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Patna Periscope the city in ICU

Vol. 1 Issue 4 18 -27 March, 2011

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Books:

Why criticisms matter

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The Patna Post M ag a z i n e o n N e t

Is Patna a dying city

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18-27 march 2011

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F ro m th e E d ito r’ s D esk

his issue thepatnapost--after a marathon meeting & pondering--- decided to make its birthplace, Patna as the cover story. There are various manifestations and make-ups that the city today holds in the mind of its permanent residents. Permanent residents because unlike those who live outside but never leave a chance to make a comment on the city, for their emotional flare up, for their genetic gel or the once-in-a-year visit to their old-abandoned parents--- its they who actually feel the place, its changing mood and the spirit; the breeze, the daily grind or the civil etiquettes; the living condition, aspirations or the quality of life. The permanent residents could be the better commentators on the city and its civil solitude, we at thepatnapost finally agreed upon. Though journalism—which we at thepatnapost call it literature in hurry—has nothing to do with a writers home address but we requested our writer Sanjay Kumar and Soroor Ahmed and photo journalist Prashant Ravi to dwell upon the subject with all their creative skills and shebang. They came out with excellent pieces of pen and pictures for the readers to really get the feel of what Patna today stands for. However, for me, if I may take the liberty to say so Patna today has become a dying city, a city with suffocation, a city with doom and no destiny. There is an eternal changeless quality about Patna: the same friendly sewers open as ever, skirting the road, the buzzing flies around food shops, the same resigned and aggressive faces, the old, weak voice of helplessness and the same lot of corrupt political masters reiterating their oft-repeated promises to make the city heaven and the usual lot of Babus always in the look out for ways to siphoning off money and minx. Patna, for me, today is city that knows apartments though not used to them. It has become a jungle of concrete and cars with catastrophe hanging dangerously upon it 24X7. Frighteningly chaotic. Over a period of time Patna has become a city that has still not made up its mind about what to reveal and what to conceal; what to enclose and what to expose; how to grow and where to stop. The city of Patna seemingly has been separated by time and temperament; history and geography; science and art but all appeared semaphored by sorrow and grief. The city knows no reason and follows no apparent logic. But as writer-journalist Akbar says always live beyond your means and always dream beyond your boundaries we continue to exist in this city. Lets judge yourself while going through our cover issue and post your valuable comments.

editor@thepatnapost.com

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Contents Cover Story Patna Periscope

18-27 march 2011

5

Analysis

no qua(c)kery please....

tendaysyoutrundledpast

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Photo Story

14

ICC 2011

20 Nitish in ICCWorld Cup ‘11

Bihar Diwas

34 36

Psychoquest Memory lane

Fashion/Lifestyle

30

Chalchitra

42

24

28

Quizicall Books

9

Soul Speak Poetry

29

News to aMUSE

35

Bolly GuPP

37

38

Foodie

Open Space

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Opinion Poll result on

Do you think that education in Bihar has changed for better?

e ed ito r@th ep atn ap o st.c o m Cover pix - Tanmay

ad s@th ep atn ap o st.c o m

yo u rvo ic e@th ep atn ap o st.c o m

** views expressed by the writers in www.thepatnapost.com are their own. Concept, design & layout by Creative Brains,/Sui Generis Media Pvt. ltd. Vol. 1, Issue 4, 18-27 March ,2011 .

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S p eed P o st

18-27 march 2011

Hi, Read the magazine. the content and pics are really good. Anuraag Sahay I think it looks v good indeed Alastair Lawson-Tancred, BBC

Congrats, This efforts is really good, Keep it up. Deepak kumar,NSD

what a rubbish father Sucheta Das

Leaking Bihari Bladder is a superb piece and we must try to cope with this issue and take a vow not to practice it after reading this. Ajay Kumar

Arundhati’s interview is really good.Thanks for this post. Asif The Back page open space is gr8.I’m from kakolat and but missed the shot you people spotted.. Thanx.. Raj Kumar

Abhay Mohan Jha is literary man,observe the things around him very minutely that reflects in his article.. Gd going thepatnapost.. Keep the pace Sneha Jain You people started a marvo job.. salute.. but please don’t write negate stories about bihar. Birendra Prasad

thepatnapost

Recalled the Pahleja Ghat from Sanjay Singh’s sketch. G P Rai

Follow us on

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C o ver S to ry

by

Sanjay K

S

18-27 march 2011

Patna Periscope of the Patna college (oxford of the East) is a timeless image of changelessness emphasising that nothing has changed from the days of if not Chandra Gupta Maurya then certainly sher Shah Suri. One is bound to bump into them, their cows, their pails and cans hanging out irresponsibly from rundown cycles. Unmindful of super active bacteria and Louis Pasteur, indifferent to contaminated water that he ritually mixes with milk (water is universal solvent – they know)they refuse to be part of the white revolution and insist on their own whitish – brownish mutiny. Nothing on their body and mind suggests any change except a poison – filled syringe with which they inject cows. To display some style they sometimes keep that syringe on that part of ear where old time munshis used to keep pens in the time of Mirza Ghalib. Similarly public pissing and squatp h o t o s / b i h a r p h o t o . c o m ting – done

ociologists argue ad infinitum that there is a bit of village in the urban setting and otherwise. When it comes to Bihar and Patna however their universal postulate falls flat compelling them to eat humble pie or omnivorous crows or commonplace mynas whatever-the reason being that while our villages have become completely urbanised Patna is rapidly, irreversibly and willy-nilly turning into a big village. The way Patna exists, survives, emotes, exasperates, cries, frets, fulminates, gropes for identity and sometimes thinks bears an overwhelming bucolic stamp. Some image – ageless, timeless and routinised – strike hard. Milkmen milking out cows by the side

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with nonchalance and insouciance almost borders on ascetic detachment behoving Naga saadhus and Digamber ascetics.

of them have Achilles heels or feet of clay and some of them collapse like a supernova in a majestic fashion.

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All the same romantics need not worry about the disappearance of village / rural way of life as a consequence of industrial urbanization. They must take heart from the fact that Patna is and will always be its apotheosis. Take apartments. The great signifier of urbanism, the ultimate citadel of middle class aspirations, the heralder of civility and preserver of anonymity, apartments of Patna however end up becoming the abyss of pervasive stagnation and mounting frustrations. Generally

partment – dwellers detest anonymily, poke their noses everywhere, refuse to pay maintenance, spit the corners, overuse lifts to render them dysfunctional and gang up in small groups on the basis of not class or profession or some other secular criteria but you guessed it right – caste. We are really cast (e) in stone. While female residents delight in bitching and backbiting against one other, male ones are partial to direct action. Caste is the defining reality of Patna as evident from caste rallies, raillas and maharaillas with lathis and guns grinding Patna to a screeching hart. Our approach to traffic is indifferent at best and crimi-

built on litigated land on the basis of “managed” municipal permission, located in narrow bylanes where autos and cattle scrach each other while going in opposite directions, averse to wind, sunlight and green architecture, many

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nal at worst; our language is partial to others’ mothers and sisters and it is why the Punjabi Diaspora feels at home in Patna. We watch movies and spit, spit and watch movies, eye sexual possibilities around and mouth obscenities; the college campuses are dilapidated and rundown with the intoxicating smell of marijuana wafting in their thick air. College hostels are timeless dens of primordial possibilities.

sought to be pushed back by likes of Thackreys and Bhujbals. Caught between desperate push and illusory pull they end up adorning lanes, streets, roads, pavements, mohallas, apartments and the Bailey Road of Patna with their thelas and gumtis (makeshift shops put together so innovatively in our jugaad tradition) selling chineses apples.Taiwanese papaya, bonechina, cheap Chinese toys, gutkas allegedly made of lizards’ bodydust, performance ennancing drugs including various lotions and potions.

Gurcharan Das loves to argue and emphasise the point that where there is commerce manners are gentle and where manners are gentle, there is commerce. Much to his dismay, how-

On the other hand our village are unrecognizably changed. There are ubiquitous kurkurre – cold drinks – lays; there are polythenes for carrying as also for drinking; caterers have replaced neighbours and the latter have become stiff, formal, even anonymous; English medium schools ranging from St. Boris (children made to sit on Bora or humble jute sack) to St. Xaviers adorn rural landscape and skyscape; drawing room has pushed courtyard out; those speaking in local dialects are looked down upon by the Punjab-returned, Delhi-dejected, Surat-spurned migrants who often start their sentence with “Main” and end up on a feminine note; dare ask a villager about saawan jhula and he will look back at you in astonished anger to convey that he is not a

ever, Patna City is an honourable or rather dishonourable exception. Similarly the interaction of push and pull factors explaning migration to Patna also comes a cropper. The pull of Patna is deceptive and a migrant, through paucity of opportunities and privations of life in Patna, is pushed towards Mumbai and Surat from where they are

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those ever eager to illegally buy legal land legally belonging to the Housing board and with the daring to found a nagar named after a former Prime Minister; and those who love to urinate by the side of a reasonably clean urinal; and those who pilfer energy to blast their air conditioners throughout the year; and those who exchange haal- chaal while driving bikes-mobile sandwiched between left shoulder and left ear, head tilted sideward, hands stretched on the other side, bikes moving ahead autonomously and inevitably dangerously; and those who honk vehicles ritually, habitually and compulsively; those under the American influence and driving vehicles on the other side of the road; those who believe in absolute personal hygiene and absolute public chaos; those who in the first meet ask the question – how much you earn and about upari aamdani; those who write you off as worthless the moment they know you have no upari income; those who treat traffic police as useless nuisance if not outright enemy; those urban but not urbane; those ‌‌.. .

dehati and that if you thought so, you were a big idiot. And look at Patna with signs of decay and chaos, exhaustion and exasperation, fatigue and frustration writ large. Attempts at renewal are welcome but how can one renew people who have absolute faith in the Newtonian gravitation so much that when they build mansions and apartments they leave drainage to be taken care of by the force of gravity. And pavements are definitely not meant for pedestrians who complete with screeching trucks, rampaging autos, arrogant bikes, humble cycles, supremely indifferent cows, dogs seeking a place under the sun and nanoes of the world to move ahead. And how can one renew people who insist on parking their vehicles in the middle of the road; and

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editor@thepatnapost.com

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An alysis

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No qua(c)kery please:

Bihar cities need major surgery

by

Soroor Ahmed

A

Though Patna witnessed rampant construction in the last couple of decades in the recent years this phenomenon got further boost. Yet the tragedy is that all norms and rules were thrown to the wind in the construction of these concrete structures. With more and more craze to buy flats, commercial complexes, mega-marts and malls nobody is bothering to even check the quality and safety of

s Bihar falls in the Seismic Zones-IV and V it has a history of moderate to severe earthquakes. But unlike the quakes of the past any such disaster now is likely to cause much more devastation and casualties as not only the state capital, Patna, but other places too, even the quake-prone north Bihar, have got converted into concrete jungles.

Aerial shot of capital’s concret jungle

photos/biharphoto.com

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these buildings. Not only that, several private hospitals––not government––have come up. But, it is feared, that they too may get reduced to tombs once––God forbid– –even a quake of moderate magnitude hits the city. Quake-resistant structure is simply not heard of as the builders want to have much bigger margin.

The quake-cum-tsunami of Japan has exposed the vulnerability of development. This notwithstanding the fact that the Land of Rising Sun took all sorts of care in building cities and towns and people given proper training.

The saddest aspect is that instead of questioning the safety aspects of these structures the media is busy praising this rapid expansion in this sector. Instead of cornering the authorities, who are passing such unsafe structures, it is day in and day out, hailing the growth of Patna. The role of media creates suspicion as to whether there is some builder-media-politician nexus in this absurd concretization of Patna or not.

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ill a couple of decades back one used to find lot of thatched (khapdail) houses even in the urban centres of north Bihar, for example, Darbhanga. The logic of the old-timers was simple. As the region falls in the seismic zone the collapse of thatched houses would cause much less casualties than the concrete ones. Now even in the deep interior villages of this region we have big palatial concrete houses symbolizing our definition of development.

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Though Patna high court recently raised alarm over such mushrooming of structures in the state capital yet there is no dearth of part-time pen-pushers in media and academic ridiculing the judiciary for being backward minded. Why learn from Japan when we ourselves have our Latur and Gujarat earthquakes. Though death is best leveller yet a close sociological study revealed that perhaps the earthquake is one natural calamity which is more cruel to the rich than poor. While Latur witnessed more casualties the villages around it had slightly lesser number of death and destruction. Similarly in

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yet natural calamity can cause devastation beyond one’s imagination. What the gentleman said, perhaps rather unwittingly, surprised me. He said that the buildings in his country can withstand even nuclear bomb. May be true. But what when energy amounting to 16,000 atom bombs is created as it happened in recent tsunami in Japan?

Gujarat the big cities and towns witnessed much higher loss of lives than deep interior or Runn of Kutch. That was simply because there was no sky-scrapper in the villages. So those living in them had to pay much more fatal price than the have-nots. Earthquakes, floods, cyclones, etc are too devastating natural calamities to be left just to the scientists, engineers or experts. Only a couple of weeks back this correspondent had got an opportunity to meet a Geologist working in the United States. The topic was obviously earthquake. No doubt structures in the United States are not like in India and all measures are taken for the safety of human life

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As other experts this Geologist failed to explain what will be the use of such intact buildings as nuclear attack will certainly kill all the inhabitants. The structure may not be destroyed but radiation and other impacts of the nuclear attack would be there for years to come.

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photo/tanmay

But rest assured: In India, especially in our upcoming Patna, any earthquake––God forbid, do not talk of nuclear attack––of much lesser magnitude than the one which hit Munger on January 15, 1934 (8.3 on Richter scale) or Darbhanga and adjoining areas on August 21, 1988, will cause much larger number of casualty.

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erhaps keeping in mind too much importance given to technocrats and experts the Planning Commission has recently made it compulsory to seek the opinion of anthropologists and social activists before taking up big dams and other water projects.

human considerations while planning and executing a project. Concerns of displacement and rehabilitation of project-affected people and farmers are not addressed while conceiving a project. Taking hint from what the Planning Commission had done on the construction of big water projects, help of environmentalists and social activists should be taken before allowing the rampant growth of structures in the cities and towns. One will have to concede that science and technology have their limitations and nature should not be provoked too much. So if in spite of all the measures nuclear energy plants have let down the people of Japan, who will take the guarantee of the safety of big dams on the foothills of quakeprone Himalaya. After all an earthquake in Assam on August 15, 1950 reduced to rubble a hill. Now a field exists on its place. If a quake triggers the collapse of any high dam––once again meant to produce electricity––the water gushing out of it would wipe out thousands of houses even hundreds of kilometers of the epicenter.

It has been observed that engineers are far removed from

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editor@thepatnapost.com

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tendaysyoutrundledpast

18-27 march 2011

1. Caste & Consideration for Babu’s to be posted in Bihar hile reacting over the brouhaha made against the Gopalganj District Magistrate Pankaj Kumar Pal for being allegedly under the scanner in a triple murder case in his parent cadre Manipur, The Bihar chief recently said that it was centre which had deputed Pal in Bihar under All India Service rule. The problem is that people just rake up the issues without having full knowledge…they should now that Centre had requested Pal for his deputation in Bihar and he was being posted here…those who are raising the issue should ask this question to the Centre?, said Nitish Kumar. But what Nitish Kumar conveniently forgot was the charge by Opposition that he was not only deputed Pal in Bihar without any verification but also posted him as the District Magistrate despite there were so many competent IAS officials in the state who could be given the charge.

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And, not only this, but there are many such “imported bureaucrats” mostly from Nitish Kumar’s home constituency and caste. The previous and present Patna DM both are from out of state cadre but from Nalanda and of same caste. The Patna SSP is from J&K cadre and from Nalanda. The list goes on but Nitish Kumar prefers to throw the ball on the Opposition’s court saying they were trying to divide state’s bureaucracy on caste line. However, the buzz in Bihar bureaucratic circle today is that Bihar under Nitish Kumar is being governed by officers mostly imported from outside the state. The only criterion needed is that: the officer must come from Kumar’s home constituency, his caste or at least knows his Man Friday: RCP and the plum posting is guaranteed in “officially starved” Bihar.

2. Quarrying Bihar, literally !

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n the ongoing budget session of the Bihar assembly the government has to face some serious embarrassment when none other than member of its own ruling alliance put them in fix while raising the issue of illegal quarrying in the state. The BJP legislator Rameshwar Chaurasia stunned the government when he claimed that the officers of the state forest and mining department in league with the local officials and mining mafia are indulged in illegal quarrying of stones in about 200 acres in the state despite the state government had approved quarrying only in 4 acres. The illegal quarrying is still going unabated where this government has banned the practice. Taken a back the state Deputy chief minister who also holds the state forest and mining ministry Shushil Kumar Modi assured the house that he would look into the matter and the government would not renew the quarrying licenses anymore and also not issue any fresh licenses. Similar has been the complaint about illegal sand mining in the state on which the Bihar chief minister who has been appreciated far and wide for his good governance too declared that his government would formulate a comprehensive policy on sand mining soon. But, the Opposition takes a dig: Susashan Babu is being exposed by his own family members. Whats my name…whats my name, asks leader of Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui!

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P h o to S to ry

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e c s


18-27 march 2011

e’re Bihari labourers working in Sub-Saharan condition, Haitian ambience .... but still they say there is a turnaround of my home land !! Text & Photo :biharphoto.com

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I C C 2011

18-27 march 2011

“This Nitish Kumar dreams of England future�

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itish Kumar might have created history with massive mandate in the recent Bihar assembly poll and claiming to have made a "turnaround" in the state but here this Nitish Kumar has serious business to attend to during the long rest periods at the Cricket World Cup - armed with a stack of textbooks and notes, the Canadian batsman has his high school homework to complete. Kumar was only 16 years and 283 days old when he played his first World Cup match at Monday'sZimbabwe game at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium and became the youngest player to take part in any World Cup game. He may have scored only one run facing 10 balls as his team suffered a 175-run loss but the Woburn Collegiate Institute student is thrilled to represent Canada - for the time being. "It's a privilege, playing with great players," he said in an interview soon after his net practices ahead of another tough Group A game against Pakistan on Thursday. Even if Kumar proves his batting

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talent, his team are unlikely to play in the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015 as the International Cricket Council has already announced plans to reduce the tournament from 14 to 10 teams. Canada also have very little or no chance of getting Test status in the near future. "At the moment I am not really concerned about that because the focus is on this World Cup," said Kumar, who wants to play county cricket in England in the future. "Without Canada, I won't have this chance. But it will be great to play county cricket and move forward from there. "I would love to play in England where county and professional cricket is quite good. We can't do that in Canada. I would like to play good county, good cricket." When asked if he wanted to move to any other of the better cricketplaying nations, he said: "If there is no World Cup for Canada, then yes. I would like to play for England or India. India may be quite hard."

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The way England performed in their shock three-wicket defeat by Ireland on Wednesday, this could be sooner rather than later once Kumar establishes his qualification credentials. Nicknamed Canada's Tendulkar for his aggressive batting, Kumar in the Zimbabwe match opened for Canada with John Davison, the oldest player in the current World Cup, 24 years the senior of the Ontario-born right hand batsman. "It was a great game and very hard but quite enjoyable. Being from the under 19 World Cup last year to this one I see a great difference in levels, skills and how people play." Outside the game, Kumar says he wants to specialise in sports sciences, following his two elder sisters.

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he Cricket World Cup is held every four years and is organized by the International Cricket Council, or ICC. According to the ICC website, the Cricket World Cup is the "showpiece event of the cricket calendar."

History The first Cricket World Cup, or CWC, was held in England in 1975. The 2011 CWC will mark the 10th time the tournament has been played.

Qualifying Under the current system, 14 teams participate in the CWC. They include the 10 ICC test-playing nations (Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe), plus four teams advancing from the ICC World Cup qualifier. The four teams to advance from the 2009 qualifier in South Africa were Canada, Kenya, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Format Matches are contested in a 50 overs per side format.

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Winners Australia is the only participant to win three consecutive titles (1999, 2003, 2007) and has won four total CWCs (the Aussies also won in 1987). The West Indies has won twice (1975, 1979), while India (1983), Pakistan (1992) and Sri Lanka (1996) have also won titles.

2011

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he Asian subcontinent will host the 2011 CWC. India will be the site of 29 of the tournament's 49 matches, including the final match. Sri Lanka will host 12 matches and Bangladesh will host eight.

W

omen's World Cup

The Women's World Cup of Cricket has been played nine times since 1973, with the next tournament set for 2013. Australia has five titles, Britain has three and New Zealand has one. The world’s fourth largest and most viewed sporting event, ICC cricket World 2011 is a 10th cricket world cup co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

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n 1975 the first Cricket World Cup was contested in England as a series of one-day matches of 60 overs per side. It was held outside England, in India and Pakistan, for the first time in 1987.

The 1987 contest also saw the number of overs per side reduced to 50. In 2007 Australia became the first team to win three consecutive world cup tournament. 1975 West Indies 291–8 Australia

274

West Indies won by 17 runs

1979 West Indies 286–9 England

194

West Indies won by 92 runs

1983 India

183

140

India won by 43 runs

1987 Australia

253–5 England

246–8 Australia won by 7 runs

1992 Pakistan

249–6 England

227

Pakistan won by 22 runs

1996 Sri Lanka

245–3 Australia

241

Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets

1999 Australia

133–2 Pakistan

132

Australia won by 8 wickets

2003 Australia

359–2 India

234

Australia won by 125 runs

2007 Australia

281–4 Sri Lanka

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West Indies

215–8

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Australia won by 53 runs


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England ( 1975 ) •The first ball in the World Cup history was bowled by India's Madan Lal to England's Denis Amiss at Lord's on June 7, 1975. •India's opener Sunil Gavaskar batted through the full 60 overs in the opening match against England at Lord's to score just 36 runs. England ( 1979 ) •Viv Richard's 139 not out is the highest score in a World Cup Final •Sri Lanka became the first nation to boycott a match in the World Cup when they refused to play Israel on political grounds in the mini tournament. England ( 1983 ) •One of the all-time great innings, 175 not out by Kapil Dev against Zimbabwe was lost to posterity. BBC had gone on strike that day with the result that it was never recorded on video. India and Pakistan ( 1987 ) •For the first time World Cup shifted from England to the Indian subcontinent. •Graham Gooch of England became the only player to win three consecutive man-of-match awards. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka ( 1996 ) •Javed Miandad became the first and only player to take part in all six World Cup's. •Mark Waugh became the only batsman to hit three centuries in one World Cup. •The semi-final between India and Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens was the first to be awarded to a team by default, the crowd disturbance that forced match referee to award the match to Sri Lanka. England (1999) •Australia crushed Pakistan with ease in 20.1 overs, replying to Pakistan's mere score of 132 (all out in 39 overs). •The semi-final between South Africa and Australia was one one of the finest one-day matches in history and maybe regarded as the real final. •Australia lifted the title after a run of seven games without defeat.

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he only person to have played both World Cup Football and World Cup cricket is Viv Richards Antigua at football and West Indies at cricket.

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B ih ar D iwas

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eanwhile, Bihar celebrates it’s birth centenary marked as BIHAR DIWAS on March 22nd. The celebration goes on for three days but it’ll be an year long celebration covering not only the country but cross the border of seven countries. The government reportedly has opened it’s kosher like never before for the event...... it’s not lac but crores to be spent on this BIHAR DIWAS.

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Creation to show rickshwpuller’s life

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L o n g in g

&

B elo n g in g

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mukundsahay.blospot.com

ONE BEDROOM FLAT. . . . . . . .

A Bitter Reality !!!

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s the dream of most parents I had acquired a degree in Engineering and joined a company based in USA , the land of braves and opportunity. When I arrived in the USA , it was as if a dream had come true. Here at last I was in the place where I want to be. I decided I would be staying in this country for about Five years in which time I would have earned enough money to settle down in India . My father was a government employee and after his retirement, the only asset he could acquire was a decent one bedroom flat. I wanted to do some thing more than him. I started feeling homesick and lonely as the time passed. I used to call home and speak to my parents every week using cheap international phone cards. Two years passed, two years of Burgers at McDonald's and pizzas and discos and 2 years watching the foreign exchange rate getting happy whenever the Rupee value went down. Finally, I decided to get married. Told my parents that I have only 10 days of holidays and everything must be done within these 10 days. I got my ticket booked in the cheapest flight. Was jubilant and was actually enjoying hopping for gifts for all my friends back home. If I miss anyone then there will be talks. After reaching home I spent home one week going through all the photographs of girls and as the time was getting shorter I was forced to select one candidate. In-laws told me, to my surprise, that I would have to get married in 23 days, as I will not get anymore holidays. After the marriage, it was time to return to USA , after giving some money to my parents and telling the neighbors to look after them, we returned to USA . My wife enjoyed this country for about two months and then she started feeling lonely. The frequency of calling India increased to twice in a week sometimes 3 times a week. Our savings started diminishing. After two more years we started to have kids. Two lovely kids, a boy and a girl, were gifted to us by the almighty. Every time I spoke to my

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parents, they asked me to come to India so that they can see their grand-children.Every year I decide to go to India But part work part monetary conditions prevented it. Years went by and visiting India was a distant dream. Then suddenly one day I got a message that my parents were seriously sick. I tried but I couldn't get any holidays and thus could not go to India ... The next message I got was my parents had passed away and as there was no one to do the last rites the society members had done whatever they could. I was depressed. My parents had passed away without seeing their grand children. After couple more years passed away, much to my children's dislike and my wife's joy we returned to India to settle down. I started to look for a suitable property, but to my dismay my savings were short and the property prices had gone up during all these years. I had to return to the USA ... My wife refused to come back with me and my children refused to stay in India ... My two children and I returned to USA after promising my wife I would be back for good after two years. Time passed by, my daughter decided to get married to an American and my son was happy living in USA ... I decided that had enough and wound-up every thing and returned to India ... I had just enough money to buy a decent 02 bedroom flat in a well-developed locality. Now I am 60 years old and the only time I go out of the flat is for the routine visit to the nearby temple. My faithful wife has also left me and gone to the holy abode. Sometimes I wondered was it worth all this? My father, even after staying in India , Had a house to his name and I too have the same nothing more. I lost my parents and children for just ONE EXTRA BEDROOM. Looking out from the window I see a lot of children dancing. This damned cable TV has spoiled our new generation and these children are losing their values and culture because of it. I get occasional cards from my children asking I am alright. Well at least they remember me. Now perhaps after I die it will be the neighbors again who will be performing my last rites, God Bless them. But the question still remains 'was all this worth it?'

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T est yo u r Q u est

18-27 march 2011

Quizzically on by

Bihar

Q-04

Dr Manish Kumar

1. 2.

Name the place in Bihar where Ganga flows in northern direction? Rashmi Kumari of Bihar has the distinction on becoming national champion in which game 3. Name the two famous weapon used by Magadhan ruler Ajatshatru in his battle against Lichchavi rulers? 4. Which famous painting style of Bihar deals with the folk tales of Bihula Vishari? 5. Name the author of the famous Urdu work on Bihar titled as “Naqs -i- paidar”? 6. Sewak Ram and Hulas Ram were associated with which school of folk painting of Bihar? 7. Famous revenue minister of Emperor Akbar and one of the Nav Ratna of which court Todarmal was a native of which place of Bihar? 8. In which historical work of medieval period the word “Bihar” has been mentioned for the first time? 9. Name the historical site in Bihar where the remains of Neolithic period has been excavated? 10. In which district of Bihar did Mughal emperor Akbar had planted one lakh mango trees? 6. Triveni Sangh Answer Q-03 1. Jaglal Chaudhury 7. Nanya Devi 2. Temple Medical School 8. Swami Vidyanand 3 1925 9. Chandeshwar Prasad 4. Koshi 10. They all come from famous school of Madhubani painting 5. Swami Shahajanand Saraswati manish_kumar110@yahoo.com

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P o etry

18-27 march 2011

Rising up

by

Sanjay Kumar

Nothing to retrieve Nowhere to go No address No destination. Flotsam of shattering reality Unsuspecting victims of vicious cycle Innocence molested Dignity mauled Their land violated Deities praying hard to be left safe Tough luck in a harsh world ! Smeared not in deep vermilion Soaked in blood instead Their little, irregular heads Split open by the juggernaut of development. The bitter reality of the promised cargo dawns in slow motion Fits and starts In bursts And finally in torrent On its return the cargo of despair leaves nothing Except traces of defiance amidst pervasive hopelessness. Feeble their fight Weak their resistance Overwhelming the enemy Lost their cause But fight back they nonetheless Like furious birds taking on arrogant jets in their backyard.

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B o o ks

18-27 march 2011

Why criticisms matter

by

Six accomplished critics explain the importance of their work . Pankaj Mishra

I

don’t think of myself as a literary critic. I write about novels and short stories. But I am reluctant to describe what I do as “literary criticism,” as I like to move quickly beyond the literariness of a text — whether narrative techniques or quality of prose — and its aesthetic pleasures, to engage with the author’s worldview, implied or otherwise, and his or her location in history (of nation-states and empires, as well as of literary forms). This kind of reading came naturally to me in the new, very poor and relatively inchoate Asian society in which I grew up. When I first began to read literary fiction I could assume neither a clear backdrop of political and social stability, nor a confident knowledge of the world and assumptions of national power. Everything had to be figured out, and literature was the primary means of clarifying a bewilderingly large universe of meanings and contexts. Much of my self-education was assisted by American writers like Edmund Wilson, Dwight Macdonald, Lionel Trilling, F. W. Dupee and Irving Howe. Some of these were literary critics, but they were, above all, public intellectuals (a species whose irrelevance and powerlessness Alfred Kazin seems to be mourning — rather more than the demise of a critical genre — when he writes, “We are rushing into our future so fast that no one can say who is making it, or what is being made; all we know is that we are not making it, and there is no one, no matter what his age is, who does not in his heart feel that events have been taken out of his hands”). Coming of age during and after the progressive era, when intellectual argument and political activism promised to reshape America’s future, these critics took it for granted that literature was among the main signs of the times, and subject to the inquiring gaze of history and politics. In this presumption, they were supported not so much by the Marxian ideologues of the 1930s as by the great realist novelists, from Stendhal to Tolstoy and Mann, who could not have written their most mature works without grappling with the political and moral challenges of their day. Ideas possessed a real urgency for these writers. It helped, too, that their societies were in ferment; that the bourgeois class, to which most writers

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18-27 march 2011

and readers of literary fiction belonged, was deeply involved or implicated in major socioeconomic conflicts; and that politics wasn’t something elected politicians and unelected corporate elites settled among themselves. Compared with their realist predecessors, most contemporary fiction writers in America and Britain appear to be cultivating their own gardens, on expansive plots given them by their powerful and affluent cultures. Not surprisingly, many writers in the West experienced the terror attacks of 9/11 as a profound challenge to their art and its underlying (and, in retrospect, quite strange) assumptions of security and stability in a conflict-ridden world. Too many of today’s writers — the creative writing graduates, the beneficiaries of generous advances and foundation grants, and the habitués of literary festivals in exotic locations — are enlisted too quickly into society’s privileged classes to remain, convincingly or for long, society’s critics.

L

iterary criticism, in its recent American incarnation at least, has faithfully reflected the general writerly retreat from the public sphere, turning into a private language devised to yield a particular knowledge about a self-contained realm of elegant consumption. It is hard to imagine recent American literature provoking a critical response in the way of Kazin’s magnificent study “On Native Grounds” (1942), which sensitively recorded the evolution of many literary sensibilities against a prewar backdrop of continuous crisis and struggle. So I can recognize, and even feel the poignant anguish, of Kazin’s sense of an ending, his feeling that “the great confidence that man could understand his time and build from it, the feeling that provides the energy of modern art, has gone out of us.” But I cannot share it, since literary criticism, as Kazin defines it, began to die off some time ago. (And I am not even speaking here of the cloud-cuckoo-land of literary theory and its weird cults of academic technicism and tenured ideologues.) The critic who, in Kazin’s words, “sees himself working toward the future that man must build for himself” has long been a dodo; his or her reappearance today might simply excite derision among a postpolitical generation accustomed to seeing all talk of building futures as a form of deception. The widespread belief Kazin blames for the irrelevance of criticism — “that literature cannot affect our future, that the future is in other hands” — of

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18-27 march 2011

course took hold in cold-war America. This is not the place to go into the all-encompassing political and cultural changes that occurred then, or to account for the “pervasive feeling” expressed by Kazin that “our freedom is being taken away from us.” But it may be worth briefly reflecting on the astonishing speed with which the radical ideas and impulses of pre-World War II America vanished from public life, with only traces lingering in some academic outposts and isolated sensibilities like Edmund Wilson’s. There is little point in blaming “New Criticism,” which fetishized the uniqueness and autonomy of literary works, or in lashing, yet again, the dead horse of creative writing departments, which prescribe an antihistorical formalism while turning a noble vocation into yet another moneymaking opportunity. For these practices are merely symptoms of a larger phenomenon that, deepening through the cold war, is only more manifest now: mass depoliticization as political and economic arrangements seem depressingly unalterable. “In our political as in our economic lives,” Tony Judt wrote in “Ill Fares the Land,” a lament for moral idealism and engaged citizenship, “we have become consumers.” A similar docility marks our cultural choices. Most writers as well as readers of literary fiction see it as a refined form of entertainment or instruction.

D

eprived of a whole vocabulary of moral concern, which traditionally enlisted it into a humanistic culture, literary criticism was always destined to turn into a kind of competitive connoisseurship — a parlor game for the increasingly professional producers as well as the passive consumers of literature. It can have its intelligent pleasures; but, determinedly asocial, it is far from bringing, as Kazin wanted it to, a “historical sense of what has been, what is now, what must be” into “the immediate confrontation and analysis of works of art.” The previous decade of severe political and economic shocks may end up opening literary criticism and literature to the questions Kazin and his peers asked of them. But then ours is also a much bigger and more various world than the one Kazin knew. We have easy access to knowledge of societies and cultures about which we were previously ignorant; and there is no reason to assume that writing from Europe and America is all that matters, or should matter, to a critic today. Literatures elsewhere still offer a capacious mode of intellectual inquiry, one that can seamlessly accommodate the insights into human lives of-

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18-27 march 2011

fered by history, philosophy and ethnography. To examine the work of Lu Xun, China’s foremost modern writer, is to be taken through his anguish deep into Chinese self-perceptions, from the long Confucian past to the weirdly hybrid capitalist-Communist present. It is to understand not only his experiments with many different aesthetic forms and genres, but also his country’s tormented recent history, not to mention the implications these developments hold for the rest of the world. Indeed, the specific historical circumstances that confine the critical reception of literatures in Europe and America to a few specialists do not exist anywhere else. Societies in Asia and Latin America are far from politically static or jaded; the conflicts, exuberance and vulgarity of 19th-century Europe and America have reappeared there in magnified form, and an inquisitive writer-critic can only revel in them. Both Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner from China, who is a literary critic by profession, and Mario Vargas Llosa, the literature laureate from Peru, testify to the impossibility of considering aesthetic matters in isolation from social and political movements. They confirm that a writer’s individual self-awareness is always historically determined, and that one cannot assess a writer’s work without examining her particular quarrel with the world, the rage or discontent that took her to writing in the first place. A concentration on personal style alone may also reveal the richness or banality of a writer’s imagination. But the line of inquiry that connects a writer to her world runs through quirks of individual personality and literary manner to broaden into larger moral and political issues. The critic who follows this method, staying close to the texture of social history as well as to aesthetic experience, is likely to avoid the intellectual isolation and selfpity of the kind Kazin describes.

C

ertainly the critic’s curiosity, endlessly ramifying, will keep him very busy — and gratified. For as Edmund Wilson, a compulsive learner of new things, once put it: “The experience of mankind on the earth is always changing as man develops and has to deal with new combinations of elements; and the writer who is to be anything more than an echo of his predecessors must always find expression for something which has never yet been expressed, must master a new set of phenomena. With each such victory of the human intellect, whether in history, in philosophy or in poetry, we experience a deep satisfaction: we have been cured of some ache of disorder, relieved of some oppressive burden of uncomprehended events.” co ur t sey - new y o r k t i m es

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Y o ur ow n A g o ny A unt

18-27 march 2011

Dr.Binda Singh, Clinical Psychologist

Q: My husband and I have been married for a while, with our relationship going through the normal ups and downs. How do we know if we are ready for a baby? A: One of the worst reasons to have kids is to believe it will better a marriage. It has been found that parenting places more strain on a marriage,especially if it’s not a good one to begin with. Having a kid is a wonderful but full-time responsibility that involves sacrifices. You should ask your gut feeling if you have enough time, energy and financial security which are vital in raising a child. Also remember that having a baby at an older age may lead to complications.

Q: I happened to chance upon my colleague’s husband coochie-cooing with another woman in a restaurant – should I rat on him? A: How close you are to this colleague can determine whether informing her about her spouse’s flirtations will work well or backfire. This is a very sensitive topic and how you broach it is also very crucial. Honesty is not always the best policy and the messenger may get shot sometimes. If possible take her close friend at work or her sibling into confidence ask.drbinda@gmail.com

Q: My job gives me financial security and independence --but I hate it.Should I quit? A: Success comes to a person who loves, knows and believes in what he /she does. If wealth is your only parameter of success, you may enjoy the luxuries without ever ‘enjoying’ yourself. So the idea is to find what you really like ,for true reasons. If it’s only work issues and not your job itself that’s bothering you , first try and resolve the issues before quitting.

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34


Ne w s t o Am u se

18-27 march 2011

Snake bites model's bust, dies of silicon poisoning

A

snake attacked an Israeli model during a sexy photoshoot by biting into her surgically enhanced breast and later died from silicone poisoning.

Orit Fox, a B-list model and actress initially looked comfortable during the shoot in Tel Aviv, wrapping the massive boa constrictor around her legs, waist and neck while doing her best to look sexy, reports the Daily Mail. In a figure hugging red and white striped dress, which revealed maximum cleavage, she gamely tried to take their bonding to the next level by licking the snake's face. As she manoeuvered the animal into position for the 'kiss' Fox loosened her grip on its neck, and after being licked the reptile reacted angrily. It aimed straight for Fox's prized assets and sunk its teeth deep into her left breast. An assistantrushed in to help her pull the snake off and after a few seconds of struggle the creature released its grip. The peroxide-blonde model was rushed to a nearby hospital and given a tetanus shot. However, the snake wasn't so lucky and died from silicone poisoning. ANI/London

To all my dear, far / near

HOLI greetings

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35


Archive

18-27 march 2011

MASTERstroke

A

rtist Sanjay Singh has stretched his creative pen ‘n pencil to draw the

Y

past of the present.

Ara Barracks

ear 1773 to1816. This historic longest building of its time was constructed to provide transit facilkities to British expeditionary forces conducting operation from Calcutta towards Nothern provinces. The money for building was realized from the Raja of Ara after his defeat from the british forces under lord Clive. The most significant history of the barracks, is the gruesome blood-bath it has witnessed of innocent Indians.All the native men of the 40th infantry,while in their sleep,mercilessly bayoneted death by British Majestic Forces.Out of fear that Indian soldiers may join the 1857 revolt in the morning.Soon after the Sepoy mutiny, cannons were drawn,sepoys were picked up from their villages,brought infront of the Ara barrck and blown to pieces,much in the same Mangal Pandey fashion. However,to cleanse the blood from its hand, during WWII it was converted into Hospital ward.After Independence new raising for Bihar Regiment were born in these barrck and today after heavy renovation it stands guard to the Nation.

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Bolly Gupp

18-27 march 2011

Sonakshi paid 2 crores for Kamal Hassan's film

T

he actress-price in the regional cinema has reached to an all time high with Sonakshi Sinha carrying home a pay packet of Rs. 2 crores. She has been paid such a mammoth amount for her upcoming stint opposite Kamal Hassan in Selvaraghavan’s untitled film. Sonakshi Sinha has now become the highest paid actress for the any regional film. Sources have said that the actress sealed the fat deal with some clear cut conditions. The actress had reportedly told the makers that she will not do kissing scene nor intimate scene. Though, the script demanded it, the makers bowed down to her terms and decided to drop some scenes. Sonakshi Sinha has now overtaken Ileana D’Cruz in remuneration. The latter was paid 1.5 crore for Shankar’s Nanban. However, Kamal Hassan’s next film will take off by this month end in London. The movie is inspired by Hollywood film Hannibal.

Sonakshi and Akshay are back in Mumbai

F

ilmmaker Shirish Kunder is happy to have successfully com-

pleted the shoots of his upcoming film ‘Joker’ in the freezing winters of Chandigarh.

Two days ago Shirish posted on a microblogging site, “Just packed up. It’s a schedule wrap for Akshay, Sonakshi and Minissha. We continue shooting with Shreyas for two more days.” And his latest tweet reads, “JOKER’ - Live update – It’s our last day of shoot in Chandigarh. Tomorrow back to Mumbai.” The uphill task is yet to be meted out in post-production and promotion planning gupp’s ink

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L if estyle / F ash io n

C

18-27 march 2011

amouflage with the colours of

holi this month check out our pic to keep you chic

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18-27 march 2011

The Patna Post

39


Food Stall

18-27 march 2011

H

oli is incomplete without delicacies. Enjoy our recipies for this holi wth a little twist. Thandai

INGREDIENTS • 1 1/2 litres water • 1 1/2 cups sugar • 1 cup milk • 1 tbsp. Almonds • 1 tbsp. kharbooj/tarbooj seeds skinned (commercially available) (these are skinned dried seeds of watermelon andcantaloupes) • 1/2 tbsp. khuskhus (poppy seeds) • 1/2 tbsp. saunf (aniseed) • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder or 15 whole pods • 1/2 tsp. rose water (optional) • 1 tsp. peppercorns whole • 1/4 cup dried or fresh rose petals (gulkand variety) PREPARATION • Soak sugar in 1/2 litre of the water used. Keep aside. • Wash clean all other dry ingredients, except cardamom if using powder. • Soak in 2 cups of remaining water. Keep aside. Allow all soaked items to stand for at least 2 hours. • Grind all soaked ingredients to a very fine paste. (not sugar) • When the paste is very fine, mix remaining water. • Place a strong muslin strainer over a large deep vessel. • Press through muslin with back of palms, extracting the liquid into vessel. • Add remaining water, a little at a time to extract more. • Pour back some of the extract and press, repress. • Repeat this process till the residue becomes dry and husk like. • Add milk, sugar and rosewater to the extracted liquid. • If using cardamom powder mix it in with the milk. • Mix well. Chill for a hour of two before serving. INGREDIENTS For the mAlPuAS 200 gms fresh cream 4 tbsp plain flour (maida) ghee for frying

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Malpua

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18-27 march 2011

For the fIllING 4 tbsp crumbled paneer (cottage cheese) 4 tbsp chopped strawberries 1 tbsp chopped almonds (badam) and raisins (kismis) 2 tbsp powdered sugar 1 tsp rose water For the SAffRON SyRuP 3/4 cup sugar 2 pinches of saffron (kesar) strands 2 tsp milk 2 tsp rose water (optional) For the GARNISh sliced strawberries mEThOD For the mAlPuAS 1. Mix the cream and flour into a batter. 2. Smear very little ghee on a frying pan and spread a small amount of the batter on it. 3. Fry on both sides using a little ghee until golden brown. 4. Place the malpuas in the warm saffron syrup for 2 to 3 minutes and drain. For the fIllING 1. Mix the paneer, strawberries, almonds, raisins and powdered sugar. 2. Add the rose water and keep aside. For the SAffRON SyRuP 1. Dissolve the sugar in 1 cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes to make a syrup of thread consistency. 2. Warm the saffron in a small vessel, add the milk and rub until the saffron dissolves. Add to the syrup. 3. Add the rose water and keep the syrup warm. hOw TO PROCEED 1. 2.

Fill each malpuas with a little filling and fold into half. Serve garnished with strawberries

Foodie

editor@thepatnapost.com

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chalchitra/Theatre

18-27 march 2011

Alam Ara - the first talkie movie revisited On March 14, 1931 - exactly eighty years ago the police had to be summoned to the Majestic cinema hall in Mumbai (then Bombay). The reason for the feared stampede was the uncontrollable response of movie-goers to the first Indian talkie, Alam Ara. Ardeshir Irani's Alam Ara is not just a movie, it is a legend. Movie history records it as the first Indian talkie. Irani the head of Imperial Film company and maker of silent films like Navalsha Hirji(1925), Mumbai Ni Sethani (1924) Paap No Fej (1924) and Shahjehan (1924), was a visionary who saw that the film industry was about to be revolutionalized by sound and beat several others to get Alam Ara to the theatres first. Irani's family was in the musical instruments business but wanted to get into films. He began as an exhibitor, moving on to coown Alexandra Theatre with Abdulally Esoofally in 1914. The success of Dadasaheb Phalke's Kaliya Mardan and Krishna Janam convinced him to get into film production. The first Indian talkie, Alam Ara, was released on March 14, 1931, at the Majestic Cinema in Bombay, narrowly ahead of Madan Theatres' Shirin Farhad. It was advertised as "All Living, Breathing 100% Talking Peak Drama, Essence of Romance, Brains and Talents unheard of under one banner." The film had the first ever film singer WM Khan, the first hit number De de khuda ke naam pe (then a big favourite with beggars) among its 10 odd songs, a real-life princess Zubeida as heroine, the handsome Master Vithal as hero and Prithviraj Kapoor as villain. There were huge crowds outside the theatre. Tickets were sold 'in black' According to reports, "Police aid had to be summoned to control the crowds ....Four anna tickets were quoted at Rs.4 and Rs.5." Later,

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18-27 march 2011

units went on tour with the film, taking sound projection equipment with them, and everywhere the crowds were uncontrollable. The audiences went crazy over Alam Ara and Indian films haven't stopped taking or singing since. The first talkie films in Bengali (Jumai Shasthi), Telugu (Bhakta Prahlad) and Tamil (Kalidass) were released in the same year plus 22 Hindi films. A year later, several talkie films were made in Marathi -- including V Shantaram's Ayodhyecha Raja, which made a star out of Durga Khote. Filmmakers went a bit berserk over songs, with a film called Indrasabha having an incredible 71. By 1933, sound was well entrenched in the Indian film. American Michael Denning was the song recordist for Alam Ara, and according to available information, Irani (inspired by the English film Showboat) made the film with junk equipment. But he learnt the basics of the then tedious process himself. With typical Indian disdain for history, no print of the film exists. Just a few stills and scraps of the film have been preserved. It was a fantasy based on Joseph David's popular Parsi theatre play --like most other films of that era. In an interview with film historian B.D.Garga, Irani said, "Since there were no soundproof stages, we preferred to shoot indoors at night. Since our studio is located near a railway track... most of our shooting was done between hours that the trains ceased operation. We worked with a single system Tanar recording equipment...There were also no booms. Microphones had to be hidden in incredible places to keep out of camera range." All other films by Ardeshir Irani have been forgotten— he was also the one to attempt international projects and a colour film in 1937 with Kisan Kanya—but he will always be remembered as a pioneer because of a lost movie called Alam Ara.

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Bollywood Genes

18-27 march 2011

Bollywood once had a Jewish connection

U

p until the 1920s, Bollywood could not find female actors. Acting was not considered worthy of ‘good’ women. So men were shaving off or hiding their moustaches, and wearing saris to play women’s roles. Eventually, the women came. But they were not Hindus or Muslims. They were Jews. An Australian academic and documentary filmmaker, Danny Ben-Moshe, travels back in time to document this little-known aspect of the Hindi film industry in his documentary Shalom Bollywood. Translated from Hebrew, it means ‘Hello Bollywood’. Ben-Moshe says, “For Hindu and Muslim women of that time, acting in films was not a respectable profession. But Jewish families living in India, both the Bene Israelis and Baghdadi Jews, were comparatively more liberal. And their women, with their lighter skin and western looks, scorched the screen.” So in came Susan Soloman, or as she was popularly known, Firoza Begum, Sulochana (Ruby Meyers), Patience Cooper, the first Miss India Pramila (Esther Abrahams), Rose Ezra, and later, Nadira (Florence Ezekiel).But the Jewish contribution to Bollywood did not end with its women. The script and songs for India’s first talkie Alam Ara (1931) was written by a Jew, Joseph Penkar David; the famous choreographer David Herman, whom even Raj Kapoor wanted to work with, was a Jew; Kapoor’s biographer and famous film historian Bunny Reuben was also a Jew; and so was David Abraham Cheulkar, a well-known actor who starred in over 100 films such as Boot Polish (1954) and Golmaal (1971). The wildcat of Bombay In the early days, India’s celluloid queen was a woman called Sulochana. With a salary of over Rs5,000 per month, she earned more than the governor of Bombay. This even stirred a debate in the parliament once. She was also among the few who owned a Chevrolet 1935. “She was born in 1907 as Ruby Myers and worked as a telephone operator, before being discovered,” says Moshe. She was awarded the 1973 Dada Saheb Phalke Award and some of her popular films included Typist Girl (1926), Balidaan(1927), and Wildcat Of Bombay (1927), in which she essayed eight roles, including that of a gardener, a Hyderabadi gentleman, a street urchin, and a European blonde. India’s first Miss India However, by the 1940s, Sulochana’s star was beginning to fade. And that of another actress was on the rise. Her name was Esther Victoria Abraham, more popularly known as Pramila. She became India’s first Miss India (1947), a feat made even more unique when her daughter Naqi Jahan became a Miss India

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18-27 march 2011

pageant winner in 1967. She starred in hugely successful movies such as Bhikaran and Mother India (not to be mistaken with Mehboob Khan’s film of the same name). The latter ran for an incredible 82 weeks. Known for her fiercely independent spirit, Pramila left her home in Calcutta at the age of 17 and traveled to Bombay. She got a job as an entertainer in a Parsi travelling theatre company. Whenever the reel in the projector had to be changed, for those 15 minutes, she was required to dance and perform to keep the audiences quiet. She went on to star in about 30 films as a vamp and a fearless stunt star. Later, she had to wage a battle to retain her house in Shivaji Park. When her husband left for Pakistan, the family was in debt. “She warded off auctions on two occasions and an injunction on another,” Ali says. Today the house stands proudly with the name Pramila Nivas on its gate. The man whose songs started it all On March 14, 1931, Alam Ara (Light of the World), India’s first talkie was released. It was directed by Ardeshir Irani but its screenplay and songs were written by Joseph Penkar David, a Bene-Israeli Jew.Joanna Ezekiel, a creative writing tutor, is his great-granddaughter and lives in York, England. “My father moved to England in 1964. He remembers my great-grandfather as a gentle, eccentric man. In the late 1930s, my father lived opposite the Wadia Movietone studios for a time. He would watch my great-grandfather enter the buildings every weekday at 8am wearing his fur hat, however hot the weather.” ‘I won’t seduce you’ The story goes that Nadira, born Florence Ezekeil, had once told a nervous film journalist who had come to interview her, “Don’t sit on the edge of the bed, you will fall off. Come closer and sit comfortably. I won’t seduce you.” She, of the famous arched eyebrows and vamp roles, was perhaps Bollywood’s most well-known Jew. In Raj Kapoor’s Shree 420, she was Maya, a woman seen with c igarette in one hand and a glass in another, trying to lead the hero astray from his real love, Vidya, played by Nargis. “She was way ahead of her time,” remembers actor Deepti Naval, Nadira’s longtime friend. “In those days heroines were portrayed as shy and demure. But here was someone so forthright, strong and fiery.” Ben-Moshe will be visiting India later this year to complete his shooting. He hopes to have the film ready by 2012. “It is so strange. In Hollywood, Jews worked behind the camera, as producers (Metro, Goldwyn), often hiding their heritage. But in India, the Jews have been just the opposite. They have been confident and often facing the camera,” he says.

desk

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Vol.1 Issue 4

Open Space

18-27 march 2011

Goddess Mammon

Pho to :Prashant Ravi /bi harpho t o.com

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