Whose Cross To Bear?
Christian fundamentalism reared its head momentarily to block the re-enactment of the 1982 drama, Agnes of God, by Kaizad Kotwal. The beef? The lead actors were non-Christian, and the director’s mother Mahabano Mody-Kotwal had starred in the “blasphemous” Vagina Monologues. The ‘Catholic Secular Forum’ almost had its way but then a censor board OK saw the play sail through. Which is when community seniors woke up to ask: who had empowered CSF to speak on their behalf?
Cash Can’t Carry
Bringing back black money was an avowed electoral aim of Narendra Modi. He not just promised to retrieve it from Swiss vaults, but also to fill every Indian wallet with Rs 15 lakh each. Now at the end of a 90-day voluntary disclosure scheme, 638 accounts came forward and the state collected Rs 4,147 cr (P. Chidambaram’s VDIS collected Rs 33,000 cr in ’97). The Congress’s Manish Tewari calculated that each Indian would get Rs 18 each, Rs 14,99,982 lakh short of what the PM had promised.
Spit And Polish
It’s all happening for the world’s best known love letter in marble. CM Akhilesh Yadav gave the Taj its own Twitter handle (@tajmahal) a few months ago; 20,000 followers later, it’s getting a facial. The ASI has recommended mudpack therapy to remove the stains left on the mausoleum by industrial fumes. The main dome will take a year to clean, the four minarets 10 months each. It’s the fourth time the Taj is getting such therapy.
The Pills Go Pop
The Indrani Mukerjea saga never ceases to cease. Just when everyone thought it was all over with the entry of the CBI, the lead protagonist ended up in hospital, having allegedly overdosed on anti-depressant pills in her Byculla Jail cell. While she was discharged after three days and shifted back to the prison, she maintains her mother’s illness is the reason for the deterioration of her health. Even the forensic science lab report stated that no traces of the drug were found. Intriguingly, JJ hospital has, on the one hand, accepted these reports; and on the other maintains she has been treated for, and successfully responded to, drug overdose.
We Done It
The doors of personal liberty are shutting all across the republic, if only you can hear. It’s about what we eat today, not too long ago it was who we love. A sting operation by websites Cobrapost and Gulail has laid bare the violence, intimidation and blackmail the RSS-VHP-BJP combine and its splinter groups indulge in to split up Hindu-Muslim and Hindu-Christian couples while also polarising communities along communal lines. Caught on tape describing the techniques were local leaders, MLCs, MLAs, even MPs, from Kerala and Karnataka to UP. Besides the usual inflammatory speeches and pamphlets, among the methods used were faking rape/kidnap cases against Muslim men who elope with or marry Hindu women, faking documents to show Hindu girls as minors, drugging Hindu women to induce temporary amnesia so that they can extract statements as they please.
Who’s The Hero?
It’s just an election to a film artistes body but the intrigue.... In one corner is Sarath Kumar, ex-‘Mr Madurai’ and AIADMK MLA, incumbent head of the ‘Nadigar Sangam’. In the other is ‘Pandavar Ani’, an alliance of five actors—Nasser, Vishal, Ponvannan, Karunas and Karthi—with support from Kollywood’s big guns, Rajnikanth and Kamalahaasan. At the heart of it all—control over a prime plot of association land in central Chennai, which Sarath and brother-in-law, MLA Radha Ravi, signed away in favour of a mall.
Off The Pitch
Its best known stars have been S.S. Das and Debashis Mohanty, but Oriyas take their cricket—and criticism of it—seriously. And the anger was directed at Sunil Gavaskar for his suggestion that Cuttack be barred as a venue for international matches following crowd trouble during the India-SA T20 fixture. The state cricket body reminded Sunny that he was only a commentator, but online the controversy blazed. CM Naveen Patnaik has even ordered an inquiry.