother tongue of tribal children is used as the medium of instruction for five years of primary education. Of the 24 tribal languages included in MLE, primers (primary learning materials) have been developed for 21 languages so far. In the primers, the Odia script is followed for tribal dialects. Odisha has appointed 3,385 tribal language teachers for the MLE programme. In another initiative, the State has started preparing dictionaries for 20 tribal languages. It is hoped that as the community-driven efforts take root, the withering of tribal dialects can be prevented.




Lt. Colonel arrested as CBI busts Army postings racket Oicers, middleman arranged transfers for illegal payments via hawala operators requested Kohli to pursue the posting of one D.S.R.K. Reddy, currently in Bengaluru, and Mr. Subhas, under transfer to Porbandar from Bengaluru, on payment of illegal gratification. Both wanted transfer to Secunderabed or Vizag. Kohli allegedly contacted Lt. Col. Moni.

Special Correspondent NEW DELHI

Tasty treat: A man prepares vermicelli in a factory at Malakpet in Old City, Hyderabad. Vermicelli is consumed during the Muslim holy month of Ramzan. G. RAMAKRISHNA *

Four jawans scale Everest without oxygen support PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

12 years on, ighter pilot pins hopes on SC for relief Injured in MiG-21 crash, he wants compensation from HAL

The CBI has busted a racket in fixing postings and transfers of civilian officials working with the Army. The agency has arrested Lieutenant Colonel Ranganathan Suvramani Moni and a middleman Gaurav Kohli in connection with the racket. Among those named in the FIR are two other Army officers — Purushottam, earlier posted in Kakinara, and S. Subhas. The name of DDG Personnel, Army HQ, Brigadier S.K. Grover, and others have also cropped up during investigations.

Held with money Acting on a tip-off, the CBI laid a trap and arrested Lt. Col. Moni when ₹2 lakh was allegedly being delivered at his residence. The co-accused was also arrested. The duo were produced before a CBI court here

Hot seats: Postings in Military Engineering Services are much in demand allegedly due to the lucrative contracts they handle. Photo for representative purpose only. which granted the agency four-day custody. According to sources, Lt. Col. Moni was posted in the Director General (Personnel) branch of the Military Engineering Services (MES). The branch looks after the posting of about 2,500 class I civilian officers who work with the MES. According to Army insiders, these civilian post-

ings are much sought after because of the lucrative engineering contracts they handle. In the department under DG (Personnel) looking after the civilian postings, Brigadier Grover and Lt. Col. Moni are the only Army officers, rest being civilians. The CBI said it received information that Purushottam

Meet with officers Through a Hyderabad-based hawala operator, with the help of Purushottam, Subhas allegedly delivered ₹5 lakh as bribe to Kohli, who held a meeting with Lt. Col. Moni and other senior officers at the Army headquarters. The CBI FIR says the Lt. Col. was in contact with Brig. Grover for the transfer of Subhas. During searches in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram, the agency had seized ₹10 lakh in cash and documents.


A team of four Indian Army jawans successfully climbed Mt. Everest without using oxygen cylinders, the first team to scale the world’s highest peak without supplementary oxygen. The four climbers are Kunchok Tenda, Kelshang Dorjee Bhutia, Kalden Panjur and Sonam Phuntsok. Of the total of 14 members of the team, Urgyen Topgye, Ngwang Gelek and Karma Zopa successfully climbed Mt. Everest with the support of supplementary oxygen. “We had formed a team of 10 to scale the Everest without using oxygen cylinder, and succeeded in sending four members to the top of the world without oxygen,” Col. Vishal Dubey, leader of Snow Lion Everest Expedition 2017, told PTI. This was for the first time that any team had attempted to climb the Everest without supplementary oxygen, he added. More than 4,000 people have so far climbed the 8,848-metre peak, and only 187 of them have done this without oxygen on an individual basis. Six Sherpa guides of the expedition also reached the top with supplement oxygen. CM

that of risk, this danger cannot be the result of negligence. “A soldier or officer’s honour and dignity is as much a part of his right to life; it is to be respected just as much, if not more, for the reason that it is offered unhesitatingly and fully in defending the borders of the nation,” the High Court said.

Krishnadas Rajagopal NEW DELHI

Twelve years ago, Wing Commander Sanjeet Singh Kaila did not know that a routine training sortie in a MiG-21 would be his last run as a fighter pilot for the Indian Air Force. On January 4, 2005, minutes after take-off, his MiG burst into flames. All attempts by him to save the aircraft failed. After having steered the burning craft away from habited areas, he bailed out seconds before the aircraft crashed over the Nal Airbase in Rajasthan. Mr. Kaila sustained injuries that left him in severe pain from a condition called Cervicalgia that also rendered him permanently unfit to fly fighters or helicopters and changed the course of his career. He is now the commanding officer of an National Cadet Corps (NCC) unit. Given the nature of his injuries, he was not eligible for insurance either. Today, Mr. Kaila is engaged in a different fight of sorts, with his employer, the Union of India and the aircraft’s manufacturer — Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Through information painstakingly procured through the Right to Information Act, on the IAF’s internal probe into the crash,

On January 4, 2005, minutes after take-of, Sanjeet Singh Kaila’s MiG burst into lames.

Mr. Kaila claimed before the Delhi High Court that the accident was caused by “poor workmanship on the part of HAL, resulting in a fatigue crack, fatal to the aircraft.” He argued that the lack of airworthiness of the aircraft, induced by purely human factors, resulted in violation of his right to life under Article 21, more specifically, his right to work in a safe environment. He told the court that he wanted compensation and an apology from the Union government and HAL. In a judgment on May 2, a Division Bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma agreed with Mr. Kaila that he was placed in a situation of unreasonable risk. The court observed that though a soldier’s life is

Compensation ordered The High Court ordered the Union government to compensate Mr. Kaila ₹5 lakh for the “trauma he underwent and for non-disclosure of relevant information relating to an unsafe workplace”. It further held HAL liable to pay him ₹50 lakh. However, Mr. Kaila’s case suffered a reversal on May 23 when a Supreme Court Vacation Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Navin Sinha stayed the High Court decision until further orders. In no mood to give up, Mr. Kaila on Friday approached the Supreme Court with a plea to lift the interim stay. This time, a different Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices M.M. Shantanagoudar and Deepak Gupta agreed to post the plea with the main case on July 17 before the appropriate Bench.


Green birthdays cut the cake out In ive Karnataka districts, students opt for saplings to save the environment planted it and giving awards to children who cared for their saplings. An audit last year showed 68% of the 4,600 saplings planted in 2015 and 2016 had survived.

Tanu Kulkarni Chickballapur

It is total commitment to the cause, even on birthdays. Rahul J., who turned five on March 29, cut a watermelon instead of a cake and spent the money that his parents had kept for a celebration on planting and maintaining a butter fruit sapling. “I water the plant everyday,” he says. He is not the only one. Hundreds of school children in the districts of Kolar, Chickballapur, Ramanagar, Bengaluru (Rural) and Bengaluru (Urban) are on a tree-planting mission. Like Rahul, they choose a birthday fruit over a birthday cake.

Led by youth Their green movement was born out of the campaign launched by a group of youngsters from the Chalakayalaparthy village, about 70 km from Bengaluru to fight depleting water, illegal sand mining and deforestation. A group of five youth led by Gangadhara N. Reddy,

The treekeepers: At an Environment Day event, 101 saplings were planted by the Usirigaagi Hasiru group in a school in Sarjapur, Bengaluru. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *

guest faculty at Bangalore University, got together on Republic Day in 2015 and decided to plant 26 saplings. Their mission: afforestation on barren government land, schools and colleges and creating a sense of ownership in local community. When they needed more hands, they tapped government school students. Two years later, the group, which is called Usirigaagi Hasiru (Life for greenery)

has over a thousand volunteers, all school and college students, across five districts of Karnataka. They have over 4,600 saplings to their credit. “We wanted to think long term. The children should not just get excited and plant a sapling, but follow up and nurture it,” Gangadhara says, explaining the group’s approach. The answer was innovation: Naming a sapling after the child who

Vacation visits The headmaster of government lower primary school, Dinnemelinahalli, in Gudibande taluk of Chickballapur, Manjunath N., says, “Students even visit the school during vacations to water their plants. Also, there is no compound wall but over 50% of the saplings have survived.” Grazing land at Chalakayalaparthy now has 800 saplings of jamun, cashew, banyan, silver oak, cherry, neem and sampige trees. “This is where it all began,” he says. They started planting over two years ago, to stop encroachment of the commons. Today, the group, which also runs a plant nursery to raise funds, spends ₹3,000 every fortnight to water the plants. B ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Plastic bottles turn mattresses, quilts & much more A thriving industry with a growing demand helps turn scrap into garments that are environment-friendly and easy on the pocket

Maneka Gandhi to undergo surgery LUCKNOW

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, who has been diagnosed with gallstones, will undergo surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the next few days, her son and BJP MP Varun Gandhi said. “I thank everyone for their prayers,” he tweeted on Saturday. PTI

Police jeep tries to save cow, kills woman in U.P.

Total transformation: PET bottles, left, are shredded and turned into polyester ibre, centre, which are used in the manufacture of a wide range of textiles and other items.




A woman was killed and three people, including her grandchildren, were injured on Saturday when they were hit by a police jeep, which lost control while trying to avoid a cow. The incident took place in the Harriya township of Balrampur district in Uttar Pradesh. Usha Devi, 60, died on the spot. A case was filed against the driver. PTI

Villagers lynch woman in Odisha BARIPADA

An unidentified woman in her mid-forties was lynched by a mob, who suspected her to be a child lifter, at Domuhani in Mayurbhanj district on Saturday. The villagers had tied her to a tree on Friday night. When she tried to escape the next day, they threw stones and beat her with lathis resulting in her death, the police said. PTI

Woman ends life after son commits suicide PATIALA

The mother of an engineering graduate, who committed suicide two days ago after explosives were recovered from his house, has also ended her life, police said on Saturday. Kiranjit Kaur allegedly hanged herself. Her husband, Harpreet Singh, has been arrested in connection with the recovery of the explosives. PTI

M. Soundariya Preetha COIMBATORE

When Latha throws away used plastic water bottles every week, she is only clearing waste at home. Thirumalaisamy, a conservancy worker with the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation, collects garbage door-todoor and earns ₹5 for 35-40 waste PET bottles, adding up to about a kilo, by selling them to the neighbourhood scrap dealer. Neither has a clue where the discarded bottles go afterwards. About 45 km from Coimbatore, at Tirupur, S. Krishna Kumar needs 55 lakh bottles a day for his PET bottle recycling plant. He buys it from large scrap dealers in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, paying ₹40 to ₹43 for a kilo waste plastic bottles. At the recycling plant, these bottles pass through conveyor belts, filtration tanks and dryers to be sorted, crushed, cleaned, coloured and turned into PET fibre. This recycled polyester fibre is mixed with fibre from hosiery waste, spun into yarn and supplied to power loom weaving clusters not just in Tamil Nadu but across the country. When it is not mixed with hosiery waste fibre, it is used to make mattresses, cushions, quilts and non-woven fabrics.

Spinning momentum B.P. Sultania, president of the All India Recycled Fibre and Yarns Association, says around 35 companies in India recycle PET bottles, producing 50,000 tonnes of recycled fibre a month. This equals almost 50% of the virgin polyester produced in the country. Though Mr. Sultania started his unit in 1996, it was only after 2006 that the industry gained momentum. “This is because of better awareness and technology, and more applications for recycled fibre,” he says. The applications for recycled fibre can, in fact, improve further as technology gets better. Tamil Nadu has two PET recycling plants, one each in Tirupur and Karur, and most




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mostly for low-price products. Demand for recycled fibre yarn is high now from power loom clusters in the northern States too, he adds. At Chennimalai, a major powerloom cluster located nearly 85 km from Coimbatore, 98% of the cone yarn used is recycled fibre yarn, says K.C. Chandrasekaran, who has been in the textile industry since 1981. Selvam, a weaver in Chennimalai, says, “Earlier, we used to get yarn from the merchants and send it for dyeing. It would take two or three weeks. Now, we get coloured yarn. We are able to save ₹10 for a kilo of yarn. There are 16 to 18 colours. It goes straight into weaving. There are no knots in the yarn and so there is a smooth finish in the bedsheets.”

Thanks to the textile industry ecosystem in Tamil Nadu — including the availability of recycled fibre, and the presence of a large number of hosiery units in Tirupur and spinning mills in the western districts — the use of recycled fibre is becoming popular, whether for lungis made in Bhavani, the bedsheets of Chennimalai, the towels of Salem or the kitchen linen of Karur. Approximately 8 to 12 bottles go into the making of a garment, a mattress needs about 120 bottles.


of the 450 open-end spinning mills in the State have begun using recycled fibre. Open-end spinning mills normally buy waste cotton from textile mills for raw material and supply yarn to power loom clusters that make bedsheets, towels, lungis, home furnishing and mops. Now, their use of recycled fibre is on the rise. According to G. Arulmozhi, whose mill in Coimbatore uses both recycled


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fibre and waste cotton, the trend has picked up in the last four years. About 10% to 20% of yarn spun by the open-end spinning mills in the State are made out of recycled fibre (a mix of recycled PET fibre and hosiery waste fibre).

Better production “We generally buy cotton waste from textile mills and use it as raw material. The yarn manufactured by our

units is used in powerloom clusters. But issues such as increase in the price of cotton and fluctuations in the availability of waste cotton made us look at options. The use of recycled fibre instead of 100% cotton waste results in better price and production,” Mr. Arulmozhi says. The absorption quality is still good in products such as towels since hosiery waste fibre is used in them. The recycled fibre yarn is used



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The cost factor “We save on the cost involved in labour, dyeing, the transport for dyeing and also time,” Suresh, another weaver at Melapalayam, says. Productivity is therefore higher, products are available at relatively lower prices, and the demand has not tapered, which indicates the products are accepted by consumers, say the weavers. Annasagaram in Dharmapuri district used to have 1,000 looms weaving

small towels. The number of looms had fallen to about 500 because of challenges such as labour shortage and problems in dyeing the yarn. Now, there is a revival and there are about 3,000 functioning looms as the use of recycled fibre yarn has increased, says Mr. Chandrasekaran.

Some knotty problems Nevertheless, there are challenges. The recycling sector needs to be sustainable, say industry sources. While caps are recycled into plastic pellets, the labels removed from the bottles remain waste. Western countries adopt Global Recycle Standards and garments made out of 100% recycled fibre are sold as sustainable products. The bottles are supplied by the unorganised sector. “It is very difficult to get adequate quantities of PET bottles during winter. The government does not permit the import of waste PET bottles,” says Mr. Krishnakumar. “Except for the special excise duty on recycled fibre, there is no support from the government,” says Mr. Sultania. Mr. Chandrasekaran too hopes the environmentfriendly recycled fibre will be encouraged by the government with concessions.

TELUGU BALIJANAIDU (ONLYSON) 27/180 BE(CSC)Sr.SWE MNC Tivo/B’lore− 18Lakhs p.a. 9345615251 / 0452− 4392299


PARENTS OF Spinster 46/165 Ex−Lecturer, Bachelor 44/173 IT MNC REDDY CHENNAI 26/178 MTech−Engg− seeks alliances from Tamil Chrisfamilies. Email: 12Lacs pa 30Cr seeks any graduate tian [email protected] 9385599077 / 9848197222

REDDY 40, 170, USA, 200K Harvard MARRIAGE BUREAU Educated Professor seeks good looking Bride below 34. Cell: 100TH YR Celebration Offer Regis08106326172 ter @ All India Naidu Sangam Take suitable alliances freely. 7845089089 NAIDU, 28/180, H.some, B.Tech, Industrialist,100Cr,Elite Fmly, Seeks any graduate, 7358378866, 8056091059

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IYER BOY Vadoola Moolam−2, 38/180 BRAHMIN 34 SWE 18L P/A seeks fair CA,ICWA,ACS MNC 20L p.a Seeks suit- good looking girl, 25−26 age. CT: able Bride. 9884398109 / 044 88703 68813, 98427 32400 24511943


TELUGU BRAHMIN,M.ENG age: 33,180cm, KAMMA NAIDU 33/190 Poosam BE MBA S/ Employed in Germany Contact:044− W Engineer USA Seeks Suitable 22384753/09940340512 Bride 9444550954 / vawed01@ gmail.com CHATTADHA SRI vaishnava, age 42, Dental Surgeon Seeking for qualified bride from decent family background(cast nobar).ct:9894027878 BALIJA CHENNAI Aswini BSc 37/165 Manager MNC 8L pa Own Flat seek any degree Subsects ok 044− 23780525/ 9444410325/ [email protected] BALIJA 27/170 fair goodlooking BE working (8L/pa) seeks professional bride from upper middle class. Dr. 9840832233/ chayasuresh59@ gmail.com 24 MANAI Chettiyar 8 House Groom 27yrs/163cm Thiruvoonam/ Maharam BE Working in Chennai. Seeks Suitable educated employed Bride 09940563792 REDDY 26 , B. Tech,MS(USA),Magam,working in USA, seeks bride studying/working in USA, Contact 09444898545

THIRUVATHIRAI 27/183 wheatish MBA, PG Dip HR Sr.Exec Seeks Balija Naidu Employed Brides prefd IYER VADAMA Srivatsam Kettai 35/ 9444649369 170 BE PGDBA Working in MNC Coimbatore seeks Suitable Bride Sub- V.ARUNPRAKASH, MBA, Age 32, Kamsect No bar Ct: 044−26792322 / mavar Naidu, Raagu Kethu, Own busi9600068422 ness, expected degree holder. 8940763063 DIVORCED IYENGAR 33, Uthiram MNC seeks alliance. raghavsri12@ BALIJA CHENNAI well settled 30/170 12LPA SWE MNC B’lore seeks eductd, gmail.com good fly Subsect no bar. 9789009576 TAMIL IYER Bharadhwaja Avittam II 41/175 BE/Chennai/SR.Manager MNC TIRUPUR NAIDU Boy 29/178 B.Tech Divorcee/issueless seek issueless (Auto) Rich family, Own Business Brahmin Bride(Divorcee,Widows) In- Seek Bride from Naidu (any subsect) IYER VADAMA/ Haridha Godhram,28/ dia/Abroad: srinivk@ , Chennai, Andhrapradesh. Ct 183 Fair, Maham, ME.,Ph.D.,(IIT) ymail.com/09962063331 9444038472 working as Post Doctoral Research Fellow in NTU,Singapore,Carnatic Musician,Violinist seeks educated IYER VADAMAL Shadamaruzhanam Ashwi- KAMMA(CHENNAI) 28/168/200Cr MD−DocAgamudayar Thevar 26 B.E, MS, USA MUDALIAR HANDSOME 29/172 BE,MBA Iyer Bride below 27years employed ni 28/168 BE,seeks suitable bride; tor seek any Graduate from decent friendly family 9383999999/ Working in USA Seeks Bride CT− Deputy Bank Manager/Chennai seeks or unemployed from Good Family. [email protected] min graduate 9842801111/9380474999 Ct:09244228280 9842314444 9944138962 9080303055 B.TECH MS. Thanjavur Thamizh Naithriba Kasyapa Gothram Sadayam Vadama October 1983 employed in Chennai living with parents, own flat with car, legally separated (no issues) seek homemaker brahmin from reasonably traditionally brought−up nonworking girl preferably thamizh speaking family religiously inclined(widow/divorcee please excuse). All details with recent photo.Contact: postbox seven, Chennai−600 053. Email: [email protected]






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



12 killed in Kabul funeral bombings No outit claims responsibility for explosions; protesters demand President Ghani’s resignation Reuters Agence France-Presse KABUL

Mattis reassures allies as U.S. turns to China SINGAPORE

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis moved to reassure Asian allies on Saturday that the U.S. can work with China on reining in North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme without compromising its opposition to Beijing’s continued “militarisation” of the South China Sea. AFP

German rock fest to go ahead after terror scare BERLIN

Germany’s biggest rock festival will resume after being disrupted by fears of a possible “terrorist threat” which have proved to be unfounded, the organisers said on Saturday. Police said searches at the three-day “Rock am Ring”, held near the Koblenz were over. Some 90,000 people are expected to attend the event. AFP

‘U.S. strikes on IS killed 484 civilians in Syria, Iraq’ WASHINGTON

Attacks on Islamic State group targets by US-led coalition forces have killed 484 civilians since mid-2014, the U.S. military reported on Friday. The Operation Inherent Resolve coalition added 132 civilians to the total in its April report. The total reported was still far short of what NGOs estimate for civilian deaths. AFP

Divided Malta votes amid graft charges VALLETTA

Maltese voters cast their ballots on Saturday in a general election called against a backdrop of corruption allegations that have cast a cloud over Joseph Muscat’s government. Final opinion polls pointed to Muscat’s Labour Party retaining power with a reduced majority. AFP


A series of blasts in Kabul on Saturday killed at least 12 people at a funeral for one of the victims of clashes between police and protesters a day before, continuing a wave of violence in the capital since this week’s mass truck bomb. Two witnesses at the scene of the funeral said at least 12 people had been killed. Tolo News TV and other Afghan media reported a toll as high as 18. A further 18 people were reported to have been wounded.

Govt. official unhurt Government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah was at the funeral but was unharmed, a statement from his office said. Several senior security officials had been wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The Taliban, which has often car-

ried out bomb attacks in the past, issued a swift denial that it had any role and instead blamed factional rivalries in the government’s own camp, the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. Witnesses reported three blasts at the burial site of Salim Ezadyar, the son of an Afghan Senator, who was among four people killed on Friday when the protest degenerated into street clashes with police. Hundreds of demonstrators calling for President Ashraf Ghani to step down clashed with police on Friday, prompting officials to beat them back with live rounds in the air, tear gas and water cannon.

Voicing concerns The protesters were voicing anger over the truck bombing on Wednesday in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter that killed 90 people and wounded hundreds, the deadliest attack in the city

Pak. cracks down on terror funding Freezes accounts of 5,000 ‘terrorists’ Associated Press ISLAMABAD

Rising violence: Relatives examine the belongings of victims at the blast site at Badam Bagh in Kabul on Saturday. AFP *

since 2001. Before the blasts at the funeral, authorities had sealed off roads in the centre of the city, citing the threat of new attacks on large gatherings of people. “We have intelligence reports that our enemies are trying again to carry out attacks on gatherings and

demonstrations,” Kabul garrison commander Gul Nabi Ahmadzai said earlier Saturday. “We hope that people will stay away from protests.” But dozens of people still gathered on Saturday under a tent close to the presidential palace calling for Mr. Ghani’s government to resign,

but the assembly was largely peaceful. “Any government attempt to disrupt our fair and just demonstration will show their complicity with terrorist groups and the perpetrators of Wednesday’s attack,” said Asif Ashna, a spokesman for the protesters.

Pakistan has frozen the accounts of 5,000 suspected terrorists, taking about $3 million out of their pockets, but Islamabad could still come under scrutiny at a crucial June meeting of an international watchdog that tracks terror financing. Analysts and government officials say political footdragging and sympathetic supporters throughout Pakistan makes it difficult to cut off the money supply to banned terrorist groups. Next month in Spain, the Financial Action Task Force will update its assessment of “high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions,” Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel of the task force’s communications department said in an email. The 35-nation intergovernmental organisation was

formed in 1989 to combat money laundering. After 9/11, it also took on the role of fighting the financing of terrorism. Getting on the task force’s “black list” could hurt a country’s ability to borrow, if its banking system is considered a money laundering haven.

Exempted from scrutiny In 2015, Pakistan was exempted from scrutiny after a similar session applauded the country’s progress in tackling both money laundering and terrorist financing. “The government has to find a way to completely ban individuals and groups (suspected of terrorist activity) from operating. This is the only way,” said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Islamabadbased Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

Probe into Russia links deepens Sri Lanka to act against Special counsel’s investigation into Trump associates to expand Associated Press Washington

The special counsel investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia’s government has taken over a separate criminal probe involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and may expand his inquiry to investigate the roles of the attorney general and deputy attorney general in the firing of FBI Director James Comey, The Associated Press has learned. The Justice Department’s criminal investigation into Mr. Manafort, who was forced to resign as Trump campaign chairman in August amid questions over his business dealings years ago

Paul Manafort in Ukraine, predated the 2016 election and the counter-intelligence probe that in July began investigating possible collusion between Moscow and associates of Mr. Trump. The move to consolidate the matters, involving allegations of misuse of Ukrainian

government funds, indicates that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is assuming a broad mandate in his new role running the sensational investigation. No one familiar with the matter has been willing to discuss the scope of his investigation on the record because it is just getting under way and because revealing details could complicate its progress. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein acknowledged that Mr. Mueller could expand his inquiry to include Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ and Mr. Rosenstein’s own roles in the decision to fire Mr. Comey, who was investigating the Trump campaign.

When asked whether Mr. Mueller’s investigation could expand to include examining Mr. Sessions’ role, Mr. Rosenstein said, “The order is pretty clear. It gives him authority for the investigation and anything arising out of that investigation, and so Director Mueller will be responsible in the first instance for determining what he believes falls into that mandate.”

Putin on poll hacking Meanwhile, in Moscow President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying by NBC News, American hackers could have planted false evidence that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election.

companies over deaths Unauthorised constructions blamed for looding, landslides Agence France-Presse Colombo

Sri Lanka announced plans on Saturday to prosecute a slew of companies and individuals behind illegal construction projects blamed for landslides and flooding that have killed at least 211 people following heavy monsoon rain last week. The Urban Development Ministry said they will press criminal charges against those illegally occupying marshlands earmarked to absorb flood waters and structures blocking canals and storm drains. “Much of the destruction was due to

people building on mountain slopes after cutting down trees and blocking waterways,” a Ministry spokesman said.

Proceedings on Monday Prosecutors will kick off proceedings Monday in Colombo on 18 individuals and companies, he said, as authorities prepare to launch a nationwide campaign to remove illegal structures. There are some 10,000 unauthorised structures in the capital alone, according to the spokesman. Decades of illegal con-

struction have worsened the flooding by blocking drains and eliminating natural rainwater stores, including marshland. The official Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said the death toll from last week’s rain that triggered landslides and flooding rose to 211 after more bodies were discovered under tonnes of mud. Among those killed were 45 schoolchildren. Over 90 people are still listed as missing while another 72 remain in hospital. Nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed,reported the DMC.






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



‘No FBI contact over news of Trump inquiry link’

Is Donald Trump a climate sceptic? No one can say Announcing move to pull U.S. out of Paris deal, President cited economic reasons PETER BAKER

Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said he had not been contacted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and dismissed a report that he was a “person of interest” in an FBI inquiry into possible collusion between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. REUTERS



Hackers allied with Shia militants in Bahrain seized control on Saturday of the Twitter account of the island’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa, posting threats to its royal family and promising to “make castles of your skulls.” No group immediately claimed responsibility for taking over the account. AP

Turkey detains PM’s adviser over Gulen ‘links’ ANKARA

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s chief adviser was detained on Saturday over suspected links to the movement of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen blamed for last year's failed coup, state media reported. Birol Erdem, a former Justice Ministry official, was taken into custody in Ankara. AFP

Russia-Turkey close in on air-defence system deal SAINT PETERSBURG

Russia is closing in on a deal with Turkey to supply its latest S-400 air-defence system to Ankara, Moscow said on Saturday, in the latest sign of restored ties. "Moscow and Ankara have almost finished discussing the technical side of the contract for S-400," Russian state giant Rostec said. AFP

Iyengar says WEP wants other parties to ‘steal’ its proposals Vidya Ram


Bahrain Foreign Minister’s Twitter account hacked

In Britain, a new party pushes for women’s voices

As a businessman, President Donald Trump was a frequent and scornful critic of the concept of climate change. In the years before running for President, he called it “non-existent,” “mythical” and a “a total con job.” Whenever snow fell in New York, it seemed, he would mock the idea of global warming. “Global warming has been proven to be a canard repeatedly over and over again,” he wrote on Twitter in 2012. In another post later that year, he said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.” A year later, he wrote that “global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” But on Friday, a day after Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate change accord, the White House refused to say whether the President still considered climate change a hoax. As other leaders around the world vowed to confront climate change without the U.S., Mr. Trump’s advisers fanned out to defend his decision and, when pressed, said they did not know his view of the science underlying the debate. “I have not had an opportunity to have that discussion,” said Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary. “I do not speak for the President,” said Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary. “You should ask him that,” said Kellyanne Conway, the White House counsellor. Mr. Trump offered no opportunity for anyone to ask him that on Friday. But his

Blowing hot and cold: U.S. President Donald Trump signs Bills in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. AFP *

Isolated Washington lashes out at critics Agence France-Presse Washington

The White House hit back on Friday at criticism of President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap a major global climate deal, accusing Europe of trying to “shackle” the U.S. economy and refusing to acknowledge climate change is real. With the United States virtually isolated on the world stage, a string of administration officials went on the offensive on Friday to justify the Republican President’s current views, whatever they may be, presumably shaped his thinking as he evaluated whether to remain in the Paris accord.

‘Bad deal’ Given that he promised on Thursday to seek to re-enter the pact on better terms or negotiate an entirely new deal that he said would be fairer to the U.S., his accept-

In choice of CIA’s Iran chief, Trump’s line seen

Joint sea ight against IS, says Malaysia

D’Andrea oversaw hunt for bin Laden

Agence France-Presse

decision to abandon the 195nation Paris deal curbing global emissions. Mr. Trump’s top climate advisor Scott Pruitt was indignant: “The world applauded when we joined Paris. And you know why? I think they applauded because they knew it would put this country at a disadvantage.” Expressions of shock and regret poured in from around the world, including from Pacific islands, which is at risk of being swallowed by rising seas. ance or denial of climate science seems likely to determine his approach. In his speech announcing his decision, he did not address the science of climate change or repeat any of the scepticism he has expressed for years. Instead, he cast it largely in economic terms, arguing that former President Barack Obama agreed to a bad deal for Americans

that would handcuff the economy and put the U.S. at a disadvantage against its international competitors. But administration officials clearly saw no benefit in clarifying. If they affirmed that he still believed climate change to be fake, they would expose him to even more criticism at home and abroad and complicate the lives of those advisers who accept the broad scientific consensus. If they asserted that he had changed his mind and now agreed that climate change is real, then they would have to explain a flip-flop while risking criticism from his own base. Moreover, recent weeks have reminded White House aides about the dangers of making declarative statements about the President’s beliefs or actions only to have him contradict them within days or even hours. When Mr. Trump fired James Comey, the FBI director, he sent out his Vice-President and top aides to give an explanation of his decision that quickly unravelled after he gave an interview with a conflicting version of events.

‘Bogus claims’ Climate science deniers, cheered by his decision to pull out of the Paris agreement, seemed willing to live without a clearer statement taking on what they call the bogus claims of environmental advocates. “I think his withdrawing us from Paris was the greatest action by a president in my lifetime,” said Steve Milloy, who runs a website, JunkScience.com, which aims to debunk climate change and who served on Mr. Trump’s environmental transition team. NYT


Last month, Harini Iyengar, a barrister and parliamentary candidate for the Women’s Equality Party, took to social media to help find the extra childcare she knew she’d need — as a single mother of three children — as campaigning intensified in the run-up to the June 8 general election. Ms. Iyengar, who is standing as the party’s candidate in the diverse south London constituency of Vauxhall, considers herself fortunate among the women candidates in Britain, having the backing of a party that recognises the potential barrier that childcare poses to women entering politics. The party covers such costs for their candidates during the campaign.

Childcare costs The strict and detailed rules governing election expenses in Britain make no mention of childcare costs, she noted. “Mainstream politics is totally oblivious to childcare needs. Parties may have lovely brochures on all women shortlists or do outreach work, but think of the difference it would make if they said to women: we’ll pay for your childcare. It’s a real illustration of how many structural barriers there currently are to women taking part in politics,” she told The Hindu in a recent interview in London. Formed in 2015 by journalist and authors Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig, the Women’s Equality Party is contesting its first general election. It had stood in various local elections (including for London Mayor) earlier and garnered over 65,000 members and sup-

Harini Iyengar

porters. The party has seven candidates for seats across the U.K. In Vauxhall, Ms. Iyengar will take on Kate Hoey, a Labour MP, who has been a vocal Brexit supporter from the outset in a constituency that voted overwhelmingly to remain. Frustrated by a lack of progress on achieving equality for women on a range of counts, the WEP hopes to bring a radical new perspective to the political debate and even persuade other parties to take on board their specific policy proposals. This includes far more extensive childcare arrangements to ensure women are able to return to work should they want to, parental leave for fathers, a greater focus of resources on fighting violence against women and girls, which remains a huge problem in Britain, as well as quotas in Parliament and on boards.

Long way to go “We openly challenge other parties to ‘steal’ our policies,” said Ms. Iyengar. In fact, the party hand delivered copies of its manifesto to other parties with the label “steal me”. “Some have picked up bits and pieces but no one has really risen to the challenge we’ve put to them. This country really needs a women’s equality party as we still have such a long way to go.”


Back on Earth



He is known as the Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike, nicknames he earned as the CIA officer, who oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the U.S. drone strike campaign that killed thousands of Islamist militants and hundreds of civilians. Now the official, Michael D’Andrea, has a new job. He is running the CIA’s Iran operations, according to current and former intelligence officials, an appointment that is the first major sign that the Trump administration is invoking the hard line the President took against Iran during his campaign. Mr. D’Andrea’s new role is one of a number of moves inside the spy agency that signal a more muscular approach to covert operations under the leadership of Mike Pompeo, the conservative Republican and former congressman, the officials said. The agency also recently named a new chief of counterterrorism, who has begun pushing for greater latitude to strike militants.

A hard target Iran has been one of the hardest targets for the CIA. The agency has extremely limited access to the country — no U.S. embassy is open to provide diplomatic cover — and Iran’s intelligence services have spent nearly four decades trying to counter U.S. espionage and covert operations. The challenge to start carrying out President Donald Trump’s views falls to Mr. D’Andrea, a chain-smoking convert to Islam, who comes with an outsize reputation and the track record to back it up: Perhaps no single CIA official is more responsible for weakening the al-Qaeda. “He can run a very aggressive program, but very smartly,” said Robert Eatinger, a former CIA lawyer, who was involved in the agency’s drone program. CM

Top secret: Michael D’Andrea, a convert to Islam, remains undercover. AP *

The CIA declined to comment on Mr. D’Andrea’s role, saying it does not discuss the identities or work of clandestine officials. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because Mr. D’Andrea remains undercover, as do many senior officials based at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Mr. Eatinger did not use his name. The New York Times is naming Mr. D’Andrea because his identity was previously published in news reports, and he is leading an important new administration initiative against Iran.

‘No. 1 terror state’ Mr. Trump called Iran “the number one terror state” and pledged throughout the campaign to dismantle or revise the landmark deal between Iran and six world powers in which Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The President has not gone through with that threat, and his administration has quietly recertified Iran’s compliance with the deal. But he has invoked his hard line on Iran in other ways. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has described the deal as a failure, and Mr. Trump has appointed to the National Security Council hawks eager to contain Iran and push regime change, the groundwork for which would most likely be laid through CIA covert action. In Mr. D’Andrea, the CIA director has found a workaholic to be his Iran sentinel. NYT

Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia will launch joint patrols in waters off the Mindanao region this month to counter threats from Islamic State group militants, Malaysia’s Defence Minister said on Saturday. Hishammuddin Hussein made the comments at a security conference in Singapore as Philippine troops continued to battle self-styled Islamic State group gunmen who attacked the city of Marawi on Mindanao island nearly two weeks ago. He said joint sea patrols in the waters bordering the three nations would kick off on June 19, with air patrols starting at a later date. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao in response to the crisis.

Complacency factor “I think there is a complacency in the old parties. The senior figures will say: ‘we are the ones who brought in the equal pay legislation’ or the sex discrimination legislation. We were born into a world where these existed and expect to be treated equally and are very dissatisfied with where we are and the fact we’re not,” said Ms. Iyengar. She joined the WEP after many years of political inactivity as a result of a feeling that none of the parties catered to her needs, particularly as a single parent, with an intense career path. With Brexit negotiations set to commence 11 days after the election, ensuring that women from all backgrounds don’t suffer as a result of leaving the EU is a central plank of the WEP’s agenda. “We would be a much, much richer and prosperous country if women’s potential was unleashed,” she said.

Israel spent billions on West Bank settlers Agence France-Presse Jerusalem

Soft landing: The Soyuz MS-03 space capsule, carrying the International Space Station crew of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, lands in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. AFP *


U.S. bilingual education is in its infancy, but growing Most programs are now merely designed to serve as bridge so that foreign students can learn English language — like the one at Franklin are set to expand starting July 1 when a law called Proposition 58 comes into effect. Although Franklin is called a high school, it also includes a middle school. So it has kids as young as 11.

Agence France-Presse Los Angeles

“Brazil, with a ‘z’ or an ‘s’?" asks a girl. “In Spanish, it’s with an ‘s’, in English with a ‘z’,” another kid answers. Just another day in a bilingual class at a Los Angeles school. A sign that proclaims ‘Bienvenido/Welcome’ is pinned above the blackboard of this class in a bilingual program at Franklin High School. It’s Thursday morning, and in history class, teacher Blanca Claudio asks her 11and 12- year old students to find Mesoamerica, an area stretching from southern Mexico through Central America, on the map. Half of the population of Los Angeles, the second most populous U.S. city after New York, is of Hispanic origin, and Latinos make up 16% of the U.S. population,

As a barrister who specialises in employment, discrimination and equality law, Ms. Iyengar, whose parents came from Bangalore and Hyderabad and grew up in Manchester, said she is keenly aware of the discrimination that women continue to face, even in the city. “I think the general public doesn’t realise the extent of the pay gap.” While new legislation coming into effect next year is set to require companies to detail their gender pay gap, it’s a diluted form of what is necessary. While equality legislation has existed for years, other factors such as the high cost of making a discrimination claim, has made it harder for women bringing claims.

Mind your language: Fully bilingual programs are set to expand starting July 1 when a law comes into efect. NYT *

making them the largest single ethnic minority group in the country. And though Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S. and commonly heard in Los Angeles, not even this city has a large bilingual school program. Most such programs are

just designed to serve as a bridge so that foreign students can learn English, and then move on take the mainstream Englishlanguage classes. However, fully bilingual programs — in which kids take some classes in English and others in another

Passed after referendum Passed by 73% of voters in a referendum that was held in November, Proposition 58 allows school districts to expand their bilingual education programs if parents so request. “Under Prop 58, it’s about all kids. Parents of monolingual students could take advantage of duallanguage programs,” said Hilda Maldonado, director of multilingual education for the Los Angeles Unified School District. “We consider it a win-win approach for all kids to

become bilingual.” There is not a single fully bilingual public school in Los Angeles, nor are there any plans now to open one. And the bilingual programs that do exist cover few students. Ms. Claudio’s sixth grade class, for instance, is part of a plan that benefits 40 of the 1,400 students at Franklin High School, which is 91 percent Latino. But many of those kids of Hispanic origin do not speak Spanish: the custom of passing it on one from one generation to the next was gradually lost in this country where bilingualism has triggered heated debate. “The U.S. has traditionally been very parochial, very provincial, with respect to language learning,” said Claude Goldenberg, a professor at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University.

Successive Israeli governments have invested billions of dollars over the past 50 years on settlements in the occupied West Bank, making any withdrawal from the Palestinian territory a costly proposition. There is no official overall figure for Israel’s spending on Jewish settlements since the June 1967 Six-Day War. Each year, the Finance Ministry has published partial figures, amounting to $3.5 bn over the 12 years up to 2015, but the sum does not include investments before 2003. It also does not cover the vast amounts spent on infrastructure such as special roads reserved for settlers and on their security. More than 6,00,000 settlers live among 2.9 million Palestinians in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, with frequent outbreaks of violence. The figures also do not include the Gaza Strip, which Israel also captured in 1967 but from where its army and settlers pulled out in 2005.

Illegal under global law The settlements, deemed illegal under international law, are seen as a key obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. No Israeli government, however, has turned its back on the settlers. Roby Nathanson, head of the Macro Centre for Political Economics, which publishes reports on settlements, estimates the total costs since June 1967 as $20 billion. The total surface area of settlements construction has doubled in 18 years, according to the non-governmental organisation. As a financial incentive for the expansion of settlements, the average settler receives three times more in public subsidies than a resident of Israel proper within its pre-1967 borders.





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017

















Music in the time of extremism

When British Airways failed to take of

Brand Shaolin’s Indian genes

Angela Merkel’s refugee dilemma

A new warlord in town

“In a country where both the state and terrorists use songs to counter each other’s narratives, a music portal is always a good idea,” laughs former journalist Ahmer Naqvi, who is now the chief content officer of patari.pk, Pakistan’s popular online music platform. Patari was originally conceived as a portal for dramas. But it changed to a music portal under the direction of Faisal Sherjan, one of the founders. Today, even as the Pakistani music industry is plagued by copyrights violations and piracy, Patari is making profit. “Our success was to feature musicians and singers who otherwise could not make it to the mainstream. We are like what Netflix is to the U.S.,” says Khalid Bajwa, CEO. Pakistan’s music industry was doing relatively well till the late 2000s. But when a slowdown hit the economy, several record companies landed in trouble. Terrorist attacks as well as growing extremism made sure no concerts and music shows are held. The Pakistani Taliban particularly target singers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Television music shows were also very popular in Pakistan. Music 89, the first show in a decade, was broadcast by staterun Pakistan Television in 1989, after the death of military dictator Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who opposed such programmes. Ever since, music shows became a regular popular feature of Pakistan’s TV culture, till Islamists started opposing it in recent years. At present, Coke Studio is the only mainstream music show to feature on TV. It has been a roaring success. But Patari believes Coke Studio was showing either Sufi music or fusion. “There was always a lot of music being made underground or in rural places. We give

It’s been 30 years since British Airways was privatised, but the airline still enjoys a certain pride of place in Britain, thanks to its status as the nation’s flagship carrier. With issues around national pride uppermost in the public psyche as Brexit looms, the recent chaos at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with snaking queues of frustrated passengers and mountains of luggage, has hit the airline particularly hard. “It’s time to strip the word British from BA,” exclaimed Daily Mail columnist Robert Hardman. “Why should Britain have its name sullied by this corporate clown act any longer?” After days of chaos, due to an IT failure that left thousands stranded and which BA attributed to a power surge, things are slowly returning to normal. Flights are back on course and the airline is gradually returning baggage stranded overseas. But BA will all likely count the cost of the situation for a long time to come. While analysts have begun to put the cost of compensating passengers, not to mention the lost business as a result of the chaos, the bigger question will be how it impacts the brand in the long term. The reality of BA, despite its branding, is that it’s been out of “British” hands for a while now, falling within Madrid-based International Airlines Group. It’s also been subject to a tough market — on one hand, it has to compete with the Asian carriers, which are able to

At any given time of the year, busloads of tourists visit the Shaolin temple — the home of Kung Fu and Chan or Zen Buddhism. Despite the usual cacophony, inevitable wherever legions of travellers visit a world heritage site, the overall atmosphere at the monastery base is surprisingly becalming. The red and black buildings that dot the sprawling temple complex along a gentle gradient blend pleasingly with the green abundance of the Songshan Mountains that seem to embrace the monastery. With 1,500 years of history — it was destroyed and re-built several times — the Shaolin temple is one of the most powerful exhibits of China’s soft power. Its often controversial abbot, Shi Yongxin, also called the ‘CEO monk’, has never lost sight of running the complex as an efficient, market-driven enterprise, but without losing its soul. This has ensured that the temple, in Central China’s Henan province, has had a steady revenue stream. Ticket sales have soared ever since the 1982 release of the Hollywood blockbuster Shaolin Temple, starring Jet Li in the lead role. Once inside the complex, visitors do not mind spending the extra yuan on a Kung Fu demonstration by monks. The mesmerising performance is the result of the practitioners’ mastery over a combination of Qigong and Kung Fu. Qigong is a set of exercises that trains the mind to focus, and energises the body. Kung Fu imparts a complementary physical dimension of speed, power and precision. A late evening sound and light show, spanning nearly two hours, is also a money-spinner. Set against the backdrop of towering cliffs, a live performance by

For months, they waited and waited to reach this reception room inside the refugee centre in Berlin. Now, the gleaming hall with row-upon-row of seating and polished counters in the heart of Germany’s capital awaits them — asylum-seekers, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. “We were allotted this place, the abandoned headquarters of a defunct bank, with no water or electricity and, within two months, we had to process hundreds of thousands of men, women and children through it,” says Monika Hebbinghaus, press officer of the Regional office for Refugee Affairs, while walking us through the procedures. Many coming in through the perilous route from Turkey, Greece and all the way from Hungary in 2015, much of the way on foot, were dehydrated and had open wounds, says Ms. Hebbinghaus. Their numbers swelled with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban closing his borders to them even as Germany braced for about a million at its doorstep. School gymnasiums across the country had to be requisitioned to put them up. Even as Chancellor Angela Merkel was widely criticised for agreeing to admit about 8,00,000 asylum-seekers within a few months, she refused to back down from espousing Germany’s “open-door” policy. The cost of handling the refugees, including social benefits, came to about €20 billion in

Just a few steps from the ruins of the Darul Aman palace, one of Kabul’s most tragic symbols, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar found his new home.The notorious warlord was allowed to return to Kabul a few weeks ago after 20 years of hiding as he signed a peace agreement with the Afghan government. In the 1980s, Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e Islami, then the leading Afghan Mujahideen group, was a bulwark against the Soviet occupation in the country. For that reason, it was also heavily funded by the U.S. and its allies. During the Afghan Civil War in the 1990s, Hekmatyar and his fighters were largely responsible for the destruction of Kabul and countless massacres of civilians. When the NATO invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Hekmatyar, unlike several other Mujahideen warlords, decided to fight the foreign troops. For him, there was no difference between Russian and American soldiers on the Afghan soil. However, Hekmatyar has changed his mind now. Although thousands of NATO troops are still deployed in the country, he chose to sign the peace deal. Both the UN and the U.S. have dropped him from their “terror list”. However, it didn’t go down well with several residents of Kabul. True, many warlords were integrated in the post-2001 political system — several of them are part of the current government. But Hekmatyar’s history was particularly bloody. Those who lost their family members in the civil war feel extremely disappointed by the government decision. “This man is a criminal. He destroyed the city and murdered thousands of people. How dare he come back and talk about peace?” Abdul Haleem, 61, who works as a fruit-seller not

two million views a month, < > With 2,50,000 subscribers and 1,50,000 app downloads, Patari aims to put life into the otherwise lifeless art and culture scene of Pakistan them a platform,” Mr. Bajwa, the CEO, said. Patari’s office is in the Lahore cantonment area, in a building which houses several startups. On the second floor, many young boys and girls are working on their computers with headphones attached. Mahwish Bhatti, director-marketing of Patari, told The Hindu that young Pakistanis prefer music rather than reading articles and books. “The attention span of youngsters is not more than a minute. So for them, music always holds the attraction,” she insists. Maho, as she is affectionately called by her colleagues and friends, says she was surprised by the response they got when Pattari played a song to honour slain Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. Bhatti, a Christian, was killed by extremists in March 2011 in Islamabad. The song, Sab ko Salam, by Ali Aftab Saeed was an instant hit.

union, which represents < > GMB many BA workers, has blamed the company’s outsourcing strategy for the recent IT meltdown that stranded thousands of passengers offer lower-cost travel but high standards of service on long-haul flights, while on the other, it feels pressure from Europe’s lowcost, no-frills carriers such as Easyjet, Ryanair and Norwegian. The company has had little choice but to cut costs — and this has become an easy point of focus, following the IT meltdown. As the crisis unfolded, the GMB union, which represents many BA workers in Britain, was swift to point the finger at the airline’s outsourcing strategy for its IT systems. The union had sent letters to the British Prime Minister on three separate occasions, raising questions about the decision to outsource IT jobs to offshore locations such as India. It’s a view the union has firmly stuck to despite BA’s insistence that neither cost-cutting nor outsourcing played a role in the IT meltdown. However, with the company providing scant details, it’s an issue BA has struggled to shake off.

combination of history and < > Afolklore traces the origin of the temple to the reign of Xiaowen, who set up the monastery for Buddhabhadra, a wandering Indian monk more than 600 artists narrates the story of Zen Buddhism — a harmonious combination of Mahayana Buddhism and China’s Taoism.

Rediscovering talent Patari has launched many new singers from the remotest parts of the country under project Tabeer. A rap song from Sibbi Balochistan by little-known Abid Barohi to Players of Lyari in Karachi, it has found hidden talent. Abid Barohi’s Sibbi song immediately made him popular and he will be featured in the upcoming Coke Studio. While project Tabeer was to find hidden talent, Fanoos focuses on rediscovering the artists who faded from the mainstream glare. Riaz Ali Qadri, a Sufi singer from Lahore whose 2002 song Supreme ISHQ took the country by storm, was featured by Patari last month. He is getting offers again for songs now. Patari’s latest venture is to promote literature. With podcasts and e-books becoming popular, the response is also encouraging. Writer Saba Imtiaz, whose novel Karachi You’re Killing Me was made into a film Noor by Bollywood, recently featured on the website to talk about fiction in Pakistan. With two million views a month, 2,50,000 subscribers and 1,50,000 app downloads, Patari aims to put life into the otherwise lifeless art and culture scene of Pakistan. It’s a tall ask.

Long-term damage The question will be the long-term damage wrought. John Strickland, an air industry expert, notes this is not the first time BA had to struggle with potential reputational damage. He pointed to the severe teething problems on the opening day of Terminal 5 Heathrow in March 2008, when flights were cancelled amid a failure of its baggage-handling system. While the current crisis may be in another league of severity, it’s one he believes the company can recover from, provided it is willing to devote the necessary resources. The bigger question, he points out, is one for the wider industry and even beyond. The BA debacle follows on the heels of the cyber attack that crippled NHS hospitals. While the situations may be different, they highlight the risks posed, as more and more services are shifted away from the frontline. “The irony is that we are in this online age, with apps to check in and check out of terminals. When we have any questions, airlines will refer us to their websites. We are hardly encountering people at all airports,” said Mr. Strickland. “What will inevitably have to be part of the review is how they communicate given the limited number of staff in airports, and in such an IT-based world. It’s a question for the wider industry too. When all systems used to communicate are down, where do people go?”

History and folklore Acknowledged the world over as a global brand, the story of the Shaolin Temple, however, seems to underplay its critical Indian part. A combination of history and folklore traces the origin of the temple to the reign of Emperor Xiaowen, who set up the monastery as an abode for Buddhabhadra, a wandering Indian Buddhist monk. Apart from spreading Nikaya Buddhism, Buddhabhadra is credited with laying the foundations for Kung Fu. Another prominent Indian figure, Bodhidharma, arguably, steered the temple’s spiritual direction towards Zen Buddhism. According to a hazy admixture of history and legend, the monk may have belonged to present day Tamil Nadu or Kerala and landed up in China on the urgings of Prajnatara, his ageing guru. If Zen Buddhism and Kung Fu are takeaways of a Sino-Indian spiritual fusion, China’s famous Buddhist grottoes epitomise yet another trans-Himalayan enmeshment — in the field of architecture and art. The Longmen Grottoes, an hour’s drive from the Shaolin Temple, are a fine example of what is called Serendian art — the confluence of the Graeco-Buddhist Gandhara School, known for depicting Buddha in human form, and a Chinese artistic tradition. Serendian art has flourished and evolved in and around the Hwang He or Yellow River, the cradle of Chinese civilisation. Bisected by the Yi River — a part of the Yellow River system — the imposing limestone cliffs of the Longmen mountain and the Xiangshan mountain are home to a jaw-dropping 1,00,000 Buddhist statues. In Dunhuang, an oasis town in the nearby Gansu province, there is yet another symbol of Serendian art. Hewn out of solid rock in the bone-dry Gobi desert, the Mogao grottoes, housed in hundreds of intricately painted caves, describe the epic journey of Buddhism, from its home base in India to China.

Mubashir Zaidi writes for The Hindu and is based in Karachi

Vidya Ram writes for The Hindu and is based in London

Atul Aneja writes for The Hindu and is based in Beijing


worry that the < > Oicials government could cut funding for the refugee programme as a result of the falling numbers, leaving Germany unprepared to deal with the next crisis 2016, and cost Ms. Merkel several local elections, including the one in Berlin, a city-state that itself took in about 55,000 refugees. “Some protested against her policy loudly, but many other objected more silently by voting against Merkel,” says journalist Martin Jabs. “In Germany, it remains a very touchy subject to be seen as racist or anything that links to our Nazi past, but people were worried about losing jobs as well as a way of life, though neither happened.”

supporters insist that < > Hekmatyar’s his ruthless behaviour in the civil war was no more criminal than that of other militia bosses, while critics want him to renounce his past far from Hekmatyar’s new home on the DarulAman Road, asked. “It’s true that all of the former Mujahideen leaders have blood on their hands. But in the case of Hekmatyar, it’s very tragic for my family,” said Mohammad Yunus, 55, a food vendor in Kabul. “I lost my brother and his wife when one of his rockets hit their house. Who will bring us justice?”

A series of attacks A series of attacks across Europe, credited to the Islamic State, fuelled those fears, as did five attacks in Germany itself in 2016, including one by a refugee who had arrived the year before. Suddenly, there was an unprecedented acceptance for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party and its firebrand leader Frauke Petry, who likened the refugees to “compost”. The AfD shot up in the polls, and even beat Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in one State election. Though it has fallen from its peak levels, the AfD still commands about 10% of the vote ahead of elections this September. Polls consistently show that the refugee issue remains the biggest one for the Germans. “Never in the past 40 years have we seen one subject as the most important, far above all other issues,” says Berlin’s Freie University Professor Oskar Neidermayer, who estimates that it remains the most important issue for 44% of the voters. Fortunately for Ms. Merkel, the number of those refugees has drastically reduced as the Balkan route has been effectively sealed off, and her own numbers are up. Polls show her CDU-led coalition in the best position to form the next government. The Berlin refugee centre has seen only 2,655 applications so far this year, which explains the deserted waiting hall and quiet corridors, where only a year ago there was hardly any breathing space. “The problem hasn’t gone away, as the refugees are still fleeing violence. They are just not able to come to Germany any more,” says Ms. Hebbinghaus. The new worry for officials is that the government could cut funding for the refugee programme as a result of the falling numbers, leaving Germany unprepared to deal with the next possible crisis, that still hovers at Europe’s door.

A step towards peace Nevertheless, some people in the capital city believe his return might be a step towards peace. “I think he truly wants to bring peace, and that he will do that,” Hajji Mostafa, a cab driver, said. “Hekmatyar still has a lot of power and that’s why many people fear him.” Since Hekmatyar’s return, thousands of his posters have flooded Kabul and other big cities. Wealthy politicians have reportedly offered him more men, weapons, cash and other kind of support. His supporters insist that his ruthless behaviour in the civil war was no more criminal than that of other militia bosses, while critics say he does not deserve a role in Afghanistan’s future unless he renounces his past, which he has not done yet. According to some observers, Hekmatyar’s return would not have been possible without Washington’s permission. It’s part of another political game in the country, they argue. “Our country is a chessboard for the super powers. Some of them just decided that Hekmatyar, who was also their puppet in the past, should return while others might not be happy about it,” said Homayun, a bookseller. Nevertheless, the bookseller sees a tragic irony in Hekmatyar’s comeback. “All those men who once destroyed our beautiful city are back together again. They are even warmly welcomed and celebrated in this very city,” he told this writer at his book shop near Kabul’s busy Mandai Bazar. The shelves in the shop are filled with books on history, novels and biographies of Afghan politicians, including both Communist and Mujahideen leaders. “I’m sure that books about Hekmatyar are also coming soon,” Mr. Homayun said.

Suhasini Haidar writes for The Hindu and is currently in Berlin

Emran Feroz is a freelance journalist based in Stuttgart. He was recently in Kabul B ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


Landfall Kerala, the monsoon’s irst port of call, comes alive with the breath of rain Text by C. Gouridasan Nair

The southwest monsoon is a magical phenomenon, arriving almost surreptitiously, often just before daybreak, drenching the scorched earth and the dry foliage in one broad sweep. The earth receives the first rain with an almost audible sigh. The signs of the monsoon’s landfall on the Kerala coast begin to appear as May draws to a close. Big, dark clouds move indolently on the western horizon but without the accompaniment of thunder and lightning as it happens during the northeast monsoon. All is quiet for a while. Then, the winds begin to blow landward, and intimations of rain come in the form of a few scattered drops. As the night falls, there is a mild chill in the air, indicating a drizzle somewhere. And, when the day breaks, it is a rain-washed world into which Keralites wake up.

Even as it brings relief from the heat, the monsoon does not bring glad tidings to children as schools reopen with its arrival. There is the play of light and shadows on the beach as the summer sun gets veiled by the rain clouds. The waves gain in ferocity as the monsoon winds begin to blow. The fishermen must work their heart out for a living, whether in the sea or the backwaters. Away from the seashore and the backwaters, the clouds cover the hills, farmers get busy protecting their farms and travellers get ready for the windy wet nights out. As the whole world seems to dance to the monsoon raga, children have a whale of a time playing in the rain. And, as night falls, the flying ants rise up from the earth for their brief celebration of life. The monsoon is here.

Sluicing wind: A dawn view from Malampuzha of the Palakkad Gap, a low mountain pass in the Western Ghats that lets the monsoon winds into western Tamil Nadu

Romance of the rain: The irst monsoon showers paint a picture of fascinating fury at Irinjalakkuda in Thrissur district. The rains came calling in Kerala on May 30, putting an end to a prolonged scorching summer.



Touch and go: The wind turns the sea rough, but that is not to deter revellers on the Fort Kochi beach.


Evasive action: As water damages latex, rubber trees on a plantation in Pathanamthitta get rain guards.






Drama of life: A isherman sets sail on his canoe on the Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam.

Interplay of nature: As the rain falls, a cloud of winged ants rises in Malappuram. CM YK



Fellow traveller: The rain gives company on journeys across the State. At the Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station, coaches gleam in the showers. B ND-ND






Front seat: Myth and mystery combine in the rain at Kava village in Malampuzha, a vantage point to watch the monsoon drama unfold in the Western Ghats. K.K. MUSTAFAH *






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


Landfall Kerala, the monsoon’s irst port of call, comes alive with the breath of rain Text by C. Gouridasan Nair

The southwest monsoon is a magical phenomenon, arriving almost surreptitiously, often just before daybreak, drenching the scorched earth and the dry foliage in one broad sweep. The earth receives the first rain with an almost audible sigh. The signs of the monsoon’s landfall on the Kerala coast begin to appear as May draws to a close. Big, dark clouds move indolently on the western horizon but without the accompaniment of thunder and lightning as it happens during the northeast monsoon. All is quiet for a while. Then, the winds begin to blow landward, and intimations of rain come in the form of a few scattered drops. As the night falls, there is a mild chill in the air, indicating a drizzle somewhere. And, when the day breaks, it is a rain-washed world into which Keralites wake up.

Even as it brings relief from the heat, the monsoon does not bring glad tidings to children as schools reopen with its arrival. There is the play of light and shadows on the beach as the summer sun gets veiled by the rain clouds. The waves gain in ferocity as the monsoon winds begin to blow. The fishermen must work their heart out for a living, whether in the sea or the backwaters. Away from the seashore and the backwaters, the clouds cover the hills, farmers get busy protecting their farms and travellers get ready for the windy wet nights out. As the whole world seems to dance to the monsoon raga, children have a whale of a time playing in the rain. And, as night falls, the flying ants rise up from the earth for their brief celebration of life. The monsoon is here.

Sluicing wind: A dawn view from Malampuzha of the Palakkad Gap, a low mountain pass in the Western Ghats that lets the monsoon winds into western Tamil Nadu

Romance of the rain: The irst monsoon showers paint a picture of fascinating fury at Irinjalakkuda in Thrissur district. The rains came calling in Kerala on May 30, putting an end to a prolonged scorching summer.



Touch and go: The wind turns the sea rough, but that is not to deter revellers on the Fort Kochi beach.


Evasive action: As water damages latex, rubber trees on a plantation in Pathanamthitta get rain guards.






Drama of life: A isherman sets sail on his canoe on the Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam.

Interplay of nature: As the rain falls, a cloud of winged ants rises in Malappuram. CM YK



Fellow traveller: The rain gives company on journeys across the State. At the Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station, coaches gleam in the showers. B ND-ND






Front seat: Myth and mystery combine in the rain at Kava village in Malampuzha, a vantage point to watch the monsoon drama unfold in the Western Ghats. K.K. MUSTAFAH *






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


Check out of these

STOCKS Indices are racing higher and investors continue to chase over-heated stocks. If you want to cut back on your stock holding, here are 5 stocks you can sell




Don’t bank on it just yet

Potholes ahead

Radhika Merwin

Seetharaman R

Banking stocks, particularly those of public sector banks, have been on a roll over the past year. Two key factors have driven the euphoria. Expectations of a turnaround in the economy that has led the broader market rally in cyclical stocks, is one. After the RBI’s asset quality review — pegged as a major clean-up exercise of banks’ balance sheets — the market also assumed that the worst was behind for the sector. But, sadly, earnings over the past year have failed to deliver on expectations. Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) is one such stock that has rallied over 80 per cent over the past year, but with little fundamentals to show.

Core performance Consider the core performance first. Despite the 8.3 per cent y-

o-y growth in loans in FY17, continuing pressure on margins has dampened performance. Net interest income for the bank has fallen 8.6 per cent y-o-y in FY17, after a muted 5 per cent growth in FY16. But for the near trebling of treasury gains that boosted other income, the already muted operating profit would have been much lower in FY17. Operating profit for FY17 that stood at ₹4,170 crore was inadequate to absorb the 75 per cent y-o-y increase in bad loan provisioning, which stood at ₹6,315 crore. The bank’s asset quality continues to be under pressure. After slippages more than doubled in FY16, they rose further by around 18 per cent in FY17. As a result, OBC’s gross NPAs — that went up from 5 per cent in FY15 to 9.6 per cent in FY16 — shot up to 13.7 per cent in FY17.

With no let-up in asset quality, the bank reported a loss of about ₹1,090 crore in FY17.

Corrective action Based on the recently tightened PCA (prompt corrective action) framework for banks, the RBI could also impose a corrective action plan for OBC, owing to high net NPA levels. Banks that have a net NPA of 9 per cent or more but less than 12 per cent fall under the second risk threshold level. The RBI’s mandatory action plan could include restriction on dividend distribution, restriction on branch expansion and higher provisions. OBC’s net NPA as of March 2017 is just short of the 9 per cent mark (8.96 per cent). Its weak capital position also offers little buffer to absorb a sharp rise in bad loan provisioning in the coming quarters. The bank’s tier I capital and total capital stood at

The stock price of MEP Infrastructure (MEP), a major road player, has seen a full cycle in its stock price. The stock, after its listing at ₹63 in May 2015, plunged to a low of ₹34 in November 2016. However, following improving prospects for the road sector after the 2017 Budget, the stock price has run up to ₹72, a surge not entirely backed by fundamentals. The company recorded a drop in consolidated revenue in FY17 compared to the previous year. Even if the impact of drop in toll collection due to demonetisation is factored in, revenue growth last fiscal year would have been flat. Also, with MEP getting a nod from SEBI to float an infrastructure investment trust (Inv-IT), we can expect some of the mature and stable revenue generating projects from the company getting transferred to this investment vehicle. So, despite a strong outlook for the road sector and the company, the increased level of risk in MEP’s project portfolio and a slow top-line growth can pull the stock price lower. At the present elevated prices, investors who hold the stock can book profit.

8.8 per cent and 11.6 per cent respectively as of March 2017. In terms of valuation, the stock may still appear cheap, trading at 0.4 times one year forward book. But valuations based on banks’ book value can be misleading. Accounting for net NPAs and restructured book (assuming 30 per cent slippages), the stock trades at over one time its forward adjusted book (adjusted), which can correct substantially if earnings continue to remain under pressure.


Running out of power Muthukumar K

Investors can sell the stock of BHEL at the current market price of ₹138. Even after the 23 per cent correction from its recent peak, valuations are at a substantial premium to its historical average. The company’s order flows slowed down in 2016-17 with uncertainty around the realisation of a chunk of its order book. Moreover, regulatory hassles, poor demand and excess power equipment manufacturing capacity don’t augur well for its business.

The background BHEL’s power segment, which constitutes 78 per cent of overall revenues, largely supplies equipment to thermal, gas, hydro and nuclear power generators. It currently leads the domestic power equipment manufacturing industry with a 57 per cent market

ter, the risk is that its key client NTPC might shelve greenfield projects and go for retrofits and replacement instead. Big orders are therefore likely to remain elusive.

share. Its industrial division manufactures a variety of industrial systems and products while also providing complete solutions for transportation, renewable energy, water management and defence projects.

Order flow slowdown Over the past few years, the power industry has been facing multiple issues such as delays in land acquisition and environmental clearance, and problems in procuring coal as well as project finance. In FY17, BHEL’s order inflows from the power sector were down 47 per cent y-o-y to ₹23,300 crore. This translated to 6,800 MW of power-related orders. The company has 20,000 MW of power plant equipment manufacturing capacity, and the management expects to clock in new orders of about 12,000 MW

annually over the next two years. However, achieving it will be a stretch, given the poor demand from power generators and surplus capacity in the industry. Moreover, a large part of the order backlog is stuck in myriad regulatory and legal hassles. Of the total order backlog of ₹1,05,000 crore, 37 per cent is slow-moving, and orders worth just ₹66,000 crore are actually ‘executable’. While the management is concentrating on the lat-

High valuation Even after the recent price correction, the stock looks expensive. It is quoting at a price-to-earnings ratio of 74 against its threeyear average of 32. In FY17, the company turned the corner. It reported a profit after tax (PAT) of ₹455 crore, against a loss of ₹705 crore in the previous year. Moreover, its revenues were up 11 per cent at ₹27,618 crore. However, the Q4 results were a big disappointment, with PAT declining 57 per cent, with one-time provision for gratuity and leave liability.


Flying in cloudy skies Anand Kalyanaraman

The year gone by has been rather harsh to airlines in India. Traffic grew at a sizzling pace but high costs and low fares due to intense competition walloped their bottomlines. Among the listed players, Jet Airways took the worst hit. Its profit crashed nearly 95 per cent y-o-y in the March 2017 quarter, and was down almost 64 per cent for the full year 2016-17 compared with 2015-16. Meanwhile, like its peers, the Jet stock, after falling for much of last year, has run up smartly (nearly 40 per cent) since December. This is thanks to the dip in global oil price and a stronger rupee that should moderate the cost of aviation turbine fuel, the major expense for airline companies.

Oil, rupee volatility Weak earnings along with the market rally have made the Jet CM YK

stock quite pricey — it now trades at more than 12 times its trailing 12-month earnings, double the average of about six times in the past three years. Investors can sell the stock, given its high valuation and likelihood of earnings staying weak. One, the cost benefits are not a given. Oil and rupee movements are unpredictable. Oil, now about $50 a barrel, could move in the $45-60 range, given global demand-supply dynamics. The rupee too, currently about 64 to a dollar, could keep swinging between 60 and 70, as it has the

past few years. Next, even if costs stay subdued, the ability of domestic airlines to make the most of it is doubtful. Low average fares, which contributed to much of the pain last year, are likely to continue. This is primarily because most airlines, Jet included, are on a capacity expansion spree that will add to fleet sizes significantly. This will likely add to competitive intensity and keep fares subdued.

Passenger numbers In FY17, Jet Airways’ overall passenger numbers grew about 5 per cent, but average fare per passenger was down more than 3 per cent; the airline’s revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) dipped about 5 per cent, while cost per available seat kilometre (CASK) was up marginally. This not-so-nice state of affairs could continue with big sector capacity addition putting pressure on fares across airlines. Especially given that the passenger

growth rate has been moderating — from over 23 per cent y-o-y in calendar 2016 to less than 18 per cent in January-April 2017. Seat supply growing faster than demand is a key risk for the sector. Aggressive expansion by lowcost carriers such as IndiGo has seen Jet cede domestic market share — from more than 22.5 per cent in calendar 2015 to 19 per cent in calendar 2016. The possible entry of new deep-pocketed players such as Qatar Airways in the domestic skies could queer the pitch further. Unlike peers, more than half the revenue and profit of Jet Airways comes from its international operations. But this has not helped — the international segment did worse than the domestic business last year with a sharper fall in operating profit. Also, despite some reduction in debt levels, the airline’s interest cost still remains formidable and a drag on the bottomline.

< > Both foreign and domestic institutional investors are pouring money into the stock market. This has made fundamentally strong stocks such as Escorts and MEP Infra too pricey. Others such as Oriental Bank of Commerce, Jet Airways and BHEL have moved up despite weak prospects

Project Portfolio Besides MEP’s core expertise in handling short-term tolling (less than or equal to one year), long-term tolling (more than one year) and OMT (operate, maintain and transfer) projects, the company has one build, operate and transfer (BOT) project and six under-construction hybrid annuity model (HAM) projects in its portfolio. Over the years, the revenue collection from long-term projects — tolling, OMT and BOT — has increased considerably from 39 per cent to 67 per cent between FY12 and FY16. Of the total revenue, Mumbai entry point OMT project contributes more than 20 per cent of the


total revenue.With this project expected to be transferred to the Inv-IT, we can expect a sharp dip in revenue. Also, once the Inv-IT gets operational, the residual risk — both construction and revenue generation — from the remaining portfolio of projects will increase. These factors should take the stock price lower over the medium term. However, with all the six HAM projects bid by the company reaching successful financial closure, we can expect a stable flow of annuity revenue starting around 2.5 years from now. Besides, the company’s strength in toll projects should help it win long-term toll-operatetransfer projects, boosting its long-term prospects.

Financials MEP’s consolidated revenue for 2016-17 was ₹1,815 crore, about 8 per cent lower than for the same period a year earlier. But, a 23 and 14 per cent fall, respectively, in interest and depreciation expense for 2016-17 compared to the year earlier proved helpful. Profit before tax without considering exceptional items for 2016-17 stood at about ₹14 crore compared to a loss of ₹48 crore for the same period a year earlier. The changes in Ind-AS accounting standard helped MEP book a net profit of ₹108 crore, a sizeable increase compared to a loss of ₹37 crore in the year ago period. The company’s net worth at the end of March 2016-17 was a negative ₹7.9 crore.


Sky-high valuations Parvatha Vardhini C

A revival in domestic tractor sales, better product mix aided by launches and a pick-up in the construction equipment business saw Escorts turn a darling of the markets over the last year. In this period, the stock value quadrupled, shooting up by a whopping 300 per cent! With net sales growing by 21.6 per cent to ₹4,093 crore and profits, by 66 per cent to ₹157.7 crore in 2016-17 (over the previous year), the price rise has, to an extent, been backed by earnings. Nevertheless, the gallop has resulted in Escorts trading at rich valuations. This mid-cap stock now trades at over 50 times its trailing twelve-month earnings, at a huge premium to peers such as Mahindra and Mahindra, which trades at about 22 times. Investors can, hence, book profits in Escorts.

Sunny days Two years of bad monsoon in 2014-15 and 2015-16 pulled down domestic tractor sales sharply. Escorts, which derives about 80 per cent of its revenues from tractors, saw domestic sales volumes decline by 15 per cent and 12 per cent respectively in each of these years. But favourable monsoons last year, and good hikes in the minimum support prices, coupled with the effect of a low base, helped tractor sales chug along briskly in 2016-17. Despite a temporary blip due to demonetisation, Escorts ended the year with a volume growth of 23.7 per cent in tractors, selling 62,699 units domestically. The company’s market share improved by 50

basis points to 10.8 per cent last fiscal. Launches in the 41-50 HP segment over the last couple of years to fill gaps in its product portfolio, along with separation of dealerships for its premium (Farmtrac) and economy (Powertrac) brands also worked well for the company. Operating margins in this segment moved up by 212 basis points to 10.3 per cent in 2016-17. Budget measures to boost rural economy, good kharif sowing and a normal monsoon outlook will help tractor sales sustain the momentum.

Other business On the construction equipment side (about 15 per cent of revenue), Escorts notched up volume growth of 30 per cent in the year ended March 2017. Thanks to improving infrastructure spends, the business turned profitable at the operating level in the fourth quarter. The Railway segment (about 5 per cent of revenues) has an order book of ₹155 crore to be executed over the next six to seven months and is expected to grow in double digits in the near to medium term. Considering that the prospects remain bright, the stock can be reconsidered at lower levels. B ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


ALERTS Downgrades galore

What home buyers must know about RERA

The latest, in the spate of downgrades in recent times, was Reliance Communications. Rating agencies such as ICRA and CARE revised their ratings down on various debt instruments of the telecom company to default status, on the back of delays in debt servicing, given its weak cash flow generation. Downgrades matter to various stakeholders, including bond holders and stock investors. Retail investors’ exposure to bonds is mostly through debt funds that invest in corporate bonds. The NAV of debt funds moves with underlying bond prices. Downgrades can mark down the fund’s NAV, impacting fixed income investors. Data available publicly suggests that five of Franklin’s schemes — Franklin India Corporate Bond Opportunities, Franklin India Dynamic Accrual Fund, Franklin India Income Opportunities Fund, Franklin India Low Duration Fund, and Franklin India ST Income Plan — have exposure of close to ₹600 crore to Reliance Communications’ bonds. But given that these are in the nature of structured obligation — backing and guarantee of the parent company — there has been no markdown of the fund’s NAV yet. Nonetheless, debt fund investors need to be on the watch.


Home buyers must note the variations in RERA applicability across States



Meera Siva

The Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) has taken effect from May 1, promising a friendlier regime for home buyers. But with the regulations differing across States, it is important for home buyers to understand the implications of the Act on their purchase.

Differing coverage Most of the differences from the Central Act largely relate to what kind of projects fall under the ambit of the Act. Bihar, for instance, has chosen to include all projects that have not been issued completion certificate. Others such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra have excluded ongoing projects which have been completed, but the issuance of the occupation certificates is pending from the government. Rajasthan excludes projects where sale/lease deeds or possession letter of a minimum of 60 per cent of the units have been executed. Kerala has excluded all projects where requisite approvals/ permits were given prior to commencement of the Act; also, projects of less than 1,000 sq m and those where the units proposed to be developed do not exceed 12 are excluded.

Knowing what properties are covered in their respective States is important for home buyers for a few reasons. One, if a nearly completed project needs to be registered, there is a risk that it may delay property hand-over. Two, if the State has excluded an ongoing project, you may want to consider waiting a bit and safely opting for a new launch. That said, excluding ongoing projects may not always be a big negative as it is a temporary phase. Kalpesh Maroo, Partner, Direct Tax, BMR & Associates LLP, notes that applying any law retrospectively may be unfair. Parveen Jain, President of National Association of Real Estate Development Council (Naredco), says that there are practical difficulties if the broader definition is used for incomplete projects. In many States such as Maharashtra, there are many housing projects which have been handed over and occupied by owners for many years. Still, Government authorities have not given occupation certificate due to various issues. Bringing them under the RERA coverage can create a lot of uncertainties

and issues for home owners, he notes.

Escrow money Another significant difference is with regards to the money to be deposited in the escrow account. RERA requires that 70 per cent of the project cost be deposited in an escrow account to avoid deviation of funds. State rules differ on how they account for the 70 per cent, especially for ongoing projects. For example, Odisha requires that builders deposit 70 per cent of the amount already collected from the allottees, which has not been utilised for land or construction cost, in a separate bank account. This must be done within three months of applying for registration of the project. Other States such as Kerala have introduced ambiguity by indicating that the amount to be deposited may be 70 per cent or less, as notified by the Government. Reducing the escrow account holding percentage is certainly a negative for buyers as it may lead to fund diversion and hence delays in completion.

Quiet States A third aspect that home buyers must be aware of is that not all States have notified the rules. For example, the final rules for Tamil Nadu have not been published. Without rules on registration provisions and appointment of the regulatory authority, registration of housing projects remains stalled and the situation is quite chaotic. But it does not mean that buyers are left in the lurch. “Most substantive provisions of the Act are in effect from May 1, 2017 notwithstanding the status of the implementation of RERA in different States”, says Maroo. The Central Act has delegated the rule making powers only on certain aspects; so, it is not required that the rules framed by the State government address all aspects. More lenient Also, in terms of punitive provisions, there are differences. The Act allows builders to prefer compounding of offences to avoid imprisonment and, accordingly, most States have prescribed compounding fines, says Maroo. There are differences in the amount of fine to be paid

across States. Most States require 10 per cent of project or the apartment cost (based on the type of offence) as fine. Rajasthan, however, has lowered it to 5 per cent for compounding. While leniency to errant developers does not send the right signal, home buyers need not fret too much about these as the implication is not very direct.

Better protection Despite the variations, home buyers can seek comfort from the Act. Developers all along could get away from the rigour of the law by adopting tactics such as slipping in fineprint disclaimers or obtaining waivers from unsuspecting buyers. This may become a thing of the past. Buyers can opt for RERA adjudication for any dispute that they may face with developers, even in respect to completed projects. Hence, builders may worry about litigation before RERA which may damage their reputation and shut them out of business, says Maroo. Besides, RERA also requires that a standard agreement be used to avoid home buyers waiving off their rights, notes Jain.


POINTS TO NOTE 앫 Act is not applicable uniformly across States 앫 It’s safer to wait before buying a new or ongoing project 앫 Ready-to-move-in properties may lower delay and risk CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

Recourse Buyers can opt for RERA adjudication even in completed projects

Aadhaar-PAN linking made easier Not linked your Aadhaar with PAN yet? No worries. A simple SMS can do it for you in no time. All you need to do is send an SMS to either 567678 or 56161. The IT department had earlier launched a new e-facility to link a person's Aadhaar with the PAN, a mandatory procedure for filing I-T returns now. You can visit the official e-filing website of the IT department that has hosted a new link on its homepage to link Aadhaar and PAN. You need to ensure that the Date of Birth, Gender and Aadhaar number is as per Aadhaar card details. If Date of Birth and Gender is matched but name, as per Aadhaar, is not, then you will have to provide Aadhaar OTP that will be sent to you on your registered mobile number.



Play your cards right

Bank FOREIGN Citi Bank DBS Bank Deutsche Bank HSBC Scotia Bank StanChart

Handling the credit limit Holding an additional card as a backup can be a wise idea. During medical emergencies you will have the credit limit of more than one card to your aid. If you lose your primary credit card, or it becomes unusable due to technical issues, the other cards can come to your rescue.

But remember, the backup card has to be used only when required. Ranjit Punja, cofounder of CreditMantri, says: “Having multiple cards with enhanced credit limit offers relief in cases like medical emergencies. (But) you should be cautious that the extra card is not used for any big ticket personal spending like buying an expensive television or mobile phone.” The credit limit offered in any card typically ranges between ₹1 lakh and ₹3 lakh. So, opting for an additional card just to enjoy a greater credit limit could indicate a tendency to over-spend. It could easily push you into a debt trap. You can carefully manage the usage of your cards in two ways. First, there are many mobile apps that track your credit card expenses and provide alerts. Second, whenever possible, make use of alternative payment methods such as net banking, especially for small amounts.


Gurumurthy K

Getting a new credit card has become much easier now, with the Centre encouraging everyone to move to cashless transactions. Service providers often call us, saying we are eligible for free credit cards. Some of us are likely to acquire new credit cards although we may hold one or two cards already. Is it good to have more than one card? Multiple cards enhance our credit limit and help us enjoy benefits such as more reward points and cashback. But it could turn out to be a doubleedged sword. Read on to know how to wisely manage multiple cards.


It helps to have multiple credit cards, but it’s imperative that you manage them judiciously

Reward points Credit cards offering various benefits — such as more reward points, cashbacks and special offers like free movie tickets — are much sought after. Having multiple cards to enjoy these is acceptable, especially if you are a regular online shopper. Cards from SBI, HDFC Bank, Citibank, etc can save you more money, particularly during online sales, via cashback offers. Holding an extra card or two to obtain a special privilege cannot be avoided. If you are a

frequent road traveller, it makes sense to have a fuel card from ICICI Bank or Citibank as an additional card. Similarly, if you are a frequent flier, an airline privilege card can save you quite a bit. But remember to limit the number of cards to three, as managing anything beyond that is rather challenging. If, for instance, you acquire five credit cards to gather more reward points, offers etc, it is quite likely you will miss out on a payment. Not all service providers may send reminders be-

fore the due date. Vikas Kumar, co-founder of Loantap, says: “Missing out payment deadlines will cost you many times more than the reward points or the cashback you have obtained. The high late payment fee will overshadow all the benefits you get from your credit cards.”

The bottomline Go for multiple credit cards only if you can manage them well. And never go for more than three. Using them judiciously can enhance your credit score. “Always use not more than 50 per cent of the credit limit in each of the cards you have. This will have a positive impact on your credit score when compared to using 80-90 per cent of the credit limit in a single card,” advises CreditMantri’s Punja. Thus, if you are financially disciplined, say yes to an additional card. But, if you are a high spender and are more likely to default, resist that temptation.

Years Less than 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 5 1 year

5.25 6.10 6.00 5.00 4.00 7.00


5.25 6.30 6.90 5.00 4.50 7.00

5.25 6.50 7.00 6.50 4.50 7.00

5.25 6.50 7.00 5.00 5.00 7.00

05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 04-16 05-17

6.90 6.85 6.50 6.90 6.90 6.90 6.50 6.60 6.90 6.40 6.50 6.75 6.85 6.90 7.00 6.90 6.80 6.75 7.00 6.25 6.50

6.75 6.50 6.25 6.90 6.80 6.80 6.50 6.60 6.90 6.25 6.25 6.25 6.50 6.80 7.00 6.25 6.80 6.75 6.80 6.25 6.50

6.50 6.50 6.25 6.90 6.70 6.70 6.50 6.50 6.90 6.00 6.00 6.25 6.50 6.80 7.00 6.50 6.80 6.75 6.80 6.25 6.50

05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 06-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17

7.00 7.70 6.50 7.10 7.00 6.75 6.70 6.90 6.90 7.00 7.15 6.75 6.75 6.75 7.00 7.00 7.50 6.75 7.00 6.75 7.10

6.75 7.50 6.50 6.85 7.20 6.75 6.80 6.00 6.75 7.25 6.75 6.75 6.50 6.50 7.00 7.00 7.65 6.75 7.00 6.50 7.10

6.75 7.00 6.75 6.85 7.25 6.50 6.50 6.00 6.75 7.20 6.75 6.75 6.50 6.25 7.00 7.00 7.50 6.50 7.00 6.50 7.10

05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-16 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 05-17 01-17 05-17



THINGS TO DO 앫 Limit the number of cards to three 앫 Use not more than 50 per cent of the credit limit 앫 Go for alternative payment methods wherever possible CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

Allahabad Bank Andhra Bank Bank of Mah. BoB BoI Canara Bank CBOI Corp. Bank Dena Bank IDBI Bank Indian Bank IOB OBC PNB Punjab & Sind SBI Syndicate Bank UCO Bank Union Bank United Bank Vijaya Bank

6.50 6.25 6.00 6.50 6.50 6.50 6.50 6.35 6.90 6.40 6.25 6.25 6.75 6.50 6.75 6.50 6.25 6.50 7.00 6.00 6.25

INDIAN - PRIVATE SECTOR Axis Bank 6.75 Bandhan Bank 7.00 Catholic Syrian 6.25 CUB 7.00 DCB 6.80 Dhanlaxmi Bank 6.00 Federal Bank 6.50 HDFC Bank 6.25 ICICI Bank 6.50 IDFC Bank 7.00 IndusInd Bank 6.75 J & K Bank 6.75 Karnataka Bank 6.70 Kotak Bank 6.75 KVB 7.00 LVB 6.50 RBL Bank 7.25 SIB 6.00 TMB 6.75 TNSC Bank 6.50 Yes Bank 7.00 WEF: With effect from.


Safe FD choices for seniors Being a senior citizen gets you higher returns in instruments that give top priority to safety Seetharaman R

With the market perched precariously high, investing in stocks or market-linked products may not really be worth the anxiety for those well past their prime and into their 60s. Here, safety of the hard earned money takes top priority. Investing in bank deposits is a better way to safeguard investors’ money while at the same time earning a reasonable interest rate. In fact, if you are a senior citizen, you can get about 50 basis points higher than the regular rates in banks and 25 bps higher in non-banking financial institutions (NBFCs). At the moment, the ideal period for deposits seems to be up to two years. Interest rates are at a near-bottom now, and may begin to look up sooner than later. CM YK



Hence, it will be a good idea to lock-in for a short term and reinvest at a better rate on maturity.

Best options up to 2 years RBL Bank offers among the

most attractive rates for up to two years. In this bank, across the 181-240 days and 241-364 days bracket, the rates offered are 7.62 per cent and 7.98 per cent respectively. Canara Bank and ICICI Bank also have offerings for roughly the same time periods, but the rates are lower. If you want to deposit for exactly one year, RBL bank offers 8.24 per cent. YES Bank and Canara Bank follow with 7.82 per cent and 7.61 per cent respectively for a year. You can gain marginally from the special rates offered by some banks such as YES Bank if you have a one to twoyear horizon. YES bank offers 7.87 per cent rate for deposits in the 18 months 8 days to 18 months 18 days category. This is higher than their one and twoyear rates. If you can wait a year longer, the interest rate moves higher. RBL Bank’s 8.40 per cent rate

for a two-year horizon is currently the highest across tenures, across several public and private sector banks. Again, for a two-year tenure, YES Bank comes second with a 7.82 per cent and Canara Bank third with 7.78 per cent.

NBFC: Win some, lose some Typically, if you are prepared to take some risk, non-banking finance companies offer better interest rates than banks for the same time periods. To keep risk to the minimum, deposits with AAA or highest safety rating are recommended. Among AAA- rated NBFCs, Bajaj Finance offers the highest one-year deposit rate at 8.05 per cent, closely followed by DHFL and Shriram Transport finance, both offering 8 per cent for the one year period. However, the rates offered are lower than RBL Bank, but higher than other banks such as

YES Bank and Canara Bank. For a period of two years, Bajaj Finance offers 8.25 per cent, again lower than RBL Bank but higher than other banks offerings. Interestingly, at 8.3 per cent, Bajaj Finance offers about six basis points better than RBL Bank when it comes to threeyear deposits. Similarly, Shriram Transport Finance offers 8.25 per cent for three-year deposits. Note that the minimum deposit for Shriram Transport Finance and Bajaj Finance are ₹10,000 and ₹25,000 respectively. Finally, keep in mind that these are rates for cumulative deposits. Interest rates for deposits with regular payout options may vary. Also,these rates may not prevail if you decide to pre-close your deposit before maturity. You may have to forego a part of the promised interest as penalty.


SHOP FOR THE BEST 앫 RBL Bank for one and two-year deposits 앫 YES Bank for one to two-year special deposits 앫 Bajaj Finance, Shriram Transport Finance for threeyear deposits CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC






SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



FB seeks India payment system patent Move comes at a time when the U.S. irm is looking to unveil its e-payments service in the country saging system and the messaging system co-ordinates a payment process based on the payment information,” Facebook said in its disclosure.

Sanjay Vijayakumar CHENNAI

Nissan unveils new Micra hatchback CHENNAI

Nissan India on Friday unveiled a new version of its premium hatchback new Micra, with features such as auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers, among others, according to a company statement. With a starting price of 5.98 lakh (ex-showroom Chennai), the car will be on sale across Nissan India showrooms. It also announced an extended warranty package.

SpiceJet reports 43% fall in Q4 net proit MUMBAI

SpiceJet reported 43% fall in net proit at ₹41.6 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2017 due to higher fuel cost and lower yield on account of demonetisation. It reported a net proit of ₹73 crore during the January— March quarter of the 2015— 16 iscal. However, for the full iscal 2016—17, the airline posted a net proit of ₹430 crore as compared to ₹407 crore reported in the iscal year ended March 2016. PTI

NTPC forays into EV charging business NEW DELHI

NTPC entered into the new business segment of setting up charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) and installed irst such points at its oices in Delhi and Noida. The main objective in setting up EV charging points is to be part of promoting clean energy transportation, it said, adding it will also eventually push demand for such vehicles as well as power generated by its plants. PTI

Facebook has sought an Indian patent for its electronic payment system enabled through messaging. The firm has already filed for the patent at the Chennai Patent Office. The move comes at a time when Facebook is looking to unveil its electronic payment service in India. It has already filed for patent for the system in the U.S., which is pending approval. “The present disclosure relates to systems methods and devices that provide a transactional payment system. In particular, the transactional payment system allows users of messaging systems to send and receive electronic payments to and from other users of the messaging system,” Facebook said in its application for the patent.

Desi turf: Facebook has already iled for patent for the system in the U.S., which is pending approval. REUTERS *

A messaging application on a client device could receive payment information input (such as a payment amount and payment method) from a sender for

India is third in best-value fares Loses top slot; average price rises 53% from $3.25 in 2016 for travel of 100 km Somesh Jha NEW DELHI

India dropped to a third position from its top slot on offers for the best-valued air ticket prices on its domestic and international routes worldwide, as airfares soared in 2017, a recent study by Kiwi.com showed. The survey said India’s average flight cost for travel of 100 km rose from $3.25 in 2016 to $4.96 in 2017. India ranked third in bestvalued air ticket prices in 2017 — a fall by two rungs from number one a year earlier, Kiwi.com’s 2017 Flight Price Index said. Malaysia, with airfares at $4.18 for 100 km travel and Bulgaria ($4.65) preceded India. Online portal Kiwi.com

conducted a research of short-haul and long-haul flights from 80 of the world’s most frequently visited

Budget airline AirAsia announces discount fares Tickets can be availed from June 4 to June 11 K.T. Jagannathan CHENNAI

There is good news for air travellers. Budget airline AirAsia has come out with ‘discount fares’ as part of its sales promotion campaign. The ‘discounted fares’ begin from as low as ₹1,099 for domestic destinations on flights operated by its Indian joint venture and ₹2,999 for international flights operated by other group airlines. However, these ‘discounted fares’ are for a limited period.

Booking period Tickets for ‘discounted fares’ can be availed from June 4 to June 11 for travel between January 15, 2018 and August 28, 2018. “Travellers can enjoy fares as low as ₹1,099 to do-

making a payment to a recipient, it said. “The messaging application can send a payment message, including the payment information, to a mes-

Status updates During the payment process, the messaging system could provide status updates to the sender and receiver of the payment via status messages that were included in a message thread corresponding to the sender and the recipient, it added. Facebook was not available for comment. Facebook-owned mobile messaging app WhatsApp aparently is preparing to enter India’s booming digital payments industry. A post on its website in April invited applications for role of “Digital Transactions Lead, India.” “The patent application

Bookings can be made via www.airasia.com and the AirAsia mobile app. REUTERS *

mestic destinations such as Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Goa, Srinagar, Ranchi and Kolkata operated by AirAsia India. They can also fly to international destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi and many

more destinations operated by AirAsia Berhad, Thai AirAsia, AirAsia X Berhad and Indonesia AirAsia X at fares as low as ₹2,999,” said a release. “Guests travelling on AirAsia X will also be able to enjoy its award-winning Premium Flatbed to Sydney, Melbourne, Korea, Japan, Bali at a fare of ₹11,999.” “The lowest fare during this promo applies to all bookings made through www.airasia.com and the AirAsia mobile app,” the release added. “Big sale is the best time to lock down travel plans for next year. With so many fantastic destinations on offer, it is perfect for a long break or even just a quick weekend getaway,” said Amar Abrol, MD and CEO.

countries and cities, calculating an average ticket cost per 100 km of travel, using high and low season flight

costs for over a million journeys. However, India’s full-service carriers offered the cheapest airfares at $4.25 (2.67) per 100 km travel. India’s average fares on low-cost domestic flights rose from $2.27 to $3.88. Average international fares on low-cost flights rose from $3.54 to $5.81 and on full-service carriers from $4.51 to $6.51 per 100 km travel. “Ticket prices fluctuate constantly for a myriad of reasons,” said Kiwi.com CEO Oliver Dlouhý. “Year on year changes can partly be attributed to fuel prices, sociopolitical shifts such as Brexit, recent elections and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates,” he said.

envisages peer-to-peer payment between users of a messaging application such as WhatsApp. A patent grant to Facebook will enable WhatsApp to monopolise key aspects of the technology that enables peer-topeer payments using messaging application,” Kartik Puttaiah, InvnTree IP Services, said. The patent application and WhatsApp digital payment initiative might be the first big bet by Facebook to directly generate revenue from the messaging app since its acquisition, he added. Prashant Reddy, a research associate at School of Law, Singapore Management University, said that the law on software patents was yet to be settled in India. Mr. Reddy said he would not get too excited over Facebook’s patent filing.

Gold, silver decline as demand falls Press Trust of India NEW DELHI

Gold and silver prices drifted lower due to slackened demand from jewellery stockists and traders at higher level. Marketmen said a firm dollar and a drop in demand from local jewellers at the domestic spot market mainly led to the fall in gold prices. Silver, which also witnessed sustained selling by stockists and investors coupled with lack of demand from industrial users, closed below the significant ₹39,000 mark. In worldwide trade, gold saw its highest weekly close since April with prices up for the fourth week in a row.

In the red: Reliance Communications recently reported its second consecutive quarterly loss. REUTERS *

Anil: Jio entry to help RCom in the long run Jio triggered a price war in the sector Piyush Pandey MUMBAI

Anil Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Communications, said Mukesh Ambaniled Reliance Jio’s entry into the telecom sector would help his debt-laden company in the long-term. RCom reported its second consecutive quarterly loss on May 28 and had its credit ratings downgraded. The entry of Jio, with free data and voice offers, has triggered a price war in the country’s telecommunications sector. Telecom operators are facing pressure on income, profitability and other financial metrics on account of competition intensified by the entry of Reliance Jio. “I think that if you are judging for six months, you are right but if you are judging for three years and five years, as we create the new Aircom, the new wireless entity, there is a huge long-term strategic value,” he said of Jio’s entry. “If you see the numbers in capex that Bharti has to invest or Idea-Vodafone combine has to invest in spectrum, in fibre network, in telecom towers, it is going to be mind-boggling,” he said. “But for us, it's very simple as in medium to long-term we have this

unique advantages of going for their (Reliance Jio's) one lakh towers, one lakh fibre, ICR arrangements in all circles. If there is an option in the future for the sale of spectrum auction for 5G, we have options to use their future spectrum without incurring any additional capex,” Mr. Ambani said. Talking about Reliance Jio’s free offers, Mr. Ambani said, “If their free offers went on for five years, then it’s a different thing because nothing can compete with free. Only free can compete with free.” Mr. Ambani said that hisrelationship with his brother Mukesh Ambani `is cordial’ and added that all speculations to the contrary were unnecessary even as their telecom ventures would continue to be separate entities. When asked about future co-operation between Reliance Jio and Reliance Communications, Mr. Ambani said, “Reliance Communications and Reliance Jio are separate entities and that will continue. We will have strategic co-operation in terms of spectrum, fiber, intra-circle roaming, towers and any other areas, which can bring synergies, cost savings and that is a strategic roadmap, which will continue.”

JSW Steel to raise up to ₹10,000 cr.

Kerala to woo ‘adventure’ tourists Tourist arrivals to the southern parts of the state have plateaued





JSW Steel will seek shareholders’ approval to raise up to ₹10,000 crore through various financial instruments. The proposal is to be taken up during the company’s annual general meeting to be held on June 29. According to the notice sent to shareholders, JSW Steel would seek nod “for making offer(s) or invitations to subscribe to secure/unsecured redeemable non—convertible debentures in one or more tranches, aggregating up to ₹10,000 crore during financial year 2017—18.” The proceeds would be utilised towards capital expenditure, refinancing of existing loans and other activities, according to the company’s filing with the BSE.

Kerala will unveil a new tourism policy over the next couple of months to showcase its northern Malabar region and aims to double the number of foreign arrivals from last year’s one million by 2021, an official said. “Kerala tourism is heavily dependent on South Kerala tourism basically Munnar, Kumarakom backwaters, Kovalam and Kochi,” State tourism director P.Bala Kiran told The Hindu. The State is now investing in the Malabar region, where some of the destinations are Kozhikode, Wayanad, Vekkal, and Kannur. Tourist arrivals to the southern parts have plateaued, Mr. Kiran said. “These are traditional sectors and has reached a maturity. So, growth is not high now as compared to 20052006 when growth was 10%.

Greener pastures: The government is now investing in the Malabar region that hosts Wayanad, Vekkal and Kannur.

To accommodate bigger tourist arrivals — since the government has emphasised on 100% growth in international tourists and 50% growth in domestic tourists by 2021 — we have opened the window for north Kerala which is called Malabar,” he said. Kerala’s foreign tourist arrivals exceeded 10 lakh in 2016 — a first for the state — while domestic arrivals were

more than 1.3 crore, Mr. Kiran said.

Draft policy The draft of the new tourism policy was ready and consultations were being held with all stakeholders, Mr. Kiran said. The new policy, taking advantage of the demographic profile of the country, also aims to target the youth by offering them adventure tourism.

“Kerala tourism is mostly centered around leisure and ayurveda. Backwaters and ayurveda were our brandings for many decades. Now, since we also want to attract family and young tourists, because India is a young country with 65% population below 35 years, we are also positioning on the activity and adventure front,” Mr. Kiran said. He acknowledges that the new liquor policy of the Government had an impact on tourism, particularly MICE (meetings, incentive, conference, and exhibition) tourism. “Liquor policy has an impact on tourism, not on all aspects but on MICE tourism in a big way. After six years, MICE tourism has not grown in 2016, the growth was negative. We had an average of 6-7% growth every year earlier. MICE tourism depends very much on the availability of liquor.”

Ocean Pearl acquires Shell Lubricants India 77% stake from Fander to focus on 3 segments Plans to open 110 more restaurants

Plan is to increase market share to 5%

N. Anand




The promoters of Sagar and Sagar Ratna, a chain of vegetarian restaurants, acquired 77% stake from the U.S.-based equity fund, Fander Equity Holdings, to gain full control of the 88 restaurants in North India after a gap of six years. “We have acquired 77% of equity stake from Fander Equity Holdings for an undisclosed sum,” said Jayaram Banan, chairman, Ocean Pearl Hotels, the holding company of the restaurant chain. “It was a bad decision to dilute my stake in the company in June 2011 for ₹132 crore. At that time, the group had a turnover ₹55-60 crore. Thereafter, I focused on banquets and industrial catering. When the PE was looking to exit, it was mutually agreed by both of us CM YK

Shell Lubricants India has drawn up plans to aggressively focus on three key segments in India to increase its market share to 5% in next three years, said a top official. “We have a market share of 5% in power, construction and mining sector,” said Siva Kasturi, global OEM manager - India and South East Asia, Shell Lubricants. “We are now aggressively focusing on three key segments -- petrochemicals, textiles and sugar to increase our market share,” he said. “These are the sectors in which we do not have much presence. May be it is around 1% and we would like it to grow to 5% in three years. Besides, we are also focusing on defence applications and railways,” he said.

Jayaram Banan that it was in the best interest of Sagar Ratna that I need to take control of the company,” he said. Mr. Banan said his aim now was to strengthen the brand Sagar Ratna, expand the chain to Tier-II and TierIII cities and enter overseas market by opening six restaurants in Dubai through franchisee agreements. Ocean Pearl owns 88 restaurants in the North, of which 52 are managed by franchisees.

Mr. Kasturi said the Indian subsidiary of the Netherland-based lubricant firm aims to become the largest international lubricant player in India in the next three years. “According to him, India is the third largest lubricant market in the world for Shell after the U.S. and China. Currently, the top slots are occupied by national oil companies. “Supported by 400-500 original equipment manufacturers, India has an oil market worth $2.6 billion litres per year. Still there are lot of sectors that are untapped by us. For the last five months, we are creating market awareness on lubricants,” he said. Mr. Kasturi said Shell was holding discussions with various stakeholders in India in the B2B sector to help grow its brand. B ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Probe sought into Raymond imbroglio Shareholder’s letter to SEBI raises questions over allotment of property to promoter family development, the company entered into agreements whereby they were given an option to purchase equivalent area in the new building at ₹9,200 per sq. ft. inclusive of stamp duty. The AGM is scheduled on Monday at Raigad where the proposal will be put to vote. Mr. Singhania has stated that, personally, he would like shareholders to vote against the resolution.

Lalatendu Mishra MUMBAI

Motorola unveils Moto C for ₹5,999 NEW DELHI

Motorola unveiled its new handset — Moto C — priced at ₹5,999 to tap into the afordable smartphone category in India. Moto C — the cheapest smartphone in Motorola India’s portfolio currently — will be available in more than 100 cities.The 4G-enabled Moto C features a 5-inch display, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal memory, 5MP rear and 2MP front camera and 2350 mAh battery. PTI

GST rate review sought for auto spares, FMCG NEW DELHI

Traders body CAIT demanded a review of the GST rates proposed for automobile spare parts, certain FMCG products and handbags saying they will severely impact business and shrink demand. In a letter to the Finance Minister, CAIT said the rate itment exercise had resulted in categorisation of some important items such as daily consumables being bracketed in the highest 28% slab originally intended for luxury or demerit goods. PTI

DIPP to raise awareness on IPR, plans outreach NEW DELHI

The government has formed a scheme to raise awareness of intellectual property rights under which the DIPP would take several steps including organising 4,300 programmes in three years. The department of industrial policy and promotion has created the “Scheme for IPR Awareness”. It aims to conduct IP workshops in collaboration with industry organisations and academic institutions across the country. PTI

A minority shareholder has written to market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) seeking a probe into the motives behind Gautam Hari Singhania, chairman & managing director of Raymond Ltd., seeking shareholders’ approval for allotment of four duplex apartments at JK House in Mumbai to members of the promoters’ family. In his letter, minority shareholder Vishal Ashwin Patel asked SEBI ‘not to fall prey to Mr. Singhania’s deceitful act’ and take the ‘strongest possible action’. Responding to the allegations, a Raymond Ltd. spokesperson said, “Mr. Gautam Singhania has expressed his views on the matter and has taken a firm and decisive stand putting forth his clear intent to protect shareholders’ interests ahead of family and has assured that the company is

Questions galore: Raymond has proposed a resolution approving a 2007 agreement with the promoter family. taking all appropriate measures to safeguard stakeholders.” Raymond has proposed a resolution approving an agreement entered into in 2007 by the company with Gautam Singhania, his father Vijaypat Singhania, aunt

Vennadevi and cousin Akshaypath for registration of duplex flats at JK House. These individuals were earlier staying in duplex flats which were owned by the company. On the grounds that the building was structurally weak and require re-

Federal Bank eyes slice of digital pie Targets one lakh merchants for UPI-based transactions this inancial year M. Soundariya Preetha COIMBATORE

Federal Bank plans to reach out to more than one lakh merchants for Unified Payments Interface-based transactions this financial year from the current 20,000, said chief operating officer Shalini Warrier. The merchants will use UPI point-of-sale machines, mobile app or web app for transactions, she said. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing and merchant payments into one.

With the implementation of GST, the merchants will do more online filing and hence digital transactions were also expected to go up, Ms. Warrier told reporters. The bank recently introduced a mobile banking app with additional security features for small and medium-

scale enterprises and corporations. About 300 clients were using it now and the number is expected to go up to 10,000 this fiscal. Further, the bank has eased the process of opening accounts. About 60% of the bank’s transactions were now through the digital mode and it was about 45% before November last year, she said. On the bank’s investments on the digital front, she said, “We do it across technology, marketing, etc. It is a critical part of our strategy.”

Bank recruitments Though the focus was on digital transactions, there was no slowdown in recruitments by the bank. Apart

Oracle steps on cloud Accelerator to woo start-ups

Sona raises capacity in Hungary

Technology major eyes beneits of riding on start-up wave


Peerzada Abrar BENGALURU

Oracle, one of the world’s biggest technology companies, is betting big to engage with innovative start-ups in India. From sourcing ideas to influencing direction of new product development start-ups are becoming important for Oracle to plug into the ecosystem to finetune its future strategies and outstrip rivals. “So [as is] typical, Larry Ellison (Oracle co-founder) wants to make sure we are benefiting from being enormous and yet also benefiting from the opportunities of start-ups,” said Oracle chief executive Safra Catz in response to a question from The Hindu during her recent visit to the country. Though Oracle had unveiled a $100 million venture capital fund almost two decades ago, it has chosen a different strategy this time to engage with start-ups. Instead of investing capital, the company, with more than $37 billion in annual revenue, is offering a mix of advice and access to technology to young ventures through its Startup Cloud Accelerator Programme. “... we want to nurture start-ups on our platform, just like we did in the old world. Most large software companies in the world are based on Oracle,” said Ms. Catz. The Redwood City, California-based firm introduced the accelerator as a pilot programme last April in Bengaluru. It is now opening new centres across the globe in Bristol, Delhi–NCR, Mumbai, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Tel Aviv. Following the expansion of the accelerator in the country, Oracle said that it has nurtured two batches of companies as part of this programme in India. The accelerator provides young ventures with six months of mentorship, technology, coworking space and access to Oracle customers, and venCM YK

‘Why now?’ “I am wondering why all of a sudden the promoter is trying to turn over a new leaf by pretending to adhere to the highest standards of transparency and good governance,” Mr. Patel has said in the letter, a copy of which is with The Hindu. “All these years, he (Gautam Singhania) had kept shareholders and regulators in the dark by not uttering a single word about the unethical agreement entered into by the company with mem-

Tipping point: After Bengaluru, Oracle is now opening new centres in Bristol, Paris, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv. AP. *

ture capitalists. “India was the seed for our start-up incubation centres,” said Ms. Catz.

Digital India Unlike traditional accelerator programs, the company said that this initiative is driven by Oracle research and development, and has a focus on re-imagining enterprise innovation through true partnership with startups. “This whole initiative is a learning process for them (start-ups) and us,” said Sanket Atal, group vice-president of development, Oracle India. “We also involve Oracle’s global product development teams to identify opportunities where we can foster co-development.” For instance, the company said that the Oracle Cloud Platform had been validated to develop applications using India Stack services. India Stack is a set of application program interface (APIs) that allows Governments, businesses, start-ups and developers to utilise a unique digital infrastructure and deliver secure presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery. EzeDox, one of the firms which participated in the Oracle Accelerator programme is eyeing this opportunity. It has built a digital locker that facilitates issuance, categorisation and storage of offi-

cial and personal documents. “Leveraging India Stack through Oracle cloud is the most open, easy and modern way for our developers to take full advantage of this unique digital infrastructure,” said Veerendra Mishra, cofounder of EzeDox. Another company, Farebond, which also participated in the accelerator programme, uses data science and predictive analytics to provide an innovative solution to the travel uncertainty problem faced by air travellers. It enables undecided travellers to ‘lock-in’ air fares for a period of time so they can peacefully plan their trip. “The Oracle accelerator has empowered us with cutting-edge cloud technology to analyse massive amounts of data,” said Naveen Setia, cofounder of Farebond.

GST Oracle, with 38,000 employees in the country, is also pursuing innovation inside the company to tap the unique opportunities in the country. The company recently announced the availability of Oracle enterprise resource planning cloud in India. It would help local and multinational firms operating in the country to prepare for the country’s transformational tax reforms.

from regular recruitments, “we will look for specialists on need-based requirements,” she said. D. Sampath, chief general manager and head, network II, said the bank had 1,250 branches now and 650 of these were opened in the last couple of years. Ms. Warrier said the bank’s capital adequacy ratio was at 12.39%. “Though we are adequately capitalised, we will be looking at raising capital in the next 12 months. This will be growth capital,” she said. The bank had tied up with SB Global Educational Resources and started the Federal Skill Academy as part of its corporate social responsibility.

bers of the Singhania family to sell valuable real estate in Mumbai at ₹9,200 per sq.ft,” said the letter. Another minority shareholder, Bharat Patel, a relative of Vishal Patel, said, “Gautam Singhania was a director when the tripartite agreement was entered into. Not a single time in nine years did he ever remember tripartite agreement. “He kept all shareholders in the dark and is now trying to use shareholders once again to settle scores with other family members which, in turn, results in valuable assets of the company [being] dragged into legal tangle.” “Had he thought... [on behalf of ] shareholders, he would not have spent more than ₹90,000 per sq.ft. in construction while there was an agreement to give option to family members at ₹9,200 per sq. ft,” said Mr. Bharat Patel whose family holds 1% stake in Raymond.

India Grid Trust to list on June 6 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI

India Grid Trust, which recently concluded its ₹2,250 crore initial public offering (IPO), will make its stock market debut on June 6. The IPO of India Grid Trust, second in the infrastructure investment trusts (InvIT) space, was subscribed 1.17 times. The price band for the offer, open during May 17— 19, was set at ₹98—₹100 per unit. India Grid Trust, an infrastructure investment trust established to own inter—state power transmission assets in India, had raised over ₹1,012 crore from anchor investors.

Export potential: India is becoming a manufacturing hub for textile machinery, says R. Rajendran, president, TMMA.

Textile machinery exports see steady rise Spinning gear has scope for increase M. Soundariya Preetha COIMBATORE

For the textile engineering industry, which consists of more than 2,800 units producing machinery for different processes in the textile value chain, exports have shown a steady increase in the last five years. According to R. Rajendran, president of Textile Machinery Manufacturers’ Association, almost all the major global spinning machinery manufacturers have a base in India and China now. It is not only to cater to these two respective markets but also to other countries from here, he said. “India is gradually becoming a manufacturing hub for textile machinery and so exports will only go up,” he says. S. Chakraborty, advisor of Textile Machinery Manufacturers’ Association, said exports increased from ₹1,523 crore in FY12 to ₹2,466 crore in FY15. Though official data shows a drop in exports in 2015-2016, private data indicated ₹2,572 crore of exports in 2015-2016, he said. Areas with scope for exports currently are spinning and processing. “India is a major manufacturer of spinning machinery. We export processing machinery too. But, a large number of looms, knitting and garmenting machinery are imported by the textile industry here,” Mr.

Rajendran said. Textile machinery imports were ₹7,643 crore in 2011-2012 and ₹10,305 crore in 2015-2016. This includes machinery, tools, and accessories. Apart from weaving and garmenting machinery, autoconers are also imported.

Slowdown impact Though the economic slowdown had affected investments by the domestic textile industry, investments continue in select pockets. Some States have come out with State-specific textile policies. Industries that focus on value addition, expansion, modernisation and replacements are driving investments in the domestic market, he added. The Union Government has been focusing on development of machinery for weaving and processing sector. It has supported loom development projects on public-private partnership mode and also cleared a project to set up a common engineering facility centre. If segments such as weaving and garmenting do well, demand for yarn will also pick up and this will drive investments, he said. According to Mr. Chakraborty, reduction in allocation of funds for Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme and resulting backlog in payment of subsidies in the past had affected investments.


Sona BLW Precision Forgings, a part of the Sona Group, has augmented production capacity at its Hungary plant by 40% thus taking the total capacity to 3.9 million pieces per year. The boost in production capacity of the manufacturing unit has resulted in total capacity of 3.9 million pieces per year with a targeted annual sale of 1.5 billion Hungarian Forint. “Our Hungary plant expansion offers us advantages to maintain cost-efficiency, transfer of certain aspects of our production and also remain close to the market,” Sona Group CEO Sunjay Kapur said in a statement. In three years, the company plans to double production capacity at the Hungary facility to 7.8 million pieces a year.

71 mineral blocks to be auctioned PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI

As many as 71 mineral blocks have been identified for auction in the current fiscal, the government said. These include six blocks in in Andhra Pradesh, 11 in Chhattisgarh, 12 blocks in Gujarat, nine in Jharkhand, the Mines Ministry said in a statement. Besides, 18 blocks are in Maharashtra, 7 in Odisha and 8 blocks in Rajasthan, it said. In a meeting of the Coordination—cum—Empowered Committee (CCEC) of the major mineral-producing states under the chairmanship of Secretary Mines Arun Kumar held here deliberate discussion took place on preparedness for e-auction of mineral blocks for 201718. Representatives from seventeen states were present in the meeting. B ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Big U.S. irms stay on Trump’s panel despite climate jolt

‘Start Today’s Maezawa has sold equity to fund purchases’

Business leaders cite the need to stay engaged with the administration Reuters WASHINGTON

Toyota sells all shares in Tesla as tie-up ends Toyota Motor Corp. said it had sold all shares in Tesla Inc. by 2016-end, having cancelled its tie-up with the U.S. luxury automaker to jointly develop electric vehicles. Japan's biggest automaker had bought about a 3% stake in the Palo Altobased automaker for $50 million. In November, the Japanese automaker appointed its president to lead the newly-formed electric car division. Reuters

‘Spotify stock listing could be within a year’ Streaming music service Spotify could be loated within a year, a source familiar with the matter said, after co-founder Martin Lorentzon told Swedish radio a listing was not in the pipeline. Responding to his comments, the source said it looks like "it would be within 12 months from now." Spotify also conirmed a stock market listing was an option. Reuters

Several major U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., JP Morgan Chase & Co. and IBM Corp., said their CEOs will remain in an influential presidential advisory group despite objecting to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. Citing the need to stay engaged with the administration, business leaders said they would remain in their advisory roles to continue working to influence White House policies.

Musk, Iger leave Mr. Trump, a Republican, said he would pull the U.S. from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, drawing anger and condemnation from world leaders and heads of industry. Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk and Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger reacted by leaving White House advisory councils after Mr. Trump’s move. “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Mr. Musk said in a Twitter post. He was a member of the business advisory group, known as the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum. He also belonged to Mr. Trump’s manufacturing jobs council. Asked about CEOs’ criticism of the U.S. withdrawal, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said some companies that expressed support for remaining in the agreement raised concerns about the emissions reduc-

Donald Trump



tion targets. Mr. Spicer, speaking to reporters at a daily news conference, added he does not know if Mr. Trump will replace Mr. Musk and Mr. Iger on the business council. A spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest U.S. retailer, said that CEO Doug McMillon will remain on the business council. Mr. McMillon said in a Facebook post late on Thursday he was “disappointed in today’s news about the Paris Agreement. We think it’s important for countries to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will remain on the council, the company said as it reaffirmed its support for the Paris accord. “IBM believes we can make a constructive contribution by having a direct dialogue with the administration as we do with governments around the world,” a company spokeswoman said. Cleveland Clinic Chief Executive Toby Cosgrove will also remain on the council, a spokeswoman said.

Another prominent chief executive, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, criticised Mr. Trump’s decision. The company acknowledged Friday that he would not step down from Mr. Trump’s business group. “I absolutely disagree with the administration on this issue, but we have a responsibility to engage our elected officials to work constructively and advocate for policies that improve people’s lives and protect our environment,” Mr. Dimon said in a statement. PepsiCo Inc. Chief Executive Indra Nooyi is expected to remain on the council. The company said in a statement that while it is “disappointed with the announcement, we hope there is a way for the accord to move forward with the U.S. at the table.” Other CEOs also issued statements criticizing the decision to withdraw from the accord, including the heads of Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Goldman Sachs. General Electric Co. CEO Jeff Immelt, who is on Mr. Trump’s manufacturing council, said he was disappointed in the decision and added: “Industry must now lead and not depend on government.” Mr. Immelt will remain on the council, a company spokeswoman said on Friday. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who is also on Mr. Trump’s manufacturing council, called the withdrawal “a failure of American leadership.” A union spokesman said on Friday

Quentin Webb

that Mr. Trumka intends to remain on the council to serve “as a voice for working people.” Boeing Co. Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg also will remain on the manufacturing council, the company said.

Push back Administration officials pushed back against company criticisms in television interviews. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn dismissed concerns about potential economic fallout from the climate deal withdrawal, such as the potential of other countries slapping tariffs on U.S. manufacturers. In an interview on CNBC, Mr. Cohn said the move was part of the administration’s efforts to boost U.S. economic growth and help companies by increasing demand for U.S. goods, along with other efforts targeting regulations, taxes and infrastructure. “If we can grow our economy, we’re going to consume more and more products,” he said. “We’re going to need more manufacturing in the United States just to deal with domestic consumption.” The issue could resurface later this month when, according to an administration spokesman, the White House plans to hold a June 19 meeting with technology leaders. Mr. Trump created the business advisory group in December before taking office to assist him in making policy decisions. The council is led by Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of Blackstone Group LP.


Job growth rate slows in the U.S.

The ‘Don’ and the deep blue sea


Yusaku Maezawa has a tech fortune to spray around. The art-collecting entrepreneur recently paid $111 million for an untitled 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, one of the biggest sums ever spent on contemporary art. That throws a spotlight on his fashion e-tailer, Start Today, which is the means to his end. Japan boasts a few iconoclastic billionaires in technology and fashion, including the bosses of Rakuten, Fast Retailing and SoftBank. But the former musician seems unusually willing to spend freely on what moves him. It looks like he has effectively funded some of his art purchases with equity in the firm he founded, Start Today. Over the last decade, the number of shares he owns in the $8 billion company has nearly halved, leaving him with a stake of slightly less than 38%, Eikon data shows.

Value quadrupled Start Today has drawn less attention abroad than Mr. Maezawa’s splashy purchases at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, but financially his e-commerce firm is also something to behold. Since joining Tokyo’s main stock exchange a little more than five years ago, the company’s value has quadrupled.

Perceptions game: Start Today has drawn less attention abroad than Mr. Maezawa’s splashy art purchases. AFP *

A large part of this is about fundamentals. This financial year, analysts reckon sales will increase nearly 28% to slightly more than 97 billion yen ($878 million) and earnings per share will rise by almost one-third.

COMMENT Those are eye-catching rates for a stagnant economy famous for its frugal consumers and show internet economics apply as much in Japan as elsewhere. The best online firms are lean, winner-takes-all businesses that can grow quickly by usurping realworld incumbents. For Start Today, success centres on the fashion portal Zozo-

town, which dominates the local space online between high and mass-market fashion retail. But perception matters too. Wowed by the sectors prospects, investors are pouring money into technology worldwide. In Start Today’s case, that means new shareholders are now willing to pay nearly 37 times forward earnings for the stock, roughly double what they would five years ago. Cynics might say that screams top-of-the-market as much as any art-world record tumbling. But no wonder Mr. Maezawa feels entitled to paint the town red. (The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)


As large cap gets larger, can the tech rally on Wall St. continue? The technology sector has risen about 20% so far in 2017

U.S. job growth slowed in May and employment gains in the prior two months were not as strong as previously reported, suggesting the labour market was losing momentum despite the unemployment rate falling to a 16-year low of 4.3%. Nonfarm payrolls increased 138,000 as manufacturing, government and retail sectors lost jobs, the Labor Department said. Reuters

duce that leadership,” said Jim Tierney, chief investment officer of concentrated U.S. growth at AllianceBernstein.

Reuters NEW YORK

Apple to expand Siri to counter Amazon’s Alexa Apple Inc. is expected to announce plans to make its Siri voice assistant work with a larger variety of apps, as the technology company looks to counter the runaway success of Amazon.com Inc.’s competing Alexa service. But the Cupertino irm is likely to stick to its tested method of focusing on a small amount of features and trying to perfect them. Reuters

Art world upstart sprays tech fortune on canvas

Whither weather: A woman takes a selie on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro. Changes in Rio's climate are projected to be the most dire of all cities in South America amid growing concern over the U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. GETTY IMAGES

Technology shares have led U.S. stocks to record highs and are expected to continue to rise, but as market value becomes concentrated in the largest companies, some are beginning to look for the next rally leader. The technology sector of the S&P 500 has risen roughly 20% so far in 2017, led by Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft. The only other company with comparable gains in market value this year is Amazon, a market darling not in the tech sector despite being a big player in cloud services and data storage. “These are the dominant players in their specific spaces and the hottest areas in tech,” said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust Company, highlighting their exposure to the cloud and artificial intelligence. “You will continue to see money flowing into those names. People want to be exposed to the hottest

Jangled nerves: The rally’s concentration has some investors jittery. REUTERS *

areas,” he said. Active funds have continued to throw their money behind the leaders with a record overweight on the technology sector, according to BofA/Merrill Lynch data going back to 2008. But more than a third of the 2017 gains in the S&P 500 have come from these five companies, and the concentration of the advance has some investors jittery. “Given how significant the (large cap) leadership has been year to date, I kind of think you need to find another group to pro-

‘Five horsemen’ Echoing Dell, Cisco, Intel and yes, Microsoft itself, the leaders of the Y2K tech boom, these new “five horsemen” have added more than $612 billion in value to the stock market this year. Their 2017 gains alone could buy the 85 smallest companies of the S&P 500. Their combined value, near $3 trillion, is not far from the market value of all the other components of the Nasdaq 100. This tech rally has come hand in hand with heightened expectations for profits. Investors are currently paying $18.50 for every $1 in earnings expected over the next 12 months in the sector, compared to the more than $40 they paid during the dot-com bubble and even the $20plus seen during the most recent market peak in 2007. Mr. Tierney bets beyond tech on healthcare.



How PPG lost its $29.5 billion bet on Dulux paint The U.S. paint maker’s CEO McGarry underestimated the diiculty of pulling of such a deal in the Netherlands, where supervisory boards hold great sway Reuters LONDON/AMSTERDAM

In early March, U.S. paint maker PPG’s Chief Executive Michael McGarry flew from Pittsburgh to Amsterdam to take Akzo Nobel boss Ton Buechner for lunch. There, the 59-year-old American ambushed Mr. Buechner with a takeover plan and price tag that his company had been working on for months, a source familiar with the talks told Reuters. Rather than spark a discussion, Mr. McGarry’s bold move at their March 2 meeting triggered a hard-nosed response. “He was brutal in his approach and Akzo decided to respond in the same aggressive way,” said the source. The offer was rebuffed on March 9. Akzo said the proposal was “not in the inCM YK

terests of its employees” and the firm would pursue different plans to sell its specialty chemicals business. After two more offers were rejected, the Pittsburgh-based firm on Thursday dropped its bid, whose value had risen to 26.3 billion euro ($29.48 billion). The nature of the lunchtime meeting has not previously been reported, but other elements of PPG’s pursuit emerged in news briefings and a May court hearing, exposing details of the takeover bid that would normally stay behind closed doors.

Wrong timing “The fact that it went public made the process difficult from the beginning,” Bryan Iams, PPG’S vice president for corporate and government affairs, told Reuters in

an emailed response to questions. Akzo’s spokesman Leslie McGibbon confirmed two face-to-face meetings took place, including the lunchtime appointment. What PPG’S Mr. McGarry got wrong was the timing and the difficulty of pulling off such a deal in the Netherlands, where supervisory boards hold great sway and most companies including Akzo are protected by “poison pill” defences. Mr. McGarry’s message was delivered a fortnight before a Dutch general election on March 15, which included strong nationalist themes. PPG’s swoop on Akzo caused fury among the Dutch political establishment who turned its takeover plan into a political football to be used in the election debate. Mr. McGarry, however,

Colour blind: PPG’s swoop on Akzo, a fortnight before a Dutch general election, triggered a political storm. REUTERS *

was determined to fight on for a deal that would give his firm access to some of the most popular paint brands in the world, such as Dulux. “I don’t think the political commentary changes the fact that there was a compelling strategic logic for the two companies to come together,” said PPG’s Mr. Iams.

Usually, takeover bids are followed by weeks of secretive negotiations as companies haggle over price and deal structure, and go on charm offensives with investors and regulators. But for PPG, the threemonth attempt at courtship brought snubs, lawsuits and barely any negotiation time

with their counterparts at Akzo. Its second bid on March 20, worth 90 euros per share, was rejected within 48 hours. “What was missing from the very start was dialogue,” said the source. Akzo took the position that if it engaged in talks, it would quickly become impossible to decline PPG’s offer, which was financially attractive for shareholders but which it said was not in the best interests of other stakeholders.

‘Fact offensive’ PPG’s main counterpart in merger and acquisition (M&A) talks was Elliott Advisors, which along with other major investors openly urged Akzo to engage in negotiations and tried but failed to oust Akzo Chairman Antony Burgmans in court.

Mr. McGarry wrote an open letter to Akzo shareholders and visited the Netherlands twice to promote his plan, but met with little success. The PPG CEO said on March 23 that his visits were “not so much a charm offensive as a fact offensive.” Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp proposed a law giving any Dutch company targeted by a foreign firm the unrestricted right to refuse for one year. PPG was turned away from meeting top politicians. After the March 2 lunch, the second and last time PPG’s Mr. McGarry met Akzo CEO Mr. Buechner was on May 6. Mr. McGarry, based in Pennsylvania, had been given barely 24 hours notice to get to Rotterdam in time. Akzo’s chairman would also be there. Mr. McGarry flew by

private jet from the U.S. to make the 3 p.m. appointment, only to be told that Akzo’s two top executives did not have any power to negotiate and were only there to hear any further elaboration on PPG’s latest offer. The meeting, which lasted 90 minutes, proved fruitless, despite an offer to Mr. Burgmans of a seat on the board of the merged company. Details of the dash to Rotterdam and the nature of that discussion emerged in a May 22 court hearing. Akzo rejected PPG’s third bid on May 8. After a Dutch court ruled that Akzo’s board was under no obligation to engage in talks, the U.S. firm’s prospects dimmed. With the June 1 deadline upon them, PPG was left with little choice but to walk away. B ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017


There’s always trouble at the top The struggle to meet expectations constantly is the biggest challenge in a leadership role



espite being born female and in South Asia, I grew up free from the burden of any specific expectations. My brother and I were expected to study, and education was the route to self-reliance and financial independence. Nothing more, nothing less. It was only when I was much older and in a leadership position myself that the full spectrum of expectations began to emerge.Attendant now were this constant critical or idolatry scrutiny. Every move was watched, every action or word magnified. Motives could be attributed and assigned without undue concern or knowhow.

Leaving Lilliput Bidisha S.


e brought home the abridged version of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels for her that evening. That night, as they set about unravelling the Lilliputian world together, he encouraged her to read aloud from it. But her concentration unspooled as a sweetspicey aroma wafted in from the kitchen, playful noises of the neighbourhood children came in, and the TV produced exaggerated resonances. “You can watch your show later! The TV is not running away,” he said, tapping her head. “Even the book is not running away,” she spoke slowly, rubbing her head, mirth alive on her face. He threw a stern look her way, but that did not seem to quieten her. She was now rocking on the recliner and humming. Then he shrieked, bringing her lithe body to attention. He knew the trick. This is how you bring her attention back to the book.

father and a < > Adaughter go through the Lilliputian experience Clearing his throat, he tempered his tone to match the narrative. When Gulliver screeched, he screeched; when the little villagers laughed, he laughed. As he turned the pages, she looked uprooted with the sudden dexterity and theatrics. Her almond-shaped eyes widened and her mouth parted slightly, as if waiting for the little people to materialise any moment! Her gaze followed his hands as he set about helping the villagers put together Gulliver’s bedding to retire for the night. That’s great progress, I’m able to hold her attention, and she’s going to love this, he thought, a warm contentment flooding his heart. The charm worked for exactly eight minutes. Then, with a self-important air she wriggled free and headed towards the door: “I have things to do.” “Ah, assumed too soon!,” he said to himself, as he saw her retreat. “Okay, next time then. I have to succeed,” he said aloud as he now settled on the recliner. He loved her more than life itself. Whatever time he could salvage from the pressures and turmoil of his demanding life, he just tried to spend with her. When he was a child, they had lived through difficult times. Money was

scarce and half-hungry stomachs were several. He was forced to grow up early to hold the reins. When childhoods die, a collateral is born. For him, the collateral was books. He could still recall the days that followed his discovery of a tattered copy of Gulliver’s Travels in his uncle’s discarded wooden chest. The memory of missing school, hiding in the cow shed and gulping down the series, came rushing back to him. And the recollection of the thrashing he had got for ‘wasting time on storybooks’, was as fresh as if preserved in Antarctic ice.

A lot of scrutiny When I look back at my own years of ‘leader-watching’, I remember the bouts of scrutiny I in turn directed on leaders in my work environment. Dress, walk and demeanor, all warranted attention. As did the ripple effect of these on the other members of the top management. In a burst of confidence engendered perhaps by my being the only female in his senior team, one of them told me, “I have to dress conservative; if I wear jeans,

The life coach His compatriot and life coach, Gulliver, kept him sane through rough times. Often he imagined being marooned and discovering Lilliput and Laputa. He was Gulliver. Unlike Gulliver, however, he never made his escape. Unlike Gulliver, he decided to put up with the mundaneness. Unlike Gulliver, he realised there really was no escape. He stayed put to look after the little people. He worked hard to make their lives worthwhile. Now that he had become one of the little people, he had vowed to shield her from it. So, yesterday, when she had enquired, ‘What’s a novel?,’ he grabbed the opportunity to introduce her to his best friend and bond them for life. He visualised her sinking into the depths of the printed world to weave her own story, away from the little people.

then question the answers. There are, sadly, no clear answers, much less universal ones. Each leader has to find the path best for her and see the struggle, however hard, as part of the process of growth.

these guys will wear shorts and tracks!” Years later, I experienced this from the other side. The leader, I learnt, is expected to be impeccably turned out, well-spoken and capable of handling any situation with aplomb. Anything less is unacceptable and would be relentlessly analysed, criticized, even condemned. The pressure this creates is naturally intense, and the feeling of being hemmed in from all directions is a real one.

Trigger for struggles Change is more often than not the trigger for struggles in the leadership arena. Leaders usher in organisational change, which creates a natural tension as the status quo fights back. With various factors in the mix, an imbalance is created that impacts leaders, managers and followers in multiple and varying ways.Ironically, the leader gets the roughest edge as he is seemingly the most ‘powerful’ one. Are such situations unusual in leadership? Are there gender variations on the theme: do male and female leaders face differing expectations and do they handle them in different ways?


Nitasha Devasar

Actually, these occur more often than one would think and leadership is not as natural or glamorous as it looks. While there is some interesting literature that documents these experiences often leaders themselves don’t talk about this for fear of looking weak or vulnerable. An offshoot perhaps of the fact that till recently leadership positions were predominantly male preserves. So how does all this pan out for women in leadership positions? As in many other situations and spheres, here

That time of the year How to cope with being appraised Deepak Nair


y once-a-year visit to the home town, which is but an extended village, usually comes around the annual temple festival. The bonus is that you get to visit your friends and relatives on the fringes of the family tree. What enthuses, and also confuses, me is not this, but the annual review and verdict that gets delivered during each such visits. The review is based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which haven’t changed in decades. It’s on the parameters of how much weight has been gained or lost, how much the hairline has receded, and how the skin tone fares, all on a scale of 1 to 10. And then there is the impact of these KPIs, which is related to your current job and marital status. Over the past few years, all my immediate relatives and those on the fringes have given a uniform verdict. I have lost weight as compared to my previous visit. Initially, the verdict used to make me search for the nearest weighing machine, usually the tall weighing machine at the railway station, which invariably gives you a bonus of two kilograms. Then with the advent of more advanced technology, I used to depend on the all-knowing Google, which threw up depressing data on the possible causes of weight loss, such as some auto immune disorders, even a pattern that resembled a crab. It so happened that with each check I realised that I had

Those memories Jolting back to the present, his lips curved to form a slight smile. It was the smile that accompanies bitter-sweet memories of the past. With Jonathan Swift’s magnum opus still in his hands, he heaved a heavy sigh, just as his six-yearold dashed into the room and jumped into his lap. “Bappa, let’s continue the book,” she flipped the book open. He replied: “Why, I thought you had important things to do.” “But I want to know if Gulliver was able to escape Lilliput! Did they blind him? Where does he go next? You told me there are flying people in the story. Can he return to England? Tell me, Bappa,” she demands of him, flicking the pages anxiously. He plants a kiss on her forehead and embraces her tightly. With that, they continue reading. satpathy.bidisha2190@ gmail.com

gained at least 500 gm over the previous year. So why this verdict? Maybe it’s the television soaps they are hooked to. All my relatives have progressed from a 32 inch TV to a 42 inch one, just because the close-up of the hero’s face wouldn’t fit in the screen. Maybe the other reference point they used, my cousins, was worth looking into. All of them have been getting inflated consistently over the past decade. And the complexion… oh yes… the verdict is clear. I have steadily lost my skin tone. They compare my skin tone to the look of guys from the film and modelling fields who have been advising men to switch to a men’s-only face cream. The reason is clear, too: my job which entails travel across States, usually covering both the coasts. Oh yes, they do mention it clearly that unlike my

cousins and the rest I don’t have an “IT” job with which your skin is protected. I really wish Donald Trump considers this point when he makes H1B visa rules even tougher: he shouldn’t disappoint an Indian mother and gain the wrath of the gods, invoked by unending prayers as well as poojas. The receding hairline is a given; they have advised me hair transplant as a viable option, since they have lost hope on the remaining strands surviving even a year more. Here their reference point is anyone who has crossed six decades of life. Well, they do give tips too — to grow a French beard which could reduce the glare of the shiny forehead, and that’s how professionals showcase themselves. So the annual temple festival gives you the time to revisit your KPIs and understand that your ratings are not just set, but even the appraisal ratings can be predicted even before the year starts. At work, there will be a half-yearly and yearly discussion to make you believe that you just missed on the KPIs. With the circle of relatives, the ratings are fixed and so are the discussions. You just need to smile and accept and get ready for the next appearance. [email protected]

too women seem to face tougher challenges. For example, they tend to set higher expectations for themselves and those around them, which can trigger greater struggles. This is often, sadly, juxtaposed with the overwhelming expectation of their failure by those around them. That then becomes the subtext, another expectation that also has to be overcome. How then does a leader handle the burden and the stress that leadership invariably entails? What are the

dos and don’ts? Does one give up or give in? More fundamentally, are leaders allowed to be human or themselves? Or must they respond to their employees' perception of what a leader should be? Can these perceptions change over time? Do leaders change in response to perceptions about them? And the ultimate question of all: is it worth it?

Questions, answers There comes a time in leadership when you need to ask yourself these questions and

Layers and meanings In a work of art, each layer and texture, colour and perspective creates an individualistic vision, which can mean different things to different viewers and even to its creator at different points of time.The audience does not usually see the struggle or uncertainty of the creative process, only its outcome. And sometimes, as in the case of icons, the passage of time reveals the glow within. In the leadership journey, however, the creative process itself is subject to intense scrutiny, and not just by experts. According to the gurus, building resilience is important to survive, and courage and self-worth are what it takes to make the journey and complete the picture, revealing the vision. The author is the Managing Director of an international publishing house in India. The views are personal. Email: [email protected]

Why you must always pick your own nose You need to love your personal physical features Vidula Chopra


ost people I know have perfect noses, ones that blend into their faces like gentle waves, barely breaking on the shore. Mine juts out like a shark’s fin — not a sight I’d like to see even on a beach, much less on my face. Curiously, there was not much chatter surrounding my nose when I was in school. Apart from a few scattered references, I was barely teased for it. So it should have been easy to forget how hideous it was, except, I’d see it every morning, staring back at me through the mirror, bulging and contorted, a raging force in the midst of my face. One day I opened up to a friend about my desire to have plastic surgery sometime. She brushed off my concerns with a dilemma of her own: her ears. “Your ears?” I asked, bewildered. She pulled back her hair. Her ears were unusually large and did fan out from the sides of her head. “You’re lucky, you have lovely ears,” she said wistfully. Lucky? Who cares about ears? “At least you can hide them!” I cried, desperate to win this battle of myflaw-is-greater-than-yours. “How can I hide my nose? It’s not a pimple! I can’t conceal it with concealer.” She scrutinised my face. “It is kind of crooked. If someone has been observing you, he or she may notice, but other than that, I don’t think you can really tell.” I pictured someone ‘ob-

serving’ me, noticing my nose and recoiling in horror. Time passed. Despite my prayers, my nose did not magically shrink with age. I did however gain some perspective; it became clear that everyone viewed their flaws with too harsh an eye, according them much more censure than was due. Natasha thought her thighs were too fat. I thought she was crazy, especially when she said, “You’re lucky you’re slim!” “Lucky? Have you seen my nose?” Apparently, she thought I was crazy as well. Perhaps my nose wasn’t as ugly as I thought? Is it possible people might actually overlook this protrusion on my face, and not notice it the minute they saw me? “Your nose is not great,” my husband said. “But it is not as obvious as you think. Anyway, everything doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, imperfection is more interesting. Your flaws are what

make you unique. Why would you want to change them just to be like others?” In our quest to look like that model in the magazine — tall, slim, with fabulous hair, a perfect face and body — we forget she has had layers of make-up applied to her. Her hair has been done up. Dozens of photographs are taken under flattering lighting, and some selected. Then the blemishes are touched up. The perfection is an illusion, like any Facebook profile picture. Sure, my nose isn’t perfect, but it’s not without its advantages. Like a dog, I have a great sense of smell. I can sniff out if my children have eaten the chocolate they claim they haven’t, if they have washed their hands with soap or if they have brushed their teeth. And if they lie, they know this: mom can always smell fear. [email protected]

Too many emojis, too little emotion More on the Web

Seerat Kaur Gill


s I pen this, I feel I have metamorphosed into a sermonising, condemning, cynical middleaged woman! However, paper being my best friend, and a non-sermonising one at that, you will have to bear the rant. Affection and warmth are precious emotions. They are felt in greater proportions when displayed earnestly. A reluctant, shy person myself, I’ve always admired people who do not hold back their emotions. Their ability to articulate their feelings clearly has awed me. It is certainly a wonderful trait to possess. Being expressive helps one come across as an amiable personality. It makes one popular among both friends and family. Research has proved that expressive CMCM YKYK

people are less cluttered and tend to have a positive outlook towards relationships and life in general. However, I find it hard to appreciate equally, love expressed publicly on a social platform. I have utterly failed to comprehend affection being showered upon, especially family members, living in the next room, or even the same one, on a social media platform! I’m certain they must be using the same electronic gadget to update their status for each other as well. Now, why would a Mrs. Bhardwaj take to writing birthday wishes to Mr. Bhardwaj on his Facebook wall, when they live under the same roof, within the same four walls? Why would Anita bid goodbye to her son on Instagram through her smartphone, instead of actu-


Shallow expression, words carelessly tossed around in social media, have become the new normal

ally dropping him off to college? Why does Amit put a picture of his technologically handicapped grandmother on Snapchat with hearts strewn all over the picture, instead of calling her up and telling her he loves her? If these are the norms of the new, technologically hip

society, then I am admittedly quite inept at understanding and following them. There have been times when I have felt pressured, even guilttripped into putting up a picture on Mothers’ Day, complete with happy hearts and endearing emojis. If I refuse to give in to these darned

pressures, my steely resolve breaks after looking at all the mushy posts on mothers in my newsfeed! To make matters worse, mother even texts me about feeling ‘inadequate’ on not being recognised for her sacrifices and love — on Facebook! A perfect quote with equal measure of sentiment and humour is searched for on Google, and mother’s picture duly copied and pasted. There! I have essayed the role of the modern, hip, responsible, loving daughter. Years ago, Archies took the Indian market by storm with their greeting cards. Their motto was to sell cards by making their customers feel it was the most special way of saying that one cares. It reeked of capitalism, but the idea of giving and receiving hand-written cards was

indeed special. These greeting cards became souvenirs of relationships ripened over time. Some became reminiscent of relationships that had loved and lost. Nevertheless, those yellowing, wilted cards had a significant space — both in the almirah and in one’s hearts. Shallowness of expression, carelessly tossed all over public platforms in today’s world, makes one wonder whether these socially tailored, syrupy wishes and half-hearted greetings mean anything at all. Maybe it’s time Mrs. Bhardwaj logs off from her Facebook account, demolishes the ‘wall’ that separates them, and makes it a truly special birthday for Mr. Bhardwaj! [email protected]


The stink from India’s past India had some of the oldest wet toilets. So what has happened since then? NEHA KHATOR

An introvert’s plea Why I can never fathom the need for indulging in a tête-à-tête DIVYA BENJAMIN

Helping with menstrual hygiene How a couple aids women through simple strategies KAVITA KANAN CHANDRA

Contributions to this page may be emailed to [email protected] to a length of up to 700 words. Please provide the postal address and a brief description of the writer. An email id that is provided could be considered for publication. Certify in writing that it is original material; The Hindu views plagiarism as a serious issue. Also confirm that the submission is exclusive to this page. Taking into account the volume of material being received, we regret our inability to acknowledge receipt, or to entertain telephonic or other queries on the status of a submission. If a submission is not published within eight weeks, consider it to be out of the reckoning — in most cases owing to dearth of space. The publication of an article is not to be seen as The Hindu endorsing the viewpoint in any way. B ND-ND





SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017



Faster, higher, smoother

Google to pay $200,000 in hunt for Android bugs

Makers of a lying car hope it will light the Tokyo 2020 Olympic lame Reuters Toyota City

60 artist-painted pianos for New Yorkers to play NEW YORK

Sixty pianos painted by artists and performers will be placed around New York city for anyone who wants to play them. The pianos will be in place through June 25. The project by Sing For Hope, an NGO that works to make art accessible to underserved communities, will host a kickoff event on Monday. NYT

Avengers series to have Black Panther villain LOS ANGELES

Avengers: Infinity War may add another villain to its growing character list as Black Panther villain Man-Ape will reportedly join the movie. The character, portrayed by Winston Duke, who is also known as M’Baku, will join other superheroes and villains in the film, reported Ace Showbiz. PTI

Engineers, supported by Toyota Motor Corp, demonstrated their flying car on Saturday, which they hope will be able to light up the Olympic flame for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. “Cartivator”, a start-up group of about 30 engineers including some young Toyota employees, started to develop a flying car “SkyDrive” in 2014 with the help of crowdfunding. Head of Cartivator, Tsubasa Nakamura, said that while the car was still at an early stage of development, the group expects to conduct the first manned-flight by the end of 2018. During their demonstration, the current test model was able to get off and float on the ground for a few seconds. Mr. Nakamura said the design needed more stability so the prototype would be able to fly long and high enough to reach the Olympic

China is planning to launch a space telescope to unravel the mystery of pulsars in the Milky Way galaxy, according to scientists. Lu Fangjun, chief designer of the payload of the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope, said monitoring of pulsars could help unravel the mystery of their energy sources. PTI

New York

Strong start: A test model of a lying car in Toyota, central Japan, on Saturday. flame. Engineers of Cartivator are aiming to make their flying car the world’s smallest electric vehicle, which can be used in small urban areas, and hopes to commercialise the car in 2025. Last month, Toyota Motor and its group of companies agreed to invest 42.5 million yen ($385,000) in the project

for the next three years. Mr. Nakamura said the group is working hard to improve the design, hoping to receive further investment from the company.

Global race Companies in the world have been competing to develop the first flying car or



vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles. Uber Technologies Inc announced its plan to deploy its flying taxi service by 2020 in DallasFort Worth, Texas, and Dubai. Airbus Group is also working on developing its flying car under its division called Urban Air Mobility.

Days after a malware called “Judy” hit over 36.5 million Android-based phones, Google has now increased the bounty for finding a bug in the Android operating system to as much as $200,000, a media report has said. According to cyber security firm Check Point, dozens of malicious apps were downloaded between 4.5 million to 18.5 million times from the Play Store. Some of the malware-affected apps have been discovered residing on the online store for several years. “Judy” is only one example of how an open and free mobile operating system (OS) can be exploited by malicious app developers. Most security flaws we hear about now affect old versions of the OS or require

Bug bounties help anticipate virus attacks. REUTERS *

clever social engineering to get the user to weaken device security, technology website extremetech.com reported.

New versions secure The versions of Android being released now are more

secure than what Google was putting out years ago and as a result no one has managed to claim Google’s largest bug bounties for Android. Hoping to attract more researchers and engineers to the bug bounty programme, the company has increased the rewards to up to $200,000. Google started the bug bounty programme for Android about two years ago in which the security researchers, who can find a flaw, get a cash prize — the amount of which varies based on the severity of the hack. Then, Google gets to fix the bug and avoid future security issues. Still, no one has submitted a working exploit for Android’s core components, even when such an exploit is worth $30,000—$50,000, the report said.

Square-shaped meshes were replaced by diamond-shaped ones as they allowed small ish to escape to maintain a breeding population Sindhudurg



Fishermen try new nets for healthier oceans Associated Press

Chinese telescope will monitor pulsars

Most security laws afect the older versions of the OS

The fishermen were dubious when ocean experts suggested they could save their dwindling marine stocks just by switching to new nets. It took years for the U.N. Development Program to convince the fishing communities along India’s west coast that the diamond-mesh nets they were using were trapping baby fish, while a square-shaped mesh could allow small fish to escape to maintain a breeding population. But two years after the new nets were fully adopted, fishermen insist they’re making a difference.

Is pregnancy safe after breast cancer?

“This square net is a blessing for us,” said John Gabriel Naronha, who runs six trawlers in the area. “When the small fish grows up, the fishermen can really benefit ... we can get good prices for big fish. And the small fish gets a chance to grow.” The project, launched in 2011, is one of many being showcased at a major conference on oceans beginning Monday, where the United Nations will plead with nations to help halt a global assault on marine life and ecosystems that is threatening jobs, economies and even human lives. “The oceans of the planet

acidic, causing widespread destruction of coral reefs that sustain a quarter of all marine species.

Sustainable harvest: A isherman pulls back his net with the early morning catch at a beach in Goa. AP *

are in dire need of urgent action,” said Marina Walter, deputy director for UNDP in India. That action is even

more urgent now that climate change is causing ocean temperatures to rise while waters also become more

Linked with livelihood But conservation efforts work best when they’re linked with local livelihoods, Ms. Walter said. “You cannot work on biodiversity or life underwater in isolation, without looking at the livelihoods of people.” No one in 80 or so fishing villages of Sindhudurg district expected to have problems fishing, after centuries of their families relying on the sea. Located in one of India’s 11 ecologically critical

coastline habitats, the area is teeming with life from more than 350 marine species including Indian Ocean dolphins and Olive Ridley turtles. Colourful corals span the shallows, while tangles of mangrove forests protect the land from water erosion. But that bounty has suffered against the twin assaults of overfishing and pollution, which caused a steady decline local fish stocks and forced fishermen to push further out to sea. Since switching to new nets, fishermen say fish stocks are recovering, though there is no data collected yet to prove it. Surveys

of fish population may be conducted at the end of this year, when the UNDP finishes its six-year project in the area. Meanwhile, the UNDP has also helped set up a crab farms in the Sindudurg area to encourage preservation of the mangroves. Recently, a group of nine women and one man earned ₹60,000 in profits from a single harvest of crabs. “With very little manipulation of the environment, you can grow crabs wherever you have mangroves,” said N. Vasudevan, who heads a special unit dedicated to mangrove conservation in Maharashtra.


Two ‘corpse’ lowers bloom in Chicago

Monochrome beauty

Study says no rise in recurrence risk Reuters Chicago

Women who have had breast cancer often forego pregnancy for fear that it will increase the chances of their cancer coming back. But a study of more than 1,200 women, presented on Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, now shows they may be able to have a baby without boosting the risk that their cancer will return. “These findings provide reassurance to breast cancer survivors that having a baby after a breast cancer diagnosis may not increase the chance of their cancer coming back,” said Dr. Erica Mayer, a breast cancer expert from Dana Farber Cancer Institute speaking on behalf of ASCO. Women who have had breast cancer fear that the

high production of hormones released during pregnancy might cause latent cancer cells to start growing. This is a particular concern for women with estrogen-receptor positive (ERpositive) breast cancer, which is fed by the hormone estrogen. The study included 1,207 women under age 50 who were diagnosed with nonmetastatic breast cancer before 2008. Most (57%) had ER-positive breast cancer. Of the total, 333 women became pregnant. Each of these women was matched to three women with similar cancers who did not become pregnant. After about 10 years of follow-up, there was no significant difference in cancer recurrence between the women who had a baby and those who did not.

The blooms draw guests to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Agence France-Presse Chicago

It is unusual enough to see one of nature’s biggest, rarest — not to mention smelliest — flowers bloom. But it is extraordinary to see two bloom at once. That is why two sevenfoot-tall corpse flowers at the Chicago Botanic Garden have attracted thousands of visitors this week, despite the smell of Serious parenting: An Indian grey hornbill lies away after feeding its young ones in a nest on the outskirts of Mysuru.




rotting flesh that the flowers emit to attract pollinating beetles and flies. It takes up to 10 years for one plant to flower, and then it does so for about one day. “Having twin corpse flowers both bloom at the same time is very rare,” said Greg Mueller, chief scientist at the botanic garden. Scientists have taken seeds to send to other gardens.


For sapiosexuals, it’s all about the intellectual connection In a society where physical beauty often equates to sex appeal, the idea of sapiosexuality has been quietly gaining traction in recent years puts it, “Most people get turned on by rock-hard abs, toned muscles or perfect cheekbones. Not me.”

Anna North New York

Aboubacar Okeke-Diagne finds Internet pornography a little disappointing. The problem is the dialogue: “It seems like a lot of pointless small talk.” Okeke-Diagne, 23, who lives in Brooklyn, identifies as sapiosexual. Though definitions vary, the term generally describes people for whom sexual attraction is based on intellect, and not necessarily on looks. For Mr. Okeke-Diagne, being sapiosexual means intellectual conversation is a key part of dating and sex. He once sent a woman he was seeing a multi-page erotic story he had written that included references to the Julian calendar, the decimal system and global climate change. Writing the story was such a turn-on for him that he CM YK

Talk to me: Teresa Sheield, 28, a comedian who identiies as sapiosexual, in New York. NYT *

tried to find similar erotica online — with little success. In a society where physical beauty often equates to sex appeal, the idea of sapiosexuality has been quietly gaining traction in recent years. In 2014, “sapiosexual” became one of an expanded list of sexual orientations and

identities daters could choose on OkCupid, the online dating app. In March, the CineKink NYC film festival featured Sapiosexual, a short film about a young woman named Cass whose attraction to her date increases as he discusses the work of E.M. Forster. As she

Critics step in With increased visibility has come a backlash: Some say declaring a sexual preference based on intelligence is pretentious, elitist or insulting to people with disabilities. For Jacqueline Cohen, though, the term describes how she has felt since she was a teenager. “I’ve always known that the one thing that gets me very excited and aroused is the intelligence, and sometimes even the mystery around someone’s intelligence,” she said. That’s what drew Ms. Cohen to her first husband, a magician. “There’s a brilliance that comes with magic and card manipulation,” she said.

On their first date, he levitated for her. But she was most fascinated with tricks that involved mentalism — subtly planting a number or an image in her mind so that he could guess which card she would pick later on. She has had relationships she describes as purely sapiosexual, in which there was no sex, just intense conversation. One man was nowhere near her physical type, but the first time they met, he began reciting poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke. “I was so amazed at how fluid the whole conversation was,” she said. “I could feel something happening inside me.” Darren Stalder, an engineer in Seattle, appears to have coined the term “sapiosexual” in 1998 to describe his own sexuality. “I don’t care too much about the plumbing,” he wrote in a post on the social network

LiveJournal in 2002. “I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay.” Sapio, in Latin, means “I discern” or “understand”. The term started to get more attention in the early 2010s. OkCupid included it among sexual orientation choices in part because “we know our audience swings toward the intellectual side,” said Nick Saretzky, the company’s director of product.

Growing identity Today about 0.5 percent of OkCupid users identify as sapiosexual. Women are more likely to choose the label than men, and it is most common among users between the ages of 31 and 40. Users who are sapiosexual are more likely than average to say religion is not

important to them, and to identify as liberal. Of course, many people seek an intellectual connection with their partners. But people who identify as sapiosexual often say intellect is the first or most important factor that draws them to another person, according to Debby Herbenick, a sexual health educator and Professor of applied health science at the Indiana University School of Public Health. Scientists consider sapiosexuality less a sexual orientation than an identity, Ms. Herbenick said. People who identify as sapiosexual may also identify as gay, straight, bisexual, asexual or something else. Some people find the term offensive. “‘Sapiosexual’ seems to circulate primarily as a layer of pretension on top of a more traditional

sexual identity,” Samantha Allen wrote at The Daily Beast in 2015. She also noted that criticisms of the term are common on Tumblr, which is known for in-depth discussions of sexuality. Users of the site have argued that the term promotes a single, fixed idea of intelligence, and that it encourages discrimination against people who have intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorders or who can’t afford higher education. Intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean being highly educated, said Teresa Sheffield, 28, a comedian who identifies as sapiosexual. “What I connect most with and value most as a sapiosexual is emotional intelligence and comedic intelligence,” said Ms. Sheffield, who lives in Manhattan. New York Times News Service B ND-ND

04-06-2017 - THE HINDU - SHASHI THAKUR - Link 2.pdf ...

and diamonds would be. placed in a new rate cat- egory of 3% while rough dia- monds would attract a nom- inal rate of 0.25%. Biscuits, currently taxed.

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