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Why every political party woos Dalits but the oppression and violence against them continue

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MOBILE GAMING

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FREE WITH YOUR DIGITAL EDITION AUGUST 2016

Not for sale. To be circulated free with India Today in Punjab and Chandigarh AUGUST 2016

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DESIGN SPECIAL

LIGHT YEARS AHEAD

RNI NO. DELENG / 2005 / 15332 *Not for sale. To be circulated free with India Today in Mumbai, Delhi & NCR, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chandigrah. “Supplement to India Today issue dated August 8, 2016”.

REGISTERED NO. DL(ND)-11/6068/15-17; U(C)-88/15-17; FARIDABAD/05/14-16 LICENSED TO POST WITHOUT PREPAYMENT

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A MONTHLY MAGAZINE

ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

INTERIORS GURU TOM DIXON ON THE FUTURE OF DESIGN

CITY’S COOLEST HANGOUTS FOR COLLEGE GOERS

RNI NO. 28587/75

SALEEM, SHOP MANAGER, WISE GUY

URBAN SPOON HYDERABAD’S COOLEST RESTAURANTS

RNI No. DELENG / 2005 / 19858

SHAAZ MEHMOOD (RIGHT) AND SHIRAZ MIRZA OF OLIVE BISTRO

THE PIT STOPS

THE TORCHBEARERS YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TO WATCH OUT FOR

PUNEET JEWANDAH, CO-FOUNDER, THE ENGINE ROOM

Why every political party woos Dalits but the oppression and violence against them continue

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FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF www.indiatoday.in Editor-in-Chief: Aroon Purie Group Chief Executive Officer: Ashish Bagga Group Editorial Director: Raj Chengappa Editors: Kaveree Bamzai (Special Projects), Ajit Kumar Jha (Research) Group Creative Editor: Nilanjan Das; Group Photo Editor: Bandeep Singh Managing Editors: Kai Jabir Friese, Rajesh Jha Executive Editors: Damayanti Datta, Kunal Pradhan, S. Sahaya Ranjit, Sandeep Unnithan Deputy Editors: Prachi Bhuchar, Uday Mahurkar, Manisha Saroop Mumbai: MG Arun Hyderabad: Amarnath K. Menon Chandigarh: Asit Jolly Senior Editors: Shweta Punj, Sasi Nair, Jaipur: Rohit Parihar Senior Associate Editors: Kaushik Deka Mumbai: Suhani Singh, Kiran Dinkar Tare; patna: Amitabh Srivastava Associate Editors: Shougat Dasgupta, Chinki Sinha Kolkata: Romita Sengupta; Bhopal: Rahul Noronha; Thiruvananthapuram: Jeemon Jacob; BeiJing: Ananth Krishnan Assistant Editor: pune: Aditi S. Pai Chief Copy Editor: Anindita Satpathi Photo Department: Vikram Sharma (Deputy Photo Editor), Rajwant Singh Rawat (Principal Photographer), Yashbant Singh Negi (Senior Staff Photographer), Kekhriezhazo Miachie-O (Senior Photographer), Chandra Deep Kumar (Photographer); Mumbai: Mandar Suresh Deodhar (Chief Photographer), Danesh Adil Jassawala (Photographer); ahmedabad: Shailesh B Raval (Principal Photographer); Kolkata: Subir Halder (Principal Photographer); Chennai: N G Jaison (Senior Photographer) Photo Researchers: Prabhakar Tiwari (Chief Photo Researcher), Shubhrojit Brahma (Assistant Photo Researcher) Chief of Graphics: Tanmoy Chakraborty Art Department: Sanjay Piplani (Senior Art Director); Jyoti K Singh, Anirban Ghosh (Art Director), Vikas Verma, Rahul Sharma, Vipin Gupta (Associate Art Director); Bhoomesh Dutt Sharma (Senior Designer) Production Department: Harish Agarwal (Chief of Production), Naveen Gupta (Chief Coordinator), Vijay Kumar Sharma (Senior Coordinator) Publishing Director: Manoj Sharma Associate Publisher: Anil Fernandes (Impact) IMPACT TEAM Senior General Manager: Jitender Lad (West) General Manager: Mayur Rastogi (North), Upendra Singh (Bangalore), Velu Subramaniam (Chennai) Deputy General Manager: Kaushiky Chakraborty Sales and Operations: D.V.S. Rama Rao, Chief General Manager Deepak Bhatt, General Manager (National Sales) Vipin Bagga, Deputy General Manager (Operations) Manish Kumar Srivastava, Regional Sales Manager (North) Rajeev Gandhi, Regional Sales Manager (West) Arokia Raj L., Regional Sales Manager (South)

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P

olitics in India has always revolved around caste and religious divisions. For decades, the big vote bank that everyone wanted to capture was the Muslims, who constitute more than 14 per cent of the population. But with the BJP storming to power in the 2014 general elections on the back of a Hindu consolidation, the focus seems to have shifted dramatically. Since the BJP knows the Muslim community will not vote for it, the traditionally upper-caste Hindu party has started looking at Dalits as their new catchment area. The BJP’s success in the Lok Sabha polls and its ability to form governments in several states since then, including Jammu & Kashmir and Assam, which have the highest Muslim populations in India in terms of percentages, has shown that elections can be won without Muslim support. This revelation is forcing several parties to reconsider their reliance on the Muslim vote bank. They are looking to the Dalits, who make up 25 per cent of the population when Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are taken together, as the group to lure. For the RSS, the inclusion of Dalits into the fold fits with its dream of a monolithic Hindu society. The Sangh, led mainly by Brahmins, is making a special effort to woo Dalits. Not only is it trying to claim the biggest Dalit icon, B.R. Ambedkar, as one of its heroes, it has launched the ‘one well, one temple, one crematorium’ slogan against discrimination in villages. There is an electoral logic to this shift that cannot be argued with. The Dalit vote share for the Congress, as high as 53 per cent in 1980, dropped to just 19 per cent in 2014. For the BJP, it doubled between 2009 and 2014, from 12 per cent to 24 per cent. The impact of this change on the seats won by the two parties has not been lost on other political leaders in the country. So when longstanding Dalit icon, Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party, raised the incident of the brutal flogging of Dalit men by a OUR OCTOBER group of “cow protectors” in Gujarat, leaders from numer- 1978 COVER ous parties made a beeline for Motasamadhiala village for a photo-op with the victims. After all, no party wanted to be on the wrong side of the community with assembly elections scheduled next year in Uttar Pradesh, a state with 40 million Dalits, and Punjab, which has a 32 per cent Dalit population. But this race to be seen as champions of the Dalit cause belies a depressing counter-narrative. Not only has Dalit appeasement proved to be mere lip service, with the community still the poorest and most backward in the country, the recent gestures to placate them have caused disgruntlement among upper castes, bringing the caste conflict in India to a new flash point. This has been multiplied by the fact that Dalits are more educated than before—their literacy rates jumped 90 per cent between 2001 and 2011—and are starting to assert their rights. Our cover story, written by Senior Associate Editor Kaushik Deka, analyses the Dalits’ dilemma, wherein political parties woo them but do little to improve their lot. We also look at the backlash from upper castes and how parties are balancing their traditional vote banks with their new Dalit push. The sad reality of India is that we are still a caste-based society. In politics and cabinets, weddings and worship, caste equations continue to rule because these divisions have been so deeply entrenched over centuries. Even urbanisation doesn’t seem to be making a difference because people simply carry their caste baggage from one location to another. Lip service and stage-managed photo-op events by political leaders are not enough. Perhaps what India needs is another Gandhian movement to rid our society of this curse where everyone is identified as an equal citizen of India and not by his caste. Let’s not forget, a country cannot grow unless everyone grows together.

All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent courts and forums in Delhi/New Delhi only

(Aroon Purie) AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

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INSIDE TREND

POKÉMANIA

36

The Real Thing: Poké

As India goes wild over its first AR experience, a look at the numbers the game has been raking in

PROFILE

ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER

40

The Past Master

Director Ashutosh Gowariker’s latest take on historical fiction, Mohenjo Daro, will have his usual, elaborate accoutrements

COVER STORY DALITS

10

The Dalit Trap

Political parties might be wooing them for their votes but below the surface the prejudices lie intact, resulting in constant upper caste backlash Illustration by ANIRBAN GHOSH

6 9 50 52

BIG STORY NEW ARMS

22

New Gun Tantra

An overhaul of the Arms Rules pulls the trigger on individual acquisition of guns, while making it easier for the private industry to supply to police

25

Sync ’n Swindle

A small district in northeastern Jharkhand becomes an unlikely hub for cybercrimes in India

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GLOSSARY EYECATCHERS

BANDEEP SINGH AND NILANJAN DAS Page: 54-55

SIDHU

JAMTARA

UPFRONT

Cover by

NATION NATION

GLASS HOUSE

28

Sherry’s Got an AAP

Ex-cricketer-turned-neta Navjot Singh Sidhu may just be the power boost that AAP needs to take Punjab in next year’s polls. But are the party’s steady hands ready to pass the mantle?


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MAIL

Power Yogi J U LY 2 5 , 2 0 1 6

How Baba Ramdev emerged as a political, economic and cultural superbrand

Was it necessary to carry such a repulsive cover image of Baba Ramdev? FYI, we buy Patanjali products not for his ‘connections’ but because they are cheaper, ayurveda-based and have healthier ingredients. J. AKSHOBHYA , Mysuru

Yogi Bare I have always admired the aesthetics of india today’s cover designers but this issue was a drastic departure (Power Yogi). The sight of the hirsute yogi’s langot-clad posterior was absolutely revolting. Foreign readers must have been perplexed by this suggestion of a reversal in the country’s quest for modernisation. It makes sense, though, if it’s meant as a dig at entrenched international brands in India.

A Rain Check for China At a time when the world is being called upon to usher in a sustainable future through the judicial use of natural resources, China, with its craze for megacities, will only exacerbate the ecological crisis (New Dream Cities). Despite its considerable investment in renewable energy, Thomas Friedman’s quote resounds: “What if it meets all criteria of economic success except one: You cannot live there!” C.V. KRISHNA MANOJ, Hyderabad

China is brimming with possibility, but its rapid urbanisation also needs to be matched by conscientious relocation. The impact of development at breakneck speed on agrarian resources needs to be assessed. HAVISH MADHVAPATY, Delhi

COL. DAVID DEVASAHAYAM, Chennai

The stupendous rise of Baba Ramdev will no doubt have Harvard and the IIMs incorporating Patanjali as a case study in their curriculums. J.M. OVASDI, Jaipur

Your Baba Ramdev cover does justice to neither the yogi nor yoga. AVINASH GODBOLEY, Dewas

Baba Ramdev is an eyesore for Page 3 people who spare no opportunity to deride him and his business. Why should we not prefer

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INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

indigenous products to foreign brands if they are on par quality-wise? On that count, Patanjali boasts of a million satisfied customers. HENA PRASUN, Mumbai

Ramdev’s peddling of his brand of ‘televised yoga’, a practice frowned upon by yoga patriarch B.K.S. Iyengar, has paid off. The yoga has taken a backseat while Ramdev cocks a snook at the multinationals. One can only imagine him saying ‘Patanjali ki jai’ as he laughs all the way to the bank. C.V. ARAVIND, Bengaluru

Hats off to the wellness guru, who has made yoga accessible to the common man and packed the goodness of Ayurveda into products for a swachh body and, thereby, a swachh nation. PRAVEENA THIMMAIAH, Bengaluru

Patanjali’s success has silenced Baba’s critics. He is truly fulfilling Modi’s directive to Make in India. One wonders if it is to benefit certain MNCs that Brinda Karat and Ghulam Nabi Azad have been trying to put him down. They

could certainly not have predicted that a mere yoga guru would acquire the status of a national icon. SUDARSHAN NANDI, Midnapore

Ramdev is clearly a brilliant strategist. First, he cultivated friends among the high and mighty, then built a large following through his yoga shows on television and finally leveraged those two strengths to create an FMCG empire good enough to compete with multinational giants. KRISHAN KALRA, via e-mail

The Sorrow and the Pity It’s surprising india today found it worth its while to glorify the death of a selfstyled cowboy brandishing a Kalashnikov and given to killing at will (A Rebellion Goes Viral). You should have instead published photos of security forces who face the wrath of misguided youth while carrying out their duties. LT. COL. A.E. CHARLES (RETD), Coimbatore

The halo of martyrdom conferred on Burhan Wani is a product of the open


RATISH NANDA UPFRONT MAIL

FROM THE

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HERITAGE, UPDATED

fascination with career Dalits in Maharashtra Brexit: A Few Lessons from History militants glamourised via The exodus from the ranks of social media. The dream I read with interest your excelHindu untouchables has lent editorial (Letter from the Wani—a smartly turnedbrought the Dalits significant , July was 11) onformalised Brexit based located, in 1972. By 1993, with annumber everout militant hanging arely does out heritage—built or natural—generate Editor rewards. A sizeable your personal list,knowledge UNESCO brought in stringent guidelines with his gun-toting news thatmates evokes pride. So this week’s headlines onexpanding have made it to the top ranks a student in London in 1967. proposals, including a ‘management to ensure in the orchards of Tral— announcing three additional UNESCO designated asfor of society plan’ by becoming I could appreciate it because I is preserved in perpetuity. As that the value of the sites soldWorld madeHeritage terrorism seem Sites in India was welcome news. Indian Administrative Service a student in the University per these conditions, not a single site was inscribed from an attractive profession. Even before the World Heritage Committee annual was officers, engineers and docof Brussels also an ‘intern’ in the EEfor Commission in 1970India 10 years till 2002, and our record since then Among those who fellwas for disrupted session in Istanbul by the and failed coup—the tors. The newly-mintedhas however, agreesite with Nandan thatseveral export-led been Nilekani poor, with proposals rejected. it were educated boys designation was announced 71. forI do thenot, archaeological Buddhists have also relieved growth is not important for India, and technology, including his With designation not guaranteeing funds or internafrom families. in Bihar, the Khangchendzonga of well-to-do Nalanda Mahavihara themselves of the great psybrainchild Aadhar and smartphones, will solve all problems. decision-makers in National Secunderabad Park of Sikkim and the Le Corbusier-designed tional assistance for several years, P. ARIHANTH, chological burden of being This may be true in small countries like Sweden, Finland or India have questioned the need for making an effort. On capitol complex in Chandigarh. the lowest of the low. The Singapore. Even now we do not know whether even ‘tweets’ are the otherlethand, countries China Italy—both The Khangchendzonga National Park named after The pain and ire of men in theand villages refuse to seen by the powers-that-be in government, alone getting a such as with many more sites on the list—have long appreciated the world’s third highest peak,reply. Mount Khangchendzonga, Kashmiris losing their perform traditional chores ‘Tweet’, ‘Tweet’ is like the old ‘apply’, ‘apply’ and ‘no reply’! thedealt significant gains inofnational pride tourism dollars. spanning valleys, lakes, glaciers,Your snow-capped sons is understandable, such and as carting dead animals. other eminentmounwriters have with problems have But invested manpowerThe andwomen financial resources and ancient forests, is linked organically with buttains the self-destructive have shed the trade and investment, boththe ways, They after Brexit. they have in preparing nomination dossiers that ably demonstrate Buddhist faith. The Nalandanot Mahavihara, or Nalanda pursuit of azadi has to be traditional marks of the lower provided a road-map. Art. 50 Lisbon Treaty negotiations ‘outstanding universal then ensured stanUniversity, comprises the archaeological of atechnically castes—no morethat nine-metre given up. It is disquieting will take about remains two years and there should be a value’ and sarees,atno more earthen vesdards ofIndia conservation are maintained designated sites. monastic and scholastic institution dating from between thatBuddhist Kashmir’s embittered ‘stand still’ on these agreements and the EU/ Britain. Are we going to adhere or talk simultaneously sels thesecond kitchen,cultural no more Nalanda designation will beinthe theidentify 3rd century BCE. It includes some impressive stu- to thisThe youth with what ashistorical in the 1970s? Commerce,of industry finance ministries jewellery. Says Prakash site and since 1993, after the Rani silver Ki Vav designation from pas, shrines and viharas. significance Wani stood for. These sep- The should know. As farinto as the existingGujarat, investments arethe con-exhaustive dossier Ambedkar, the where wasgrandson preparedofinthe site testifies to are the evolution of Buddhism a fullaratist sympathisers cerned, like Hinduja and Swraj Paul not relocate great old Survey man: “More than all house bymay officers of the to Archaeological of India. fledgedtoreligion. In the designation ofpeople both these sites and oblivious the unfeasibilthe EU. But it is advantageous othersimplies to relocate a bigger this we have learnt fight for thatinthe staff responsible for the sitetohave especially for Nalanda, significant support for This ity of seceding from IndiaIndia received market. these questions have to answered. rights.” a be deep understanding of, andour are familiar with, the countries where Buddhism is aAll dominant religion. intofrom an independent landDR G. SUNDARAM, Chennai ThisIn self-assertion has the designation entails. 2014, the minofto the capitol complex in Chandigarh responsibilities locked The statedesignation susceptible frequently brought the Dalits designated many is apreyed result of the transnational proposal submitted jointly ister of culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma, being upon by an conflict with caste the cultural world fighheritage into sitesdirect in India as adarsh by Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan of expansionist Pakistan. she will requireIndia, a hercuBanerjee. The street Hindus. The Marathwada smaraks, where thepolitical provision of additional facilities are andVIJAYARAGHAVAN, Switzerland, denoting lean 17 sites overathese pushspread to become real ter-turned-shrewd NALINI University flare-up is the being for an seven countries. The designation confirms contender for Le theCorbusier’s top staleader,planned who drove theenhanced visitor experience. Thiruvananthapuram most pointed example, but European countries, having long invention of a new architectural kes.lanThe party has atroTatas out of West Bengal, Illustration by TANMOY CHAKRABORTY smaller explosions take place Her Name realised that preserving natural and guage in the 20th century. phied in its few pockets of has made a much-needed in theleads villages the Dalit is Sheila built heritage towhere economic Currently, 1,052 sites are listed in the state. It has support course correction since, Panthers, Dalitble youth, gain, to militant the sustaina the World consolidate its voter heralding hope for the in-contributed Theon Congress has Heritage pulled a Listtoacross seekofout opportunities of development histo ric city cen165out countries. As with the desbase, something SP, BSP vestment-starved state. rabbit of its hat by fighting caste Hindus. The a fifth C—for ‘comof 17 Dikshit sites of Corbusier, and BJP have sorted out. She has accepted thetres. needIn 2007, braignation ndishing Sheila Dalits also try to put a large munities’—was added to the four many of these include than RAGHAVENDRA, to bolster rapid industrial as its CM candidate in UP more PADMINI Hindu rituobjectives distance for Worldbetween Heritage Sites: one Oldies monument orShe complexSecunderabad and at growth to control unem(Grand Party). and their own. One of the credibility,als conser vation, capacity34 are on national ployment. In her second wasleast reportedly chosen by boundaries. vows by Ambedkar reads: “I the Name building communication. as Khangchendzonga isIn desigterm as chief minister, she and the Just party’s high maintenawill not and Progress is to in beVishnu meanforstrategist both natural cultural cannot afford to commitIf designationbelieve ncenated election Pra-and of Mahesh as my gods.” ingful Outstanding Universal Value, political harakiri. She is for Indians and worthwhile shant Kishor to lure West 35 Bengal has made an Asserts Prakash Ambedto decision-makers, conservationsites are considered to have uncharacteristic ‘mixed’ treading carefully, and Brahmin votes. It has been transition kar: “We feel quite frustrated ists need to strive to meet these 814since cultural 203 wisely, this time round. overvalue; 30 years the sites and from Nano to Yes Please when we think about the connatural makeand up the full list. the aegis of Mamata party ruledsites the state under M.R.G. MURTHY, Mysurufive Cs. This would require meanditions of our people. If they ingful conservation by dedicated Of the 1,052 World Heritage do not change, we will not opt multi-disciplinary teams at each Sites worldwide, 35 are in India. for Islam or any other relisite, with civil society and corpoYet another 50 from India are on theenquiries before sending Readers are recommended to make appropriate E-MAIL YOUR LETTERS TO: gion, we will become money, incurring expenses or entering into commitments in relation to rate sector involvement leading to a tentative World Heritage list—but letters.editor@intoday.com Communist. We are the right advertisement appearing in this publication. The India Today Group trickledown of benefit to those who withany each country permitted only With does not vouch for any claims made by the advertisers of products and designation fodder for Communism.” The OR LOGnot ON TO need it most—demonstrating that twoservices. nominations per year, it will The printer, publisher, editor-in-chief and the editor of guaranteeing the India devout festival at Nagpur funds or www.indiatoday.in Today Group publications be held liable for any consequences in conservation can help stated be many more yearsshall fornotour stated could steer thefulfil Dalits away international assistance of any the event of such claims not being honoured by the advertisers. government objectives. ambitions to come to fruition. from such an atheistic path. sort, decision makers in India The listing of sites that are of sigFOR SUBSCRIPTION ASSISTANCE, CONTACT: Customer Care, India Today Group, A-61, Sector-57, Noida by Nirmala Chinu Panchal have questioned the need for nificance to mankind, Phones: and not just tofrom Noida, Ratish Nanda is chief executive, Aga (Uttar Pradesh)-201301. 2479900 95120-2479900 from Delhi and Faridabad, and November 1981 making an effort from Rest of India. 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AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

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TOUR TACTIC

C

ome August and the prime minister will make his first trip to Telangana. He will also visit CM K. Cha­ ndrasekhara Rao’s constituency, Gajwel. The two had bonded during KCR’s visit to Delhi in July. The PM was impressed with Rao’s pet projects— Bhagiratha (piped water supply to all homes) and Kakatiya (restoring village res­ ervoirs). Should NDA ally Chandrababu Naidu be worried?

NO SEAT, NO LAND

A

ndhra Pradesh CM N. Chandra­ babu Naidu’s new policy of allotting land to political parties in capital Amaravati has the Congress stumped. The new rules say that parties will be allotted land based on assembly strength. So the rul­ ing TDP gets four acres while the oppo­ sition YSR Congress gets half an acre. And the Congress, CPI and CPI(M), nothing.

6

INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

by SANDEEP UNNITHAN

SLEEPLESS IN KOLKATA W

est Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Ban­ erjee was furious after a recent late night attempt to contact cabinet colleagues failed. She later told them off at a meeting, saying their jobs demand round-the-clock availability. “If even I find it difficult to reach you, what will happen to the common man?” thundered the CM while informing them that she had refused to switch off her mobile even during the PM’s luncheon in Delhi recently. Mamata also warned them that there would be more such surprise calls. At least one veteran minister was heard murmuring later about using assembly time to catch up on lost sleep.

DOUBTING THOMAS

I-DAY WHEELIE

P

rime Minister Narendra Modi’s office is planning a unique commemoration of the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence next month. All 282 BJP Lok Sabha MPs will be fanning out to their constituencies between August 15 and 22. As will the party’s 53 Rajya Sabha MPs into districts of their respective states. But here’s the twist—no cars or SUVs. Our lawmakers will be riding motorcycles. Those who can’t ride will be riding pillion, sporting an eight­feet­high tricolour. MPs will be given a list of 70 achievements of the Modi government to publicise. Prepare for a flood of two­wheeler selfies.

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

K

K CHANDRADEEP KUMAR

GLASS HOUSE

erala’s transport commissio­ ners frequently rub their political masters the wrong way. In 2014, it was top cop Rishiraj Singh who was shunted out after he tried to enforce transport safety rules. Now it’s IPS officer Tomin J. Thachankery who has earned the ire of transport minister A.K. Saseendran, for transferring 300 officials in his department. The minister has not only pulled him up, but also cancelled the orders.

erala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s appoint­ ment of Harvard prof Gita Gopinath as financial advisor took the CPI(M) by surprise. Party bosses quizzed Vijayan over Gopinath, an unabashed propo­ nent of the free mar­ ket economy, but the CM has sold them the ‘Kerala roots’ line. Sources say the appointment has more to do with Pinarayi wanting to keep high­ profile state finance minister Thomas Isaac in check.


GLASS HOUSE RATISH NANDA UPFRONT FREE FOR ALL BY ANUP ROY

R

HERITAGE, UPDATED

POLITICAL TRENDS

arely does heritage—built or natural—generate located, was formalised in 1972. By 1993, with an evernews that evokes pride. So this week’s headlines expanding list, UNESCO brought in stringent guidelines announcing three additional UNESCO designated for proposals, including a ‘management plan’ to ensure that the value of the sites is preserved in perpetuity. As World Heritage Sites in India was welcome news. Number of times Congress was inscribed from Even before the World Heritage Committee annual per these conditions, not a single siteleader B. Janardhana Poojary sincefor then has session in Istanbul was disrupted by the failed coup—the India for 10 years till 2002, and our record has asked Karnataka designation was announced for the archaeological site been poor, with several proposals rejected. CM Siddaramaiah’s in the past With designation not guaranteeing resignation funds or internaof Nalanda Mahavihara in Bihar, the Khangchendzonga four monthsin National Park of Sikkim and the Le Corbusier-designed tional assistance for several years, decision-makers India have questioned the need for making an effort. On capitol complex in Chandigarh. The Khangchendzonga National Park named after the other hand, countries such as China and Italy—both the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga, with many more sites on the list—have long appreciated spanning valleys, lakes, glaciers, snow-capped moun- the significant gains in national pride and tourism dollars. tains and ancient forests, is linked organically with the They have invested manpower and financial resources Buddhist faith. The Nalanda Mahavihara, or Nalanda in preparing nomination dossiers that ably demonstrate University, comprises the archaeological remains of a ‘outstanding universal value’ and then ensured that stanBuddhist monastic and scholastic institution dating from dards of conservation are maintained at designated sites. The Nalanda designation will be the second cultural the 3rd century BCE. It includes some impressive studesignation from pas, shrines and viharas. The historical significance of site since 1993, after the Rani Ki Vav Number of government wasused prepared the site testifies to the evolution of Buddhism into a full- Gujarat, where the exhaustive dossier cars by ShivinSena leader and of Maharashtra Survey India. fledged religion. In the designation of both these sites and house by officers of the Archaeological transport minister the site have especially for Nalanda, India received significant support This implies that the staff responsible for Diwakar Raote with, and thehis from countries where Buddhism is a dominant religion. a deep understanding of, and are familiar son Unmesh olitical circles in Madhings aren’t going well The designation of the capitol complex in Chandigarh responsibilities the designation entails. In 2014, the minhya Pradesh aretransnational abuzz for Sheila Dikshit, the ister of culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma, designated many is a result of the proposal submitted jointly withby how CM Shivraj Congress’s in Uttar of the cultural world heritage sites in India as adarsh Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany,mascot India, Japan Chouhan kept ex-CM denoting 17Pradesh. First she and Switzerland, sites spread overwas these smaraks, where the provision of additional facilities are Babu lal Gaur in his cab inet injured when a truck-mount- being planned for an enhanced visitor experience. seven countries. The designation confirms Le Corbusier’s onlyinvention because of heaknew the ed dais collapsed during a European countries, having long new architectural lanIllustration by TANMOY CHAKRABORTY damage do outroadshow on July 17. Then realised that preserving natural and guageheincould the 20th century. side it. Gaur, 86, was eased she had to leave a July 23 built heritage leads to economic Currently, 1,052 sites are listed out on lastthe month cit ing the New Delhi-Kanpur bus yatra gain, contributed to the sustainable World Heritage List across party’s age bar’ development of historic city cen165‘75-plus countries. As with the after des-it had completed just policy, but he’s liv-of Corbusier, 60 km, because of fever and tres. In 2007, a fifth‘MOGAMBO’ C—for ‘comignation of already 17 sites ing up to Chouhan’s fears: more uneasiness. But the 78-yearmunities’—was added to the four many of these include than What Congress MLA asking omfortable oldat isn’t throwing in the Jaivardhan Singh called objectives for World Heritage Sites: oneunc monument or complex and questions, a call- boundaries. towel just yet. She returned Madhya capacityPradesh CM credibility, conservation, least 34including are on national ing-attention motion on the is desigto rejoin the rally at Moradabad the next day. But was it Shivraj Chouhan over an building and communication. Just as Khangchendzonga delays in the Bhopal and because the rally had been flagged off by party bosses scandal If designation adulteration is to be meannated for both natural and cultural Indore metro rail projects. Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul? ingful for Indians and worthwhile Outstanding Universal Value, 35 to decision-makers, conservationsites are considered to have ‘mixed’ ists need to strive to meet these value; 814 cultural sites and 203 five Cs. This would require meannatural sites make up the full list. ingful conservation by dedicated Of the 1,052 World Heritage n cutout country, Telangana IT and multi-disciplinary teams at each Sites worldwide, 35 are in India. municipal administration minister site, with civil society and corpoYet another 50 from India are on the K.T. Rama Rao is an unlikely politician. rate sector involvement leading to a tentative World Heritage list—but On the eve of his 40th birthday,trickledown KTR of benefit to those who with each country permitted only With designation not had Hyderabad authorities pullneed downit most—demonstrating CAPTAIN DHABA that two nominations per year, it will guaranteeing funds or across the city hoardings and cutouts Now the most popuconservation can help fulfil stated be many more years for our stated international assistance of any announcing the event. He also got a fawn- objectives. lar roadside eatery government ambitions to come to fruition. ing supporter to in ground on the Chandigarhsort, decision makers Indiaa plane hired to The listing of sites that are of sigshower flowers on said hoardings. Ludhiana road have questioned the need for nificance to mankind, and not just to Ratish Nanda is chief executive, Aga making an effort the countries within which they are Khan Trust for Culture

6

4

STARTING TROUBLE

P

T

M ZHAZO

GORED BY GAUR

NO POMP, PLEASE

VIKRAM SHARMA

I

with AMARNATH K. MENON, ROMITA DATTA, ANSHUMAN TIWARI, JEEMON JACOB, ASHISH MISRA, RAHUL NORONHA, ARAVIND GOWDA, KIRAN TARE, ASIT JOLLY

14

INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

7


NEWSFLICKS SPARK

JOB HUNTING SEASON BEGINS

Appraisals over, increment letters despatched, disgruntled employees are now updating their CVs in the hope of better prospects

MOVE ON THEIR MINDS

SALARIED KLUTZES

Stumbling blocks

2 out of every 5 professionals in India are actively looking for a new job

Difficulty in negotiating salary, title, role

40

Nearly twice as many professionals in India find it harder to get the desired salary than their global peers

Not hearing back after applying to a company

39

Executive search firms in India do a poor job of identifying the right candidates for a post

Not knowing what it’s really like to work at a company

31

Contacted for the wrong job by recruiters

27

Not understanding the expectations a role entails

27

42% India’s active talent levels Top 3 countries with active talent Bottom 3 countries with active talent levels 56

53

Qatar

UAE

(in %)

52

North Africa

36

Global average

23

Japan

22

China

Percentage of respondents (India) Percentage of respondents (globally)

22

22

26

34

15

Taiwan

* Active talent level: Percentage of people actively looking for a new job

CULTURAL COMPATIBILITY

NO PAY, NO STAY

27

IN ONLINE WE TRUST One-third of job hoppers landed their current position through an online job portal

07 :23

Percentage of respondents (India) percentage of respondents (globally)

Application method Third party website/online job board

Percentage of respondents (India) Percentage of respondents (globally)

Company’s career website

Company characteristics 67 67

54 54

53

48

Nearly half the professionals in India quit due to lack of career advancement Culture and values

Perks and benefits

Employee perspectives

VISUAL NEWS ON YOUR PHONE

More than one-third of professionals in India quit due to poor increments

DOWNLOAD FROM

33 32 33 20

Social professional networks

32

Through a contact within a company

29

30

OR

39

SMS NF TO 52424

Source: LinkedIn Tejeesh N S Behl

Cultural fit is more important to Indian professionals than perks and benefits


UPFRONT RATISH NANDA

R

HERITAGE, UPDATED

arely does heritage—built or natural—generate located, was formalised in 1972. By 1993, with an evernews that evokes pride. So this week’s headlines expanding list, UNESCO brought in stringent guidelines announcing three additional UNESCO designated for proposals, including a ‘management plan’ to ensure World Heritage Sites in India was welcome news. that the value of the sites is preserved in perpetuity. As Even before the World Heritage Committee annual per these conditions, not a single site was inscribed from session in Istanbul was disrupted by the failed coup—the India for 10 years till 2002, and our record since then has designation was announced for the archaeological site been poor, with several proposals rejected. of Nalanda Mahavihara in Bihar, the Khangchendzonga With designation not guaranteeing funds or internaNational Park of Sikkim and the Le Corbusier-designed tional assistance for several years, decision-makers in capitol complex in Chandigarh. India have questioned the need for making an effort. On The Khangchendzonga National Park named after the other hand, countries such as China and Italy—both the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga, with many more sites on the list—have long appreciated spanning valleys, lakes, glaciers, snow-capped moun- the significant gains in national pride and tourism dollars. tains and ancient forests, is linked organically with the They have invested manpower and financial resources Buddhist faith. The Nalanda Mahavihara, or Nalanda in preparing nomination dossiers that ably demonstrate University, comprises the archaeological remains of a ‘outstanding universal value’ and then ensured that stanBuddhist monastic and scholastic institution dating from dards of conservation are maintained at designated sites. the 3rd century BCE. It includes some impressive stuThe Nalanda designation will be the second cultural pas, shrines and viharas. The historical significance of site since 1993, after the Rani Ki Vav designation from the site testifies to the evolution of Buddhism into a full- Gujarat, where the exhaustive dossier was prepared infledged religion. In the designation of both these sites and house by officers of the Archaeological Survey of India. especially for Nalanda, India received significant support This implies that the staff responsible for the site have from countries where Buddhism is a dominant religion. a deep understanding of, and are familiar with, the The designation of the capitol complex in Chandigarh responsibilities the designation entails. In 2014, the minis a result of the transnational proposal submitted jointly ister of culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma, designated many by Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Japan of the cultural world heritage sites in India as adarsh and Switzerland, denoting 17 sites spread over these smaraks, where the provision of additional facilities are seven countries. The designation confirms Le Corbusier’s being planned for an enhanced visitor experience. invention of a new architectural lanEuropean countries, having long Illustration by TANMOY CHAKRABORTY guage in the 20th century. realised that preserving natural and Currently, 1,052 sites are listed built heritage leads to economic on the World Heritage List across gain, contributed to the sustainable 165 countries. As with the desdevelopment of historic city cenignation of 17 sites of Corbusier, tres. In 2007, a fifth C—for ‘commany of these include more than munities’—was added to the four one monument or complex and at objectives for World Heritage Sites: least 34 are on national boundaries. credibility, conservation, capacityJust as Khangchendzonga is desigbuilding and communication. nated for both natural and cultural If designation is to be meanOutstanding Universal Value, 35 ingful for Indians and worthwhile sites are considered to have ‘mixed’ to decision-makers, conservationvalue; 814 cultural sites and 203 ists need to strive to meet these natural sites make up the full list. five Cs. This would require meanOf the 1,052 World Heritage ingful conservation by dedicated Sites worldwide, 35 are in India. multi-disciplinary teams at each Yet another 50 from India are on the site, with civil society and corpotentative World Heritage list—but rate sector involvement leading to a with each country permitted only trickledown of benefit to those who With designation not two nominations per year, it will need it most—demonstrating that guaranteeing funds or be many more years for our stated conservation can help fulfil stated international assistance of any ambitions to come to fruition. government objectives. sort, decision makers in India The listing of sites that are of sighave questioned the need for nificance to mankind, and not just to Ratish Nanda is chief executive, Aga making an effort the countries within which they are Khan Trust for Culture

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

9


SHAILESH RAVAL

PTI

10

1

2

3

4

1. VIDEO GRAB OF THE FOUR DALITS BEING FLOGGED BY ‘COW PROTECTORS’ FOR SKINNING A DEAD ANIMAL 2. CONGRESS VICEPRESIDENT RAHUL GANDHI WITH THE FAMILIES OF THE VICTIMS 3. GUJARAT CM ANANDIBEN PATEL VISITS ONE OF THE DALIT VICTIMS IN A RAJKOT HOSPITAL 4. DELHI CHIEF MINISTER AND AAM AADMI PARTY LEADER ARVIND KEJRIWAL IN UNA

INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016


COVER STORY

DALITS

DALIT DILEMMAS Every political party is wooing them assiduously for their vote. But beneath the surface, the prejudice lies intact, spilling over into brutal acts of upper caste violence every time Dalits try to resist oppression By Kaushik Deka

SHAILESH RAVAL

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

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COVER STORY

I

DALITS

T WAS THE PERFECT PHOTO-OP. On June 1, BJP president Amit Shah travelled to

Jogiyapur, a Bind­dominated village in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s con­ stituency, Varanasi, and sat on the floor to have lunch with a group of Dalits. But while the BJP chief may have temporarily taken over the story ahead of the 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, he couldn’t control the narrative. A month later in Gujarat, the home state of Shah and Modi, the police allegedly did not intervene as four Dalit boys were flogged by a group of self­proclaimed “cow protectors” from the Gujarat unit of the Shiv Sena, one of the BJP’s NDA allies. Then, on July 17, in Karnataka, a state ruled by the Congress, whose vice­president Rahul Gandhi has virtually earned his politi­ cal chops by posing for photos in Dalit households, nearly 40 Bajrang Dal activists viciously attacked a Dalit family on charges of eating beef. And on July 20 in Bihar, a state ruled by the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal—both

vociferous exponents of the rights of backward castes— two Dalit boys were thrashed and urinated on by a mob of upper caste men for allegedly stealing a motorbike. India was still grappling with these caste clashes when Parliament was rocked on July 21 after BJP leader Daya­ shankar Singh suggested India’s most prominent Dalit leader, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, had a char­ acter “worse than a prostitute”. These incidents and the reactions to them point to a larger trend. The abyss between lip service from political parties and the socio­economic reality of India has fuelled a social conflict that is now reaching a flashpoint. Dalits—a loose term to describe Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes—make up nearly 25 per cent of India’s population. But seven decades after Independence, more than three­fourths of India’s SCs live in rural areas and 84 per cent of them have an average monthly income of less than Rs 5,000. Even the constitutional protection guaran­ teed in the form of reservation has been hijacked for the most part by the relatively more affluent OBCs in the wake of the Mandal Commission. At the same time, the ability of Dalits to influence elec­ toral fortunes as a political unit, especially in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, has ensured that every political party routinely professes its love for them. The electoral success of the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections is a shining example of the politi­ cal relevance of Dalits in India. The Dalit vote share for the BJP doubled to 24 per cent from 12 per cent in 2009. Of the total 84 Lok Sabha seats reserved for SCs, the BJP won 40, including all 17 in UP. For those who dismiss these results as just a by­product of the ‘Modi wave’, the BJP won 41 of the 70 reserved constituencies in all the states where it has formed a government since 2014. In other words, where the Dalits have gone, so has victory. But ironically, in 2014—the year the BJP came to power at the Centre—47,064 crimes were recorded against Scheduled Castes across India, up 44 per cent from

12

INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

JAI BHIM PM MODI AND MAHARASHTRA CM DEVENDRA FADNAVIS PAY HOMAGE AT A LONDON MEMORIAL

“The caste and cow protection campaigns of the Hindutva forces are only intended to perpetuate a hegemony, which Dalilts cannot and never will accept” —KANCHA ILAIAH SHEPHERD, Director, Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy


2010. Four BJP­ruled states—Rajasthan, MP, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh—accounted for 30 per cent of the total crimes commit­ ted against Dalits. So while poll arith­ metic explains the new Dalit outreach programme of the party once mockingly described by Dalit leader Kanshi Ram as a combination of tilak (to represent Brahmins), tarazu (the scales, to sym­ bolise Banias) and talwar (the sword, to symbolise Kshatriyas), the crime statistics highlight a backlash by the upper castes, traditionally the BJP’s core supporters. Dalit subjugation, however, is not something unique to BJP. Magnifying the caste conflict is the community’s growing impatience with most political parties’ use­and­throw policy towards them. Their protest is taking many forms. In January this year, there was nation­ wide outrage over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad Central University, sparking off debates in Parliament and forcing a reaction from Modi. After the Una incident, Dalit tan­ ners in Gujarat dumped cow carcasses in government offices as the action of the ‘cow protectors’ had a direct impact on their livelihood. In Madhya Pradesh, 50 Dalit families have sought Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s ‘permission’ to kill themselves, alleging musclemen have occupied the land granted to them by the government 15 years ago. “The land allotted to me is occupied by members of the Banjara community, classified as OBC, who have refused to give possession to me. The government has not helped me get possession either,” says Ganeshram, 55, a resident of Sankal, Madhya Pradesh. After years of being left behind, to borrow a Dickensian reference, Oliver Twist is asking for more. According to sociologist Dipankar Gupta, the fire is being stoked by the gro­ wing resentment among upper castes against sharing social and political pri­ vileges with Dalits. “When oppressed classes start asserting themselves, back­ lashes happen. In the US, the lynching of Blacks started in the later part of 19th century when they began asserting their rights. The same is happening with Dalits as they are increasingly participating in the social and political process,” he says, pointing to how a 90 per cent increase in Dalit literacy between 2001 and 2011 has

DISTRIBUTION OF SC POPULATION ACROSS STATES UP 20.5 West Bengal 10.7 Bihar 8.2 Tamil Nadu 7.2 Andhra Pradesh 6.9 Maharashtra 6.6 Rajasthan 6.1 MP 5.6 Karnataka 5.6 Punjab 4.4 All figures in per cent

201.4 MILLION

SCs CONSTITUTE 16.6 PER CENT OF INDIA’S TOTAL POPULATION. SCHEDULED CASTES ARE NOTIFIED IN 31 STATES/ UTs OF INDIA; THERE ARE 1,241 ETHNIC GROUPS NOTIFIED AS SCHEDULED CASTES

STATES WITH HIGHEST SHARE OF SC POPULATION Punjab 31.9 HP 25.2 West Bengal 23.5 UP 20.7 Haryana 20.2 All figures in per cent Source: Census Report 2011

given them a bigger voice, supported by the gradual penetration into traditional and social media. This assertive participation has also added to the political relevance of Dalits. With assembly elections due next year in UP, a state with 40 million Dalits or 20 per cent of India’s total Dalit population, and Punjab, which has a 32 per cent Dalit population, all parties have drawn up extensive strategies to consolidate and woo Dalit votes. “Under normal circum­ stances, Dalits don’t vote together,” says Gupta. “But when there is an issue affect­ ing them, it has a pan­India appeal. What happens to Dalits in Gujarat will certainly impact Dalits in UP or Bihar. Naturally, all political parties are trying to milk the issue as it will consolidate Dalit votes.” There can’t be a better example of the rush for Dalit votes than the politi­ cal scrum that followed the revolting assault on four Dalits on July 11 in Motasamadhiala, near Una, in Gujarat. The incident came to light when a video, ironically if inevitably posted by the ‘vic­ torious’ assailants, went viral. Mayawati raised it in the Rajya Sabha on July 17, and within a week, the entire Opposition had landed in Motasamadhiala—from the BSP chief herself to Rahul Gandhi to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel. Though there is no evidence of the involvement of any BJP members in the incident, the reaction has caused a severe dent in the party’s Dalit gameplan, which the Opposition is keen to capitalise on. But despite this welter of political pledges, Dalit oppression continues.

POOREST OF THE POOR

The socio­economic indicators that define Dalit population in India remain dismal. “Their condition is much worse than that of Muslims,” says Professor Amitabh Kundu, who headed a group in 2013 to study the implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations, aimed at the betterment of the Muslim community. Over 44.8 per cent of the ST and 33.8 per cent of SC population in rural India was below the poverty line in 2011­12 as against 30.8 per cent of Muslims. More than 60 per cent of the Dalit population does not participate in any economic activity. Of the working

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

13


COVER STORY

DALITS

population, nearly 55 per cent are cultivators and agricultural labourers. Around 45 per cent of rural SC households are landless. Only 13.9 per cent Dalit households have access to piped water supply compared to 27.5 per cent among the general category and only 10 per cent have access to sanitation as compared to 27 per cent for non-Dalit households. A staggering 53.6 per cent Dalit children are malnourished as compared to 39 per cent non-Dalit children. In Punjab, the state with the highest proportion of SCs to its total population—31.9 per cent—Dalits own only 2.3 per cent of the land. Over 60 per cent of Dalit households in the state live below the poverty line, according to the Punjab Department of Welfare of SCs and Backward Classes. “Political parties don’t see these as problems. They want to keep deprivation among Dalits an issue which they can exploit for electoral benefits,” says Sanghmitra Acharya, director of the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, Delhi (see column: Caste and the Carcass). Sukhadeo Thorat, chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, and a research specialist in the economics of caste-based discrimination, laments that Dalit upliftment has remained restricted to sound bites. “Merely opposing the caste system and untouchability by expressing support will not help,” he says. “Actual programmes and activities are needed for the equal treatment of castes. We need to create organisations to fight against the caste system.” But in spite of the advertised enthusiasm for Dalit causes by political parties, their primary problems remain unaddressed.

THE SWING FACTOR

What is ironic is that this discrimination is rampant even when Dalit votes are now what swing elections. This is best illustrated by the electoral graphs of the Congress and BSP, two parties which have lost a huge chunk of Dalit support in recent years. The Congress party’s vote share among Dalits has seen a steady decline—from 52 per cent in 1980 to 26 per cent in 2004 to 19 per cent in 2014. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party won only seven of

14

INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

MOST ANTIDALIT STATES States where untouchability is most prevalent MP 53 HP 50 Chhattisgarh 48 Rajasthan 47 Bihar 47 UP 43 Uttarakhand 40 All figures in per cent Source: 2014 survey by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and the University of Maryland, US across 42,000 households in India

27

PER CENT INDIANS PRACTISE UNTOUCHABILITY

MOST DANGEROUS STATES FOR DALITS Four states account for 60 per cent of crimes against Dalits UP 8,075 Rajasthan 8,028 Bihar 7,893 MP4,151 Figures are number of cases Source: National Crime Records Bureau report, 2014

the 84 constituencies reserved for SCs, down from 28 in 2009. Since 2014, in assembly elections where Congress was a significant electoral player, the party won seven seats reserved for SCs of the 70 that were up for grabs. The Congress’s SC wing head, K. Raju, attributes this loss of support to disillusionment among Dalit youth. “The number of educated Dalit youth has grown exponentially after the 1991 economic liberalisation. However, jobs and opportunities in government sectors have shrunk because of which they could not take full advantage of the reservation policy. They could not really gain an entry even in the private sector. These aspirational and disillusioned Dalits were looking for a change,” he says. It’s a similar story for the BSP. According to the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), 85 per cent of Dalits across the country voted for the BSP at the peak of its popularity in the early 2000s. In the 2012 UP assembly elections, Dalit support for the BSP went down by 23 percentage points, resulting in a massive victory for the Samajwadi Party. And in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Jatav (Mayawati’s caste) support for the BSP declined by 16 percentage points and other Dalit support sank by 35 percentage points, resulting in the party being unable to open its account. In Haryana in 2014, most Dalits supported the BJP, which benefited from the growing animosity between Dalits and Jats, the dominant social group in Haryana that usually sides with the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal. It swept to victory and installed a non-Jat chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar. The state has, of course, witnessed a dramatic and violent Jat backlash since then. An analysis of the results of the assembly elections where non-BJP and non-Congress parties have won further explains the role of Dalit votes. For instance, the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, the Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu all garnered a major segment of the Dalit vote in their states. In Telangana, the Congress lost a substantial share of Dalit votes to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which easily


UPPER CASTE BACKLASH CRIMES

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Total crimes against Dalits

33,594

32,712

33,719

33,655

39,408

47,064

Rape of Dalit women

1,346

1,349

1,557

1,576

2,073

2,233

Murder

624

570

673

651

676

744

Source: National Crime Records Bureau report, 2014

“My land is occupied by the Banjara community, classified as OBC. The government hasn’t helped me get possession” —GANESHRAM, Sankal, Madhya Pradesh

formed the government. The CSDS survey says that the loss of Dalit votes for the Congress and BSP has been the BJP’s gain. In bipolar states such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat, the Congress lost a huge chunk of the Dalit vote to the BJP— in the ’90s, the BJP managed to attract only one in every 10 Dalit voters while in 2014, one in every four Dalits voted for it. But if Dalit votes played a key role in BJP’s electoral successes, they were also behind its demise in Bihar and Delhi. Now the

allegations of atrocities against Dalits and the growing outrage in the community over the last few months are threatening to erase the advantages the party had gained.

BJP’S GRAND DALIT PLAN

After the BJP’s Bihar debacle last year and Vemula’s suicide, Shah met with RSS leaders in Nagpur, this March to chalk out a fresh Dalit plan for UP. Unwilling to lose the support base that served the BJP so well in 2014, the RSS announced an outreach programme marking the 100th birth anniversary of former RSS chief Madhukar Dattatreya Deoras. RSS workers were asked to ‘adopt’ Dalit families and eat meals with them. It also coined the slogan ‘one well, one temple, one crematorium’ to take a position against discrimination in villages. Krishna Gopal, who is looking after RSSBJP coordination for the assembly election in the state, devised a Dalit Chetna Yatra to spread awareness


COVER STORY

DALITS

CASTE AND THE CARCASS

Till we invert the 5,000-year-old reservation system, affirmative action will be a waste From Khairlanji to Una, Badaun to Chennai, Mirchpur to Navi Mumbai and elsewhere, the backdrops change, but not the event itself. The systematic exercise of brute power embedded in the caste-based notion of social hierarchy has been expressed in its ugliest form in recent times. The pretexts have been varSANGHMITRA ied—from temple entry to love affairs S. ACHARYA or marriage to ownership of assets to performing traditional jobs! Spread across the columns of national, regional and local dailies are the live stories of dehumanising behaviour meted out to Dalits, positioned at the base of the social pyramid. They have been denied rights which others enjoy ‘naturally’. If there are constitutional safeguards, legal provisions and institutional measures to ensure Dalit rights today, it’s consequent to the continuous efforts of one tireless human—Dr B.R. Ambedkar. Why is it that being Dalit provokes, first, intrigue, and then, rage, among others? If one looks at the last few decades, almost all incidents of violence against Dalits suggest that they take place when Dalits have reflected any sort of parity with non-Dalits. That is when the age-old strategy of power comes into play. Dalits cannot ask for parity to worship, or in wages, they cannot own land or accrue assets, nor can their children dream of falling in love with those from non-Dalit communities. The dignity of Dalit women is the easiest target to avenge any perceived slight to non-Dalit ‘honour’. Dalits face humiliation and discrimination in the spheres of education, market, work, healthcare and housing. Research by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies on marginalised groups corroborates this negativity towards Dalits. Far too many non-Dalits nurture systematic hatred for Dalits. It lies dormant within them, exploding whenever an opportunity presents itself. There has been a lot of discussion on the series of incidents in the past year—from the lynching of Akhlaq to the killing of a boy whose cellphone ringtone was a song in praise of Ambedkar to, of course, the untimely suicide of Rohith Vemula. For 5,000 years, it has been priests in places of worship, endowed with all the rights—reading, writing and acquiring land and assets; the intermediate castes who have been in possession of all rights except priesthood; and GU EST COLUMN

the lower castes, in charge of menial and subservient work without any rights. We need to change this ancient system of reservation before we consider the one provided under affirmative action of the government. That has been around only for some decades and is applicable only to the public sector which is very small compared to the private sector, and for which clear guidelines are yet to be formulated. As per the Council for Leather Exports (CLE), Chennai, the leather industry generates employment for 2.5 million people. The net export of leather and leather products stood at $6.5 billion for FY 2014-15. India is the world’s fifth largest exporter. The smallest peg in the industry is the traditional worker who skins the dead animals and feeds in the raw material of the industry. Why are gau-rakshaks obstructing the functioning of an industry? Of a worker who is treating the dead animal and making it useful for the nation? If they genuinely care for the animal, they should visit the commercial milching units and see the agony of the living animal when the milk extraction machines are used to milk them. What do political leaders, institutional personnel and community members think of this age-old contention which has marred the sanity of right (ethically, not politically) thinking people? Has this ever been sincerely addressed with the intention to do away with the difference between Dalits and non-Dalits? Perhaps not. Our leaders also come from a society which is not only laden with prejudices, but justifies them too. Instead of addressing the problem, it has remained an issue to provoke sentiments as and when required. The policies and schemes meant to address Dalit concerns are implemented with a sense of favour being done to them. Whereas it is actually their right, which others have usurped over generations, especially if we take into account equitable distribution of resources. On these usurped resources, others have equipped themselves, and impoverished the Dalits. You cannot reap the demographic dividend to the fullest if one-fifth of your youth remain excluded from the development process. If the state has to demonstrate its sincerity, it should help synergise political leaders, bureaucrats and other officials in implementing the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan. Diversion of funds from the sub plan should be made an offence. Dalits need to give up their irrationality and question the theory of karma, which keeps them in their subservient positions, and makes them believe it as true. The author is director, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies


and Mallikarjun Kharge were prominent ministers, for home and railways respectively. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar, was daughter of Dalit icon Jagjivan Ram. “While the BJP has imported some leaders from outside, it has sidelined its own Dalit leaders, such as Sanjay Paswan, Satyanarayan Jatia and Ram Nath Kovid,” says Professor Vivek Kumar, of the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University. The ground connect, therefore, is broken.

RACE FOR BABASAHEB’S LEGACY

HOLY DIP AMIT SHAH AND OTHER BJP LEADERS AT SIMHASTHA KUMBH, UJJAIN

about the Modi government’s welfare schemes for Dalits to neutralise any damage and rid the party of its anti-Dalit tag. On April 5, when Modi announced the Stand-up India scheme for entrepreneurs, 17 SC MPs from the party accompanied him. In the recently concluded UP Legislative Council election, the BJP fielded Laxman Acharya as its first Dalit candidate. It also roped in Dalit leaders such as former DGP Brij Lal and former BSP Rajya Sabha member Jugal Kishore, who had accused Mayawati of selling tickets and becoming “daulat ki beti” instead of “dalit ki beti”. In May, the BJP organised a Samrasta snan (social harmony bath) at Ujjain during the Simhastha Kumbh, where Shah took a holy dip with Dalit seers and later ate with them. MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was also present, and posters of Dalit icons including Bhimrao Ambedkar, Sant Ravidas, Valmiki and Kabir were put up. These moves may have been targeted at enhancing the party’s Dalit quotient, but the BJP is crippled by the fact that there is a dearth of strong Dalit leaders at the national level and in the states—an area where the Congress scores better. Modi may have inducted four Dalit ministers in his latest ministry expansion but none has been given important portfolios. Contrast this with the UPA regime, where Dalit leaders Sushilkumar Shinde

HOW DALIT LITERACY HAS GROWN IN THE PAST 50 YEARS 1961

10.27 28.30

1971

14.67 34.45

1981 1991 2001

21.38 43.57 37.41 52.21 34.76

65.38 66.10 74.04

2011

Dalit literacy rate National literacy rate All figures in per cent

90

PER CENT

INCREASE IN DALIT LITERACY BETWEEN 2001 AND 2011 Source: Census reports

The correlation between Dalit support and the contrasting fortunes of the two national parties—BJP and Congress—has resulted in a mad rush between them to appropriate the legacy of B.R. Ambedkar, India’s biggest Dalit icon. The seriousness with which the BJP is pursuing Dalit votes is reflected in the party’s U-turn on Ambedkar over the last decade— from Arun Shourie, a senior minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, calling him a “false god” to a series of programmes launched by the Modi government to celebrate his contribution to the social and political fabric of India. Even Organiser, the RSS mouthpiece, now hails him as the “ultimate unifier”. During his London visit last November, Modi inaugurated a memorial at the site where Ambedkar lived during his London School of Economics days. The prime minister also laid the foundation stone for an Ambedkar memorial in Mumbai, and on March 21, for an auditorium to be constructed at 25, Alipur Road, Delhi, the house where Ambedkar had died. He also paid homage to the father of the Indian Constitution at his birthplace in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, observing it as Social Harmony Day, and got the United Nations to observe Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary. Stumped by Modi’s blitzkrieg on Ambedkar, the Congress woke up late but willing to admit its historic oversight. “Though he partnered with the Congress to frame the Constitution, we did not try to own his legacy until his 125th birth anniversary,” Raju concedes. “First the BSP appropriated him, now all parties are doing the same.” To stake its claim, the Congress, too, organised a big rally in

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

17


DALITS

Nagpur on his birth anniversary. Both parties expectedly faced verbal volleys from BSP chief Mayawati, the original claimant of Ambedkar’s legacy. Addressing a huge gathering in Lucknow marking his 125th birth anniversary, she accused the BJP and Congress of using his name to solicit Dalit votes even though they never cared for Ambedkar or Dalit welfare in the past.

A DALIT-CENTRIC OPPOSITION?

One big change in electoral politics surrounding the Dalits that has come from the Una incident and BJP leader Dayashankar Singh’s misogynistic com­ ment on Mayawati is that the BSP has got a new lease of life. The party which had lost a number of senior leaders following Mayawati’s poor showing in 2014 is suddenly back in the news again. The possibility of replicating the BSP’s 2007 electoral engineering by blending Dalit and Brahmin votes looked impossible with declining Dalit support and upper castes siding with the BJP. After Singh’s comment, howev­ er, the BSP’s mega rally in Lucknow was a massive show of strength. Meanwhile, the Congress, which app­ ointed a Brahmin CM candidate in Sheila Dikshit, also has a Dalit strategy for the state. It has prepared 400 young men and women, spread across 75 districts, to visit Dalit households, informing them about what the Congress has done for the com­ munity. “Earlier, our messages targeted those above 35. Now we’re focusing on those between 18 and 35,” Raju says. Trying to regain political relevance in UP and Punjab, the Congress will publish two manifestos in the run­up to the 2017 assembly polls—a main document with

“There is a sense of insecurity in the community—in terms of employment, not social existence. Dalits are being deprived of good opportunities” —J.V. PAWAR, Dalit author

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INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

A TALE OF TWO PARTIES Changing shares of the Dalit vote explain the swinging fortunes of the two national parties

45.2

1967

52.8

1980 1996 1998 2004 2009 2014

31.4

13.2

29.9 13.5 26 13

VIKRAM SHARMA

COVER STORY

27 12 19 24

Congress

BJP

All figures in per cent Source: Centre for the Study of Developing Societies

NUMBER OF SC SEATS WON IN LOK SABHA ELECTIONS 14 16

2004 * 2009 2014

12

28

7

Congress

40 BJP

Total seats 84; * in 2004, total SC seats were 79

IN ALL THE STATES WHERE THE BJP HAS FORMED GOVERNMENTS SINCE 2014, THE PARTY WON 41 OUT OF THE 70 RESERVED CONSTITUENCIES

its election promises and a special Dalit manifesto to address the concerns of the politically significant constituency. The ruling SP has also recently acti­ vated its SC/ST cells and plans to connect with Dalits by organising Dalit mahasam­ melans in all of UP’s 18 divisions. The primary target groups are the Pasis, Balmikis, Koris and Beria. In the other poll­bound state, Punjab, the electoral campaign of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the principal ben­ eficiary of the losses incurred by the Congress and BSP among Dalit voters in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, winning four Lok Sabha seats, has a special plan to attract SCs. On March 15, the birth anniversary of Dalit icon and BSP found­ er Kanshi Ram, Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal addressed a gathering in Kanshi Ram’s ancestral village Pirthipur Bunga in Ropar dis­ trict. Dalits constitute over 40 per cent of the electorate in the four districts of Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr. Kejriwal also had a series of meetings with members of the Ravidasa community in Dera Ballan and the Valmikis in Jalandhar. A month earlier, he went to the border district of Abohar to meet the family of Bhim Tank, a Dalit who had been brutally killed in 2015 in a farmhouse belonging to


MISOGYNY RULES BJP’S DAYASHANKAR SINGH’S MISOGYNISTIC SLUR AGAINST BSP SUPREMO MAYAWATI IS LIKELY TO PROVE COSTLY

MANEESH AGNIHOTRI

Shiv Lal Doda, a liquor baron often photographed with Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. In an impromptu speech, he announced a Delhi government job for a member of Tank’s family, and promised to punish the culprits in two months if AAP came to power in Punjab. For the Congress, the urgency to win back Dalits—once its core con­ stituency in Punjab—was the driving force behind a two­day seminar on Dalits held in Ludhiana in February. But the party suffered a setbac in the Rajya Sabha elections held in

the state last month. The internal battle between two Dalit castes— Ravidasa and Valmiki—for one of the party’s two seats in the Upper House left the party in disarray. The Valmikis, whose candidate Hans Raj Hans lost out to the Ravidasa com­ munity’s Shamsher Singh Dullo, have declared they will not support the Congress anymore. The party is now trying to cut its losses, with Amarinder Singh visit­ ing the Ravidasa community’s hub, Dera Sachkhand Ballan, and holding a Valmiki­Mazhbi Sikh Conference


COVER STORY

DALITS

in Kapurthala. Congress leader Joginder Singh Mann has demanded that Valmikis be given 50 per cent of the total reserved seats in the elections. Meanwhile, the BJP’s focus on Dalit votes in Punjab is evident from the appointment of Union minister Vijay Sampla, the party’s most prominent Dalit face in the state, as the new president of its state unit. On May 21, the BJP organised the national executive committee meeting of its SC wing in Jalandhar. Nor did the BJP shy away from attacking its own ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), if it meant wooing Dalits. The party’s SC wing president Dushyant Gautam criticised the state government for allegedly diverting Dalit welfare funds. Not to be left behind, SAD reached out to the Ravidasa community by laying the foundation stone for the Rs 110 crore Sri Guru Ravidass Memorial at Khuralgarh in Hoshiarpur. Khuralgarh is suddenly an important destination on SAD’s electoral map, and Chief Minister Harkishen Singh Badal has declared it will be developed as a “world-class tourist destination”.

MUSLIM-DALIT ARITHMETIC

Critics of the BJP see the party’s new Dalit strategy as a double game—to consolidate Hindu voters to confront the Muslims and to break the perceived Dalit-Muslim nexus. This theory gained currency after the Muslim-Dalit combination paid dividends for Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Maharashtra in 2015. The party put up an impressive performance in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation election, jumping to the No. 2 spot ahead of the BJP and behind the Shiv Sena, winning 25 seats in the 113-seat corporation. Among successful AIMIM candidates were four Dalits and a Hindu OBC. While the BSP and Congress are open to such a combination in UP, the BJP seems determined to nip such coalitions in the bud. It’s because of this coming together of Muslims and Dalits that the BJP student wing, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, went after the Ambedkar Students’ Association, the Dalit organisation of which Vemula was a member. “Why are these Dalit

20

INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

DALITS IN GOVERNMENT JOBS* SC 16.99% ST 8.55% * Share of SC and ST workers in 62 Union ministries/departments in January 2014; Source: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, 2015-16

INCOME SLABS OF RURAL DALIT HOUSEHOLDS <Rs 5,000 83.55 Rs 5,000-10,000 11.73 >10,000 4.67 All figures in per cent Source: Socio-economic and caste census, 2011, * Households with at least one member in a government job

AVERAGE MONTHLY EXPENDITURE URBAN AREAS Upper Caste

Rs 5,025 Rs 16,210

SC

Rs 3,455 Rs 10,140

ST

Rs 3,455 Rs 10,965 RURAL AREAS

Upper Caste

Rs 2,885 Rs 7,150

SC

Rs 2,095 Rs 6,260

ST

Rs 1,940 Rs 5,610

1999-2000

2011-12

Source: National Sample Survey Organisation

“Opposing the caste system and untouchability by expressing support won’t help. We need organisations to fight it” —SUKHADEO THORAT, Chairman, ICSSR

groups celebrating Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon? A new axis of Islamic forces and Naxal groups is emerging. They are trying to attract Dalits and other marginalised groups of Hindu society,” says Sunil Ambekar, national organising secretary, ABVP. In June 2014, the BJP even tried unsuccessfully to fan a conflict between Dalits and Muslims over removing a loudspeaker from a Dalit temple in Moradabad. This potential alliance between two political groups is, however, something at the top of the Congress plan for UP as an antidote to the Hindu-Muslim polarisation that allowed BJP’s 2014 sweep. “Our party’s minority and SC wings are working in close coordination,” says Raju. Incidents such as the BJP-RSS clamour for a beef ban and the 2015 Dadri lynching are also helping the Opposition redraw the Muslim-Dalit nexus. “The BJP will find it difficult to recover from these setbacks,” says Vidyut Thakar, a political analyst from Gujarat. “At the national level, the Opposition seems to be veering towards a Dalit-Muslim-centric strategy against Modi, keeping 2019 in mind.” Perhaps this is an indicator that the narrative around Dalits or Muslims, who have been just lucrative vote banks for political parties for decades, is unlikely to change. Years of entrenchment of caste and religious divisions have left a mark on Indian society that is difficult to erase. Until this reality is addressed, these communities will remain just pawns in electoral strategies. Perhaps before Shah, Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal or any other political leader goes for their next meal in a Dalit home, they should answer this: How many meals can a family of five with an income of less than Rs 5,000 afford in a month? with Uday Mahurkar


THE BIG STORY | ARMS RULES

NEW GUN MANTRA The overhaul of the Arms Rules puts weapons out of reach of the common man. But opens up the sector to private Indian and foreign players By Sandeep Unnithan

T

he July 15 gazette notification marking the most comprehensive overhaul of India’s Arms Rules in 50 years came quietly. The Union ministry for home chose to play it down as violence in Kashmir peaked. Home minister Rajnath Singh reportedly cancelled a press conference slated to announce one of his ministry’s achievements, a first-ever National Database of Arms Licences (NDAL), as he headed to soothe nerves in troubled Kashmir. Last tweaked in 2010, the Arms Rules of 1962 govern the manufacture, sale and licensing of arms in the country. On July 26, Rajnath Singh constituted a seven-member special committee to look at non-lethal alternatives to the use of ‘pellet guns’ in Kashmir. (Pellet guns are a euphemism for shortened .303 rifles and 12 bore shotguns firing modified ‘birdshot’). The new arms rules issued by his ministry introduce a new category of weapons, such as ‘Electronic Disabling Devices’ (EDD) or Tasers, which temporarily disable people rather than maim them. The new policy also makes it easier for the private sector to manufacture arms and ammunition for the armed forces and police. Private citizens will find it tougher to get arms licences

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INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

to acquire guns for personal protection. NDAL has 2.6 million registered arms licence holders, numbers that are unlikely to go up much after the new rules take effect. The rules are, however, clearly aimed at nurturing India’s shooting talent. Ammunition quotas for sports shooters have been substantially increased. For renowned shooters, they have been increased from 15,000 rounds of ammunition per year to 50,000. Critics of the new arms rules, however, note what they call its absurdities. For instance, the rules bring in new ‘weapons’ not previously covered, such as paintball guns, movie props and air rifles. The manufacture and sale of such weapons will now be monitored and restricted.

RED CARPET FOR ARMS FIRMS The biggest change in the 52-yearold arms rules will allow foreign manufacturers and the Indian private sector to produce weapons like automatic pistols, machine guns and assault rifles within the country. The Indian armed forces, police and paramilitary forces have an annual requirement of Rs 3,000 crore worth of arms and ammunition, according to

industry estimates. State-owned ordnance factories can’t meet all this demand, thus necessitating imports. The home ministry will soon release the arms and ammunition manufacturing policy, which will for the first time allow foreign and private sector companies to manufacture arms and ammunition locally as part of the government’s Make in India drive. The sector’s been closed to private players since 1962, when the arms rules made it a public sector monopoly. The 95 private gun firms in the country are restricted to making smooth bore single and double barrel weapons; 25 firms manufacture cartridges for these weapons. The policy changed dramatically on June 20 this year, when the government opened up the sector to 100 per cent FDI, inviting foreign as well as private Indian manufacturers to set up shop. The new policy also details the licence-issuing procedure. The decision will be taken vy a licensing committee headed by the Union home secretary, secretaries from the defence ministry, department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), and the home secretary of the state where the factory is being built. The policy has come as a major shot in the arm for private sector


Illustration by ANIRBAN GHOSH

SHOT IN THE ARMS ARMS MANUFACTURING POLICY Sector opened to 100 per cent FDI on June 20, 2016. MHA licensing committee headed by home secretary will issue licenses to manufacturers (policy yet to be issued)

ARMS LICENCE ASPIRANTS Have to show requirement for target shooting, personal protection, security, pest control or hunting. Difficult to obtain licence for personal protection, security

PERSONAL FIREARMS LICENCE HOLDERS Holders of all-India licences will now have to apply to their respective state governments. Earlier, it was to the Union home ministry

SPORTS SHOOTERS Big increase in ammunition quotas for aspiring shooters

REPLICA WEAPONS, AIR RIFLES, PAINTBALL GUNS, DEACTIVATED GUNS All brought into the ambit of licensing

ELECTRONIC DISABLING DEVICES New category, colloquially called ‘Taser’. Rules laid down for licence and import

players who had obtained licences over a decade ago but not seen any progress. The reason? A decade-long turf battle within the government, which began with a 2001 Cabinet decision allowing private players to manufacture arms and ammunition with up to 26 per cent FDI. Licences issued by the commerce ministry, in consultation with the MoD, were to be cleared by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. The MHA, seething over not being consulted, objected to the DIPP issuing licences. In 2010, the government finally declared the MHA the sole licensing authority to issue all arms licences, and raised FDI limits to 49 per cent in 2014. The new 100 per cent FDI policy ends the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board’s monopoly

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

23


THE BIG STORY | ARMS RULES GETTY IMAGES

THE NEW RULES INTRODUCE A NEW CATEGORY OF EDDS THAT COULD REPLACE THIS SHOTGUN CRPF TROOPERS USED IN KASHMIR

and hopefully also the absurdity of Indian armed forces, police and paramilitary forces importing arms from foreign private firms. A private sector player unwilling to be named said the new policy aimed at creating a small arms ecosystem, making the country self-sufficient in weapon parts, slings and butts. Punj Lloyd was one of the only companies to obtain a licence to manufacture small arms in the private sector over a decade ago. “Our forces will now get a Make in India gun,” says Ashok Wadhawan, its president, manufacturing. This October, the company will set up a small arms factory in Malanpur, outside Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh for assault rifles and submachine guns in collaboration with partner Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI), the first of its kind in the country.

HARDER TO GET GUN LICENCES The new arms rules have come as a rude shock to India’s nascent gun lobby, which has argued for greater access to licensed firearms for personal protection. Instead, it has now become tougher to get an arms

24

INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

licence. The key is in the insertion of a ‘speaking order’, where the authority issuing an arms licence is to explicitly record the reasons for granting or refusing one. “As per the new rules, government officials can decline to reveal reasons for refusal, so the speaking order works purely as a negative force. There are no positives at all,” says Abhijeet Singh, gun enthusiast and founder of online gun resource indiansforguns.com. The new provisions also make it difficult for heirs to inherit multiple weapons. ‘Additional licence’ holders will have to surrender their arms licences when they move out of the home of the parent licence holders. Gun owners say the goal of the new rules seems to be to limit the total number of arms licences in the country. Renewal fee of Rs 3,000 per licence for three years, up from the earlier Rs 100, will push up cost of gun ownership, especially for the bulk of the poor rural arms licence holders. The home ministry has relaxed an earlier norm stipulating that AllIndia Arms Licences would have to be issued from Delhi. They can now be issued in the states where the licence

is applied for. “Our aim was to ensure the constitutionally protected right to life and property, especially for women and old people,” says Rahoul Rai, president, National Association for Gun Rights of India (NAGRI). “The new arms rules are worse than those in the times of the British.” What has baffled small scale industry players are the rules bringing replica weapons used in film shoots and paint ball guns used for recreational activities under the licensing ambit. Small scale manufacturers like Ashok Rai, whose firm Syndicate Armoury has provided replicas to films such as Lord of the Rings and Bajirao Mastani, worry about the implications of such licensing. Under the new rules, Rai will have to submit his weapon designs to the government, and he cannot make more than 500 replica weapons a month. “We’re an export house earning over $1.5 million in foreign exchange and directly employing 400 people. We can’t compete against Chinese firms with such rules,” he says. It’s squeeze time for weapons in the private sector, real and fake. Follow the writer on Twitter @SandeepUnnithan


NATION

CYBER CRIME

I JAMTARA I

PHISH

POND A sleepy little district in northeastern Jharkhand has emerged as an unlikely hub of cyber crime in India

SHRIKANT SRIVASTAVA

By Amitabh Srivastava

N

ext time you get a call from “the ATM headquarters” or the “SBI main branch” seeking your debit card details, ask: “Are you calling from Jamtara?” The caller may not respond, but the answer most likely is yes. This back-of-beyond district in eastern Jharkhand is at the bottom of the pile among computer-literate regions, populated by poor farmers, and the homes get barely five hours of electricity a day. Yet, some hundred villages here have emerged as a frenzied phishing industry hub. Thousands of calls are recorded daily at the cellphone towers near these villages. Calls are made to random numbers in search of gullible victims, who will share their debit or credit card details with the “bank official” and end up with money flying out of their accounts. A few months ago, the caller from the “SBI main branch” could have been Sitaram Mandal, 24, matriculate, unemployed, now in jail and yet

BREEDING GROUND 309 FIRs had been lodged till May this year in the area, about half of these pertaining to cyber crimes

As the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act does not allow sale/purchase of land, there are hundreds of litigation cases relating to land grab with forged papers

In the past too, Jamtara has been known as a hub for train thieves, forgers and petty criminals

MOBILE TOWERS IN A VILLAGE IN JAMTARA DISTRICT, JHARKHAND


THE JAMTARA JAMBOREE MODUS OPERANDI Random calls are made to a series of numbers from a SIM acquired through a fake ID. Once the call connects, the caller identifies himself as a bank executive and seeks details of ATM/debit cards for “verification”

a hero in Jamtara district’s Sundorjori village. Sitaram made his last phishing call on a sultry Sunday evening in May. He was doing a dry run for the benefit of a couple of wide-eyed young followers in the village, showing off his skills when the police swooped down. Sitaram’s modus operandi was simple. Make random calls to a series of numbers from a SIM acquired through a fake ID. Have a companion stand by with another phone on which the details of ATM/debit cards and the OTP are filled in. Money from the account is transferred into an e-wallet and almost immediately out of it. One phone call, a few minutes and the young men were several thousand rupees richer. In 2010, Sitaram, the unemployed son of an unemployed father, had travelled to Mumbai in search of work like many other young men from Jharkhand. He worked at roadside eateries, as a tout at a railway station and finally at some call centres, where his life changed forever. Sitaram returned to Jamtara in 2012. Four years later, local police say Sitaram has Rs 12 lakh in his account (now frozen), two concrete houses (both painted sunrise yellow), a Mahindra Scorpio SUV, and his two sisters have been married off to wealthy grooms. They recovered seven smartphones and 15 SIM cards from Sitaram and his associate Vikash Mandal. The IMEI numbers (15-digit unique identity) of their mobile phones matched those provided by police from several states in complaints about phishing calls that had been traced to cellphone towers in Jamtara. But in one of India’s poorest states, where there are few opportunities for

26

INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016

young people, Sundorjori residents see Sitaram as a worthy son. The dozen police cases of fraud don’t bother anyone. “Parivar ke liye mehnat karta hai, kya galat hai? Baahar to nikal hi jayega (He works hard for his family, what is wrong in that? He will eventually come out of jail),” is a common refrain. While the cases pan out in court, Sitaram in Jamtara jail is equally nonchalant. “Sab jhooth hai (All lies),” he says with a shrug. Mandal is a legend now, a sort of Amitabh Bachchan of cybercrime, say the police. But he is only one of hundreds of Jamtara youth who are believed to have taken up phishing as a career.

I PHISHING AS COTTAGE INDUSTRY

No one seems to know when the young people of Jamtara district started phishing. The lore goes that some young men who went to Delhi got involved with an online racket called ‘Chehra Pehchano’ (recognise the face). People were asked to identify mildly blurred images of Bollywood stars for a reward. Gullible victims called on the numbers given and were asked to pay a processing fee so that they could get the gift they had won—an SUV. Once the money had been credited to the account number provided by the fraudsters, they stopped taking the victim’s calls. Police say a few youth involved in this racket returned to Jamtara and were the first ones to begin phone phishing. Gradually, more and more youngsters were drawn to it. Jamtara has 1,161 villages and most of the population depends on rainfed farming except in about a hundred villages. “The cops have zeroed in on

If the victim falls for the trap and shares details, the caller’s aide immediately starts a transact­ ion based on it. Knowing well that the bank will generate a One­Time Password (OTP), the imp­ oster tells the victim to read out the code he has sent across. Once the caller reads out the number, the aide completes the transaction

these villages where phishing seems to be the only industry,” says Ajay Kumar Sinha, officer-in-charge at the Karmatand police station, part of the jurisdiction along with Narayanpur, where most of these villages are located. Since April, the two stations have got over 150 notices from police in 16 states with requests to find one fraudster or another. Jamtara SP Manoj K. Singh points to the runaway construction in villages in the Karmatand station area. The villagers are flush with illegally acquired cash, he adds. Kalajhariya village, which has a mobile tower that gets 2,500 calls a day, and Dudhania with its flashy new pucca houses are cybercrime datelines in Jamtara. As our vehicle rolls into Dudhania on a mid-summer Sunday in the last week of June, we come across village women dancing to Bollywood tunes belting out of massive loudspeakers. The celebrations peter out as we approach. The villagers don’t want to talk to us. They blame the police and journalists for spoiling a party that had continued undisturbed from 2011 to 2014, when the police made the first arrests. “Baat hi nahin karna hai ji. Koi baaharwala nahin chahiye (We don’t want to talk at all. We don’t want any outsiders),” says a man in his forties. The womenfolk give us hostile looks. The police focus on Jamtara, incidentally, has all to do with Pappu Mandal, 22, a high school dropout. A resident of Kasitand village, some three kilometres from Karmatand, Pappu has two pucca houses in the village today. But in November 2015, he made the mistake of calling up


NATION

WHY THEY SUCCEED

CYBER CRIME

POLICE INVESTIGATION

Unlike banks, which require complete authentication of the customer, digital wallets can be created with a phone number. The scammers create several digital wallets with fraudulently procu­ red SIM cards. Wallets allow user to load cash up to Rs 10,000 without any KYC

Jamtara’s cops have arrested over 100 fraudsters since the tech cell was set up to “monitor suspect phone activities”, but are yet to secure a conviction. The reluctance of many victims, and the support the cheaters enjoy locally makes the task difficult for the cops

Photographs by RANJIT KUMAR MANDAL

CALL ’N COLLECT DEPUTY MUKHIYA SADDAM HUSSEIN, ABOVE IN BLUE SHIRT, WAS ARRESTED BY THE WEST BENGAL POLICE; OTHER PHISHING ACCUSED IN JAMTARA

Kerala MP Premachandran, posing as a Reserve Bank of India official. He duped Premachandran of Rs 1.6 lakh. But greed ultimately got the better of him, as Pappu kept calling the MP. “Once he succeeded in hoodwinking me, he kept calling asking for OTPs. I diverted the calls to Delhi Police, who cracked the case. But I am yet to get back the money he swindled,” says Premachandran. Pappu is now cooling his heels in jail. Triveni Singh, an officer in Uttar Pradesh Police’s special task force, says almost 90 per cent of the transaction-fraud-related calls made in the state were traced back to Jamtara. Telangana police chief Anurag Sharma posted a warning on Facebook on January 30, alerting people to be wary of Jamtara fraudsters. “We have had policemen from all over the country travelling to Jamtara in the past 3-4 years,” says SP Manoj Singh. On July 1, the West Bengal Police arrested Saddam Hussein, 32, deputy mukhiya of Jamtara’s Sonabad panchayat for defrauding a Kolkata man, Shankar Kumar Bose, of over Rs 1 lakh. Hussein spoke fluent Bengali and persuaded Bose to share his ATM card details over the phone. The man’s position in the village shows the level of acceptance cyber criminals have in Jamtara, says a senior administrative officer. The Jamtara police has arrested over 100 people in the past six months for phishing offences but the calls keep going out. So next time you get that call from “the ATM headquarters”, remember, it could be yet another phishing attempt from Jamtara. Follow the writer on Twitter @amitabh1975

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

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NATION

NAVJOT SIDHU & AAP

SHERRY SPIKE IN AAP

Cricketer-turned-neta Navjot Sidhu’s next move may well be a game-changer in the Punjab polls

W

hen Navjot Sidhu got up to speak at the joint Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party rally at Ajitwal village in Punjab’s Moga District on December 8, 2006, he completely eclipsed everybody else. At his garrulous best, the cricketer and television comic-turned-politician had the crowd, spilling way beyond the 20-acre pandal, eating out of his hands. After the 20-minute speech, littered with ‘Sidhuisms’—the smartalecky one-liners that are his other claim to fame—they had no appetite for anything else, not the sage words of octogenarian Parkash Singh Badal, whose 80th birthday occasion it was, and definitely not for Sukhbir Badal. Much to the chagrin of the Badals, the crowds began thinning out soon after Sidhu had finished. Sitting on stage, Sidhu looked smug. Mainstream political parties in poll-bound Punjab—the ruling SADBJP alliance with the anti-incumbency accumulated over two successive terms in office, and the Congress, which is hoping for a resurrection under the

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charismatic Capt Amarinder Singh— clearly believe they have much to fear from the former India opener. If he retains any of the popular appeal so much on display during his years as MP from Amritsar, 52-yearold Sidhu’s imminent entry into the Aam Aadmi Party—after his rather dramatic decision, on July 18, to quit his seat as a BJP nominated member of the Rajya Sabha—could well be the ultimate game-changer in Punjab. Not just in queering things for the ruling SAD-BJP or the Congress, but also in giving a fillip to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s aspirations of going ‘national’. “Just the khabar that Sidhu is headed our way has sent a huge wave of energy and enthusiasm through the Aam Aadmi Party cadre in Punjab,” says Chander Suta Dogra, a former journalist, who is now part of party’s core team in the state. Even though Sidhu has so far been cagey about his next stop in politics, AAP leaders are displaying no such reticence. Sanjay Singh, a senior AAP functionary from Delhi, was among the first to state that Sidhu would be part of AAP’s battle for Punjab, a fact

PANKAJ NANGIA

By Asit Jolly

NAVJOT SIDHU WALKS TO HIS FIRST PRESS MEET AFTER THE RESIGNATION, JULY 25

confirmed by Manpreet Randhawa (another among a dozen Punjab journalists who have quit their jobs to sign up with AAP), who says “it’s just a matter of days before he formally joins the party”. Back in Amritsar, Sidhu’s chosen political home turf, where he moved to from Patiala in April 2004, and a Lok Sabha constituency he represented for 11 long years before being unceremoniously forced out in favour of Arun Jaitley in 2014, there is discernible delight and anticipation. “Sherry bhajee (Sidhu’s nickname) is waiting for the


right time. He does not want to give the impression that he is impatient,” says a long-time supporter in Amritsar, who has no doubts that the former cricket player will join AAP and also be the party’s chief ministerial face in Punjab. Sidhu’s supporters also point to the “obvious” signals: the signature AAP basanti (yellow) turban he sported at his July 25 news conference, they say, was a dead giveaway of the man’s intentions. It’s also escaped no one that even on July 18, the first day of the current monsoon session, when he went to Parliament to hand in his

I ADMIRE SIDHU’S COURAGE, HE’S A GOOD MAN. ALL GOOD PEOPLE SHOULD RESIGN FROM THE BJP...THERE’S NOTHING ELSE RIGHT NOW” ARVIND KEJRIWAL, AAP convenor resignation, Sidhu tellingly wore the same yellow turban. That said, while most political analysts are clear that AAP is his most viable option, a point even wife Navjot Kaur readily concedes, it may not be a done deal yet. Consider Kejriwal’s own response on July 19, after Sidhu quit the Rajya Sabha: “…I admire his

courage. He’s a good man. I think all good people should resign from the BJP. There is nothing else right now. He hasn’t joined us yet. If anybody wants to join AAP, they have to become an aam aadmi first. It is premature right now. Nothing has been decided.” Kejriwal’s remarks were carefully calibrated, and evidently designed to

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

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NATION

NAVJOT SIDHU & AAP

allay any misgivings the party’s leadership in Punjab might have about the widely rumoured move. While the party is certain to benefit from the excricketer’s entry, the ambient enthusiasm is accompanied with emphatic denials that his joining was contingent on Sidhu being projected as AAP’s chief ministerial face. This, from more than one senior state functionary, each perhaps nursing aspirations of his own. AAP’s Punjab convenor and former Akali minister Sucha Singh Chhotepur, the party’s most visible Punjabi face, Lok Sabha member from Sangrur, Bhagwant Mann, and former journalist Kanwar Sandhu, who heads the manifesto committee, have all rejected the rumour that Sidhu will be the party’s CM designate. While Sandhu reportedly warned of a “demoralising” effect on the AAP cadre if that were to happen, Chhotepur went into a proper sulk, saying he “would not contest the polls if Sidhu joins the party”. Dogra, who doubles up as a party spokesperson, insists “that the question of projecting a chief minister is not even on the table at the moment. Right now, our focus is on the campaign, and crafting a plausible and doable agenda for the people of Punjab.” Many senior AAP leaders point out that the party has succeeded in building a dedicated cadre and

THE SLOG OVERS The life & times of ‘Sherry bhajee’ 1983 International cricket debut; scores 19 runs in two innings in first Test at Ahmedabad 1991 Jailed on charges of assaulting and causing the death of Gurnam Singh, a Patiala resident 1999 Retires from international cricket with 7,000 runs in Tests and ODIs, including 15 centuries 2001 Starts new career as a cricket commentator 2004 Starts political career with BJP; wins Amritsar Lok Sabha seat with over 1 lakh votes 2006 Convicted and sentenced to a three-year jail term in the Gurnam Singh case. Forced to resign from Parliament

2007 Wins Lok Sabha byelection from Amritsar after Supreme Court stays his conviction

WE’VE HAD A LONG RELATIONSHIP WITH SIDHU. HIS MOTHER TWICE FOUGHT POLLS ON A CONGRESS TICKET” AMARINDER SINGH Punjab Congress chief

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2012 Participates as a contestant in reality TV show Bigg Boss (Season 6) 2014 Forced to vacate LS seat for finance minister Arun Jaitley. Goes into a sulk, refuses to campaign 2016 Nominated to Rajya Sabha. On July 18, resigns amid buzz that he will be AAP’s chief ministerial face in Punjab

support base in Punjab without the benefit of a face, and so there should be no pressure to project one. The spokesperson, however, also conceded that Sidhu, who fits in seamlessly with AAP’s “soch” (thinking), would be “the perfect weapon against the Badals”. This, while also giving the party a much-needed Jat Sikh face, eminently capable of expanding AAP’s lure across a wider cross-section of the Punjabi electorate. But there is also an alternative view. “Sidhu won’t benefit AAP as is being projected,” insists Pramod Kumar, director of the Chandigarhbased Institute for Development & Communication, and someone who has followed politics in Punjab for close to three decades. “His appeal comes from his popularity as a comedian and a TV host,” Kumar says, adding that outside Amritsar (where he challenged “discredited” Congress faces), Sidhu was untested. The political scientist also questions Sidhu’s lack of commitment to a political ideology: “It is all very well to abuse mainstream politicians and raise slogans against corruption and drug abuse. But there seems to be no evidence of a plan on how he aims to tackle these issues,” Kumar says. Whatever the coming months bring, Navjot Sidhu has certainly become that proverbial ‘cat among the pigeons’, both within and outside AAP. Meanwhile, sources say, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh too is trying to lure the former cricket player over. “He (Sidhu) is a good lad,” Amarinder told india today on July 26. “We have had a long relationship. His mother, Nirmal Bhagwant Kaur, twice contested the elections on a Congress ticket while father Harbhagwan Sidhu served as advocate-general with the Congress government in 1980,” the former CM said, virtually rolling out the red carpet for Sidhu. For now, though, it’s quite the waiting game in Punjab. Close confidants claim Sidhu will eventually join AAP and is only waiting for a “favourable astrological alignment”. Hopefully, for AAP’s sake, he won’t leave it till too late. Follow the writer on Twitter @Asitjolly


S TAYAHEAD O F T H E C U R V E Bu s i n e s s To d a yn o wa v a i l a b l eo ni Pa d , i Ph o n e , An d r o i d , Ki n dl eFi r e , PC&Ma c

Su b s c r i b eNo w

WWW. BUSI NESSTODAY. I N/ DI GI TALMAGAZI NE Ta pt odo wnl o a d& s ubs c r i be


MEDIA

HINDUSTHAN SAMACHAR

Photograph by RAJWANT RAWAT

HINDUSTHAN SAMACHAR’S NEW OFFICE IN SECTOR 63, NOIDA

RSS NEWS FEED

The Sangh Parivar finds a really simple way to revive its languishing news agency Hindusthan Samachar—a government policy pushing newspapers to subscribe By Santosh Kumar

O

n May 13 this year, BJP Rajya Sabha member R.K. Sinha got an urgent call—“Leave for Ninora immediately!” A staunch Sangh loyalist, Sinha quickly followed the instruction to attend the RSS gathering, Vichar Mahakumbh, in the small Madhya Pradesh town, an event on the fringes of the Ujjain Simhastha celebrations. An exclusive gathering as it turned out—inaugurated by RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself gracing the closing ceremony. But Sinha had been summoned for a tête-à-tête with RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi, who delivered the high command’s message: “The Sangh’s leadership has decided to give you the responsibility for Hindusthan Samachar Samvad Samiti. Now you will have to lead it.”

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Sinha accepted the Sangh’s directive with alacrity. Just three days later, in a board meeting, he was anointed patron of the Samvad Samiti. Within 12 days, an imposing building he owned in Noida’s Sector 63 got a plush makeover to suit the hitherto foundering news agency’s new image. Bhaiyyaji himself officially inaugurated the new offices on June 1; on June 10, Sangh sahsarkaryavah Dattatreya Hosabale paid a visit to offer the news team pointers on journalistic objectivity: “Give preference to positive and growth-oriented news, not violence-, crime- or terrorism-related reports.” But what made this media story newsworthy was another announcement, also on June 10, of a new policy by the Union ministry for information and broadcasting, which, perhaps coincidentally, promises to give the RSS’s Hindusthan Samachar project new prominence and revenues.

A new Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) policy has set criteria to assess newspapers’ eligibility for lucrative government ads, rating them on a scale of 0-100. Newspapers can now increase their DAVP ad traffic by earning ‘marks’: 25 for providing RNI/ABC certificates; 20 based on their employees’ enrolment in EPF; 10 for printing in their own press; 10 on payment of annual subscriptions to the Press Council of India; 12-20 depending on the number of pages. And the kicker:15 points for subscribing to UNI, PTI…and the hitherto littleknown Hindusthan Samachar. The policy has already boosted both the profile and the subscriptions of the agency, which had for years survived in tiny offices in Delhi’s Gole Market (and a ‘data centre’ in Nagpur). Founded in 1948 by RSS pracharak Dadasaheb Apte to provide ‘nationalist’ news in regional languages, HS


A BOARD MEETING IN PROGRESS AT HINDUSTHAN SAMACHAR’S NOIDA OFFICE ON JULY 5

has had a chequered career. It never really recovered from its enforced ‘merger’ (along with UNI and PTI) in the state-controlled Samachar agency in the Emergency years. The agencies were ‘demerged’ in 1978 and HS passed into receivership in 1982 and then back into RSS hands after a lengthy court case in 2002 (see box: Divine Agency). Cut to today, and CEO and editorin-chief Rakesh Munjal is bullish: “We are on the verge of an agreement with a large IT company, which will assist us. A large number of brands will be joining us very soon.” Some observers see a disturbing irony in the policy. Says Dr Srirupa Roy, political science professor at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies in Göttingen, Germany, “During the Emergency, DAVP used its advertising policy as a tool of political and financial patronage and censure. Once at the receiving end of the Emergency, the RSS and BJP seem to have learned their lessons well.” HS board member Rambahadur Rai finds nothing ominous in the new policy. “At least now there is a policy instead of arbitrary corruption,” he says. “And it will encourage reporting in regional languages.” Nor do the developments trouble PTI CEO M.K. Razdan. “We are a news agency,” he says. “If a policy is promoting a news agency, what is the problem?” But elsewhere in independent media circles, the new policy has been met with discontent. “The way media policy is now being decided is a complete mystery. In new guidelines for release of DAVP ads to newspapers,

DIVINE AGENCY PAST Established in 1948 by senior RSS pracharak Shiv Shankar aka Dadasaheb Apte Established as a group of “Indian nationalistic journalists”; transformed into a cooperative in 1956 Merged with UNI, PTI and Bharat Samachar in 1975; ‘demerged’ in 1978 Passed into receivership in 1982 Restored to RSS-affiliated HSSS Trust in 2002

FUTURE Currently about 500 members on its staff Nearly 2,000 workers to be trained by March 2017 Plan to have bureau office in every district by 2020 At least one correspondent in every tehsil of the country by 2020 Will provide three kinds of feed: audio, visual and text Features tabloid on the cards to increase income

a supposed points system has been evolved that gives media entities subscribing to ‘PTI, UNI or Hindusthan Samachar’ a significant advantage,” says Hardev Sanotra, managing editor of news agency IANS. “There is no clarity or explanation on what criteria were adopted. Independent news agencies with decades of experience and credibility, such as IANS, were neither informed nor consulted.” It’s not hard to unravel the ‘mystery’ behind the ‘arbitrary’ changes Sanotra complains of. RSS’s Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya spells it out: “The Sangh never instructs directly, it only provides guidance. We wish that all news pertinent to national concern— which the media have tended to overlook—should now come to the fore and the institution should work professionally. That is why it has been entrusted to a corporate leader.” Said corporate leader is Sinha himself. He heads India’s leading security firm, SIS India Ltd, with a turnover in excess of Rs 3,000 crore. The agency has also made other moves to establish its professional credentials and shed its image as an ideologically-driven entity. But its new board of directors is studded with stalwarts of the Sangh-affiliated right, notably Achyutanand Mishra, Jagdish Upasane, B.K. Kuthiala and Rambahadur Rai. Despite Sinha’s support, the RSS itself and DAVP munificence, it’s hardly certain that HS will be able to sustain its grand ambitions. Media ventures remain one of India’s more uncertain businesses. n

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

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GUEST COLUMN By Dhruva Jaishankar

WHY HILLARY IS A SAFE BET FOR INDIA NO INCOMING US PRESIDENT HAS HAD THE KIND OF INTERACTION SHE HAS HAD WITH INDIA. DONALD’S STATEMENTS ON INDIA PRESENT A CONTRADICTORY PICTURE

T HILLARY’S FOREIGN POLICY AND TRADE INSTINCTS—THOUGH SUBDUED GIVEN ADVERSE PUBLIC SENTIMENT—ARE IN LINE WITH INDIAN INTERESTS

he field is set. With the formal anointing of party nominees at the Republican and Democratic Party conventions in July, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is certain to be the next US president. This match-up is remarkable for several reasons. Trump would be the first US leader in over a half century not to have previously held elected office. Clinton would be the first female president. Both are among the most divisive candidates in recent history, with high negative ratings—even within their own parties. What does the outcome of November’s election mean for India? The degree of comfort in working-level relations between the two governments and militaries, the presence of the IndianAmerican community, and several areas of natural economic and strategic convergence mean that the foundations of the India-US relationship are today strong enough to withstand any leadership change in either country. In that sense, a presidential transition in Washington will have only a limited effect on bilateral ties. But while the implications for bilateral relations would be marginal, the potential impact on the United States’ credibility and ability to wield international influence will be tremendous. Hillary Clinton would be a very safe bet from India’s point of view. No incoming US president has had the level of interaction with India that she has had. Her trip in 1995 helped paved the way years later for her husband Bill Clinton’s historic visit to India in 2000. As US Senator, Hillary Clinton was co-chair of the Senate India Caucus. And as US Secretary of State she made multiple visits, during which she highlighted the need for India to “not just look east, but engage east and act east”—a mantra the current Indian government subsequently adopted—and surprised many with her sharp rhetoric against Pakistan-supported terrorism. In fact, political opponents have tried to use Clinton’s close India connections to attack her. In 2007, then candidate Barack

Photographs by GETTY IMAGES


Obama had to apologise for a campaign memo that described Clinton as a senator from Punjab. More recently, the Trump campaign has published and circulated unsubstantiated allegations that Clinton received money from India for her support for the IndiaUS nuclear agreement. Overall, Clinton’s foreign policy and trade instincts—although dampened during the campaign in response to adverse popular sentiments—are in accordance with broad Indian preferences. From her time as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s group of advisors—the likes of her campaign chairman John Podesta, former Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, her closest foreign policy aide Jake Sullivan, and dozens more—are all individuals with a close working familiarity with India. What about Trump? Unlike Clinton, he does not have a record to assess and his statements on the campaign trail have offered a contradictory picture. One statement that received considerable attention in India related to Pakistan. “Pakistan is semi-unstable… We have a little bit of a good relationship. I think I’d try and keep it,” Trump said at a town hall meeting in April. “If you look at India and some of the others, maybe they’ll be helping us out.” While interpreted by some in India as a signal that he would side with India against Pakistan, his remarks are actually ambiguous on that account, and largely conform to the United States’ recent approach to the region. Trump has also been similarly ambivalent about economic relations and immigration as it relates to India. “India is doing great. Nobody talks about it,” he told CNN in January, but added a month later that he was going to “bring back jobs…from India”. He often speaks of India along with China with admiration, but also as a threat to the United States’ economic well-being. On immigration, Trump has spoken about ending the H-1B high-skilled visa programme of which Indians are among the biggest beneficiaries, but has also said he would create opportunities for Indian entrepreneurs and students. “They go to Harvard, they are first in their class and they’re from India, they go back to India and they set up companies and they make a fortune and they employ lots of people,” he told Fox News in March. “We need those people in the country.” Indian-Americans, historically Democrats, are likely to support Clinton overwhelmingly. The racism associated with the Trump campaign will deter some Indian votes that might otherwise have gone to a Republican candidate. However, the vast majority of people in India appear to be undecided about the two candidates. A poll by the Pew Research Center released in June found 28 per cent of Indians had confidence in Hillary Clinton’s ability to handle world affairs while 16 per cent did not. Meanwhile, only 14 per cent had confidence in Trump in contrast to 18 per cent who did not. The Indian government has been following political developments in the US closely. But it has wisely chosen not to take sides. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Hillary Clinton (and other presidential aspirants such as Republican Chris Christie and Democrat Martin O’Malley) during his 2014 visit to the United States, he opted not to meet formally with either campaign during his last visit earlier this year. However, in an engagement with think-tank leaders in Washington, Modi met with individuals close to both campaigns. The election of a US president is ultimately up to the American electorate, and India will have to deal confidently with whoever comes to power next. Dhruva Jaishankar is Fellow for Foreign Policy at Brookings India

TRUMP’S AMBIGUOUS REMARKS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL LARGELY CONFORM TO THE AMBIVALENT APPROACH THE US HAS TOWARDS SOUTH ASIA


T TREND

POKEMANIA

IT’S THE REAL THING: POKÉ Not officially maybe, but the app’s come to India, heralding our tryst with AR By Neha Mathews

wo weeks ago, Soumya Iyer, a 23-year-old based in Pune, found herself playing Pokémon GO, and having to explain to her mother her obsession with the mobile game. A few days later, her mother, Manisha Iyer, 49, downloaded the app. “I only started playing because I wanted to know what the hype was about. Later, I just wanted to beat Soumya and annoy her by getting more and better Pokémon,” she says. On the day I spoke to Soumya, she told me how her mother was now making her brother walk around and collect Pokémon while she took her afternoon nap. The perks of parenthood are rare, but rewarding. In 2003, Japanese anime show Pokémon swept in every Indian child with access to TV, their eager faces glued to Cartoon Network for half an hour every day. The comingof-age show was oddly compelling, featuring an underdog hero—a 10-year-old boy who goes on a journey to collect and train pocket monsters and forges strong friendships with fellow trainers and his own Pokémon. As the Pokémon craze took over the country, brands didn’t take long to start milking the opportunity, offering free Pokémon memorabilia with their products. One such was Frito-Lay (a division of PepsiCo, owned by Hindustan Unilever), which concealed a Pokémon Tazo in each pack of Cheetos and Uncle Chipps, much to the ire of mums who found themselves making daily stops at the kirana store. While the hype died down, it left behind a strong and faithful cult of fans, most of them currently in their 20s. It was hardly a surprise when Pokémania hit the country again, this time in the form of the location-based AR (augmented reality) mobile game, Pokémon GO. Relying on a user’s camera and GPS, it allows you to explore your area, catching Pokémon in your immediate surroundings and


Illustration by ANIRBAN GHOSH

eventually training them and battling other users’ Pokémon. First released in a few countries on July 7 by the US-based software development company Niantic, Inc., the game hasn’t yet been launched officially in India. Android users have downloaded it through an APK file which allows access to apps not available on Google Playstore. The numbers associated with the game are overwhelming. According to online magazine TechCrunch, Apple announced that the game, in its first week, had got more downloads than any other app in the App Store. According to data available on SimilarWeb, an information technology company, India is fourth on the list of countries with the most APK downloads. Shortly after the game’s launch, Nintendo shares skyrocketed and were the highest they’ve been since 1983. It was a hilariously short-lived phenomenon; the shares plummeted again when investors realised Nintendo didn’t actually manufacture the game (they announced they owned 32 per cent of The Pokémon Company, which created the game in collaboration with Niantic). These numbers make sense when you understand the initial appeal of Pokémon GO. The simplicity of the rewardbased game partly explains its immense popularity. One doesn’t even need familiarity with the Pokémon series. It’s also the first time the country has collectively experienced AR gaming at such a level, with players marvelling at Pokémon superimposed on the real world. More than anything, the game has managed to get a generation of ‘screen addicts’ out and about in their mission to “catch ’em all”. Take it with a pinch of salt when you hear someone go on about the health benefits of the game; more than usually you’ll spot players cruising on bikes and cars to get as many Pokémon in as little time as possible. Features include PokéStops, for players to collect

paraphernalia such as Poké Balls and potions, and Pokémon gyms, where players from different teams battle each other in gang-war style to gain experience points and help their teams take over gyms. PokéStops and gyms are usually located in places of interest (mapped by players of Niantic’s previous AR release Ingress and repurposed for Pokémon GO) leading to baffled bystanders watching crowds of players flocking to temples and cemeteries on an hourly basis. However, there is also a disparity in access since areas in Tier-I cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have PokéStops and gyms every 500 metres or so, but Indore is struggling with three gyms overall. Understandable, given how these markers depend on the popularity of Ingress in each area. “I found a Japanese restaurant on my first Pokéwalk and later found that there’s a musical fountain in my area,” says Mumbai-based Niha Patil, 24, elaborating on how the game has helped her explore her area. Aside from the new perspective the game can give you, it’s also led to players socialising with each other. In fact, players running around or stationed at a PokéStop, waiting for their phone to vibrate (signalling that a Pokémon has been spotted) while exchanging sheepish grins with their fellow players, has become a common sight.“I ducked into a restaurant when I was caught in a downpour midway through Pokémon hunting and I ended up befriending a couple of people at the next table when we started talking Pokémon GO,” recalls Nahim Abdullah, a 27-year-old Mumbai-based writer. Businesses have been quick to recognise the potential of the craze. Restaurants and stores in the US took full advantage of the Lure Module (a device that attracts hordes of Pokémon to a PokéStop and allows every player in the vicinity to catch them, usually for 30 minutes or more, for a few PokéCoins) to, well, lure consumers into their stores.


INSIDE K ASIF

TREND

POKÉMANIA

36

The Real Thing: Poké

As India goes wild over its first AR experience, a look at the numbers the game has been raking in

PROFILE

ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER

40

The Past Master

Director Ashutosh Gowariker’s latest take on historical fiction, Mohenjo Daro, will have his usual, elaborate accoutrements

POKÉWALK FEVER

The lingo of movers and catchers, explained

COVER STORY

1 POKÉWALK/ 2 POKÉDATES 3 POKÉCOINS DALITS POKÉHUNT A dating The in-app Players embarksite created currency that ing on a walk to by Project can be used catch Pokémon Fixup, where to buy paraand battle at players can phernalia and gyms. Also the be matched ultimately sponPolitical parties might be wooing them for their votes but only reason why and go on sor a Niantic, below the surface the prejudices lie intact, resulting in your child leaves a Pokéhunt Inc. investor’s constant upper caste backlash the house together Caribbean cruise

10

The Dalit Trap

4 TEAM VALOUR/ TEAM MYSTIC/ TEAM INSTINCT Competing teams that a player must choose from and the reason why modernday friendships and relationships are falling apart

5 POKÉPAIN The heartache of an adult when their phone vibrates and it’s a Tinder match, not a new Pokémon

Illustration by ANIRBAN GHOSH

6

BIG STORY

GLASS HOUSE

NEW ARMS UPFRONT incident where he encounBengaluru-based startup Bhukkad, in addition to creat- Meet Bhatt, 24, narrates a9recent ing physical maps of all the PokéStops and gyms in their tered a group of policemen rushing frantically past him and 50 GLOSSARY area, also created a Facebook event inviting players to their assumed there was trouble somewhere. “They returned 52 EYECATCHERS one’—they were apparently Bhukkad Pokécorner. “We created a lure module for six saying ‘we could only catch hours at a Pokestop near Bhukkad. Anybody who caught a trying to catch Pokemons!” he laughs. While it’s hard to tell whether the craze will last or not, Pokémon discounts. With every An overhaulgot of the Arms Rules pulls the purchase you also got a Cover by pause in activities till the trigger onaindividual acquisition of won guns,the maximum votes got there are signs of an indefinite vote for team. The team that SINGH NILANJAN DAS while making forof the private in India, the dateAND for which hasn’t discounts forit easier the rest the week,” Bhukkad founder Aruj official launch of the appBANDEEP industry to supply to police Garg, 26, explained. The marketing tactic elicited great been announced yet. On July 22, Twitter and Facebook response, with Bhukkad getting a 10x return on the money went into a tizzy with players in Chennai, Kolkata and NATION Page: 54-55 Bengaluru anxiously wondering why all elements of the they invested in the exercise. SIDHU But all is not hunky dory in the blue-green world of game had disappeared. This remains unchanged till date, NATION Pokémon GO. Since Indian players have downloaded un- leading most to believe that a geo-block has been put in JAMTARA official files, existing servers are under strain, resulting in place, much like the one in Japan before the official release the app crashing every few hours. Some players have even of the game in the country. There are doubts about whetherNavjot the hype criticised the game for its lack of complexity. Ex-cricketer-turned-neta Singhof the game will persist if the release date is delayed forthat too long, but there is no denying the massive Authorities complain of having to deal players Sidhuwith may just be the power boost AAP needs to take Punjab in next year’s impact Pokémon GO has had in and on India. It’s bringintruding on private properties, breaking into restricted A small district in northeastern are the party’s steady Jharkhand becomes ing in ahands new era of augmented reality and gaming and areas, ‘loitering’ inan theunlikely middle of the nightpolls. and But even driving pass the mantle? hub for cybercrimes India could have several positive effects, if played sensibly, which callously. But wheninthey cannot beat themready at thetogame, they sometimes join them. Ahmedabad-based web developer seems like a very optimistic notion somehow. n

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ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER

PROFILE

A PAST MAST Creator of marathon epics that mix fact and fiction, Gowariker’s new film goes back to an even more ancient civilisation By Suhani Singh

DANESH JASSAWALA

A

shutosh Gowariker doesn’t budge. He can be as resolute as Bhuvan, Mohan and Akbar, his reel heroes. Ask his wife, producer Sunita. For Jodhaa Akbar (2008), the filmmaker refused to entertain her and art director Nitin Desai’s request that the walls of the set for Agra Fort be brought down from the original 70 to 45 feet, given the budget constraints. After all, who’d notice if they measured the same? Gowariker would. For his fourth period film, Mohenjo Daro, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker of Lagaan (2001) rejected the idea that the set for the citadel of the ancient civilisation be constructed in Mumbai. Gowariker argued that the colour of sky in Bhuj, where the film was eventually shot for six months, would be different from that of the metropolis. But would the audience notice the colour of the sky? Gowariker would. “It can be annoying,” laughs Sunita, who has controlled the budgets of all his films since Swades (2004). “He doesn’t compromise on his craft. He doesn’t cheat himself and his audience. Of course, any producer would want a film to be made with less money. I keep telling him, ‘Oh my God! Not again. Why can’t you think normal?’ But I know he enjoys creating another world.” Mohenjo Daro sees Gowariker, 52, return to his favourite genre, historical fiction, after two back-to-back flops—What’s Your Raashee? (2009) and Khelein Hum

ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER

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ER

Jee Jaan Sey (2010). A lot’s at stake, more so since Mohenjo Daro has a few parallels with the film that catapulted Gowariker to fame. Like Lagaan, the most successful of the eight films Gowariker has made in a directorial career spanning 23 years, Mohenjo Daro was shot in the sweltering heat of Bhuj, features a new female actor (Pooja Hegde), has music by A.R. Rahman and will be screened at the Locarno International Film Festival. Will it be as successful as the Aamir Khanstarrer which had audiences off their seats rooting for Team India? That we’ll know only after August 12. What we do know going by Mohenjo Daro’s trailer is that it demonstrates Gowariker’s unflinching love for a big canvas, and a desire to not just come up with inspiring characters, but also rebuild eras. Audiences who whine about his protracted films—“If you name a gif Ashutosh Gowariker, even that will go on for about three hours,” tweeted Avinash Iyer, a social media/community manager at Tickled Media, recently—don’t perturb him. “For me, the length is determined by the genre,” he says, sitting in his Khar office. If Gowariker and his team have spent three years on a project, surely audiences can set aside 2 hours and 30 minutes—the duration of Mohenjo Daro? History wasn’t even Gowariker’s favourite subject in school. “I used to

city in Kutch, Gujarat. He wondered why there were enough Hollywood films on ancient civilisations and next to none here on our own ancestors. “Someday,” he said. Fifteen years later, he was on it. That meant devouring the works of Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, a US archaeologist and an expert on the Indus Valley civilisation. Gowariker flew in Kenoyer along with five Indian archaeologists who have worked on Dholavira and other sites, and shared his vision with them. Kenoyer later came to Bhuj to see the sets and props. “I like to secure myself with knowledge from historians because without that I don’t have the conviction to make the movie,” says Gowariker. Despite being behind two of the most popular films of the 21st century in Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar, Gowariker, after all these years in the film industry, still feels like an outsider. He did not go to film school, and does not come from a filmmaking family. His father, Ashok, was a police officer who had a penchant for films. You don’t see him on the party circuit and neither is he on Facebook or Twitter. “If I am able to answer your SMS within six hours, it is a big achievement,” he says, adding though that “I’m not a recluse. I’m a fun guy.” His journey in filmmaking started in front of the cameras—first as a model, then as an actor, working with new-wave directors like Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah, Ketan Mehta

5 THINGS TO EXPECT FROM A GOWARIKER FILM LARGER THAN LIFE It is never short on scale, be it in number of extras or size of the sets

NEWBIE ZONE A newcomer who gets his/ her moment in the spotlight

OVER TWO HOURS LONG A running time that goes beyond 140 minutes

get bored remembering dates,” he says. Instead, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mithibai College, Mumbai, where he also met his wife while participating in an intercollege folk dance competition. “I’m compensating for my lack of interest now,” he laughs. “It’s just a beautiful coincidence.” While scouting locations for Lagaan in 1999, he was given a walkthrough of Dholavira, the archaeological site containing remnants of a Harappan

MESSAGE FOR THE MASSES A socially relevant message is a must

DRAMA There is always a grand finale costing a lot of money

and Amol Palekar. “I have subconsciously imbibed a lot from them,” he says. He may be as ambitious as the legendary Cecil B. DeMille, but he identifies more with David Lean, Akira Kurosawa and Steven Spielberg. “I crave the immense control they have on the art of storytelling,” he says. “Some day, I’ll make a film which has that control.” In Indian history he has a treasure trove of stories he can revisit for it. Follow the writer on Twitter @Suhani84

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Photograph by SHUTTER STOCK

LEISURE

BOOKS

HIMALAYAN BOUNDER

Hoary stereotypes and exaggeration make a molehill of the mountains By Emmanuel Theophilus

N

ice title, I thought. Walking the Himalayas. Except for the unnecessary pluralising. Seemed reminiscent of Running the Himalayas, an account of an astounding adventure by cousins Richard and Adrian Crane over 30 years ago. The kind of understatement you’d expect from a sporting adventurer. I had already read accounts of three of the four other well-known treks traversing the Himalaya from as far back

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as 1980, and had been involved in supporting a women’s traverse of the Himalaya in 1997. I, therefore, cracked the book open eagerly. Wood doesn’t take us to the beginning of his walk till the sixth chapter, by when we are already about a third of the way through the book’s 18 chapters; the previous five being a near-stalling preamble. A touristy visit to Nepal, and two entire chapters in London, where Wood tells us, among other things, of his ‘tours’ with the British Parachute Regiment to war-ravaged Afghanistan. How he “…relished the experience of living life on the edge. The danger, the unknown and total immersion of being alert 24/7, constantly on the lookout for the enemy and roadside bombs…”, and how regrettably, he could not get enough of it. For him and his fellow infantry soldiers, he confides, “… it was the best time of their lives”. Pushing away images in my head of the ‘enemy’ in Afghanistan, of children mostly, in the aftermath of the bombing of cities, I want to believe that Wood is only gesturing to his preference for a ‘life on the edge’, giving us a clue really, to the choice of route and manner of undertaking his will be. A surprise, then, when he says: “I decided that the aims of this expedition wouldn’t be to climb mountains, or to try and break any records, or even to cover as much ground as possible, but instead to use this opportunity to explore, on foot, the valleys and foothills that were


Walking the Himalayas Levison Wood Hodder and Stoughton Pages 336 Price Rs 430

inhabited by the various communities and tribes that call the Himalayas their home.” What lay ahead, though, he warns, is “insurgency in Afghanistan, landslides in Kashmir, Maoists in Nepal, grizzly predators throughout, and that’s without the heavy rains of the monsoon; rabid dogs; rabid monkeys; rabid bureaucrats and a host of equally terrible ways to meet your end: leeches, scorpions, hypothermia, snakes, spiders, leprosy, leishmaniasis, malaria, typhoid, altitude sickness, avalanches, dysentery, bad roads, worse brakes, and terrible drivers”. He has just returned from the Nile, he tells us, “being swarmed by mosquitoes, eaten alive by tsetse, sleeping among roadside filth, and being chased by dogs, rats and crocodiles.” Clearly, understatement is not Wood’s style. While on the road, Wood tells us he is walking on “some of the most dangerous roads on the planet”—mostly on international, national and state highways, and some smaller gravel-topped ones as well. My guess, from looking at various maps, because Wood remains vague on this, is that walking on such roads may have accounted for about 70 per cent of his chosen route. He is happy walking on tarmac, “where we didn’t have to watch our step all the time, and there was less risk of spraining an ankle or stepping on a cobra”. Sure enough, the most dangerous thing Wood does during the trip is a taxi ride, from which he barely makes it out alive. At

least 500 kilometres of Wood’s walk are on highways on the Gangetic plain in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. He chose to completely bypass the mountains of the entire states of Uttarakhand and Sikkim, and makes no mention of why. Wood’s telling of his eventful taxi ride, though, is in my view, the best written part of his book. It’s honest and engaging. Which is more than I could say for much of the rest. What comes across most often is the dread and foreboding with which he seems to have undertaken this journey. And he works quite hard at trying to rub it off on the reader. Wood’s descriptions of places and conditions he travelled in are dull and summary. “For days we walked into the setting sun, sometimes it was hot, sometimes it rained, sometimes it was freezing.” Perhaps he was walking with a rear view mirror, because he was actually travelling East. It gets worse. Mountains are unremorseful, rats roam unmolested, and pigs are the size of ponies. It is with a dingy pair of spectacles that he views almost anyone he meets along the way. Filthy is Wood’s favourite adjective, whether he is describing people or paddy fields. It is hard to miss the meanness in his patronising descriptions of all three guides who walked him across from Afghanistan to Bhutan. If you are wondering why I have been so unforgiving, it is because of Wood’s constant orientalising and his contemptuous words on political strife he encountered en route, be it the struggle for democracy in Nepal or the war in Afghanistan. He quotes words of other people, but leaves them unqualified. For example, he invites us to snigger with a mercenary security contractor’s take on as desperate a measure as suicide bombing in Afghanistan: “The bastards have a fancy last meal, usually bag off with some Chinese pro and get themselves a good night’s sleep before getting strapped up at first light. They say their prayers and then boom! It’s off to Allah and their seventy-two virgins, right outside the American Embassy.” So who is this book written for? Certainly not for anyone who has lived in, or has already travelled in, the Himalaya. His exaggeration is untenable. If I were one of the many people who plan to walk across the Himalaya, even in segments, I would find no useful information. There is no detail on routes taken, distances walked, loads carried, or restocking possibilities, for instance. I would, instead, have to deal with a load of misinformation. On the physical delineation of the Himalaya, and on the people, even the animals there. What is now known as the Great Himalaya Trail, on the lines of the Appalachian Trail or the Trans Canada Trail, has been drawn up and walked by numerous trekkers over the past five years. As of only last year, however, Wood says he could not go because Tibet is closed to foreigners, and that Bhutan is “a mysterious blank on the map, a place only whispered about—isolated by its mountains and a monarchy resistant to change”. For more than a decade now, I’ve seen both Tibet and Bhutan awash with international tourists, and commercially guided treks across the Himalaya have been advertised in Wood’s England since 2010. What is it about selfprofessed explorers and some present-day Royal Geographic Society wallahs? Must every place they set fearful foot on still be cast as terra incognita? n

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LEISURE

BOOKS

BARBARIANS AT THE GATE Asking that vital question: who will defend the wild?

and greed, that even when an environmental investigation provokes a political or official response, things go back to the way they were as soon as the public eye has moved Think about this: Veerappan and his on—and it moves on very soon. dacoits killed so many elephants for ivory, There are some hopeful stories. The tribals in the that it triggered a genetic response in the Niyamgiri hills successfully protested against giving the elephant population: the average weight land to the mining lobby. The Soligas in the Biligiri Ranga of the animals’ tusks dropped by half, and Hills area fought to retain their status as forest dwellers the number of makhna calves—males The Age of Endlings whose traditional community conservation preserves the born without tusks—rose sharply. Jay Mazoomdaar sanctuary. We have hopefully learned a lesson about not That’s the kind of hair-raising index HarperLitmus relocating big cats to repopulate sanctuaries without first of ecological sensitivity, and depredaPages 288 checking their DNA. tion, liberally strewn around journalist Price Rs 399 But these are the rare wins in Indian conservation’s starJay Mazoomdaar’s essays in The Age of crossed fate. Mazoomdaar’s essays are a woeful record of Endlings. The collection is based on a unbelievable incompetence, venality and irreconcilable decade of investigative reporting focused difference. Some of the stories of official and political medon the Indian wilderness and the systems that are supdling in conservation leave you holding your head in your posed to protect it. That already makes it an unusual work hands—notably the disastrous attempt to reintroduce nonin a country where environmental concerns are rapidly indigenous species of cheetah instead of following through losing purchase on the priority lists of both government on the planned and sensible nurturing of the Gir lion. policy and media attention. Huge swathes of wilderness are vulnerable to the actions Mazoomdaar goes on a range of fascinating journeys, of rebels (e.g. Maoists, Bodos etc.) and security forces whether on the hunt for a legendary venom-breathing who play out their conflict at the cost of precious forest snake in Rajasthan, through cropland tracking a tigress and wildlife. on foot, or into government records An ‘endling’ is the last indithat show baffling data on forest Illustration by ANIRBAN GHOSH vidual of a species. Mazoomdaar cover. The essays, divided into two writes, in his introduction, that sections called ‘Explorations’ and ‘man-made’ endlings constitute “a ‘Investigations’, throw light on the journey fuelled by human thoughtrichness of the Indian wild, and the lessness”. He says, “Indeed, man colossal challenges it faces. may well learn to survive in a This is not a set of lyrical travelself-serving order with only a ogues describing the beauty of a doe handful of farmed species necin a forest sunrise. It’s a cold-eyed essary for consumption. But it is look at the science, the contentious still too early to resign to the conissues, and the dreary bureaucracy ceit and loneliness of that destiny. tied into conservation. How are we Those who believe in a shared counting our tigers? Is it ethical to future value it not only for mutual cull animals? How do you deal with sustenance but also for the infihuman-animal conflict? What’s the nitely diverse possibilities that difference between animal welfare coexistence promises.” and conservation? How much do The Age of Endlings is a bid to our rules help the wild? Should we re-invest in the idea of a shared be playing god? Why are our sancfuture before that window of tuaries being emptied? How do you THE ESSAYS ARE A WOEFUL possibility closes for good. It is a resolve the contest between roads RECORD OF UNBELIEVABLE profoundly upsetting read, and for and animal corridors? that reason, an important one. It None of the answers to these INCOMPETENCE, VENALITY AND defends the idea, as too few peoquestions is pretty. Mazoomdaar IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCE ple do, that the wilderness is more paints the picture of a country so than a profit waiting to be turned. n beset by official apathy, corruption,

By Mitali Saran

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INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016


NET FLUX

by LAKSHMI KUMARASWAMI app ats h W

GAME OF PHONES

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New app on the block Pokemon Go has been stealing the shine of other apps in terms of time spent

book Face senger Mes

12

(Figures in minutes)

Snapchat

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web win

The Real Hero Over 125,000 liked a Facebook post by Chennai model Vasanth Paul who claimed he saved a woman from rape. Returning after seeing the first day, first show of Kabali, Paul heard a woman’s cries for help and ran to her aid. Only to have the attackers turn on him. The woman escaped and, fortunately, an auto driver was on hand to save Paul

Instag ram

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Graphic by TANMOY CHAKRABORTY

instachatter

web wow

Cena Bleeds Blue

SRK the Poet

WWE star John Cena Instagramming a Virat Kohli pic with the words ‘Bleed Blue’ had fans befuddled. Only connect: he’s in WWE’s SmackDown, also awash in blue

Shah Rukh Khan, who recently admitted to neglecting his writerly side, shared his poem at a book launch. Titled Fight Like a Girl, the poem, he said, was inspired by One Direction’s Zayn Malik

viral video

Over a million watched DJ Madeon’s mash-up of scenes from every Disney film since 1989 twitter tattle

Quoting Michelle Donald Trump’s wife Melania has been at the receiving end of hilarious memes after her speech at the Republican National Convention, parts of which were obviously lifted from First Lady Michelle Obama’s in 2008

what’s new

App Alert

web lol

Mukesh Chandler Bing

A Google Doodle celebrating singer Mukesh’s 93rd birth anniversary trended on Twitter and Facebook, but not for the legendary singer’s vocal prowess. Many thought the sketch of the handsome singer was of Friends character Chandler Bing played by Matthew Perry, setting off a spate of comparisons between the stars

Tinycards creates lessons with flashcards on any subject

Swiftmoji predicts the emoji you’ll want to use on your phone

Over 12 million enjoyed Jon Stewart’s return to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to slam Trump

Celine Dion’s impersonation of Cher and Sia on Jimmy Fallon’s show had 9 million in splits Follow the writer on Twitter @lkummi AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

45


SYED HAIDER RAZA | 1922-2016

BINDU. PERIOD

From landscapes to modernism to iconic geometry and always a mastery of colour, a legendary Indian painter passes into the mystic By Gayatri Sinha

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INDIA TODAY u AUGUST 8, 2016


OBITUARY

Raza made a throwback to the Mughal period, creating jewel-like water colours, with the pigment rubbed in with a shell

Photograph by BANDEEP SINGH

T

he first generation of Indian modernists not only dominated Indian art for the last six dec­ ades, they were also unusu­ ally long­lived and influential. With the passing of Syed Haider Raza in New Delhi on July 24 at the age of 94, another citadel has fallen. Raza, a graduate of Bombay’s JJ School of Art, had founded the Progressive Artists’ Group in 1947 with M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, H.A. Gade, S. Bakre and K.H. Ara. Coming mid­century and post­Independence,

this motley group—including a Dalit, a Goan Christian and two Muslims—has come to represent some of the finest values of modernity in a newly minted nation. In their expansive careers, the modernists have been both vilified and celebrated, but most importantly, their work has endured the vicissitudes of the Indian art scene. Raza was at the forefront of a concerted push towards modernity. Born in 1922 in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, he was the son of a

forest ranger and grew up close to the elements of nature his paintings came to celebrate. His carefully crafted career was to become a beacon for at least two generations of artists. When his family chose to migrate to Pakistan during Partition, Raza stayed on. At the time, his Kashmir landscapes set the tone for his forthcoming engage­ ment with the School of Paris. He trav­ elled to the French capital in 1950, in pursuit of the modernity the PAG so passionately sought. In the early years, the group continued its close rapport. Krishen Khanna speaks of the first exhibition Raza, Akbar Padamsee and F.N. Souza mounted together at the Gallery Cruz in Paris. “Souza and Padamsee painted in a quasi­mod­ ern fashion. Raza, however, made a throwback to the Mughal period, cre­ ating jewel­like water colours, with the pigment rubbed in with a shell. He was vastly successful and acquired by important collectors.” During his early years in Paris, Raza began to paint very distinctive, unpeop­ led cities with silent echoes, dominated by a black sun. With Haut de Cagnes (1951), the burning landscape with fra­ gile homes, he announced his growing mastery. In 1956, he was awarded the prestigious Prix de la Critique; it was a signal moment for the small but sig­ nificant art scene in India. Settling in Paris, offering advice and hospitality to Husain, Ram Kumar, Krishen Kha­ nna and a generation of younger art­ ists, Raza from the ’50s signalled the

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OBITUARY

INSIDE TREND

My Friend Raza

POKÉMANIA

I

met him in 1950 at an AIFACS exhibition held near Parliament Street—of land­ scapes he painted in Kashmir. I was young then, juggling paint­ ing with my economics course. I admired his work and had an interesting conversation, so I invited him over for a meal. My father was a government official and we lived on Kushak Road. We talked for ages and he went to sleep in the garden. My father found him smoking on the lawn at 4 am and asked who he was. Raza tried hard to get a schol­ arship from the French. He was very engrossed in his work and had no diversions—no films or music, only painting. success of the Indian artist with an In 1959, I had anCOVER exhibition in STORY international reputation. Prague and went to Paris to meet By the late ’60s, early ’70s, DALITS Raza’s him. He was living in a derelict painterly style rested on the building, part of which had been successful integration of cultures and styles, where his native Mandla merged with his chosen home in the RAM KUMAR village of Gorbioin in France, trans­ lating on canvas as Indian tantric Political parties might be wooing them for their votes but blended with below the surface the prejudices lie symbols intact, resulting in an internatio­ nal geometric abstraction. constant upper caste backlash The story behind this synthesis Illustration ANIRBAN GHOSH is apocryphal. As by a boy in Mandla, a teacher taught him to concen­ BIG STORY trate on his studies by focusing on a NEW ARMS He introduced me to condemned. dot on the wall. Years later, the dot his landlord, who was sceptical of was to expand as the cosmic black whether I would move out when sun and then the Bindu. The flow­ the demolition began but Raza ing, tensile strokes of his abstract won him over. He suggested we painting, inspired by Russian paint­ run a joint kitchen. This meant I er Nicholas de Stael in the initial An overhaul of the Arms Rules pulls the cooked, he cleaned and weofspent years, made way for the circle, the trigger on individual acquisition guns, themaking money we saved onprivate wine. square and descending triangle, a while it easier for the industry to supply police One day, to we were told an language suited to both the inspira­ American collector was coming, tions he paid homage to. It is an end­ NATION possibly looking to buy a paint­ lessly renewable language, with the SIDHU ing. Raza had better chances Bindu manifesting as plastic form NATION than me—he had already won to signify a vast poetics of scale and JAMTARA the Prix de la Critique in 1956. symbol, from seed to cosmos. “His The American came and did sense of composition was immacu­ ask for Raza but my friend had late. Without saying so, he was truly Ex-cricketer-turned-neta Navjot Singh gone for a walk that lasted the a son this country,” says that Krishen Sidhu mayof just be the power boost whole day. And so I managed to Khanna, a close friend and fellow AAP needs to take Punjab in next year’s A small district in northeastern sell a painting. associate ofparty’s the Progressive artists. polls. But are the steady hands Jharkhand becomes an unlikely the ’90s, Raza’s ima­ ready toThrough pass the mantle? hub for cybercrimes in India Ram Kumar gery came to be more and more

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The Real Thing: Poké

As India goes wild over its first AR experience, a look at the numbers the game has been raking in

PROFILE

ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER

His sense of composition The was Past immaculate. Without sayingMaster so, he Gowariker’s was truly a son ofDirector this Ashutosh country latest take on historical fiction,

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Sherry’s Got an AAP

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Mohenjo Daro, will have his usual, elaborate accoutrements

rooted in the land of his birth. With the circle/sun, the square and the tri­ angle as basic principles, he moved to the Mandala, Kundalini or Naad, the use of poetry and text set against the blazing colours he so admired from Indian painting allowed each work to stand like a field of energy. Working with a fast­drying medium like acrylic, he was a highly produc­ tive painter. Raza was awarded the Kalidas Samman in 1997 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2013. Raza’s 60­year Paris interlude 6 followed GLASS HOUSE was by his return to India, after wife Janine’s death. As an 9 UPFRONT octogenarian, the artist now rea­ 50 beyond GLOSSARY ched himself, much like the ever­widening concentric circles of 52 EYECATCHERS his paintings. In this last decade, a visitor to Raza Foundation would have spotted him seated before his Cover by easel, the outlines of the sun trem­ BANDEEP SINGH AND NILANJAN DAS ulous but still consistent. In these years, Raza had stepped beyond Page: 54-55 his own practice to institute the Raza Foundation (2001). Steered by eminent poet Ashok Vajpeyi, it is the only such initiative by an artist that supports thinkers, artists and writers in the public domain. Raza’s lasting influence on abstraction as practised by a younger crop of art­ ists from MP is another aspect of his legacy, and may well prove to be the most enduring.

AUGUST 8, 2016 u INDIA TODAY

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GLOSSARY by DAMAYANTI DATTA

the meatless move 10 REASONS WHY VEGETARIANISM IS SUDDENLY IN THE NEWS (AND NOT WHY YOU’VE

TALLY HO! LONDON Come July 29-31 and all eyes will be on London, where actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Virgin boss Richard Branson will join RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on stage to spread the “anti-beef” (actually antimeat) message. Why? It’s the golden jubilee of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh in the UK

NO-MEAT MINISTER GREENS DIPLOMACY PM Narendra Modi’s veggie bonding in foreign climes continues. In Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto took him on a night out to try the local roots and shoots delicacies. “Bonding over bean tacos,” said an official tweet

Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma is launching courses in veggie cooking at hotel management institutes after an online petition with 3,900 signatories from “students coming from vegetarian families”

OLYMPIC VEGETARIANS Can elite athletes reach their top form on a plant diet? Check out some of the stars at Rio Olympics 2016 who have done just that Kendrick Farris, threetime Olympian weightlifter Lizzie Armitstead, from the US current track and road racing world champion, UK, is a favourite for gold

Australian sprinter Morgan Mitchell is now a vegan

Swiss tennis star Martina Hingis is teaming up with Federer for Rio

April Ross, US volleyball player, is on a plant-based diet for Rio

Once a fan of horsemeat, weightlifter Ilya Ilyin of Kazakhstan is now a diehard vegetarian

Illustration by ANIRBAN GHOSH


ment BEEN TOLD)

BE A FLEXITARIAN It's “vegetarianism with a li’l cheating” but the world is embracing the new flexitarianism. What’s that? That’s when a person normally has a meatless diet, but occasionally has a little meat or fish. With some 22.8 million Americans gone flexitarian, it’s one of the biggest health buzzwords today

ONE FOR THE BOOKER A woman gives up eating meat, and her family life turns into hell. South Korean author Han Kang won the Man Booker International Prize for her novel, The Vegetarian

HEALTH SCARE Environmentalists have been crying themselves hoarse for a while that the livestock industry is one of the largest generators of greenhouse gases. Then, in February, the WHO sounded the warning that red and processed meat can cause cancer. Last month, Harvard nutritionists published a report saying that people who follow a plant-based diet, low in animal-based foods, have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

GO ALTERNATIVE

Meat consumption is declining across the world. Nearly half the British population is cutting back on meat or is already vegetarian, while in the US, meat consumption per person has fallen 15 per cent in the past 10 years. The trend now is high-quality meat alternatives

VEGGIE BURGER MOMENT A veggie burger renaissance is on in America. While the Superiority Burger in New York’s East Village has achieved “gourmet status” (The New Yorker), a 2015 survey says 25 per cent Americans have meatless burgers on the menu more than once every month

REPUBLIC OF CHICKEN The biggest surprise—

71% of India is non-vegetarian, reports the Registrar General of India in a survey released last month. The NSSO as well as the UN have pointed out that per capita consumption of chicken and fish has outpaced consumption of wheat, rice and sugar. What’s more, India has become the fourth-fastest growing market for chicken


EYECATCHERS

Good week SALMAN KHAN Can rest easy after getting the all-clear from the Rajasthan High Court in two poaching cases

HAPPY TWOGETHER Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh put on quite a show as they danced (on tables!) to Badtameez dil and Jumma chumma de de at a birthday bash in Mumbai. Their groovy groov­ ing ended all speculation of rivalry and started a campaign for being cast together in a film.

Bad week SUNNY LEONE In trouble for singing the Indian national anthem incorrectly during Pro Kabaddi

BIG SCREEN TURN Best known for TV soap Meri Aashiqui Tum Se Hi, Radhika Madan will make her filmi debut opposite actress Bhagyashree’s son Abhimanyu Dasani. Vasan Bala directs the two in the Phantom­backed film.

IN HER OWN SKIN

Top Spin Commissioned by Dance Umbrella, Aditi Mangaldas takes her contempo­ rary Kathak work Inter_rupted to Ger­ many, London, but Mumbai gets to see it first, on August 6.

Unlike her compatriots, Pakistani actress Momal Sheikh gets to play a Pakistani in her Bollywood debut, Happy Bhag Jayegi. It isn’t a leading part but it does see her help Happy (Diana Penty) pick her life partner. Dad Javed Sheikh’s in the film too. n

52

Compiled by Suhani Singh Follow the writer on Twitter @suhani84

Volume XLI Number 32; For the week August 2-8, 2016, published on every Friday Total number of pages 68 (including cover pages)


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ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

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INTERIORS GURU TOM DIXON ON THE FUTURE OF DESIGN

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CITY’S COOLEST HANGOUTS FOR COLLEGE GOERS SALEEM, SHOP MANAGER, WISE GUY

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Editor-in-Chief: Aroon Purie Group Editorial Director: Raj Chengappa Editor (Special Projects) Kaveree Bamzai Deputy Editor: Prachi Bhuchar Senior Associate Editor: Chumki Bharadwaj Principal Correspondent: Srishti Jha Photo Researchers: Prabhakar Tiwari and

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Volume 12 Number 8; August, 2016 Copyright Living Media India Ltd. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited.

One of America’s most famous graphic artists Paul Rand changed the way the world views beauty and was of the opinion that, “Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” There is almost no aspect of our lives that remains untouched by design in all its glory. From seemingly innocuous products of everyday use that are ergonomic, aesthetic without trying too hard and beautiful in that they accomplish their purpose and also please the eye, it is evident that the culture of well-designed things is here to stay. Our design special attempts to separate the mechanical from the mundane and uses filters to present to you the many faces of design. Our cover story profiles British designer Tom Dixon who specialises in lights, furniture and accessories and has revolutionised the way these inanimate objects reflect and shape our culture and the spaces we inhabit. He shares his vision for a beautiful world and talks all things design with London-based journalist Jessica Hines. We also have celebrated creative head of brand Christian Lacroix, Sacha Walckhoff trace his design process and test new standards of creativity as he discusses the crossover between fashion and interiors and explains how the brand has been working on reconciling the two very different tracks of design. The Parisian brand is being recreated by the Swiss designer who is respected the world over for his innovative, deeply personal style. And we travel from the world of interiors to that of auto design, which tests form and function on multiple levels to bring you cars that spell unprecedented luxury. We visit the Rolls Royce factory in Goodword, England, where design genius is at its best. Spice also takes time off to parlay with the genius of gems, haute joaillerie brand Bulgari, as they chose the magical province of Krabi, in Thailand, to unveil their 2016, High Jewellery and watch collection. Audacious designs, bold use of colour and a sensibility that simply drips indulgence, the three collections titled Italian Extravaganza, Mediterranean Eden and Roman Heritage matched Krabi’s wonders hue for hue. Design par excellence. Mumbai-based architect and interior designer Pinakin Patel is one of India’s most respected minds and he pens a column on the evolution of his designs, the future of design in India and his aesthetic sensibility. We round up this special issue with a photo feature that celebrates the brilliant worlds of fashion and design. The two take cues from one another to highlight the best the fields have to offer. From animal prints that are favoured by designers on both ends of the spectrum, to colours and textures that are popular in both fashion and interiors, there is a happy amalgamation of good style. Design makes us question the singular, the banal, the expressive, the brilliant. Join us is celebrating its many facets.

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e-mail your letters to: letters.editor@intoday.com

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 01


CONTENTS August 2016

12

SIMPLE PLEASURES

TOM DIXON HOLDS FORTH ON SIMPLICITY IN DESIGN

DESIGN SPECIAL

LIGHT YEARS AHEAD INTERIORS GURU TOM DIXON ON THE FUTURE OF DESIGN

ON THE COVER Tom Dixon COVER IMAGE

HUGH STEWART LOCATION

THE DOCK, LONDON

02 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

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AUGUST 2016


CONTENTS | August 2016 |

18 SHOCK AND AWE PINAKIN PATEL’S DESIGN AESTHETIC UNDERLINES ALL THAT’S LARGER THAN LIFE

PASSION PLAY BULGARI UNVEILS ITS HIGH JEWELLERY COLLECTION IN EXOTIC KRABI

26

22 36 DESIGN ON DEMAND ROLLS ROYCE’S BESPOKE SERVICE IS IN A CLASS BY ITSELF

HAUTE LOCKER FINE DESIGN BLURS THE LINES BETWEEN FASHION AND INTERIORS SAYS SACHA WALCKHOFF, CREATIVE HEAD OF CHRISTIAN LACROIX


CONTENTS | August 2016 |

39 A NEW HIGH GLENFIDDICH PATRONISES A NEW SPIRIT OF ART

30 FASHION MARRIES DECOR TRENDS IN DECOR MIRROR THOSE IN FASHION

42 VALLEY IN BLOOM POETRY RENDERS ART ON CANVAS

01

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

06

HOTSHEET

45

HOTEL

46

LASTLOOK


CONTENTS

CONTRIBUTORS

| August 2016 |

PINAKIN PATEL

SACHA WALCKHOFF

Architect and Interior Designer

Creative Head, Christian Lacroix

Architect, interior designer, furniture and fashion designer, artist and thinker, Pinakin Patel has set benchmarks in creating spaces and furniture that distinctly reflect his own unique sensibility, which has been labelled ‘India Modern’. In 2014, he added yet another discipline of design to his portfolio, namely fashion, and launched his own label called ‘Pinakin Occasion Wear’.

Sacha Walckhoff spent his childhood and teenage years in Switzerland. He met Christian Lacroix in 1992 and became his artistic advisor; their collaboration was to last for 17 years. He became the couturier’s right-hand man in 2002, when he created his own company. When Lacroix left the company in 2009, he was appointed creative director. Since 2010, he has been the designer for the men’s ready-to-wear collections, the eyewear and sunglasses lines, scarves, and leather goods, as well the home décor collections.

CHINKI SINHA Writer

Chinki Sinha is a writer and believes that to write, one must travel and see the world that we inhabit with new eyes. She returned home to India after a post-graduate degree in journalism from Syracuse University and has written for The Indian Express, Elle, Open magazine as well as Al Jazeera. In her latest role, she is employed as Associate Editor at India Today magazine where she writes on art, culture, fashion and anything that takes her fancy.

SANKET UPADHYAY Writer

A political journalist and news broadcaster by day (or night, as the occasion demands), Sanket is an auto junkie who rattles off engine specifications and feature comparisons at the dinner table. Over the years, his not-so-secret affair with cars has turned into a passion. Cars remain his first love and he is always planning his next getaway.

LUCIA SILVESTRI Design Director, Bulgari

Lucia Silvestri was just 18 when she began her career in the Bulgari gemmological department. Before taking on the complex responsibility of acquiring gems, she spent years sorting and selecting semi-precious stones purchased by the Bulgari family. Over the years, Lucia consolidated her autonomy to the point where she was doing what only the Bulgari brothers had done in the past as director of gem acquisitions. In 2013, she realised her lifelong dream by becoming Bulgari’s jewellery creative director.

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 05


HOTSHEET I

WATCH IT Compiled by Nimisha Gautam and Srishti Jha

Exospace B 55 from the Breitling collection at the new Kolkata boutique

The independent Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling presented the latest models in its latest collection titled Breitling and Breitling for Bentley collections at the brand’s swanky new boutique in Kolkata. Designed in a modern and original style highlighting the brand’s aeronautical heritage, the boutique presented an opportunity to explore the Breitling universe. The store showcased contemporary décor combining sober wood, metal and the famous Breitling yellow, not to mention a number of original paintings by New York artist Kevin Kelly along with the sound of Radio Breitling playing an exclusive selection in the company of a subtle air perfume created especially for the brand. All this added to the luxurious experince as you viewed the brand’s new collection. The Breitling for Bentley collection included chronographs equipped with manufacture Breitling movements, along with special limited “Boutique Editions” and the latest models introduced in the 2016 collection such as the Avenger Bandit, Cockpit B50, Galactic 29, Exospace B55, Navitimer 46 Blacksteel, Navitimer 1884 and Superocean 44 Special. For more information, visit the Breitling Boutique, Quest Mall, Kolkata, Tel: 033- 2287 0920

06 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016


HOTSHEET I WOMEN

GLAMOUR GOES GREEN Big is beautiful this season. The white gold haze long finger ring from Stephen Webster crafted with black diamonds on the rim and the regal quartz green agate in the centre is gorgeous and timeless. Feel the power in your fingers. Price On Request Availability www.stephenwebster.com

WILD BEAUTY The fashionable Fendi Dotcom handbag is the new icon of the luxury maison. Ideal for elegant and powerful working women, it has functionality, elegance and style. The hint of animal print is edgy and breaks the formal tone. Created with a uniquely removable pouch, this bag is a much have for those meetings and parties. Price `1,99,950 Availability Fendi Boutique, DLF Emporio, New Delhi

PRINCESS DIARIES We all love fairytales. The beautiful sequins, hint of lace, the delicate structure and charming silhouette of this dress is royally beautiful. An eye catcher for style mavens, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your top evening pick this season. Delicate and bold at once, the concept is inspired by architecture and created with finesse and technique. Pair it with pearls and keep the look minimal. Price $1,031 Availability www.marissacollections.com

LACE IS MORE Beautifully feminine and sensually edgy, these Dior lace pumps add the ultimate touch of glamour and style. The sharp slim heel and the arch of the foot is accentuated for that perfect finish to the look. Get yours. Price On Request Availability Dior Boutique, DLF Emporio, New Delhi


HOTSHEET I JEWELLERY

ART ON YOUR EARS Tradition meets luxury with the touch of handcrafted in the Lavanya collection by Orra jewellery. The conventional gold jewellery encrusted with diamonds and uncut stones, the collection boasts of a range of designs akin to the colourful surprises of life, the aesthetic wonders of the medieval period and promises to fulfill you love for art and heritage. Price On Request Availability All Orra stores across the country

PRETTY IN PINK Victorian jewel patterns continue to steat hearts with elegance and refined craft. The 22-carat yellow gold drop tourmaline earrings from Marie Helene De Taillac created with three shaded pink tourmaline stones of varying size and shape and a hook fastening are truly a delight. The pearl drop effortless effect, the glazing fiery stones and the structure is a real stand-out. Wear them with those block colours and flared drapes that billow. Price $6,964 Availability www.more.com

DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS

ALL THAT GLITTERS A timeless ode to the perceptive art of jewellery design, these delicate earcuffs from Entice jewellery explore work wear accessories that are elegant and minimal. An ode to femininity and its charm, the perfection of this piece steals your heart. Price On Request Availability Entice Boutiques in India

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Single stone statement earrings are the new obsession.This exquisite Medieval pattern is back and is quite a head turner. Sophia 1- pink amethyst drop gold washed wired earrings by Larkspur & Hawk is a beauty. This style was typically adorned in the 18th century in many ways. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bold and beautiful and gives a cuttingedge look to any ensemble. Price $1150 Availability www.larkspurandhawk.com


HOTSHEET I TOP FIVE

1 STRAW SUNHAT YOSUZI WOVEN

Woven from Iraka Palm straw in the labelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signature diagonal pattern, learned from Venezuelan artisans, the Yosuzi hat is decorated with an orange, bright-pink and lime cotton band and finished with playful pompoms. Price $558 Buy from www.net-a-porter.com

MUGLER CAMOUFLAGE BUSTIER 2 THIERRY

Perfect for a monsoon splash, the multicoloured cotton camouflage bustier from Thierry Mugler Vintage has a sweetheart neckline, a concealed fastening and a cropped length. It is the perfect accent for your look this season. Price $617 Buy from www.farfetch.com

1

5Vintage

2

LACROIX VINTAGE STONE HEART 3 CHRISTIAN EARRINGS The vintage heart shape is back in accessories this year. The gold tone and red stone heart earrings from Christian Lacroix Vintage is the right shade of red you need. Old here clearly is gold. Price `25,525 Buy from www.polyvore.com

Delights 3

GO BACK IN TIME THIS MONSOON AND EXPLORE THE BEAUTY OF OLD FAVOURITES

4 5

4

ROMEO GIGLI VINTAGE WRAP MINI SKIRT

The rebellious mini-skirt from the 70s is back in new forms. The blue linen-silk blend wrap mini skirt from Romeo Gigli Vintage sports a high waist and a side invisible zip fastening. Price $286 Buy from www.lyst.com

VINTAGE BEADED FLOWER 5 KENZO OXFORD SHOES

The classic Oxford shoes get a makeover. The black and multicolour canvas and leather beaded flower Oxford shoes from Kenzo Vintage features a lace-up front fastening, contrasting panels, beaded embroidery and a chunky low block heel. Price $390 Buy from www.farfetch.com


HOTSHEET I FASHION

FRAMED FAME Basking in the sun or in the spotlight, Salvatore Ferragamo eyewear seldom disappoints. Our favourite from the new collection features a butterfly-shaped front with gold metal temples finished with acetate tips, lending a sophisticated touch to the entire design. With two layers of acetate in different colors bordering the discerning frame, the sunglasses exude a cosmopolitan vibe. Price On Request Availability Flagship stores nationwide

HANDCRAFTED BEAUTY The Furla Artesia bag is the house’s latest icon of versatility and style characterised by a graphic yet clean silhouette. Elegant but joyful, it combines Furla’s love for colour and art via geometric, harlequinesque colour blocks. Entirely made in Italy by seasoned artisans, the Artesia bag is crafted from genuine leather and features a wide patterned interchangeable strap. Price On Request Availability www.furla.com

GOING COUNTRY With large, resourceful handbags in vogue this summer, simple and spacious is the way to go. This natural woven straw backpack from the Michael Kors collection, showcases all these qualities in one elementary design to hint at a luxe, laidback sensibility. Large enough to accommodate a towel, SPF and tablet, it is ideal for sunsoaked destinations. With adjustable leather shoulder straps, it can be teamed with floral prints and summer hues for that perfect carefree look. Price On Request Availability www.michaelkors.com

FLAT OUT GORGEOUS Compromising on comfort to be impeccable is essentially criminal. The black jersey flat sandal by Tom Ford was styled on this principle. Comfy yet chic, the plissé wrap fabric straps create an airy, lightweight feel. Its 15mm brass hardware heel makes for sturdiness, the gold plate tastefully adds finesse. Perfect for a sunny day out. Price On Request Availability www.tomford.com

10 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016


FETISH

BABY GOT BACK

The popular Baby Olimpia bag from Bottega Veneta now comes in a camel version that is exclusive to India

Luxury tastes sweetest when it comes with a tag of exclusivity. That’s precisely what Bottega Veneta’s plans for the Indian market include with the introduction of the Baby Olimpia bag. While the bag itself is not exclusive to India, but camel, an exclusive colour of the style in limited edition, will be available only for select boutiques in India. The Olimpia’s name is reminiscent of the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy, (a theatre constructed in 1580-1585 by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio), and has been presented through the seasons in a variety of materials and colour combinations. The compact rendition of the iconic Olimpia is now crafted in shiny Ayers, hand woven to obtain an exclusive three-dimensional effect that highlights the natural beauty of the leather in its elegant camel garb. A graceful design that conveys both a practical and an elegant vibe with its long cross-body chain strap finished in Brunito can also be doubled over to carry the bag on the shoulder. Price on request. Available at stores in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore


COVER STORY I DESIGN I PERSONALITY

FROM THE

MAVERICK’S

PLAYPEN CAN SIMPLICITY OF LINE AND IRREVERENT HUMOUR OUTLINE THE PARAMETERS OF DESIGN? SELF-TAUGHT BRITISH DESIGNER TOM DIXON PLAYS ON THE UNDENIABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING.

W

JESSICA HINES

Travel and Lifestyle Writer

tom dixon, at dock kitchen, a london restaurant designed by him

12 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

hat defines someone as British these days? What is at the core of British design? As the creative classes reel and spin in their individualistic post-Brexit stress disorder, a loss of faith, in what were taken to be given certainties, has triggered a collective soul searching. We look back at our recent history, to the artistic and cultural things that made us cool, set us apart as British and wonder at their continued resonance or if indeed they were part of a collective hallucination that was only ever skin deep. So we look back further, to the punk era, when musicians, designers and artists created excellent work despite the politics and glaring shortcomings of society. There are a few greats from this era of iconoclastic creativity: Vivienne Westwood is, of course, one who has never lost the urge to flip the bird at the establishment even as she created a high fashion fusion of Britpunk asymmetric style for generations of Japanese girls and boys. In design there is only one. And that is Tom Dixon. At 57, he has an air of barely contained restlessness that sits under his very British features like a badly put together display of locally-grown legumes at Harvest Festival. He appears to hover slightly above his seat like a less ravaged Iggy Pop, a rock and roll sneer never far from his lips. Some people might see this in contrast to his huge influence as a designer but actually it is what creates the success; a barely contained ‘sod this for a game of soldiers, I’m off for a pint’ attitude that keeps the creativity and

output real. He places himself as part of, “a whole generation” who thought, “F*** it, I’ll just do it.”

DRAWING BOARD INSPIRATIONS

Dixon is, famously, self-taught. If we don’t make a big deal out of it then it negates the importance we place on the courses, the guilds and the whole establishment ‘game’ of universities and degrees. “I never decided to become a designer,” he says “I was quite happy making things for fun. It turned into a very pleasant way of making a living. It’s a passion more than a career choice, but it was accidental in the extreme.” Dixon came to prominence in the 1980s with a line of furniture created out of welding salvage materials. “I had learned to weld on the off chance that I was going to be fixing some of my old vehicles which I had a passion for; I was just mesmerised by the speed with which you can make things, and the entire fire and metal combination. It suited my impatience really.” His claim of impatience belies a dogged drive to commit to learning something through practice; he calls it ‘an inherent obtuseness’, but it doesn’t acknowledge his commitment to learning something through trial and error. “I just like to practise till I get it right which seems to be to be the way you get good at anything. Once I’d found my thing, which was welding and the excuse of functionality, it became very easy for me to produce within that framework. So I got to be a designer by making a lot of stuff and people buying it, without having any


RAM SHERGILL


COVER STORY I DESIGN I PERSONALITY

arrogance over the price, so I sold things cheap just to make the next one and that’s how I got the aesthetic that is recognisable and also built up the client base.

EVOLUTION

For much of the 1990s, he worked for Italian furniture design giant Cappellini. The design that allowed him to stand out from the crowd was the now iconic S chair found in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, and the Victoria & Albert (V&A), London. About this he has said, I’ve always been a bit dozy about these things. MOMA was the big tick, but even then, when I got the letter from the curator, I just thought they bought lots of chairs. It was only four years ago—when I was working with Audi (on the launch of the A8), and they said that what they aspired to was to get something in MoMA—that I realised how important it was to me and I thought: Oh, I’ve got one of those.

From 1998 to 2002, he was head of design and then the creative director for Habitat. Created by Sir Terance Conran in the 1960s, Habitat, a very British furniture shop, set the standard for modern international design aesthetic for British shoppers. They were the first company to design what was needed for the modern home in a pared down functionality and sourced cool crockery, lampshades and the ubiquitous ‘chicken bricks’ from Europe. In 2002 he set up Tom Dixon. This is one of a handful of full-scale design companies in the world that operates on a global scale and is able to deliver everything from high concept interiors, large scale installations and architectural designs to candles, tape dispensers and letter openers.

FROM DESIGNER TO BRAND

Far from being the moment of final selling out, Tom Dixon is actually a natural development of the same attitude that got him into

COURTESY OF TOM DIXON

lighting fixtures by tom dixon

A VERY BRITISH AESTHETIC

1975 1981

Tom Dixon gets his only qualification An A-level in pottery.

1987

Two years as a professional musician playing bass guitar in a disco band teach Dixon the importance of self motivated creation and commerce in the public eye.

1994

1983

1998–2008

Dixon gets his first practical lesson in design by oxy-acetylene welding in a car body repair shop in south London.

14 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

A doodle of a chicken turns into a chair. The S-Chair is now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Victoria & Albert in London. Dixon creates Jack Light, billed as the ‘sitting, stacking, sitting, thing’, to prove that manufacture was possible in the UK Dixon gets a day job at retail legend, Habitat, first as head of design and then as


COURTESY OF TOM DIXON

tom dixon designed a large Curved Chandelier in the main spaCe for this ClassiC 18th Century ChurCh to demonstrate the brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new lighting and furniture produCts against a historiC baCkdrop

Creative Director, of a ÂŁ500 million turnover

2000

Dixon is honoured with an Order of the British Empire (O.B.E. ) for services at Buckingham Palace

2002

Dixon brand is founded in London and production starts on a line of extruded plastic products

2003

The interior design division is started as Design Research Studio and starts work on hotels, retail, restaurants and corporates

2006

Dixon gives away 1000 polystyrene chairs to the public in Trafalgar Square, in the Great Chair Grab, to prove that disruptive models can also work in the furniture business

2012

A new range of gifts, accessories and treasures from fragrance and letter openers to watches and spice grinders is launched to widen appeal and open up Tom Dixon design to a new customer

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 15


COVER STORY I DESIGN I PERSONALITY

1

TOP 5

JACK LIGHT 1994 The sitting, stacking, sitting thing. Jack is a multifunctional object made from plastic and uses the process of rotary moulding. First launched in 1994, Jack was designed and mass produced to prove industrial manufacture was still possible in the UK.

DIXON DESIGN MOMENTS 2

THE GREAT CHAIR GRAB 2006 Experiments and innovation in distribution commence with 1,000 polystyrene chairs given away in public in Trafalgar Square, London, in an attempt to prove that disruptive models can also work in the furniture business. 3

S-CHAIR FOR CAPPELINI 1997 The chair catapults Dixon from the design underground to the mainstream

4

THE CHURCH 2016 Dixon collaborates with Andrew Baughen, the enlightened Vicar of St James’, a classic 17th century church on Clerkenwell Green, for Clerkenwell Design Week, this year. He realises the potential of making this unique building available to the daytime residents of Clerkenwell, the creative workforce, as a place for the residential community to use as a resource.

MONDRIAN HOTEL SEA CONTAINERS HOUSE, LONDON 2014 Dixon creates a bold new energy for hotels in London meshing the scale of the site’s industrial maritime heritage with the eclectic South Bank arts vibe.

16 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

COURTESY OF TOM DIXON

5


COURTESY OF TOM DIXON

Tom Dixon

reDevelopeD Sea ConTainerS HouSe in To a new HoTel CalleD monDrian, in lonDon, wHiCH openeD in 2014

design in the first place. Learn as you go along, keep your mind open to new techniques and skills and don’t second-guess, just have a go. Tom Dixon is only possible, however, because of the secondary skills that he learnt as head of design and creative director for Habitat. “As a designer you are supposed to be able to draw, to have some level of technical skill but there are other peripheral skills needed to make a business work which I learnt at Habitat. You never get taught commerce, communication, what people buy and what they don’t, how to go about sourcing, going on international sourcing trips with buyers, learning about the price etc.” What we in the non-design world don’t realise is that this approach is actually a revolutionary one. Design, furniture and lighting are areas where the manufacturing brand comes first and then the designer second. This is because they have the ability to manufacture at scale and the established distribution and marketing networks that make it commercially viable to do so at the level above that of an artisan. Dixon says, “the business itself has always confused the authorship in a way by making the manufacturing brand more important than the designer which you don’t have in any other area of creativity. So at Tom Dixon. I’m trying to do what other businesses do, which, is to put the author in front of the stuff. So that’s been the interesting experiment with this infrastructure.”

It works but it’s a long game, he points out. “Financially, if I had done this for many other companies that were experts in their field; a lighting company, a furniture company, a candle company, for example, I’d be much better off in royalty terms than owning my own company, because it is many businesses under one company. Candles alone are a separate business; they could be a £20 million company. So the thing is to get the correct scale to make sense of the businesses that have been created under one umbrella.” The designer shares an aesthetic with modern Indian design and explains that the now iconic Beat range of lights are inspired by India’s brass cooking pots and water vessels and are handmade by craftsmen in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. This began during his time at Habitat during one of his many sourcing trips. Dixon says, “I fell in love with the flexibility and getting things done, and with hand craft that has vanished all over the world.” Each country’s identity is defined to a large degree by the art and design that it creates. It reflects back to us how we see the world and our place in the world. As we pick up the pieces of our fractured psyche after Brexit and the rolling horror show in Westminster, Tom Dixon’s no-drama British functionalism, that heroes the beauty inherent in materials, in the simplicity of line and of quirky irreverent humour, isn’t a bad place to start. AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 17


DESIGN I COLUMN

LARGER

THAN LIFE

PINAKIN PATEL Interior Designer

18 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

THE DESIGN AESTHETIC FROM BRAND PINAKIN IS A SUBLIME BALANCE OF FORM AND FUNCTION, MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM

P

INAKIN is a brand that has evolved over almost four decades; a combination of moving the hand, stirring the heart and stimulating the mind to finally uplift the spirit towards a sublime balance of minimum and maximum, form and function. In fact, it is a perfect blend of yoga and bhoga. I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t studied design formally. I simply got bored with my chemical business, made picture frames that needed a sofa below, with a room around and a roof on top. And everything followed from there.


INSPIRATION

Real Life. For design lives and thrives only on the periphery of life: Body language for furniture, lifestyle for interiors, nature for architecture. Having said that, there have been times when clients have made me question and reassess. In any creative field, you get two types of clients who provoke you to rethink. What separates them is that the first type I would call ‘patrons’ and the other type are easily classified as ‘consumers’. Patrons encourage you to take them as well as the project to unseen places. This faith in the unexpected is a great thrust for creativity. Patrons also look at empowering creative work with an overall understanding of ethics. This creates a strong team that ultimately creates extraordinary results for all. The

other section of consumers is so busy in trying to get what they want in the cheapest and easiest way that they reduce the entire transaction of creative growth to a convenience service.

view of the temple roof glass shikars he had designed for a client

CUSTOMISATION

Viren Bhagat is perhaps one of the world’s most significant contemporary jewellers of our times. When I was designing his 200 sq ft showroom I took away about 80 sqft of space to create a staircase leading into the basement and made him sit at the end of the basement. Then I took away an additional 30 sq ft from the street façade to create a light well reaching into the basement. This seemingly absurd customisation is actually a very special move, understood only by Viren and me. In the earlier space,

grand staircase leading down to viren bhagat’s office

living room with dining of a private villa in alibag, opening to the pool deck

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 19


DESIGN I COLUMN

ICONS OF INDIAN DESIGN IDIOM There are several leading architects, specialising in different areas of design, who deserve special mention. Bijoy Jain for restating Indianness in a contemporary way. Gurjit Singh Matharoo, for his innovative use of most basic architectural material that is concrete. Kapil Gupta and Sameep Padora for creating interesting forms.

iconic Jhoola bed designed by pinakin

20 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

the basement was a storage godown, so you had the world’s leading jeweller sitting only five feet away from the main door. By moving him to the basement below, I created a sense of anticipation. Anyone who wanted to see him now had to enter the long space, go down the beautiful staircase and turn back to face him. This set him back from the street façade and created a day light source over his head in the basement. Another beautiful example was a modern day home mandir (altar room) for a traditional joint family. The family was used to traditional imagery and surface adornment with the usual ornate garb of marble and silver that could have been made more exotic and opulent in the new space. Instead, I chose to customise the temple not for the senior members of the family (who did not need any initiation into the temple) but for the youngsters who would benefit from a contemporary treatment that would lead them into the temple with a sense of “awesomeness” that they

could find relatable. The structure that was planned was completely free standing and disconnected from each other. Chez chandeliers designed by me created the Shikhars (domes) of the temple. They were actually hundreds of glass bubbles hanging free from each other to create the illusion of the temple roof. The four walls were folding partitions in sleek contemporary surfaces without any of the obvious religious imagery. Another iconic piece of furniture is the Jhoola Bed; made as one of the pieces of the Vrindavan series of furniture developed with a sense of modern Indian aesthetics. As it is suspended from sleek steel wires, the jhoola sways effortlessly, displaying craftsmanship par excellence. The inspiration came from the eternal amorous divine couple, Krishna and Radha in Vrindavan. While the admirable richly lacquered wooden frame is comfortable, replete with plush upholstery, its grandeur allows it to sit royally in any area of the home, whether as the central piece of


TOP LUXURY TRENDS It’s difficult to decide what reigns since everything coexists: Minimal and Maximal; Retro; Mid century; Art Deco; French Modern; Origami; Mondrian; Corbusier; Art; Craft; Vintage; Grunge; Neon. The only major movement is a return to ‘aristocratic refinement’ as is obvious from the major revival and success of several French brands over their Italian counterparts, that were reigning for over three decades.

a family room, or atrium space or even the verandah. It’s a versatile piece of furniture that can add a luxury accent to any decor or be a statement piece by itself. One of the major responsibilities of a designer is to rekindle a sense of wonder in the viewer. In that moment of an awakened adbhut bhav (surprise element) man disconnects himself from the materials around and reaches a meditative spiritual moment where he loses himself to the beauty around. This is what most of us experience in religious spaces, institutional spaces besides the limitless expanse in nature. My clients today are as rich and powerful as royalty and heads of state. So isn’t it natural that their spaces become larger-than-life, not for the vulgar display of wealth or power but for the essence of awakening the same sense of wonder. So, yes, my designs do boast a larger-than-life aura.

bedroom designed by pinakin design llp

double heightened internal courtyard below the atrium of a modern-day haveli

Pinakin Patel is actively involved in fashion now; at brand Pinakin, Architecture and Interior designing are now handled by Mohak Mehta and Pallavi Choksi and the furniture and retail store are handled by Piyush Raj. AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 21


Photograph by RICHARD POWERS

COVER STORY I DESIGN I BRAND

FROM THE RUNWAY

TO YOUR HOME

AS THE LINES BETWEEN THE WORLDS OF FASHION AND INTERIORS BLUR, HEREâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S WHAT CONSTITUTES GOOD DESIGN REGARDLESS OF THE MEDIUM YOU CHOOSE 22 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016


SACHA WALCKHOFF Creative Director, Christian Lacroix

The Incroyables eT MerveIlleuses collecTIon InspIred by The french revoluTIon pays a TrIbuTe To Those who had The courage To wear colours of TheIr sTyles and convIcTIons, In The forM of fabrIcs and wallpapers (lefT and below)

I have seen the fashion industry evolving and today the worlds of fashion and interiors overlap.There have always been close linkages between the two and Ralph Lauren and Gianni Versace were amongst the first designers to attempt this crossover. Today though, almost every fashion designer has extended his design sensibility to the home décor space. Interior design and decor is an appealing universe because it works on a timeline which gives space for creation but also ensures that you can enjoy the product afterwards. A collection or a new project takes anything between six months and two years to develop and if it is striking, it is likely to resonate with people and stay top of their minds for seasons to come. This is a break from the world of fashion where creations are often forgotten just weeks after they are showcased. I have been the creative director for the Christian Lacroix Maison brand for six years and during this time I have been working on preserving the brand’s DNA in order to keep the spirit and ethos intact but with a totally new iconographic proposal.

In my studio, we work a lot on developing new images and new trends based on research. For example, we have been working on a carpet collection in collaboration with Dutch company MOOOI. It was amazing to work with designer Marcel Wanders and team. It is also interesting to see that ideas and trends from interior collections are now influencing the fashion sphere. For example in our home decor space, the printed fabric and wallpaper called “Butterfly parade” was launched in 2012. This has now been highly “reworked” by brands like Valentino, Givenchy or even The Koople’s in recent times.

STYLE STATEMENT

Christian Lacroix is linked to the tradition of French haute couture and has a chic, bohemian style which is quite eclectic and universal. Now we continue to work with those ideas in mind but in a fresher and modern way in order to attract a younger audience. However my own personal style, however, is quite different. I had a strict Swiss education and this is part of my DNA. I am more restrained, less colourful but at the same time Photograph by RICHARD POWERS

THE CROSSOVER

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 23


Photograph by RICHARD POWERS

COVER STORY I DESIGN I BRAND

24 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016


my work sports a tongue in cheek attitude. It has a cosmopolitan background and is rooted in principles of French style.

ART AS MUSE

I do love art in general, be it antique, modern or contemporary art. I cannot just choose one art piece. From Goya to Picasso or from the ancient Greek sculptors to the plasticians of today, the choices are endless. I must say that art is as vital as the air we breathe and it inspires me greatly in all I do. In my house you are likely to find a lot of art that is a mix of pieces I have bought or received as gifts throughout the years. I like to mix and match different styles and eras. Recently, for example, I bought four Italian reliquaries from the 19th century, a unique contemporary design table by Valentin Loellmann, a stunning sculpture by Canadian artist David Altmejd and an amazing embroidered Renault car hood by Lithuanian artist Severija Kriauneviciene. Eclectic indeed but all of it works wonderfully together.

WHAT IS GOOD DESIGN?

Utility and beauty coming together in way which is fresh and unique. I remember a

This collecTion is composed of various iTems represenTing exuberanT and exTraordinary personaliTies, such as misTer Tiger or doĂąa Jirafa

chrisTian lacroix maison dresses up This new visTa alegre porcelain collecTion wiTh Three sumpTuous hauTe couTure dresses

a sample from The spring/ summer 16 collecTion designed by sacha walckhoff

friend telling me once that he was sticking to a classical and easy look to avoid bad taste. Even if he wanted to try something bolder, he is afraid to do so. This is the case for many people, which is why I am trying to propose singular looks that each one may adapt to his own personal taste. For the Roche Bobois collaboration, I designed something that was bold but smooth. Keeping the Roche Bobois worldwide international audience in mind, I melded the spirit of each decade of the French Arts Decoratifs of the 20th century to achieve a new fresh and elegant French style likely to please clients from New York to Shanghai to Mumbai and other cities as well.

WHAT NEXT

I would love to design a hotel in India; it would be an amazing experience. I still think about the marvellous journey I undertook through Rajasthan many years ago and would love to visit India again and be inspired by its vibrancy. Right now, I am working on new signature pieces and have several ideas that should be presented next year by three or four young French design companies. We are likely to see the launch of a range of small furniture accents and decorative pieces. AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 25


FOOD ISTORY TOP FIVE COVER I JEWELLERY I BRAND

A NARRATIVE OF DESIRE THE EXOTIC ENVIRONS OF KRABI PRESENT THE PERFECT BACKDROP FOR THE WILDLY SENSUAL 2016 BULGARI HIGH JEWELLERY COLLECTION BY CHUMKI BHARADWAJ

I

f Bangkok is Thailand’s wild, rebellious teenager, Krabi is the pampered love child that got sent to a Swiss finishing school. It is where sin is not a boisterous shudder, but a carefully nurtured ache that stays well past the glory moment of the witching hour. Magic usually summons the perfect matrix of time and space to reveal itself; haute joaillerie brand Bulgari seems to have spun its enchanting allegory based on similar logic, thus choosing the Edenesque charm of Krabi to unveil their High Jewellery collection for 2016. Creative director for jewellery, Lucia Silvestri, explains the draw of the Orient. “I remember my first time in Thailand, about 25 years ago, like it was yesterday; it was incredible, like a film script. I was

2 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

HigH Jewellery necklace in wHite gold,set witH turquoise inserts, tanzanite, diamonds , moonstones and sappHires


travelling with Paolo Bulgari, president of Bulgari, on my first trip to Bangkok, to check out a new supplier,” she recounts. “The supplier’s office had a balcony, which had a large, adult tiger that kept pacing up and down; the walls of his office had aquariums with piranhas, a gun on his desk and a floor-to-ceiling safe full of sapphires. It was unforgettable”.

POETRY IN DESIGN

Almost taking cue, Bulgari’s creative arsenal presents an interesting mix of exotica; an artful orgy of colour with daring contrasts, generous proportions, and audacious designs. The classic Bulgari imprimatur is a love that dares to speak its name as proudly as it wears its bold aesthetic. The brand’s latest high jewellery creations present poetic cascades of large cabochons in delicious colours that look almost good enough to eat, seductive necklaces coiled with the famous Bulgari serpent; a motif that translates into open-mouthed watches, rings with attitude and ancient Roman coins cosseted in gold weaves that make a magnificent statement. Mediterranean blues, glory pinks of Roman sunsets, and ancient golds of history mark the three current collections, titled Italian Extravaganza, Mediterranean Eden, and Roman Heritage.

MEDITERRANEAN EDEN

Bulgari’s dalliance with nature has never been limited to its use as muse but rather as an ongoing engagement that defines its design narrative. Mediterranean Eden is an ode to nature that deifies everything from the delicate fibrils of a flower to the seductive allure of the snake. The result: sculptural pieces that capture the drama, energy and of course the iridescence of nature. The hypnotic eyes are the focus of the

Serpenti Seduttori necklace in white gold, with brilliant sapphires , rubies and diamond baguettes, as also of the Serpenti Seduttori cuff-bracelet watches. These have been reimagined in geometrical shapes to feature a translucent cabochon central gem adorning the serpent’s head. As much jewellery as timepiece, the Serpenti Seduttori tips open its jaws to reveal the watch dial inside. The collection also holds out special love for the flower. Fiore di Bulgari celebrates the simple essence of the single flower assembling the preciousness of gemstone petals into the bouquet of spectacular design. Meticulously set blue gemstone pavé create the delicate curves of the flower petals, while an exquisite moonstone dangles at the other end of the necklace, like a careless petal finding its way in the wind. Dripping with precious tanza-

earrings in pink gold witH spinels, emeralds brilliant, round, and pave set diamonds

serpenti HigH-end Jewellery watcHes for women

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 27


COVER STORY I JEWELLERY I BRAND

serpenti necklace in wHite gold set witH ovalsHaped, brilliantcut sappHire, round and pear sHaped rubies and baguette and pavé diamonds

making of tHe HigH jewellery serpenti bracelet in pink gold set witH fancy-cut malacHites and pavé diamonds

HigH jewellery parentesi bracelet in pink gold witH wHite motHer of pearl and pavé diamonds

28 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

nite, sapphires and diamonds, the necklace shines not just with the lustre of the stones but the uniqueness of the composition.

ROMAN HERITAGE

All roads lead to Rome, or at least in this case, especially since the 130 year-old brand was born here. Brand designers pay homage to Rome’s fabulous architecture, travertine roads and ancient coins. The jewels are rounded with the cabochon gem cut of ancient domes, criss-crossed with the golden patterns of travertine streets, or coloured with the hues of the gemstone-orange sun. Ancient Roman coins are honoured as bejwelled diktats of history to recall ancient legends. From the eternity of Rome’s architecture was born the Parentesi design; the interlocking metal components of its modular jewels, with their shape being inspired by the travertine stones

that used to pave the roads.

ITALIAN EXTRAVAGANZA

The quintessential ‘La Dolce Vita’ or the vibrance of Italian life is captured in all its joyful and charismatic exuberance in this collection. The jewels are as feminine as they are spirited and rich in colour. Celebrating the soul of Rome with daring styles, sophisticated gem combinations, and voluptuous proportions. A classic example is the Divas’ Dream Bellezza necklace in aquamarine, sapphires and diamonds that recalls the ancient beautification rituals of the Caracalla Baths. With a prominent aquamarine dripping like a perfect raindrop, this necklace invokes wet dreams, if not anything else. Art, craft, or simply the most sensual rendering of passion, Bulgari jewellery is as distinctive as it is unconventional. Sin, by any other name, would be this beautiful.


“India and Thailand have a special place in my heart, but Rome is central to my inspiration”

G

LUCIA SILVESTRI Design Director, Bulgari

HigH jewellery ring in pink gold witH Zambian emerald and trapeZoidal step cut diamonds

HigH jewellery necklace in pink gold witH coral insert, one silver coin (greece corintH - 386 -307 b.c.), emerald beads and pave set diamonds

ems happened to me quite by chance; I was only about 18, and studying biology, when my father asked me if I wanted to work at Bulgari for a few months since one of their employees was pregnant and there was a vacancy. My father knew the Bulgari family so I told him that I would only work for four months and not more because I wanted to study further. But when I entered Paolo Bulgari’s office, he had this incredible table that was full of gems and I simply fell in love. Even though I used to be really shy, I was so attracted to the gems that I started playing with them. This was unusual for Mr. Bulgari since people were usually very intimidated by him, and therefore discreet. An affair to remember. All I can recall from that day was the gems and how they made me feel. I realised then that I was hooked; the Bulgari brothers decided to invest in me, but told me that I would have to abandon my studies. Obviously, I agreed. It was like a dream for someone so young, to be travelling around the world with these handsome, rich, elegant men who also happened to be experts in gems. At 20, I started travelling the world with the chairman to hunt for the rarest and most beautiful gems for the brand’s most stunning bespoke pieces. Brand to behemoth Bulgari has evolved from a family brand (there were only five stores when I joined the company), to being part of the largest luxury conglomerate in the world, when the company was sold to LVMH in 2011. Of course, in some ways, everything was much easier when things were smaller and more personalised since the family took all the decisions. Over the years, I have seen a lot of changes: gems are rarer than before so even though the quantity available is greater, finding quality gems and fine craftsmanship is that much harder. Nowadays, I really feel like

a gem hunter because I have to travel around a lot to scour great gems. Even though Bulgari is now part of LVMH, there has been no interference in our creative freedom and the quality of gems that we use, because they believed in our DNA. The big changes have been in the areas of communication and advertising and it has been really positive since the brand has been able to benefit tremendously from the tremendous reach available to a global conglomerate like LVMH. When I became creative director in 2013, it was a big challenge for me to create not just high jewellery, which was natural for me, but fine jewellery, for which there is much more competition. This means I have to create more and work harder. Everything serves as inspiration. Travel, music, culture, art, nature, anything that moves me, or creates cause for pause can play muse. Both India and Thailand have a special place in my heart, but I have to say that Rome is the most important part of my inspiration because I have my roots there; the company is headquartered there . My place, my space; the windows, the light; Rome is in my blood now. In terms of motifs, flowers are my favourite but of course, the Serpenti, has been integral to the Bulgari process and way of life. It has been part of our iconic collection from the past and will continue in the future. This year, we have changed it a little bit. With the current collection, we have made it look more realistic, more seductive. For me, a fine piece of jewellery is timeless, feminine and wearable. My personal challenge and that of the company is to be creative, innovative and remain true to the innate Bulgari style; the soul of the brand. And passion, more than anything else, defines the Bulgari aesthetic. Every piece that comes out of the atelier is a piece of art, to be preserved and handed down as heirloom. As told to Chumki Bharadwaj AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 29


FASHION AND INTERIORS I TRENDS

BY SRISHTI JHA

FASHION’S

DENIM NEVER GROWS OLD

This classic fabric always finds room on the runway. Go for denim on denim and accessorise it with a scarf to complete the look. Tiger of Sweden, Calvin Klein Collection, Philipp Plein and Baartmans & Siegel ‘s latest range has basic, ripped and patterned denims this season. Effortless charm.

INTERIOR MOTIVE

FASHION AND DECOR PARRY WELL, SHARING SPACE, DESIGN, ART, Shirt by AndAmen PHILISOPHY AND MOTIFS WITH ELAN ScArf by burberry BY SRISHTI JHA

denim by corneliAni ShoeS by ermenegildo ZegnA


THE EVERGREEN BOHEMIAN

Conjuring the boho spirit of the 70s, free-flowing colours and whimsical structures are spotted in the collections of Etro, Gucci, Alberta Ferretti , Roberto Cavalli and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafinin this season. This summer is all about long skirts and an interplay of colours. Skirt, top And cApe by Anju modi heAdgeAr, cuff And Anklet by AmrApAli ring, StyliStâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S own locAtion lA SorogeekA, noidA


FASHION AND INTERIORS I TRENDS

THE PRINT REVOLUTION

The print trend leads the runway as designers get more graphic and experimental. Print on print, self -patterned prints are the toast of the runway. Peter Pilotto, Stella McCartney, Tommy Hilfiger, Christopher Kane and Gucci, show their love for prints in their use of fabrics. dress by missoni

shoes by manish arora ring, stylistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own location sarita handa, mg road, new delhi


THE CASE FOR MINIMALISM

Minimal finds front row admirers with subdued fresh tones, relaxed silhouettes, and new shapes. Calvin Klein, Burberry, Dior, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent believe in ‘less is more’ this year. Easy elegance all the way. dress by dior shoes by manish arora location sarita handa, mg road, new delhi

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 33


FASHION AND INTERIORS I TRENDS

BACK TO MONO

Black and white gets a makeover with intelligent designs, pattern play, geometrical detailing and graphic touches. Seen in the collections of Loewe, Moschino and CĂŠline, monochrome is back from the 90s when it was big. skirt, top, stole and shoes by abraham & thakore cuff and earrings by amrapali location abraham & thakore at moonriver, defence colony, new delhi

34 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016


VINTAGE NOSTALGIA

Classic never fades. Rich textures, bold tones, contrasting patterns, and Victorian glamour have made fashion fall in love with vintage again. Spotted this year in the works of Dior, Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino. Old is gold again. dress by tarun tahiliani pumps by dior rings and cuff by amrapali neckpiece by manish arora location la sorogeeka, noida

STYLING, TEXT & COORDINATION SRISHTI JHA PHOTOGRAPHS VIKRAM SHARMA MODEL ALICE FROM KARMA MODELS MAKE-UP NISHA GAUTAM, GLO MAKE-UP HAIR MAHI RAWAT, GLO MAKE-UP


AUTO I PRODUCT

FREE WHEELING

ROLLS ROYCE TAKES PERSONALISATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL AS IT ENGAGES WITH A SELECT NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS EACH YEAR TO CREATE THEIR DREAM MACHINES BY SANKET UPADHYAY 36 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016


I

t is a glorious morning, true Englishstyle. I chide myself inwardly as I step into hallowed space for luxury car lovers; the Mecca of all things beautiful. I feel a sense of déjà vu as I am instantly transported to the art room in my school. Away from the tough headmistress, the regimental assembly, the confounding science labs and the rigorous physical training sessions was a quiet room where imagination wasn’t frowned upon. Walk in and you would find carelessly stacked canvas boards, imperfectly yet passionately painted pots, students bent over their sketchbooks giving shape and colour to their thoughts, nudged and encouraged by a patient, soft-spoken teacher. At the Rolls Royce Motor Cars headquarters in GoodWood, England, faced by the tall, thin, bespectacled and mild-mannered Gavin Hartley, the man who heads bespoke, I was back in the art room. Whatever your wheel dream, you can fulfill it here, as the brand takes the art of bespoke to new heights.

SAY HELLO TO YOUR ROLLER

Hartley and his team still follow the idea of ‘tailor made’ in letter and spirit. They sit you down to get a sense of what you want. He says, “The idea is to understand what the

customer wants. Some are very clear about what they want from their car but others are more tentative so we try and understand what they could possibly like through the course of a conversation and then offer solutions.” Apparently there are a few customers who are so sure about their preferences that there’s absolutely no creative ambiguity when it comes to spelling out their Rolls Royce dream. He cites the example of a customer who wanted the interiors of his Rolls Royce to be kitted out in parrot green leather. Of course, the bespoke department obliged. Another wanted to experiment with various types of leather, so the bespoke room made sure they had leather ranging from snake to crocodile, even ostrich.

Personalise the rolls royce sign that sits at the head of the bonnet

there is almost nothing that can’t be customised at rolls royce

COLOUR NO BAR

The bespoke room also has a wall full of dummies, an array of colourful cars to give you an idea of what your car would look like. Shaped like a real roller and crafted with

Whatever your wheel dream, you can fulfill it here at the Rolls Royce headquarters, as the brand takes the art of bespoke up a notch to unimaginable heights with a range of services. AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 37


AUTO I PRODUCT

You can create Your own swankY bar in Your dream car

the same metal and coloured using the same paints, it’s as close to the feel and texture of a real car as it gets. Want to experiment with two colour tones? No problem. Don’t like the stock shades? Just say the word, or rather shade, and it will be created for you. They even go as far as to name the shade after you. “We had a customer who walked in with her dog and said she wanted the car painted in the exact shade of red as her pet’s fur,” a Rolls Royce official says. They took a strand of canine hair and whipped up a colour to match it. The happy owner not only got the desired red, but a certificate saying it’s her colour and the company will not use it on any other car unless permitted by her. Isn’t this degree of individuality hard to maintain? According to a spokesperson, “The people who drive the brand value exclusivity and the fact that their car is the only one in the world like that.”

WOODEN DREAMS

You want the insignia of your private estate on the wood panel? You want a three-dimensional impression of the New York skyline? Falcon, tiger, bull, unicorn? It’s easy. Just ask for it. While others would tattoo or paint it, Rolls Royce engraves it into the wood during the meticulous design stage. This ensures that what you have is not just handmade and special but absolutely unique. 38 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

THEMED WHEELS

Theme cars are common. But then, there is the Rolls Royce way of doing things that makes these the opposite of common. For instance, a man walked in and demanded a space-inspired car. What RR created was nothing short of a space rocket. From the colour on the outside, to the subtle touches on door handles and the dash, everything was unique. In fact, some of the parts used on the dashboard were made of the toughened material used only in spacecrafts.

OVER-THE-TOP DEMANDS

The craftsmen at bespoke can make yours wishes come true. “A customer wanted a neon yellow coloured boot. We told him it was impractical but he was adamant, so he got his Roller complete with a yellow boot,” says a member of the bespoke team. Another customer wanted a picnic basket. What he got was so dazzlingly refined, you could mistake it for a precious jewellery box. It sat in the boot and slid out smoothly, giving the humble picnic basket a royal makeover. Given this extreme customisation, it is little wonder that Rolls Royce caters to no more than 35 such customers annually. They take anywhere between three months to a year to deliver the perfect car, not just an expensive car but one that’s an extension of you.


Photograph by M ZHAZO

ART I BRAND

The spirit of art

GLENFIDDICH’S ANDY FAIRGRIEVE EXPLAINS WHY THE WORLD’S LEADING WHISKY BRAND CHOOSES TO PATRONISE AN ART PROGRAMME BY CHUMKI BHARADWAJ

Andy FAirgrieve

globAl curAtor And orgAniser oF glenFiddich’s Artists in residence progrAmme At Art district Xiii in lAdo sArAi, new delhi

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ith long, honey brown dreadlocks that flirt with the small of his back, striding tall in fatigues and a crumpled white shirt, sporting Celtic tattoos, he would probably be more in sync in a jam session on the beaches of sunny Jamaica rather than the cold lobby of a suburban five star hotel. But that’s Andy Fairgrieve for you. Global Curator and organiser of Glenfiddich’s Artists in Residence programme, Fairgrieve is a drummer by passion who loves to explore and photograph abandoned underground bunkers from the Cold War, in an old bus with a canine for company. If you’re wondering how a rastafarian look-alike rocker came to curate one of the most evolved art programmes sponsored by the world’s leading single malt whisky brand, Glenfiddich, Fairgrieve has the an-

swer. “Whisky is a creative lubricant; whether you think of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who wrote about his love for women, freedom and whisky, or even rock and roll, how many musicians do you know who don’t enjoy whisky?” . For whisky to be involved in art is not a huge leap, he believes, since whisky is a cultural product. Glenfiddich started the art programme because they wanted to refresh the brand and make people think of the brand in a different way. So the idea behind the Artists in Residence programme was to create a new set of associations for the brand. People assume Scotland is about heather and weather, shortbread, bagpipes and kilts, but there’s a lot more and we wanted to break cultural stereotypes,” he says. Art Apart. But the 129-year-old brand AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 39


ART I BRAND

shende untitled; a series of glenfiddich bottles using materials, favoured by the artist over his career, presented in boxes lined with red deer fur

40 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

deliberately chose not to engage with conventional art. “People came in to the gallery at the Glenfiddich site, expecting to see a Victorian view of Scotland. But we presented them with something conceptual to make them reappraise. One of the most clever attitudes of this programme was to make people rethink and reimagine,” he says. Fairgrieve has continued to be the sole person in charge of Glenfiddich’s 15-yearold art initiative and insists it is his varied career graph and lack of a formalised grounding in art that resonates with the letter and spirit of the programme. Working with Scottish publishing house D C Thompson helped him understand the calls of creativity. “My work on farms, especially with animals helped me gain patience, which you need a lot of when dealing with artists,” he jokes. It was the years spent working for Archaeolink, an educational facility that maps history using experimental archaeology, that upped his appreciation of historic works, allowing him to interpret with a deeper perspective. “A great piece of art shouldn’t just paint a pretty picture but should inspire you to ask questions so you continue to engage with the artwork long after you’ve finished admiring it.” The idea was to bring the artists home to Glenfiddich and allow them a free rein. “The fact that it is an industrial complex in a rural setting has cultural connotations, which provides a great stimulus,” he says. A new perspective. Scottish artist Alison

Watt’s stayed at Castle Croft, when she was in residence in 2005. Watt discovered that at one point in the 15th or 16th century, the castle was rented for a single red rose per year. The romantic notion so appealed to her that she painted a scarlet rose. Now Watt only works in monochrome and this was the first time she had worked with colour after leaving art school. “That was a turning point in the residency since artists were getting so deeply affected by their experience that it was making them rethink the way they perceived their own art. That was the biggest justification of the role I play,” admits Fairgrieve. The case of Canadian artist John Sasaki was even more interesting. He wanted to build an ultra light aircraft with no special materials; the fuselage was made of wood. It didn’t have an engine so the idea was to fly it as a glider or a kite. “We tied it to the back of the car and went up and down the road a couple of times to catch the wind. It finally took off after Sasaki got out of the aircraft; it flew up to the top of the wire and then came down and broke.” People may ask what an aeroplane has to do with whisky. “It was practically suicidal, but his spirit resonated with William Grant, who started the company in his mid 40s. In the late Victorian period when life expectancy wasn’t what it is today, to take a risk like that in your mid-40s was revolutionary. It showed determination and vision.” This is the nicest aspect of the programme, he claims, that it allows people


ARTIST OF THE YEAR   The Emerging Artist of the Year Award is a part of Glenfiddich’s 15-year-old Artists in Residence programme, where winners from different countries spend three months at the Glenfiddich distillery in Scotland. In addition to this, the winner from India will be awarded Rs 10 lakh, an international allowance of Rs 1.2 lakh per month and a work allowance of Rs 5 lakh along with a solo show at Art District XIII at Lado Sarai in New Delhi.   This year was the fifth edition of the ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ and the award was won by Subir Hati, from among 610 participants across India. The award is brought together by Glenfiddich in partnership with Bestcollegeart.com. Over 2,500 works by 760 artists were included for this year’s contest, out of which five finalists were shortlisted by a 13-member jury, comprising leading artists, curators and collectors.

to take risks and fully explore all the opportunities presented to them. Nothing explains a legacy quite as evocatively as Scotch whisky because you make it at a given point, to be consumed whenever the right moment presents itself in the future whether 12, 15, 18, 21, years later, and he says, “If you drink something older than 30 years, it’s like a gift from the past because the people who made the spirit probably don’t work at the distillery anymore or may not even be alive.” This is a concept that inspired Canadian artist Dave Dyment to make a 100-year-old whisky. So they buried a 500-litre sherry cask of spirit. The cask will be opened in 2108, long after the artist, those who made the spirit and even the 25 owners of the empty boxes (that were auctioned off) will have passed on. But whoever has bought the cask can come back to the distillery and whatever is left of the spirit will be divided among the number of people who arrive at the distillery. “Maybe there will be nothing left. maybe people will have forgotten where the cask is buried. But this simple idea explores the expanse of mortality, inheritance, legacy and opens a dialogue of trust (each box costs US$4,000),” he says. Interesting, unexpected yet rewarding; the idea of owning what you don’t have perfectly encapsulates the idea behind Dyment’s enterprise as also the mandate of the art programme, sponsored by a brand that simply wants to enliven its patrons by constantly surprising them.

dave dyment’s work for the artists in residence programme, titled, ‘a drink to us when are both dead’

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 41


ART I PERSONALITY

COLOURS OF THE VALLEY MORE THAN A DECADE AFTER THE POET LAUREATE OF KASHMIR, AGHA SHAHID ALI, HANDED OVER SEVEN COUPLETS TO MASOOD HUSSAIN, THE PAINTER HAS INTERPRETED THEM ON CANVAS BY CHINKI SINHA

“We shall meet again, in Srinagar, by the gates of the Villa of Peace, Again we’ll enter our last world, the first that vanished in our absence from the broken city. See how your world has cracked. Why aren’t you here? Where are you? Come back.” —Agha Shahid Ali, A Pastoral

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he last time they met was on a winter morning in 1999 when the poet handed the painter three sheets of paper with seven couplets written on them. It was early morning and the poet was in his verandah writing away on his electronic typewriter as he always did, a cup of tea by his side. The painter was in a hurry. The poet urged him to sit for a while. He then handed him three pages, and smiled. “This is for you Masood. Paint these when you have the time,” Agha Shahid Ali, who died in what he called “exile” had said.

ON THE GATES OF PARADISE

Years later, the painter, Masood Hussain, remembers the smile. It was a sad smile, he says. He often reads A Pastoral. He remembers the cinema halls of those days when a soldier and a civilian would buy tickets and watch movies together. He remembers his friend, the poet. It is like all those wish-knots he tied at the shrines, and never untied, because nothing changed. There are only maybes. That’s how he paints. With a million maybes. “Now, when a member of a security force walks, he is covered by other men for pro42 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

tection. Now, the dynamics have changed. A security personnel is unimaginable without guns. I have only memories. The poem reminds me of our conversations. Shahid and I would speak about how everyone has left this city. We wondered if they would come back,” he says. It is almost a prediction or a premonition of his death. There are characters who talk of their death and their return to unlock gates, and read letters left in abandoned houses. That’s how hope converts here. The future is only beyond the barriers of death. He is having flashbacks and flash-forwards.

THE COUPLET PRESENTATION

In December 2001, he spoke to Shahid for the last time. He was in a hospital in Boston, USA.“Pray for me,” he said over the phone.


the man of the moment, chef manish mehrotra

He died a few days later. Hussain hadn’t known about the brain cancer but had prayed for his friend. They met often when Shahid was in the city. He would come over to Hussain’s house for dinner, and pack some leftovers for the day after. “He said we have relevance in terms of what I write and what you paint. We thought the same things. Like this painting of mine called Stampede. The title of one of his poems in the same,” Hussain says. For years, the three sheets with the seven couplets remained in a green file. The painter often thought of Shahid and the time they had spent together.

TRAGEDY ON A CANVAS

He painted other tragedies in the meanwhile. He painted canvases of gloom, one of which

he ripped apart and placed a thread and a needle saying that he is waiting for someone to come and heal them, for someone to come and stitch back the painting. He had forgotten about the seven couplets. But he remembered he owed the poet a commitment of sorts. They had both been nostalgists, forever carrying the longing for what they saw, and what they didn’t. In equal measure. And yet the poet and the painter hadn’t known each other until the poet summoned him in 1997, and asked if he could use one of his paintings as the cover for his book of poems: The Country Without a Post Office. Kashmir was their alter ego. They lived its agony and they lived in that suspended state of hope against all odds. Like when the painter spent days sitting at shrines watching men and women come with outstretched hands.

masood hussain at his srinagar studio where he is working on a new series inspired by ancient manuscripts

AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 43


ART I PERSONALITY

In the floods of 2014, Masood hussaIn lost everythIng but these canvases because he had to keep the coMMItMent. he has not naMed the serIes yet. each couplet has Its own canvas. how a paInter translates a poeM and how a poet once dreaMt of a translatIon In colours Is what It Is all about.

agha shahid ali, kashmir’s poet laureate

That was when they had exhausted themselves with trips to the police stations, or even graves. He noticed how they would wail.

AND THEN THERE IS HOPE...

one of agha shahid ali’s couplets rendered on canvas by masood hussain (2013)

44 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016

So, seven canvases lie on an uneven floor in his studio. In those canvases, there is despair in beauty. There is irony. There is every reference of blood and loss. At the time, he hadn’t understood the context. He had wondered why Shahid had given him couplets about beauty when this was indeed paradise lost. He tossed them back in the file. “One of his unfulfilled dreams in the form of words remained with me to find its way in colours. The idea of hope that he passed on to me was translated by me in a painting titled Hope which was the concluding painting of my series of work titled Death and Resurrection which was exhibited at Art Heritage in New Delhi in March 2005. “It took 14 years to fulfil the wish of my friend. The thought of not being able to devote time to the works burdened my heart for a long time and finally completed the work born from the words written by him years ago,” he says. In 2013, he started painting. He would paint blood, and death, and beauty. He would once again paint paradise lost. He would paint from memory, and from the words.

Like when the poet wrote “crimsoned spillage”, he remembered how in the streets a worker stood in front of a shop during curfew. A stray bullet hit him. The painter was watching from the window. The worker cried. He shouted for help. Nobody came. And then, a little boy came by pushing an empty cart. He went to the fallen labourer. The labourer was from Bihar. He helped him on to the cart, and pushed it. There was hope in that. To him, that was crimson spillage in the couplet, Autumn Refrains in Kashmir. In the floods of 2014, Hussain lost everything but these canvases because he had to keep the commitment. He has not named the series yet. Each couplet has its own canvas. He left the obvious vague. The beauty was obvious. Hussain doesn’t know what he would do with the canvases. They lie there encompassing in them the beauty of a land possessed. He awaits an exhibition so others can see how colours and words mix on paper. How a painter translates a poem and how a poet once dreamed of a translation in colours is what it is all about. These canvases are a testimony to a friendship, and a commitment to hope and despair. “Maybe if he was here, he would be happy. I wish he were. I read his poems often. I look for hope. I wish I could untie these knots in my lifetime,” he says.


HOTEL I LAUNCHES

BACK FROM THE ORIENT

EXPLORE THE PROGRESSIVE ASIAN CUISINE AT JW MARRIOTT’S ICONIC NEW RESTAURANT AND REVISIT THE SPIRIT OF BEIJING’S ART DISTRICT AND JAPAN’S PERFECTION BY SRISHTI JHA

W

ith exotic ingredients, sophisticated combinations finessed cooking techniques, and modern flavours that combine well with classics, the versatile nature of Asian cuisine finds itself reflected in menus across the globe. So, it should come as no surprise that JW Marriott Juhu, best known for its attention to detail and warm hospitality, has launched Dashanzi, a progressive Asian restaurant that ticks all the boxes and delivers on most fronts. The restaurant’s quintessential al fresco setting, drawing inspiration from Beijing’s chic and nonchalant art district, inspiring ubercool decor, a magnificent sea view and lounge music, serves modern Chinese and Japanese cuisine.The Dashanzi’s bar is international in standards but local in delivery. A handcrafted and well-balanced menu comprising Asian cocktails, sake, sochu, boutique gins and craft beers make up a bulk of this interesting spirits menu. This is perfectly paired with a live sushi and sashimi bar, extreme Cantonese flavours and an interactive dessert table. The lounge flaunts the city’s largest gin bar and sets the perfect stage for liquid chefs to

Signature DumplingS at DaShanzi

DeconStructeD chocolate affogato Sphere

perform their magic. The signature cocktail list includes Asian G&T green tea infused gin with basil, honey and tonic water, lemon grass gin sour, which is lemon grass infused gin with fresh lime juice, simple syrup, bitters and egg white, kaffir lime margarita made up of tequila with kaffir lime leaves, triple sec and fresh lime juice, the glamorous saketini which is sake with dry vermouth and a lemon twist, among others. The interiors are well lit and you have house and progressive lounge music to keep you company. The restaurant provides a range of delectable Asian delicacies such as the Japanese gurando platter, steamed local sea bass with Assam sauce, braised homemade edamame tofu with spicy chilli sauce, and wild mushroom rice hot pot with porcini butter and truffles. The dumpling is quite fabulous as well and is a must try. Desserts are clearly the highlight and include experimental dishes like deconstructed chocolate affogato sphere, freezing chocolate balloon, dry garden and coconut five ways, that are delicious and interesting, much like the restaurant. AUGUST, 2016 u INDIA TODAY SPICE 45


LASTLOOK

SHALL WE TELL THE PRESIDENT? The Oyster Perpetual Day Date Rolex is highly distinctive, in particular thanks to its emblematic President bracelet with an evocative name that, together with the many presidents, leaders and visionaries worldwide who have worn it since its launch in 1956, ensured the Day-Date became known as ‘The Presidents’ Watch’. In honour of its 60th anniversary, Rolex chose to reminisce, recognise and remodel it by launching a beautiful Day Date 40 with a bright new dial in green, Rolex’s hallmark colour at Baselworld 2016. It has the instantaneous calendar that displays the date and the day spelt out in full and, of course, the classic Oyster case is a testament to its water resistance representing the Rolex certified Superlative Chronometer that all Oyster Perpetual Models hold. The watch is equipped with a new mechanical movement: calibre 3255 and has a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. The exceptional precision, reliability, legibility and provenance have made this prestigious model the ultimate status symbol. Price on request Available at brand boutiques across the country. 46 INDIA TODAY SPICE u AUGUST, 2016


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Why every political party woos Dalits but the oppression and violence against them continue

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AUGUST 2016

DESIGN SPECIAL

LIGHT YEARS AHEAD

A MONTHLY CITY MAGAZINE

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A MONTHLY CITY MAGAZINE

A MONTHLY MAGAZINE

ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

THE TORCHBEARERS

INTERIORS GURU TOM DIXON ON THE FUTURE OF DESIGN

SHAAZ MEHMOOD (RIGHT) AND SHIRAZ MIRZA OF OLIVE BISTRO

CITY’S COOLEST HANGOUTS FOR COLLEGE GOERS SALEEM, SHOP MANAGER, WISE GUY

URBAN SPOON HYDERABAD’S COOLEST RESTAURANTS

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YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TO WATCH OUT FOR

THE PIT STOPS

PUNEET JEWANDAH, CO-FOUNDER, THE ENGINE ROOM

AUGUST 2016


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THE TORCHBEARERS

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YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TO WATCH OUT FOR

PUNEET JEWANDAH, CO-FOUNDER, THE ENGINE ROOM

AUGUST 2016


SIMPLY PUNJABI

Inside

Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie Group Chief Executive Officer Ashish Bagga

COVER STORY

Steps to Success

Group Editorial Director Raj Chengappa

Meet the youngsters who are out to prove their mettle in the world of cut-throat business.

Editor-at-Large Kaveree Bamzai n

Associate Editor Sukant Deepak Editorial Team Mohini Mehrotra, Ursila Ali

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BUZZ

Photo Department Vikram Sharma, Sandeep Sahdev

Into the City

16 Six things to do this month.

Photo Researchers Prabhakar Tiwari, Satish Kaushik Art Director Jyoti Singh Design Vikas Verma, Bhoomesh Dutt Sharma Production Harish Aggarwal (Chief of Production), Naveen Gupta, Vijay Sharma, Prashant Verma Layout Execution Ramesh Kumar Gusain, Pradeep Singh Bhandari n

Publishing Director Manoj Sharma Associate Publisher (Impact) Anil Fernandes n

IMPACT TEAM Senior General Manager: Jitendra Lad (West) General Managers: Upendra Singh (Bangalore), Velu Balasubramaniam (Chennai) Deputy General Manager: Kaushiky Chakraborty (East) Volume 12 Number 8; August 2016 Copyright Living Media India Ltd. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited. Published & Printed by Manoj Sharma on behalf of Living Media India Limited. Printed at Thomson Press India Limited, 18 - 35, Milestone, Delhi - Mathura Road, Faridabad - 121 007, (Haryana). Published at K - 9, Connaught Circus, New Delhi - 110 001. Editor: Kaveree Bamzai l India Today does not take responsibility for returning unsolicited publication material.

Cover photo by SANDEEP SAHDEV

OUR PICK of the month A Perfect Shot Till August 16

If you think you are the next Anderson, Kubrick or Kiarostami, then don’t hesitate in sending your work to the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) 2016, which is inviting submissions for the third DIFF Film Fellows Programme—a Himalayan Filmmakers’ Lab that aims to develop filmmaking talent across India’s Himalayan regions. This year, the mentorship sessions will focus on ‘The journey from idea to script in documentary filmmaking’, ‘Alternative

forms of expression in documentaries’, and ‘Choices in constructing a narrative’ Registration diff.co.in/diff-film-fellows/

Want to tell us about an event? A new store? A restaurant? People doing interesting things? Anything newsworthy? Please email us at: simplypunjabi@intoday.com

AUGUST 2016 u SIMPLY PUNJABI

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SIMPLY PUNJABI

Cover Story

STEPS TO

GUIDED BY PASSION AND EQUIPPED WITH TOP DEGREES, THESE YOUNGSTERS ARE OUT

DANCING HER WAY TO A LIVING Puneet Jewandah, 28

Co-Founder, The Engine Room, Chandigarh

w Why business? Puneet Jewandah, who did two courses from New-York based Broadway Dance Centre in 2006 and 2011, came back and thought about settling in Mumbai to work as a choreographer. “I tried that for a few months but found that I was just not able to do justice, either to my art form or life. Everything was just too erratic there,” says the dancer who set up The Engine Room with her friend Kritika Sharma in Chandigarh in 2013. w Setting up Engine Room “Trying to make an artform your bread and butter is always a risky proposition in this country. I would be lying if I said that I was not nervous. But then I was very clear that my life had to revolve round dance. I would be doing grave injustice to my craft if I treated it as a hobby and took up a routine job for survival.” w What I have Achieved “What do I say—I received the Excellent Award in Choreography from Trinity College in Britain for the musical Greece, which was staged with students of Vivek High School in Chandigarh.” The Engine Room, which is a travelling dance company now, is all set to offer capsule dance courses for corporates in Delhi besides tying up with schools in the Tricity (Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula). w The Challenges When The Engine Room started, there was no dedicated dance company offering dance fitness. “We had to educate people, convince walk–ins about how dance could change their lives. Business teaches you so much, especially about people.”

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SIMPLY PUNJABI u AUGUST 2016

IF NOT AN ENTREPRENEUR

Yoga teacher HOW I RELAX

Travelling, reading BALANCING WORK AND LIFE

Dance is never work. I live to move.


SUCCESS TO PROVE THEIR METTLE IN THE WORLD OF CUT-THROAT BUSINESS

n By

SUKANT DEEPAK Photographs by SANDEEP

SAHDEV

THERE IS MORE TO DANCE THAN EXTERNAL RHYTHM. WHAT IT DOES INSIDE IS WHAT MATTERS. EVEN TEACHING MOVEMENT TRANSPORTS YOU TO A DISTANT SPACE.


SIMPLY PUNJABI

Cover Story

STITCHING A STORY Sahiba Brar, 33

Raya Lifestyle Concept Store, Chandigarh

w Why business? Sahiba Brar left her role of a Corporate Sales Manager at Indigo Airline in Delhi in 2010 before setting up Raya last year. “Frankly, I had no ambitions of getting into the rat-race and climbing the corporate ladder. No, I did not want to be CEO,” she smiles, displaying deep dimples. Insisting that for her it has always been about having the freedom and control over work so that life never takes a back seat, Brar says, “A corporate environment is way too restrictive,” says this BE in computer engineering from Bhartiya Vidyapeeth (2004), who completed her MBA in marketing from Amity Business School in Noida in 2006. w Business of Lifestyle Brar curates multi designer clothing, fashion accessories and home décor—all under one roof. “So, this is more than a store, and offers ample

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If not an Entrepreneur

SIMPLY PUNJABI u AUGUST 2016

opportunity to let my creativity run loose,” she says. Everything that Raya houses has been handpicked by her from various fashion weeks, and in a way reflects her own personality. w The Achievements Brar thinks that she has successfully filled a big gap by offering designer products available in Delhi, right here in Chandigarh. “I was the first one to come up with a concept store like Raya, also introducing major designers to the fashion-starved here. There are clothes by more than 30 top designers of the country like Tarun Tahiliani, Manish Arora, Rohit Gandhi Rahul Khanna, Namrata Joshipura, and Pankaj and Nidhistocked in Raya. w The Challenges Lack of contacts, guide or experience at the start. “I drew up my own strategies and plans on how to run a retail business.”

A café owner, offering enchanting music free with food. How I relax

Scuba diving in the Andamans, road trips Balancing work and life

I have a great support system in my parents. They look after my daughter when I am at work.

IT IS NEVER ABOUT PROVING ANYTHING TO SOMEONE ELSE. I WONDER WHY PEOPLE THINK FOLLOWING YOUR HEART IS VERY BRAVE.


SWEET NOTHINGS Abhimanyu Rattan Mehra

Granny and Me, 36, Amritsar

w Why business? Mehra, who is the MD (operations) of the family-run Heritage Boutique Spa Haveli, Ranjit’s SVAASA in Amritsar feels business gives him the freedom to execute novel ideas, which a job can never. “For me, it is always about looking for the next challenge and deriving satisfaction that comes when a well-conceived idea succeeds in practically,” he says. w Granny and Me For a long time, Mehra wanted to launch a brand that would stand apart in the crowded food space. And that is how Granny and Me, a venture that he formed with his sister-in-law Rethink Iqbal Mehra, 36 last year, took shape. “From pan flavoured chocolates, Amritsari aam papad chocolate and

caramelised almond with varied spices, we wanted to give people a bite of our sweet and savoury creations.” Their nuts, preserves, dukkahs and sauces have already created a buzz, and not just in this region. w The achievements“I think carving a niche in the food market and sticking to our specialisation without bowing down to market pressures is our biggest achievement,” he says. w The challenge Mehra says that every creation by Granny and Me has multiple treatments involved but there are times when clients fail to value the preparation process. “However, this has not led me to curtail my creativity."

If not a businessperson?

An architect. The ability to keep playing with varied materials fascinates me to no end. How I Relax?

Playing with my dogs Balancing Work and Life

Work is an extension of my life.

WORK TAKES ME PLACES, LIFE HELPS ME ENJOY IT.


SIMPLY PUNJABI

Cover Story

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS Akshay Kapoor, 28, Operations Head Kapsons Group, Chandigarh

w Why business? Akshay Kapoor may have followed his father’s footsteps in retail clothing business, but the decision was guided by his passion for taking the brand to the next level. Asserting that entrepreneurship gives him an opportunity to see his ideas translate into hard-core startegies, Kapoor adds, “It’s nothing to do with the fact that I didn’t want to work under somebody but one’s own business means a sense of belonging to one's work.” w Choosing Kapsons Kapoor may not have had much choice as he is the oldest amongst his siblings, but insists that he has never even for a day, regretted the decision of joining his family business. “During my school summer holidays, I was infatuated by the billing process that I would come to the store every day. I think that is when I made up my mind.” w What I Have Achieved Stating that

his major achievement has been convincing people to take up franchisees for stores across the country, the young entrepreneur elaborates, “This really gives me a kick and motivates me to perform better than others.” Talking about how he countered the online shopping craze, Kapoor says that he took it upon himself to improve retail sales, “Not only did I retain my sales but also made sure that we grew every financial year.” w Throw me a Challenge The young man admits that he had the hard task of convincing people to take him seriously. He says, “There are people in our company who are more experienced than the number of years I have walked on earth. So, I came up with Krome, a multi-brand franchisee store chain which is my baby. At present, it has 14 stores in Punjab, Himachal and Haryana,” he says.

IF NOT A BUSINESSPERSON?

I don’t think that would have been possible considering I was born in a business family. I may have started a different business but it had to be business. HOW I RELAX?

Balancing work and life, sticking to a schedule, and not letting work interfere in my personal life and vice versa.

SEEING MY STRATEGIES SUCCEED IS NOT JUST ABOUT BUSINESS BUT ALSO A SENSE OF SATISFACTION.


ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP Rishma Gill, 30,

Chandigarh, Owner – Mystic Pines, Kasauli-Chandigarh

IF NOT AN ENTREPRENEUR

SITTING BEHIND A DESK FROM 9 TO 5… NO, THAT IS SURELY NOT ME. WHAT I NEED IS SOMETHING MORE IMMERSIVE, SOMETHING THAT NEEDED ME TO DO ALL THINGS AT ONCE.

Writer

HOW I RELAX

Travelling, getting away to someplace new BALANCING WORK AND LIFE

After a hard day, a good swim, Yoga and a chilled beer are indispensable

w Why business? “Look, for someone like me, competing with oneself every day is way more important than titles, designations and time stipulations.” Rishma Gill, who worked with Columbia Pictures in Los Angeles Culver City from 2009 to 2011, adds that one tends to be more sensitive to criticism, far more emotionally charged about his/her project, so dealing with criticism becomes hard. w Setting up Mystic Pines “Sometimes what you plan for yourself and hope to achieve is so far off from your inner compass. That was the case for me—chasing the big city marketing job in the entertainment sector. I was temporarily boxed in my thinking.” w The achievements Gill is proud that she has brought The Mystic Pines in Kasauli, a six-room property, to a stage where it is now an established homestay with a steady clientele that won’t stay anywhere else in Kasauli. w The Challenges “A lot of it had to do with moving from city life to the middle of nowhere, where socialising went from networking and partying in LA and Mumbai, to discussions about terrorism with retired faujis over cognac and hot water at the Kasauli Club. Moving from an organised corporate set-up to a loosely defined work concept where you handle everything," Gill insists that everything was a challenge.

AUGUST 2016 u SIMPLY PUNJABI

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SIMPLY PUNJABI

People

OF GIVING BACK AND OTHER

VIRTUES

CHANDIGARH-BASED NGO VEERAN WALI FOUNDATION’S PROJECT NANHI JAAN IS BRINGING SMILES TO LITTLE FACES n By

T

SUKANT DEEPAK

HE TINY GIRL IN BLUE pajamas and carelessly held together plaits in ribbons is not letting the boy use the indoor swing. A volunteer steps in. Tells her politely that sharing is a nice thing. She agrees, but says the boy must not play on the swing for more than 10 minutes. She adds that he also needs to stop sulking all the time. They have a pact. The playroom has teddy bears, little cycles. There are pretty looking dolls in different clothes. Images on notebooks come alive with sketch pens of all colours in the world. Some children are drawing on chart papers. One, for reasons best known to him, wants a page out of our diary. He sits down to draw. He has already congratulated himself loudly, and applauded himself even before starting work. A bunch of women are chatting with children who are pretending to be attentive to explore the 1,500 book library inside the area. We are inside the playroom, set up by Nanhi Jaan at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical

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Education and Research (PGI’s) Advanced Pediatrics Centre in Chandigarh. Many children who are playing here have tubes attached to their bodies. Some are drowsy. Some are sitting in their wheelchairs, watching others play. Sandeep S. Chhatwal says most of them are very sick. Sometime during the conversation, he makes a remark—cutting-edge science and hope is a brilliant combination. Dr Chhatwal does not work in PGI. But he and his volunteers are often in the playroom they have set up As the founder of Project Nanhi Jaan under the Veeran Wali Foundation, which he established in the memory of his late grandmother in 2005, he has already donated two ventilators, six baby warmers, six phototherapy machines, ABG analysers, three crash carts and one centrifuge to PGI and Government Medical College and Hospital 16 hospitals. “The foundation started with the aim of supporting education for the underprivileged and to help orphan girls. In 2010, a close relative was admitted to PGI for a

Photograph by

SANDEEP SAHDEV

serious ailment. I witnessed the doctors do everything they would to bring him back. He was saved. It was now time for me to give back something to the institution,” says the doctor, himself an MD gold medalist who runs the successful Omni Clinics and Diagnostics in Chandigarh’s Sector 34. “I really don’t know what to say when you ask about the satisfaction I get from this. All I know is Nanhi Jaan touches 500 lives of children through the equipment and other things it has donated,” says Dr Chhatwal. The 46-year-old head of the rganisation, which has also facilitated funds for more than 50 surgeries of children, insists that whatever he has achieved would


Dr Chhhatwal at the playroom in PGI

DOING HELP Nanhi Jaan has facilitated funds for more than 50 surgeries for children. Besides this, it also supprts other organisations with clothes and langars that are organised in Tricity’s slum areas. They also intend to completely revamp the pediatrics wing at the Government Mediacal College

not have been possible without the volunteers and regular donors. Besides this, Nanhi Jaan also supports other organisations with clothes and langars that are organised in Tricity’s slum areas. Talking about village Masol, near Nayagaon in Punjab, which they have adopted, Dr Chattwal remembers, “When we first went there, we were shocked to see that children there didn’t even have shoes and proper clothes. It was as if we were in a famine stuck area. We now provide the children with clothes, food, regular healthcheck ups and study material.” The doctor is excited about his future plans. “We want to completely revamp the pediatrics wing at Government Medical College in

Sector-32. At present, we are identifying their needs—machinery, logistics and medicines.” At this time, when many major corporates have active CSR, does it not make sense that NGOs partner with them in a way that is beneficial to both? “Precisely, we have already facilitated six phototherapy units and four baby warmers from corporates for a hospital. Besides, another corporate has agreed to donate medical equipment worth Rs 35 lakhs under its CSR programme.” By the way, the child who borrowed the page from us did show us what he had drawn with a florescent sketch pen—image of him on the bed and a nurse handing him a yellow balloon.

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SIMPLY PUNJABI

Feature

STAGING C THEATRE DIRECTOR SAHIB SINGH TALKS ABOUT THE FIVE-DAY PAKISTANI THE

n By

SUKANT DEEPAK

e cannot locate the switch to turn on the light. His wife Rajinder Rozy comes from the other room and does the needful. “You’ll know when you start spending more time at home, right?” she says. Theatre director Sahib Singh smiles. “She is an actor. She knows her lines well,” says the 48-year-old. Singh is content with the response to Humsaya, the five-day theatre festival of Pakistani plays by Ajoka Theatre, Lahore that he organised in Chandigarh in July. His Mohali-based theatre group Adakar Manch, besides staging plays in Punjab and the rest of the country, also takes its production to Pakistan, is yearning for more such exchanges. “I live in the real world. I know artistic exchanges don’t solve political problems or boundary issues, but they do go a long way in reintroducing people who were once one, no? In times like these, when mass media on both sides is doing its best to create hysteria and further alienate the people, such healing touches become important.” Insisting that serious theatre in Pakistan addresses the same issues that its counterpart in India does, Singh says that deprivation, class struggle and economic inequality resound in artistic expressions on both sides. “Our problems are not different. We both are poor countries, though we hate to admit it. We talk about the same things, but in a different manner. It is always interesting to know

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EASE FIRE ATRE FESTIVAL HUMSAYA, IN CHANDIGARH

Photograph by

SANDEEP SAHDEV

Theatre director Sahib Singh AUGUST 2016 u SIMPLY PUNJABI

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Feature

how someone else says the things you speak out against frequently.” Insisting that the media on both sides has seldom bothered to give the narrative of masses on both sides of the border, the director says, “I work frequently with Pakistani artists on their soil. I am yet to find an anti-India undertone in their art, something which is layered and speaks the language of the common man.” Saying that serious theatre in Pakistan is still at a nascent stage, and light comedies rule the stage there, Singh feels that things are slowly changing —on both sides of Punjab. “Theatre in both Punjabs is growing slowly. Pakistani theatre is waking up to the fact that in order to survive, it has to talk about prevailing situations in the society and not try to escape with comedy all the time. Look at our Punjab, we were known for plays that were about shouting a particular political ideology and seldom boasted of complex scripts, layered themes and high aesthetic values.” Stressing that with better training and exposure, Punjabi theatre has started reflecting contemporary realities, the director adds that many Punjabi plays no longer refrain from talking about same-sex relationships, penning scripts on urban alienation and treating the audience’s sensibilities to fine aesthetics. “Our plays are not as loud and verbose as they were a few years back. Also, let us not forget that unlike Marathi and Bengali theatre, Punjabi theatre is relatively new. IC Nanda wrote the first Punjabi play Shag in 1913.” Singh, who has directed 65 plays and written 35, besides acting in 127 plays, is disturbed about the state government’s attitude towards this art form, and he smiles, “As if you don’t know the answer. Remember, the essence of theatre is anti-establishment. Which government in right mind will support us? It is a different matter though that they don’t realise that their indifference has made us stronger.

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WHAT IS THE POINT OF APPROACHING THE STATE GOVERNMENT FOR FUNDS? A SENIOR BUREAUCRAT IN THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE ONCE ASKED ME IF IT WAS POSSIBLE TO CHANGE THE NAME OF ASGHAR WAJAHAT’S PLAY JIS LAHORE NAI DEKHYA O JAMYA NAI AS HE DID NOT LIKE THE TITLE. NOW, WHAT DO YOU TELL SUCH PEOPLE? I JUST WALKED OFF.

No matter what, will not bow down to their fancies or manufactured ideas. Art cannot be neutral — like individuals, it is always political in its undertone.” Lamenting that successive state governments have ensured that theatre does not get a solid footing in the state, he cites the example of high entertainment tax levied on plays —60 to 70 per cent. “When we are paying for auditoriums what sense does it make to charge a sky-high entertainment tax? Theatre groups have been left with no option but to do ticketless productions.” Admitting that he has approached successive state governments several times for funds, Singh rues that there was no point doing it and inviting assault on one’s own intelligence. “They may have crores of rupees to pay Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif for a 10-minute-performance during Kabaddi World Cup but nothing for us. A senior bureaucrat in the department of culture once asked me if it was possible to change the name of Asghar Wajahat’s play Jis Lahore Nai Dekhya O Jamya Nai as he did not like the title. Now, what do you tell such people? I just walked off.” Stressing that setting up a theatre repertory in Punjab could be instrumental in giving theatre much needed impetus, Singh laughs, “You know, the Akali Dal Minister, in the 1970s, Atma Singh who took charge of the now defunct repertory in the state? He gave a statement that he would get rid of all the trash of lovedramas and psychological-artistic themes and in its place install religious dramas to serve the cause of the Panth.” Singh believes that a permanent theatre repertory mostly translates into better productions. He adds, “We get actors who go to jobs to earn their living. That means they are able to devote only a few hours to theatre. A repertory means regular salaries, something which translates into a full day’s commitment to theatre as a profession.”


SIMPLY PUNJABI

Fashion designer Anju Modi

Feature


GODDESS OF GRAND

THINGS DESIGNER ANJU MODIFEELS CHANDIGARH AND PUNJAB HAVE IMMENSE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL n By

SUKANT DEEPAK

S

he says working with filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has two sides. “But I will not talk about the other side,” she laughs. Insisting that collaborating with a perfectionist, who does his homework well, builds a certain pressure that either makes or breaks you, designer Anju Modi, who recently designed the costumes for the filmmaker’s Bajirao Mastani elaborates, “One is pushed to a point where one not only gives his/ her best but also goes beyond.” Modi stresses that the experience of working with Bhansali has given her an introduction to a different facet of herself. She elaborates, “I now know how to deliver —interlacing my vision with that of someone else.” In Chandigarh recently where her clothes will be showcased at Raya The Lifestyle Store in Sector 7, the designer feels that the immense potential of this region remains untapped. “I really do not need to elaborate on the attitude of Punjabis towards grand things in

Photograph by

MADHU PANDIT

life. We know the kind of spending power they have and how they will never hold back if they can afford something. It makes sense to have a strong presence in this market.”” Stressing that she had been thinking of introducing her clothes to Chandigarh for a long time, the designer says, “Look, my clothes are all luxury. They get sold when people actually look at them and imagine themselves wearing them. It is very important that they are visible.” Talk to her about revival and making traditional handicrafts like Phulkari popular, and Modi has a different take. “I am not saying that there is no potential. Phulkari has

CHANDIGARH AND PUNJAB ARE IMPORTANT MARKETS FOR ANY TOP DESIGNER. I REALLY DON’T NEED TO ELABORATE ON THE ATTITUDE OF PUNJABIS TOWARDS GRAND THINGS IN LIFE ÜAnju Modi, fashion designer

been, and will always remain a very important asset, not just for Punjab but the entire country. The delicacy it boasts of and the effort that goes intomaking it cannot be refuted. But reviving it, in terms of getting it into the mainstream is easier said than done. What we need is an absolute change in the minds of artisans. In the contemporary cut-throat market, you cannot afford to work according to your fancy. And who is saying that they should compromise on their skill set? They will have to listen to people who have a pulse on what the buyer wants. This holds true not just for Phulkari but all traditional handicrafts,” she says. At a time when cricketer Chetan Chauhan has been appointed Chairman of National Institute of Fashion Technology, it seems appropriate to ask her about the state of fashion and design schools in India. Noticing that more and more graduates are getting into academics, the designer says, “It is very important that design schools invite working experts to have informal interactions with students. I am a very strong believer in internships. One needs to keep questioning, expanding horizons. Fashion is volatile; you cannot follow a rulebook. The key is training your mind to think differently.”

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6

THINGS

Buzz

TO LOOK FORWARD TO

EAT SOUTHĂ&#x201D;

1

August 3 to 31

Tannur brings traditional Chettinad and Kerala delights to Ludhiana with seasoned Chef M.Sridhar from Hyatt Regency Chennai. Authentic dishes like Venpoo Varuval, Ulli Vada, Chicken 65, Meen Polichathu, Kottayam Fish Curry, Meen Poondu Kuzhambu, Duck Roast, Lamb Stew, Mutton Sukka Masala and many more are on the plate. AT Tannur, Amritsar MEAL FOR TWO Rs 1,500 plus taxes for veg and Rs 2,000 plus taxes for non-vegetarian TEL 0183 287 1234

2

WEDDING ASIA COMES HOME August 19 to 21 One of the muchawaited exhibitions for wedding shoppers is back in town. Exhibitors from all over the country are scheduled to participate in this bonanza which will witness designer jewellery, dresses and bridal wear. AT Park Plaza, Ludhiana TEL 01612773000

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3

MALT ON PLATTER

August 1 to 31 Single Malt lovers are in for a great treat. Order Malts like Coal ila-12, Clyenlish-14years, Oban-14years, Lagavulin, Crangganmore, Dalmore, Singelton, Glenkenchie-12 years, Dalwhine-15years and get a complimentary platter of starter. PRICE Rs 495 plus taxes (per person) AT The Gallery Bar, Hyatt Amritsar TEL 01832871234


5 4

BEYOND BORDERS August 24 to 28 Love all products from across the LOC? Head to Riwaz where delicate Pakistani fashion will meet innovative designs from India. The exhibit promises to showcase the latest premium products from the best of the Pakistani, Indian and global fashion. AT Kisan Bhawan, Chandigarh TEL 01725039154

A WEDDING AFFAIR

August 25 to 28 Nikaah is back with a promise of grand wedding accessories for Chandigarh residents. The muchawaited exhibition will display a range of clothes and accessories including shararas, bridal wear, passas, haars, stones, Pakistani Jutti, sherwanis, footwear, jewellery, and home dĂŠcor. AT Himachal Bhawan, Chandigarh TEL 01725000103, 01725000104


SIMPLY PUNJABI

Buzz

6 STORELAUNCH / SOHNI

UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE

W

ell-known designer, Sohni Makkar, who has launched her new store, Sohni, in the heart of upmarket Chandigarh’s Sector 8 market, says that eclectic and downplayed needs to be a norm in times when everybody seems to be shouting with their attires. For this MBA and software professional who gave up her lucrative career in computing 15 years back to dabble in design, choosing to pursue her passion in fashion has been the best ever decision. “Despite the fact that I have no formal training in fashion design, this field has always fascinated me, as it calls for an eye for detail and superb aesthetics,” says the 48-year-old. Insisting that she always wanted to introduce something that was stylish, different, yet comfortable for the working woman, the designer’s initial collections were all in natural fabrics like cotton, chanderi, kota and silk with vegetable dyes and hand block prints which over the years got diversified into georgettes, crepes and chiffons with aari, zardozi work and also some bling on popular demand. There is complete range of ready to designer wear

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suits, tunics and kurtis and then the line of ethnic sarees that were incorporated, thanks to the team of artisans, who work with her on the designs, dyes and prints for each outfit. “I have always found natural fabrics in different cottons, weaves in natural dyes and block prints from different parts of all over the country very fascinating. Bagh prints from Madhya Pradesh, Bagru, Daabu, Ajrakh from Rajasthan and Kalamkari blocks from Andhra Pradesh are sourced and used by my artisans,” she says. Talking of future plans—she admits that a strong online presence has become almost indispensable in contemporary times. The designer, who has a committed NRI client base adds, “ We are working on the website. Yes, online shopping market in India has huge potential and just cannot be ignored. However, it is important to do things right, including scaling up production before going all out in the cyberspace. We are on the track,” she concludes. AT SCO 37, First Floor, Inner Market, Sector 8B, Sector 8, Chandigarh TEL 09316135300 n By SUKANT DEEPAK


SIMPLY PUNJABI

Buzz

1

GOLD RUSH

THIS SEASONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ESSENTIALS 1. Sunglasses, Maui Jim,Rs 17,990, in.mauijim.com 2. Lamp, Pepperfry,Rs 10,639, pepperfry.com 3. Earrings, House of Tuhinaa, Rs 3,550, perniaspopupshop.com 4. Shoes,Vanilla Moon, Rs 4,490, vanillamoon. co.in

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SIMPLY PUNJABI

Discovery

GETTING VAN GOGH

ON THE RA

DESIGNER ANUPREET SIDHU, ON THE CUSP OF BEING DISCOVERED, WANTS TO SWIM AGAINST

n By

SUKANT DEEPAK

M

happiness. “I saw this while backpacking in Europe y mother has a doctorate in law. My last year. The painting never left me. I have used cusuncles and aunts are scientists. When tom cut stainless steel on deep blue dresses instead of I told my mother that I thad opped Panjab glasses, which will give the effect of stars.” University in BSc Fashion Design and The designer, who will showcase her work on Lifestyle Technology (2012), the first thing August 24 at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive she asked was, “By how many marks have you beaten 2016, says that being selected by a panel of jurists the person who has come second?” including Rohit Bal and Manish Malhotra, has been Chandigarh girl Anupreet Sidhu, who also did a major achievement. “They are the kind of people one a course in Styling for Professionals, and Fashion and looks up to, people who have made a name for themTextile Forecasting from Central St Martins College selves by swimming against the tide. That is what of Art and Design, London in 2013, started her own I want to be known for.” label Sidhuji in 2014 that essentially creates garments For someone who developed an incorporating experimental techinterest in stitching when she was niques like laser cutting of unique a four-year-old, thanks to her grandmaterials like metal and wood with mother, it has been a long and satisfya twist. Its popularity can be gauged ing journey. “Everybody at home was by the fact that what started as a BEST FRIEND IN THE intrigued at how quickly I grasped the one-room studio is now all set to shift WARDROBE techniques taught by my grandmother. to a 13000 square feet manufacturLeave the fancy colleges I went to, ing facility in Chandigarh. I think my real education started on The 25-year-old is excited about 1 that ancient sewing machine, being her selection to Lakme Fashion DON’T BELIEVE ANYONE IF THEY SAY guided by beautiful wrinkled hands.” Week in the Gen X category. “This THAT THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS IS NOT However, it is designing westis an important platform that can IMPORTANT. IT IS INDISPENSABLE. ern clothes that Sidhu is passionate be instrumental in giving the much2 about. An avid traveller, the young needed impetus to young designers. GET A PAIR OF PLAIN WHITE SHIRTS designer asserts that the numerous In fact, fashion designers also keenly TO TEAM WITH WELL-FITTED JEANS. boutiques and design stores that have look at this segment to get a better SECOND GLANCES ARE GUARANTEED mushroomed in almost every part idea of emerging talent, says Sidhu, of Chandigarh and major cities like who is presently doing her post grad3 Ludhiana and Jalandhar are earning uation at the International Intitue of PLEASE EXPERIMENT. MIX AND by catering to a NRI customer base. Fashion Design in Chandigarh, and MATCH ARE NOT JUST FOR THOSE “I hate saying this, but many Punjabi has also interned under designer WHO HAVE DEGREES IN FASHION. IT’S women settled abroad send them JJ Valaya. Talking about her collecALL ABOUT AESTHETICS. photographs of works by top tion Starry Night Over the Rhone, 4 designers and ask local designers to inspired by Van Gogh’s painting by LONG THIN DRESSES ARE BRILLIANT replicate them. And the latter don’t the same name, Sidhu stresses that WHEN THE SUN GOD DECIDES TO BE have a problem doing that as long the master’s artwork gave her a REALLY HARSH. as money is coming in.” peculiar sense of contentment and

EVERY GIRL’S


MP THE TIDE

EVERYBODY AT HOME WAS INTRIGUED BY HOW QUICKLY AS A FOUR-YEAR-OLD, I GRASPED THE TECHNIQUES TAUGHT BY MY GRANDMOTHER. MY REAL EDUCATION STARTED ON THAT ANCIENT SEWING MACHINE GUIDED BY HER BAUTIFUL WRINKLED HANDS. ANUPREET SIDHU, Fashion designer

I HATE SAYING THIS, BUT MANY PUNJABI WOMEN SETTLED ABROAD SEND PHOTOGRAPHS OF WORKS BY TOP DESIGNERS AND ASK THE LOCAL DESIGNERS TO REPLICATE THEM. Photograph by

SANDEEP SAHDEV


SIMPLY PUNJABI

Opinion

THE STORY OF THE SEAT BELT We are so caught up with the glamour of fast and sleek luxurious cars, that more often than not, we take our safety for granted

O

ne of the greatest virtues of living in Chandigarh happy. I want to scream from rooftops about saving preis the serious practice of following traffic rules. So cious lives by just merely wearing the belt, but it is as if my if you’re in any part of the country and you see voice is lost in the chaos. Why does my loss not inspire the somebody furiously searching for the seat belt cab driver or the travel company to ensure that all their when the car engine starts, you can mock him derisively taxis have the mandatory seat belts keeping in mind that and say, “achcha tum Chandigarh se ho!” (Oh, you are they know me so well? We Punjabis are so caught up with the glamour and from Chandigarh it seems). It’s almost like saying, “You ‘showshaa’ of fast and sleek luxurious cars, that safety idiot, you don’t fit in here”. Tying the front seat belt is second nature to most of us. becomes a sign of weakness for us. We may spend lakhs Whenever I travel by a cab, I insist on knowing if the seat on getting a elite number for our car, but we do not spend belts in the front and rear work. ‘Hanji, hanji, seat belts a moment to think about jumping red lights, honking like a madman if not given way or furiously haigiyan ne” (Yes, the car is equipped changing car lanes as if we’re starring in with seat belts). And imagine my horror the Fast and Furious. every time that when the cab arrives and the rear seat belts are missing. Either And we are paid back in the same they’re clipped away or hid under the coin by having the highest number of darkest corners of the seat making it virfatalities on the road in the country. tually impossible for a human to detect Most of us in India wear the seatbelt it. So when you complain as you sit on for the welfare of the traffic policeman. the backseat, the taxi driver looks at you We don’t want him getting unnecessaras if saying, “You weirdo! What’s wrong ily upset or debating with strangers on with you? C’mon, we’ve all heard about whether to issue a challan or not. So SAVITA BHATTI the front seat belts, but the belts at the when we see him from the corner of back too. Grow up lady!” our eye, we quickly buckle up and while WE MAY SPEND LAKHS And I have tears in my eyes. passing him give the brightest ‘I’m the ON GETTING A ELITE Tears, because I have lost such a prealways-follow-the-traffic-rule-kind of NUMBER FOR OUR CAR, cious life that the entire nation mourns guy’ smile. for. Tears for a vision that was our hope, We are so truly optimistic that not BUT WE DO NOT SPEND our succor, our inspiration in dark and only do we flout the seat belt rule, but A MOMENT TO THINK despairing times. And a little voice in my also make our children game to the head asks if the tentacles of death would entire transgression. So if you’re a ABOUT JUMPING RED have relented if Jaspal Bhatti, my husPappu, and Mrs Pappu is lovingly seatLIGHTS, HONKING LIKE band, had been wearing the seat belt sited next to you, there are hundred perA MADMAN IF NOT GIVEN cent chances that little Pappu will also ting in the rear. And the greatest irony was that he did wear the rear seat belt be dancing in her lap, drooling his saliva WAY OR FURIOUSLY always. Just that one day, his fatigue all over. Some over-ambitious Pappu’s CHANGING CAR LANES. overtook his wisdom and we lost our take the Khatron ke Khiladi title a step brightest star. by making their little one sit on their lap After my husband’s tragic demise, a classmate of on their driver’s seat. Their pride has no end when the his in the US, Neeraj Kant, advised me to take up the little one also tries holding the steering wheel along with cause of the front and rear seat belt. And with our daddy dear. “Hai chote Pappu ne aaj gaadi chalaye. Mera family pushing it through and the support of the beta bada hoke pilot banega”(My little Pappu drove the Chandigarh Traffic Police, we were able to make Jaspal car today. He is on his way to become a pilot now). Yes, Bhattiji the brand ambassador of the Chandigarh Traffic Mr Pappu, sure, why not! Provided he’s alive by the time Police. His vision and work has enlightened millions, but if he’s 20. his going away could inspire somebody to put on his seat This quote sums it beautifully, “ Safety is the cheapest belt, Jaspalji will truly become eternal. It’s a cause worth and most effective insurance policy”. Be safe. Wear the fighting for. seat belt. But why does only a tragedy inspire us? We should be making safety our priority even when we are well and Contact the author at savitabhatti@gmail.com

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SHAAZ MEHMOOD (RIGHT) AND SHIRAZ MIRZA OF OLIVE BISTRO

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Inside Photograph by

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COVER STORY

What’s Cooking?

From elaborate Asian spreads and royal Awadhi treats to exotic international sweets,

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Hyderabad’s foodscape is buzzing with flavours old and new. Cover photo by KRISHNENDU HALDER

OUR PICK of the month New Canvas

August 20 to September 20 Presented by Alliance Francaise in association with Goethe Zentrum and Shrishti Art Gallery, Emerging Palettes—an exhibition of paintings by young contemporary artists— promises to showcase eclectic artworks selected from the works of students who have graduated from art schools in the last four years. The artworks for display have been chosen by veteran artists like Laxma Goud, George Martin and Gigi Scaria. At Shristi Art Gallery, Road No 10, Jubilee Hills Want to tell us about an event? A new store? A restaurant? People doing interesting things? Anything newsworthy? Please email us at: simplyhyderabad@intoday.com


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Cover Story

What’s

Cooking? FROM ELABORATE ASIAN SPREADS AND ROYAL AWADHI TREATS TO EXOTIC INTERNATIONAL SWEETS, HYDERABAD'S FOODSCAPE IS BUZZING WITH FLAVOURS OLD AND NEW n By

MONA RAMAVAT

Shaaz Mehmood (right) and Shiraz Mirza of Olive Bistro

SOUL STIRRING Olive Bistro

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ucked away on a hillock overlooking the Durgam Cheruvu lake, Olive Bistro (a franchise of AD Singh's Olive Bar & Kitchen) is one of those pretty Mediterranean eateries that you find in Europe—with white walls, glass windows and even a little windmill outside. Every visit here can hold a surprise since, “we are always up to something new,” says founder and partner, Shaaz Mehmood, 28. Filling us in on the new weekend brunch, Mehmood says, “we decided to have a table brunch format where you can order only as much as you want to eat from the spread—like a single slice of pizza or a small portion of risotto.” Another fun thing they have introduced recently is the Sunday picnic table brunch. “You will be given a picnic basket with breads, cheese, jams, fruits, juices and other picnic essentials that you can carry to your outdoor table. It just goes quite well with our Mediterranean-European menu,” he says. Their open spaces are being turned into vegetable gardens for growing their own herbs. Perfect, won't you say? v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 2,000 plus taxes v AT Road No 46, Jubilee Hills v TEL 69999127 Photograph by

KRISHNENDU HALDER


Cover Story

KRISHNENDU HALDER

SIMPLY HYDERABAD

Photograph by

Chef Jigmy Pradhan of Mamagoto

Photograph by

KRISHNENDU HALDER

EAST FEAST Mamagoto

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here’s nothing overtly Asian about Mamagoto. Instead of traditional Ming vases, at this funky oriental eatery, you will find a wall covered with light bulbs and on the upper floor, there is an interesting artwork made with cat masks. Step in and it’s hard to resist the cool and casual vibe, with peppy music replacing the usual soft oriental flute. But don't let any of this deceive you because the widespread buffet is every bit Asian, with specialties drawn from the culinary flavours unique to Singapore, Japan, Bangkok and Beijing. The counters are a riot of colour, with so much to choose from that you will be spoilt for choice. “We have several live stations to toss up the food based on guest preferences and there’s a little something for everyone,” says chef Jigmy Pradhan, 34, manning the Teppanyaki counter that serves grilled vegetables and chicken with a variety of sauces to pick from. With the wide selection of starters on offer, you may not want to fill your stomach with soups and salads. But the DIY khow suey is worth a try. Toss in as much or as little of the noodles, peanuts and herbs as you'd like into the base soup for a bowl that makes for perfect comfort food. Pradhan recommends Konjee crispy lamb if you are looking for something filling yet not too heavy. His Java grilled fish in red hot samurai sauce is for those with a penchant for spice. Do try their coconut rolls for dessert. "Flavoured with honey and white chocolate, it's a Thai inspired dessert improvised by us,” says Pradhan. v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 1,400 plus taxes v AT Road No 12, Banjara Hills v TEL 9100021815

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ROYAL AFFAIR

Chef Shailesh Verma

Jewel of Nizam - The Minar

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t doesn’t matter where you are seated at The Minar, for wherever you look, there’s only opulence, the sort that the Nizams were known for. Their Dawat-e-Sagarmahal, a pre-set five course platter which comprises a rich selection of delicacies such as haleem, sheermal, mutton roganjosh and dum ka murgh, are all inspired from the traditional kitchens of Hyderabad. For dessert, Chef Shailesh Verma, 42, proudly presents another house specialty, “We make our kheer with onions, like the cooks of the Nizams did." The subtle divine sweetness of this kheer inspires nothing less than awe for the Nizams' secret recipe. v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 2,500 plus taxes v AT Golconda Resorts, Sagarmahal Complex, Gandipet v TEL 30696969


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CHEESY COMFORT Flying Spaghetti Monster

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Chef Arpit Kelkar of Cibo House

raph by Photog

I TRIVED SNEHA

ormer software professional Ajay Mallareddy, 33, is a restaurateur by day and a coder at night. His love for Italian food prompted him to open an eatery of his own, “so I could eat pasta every day,” he says. At Flying Spaghetti Monster, “we like to focus on the dish and its flavours; there’s nothing pretentious about the presentation of the food we serve,” says Mallareddy, digging into Carpacio di salmone or smoked salmon, a flavourful crunchy delight topped with capers and onions. From their long list of pastas, do try the pasta al forno, made in a creamy white sauce with baked mozzarella besides the basil flavoured pesto genovese, cooked in the original genovese sauce from Naples. v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 1,600 plus taxes v AT Tabula Rasa, Road No 35, Jubilee Hills v TEL 65656652

Ajay Mallareddy of Flying Spaghetti Monster

Photograph by

KRISHNENDU HALDER

BLEND BOX

Cibo House

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ibo House is for lovers of Indie-Italian food, who enjoy their salads and pastas tweaked to the Indian tastebuds,” says Varun Jupally, 33, who launched the restaurant with childhood friend, Santosh Reddy, 32, last year. Jupally refers to the Moroccan lamb and Caribbean chicken that they serve as starters, “Which have been flavoured with spices to suit Indian tastes. Serving authentic Italian cuisine doesn't quite work in Hyderabad," he shares. Jupally has recently relaunched the menu with a buffet which is an easy-on-the-palate quick affair. Pizzas are a recent introduction to the buffet menu and these too have been given a subtle Indian spin. “Authentic Italian pizzas, unlike ours, don’t have chilli flakes and other seasoning that we are used to," he says. They don't go to the extent of Indianising their food completely, but the improvisations are definitely welcome. v FOR TWO Rs 1,200 plus taxes v AT Near Raheja IT Park, Hitec City v TEL 33165205


Cover Story

Photograph by

KRISHNENDU HALDER

SIMPLY HYDERABAD

RICH TASTE

Amar Ohri of Sahib's Barbeque

Sahib’s Barbeque

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t’s all stone, mood lighting and charm at Sahib’s—the latest offering from the Ohri’s group—with its live Sufi music that sets the tone for a grand feast that is essentially Hyderabadi. Amar Ohri, 41, invites you to indulge in the Sahib’s experience, their royal buffet. Gorge on delights from the old city like lukhmi—a Hyderabadi samosa stuffed with keema, haleem and Hyderabadi biryani. For vegetarians, there's Peshawari gagandhool, a lesser-known mushroom preparation also inspired from traditional

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Hyderabadi cooking. “We enjoy adding unexpected twists to our culinary tale, and the giant-sized tauliya naan served on a vertical stand is one such surprise," he says. Try the Guntur chilli ice-cream for dessert. The innocuous-looking pink ice-cream is churned with red hot chillies that Guntur in Andhra Pradesh is famous for, and packs quite a delicious punch. v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 1,300 plus taxes v AT Near Shilparamam, Hitec City v TEL 7675958866


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SOUTHERN SOIREE

Simply South

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his small, yet exclusive restaurant looks more like a south Indian home—with its simple interiors and walls featuring framed photographs of the city’s heritage and traditional southern dance forms. Started by former chef with the ITC group, Chalapathi Rao, 48, Simply South quickly turned into a cozy hangout for families to sit together and enjoy delectable south Indian food. Cuisines from the five southern states of India come together on the menu here, with Rao's signature specialties like chapa pulusu or fish cooked in a deliciously rich tangy gravy from Andhra Pradesh and kai kari Chettinad from Tamil Nadu, an assortment of vegetables in a peppery sauce, remain all-time favourites. “Some of our new entrants include kodi koora, a specialty of Telangana and this is our version of home-style chicken curry,” says Rao. v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 1,300 plus taxes v AT Road No 82, Filmnagar v TEL 4018 0809

Photograph by

KRISHNENDU HALDER

Chalapathi Rao of Simply South

Chef Sharata Kumar Das of Glocal

FUN FUSION Glocal Junction

Photograph by

KRISHNENDU HALDER

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t’s global cuisine with more than a local twist that makes Glocal Junction, an all-day eatery that serves fusion food, rate high on the funky-food scale. The bare cemented ambience adds to the rugged appeal of the place, with interesting elements like forks and spoons designed with spanner head handles. There’s drama everywhere else too, like the quirk cocktail called Bouquet, that is served with floating edible flowers. It is no surprise then to find interesting dishes like biryani risotto with khakra chura or chaat pizza with tantalising spicy toppings on the menu. Don't forget to try their unique desserts like the firni crème brulee and Kalkatta paan cheesecake that can leave you happily confused and wondering which components of the lovely blend you enjoyed the most. “It’s all about finding the right balance between local flavours and global cuisine to indulge in an experience that is both,” says chef Sharata Kumar Das, 33. v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 1200 plus taxes v AT At Road No 92, Jubilee Hills v TEL 65308999


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MAGICAL MÉLANGE United Kitchens of India

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t’s a happy chaos at United Kitchens of India—whether it's the artsy wallpapers or the funky installations on the roof. The menu contains a selection of dishes from seven different states of India, forming a culinary mélange under a single roof. This is one place where you can order a Madras pakoda with Punjabi bhutteyan de kebab, a sumptuous melt-in-the-mouth snack made of corn kernels, or aloor dum, a traditional Bengali potato curry and the equally traditional ker sangri of Rajasthan with Andhra pulao. “The idea was to serve food from across the country to a growing cosmopolitan clientele in Hyderabad,” says Chef Rizwan Abdul Khader, 30. “Of late, Hyderabad has become a hot pot of various cultures and we wanted the menu to be a representation of that,” he adds. It’s national integration of the delicious kind, we’d say. v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 1,500 plus taxes v AT Road No 45, Jubilee Hills v TEL 23114114

Karan Mor, partner, Eat India Company

Chef Rizwan Abdul Khader of United Kitchens of India Photograph by

KRISHNENDU HALDER

SUBTLE TONES

Eat India Company

Photograph by

KRISHNENDU HALDER

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gastronomic surprise waits behind its ornate doors, making Eat India Company a fine departure from the kind of restaurant that dishes out the usual north Indian regulars. Enter and you'll see an ancient kadhai handpicked from Rajasthan, upturned to form a light shade on the ceiling. Ask Karan Mor, 33, a partner with Eat India Company, about what makes this eatery different and he says. "It's not restricted to the usual paneer butter masala-butter naan kind of food. Instead, we have focused on adding a greater variety of delicacies from the streets of old Delhi and Lucknow, staying close to the original flavours." A delectable example of this is dahi ke kebab with a heavenly yogurt-based filling or the mutton barrah, a tandoori lamb snack from the North West Frontier Province, marinated with papaya and whole spices for three days. Nearly everything here is cooked with a near strict no-spice philosophy save for a couple of dishes, “since the use of too much spice simply masks away the real subtle flavours of the food," says Mor. v MEAL FOR TWO Rs 1,800 plus taxes v AT Road No 36, Jubilee Hills v TEL 33165160

AUGUST 2014 u SIMPLY HYDERABAD

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AUGUST 2016

A MONTHLY CITY MAGAZINE

THE PIT STOPS CITYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S COOLEST HANGOUTS FOR COLLEGE GOERS SALEEM, SHOP MANAGER, WISE GUY


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Inside Photograph by

NILOTPAL BARUAH

Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie Group Chief Executive Officer Ashish Bagga Group Editorial Director Raj Chengappa Editor-at-Large Kaveree Bamzai n

Editorial Team Mohini Mehrotra, Ursila Ali Photo Department Vikram Sharma Photo Researchers Prabhakar Tiwari, Satish Kaushik Art Director Jyoti Singh Design Vikas Verma, Bhoomesh Dutt Sharma Production Harish Aggarwal (Chief of Production), Naveen Gupta, Vijay Sharma, Prashant Verma Layout Execution Ramesh Kumar Gusain, Pradeep Singh Bhandari n

Publishing Director Manoj Sharma Associate Publisher (Impact) Anil Fernandes n

IMPACT TEAM Senior General Manager: Jitendra Lad (West) General Managers: Upendra Singh (Bangalore); Velu Balasubramaniam (Chennai) Deputy General Manager: Kaushiky Chakraborty (East)

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COVER STORY

s-4 From coffee under a tree to shops that sell pop culture-inspired T-shirts, here are the city studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; favourite hangouts.

The Youth Connect

Cover photo by NILOTPAL BARUAH

OUR PICK of the month Nature of Art August 1 to 27 Enjoy an exhibition of paintings by Sri Lankan artist Senaka Senanayake, whose themes centre around endangered rainforestsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;their plants, animals, birds and even tiny insects. His works exhibit their natural beauty thereby creating an awareness of their threatened existence. Senaka held his first international solo exhibition at the age of ten, in New York and till date, he has more than 100 solo shows to his credit, and numerous group shows in the countries of Europe, China, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Czechoslovakia, Korea and Egypt to name a few. AT Gallery Sumukha, 24/10, BTS Depot Road, Wilson Garden TIME 10.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Want to tell us about an event? A new store? A restaurant? People doing interesting things? Anything newsworthy? Please email us at: simplybangalore@intoday.com


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THE YOUTH C

FROM COFFEE UNDER A TREE TO SHOPS THAT SELL POP CULTURE-INSPIRED T-SHIRTS, HERE ARE TH s-4

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Budget Blessing Airlines Hotel

The open air seating at Airlines Hotel

ONNECT

E CITY STUDENTS' FAVOURITE HANGOUT ZONES

n By

PRACHI SIBAL

Photograph by

SANDESH RAVIKUMAR

A

IRLINES HOTEL, WITH its open air cafe, takes you back to a different era. Established in 1968, it once used to be a family restaurant that attracted diners to its south Indian vegetarian fare of crisp dosas and strong foamy filter coffee. Over time, it turned into a brimming weekday hangout for college students in the vicinity and those from afar looking for a bit of green, both on and off their plate. The lush tree-lined grounds, casual seating and relaxed ambience have a lot to do with it, say several old and new college goers.“We were best known for our South Indian vegetarian fare of dosa, idli and vada but over the years, we started introducing chaat and a few other north Indian favourites too. We also have a revenue-sharing franchise with Corner House ice-creams and Pizza Stop. One can enjoy a full tasty vegetarian meal here," says Diwakar Rao, 53, second-generation proprietor of Airlines Hotel.“The popularity of the restaurant has a lot to do with the open space available, which makes the experience even more enjoyable," adds Rao. He is quick to talk about the good old days and the generations of students who have visited Airlines for a pocket-friendly meal. “When we opened shop, a dosa cost Re 1 and now it costs Rs 70,” he says. In March 2014, the hotel shut shop for a while, leaving college-goers disappointed. However, services were soon restored and piping hot vadas were back in business. ÜAT 4,Madras Bank Road, Shanthala Nagar ÜTEL 22273783 ÜPRICE Rs 40 onwards

AUGUST 2016 u SIMPLY BANGALORE

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SIMPLY BANGALORE

Cover Story Mohan Mahadeviah of The Living Room

Gaming chronicles The Living Room

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SIMPLY BANGALORE u AUGUST 2016

W

Photograph by

SANDESH RAVIKUMAR

hen they're not tucking into the latest culinary offerings in the city or sipping on golden draught beer, students in Bangalore like to indulge in their passion for console games. A popular destination for many enthusiasts is the eight-year-old, laid-back space called The Living Room. Located in the heart of the city, it is true to its name—with several cosy living rooms set up under a single roof for various activities. The brick walls add to the ambience and so does a no-holds-barred policy. So, while you pay by the hour, you are free to bring in your own food and drinks (non-alcoholic) and play a game (or two) on the Xbox, PS4 or Wii. “There isn't much to do in the city for students, besides drinking and hanging out in malls. Earlier, all gaming places in town were seedy and often located in basements. We wanted to change that and start a high-end gaming zone,” says owner Mohan Mahadeviah, 38. Visitors spanning the age group of 8 to 40 can play against each other here. Large hard drive backups also ensure that you can save a game and return to it on your next visit. “I see a lot of youngsters from Christ College, Bishop Cotton School, Vidyashilp Academy and Mallya Aditi International School stop by and they often throw birthday parties here too,” says Mahadeviah. “For many, gaming is an escape from reality where you can travel to exotic locations and even play James Bond,” he adds. ÜAT 45/7, Residency Cross Road, Next to Corner House ÜTEL 4091 2024 ÜPRICE Rs 300 per hour


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Rock Central Wise Guy

Saleem, shop manager, Wise Guy

Cover Story

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nce a retail store for casual wear, Wise Guy has for nearly two decades been the go-to place for music fans across the city. Enter the curiously small store and you could well be in a metal head’s paradise. Stacks and stacks of neatly folded black T-shirts cover nearly every inch of the shop. If you are lucky, you could also run into a guitarist or a drummer from one of many Indie bands in the city. They are all here to stock up on their latest favourites or more often T-shirts sporting their legendary idols. Saleem, 46, who's been the shop manager for 20 years is busy folding Game of Thrones T-shirts, the ‘new fad’ he points out. “It was in 1999 when Bangalore was getting into Rock and Roll music. We started selling Rock and Metal music inspired T-shirts then. And the most popular bands at that time— like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pink Floyd and AC/

DC—are still some of the most sold merchandise here," he says. A regular here from his college days is Munz, 26, a musician with city-based Thrash Metal band, The Down Troddence, popularly known as TDT. “No other store in the city has a collection this vast that includes so many underground bands,” says Munz. Besides being a haunt for regulars and those visiting town and looking for memorabilia, Wise Guy sees its largest crowds during the lead-up to a big concert. Over 2,000 T-shirts were sold from the store before the 2011 Metallica concert in town. “Saleem knows the bands, the trends and follows a method. When a big band is coming into town, he gets their itinerary and we often place orders for extra T-shirts before the show,” explains Siddiqui, 55, owner, Wise Guy. ÜAT F-116 & F-117, 1st Floor, 5th A, Avenue Complex, Brigade Road ÜTEL 25582919 ÜPRICE Rs 450 onwards Photograph by

NILOTPAL BARUAH


Bakes of Yore Sweet Chariot

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sk any college student about the best Black Forest pastries in town and they will take one name, Sweet Chariot. Set up in 1981, with is first outlet on Brigade Road, this bakery has been synonymous with cakes and sweet treats in Bangalore for over three decades. It was in 1984 that students from colleges such as Mount Carmel and Jyoti Nivas began visiting Sweet Chariot. The pineapple fresh cream pastries, Black Forest cakes and lemon tarts soon became a part of life for college goers. “And these still remain some of the favourites, though we later introduced blueberries, mango and mousse-based desserts as well,” says Glen Williams, 60, owner, Sweet Chariot. The small basement bakery is now one of the 35 outlets in Bangalore and Pune and has moved closer to some of the city’s school and colleges. ÜAT 11, Curzon Complex, Brigade Road ÜTEL 25580729 ÜPRICE Rs 45 onwards

SANDESH RAVIKUMAR

Glen Williams, owner, Sweet Chariot

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Cover Story Avinash Bajaj, owner, Truffles

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I

NILOTPAL BARUAH

t has been 15 years since the tiny burger restaurant, Ice & Spice changed hands and came to be called Truffles. However, it continues to remain a favourite among students looking for a wholesome, budget-friendly bite. Four outlets, 15 years and a new menu later, Truffles is still Truffles packed on weekdays and weekends alike. “The idea was for it to be a food and dessert café, hence the name Truffles. We retained the four burger varieties served at the old outlet and expanded the menu,” says owner Avinash Bajaj, 45. “We don’t want people to think about the budget and want them to have healthy portions,” adds Bajaj. The original outlet is now managed by Harish B Lund, 44, who went to school with owner Bajaj. “We remember Ice & Spice from our own student days and now see many students who were regulars here return with their children,” says Lund. It is with Bajaj’s new ownership that Ice & Spice was re-branded as Truffles and saw several additions like submarines, steaks, more burger varieties and desserts crafted by Sudha Bajaj, baker and Avinash Bajaj’s mother. “The most popular items on the menu are the All American Burger, Truffle Rooster and Tandoori Burger. Our Ferrero Rocher cake is very n popular too,” says Lund. In addition to being nbudget-friendly, at Truffles, the price on the menu is the exact amount that appears on your bill. “We don’t add service tax or VAT to our bills and absorb it ourselves. It has been this way for years,” says Lund. ÜAT StPrestige Mark’sEstates Road,Projects Koramangala Limited and RMV 2nd Stage 'The Falcon House', No.1, Main Guard Cross Rs Road, Bengaluru - 560 001, Ph: +91-80-25591080, Fax: +91-80-25591945, ÜPRICE 100 onwards

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