POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 30, 2012 AT 23:14 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 30, 2012 23:14 IST

When he was anointed Prime Minister, Bhavdeep Kang profiled him for Outlook in April 1997: Cocktail Socialist, Scholar And Pacifist

INDER Kumar Gujral takes great pride in his pacifist style; he claims never to have fought with his wife in a half-century of marriage. Mild-mannered, non-controversial, inoffensive, he is ever the gentleman. Something of a wimp? Perhaps, says former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, but holds that to be a virtue in the present circumstances. "He is not majboot (firm)...but that's good in someone who is to head a coalition."...

His earlier term, under V.P. Singh, is best remembered for his post-war visit to Iraq, where he was photographed hugging Saddam Hussein. "The Kuwaitis didn't speak to us for years," recalls a bureaucrat. His 'Gujral doctrine' is equally controversial; dubbed progressive by some and spineless by others: "In essence, we must make amends for our size with unilateral concessions and a saintly attitude to our neighbours." But, as one critic says, he is silent on China—perhaps simply because the size ratio is inversed.

Born in Jhelum, now in Pakistan, he studied in Lahore and took to both Marxism and the freedom movement early. His father, Lala Avtar Narain, was a member of the Constituent Assembly. A principled and austere man, he ran a home for destitute women in Jalandhar after Partition. The young Gujral went into business with his Delhiite cousins. That didn't last, as Sucheta Kripalani weaned him from Marxism to active Congress politics. His artist brother, Satish, introduced him to Nehru.

Gujral became a member and then vice-president of the New Delhi Municipal Committee. Indira Gandhi elevated him to minister status. As housing minister, he set aside funds for beautification of buildings. It is to him that Delhi owes the murals adorning government edifices, as well as its master plan. Information & Broadcasting minister when Emergency was declared, he couldn't get along with the brash Sanjay and was shunted to Moscow, where he stayed until 1980, growing a Leninesque beard. That he did not quit is not the least of the criticism against him; the 11-year-old who stoically bore British lathis grew up to put up with Mrs Gandhi's excesses.

The former Marxist lives in considerable affluence in upmarket Maharani Bagh. The profitability of Span, the garment export firm run by his son, Naresh, can be gauged from his recent purchase of a house on Delhi's ultra-expensive Amrita Sher Gill Marg.

Gujral is charged with nepotism and playing favourites with the bureaucracy, a section of which sees him as self-serving. The suave exterior masks an authoritarian tendency, they say. His penchant for sermonising gets him into trouble...

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 30, 2012 AT 23:14 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 30, 2012 23:14 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 30, 2012 AT 03:04 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 30, 2012 03:04 IST

In what they called a protest against Sec 66A of the IT Act, AnonOpsIndia (@opindia_revenge) today defaced information and broadcasting minister Kapil Sibal's website

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 30, 2012 AT 03:04 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 30, 2012 03:04 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 28, 2012 AT 23:58 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 28, 2012 23:58 IST

Lant Pritchett and Shrayana Bhattacharya succinctly sum up the recent debate about Cash Transfers in the Indian Express: Cash is no Cure:

If the problem is that people who are eligible find it hard to procure paperwork to prove their citizenship and poverty to make claims on state resources, while those who are ineligible nevertheless manage to get benefits, it is hard to see how moving to cash helps...

Cash transfers are terrific at what cash transfers are terrific at — a pure and direct transfer of purchasing power. If the goal of transferring resources to citizens is simply to attain a socially desirable distribution of money and ability to buy things, cash works very well. However, if the idea is to tackle market failures and attain a socially desirable form of behaviour, where administrators allocate benefits to the poorest and the poorest are able to use the subsidy amounts for good nutrition and health outcomes, the idea of cash as a cure-all is problematic. Much of the current discussion on cash transfers is focused on what the state ought to do, without enough consideration of what the Indian state is capable of doing. Proponents of a cash-based approach assume the state has better ability to supply cash than the supply of physical goods. However, cash transfers leave many of the hard problems in implementing social programmes in India just as hard, if not harder.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 28, 2012 AT 23:58 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 28, 2012 23:58 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 28, 2012 AT 22:22 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 28, 2012 22:22 IST

Yesterday, the People’s Daily Online, a website of the Chinese Communist Party’s English-language mouthpiece, republished a recent Onion piece naming North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, along with a gallery of 55 photographs, as the Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.

It remained unclear whether or not the People's Daily editors were aware that it was meant to be a spoof, till the story was taken off today.

It took the Associated Press to provide the full case of Chinese whispers that led to the faux pas. The Onion story was apparently first picked up by the Hong Kond media which explained to its readers that "The Onion is a satirical news organization." 

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 28, 2012 AT 22:22 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 28, 2012 22:22 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 21, 2012 AT 23:49 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 21, 2012 23:49 IST

Actor Ashish Chowdhry whose sister Monica and her husband were amongst those who were killed on 26/11 at the Oberoi Trident Hotel posted a series of moving tweets on the execution of Ajmal Kasab

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 21, 2012 AT 23:49 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 21, 2012 23:49 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 21, 2012 AT 19:41 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 21, 2012 19:41 IST

On the eve of the winter session of Parliament and with the Gujarat elections around the corner, the scam and scandal-ridden Congress-led UPA has sought to, as if, stump the scam and scandal-ridden BJP-led NDA with its early-morning announcement of the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in the 26/11 siege of Mumbai.

Within a matter of hours, a weak government and a “soft-state” are slapping their thighs in delight, although the implications of the hanging—on Indo-Pakistan relations, on the fallout in the country, on the fate of Sarabjit Singh, not to mention the 26/11 probe, and the elimination of the only corroborative witness in India's custody who helped confirm the involvement of the likes of Jundal etc—are still to be weighed. 

As the lynch mobs which routinely bay for blood raise the tempo for quick despatch of Afzal Guru as well, in the very week India refused to be a signatory to a United Nations resolution banning the death penalty, the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, almost as if to satiate the public and political need for revenge and retribution, throws a big question mark over India’s presumed humanism of the land of the Mahatma.

Shivam Vij argues in rediff: Why I am saddened by Kasab's hanging:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 21, 2012 AT 19:41 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 21, 2012 19:41 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 21, 2012 AT 13:27 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 21, 2012 13:27 IST

So all right, it was a langur. As the Calcutta Telegraph repeorts:

In the thick of political manoeuvres, a langur offered a welcome break to the chief minister on Tuesday while she was inaugurating a Jagaddhatri puja in Hooghly’s Chandernagore. As a furry shape emerged, Mamata Banerjee stopped her speech midway and asked: “Eta abaar kotha theke elo? Eta abaar kotha theke elo (From where did this come? From where did this come)?” The langur ran in front of her and behaved itself by squatting in a corner of the dais. “Ami pashu-pakhi khub bhalobasi. Keu kichhu korben na (I love animals and birds. No one should disturb it),” she said. The chief minister also asked the members of her security team to arrange biscuits. Yes, the langur did sit through the speech, though it switched to another part of the pandal. Pictures by Pradip Sanyal

The video, though, offers another aspect of the (under-reported?) story. Dear leader, clearly is well-versed in appropriate mantras for all occasions.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 21, 2012 AT 13:27 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 21, 2012 13:27 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Nov 19, 2012 AT 23:56 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 19, 2012 23:56 IST

This is the (unedited) full-text of the status update by Shaheen Dhada which was 'liked' by her friend Renu Srinivasan on Facebook:

"With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on. Just due to one politician died a natural death, everyone just goes bonkers. They should know, we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time, did anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians?  Respect is earned, given, and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect."

As the press reports summed up:

Though the girl withdrew her comment and apologised, a mob of some 2,000 Shiv Sena workers attacked and ransacked her uncle’s orthopaedic clinic at Palghar.

Getting the statement withdrawn or an apology under intimidation was clearly not enough for the brave Sainiks of the Sena as they went ahead and lodged a complaint with the police. It is instructive that the police, instead of taking action against the mob, wanted 14 days' custody for the young girls, not even straightaway releasing them on bail as provided under law.

Consider this: the police commissioner has confirmed that no action has been taken against those who attacked the clinic of Shaheen Dhada's uncle’s orthopaedic clinic at Palghar.

And just to put matters in perspective, let's remember that the state's chief minister yesterday chose to "honour the sentiments of Mumbaikars" by according a state funeral -- taking the body draped in the Tricolour in a procession on a gun-carriage with full police bandobast, besides a 21-gun salute ahead of the funeral -- to someone about whom the Sri Krishna report had stated:

From 8th January 1993 at least there is no doubt that the Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks took the lead in organizing attacks on Muslims and their properties under the guidance of several leaders of the Shiv Sena from the level of Shakha Pramukh to the Shiv Sena Pramukh Bal Thackeray who, like a veteran General, commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organised attacks against Muslims.

For more inconvenient truths about the one honoured with a state funeral, here's a random compendium.

The message from the ruling establishment about those it chooses to honour and protect and those it chooses to penalise could not be clearer.

Also read:

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Nov 19, 2012 AT 23:56 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 19, 2012 23:56 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 17, 2012 AT 23:59 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 17, 2012 23:59 IST

In a comprehensive article in the April-June 2002 issue of The Marxist, Ashok Dhawale wrote

As is only too well-known, it was the ruling Congress party that nurtured and supported the SS [Shiv Sena] for over two decades from the mid-sixties to the mid-eighties. In the early phase, this support was given to break the Communist hold over the trade union movement in Mumbai; in the later phase, it was to settle factional scores within the Congress itself. At the same time, it is also true that, with the sole exception of the Communists, all other opposition parties in the state have also collaborated with the SS at various times, their leaders sharing the platform with the SS supremo and some of them even going to the extent of striking electoral alliances with the SS in local elections.

The SS has always been under the authoritarian grip of its demagogic supremo Bal Thackeray, who has never disguised his contempt for democracy and adulation of dictatorship. His servile support to the Emergency, although couched in these ideological terms, actually had the much more banal motive of somehow staying out of jail, an experience that he is known to dread. Thackeray has publicly glorified the likes of Adolf Hitler and Nathuram Godse, and this has given immense vicarious pleasure to the dominant hardcore elements of the Sangh Parivar...

This first rally of the SS ended in a manner that accurately foretold the shape of things to coma. After inflammatory speeches by Thackeray and others, the dispersing mob savagely attacked shops and restaurants owned by South Indians, looted them and set them on fire. And as was to happen on innumerable later occasions, the police did not lift a finger against these hoodlums! This was obviously under special instructions from Congress chief minister Vasantrao Naik and home minister Balasaheb Desai, from both of whom Bal Thackeray and his hordes were to enjoy full protection for the next ten years! Twenty years later, in the mid-eighties, it was another Congress chief minister of the same name, Vasantdada Patil, who was to take the moribund Shiv Sena under his wing, help it to regain control over the Mumbai municipal corporation, and enable it to spread its communal tentacles all over Maharashtra...

The SS inaugurated its new communal drive with the ghastly communal riots in Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane and Mumbai that were unleashed in May 1984. The provocation for the riots was a public speech by Thackeray wherein he made derogatory remarks against the Prophet, Mohammed Paigambar. These remarks were printed in exaggerated form by some Urdu papers. As a reaction to this, in far-off Parbhani in the Marathwada region, a Congress MLA, A.R. Khan organised a large protest action in which Thackeray's photo was garlanded with shoes. This ignited the fuse which led the SS to unleash massive riots in which at least 258 people were killed, thousands injured and property worth crores destroyed. The riots were replete with terrible instances of cruelty, the most heinous being the Ansari Baug massacre at Bhiwandi.

It has been clearly established that the main culprit in these riots was the SS, aided by various RSS outfits on the one hand and by the Jamaat-e-Islami on the other. The other major culprit was the Congress(I) state government which was then headed by Vasantdada Patil. While the build-up to these riots, consisting of rabid communal propaganda and even collection of weapons, was going on openly for two months in Mumbai and Bhiwandi, the government did absolutely nothing. The attitude of the police not only reflected this complete apathy, but it also had additional communal bias. Even after the riots, no action was ever taken against Thackeray or any of the other culprits.

Vir Sanghvi on his blog: Personal charisma, astuteness and a sense of timing accounted for Thackeray’s longevity

His early sponsor was the Congress Chief Minister VP Naik who wanted the Shiv Sena to counter the communist trade unions that were taking over in Bombay’s industrial belt. Naik and other Congress bosses also used the Sena to attack the campaign of VK Krishna Menon, who was opposing the Congress in North Bombay in the 1967 General Election...

... In 1975/6, during the Emergency, Thackeray’s press was shut down and many Sainiks arrested. But when the Emergency was lifted, Thackeray blamed his mistreatment on the then Chief Minister S B Chavan and continued to venerate Indira Gandhi, even organising a bandh when the Janata government arrested her...

...Through his friendship with Pramod Mahajan, he linked up with the BJP and in 1992/3, Shiv Sena workers took an active part in communal riots. Thackeray was so proud of his role in those massacres that when Mani Ratnam’s Bombay was released, his primary objection to the film was that a character patterned on Thackeray expressed regret. (“Why should I regret?”he thundered).

Gyan Prakash, in the Mint: The original angry young man

South Indians, or “Madrasis” as Thackeray referred to them, were his first targets. According to him, the immigrants from southern India had monopolized white-collar employment in the city, robbing the “sons of the soil” of their rightful due. This was not true, but he made fun of their dress by calling them lungiwalas, and mocked their languages by calling them yandugundu. When the Sena supporters attacked South Indian restaurants, he rewarded them with praise.

If the South Indians were aliens, so were the communists... His supporters regularly clashed with the communists in mill districts. These attacks finally claimed the life of Krishna Desai, a CPI member of the legislative assembly. An immensely popular trade union leader and a force in the mill districts, Desai was murdered in June 1970 by Shiv Sena members and supporters. The communists never recovered from Desai’s loss.

No self-respecting, right-wing populist movement in India can succeed without targeting the Muslims as alien to the nation. Accordingly, Thackeray spiked nativism with an anti-Muslim, Hindu nationalism. In 1969, he delivered an inflammatory speech, calling Muslims anti-national and referred to Bhiwandi as a second Pakistan. When Bhiwandi burned for three days during communal violence in May 1970, the role of Thackeray’s vitriolic rhetoric and the Sena’s provocative actions was clear.

The PTI, in a despatch from Pune on May 17, 1991, which was carried in all the national dailies, quoted Thackeray as saying in the election rally:

"We are proud of Nathuram, he saved the country from a second partition. Nathuram was not a hired assassin. He was genuinely infuriated by Mahatma Gandhi's betrayal of the nation. Gandhi had said that he would lay down his life before allowing the division of the country. But ultimately he did nothing to stop the partition". These odious remarks of Thackeray were also published in the SS daily "Saamnaa" itself.

Bal Thackeray's role in the Bombay riots of 1993 is well-documented by Justice Srikrishna report:

From 8th January 1993 at least there is no doubt that the Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks took the lead in organizing attacks on Muslims and their properties under the guidance of several leaders of the Shiv Sena from the level of Shakha Pramukh to the Shiv Sena Pramukh Bal Thackeray who, like a veteran General, commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organised attacks against Muslims. The communal violence and rioting triggered off by the Shiv Sena was hijacked by local criminal elements who saw in it an opportunity to make quick gains. By the time the Shiv Sena realized that enough had been done by way of "retaliation", the violence and rioting was beyond the control of its leaders who had to issue an appeal to put an end to it...

Turning to the events of January 1993, the Commission’s view is that though several incidents of violence took place during the period from 15th December 1992 to 5th January 1993, large–scale rioting and violence was commenced from 6th January 1993 by the Hindus brought to fever pitch by communally inciting propaganda unleashed by Hindu communal organizations and writings in newspapers like Saamna and Navaakal. It was taken over by Shiv Sena and its leaders who continued to whip up communal frenzy by their statements and acts and writings and directives issued by the Shiv Sena Pramukh Bal Thackeray. The attitude of Shiv Sena as reflected in the Time magazine interview given by Bal Thackeray and its doctrine of ‘retaliation’, as expounded by Shri Sarpotdar and Shri Manohar Joshi, together with the thinking of Shiv Sainiks that ‘Shiv Sena’s terror was the true guarantee of the safety of citizens’, were responsible for the vigilantism of Shiv Sainiks. Because some criminal Muslims killed innocent Hindus in one corner of the city, the Shiv Sainiks ‘retaliated’ against several innocent Muslims in other corners of the city.

Meena Menon in the Hindu: Leader who brought ethnic politics to Mumbai melting pot 

Apart from taking up the cause of Marathi-speaking youth, the Sena constituted itself as a self-appointed culture police later in its history and targeted Valentine’s Day celebrations, Pakistani artists and writers, among others. However, in a much-publicised event, pop icon Michael Jackson did a concert to raise funds for the Shiv Udyog Sena in 1996 and visited the Thackeray residence. He even used the toilet there — much to the family’s delight.

Given the Sena’s political clout and muscle, Bal Thackeray found that Bollywood was not exempt from his charms or uses. He afforded protection, friendship and support to individuals and groups when needed and there was hardly any film personality, big or small, who did not pay obeisance to him at his residence at crucial moments in their career. One exception was the Communist actor A.K. Hangal. In 1999, Thackeray’s bonhomie with Dilip Kumar ended when he asked the legendary actor to return Pakistan’s highest civilian award, the Nishan e Imtiaz, following the Kargil war, and Kumar refused. Congress MP Sunil Dutt had to approach Thackeray to get Sainiks to back off from disrupting the screenings of his son Sanjay’s film Khalnayak. Thackeray softened his stand and Sanjay, then accused under the provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in relation to the March 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, managed to get bail in the Supreme Court after 16 months in jail...

The growth of the Sena could not have been possible without the tacit support of the Congress, its ally for some years. Chief Ministers Vasantrao Naik and Vasantdada Patil allowed the Sena to run amok to derive political advantage. Both had good relations with the Sena and used it as a tool to scotch the growth of the trade union movement in the city...

Later, Thackeray supported the Emergency and Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay in a bid to ensure that he would not be jailed. His support for the Congress continued at various times, with the party breaking ranks with the National Democratic Alliance and backing Pratibha Patil for President. In 2012, Pranab Mukherjee visited Thackeray to seek his support — which was given with alacrity.

Some of the reactions on Twitter:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 17, 2012 AT 23:59 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 17, 2012 23:59 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 13, 2012 AT 21:41 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 13, 2012 21:41 IST

So it is official now. The word of the year for Oxford Dictionaries UK is Omnishambles, while their USA counterparts have chosen Gif as their word of the year. 

  • omnishambles, noun, informal: a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations

Originally used in the British political comedy television series The Thick of It, omnishambles has gained momentum throughout 2012 as a word used to describe a comprehensively mismanaged situation, characterized by a shambolic string of blunders, said the press release by the Oxford dictionaries.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 13, 2012 AT 21:41 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 13, 2012 21:41 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:19 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:19 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:19 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:19 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST

Finally, 15 years after the literary feud between Salman Rushdie and John Le Carré erupted in the letters pages of the Guardian in 1997, the latter has told the London Times "that their mutual loathing has finally come to an end."

Back in 1997, Rushdie had accused Le Carré  of promoting censorship and had gone on to characterise him as a "dunce" and a " pompous ass.'' Christopher Hitchens too had jumped in the exchange and said that Mr Le Carré 's conduct reminded him " that of a man who, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head." 

"Two rabid ayatollahs could not have done a better job. But will the friendship last?" Mr Le Carré had countered, pointing out that he was more concerned about saving lives than about Mr Rushdie's royalties, and that Mr Rushdie was ''self-canonizing'' and ''arrogant.''

Mr Rushdie was allowed the last word by the newspaper, and had gone on to say about Mr Le Carré:  It's true I did call him a pompous ass, which I thought pretty mild in the circumstances. "Ignorant" and "semi-literate" are dunces' caps he has skilfully fitted on his own head.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 07, 2012 AT 23:06 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 07, 2012 23:06 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 07, 2012 AT 23:06 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 07, 2012 23:06 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 05, 2012 AT 15:26 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 05, 2012 15:26 IST

Taking Dr Subramanian Swamy's charges forward, N Sundaresha Subramanian & Kavita Chowdhury ask in the Business Standard: Did Congress pay Rs 89.5 cr to Sonia and Rahul through Young Indian?

The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has, in effect, paid Rs 89.5 crore to Young Indian, a Section 25 company (meaning a not-for-profit one) controlled by party president Sonia Gandhi and her son, party general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

From the notes of accounts, it appears this sum has effectively given the mother-son duo control over real estate assets running into several hundred crores of rupees.

Sonia and Rahul own 38 per cent each in Young Indian; party seniors Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes own 12 per cent each.

The notes to accounts for the year ended March 31, 2012, filed by Young Indian auditor Pradeep Shah and signed by directors Suman Dubey and Motilal Vora this April, give some clues on the actual structure of the transaction. “In pursuit of its objects, the company has acquired loan owed of Rs 90,21,68,980 by the Associated Journals, presently engaged in achieving a recast of its activities so as to have its main object congruent to the main object of the company, for a consideration of Rs 50 lakh,” the note said.

Thus, this transaction effectively has the effect of cleaning up the books of The Associated Journals (publishers of the now defunct National Herald daily, founded by Jawaharlal Nehru), wherein the entire liability is taken over by Young Indian.

The newspaper goes on to explain the various ramifications of the transaction, raising a number of questions prompting R. Jagannathan of the First Post to ask further, inter alia:

Why is Young Indian, which now effectively owns Associated Journals, not able to say what the real value of the assets acquired in the process is? The answer really lies here: if Associated Journals owns assets that are greater than Rs 90 crore, then the Congress essentially gifted Sonia and Rahul free ownership of assets in excess of Rs 90 crore – even if it is held in a non-profit company.

If, as Swamy alleges, the assets are valued at Rs 1,600 crore, then the nature of the impropriety is extraordinary. Nobody, even a non-profit, can acquire property worth several hundred crores with Rs 90 crore loans from a political party without explaining the reason for the same.

Earlier, Sandhya Jain provides more details about the Associated Journals in the Niti Central: Congress’s unique book-keeping culture

Associated Journals was set up at the initiative of Jawaharlal Nehru on November 19, 1937 (birthday of his daughter Indira) under the Indian Companies Act, 1913. It had a capital of Rs 5 lakh divided into 2000 Preference Shares of Rs 100 each carrying a fixed but non-cumulative dividend of five per cent per annum and 30,000 ordinary shares of Rs 10 each.

The Memorandum of Association announced its objective, “To establish and to carry on in the United Provinces and elsewhere the business of news agency, newspaper and magazine proprietors, printers and publishers and all similar and incidental trades thereof and in this connection to do all such things as may appear to the Directors to be in the interests of the Company” [3 (a)].

The signatories included Jawaharlal Nehru, Purushottamdas Tandon, J Narendra Deva, Kailash Nath Katju, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai, Mohan Lal Sakra and Krishna Dutta Paliwal. The document was witnessed by Govind Ballabh Pant.

That this venture was intended to be commercially viable is stated in article 3 (d) that the company may carry on any other business “which may seem to the company capable to being carried on in connection with the above or calculated directly or indirectly to enhance the value or render profitable any of the company’s property or rights”....

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 05, 2012 AT 15:26 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 05, 2012 15:26 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 02, 2012 AT 23:32 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 02, 2012 23:32 IST

In Karan Thapar's Last Word on CNN-IBN, the Janta Party president, was asked why his charges against Rahul and Sonia Gandhi were not as big front-page news as Arvind Kejriwal's charges against Robert Vadra, or Aaj Tak's charges against Salman Khurshid, and if this was because the press was biased against him:

from around 11:48 onwards:

Subramanian Swamy: The press is not biased against me but the press is amenable to pressure and since I have many members of my family who are in the press, I get an inside view of how that pressure works - whether it works through an SMS or a direct telephone phone call...

Karan Thapar: Can you be explicit? Pressure from whom?

Subramanian Swamy: Pressure from people in authority.

Karan Thapar: The Congress party or the Gandhis directly?

Subramanian Swamy: Well, of course the Gandhis. Definitely they've their hatchet men who perform that role...

Karan Thapar: Can I interrupt and ask as to how come that pressure didn't apply when Vadra got exposed as that was front page news repeatedly for a long time.

Subramanian Swamy: Well, I can say that there is an explanation for that. You want to hear that explanation?

Karan Thapar: Very quickly, yes.

Subramanian Swamy: Well, I think Mr Vadra is not a very popular man in the Gandhi family... and there is... I know... you'd say I am getting into personal matters, but there is a separation process going on...and there is a division of property which has become very messy...

Karan Thapar: You are being Machiavellian. Are you suggesting that the Gandhis themselves saw it in their interest to allow stories about Vadra to hit the front pages?

Subramanian Swamy :
That's right, that's right...That's what I am saying...

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 02, 2012 AT 23:32 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 02, 2012 23:32 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 02, 2012 AT 15:24 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 02, 2012 15:24 IST

On October 30, put up a video on Youtube with a simple message:

This is my four year old daughter, Abigael, after hearing one too many mentions of the election.

 

The video went viral with over three million views.

NPR was moved enough to issue a formal apology to Abigael:

On behalf of NPR and all other news outlets, we apologize to Abigael and all the many others who probably feel like her. We must confess, the campaign's gone on long enough for us, too. Let's just keep telling ourselves: ‘Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days.’

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 02, 2012 AT 15:24 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 02, 2012 15:24 IST
POSTED BY Dr Mohammad Taqi ON Nov 01, 2012 AT 23:59 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 01, 2012 23:59 IST

A few months back I stumbled upon a Wikipedia article about Ustad Fateh Ali Khan—the patriarch of the Patiala Gharana of the Indo-Pakistani (Hindustani) classical music. After mentioning ‘Fateh Ali Khan does not sing anymore because of bad health’, the entry notes that ‘after Fateh Ali Khan, there is no notable classical music singer left in Pakistan’. A related Wiki article states that Ustad Fateh Ali Khan’s younger brother ‘Ustad Hamid Ali Khan is considered by many to be the last of the great Patiala legends’.

The Wikipedia is factually wrong of course but reading the above was extremely disconcerting—till I walked into a concert in Florida few days ago. The band performing there goes by the name Raga Boyz and comprises of Ustad Hamid Ali Khan’s three sons Nayab Ali Khan, Wali Hamid Ali Khan and Inam Ali Khan and performs fusion music, blending the aesthetics of the traditional Khayal singing with the western beats. Listening to the brothers Nayab, Wali and Inam it was simply impossible to miss the signature voice of the Patiala Gharana—an enthralling blend of sensuous and sweet—coming from all three pairs of vocal cords. The Raga Boyz displayed a range of voice that is the sine qua non of the Patiala tradition with control that is simply outstanding for their young years. It is clear that the legend Ustad Hamid Ali Khan has passed the stylistic baton of the Patiala music—as well as his unassuming manner—to his sons.

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POSTED BY Dr Mohammad Taqi ON Nov 01, 2012 AT 23:59 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 01, 2012 23:59 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 01, 2012 AT 23:59 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 01, 2012 23:59 IST

A small scale industrialist in Puducherry was arrested on the charge of posting "offensive" messages on social media targeting Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram but released on bail on October 30.

Ravi Srinivasan, owning a plastic packaging material factory, was arrested by local Crime Branch wing of CID Police on a recent e-mail complaint by Karti Chidambaram that he had posted 'offensive' message against him on three occasions since 2011 on the micro blogging site Twitter, police said.

On October 20, Mr Srinivasan tweeted from his Twitter account @ravi_the_indian : “got reports that karthick chidambaram has amassed more wealth than vadra.” 

He was arrested under Section 66-A of Information Technology Act after registration of a case on the complaint by Karti Chidambaram lodged with the Union Territory's Inspector General of Police, they said.

Police produced 45-year old Ravi before Chief Judicial Magistrate Venkatakrishnan and sought 15 days remand. However, the CJM released him since the offence was bailable.

Significantly, Mr Srinivasan too is an activist of India Against Corruption, just like cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who too was harassed under the same law.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 01, 2012 AT 23:59 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 01, 2012 23:59 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 01, 2012 AT 23:56 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 01, 2012 23:56 IST


1962 Passport Photo

Born in 1934, Margaret Marcus, a middle-class Jewish girl from Westchester County, New York, was drawn to Islam in her teens, converted in her twenties, and in 1962 left for Lahore, Pakistan as the adopted daughter of Jamaat-e-Islami founder Abul Ala Maududi, never to return to the USA.

And it was in Lahore that she died after a prolonged illness on October 31, 2012.

Sadanand Dhume wrote, while reviewing The Convert - A Tale of Exile and Extremism, Deborah Baker's book, on the life of the woman who came to be known as Maryam Jameelah: A Bringer Of Brimston:  

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 01, 2012 AT 23:56 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 01, 2012 23:56 IST
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