Seven Days

The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
Seven Days

Nudity Shocks The Culture vultures

The erotic sculptures of Konark may not be very far from Bhubaneshwar but the ten seconds the protagonist of a Polish play on the life of a woman raped by Nazis spent on stage without any clothing above the waist was enough to make the state’s culture minister fume. Con­servative India, he ruled, is not ready for public nudity even in art. Clumsy atte­mpts to pass it off as wardrobe malfunction did not impress the culture police.

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Inauspicious Year

Less than two months into the new year, Malayalis are reeling at the loss of prominent writers, composers and actors. The untimely death of actress Kalpana (50) and singer-composer Shan Johnson (29) due to cardiac arrest were specially shocking. Add to that the death of iconic poet O.N.V. Kurup (84) and writer Akbar Kakkatil (62).

Claimants to Kohinoor

Shashi Tharoor’s demand to bring back the Kohinoor—a 105-carat diamond mined in Andhra Pradesh and spirited away to Engl­and in 1850 after the Anglo-Sikh war—may not come to much. Cameron has scotched the idea and a new claimant, barrister Javed Iq­bal Jaffry, claims to have written 786 letters on the subject in the last 50 years and has moved the court in Lahore urging its return, as it was acquired by Britain in Lahore as a spoil of war.

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New Delhi
No country For The sane

The BJP’s advertised contempt for the media, evidenced through the easy use of pejoratives like “presstitutes” and “news traders”, turned into physical assaults by lawyers on “anti-national” journalists covering the JNU case. Despite protests by scribes, the junior minister for home, Kairen Rijiju, asked “Was there a murder?” as if anything less is fine. Alarmingly, the attacks on journalists, captured in first-person pieces on the front pages of most newspapers, was not a topic of discussion at the pre-parliamentary session meeting called by Modi, who, of course, was as silent as can be, while delivering a homily on the increasing ­misuse of social media. The irony of it—that’s mostly bhakt territory!

Tamil Nadu
Reckless Lordship

Justice C.S. Karnan seems to have crossed the lakshmanrekha by ‘staying’ his own transfer to Calcutta high court and by serving a notice to the CJ of Madras high court. Denied permission to hold a press conference in his chamber, he took a different angle and went out to declare that he was ashamed to have been born in India and would like to migrate to a ‘country without caste’.

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Caesar’s wife at war

While he lectures the nation on protecting women, Narendra Modi’s wife presents a strange sight. Several times Jashodaben’s pleas for information on her security have been turned down. Now she has been denied a passport on the ground that she failed to produce a joint affidavit on her marital status. She has now filed an RTI application for information on similar details submitted by her husband in his own passport application. The result, of course, is a foregone conclusion.

West Bengal
Dubious Distinctions

Shortlisted for the Padmashri in 2014, which was withdrawn following protests pointing to his alleged role in a sexual harassment case, Visva Bharati V-C S. Dattagupta  became the first administrative head of a central university to be dismissed. Charges: a fistful of illegal appointments and getting the university to reimburse alcoholic beverages he ­consumed during a trip to Delhi!


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7 Stories We Are Not Covering This Week
  • Chhattisgarh
    A goat being taken into ¬custody with its Muslim owner for allegedly trespassing and damaging the property of a judge “despite repeated warning”
  • Ahmedabad
    Speed-breakers in the Gujarat city, which had been painted in saffron, being painted back in yellow
  • Jaipur
    Governor Kalyan Singh issued a decree stating graduating students will have to wear “Rajasth¬ani¬ costumes”, not gowns, at convocations
  • Allahabad
    The High Court suspending civil judge Ankit Goel who slapped a sedition case against FM Arun Jaitley for criticising the SC order declaring NJAC null
  • Itanagar
    Minister of state for home, Kairen Rijiju’s brother-in-law being given a plum post in the Raj Bhavan in Arunachal Pradesh, though the spell of President’s rule may now end
  • Varanasi
    The PM’s Lok Sabha constituency emerging among the ten worst cities in a ‘Swachh Bharat’ survey
  • Vatican
    Letters emerging to show Pope John Paul II had an “intense” 30-year friendship with a woman in Poland called Anna-Theresa
VII Things We Learnt Last Week
  • Since 1992, “Evergreen” has been the Secret Service’s codename for Hillary Clinton
  • 19 people have died while taking selfies in India since 2014, the highest casualty figure in the world
  • Michelangelo painted all those classics despite arthritis in his hands
  • R.K. Pachauri has taken 650 wickets in cricket; poor Anil Kumble only has 611
  • It will take 320 years for all the pending court cases in India to be resolved
  • Nobel laureate Amartya Sen was christened by Rabindranath Tagore
  • The Egypian wrestler Nicantinous was involved in the first recorded incidence of match-fixing, in AD 267

Compiled by Uttam Sengupta and Alka Gupta



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