April 10, 2020
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The Subcontinental Menu

Drone racing has taken off in a big way in Mumbai; the Telangana State Beverages Corporation’s new sales has broken record at Rs 178 crore; a Pakistani High Court judge has said those in the country who talk about friendship with India must be branded as security risks. Read all the juicy gossips here...

The Subcontinental Menu
The Subcontinental Menu

Hit, Moo And Run

In Delhi, a businessman has filed a police complaint against an absconding culprit after sustaining a leg fracture in an accident. Mohammed Shaqil was approaching Sherawali Market on his motorcycle when the vile perpetrator hit the vehicle from behind. He was injured as he fell on the road and was taken to hospital, where he learned that he had a fracture. He promptly approached the police and filed his complaint, which they duly registered—but they are now at a loss as to how to hunt down the accused and bring her to justice. This is because the accused is a cow. The cops are examining CCTV footage from the area to see if they can find some clue about the animal and its owner. The FIR was registered under Section 289 of the IPC (negligent conduct with animals and causing hurt).


Exam Warriors

Rahmani 30 is on track to conquer the IITs once again. The initiative has been giving free coaching to Muslim aspirants preparing for the JEE since 2008, when it was set up as the brainchild of cleric Maulana Wali Rahmani. This year, 137 of its students have cleared the JEE (Main) and qualified for the JEE (Advanced), which is to be held on May 20. CEO Fahad Rahmani was reported as saying that the programme had sent 213 students to the IITs thus far, and that this year’s results were very encouraging, with a 75 per cent success rate overall and a 100 per cent rate for the Patna centre.


Drone On To The Finish Line

Last week it was medical drones, but today we have something more exhilarating in store for you, dear reader—drone racing, which has taken off in a big way in Mumbai. Recently, 20 pilots raced their nano-copters in the summer heat on a makeshift 400-metre course as part of a competition organised by the Mumbai-based Indian Drone Racing League. The pilots build their own drones, and don’t seem to mind spending money on them—Siddharth Nayak, 26, has reportedly spent about Rs 12 lakh. The races themselves are a virtual reality experience where the pilots use joysticks to control the drones and get them through obstacles, incl­uding football nets that act as gates to fly through, and doing manoeuvres like backflips and barrel rolls—all the while, cameras mounted on the drones transmit live feeds to the pilots’ VR headsets.

Beer By The Barrel

Rs 178 crore worth of alcohol in a single day is quite an impressive feat—in fact, it’s the Telangana State Beverages Corporation’s new sales record, established on April 29 after the previous record of Rs 135 crore was broken. Dealers selling to the public purchased all this stock from the state-run supplier, taking into account the fact that April 29 was a Sunday and May 1 a holiday. Beer was the drink that had the cash registers ringing, as dealers know that demand for it is generally higher in the summer.  Excise revenue is a vital pillar of the state government’s finances—hopefully, this will sate the exchequer’s thirst for now.

Morbid Foundations Of Happiness

Unleashed to propitiate bloodthirsty gods, the hunters take children and bury them as zung (relics) at building sites to strengthen the foundations. Or so goes the belief in eastern Bhutan.  Fear of khegpas (headhunters) is making shops close early and keeping kids indoors. The recent outbreak of rumours in the region includes  stories of khegpas escaping villagers in Mahindra Boleros! There’s little reason to give credence to such tales, but the belief has long haunted the country, with stories of headhunters capturing children to bury them alive for the construction of the Chukha Hydropower Project causing a nationwide panic in the ’70s and ’80s.

All Ye Faithful, Take It On Faith

The traditional birthdays of gods seem to be in the public eye more than ever. Sita navami, so called because it is observed on the ninth day of the shukla paksha of Vaishakha—just as Rama navami is on the ninth day of the shukla paksha of Chaitra—occurred on April 24 this year. It has even been ­declared a ­public holiday in Bihar by chief minister Nitish Kumar. The CM also inaugurated a project to rebuild the old Sita temple of Puna­ura Dham in Sitamarhi district, the place where Sita is ­believed to have been found by Janaka in a furrow (ie, sita) in a ploughed field.

Mayday For Workers

May Day has always been May 7. Alas, Sri Lanka’s government didn’t think to go to such Orwellian lengths when they rescheduled the day, which celebrates working-class struggles, in order to avoid clashing with Buddhist festivities on May 1. When President Sirisena acceded to the Buddhist Maha Sangha’s request, he must have rea­lised it would alienate ind­ependent trade unions, a small but significant bloc. Party-aff­iliated groups did indeed hold rallies on May 7, but the others marched defiantly on May 1. This also resulted in the country’s largest union, the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, disaffiliating from Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party after being together for 60 years.

Pearls From The Bench

APakistani High Court judge has said those in the country who talk about friendship with India must be branded as security risks.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court was recently hearing a matter of “do’s” and “don’ts” for TV anchorpersons during the holy month of Ramzan.

According to the English daily The Express Tribune, Justice Siddiqui made his remarks while hearing a code-of-conduct petition for morning shows and Ramzan broadcasts. During the proceedings, he also sought a report on the broadcast of Indian channels in Pakistan—and chose to indulge in a little judicial overreach when he proclaimed anyone who discussed friendship with India a security risk.

This observation came amid sundry other gems from the learned judge. More pertinently to the issue at hand—Ramzan broadcasting—he announced that dancing, as well as organising games of chance like lucky draws, and distributing Umra tickets, went against the spirit of the holy month and should be kept out of TV shows.

His lordship directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Reg­ulatory Authority (PEMRA) to issue not­ices to all anchors of such morning shows and make them aware of the court’s observation. He felt that those who failed to adhere to the strict guidelines were liable for a lifelong ban.

He also noted that while only experts were invited to comment on matters such as sport the world over, models were invited to discuss Ramzan on morning talk shows. Taking strong and decisive action, he directed the regulatory body to ensure that in future, only those with a Ph.D. would be allowed to speak on Ramzan and the tenets of Islam.

The judge’s comment painting ­advocates of friendship with India as security risks may inspire some Indian outfit to do the converse.

Nevertheless, Indians would be wise not to dismiss the security risk comment as a joke. Given the current political discourse in the country, it would not be a surprise if some individual or outfit in India accepted the idea and then proceeded to implement it in earnest.

Already, journalists and politicians who engage with Pakistani diplomats are suspects. Several other efforts are also being undertaken and encouraged by the Indian government to reduce contact with Pakistan. This is not limited to the government-to-government level but is also being pushed for people-to-people contact

Thus, the prospect of Indians who advocate peace with Pakistan being denounced as security risks may not be as far off as one might imagine.

Illustrations by Sajith Kumar

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