09 May 2016 National Happenings

Seven Days

The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
Seven Days
A Don’s Story Is Never Not Done

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.

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Some Sikhs Are More Sikh

‘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.

‘Achhe Din’ Is A Loyal Affair

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.

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Elites Take All

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.

What The State Wants To Know

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.

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Chiddu’s Share Of Woes

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?

Matrilineage Of Courage

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.


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7 Stories We Are Not Covering This week
  • Bangalore
    Rahul Dravid’s son Samit, 10, scoring 125 in an under-14 match for their club team, Bangalore United Cricket Club (BUCC)
  • Hyderabad
    AP CM N. Chandrababu Naidu being ranked 79th among TDP ministers and MLAs for performance
  • Patna
    Laloo Yadav’s elder son, state health minister Tej Pratap Yadav, to act in Apaharan Udyog, a Bhojpuri film on the kidnapping-for-ransom industry
  • Lucknow
    Sunil Jain, a former Shiv Sena man, converting to Islam after authorities failed to clear a drain near his house. He is now Mohammed Abdul Salam.
  • London
    Bunyadi, the first naked restaurant in London, named after the Hindi term for ‘base’ or ‘natural’, has a waiting list of 10,796
  • Sydney
    Maggie, an Australian kelpie thought to be the world’s oldest dog, passing away at age 30, the equivalent of 164 human years
VII Things We Learnt Last Week
  • RBI governor Raghuram Rajan draws a salary less than four of his colleagues
  • Only 155 of the 4,045 reviews on Amazon for Barkha Dutt’s book This Unquiet Land are positive
  • Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has managed to lose 18 kilos in the past three months
  • In the reign of Emperor Ashoka, animals were considered to be citizens just like human beings
  • Mossack Fonseca named companies in the Panama Papers after James Bond movie titles and villains
  • It takes 6,000 emojis in one WhastApp message to crash the application on your phone
  • Old Monk rum was foun­ded in 1855 by the father of Col Reginald Dyer, who oversaw the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919

Compiled by Uttam Sengupta and Alka Gupta



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