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Volume 30 n Issue 5 n September-October 2016

the making of barefoot solar mamas

heritage kalaripayattu

art indian handloom

conversation PV Sindhu


Upcoming events across India ZIRO FESTIVAL

Fast becoming one of the hot spots of Indie music culture in India, this breathtaking valley hosts one of the most popular outdoor musical events. With over 30 Indie bands performing from all over the world, Ziro provides amazing camping facilities to accommodate the visitors. WHEN: September 22-25 WHERE: Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

PAYIPPAD SNAKE BOAT RACE

DURGA PUJA

An annual festival in the backwaters of Payippad River witnesses the largest participation of snake boats, second to Nehru Trophy boat race. The three-day event commemorates the establishment of the idol at Subramanya Swamy temple in Haripad.

Also referred to as Durgotsava, it is an annual festival that celebrates worship of goddess Durga. Handcrafted idols of Durga, ostentatious pandals, dazzling light work and aromatic food are few of the main attractions of the festival.

WHEN: September 16 WHERE: Harripad, Kerala

WHEN: October 7-11 WHERE: All over India

NEELAMPEROOR PATAYANI

Celebrated over a period of 16 nights, this festival is a riot of colourful masks and extravagant headgears wore by the performers to honour the Goddess Bhadrakali. Large swan effigies lend a quaint charm to this festival. WHEN: September 29 WHERE: Neelamperoor, Kerala

LADAKH FESTIVAL

DUSSEHRA

WHEN: September 20-26 WHERE: All over Ladakh

WHEN: October 11 WHERE: Mysore, Karnataka and Kullu, Himachal Pradesh

The six-day festival takes place in Leh. There is dancing, singing, traditional music, people wearing colourful traditional Ladakhi dresses. The festival witnesses archery, polo, and masked dances from the monasteries and dances by cultural troupes.

Kullu and Msyore have carved a niche when it comes to celebrating Dussehra in India. Phool Yatra, Naina Devi Fair and the illuminated Mysore Palace make the festival a decadent affair.


Foreword Visits by the Indian President, Vice President and Prime Minister to the African continent this year underline the nation’s commitment to partner in the ongoing resurgence of Africa. Under our Partnership section, we reveal how Afro-optimism is still the dominant sentiment with some of the world’s fastest growing economies humming and thriving in the African continent. Also, with India hosting the 8th BRICS Summit in October in Goa, interactions between the five countries of this young multilateral grouping will get a new rhythm as the member nations look forward to scale new benchmarks after the formal launch of two India-backed signature BRICS initiatives and chart out a roadmap for strengthening intra-BRICS engagement. In the Progress section, we talk about how over 800 illiterate women from 78 countries — aged between 35 and 50 years — became solar engineers using sign language as they trained at the Barefoot College under the Indian Technical Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. We also feature Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission that has adopted a phased approach for an initiative, launched in 2010, to generate 22 GW of solar energy by 2022. An article focussing on Indian Space Research Organisation explains in detail how India has become the most cost effective destination for launching satellites. Under the sections exploring Indian art, culture and heritage, we learn about Indian handloom becoming a rage on the fashion scene, the evolution of Indian miniature paintings and Tamil Nadu’s widely practised custom of making intricate symmetrical designs called kolams. Given that Goa will host the BRICS Summit this time, we take you along for a journey to Goa, nature’s paradise for beach lovers. We also showcase the former French colony of Chandannagar in West Bengal and Murudeshwara, the abode of spirituality in Karnataka. Other not-to-be missed stories include the journey of Olympian silver medallist PV Sindhu and the art of Indian sweet-making.

Volum

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n Iss ue 5

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Vikas Swarup

THE M BAREFOAKING OF OT SOLA R MAM

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HERI KALA TAGE RIPAY ATTU ART INDIAN HA

NDLO

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Volume 30 n Issue 5 n September-October 2016

Editor: Vikas Swarup Assistant Editor: Nikhilesh Dixit Ministry of External Affairs Room No. 152, ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi - 110001, India Tel.: +91.11.23388949, 23381719 Fax.: +91.11.23384663 Web: www.indiaperspectives.in For feedback: osdpd2@mea.gov.in

MaXposure Media Group India Pvt Ltd Publisher & COO: Vikas Johari CEO & Managing Director: Prakash Johari Executive Editor: Saurabh Tankha Head Office MaXposure Media Group India Pvt Ltd Plot No 246, 3rd Floor, Okhla Phase-3, New Delhi-110020, India Tel: +91.11.43011111, Fax: +91.11.43011199 CIN No: U22229DL2006PTC152087 For inquiries: indiaperspectives@maxposure.in

FOR INQUIRIES | MMGIPL Tel: +91.11.43011111 FAX: +91.11.43011199 www.maxposure.in

India Perspectives is published in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Tamil, Chinese and Japanese. India Perspectives is published by Vikas Swarup, Additional Secretary (XP) and Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Room No. 152, ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi - 110001, India. It is printed and published on behalf of the MEA by MaXposure Media Group India Pvt. Ltd. (MMGIPL), Plot No 246, 3rd Floor, Okhla Phase-3, New Delhi-110020, India. India Perspectives is published six times a year. All rights reserved. The writing, artwork and/or photography contained herein may be used or reproduced with an acknowledgement to India Perspectives. MEA and MMGIPL does not assume responsibility for loss or damage of unsolicited products, manuscripts, photographs, artwork, transparencies or other materials. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the MEA or MMGIPL.

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For a copy of India Perspectives, contact the nearest Indian diplomatic mission.

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co n te n ts

14

86

40

PARTNERSHIP

snapshot

Branding BRICS: People-centric, innovative and inclusive................................06

The French connection ................................ 48 Art

PARTNERSHIP

Rising Africa zooms high on India’s diplomatic canvas ...........................................14

The woven poetry ......................................... 54 Art

Many moods of miniatures .......................... 58

Progress

The Barefoot Solar Mamas of the world........22 PROGRESS

ISRO dreams big, delivers big! ........................28

craft

Ushering auspiciousness with Kolam...................................................... 62 travel

A paradise of paradoxes ................................66

PROGRESS

A great step towards transformation..............32

travel

Enchanting Murudeshwara .......................... 72

progress

The solar powerhouse .................................. 36

cuisine

The “sweet” India .......................................... 78 culture

Celebrating victory of good over evil..........40

cuisine

Season of gluttony ........................................ 84

heritage

A holistic approach to train the body and mind................................................ 44

conversation

The silver stance ............................................86

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Branding BRICS: People-centric, innovative

and inclusive

The 8th BRICS Summit India is poised to provide new rhythms and cadences to interactions between the five countries of this multilateral group text | Manish Chand

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Facing page: President of Brazil Michel Temer, Indian PM Narendra Modi, President of China Xi Jinping, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma during the BRICS leaders meeting on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Hangzhou; Above: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the launch of the BRICS logo

I

which will bind the BRICS countries in a IIIC or I4C: Institution Building, tighter embrace. The logo of the 8th BRICS Implementation, Integration, Summit conjures up this radiant Innovation and spirit of solidarity which shows a Continuity with The 8th summit lotus having national colours of Consolidation. In will provide the five countries and a traditional the emerging alphabet and new rhythms Indian namaste in the centre. vocabulary of emerging powers, to interactions the 8th BRICS Summit India between the five will host in the scenic seaside I4C mantra: Continuity countries resort of Goa on October 15-16 is and consolidation poised to provide new rhythms and cadences to interactions between the five countries of this multilateral group. This new language will be the language of people, youth, music, dance, sports and culture,

With the I4C as its guiding mantra, India, which assumed the rotating presidency of BRICS on February 15, 2016, has chalked out an ambitious and multifarious agenda to provide greater cohesion and

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PM Modi addressing at the Plenary Session of 7th BRICS Summit in Ufa, Russia

Summit — the uneven global growth, strategic depth to the grouping. For decline in growth rates of all BRICS India, hosting the 8th BRICS Summit is economies except India, the a challenge as the five-nation proliferation of conflicts group is looking to scale new PM Modi around the world and the rise benchmarks after the formal has taken of international terrorism — launch of two India-backed the lead in demand leadership, strategic signature BRICS initiatives remapping and vision innovation and ability — New Development Bank expanding the to think afresh. Therefore, (NDB) and Contingency canvas of BRICS all eyes will be on India to Reserve Arrangement (CRA) provide a fresh infusion of — and chart out a roadmap for ideas and initiatives to revitalise this deepening and diversifying intra-BRICS crucial grouping. The summit, under engagement across the spectrum. The India’s presidency, will generate fresh ideas immediate backdrop of the 8th BRICS

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with his 10-point plan entitled Das Kadam at to provide new directions to the BRICS grouping, says Alok Dimri, joint secretary the Ufa Summit in 2015. In 2016, this dream in charge of BRICS, in India’s acquired new wings as India will foreign office. be hosting 101 BRICS-related India will be events in the run-up to the Goa hosting 101 summit, with more than half People-centric BRICS BRICS-related of them focussed on expanding PM Narendra Modi has taken events in the the arc of people-to-people the lead in remapping and run-up to the interaction, encompassing youth, expanding the canvas of BRICS Goa summit young diplomats, sportspersons, by unveiling his dream of a administrators, academics, people-centric BRICS. He journalists and parliamentarians. spoke about people-centred initiatives at These events include, among others, the first BRICS summit he participated the BRICS Under-17 Football Tournament, in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2014, reinforced it

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Outreach to BIMSTEC Building on the practice of involving emerging regions in the BRICS journey, India has invited the leaders of the seven-nation Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to the 8th BRICS Summit. The grouping, which straddles South and Southeast Asia, includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Inviting leaders of the neighbouring region has become a regular feature over the last three summits. South Africa invited the leaders of African countries and representatives of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to the 5th BRICS summit in Durban. It was followed by Brazil inviting the leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, as part of outreach to South America at the sixth Brics summit at Fortaleza in July 2014. In 2015, Russia invited the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for an outreach session with the BRICS leaders.

BRICS Film Festival, BRICS Wellness Forum, BRICS Youth Forum, Young Diplomat’s Forum, BRICS Trade Fair, BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave, BRICS think-tank and academic forums. Unveiling the 2016 BRICS logo in February in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj explained the rationale behind these diverse but interlinked events. “This will give people a greater opportunity to enrich the BRICS process. It would also be an occasion for our BRICS partners to visit different cities and states of India,” the minister underlined.

Cooperative federalism: Taking BRICS to states India’s BRICS chairmanship will be remembered for pitching people at the centre of intra-BRICS engagement and for taking BRICS to states, provinces and cities across

PM Modi with other BRICS leaders at the 7th BRICS summit in Ufa

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Above: Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) VK Singh and the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at the inauguration of the BRICS Film Festival in New Delhi

India. The idea is to move away from the in the evolution of the BRICS grouping’s capital and expose other BRICS countries to core agenda of recasting the global order India’s cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity. and rejuvenating intra-BRICS economic This strategy is aniwmated by PM Modi’s relationship. Amid continuing global vision of cooperative federalism. slowdown, the BRICS economies, This explains why India decided despite slowing growth rates BRICS countries to host the 8th BRICS Summit in of some member countries, have the Goa, and not Delhi. The BRICSis a formidable economic hub potential to focussed events with pan-India accounting for combined GDP emerge as a key footprint are designed to showcase of over $16 trillion, and has driver of global Brand India that is navigating its the potential to emerge as a economic growth own path to renaissance amid a key driver of global economic challenging global climate. growth. Against this backdrop, the Goa Summit is expected to focus on implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Expanding Intra-BRICS Economic Partnership and BRICS Roadmap economic ties for Trade, Economic and Investment The Goa Summit will mark new milestones

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Logo design of BRICS Summit 2016 At the 8th BRICS Summit, India will welcome the leaders of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa for Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions. The new logo — the lotus and joined hands that make a namaste — welcomes the BRICS leaders to India with a humble, traditional and a respectful gesture and with the national flower, lotus. The colours used in the logo also symbolise each country. Brazil in green, Russia in blue, India in saffron, China in Red and South Africa in yellow.

Goa calling Goa is set to host its first major multilateral summit. More than 900 delegates and officials from Brazil, China, Russia, South Africa and other BIMSTEC countries are expected to attend the summit. The largest delegations will be from Russia and China. The summit is set to raise Goa’s international profile not just as a holiday destination but as a venue for business and diplomacy.

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Cooperation until 2020, which was firmed up during the previous summit in Ufa, Russia. The leaders of BRICS countries are expected to come out with new initiatives to enhance economic synergies among the BRICS grouping by focussing on nonconventional areas like digital economy, innovation, tourism, wellness and culture. The hosting of BRICS Film Festival, BRICS Tourism Convention and BRICS Wellness Forum are expected to put the spotlight on the critical role of blooming culture and creative industries in all these countries. The easing of business and tourist visa The NDB has regime, say experts, will play a already started crucial role in energising intralending for BRICS trade and investment. development Issues relating to intra-BRICS projects in trade and investment will developing countries figure in details at the BRICS business leaders meeting, which will be organised by India’s apex business body FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). The recommendations will be finalised by trade ministers of BRICS countries in New Delhi on October 13-14.

S ept em b er- O c t o be r

BRICS think tank

The discussions at the Goa Summit, and the meeting of trade ministers preceding it, will focus on normative and ideological issues to impart greater traction to the New Development Bank which has started lending for development projects in developing countries, with India’s Canara Bank getting $250 million for Greenfield projects. With the NDB set to play a bigger role in disbursal

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Representatives of BRICS group on the sideline of 71st UN General Assembly

of development finance for infrastructure projects in developing countries, BRICS countries are exploring a proposal for setting up a BRICS economic think tank which will bring together some of the finest international economists and economic thinkers among emerging countries to firm up a long-term roadmap for providing direction and cohesion to the NDB and the larger economic and development agenda of the BRICS grouping. Similarly, the BRICS countries are also exploring the idea of an independent and indigenous BRICS Credit Rating Agency, which is expected to

provide an alternative narrative to Westdominated agencies.

Recasting global order

In the end, reconfiguring the global governance architecture, political and economic, remains at the heart of the BRICS process, and the 8th Summit in Goa is poised to provide a fresh momentum to the long-delayed project of recasting the world order, with a greater say for emerging economies and developing countries.

(Manish Chand is founder-editor of India Writes Network, www.indiawrites.org, an e-magazine and journal focused on international affairs and the India Story)

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Partnership

Rising Africa zooms high on India’s

diplomatic canvas

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Africa has moved to the centrestage of India’s foreign policy as the continent has emerged as a beacon of hope amid the continuing global slowdown text | Manish Chand

T

he year 2016 is all set to be the one of Africa in India’s diplomacy. Building on the successful Third India-Africa Forum Summit in October 2015, which brought together leaders and representatives from all countries of the African continent for the first time to India, the Indian President, Vice President and Prime Minister have visited nine African countries this year. This unprecedented outreach to Africa underlines India’s unstinting commitment to partner in the ongoing resurgence of the emerging continent.

Afro-optimism: Cape of Good Hope

Afro-optimism is still the dominant sentiment, with some of the world’s fastest growing economies humming and thriving in the African continent despite crashing commodity prices leading to a slowdown in some resourcedependent African countries. The growth rate has been revised but the trends are largely upbeat — more African countries have embraced democracy and economic reforms as they step up the process of modernisation, industrialisation and urbanisation, making the continent, Cape of Good Hope. The ongoing African resurgence has intersected with the

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Partnership

Connecting with diaspora Mahatma and Madiba. Interlinked dreams of India and Africa. Rise of India. Resilience and Resurgence. These were key theme of PM Modi’s stirring address to the Indian community in Johannesburg on July 8. Sporting a Madiba shirt, Modi enthralled nearly 11,000 PIOs with his resonant vision of a new India and cited myriad cultural and historical links that bind India and South Africa. He unveiled a new mantra of HOPE in which India, Africa and the Indian community in the African continent can partake of to usher in a new period of shared prosperity and progress. “With rare resilience, renewed resurgence, superb speed and spectacular scale, India’s rise can be defined as H.O.P.E: Harmony, Optimism, Potential and Energy,” he said. His speeches to the Indian community underlined the growing importance of the Indian diaspora in advancing India-Africa relations and enlisting their support in the unfolding transformation of India. In Nairobi, PM Modi connected with the Kenyan youth in his address to students at the University of Nairobi and spoke to the Indian community separately. In his address to the Indian community in Nairobi, he shared his vision of transformation of India and sought the support of the Indian community. “India is not a selfish nation. We believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” he said. In a unique outreach to the Kenyan youth, he spoke about cultural connections like love for films and yoga and lauded Kenyans for their culture of enterprise and innovation. “To the passionate Gen Next of Kenya, I bring the warm friendship of over 800 million youth of India,” he said. This public outreach to a vibrant African continent is set to enhance people-topeople contacts and widen the arc of friendship between the two sides.

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PM Modi handed over keys of 30 field ambulances to Kenya

narrative of a rising India, with the Asian country emerging as the world’s fastest growing economy. This conjoined resurgence forms the backdrop for India’s enhanced Africa diplomacy which has been exemplified in a spate of highprofile visits following the IAFS-III. The overarching focus is on expanding the canvas of India’s engagement with Africa by targetting all regions. While PM Narendra Modi’s visits focussed on eastern and southern Africa (Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya), President Dr Pranab Mukherjee’s visits encompassed Anglophone and Francophone West Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast and Namibia) and Vice President Hamid Ansari’s visits revitalised India’s outreach to Arab Africa (Morocco and Tunisia). These visits to African countries were substantive and far-reaching, reinforcing the key pillars of India’s Africa engagement which pivots around enhanced trade, capacity building, development cooperation and

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fresh Lines of Credit for buttressing capacity knowledge partnership. Overall, more than 24 building and infrastructure in African agreements were signed during the visits by countries. For example, in Kenya, India signed the Indian leaders to nine African countries. a pact for providing LOC of 15 million to During PM Modi’s visit, 19 pacts were signed IDB Capital Limited, Kenya, for development which encompassed diverse areas including of various small and medium training, capacity building, enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya and trade and investment, defence, India signed another LOC of $29.95 million agriculture, youth affairs, sports a pact for to the Government of Kenya for and visa exemption. providing LOC upgrade of Rift Valley Textiles of 15 million for Factory. In Tanzania, India The South Way: development of announced LOC of $92 million for Development SMEs rehabilitation and improvement of Cooperation water supply system in Zanzibar. Enhancing development India’s desire to partner in capacity building cooperation within the ambit of South-South and infrastructure of African countries was ideals of mutual empowerment formed the evident in these engagements. In Tanzania, the fulcrum of all these visits. Building upon $10 two countries signed an MoU on cooperation billion Line of Credit announced by India at in the field of water resource management IAFS III, these visits saw New Delhi unveiling

Indian Prime Minister and Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, at the India-Kenya Business Forum, in Nairobi, Kenya

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and development and another pact on Joint Upscaling economic ties Action Plan (JAP) between National Small Agriculture and food security have emerged Industries Corporation of India (NSIC) and as important planks of India’s burgeoning Small Industries Development Organisation engagement with Africa. The blueprint for Tanzania (SIDO). enhanced agricultural cooperation During PM Modi’s visit to is enshrined in the IAFS-III joint Tanzania, India agreed to set up declaration and since then has been The focus on a Vocational Training Centre reflected in important agreements training and at Zanzibar. During President and pacts signed during these HRD was also Mukherjee’s visit to Namibia, the high-profile visits. The pact on crystallised in two countries signed an MoU the long-term purchase of pulses, a slew of new on the establishment of a centre signed during PM Modi’s visit to initiatives of excellence in IT and another Mozambique, underscored the pact on cooperation in capacity building of potential of the Lusophone country to play a public officials, which will cover areas such as pivotal role in India’s food security. Similarly, customised capacity building; public governance the MoU signed between India and Tanzania and leadership; and public administration. for water resource management will be critical

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to agricultural development in the East African country. India is also moving to fast-track processing of Line of Credit of $102 million for development of low-land agriculture in Cote D’Ivoire. In all the countries visited by the President, Vice President and Prime Minister, India focussed on expanding trade and investment which was underscored in interactions of Indian dignitaries with the business community. India-Africa bilateral trade is currently estimated to be around $70 billion, and if Afro-optimism in the Indian corporate world is anything to go by, the two sides should be able to achieve the target of $100 billion soon with digital economy, innovation, start-ups and travel and tourism as the new focus areas.

India’s key commitments under IAFS-III $10 billion Line of Credit for Africa over the next five years Pledge of additional grant assistance of USD 600 million. Setting up of an India-Africa Development Fund of USD 100 million Setting up of India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million. Doubling of scholarships for African students to 50,000 over the next five years. Fast-tracking of setting up of training institutes across Africa Expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network, a digital connectivity project that currently encompasses 48 African countries for tele-medicine and teleeducation and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa were also given. India to enhance capital outflows to Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). Promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to encourage Indian businesses to set up skills development units in African industrial zones Joint development of blue economy Deepening of strategic partnership, including closer cooperation on global issues such as UNSC reforms, counter-terrorism, anti-piracy operations, cyber security, climate change, sustainable development and WTO negotiations. Setting up of joint review/monitoring mechanism to review progress in implementation of key projects under the IAFS

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Indian President Dr Pranab Mukherjee pays homage at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the University of Ghana in Accra

Strategic connect

This enhanced development and economic cooperation between India and Africa is being complemented by the bolstering of strategic partnership which includes proactive cooperation in combating terrorism, piracy and international cooperation. In South Africa, PM Modi exhorted the South African defence industry to participate in projects under the Make in India mission. India and Kenya signed a pact on defence cooperation which includes enhanced military-to-military exchanges across the spectrum. “We can also partner in the fields of defence and security, both at the industry as well as strategic and security needs,” PM Modi said in Pretoria, signalling the new strategic thrust in India’s Africa policy. Amid growing salience of the Indian Ocean, the two sides are expected to

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collaborate in not only maritime security, but also in the joint development of blue economy. This increasing congruence on strategic issues has spin-off benefits for India. South Africa’s declaration of support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group underlined the enduring strength of India’s strategic partnership with South Africa. PM Modi was prompt in thanking President Jacob Zuma. “I thanked the President for South Africa’s support to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” announced Mr Modi at a media address. The reiteration of support by many African countries for India’s candidacy for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council reinforced the imperative for the two sides to work closely to fast-track reform and expansion of the UN Security Council, with seats for both India and Africa in a reformed UNSC. Besides, there

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PM Modi being accorded ceremonial welcome, at the National Assembly, at Maputo, in Mozambique

is a growing convergence of perspectives on working closely in pluri-lateral and multilateral fora like IBSA and BRICS (South Africa) and IOR-A.

Way Ahead

With growing convergence of economic and strategic interests, India’s Africa diplomacy is set to scale new frontiers. Skill, Scale and Speed, as demonstrated in these high-profile visits following the IAFS-III, will form the “Triple S” mantra that will animate this mutually invigorating relationship. This enhanced Africa outreach by India is timely as it comes against the backdrop of shifting geopolitical equations emerging around

the rising continent. Africa has now more partners to choose from, and all of them, established powers as well as emerging players, are courting the continent with a renewed ardour. India is not in the game of competition or rivalry but its model of partnering Africa, based on evolving requirements of a rising continent and underpinned by ideals of South-South Cooperation, is set to distinguish it from others in the fray. India is determined to raise the bar leveraging its resources, core strengths and rising global profile to transform a mutually empowering partnership with the continent.

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Channel (Manish Chand is founder-editor of India Writes Network, www.indiawrites.org, an e-magazine and journal focused on international affairs and the India Story)

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Progress

The Barefoot Solar Mamas

of the world

Over 800 Solar Mamas in 78 countries have been trained from through 16 ITEC courses in 2016. They have also solar electrified 50,000 houses covering over 500 villages text | Bunker Roy

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engineers using pictures, signs, visuals and he Barefoot College was gestures and “learning by doing�. recognised as a training In six months, the Solar Mamas learnt institute under the Indian how to fabricate sophisticated charge Technical Economic controllers, invertors, LED Cooperation solar lanterns, establish a Rural (ITEC) in 2008. Since then, Electronic Workshop (REWs) two batches of 40 women, The Barefoot and install fixed solar systems from remote non-electrified College was in individual houses. With the villages, each have come to the recognised as a REW in every solar electrified Barefoot College from the Least training institute village, the Solar Mamas carried Developed Countries (LDCs) under ITEC out all repairs and maintenance. every six months. They had in 2008 The community paid the same to be illiterate or semi-literate every month for solar lights what they and between 35-50 years. As they came paid for kerosene, candles, torch batteries, from different countries and spoke different charging mobiles, wood and diesel. These languages and dialects, they became solar

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Progress

BAREFOOT APPROACH IN 36 AFRICAN COUNTRIES FOR SOLAR DOMESTIC LIGHTING Trained BSE/ Number of SOLAR electrified HOUSES

Country

MAURItania

2/55

Mali

3/320

Senegal

9/350

The Gambia

4/114

Guinea Bissau

6/250

Sierra Leone

10/1720

Liberia

8/100

Burkina Faso

13/602

Niger

4/150

Ivory Coast

4/0

Togo

6/185

Ghana

5/110

Benin

2/408

Chad

2/100

Cameroon

4/263

Namibia

7/0

Botswana

7/0

South Africa

5/0

Lesotho

4/412

Sudan

6/100

Central African Republic

4/0

South Sudan

16/237

Ethiopia

10/250

Djibouti

5/250

DR Congo

12/400

Uganda

10/440

Kenya

16/1205

Rwanda

12/340

Burundi

4/100

Tanzania + Zanzibar

31/2000

Zambia

6/200

Malawi

13/316

Zimbabwe

7/150

Mozambique

3/100

Comoros

6/100

Madagascar

7/390

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1 Mauritania 3 The Gambia 4 Senegal

2 Mali

10 Niger

9 Burkina 13 Benin 6 8 Sierra Leone 11 Liberia 7 12 Togo 15 Ivory Coast Cameroon

20 Sudan

14 Chad

24 Djibouti

5 Guinea Bissau

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Ghana

22 South Sudan

21 Car

23 Ethopia

26 27 Uganda Kenya 28 Rwanda Burundi 29 30 Tanzania Zanzibar

25 DR Congo

35 Comoros 31 Zambia

32 Malawi

33 Zimbabawe 16 17 Namibia Botswana 18 South Africa 19 Lesotho

are the first technically and financially self-sufficient solar electrified villages in the world. In 2016, through 16 ITEC courses, over 800 Solar Mamas have been trained from 78 countries. They have solar electrified 50,000 houses covering in over 500 villages. In the six month period, nearly 200 hours are allotted to expose them on vital women health issues, importance of savings and how to open a bank account, start micro enterprises and be rural entrepreneurs, livelihood skills, digital literacy using Ipads to communicate with each other through a ENRICHE programme tailormade for illiterate rural women. The global impact and success of the barefoot Gandhian model resulted in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

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approving the establishment of Barefoot Singh during his visit to Guatemala. Vocational Training Centres (BVTCs) in At the conclusion of the Forum for Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Indian Pacific Island Countries Madagascar and Zanzibar (FIPIC) in August 2015, at a cost of `2.48 crore each. PM Modi announced in the The Government The Government of Zanzibar presence of head of 14 Pacific of Zanzibar approved $250,000 to establish Island countries in Jaipur approved a Barefoot Training Centre for that 70 Solar Mamas will be $250,000 women solar engineers. It was trained and will solar electrify to establish operational in August 2015 2,800 houses across 14 Pacific a Barefoot Training Centre inaugurated by the President Island Countries. of Zanzibar. During India-Africa Forum A Regional Barefoot Training Summit in October 2015, Centre to train 48 Solar Mamas and solar first ladies from South Africa, Namibia, electrifying their villages covering eight Ghana and Mali met the Solar Mamas from countries in Central and Latin America was Africa. At the conclusion, the Ministry announced by the Minister of State Gen VK announced the sanction of `25 crore to

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Profiles of Women Barefoot Solar Engineers of Bangladesh

Progress

Begun Rejia (37 years)

Khatun Mst Monora (41 years)

Village: Kazipun, Kazipur, Sirajganj Child: 1 Literacy: Illiterate Language: Bengali Occupation: Domestic ITEC Course: XIII (Sep. 2014-March 2015)

Village: Kazipun, Kazipur, Sirajganj Children: 2 Literacy: Illiterate Language: Bengali Occupation: Domestic ITEC Course: XIII (Sep. 2014-March 2015)

Khatun Mst Munzuara (39 years) Village: Kazipun, Kazipur, Sirajganj Children: 3 Literacy: Illiterate Language: Bengali Occupation: Domestic ITEC Course: XIII (Sep. 2014-March 2015)

solar electrification for domestic lighting & barefoot solar engineers

As on March 2015

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Begum Shalaha ( 39 years)

Sultana Razia (34 years)

Village: Khagrachari Children: 3 Literacy: Illiterate Language: Bengali Occupation: Domestic ITEC Course: XV (Sep. 2015-March 2016)

Village: Khagrachari Children: 3 Literacy: Literate Language: Bengali Occupation: Domestic ITEC Course: XV (Sep. 2015-March 2016)

Begum Sakhina ( 37 years)

Begum Khohinur (50 years)

Village: Khagrachari Children: 4 Literacy: Literate Language: Bengali Occupation: Domestic ITEC Course: XV (Sep. 2015-March 2016)

Village: Khagrachari Children: 6 Literacy: Literate Language: Bengali Occupation: Domestic ITEC Course: XV (Sep. 2015-March 2016)

this has not been possible Government of solar electrify 7,500 houses spread over 15 India has stepped in to fill the vacuum. The African countries. process is under way to sign an MoU between The Barefoot College has signed MoUs Barefoot College International (BCI) and the with major UN organisation to spread the International Solar Alliance initiated by PM barefoot model through the Solar Mamas — Modi and the President of France UNWOMEN, UNESCO, GEF to increase the number of nonSmall Grants Programme UNDP. The electrified villages to be solar The enormous endorsement Government electrified by the Solar Mamas. of the Government of India to of India, They are present in 70 of the 120 the Solar Mamas has yielded through ITEC, countries who are members of international support from trains the Solar the Solar Alliance. philanthropy foundations Mamas A film commissioned by the including Skoll Foundation Ministry of External Affairs (USA): Oak Foundation, Enel called No Problem on Solar Mamas has won Green Power(Italy): Erol Foundation(USA): Bank of America, Coca Cola, Apple India and several national and international awards. A film titled Rafea Solar Mama on the first Cartier (France). Arab woman from Jordan to be trained as The Government of India, through a solar engineer has been seen by over 400 ITEC, trains the Solar Mamas: Funds to million people through all the major channels solar electrify their villages comes from and networks from Australia to the US. UN and the private foundations. Where

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Progress

ISRO dreams big,

delivers big!

PSLV has become a reliable, bankable and precision launcher that makes India an attractive destination for countries looking for a cheap and reliable option to launch satellites text | Pallava Bagla

I

ndia’s success story in space technology seems to defy gravity, considering Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) string of spectacular achievements. The list includes completing India’s very own satellite based navigation system, launching the country’s pioneering mini space shuttle and making history by putting 20 satellites in

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orbit in a single launch. A revisit to the moon is among the romantic outings India has on its anvil. On June 22, 2016, exactly at 9:26 am, an Indian rocket lifted off from the island of Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh and created history for the Indian space agency. The Polar Satellite Launch

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Vehicle (PSLV-C34) put in orbit 20 satellites in 26 ISRO finally grows wings! minutes. This is no mean feat. ISRO chairman Dr The calm of a hot and sultry morning at AS Kiran Kumar simply described the successful Sriharikota was shattered exactly at 7 am on May mission “a job well done”. 23, 2016, when India’s brand new rocket that The PSLV in its 36th launch weighed 320 carried India’s mini space shuttle into space blasted tonnes, and was as tall as 44.4 m, which is the off from India’s rocket port. average height of a 15-storey building. With this For the time in its history, ISRO grew wings launch, ISRO achieved 35 consecutively successful as it embarked on a never before space flight that launches of India’s smaller rocket. In 2008, ISRO made history. The Indian space agency undertook launched 10 satellites in a single the maiden launch of its very own mission, using the PSLV, creating a indigenously made version of a “Space Till date, ISRO world record. Today, the world record Shuttle”, a fully Made in India effort. has launched for successfully launching maximum Congratulating the scientists, 113 satellites number of satellites in a single mission Prime Minister Narendra Modi said of which 74 is held by Russia, which in 2014, put in “the dynamism and dedication with came from space 37 satellites. which our scientists at ISRO have 20 different In this record breaking mission, worked over the years is exceptional countries ISRO lofted 17 satellites from foreign and very inspiring”. vendors out of which 13 belonged to the US and others from Germany, Indonesia and Canada. According to Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and in-charge of space affairs, “through launch of these 17 foreign satellites, Antrix Corporation Ltd has earned revenue of 10.24 million Euros and 4.54 million US$.” This was the single largest number of satellites to be launched by an Indian rocket for America. Interestingly, for the first time India orbited a Google-owned satellite. Terra Bella, a Californian company part of the global behemoth, Google, launched a 110 kilo high-tech Earth viewing satellite SkySat Gen-2. This Google owned satellite, the company says will be used for mapping inventories. Foreign vendors are increasingly opting to launch their smaller satellites using Indian launchers; this is not surprising since it is estimated that it costs up to 50 per cent less to launch satellites through ISRO. The PSLV has become a reliable, bankable and precision launcher which makes India an attractive destination for countries looking for a cheap and reliable option to launch satellites. Till date, ISRO has launched 113 satellites of which 74 came from 20 different countries. In the bargain, ISRO has earned over $120 million in revenue for the country.

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Progress

Two solar panel deployment test at Bengaluru

only a single space shuttle called it Buran. It Yes, the big powers abandoned the idea of flew into space just once in 1989. After that a winged reusable launch vehicle but India’s the French and Japanese have made some engineers believe the solution to reducing cost of launching satellites into orbit is to recycle the experimental flights. rocket or make it reusable. Scientists at ISRO believe they could reduce the cost of launching Signalling success! stuff into space by as much as Recently, ISRO made a special 10 times if re-usable technology dash to complete India’s NAVIC Indian engineers succeeds, bringing it down to – “Navigation with Indian believe the cost $2,000 per kilo. Constellation” when the last of the of launching Re-usable Launch Vehicle seven satellites was successfully satellites can – Technology Demonstrator placed in the orbit by the PSLV on be reduced by (RLV-TD) was the first time ISRO April 28, 2016. The Indian satellite recycling rocket launched a space craft which had constellation is already providing delta wings and after launch it was day and night coverage of the glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of navigation signal throughout the Indian region. Bengal after its nearly 13 minute flight. This is a unique achievement by ISRO. The only countries that have attempted PM Modi took forward a germ of an idea operational flights of a space shuttle are from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari America, which flew its space shuttle 135 times Vajpayee’s tenure when during the Kargil and then retired it in 2011. The Russians made conflict with Pakistan, New Delhi was

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ISRO has launched 74 satellites commercially for different countries. India is now proposing to increase the frequency of the launches by having more Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) missions

Indian NAVIC provides a regional signal while denied access to the best quality satellite based navigation system signals it desperately sought to the American and Russian systems have global footprints. When required India’s footprint can annihilate with pinpoint accuracy the reinforced bunkers on the high hills made by the Pakistanis. also be made global by augmenting the number of satellites. The first round of the National Democratic NAVIC’s assured signal coverage extends Alliance government laid the foundation for over the country and about 1,500 the swadeshi GPS which Modi has km beyond Indian borders, and fulfilled. Other than India, globally, India’s footprint experts explain the rationale for satellite-based navigational signals can also be this as being based on the current over South Asia are provided only made global threat perception that exists for by the American constellation of the by augmenting the country. Global Positioning System (GPS) the number of Later this year, ISRO is all set and the Russian constellation that satellites to test India’s monster rocket - the uses a system called GLONASS. Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch It is ISRO’s claim that the Indian Vehicle - Mark III - capable of putting up to eight navigation system is superior to both these tonnes in low earth orbit. Next year if all goes systems for the South Asian region. Moreover, the American and Russian systems use 4 times as as per plan, the country’s second mission to the moon Chandrayaan-2 will lift off, which will many satellites for their systems, making NAVIC (like a lot of ISRO’s technology) frugal, operating among other things soft land India’s Tricolour on the lunar surface, India reaching for the stars! with seven satellites. It must be clarified that the

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Progress

A great step towards

transformation

The passage of Goods and Services Tax Bill will boost long-term growth besides sending out a positive reform signal of the government’s intent to enact major reforms in future text | Vikas khanna

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he passage of the long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a remarkable achievement which will catapult India’s $2 trillion economy to the doubledigit growth in the coming years. Economists have forecast that India, which is already the

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world’s fastest growing large economy, can add a minimum of 0.8 percentage points from the GST within three to five years. And if Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is to be believed then the GST can help increase India’s GDP by around two per cent. It is considered as the most important tax reform since Independence

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came on board when the government as it will subsume some major central and agreed to their demand that a constitutional state government levies such as duties on framework will be put in place to compensate excise, additional duties of customs, service them for revenue they would lose by tax, value-added tax, central sales tax, entry adopting the GST for five years. tax, octroi and luxury tax into a The painstaking efforts national sales tax which will cut PM Modi’s of the present government down business transaction costs. government to renew dialogue with all Prime Minister Narendra should be the states and the opposition Modi’s government should credited for the finally bore the results when be credited for the passage of passage of the both the houses of Parliament the GST which once looked GST which once passed the 122nd Amendment uncertain. The issue was hanging looked uncertain Bill in August. The passage of fire for more than a decade. the crucial tax reform bill will The concept of GST was first send a strong signal to investors, especially mooted in the 2006 budget speech and the overseas, who had started doubting about the deadline to embrace it was set for April 2010. pace of reforms after land and labour reforms The delay was largely due to apprehensions got stalled due to stiff opposition from among several states which viewed the new several parties. set-up as a threat to their constitutionally Fitch Ratings has hailed the landmark guaranteed freedom of fiscal federalism and decision saying: “India’s passage of a longfeared losing revenues. The states finally

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Progress

terms and scope of the bill, exemptions and awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill dispute resolution mechanisms. While the is an important reform which will remove barriers to trade, improve economic efficiency government favours a main rate of 18 per cent, some states want it higher. It and lead to higher growth in the will need several brainstorming long run.� While the sessions before a decision to The GST vote is a bold government cap the rate will be finalised. statement as India has proved to favours a main The states, which are lobbying the world that it can implement rate of 18 per for higher rate, will have to a unified sales tax across the cent, some states keep in mind that anything country and transform 1.3 billion want it higher about 18-19 per cent will add to consumers into a single market inflation which is not good for which the United States and the economy. It is heartening to note that the the European Union have failed to achieve. remote northeastern state of Assam ruled by The next big challenge is the passage of the the BJP has become the first state to pass the GST amendment by half of states and union GST amendment bill in the assembly. territories which will lead to the creation Once the GST comes into effect, prices of the GST Council which will bring the of several goods will come down. The entire centre and the states together to draft the

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easier and more convenient. The GST will Indian market will be a unified market which also result in making the tax structure lean, will facilitate seamless movement of goods simple and transparent besides bringing across states and reduce the transaction costs more business entities under the tax system of businesses. There are a minimum of 11 thus widening the tax base. state and central levies which India has one of the narrowest constitute roughly around 25 per Taxes like octroi, tax bases among the G20 and cent to 40 per cent of the price central sales, BRICS countries, which has of products. Myriad of taxes like entry, licence severely constrained its capacity octroi, central sales tax, entry tax, fees will no to finance public provisioning licence fees tax etc will no longer longer be there of essential services and social be there and all will be brought and all will be protection for the disadvantaged under GST. Several sectors, brought under sections. The revenue earned including real estate, logistics, GST through taxes will be used to retail, automobiles, cement, capital fund social welfare programmes goods, stand to benefit as the costs to help raise the real income of the lower will come down benefitting the consumers. income group and reduce poverty. This will also make doing business much

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Progress

The solar

powerhouse

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission has adopted a phased approach with progress evaluations and target reviews based on and at par with global trends text | Mayuri Mukherjee

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National Solar Mission must be viewed. hat India is a rising power with Administered by the Ministry of New and the potential to become a global Renewable Energy, this initiative was launched economic powerhouse needs no in 2010 to generate 22 GW of solar energy by reiteration. The question is how should India fuel this growth in a 2022. In 2015, the Government revised these figured and set an ambitious target of 100 GW clean and sustainable manner. In the first phase of industrialisation that benefitted the West, the by 2022. This is split into 40 GW of rooftop projects and 60 GW of large and developed countries of today pushed medium grid-connected projects. for growth at all costs – now, that Going green, The project cost has been pegged at they have achieved a certain level going clean is `6,00,000 crore. of wealth and well-being, they are not a choice or As expected, when the pushing for cleaner and sustainable a trend. It is Government had announced the renewable energy sources which are imperative for us new targets last year, there was more expensive than fossil fuels. to survive some scepticism – are we being too India, in 2016, does not have this ambitious? Will the Government option of racing forth at whatever be able to deliver? Will other stakeholders do cost and then cleaning up the mess later. their bit? These are legitimate questions and Extreme weather conditions as a symptom of slowly but steadily, the answers are emerging. climate change, for example, is a phenomenon A year after the Union Government put that adversely impacts several thousands of Indians. Going green, going clean is not a choice solar energy at the core of the India story, it is heartening to note that the country is on the or a trend. It is imperative for us to survive right track. According to Joint Secretary Tarun and thrive. Kapoor at the Ministry of New and Renewable It is against this backdrop that the Energy, “As on March 2016, solar installation Government of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru

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Progress

storage is another challenge, especially during stood at 6,700 MW. At present, it is around monsoon months as solar panels along with 7,700 MW. Cumulative capacity of 17,000 peripheral items and materials are space MW is expected by March 2017. From 2017intensive. To work through these challenges, 18 onwards, we need to add 15,000 MW each the mission has adopted a phased approach year”. These are impressive figures but that’s with progress evaluations and target reviews not all. Kapoor added, “Around 20,000 MW of based on and at par with the global solar capacity is in the pipeline and trends. The plan is to ensure out of that around 14,000 MW is Solar power can both centralised and decentralised being installed”. be generated on promotion and penetration One of the greatest assets India a distributed of solar energy and to create possesses is abundant sunshine basis and suitable conditions to allow solar that this tropical country receives allows for energy’s nationwide usage thrive for long periods in high intensity, rapid capacity and flourish. and it is only in the fitness of addition In this context, two factors were things that the Government highlighted by Kapoor. First, the effectively leverage this asset to its solar tariffs have fallen as low as 4.34 a kWhr full potential. Scalability is another important which should come as a relief to those who factor in this equation. Notably, solar power were concerned that high input costs would can be generated on a distributed basis and allows for rapid capacity addition within a short make solar energy unviable. This low figure was reportedly quoted by Fortum Finnsurya time span. Energy to secure the contract for setting up However, there are some challenges a 70 MW solar plant under NTPC’s Bhadla along the way. Solar energy is still inherently Solar Park tender. Of course, as Kapoor pointed dependent on high absolute costs. Space and

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Aims of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission A part of National Action plan on climate change , the JNNSM is a global effort  to meet the challenging aspects of climate change.

The project has decentralized and off grid opportunities, one of them being to transform India’s rural economy. Providing solar power to remote villages of India.

By 2022, the JNNSM targets to deploy around 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power all over India.

The MNRE has divided power deployment into Rooftop solar projects which will produce 40,000 MW and Large and medium scale solar projects of 60,000 generating capacity; to meet the overall target of 100.000 MW.

out, “Tariff has been varying across locations. Developers have their own calculations to make projects viable and sustainable”. However, he did make clear that, “low tariffs are coming from various tenders” and that the Bhadla figure was not a one-time thing. The second issue is that of decentralisation. As of now, most solar projects are concentrated in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. These states have taken the lead in this field many years before the Union Government decided to put solar power on national agenda. The question now is: How do we incentivise the other states to follow suit? For this, the Union Government is offering “viability gap funding”

for projects in states where solar penetration is relatively low and aiming to bring down tariff to a comparable `4.50 a kWhr.  This is an achievable target, especially if recent trends in solar energy field are anything to go by. In the past few years, the sector has grown rapidly in India, with installed solar capacity increasing from 18MW in 2010 to 3,800 MW in 2015. Consequently, the price of solar energy has come down — from `17.90 per unit in 2010 to under `7 per unit in 2015. Continued research and development in the field, along with scalability should make solar energy even more accessible and affordable in recent years.

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Culture

Celebrating victory of

good over evil

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Dussehra is celebrated with equal fervour in the southern states of India as in the northern ones text | Renuka Suryavanshi

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ike every state in India has its own unique feature, the country has unique ways of celebrating different festivals. Dussehra is among the auspicious three-anda-half muhurats celebrated across India, especially in southern states. It is the third muhurat, first being Gudi Padva, second Akshay Tritiya and half muhurat from Padva, celebrated during Diwali.  The states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have their own way of celebrating the festival that marks victory of good over evil, the victory of Goddess Durga over Demon Mahishasura. The goddess is said to have fought with the demons for 10 days and nine nights. As she emerged victorious on the 10th day, it is known as vijay (victory) and dashmi meaning (10th day), thus called Vijayadashmi.  

Mythological references

There are several mythological references to the festival. Dussehra marks the victory of Lord Ram over demon king Ravana as the latter won the battle and brought back his wife Sita from Ravana’s kingdom in Lanka.

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Culture

Since it is the end of Navratri meaning welcoming goddesses for nine days at home or temples, it holds importance among many who fast during these nine days, ending it on the day of Dussehra.

Grand processions (Karnataka)

Dussehra celebrations in Mysore is a 400-yearold tradition. People wait for a year to celebrate the festival at Mysore’s City Palace. Mysore Dasara procession this year will begin on October 11 where a jamboo savari, a Gratitude towards God It is the day when devotees express their gratitude traditional procession, has the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari placed in a golden for success in life. Let us find out howdah on a decorated elephant. It how each state of southern India Dussehra is an elaborate affair that attracts celebrates Dussehra. celebration thousands from across the world.   in Mysore The procession begins from Mysore Saraswathi Pooja (Kerala)  is a 400Palace to Bannimantap. Observed as Ayudh Pooja, devotees year-old In Karnataka, Dussehra is worship Goddess Saraswati, the tradition celebrated as Nadahabba because goddess of knowledge on this day. the festival is steered by the royal Each devotee keeps records of family of Mysore. The city is illuminated and accounts and tools for pooja. Stotras or hymns the palace draws thousands of tourists. Every are chanted throughout the nine days and the last year, around `1 crore is spent towards the day, Dussehra, symbolises victory of knowledge maintenance of the illumination where 25,000 over ignorance.’

Folk artists performing in Dussehra festival, Kulasekarapattinam, Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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Above: Effigies of Raavan for Dussehra and Durga idol from Chamundeswari Temple being paraded around the temple

bulbs are replaced before Dussehra. Elephants undergo special training for these celebrations where 12 jumbos march on the procession route from Mysore Palace to Bannimantap twice a day.

Bommala Koluvu (Andhra Pradesh) 

Just like other festivals celebrated in the state with full fervour, people in Andhra Pradesh shop months in advance for the festival. Like Tamilians, Andhraites install Dussehra beautifully decorated dolls in a Golus (Tamil Nadu) begins nine particular arrangement, known as The festivities of Dussehra begin days before, Bommala Koluvu. Scared shrines nine days before, with miniature with miniature are decorated throughout nine days figures called golus or kolus. figures called with flowers. Lord Venkateshwara They are placed in five, seven Golus or Kolus Temple in Tirumala and the temple or 11 steps. The topmost level of Kanaka Durga Ammavaaru is reserved for dolls of three at Vijaywada have special attractions during goddesses - Saraswati, Durga and Lakshmi. The lowest step is usually reserved for the dolls Dussehra. This day is celebrated to usher in good luck, positivity and wealth. for children to decorate themselves.   

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heritage

A holistic approach to train the

body and mind

Practiced by men and women, young and old, Kalaripayattu is more popular today than ever before text | KV Priya

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D

id you know that Indian kalaripayattu is considered to be the mother mythology mentions how of all martial arts. The first mention of the kalaripayattu was word, kalari, appears in Sangam born after Lord literature to describe a combat Kalaripayattu is Shiva’s battle arena and a battlefield. Every considered with his father-in-law, Daksha, warrior during the period as one of the one of the prajapatis or lords of received military training and it oldest fighting is considered as one of the oldest creation? Later, Shiva taught this systems in fighting systems in existence. martial art to Parasurama, the existence Popular and widely practiced sixth incarnation of Mahavishnu, in southern states, the martial who, in turn, taught it to 21 of art form was banned by the British. the idea his disciples and then opened 108 kalaris was to ensure the locals did not pose threat — schools or gyms — across Kerala. Today,

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heritage

The martial art form is a source of living and special performances are conducted for tourists

to the Britishers. The martial art form what is fundamental to all these styles is started getting revived post-Independence. the harmonious synergy of art, science But it had lost its patrons — the princely and medicine. Various movements in states — by then. However, it is back in focus kalaripayattu are based on animal actions and now. Today, kalaripayattu is the poses too are named after a source of living and special animals. The martial art performances are conducted for The martial art form is said to form involves a tourists, especially foreigners have developed in jungles when lot of striking, visiting the southern states. Its hunters observed the fighting grappling, growing popularity has resulted techniques of animals. Trained kicking and in it crossing over to Sri Lanka, in an enclosure called kalari, leaping actions Malaysia and Indonesia. 21ft x 42ft, the martial art form Traditionally, the Shaolin involves striking, grappling, Temple martial art of China was introduced kicking and leaping actions. Kalaripayattu by Buddhist patriarch and founder of has strongly influenced the evolution of Ch’an’ (Zen) Buddhism, Bodhidharma several of Kerala’s theatre and dance forms, (450-523 AD), who came from India. There most prominently Kathakali and Theyyam. are three schools practicing different Also, film stars across India and different styles of kalaripayattu — northern, parts of the globe have contributed to its central and southern schools/ styles. But popularity by promoting kalaripayattu,

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The grand old lady of kalaripayattu One person who strikes, grapples, kicks and leaps with animal stealth is 74-year-old Meenakshiamma Gurukkal. The oldest living woman exponent of kalaripayattu, Meenakshiamma started learning the martial art form at the age of six and has been teaching it for around six decades. She runs Kadathanadan Kalari Sangam in Vadakara near Calicut in northern Kerala where more than a hundred students get trained every year in the martial art form.

Kalaripayattu is now being taught in educational institutions

both on and off-screen. Malayali superstars Mohanlal and Mammootty, Hong Kongbased Hollywood actor and martial artist Jackie Chan and Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano are among the celebrities who are trained in kalaripayattu. So it can be said that kalaripayattu seems to have got the respect and fame it deserves. And with kalaripayattu masters like Meenakshiamma Gurukkal, septuagenarian martial art expert, the future of kalaripayattu looks bright. The growing popularity of this medieval martial art form can be gauged from the fact that it has caught the savvy of metro denizens. Kalaripayattu is now being taught in schools and academies in the country. It not only helps one achieve perfection by increasing flexibility, strength, immunity and overall health, its regular practice makes the body agile and dynamic and at the same time, it improves concentration, patience, self-discipline and self-awareness.

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There is an interesting story behind how kalari came to be set up by her husband, Raghavan Master. Discriminated by the upper castes, Raghavan, who belonged to Ezhava community, was denied entry at a local kalari. Therefore, he set up his own school in 1949 for everyone who wished to join. On an average, Meenakshiamma performs 60 shows a year and is proud of the fact that more than one-third of the students at her centre are girls. Interestingly, she doesn’t charge any fees for imparting the knowledge and accepts whatever her students offer her as gurudakshina at the end of the session.

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The French

connection

A trip to the former French colony of Chandannagar greets visitors with splendid colonial architecture and rich abundant museums text | Partha Mukherjee & Priyanka Mukherjee

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As Ibrahim Khan, the then nawab of Bengal t would have been a different story had not the French ship, Flemen, lost the right Province, granted the French permission to establish a French colony in Chandannagar, the course and drifted away from the French French commander built a house in Taldanga fleet. The 17th-century was in its third which became a permanent French quarter when the Dutch settlement in 1688. With the captured Flemen sailing down Bay The Sacred arrival of Joseph Francois Dupleix of Bengal as was revealed in the Heart Church as the governor in 1730, the town letter which English administrator bears the underwent a change in its look: Walter Clavell wrote to the beauty of the concrete structures came up and board of directors in England on French period maritime trade boomed. In all, it December 28, 1674, and hijacked architecture emerged as the hub of European it to Hooghly where they had had trade and commerce. Meanwhile, a trading setup. Annoyed at the the new French commander, who had started incident, the English rulers brought it to the his business in Bandel near Hooghly, obtained notice of their Mughal counterparts at Dacca. permission from the Mughal ruler to shift his In no time, the Mughals forced the Dutch to business to Chandannagar against a nazrana withdraw their possession of the French ship.

A kiosk at the Hooghly river built in 1921 by Mr Roquitte. Facing page: Chandannagar museum and institute, former Dupleix house INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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(offering) of `40,000 in 1688. The foundation of Chandannagar as a French settlement was thus laid, even before Calcutta (now Kolkata) was born. Chandannagar remained linked with the suburban town in every field of activity — from commerce to culture, trade to tourism and patriotism to festivities. “It incites you from within with the flame of life,” says an old-timer who has spent his life here, adding, “I’ve lived the town to the fullest yet want to spend time with her all over again.” As you stand on its railway platform, some photo-frames lined up on its walls catch your

attention. You get to know that the town once hosted many greats of the country. You also realise that Chandannagar, 35 km from Kolkata, didn’t only catch fancy of the French, the Dutch, the English and the Danes who made a beeline before The Granary of India, as Robert Clive dubbed it to grow their business and profit, it lulled the heart of a poet like Tagore, fanning the flame of patriotism among the then Bengal’s firebrand youth like Sri Aurobindo, Rasbehari Bose, Kanailal Datta and their followers, providing sanctum for a social reformer like Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, inspired academicians like Kali Chorone Kormacar and his brother Sripada Kormacar. After more than 300 years, Chandannagar retains the magic of the French era intact. The Barasat Gate looms large on the Grand Trunk Road with two Corinthian columns leaving you awestruck with the splendour of its architecture. The emblem of the Republique Francaise still echoes the spirit of the French Revolution: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. This is one among the many symbols of French colonial connection you find in the town. Reach Chandannagar Strand and stay perched here on the banks of the river. The tree-lined promenade, a popular joint among 18 to 81 year olds, is an ideal stress-buster. As you walk across the passage to the present Civil Court, where the Hotel de Paris once stood, you might be welcomed by a liveried waiter to its ballroom and vanishes in the air before you rub your eyes. If Sacred Heart Church of Chandannagar — I’ Eglise du Sacré Cœur — bears the beauty of French architecture, Patal Bari is an example of modern architecture and aesthetic sense of the people who lived in Chandannagar. Then there was River View, near the strand, now demolished, which Tagore shared with his brother Jyotirindranath and composed several poems of Gitanjali here.

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Nandadulal Temple, built in 1740 by (sandal) business which once boomed here. Indranarayan Roychoudhury, is an example of Then there are claims the name originated ancient Indian sculptures. Nritya Gopal Smriti from the holy shrine of Goddess Chandi. Mandir, a gift from Sri Harihar Seth to the The French left India long ago yet they people of Chandannagar, a theatre hall and a have left an imprint at a number of places library, bears the cultural heritage of the town. that have withstood the ravage of time. Das If you ever visit Chandannagar during Bakery, established by Nandalal Das in 1875, Jagadhatri Puja, the town’s is one of them. Whenever French annual festival, you understand tourists visit Chandannagar, they French left the what celebration of life is about. buy loaves from here. As you walk country but left The mind-blowing display down the lanes of Chandannagar, an imprint at of architecture of light leaves you might get surprised by French several places you speechless. Only but a names like Dupleix Cycles, Vis a that withstood statement comes out of your lips: Vis Stockist, La Vogue, Bon Ami ravage of time Chandannagar thy name is joie and La Medicine. de vivre! While a group thinks the crescent shape of the river near it contributes to the name (in Bengali, chand means moon and nagar is a city), others opine the name comes from chandan

The Institute of Chandernagar or the French Institute, over the years, has acted as a cultural bridge. Besides French language department, the institute houses a library and a museum which provides a

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Above: Roman catholic church at Chandannagar

hearts of Indian scholars. Titles like Apprenez glimpse of the town’s golden period between 1731 and 1741 when Joseph Francois Dupleix le francais,vous vivrez deux fois (Learn was the governor of Chandernagar. In fact, it French, You Will Live Twice), Dans l’amour was once the residence of General Dupleix. etau travail, dans la technique et en vacances, Apart from Dupleix’s four-poster bed, the toujour francais (In Love, At Work, For museum has a collection of Louis Technology or On Vacation It’s The Vth furniture. Like the Always French), Le A group thinks museum, the library is a treasure Francais une langue the crescent trove with over 4,000 French qui marque un style de shape of the river books which were handed over vie (French is a way of near the town to the Free City Administration life), Le Francaise, un contributes to by the French regime. At present, luxe (French a luxury? the name it has 18,000 books written by No. A necessity), Hier, French authors from the 16th aujourd ’hui, demain, century up to the modern period. le francais a toute heure (Yesterday, History records the French never forced today and tomorrow, French is for Indians to learn their language but its all timelessly) are popular among sweetness, the official one, conquered the Indian learners.

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Art

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The woven

poetry

Indian handlooms have lately become a rage on the national and international fashion scene text | Shalini Mitra

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hen weave revivalisttextile designer Gaurang Shah revealed his creations — a pink organza Paithani anarkali with a Kanjeevaram ikat dupatta and a navy blue gharara — at the 69th Cannes Film Festival this year, global audience sat up and took notice of the appealing Indian handloom fabrics. At Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) 2015, many top fashion designers stole the limelight with their collections of Indian handloom and textiles. In the event, the 44-piece elaborate collection of bridalwear put a strong stamp on Banaras weav­ es which are world-renowned for their timeless appeal and richness of variety and fineness.

The masters

India has been known for its exquisite textiles since times immemorial. Remnants of woven cotton were discovered at the ancient sites of Mohenjo daro and Harappa of the Indus Valley. Even epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana, mention the craft of weaving at length. Such was the capability of master weavers back then that legendary courtesan Amrapali wore a semitransparent sari which even today is considered a great technical feat. Similarly, the all-time

An old weaving loom and shuttle

famous cotton muslin from Varanasi was said to be so fine that even oil could not penetrate through its finely woven texture.

Regional styles

After agriculture, Indian handloom is the second largest cottage industry in India, giving millions direct and indirect employment. In fact, over four million handloom weavers (over 80 per cent being women) are spread across Indian states engaged in the traditional craft to bring out traditional beauty of India’s precious

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weaving and to motivate the next generation heritage. Every region has a distinct identity and from the weaving communities to pursue this uniqueness in terms of weave, pattern and use art and widen their interests, first National of colour. There is ikats from Odisha, kalamkari Handloom Day was celebrated in Chennai. from Andhra Pradesh, Kanjeevarams from The idea was to highlight the eco-friendly Tamil Nadu, brocades from Banaras, Chanderi aspects of handloom products. Thereafter, from Madhya Pradesh, jacquards from Uttar PM Modi unveiled the India Handloom logo. Pradesh and Daccai jamdanis from West Bengal, showcasing abundance of styles and a wide range Emphasising on the importance of Indian handloom, he said, “Khadi and handloom of patterns. Generally, motifs woven in these products provide the same warmth weaving patterns are inspired by a mother’s love provides. A weaver nature such as flowers, fruits, birds, Handloom weaves a sari just as a mother trees and heavenly bodies. requires, at least, brings up her daughter”. This six workers from year, in less than a week, Union Initiatives start to finish textiles minister Smriti Irani’s During the first half of the present and power loom century, the handloom sector #iwearhandloom Twitter campaign needs only one struggled to survive as the weavers has become a huge hit. Facebook faced tough competition from the glowed with thousands of “likes” power loom sector and unscrupulous middlemen. and big names from almost every walk of life Handloom required, at least, six workers from sported handloom soon after. start to finish including dyeing, starching, Keeping in mind to improve the weaver’s spooling, weaving, ironing and tying up loose productivity and quality and to preserve the long ends whereas power loom needs a worker. tradition of excellence in hand-weaving, dyeing, In 2015, to conserve the Indian craft of printing and craftsmanship, intensive efforts

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A weaver makes a traditional sari using a wooden handloom in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

are being made by the office of the Development individualism have remained intact. Besides Commissioner for Handlooms, Government of using traditional cotton, silk, jute and wool India. A large number of Handloom Weavers’ yarns, weavers are using modern synthetic Co-operative Societies too help thousands of blends. But these changes have not diminished village women who are engaged in weaving to the magnificence, exquisiteness and importance support themselves and their families. Indian of handlooms. A wide range of decorative Institutes of Handloom Technology, furnishing fabrics in cotton and silk all across India, are imparting have become a rage globally. Handloom is specialised training to more than Over 50 per cent of India’s hand sustainable, with 500 specialised handloom clusters in woven textile product exports a small carbon handloom weaving so that the next consists of bed, table and kitchen footprint and generation continues to adopt the linen, curtains, cushion covers and there is hardly art and heritage of weaving. Besides, durries. And all these are stamped any negative handloom is sustainable, with a with “Handloom Mark”. Developed environmental small carbon footprint. with the logo and unique coding, effect the mark is aimed at promoting handloom and create a niche Future market. It is a hallmark of passionately created Indian weavers are open to innovation and work that defines the product with clarity, responding to the changing consumer demand and making sincere efforts to evolve their art and distinguishes it from competition and connects it with customers. In brief, Indian weavers are craft by adopting more contemporary designs sure to weave a great future for themselves and and patterns. With their design sensibilities, the craft. the values of sustainability, timelessness and

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ART

Many moods of

miniatures

The evolution of Indian miniatures paintings started around the 17th century. While Persian tradition in miniature paintings was introduced by the Mughals, western influence can be ascribed to the Muslim kings text | Poonam Goel

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arlier this year, at the India schools, the main being Mughals, Rajputs, Art Fair in New Delhi, what Paharis and the Deccan. caught the interest of several art One can trace the earliest miniatures connoisseurs was a separate section on palm leaves and paper in the form of for Pichwai paintings. Hosted Buddhist religious illustrations during Pala by Pichwai Tradition And Beyond, this was rule in eastern India in the 11th century and the first time that a traditional miniature art Buddhist texts in western India during the 12th form had surfaced at a contemporary art event. century. Pala School emphasised on stylised This speaks volumes about the figures, strong pure colours, timelessness of Indian miniatures elaborate ornamentation and It was in the midand their ever-growing collector enlarged eyes. Pala art vanished 16th century base, both in India and abroad. with the destruction of Buddhist that miniature With its roots in the monasteries at the hands of Muslim art flourished Nathdwara village near Udaipur invaders in the first half of the 13th to its greatest in Rajasthan, this miniature art century. However, a few monks and extent form originated as a decorative artists escaped and fled to Nepal backdrop to the temple idol of Lord which helped in reinforcing the Krishna. Pichwais, however, are one of the existing art traditions there. many forms of miniature art that have existed It was with the advent of Mughals, and flourished in India from the 11th century especially during Akbar’s rule, that miniature onwards. Miniature paintings are handmade art flourished to its greatest extent with a focus and colourful, characterised by intricate and on court scenes, portraits, flora and fauna. It delicate brushwork. While the colours are was under his reign that Persian influences made using minerals, vegetables, precious began to creep into miniature art. At Fatehpur stones, indigo, conch shells, gold and silver, Sikri, Akbar established an atelier under the their content and treatment varied over various supervision of two Persian master artists, Mir

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ART

A miniature painting on display in a museum in Madhya Pradesh; Right: A miniature painting on a street of Udaipur

Sayyed Ali and Abdus Samad. Hindu artists from Gujarat, Gwalior and Kashmir were employed and together, these two strands of art gave birth to the Mughal School of miniature paintings. Bold, brilliant colours and an enhanced focus on nature was the mainstay of this school. One famous work from this period is the Hamzanama where architecture is Indo-Persian, the trees are derived from Deccani painting and women figures belong to earlier Rajasthani paintings. Akbar’s successor, Jahangir included court scenes, hunting expeditions and portraiture work. Later, the style incorporated influences from European paintings that arrived at Mughal courts and absorbed some of the Western techniques like shading and perspective. Unlike Mughal paintings which were primarily secular, miniature art form in central India — both Rajput (in Rajasthan) and Pahari (in Punjab) — was deeply rooted in Indian traditions, deriving inspiration from Indian epics, religious mythology, moods of love and changing seasons. The Rajasthani School covered

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Schools of Miniature Painting Pala School Orissa School Jain School

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Mughal School Rajasthani School Nepali School


A miniature painting of hunting lions on paper

delicate lyricism of Persia, the full-bodied Jaisalmer and Bikaner in the west to Kota and lushness of the Deccan along with the Bundi in southeast Rajasthan to Datia and restrained brush work of European art. Orchha in Madhya Pradesh. Artists used paper, At a recent show on Deccani art, at Delhi’s wooden tablets, marble, cloth and brushes. One National Museum, included Ragamala paintings of the most popular forms was the Kishangarh of late 16th-century that depicted School founded and patronised an exquisite and intricate handling by Maharaja Samant Singh. This Artists mainly of miniature art. The style school was inspired by local used materials was flamboyant, bursting with topography (for instance, paintings like paper, luminous patterns and showcased from Jodhpur depicted mango trees wooden tablets, hybrid vision flowered in the in abundance), beauty of women marble and cloth Deccan as a result of folk mainly, Krishnaleela and and brushes Rajasthani idioms musical ragas. brought in by Rajput Though there aren’t too generals of the Mughal army. many records of Deccan miniatures before Among the Pahari school, the Mughal period, early Deccani paintings Basholi, Garhwal and Kangra are show a remarkable influence of both the the most famous, the last being northern traditions of Malwa and the southern distinctive for the use of seven traditions of Vijayanagar murals. Due to their colours and beautiful people. distinct geographical identity, the courts of Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Golconda and Hyderabad Madhubani of Mithila region in Bihar and Patachitra of Odisha patronised an amalgamation of various art have also survived the test of time. elements and influences, and exhibited the

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craft

Ushering auspiciousness

with kolam

Performed as a sacred ritual, kolams are drawn by women at places considered holy and sacrosanct text | Prerona Basu

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laborate geometrical patterns embodying auspiciousness and cosmic continuity are crafted on the threshold of most South Indian homes. A widely practised custom, especially in Tamil Nadu, these symmetrical designs, known as kolams, are created with finely

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powdered rice flour or chalk to usher in Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of abundance and prosperity, into the household. Representing the rhythmic patterns of everyday existence, adorning the entrances with kolam has a sacramental aura surrounding it. Performed as a sacred ritual by the women, kolam is drawn at

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places considered holy and sacrosanct like temples, prayer rooms, altars of various Hindu gods and goddesses and commercial offices in the hope of fostering good luck in all possible business ventures.

Aesthetic representation of harmonious co-existence

References to Tamil literary texts, which elaborately describes the proper method of kolam application, the practice of drawing kolams can be traced back to the 16th century. The prescribed directive of accurately creating a kolam requires the process to commence with a thorough cleansing and smoothing of the surface. Traditionally , rice flour, limestone powder, flowers and petals were used to create A kolam prepared during Pongal clelebrations designs but the fineness of rice flour and the lightness of petals cause the kolam to wear off with the progression of the day, requiring most households to Kolam and life cycles The presence recreate the patterns regularly. An increase in the detail and of kolam serves The advent of modern dimension of these kolam as an indicator technology and the necessity of patterns represent the arrival of the overall convenience now facilitates the of auspicious occasions such well-being of the inclusion of chalk sticks and bright as a birth in the family or a family synthetic dyes which adhere to the matrimonial alliance whereas surface longer and prevent it from the absence of kolam from the fading away. The reason for using powdered entrance of the home is considered ominous rice as a dye is that it naturally transforms into because it symbolises inauspiciousness in a source of nourishment for lesser life forms the form of misfortunes in the family. The like insects, birds and mice. Welcoming these presence or absence of kolam, therefore, creatures and providing them with a form serves as an indicator of the well-being of of sustenance is believed to please Goddess the family and this, in turn, influences the Lakshmi whose satisfaction is paramount for collective mood of the entire community. ushering in prosperity into a household. In this way, the sacred geometrical folds of

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Interesting fact Kolam is a prayer to Mother Earth. It may include a tough geometrical design which is repeated several times and is created with lines, points and equal squares as also rounds, triangles, conch, plants and flowers that are united in complex ways. If a break in a line appears, it is claimed that evil spirits get a chance to enter the house. The art form is drawn with

kolam appear to have succeeded in seamlessly merging with everyday life in these south Indian communities.

Merging mathematics with folklore

Two varieties of kolams have been documented — one, the Line Kolam which is a freehand sketch done by rubbing rice powder between the thumb and index finger over the chosen surface area, and the other,

Pulli Kolam, done by drawing dots on the ground and joining them with straight lines, loops and curves, thereby creating a chain like pattern. Folklore instructs the lines of kolams to be closed at the end to prevent negative energies from entering the pattern. Motifs are inspired from supernatural elements, philosophy, religious beliefs, astrology, natural formations and abstract thoughts. Images of birds and animals make regular

A kolam during Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu

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rice flour to invite spiritual deities to the residence. Mathematical properties of kolam are being used in the field of computer science. Algorithms for drawing kolams are used in development of picture drawing computer software. Kolams are used for research in the computational anthropology. Also, kolams are also used to simplify the representation of complex protein structures for easy understanding.

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Above: Women make kolam at Kapaleeswarar Temple and right: An artist gives final touches to a kolam

appearances on kolams, suggesting universal harmony and peaceful coexistence between man and beasts. The process of kolams formation has fascinated innumerable computer scientists and mathematicians around the globe and its practice of building patterns around a matrix of lines and points has spurred various researches leading to the identification of three formations known as the Finite Matrix, the Regular Matrix and the Context Free Regular Array Kolam.

Preservation of tradition

Passing on the art of mastering a kolam, from one generation to other, is entrusted with the women of the household who have been recognised as the custodians of this tradition. A skill which requires concentration, discipline, elegance, poise and dexterity, kolam has often been used as a yardstick for measuring feminine grace. To foster this ancient art and prevent it from fading into oblivion, various organisations join hands to conduct kolam drawing competitions in the month of Margazhi which falls between December and January. Women partaking in these competitions prepare themselves by practising their motifs on paper before

beginning their drawings on the chosen floor. Contestants take immense pride in being able to sketch vast intricate designs, which often span an entire street, without having to lift their hands off the ground or even take a break to stand up before the patterns have been accurately accomplished. Arranging such healthy competitions and providing attractive prizes as incentives are highly encouraged within the South Indian communities as they ensure the sustenance of these age-old customs and counter the forces of rapid urbanisation which threaten to eliminate these ancient cultural traditions.

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Travel

A paradise of

paradoxes

Goa is all of ancient and modern, hep and traditional, natural and man-made, the discovered and yet the hidden. It is what you make of it! text | Rhucha Kulkarni

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oa: the very word conjures images of the sea, surf and sun. And yet exudes a sharp sense of contrasts. While on one hand, it displays brashness — buzzing party havens beckoning the who’s who of entertainment, on the other, it dons a demure deck-up of turquoise beaches and untouched mystical forests. Something for everyone, Goa is all of languid stupor, waiting to engulf the

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travellers’ core. You simply can’t get enough of this indulgence!

Sojourn to the south!

Glistening sands and a refreshing drink in hand, the south of Goa is gateway to the laid-back Goanese life. This is one for the urban-weary traveller in search of the perfect refuge to spin some solitude. A stroll along the vastness of Palolem Beach lets your mind wander with the mellowing sun!

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Flea market in Arambol where the hand-made souvenirs can be bought after sunset

South Goa is ]an exploration into the The refreshing sea spray seems to converse with your body, mind and soul as each gentle wild, the Western Ghats being one of the internationally proclaimed biodiversity lap of sparkling water caresses your feet and hot-spots! Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, 9 the golden sand. km from Palolem, is a good nature escape. The south is about secret escapes, away Witness the wilderness of these evergreen from the humdrum of life into the lap of dense and impenetrable nature. To unravel the adventure forests. Guided forest trails and junkie and pack some adrenalin Western Ghats watchtowers are best to spot punch, make way for a day at are one of the some unheard sights and sounds Dudhsagar Falls. Around 70 km internationally — deer, monkeys, birds and from Palolem, a cab takes you proclaimed maybe, the elusive leopard! through the lush green Western biodiversity As verdant greens dominate, Ghats, teeming with forest hot-spots blissful blues too vie for attention. denizens! The 600 m waterfall This one is a water-lovers’ delight seems to descend straight from because diving is not a distant dream! Netrani, the heavens — milky white life-giving water crashing down, with a gentle mist enveloping 220 km south of Goa, is a marine paradise you! Hike your way through the forests with with crystal clear waters! Surreal sights, best enjoyed with scuba gear make for an amazing a local guide for an up, close and personal one or two day excursion. rendezvous with the rustic.

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Map not to scale

Goa

Visiting THE beach city How to reach By air: Dabolim Airport is 29 km from the state’s capital, Panjim. It is well-connected by daily flights from Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bengaluru. By train: The two major railheads in Goa are Madgaon and Thivim, which are well connected by trains from all over the country. By road: A number of public and private buses operate in Goa which offer options for intra-city and inter-city conveyance.

Top: Basilica of Bom Jesus and (above): Night markets are a major draw among travellers

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Shiva rock carving at Little Vagator Beach in Goa

As you get back on Goa sands, enjoy a tryst with the tranquil. A pleasant seaside dinner at one of the shacks on Agonda or Colva beach is a great way to end the day on a high note. Bid goodbye to the setting sun, watch it take a cooling dip in the shimmering waves. Truly, a south sojourn shall wipe your mind to a fresh blank slate, waiting to be rewritten with new experiences!

Old Goa: A cultural cacophony!

Goa lies at the convergence of cultures and civilisations: Konkani intertwined with Portuguese. This is visible in her heart, the bylanes of Old Goa. Traditional temples, archaic churches and quaint mansions enrapture you as you alight in the Goan capital, Panjim. Visit Fontainhass, the only Latin quarters

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in Asia. Vivid colours from Portugal and narrow cobbled streets emanate an old-world charm, perfect for busy souls on a quest for quietude! Light a candle at the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, else try your photography skills on its towering spires! The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for the preserves of St Francis Xavier body. Its intricately designed altars and paintings are an exquisite artistic expression for lovers of art. A quick detour, 33 km away to Ponda, takes you to the Konkani folklore — the Shanta Durga Temple. Large facades and pyramid-shaped shikaras speak of an ancient Indo-Portuguese fusion. This is life away from life, tucked away in the aloofness of rural Goa — pristine yet undiscovered!

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Left: The famous Dudhsagar Falls and (Above): Aguada Fort

Miramar Beach is that buzzing city beach, families flocking to the waterline. As the Mandovi River meets the Arabian Sea, Goa seems to celebrate this union! A spirit of happiness springs from the multiple river cruises. Goanese songs and dances and delicious food makes for a fun-filled evening and offers you a different taste of Goa!

Serenity in the north

The true essence of Goa unfolds in the shore gems along its northern coasts. Drama unfolds with rocky cliffs and sheer drops. Soak in the serenity of these rising cliffs, 10 km north of Baga, at Vagator Beach. Head 4 km south of Vagator and one can hear the gentle lapping of the Anjuna waters. Your meditative reverie may be broken by the occasional hawker’s call. Come Wednesday and Anjuna comes alive with a flea market! Foreigners and locals, with their wares of local art and show, come all out to begin a happening evening!

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Enchanting

Murudeshwara

Murudeshwara in Karnataka is an epitome of spirituality in the abode of nature

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the abode of Lord Shiva. An impending 123 journey on National Highway ft tall figurine of world’s tallest Shiva with 66 (earlier NH17) from the sunset as the backdrop enchants you for a Kanyakumari to Mumbai lifetime. Murudeshwara is part of the karavali is always a pleasure yet challenging. The (coast) which comprises three highway, which runs parallel on districts in Karnataka and forms An impending the western coast, racing with the southern part of Konkan coast. 123 ft tall the mighty Arabian Sea till it The huge Shiva, facing figurine of reaches Mumbai is a great drive. the Western Ghats, adds to world’s tallest The highway, which runs through the vividness of the sea and the Shiva with the Karnataka with a coastline of pervading spiritual aura around sunset as the over 320 km, connects a number this temple town. The etymology backdrop of cultures and cities inspiring of Murudeshwara takes its story human aspirations. At the point from the epic, Ramayana. The where the highway crosses the small town of beach town of Murudeshwara got its name Murudeshwara in Uttara Kannada district is from atmalinga (Shiva’s soul) which was saved spread out on a beautiful beach. The highlight by Shiva’s son, Ganesha, from demon king, is a mesmerising sunset that welcomes you to Ravana, who was supposed to take it to Lanka.

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The etymology of Murudeshwara takes its story from the epic, Ramayana. The beach town of Murudeshwara got its name from atmalinga (Shiva’s soul) which was saved by Shiva’s son, Ganesha, from demon king, Ravana, who was supposed to take it to Lanka

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travel

The giant gopura at Murudeshwara Temple

Visiting Murudeshwara Best time to visit November to February

Distance Bengaluru is 455 km from Murudeshwara

How to reach By air: Mangalore International Airport, around 150 km away. By train: Murudeshwar Railway Station is connected to Mangalore and Mumbai. Mangalore is the major railhead and connected to all major cities in India. By road: Private and state run buses connect Murudeshwar to Mumbai, Kochi and Bengaluru. Buses ply regularly between the two cities and pass through Mangalore. Bengaluru is connected to many other important cities in the region.

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The Shiva Temple, standing on Kandukagiri, a small hillock surrounded by the sea, has beautiful carvings that date back to Tretayuga and believed to be sacred. According to mythological descriptions, the temple embodying a Shivalinga is believed to have erupted when Ravana flung the cloth covering the atmalinga at Gokarna while lifting it. Lord Shiva, following a complicated sequence of events, declared that Murudeshwara should be one of his five holy places.  At Murudeshwara, the sea is an intrinsic part of the landscape which alludes with the statue of Shiva and other mesmerising experiences of nature. The rolling hills of the Western Ghats add to the divinity of the land. For those who are on a pilgrimage or holiday, Murudeshwara is a favourite destination for underwater exploration. The azure waters of the Arabian Sea and small islands have made

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the magical world of underwater here to a Murudeshwara one of the finest destinations mesmerising adventure of a lifetime. Netrani for scuba diving and snorkelling. Netrani off the coast of Murudeshwara is calling the Island, an unexploited land mass 19 km from scuba divers who are yearning Murudeshwara, is an ideal spot for to discover the marine life. scuba diving. Netrani, a coral reef island with This island is also known as If you are on many varieties of coral, butterfly Pigeon Island. It has now become a pilgrimage fish, tiger fish, parrot fish, eels one of the favourite hot-spots for or holiday, and shrimps is a different world diving enthusiasts to hit the seas Murudeshwara beyond anyone’s imagination. The for a dream exploration of the sea is a favourite professional divers conduct the down under. This heart-shaped destination for course anchored from a boat. island is rich with vivid marine underwater Murudeshwara is a heavenly life crystal clear water and the exploration abode, making the body and shallow depth has a stunning soul more spiritual. It has site for scuba diving. Divers have everything: sea, nature, spirituality, history, recorded exotic species of corals, fish and culture, adventure, hills, beaches, rivers whale sharks as well. They have also spotted and things beyond imagination. The place the bottleneck dolphins, turtles and cobia has a mesmerising effect which seems to while diving around Netrani Island. lasts forever. The enthusiasts can delve deep into

An old temple in Murudeshwara

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The “sweet”

India

Know why Indian civilisation was considered as the sweet world’s superhero text | Madhulika Dash

S

o what’s common between jalebi, gulab jamun, halwa and falooda? Though they are the poster boys of India’s dessert calendar, none of them claim their origin from India. And yet, place any of them on a quiz table today, and there are more likely to be identified as Indian — not Persian or Turkish, their original hometowns. This makes us wonder what is about the art of Indian sweet-making that leaves its indelible mark on every dessert that touches our shores?

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Cuisine

Michael Wood says were the hubs of Take for instance, phirni. One of exchange of good, ideas and food — the the mainstay of sweet menus today, this adaptation came with its own Indian touch. version of rice pudding made its way into “ Another example of how India the Indian hinterland back in the early 6th century from Khuzestan (present-day Iran changed the sweet is jalebi. As the famous side of the Gulf) as bahtiyeh. tale goes, jalebi arrived in India from the Middle East. But the Often called the granddad one that reached India was a of phirni, this version from The jalebi that far cry from the presentday Iran was made with rice arrived in India from the Middle version. Zalabiya or zellabiya powder a day before and East was a far sold in the market place as it was called then had a cry from the as sweetened chunks. A different batter (maida as the present version favourite of the merchants, main ingredient) and was the arrival of bahtiyeh to dependent largely on honey India could be with Iranian and Arab and rosewater for sweetness. It was in merchants travelling to India where the India that the jalebi got its form - crispness, dessert was easily adapted because of two colour and the sticky sweetness. reasons: milk and rice. So when and how the transformation While taking a liking to rice-based happened? Unlike gulab jamun that came sweets came easily to the denizens of to India as a fritter and was turned into a port stations — which history professor coloured globe of soft sweetness, thanks to

Gulab jamun

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Chikki

Jalebi

the addition of milk and mawa, the inspiration form a part of the payment given to the for jalebi could have been present in India armed forces. Done cleverly like srikhand or shikarini, they could sustain a workforce in other forms. Priyamkarnrpakatha, a Jain work composed in 1450 AD, mentions the for hours.” An excellent example is Maganlal existence of a jalebi-like sweet, with references Chikki of Lonavala which is a modern found in old Paka Rasya text version of traditional gurdani which was devised as sustenance where it is called kundalika or jal Earlier, sailors vallika (sweet with syrup) that food for labourers. They created often combined could have inspired the jalebi. delicacies out of necessity from honey and According to Sweet Innovation: milk, honey, rice and sugar. Adds jaggery with A History of Dessert, the art of Chef Seth, “It was only a part of yogurt for an syrupmaking was prevalent in the Indian sweet story and its instant sweet India in early BC as well where vast repertoire of sweet making sailors would often combine skills, the other of course is the honey and jaggery with yogurt for an instant culture, where having sweet is a part of the sweet tooth and would take candies made of life cycle.” Helva (later halwa) was an import from nuts, ghee and sugar on long journeys. the house of Suleiman the Magnificent “Sweets,” says chef-curator Vikas Seth, (1520-1566). It arrived in India as a dried, “back then were energy food and would

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Gajar Ka Halwa Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: Around two hours Serves 5-6 Ingredients 8-9 tender juicy carrots - yields around 4-5 cups of grated carrots; 4 cups full fat organic milk; 4 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter; 10-12 tbsp organic unrefined cane sugar or regular sugar or as required; 20-25 cashews; 5-6 green cardamom, powdered finely in a mortar-pestle or about 1/3 tsp cardamom powder; a pinch of saffron strands and a handful of golden raisins Method Rinse, peel and grate the carrots. In a deep thick bottomed pan, combine

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milk and grated carrots. On low to medium flame, bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer. While the mixture is simmering on low flame, keep stirring in between. Grated carrots will cook in milk and the milk will start to reduce and evaporate. When the milk has reduced by around 75%, add ghee, sugar and powdered cardamom to the mixture. Stir well and continue to simmer and cook on a low flame. Keep stirring in between. Towards the end, add cashews, crushed saffron and raisins and simmer till all the milk is evaporated. switch off the burner. Serve gajar halwa hot, warm or you can also serve it cold.


Above: Halwa and (Right): Falooda kulfi

the European mangee real to create grainy mush that was rehydrated with not only the gosht ka halwa and even rosewater, sugar and ground pistachios to get creamy, velvet-like a gulab jamun made with rich texture when the meat, but introduced this traditional mixture of gheenew line of using maida and The other sugar along with mewa was frying to create sweets like factor added to it. balushahi,” says chefowner influencing the The other factor Chetan Sethi of Zaffran. wide array of influencing the wide array “But what aced our sweets was our of sweets was our adaptive sweets,” adds chef Sethi, adaptive nature nature. A case in point: “was the palatable nature of each of them. This perhaps was because kulfi and gosht ka halwa. While the former utilised the Indian skill of adding for a good part of the early centuries India remained the hub of political and creaminess to a dessert with milk and social confluence which didn’t only get its by-products, the latter was about the us technique but multi-ethnical palates blend of technique. “Clever cooks paired that perfected a sweet.” our know-how of caramelisation with

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Season of

gluttony

The festive season is around the corner and what better way to unwind than cooking up delicious dishes and treating yourself to some well earned, easy-to-cook delicacies

Paneer with Lotus Seeds Preparation Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Serves 4

Ingredients 150g cottage cheese (paneer), 1 cup crumbled and dry roasted lotus seeds (makhana), 3 tbsp oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp red chili powder, salt to taste, 1 cup tomato puree, 250 g green peas, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp raisins, 1015 cashed nuts halved, chopped coriander leaves to garnish

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Method Heat the oil in a wok, karhai, add the cumin seeds and fry till they begin to brown, stir in the ginger paste, red chili and garam masala powders, salt and tomato puree; cook till the oil comes to the surface. Add the green peas, cook for about 5 minutes and then add the paneer and saute for 2 to 3 minutes; add the water, raisins and cashew nuts, reduce the heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lotus seeds and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes; serve hot with puris.

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Spaghetti Bolognese

Preparation Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 40 minutes Serves 4 Ingredients 500 g spaghetti (fresh or packed), 750 g minced mutton (keema), 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 medium onions chopped, 6 cloves chopped garlic, 3 large tomatoes chopped, 2 tbsp tomato puree, salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 cup water, 60g grated parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper to taste Method Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a non-stick pan, add the onions and garlic and saute

until soft. Add the minced mutton and saute on high heat till it turns brown. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and water; cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the meat source is fully cooked and thick; reserve. Use a large pan, preferabbly a pasta pan that makes draining easier; fill it with water and bring it to boil; add the spaghetti, a pinch of salt and the remaining olive oil. Boil the spaghetti for 10 minutes on high heat or until the spaghetti is al dente; drain. Transfer the spaghetti onto a warm dish and pour the meat sauce over it; sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese and pepper; serve hot.

Courtesy: Fabulous Flavours: Brunch, High Tea, Cocktails, part of a series of cookbooks brought out by the External Affairs (Ministry’s) Spouses Association, New Delhi

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The silver

stance

Scratch the silver surface and beneath it lies the inspiring journey of a young woman who fought against odds and won

T

he instagram posts of Pusrala When she matched up against world Venkata Sindhu is like most no. 1, Spaniard Carolina Marin, she lost 21-year-old girls who have but won at the same time. Her missing won a silver medal in the out on the gold and cinching the silver Olympics, a Rajiv Gandhi was a historic moment. While her win at Khel Ratna award and a Padma Shri. Just the Olympics was definitely remarkable, that such accomplished 21-yearthe moment gained more olds are rare. What is even importance as she became the In 2015 Sindhu rarer is the gumption that takes first Indian woman to win received India’s to effectuate so much at such an an Olympic silver. Being the fourth highest young age. When one peruses youngest Indian to achieve civilian honour, her innocent instagram posts, podium finish in an individual the Padma Shri the evidence of her sacrifices event at the Olympics was are evident. Early morning posts before and after she practices and her globetrotting as she flies from one exotic location to another solely for tournaments. Her arduous schedule and sacrifices are so subtle that one would miss out on all the struggle when they encounter her unwavering and winning smile.

something the nation had dreamed for the longest time. Sindhu’s hard hitting stance prevented the eccentric play off style of Marin to cause a humiliating damage. The duo made for a combustible combination, both lit with the fire within, to reach the top. The 83 minutes of adrenaline fueled play off resulted in

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Clockwise from above: Sidhu with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, being felicitated along with coach P Gopichand by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and receiving the Khel Ratna from President Dr Pranab Mukherjee

(presently her coach) and was inspired to take up badminton, a decision that eventually changed her life.  Sindhu was remarkable even as a child. Early days She travelled 56 km every day to It would appear that Sindhu train regularly at Gopichand’s was born with the desire to go Sindhu is badminton academy. Her against the flow. Her father, supported dedication and competence won PV Ramana was awarded the by Olympic her accolades at an early age. Arjuna award in 2000 for Gold Quest, Soon after joining the academy, his contribution to Indian a non-profit she was winning titles on a volleyball and her mother, P foundation that regular basis.  Vijaya also happened to be a encourages To begin her practice professional volleyball player Indian athletes at 4:30 in the morning, her yet she drifted from what could seven hour training session have easily become her natural interspersed with two 15 minutes break choice and decided to take up professional has been her daily routine for the past badminton. At age eight, she felt the 10 years. lack of hesitance to give up on weight of the success of Pullela Gopichand Marin’s 19-21,21-21,21-15 victory but Sindhu had achieved more than gold.

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the time it took for her fracture to heal, she simple pleasures of life like her cellphone, trained her upper body and abs, building up something which she had to give up so as not on her stamina. Once her leg healed, she went to distract her from the game, her sacrifice comes naturally to her. Fixated on the greater back to training from the scratch. Being a tall athlete, her main challenge good, living a life dictated by an was agility. To perform over 300 itinerary does not perturb her. Sindhu has squats, on an average, simply to It helps her focus and deliver been working return a game and attempting her game. at Bharat jump smashes, Sindhu needed to Sindhu’s intensive training Petroleum since work tirelessly on speed, agility might be the answer to her July 2013 as and finding the perfect centre of winning streak but what keeps assistant sports gravity so as not to wobble and her going on is her “never-saymanager lose balance after hitting a serve die” spirit. A year before the or return.  Olympics, the athlete was shot What defines an athlete is not the down by a fractured foot. What could have effectively closed out any performance for the number of titles stacked up one after the Olympics, Sindhu with the help of Gopichand other. A true athlete can be identified by his/ her spirit. After winning the silver in and physiotherapist C Kiran, battled on the Olympics, Sindhu displayed such elegant with a leg in cast. For around three months,

Below left: With coach Pulella Gopichand and after winning the Olympic silver

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Sindhu is a young, determined woman who does not believe to rest on her laurels

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sense of sportsmanship that went far beyond her 21 years. Not only did she go ahead and congratulate her opponent on her victory, she slipped out of the limelight after accepting her medal so as not to crowd in the joy of Marin’s moment. Her selfeffacing nature is a breath of fresh air and holds remarkable promise of the kind of sportsperson she will eventually turn out. Her immediate return to the academy to resume her usual

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training, upping her regimen to a challenging three-against-one practice, which is considered advanced as well as deadly, goes on to show that this young lady is made up of stuffs who go on to become legends. She has earned the right to be called legendary but Sindhu is a young, determined woman who does not believe to rest on her laurels. With such bright dedicated young athletes, India is entering into an era which consists of a league of extraordinary sportswomen.

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India perspectives september october 2016