Moon Watch this Election

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This was sometime back at a music launch of a film she graced with husband Bharat Dev Varma and daughter Raima who played the protagonist in the film. That evening Moon Moon Sen was all praises for the young director and how well his entire unit  functioned as a family,  travelled and stayed together to complete the outdoor shoot on schedule in Midnapore district and quipped how she loves to travel and stay in rural Bengal, just as much as her mother did. Little did she know then that Suchitra Sen’s days were numbered and Mamata Banerjee will select her to be Trinamool Congress’s candidate from Bankura district  in the forthcoming elections.

Trinamool is clear about the candidature. Wife of a man belonging to a schedule tribe and daughter of the enigmatic Suchitra Sen , Moon Moon Sen or Srimati Dev Varma connects to the crowd immediately. But the problem which cropped up over the days after the nomination was filled, was where will a star like Moon Moon Sen put up in rural Bengal while on campaign.

A rigorous search later a sixty year old bunglow near Kenduadihi in Bankura was found appropriate and spruced up in no time to house the most glamorous guest of the district for a few days. It has everything a star might need or at least make do with. The bunglow with an old charm with two air-conditioned bedrooms required a power load extention which was done up in no time and is painted in blue & white – the Trinamool colours. Ofcourse it’s a far cry from Moon Moon Sen’s Kolkata habitat but nonetheless the main living room is decorated with candles and boasts of an eight-seater dining table with a large Chinese painting on one wall.  The media had reported that the Bankura Trinamool party honchos had been busy interviewing various potential candidates for appointment as Moon Moon Sen’s chef. The chef needed to be adept at multicuisine – Indian and Chinese. In fact, the Trinamool’s list load of starry candidates have put their local units into a fix as they run around arranging for everything to be up to their starry standards. For example, veteran actor Sandhya Roy, also a candidate, reportedly wants to find a house in her constituency that’s close to a Shiv temple. But lest anyone think these stars are outsiders breezing in to give rural and small-town Bengal a whiff of sophistication, Moon Moon Sen has set the record straight. “I am not from Alaska,” she’s reportedly stated. Not only is she not from Alaska, she has also asserted the fact that she is married to a schedule tribe man to get herself identified better at her first appearance with the workers convention of Bankura well knowing  the substantial tribe population in the area. That is news to many of her fans in Kolkata and elsewhere in the country. Until now they had heard mostly about her husband Bharat Dev Varma’s connections to royalty. He comes from the same princely family in Tripura which produced Sachin and Rahul Dev Burman. His mother was the princess of Cooch Behar and a sister of the legendary Gayatri Devi. But it’s election season and ST connections are an asset. Sen has been disarmingly honest with the kind of candour political bosses do not always appreciate. She can tell the crowd in Bankura “My standing here means that my mother is standing here” but also turn around and admit to a correspondent  “I think (my mother would) faint if she were alive, not because of me joining politics but out of concern for her daughter.” Sen showed up for her maiden outing dressed in blue and white all day – from a blue and white salwar to a blue and white sari, even a blue and white wristband.

 Moon-watching  sure will be an interesting sport this election.

Inauguration of beauty show by beauty icon Shahnaz Husain

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India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) is organizing “Kosmetika” an International Trade Fair for the Beauty and Wellness Show at Pragati Maidan from March 25th to 30th, 2014, for the very first time, in India.

The show was inaugurated by Shahnaz Husain, CMD, Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies and presided over by Rita Menon, CMD, ITPO.  After the inauguration, Shahnaz Husain introduced “Black Diamond” – anti-aging products for skin and hair. This was followed by a Fashion Show.

Shahnaz Husain, Beauty Expert, Meenakshi, IPTO Rita Menon, CMD ITPO

Beauty and Fashion Shows, Talks on Bridal Make-up, Hair and Beauty Displays, Interactive Sessions on Dermatology and Anti-aging  - are part of this show, which will run for the next three days more. During the 5-day show, live demonstrations will also be held by Shahnaz Herbal on specialized anti-ageing salon procedures, like Telomere, Platinum and Plant Stem Cells Facial, Thermoherb, as well as treatments for specific skin and hair problems.

The Indian cosmetic industry has seen phenomenal growth and India is one of the largest consumer markets in the world.

Shahnaz Husain

 

Khushwant Singh: A tribute to Doyen of Indian literature

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Khushwant Singh

The grand old man of the Indian literature, Khushwant Singh, has died at 99. The renowned author and journalist, known for his witty, fearless and acerbic writings, died peacefully at his Sujan Singh Park home that he lived in for most of his life.

Born on February 2, 1915 at Hadali, now in Pakistan, Singh enthralled millions of readers with classics like “Train to Pakistan”, “I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale” and “Delhi – A Novel”. He poured his trenchant wit into his popular column, “With Malice towards One and All,” which was syndicated in several publications. His autobiography, “Truth, Love and a Little Malice”, was published by Penguin Books in 2002. Unstoppable even at 95, he wrote the novel “The Sunset Club” about a group of pensioners.

He was editor of several literary and news magazines, including the Illustrated Weekly of India as well as two newspapers, the Hindustan Times and the National Herald, through the 1970s and 1980s. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974 but returned the decoration in 1984 in protest against the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by the Army. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.

Singh was known to wake up at 4 am each day and write his columns by hand. His works range from political commentary and contemporary satire to outstanding translations of Sikh religious texts and Urdu poetry. In “The Train to Pakistan,” Singh addressed the fundamental truth of mortality. “Not forever does the bulbul sing; in balmy shades of bowers. Not forever lasts the spring; nor ever blossom the flowers,” he wrote. He was well known for his biting satires and for which he earned both fans and foes in abundance. He was a man who could laugh on himself and he had written one for himself well in advance:

Here lies one who spared neither man nor God/ Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod/ Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun/ Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.” 

Holi: Spreading cheer with colours

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Life in India is regularly punctuated by festivals, which in turn are directed by seasons. Most big Indian festivals also mark the beginning of a new season or the end of another. So, as winter gives way to spring, usually in early March, Indians come on to the streets to mark the Holi, the festival of colours.

As with every other festival in India, Holi, too, has a spiritual and social aspect. The spiritual aspect of Holi is linked to the story of Prahlad, son of a demon king Hiranyakashyap, the ruler of the earth who had forced every earthling to pray to him instead of God. Prahlad, however, became a devotee of God and refused to worship his father.

Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed. Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Vishnu all this while, came out unharmed, as the Lord blessed him for his extreme devotion.

The legend remains an integral part of the festival and bonfires are organized everywhere on the eve of Holi to mark the death of Holika and the survival of Prahlad.

But as with many other festivals, Holi, too, has a very strong social connect. It is celebrated a few days after the winter crops are harvested and new crop planted, hence the bonfires also serve a strong social purpose. For an agriculture-dominated country like India where farming is still the livelihood for nearly 67 per cent of the population, which lives in the 656,000 villages, the harvest season marks the end of four months of hard work by the farmers and then entire villages gather to relax and celebrate and enjoy the fruits of their labour, gathered around a bonfire. Many of them bring grains and other offerings to offer to Agni, the God of fire, seeking His blessings for many more good harvests to follow. They also take the fire home to get their fields, families and belongings blessed.

As with many other festivals in India, references to Holi are found in spiritual texts, stone carvings and ancient books, often dating back to the 4th century before Christ. Holi has also inspired many temple artists, as murals and even sculptures depicting Lord Krishna playing holi with Radha and his other admirers. A panel sculpted in a temple at Hampi, capital of Vijayanagar, shows a joyous scene of Holi. The painting depicts a Prince and his Princess standing amidst maids waiting with water pistols to drench the Royal couple in coloured water. A Mewar painting from the late 18th century shows the ruler with his courtiers, best owing gifts on some people and with a merry dance. In the centre is a tank filled with colored water.

Painting the town red

This is precisely what happens during Holi. People start rather early in the morning, making preparations for the adventurous and exciting day ahead. They ready their armory – hundreds of balloons with coloured water, water pistols with coloured water, lots of dry powder of all kinds of colours as well as buckets of coloured water. Once they are armed, they start moving out. But it is done cautiously and the ‘troops’ advance like a group of marine commandoes – silently and unseen. The charm of Holi lies mainly in the surprise element – when you catch your neighbour, brother, sister or anyone else unawares and douse them with coloured water.

The ‘victims’ of your blitzkrieg then join your troop and move on to the next house or next lane. Thus, pretty soon, dozens of groups of people, with their faces and hair looking like rainbows, move around the neighbourhood, trying to find the last one remaining spotless.

They also sing songs, play music and distribute sweets. Each house welcomes the group with sweets and special delicacies prepared for Holi. A special drink, called ‘bhang’ – milk mixed with light doses of opium, is also prepared for the occasion. This not only makes the people heady but also allows the timid to get over their shyness and play with others.

This is one day where the genders mix and play with each other. And with so much water around, a dose of ‘bhang’ does away with the remaining bits of timidity and allows women to ‘target’ men as much as men reach out to women and it does get naughty. It is said Lord Krishna started this trend. He applied colour on her beloved Radha and also doused the other maidens with coloured water. The trend soon gained popularity amongst the masses. No wonder, there is no match to the Holi of Mathura, Vrindavan and Barsana – the places associated with the birth and childhood of Radha and Krishna.

The spirit of Holi encourages the feeling of brotherhood in society and even the enemies turn friend on this day. People of all communities and religions participate in this joyous and colouful festival and the society forgets its divisions and differences, at least for this day!

HAPPY HOLI TO ALL THE READERS!!

 

 

70-storey skyscraper temple for Lord Krishna in Vrindavan, foundation stone laying ceremony on March 16

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Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna

Verdant recreated forests of Braj, a gurgling Yamuna creek, palanquin and swing festivals are among the highlights of a proposed 70-storey skyscraper temple of Krishna in Vrindavan, billed to be one of the largest shrines in the country. The foundation stone laying ceremony of Chandrodaya temple in Mathura district will be done today (March 16), on the eve of the auspicious occasion of Holi.

‘Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir’, a 213-metre-high one-of-its-kind temple, is expected to bring Vrindavan, where Hindu deity Krishna is said to have spent his childhood, into the spotlight on the world map.

shilanyas-of-vrindavan

Spread over 62 acres of land, the temple premises are inclusive of a helipad and housing facilities for devotees and will host a number of cultural festivals along with devotional programmes throughout the year. “Though there is no dearth of temples here, devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) have decided to set up an iconic temple that would put the holy land of Radha Rani on the world map,” head of communication and public relations (of the proposed temple) Bharat Dasa said.

Conceived by ISCKON Bangalore, the temple will be home to several festivals like rath yatra, palanquin festival, forest, swings and boat festivals said to be among the favourite pastimes of Krishna. An architectural marvel, the temple will uniquely blend Nagara style with the elements of modern architecture.

Ancient texts have spelled out that Krishna engaged in his favourite pastimes in the forests of Braj, therefore verdant forests have been recreated around the temple, over a canvas of thirty acres.

Women’s Day special: ‘Her’ journey in Indian cinema

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Women have always been an integral part of the Hindi film industry. On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2014,we bring to you journey of Women in the Indian Cinema. 

From Mother India in which a strong woman character was portrayed by Nargis Dutt to fight the shackles of her social milieu, to the bloody thirsty Priyanka Chopra in 7 Khoon Maaf, to the bold performance of Vidya Balan in Kahaani – the sea-change has been seen in the portrayal of women in the Indian cinema since its inception 100 years ago. From the black and white films to colour movies, Indian cinema has evolved in a big way and so the woman character. Indian cinema caters to masses and the way society has seen change in the woman character, cinema has also moved along. Audiences today not only mosey up to multiplex with popcorn and cola in a tow, but they review the movie intensely. Therefore, the rules of entertainment are altering rapidly and filmmakers are tweaking their scripts.

From the very first film, Raja Harishchandra – which had no female actors – to the modern day, it has not been an easy ride. And one reason for this can be the ‘beauty’ which has evolved over time in Indian cinema. Actresses like Madhuabala, Wahida Rehman and Vaijayantimala were considered the queens of the Indian cinema during their reign. Then the era came when the southern beauties like Hema Malini and Rekha ruled the Bollywood. In 1994, the beauty queen Aishwarya Rai, after crowned the beauty pageant, entered the film fraternity and won millions of Indians fell in love with her.

Mother India

Straight-jacketed limits

For so long, Indian cinema has been male dominated. Themes used to be explored from the male audience’s viewpoint and actress was considered secondary to the actor. Her role used to move around male character that was central to the story line– be it hero, villain, father, boss or an elderly male figure. She was devoid of any independent existence. The straight-jacketed limits diminished the women’s role to provide glamour, relief, respite and entertainment. These patriarchal values were institutionalized in films like Dahej (1950), Gauri (1968), Devi (1970), Biwi ho to Aisi (1988), Pati Parmeshwar (1988) depicted women as passive, submissive wives as perfect figures and martyrs for their own families.

Larger than life roles

Women used to portray larger than life characters. They rather than being depicted as normal human beings were elevated to a higher position of being ideal who can commit no wrong. Their grievances, desires, ambitions, feelings, perspectives were completely missing from the scene. They were shown as not belonging to the real world. Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan starrer Abhimaan (1973) began with premise of the wife (Jaya) being more talented than the husband (Amitabh). This in itself is a defiance of the stereotype. However, the film crumbled from then on when the wife gave up her thriving musical career for satisfying the husband’s ego, culminating to a conventional end that demands adherence to traditional values of marriage and motherhood.

abhimaan

In decorative capacity

The other face which was criticised as the woman character in the silver screen is the decorative capacity. We have usually seen feminine shadows in the background – wives, mothers, sisters, sweethearts and vamps playing second-fiddle to the male protagonists. Film scholar and author Shoma Chatterji, said, “Women in Hindi cinema have been decorative objects with rarely any sense of agency being imparted to them. Each phase of Hindi cinema had its own representation of women, but they were confined largely to the traditional, patriarchal framework of the Indian society. The ordinary woman has hardly been visible in Hindi cinema.”

It has commonly seen in the action-packed movies of Akshay Kumar, Sunny Deol and Sunil Shetty; the actress was placed in the romantic track as a distraction for the viewer from monotonous bouts of violence. So, the moot question is how real were the women characters in the movies?

Whenever a woman is shown, she is shown satisfying man’s desires and is portrayed as raw material for producing and rearing children. The women characters, even after getting Master’s Degree in Science, succumb to observance of the rituals like ‘Karava Chauth’, the fasting for longer life of husband. The girls, who are shown in the barest possible outfits until they are married, are denied to have ‘say’ while choosing their life partners. Their parents do that job for them. After getting married, women are loaded with the weight of jewellery and conventional clothes. Such a turnaround, while artistically displayed on screen, thins the morale of the woman who wants to be the captain of her own boat.

Real woman is evolving

Gone are the days when the real-self of Indian women hardly matches with the script. Today, hardly anyone say that Indian cinema has been essentially male-centric, leaving little space for the female counterparts to evolve and grow as versatile performers. As now we have been seeing increasing numbers of movies creating bold and beautiful of Bollywood. However, in the past also, we’ve had few actresses portraying strong characters who fight the shackles of their social milieu and the very first film is Mother India released in 1957. Considered as one of the finest classics of Indian cinema, the movie looks at the struggle of a rural woman in India, who fights all odds to raise her two sons. The portrayal of the late actress Nargis Dutt is of a loving and brave mother, who struggles to raise her family alone and in the end, saying true to her cause, she kills her evil son to save a woman’s honour.

Women in Indian cinema are born with certain assumptions ranging from cult movies to celluloid blockbusters like Sholay to more recent Fashion that employ themselves as in severe gender issues. They are portrayed either as damsels in distress or demented feminists or simple belly-shaking glam dolls whose sole ambition is to attract the attention of the male gender. In many Indian films it is a common trend to insert ‘item numbers’ which bear no rational connection to the film in anyway. However, sometime one song ends up making a mark for the film, such as ‘Munni’ from Dabangg 1, ‘Chikni Chameli’ of Agneepath or ‘Fevicol’ of Dabangg 2. In order to present the modernity among women, Indian filmmakers have parachuted on an idea that the display of dancing girls in ‘minimum’ clothes is real expression of freedom. On a lighter note, our elder generation, earlier exposed to the “sensuous” Helen, is now face-to-face with the more “fatal” Bipasha Basu. Many say that the change is ‘delicious for their ‘filmy’ palate!

KareenaKapoorFevicol

Gone are the days when stories were written about the shy village girls or the ethical beauty, these are the times for rebellious lovers and sexy and confident business women who rule the roost. The stereotypical portrayal of women, which ruled Indian films till a very recent time, has been witnessing a remarkable change – be it the blood thirsty Priyanka from 7 Khoon Maaf, or Parineeti Chopra as the rebellious lover from Ishaqzaade, each of their characters stood apart from the conventional women and none of them had qualms about it. For that matter Fashion, although the movie depicts the inside of the fashion industry, it primly revolves around the life of Meghan Mathur who is dejected by the society, yet she comes back with new élan and enthusiasm. Besides Fashion, the female characters in Madhur Bhandarkar’s films are usually shown as bold and empowered women who lead life on their own terms, take their own decisions, are ‘rebels’ who don’t conform to social norms and excel in their respective professions like Chandni Bar (2001), Page 3 (2005), and the latest one Kareena Kapoor starrer Heroine.

Actresses like Vidya Balan in Paa, Dirty Picture, Kahani, Ishqiya and Konkona Sen Sharma in Page 3, Wake Up Sid, Life in a Metro have led this change of direction, who have appeared in strong and independent roles which for the time being shifted the camera’s focus from the women’s body to her identity as an individual.

What recently has happened is in the light of recent incident of gangrape that shook the entire nation, Bollywood as a part of popular culture, has come under the scanner for commodification of women. In a freewheeling chat at the set of CNN IBN, the cast (Arjun Rampal and Chitrangada Singh) and director (Sudhir Mishra) of movie Inkaar which deals with a very sensitive issue of sexual harassment at work places, were present to talk about the social responsibility of cinema and the portrayal of women in Bollywood. The director said that it’s not necessary that what Bollywood preaches, the nation follows. In fact, at times, the film industry reflects what is happening in society for real. Chitrangada said that micro blogging sites like Twitter are still abuzz with how item songs in films often objectify women. Dance and songs are very important part of Indian cinema and are mostly added only for entertainment value. If a particular song-dance sequence shows a woman being stalked and wooed by a bunch of men in a playful and romantic manner and she is enjoying the attention that she is getting then it in no way sends out a wrong signal.  

Vidya-Balan-Kahani

The characters have become close to reality, if not the reality itself. The veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, “In India, we can’t make sweeping statements claiming that the portrayal of women in Bollywood has progressed or regressed. As a director, I have always made films giving the women center stage. Conservatives and vested groups have often claimed that the women in my recent films have been scantily clad or are overtly sexual. However, they can’t deny that the women in my films have been in charge of their own destiny. Now women can live life with dignity, without relying on a man for support. At the same time, it made Shabana a national icon. Another person who embodies the new Indian woman is Vidya Balan.”

 

Women’s Day 2014: Is it a safe day for women?

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, people are celebrating women in many ways and many commentators have taken the opportunity to look at the achievements made by the women – how Indian woman has broken through the glass ceilings on the political, professional and corporate fronts, and urban women especially have made remarkable progress and asserted their independence in many areas involving their career and personal choices.

The latest example is Lakshmi – a 16 year-old Indian girl and survivor of an acid attack that left her face permanently scarred, was awarded the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage award by Michelle Obama, in a ceremony at the US Department of State. Lakshmi is campaigning in the US, spreading message to fight with such violence.

No doubt that Indian woman has achieved and advanced a lot professionally or socially, but it is also true that prevailing social taboos and evils hinders their progress.

The topmost issue is the security of the women, which haunts women on the streets, in offices, in their own homes or even in the mother’s womb. Ground realities are really very hard. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 2, 39,137 rapes were registered from 2001 to 2012 in India. There’s no telling how many more rapes went unreported. What’s even more worrying is that there has been a steady increase in these figures. While there were 16,075 rapes in 2001, there we 24,923 rapes reported in 2012. And besides rape, there are scores of sexually motivated crimes committed against women in this country.

Therefore, there is a need to ignite the minds be it through government’s initiatives or social campaigns or programmes on TV channel. One such is Aamir Khan’s talk show ‘Satyamev Jayate‘ returned for another season last Sunday and its second innings started with a bang. The first episode focussed on the epidemic of violence against women that has gripped the nation since the horrific Delhi gangrape incident of December 16, 2012. Aamir highlighted the indifference shown towards victims and their families by police officers who are meant to enforce justice but instead shame and ridicule them; by doctors and then in the courts by lawyers.

These kinds of initiatives are required to control the alarming rate of rape cases.

Special occasions like Women’s Day call for igniting the movement for the women upliftment in the society. Only then we can celebrate the day in the real terms.

 

Lok Sabha Elections 2014: Battle of ballots announced

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The battlefield is now ready to win the top political prize!

The much-awaited schedule for the Lok Sabha polls has been announced today by the Election Commission, with which the Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties has come into force.

Unlike the last time which was a five-phase affair, the polls have stretched to nine phases, the highest so far, between April 7 and May 12 and involve an electorate of 814 million. Counting of the votes will be done on May 16. It is the first time the country witnesses elections over such a long period.

Assembly elections will also be held simultaneously in the states of Andhra Pradesh, including Telangana region, Odisha and Sikkim.

BJP is tipped as front runner on the basis of opinion polls, but ambitious regional leaders are also vying for the space vacated by a UPA perceived to be in decline. A long campaign is sure to see several twists in the tale before the eventual winner is declared around mid-May.

India home to 70 billionaires; Mukesh Ambani richest Indian

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India is home to the fifth largest group of billionaires in the world and Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, is the country’s richest man with a personal fortune of $18 billion, says a report ‘2014 global rich list’ by China-based research firm Hurun. Mukesh Ambani was ranked 41st in the list that was topped by Bill Gates, whose personal net worth stood at a whopping $68 billion. Other noted Indians in the list include Lakshmi N Mittal ranked 49th with a personal net worth of $17 billion.

Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani

Lakshmi Mittal

Lakshmi Mittal

 

Dilip Sanghvi of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Wipro’s Azim Premji both ranked 77th with a personal wealth of $13.5 billion each. Tata Sons’ Pallonji Mistry ranked 93rd with a personal wealth of $12 billion. SP Hinduja & family was ranked 93rd on the list, with a net worth of $12 billion.

Dilip Shanghvi

Dilip Shanghvi

Azim Premji

Azim Premji

In the global rich list, Gates was followed by Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett (2nd) with a personal wealth of $64 billion and Amancio Ortega of Inditex was ranked 3rd with $62 billion fortune. The fourth position was claimed by Carlos Slim Helu & family ($60 billion) while Oracle’s Larry Ellison with $60 billion was ranked fifth.

The report said that during the past year the Indian rupee weakened 12 per cent against the US Dollar, making it harder for Indians to make the cut-off. Despite the currency fluctuations, India has improved its position over last year. In the 2014 Hurun global rich list, the country is ranked fifth with 70 billionaires, 17 more than 2013. Interestingly, India has higher number of these super rich individuals than Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan.

The combined wealth of the Indians billionaires comes to a staggering $390 billion. The US is home to 481 billionaires, followed by China with 358 billionaires. The US and China now have half of all billionaires on the planet, the report said, adding that the UK, Japan, Switzerland, India and Russia are growing fast in terms of billionaires. Moreover, Mumbai is home to 33 billionaires and is among the top six billionaire cities in the world.

New York is officially the ‘Billionaire Capital of the World’ as 84 of the Hurun Billionaires live in the ‘Big Apple’, up 14 from 70 last year.

The list is a compilation of US dollar billionaires and wealth calculations were a snapshot of the positions on January 17, 2014. The list ranked 1,867 billionaires from 68 countries. The total wealth of these super rich people amounted to an eye-popping $6.9 trillion. Of the 1,867 billionaires, 946 saw their wealth increase and there were 482 new faces. Only 318 individuals saw their wealth decrease and 123 remained unchanged. The average age is 64, up one year from 2013. One in nine billionaires is a female, compared with one in ten last year, the report said.

7th edition of Delhi International Arts festival ends on high note

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The 15 days of cultural festivity in the city ended on high note. The Seventh Edition of Delhi International Arts Festival organized by Prasiddha foundation and Ministry of Culture, Govt of India witnessed performances of different regions with a touch of both national and international colours.

The festival started with a magnificent performance by the Pung Cholam from Manipur, Langas & Manganiars from Rajasthan, Hety & Zambo from Columbia, National Troupe of Folk Arts from Egypt, Rouf Dance from Kashmir and Traditional Dance from Srilanka at Purana Qila on 8th February. The festival witnessed enthralling shows and performances like the Visual Arts and Crafts exhibition, Pran & Farooq Shaikh Restrospective, a film festival to pay tribute to the legendary actors, Hollywood & Children’s Film Festival, Kalaripayattu Martial Arts from Kerala, Magic show by Spanish magician Murray Molloy, Dhrupad music.

Prathibha Prahlad

Prathibha Prahlad

In addition, it brought performances from remote parts of Kerala, Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Bihar and several others. Literature events included panel, discussions and talks at the Sahitya Akademi, Iranian illumination artistes and craftsmen who demonstrated their works at the National Museum and the Crafts Museum.

It was an extraordinary time for the art and culture lovers of Delhi. Classical music lovers witnessed Dhrupad Festival which featured musicians from all over India like Ustad Wasiffudin Dagar, Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, Pandit Uday Bhawalkar and others. Theatre enthusiasts enjoyed the staging of Abhignana Shakuntala directed by K N Pannikar at the National School of Drama and a Spanish Play Holiday Out at the Institute of Cervantes.

The gala closing took place at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Lawns with a soulful Sufi and Qawwali by Barkat Sidhu from Punjab and Nazir Ahmed Khan Warsi & Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi from Hyderabad.

Barkat Sidhu with his team performing Qawwali

Barkat Sidhu with his team performing Qawwali

Qawwali by Warsi Qawwals

Qawwali by Warsi Qawwals

 

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