POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Mar 03, 2015 AT 14:35 IST ,  Edited At: Mar 03, 2015 14:35 IST

No more soya wine chilli beef or Tappanyaki beef in Mumbai's Leopald cafe. It's time for some of the Mumbai restaurants to reprint their menus, it seems, or be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs.10,000.

President Pranab Mukherjee has signed the almost two-decade old Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) bill that bans cow slaughter in Maharashtra with restrictions on sale and possession of the meat.

Bill was originally passed in 1995 by the BJP-Shiv Sena government but has only come into effect now.

Chief minister Devender Fadnavis expressed happiness over the President's assent to the bill.

But many on Twitter didn't seem to share the CM's enthusiasm on the matter.

Outlook's Oct 20, 2014 issue carried a graphic which might shed some light on the meat-eating patterns of our nation where 60% of the population is non-vegetarian.

In an article called 'They Will Stay Short' published in the same issue, Anuradha Raman wrote:

Animal protein yields better height, stronger muscles, a fact often suggested as a solution to counter India’s malnutrition problem, especially in the light of some uncomfortable statistics. Forty-four per cent children are malnourished, of which 45 per cent have stunted growth and another 20 per cent are too thin, or ‘wasted’ as health parlance goes. Buffalo nationalism, of the kind trumpeted by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Union minister Maneka Gandhi, with the tacit support of the ruling BJP dispensation, then is not the answer. In the face of data showing a declining pulses intake (largely on account of rising prices) and dietary shifts, the poor, it would appear, would be forced out in the tirade against meat. Eggs and milk are expensive. Judged by the nutritional ratio, meat, especi­a­lly beef, is not.

Dried beef is a staple in many Dalit households, among the poor as well as in the Northeast. It accounts for nearly 70 per cent of their protein intake. A series of studies conducted by the National Nutr­ition Monitoring Bureau has come up with some astounding facts. In the last 50 years, the average height of the poor increased by just 1-3 cm as opposed to the middle class and rich who have shot up by 6-8 cm.

Also read about the beef-eating habits of ancient Hindus: A Brahmin's Cow Tales (From Outlook archives)

Read Full Post  |  0 comments
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Mar 03, 2015 AT 14:35 IST, Edited At: Mar 03, 2015 14:35 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Mar 01, 2015 AT 18:10 IST ,  Edited At: Mar 01, 2015 18:10 IST

Leonard Nomoy who was almost synonymous with Mr. Spock, a resolutely-logical alien he played on Star Trek died on Feb 27 at his home in Los Angeles.

In its obituary, the NYT writes:

His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).

The BBC obituary says:

Despite a career that also embraced directing, writing and photography, he never managed to escape the character that came to define him. At times it seemed the actor and character were becoming one and the same person and Nimoy battled with alcohol abuse as a result. But he eventually derived great satisfaction from the role that dominated his life

The Guardian obituary says:

In front of the camera, as the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock, he captured with delicious wit the tensions in the character. Spock’s logical, detached perspective could be infuriating to his more demonstrative colleagues; it also caused him to be amused or bewildered by the workings of humans.

Nimoy contributed key details to the character, including the traditional Vulcan greeting: a hand held up and the four fingers parted to create a V. This was inspired by prayer gestures witnessed by the young Nimoy at synagogue.

He would later title his 1975 memoir I Am Not Spock. “I was trying to illuminate the actor’s process in creating a character. I talked about the fact that I grew up in Boston and Spock did not. My parents were Russian immigrants; Spock’s were not. I’m an actor who portrays this character.” He conceded, though, that the title had been a mistake and had given the erroneous impression that he was trying to shrug off his best-known role. He made amends by calling the 1995 follow-up I Am Spock.

The Telegraph writes:

Nimoy redefined the character from the minor one envisaged at the show’s conception into the most memorable. When Paramount studios made the mistake of allowing Spock to be killed off at the end of its second feature film spin-off, Star Trek II, public demonstrations demanded his return. Paramount’s stock fell on Wall Street until the third film in the canon, The Search for Spock, was completed and the character was “regenerated”. Six further films followed.

Leonard Nimoy’s cameo in the Simpsons’ X-Files spoof episode, The Springfield Files, remains one of the series’ all time greats. Seated behind a desk, he sonorously intones: “Hello, I’m Leonard Nimoy. The following tale of alien encounters is true. And by true, I mean false.”

Star Trek wasn't the only time when Nimoy dabbled in science-fiction. In the mid-seventies, a pair of recorded albums came out — Leonard Nimoy reading out works of author Ray Bradbury who is best known for his dystopian novel, Farenheit 451.

We give you samples of Nimoy reading Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and the Illustrated Man

US President Barack Obama issued a statement expressing his love for Spock.

While many took to the social media to express their condolences, the Canadian Design Resource led a call to action, encouraging Canadians to "Spock" their $5 bills.

Coincidentally, Nimoy ended his last tweet with the blessing that every Trekker is familiar with: Live long and prosper

Read Full Post  |  0 comments
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Mar 01, 2015 AT 18:10 IST, Edited At: Mar 01, 2015 18:10 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 27, 2015 AT 20:52 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 27, 2015 20:52 IST

With less than twenty-four hours to go for the presentation of the Union Budget, all eyes are set on the Finance Ministry and subsequently on the corporate honchos for their expert analysis. 

In 2014, Outlook studied what CEOs and the captains of industry have been saying about the budget over a period of five years. The period covered three finance ministers as well as two political dispensations. Funnily, it appears that "there's often little to distinguish between each of these pronouncements, filled up with catchphrases and blind praise, often completely divorced from economic reality."

A sample:

Chanda Kochchar

2014 "As the decisions and plans are executed, I am sure the country will move back to a robust growth path." FE
2013 "The budget balances near-term priorities and long-term growth drivers." IE
2012 "The budget is a pragmatic exercise aimed at growth and stability in the backdrop of the challenging year gone by." BS
2011 "It recognises the long-term growth drivers for the economy and seeks to strengthen them further." BS
2010 "The budget focuses on leveraging the strong fundamentals for growth while committing to better fiscal management." HT

And here's another: 

Deepak Parekh
Chairman HDFC

2014 "Overall, Arun Jaitley has made a good beginning and one looks forward to bolder is a budget on an even keel." ET
2013 "It is a pre-election year. Given these constraints, the FM has presented a sensible budget." TOI
2012 "The finance minister has assuaged the fears (of drastic measures) by presenting a reasonable, equitable and balanced budget." TOI
2011 Did not comment
2010 Did not comment

Needless to say, this leaves one wondering why the media gives so much importance to what India Inc has to say when they could just use what they said the previous year.

Read Full Post  |  0 comments
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 27, 2015 AT 20:52 IST, Edited At: Feb 27, 2015 20:52 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 26, 2015 AT 23:41 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 26, 2015 23:41 IST

Five days after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen withdrew his candidature for a second term as Chancellor of Nalanda University claiming that the Narendra Modi government does not want him to continue in the chair, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy demanded that he be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act. On Tuesday, Feb 24, Swamy issued a statement against Amartya Sen and Nalanda University. 

Full text of the statement:

I demand for four reasons that the now retired Professor Amartya Sen be sacked from the Chancellor's post in the newly set up Nalanda University.

  • Sen though paid an annual salary of Rs.50 lakhs (in US $ tax free) is normally resident in USA, and comes to India briefly in the winter months free of charge First Class on Air India. His total emoluments is far in excess of the service he provides. 
  • The CAG Report on the expenses incurred for building construction of the University and perquisites of Prof. Sen and others for administering the University and the delay in meeting easy targets for construction, is full of irregularities and is, prima facie, of corruption.
  • The former President of India, Dr.Abdul Kalaam resigned from the post of Visitor of the University in 2011 in disgust, objecting to Sen's arbitrariness and malafide actions.
  • The nodal Ministry of External Affairs for the University, objected in writing to Sen's arbitrarily and opaque manner of appointing as Vice Chancellor Ms.Gopa Sabharwal, an Assistant Professor. i.e., a junior lady faculty member, from JNU. Full Professors refused to join under a much junior-faculty member as Vice Chancellor.
    The CAG in its Report had also objected to the appointment and the salary fixed for her.
  • In 2013-14, the Ministry of Finance also objected to the irregular way Sen was operating the large Special Dispensation Fund of the University. There was no transparency or accountability of the use of these funds
  • So far about Rs.3000 crores of tax payers money has been recklessly spent by Prof Sen, for which he has to be made accountable.

Hence I demand that the Government prosecute Prof. Sen and his chosen few under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and under IPC Sections 120B, 406 and 420 or face a PIL from me.

According to a report published in the Hindu, the Nalanda University has denied Swamy's claims:

Professor Sen has received "no salary whatsoever from Nalanda University." All his work for the university has been done in an honorary capacity, it said.

On Dr. Swamy's suggestion that Professor Sen flying to India free of cost by Air India was part of his "emoluments" for "the service he provides" to Nalanda, the university said that though Professor Sen sometimes does make use of his free Air India pass, this has nothing to do with Nalanda or its "emoluments". The free pass was a gift from the Government of India. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave it to Professor Sen to celebrate his Nobel Prize. 

On Dr. Swamy's reference to a "CAG Report on the expenses incurred for building construction of the University and perquisites of Professor Sen" which pointed to "irregularities and.... prima facie of corruption," the university said there has been no such observation in any CAG report. Also, Professor Sen does not receive any "perquisites" from the university.

The Nalanda university statement sought to clarify all the objections raised by Swamy in his statement.  

Read Full Post  |  9 comments
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 26, 2015 AT 23:41 IST, Edited At: Feb 26, 2015 23:41 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 23, 2015 AT 19:58 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 23, 2015 19:58 IST

In an exclusive interview, Professor Romila Thapar, noted historian and Professor Emerita of History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi spoke to social activist Teesta Setalvad in her special show on Communalism Combat and Hille le TV.

Prof Thapar emphasised on the importance of questioning and said, "The  function of the public intellectual is to make knowledge accessible and protect it from distortion, it is essential that knowledge advances through questioning."

An author of path breaking approaches to history, from Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas to Past As Present: Forging Contemporary Identities through History, Professor Thapar said: "Our early Indian traditions were questioning and skeptical always testing knowledge through the prism of rationality, and today faced with the political challenges dictated by the current regime in Delhi, it is essential that we proudly claim this tradition and not succumb to pre-dominant, irrational discourse...Young persons must learn to understand that the very purpose of education is that we have an intelligent approach to knowledge gathering."

Prof Thapar also delves into the sensitive issues of the gender dimensions of history, critical thinking and the constant duality within the Indian tradition that Megasthenes described as the two parallel streams represented by the 'Brahmans' and the 'Shramans' which offers a complex understanding of our past that is invaluable.

She also discusses Asoka’s Dhamma and the Kalinga War, the great monarch and his relationship with the people and the true historiography behind the narrative of the Somnatha temple and its destruction.

"The need of the hour in India is for a real History of Science to be attempted. This is needed to ensure that real achievements from early India are explored not as irrational claims but in understanding how true knowledge in all fields emerged from deep observation and evolved with rigorous scientific testing," said Thapar.

Read Full Post  |  22 comments
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 23, 2015 AT 19:58 IST, Edited At: Feb 23, 2015 19:58 IST
Short Takes
click for more
recent tags
Anniversaries, Homages & Tributes
Beef/Cows etc
Finance Minister & Ministry
India inc
Indian Economy
Law & Legal
A. Sanzgiri
Boria Majumdar
Dr Mohammad Taqi
Freya Dasgupta
G. Rajaraman
K.V. Bapa Rao
Landing Lights
Maheshwer Peri
Namrata Joshi
Omar Ali
Our Readers Write Back
Outlook Web Desk
Outlook Web Desk
Prarthna Gahilote
Shefalee Vasudev
Sundeep Dougal
Sunil Menon
recent comments
The Narendra Modi government has just presented the...
Poll Started on: Mar 02, 2015
Two weeks back we started a little game. It so happened...
Namrata Joshi


OUTLOOK TOPICS:    a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   
Or just type in a few initial letters of a topic: