Seven Days
The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
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New Delhi
Bring In The Suits

How many lawyers does it take to bail out a corporate honcho, if the SC is on his tail? If you are ‘Sahara’ Subroto Roy, the answer is eight, and counting. Ram Jethmalani, Rajeev Dhavan, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, they have all represented him at one point or the other but he is still in the cooler after five months. Harish Salve is the latest to join Roy’s legal team. And to think that Roy is yet to be charged in SEBI’s Rs 24,000 cr investor fraud case.

To The Ramparts

In an inspired move, Telangana has opted to hold its first I-Day function at the historic 15th century Golkonda fort. So while PM Modi addresses the nation from the Red Fort, K. Chandrasekhara Rao will do it from the Deccan’s largest fort. Originally built by the Kakatiyas of Warangal, it passed to the Bahmani kingdom, the Qutb Shahi dynasty before the Nizams declared independence in the 18th century. Andhra Pradesh, will hold its function in Kurnool, the capital of Andhra state in the ’50s.

Photograph by Dhaval Bharwad/Divya Bhaskar

That Shrill Drone

Freelance journalists in the US are being penalised for using drones to take aerial pictures of crime scenes. In India, Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar pioneered the ‘small drone’ use to take pictures of devotees at a mosque on Ahmedabad’s outskirts. Aerial pictures of the enticing mosque and the lake next to it were so promising, it now seems a matter of time before both the rest of the media and the police take to the flying cameras.

The ‘Veggie’ Builder

Vegetarians have surely ended up as bodybuilders before, so Varinder Singh Ghuman from Jalandhar may not be the ‘world’s first vegetarian bodybuilder’, as described in the promos. But one doubts if another Master’s degree holder in English Literature has ended up as one. Ghuman has also just finished shooting for a film titled, what else, Roar, which has been shot in the Sundarbans—home of the Royal Bengal Tiger—in Bangladesh and in India. Right now, the man’s training hard for a competition in Australia. Ghuman, who can’t apparently stop talking about meeting his idol Arnold Schwarzenegger, is also excited about an offer to act as ‘Gama’ (the wrestler) in a Salman Khan film.

Missing Royalty

What is a palace without a prince? And should they have adopted if there is none? The December 2013 demise of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the last descendant of the Wodeyar dynasty (1399-1950) that ruled Mysore, has put the focus back on the dispute over ownership of the palaces in Mysore and Bangalore. While the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the royal family, the state government headed by Deve Gowda had in the mid-nineties wanted to take over both places. With the issue still not settled, the widow of the last prince, who died childless, is reluctant to adopt a successor and continue the traditions and rituals associated with Dassara. What would the successor do if there is no palace, asks a tearful Pramoda Devi.

West Bengal
Hooghly To Thames

Slumdog Millionaire, in comparison, looks a fantasy, gushed Cannes over a script based on Gillian Haslam’s Indian English. The Anglo-Indian lady, now a UK citizen and a millionaire, was born in the City of Joy and grew up in slums. Moving to Delhi at 17, she did secretarial jobs before landing a job in American Express. There was no looking back from then on. The book is on her life in Calcutta.

Memorial For The Bard

Three years after the demise of poet and filmmaker Bhupen Hazarika, work is yet to start on a promised memorial (“it’ll be more splendid than Rajghat”) in Guwahati. Guwahati University had also marked land for it. But with the static red tape and leaden-footed bureaucrats, the issue is taking both an emotive and politically sensitive turn. The All Assam Students’ Union organised a protest recently and it’s only a matter of time before others jump in to protest the ‘insult’ to Assam’s bard.

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