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March 16 - 31, 2014

Pages : 4

Vol. 9, Issue - 18

PLUMMETING RUPEE SPARKS FEARS OF CURRENT ACCOUNT CRISIS Kranti Kumara India's currency is again trading below 60 rupees (Rs.) to the U. S. dollar level widely considered a significant “psychological benchmark.” On June 26, the rupee hit an all-time low of Rs. 60.76 to the dollar. As a result of intervention by the Reserve Bank of India, positive investor reaction to the government's announcement that it will double natural gas prices as of April 2014, and Unilever's decision to buy up all outstanding shares in its Indian subsidiary, the rupee rose in value. But India's currency has resumed its slide, again breaking through the 60 rupees to dollar benchmark. Since April, the value of the rupee has depreciated by more than 10 percent. India's Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has responded to this slide by putting on a brave face. It insists that India's economic fundamental are strong and has pledged to quickly bring forward further “economic reforms” a euphemism for social spending cuts and further concessions and incentives for investors and speculators. Behind the scenes, however, there are increasing fears within ruling class circles that the rupee's plummet could cascade into a current account crisis. In May, a

commentator in the Business Standard, nothing that India's current account deficit is now the highest it has been since 1991, said that if Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “left office tomorrow, he might be remembered less for his response to the crisis of 1991 than causing the crisis of 2013.” In a revealing comment that underscores the government's dependence on and subservience to foreign capital, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram declared, “I could not agree more with Fitch when it said more reforms are needed.” Fitch refers to the Fitch Credit rating Agency. Along with other global credit rating agencies, it has been placing relentless pressure on India over the past two years to dramatically accelerate measures to reduce the government's burgeoning budget deficit at the expense of working people and to remove all remaining barriers to foreign investment. Fitch, Moody's and the other rating agencies have repeatedly threatened to downgrade India's sovereign credit rating, which currently stands at one notch above junk bond status. Investors meanwhile have voted with their dollars. In the 2012-13 fiscal years, which ended March 31, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was off 38 percent from 2011-12.

23 KILOS GOLD, 21 KG SILVER IN ENGINEER'S BANK LOCKERS Navi Mumbai : A deputy engineer with Public Works Department's (PWD) sub-division office at Karjat was caught on Tuesday by Anti-Corruption Bureau's (Raigad Unit) for accepting a bribe of Rs. 20,000 from a hotelier. The arrested accused, Girishkumar Chandrakant Pareek (57), had demanded a bribe of Rs. 25,000 froma local hotelier so that he could put up a board, advertising his newly-opened restaurant, at a prime location along an arterial road in Karjat. Ten days after deputy engineer Girishkumar Chandrakant Pareek from the PWD's Karjat Division No 2 was arrested for accepting a Rs 20,000 bribe from a hotelier, an ACB team led by Inspector Jyoti Deshmukh recovered 23 kg gold worth around Rs 7 crore, 21 kg silver worth more than 8 lakh, Rs 22.79 lakh in cash, fixed deposits of Rs 9 lakh besides, documents showing ownership of four apartments in Thane, and the ownership papers of seven shops in Kalyan worth more than Rs 4 crore. The ACB sources said that Pareek operated lockers at a nationalised bank in Nashik,

besides the Kalyan branches of the Punjab National Bank, the HDFC Bank, and the Axis Bank. The total value of the jewellery and properties owned by him is believed to be more than Rs 12 crore. Pareek was arrested while taking Rs 20,000 from a hotelier who had approached him to install advertisement hoardings on the Mumbai-Pune Highway. Pareek, who was listed for promotion as executive engineer, was caught red-handed while taking the money in his office. His interrogation led the ACB to the eight bank lockers he was operating under his or his family members' names. PWD minister Chhagan Bhujal refused to comment on the grounds that he was not aware of the case, but added that "the investigating agency will take appropriate action", while PWD secretary Shyamal Mukherjee also refused to comment. The ACB sources said a deputy engineer in the PWD draws a monthly salary of around Rs 70,000 per month, and it was obvious that Pareek had indulged in large-scale corruption.

RS. 12 CR SEIZED FROM PWD TIME - KEEPER

In recent weeks Chidambaram has declared the government is committed to increasing the prices of domestically produced natural gas and coal and to lifting caps on FDI in the pharmacy, telecom, media and military manufacturing sectors. Since coming to power in 2004, the UPA has aggressively pursued a rightwing pro-market and proforeign investor agenda, slashing taxes for big business and pressing forward with Public Sector Unit disinvestment. At the same time, it has sharply increased the burdens on workers and the rural poor by repeatedly hiking the price of petrol, diesel and cooking gas. Last September, facing what it thought was an imminent threat of a credit rating downgrade; the Congress-led UPA introduced a package of “big bang reforms,” including opening up the multi brand retail sector o foreign giants like Wal-Mart and Carrefour. While international capital warmly applauded the “big bang reforms,” their impact on financial markets and investment inflows (Continued on page 3 )

Indore : A raid by Indore Lok Ayukta Police on the residence of a time-keeper with the Public Works Department on Friday unearthed assets worth at least Rs 12 crore which was disproportionate to his known sources of income. Acting on a tip-off, the Lok ayukta sleuths swooped down on Gurukripal Singh Sujlana's house in Tilak Nagar area in the morning. The raid revealed that he and his family members own 12 plots, four houses, four flats, two shops and agricultural land at five places. The family has three plots measuring 1500 sq ft, 1800 sq ft and 360 sq ft in Uday Nagar, 3000 sq ft plot and 1500 plots in Tilak Nagar, 1250 sq ft plot in Bhaktabarram Nagar and 1600 sq ft plot in Vinoba Nagar. Besides, they have 0.121 hectare plot at a village in Sanver, 0.108 hectare plot and 0.048 hectare plot in Piplihana and 0.253 heactare plot in village Khatrikhedi. The Sujlanas houses are located in Tilak Nagar, Vinoba Nagar and Samvida Nagar. The time- kepeer also owns 2 SUVs, 1 bus and two 2 wheelers. Besides, Rs 12.5 lakh in cash and jewellery worth Rs 27,000 were found at the house. Further, Rs 15 lakh in cash and jewellery worth Rs 16.5 lakh were found in bank locker. He also has Rs 35 lakh in bank deposits and Rs 31 lakh in insurance policies. Besides, 22 bottles of expensive foreign liquor were also recovered, for which the Excise Department registered a separate case against him. Sujlana, who has put in 28 years of service, draws a monthly salary of Rs 22,000, Lok Ayukta said, adding that the assets were disproportionate with his known sources of income. A case under Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against him and detailed valuation of assets is on, the sleuths said.

WOMEN'S DAY ORGANIZED Tru Indian Information & Guidance Society has organized a 'Women's Day Celebration' on the International Women's Day i.e. 8th of March, 2014 as part of the organization's women empowerment programme at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Sabhagryha, KMDC Building, Near Indira Gandhi Chowk, Dombivli. As of late, the nation has been witnessing a steady increase in the cases of violence against women. Women are neither safe in rural areas nor in urban areas. Perhaps, in the course of time, this great land of spirituality, cultural and values has forgotten something eccentric to the development of any culture- the respect for women. Tru Indian Information & Guidance Society Endeavour's to remind the people of who a women is and what she can do. Many women who have achieved many a milestone in various fields graced the programme with their presence. The chief guest of the function was the revolutionary singer P.K. Medini – the voice behind many songs which inspired many revaluations of their own.

Youth held for robbing Gold worth Rs 1.5 Lakh Navi Mumbai : The New Panvel police have arrested a 23year-old youth on Monday for allegedly robbing a vegetable vendor of his gold chain and bracelet worth Rs 1.55 lakh. The accused Rajesh Patil robbed the victim Sambhaji Junghare on Friday, around 5.30pm. Patil will be in police custody till Saturday.

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March 16 - 31, 2014

Gender Bias in India Gender discrimination in India is a fact of life as this has its roots in the age old male dominated society. Men are yet to come to grip with the social reality in which women who comprise almost 50% of the population and destined to share all the hardware and software of life with the men, be it at the home or at the work place. Though we all talk about women's liberation and women's rights they are yet to be accorded the equal status along with the men. Notwithstanding the many number of legislations and the many number of outcries against discrimination and harassment of women, the fact remains that women in general are victims of gender bias not only at work places and homes but also in the crowded market places and even in the transport busses. Anti social elements do not spare any occasion to intimidate, molest and even harass under various gestures and overtones. The increase in crime against women is not always a reflection of male hegemony for chauvinism. While women by nature are shy and expresses themselves in various ways which are often misunderstood by men. The modern inviting dresses, style statements, liberal use of perfumes

and cosmetics by women are often provocative enough to attract special attention. The society which tolerates indecent exposures, disproportionate display of female anatomy coupled with vulgar dialogues of the film style must be prepared to pay the price and a modicum of decency cannot be defined or enforced by law alone. In the language of Kamasutra, scanty dresses, certain body languages, veiled expressions, signs, tone and tenure of songs and stories can be construed as temptation or an invitation. The circumstances varies widely with the culture and civilization in which the abridging of the individual took place. Men and women need to be careful in expressing themselves within the ambit of the freedom but sexual freedom is different and should be distinguished from the other freedoms we enjoyed. It defies many manmade laws and restrictions and therefore the society should accept the responsibility for the kind of anarchy prevailing on this front. Access to facebooks with pornographic content even by children is the trend which if not curbed shall have the potential to accelerate social crimes.

QUOTABLE QUOTES Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. - Mahatma Gandhi

We believe in Freedom of Speech

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: Vashi, Navi Mumbai - 400 705 : Fortnightly (2 issues in a month) : G. T. Varghese : Yes : Not applicable : A-223, Vashi Plaza, Sec-17, Vashi, Navi Mumbai - 400 705. : G. T. Varghese : Yes : Not applicable : A-223, Vashi Plaza, Sec-17, Vashi, Navi Mumbai - 400 705. : G. T. Varghese : Yes : Not applicable : A-223, Vashi Plaza, Sec-17, Vashi, Navi Mumbai - 400 705. : G. T. Varghese : Sole Proprietor A-223, Vashi Plaza, Sec-17, Vashi, Navi Mumbai - 400 705.

I, Mr. G. T. Varghese hereby declare that the particulars given above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Date : 16th March 2014

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The Pattern of Torture In May 1990 the Supreme Court quashed criminal charges against 28 men who had been awaiting trial in Bihar for over 10 years. This is the only case known to amnesty international in which charges has been dropped against torture victims. It also ordered release on parole of two other who had been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 1987. The case was one of the best known because of the particularly cruel and inhuman torture inflicted on the accused, victims of the Bhagalpur blindings. At the end of 1970's police in Bihar faced with a steep rise in armed robbery carried out by gangs of young men, decided to blind suspects as a deterrent to others. Over 30 men and boys were deliberately blinded with thick needles and acid between October 1979 and November 1980. The youngest victim was 16 years old.

PG (Human Rights)

Few of the 30 who never blinded had criminal records and according to one commentator no more than four had previously been charged with involvement in criminal activities. One victim was apparently blinded as a punishment for refusing to work for low wages for local landlords. The man who had been instru-

mental in exposing the blinding was the superintendent of Bhagalpur jail. He was suspended without pay in December 1980 for allegedly not revealing the full facts of the case. The superintendent also said that the home commissioner, the Bihar minister for jails and other state officials were aware of the blinding but had made no attempt to prevent or investigate them. The police blindings in Bhagalpur illustrate key aspects of the pattern of torture, the failure to conduct proper inquires, and the inordinate length of judicial proceedings it was 10 years after the blinding that the supreme court quashed the charges against the victims. However the case is exceptional because a nationwide public outcry resulted punishment for at least some of those responsible.

SINGAPORE SOJOURN SUMMER VACATION GO TO SINGAPORE / MALAYSIA For the first timer to a foreign country, both Singapore and Malaysiaare treat to watch. Neat roads, long drives and best night life allseen from Changi Airport to little India is worth watching. We getvariety of Indian food at Little India, with South Indian Hotels Sarvana Bhawan and Ananda Bhawan occupy top spots for eating. After aheavy breakfast you can proceed to Zoo with tall Zebra and otheranimals left alone in natural surroundings and you can watch all ofthem through trams. At some places you can get down and watch theanimals nearby and then get into another tram going round the animalpark throughout the day. You need to buy one tickets and get down wherever you feel like seeing animals and then get into another tramto continue your journey within the Zoo. After seeing all the important animals you can stay back and night safari to see the animals in night. But if you feel like going out and see many more places then the best option is Jurong Bird Park. Fly in to Asia's largest Bird Paradise to see 5000 birds and nearly 380 species fly, swim and roam freely in their naturalistic habitats, including fourlarge freeflight aviaries. Come up close to the feathered residents at interactive feeding sessions and be tickled by the show stoppingantics in a thrilling bird shows and your flight into the world of living colours begins. Taxis are pleasure to travel but only thing is that you will have to shell out more when you travel during peak hours. The Sentosa 4D magic, Cine Blast and Desperadoes attractions are located near Singapore Cable Car Station at Imbiah Lookout, Sentosa. From Harbour Front Station, proceed to Vivo City Lobby L, Level 3, board the Sentosa Express and alight at the Imbiah Station. Drive into Sentosa by taxi and take the scenic Cable

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Car drive from Mount Faber or Harbour Front Tower 2. Alight at the Singapore Cable Car station at Imbiah Lookout Sentosa. Hop on to Sentosa Bus 1 or Bus 2 and alight at Imbiah Lookout Bus stop. It is worth going round Sentosa. Inside experience the ultimate virtual 4 D simulation ride at Cine Blast. Imagine yourself being tossed and turned around valleys and

down mountains in a motionsimulated cabin. With a highdefinition 3 D wide screen and advanced 6-axis motion system, you can feel every twist and dip as it happens on the screen. Welcome to the land of Himalamazon and follow the spectacular journey of a super-Tree log as it travels through the mega harvesting plant. Ride up steep valleys, through ravines, deep caves and dive into crocodile infested water! You will be gripping on for dear life. Watching Merlion Singapore's famous symbol is just like watching Taj Mahal in Agra. You feel like staying back there for longer duration. Night life in city is colourful. Food poses a problem at times but for vegetarians it is not easy to survive as they will have to feel the smell of frying as road side hotels are common sight there. It is worth watching Singapore in the scorching heat as the evening end with heavy showers to cool down the climate very much. It is worthy of Singapore sojourn. You can also cover Malaysia also in the same trip if you have the energy and the will to see another country.

OBITUARY

Leelamma Koshy (Ammamachi) wife of Late T.O. Koshy, Nakolakal Thundathil House Left for heavenly abode on 01-03-2014. May her soul rest in peace.


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March 16 - 31, 2014

Storm in a Tea Cup

No one would have imagined that the humble tea would become a serious issue in the 2014 general elections. It has always been a favourite drink of the politicians. In Kerala, the champions of the proletariat held classes and discussions, generally at night in candle light, over endless cups of black tea (kattan in Malayalam) and Dal Vada. For them, tea was not just a brew that cheered them, but also a source of invigoration and inspiration. Tea's potential as propaganda material was, recently, recognized by the Bharatiya Janata Party, who put it to good use. “Drink Na Mo (Narendra Modi) tea and vote BJP”, screamed the banners and posters with photos of the Prime minister-in-waiting. In fact, the Congress, of all parties, was responsible for giving the idea on a platter to their bête-noire. The Congress party stalwart and champion debater Mani Shankar Aiyer was the person who triggered the controversy. He is reported to have said ”Narendra Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country. But, if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him”. The tea business was Modi's own turf in his early days, but he did not respond to Mani's offer. Perhaps he thought that the offer involved a cut or he feared that the customers wouldn't pay. These days, there is no business without a quid pro quo. However, Narendra Modi was quick to appropriate the idea for himself. He started inviting all chaiwallas to his meetings and he gave them pride of place on the dais. It was reminiscent of the invitation extended to the dabbawalas of Mumbai, to meet the

Prime Minister of Great Britain. Indeed, their representatives went to London, met the Prime Minister and other dignitaries and posed for photographs with them. Though, not the Prime Minister yet, Narendra Modi is certainly a front runner for the post. Modi's election managers made it a point to serve tea at the meetings. They knew it was the way to win friends and influence the voters. Modi even went on a campaign called “chai pe vichar” or “vichar pe chai”, both of which meant the same thing. It was “over a cup of tea” to put it in other words. Some critics pointed out that discussion and tea went together and therefore, the correct usage would have been “chai ke saath vichar”. Modi himself was seen discussing matters sipping tea at intervals. Sensing that Modi was beating them at their own game, the congressmen came to the conclusion that demolishing his tea boy image was the solution. Congress leader Ahmed Patel came out with a clarification that Modi was not a chaiwala as such. His father was a canteen contractor in the railways and not one who ran a street tea stall. In the Congress camp there was another interesting development. In a bid to counter Narendra Modi's “chai pe charcha”, congressmen in Bareilly, kicked off a “sadbhavna chhat” campaign. The popular savoury was handed out to the public from mobile vans. The local people, particularly, the women flocked around the mobile stall for hot tikkis and pani-poori. Anuj Gangwar, the organizer of the event said “Unlike Na Mo tea stalls, which were put up only in the Hindu dominated areas of the city, we would be covering localities inhabited by people of all communities in the first leg of our campaign”. However, the Chhat proved to be no match for chai. Not to be left out, the formidable Bihar strongman Lalu Prasad Yadav joined the fray. His intention was to remind the warring groups that he was not averse to becoming the Prime Minister if he

(Plummeting Rupee sparks ........... continued from page 1) proved short-lived. Recent weeks have seen a widespread selloff Asian currency markets because of fears that US monetary authorities may scale back the availability of dollar founds at near-zero interest sometime next year. But the rupee has the dubious distinction of being Asia's worst “performing” major currency. It has also fallen sharply with respect to other currencies such as the Euro, the British Pound and the Japanese Yen. India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), intervened in the FOREX market several times in June, selling dollars so as to drive up the value of the rupee. But the RBI is not in a position to mount a sustained intervention. It has seen its reserves fall to around $290 billion from an alltime high of $321 billion in 2011. This is barely enough for 7 months of imports and is down significantly from 2008, when the RBI possessed enough reserves for 15 mon-

ths of imports. In contrast, the Chinese regime has accumulated a mountain of $3.2 trillion in foreign currency reserves. Despite the server hammering the rupee ahs sustained, a recent report released by the Japanese brokerage firm Nomura Securities claimed that the rupee is still overvalued by a massive 17 percent. If true, this indicates that the rupee should be trading at over Rs. 70 to a dollar, which would represent a decline of over 60 percent from the 44 Rs. To a dollar level at which it traded recently as July 2011. According to press reports, foreign investors sold a net $7 billion of Indian debt and equity in June putting significant pressure on the rupee. The immediate cause of the steep fall in the value of the rupee waere the recent remarks by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake that if “economic conditions” in the US continue to im-prove the US's central bank might scale back its “Quantitative Eas-ing” (QE) program, beginning

was offered the job. He wanted to prove that his credentials were better than those of the BJP candi-date. RJD workers have already started their plan to run “Lalu tea stalls” across the state in an attempt to portray their leader as one who had a humbler beginning than Modi who claims that he sold tea in his early days”. The first Lalu tea stall came up in the Ahiapur locality of Muza-ffarpur in north Bihar, 75 km north of Patna. “We want to call Modi's bluff.that he sold tea at railway stations. What we know is that his father ran a canteen in which he helped out. It is Lalu who sold tea to eke out a living”, claimed Iqbal Sami, a RJD leader. “We are offering something extra. Along with tea, we have thrown in long biscuit puffs. Around 1000 people will be served each day”, explained Sami. The BJP was not impressed. “The RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) has no original ideas. “Lalu chai shop” is a copy cat of our campaign”, commented Mangal Pandey, the State Presi-dent of the party. On the subject of chai, chhat and freebies in the election campaign, the Times of India mentioned in an editorial, perhaps in jest, that Priyanka had reportedly joined the fray, on behalf of her brother, by offering the inducement of free kichdi to all those who flocked to the Congress symbol. The scheme, however didn't see the light of day. The reason, they say, was the fact that 'kichdi' stood for mess in local parlance. And the party didn't want such a characteristic (chaos) to be attributed to it. In the final analysis, you will note that all these problems were created by a statement made by the Congress leader. Unknowingly, he played into the hands of Narendra Modi. If only he had challenged Modi to supply 'filter coffee' at congress meetings, there wouldn't have been any confusion, chaos or controversy. in 2014. The fact that a mere suggestion by Bernake that the Fed could scale back QE created such havoc in the Indian FOREX markets reveals the utter dependency of the Indian economy upon the flow of short term funds from financial speculators who are parasitically dependent upon the Fed to keep providing what amounts to gambling funds to make quick profits. The other financial “tool” available to the RBI to bolster the value of the rupee is to increase domestic interest rates. But restricting credit would dampen economic activity under conditions where India's economy is already suffering from anaemic growth. In the fiscal year ending last March, the Indian growth rate fell to 5 percent, its lowest since 2003. Previously, it was taken for granted by the Indian elite that the economy would grow between 8 and 9 percent, a level considers essential to maintaining social peace. Because of the steep fall in the growth rate, domestic big business and the Congress-led government

NAVI MUMBAI - NEWS Rickshaws refuse fares to Mahape Navi Mumbai : Fed up of auto drivers refusing fares or demanding extra charge above the metre rate at the rickshaw stand located outside Kalash Udyan Society in sector 11, Koparkhairane, the residents have started jotting down the registration numbers of the errant autos. "I am making a list of the number plates of autos that have refused to ferry me to my work place," said a commuter to Mahape, Shivani Gala. President of Navi Mumbai Autorickshaw Federation Kasam Mulani said the problem lies with illegal autos that continue using the old system. "Earlier, the autos would charge half return fare when they ferried commuters outside NMMC jurisdiction but with the new fare structure that is not allowed," he said. Those who want to avoid any showdown, have to take share autos. "I do not argue with the drivers and take share autos from various junctions," said Ritu Patel, a resident of sector 29. The fares charged by auto rickshaws to go towards Mahape is said to be between Rs 70 and 80 when the meter rate comes to around Rs 40. Vashi deputy RTO Sanjay Dhaygude assured to take corrective measures. He even acknowledged that the RTO has been getting several complaints against auto drivers demanding additional fares over the meter reading. "This is a regular grievance of commuters in the city. I will depute a squad to the area and get them to interact with the auto unions within the area to come up with a practical solution,".

Vichara Vedi organized Seminar on Madhavikutty's Literary World a

Vi c h a r a Ve d i , P o w a i organised a Seminar in Malayalam titled 'Madha-vikutty's Literary World (Madhavikuttiyude Sahityalokam). The Seminar was held on Sunday, the 9th of March 2014 from 4.00 p.m to 6.00 p.m. at the Powai English High School, Powai. Madhavikutty was a popular author both in Malayalam and English. Her popularity in Kerala is based chiefly on her short stories and autobiography, while her composition in English, written under the name Kamala Das, is noted for the fiery poems and explicit autobiography. Her open and honest treatment of female sexuality, free from any sense of guilt, infused her writing with power, but also marked her as an iconoclast in her generation. After her conversion to Islam, she assumed the name Kamala Suraiyya. K.V. Satyanath spoke on 'Romanticism in Madhavikutty's Autobiography' (Madhavikuttiyude Atmakadyile Kalpanikatha). C.P. Krishnakumar spoke on the 'Amiability and Purity of Madhavikutty's World of Stories' (Madhavikuttiyude Kathalokathe Snigdhathayum Nyrmalyavum). Ms. O.B. Sreedevi spoke on 'Adoration of Love in Madhavikutty's Writings' (Madhavikuttiyude Rachanakalile Prenayaparatha) Mrs. Maya Sahajan spoke on 'Varied Expressions of Madhavikutty in her poetry and stories' (Madhavikuttiyude Kavithakalilum Kathakalilum Kanunna Vividha Bhavangal). V.N Gopalakrishnan spoke on Kamala Das: The Feminine Voice in Indian English Literature (Kamala Das: Indian-English Sahityathile Sthree Sabdam). P.S. Sumesh evaluated the Seminar proceedings). Peramangalam Gopi the Convenor for the Seminar. have been pressing the RBI to reduce short-term interest rates. But the RBI fears that reducing interest rates will fuel inflation, which is already running in double digits at the retail level. The rapid depreciation of the rupee greatly compounds this problem. In June, the RBI left the Repo rate, the rate at which it leads funds to commercial banks, at 7.25 percent. India's CAD (Current Account Deficit) which is the difference between imports and exports of goods and services and all monetary transactions such as interest earned on investments and deposits reached a record high of 4.8 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the fiscal year ending March. CAD has increased because India's exports have been hard-hit by the world economic crisis, especially the recession in Europe. India imports 80 percent of its petroleum

requirement, machinery and high end consumer goods, while exporting IT services, jewellery, textiles and iron ore. Attracting the foreign currency mainly dollars needed to finance the CAD has become a preoccupation of the Indian elite. In a desperate attempt to attract foreign funds the UPA government has undertaken several reckless measures such as dismantling regulations which restricted the inflow of “hot money,” i.e. short term speculative funds can be pulled out as easily as they enter. The RBI, in its latest semiannual “Financial Stability” report, expressed unease over both the size of the inflows needed to bridge the CAD and India's increasing dependence on such “hot money”. “In addition to the magnitude of flows needed to finance the CAD, the

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March 16-31, 2014

HEALTH

Random Thoughts V. N. Gopalakrishnan Mahashivaratri ('the Night of Shiva') festival is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honour of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity. The festival falls on the 13th or the 14th night of the new moon during Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Phalguna. The Sanskrit term, Krishna Paksha means the period of waning moon and Phalguna corresponds to the month of February-March in English Calendar. This year Mahashivaratri is celebrated on the moonless night on February 27. Lord Shiva ('auspicious one') is one of the most complex gods, embodying seemingly contradictory qualities. He is the destroyer and the restorer, the great ascetic and the symbol of sensuality. Shiva's female consort is known under various manifestations as Uma, Sati, Parvati, Durga and Kali. The divine couple, together with their sons, Skanda and Ganesha are said to dwell on Mount Kailas in the Himalayas. Lord Shiva is usually depicted

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Mahashivaratri & Its Significance Vegetables that boost your Immune System as ash-coloured, with a blue neck, his hair arranged in a coil of matted locks and adorned with the crescent moon and the Ganges. He has three eyes bestowing inward vision and capable of burning destruction when focused outward. He wears a garland of skulls and a serpent around his neck and carries in his hands a deerskin, a trident, a small hand drum or a club with a skull at the end. He is represented in a pacific mood as the cosmic dancer, as a naked ascetic, as a mendicant beggar and as a yogi. Lord Shiva has more than a thousand names, which are detailed at length in the 69th chapter of Shiv Purana. Among his common epithets are Sambhu, Sankara, Pasupati, Mahesa and Mahadeva. Mahashivaratri is considered to be auspicious especially for women. The married women and unmarried girls perform puja with great faith since Parvati is considered as the giver of married bliss. While unmarried girls pray to give them handsome husbands with wealth and knowledge, married women pray for the well-being of their husbands. According to Hindu mythology, Mahashivaratri symbolizes the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. However, many believe that Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nrita, the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction on Mahashivaratri. According to Linga Purana, Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a linga on Mahashivaratri. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng Shiva temples across the country in the night and spend Mahashivaratri by chanting hymns in praise of the Lord. They observe strict fast in honor of Lord Shiva, though many go on a diet of fruits and milk. Devotees believe that worship of Lord Shiva on Mahashivaratri, absolve them of their sins and

liberates from the cycle of birth and death. To mark the festival, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath. After wearing new clothes they visit the nearest Shiva temple to give ritual bath to the Shivalinga with milk, honey or water. Shiv Purana has prescribed the rituals to be followed during Mahashivaratri. Accordingly, every three hours, Shivalinga is given a special bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, sandalwood paste and rose water. Vermilion paste is applied on the Shivalinga followed by Puja, meditation and chanting of Om Namah Shivaya Mantra. Bathing of Shivalinga with water, milk and honey represents purification of the soul; vermilion paste applied on the linga represents virtue; offering of fruits symbolizes gratification of desires; burning of incense sticks yields wealth; lighting of lamp symbolizes attainment of knowledge and offering of betel leaves marks satisfaction with worldly pleasures. Devotees break their fast only on the following morning by partaking the prasad offered to the deity. They believe that sincere worship of Lord Shiva ensures spiritual growth. Traditionally, leaves of Bilwa (aegle marmelos) are used for Shiva puja believing that Goddess Lakshmi resides in them. In the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata, Bhishma, while resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma (righteousness), refers to the observance of Mahashivaratri by King Chitrabhanu. The story is also narrated in Garuda Purana. For many, Lord Shiva is Paramatman, the Absolute Brahman, but others prefer to see Lord Shiva as a personal God. He is considered as Yoganath, the lord of Yoga and is also the Adi Guru or the highest guru of Sanyasins.

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Cruciferous vegetables are the gold standard in immune-boosting vegetables. Although all vegetables have nutrients and some protective powers, for these vegetables, it's off the charts. Cruciferous vege-tables have a special chemical composition: They have sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent flavors. When they're broken down by biting, blending, or chopping, a chemical reaction occurs that converts these sulfur-containing compounds into isothiocyanates (ITCs). ITCs prevent and knock out cancer and have infinite proven immune-boosting capabilities. They contain antiviral and antibacterial agents that keep you disease free. Adding the following cruciferous vegetables to your daily plate is like taking an anticancer pill: arugula, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, red cabbage, turnip greens, or watercress.

Missing 22-year-old MCA student found dead on tracks in Navi Mumbai Navi Mumbai : A 22-year-old MCA student from Nerul, who was missing since Tuesday, was found dead on the railway tracks between Kharghar and Kamothe railway stations on Wednesday. A few railway workers spotted her lying in an isolated area and rushed her to MGM hospital at Belapur, but she was announced dead on arrival. According to the police, Nikita Balakrishnan, a resident of Sector 8 in Nerul, was a first year MCA student at SIES College in Nerul. Her results were out on Monday and she reportedly could not clear one paper. She went into depression after that. "The deceased left home for college on Tuesday morning, but she did not return home. Around 9.30pm, she messaged her father that she went to Siddhivinayak temple at Dadar and donated all her ornaments to the temple. She further added that she was fed up with her life and she was going to commit suicide by jumping at

Kharghar creek," said a police officer from Belapur police station. The shocked parents tried to contact her, but her number was switched off. They registered a missing person's case with Nerul police and went to Kharghar to find her. "Even after searching for hours, the family members could not trace the girl. So, they went home in the wee hours. They got to know about the death after a few hours," the officer said. According to preliminary reports, the girl suffered severe injuries on her head and both hands. "Prima facie, it appeared, she committed suicide by jumping off a moving train. We have registered a case of accidental death. The case will be transferred to the Government Railway Police (GRP) and they will investigate further," another police officer said. Her body was sent to NMMC hospital in Vashi for a post-mortem and then handed over to her family.

(Plummeting Rupee sparks ........... continued from page 1) composition of flows, particularly dependence on portfolio and short-term debt flows, represent an added source of concern.” The vulnerability of the Indian economy to a balance of payments crisis is increasingly drawing comparison to the situation faced by the Indian government in 1991. At that time India's foreign currency reserves fell to a level barely enough to cover a few weeks of imports. This prompted the Indian elite to turn to the International Monetary Fund for an emergency loan. In return, the Congress Party government decisively abandoned stateled economic development and moved to fully integrated India into the world capitalist economy by transforming the country into a cheap – labor haven for international capital. Another major worry for India's elite and one that is being heightened by the rupee's depreciation is the increasing reliance of India's corporate sector on foreign borrowing. India's companies have greatly increased their overseas borrowing, with the aim of taking advantage of record low interest rates in the US, Europe and Japan. But dollar denominated “cheap money” can quickly be transformed by the rupee's slide into massive losses. As a percentage of the RBI's foreign currency reserves, India's short-term dept has increased from a low of 5.1 percent in 2002-03, to 14.8 percent in 2008-09, and 31.1 percent at the end of 2012. - Indebted to sprout

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Sunny News 16th-31st March