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Seven Days

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

Seven Days
Neither Guru Nor Gram For Eklavya

What’s in a name? Gur Gawan by any other name, Gurgaon or Guru Gram, will remain the steel-, marble- and chrome-encased IT hub, argued some. Others were livid at the state government changing the city’s name without asking the residents. Critics also wondered how Drona, a mythical guru from the Mahabharata who has become a symbol of casteist, anti-Dalit academia in India today, could be honoured in this way.

The God Strikes Back With Lust

Even the Hindu right wing, belatedly rallying for gender justice, chose to ignore Dwarka Shankaracharya Swaroopananda when he darkly predicted there would be more rapes because women were allowed entry into a ‘Shani Temple’ in Mah­arashtra. He also claimed that the state was reeling under drought as people worship the “unworthy” Sai Baba in Shirdi.

The Banality Of Blade-Wielding Evil

Bizarre to outsiders, but perfectly fine to homegrown eyes was the jig with a sword that retired Gujarat top cop and faking-encounters accused, D.G. Vanzara, broke into on returning from jail in Maharashtra. More bizarre was police officer P.P. Pandey, who shared prison space with him and on the same charges, invoked his Brahminhood to confer on Vanzara the title of ‘Rajarshi’. How long before the philosopher king turns full-time Sangh-BJP politico?

New Delhi
The Art Of Changing Tack

Sonia Gandhi headed the board of tru­stees of the IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts), which was set up in the mid-1980s by then PM Rajiv Gandhi. So was India’s former amb­assador to the UN, Chinmaya Gha­rekhan. So what’s wrong with the culture ministry’s decision to replace the entire board and appoint journalist ‘Padma Shri’ Rambahadur Rai? First, it flies in the face of the original trust deed that stipulated that one-third of the vacancies would be filled up by the government and one-third by ret­iring members. Second, the board president was to be elected by the tru­stees. And, finally, while Rai has been a fine political reporter and editor in Hindi journalism, he is not known for his contributions to the arts.

Conflicted Interests

Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute (BMCRI) isn’t the only state-run hospital to provide space to private labs. Yet, the controversy over a private diagnostic company hiring the CM’s son, Dr Yathindra Siddaramaiah, as director and then bagging three state contracts has come as another embarrassment for the beleaguered chief minister.

Tamil Nadu
Cut, Paste & Make Hay

Bloggers in Chennai were in for a surprise when a Mumbai-based company got in touch. Just cut and paste the content we would mail you to share on social media and get paid for it every day, the firm suggested. The catch was that the content would be propaganda against a political party. The Election Commission, which does probe complaints of ‘paid news’, has now promised to look into ‘paid views’ as well.

Revolution In Evolution
Life Gets A New ‘Tree’

To most people it may well be incomprehensible but microbiologists seem globally excited over American scientists drawing this week a new ‘Tree of Life’. Charles Darwin had first visualised evolution as a tree that sheds its branches and more, and is rejuvenated by new life. Scientists now suggest that many living forms are actua­lly bacteria to be found in river mud and the soil and have redrawn the tree.  Makes sense? You bet it does to the scientists.


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