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Volume 30 n Issue 6 n November-December 2016

BRICS Summit in Goa

Shaping a new world order

asean-india: over 2 decades of fruitful relations

snapshot khajuraho temples

travel great rann of kutch

conversation ajay devgn


Upcoming events across India GANGA MAHOTSAV

The annual five-day event on the holy banks of river Ganges features classical music and dance, arts, crafts, culture and cuisine of the state. Activities like kite flying, wrestling and marathon are also held during the festival.

When: November 11-15 Where: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

National Street Food Festival

The diaspora event will see close to 3000 NRI and PIO (Person of Indian Origin) delegates, and 400 students from across the world. Thirty distinguished NRIs will also be awarded for contributing to the growth of the country.

An exclusive food and culinary arts festival where food lovers can savour delightful street food from all parts of India. It promises to enhance the soul and spirit with rich and unique culinary skills. WHEN: December 23-25 WHERE: New Delhi

When: January 7-9, 2017 Where: Bengaluru, Karnataka

INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA

A collaborative act by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the government of Goa, the festival is an effort to broaden and promote the culture of the film industry in India and abroad. When: November 20-28 Where: Goa

PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR

KONARK FESTIVAL

When: November 8-14 Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan

WHEN: December 1-5 WHERE: Konark, Odisha

Over 30,000 camels crowd in Pushkar to participate in one of a kind camel fair. The camels are groomed to participate in various events. Three-day International Hot Air Ballooning festival is also held during the camel fair.

It features various classical dance performances like Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Chhau along with exhibits of temple structures and an art and crafts exhibition. An international sand art festival will also take place.


Foreword India hosted the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa where Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a peaceful, balanced and stable world and told the BRICS leaders that it should be driven by people-to-people contact led by the youth of the five nations. In this issue we do a review of the far reaching decisions taken at the BRICS and BIMSTEC Outreach Summits. The Prime Minister, during his visit to Laos to attend ASEAN and East Asia Summits, also demonstrated his government’s resolve to enhance New Delhi’s ties with Southeast Asia as part of the ‘Act East’ policy. Over the years India has nurtured close bonds of friendship with ASEAN nations. The relationship has deepened as the collaboration steps up across a range of economic and strategic issues including trade and investment, connectivity, energy, culture, people-to-people contacts, and maritime security. The next year will be a historic milestone in the ties between ASEAN-India as it will celebrate 25 years of dialogue partnership, 15 years of summit level interaction and five years of strategic partnership. The celebrations will begin with ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 2017. A commemorative summit on the theme “Shared Values, Common Destiny” and a host of other events have also been planned. We do a comprehensive review of the India-ASEAN relationship at 25. In the Progress section, we talk about PM Modi’s Startup India project that aims to fill gaps in the economy for the growth and development of startups and also the Skill India programme whose objective is to train the youth of the country in specific skills to earn a livelihood. We also feature the concept of drip irrigation that is the need of the hour to conserve water. Under the sections exploring Indian art and heritage, we take a look at Gond tribal art, the locomotives being preserved at the Rewari Heritage Shed, and the Indian locations that made it to the list of World Heritage Sites this year. We also take you to the corridors of Khajuraho temples that are known for their brilliant architecture, the white desert of Great Rann of Kutch, and the state of Nagaland that will leave you mesmerised with its untouched natural beauty. Other important reads are the stories detailing the history of India’s coastal cuisine and the journey of Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn. Finally, a big thank you to our readers who have made it possible for India Perspectives to win 4 awards at the 56th ABCI Awards in Mumbai.

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Volume 30 n Issue 6 n November-December 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 Managing Editor: Jayita Bandyopadhyay 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

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PARTNERSHIP

Art

BRICS bonding: Sculpting a new world order .....................................................06

The lifeline of Deccan .................................. 48 HERITAGE

PARTNERSHIP

ASEAN-India at 25: A narrative of optimism......................................................12

The real heroes ............................................... 52 HERITAGE

Celebrating Indian heritage ......................... 56 PARTNERSHIP

A major thrust to India’s Act East policy.................................................... 18

The white desert............................................. 62

PROGRESS

travel

Startup India, a right idea at the right time......................................................24

travel

Tryst with the tribals of Nagaland ...............68 cElEBRATION

Of cruises, cakes and camaraderie ...............74

PROGRESS

Conserving water through drip irrigation......................................................28

cuisine

A gourmand’s shore ...................................... 78

progress

ISRO achieves another milestone with two-orbit mission .......................................... 32

cuisine

PROGRESS

Achievement

Festive delicacies ........................................... 84

India to become hub of skilled manpower ...................................................... 36

Seven stars for Ministry of External Affairs ...............................................86

SNAPSHOT

conversation

A story of architectural brilliance.................40

Scaling new heights ...................................... 88

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BRICS bonding: Sculpting

a new world order

Rejuvenating global economic growth, intra-BRICS economic partnership, remapping global governance architecture and closer coordination in combating cross-cutting challenges were outcomes of the 8th BRICS Summit text | Manish Chand

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t a luxury resort in Goa, a captivating spectacle awaited leaders of emerging powers as they began their 8th summit to chart a common narrative on re-crafting the world order. Sands from all five BRICS countries were used to create

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riveting sculptures of their iconic monuments – Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, Saint Basil Cathedral (Russia), Christ the Redeemer (Brazil) and Statue of Nelson Mandela (South Africa). The sand sculptures underscored the BRICS solidarity which was reflected in substantive outcomes - from rejuvenating

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leaders on October 15-16. Building upon the global economic growth and intra-BRICS success of the New Development Bank and economic partnership to remapping the global Contingency Reserve Agreement (CRA), which governance architecture and closer coordination originated at the 2012 New Delhi summit, the in combating cross-cutting challenges like five countries decided to explore setting up of a terrorism and cyber security. The Goa summit ended on a high note with a Credit Rating Agency for emerging powers and clutch of new ideas set to provide greater strategic agreed on forging BRICS-focussed institutions. “We were united in our view to establish the traction and cohesion to the BRICS grouping. In BRICS Agriculture Research many ways, the Goa summit proved Platform, BRICS Railway Research to be a veritable feast of ideas as Network, BRICS Sports Council, many India-backed initiatives were The Goa summit and various youth-centric fora,” said endorsed and found reflection in was a feast of Indian Prime Minister Narendra the all-encompassing 109-para Goa ideas as many India-backed Modi. “In order to further bridge Declaration and Goa Plan of Action. initiatives were the gap in the global financial Amar Sinha, Secretary (Multilateral endorsed architecture, we agreed to fast track Economic Relations) in India’s the setting up of a BRICS Rating Ministry of External Affairs and Agency,” he added. India’s chief point person for the BRICS summit, It was a moment of special satisfaction for PM encapsulated the essence of the discussion at the Modi as many of these initiatives were proposed summit: “All of them shared a common vision by him in his 10-point plan called ‘Das Kadam’ at and wanted joint and creative actions to convert this common vision into reality.” the 7th BRICS summit in Ufa, and were endorsed by other BRICS countries at the Goa summit. Underscoring their resolve to widen the arc of Institution building Sustainable institution building was the reigning intra-BRICS cooperation, the five countries signed three pacts for the establishment of mantra that animated discussions between the

Facing page: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the BRICS leaders. Below: PM Modi receives a warm welcome as he arrives in Goa

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Declaration, the summit was marked by the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform, mutual joint declaration emphatically stating that “states cooperation between diplomatic academies should prevent terrorist actions from their and regulations on Customs Cooperation territories,” a veiled reference to Pakistan. Committee of the BRICS. These pacts and “We also agreed that those who nurture, myriad proposals outlined in the Goa Action shelter, support and sponsor such forces of Plan and Goa Declaration are set to raise the violence and terror are as much a threat to global profile of the grouping and accelerate us as the terrorists themselves. the ongoing movement from the India is happy to note the unity declaratory phase to concrete action Prime Minister of thought and purpose on this on the ground. Modi specifically serious global challenge,” said put cross-border PM Modi. There was firming up Solidarity on terrorism terrorism of a broad architecture of intraHeld in the backdrop of the terror upfront on the BRICS counter-terror cooperation. attacks in India and proliferating BRICS agenda The Goa Declaration includes extremist networks across the six pointed paragraphs focussed world, the 8th BRICS Summit on terrorism, indicating that counter-terror was marked by the strongest and most cooperation will acquire greater salience in comprehensive statement ever on terrorism. the BRICS agenda. “We strongly condemn Prime Minister Modi put terrorism, and more the recent several attacks, against some specifically cross-border terrorism, upfront on BRICS countries, including that in India. We the BRICS agenda by singling out the “motherstrongly condemn terrorism in all its forms ship of terror in the region”, an all-too obvious and manifestations and stressed that there can reference to Pakistan. Despite quibbles over be no justification whatsoever for any acts of no specific mention of Pakistan in the Goa

PM Modi welcomes BRICS leaders to the BRICS Leaders’ Restricted Meeting at the BRICS Summit venue INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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BRICS-BIMSTEC Connect: New Vistas The Goa summit opened new vistas by providing the stage for BRICS’ outreach to BIMSTEC, the seven-nation grouping that straddles South Asia and Southeast Asia. It has paved the way for enhanced cooperation between two dynamic groupings in diverse areas, including commerce and connectivity, and promises to bring the seven BIMSTEC countries and five BRICS countries into an interconnected web of peace and prosperity. The outreach meeting with BIMSTEC, comprising India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand, underscored a convergence of perspectives on pressing regional and global challenges, with terrorism topping the agenda. “All the leaders repeatedly emphasised that how important it is to combat the scourge of terrorism,” said Preeti Saran, Secretary (East) in India’s Ministry of External Affairs. Separately, the leaders of

BIMSTEC countries held a Retreat Meeting, which came out with a joint declaration stressing on fast-tracking connectivity projects and spurring negotiations for BIMSTEC Free Trade Area. The declaration saw the grouping solidly rallying behind India in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack, and condemning with one voice “in the strongest terms including the recent barbaric terror attacks in the region.” In a blistering condemnation of the tendency of some countries to idolise known terrorists, the BIMSTEC declaration said: “There should be no glorification of terrorists as martyrs.” The BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach and BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat have raised the profile of the sevennation grouping, which is set to play a more prominent role in trans-regional integration and unleashing energy and enterprise of the people living in these regions.

Prime Minister Modi in a group photograph with the BIMSTEC leaders in Goa

terrorism, whether based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic or any other reasons,” stated the Goa Declaration. In a decisive boost for India’s drive to forge a global legal regime to counter terrorism, the BRICS countries agreed to “expedite the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN General Assembly without any further delay.”

Reviving growth

There was a joint resolve by emerging economies to stimulate global economic growth amid continuing headwinds and slowdown by enhancing intra-BRICS trade and investment. The BRICS countries focussed on promoting micro, small and medium enterprises and decided to expand cooperation in areas like innovation, digital economy, tourism and

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The BRICS countries renewed their call for “a wellness. PM Modi announced the holding strong, quota based and adequately resourced of a BRICS high-level meeting on traditional medicine, which will leverage the strengths of the IMF” and categorically asked “advanced European BRICS countries in this area and reduce treatment economies to meet their commitment to cede two chairs on the Executive Board costs. The summit encouraged the of the IMF.” With the text-based use of local currency in trading and The Goa negotiations about to begin at the noted positively that the NDB raised Declaration UNGA on the reform of the UNSC, its first capital in RMB through RMB has six pointed the BRICS renewed its joint call for bonds, which is expected to bring paragraphs making UNSC representative of the down transactions costs from 6 to 2 focussed on 21st realities. per cent. terrorism In a boost for India’s drive for NSG membership, the Goa Remapping global Declaration established a linkage between governance Reconfiguring the global governance architecture implementation of the Paris Climate Change agreement commitments and access to nuclear – a primary driver of the BRICS grouping since energy. “In this regard, we underline the its inception – registered a forward movement importance of predictability in accessing at the Goa summit, with the emerging powers technology and finance for expansion of civil deciding to explore “the possibility of setting up nuclear energy capacity which would contribute an independent BRICS Rating Agency based on to the sustainable development of BRICS market-oriented principles, in order to further countries,” said the Goa Declaration. strengthen the global governance architecture.”

Prime Minister Modi with the BIMSTEC leaders

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Indian PM Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Mr. Tshering Tobgay, at the bilateral talks, on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit

The way ahead

Exchange Programme and Digital Conclave, from the Young Diplomats Forum to the The Goa summit was the high point of India’s Youth Summit and Young Scientists Conclave, chairmanship of BRICS, remembered not only India’s Chairmanship has sought to build a new for germinating new ideas, initiatives and constituency among our peoples and our youth, institutions for finding responsive solutions to a ‘building BRICS’, if you will, for the future,” global challenges, but also for organising over she said. 100 events which are set to make the BRICS The Goa Action Plan is bristling more people-centric and youthwith potentially path-breaking centric in the days to come. Calling The Goa Action initiatives and has raised the bar BRICS “a powerful voice of hope Plan has raised for invigorating intra-BRICS for future generations,” India’s the bar for cooperation. The 8th summit should External Affairs Minister Sushma invigorating silence sceptics who Swaraj captured the quintessence intra-BRICS are prone to scoff of India’s chairmanship of the cooperation at the BRICS as a BRICS at the BRICS Media Forum, glorified talk shop. held two days after the Goa The BRICS is not only talking summit in New Delhi. “From the BRICS Film big, but is also thinking big, and Festival to the Under-17 Football Tournament, walking the talk in its quest to from the Friendship Cities Conclave and Urbanization Forum to the Handicraft Artisans’ shape an inclusive world order. (Manish Chand is founder and editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network, www.indiawrites.org, an e-magazine and journal focused on international relations and the India story. He visited Goa for the 8th BRICS summit)

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partnership

ASEAN-India at 25:

A narrative of optimism

As India moves towards completing 25 years of its relationship with ASEAN, the ties between the two deepen, highlighting the promise and potential of this crucial partnership text | Manish Chand

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t’s an unfolding narrative of opportunity partnership. “The planned commemorative and optimism as India and the 10–nation activities are ambitious, just as the promise and potential of our strategic engagement is ASEAN prepare to celebrate 25 years of immense. In India, you would find a ready and dialogue partnership in 2017. A historic reliable partner, willing to march with you milestone for New Delhi’s reinvigorated in step to fulfil this promise and realise its Act East policy, the commemorative summit potential,” PM Modi told the ASEAN leaders. will mark 15 years of the summit-level The year-long celebrations, to interaction and five years of be launched at an ASEAN-India strategic partnership between The year-long Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 2017, India and ASEAN, home to over silver jubilee will encompass a diverse array 1.8 billion people and dynamic celebrations will of activities that will illuminate growth hubs in the evolving geoencompass a myriad facets of the ASEANeconomic landscape of the region. diverse array of India relationship. The calendar “Shared Values, Common Destiny” activities of celebratory events will include, – the summit’s theme encapsulates among others, a business summit, the essence of India’s blossoming CEOs Forum, a car rally and sailing expedition, relations with the Association of Southeast and cultural festivals. Asian Nations. It is animated by a soaring vision of an Asian century and a commitment to shaping an inclusive regional order. From Look East to Act East Announcing the silver jubilee celebrations at In many ways, this 25–year journey of marching the 14th ASEAN-India summit in the Laotian together with a shared vision has been uniquely capital, Vientiane, on September 8, Prime empowering and exhilarating for both India Minister Narendra Modi spoke eloquently and ASEAN, which have come to forge an about the promise and potential of this crucial all-encompassing partnership straddling just

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a map of asean economic community (aec), established in 2015

Map not to scale

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about every area of human endeavour. The launch of the dialogue partnership between India and ASEAN flowed from the visionary initiative taken by India’s then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao to launch the Look East policy in 1991. It coincided with economic reforms and India embracing globalisation. The Look East policy was driven by the idea of blending the potential of India and its emerging strengths with technology, innovation and capital in ASEAN countries. In the succeeding years, the partnership witnessed the initiation of summit-level meetings in 2002, the elevation of relations to the level of strategic partnership in 2012, the signing of the ASEAN-India FTA in Goods in 2009 and the FTA in services and investment in 2014. Since PM Modi took charge of the world’s largest democracy, the Look East policy has acquired an added traction and salience in India’s foreign policy calculus and transformed into Act East policy that underscored greater

political commitment to upgrading India’s relations with ASEAN and its extended eastern neighbourhood. This economically vibrant region is increasingly getting linked up with India’s development agenda, pivoted around interlinked programmes of ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Start-up India’, ‘M-Governance’ and ‘Skill India’.

Economic win-win

The two sides are stepping up their efforts to upscale their bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2022. At the summit in Vientiane, the two sides focussed on fast-tracking implementation of the ASEAN-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreements and completion of the ongoing review of ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement at the earliest. India proposed development of an ASEAN-India network of Business Chambers and Thailand agreed to host the ASEAN-India Business Fair in 2017 to leverage new opportunities arising from FTA.

PM Narendra Modi participating in Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership during ASEAN-India Summit 2016 in Vientiane and right: PM Modi at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2015 in Kuala Lumpur

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The signing of a Free Trade Area in goods in 2009 has been followed by the sealing of ASEANIndia Agreements on Trade in Services and Investment in November 2014, which entered into force on July 1, 2015. The setting up of ASEAN-India Centre for Investment is expected to lead to enhanced two-way investment.

Strategic depth

India and ASEAN are also looking to imbue their bilateral ties with greater strategic depth through enhanced consultation on cross-cutting issues like terrorism, piracy and climate change. “Our engagement with ASEAN is not just about a solid base of shared civilisational heritage. It is also driven by our common strategic priorities of securing our societies and bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the region. ASEAN is central to India’s ‘Act East’ policy. And, our ties are a source of balance and harmony in the region,” said PM Modi at the summit in Vientiane.

The continuing volatility in the South China Sea has imparted an added urgency to enhancing security cooperation across the spectrum, with special focus on maritime security and freedom of navigation. ASEAN remains pivotal to addressing the traditional and non-traditional security challenges facing the Asia Pacific region. Securing the seas, as PM Modi said, is a shared responsibility. “India supports freedom of navigation, over-flight and unimpeded commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. And, we are ready to play our part in partnership with ASEAN.”

Enhanced connectivity

Enhancing connectivity, physical, digital, economic, institutional and cultural, is a primary driver of ASEAN-India relations. India has robustly backed fast-tracking a host of connectivity projects that will quicken regional

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integration and has supported the Master Plan on ASEAN-Plus Connectivity (MPAC). Recently, India announced the setting up of a joint task force on connectivity to carry forward the exploratory work on the extension of India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Enhancing connectivity to Southeast Asia is critical to unlocking the economic energies and enterprise of India’s north-eastern states.

Development partnership

The enhancement of the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund from $1 million to $5 million and setting up of an ASEAN-India Inclusive Innovation Platform to facilitate commercialisation of low cost technologies are important steps in deepening development partnership. Building on its core strengths in knowledge partnership, India is assisting in capacity building in less developed ASEAN countries through setting up institutions like the Entrepreneurship

Development Centres (EDCs), Centres of Excellence in Software Development and Training, and Centers for English Language and Training (CELTs) in CLMV (Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Vietnam) countries.

The Long View: Co-scripting Asian century

With the Act East policy moving onto fasttrack, India has re-articulated the centrality of ASEAN in its expanding relations with the extended East Asian region. India has vigorously supported major ASEAN-centric initiatives - the creation of an ASEAN Community by 2015, the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), the Narrowing of the Development Gap, and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025. The blueprint for accelerating ASEAN-India cooperation is enshrined in the ASEAN-India plan of action for the period 2016 to 2020, entitled “Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared

Left: Prime Minister addresses the 14th ASEAN-India Summit and above: PM Modi with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressing the gathering at Delhi Dialogue VIII: ASEAN-India Relations: A New Paradigm

Prosperity.� The progress has been rapid, with priority years drawn up and 54 out of the 130 jointly already implemented. Backing its commitment to the region with funds, PM Modi announced a Line of Credit of US$ 1 billion at the 13th ASEANIndia summit in Kuala Lumpur to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity. At the Vientiane summit, India announced enhancing the ASEAN-India Fund with an additional US$ 50 million. Beyond geopolitics and geo-economics, the cultural and spiritual connections impart a special flavour to ASEAN-India relations. Buddhism remains an enduring bond, which is being revitalised with the revival of Nalanda University into an international knowledge hub. ASEAN leaders are all praise for India’s proposal to document civilisational ties by mapping

Indian inscriptions along the Mekong river as well as documentation of shared cultural symbols. The ASEAN Studies Centre in Shillong promises to expand cross-border ties of trade, tourism and cultural exchanges. Building on a quarter century of allround expansion of relations, India and ASEAN are now looking to explore new frontiers and climb new peaks as they celebrate the silver jubilee of their dialogue partnership. As they look ahead to the next few decades of mutually empowering engagement, India and ASEAN must aim big, walk the talk and think strategically to fructify the dream of an Asian century. Positioning people at the heart of their blossoming relationship and shaping a balanced regional order amid shifts in the world order will be central to their shared journey.

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

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A major thrust to India’s

Act East policy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East policy imparts greater depth and dimension to India’s ties with ASEAN text | Vikas Khanna

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terrorism as an instrument of State Policy,” rime Minister Narendra Modi’s he said, adding: “There’s one country in visit to Laos recently to attend our neighbourhood whose competitive two back-to-back East Asian advantage rests solely in producing and summits demonstrates his exporting terrorism. This export is reducing government’s resolve to enhance space for peace and increasing New Delhi’s ties with Southeast space for violence and, putting Asia as part of his “Act East” India has, for at risk peace and prosperity policy. While trade was the decades, been of all.” driving force behind the visit, the worst victim Southeast Asia is no stranger the Prime Minister used the of terrorism to terrorism. Post 9/11, a string occasion to drive home the from across of attacks, most notably the point about the threat of terror the border 2002 Bali attacks, which left in the region and the increasing over 200 dead, rocked the militarisation by China of the region. Terror organisations like Jemaah disputed South China Sea. Without naming Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf, and the Moro Pakistan, PM Modi called for a collective Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) already had effort to combat terrorism that is posing presence in the region before the Islamic a serious challenge to open and pluralistic State (IS) reared its head. India has for societies. “Our strongest action should be decades been the worst victim of terrorism reserved for those state actors who employ

Facing page: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, in Vientiane and above: PM Modi arriving in Vientiane on his visit to Lao PDR for ASEAN and East Asia Summits

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PM Modi with the US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of 11th East Asia Summit

of passage in the international waters, from across the border. It is the time for much to the chagrin of Beijing, whose India and Southeast Asian nations to join claim to vast swathes of the disputed hands together to prevent, counter and maritime area was recently struck down combat the scourge of terrorism. by an international tribunal in favour The declaration at the end of the 14th of the Philippines. China, Taiwan, the ASEAN-India summit holds importance Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and as it recognised terrorism as a significant Brunei claim parts or all of threat to peace and stability the South China Sea, through in the region and made a Both India which trillions of dollars in strong commitment to combat and the US call trade pass. At the 11th East terrorism in all its forms for freedom of Asia Summit in Vientiane, and manifestations. The passage in the Prime Minister Modi warned declaration also underlined international against any adventurism to the early adoption of the waters settle disputes. “India supports Comprehensive Convention freedom of navigation, over on International Terrorism, flight, and unimpeded commerce, based currently being discussed at the on principles of international law. We also United Nations. believe that the threat or use of force to The twin summits came at a time resolve disputes would complicate matters when China is flexing its muscle over affecting peace and stability,� he said in a the disputed South China Sea. Both India subtle message directed towards China. and the US have been calling for freedom

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The three Cs – connectivity, commercial During the ASEAN-India and East ties and cultural contacts – dominated his Asia Summits, PM Modi highlighted the talks with ASEAN leaders. He pitched for importance of India’s Act East Policy and improving connectivity in the region to give said that India’s commitment to ASEAN was a boost to trade and people-to-people contact driven by common priorities, peace, stability during his talks with Suu Kyi. and prosperity in the region. They also reviewed progress of He also announced hosting a PM Modi major projects, including the commemorative summit on pitched for India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral “Shared Values, Common Destiny” improving highway and Kaladan multiin 2017 in India to mark the 25th connectivity modal transport project. The anniversary of establishment during his talks trilateral highway project, likely of India’s dialogue partnership with Suu Kyi to be completed in another two with ASEAN. years, aims at connecting India’s Prime Minister Modi also northeast with Thailand via Myanmar. The utilised the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with several world leaders, including project, once completed, will lead to a spurt in economic activities in India’s northeast. the US President Barack Obama, President Myanmar is the only ASEAN country that of Korea, Prime Ministers of China, Japan shares a land border with India and is a gateway and Laos and State Counsellor and Foreign for India to other Southeast Asian countries. Minister of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi.

PM Modi meeting the Prime Minister of Lao PDR, Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, in Vientiane

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partnership

PM Modi with Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam, during his visit to Hanoi

Similarly, Vietnam is one of the pillars Because of its strategic location, Myanmar of India’s “Act East” policy. A week before can play a vital role as an essential partner his visit to Laos, Prime in India’s Act East Policy, Minister Modi stopped in especially from the perspective Myanmar is the Vietnam on his way to China of connectivity between India only ASEAN to attend the G-20 summit, and South East Asia. Therefore, country that marking the first visit to the it is in the interests of both the shares land country by an Indian prime countries that they speed up border with minister in 15 years. He offered connectivity on their respective India Hanoi a $500-million line of sides of the border. The two countries share a long 1,643 kilometre land border and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.

credit for defence purchases, and discussed bolstering India’s naval presence in the region with his Vietnamese

Minister of State for External Affairs, Lt. Gen (retd). VK Singh, at the 6th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane

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Prime Minister Modi meets Ms. Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea, on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit

counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Vietnam, the initial target. The bilateral economic and trade ties have grown significantly in in turn, upgraded its relationship with recent years, though much more remains to New Delhi to a “comprehensive strategic be done. partnership,” the same status that China In just two-and-a-half and Russia enjoy. The visit years, the Modi exemplifies New Delhi’s desire Of all the government has made to deepen relationship with factors driving tremendous progress not only individual Southeast India’s Act East on its Act East policy, Asian states but ASEAN as strategy, trade which was launched a whole. is the chief at the East Asia But of all the factors driving motivator Summit in Myanmar India’s Act East strategy, trade in November 2014. is the chief motivator. Since In the wake of rapidly changing India and ASEAN finalised their trade geopolitical realities, AEP has agreement in 2009, bilateral trade between imparted greater vigour to India’s them has grown exponentially, reaching $76 billion in 2015 — $6 billion higher than ties with ASEAN.

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Progress

Startup India,

a right idea at the right time

The Government of India’s flagship initiative is helping entrepreneurs in their expansion and future growth while also providing opportunities to incubators and investors text | Vikas Khanna

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A

of a global slowdown in China. The national t a time when the growth in manufacturing policy has suggested that the jobs has not kept pace with the share of manufacturing in GDP needs to be rising number of claimants, increased to 25 per cent in order to create 100 Prime Minister Narendra million jobs in the coming decades. Therefore, Modi’s ‘Startup India’ project startups along with the ‘Make In holds high importance. The India’ initiative will be the next Indian Government is concerned job creating industry in the years over the rise in unemployment India has the to come. Today, India has the third despite the fact that the nation third highest highest number of startups in the is logging the fastest economic number of world behind the US and Britain. growth in the world. According startups in the Nasscom estimates software to the latest Asia-Pacific Human world behind the startups alone will create 800,000 Development Report, India faces US and Britain jobs by 2017. Several companies a serious challenge of finding jobs keen to invest sniff high potential in a country for a growing population over the next 35 where cheap engineering talent is available for years. The report said that between 1991 and setting up a back office. 2013, the size of the “working age” population It is hoped the Indian Government’s increased by 300 million whereas only 140 initiative early this year by offering a slew of million could be absorbed in the economy. It tax breaks for companies as well as investors is in this context, the government’s twin pet projects – ‘Make In India’ and ‘Startup India’ – seem a perfect answer to the issue. There is an urgent need to create more jobs when the manufacturing sector is witnessing a slump due to the knock-on effect

PM Modi addressing at the launch of Startup India, Standup India programme, in New Delhi

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Progress

The Prime Minister interacts with startups representatives, VCs and angel investors

2016. In 2016, 43.8 per cent of internet users will act as a catalyst in supporting new in India had purchased products online. In businesses. The government has announced cheaper and faster patent applications, offering 2019, this figure is expected to grow to 64.4 per cent. India is on the threshold up to 80 per cent rebates on the of a second-generation digital cost of patents besides setting The Government revolution, which will change up a `10,000 crore special fund offering tax the dynamics in new economy for startups. Experts believe breaks to enterprises like healthcare, that exemptions from tax and companies education, e-commerce, compliance inspections for three and investors hospitality, agriculture and rural years will prove to be a shot in the will help new leading to the creation of new arm for the sector. businesses jobs. Encouraged by the growing India is seen as one of the digital buyer penetration, several world’s fastest growing startup venture capital funds have raised billions of hotspots in the backdrop of a rapid expanding dollars for their Indian investments in recent population of internet users. Mobile internet years. Japan’s Softbank and WeWork, a New user base in the country has steadily increased York-based provider of shared office space, from 15.1 per cent in 2013 to 34.18 per cent in

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response and billions of dollars in funding are among several companies that have for a push into solar energy after PM Modi announced their India plans. Bank of promised to provide electricity to every America Merrill Lynch has forecast that village before the end of 2018. The Modi Indian e-commerce will surge to $220 Government has drawn up ambitious billion by 2025 from about $11 billion plans to raise solar capacity five-fold to last year. 100,000 MW by 2022 to meet Besides the software, the growing power needs and there is considerable investor India offers a create jobs. interest in startups in areas huge market India is the youngest like healthcare software for as far as startup nation in the world the poor or low cost solar investment in as close to 70 per cent of the panels for homes. India social impact entrepreneurs are less than offers a huge market as far as startups is 35-years-old. About three investment in social impact concerned to four IT startups are born startups is concerned. Millions every day in India. Over the of people in rural India still years, there has been a tactical shift in have no access to clean and potable water, toilets and electricity. The rural segment is the mindset of the youth who want to be seen as job creators than job seekers. And growing at a healthy pace of 8-10 per cent ‘Startup India’ is a perfect platform to per annum and is expected to add $100 give wings to the dreams of the youth of billion in consumption demand by 2017. The Government is getting an encouraging the country.

PM Modi at the launch of Startup India, Standup India programme along with Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Mr. Arun Jaitley and the Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman

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Progress

Conserving water through

drip irrigation

With water resources diminishing fast, the drip irrigation system has become a need. It is also more beneficial as compared to traditional irrigation systems text | Ravit Aggarwal

R

ealising the limitations of topography, geology, physiology, present state of technology and resources in the country that affect the lives of farmers, the Government of India is undertaking various efforts for drought mitigation. This includes

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promotion of micro-irrigation techniques like drip irrigation. The Government aims to cover more than 20 lakh hectares of land by drip irrigation by 2022. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently established a Special Task Force to study its economic impact and overall effectiveness on factors including

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either during conveyance or distribution. Evaporation loss from the surface soil is reduced since water is given only to the root zone that is shaded with the crop’s canopy. Research has revealed that water saving Advantages by drip irrigation ranges from Instead of running traditional 40-70 per cent over surface low density polyethylene (LDPE) irrigation with a yield increase to pipes in the fields all along, Drip irrigation as high as 100 per cent for some the same are tied to the wires can be implemented crops at specific locations. for trickling of water drops in waste lands, Drip irrigation can be only at the roots. The system hills, and coastal implemented in waste lands, comprises a main, a sub-main, sandy areas hills, as well as semi-arid and laterals, drippers and accessories coastal sandy areas. It permits including filters to prevent use of saline or brackish water to some clogging of drippers and fertiliser tanks extent since the water is given daily in this called venturi to apply fertilisers as well as method and salt is pushed to the periphery avoid wastage. of the moisture zone i.e. away from the crop Through a network piping system, the root. Substantial reduction in weed growth required quantity of water is provided to and soil erosion, flexibility in operations, each plant daily, thereby reducing water loss reduced input costs of fertilisers, pesticides and labour along with water saving and enhanced productivity.

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Progress

From left to right: Sprinkler head watering the flowers and grass, water saving drip irrigation system being used in a strawberry farm, a farm being cultivated and irrigation system in a raised garden bed

high suitability even for poor soils and considerable savings on labour forces, the cost of organic manure and chemical fertilisers are other major advantages.

Projects

With the beginning of second stage of Ramthal Marol drip irrigation project in Hungund taluk of Bagalkot district in October 2016, Karnataka has become home to world’s single largest drip irrigation Economic viability project covering a total land area of 35,000 The cost of the system depends on the type hectares (11,000 hectare in phase 1 and of crops grown, spacing adopted, water 24,000 hectare in phase 2). This `768 crore requirements and the location of the water scheme, benefitting over 15,000 source. Initial installation cost small and marginal farmers in varies from `20,000-25,000 Results prove around 30 villages of Hungund per hectare for wide spaced drip irrigation taluk, is jointly being operated crops like coconut and mango to be the by Netafim India Private limited to `45,000-50,000 per hectare preferred choice and Jain Irrigation on a build, for closely spaced row crops by progressive own, operate and transfer like sugarcane, vegetables farmers (BOOT) model. and cotton. While that might Though research studies in the be expensive, experimental field of drip irrigation started in India in 1970, results have proved drip irrigation to be the development of the system was slow and the preferred choice by progressive farmers limited to areas with water scarcity due to high today. With proven technical feasibility initial investments. The government of Kerala and high social acceptability in most states, introduced the method back in 1990s owing the system also has very high cost benefit to high demand of water for coconut and ratio (11:32).

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Jharkhand, where most of the farm holdings other plantations. It was adopted in Karnataka were not just under one acre but also on uneven and Andhra Pradesh for fruit crops like grapes terrain. With a special initiative Swarnjayanti and later trickled down to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Gram Swarozgar Yojana, that was This was because drip irrigation partly funded by the state for uplift Drip irrigation is economically more viable than of tribals, Netafim improvised is economically surface irrigation for large farms the existing drip irrigation more viable only. Even the largest farms in India methodology by using pressure than surface were mid-sized compared to farms in compensated system to introduce irrigation for the developed countries. Electricity FPS. It was evolved by placing large farms was not available in all farms. the water tank at a height that Therefore, small farmers remained a reduced the installation cost by low priority for drip irrigation providers till 2010, almost 50 per cent. The FPS system has refuted when Netafim indigenised its Family Drip System the requirement of large farmlands for drip (FPS) for mainstream farming in India. irrigation and thus it is being adopted now by It was possible due to an opportunity in more and more farmers across India.

Comparison of water use in traditional and drip irrigation process Crop Banana

Traditional method - Water

Traditional method - Yield

1760

57.5

Drip Irrigation method - Water

Drip Irrigation method - Yield

% Saving in water

% Increase in yield

970

87.5

45

52

Grapes

532

26.4

278

32.5

48

23

Citrus

1660

100

640

150

61

50

Tomato

300

32

180

48

39

50

Brinjal

90

28

42

32

53

14

Chilli

100

4.2

42

6.1

62

44

Sugarcane

2150

128

940

17

56

33

90

2.3

42

2.9

53

27

Cotton

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Progress

ISRO achieves another milestone with

two-orbit mission

India’s workhorse PSLV completes a record fifth mission in a calendar year as it successfully launches eight satellites, including five from other nations text | Dr Ajey Lele

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O

1 hour and 5 minutes, two engines of PSLV n September 26, 2016, Indian fourth stage were reignited and fired for Space Research Organisation 20 seconds. This allowed the craft to enter (ISRO) successfully launched into an elliptical orbit, and subsequently 50 eight satellites into the Low minutes later the PSLV’s fourth stage fired its Earth Orbit. This PSLV C-35 engines again for another 20 seconds. This mission is unique in many ways. It once second firing ensured the entry into a correct again proved the reliability of India’s most orbit for remaining seven satellites. dependable workhorse, the Polar Satellite SCATSAT-1 is an important addition to the Launch Vehicle (PSLV). This was PSLV’s Indian inventory of meteorological satellites. 36th successive, successful launch. Also, this mission has send a key Indian weather satellite The satellite would assist India’s weather into the space. With this mission, ISRO for the forecasting services and also contribute in improving the existing cyclone detection first time placed satellites in different orbits and tracking services. SCATSAT-1 can also in a single attempt. Few in the world have the be considered as a replacement capability to launch satellites into satellite for Oceansat-2, which was two different orbits in a single With this launched in 2009 with a five years mission. Recently, European mission, ISRO of designed life. Because of the Union’s Vega launch vehicle for the first time enhanced application potential of demonstrated this capability. placed satellites SCATSAT-1, the new replacement PSLV C-35 launched a 371-kg in different unit is expected to provide data weather satellite (SCATSAT-1) orbits in a single inputs with greater accuracy. into the Polar Sun Synchronous attempt In this mission, apart from Orbit (Polar SSO) at an altitude of the weather satellite, there are 720 km. As per the standard PSLV two other satellites with an Indian stamp configuration, this satellite was delivered in on them. These are PISAT and PRATHAM the orbit approximately within 17 minutes – the satellites developed by educational after the launch. Here the real technical institutions. The remaining satellites include challenge for ISRO scientists was to ensure three commercial payloads from Algeria the correct placement of the remaining seven (ALSAT-1B, 2B and 1N) and a payload each satellites into a different orbit. This has been from Canada (NLS-19) and the United States one of the longest missions ever undertaken (Pathfinder-1). by ISRO and it lasted for 2 hours and 15 The important aspect of this mission minutes. The last and the fourth stage of the that should not go unnoticed is that India PSLV launcher was to perform the required is encouraging university students to maneuvers and the main challenge was to develop satellites. ISRO has been promoting switch on and off the engine twice during the participation of students in its space a period of approximately two hours. With programme for the last few years. Since the cut-off of the fourth stage, SCATSAT-1 2009, ISRO has launched nine student satellite was placed in the orbit. Later, after

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Progress

with an approximate budget of `1.5 crore. satellites. ISRO provides technical guidance The students of IIT-B worked hard to make in designing, fabrication and testing to the student community. And it is the students who their dream a reality. Initially, the pioneers of this idea thought it would take them around have to do the actual planning, designing and two years to realise their dream. However, construction of the satellites. from the drawing board to the One such ‘product’ is actual launch, it took eight years PRATHAM which is a result of Since 2009, and seven graduating batches to almost one decade of convincing, ISRO has finish the job. With the student conceptualisation, planning, launched nine community being the Principal learning, experimentation, student satellites Investigator (PI), several batches of designing and production by students ensured that when they the students of Indian Institute pass out, the satellite’s mantle was passed on of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B). The 10-kg systematically to the next. microsatellite has been designed to measure As this IIT-B satellite would be measuring the Total Electron Count (TEC) in the the electron count in the ionosphere, this ionosphere with a resolution of 1km x 1km location grid. This satellite has been developed information could assist in detecting tsunamis,

SCATSAT-1 spacecraft integrated with PSLV-C35 with two halves of the heat shield

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reduce communication errors, and improve the accuracy of the Indian alternative to the GPS system. Other co-passenger satellite carried by PSLV C-35 is PISAT, built with the involvement of students from PES University, Bengaluru and its consortium. The 5.25-kg remote sensing nanosatellite will take snapshots of Earth, with the focus on India. It has a three-axis image stabilising system and the telemetry and telecommand systems on board the satellite will help in tracking and maintaining the satellite post launch. The PSLV C-35 launch has proved yet again the innovative character of ISRO, as the Indian space agency has always been a forward looking organisation ensuring maintenance of socio-economic focus of its space agenda. Now it is also increasingly engaging young minds in order to ensure that the existing group of rocket scientists pass on the mantle of leading all future missions to the young blood. Fully integrated PSLV-C35 with Mobile Service Tower withdrawn to parking end

INDIAN STUDENT SATELLITES PLACED IN ORBIT BY ISRO Sl. No.

Mass (kg)

Date

Name

1

April 20, 2009

ANUSAT

40

2

July 12, 2010

STUDSAT

Less than 1

3

April 20, 2011

YOUTHSAT

4

October 12, 2011

SRMSAT

10.9

5

October 12, 2011

JUGNU

3

6

June 22, 2016

SATHYABAMASAT

7

June 22, 2016

SWAYAM  

8

September 26, 2016

PISAT

9

September 26, 2016

PRATHAM

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1.5 1 5.25 10

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Student Group MIT Chennai 7 engineering college consortium Indian and Russian universities SRM University, Chennai IIT-Kanpur Sathyabama University, Chennai College of Engineering, Pune PESIT and consortium of colleges IIT-Bombay

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India to become hub of

skilled manpower

Since the launch of the Skill India programme, a number of training institutions have tied up with the state governments to enroll maximum number of youth text | Akanksha Jain

E

ven a year after the launch of the ‘Skill India’ programme, a lot of impetus is being given to it as the initiative aims at training the youth of the country in specific skills through which they can earn a livelihood and live with pride. With an aim to generate surplus manpower of, at least, five crore over the next decade with skilled labour, India will be able to tackle global challenges. It is estimated that a meagre 2.3 per cent of the workforce in India has formal training as compared to the UK (68 per cent) and the US (80 per cent). Since the launch of ‘Skill India’, a number of training universities, institutes and schools have mushroomed across the country and tied up with the state governments to enroll the maximum number of youth. So far, over 55 lakh people

have received training and 23 lakh people have been employed. Over the last year, the number of training centres crossed the 3,000 mark and the Government has tied up with around 250 training partners. The campaign’s vision is to train over 40 crore people by 2022 in different skills. ‘Skill India’ resolves to bridge the digital divide by providing basic digital literacy opportunities to all skillseekers. The web skilling opportunities come with the convenience of learning and practising skill-nuggets with a mobile app as well. The ambitious programme completed one year in July 2016 and on the first anniversary of the initiative, the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (independent charge), Mr. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, reinforced the commitment promised by Prime Minister

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Progress

President Dr Pranab Mukherjee with Union Ministers Mr M Venkaiah Naidu, Ms Smriti Irani, Mr Prakash Javadekar, Mr Jitendra Singh and Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy at the inauguration of the first edition of “India Skills”

Narendra Modi. During an event in New Delhi, in the presence of President Dr Pranab Mukherjee, Rudy outlined the following programmes that will chart the way forward.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana-2

emphasise on skill training as per international standards for employment in Gulf countries, Europe and other overseas destinations. Students undergoing training in high-end job roles will be provided scholarships.

India International Skill Centres

As of July 18, 2016, 17.93 lakh candidates The first anniversary of ‘Skill India’ saw were trained out of 18 lakh who announcement of 50 India enrolled. In 2015, the scheme had International Skill Centres, slated to Students an outlay of `1,500 crore, with a open by the end of 2016. In the first undergoing target to cover 24 lakh persons phase, 15 centres were launched by training in highwithin the next year under skill President Mukherjee. These will end job roles will training (including 10 lakh under be set up through National Skill get scholarship Recognition of Prior Learning). Development Corporation (NSDC) under the PM Modi this year approved the and will implement the Pradhan scheme PMKVY Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay (PMKVY) and Pravasi Kaushal of `12,000 crore to impart skilling to one crore Vikas Yojana (PKVY) to the youth seeking global people over the next four years (2016-2020). mobility for jobs. The first 15 centres will be in Under this scheme, around 60 lakh youth will Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra get trained and skill training would be imparted Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Maharashtra, based on industry-led standards aligned to the Punjab and Rajasthan. National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). There will be special focus on placement of India Skills Online trainees along with incentives. This scheme will President Mukherjee inaugurated India

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Skills Online, a national competition under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and NSDC, to select the best talent to lead India’s participation at the biennial World Skills International Competition scheduled at Abu Dhabi in 2017.

as the lead agency for the development of the national LMIS.

National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

This ambitious scheme has an outlay of `10,000 crore with a target of 50 lakh apprentices to be trained by 2019-20. National Labour Market National The scheme would be implemented Information System (LMIS) Apprenticeship by Director General of Training It is a single window to aggregate Promotion (DGT) under MSDE. It provides for supply and demand trends in the Scheme aims to incentivising employers to engage Indian skill development ecosystem. provide training apprentices. Apprenticeship training This is an integrated set of institutional to 50 lakh youth is considered to be one of the most arrangements, procedures, mechanisms by 2020 efficient ways to develop skilled and data systems designed to produce manpower. It aims to achieve the labour market information as per objective as stated in the National Policy, 2015. global standards and best practices. Through The policy proposes to work proactively with the LMIS, statistical and non-statistical information industry including MSMEs to facilitate 10-fold on labour market will be generated. The National increase in opportunities by 2020. Skills Development Agency (NSDA) is designated

President Mukherjee releasing the publication on the occasion of the World Youth Skills Day

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Snapshot

A story of

architectural brilliance

The beautiful medieval monuments at Khajuraho are known for intricate carvings and erotic sculptures

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hajuraho, a small town in the state of Madhya Pradesh, needs no introduction. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India and known world over for its finest temple art. The Khajuraho temples built by Chandela rulers between AD 900 and 1130 are known for their enormous, intricate sculptures that define passion, eroticism, dance, music and other creative pursuits. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments also depicts the lives of various people, be it kings and courtesans or scholars and blacksmiths. The temples at this UNESCO World Heritage Site have been divided into three complexes – the western group, the eastern group and the southern group - and belong to two different religions, Hinduism and Jainism. Though over 80 temples were built by Chandela rulers, today around 20 remain in well-preserved form. Come along for a stroll in the corridors of these temples for an enchanting experience.

Khajuraho

Map not to scale

Madhya pradesh

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Snapshot

Kandariya Mahadev Temple

One passes through an elaborately carved makara torana when entering the largest and most magnificent temple of Khajuraho. Kandariya Mahadev Temple, which means the Great God of the Cave, was built by Chandela King Dhangadeva and dates back to 1000 BC. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a marble Shiv linga as its sanctum. The exterior structure is based on a main tower (shikhara), which symbolises Mount Kailash and is surrounded by 84 smaller spires. The temple is embellished with ornate carvings and has around 870 sculptures depicting gods and goddesses, beasts and warriors, maidens, dancers, musicians and erotic relief sculptures.

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Lakshmana Temple

Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple was built during the rule of King Yasovarman (930-950 AD). It houses an image of tri-headed and fourarmed Vaikuntha-Vishnu while the exterior wall displays images of around 600 gods. Built in Nagara style of architecture, the temple has a shrine and a flat-roofed entry

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porch. The shrine also has a large superstructure which resembles a peak of a mountain range. Lakshmana Temple is the only one to have a row of elephants peeping out of the base as if they are carrying the weight of the stones on their shoulders. Other sculptural masterpieces include musicians, caparisoned horses and riders, and a panel depicting court life.

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Snapshot

Devi Jagadambi Temple

The temple is named after the image of goddess Parvati enshrined in the sanctum, though it was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is one of the most finely decorated temples of Khajuraho with numerous erotic carvings, beautiful figurines on the walls, intricately carved panels with the sculptures of Lord Vishnu

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and his various forms. The temple standing on a lofty platform has a simpler three-part design, and consists of a sanctum without ambulatory, a vestibule, a maha-mandapa and an entrance porch. Female figurines applying makeup and preening themselves and divine couples depicting every mood of love are other fascinating sculptures adorning the walls.

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Adinath Temple

Located to the north of the Parsvanath Temple is a beautiful and small shrine containing an idol with an inscription dating back to year 1207, during the rule of King Madanavarman of the Chandela dynasty. Though now only the

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sanctum and vestibule have survived with their roofs, the temple structure has beautiful carvings of charming celestial nymphs and yakshis in various poses. Various categories of women – nayikas, kaminis and bhaminis, have also been depicted in a graceful manner.

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Snapshot

Parsvanath Temple

Largest of the Jain temples in Khajuraho, it is an architectural marvel due to the artistic brilliance of the craftsmen of the Chandela dynasty. Parsvanath Temple was constructed in the middle of the 10th century and originally devoted to first Tirthankara and the founder of Jainism,

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Adinath. However, it was in 1860 that a statue of Parsvanath was installed and the temple took over the new name. Beautiful sculpted figures on the outer wall showcase elephants, lions, sea nymphs, activities from everyday life and celestial maidens. The temple’s wall also bears the images of Hindu gods despite it being a Jain temple.

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Chaturbhuj Temple

The only temple in Khajuraho Group of Monuments that does not feature erotic sculptures is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Its sanctum contains a 2.7m long idol of the four-armed Vishnu and the temple features a plethora of carvings including drawings of lions, semi-divine and divine beings. The most notable sculptures are of Ardhnariswara (half Shiva and half Parvati) and Narasimha’s consort. The structure of the temple that dates back to 1100 AD and was built by Chandela King Yasovarman speaks volumes about the brilliance of the art during Chandela dynasty.

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Art

The lifeline of

Deccan

Gond art is thriving globally as artists continue to paint stories on paper and canvas in various hues text | Manjari Mukherjee

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he history of Gond art perhaps would have taken a different course if painter J Swaminathan had not discovered a talented young 17-year-old Jangarh Singh Shyam in Patangarh village in the state of Madhya Pradesh. And Gond art too would have inevitably got categorised as one of the many dying indigenous art forms of India. The key to Jangarh’s success was not only raw talent and profound artistic vision but in striking the perfect balance between traditional roots and contemporary touch. In fact, Shyam is acknowledged as the first Gond artist to use paper and canvas for his art. His talent and Facing page: A Gond painting illustrating stories of agriculture in olden days and above: a vision has been so pervasive that painting depicting a village on canvas he has become a celebrated artist, exhibiting not only in India but also at international art and cultural events. Other Gond artists such as Bhajju Shyam, Birbal Deeply connected to nature, Gonds have Singh Uikey and Durga Bai have carved a niche for traditionally drawn inspiration as well as have themselves and earned international acclaim too. represented their stories using strong natural While a precise history or a date elements with trees, animals and birds of origin cannot be marked, the being the most recognisable subjects in roots of Gond community can be their visual art practice. It is common Gond paintings draw inspiration traced back to the pre-Aryan age. belief in the Gond community that from strong Said to be the largest tribal or adivasi a good image ushers in good luck natural elements which is visible in the houses of the community in India – a population lke trees, animals community. Brightly painted walls, of nearly nine million – they belong and birds windows and floors, replete with largely to the Deccan Peninsula. traditional icons and motifs are a Over centuries, Gond community common sight in Gond neighborhoods. has existed in northern Andhra Pradesh, eastern Pardhan Gonds, who traditionally served Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and as priests, are said to be the highest echelon in western Odisha.

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Art

INTERESTING FACTS The main dome of Bharat Bhawan in Bhopal has been painted by Jangarh Singh Shyam and depicts the Gond deity Baradeo. He has also painted the interiors of Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha and distributed his fee of `7 lakh among the fellow artists and the people of his village despite the fact that he lives in a modest accommodation in Bhopal. A special soil called pidor is used for preparing the surface of the wall for paintings. With globalisation, Gond paintings have become common in merchandise and everyday commodities like cushion covers, wooden trays and apparels, helping the art form gain popularity with the masses.

A tribal painting created by Gond community in Madhya Pradesh

important events and rituals, Gond artists the community with expertise in painting have recreated the past with intense mastery as well as music. Around the early 1980s, a of technique and profound intricacy. Today, few Pardhan Gonds began transforming and Gond paintings are known for rich detailing, representing their rituals into a new tradition bright colours, embedded mystery of figurative and narrative visual and sense of humour. However, art while using a variety of Gond paintings these tribal artworks are anything modern mediums such as acrylic are known for but outdated. on canvas and ink on paper. Not rich detailing, One of the most captivating only have contemporary Gond bright colours, features of Gond art is its artists started using modern and sense of simplicity, both, in terms of materials and methods but they humour the tools required to make the represent contemporary scenes painting as well as the painting and concerns while keeping true itself. A canvas or a cloth or even a chart paper to age-old traditions and styles. along with basic paint is all that is required The stunning range of visual narrative to make a Gond painting. The artist first depicted a variety of themes and stories. zeroes in on a theme or a simple subject and From mythological tales and oral histories then begins the process of painting. Yet in to traditional songs, natural surroundings,

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A traditional Gond painting

faceless and nameless but have made a mark the simplicity lies in incredible intricacy and with their own unique individual artistic care. One of the most noticeable and easily identities in the global art market. Gond recognisable features of Gond painting is the paintings can sell anywhere between a few use of line and dot technique. These lines and thousand to a few lakh. dots impart a sense of dynamism Till date, Gond art remains and movement on the canvas, This traditional as one of the immediately capturing the tribal art form, most historically attention of the viewer. Paintings part of rich entrenched yet are commonly done on mud Indian history, contemporary Indian walls. A mix of natural colours is in sync with visual art traditions. is generally used from earthen global trends While many Indian materials such as wooden coal, tribal art forms need tree sap, red soil, leaves and even revival and support, Gond art has cow dung. found relevance and sustenance In modern day and age, Gond paintings in the contemporary times and are as much part of a rich traditional Indian continues to be a critical part of the history as they are in sync with the current community’s lifestyle and lifeline. global trends. Gond artists are no longer

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Heritage

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The real

heroes

Rewari Steam Loco Shed preserves the heritage of India’s famed locomotives with some of them returning to the tracks after lying low for several years text | Amit Parashar

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A large number of people including e have seen them mechanics, loco cleaners, boiler makers, on silver screen in have been employed at the shed as they movies like Sultan, work throughout the week to service the old Gandhi My Father, giants. They clean the engine parts, refill Pranayam, Pornab, boilers with water and empty coal from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Jaanisaar, Ki & Ka. fireboxes, among other things. No, we are not talking about artists. We are After undergoing boiler change, the little talking about the locomotives which were wonder Fairy Queen is now important part of these films. ready to run. Built in 1855, Fairy Now, these beauties are housed Fairy Queen, Queen is the oldest working in the Rewari Steam Loco Shed, the oldest steam locomotive in the world. about 100 km from Delhi. working steam It was completely overhauled in locomotive in 1996 and resumed commercial Blast from the past the world, is operations in 1997. Hugely Ganpat (loco foreman), steam functional now popular with tourists, the Fairy shed in-charge, proudly talks Queen train runs on a two-day about the efforts needed to keep one night tour from Delhi to Alwar with an these steam engines in running condition. overnight halt at the Sariska Tiger Reserve. ‘’We are taking care of old steam engines. In 1998, it was certified as the world’s oldest One can see Rewari King (2151 YP), Sahib working locomotive by the Guinness Book (3415 YG), Sultan (3438 YG), Sindh (4252 YG), Angadh (3634 XE), Akbar (7161 WP), of World Records. Azad (7200 WP), Sher-e-Punjab (15005 Similarly, Akbar and Azad are also in WL), Virat (22907 AWE) and Fairy Queen running condition. Of 1930 make, Angadh, (EIR 22).” the oldest working steam engine in the

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Heritage

country, came to Rewari from the National Rail Museum in Delhi. A gift from the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board, broad gauge engine Angadh, when fully functional, consumed 25,000 litres of water and 18 tonnes of coal.

History

The Rewari Steam Loco Shed came into being in 1893 and was under the jurisdiction of Bombay Baroda and Central India Railways (BB&CIR). Rewari soon became one of the busiest junctions on the meter gauge route and the shed too was the largest meter gauge loco shed in India with close to 500 maintenance staff working at its peak. In the early 1900, the shed primarily homed ‘P’ class engines. Though the pre-Independence holdings are not known, the shed had a holding of 65 MG locos between 1980-82. Rewari also had 395 loco drivers on roll, making it a major crew depot as well. The shed was functional for a century, but was shut in 1993. And by 1994, all but two locos, YG 3415 and YG 3438, were disintegrated and sold as scrap. The shed again regained prominence in 1994 when the Royal Orient Express was started. Two steam locomotives used to haul it on the stretch between Delhi Cantonment Railway Station and Rewari. In 2001, it was proposed that the shed be converted into a heritage shed. By this time, all the meter gauge routes to Rewari had been converted to broad gauge and some vintage BG locos were also planned to be housed here. It was for this purpose that one bay of the shed was converted to broad gauge. In May 2002, WP 7161 became the first loco to come to Rewari Shed, followed by WP 7200.

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A view of the Rewari Steam Loco Shed

The reopening

and then we will have a feast here�. His words struck the right chord and today results are The Rewari Steam Loco Shed was reopened there for everyone to see. on October 09, 2010. The shed got a new life with large scale renovation and restoration as a new cafeteria, a small library and a museum Gift of toy train were added to the place. However, the spirit of The administration of the Rewari Steam Loco the place remains intact with the Shed now plans to run a toy train same shed building that dates back as well. Originally the A toy train to 1893 and majestic black beauties service was planned to service for that are back in action. start in October this children will The credit goes to Ashwani year, but the project start next year Lohani, the then DRM (Divisional has been delayed and at the Rewari Railway Manager) of Delhi, who now the toy train Steam Loco Shed dreamt to transform this shed into will start from the an informative tourist destination. next year. Several When offered a cup of tea during his maiden other measures have also been visit to the shed by the staff in February 2010, undertaken by the railways to he refused to take it saying, “no one has a cup improve the facilities and attract of tea in a graveyard. Get the locos running more visitors to this heritage site.

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heritage

Celebrating Indian

heritage

India’s tally of World Heritage Sites reaches 35 as three locations, including a mountain, make it to the list text | Preeti Puliyankunnel

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E

arlier this year, the UNESCO The programme to list and protect World Heritage Committee heritage sites around the world started added four new in 1972 with the Convention sites to the World Concerning the Protection of The World Heritage List. the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage List The Nalanda University ruins, Heritage being adopted by the consists places Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex UNESCO general conference. significant for and the Khangchendzonga Over 44 years, 192 countries their history National Park in Sikkim were have ratified the convention, and culture added to the list of protected making it among the most sites in July at the 40th session adhered to global treaties. of the committee, bringing India’s total to 35 The prestigious heritage list includes recognised heritage sites. places recognised for their historical,

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Left and above: The ruins at Nalanda, a large Buddhist monastery, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha

Other sites across India in this illustrious list include the Taj Mahal in Agra, the monuments in Hampi, Goa’s churches and convents, the Sundarbans in West Bengal and Assam’s Kaziranga National Park.

Nalanda University ruins

The Nalanda site in Bihar comprises the archaeological remnants of a scholastic and monastic institution dating to the third cultural and scientific significance, and are century BC. Located about 100 km from legally protected from endangerment by Patna, Nalanda was a centre human and animal trespassing. of learning until the 13th At present, 1,052 important world The Nalanda century AD. Celebrated for its heritage sites across 165 countries university is the role in the transmission and are included in it – 814 cultural most ancient dissemination of knowledge sites, 203 natural sites and 35 university in over an uninterrupted period of mixed sites (places that exhibit the the Indian 800 years, Nalanda is also the qualities of natural and cultural subcontinent most ancient university in the significance). At 51, Italy leads Indian subcontinent. the list of the countries with the According to UNESCO, “The historical most world heritage sites, followed by China development of the site testifies to the (50), Spain (45), France (42), Germany (41) development of Buddhism into a religion and India.

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ruler Ashoka is also said to have built a and the flourishing monastic and temple at Shariputra’s shrine. educational traditions”. Much of the site remained undiscovered The ancient university thrived under the culturally liberal Gupta Empire and the until the 19th century when the Archaeological Survey of India rule of Harsha, the emperor began to excavate the area. of Kannauj. It was so revered Mauryan A trove of excavated coins, that at its height, scholars emperor Ashoka sculptures and inscriptions and students from around is said to have have given great insight into the region, including China built a temple the university’s long and and Central Asia, thronged it. at Shariputra’s rich history. Mahavira is said to have spent shrine What remains of the many seasons at Nalanda, as university is vast, extending did Buddha. In fact, the ties between Buddhism and Nalanda are strong; around 1,600 feet north to south and around 800 feet east to west. The site the Buddha is believed to have delivered lectures near the university and Shariputra, includes stupas, shrines, viharas – among his chief disciples, was born in the residential and educational buildings – area and attained nirvana there. Mauryan and important art works in stucco, stone

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The Assembly building in the Capitol Complex of Chandigarh

Tasked by the first Indian Prime Minister and metal and excavations have revealed 11 Jawaharlal Nehru to build a new capital city for monasteries and six major brick temples. Punjab and Haryana in the 1950s, Corbusier Although many details about Nalanda designed India’s first planned city and what was remain unknown, the site is believed to have meant to symbolise the future of modern India. been a flourishing centre for Buddhism. In Recognising Corbusier’s fact, the decline of the university role in the “invention of a new coincides with the waning of Chandigarh, architectural language that made Buddhism in India. The site is now India’s first a break with the past,” UNESCO a well-known tourist destination planned city, was has listed it alongside National and part of the popular Buddhist designed in the Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, tourism circuit. 1950s by the House of Dr Curutchet in La Le Corbusier Plata, Argentina and the Unité Capitol Complex,

Chandigarh

Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex is part of 17 sites across seven countries. These are transnational serial properties chosen to celebrate the work of famed modern architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier.

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d’habitation in Marseille, France. Spread over 100 acres, the Capitol Complex is popular among tourists. It is home to many administrative buildings and monuments, including the Palace of Assembly (Legislative Assembly), the Government Secretariat, the

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Punjab and Haryana High Court, the famous Open Hand monument, Geometric Hill and the Tower of Shadows.

Khangchendzonga National Park

Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park is India’s first mixed world heritage site. Located in the Himalayas in northeast India, the national park includes a vast diversity of valleys, plains, caves, lakes, glaciers and forests. According to UNESCO, the park exhibits one of the widest altitudinal ranges of any protected area worldwide and is home to the

Some of the lesser known World Heritage sites in India

world’s third-highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga or Kanchenjunga. Covering a quarter of Sikkim’s area, the park is a favourite among trekkers for its biodiversity. Khangchendzonga is home to many animals such as the musk deer, Himalayan tahr, the red panda and the snow leopard. This makes it an important ecological site. It is also an important cultural site. According to folklore, the mountain, lakes, caves and other natural elements are important objects of worship for the indigenous community in Sikkim. These together with Buddhist beliefs form the basis for Sikkimese identity.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal: Designated in 1987, the group cover a series of nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary in north Karnataka. Bhimbetka rock shelters: Designated in 2003, the sandstone rock shelters are a magnificent repository of rock paintings. These are located at the foothills of the Vindhya mountain range.

Dzongri-La trek trail which passes through the Khangchendzonga National Park

Mountain railways: Designated in 1999, 2005 and 2008, the mountain railways represent the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the KalkaShimla Railway.

Rani ki Vav (Queen’s stepwell): Designated in 2014 and located in Patan, Gujarat, the site is a famous stepwell known for its size and sculpture. Western Ghats: Designated in 2012, the Western Ghats are also known as the Sahyadri mountain range, located along western India. Thirtynine properties were designated as heritage sites including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

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Travel

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The white

desert

Kutch transforms into a centre of celebration, festivity, arts and culture as it hosts the grand Rann Utsav text | Anil Mulchandani

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rom the large expanse of salt encrusted desert wilderness called the Great Rann of Kutch to the beaches along the Gulf of Kutch, the steppe-type grasslands of Banni to the Savannah-like habitat of Naliya and hills like Kala Dungar (Black Hills) to stunning Jurassic ridges and

interesting rock formations, Kutch is a destination apart. One of the largest districts of India, Kutch is a culturally interesting region, home to several Hindu and Muslim pastoral communities. Womenfolk of these semi-nomadic herders are skilled in handicrafts like embroidery and patchwork that lend colour to the landscape.

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Bhuj, the headquarters of Kutch, was once Ahirs, Jaths, Muthwas, Meghwals and Sodha the seat of the power of Jadeja Rajputs who Rajputs, each one skilled in a particular craft. reigned over this region from 1540 to the The diversity of embroidery styles practised accession in 1948, with the hereditary title of in this area is remarkable, with each group Maharao. Their palace complex, Darbargadh, having distinctive techniques, stitches contains the fabulous 18th-century and motifs. Aina Mahal with its marvelously Apart from textile The exterior decorated interiors and the embellishment, the artisans and interiors of imposing Pragmahal Palace. After excel in leather embroidery, houses in Kutch Bhuj, the road leads through pottery, silver work, woodcraft, are decorated the Banni grasslands studded metalware and block printing, with patterns with villages and settlements of including intricate Ajrakh art. and mirrors various communities like Rabaris, The village of Nirona is home to the last of the Rogan artisans who paint cloth with castor oil-based colours, besides makers of melodic bells and lacquered wood products. The circular houses of this region, bhungas, are designed to withstand hot desert climate and earthquakes with intricately thatched conical roofs, thick walls and tiny windows. The exteriors and interiors Left: Artists at a desert music concert are decorated with relief patterns and mirrors.

Photos by: Dinesh Shukla

during the Rann Utsav and below: A tourist cottage at Kutch

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Photo Courtesy: Dinesh Shukla

Photo Courtesy: Dinesh Shukla

From below left: Umbrellas hung upside down during Rann Utsav, handicrafts for sale and a woman engrossed in artistic embroidery

festival at the edge of the Great Rann, which is promoted by the Gujarat government. This year, the festival shall be organised between November 1, 2016 and February 20, 2017. The tourist village at Dhordo, promoted by Gujarat Tourism, is set up with deluxe tented rooms, performing areas, craft centres, restaurants and other facilities. From the tourist village, travel by camel cart across flat clay plains to the saltencrusted clay plains of the Great Rann where musicians entertain tourists with folk music concerts. The white Ascend the hill called Kala The white desert is a spectacular sight, Dungar for a view of dazzling desert of the stretching for miles on all sides. white salt flats of the Great Great Rann is It is a great place to witness a Rann of Kutch. The Dattatray a spectacular glorious sunset. The white desert Temple atop this hill attracts sight on a full is particularly beautiful on a full jackals that are fed offerings by moon night moon night when the salt plains the temple priests. The Dhinodar shimmer in white light. hill has Dhoramnath shrine and To the east of the Banni, the road leads to a monastery of the order of the Kanphatas or another expanse of white desert after which split-eared monks.  comes Khadir Bet, formerly an island but now The highlight of the district is the an elevated land-form covered with scrub. Great Rann of Kutch, a geologically unique Here you can witness the impressive remains salt desert, spread over 7,500 sq km. This of the Indus site of Dholavira. A short distance fascinating land holds Rann Utsav, a desert

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Photo Courtesy: Dinesh Shukla

Travel

Photo Courtesy: Dinesh Shukla

From below left: Cenotaphs at Kutch’s historic village Tera, Vijay Vilas Palace at Mandvi and the night view of a tourist camp during Rann Utsav

Kutch

How to reach

Gujarat

By air: The airport in Bhuj is well connected to major Indian cities. Taxis and auto-rickshaws are easily available from the airport to reach the city centre.

Map not to scale

By train: Major Indian cities are connected to Bhuj by trains and can be reached easily from places like Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai. By road: National Highway 8A connects Bhuj to Ahmedabad and a regular bus service connects Bhuj to other neighbouring cities.

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Photo Courtesy: www.kutchutsav.com

of Ashapura Mata no Madh, sacred lake of from here is a fossil site with interesting rock formations, ridges and wood fossils of trees that Narayan Sarovar, shore temple of Koteshwar, Jain temple of Naliya and heritage village of are more than 160 million years old. Tera which houses a fort, a stepwell, a historic The road towards the west goes to the lake, havelis, cenotaphs, a historic mosque, expansive Banni grasslands. Together with being the final frontier for many crafts and Jain and Hindu temples and shrines. Narayan cultures, Kutch is one of India’s most important Sarovar Sanctuary here is the habitat of gazelles bird areas with many globally and other mammals, while the threatened endemics like the great Naliya grasslands are home to Kutch is one Indian bustard, lesser florican, wolves, gazelles, of important white-backed vulture, long-billed desert cats and many bird areas with vulture, white-naped tit and endangered birds. many globally Stolizka’s bushchat. This is one Travel down the threatened of the few places where the grey coast from Naliya endemics hypoculius is seen in India. Another to Mandvi, one of must see is Chhari Lake, a gathering the finest beaches of place for wintering birds on their migratory Gujarat. The Maharao of Kutch journeys to the Indian peninsula. built a grand palace here. The Further west are the historic sites like beach is best suited for long walks Lakhpat Fort by the creek with a historic and bathing as also enjoying gurdwara, Buddhist caves of Siyot, holy temple the sunset.

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Tryst with the tribals of

Nagaland

Discover breathtaking and untouched natural beauty in one of the seven Sister States that promises to leave you mesmerised with its mystic charm text | Rhucha Kulkarni

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Named after the much-revered state bird, burst of colour welcomes the hornbill, festivities abound for about you to Nagaland, home 10 days at Kisama. There is indigenous to 40 distinct tribes and music, dance, games, sports, food, 16 dominant ones. To architecture, movies, handicraft and start with, a celebration performances by local tribal folk from of life in full bloom occurs during the various parts of Nagaland. It first week of December is also a musical journey of as the Kisama village The Hornbill sorts, as different song forms (a Naga heritage village Festival are played and sung – the around 12 km south of the coincides with state capital, Kohima) is heliamleu or dancing songs, the Nagaland bedecked in vibrant hues of the hereileu or war songs, Statehood Day merriment. What ensues is the neuleu or legendary on December 1 a feast for all senses – the songs and the hekialeu Hornbill Festival, exalted as songs which talk about their the ‘Festival of Festivals’. achievements. Exquisite architecture It is not a traditional festival – it of the tribal morungs, the residential was introduced by the state government quarters of the performing teams, leaves in 2000 as a glimpse into the multiyou in awe. The Hornbill Festival is a ethnicity of its unique people. The cultural mosaic, with a wondrous way of Hornbill Festival thus coincides with the life being played out to the beats of the Nagaland Statehood Day on December 1. gigantic log-drums.

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Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Francesco Pavanetto

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Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Francesco Pavanetto

Travel

From below left : A traditional tribal hut, a tribal dance performance at the Hornbill Festival and a Naga child decked up in ethnic finery

Did you know? There are 14 major Naga tribes which live happily with each other despite their unique languages, customs and traditions. These are Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khemungan, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sema, Yimchunge and Zeliang. Nagaland is a live example of true unity in diversity on the ethnic front! The Naga bazaar at Kohima is a true reflection of the local food culture of Nagaland. Famous for non-vegetarian food and livestock trading, a walk through these old streets is sure to leave you agape at the absurdity of food choices.

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Ruins of the medieval Kachari kingdom in Dimapur

The festival has now gained widespread Where nature and peace eminence, with national and international converge bigwigs making their presence felt. Indian The allure of this magical land goes beyond its Prime Minister Narendra Modi donned the warm culture and people as it unveils the hidden colourful garbs of the locals in 2015, bounties of nature. After all, these acclaiming its significance as a are among the last few virgin lands, Nagaland’s cultural landmark. rescued from the tumultuous throes capital Kohima Other festivals that mark of unprecedented civilisation, an is a gateway to significant Naga events throughout outcome of its remote existence. the mystical land the year are the Sekrenyi Festival Gateway to this mystical land is with a hypnotic of the Angamis (February), Kohima, a perfect adrenalinecharm Moatsu Mong of the Ao (May), packing getaway with nearby Suhkuruhnye Festival of the escapes. Trek the verdant green Chakhesang community (January), Sankarni of slopes to the Japfu Peak, the highest peak of the Zemi tribe and the Ahuna Festival, a postNagaland, located 14 km from Kohima. Or you harvest festivity of the Zumi clan (November). may explore the Dzukou Valley, a four-hour trek A trip to Nagaland will enrich you with its from the base. Kohima also houses the Kohima trysts with the tribal way of life. War Cemetery – a tribute to the soldiers who

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Travel

Photo Courtesy: www.neroutes.in

fought the Japanese during World War II. Another relic of these struggles is seen in Khonoma village, 20 km from Kohima. This quaint village stands as the epitome of efficient village administration, having been declared the first-ever green village in Asia. The Kohima Museum makes for a great onehour historical hiatus, offering deep insights into the tribal lifestyle of Nagaland. At the end of the day, you may enjoy the pacifying placid waters of Shilloi Lake. A 70-km detour shall take you to Dimapur, one of the most advanced cities of the state, called the City of River People. A tryst with nature awaits here too – the Triple Falls. For wildlife enthusiasts, an excursion to Intanki Wildlife Sanctuary is a must. Take a look at attractions from the

Top: Second World War Cemetery in Kohima and above: A view of the scenic Wokha district of Nagaland INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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Map not to scale

Nagaland

(Clockwise): Colocasia, fermented soybean, bamboo shoot and dried fish are the most commonly used ingredients in Nagaland’s cuisine

What to Eat Nagaland is a meat-lover’s paradise with most preparations cooked through drying and fermenting. Vegetarians can take their pick from dishes made of bamboo shoots and the famous Raja Mircha or King Chilly! These delicacies go well with rice and chutney called thattu.

What to do Nagaland has a lot to offer for the shopaholics! Rich artistic and traditional skills such as bamboo work, wood carving, pottery and black smithy offers a range of exquisite handicrafts.

British era, such as the Governor’s Camp and the Chumukedima, officially the first headquarters of the Naga Hills District. The bucolic life shall captivate you around Mokokchung city, around 150 km from Kohima. Embrace the ways of the Ao tribe at Ungma village by visiting the crafts centre. This part of Nagaland provides sweeping views of Changkikong Range, known for its pristine beauty. Nagaland is a convergence of all things exotic – culture and landscape, food and festivities. And yet amid this kaleidoscope of cultures, it emanates a fuzzy warmth with its cheerful people and their happy vibes. Get bewitched and lose yourself in this dreamy land that seems to be far removed from reality!

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Celebration

Of cruises, cakes and

camaraderie‌

Fashion designer Wendell Rodricks will be carrying with him the aromas of traditional baking, gifting and prayers when he visits Central America this Christmas, far beyond his home in Goa text | Neharika Mathur Sinha

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Whenever he is away from Goa during he sights, sounds and smells of the winter months, Wendell says he opts for a Christmas are wrapped up in Christmas with friends or a cruise. And this memories for fashion designer Wendell Rodricks. Each year, he year, Wendell would be sailing through the Panama Canal for Christmas and New Year. makes new ones, with friends He did a similar cruise a few years ago as well. and family for company. “For us, Christmas “We will repeat it this year to see was about a spiritual celebration the newly widened Panama Canal. first, new clothes next and gifts A nature lover, Apart from the Canal, since one last. I still carry on that tradition Rodricks makes sails from Miami to California, we every year. I have added charity sure his garden get to see countries like Nicaragua, to the list by visiting a home or is at its best Columbia and the Mexican Coast hospice,” he shares. during the cities,” he shares. winter months When Wendell is home, he Sailing through welcomes friends, family and pets As a fashion designer doing so to stay with him through the Christmas and much more as well (he’s an activist for social New Year break. “For me, pets are as much a causes, environment and gay rights), this part of Christmas,” he says. A nature lover, Padma Shri holder has a busy schedule. But he he makes sure his garden is at its best during still manages to cull out time for the festival the winter months. “I have learnt the art of – preparations and celebrations. Each year, making my garden bloom at Christmas time,” he takes leave from work from December 15 he affirms. to January 10.

Fashion designer Wendell Rodricks with his friends and family members during last year’s Christmas celebrations

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Celebration

“Invariably, guests pop in during the festive season and impromptu lunches spring up in the cool, mild weather at the time. The favoured spot is the garden. All Christmas week feels like a picnic,” Wendell smiles. He also makes it a point to stay at a beach side home “to savour the sea breeze at Christmas. My in-laws (his partner, Jerome Marrel’s family, who hail from France) love it as it is a huge change to spend Christmas with sunshine on a beach instead of chilly France. The sunsets are beautiful and I have a few secret beaches with no one in sight.”

Spirit of giving

Over the years, Wendell has created a special treasure trove for one of the most interesting aspects of this festival – gifting. “From years of experience, I have reserved what I call The Gift Cupboard. During my travel, I buy unique, attractive and handcrafted souvenirs. These go into the cupboard. When we visit friends, we gift a product from the cupboard,” he says. Christmas is the time when all the effort reaches its conclusion. “During Christmas, we empty the cupboard and share them as gifts with friends and family,” says Wendell. Food is, of course, an intrinsic part of the celebrations. Wendell’s special cake recipe is

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Facing page: Rodricks’ home decorated for Christmas. Above: Goa’s Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception during Christmas

Bishop’s Palace in Panjim for midnight mass. from his aunt, Hilda, a delicious-sounding If not, we go to my village church or my concoction with dried black raisins, white mother’s village 10 minutes away.” currants, orange peel and ground almonds Out of the many traditions associated soaked in cognac three months before the with Christmas, the gifting, the prayers… cake is baked. In his absence this year, his which one is closest to his heart? “The well-trained staff back home would be spiritual part. That a great man came into carrying the tradition forward. “My staff the world with a message of love. The will make the five cakes I make every year rest of the festivities pale in and distribute among family and comparison,” he says. friends,” he says. “And yes... the Rodricks has And as the coming gifts from the gift cupboard will created a of winter heralds be sent to friends and family,” special treasure Christmas, with Wendell affirms. trove for the all the warmth and Christmas festivities, Wendell Prayers for love festival – gifting signs off with a and peace beautiful thought: The midnight mass at church is a “May the spirit of Christmas, no must for Wendell. The church he visits may matter our religion, spread the vary according to the situation. “It depends. message of love and peace in this If I have friends staying over who do not troubled world. Amen.” understand Konkani, I take them to the

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Cuisine

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A gourmand’s

shore

The brilliance of India’s coastal cuisine possibly surpasses the beauty of the 7,517-km coastline itself text | Madhulika Dash

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– idli, vada and dosa – just three items of here is a reason why coastal cuisine and seafood go hand the five dozen-odd appams, chakulis and in hand. They have been pithas made in this region. It gives us the promoted likewise. Seafood fritters (pakoras) including the famous is not only readily available vada of vada pav, bhel, jhalmuri and banana on the coast, but widely eaten chips – a few of the hundreds as well – and this includes of snacks that the southern half Baked fish the vintage yet stunningly of India doles out including and coconut contemporary coastal cuisine of the famous fried chicken, curries are just India. But that is not all to this popularly called Chicken 65. appetisers to the lesser-explored food culture The famous fried fish, pathuri 21-course that predates the Silk Route and maach (that led to the iconic sit-down meal is considered to be made for the Parsee patrani machchi) and sophisticated palate. the stew (that made South the Baked fish and coconut curries are oldest innovator of curries) come from this just appetisers to this 21-course sit-down region. The coconut chutney is one among meal, each course comprising, at least, 100 the several relishes in coastal Indian cuisine, select dishes. Sample this: The 7,517-km including the tomato khatta (that changed coastline gives India its favourite tiffin Spanish salsa), curd dips and wood apple

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Cuisine

Above: Vada pav and right: bhel puri

chutney. The oil-free kottu, which inspired the jalfrezi later, is again the gift of the coast. It has the largest section of innovative desserts including the Kerala black halwa, the hardto-replicate mutta mala; the delicious khaja, Mysore pak and the unignorable rosogulla and its brethren. Beside popularising the art of The Goan bread creating dishes that cater to all the became the bun five palate senses, coastal cuisine and led to the has been at the forefront of emergence of innovations as well, partly thanks vada pav to the maritime trade that brought

of vada pav. Likewise, laddoo and kashtayam were easy ways to administer medication, but soon became sweetmeats. Rasam, India’s traditional consommé, was developed both as an appetiser the best of influences to the coast and health builder. Such was the and partly due to the communities that made addiction to rasam (and payasam) that Vasco da the coast their home. Gama actually borrowed Zamorin’s two cooks so he For instance, poee – a Goan bread – could relish it on whim. Sol kadi had the same fan became the first unleavened bread to enter following and made kokum as popular an export as the Indian culinary ledger which till then palm toddy and coconut sugar. As for the laddoo, was predominantly rice, puri and appams, the interesting melange led to the birth of chikkis or pralines. Legend has it that Lonavala’s famous chakulis and pithas made of fermented Maganalal chikki began as a way to sustain the rail rice batter. The Goan bread eventually became the bun and led to the emergence workers who didn’t have time for a lunch break.

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rice or coconut rice was necessity based – Yet another popular dish that coastal rice is an anecdote in every meal – not many cuisine excelled in was stir-fry satays. know that it was Asia’s first pilaf, which According to old Sangam literature, the Chola kings preferred a mutton dish that unknowingly created the first fried rice. The was made thus: large pieces of the thigh legend has it that when Ma Huan arrived portion marinated with pepper, in India as part of the Imperial dry ginger paste, then roasted Chinese fleet under Cheng Ho The iddiappam in fire on wooden skewers and in 1403, he was stunned to find inspired Chinese tossed with arugampul (Bermuda pilafs. It is said that he stayed to create noodles grass) for flavour. This is said to back to learn the art of making and Arabs to have influenced Chengiz Khan it and also discovered many develop sewiyan who adopted the dish in parts to versions of using it. sustain his army and eventually The iddiappam is said to created the first form of what the world have inspired the Chinese, who visited India knows as kebabs. to sell their silkware, to create noodles and later, egged the Arabs to develop the popular The art of flavouring rice – not with stock but a spice or two – was yet another sewiyan. The handmade sewiyan was the innovation from coastal India. While the first industry that was footed by Arab origin of flavoured rice dishes like curry leaf traders, who settled in the Muziris, as an

A south Indian breakfast of appam and egg masala

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Cuisine

From bottom left: Kerala fish curry with white rice, sambhar vada, anchovy fish curry with green curry leaf and barbecued kofta

alternative to the long grain rice they had back home. It was the Sangam Era mappillai samba rice that supposedly reached the Ottomon Empire that led to the creation of pulav and paella in Spain. Of course, there is an argument made in favour of the muri ghonto, a Kalinga-Bangla specialty and a port delicacy at Kalingapatnam and Tamralipta, which could have inspired the paella, given the use of seafood and parboiled rice. Much like how the mutton chukka of Karikal Chola time inspired the Indonesian satay and the Sikanderi raan led to the creation of the kutti chara – a whole goat stuffed with chicken or arikadaka – mussels and rice flour cooked in – shell. It wasn’t just the art of stuffing that coastal India was known for. Two of the interesting culinary techniques that emerged from the coastal India was the nooil cooking (santula and patua for example)

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Ghee roast dosa with chutneys

their elaborate meal which were later picked and the art of combining vegetables with by Shahjahan to be a part of his feast. meat for flavours like the Bengali chorchuri. According to old Silk Route ledgers, Another example of culinary brilliance in the all-popular phirni first came to the the coastal cuisine is the ingenuity to use a plant completely. So while the banana fruit southern coast of India as bahtiyeh from is used as ready sweetener for Khuzestan (Iran) along with breakfast (chuda-dahi-banana or balal, a tangy style of corn on The all-popular the cob. Bahtiyeh, which in its pottu-sugar-banana), the flower phirni first came was used initially to create a earlier iteration was a gruel of to the southern variety of kebabs and koftas rice powder and milk boiled coast of India as together, was incorporated that eventually was adopted bahtiyeh into the payasam category for meat-lovers. In fact, manja

(banana stem) much like yam and jackfruit, was as big a part of the meat eating community of coastal India as for non-meat lovers. The Bahmani kings, who eventually toppled the Vijayanagara Empire, were instrumental in popularising yam and jackfruit by making traditional dishes part of

and refined further by adding jaggery and cardamom. While it developed into a grainy kheer in the south, in Odisha, it developed into gointa gudi or what many food historians today believe could have led to the idea of rasmalai and the Maharashtrian modak.

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Cuisine

Goan Fish Curry

Festive

delicacies

Take a look at our recipes that are sure to tantalise your taste buds and add flavour to your celebrations

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Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients 1/2 kg fish fillets cut into 5.1 cm (2’’) cubes, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder For coconut extract: 1/2 cup grated fresh coconut, 3 tsp poppy seeds (khas khas), 7 cashew nuts, 5 peppercorns, 4 red chillies, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 4 cups water, 1/2 cup oil, 1 onion chopped, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp ginger paste, 3 green chillies slit, 1 tsp rice flour to thicken, 1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped for garnishing


Creamy Caramel Pudding Preparation time : 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients 4 eggs, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tin condensed milk, 2 – 3 drops vanilla essence, 3 tins fresh milk, cherries to garnish

Method Wash and dry the fish fillets; rub with salt and turmeric, shallowfry and keep aside. Put the coconut in a blender along with the poppy seeds, cashews nuts, peppercorns, red chillies and coriander seeds; blend to make a fine paste; stir in two cups water, strain and reserve this thick extract; add two more cups of water, strain and reserve this thin extract separately; the residue may be discarded.

Heat the oil in a pan, fry the onions till they turn golden brown; add the garlic and ginger pastes and green chillies; sauté for two minutes. Add fish and sauté lightly; stir in thin coconut extract along with the rice flour; cook on high heat till the fish is almost done; add the thick coconut extract, simmer for a few minutes till completely tender; transfer to a serving dish; garnish with coriander leaves and with hot rice.

Method Put the sugar in a round cake tin; place the tin on the stove on low heat and allow the sugar to melt and then to caramelise. Remove the tin from the stove and swirl it around so that the caramelised sugar coats the base evenly. Put the eggs, condensed milk, vanilla essence and fresh milk in a blender; blend at a high speed for 5 minutes. Pour the egg mixture into the caramelised pan and cover it tightly with aluminium foil; set the pan over a pot of simmering water and steam it for 20 minutes. Refrigerate until set; invert the pudding onto a serving dish; garnish with cherries and serve chilled.

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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ACHIEVEMENT

The winning team with Mr. Vikas Swarup (sitting), Additional Secretary and Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs

Seven stars for

Ministry of External Affairs

The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, was bestowed with seven awards by the Association of Business Communicators

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he Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India, became the proud winner of seven awards at a recent ceremony organised by the Association of Business Communicators of India (ABCI). India Perspectives, the flagship magazine of the Ministry of External Affairs, was conferred with four awards – two gold, one silver and one bronze. The Ministry also received awards for a coffee table book, online campaign and its corporate website. The Ministry of External Affairs received accolades as part of the 56th annual awards event organised at Vivanta by Taj, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai, on October 28, 2016. A bi-monthly magazine, India Perspectives is printed in 16 languages, and circulated to over 180 India Missions.

Feature (Bronze): Every issue of the magazine carries one article on Indian heritage. The winning article, “Awe-inspiring ruins of Hampi ” took the readers back to the Vijayanagara Empire (1336 to 1646) as it explored the architecture of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

More honours for Ministry of External Affairs

Prestige Publication – Coffee Table Book on International Day of Yoga (Silver): A coffee table book on the first edition of International Day of Yoga was commissioned by the ministry and it received unprecedented response from across the world. The publication contained photographs and pop-ups. Web communication – online campaign (Gold): The Facebook page and Twitter handle, with a combined followership of more than 4.5 million, are a source of breaking news on foreign affairs and a tool for public diplomacy.

Awards won by India Perspectives

Indian Language Publication (Gold): The magazine is printed in two Indian languages – Hindi and Tamil. The magazines in Hindi language are distributed in 30 countries and Tamil in eight. Bilingual Publication (Gold): The magazine received this honour for it is published in 16 languages i.e. Hindi, Arabic, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sinhalese, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and Tamil. Cover Design (Silver): The cover design for the magazine is designed in a manner that it sums up the cover story without any words.

Corporate Websites – Ministry of External Affairs Website (Gold): The Ministry’s web portal informs readers about India’s position and views on various aspects of its bilateral relations, foreign policy and salient information about India. India Perspectives is published by MaXposure Media Group, the largest custom publishers in South East Asia and Middle East with core competence in content generation. The magazine is available online at indiaperspectives.in/ magzter and indiaperspectives.in/issuu.

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conversation

Scaling new

heights

Ajay Devgn has reached for impressive scale and magnitude in his second directorial venture, Shivaay, his most ‘global’ film yet text | Saibal Chatterjee

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A

except when a film of his hits the screens, does jay Devgn, two-time National not believe that publicity can help a bad film. Award-winning film actor, is among the Hindi movie industry’s “I think publicity is overrated as a means to attract attention. The first two shows of a film most bankable stars. With the determine its fortunes,” he says. recent release of his second directorial venture, Shivaay, he has now added Shivaay has an international cast. The lead another feather to his cap. actress is Polish – Erika Kaar. British child actress Abigail Eames plays a key role as the male Shivaay, which opened simultaneously in over 60 countries across the world, seems to have protagonist’s deaf-mute daughter who falls into the clutches of child traffickers when she is in hit the box-office bull’s eye. “Singham (one of Devgn’s biggest hits) was released in 28 countries. Bulgaria looking for a mother she has never seen. Devgn denies that Shivaay is a Shivaay has gone way beyond that mark,” says the actor-director. straightforward action film. “It is an emotional In the new film, Devgn is the star both in drama, a father-daughter tale in which the hero front and behind the camera. He plays the lead is unwillingly drawn into a violent confrontation role of an insuperable high-altitude trek guide with the villains,” he says. who takes on the Russian mafia The casting process for Shivaay in Bulgaria when his daughter took time, but the final decisions on The actor is kidnapped. Erika Kaar and Abigail Eames took admits the He admits that the responsibility only three minutes each. “I waited responsibility of of directing a film is far greater than for seven to eight months to find the directing a film playing an on-screen role. “As an right actresses. But eventually the is far greater actor you give a shot and your job is choices turned out to be very easy,” than playing an done. But when you direct, you have he says. on-screen role to keep an eye on every little detail It isn’t Devgn’s crowd-pulling in a film,” says Devgn, who also power alone that defines him. His produced Shivaay. approach to his star status sets him apart from the crowd. On the screen, he is dynamite. Off Devgn’s maiden directorial venture, the 2008 family drama U Me Aur Hum, failed to ignite the it, Devgn exudes no supernova airs. His public appearances are rare, which probably helps him box office. But he wasn’t too disappointed with keep his aura alive and kicking in an era in which how the film fared. “It was the first commercial media blitzkriegs are the norm. The seasoned Hindi film that dealt with Alzheimer’s and I had actor lets his films do the talking for him. no reason to be unhappy with what it achieved.” Shivaay, too, has received mixed reviews Shivaay has been no different. from the critics, but its impressively mounted Like a true-blue professional, he has steadily action scenes and eye-popping visuals helped evolved with age even if it might be fair to say it draw in the crowds. The film arrived in the that not every huge box-office grosser that he multiplexes on the back of what was at best spearheads today does justice to the actor in him. low-key promotions. Devgn, a Bollywood star In the film industry for nearly 25 years, who prefers to stay out of the media spotlight Devgn projects a wide range of screen personas

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conversation

From left: Stills from Ajay Devgn’s films Son Of Sardaar, Singham Returns and Golmaal 3

for Best Actor twice in the span of five years with effortless ease – from fire-spewing crime– Zakhm (1998) and The Legend of Bhagat busters in commercial potboilers to the pokerfaced lead in the Golmaal series of laugh riots to Singh (2002). strong and brooding men in intense, Devgn announced his arrival off-mainstream human dramas. on the Bollywood firmament with For nearly a For nearly a decade after his a bang in 1991 with the superdecade after debut, he was seen by industry successful Phool Aur Kaante. But his debut, Ajay observers principally as a non-actor, for several years producers kept him Devgn was seen an action hero with a panache for pinned down to roles that exploited by industry crowd-pleasing flamboyance. His the stunt man in him, not the actor. observers as a fight sequences, on-screen stunts, The roles played by Devgn in this non-actor and his rough and ready methods phase of his career buttressed the endeared him to many segments of larger-than-life image of an angstthe mass audience. But that is a thing of the past ridden social misfit. But he successfully broke although Devgn’s action hero image is far from free from those moorings and achieved greatness history as films such as Action Jackson, Son of as a star and an actor. For the actor, Shivaay marks a return to Sardaar and now Shivaay prove. By the turn of the millennium, the actor had familiar territory. But given the sheer scale of added many new layers to his screen persona, Shivaay, the director in Ajay Devgn has clearly which helped him bag the National Award moved into the big league.

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India perspectives English november-december 2016  
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