First-person accounts of Dawood Ibrahim are rare, but Joy C. Raphael, former reporter of the now-defunct Current, has opened up to Malayala Manorama on his meeting with the don after his brother Shabir was gunned down in 1981. Joy recounts landing up unannounced at Dawood’s home in Dongri and how India’s most-wanted sent two of his men with him to the tabloid’s office to ensure that the story was “approved”. It was.
‘Sehajdhari’ Sikhs can no longer vote in SGPC elections. By making that right exclusive to ‘Amritdhari’ (baptised) Sikhs through an amendment in the SGPC Act, the Akali Dal is said to have boosted its ‘Panthic’ agenda and electoral prospects. But, for good measure, its MP Harsimrat Kaur warned the opposition in the Lok Sabha against politicising a religious issue.
He isn’t the only intellectual on the right whose accent is Oxbridge and who likes his steak and wine. But envy for former journalist Swapan Dasgupta’s never-ending ‘acche din’ is growing inside the BJP. Arun Jaitley’s ‘friend’ and RSS-Modi loyalist, Dasgupta was put on the board of L&T, awarded a Padma Bhushan, made member of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library Society, and finally nominated as a Rajya Sabha MP. Loyalty has its rewards, no doubt.
It’s no secret just how pampered India’s elite clubs are. Information reluctantly revealed to an RTI applicant shows that Bangalore’s most-sought-after watering holes—Ladies Club on Infantry Road, Bangalore Golf Club at High Grounds and the Karnataka State Cricket Association on Cubbon Road—pay, hold your breath, Rs 10, Rs 2,100 and Rs 1,600, respectively, as annual rent for the land they occupy in the heart of the city. They, of course, charge an admission fee of Rs 1.5 lakh, Rs 14 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, respectively, with concessional rates—Rs 15,000—for IAS and IPS officers, all of them are given membership of the Golf Club, for example. One awaits the judiciary to weigh in, and not just in Bangalore.
PhDs from Indian universities are nothing to write home about. But even by those low standards, the Gujarat education ministry’s proposal to research scholars, giving them a list of 82 topics to choose from, is the closest we have come so far to unabashedly State-sponsored research. Those in favour say this would get rid of “useless” PhDs; those against say scholars are being reduced to government stenographers. Judging by how bogus research abounds, some few would hardly make a difference.
The screws continue to tighten on P. Chidambaram and his son Karti. As if the Aircel-Maxis and Vasan eyecare stories weren’t enough, the New Indian Express says ‘wills’ of shareholders seized from premises owned by the Chidambarams, now with the ED and IT department, state that the shares should be transferred to Karti’s daughter upon their death. Were these ‘benami’ shares of the company actually owned by the Chidambarams?
Irom Sharmila’s protest against AFSPA is more than 15 years old. In matrilineal Manipur, nine women have refused to bury their sons—the youngest, 11, and the others, 20-30—for 246 days, and counting. The boys fell to police bullets last year in Churachandpur district while protesting three allegedly ‘anti-tribal’ bills passed in the assembly.