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When Ujjwala loses the shine

Near a deserted park in Salempur Jat village in Bulandshahar sit a few men discussing politics. Sipping their morning tea, the men are engaged in a heated conversation about upcoming elections, education for the poor, local village issues and rising prices of fuel and LPG cylinders.  Narrating his tale of woe, 52-year-old Bane Singh says that his family was forced to use firewood

Balakot airstrike: Narendra Modi`s strategic pragmatism

Just as army commandos who conducted surgical strikes in September 2016 returned safely to their base, India’s Director General of Military Operation (DGMO) called his counterpart in Pakistan and informed him about the action against terrorist camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK). Though the Pakistani DGMO was aware of the situation by then, he asked the Indian army official not revea

Kashmir conundrum and Pakistan’s democracy deficit

The Kashmir conundrum was never below the radar, but the Pulwama attack has once again put terrorism and foreign-aided separatism on top of the national agenda. The ghastly killing of the CRPF personnel in the suicide bombing has shocked the entire India and peace-loving people everywhere. Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed it was behind the act. It’s a script that

On a personal note: Rabbi Shergill

Punjabi singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Rabbi Shergill rose to fame in 2004 with his chartbuster song ‘Bullah Ki Jaana’ from his debut album ‘Rabbi’. Inspired by rock and Punjabi folk music, he uses Punjabi language to create acoustic rock-based ballads. His poetic and socially relevant lyrics instantly connected with an urban crowd who loved him for his genuine a

The light turns amber

In a black salwar-suit and matching headscarf, Ruksana (name changed) listens carefully from a corner of the hall. Members of her support group are talking about their suffering, struggles, aspirations and achievements. At her turn, she slowly opens up. Like that of many others, her story is one of deceit, despair and misery. Yet she sees hope.   Ruksana was 21 when a

For a healthy tomorrow

When Dr Shruti Kamdi (pictured on left), a transfusion specialist at a leading Mumbai hospital, had her first child, she struggled to nurse her baby as she was unable to secrete enough milk. Admitted to a private hospital, she was put on medication to increase breast milk. But that didn’t help much. And four months after the delivery, she had to put her baby on breast milk substitutes (BM

Reinvigorating reinsurance

After the liberalisation of the insurance industry in 2000, private firms (mostly in partnerships with foreign firms) have readily taken to the sector. Till FY18 there were 23 private firms in the life insurance sector and 21 in general insurance segment. However, it was only in 2016-17 that the first private domestic reinsurance firm, ITI Reinsurance, entered the industry and was yet to begin

Informal power

Villages without power supply are easy to find though the government says there are none. The lines are laid, but many villagers are too poor to pay for electricity. BPL (below poverty line) families, entitled to free supply, are waived the installation charge. But they don’t have money to wire their homes. Others are held back by the fear that bills will rise beyond reach. &nbs

Estonia eyes on more e-Residents from India to open startups

Riho Kruuv, Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia talks to Vishwas Dass on key issues like the importance of e-Residency programme of the Government of Estonia and why Estonia is becoming a preferred investment destination for Indian startups and budding entrepreneurs. The Ambassador says Estonia offers a Euro 500 million European Union (EU) market to Indian entrepreneurs. &n

Betting on nostalgia

“Aandhi” (Storm), director Gulzar’s movie starring Suchitra Sen and Sanjeev Kumar, was made in 1975, when Indira Gandhi reigned supreme in Indian politics. The film, based on Kamleshwar’s Hindi novel ‘Kaali Aandhi’, depicted the life of a woman politician, and it was believed to be partly inspired by the life of the then prime minister. Suchitra Sen too app

On a personal note: Bhagyashree

Despite the stupendous success of her debut film Maine Pyaar Kiya, which won her the Filmfare award for Best Female Debut in 1990, Bhagyashree chose marriage over stardom. After a break, she acted in a few Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri and Kannada films. She has also appeared in television soaps. In 2015, she became the brand ambassador of the Bhagyashree Scheme, launched by the g

Budget a helping hand for neo-middle class

An official who worked closely with Narendra Modi during his stint as the chief minister of Gujarat told me an anecdote to explain his style of working. Just before the 2007 state assembly elections, Modi had found himself pitted against a strong lobby of Patel farmers and the RSS-backed Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.   What got the goat of the affluent Patidars was Modi&rsqu

“Let’s look at monuments not just as history but as art”

Swapna Liddle’s wide and warm smile is the kind of comfort one looks for on a cold January afternoon. Her love for Delhi, its monuments, its history, resulted in a doctoral thesis on 19th century Delhi. Led by a mind trained in history, she has ambled numerous times among Delhi’s unnumbered monuments, cherishing the well known and exploring the less known. From these leisurely f

Fernandes: a die-hard proponent of anti-Congressism – with shifting loyalties

It was some time in 2011. Lal Krishna Advani was in his chamber in the parliament complex waiting to receive George Fernandes, a long-time friend and political comrade-in-arms. Fernandes was ushered in assisted by his wife, Leila Kabir, and sundry aides. His walk was infirm. Advani looked at him quite pensively and asked, “Do you recognise me, George?” Fernandes showed no si

"Dance is all about enjoying the process"

Born to Padma Bhushan awardee Kuchipudi dancers, Dr Raja and Dr Radha Reddy, Yamini gave her first dance performance at the age of three. She has received Sangeet Natak Akademi award, National Bismillah Khan Yuva Purasakar and Devadasi National Award among others. She was the first dancer ever to perform at the Wigmore Hall London in 2011. She has performed for various heads of countries at

“ITDC aims to deliver the best to all our stakeholders”

Ravneet Kaur, IAS, chairperson and managing director (CMD) of India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC) speaks to Rahul Trivedi about this government undertaking’s growth plans. Edited excerpts from the interview:   ITDC’s financial performance has been on upswing in recent quarters. What is fuelling this growth? ITDC ha

The Kumbh: The grandest spectacle on earth

It is an incredible sight. As our small boat moves towards the Sangam (the confluence of the river Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati at Prayagraj) much before the break of the dawn, a sea of humanity surges forward to take a holy dip in icy waters in an extremely cold weather by north India’s standards. Thus begins the Shahi Snan (the royal bath), marking the launch of the Kumbh Mela,

Interview: Yogi Adityanath on how he’s changing the perception of UP

As my vehicle drove through the gates of Bungalow no 5 on Kalidas Marg, the official residence of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, I could discern a marked difference. Austerity was in the air. Just before I reached there, he had hosted a plain vegetarian lunch for top police officers who had gathered in Lucknow to celebrate the police week. Barring a few vehicles of these offi

“Extreme weather is the new normal”

Climate change is for real. And the recent Kerala floods and the deepening farm crisis make this a dreadful phenomenon for India. IMD chief KJ Ramesh talks about how well- or ill-prepared the country is to deal with the change in climate.   From cyclones to unexpected snowfall, 2018 witnessed some severe weather events. Climate ch

"An artist has to feel and behave responsibly"

Famously known for his onscreen role as ACP Pradyuman in the popular TV series CID, Shivaji Satam is a veteran who has worked in theatre, television and films. Before taking up full-time acting, Satam worked as a cashier in Central Bank of India. His performances in many Hindi and Marathi movies have been appreciated. He has twice won the Maharashtra State Film Award for the best actor.



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