3rd India – Africa Forum Summit 2015


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           OCTOBER 31, 2015           10.30 P.M.

In my previous blog about the foreign policy initiatives and achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I wrote about his 3 unique and epoch-making initiatives. They are :

1 – Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation [ FIPIC ]

2 – Indian Ocean Outreach Programme [ IOOP ]

3 – India-Africa Forum Summit [ IAFS ]

In that blog I particularly wrote about his first initiative; FIPIC. But briefly, I also wrote about India Africa Forum Summit, IAFS . I wrote that technically, though India Africa Forum Summit, IAFS was started in 2008 by previous UPA government but in all probability, I consider it to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative. Here are the reasons for my thinking.

First IAFS was held in 2008 from April 4 – 8 in New Delhi. It was attended by only 14 Heads of State / Government.

Second IAFS was attended by 15 Heads of State / Government. One more than the previous one. It was held in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia from 21 – 25 May, 2011.

Third IAFS was held in New Delhi from 26 – 29 October, 2015. It was attended by 51 of the 54 countries. 41 Heads of State / Government participated and 10 remaining countries were represented by high power delegations. Thus the total number of countries attending 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit 2015 comes to 51. Only 3 countries could not attend. Singapore and UAE attended the summit as observers. Thus the total number of countries attending the summit comes to 53.

It is historic. It is momentous and unprecedented. It is epoch-making. 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015 is the 2nd largest congregation of Heads of State / Government ever held in India. 2 Kings , 26 Presidents , 6 Vice Presidents and 7 Prime Ministers of 41 African Countries , the President of the African Union, 10 African countries represented by high power delegations along with Singapore and UAE as observers attended this 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. Total number comes to 53.

Now few facts about the history of summits involving African nations.

1 – JAPAN : Japan was the 1st country to hold regular summits with African nations since 1993. It is once-every-five-years summit and is always held in Japan.

It will now be once-every-three-years summit.

2 – CHINA : China was the second nation to hold summit with African nations since 2000. Like Japan, it is also once-every-three-years summit.

3 – THE EUROPEAN UNION : The European Union started holding summit with African nations since 2004. It is also once-every-three-years summit.

4 – INDIA : We are the 4th country and started our summit in 2008. The India-Africa Forum Summit will be once-in-a-five-years summit as proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

5 – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA : The US is the 5th and last country to hold such summit. She started holding the summit since 2014. It was the biggest till date as leaders of 35 African countries attended the summit.

 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit 2015

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54 African Heads of State / Government Attending the Summit

41 African Heads of State / Government Attending the Summit

 

Logo - 2015

 

Logo of 3rd India Africa Forum Summit

Logo of 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted dinner in honour of visiting dignitaries. It was held at Pragati Maidan.

 

Modi Waiting for the Guests

Modi Waiting for the Guests

 

All the leaders and first ladies were in attendance in ethnic wear gifted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 

Heads of State / Government in Modi Jacket Attending Dinner Hosted by Modi

Heads of State / Government in Modi Jacket Attending Dinner Hosted by Modi

 

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria with President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria with President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger at the venue

 

with The First Lady

President of South Africa Jacob Zuma with The First Lady

 

Plenary Session of the summit was inaugurated next day after the dinner, i.e. on October 29, 2015. Before the plenary session all the visiting dignitaries were ceremonially welcomed at the venue, Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

Ceremonial Welcome

Ceremonial Welcome

 

Cultural Programme

Cultural Programme before the Plenary Session

 

Cultural Programme

Cultural Programme Before the Plenary Session

 

Summit Begins

The Plenary Session – Summit Begins

 

Summit Venue

Summit Venue

 

Modi Attending the Summit

Modi Attending the Plenary Session

 

Modi & Mugabe Releasing Stamps / Coins

Modi & Mugabe Releasing Commemorative Stamps / Coins

Before and after the Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had one-on-one bilateral meetings with all the 41 visiting Heads of State / Government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met 19 leaders for one-on-one meeting on October 28, 2015. They were : ROBERT MUGABE [ President Zimbabwe ] / JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA [ President Ghana ] / MSWATI III [ King Swaziland ] / BONI YAYI [ President Benin ] / MUHAMMADU BUHARI [ President Nigeria ] / UHURU KENYATA [ President Kenya ] / YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI [ President Uganda ] / BETHUEL PAKALITHA MOSISILI [ Prime Minister Lesotho ] / OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO [ President Equatorial Guinea ] / ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEL [ President Djibouti ] / SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT President South Sudan ] / ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU [ President Niger ] / IDRIS DEBY ITNO [ President Chad ] / JACOB G ZUMA [ President South Africa ] / CARLOS AGOSTINHO DO ROSARIO Prime Minister Mozambique ] / PATRICE EMERY TROVOADA [ Prime Minister Sao Tome & Principe ] / ALI BONGO ONDIMBA [ President Gabon ] / ALFAHA CONDE [ President Guinea ] / MOKGWEETSI ERIC KEABETSWE MASISI [ Vice President Botswana ]

He met 10 another leaders for bilateral meetings on October 29, 2015. They were : MOHAMMED VI [ King Morocco ] / HAGE G GEINGOB [ President Namibia ] / ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI [ President Egypt ] / IBRAHIM KEITA [ Prime Minister Mali ] / HAILEMARIAM DESSALEGN [ Prime Minister Ethiopia ] / MANNUEL DOMINGOS [ Vice President Angola ] / MOHAMED BILAL [ Vice President Tanzania ] / SHEIKH MOHAOUD [ President Somalia ] / IKILILOU DHOININE [ President Comoros ] / MAURITANIA

10 Bilateral Meetings

10 Bilateral Meetings

After the end of the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met remaining 12 African leaders on October 30, 2015. They were : OMAR EL BASHIR [ President Sudan ] / ERNEST BAI KOROME [ President Sierra Leone ] / HERY RAJAONARIMAMPIANIA [ President Madagascar ] / ANEROOD JUGNAUTH [ Prime Minister Mauritius ] / INONGE WINAAT [ Vice President Zambia ] / ANANSTASE MUREKEZI [ Prime Minister Rwanda ] / SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT [ President South Sudan ] / MACKY SALL [ President Senagal ] / JOSE MARIO VAZ [ President Guinea Bissau ] / AJALSATON NJIE SAIDY [ Vice President Gambia ] / GASTON SINLIMWO [ Vice President Burundi ] / ELLEN SIRLEAF [ President Liberia ]

Apart from above mentioned African leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met NKOOAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA, Chairperson African Union.

On 29th, after the plenary session, the President of India invited all the visiting dignitaries for dinner party at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Rashtrapati Bhawan was decorated and illuminated for the grand memorable occasion.

Rashtrapati Bhawan Welcoming African Heads of State / Government

Rashtrapati Bhawan Illuminated for the African Heads of State / Government

 

Rashtrapati Bhawan Welcoming African Heads of State / Government

Rashtrapati Bhawan Illuminated for the African Heads of State / Government

 

Rashtrapati Bhawan Welcoming African Heads of State / Government

Rashtrapati Bhawan Illuminated for the African Heads of State / Government

 

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It is sad and deplorable that a foreign policy initiative of such magnitude and gigantic proportions was largely neglected by national media, print and electronic both. [ Hindustan Times is perhaps the only exception. ] It is the 2nd biggest and largest diplomatic event ever hosted by India. Let me tell about 2 other such big events held during Indira Gandhi’s regime.

1 – NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT [ NAM ] :

The 7th NAM Summit was held from 7 – 12 March, 1983 in New Delhi. Participating countries 140.

2 – COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT [ CHOGM ] :

The 7th CHOGM Summit was held from 23 – 29 November, 1983 in New Delhi. Participating countries 42.

Thus 32 years after hugely successful 7th NAM Summit 1983 , the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015 is the 2nd largest congregation of Heads of State / Government ever held in India. I repeat : 2 Kings , 26 Presidents , 6 Vice Presidents and 7 Prime Ministers of 41 African Countries , the President of the African Union, 10 African countries represented by high power delegations along with Singapore and UAE as observers attended this 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. Total number comes to 53.

But it was ignored by the media and the cause is animosity towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a sad state of affair in our country. When it comes to Modi, even the pretension of balance is dropped and discarded. The bias is obvious and open, the daggers are drawn and the bellicose media is waiting for the kill. Alas!!

But history will not be cruel. It will be kind and judge this event in a proper light and will apply unbiased yardsticks. Years after 2015, when Narendra Modi will not be around, when the dust will settle down and the bias will evaporate and the historian will sit down to chronicle the Narendra Modi era of India, the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015  will be seen and will be mentioned in a different way.

So over to the future with no regrets.

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Devendra Fadnavis’s Open Letter to Rajdeep Sardesai


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           SEPTEMBER 22, 2015           07.00 P.M.

 

I want to make it clear that this is not an original blog written by me. It is verbatim reproduction of a letter written by Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra to senior TV journalist Shri Rajdeep Sardesai.

If you want to read the article written by Shri Rajdeep Sardesai in Hindustan Times, you can please click the following link :

Read | Food governance or good governance: Open letter to Mr Fadnavis

I hope after reading the above mentioned letter of Shri Rajdeep Sardesai and the below posted answer of Shri Devendra Fadnavis, you would be able to form your opinion about the hidden and well-thought of agenda of Left-Liberal and Pseudo-Secular intelligentsia and journalists. You would know how they are hell-bent on maligning the BJP led nationalist government.

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Dear Rajdeep,

Normally I don’t reply to every open letter by ‘senior’ journalists but this time I thought if I didn’t, the Goebbels law — speak what is untrue several times over and it becomes the truth — may prevail. Your letter is an excellent example of how a section of the media, without having sound knowledge, bashes a government with an agenda.

Let me bring some clarity to the first issue you have raised. My state government did not take the decision to ban meat. Not a single new order went from the government to any local body. The Congress government in 2004 took the decision to close a slaughter-house for two days in Paryushan Parva. It was conveyed to all municipal corporations then. Since then all municipal corporations including Mira-Bhaindar started implementing it. Additionally municipal corporations like Mumbai and Mira-Bhaindar adopted resolutions to ban it for additional days within their own powers, which in the case of Mumbai dates back to 1994. Surprisingly, none of you ever objected to it until we came to power. Obviously you were comfortable with the pseudo-secular image of the previous government, howsoever corrupt and non-performing it was.

It’s quite possible that you know this but it doesn’t suit your agenda.

In the case of Rakesh Maria, you seem to be confused. Your post-script says the Sheena Bora murder case should not have assumed the kind of importance it was accorded by the media. Then why did you choose to write on it, linking it with the transfer of the city police chief? A police chief is not an investigating officer but just a supervisory authority. I would like to tell you that the practice of promoting senior people, a few days in advance, is not new. Such decisions are taken keeping in mind the objective to let the new one who is going to take over understand the prevailing situation. The months of September and October are full of festivals, including the Ganesh Festival, Eid celebrations and Navratri.

If the government thought that instead of changing a police commissioner in the midst of festivities it was better to put a new person in place before the festive season started, what’s so wrong about it? Although I believe that officers have no caste and religion the point could also have been raised as to why Maria was made commissioner of police, Mumbai, sidelining two senior and equally decorated officers like Ahmad Javed, a person from a minority community, and Vijay Kamble, a person from a backward community. However, I would say that the government at that point of time thought that Maria was better suited for the situation.

Your take on sedition can be termed a classic product of a biased mind. I want to ask you whether the state is expected to convey a decision given by the hon’ble high court to the police or not? Again, not a single decision has been taken by our government in this regard. In one of the cases in the high court, an affidavit was filed by the then Congress-led government and the court delivered a detailed judgment interpreting the scope and ambit of the applicability of sedition, and also directed to convey it to the police. The department made a faithful translation of the judgment in Marathi and conveyed it to all the police stations via an office circular. Every single item in the circular is just a translation of the judgment. Mr Sardesai, you may not want to go through such details to understand the issue just because you wish to pursue your leftist agenda vigorously and passionately.

It’s apparent how much pain it causes you to mention a word about the water conservation initiative of our government — the flagship programme of Jalyukta Shivar Yojna — to make Maharashtra drought-free. It is a programme that has become most successful. The generous contributions by people — more than Rs 300 crore — have helped us to execute nearly 100,000 works in 6,000 villages within six months. The results are evident. Despite the scanty rainfall, the villages are boasting distributed water storages and increased water tables. It was lauded as a game changer by the ‘Jalpurush’ of India, Rajendra Singh, at the Stockholm Water Conference. This programme will provide moisture security to the farmers and assure crop sustainability by mitigating the effects of climate change.

It’s really sad to see that people like you get disturbed by an imaginary situation that there won’t be a piece of meat in your platter for two days when my annadata is taking extreme steps because he has no food to eat. That is why the state has decided to implement a food security scheme for six million farmers by giving them wheat at Rs 2 per kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg. The infamous legacy of farmer suicides, which we inherited from 15 years of bad governance, is a challenge that doesn’t let me sleep. But the initiatives started by our government, I’m sure, will deliver results in due course.

Whether there is a ban on meat or not, a common man expects roti or rice in his plate. And I am more concerned about it than anything else. Mr Sardesai, the content of your letter can be part of your profession but the resolve in my reply is my mission and I will accomplish it. My mantra of life is ‘perform or perish’ and time alone would decide my destiny.

Yours sincerely and without malice.

Devendra Fadnavis

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Mahamana Malaviya – A Giant Among Dwarfs


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DEORIA – UTTAR PRADESH – INDIA           SEPTEMBER 20, 2014           11.55 P.M.

MAHAMANA MADAN MOHAN MALAVIYA

MAHAMANA PANDIT MADAN MOHAN MALAVIYA

 

 Born December 25 , 1861 , Allahabad , India

Died November 12 , 1946 , Allahabad , India

The President of the Indian National Congress on four occasions [ 1909 / 1918 / 1930 / 1932 ]

The founding member of the Hindu Mahasabha [ 1906 ]

The President of Hindu Mahasabha [ 1923 ]

The founder of Banaras Hindu University , the largest residential university in Asia and one of the largest in the world , at Varanasi in 1916

The Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University [ 1919 – 1938 ]

One of the founders of Scouting in India [ 1918 ]

The founder of English-newspaper , The Leader, published from Allahabad [ 1909 ]

The Chairman of Hindustan Times  [ 1924 to 1946 ]

Instrumental in the launch of Hindustan , the Hindi edition [ 1936 ]

Member of the Imperial Legislative Council [ 1912 – 1919 ]

Member of the Central Legislative Assembly [ 1919 – 1926 ]

Above mentioned facts about Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya are known to all because these are continuously highlighted . You can find some more information about his Congress background on various internet postings . But his views on Hinduism and his pain and anguish on the sufferings of Hindus are not widely mentioned or chronicled . That , apart from being the president of Indian National Congress on 4 occasions , he was one of the founders of Hindu Mahasabha and was the president of Hindu Mahasabha in 1923 , is now almost forgotten .

It is widely known and well chronicled that in 1886, Mahamana Malaviya attended the 2nd session of Indian National Congress in Calcutta [ now Kolkata ] and he became the President of the Indian National Congress in 1909, 1918, 1930 and 1932 . But it is forgotten that as a leader of Indian National Congress he opposed the separate electorates for Muslims under the Lucknow Pact of 1916 . In protest against the Communal Award , which sought to provide separate electorates for minorities ,  Mahamana Malaviya along with Madhav Shrihari Aney left the Congress and started the Congress Nationalist Party . The party contested 1934 central legislature elections and won 12 seats . Some so – called secular historians try to hide this facet of Mahamana’s life .

Mahamana was fiercely opposed to the politics of appeasement of Muslims and other minorities and the participation of Congress in the Khilafat Movement . Again this fact is not so widely mentioned in his biographies .

The effort is on to obfuscate nationalist views of Mahamana and to hide his pro Hindu views from the youngsters . Therefore I thought it proper to write about his views on the issues which are surprisingly relevant even today . In the Gaya session of Hindu Mahasabha in 1923 , he expressed his views on untouchability , Hindu – Muslim problems and re – conversions of non – Hindus . When I read his presidential address , I was shocked . He had mentioned about the communal riots of Muzaffarnagar in 1923 . And you all know , even after 91 years , Muzaffarnagar is still burning .

To illuminate the nationalist image of Mahamana , I am quoting from the presidential address , which he delivered at the Gaya session of Hindu Mahasabha in 1923 . Words are ominous and they are as relevant today as they were in 1923 .

 

Mahamana on Hindu – Muslim Problem :

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” The relations between Hindus and Mahomedans have not been as happy and cordial as they ought to be . During the Bengal Partition days the Government were inciting Mahomedans to attack Hindus . In 1916 in Eastern Bengal inhuman , brutal , unparalleled atrocities were perpetrated on Hindus . Hindu women were outraged by fanatic Mahomedans and many Hindu women had to take shelter in rivers and tanks to protect their honour .

Then came the Great War in 1914 . In 1914 in the frontier districts , particularly Muzaffarnagar , Hindu houses were regularly looted and Hindu women dishonoured , but Indian patriots preached not to heed them . By Mahatma Gandhi’s advice Hindus worked with Mahomedans and helped them in the Khilafat cause , not because the former wanted something in return , but because they were for the liberty and freedom of every nation and also because of their sympathy for fellow Muslim brothers .

Again in 1920 brutal and inhuman atrocities were perpetrated on Hindus by Moplahs in Malabar . Hindu houses were looted , women were outraged , male and female butchered with the greatest cruelty for refusing to embrace Islam and many were forced into Islam at the point of the sword . It is better to die than to see women’s modesty outraged , temples attacked and burnt and idols broken . The whole of India was severely pained and afflicted at these horrible inhumanities . Due to tolerance we patiently bore all this and drank the bitter dose simply with anxiety and desire that no ill-feeling and differences be created between the two sister communities .

At Multan temples were burnt down and women’s chastity was outraged . Burnt Geeta and Granth Saheb and broken temple idols were found . Next an appeal was issued to maintain unity and peace on Bakrid day , but riots occurred at several places . Our ladies do not consider they are as safe as 50 years ago . Amritsar Hindu women do not come out of houses so frequently and abruptly as they used to do formerly . Every moment they fear of being dishonoured . Everybody knows what happened at Panipat and at Ajmer . Temples were broken and burnt and idols destroyed .

In such circumstances it is our individual and social duty to increase our strength . It is most deplorable that Hindus are so fallen that a handful of foreigners can be ruling over us . Shame on the Hindus who live to see the breaking of temples and the outrage of women . Miss Ellis was kidnapped and the vibration pervaded the whole British Empire . Behind English girls and women there is national strength which protects them wherever they go . So also with Mahomedan women . There was a time when Hindu ladies had also such national backings behind them . Unless we have such strength , we cannot continue among strong nations of the world . The main reason of the present disunity is that Hindus are comparatively weak and cannot protect their religion and women . Unity and good-will can exist only between two equally strong parties . When the irresponsible element of Muslims will realize that we can react to the policy of tit for tat they would never venture to attack us . “

Mahamana on Re-Conversion :

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Referring to the Shuddhi movement Pandit Malaviya said ,  ” there are forty-eight crores of Muslims in India of whom not more than fifty lakhs are those who might have come from outside . The rests were converted from Hinduism . Theirs is a proselytizing religion while our religion has closed the doors for those who wish to come in our fold . Mullas have recently prepared an expansive scheme for reconversion of Hindus on a grand active scale in their private very confidential meeting and have scrupulously given no publication to this resolution and they have also collected fifty lakhs , but you will be surprised to know that it has not been scrupulously kept secret . Hindus are converted by dupes . In Gujarat some Mussalmans with notices bearing prints of ‘Om preach Kalauki incarnation is H.H. Aga Khan’ say that they should join that sect . Within three years one lakh of Hindus have been converted by Khojas .

‘Is there no prayashchitta for those who unknowingly took anything touched by non-Hindus . Malkanas ought to be taken into Hinduism. He then referred to a verse in Dharmshastra Mahaprabandha which lays down that those who had been converted to other religion either by force or willingly can be taken back to the Hindu religion if they so desire . He asked the audience to decide this question.

Replying to those who say that we should not care for our numerical strength and that those who have already been converted should not be taken into Hinduism , Mahamana said : ‘When now we are so badly treated with a numerical strength of 22 crores , what would be our condition in future with a much reduced Hindu population , if we allow this rate of conversion from Hinduism and do not allow reconversion into Hinduism ? ”

Mahamana on Untouchability :

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With tears in his eyes , he took out the turban from his head during presidential address and said , ” Why should I not place my turban at the feet of my untouchable brothers who follows the Hindu religion ? Why should I not allow my untouchable brothers to have darshan in temples ? Full of sins as I am , what right have I to stop my untouchable brothers from entering temples ?’
Addressing the orthodox pandits, he then said with folded hands : ‘Oh, learned Pandits, for God’s sake do not prevent these brothers from having darshan in temples’.
Referring to permission to untouchables for drawing water from wells he said that Christians and Mahomedans are asking untouchables to embrace their religion . So long as they remain Hindu they are not allowed to draw water from wells and if they accept their faith , they will not be so outcasted , insulted, and disallowed . This exactly happened at Panipat . But this is to be remembered that these untouchables who are so outcasted by high caste people were the first to come to defend the Hindu temple at Panipat when it was attacked by Mahomedans .
Pertinently remarked Pandit Malaviya : ‘An untouchable comes under the hottest sun from your labour and is extremely thirsty . I ask what true Hindu is there who will so cruelly prevent these untouchables from drawing water from wells while they do not object untouchables’ entry in houses when their services are required.”
Mahamana’s views on above mentioned 3 topics are so true even today. A man of this prophetic vision is needed even today . We celebrated his 150th anniversary in 2011. We paid lip service to him. Government of India issued coins in his honour.
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But thats all. He adorns the wall of our parliament, but not our hearts. Today as I sit in my ancestral house and go through the pages of our recent history and remember recent incidents in Uttar Pradesh, I thought it proper to write this blog to bring out the feelings of a nationalist like MAHAMANA MADAN MOHAN MALAVIYA on today’s burning topics. I offer my tribute to the true son of Bharat Mata , to the staunch Hindu and a visionary !

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May his soul awaken us and lead us to the goal of becoming a proud Indian!

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Khushwant Singh : The Man In Bulb


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 02, 2014           00.15 A.M.

Khushwant Singh's Iconic Image on Editor's Page of The Illustrated Weekly of India

Khushwant Singh’s Iconic Image on Editor’s Page of The Illustrated Weekly of India

This obituary is a much delayed blog post . I wanted to write it immediately after sad demise of Shri Khushwant Singh ji . He died on March 20, 2014 at the age of 99 . But due to work pressure of my acting institute , I was , unfortunately , not able to do that .

Khushwant Singh : In The Winter of His Life

Khushwant Singh : In The Winter of His Life

I came to know about him in 1969  . In my life , 1967 is a watershed year . I left Deoria , my home town in Uttar Pradesh and landed in Allahabad for higher studies . In the hostel of Government Inter College , Allahabad , I was introduced to new horizons , unknown vistas and leading Indian luminaries .

In 1969 , after completing intermediate , I took admission in Allahabad University . I started living in Sir Ganga Nath Jha Hostel . There I got to know about Khushwant Singh , who shot into fame because of the unprecedented success of   The Illustrated Weekly of India  . In the reading room of my hostel , for the first time , I had a chance to glance the above mentioned weekly magazine . A bearded Sardar ji sitting in a light bulb with volumes of books , bottles of booze and photos of buxom beauties , attracted my attention . I read his editorial page week after week and became a life – long fan . As I started knowing  him more , my admiration for him grew .

Khushwant Singh I Know

Khushwant Singh , I Know

Just look at the startling facts of his fascinating life :

+  In 1938 he started his professional career as a practising lawyer . He worked at Lahore Court for eight years.

+ In 1947 he entered Indian Foreign Service . He started as Information Officer of the Government of India in Toronto, Canada . He was Press Attaché and Public Officer for the Indian High Commission for four years in London and Ottawa .

+ In 1951 he joined the All India Radio as a journalist .

+ Between 1954 and 1956 he worked in Department of Mass Communication of UNESCO at Paris .

+ From 1956 he turned editor. He had edited Yojana , an Indian government journal ; The Illustrated Weekly of India , a newsweekly ; and two major Indian newspapers , The National Herald and the Hindustan Times . During his tenure, The Illustrated Weekly became India’s pre-eminent newsweekly, with its circulation raising from 65,000 to 400000 .

I still have some old , dog – eared and pale copies of  The Illustrated Weekly of India   in the study of my Deoria house . I felt sad , when I read that one day on 25 July 1978 , a week before he was to retire, the management asked him to leave ” with immediate effect ” . He was the editor of the magazine for 9 years , from 1969 to 1978 precisely . The circulation rose to 4,00,000 from the previous 65,000 . After his departure it plummeted again .

I read that he woke up at 4.00 AM each day to write his columns by hand . His works ranged from political commentary and contemporary satire to translations of Sikh religious texts and Urdu poetry . He also wrote his highly popular column  ” With Malice Towards One and All “ regularly . It was widely syndicated in all the famous news papers .

Collage of Books

Books of Khushwant Singh :

Short story collections

  • The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories. London, Saturn Press, 1950.
  • The Voice of God and Other Stories. Bombay, Jaico, 1957.
  • A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories. New Delhi, Hind, 1967.
  • Black Jasmine. Bombay, Jaico, 1971
  • The Collected Stories. N.p., Ravi Dayal, 1989.
  • The Portrait of a Lady
  • The Strain
  • Success Mantra
  • A Love Affair In London
  • ना काहू से दोस्‍ती ना काहू से बैर

Play

Television Documentary: Third World—Free Press (also presenter; Third Eye series), 1983 (UK).

 

Book - 1

I am his admirer and shall always be that , till I am alive . It is strange that he attracted large number of people , who became life – long fan . Though he was a Gandhi – Nehru sympathiser , still he had my unflinching admiration . Even Shri Lal Krishna Advani is an admirer , whom he vehemently criticized for his role in Ram Janma Bhoomi Movement of Ayodhya .

Shri Lal Krishna Advani - A Lifelong Admirer

Shri Lal Krishna Advani – A Lifelong Admirer

It is strange , as well as unique . I am baffled and amazed .

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I offer my condolences to the family and legions of admirers of Khushwant Singh ji.

VIDUR Editing Studio , and VIDUR Club also pray for the departed soul .

May you REST IN PEACE Sir ! I , a believer and idol worshipper , will always miss an unapologetic atheist and crusader iconoclast like you .

 

[ Acknowledgment : I have taken some facts of his life and information about his books from Wikipedia . I have copied the list from Wikipedia and posted it here . Expressing gratitude . ]

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Hotel – 1 : Udaipur [ Hotel Akshay Niwas ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 10 , 2012           11.15 P.M.

I have always admired two journalists cum columnists cum TV show anchors of my country . They are Ms. Anupama Chopra and Mr. Vir Sanghvi .

Ms. Anupama Chopra is a film journalist , who writes her movie review columns in Hindustan Times and India Today . She also writes for international papers like ; The New York Times , The Los Angeles Times , Variety and Sight & Sound and she also writes and anchors her well – known TV shows ” Picture This “ on NDTV 24 x 7  and ” The Front Row “ on Star World channel .

Mr. Vir Sanghvi is a political journalist , writes his column about Food & Culinary and Hotel & Hospitality in Sunday Brunch of Hindustan Times and also presents his famous shows ” A Matter of Taste “ on Discovery channel and ” Custom Made for Vir Sanghvi “ on NDTV Good Times . His other two successful TV shows are ” Foodistan “ for NDTV Good Times and ” Achievers Club “ on Star World .

Wow , what a life man ! They both have authored several books also . And they are globe – trotting celebrities . It’s a life worth living when you are get paid to live in 5 / 7 star hotels . You are offered best of cuisines on platter and instead of you paying the bill , you are offered money in lieu of tasting that exotic food . You interview mightiest of stars in swanky hotels and demand and get remuneration for it . God , this is the life I fancy !!

I always wanted to be like them . I wanted to do what they have done and would love to write on several subjects as they do .

Therefore I started writing , though tentatively , my travel diaries . Then slowly I wrote few blogs on Food & Culinary also . This is my first blog on Hotel & Hospitality . I have clubbed these three topics in a category called Vidur’s Random Musings on my blog space . I know these blogs are very amateurish , but as I have stated earlier , I am simply trying to emulate the above mentioned two journalists cum columnists cum TV show anchors .

I am a wanderer . Initially when I started travelling , I used to stay in ordinary , cheap hotels . So there is nothing to write about them . I can say without hesitation that my first stay in a decent hotel was when I visited Udaipur on October 04 , 2010 .

I was called to train Dev Patel for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and was put in Akshay Niwas Hotel by the production team .

Stars of ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel “ were staying in Udaivilas Palace Hotel and the director and his team members were staying at Hotel Trident . I have posted photos of Udaivilas Palace Hotel and Hotel Trident in my blog ” Vidur’s Travel Diary : Udaipur ” .

I was put in Akshay Niwas Hotel , which is very close to these iconic hotels of Udaipur . Its exterior is like typical havelis of Rajasthan . If you don’t know that this is a hotel then you might confuse it with a residence of a wealthy Rajasthani family .

Reception area and the lobby of this 4 storied Akshay Niwas Hotel are also very spacious , airy and sunlit .

The Lobby

The Lobby

Dinning Table in The Lobby

Dinning Table in The Lobby

When I entered my room on the 3rd floor , I found it exceptionally spacious . Some hotel rooms are so claustrophobic that you feel suffocated in them . But not here . Spacious room , huge windows , equally huge bathroom and a room to keep my bags and baggage , wow , I felt nice .

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

While going through the above posted photos , you can feel that the sun-kissed room is airy and full of light .

The bathroom is adorned with anti – skid tiles and is more spacious than the hall of some of the flats of Mumbai .

Wash Basin in The Bath Room

Wash Basin in The Bath Room

One plus point which I would like to mention is that the room has many plug sockets , so that you can charge your multiple mobile phones and can also work on your laptop simultaneously . Some hotel rooms don’t have enough sockets and you have to struggle to recharge your mobiles and laptops , specially when you don’t have enough time . But not here . They have taken extra care .

If you open the windows , you can feel the aroma of fresh and pure wind coming from Aravali Hills . If you decide to switch of the air conditioner and just open the windows , fresh wind and enough sunlight will force you to think that you are in another world .

It is a feeling which is unimaginable in Mumbai .

View From My Room's Window

View From My Room’s Window

View From My Room's Window

View From My Room’s Window

View from My Hotel Room

View from My Hotel Room

View of Udaipur from My Room's Window

View of Udaipur from My Room’s Window

Maintenance of the hotel is praiseworthy . Room service is prompt and quick and food is delicious .

Staff is courteous and well – behaved .

If you are not going for star hotels and looking for budget hotel in Udaipur , this Akshay Niwas Hotel is highly recommended by me .

I would love to give it 4 star out of 5 .

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Ode – 5 : To Satyamev Jayate [ A ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MAY 30 , 2012           01.15 A.M.  

In this age of television almost all the stars of Indian silver – screen have already made their television debut . Aamir Khan was the only exception . On May 06 , 2012 he also made his TV debut with his Talk ShowSatyamev Jayate and created history .

English: The present banner of Aamir Khan Prod...

The present banner of Aamir Khan Productions

Aamir Khan with The Logo of Satyamev Jayate

Aamir Khan with The Logo of Satyamev Jayate

His television show ” Satyamev Jayate “ was aired simultaneously on Star Plus and other channels within Star Network along with  D.D. National . In the history of Indian Television , it is the first show to achieve this feat . Apart from Hindi , it is dubbed in Tamil , Telugu , Malayalam , Marathi and Bengali .

Till date 4 episodes have been out and they dealt with various burning social issues :

1st Episode – May 06, 2012 –  ” Daughters Are Precious ” [Female Foeticide

2nd Episode – May 13, 2012 –  ” Break The Silence ”  [Child Sexual Abuse]

3rd Episode – May 20, 2012 – ” Marriage or Marketplace ” [Dowry] 

4th Episode – May 27 , 2012 – ” Every Life Is Precious ” [Medical Malpractices]  

6 May , 2012  - 1st Episode

6 May , 2012 – 1st Episode

13 May - 2nd Episode

13 May – 2nd Episode

As expected the show garnered 4.27 TRP . First episode was viewed by 9 crore people .Riding on the wave of public sympathy and word of mouth publicity , ” Satyamev Jayate “ , topped the popularity chart . It created positive buzz and generated public outcry on the issues it dealt with .

As expected , rivals and critics and jealous friends and die – hard nay – sayers panned the show . They started finding faults with everything related to the show .

A minister in Rajasthan government lashed at Aamir Khan and said that instead of hosting the show , he should come to Rajasthan and work for the people . May I ask what is his job ? Why is he elected ? Aamir Khan brought an issue in his notice . Instead of acting with alacrity and acting against the culprits , he is finding faults with the show .

There was some comments in the press that Aamir Khan is charging fee for hosting the show . May I ask why should he not charge his professional fee ? Instead of hosting some inane show like his contemporaries , he is hosting a show which is bringing some burning social issues for public debate .

A journalist tweeted that Aamir Khan should think about his first wife and only then talk about these issues . May I ask why is he so concerned about Aamir Khan’s first wife ? Two adults mutually decide to terminate their marriage without acrimony and bickering and moreover his first wife is not accusing Aamir Khan for cruelty or anything , then why is this journalist raking up a private issue ?

A journalist of Hindustan Times wrote that instead of making people cry , Aamir Khan should try to create laughter . 4th episode was not weepy at all . It was entertaining and at the same time informative  . Her criticism about the near perfect reaction and well – timed teary eyes also fail to impress . When you are narrating a personal tragedy , you don’t need acting skills . Tears come naturally and reaction is instantaneous . Her criticism is cussed and lacks sensitivity .

According to me above mentioned criticisms are result of some jealous minds and envious rivals . ” Satyamev Jayate “ exposed their mediocrity and they are now naked in the open . So their factotum and some paid – journos are fanning the falsehood .

There was a news item that the show failed to generate viewership and that the TRP is only 3.01 . But soon final verdict was out and now it is a known fact that the actual TRP is 4.27 . According to Television Audience measurement the show reached out to 4.96 million people . 1 lakh people tried calling Aamir Khan during the show .

Several topics related to the show were trending on twitter and were among top 5 . Even before the first episode ended , it got 2,254 tweets on micro – blogging site ,  twitter . Due to huge and unprecedented traffic the official website ; http://www.satyamevjayate.in crashed as soon as the first episode ended . On Google Trends also the show was top search in India . The show’s official page on Facebook has received more than 9,71,000 likes .

Hindustan Times conducted an online poll where 88% viewers have voted that they liked the show . 7% remained undecided and only 5% felt that the show failed to impress .

6th May 2012 - !st Episode of Satyamev Jayate

6th May 2012 – !st Episode of Satyamev Jayate

Need I say anything more ? But there were some honest and saner voices also .

Some eminent personalities like ; Siddharth Basu and Newspapers like ; Hindustan Times and Wall Street Journal have compared the show with Oprah Winfrey Show . To compare ” Satyamev Jayate “ with Oprah Winfrey Show is a great honour . I totally agree with the view .

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The...

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986

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150 Years of Mahamana Malviya : A Forgotten Hero


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 26 , 2011           01.50 A.M.

Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya was born on December 25 , 1861 in Allahabad . This year India celebrates his 150th Birth Anniversary.

President of the Indian National Congress

Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya

It is sad that this visionary is almost forgotten by the younger generation . People of my generation will know him by his title Mahamana . But today’s generation would not recognize him even if you mention his full name ; Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya .

It is sad and tells the pathetic state of our educational standards that a leader of the calibre of Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya is forgotten by today’s generation .

English: Statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya...

Mahamana's Statue at the Main Entrance of B.H.U.

Mahamana was the President of Indian National Congress on four occasions ; 1909 – 1910 , 1918 – 1919 , 1930 – 1931 and then again 1932 – 1933 . He was founder of Banaras Hindu University , the largest residential university in Asia and one of the largest in the world . He founded it in 1916 . He was Vice – Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University [ BHU ] from 1919 to 1938 . He was succeeded by none other than Dr. S. Radhakrishnan .

Banaras Hindu University

Banaras Hindu University

IIT-BHU known as IT-BHU,Varanasi,Uttar Pradesh

Banaras Hindu University

Apart from being an educationist , he dabbled in journalism also . He founded ” The Leader ” in 1909 , a very popular and influential news paper , published from Allahabad .

He was the Chairman of ” Hindustan Times ” from 1924 to 1946 . He was also instrumental for the Hindi edition of ” The Hindustan Times ” , named ” Hindustan ” in 1936 .

Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

He was pioneer pf Scout movement in India .

Born in Allahabad in the family of Sanskrit scholars , he did his matriculation from Muir Central College and graduation from Calcutta University .

His ancestors hailed from Malwa , so they were called Malviya . Due to poor economic condition , he could not complete post graduation and started his career as a teacher in Allahabad District School .Later on he left his job and became editor of a nationalist daily ” Hindustan ‘ . After two and half years he left the paper to join LL. B. After finishing his law degree , he started practise in Allahabad District Court and later on in moved to Allahabad High Court .

He gave up his well stablished law practise in 1911 for education and social service . He donned the robe again only to fight the case of Chouri Choura freedom fighters . 177 freedom fighters got capital punishment . Mahamana fought their case and was successful in saving 156 freedom fighters .

He attended 2nd session of Indian National Congress in 1886 in Calcutta [ Now Kolkata ] . He was associated with The Congress long before Mahatma Gandhi became a national figure . Mahatma Gandhi began his association with The Congress in 1921 . So Mahamana Malviya was his senior by 35 years . A fact non known by present day Indians and conveniently overlooked by present day leaders of The Congress . He was an active nationalist from 1886 , when Jawahar Lal Nehru was not even born .

It is sad that a leader of such seniority and calibre is forgotten and Indian National Congress has almost banished him from the pantheon . Congress has been usurped by Gandhi – Nehru family and because of PR activities and media blitzkrieg , people associate only Gandhi and Nehru clan with the Congress Party .

Mahamana is sadly forgotten

Madan Mohan Malviya Stadium.

Madan Mohan Malviya Stadium

Today Banaras Hindu University is the sole reminder of Mahamana . Malviya Nagar in various Indian cities like ; Allahabad , Lucknow , Delhi , Bhopal and Jaipur keep his memory alive . People have forgotten that he started tradition of Aarti at Har Ki Poudi , Haridwar , which is still followed.

Banaras Hindu University

Logo of BHU

Ganga still flows in Haridwar , still slithers through Allahabad and Varanasi , Banaras Hindu University still stands tall . They all bear his testimony . They all remind his gigantic contributions . But alas , Indian National Congress has removed him from the pantheon . He has been downgraded and has no prominent place at the echelon . Though he was senior to Gandhi and Nehru , but has been relegated to irrelevance . His photos are missing from Congress literature and books and functions .

English: Panoramic View of Har ki pauri

Panoramic View of Har Ki Paudi

I am saddened . I get hurt when I see articles about the contribution of Rajiv Gandhi and / or Sonia Gandhi in the papers and magazines . It is pathetic that even Rahul Gandhi is eulogized and this giant is neglected .He is branded as communal by some pseudo – secular , while appeasement is the order of the day .

Library of Banaras Hindu University

Library BHU

New Vishwanath Temple also known as Birla Mand...

New Vishwanath Temple Conceived by Mahamana

Government of India is celebrating his 150 years with a function in Delhi . It was supposed to be held on December 25th but will now happen on December 27th . Rulers of the day has no time for Mahamana . And , in my opinion , this function is not to commemorate the memory of Mahamana . Elections are due in Uttar Pradesh . The Congress needs to win Uttar Pradesh . To lure crucial Brahmin votes , they need an icon , a Brahmin icon . So they remembered Mahamana . They need Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya . So this charade of celebration of 150 Years of Mahamana Pandit Madan Moham Malviya came into being .

Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru , who usurped Mahamana’s title Pandit , now fails to help The Congress , so Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya is being tried out .After making Congress a fiefdom of Nehru – Gandhi family , after almost disowning  Sardar Patel , after branding Mahamana a communal leader and a sectarian leader of Hindus , The Indian Nation Congress is trying to pay lip service to the memory of Mahamana and trying to remember him on his 150th Anniversary , though they were the one , who obfuscated his memory and neglected his contribution .

It is sad ! It is bizarre ! It is ridiculous !!

I , through this blog , pay my obeisance to Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya . I also urge Malviya Mission , an organization dedicated to his memory , to do more .

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