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What Is The News

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Devidas Deshpande

Published by FastPencil, Inc.

Copyright 2010 Devidas Deshpande Published by FastPencil, Inc. 3131 Bascom Ave. Suite 150 Campbell CA 95008 USA (408) 540-7571 (408) 540-7572 (Fax) info@fastpencil.com http://www.fastpencil.com All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher. The Publisher makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any commercial damages. First Edition

Contents
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26

LInde un hub de film ? Pas encore ? ............ 1 Pakistan is a stage for this Pune drama group ................................................. 7 [Untitled] .......................................... 11 [Untitled] .......................................... 15 [Untitled] .......................................... 19 [Untitled] .......................................... 21 Why Amitabh is Big B ........................... 29 [Untitled] .......................................... 33 [Untitled] .......................................... 39 Bollywood Dhoom in Germany .............. 45 [Untitled] .......................................... 51 Spiritual Pull of the Hinduism ................. 59 Chiruthe eternal hero ........................ 63 Shahrukh Ban Gaya Joker ....................... 67 Germany Toying With Bollywood ............ 71 Three Cheers for Crowe ........................ 75 Pokkiri : Vijay has one more success .......... 79 Indian movies growing out of all woods ..... 85 A walk in distaste ................................. 89 Tollywoods Sorry Picture ...................... 93 Himesh faces music in Germany ............... 99 CBFC certification: Telugu movies tops list ................................................. 103 Shivaji: How many hurdles? .................. 107 Pune on to Nandigram way? ................. 113 The Modis Operandi of Growth ............. 117 Sivaji-the spoiled status ........................ 125

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Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48 Chapter 49 Chapter 50 Chapter 51 Chapter 52

Two for tango, humble tango ................ Sivaji reigns, as always, but ................ Bollywood in the dock again ................. Rajnikant : The new movie icon of India ... 123 Agreement : Deal or no Deal? .......... The King rocksas always ................... Andhras WhYSR? .............................. A ghastly act, but a possible reaction too! ............................................ The No Show of Sports Movies .............. The winner of Kremlin ........................ Happy Birhtday..Boss! ..................... Hollywood faded out .......................... Chinese learners dwindling in Pune ......... Lost in translation! ............................. When Mahatma called himself Farmer ..... CYG ahead, its boom time for hospitality industry .......................................... Pune-the foreign visitors hub ................ Log in the desi way ......................... Net Access still a difficult task ................ Miscreants use MNS tag to fleece north Indians ............................................ Bloggers share ideas and tips ................. [Untitled] ........................................ Will Astrology deliever? ....................... Eight RTI Applications Led Him to Frauds, Forgery ................................. [Untitled] ........................................ The Green Killer ................................

131 133 141 147 153 159 165 169 173 183 187 191 195 197 201 205 209 213 217 221 225 227 229 235 243 245

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Chapter 53 Chapter 54 Chapter 55 Chapter 56 Chapter 57 Chapter 58 Chapter 59 Chapter 60 Chapter 61 Chapter 62 Chapter 63 Chapter 64 Chapter 65 Chapter 66 Chapter 67 Chapter 68 Chapter 69 Chapter 70 Chapter 71 Chapter 72 Chapter 73 Chapter 74 Chapter 75 Chapter 76 Chapter 77 Chapter 78 Chapter 79 Chapter 80 Chapter 81 Chapter 82

What a time! ..................................... Punes Dog Problem ........................... Weeding Out Bodies From Mula River .... [Untitled] ........................................ No to Terrorism from Muslims in Pune .... [Untitled] ........................................ A Drive to the Discipline ...................... A Bhandar of Controversies .................. [Untitled] ........................................ [Untitled] ........................................ A Dose of Protest from Doctors ............. Pune Petrol Costliest in India ................ [Untitled] ........................................ Narayan Murthy : Romancing Pune ........ E-Wasting to Danger ........................... With Chhatrapati of Kolhapur ............... DRY DAYS AHEAD! .......................... A Meeting With French IT Journalist ....... [Untitled] ........................................ Salute to Martyrs: After 150 years ........... A two million Euro question .................. EKAThe Story Continues ................. [Untitled] ........................................ [Untitled] ........................................ [Untitled] ........................................ [Untitled] ........................................ [Untitled] ........................................ [Untitled] ........................................ Wagh Nakh to Return to Land of Shivaji ... Rains in the city .................................

249 253 259 267 269 275 281 287 295 299 305 309 313 317 321 327 331 335 339 345 349 353 361 367 371 375 379 383 387 393

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Chapter 83 Chapter 84 Chapter 85 Chapter 86 Chapter 87 Chapter 88 Chapter 89 Chapter 90 Chapter 91 Chapter 92 Chapter 93 Chapter 94 Chapter 95 Chapter 96 Chapter 97 Chapter 98 Chapter 99 Chapter 100 Chapter 101 Chapter 102 Chapter 103 Chapter 104 Chapter 105 Chapter 106 Chapter 107 Chapter 108 Chapter 109 Chapter 110

Astrologers Fail the Test ...................... First Graphic Novel of India .................. CYG : The Games of Politics ................. Booked to Literature ........................... Sergey Bubka on a High ....................... Vihang Netra Soars to New Heights ........ [Untitled] ........................................ Tracing the French-Maratha Steps .......... Pune Station on New Look Track ........... The Trip To kolhapur ......................... Mumbai Attacked Again ...................... It is a War, not just an attack .................. Confusion Reigns Even Now ................. SCIENTIFIC AUTO RICKSHAWS LAUNCHED IN PUNE ...................... Tremors after the Quake ...................... [Untitled] ........................................ [Untitled] ........................................ A Million Smile Man ........................... Ashok Chavan, new Maharashtra CM ...... [Untitled] ........................................ An unimpressive conference ................. [Untitled] ........................................ Animals Dont Go Wild .................... The Neighbouring Shopowner Needs Protection ........................................ [Untitled] ........................................ Powerless Maharashtra ........................ The Sweet Grapes .............................. Marathwada Divided ..........................

395 401 405 409 413 417 421 423 429 433 437 439 445 449 453 457 461 467 471 473 477 481 485 489 493 497 501 505

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Chapter 111 Diamond Jubilee of NCL ..................... 509 Chapter 112 Film Festival : Does It Help .................. 515

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LInde un hub de film ? Pas encore ?
LInde un hub de film ? Pas encore ? Tandis que lInde se vante de la deuxime plus grande industrie de film dans le monde, elle a galement une prsence croyable des chiquenaudes de Hollywood ces derniers temps. Estime le projet qui dici 2025, les plus grandes assistances au monde sera en Chine et en Inde. LInde, avec une tradition film-allante vieille dun sicle est le march de rapide-croissance en Asie, reprsentant 73% des admissions Asie-Pacifiques. Ce montre une capacit prometteuse dmerger comme grand hub dans larne de divertissement pour le pays. Mais les affaires
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internationales de films ne signifient pas peu de crores de Bollywood et beaucoup plus de dollars de Hollywood, l ne sont pas beaucoup dindustries en monde, grondant et prosprant, rsilient et survivant qui montrent un talent surnaturel de prsenter leurs talents dans les manires dont les plus imaginatives seulement un mordu du cinma peut avoir. LIran, la France et lEspagne ont vraiment le ressort en avant en tant que joueurs vifs sur cette ligne. Compte tenu de cette situation, il y a loin peu des films de ces pays qui voient lobscurit des thtres indiens. Ainsi un grand morceau des mordus du cinma indiens restent sans surveillance par leur foire et desserrent par consquent la conscience ncessaire. Ainsi la question se pose alors voici ceci : LInde peut-elle vraiment devenir le capital du monde du cinma ? Peut-elle avoir les moyens de rclamer un endroit dans la monotonie globale des affaires moviemaking et de film, tout en collant aux ressources limites, sils peuvent sappeler ainsi, que ce semble ajustement ? Un point qui vient en avant est si le pays est `se produisant seulement dans le sens daffaires, ou

LInde un hub de film ? Pas encore ?

dans le sens plus grand de toutes les activits qui est assorti lui ? Parlons avec quelques exemples. Les films qui ont fait un futur en dernires annes, mme du pli de Hollywood taient ceux qui ont eu laction bourre dans tous elles. Aucun film qui a voqu les thmes de lmotion humaine, des questions concernant le comportement humain ou des questions sociales ntaient en grande partie inaperu ou donn une rponse tide. Quelques coups principaux de caisse de Hollywood en Inde incluent lagrgation de Titanic (1998) - de $11 millions ; Spiderman (2002) - $6.6 millions ; Godzilla (1998) - $6.1 millions - mourir un autre jour (2002) - $5 millions ; Terminateur 3 (2003) - $3.5 millions ; et Spiderman 2 (2004) - $7.4 millions. Il a incit les distributeurs circonspects quelques films lourds ou signicatifs de `et les a faits faire bon accueil ceux, qui pourraient se rsumer comme oeuvres alimentaires de `. Par consquent, le `la vitesse, le `Matrix ou les anges de Charlie de ` pourraient faire le foin sur la caisse tandis que la montagne de `nomm par rcompense dacadmie audacieux et belle, de `de Brockback et

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beaucoup comme eux se trouvaient vincs dans une semaine de leur premier criblage dans la plupart des thtres. Dans un sens, Hollywood tiennent le premier rle a briller encore en Inde, en dpit de ses meilleurs efforts de pntrer le march. Il se vante plus de de 90% du march europen aussi bien quune grande part dans dautres rgions film-allantes. Mais il a faire encore une bosselure, avec environ 5% du march indien. Hollywood est entr dans lInde pour obtenir une prise dans le vide crateur gauche par un Bollywood alors-confus. Quand Hollywood a accd au march indien de film en 1992, il a agrg de pauvre $1.3 millions. Depuis lors, les films tels que le parc jurassique, le Godzilla, le Titanic, le Spiderman et lAnaconda, avec leurs versions doubles, ont fait des affaires normes. Par exemple, Spiderman a ratiss dans les revenus de $6.6 millions tandis que sa suite Spiderman 2 agrgeait $7.44 millions. Godzilla a galement agrg plus de $6 millions Ce laisse peu pour expliquer quel genre de films le rendent grand ici. Et aucune estimation pour savoir que la plupart des revenus mentionns ci-dessus sont

LInde un hub de film ? Pas encore ?

venues des versions doubles de ces films. Ainsi comment lInde va-t-elle clbrer la magie des films dans cette sphre limite ? Si lInde est davoir une domination du monde dans les films lancent sur le march ou elle compte avoir une plthore doccasions dans cette sphre, prvoyant mme une certaine influence pour ses industries du cru, alors elle doit souvrir aux vistas plus grands disponibles chaque entourage. Lexprience jusqu maintenant est lackluster, pour dire les mineurs. Un festival des films franais par Alliance de Francais ici ou un festival des films allemands a arrang par le Mueller maximum que Bhavan l ne cre pas lenvironnement conducteur dont le futur lumineux est prvu.

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Pakistan is a stage for this Pune drama group
Pune : The Two-way diplomacy for strengthening Indo-Pak relations has taken roots in cultural arena. City of Pune is also contributing to this process in its own way. A drama group from here has received an invitation to perform in Pakistan for consecutive third time and whats more, the group is going to stage a Marathi play there this month. Raabta, an Urdu drama group will perform in Lahore for third time in a row. Portrait, a play written by Ratnakar Matkari will be staged on the
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occasion of a Drama Festival. The festival is organized every year in the memory of late Rafi Peer, who is considered to be one of the pioneers of the drama movement in South Asia. According to Syed Saeed Ahmed, the man behind Raabta, We are going to stage `Portrait by Mr. Matkari on the 10th and 11th of November. A total of forty drama groups are participating in the festival and some three to four groups from India will be there. But Raabta is perhaps the only group from India which is invited for third time, claims Mr. Ahmed. A troupe comprising of Manasi Lonkar, Atit Bhandari, Adil Attar and Ashraf Khan, besides Mr. Ahmed himself will go to Pakistan for the performance. The group had previously staged Jis Lahore Nahin Dekhya and Naqab at the festival. Those plays generated a lot of response there. Of those plays, Naqab was written by Rafi Peer himself and its theme relates to the perils of Nuclear arms. The group has even staged the play in Delhi, Gujarat and even Bangalore. This year, the organizers have invited the group for the festival on its own. Rafi Peer has eight

Pakistan is a stage for this Pune drama

plays to his credit and all these plays are in the pipeline for productions. Among these, seven plays are to be staged by Pakistani group and remaining one has been given to Raabta. These plays will be staged next year, informed Mr. Ahmed.

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Pune fast becoming Pollywood Pune : The city of pensioners has long become city of IT peoples. And now Pune is emerging as a rival to its neighboring city Mumbai. Yes, the Mayanagari of Mumbai is slowly but steadily moving to Pune and the trend is limited not only to Bollywood but to Hollywood and Kollywood also. The month long sojourn by Brangelina for the shooting of A Mighty Heart has put Pune on global entertainment map. In the frenzy and hype of this film, famous Southern director S. Shankar also canned some dance and song sequences for his forthcoming film Shivaji-the Boss. A Rajini11

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kant starrer, Shivaji-the Boss had its previous schedules in Spain and Japan also. Then the crew landed straight at Panshet Dam, a 25 KM or something tourist destination from the city. The shooting was also held at various places including Magarpatta City. Ram Gopal Varma, Priyadarshan, Gautam Menonthese are some prominent names in Bollywood who have worked repetitively in Pune and continue to do so. Whats more, Ramus Vastu was based solely on a bungalow near Lonavala. There was a time when only Marathi cinema was produced in Pune and most of the Marathi producers were based here. Historic vicinity of Pune provided ample ambience and limited motion ensured cost-affordability. All the while, Hindi cinema flourished in Mumbai. The scene has changed in the last decade and major production houses, both of big and small screen varieties choose Pune as a favored destination. Increasing facilities of transport, closeness to Mumbai, relatively low cost of work is some of the reasons why Bollywood is increasingly coming to Pune.

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Actors in politicsin South Korea too!
Forget NTR, MGR and Jayalalithaforget even Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna or Sunil DuttNow even South Korea has a film star in the Government. It is not only in India that film artists dangle in politics and make a career out of it. A country as large as USA had a president in Ronald Regan who was a popular star before he confronted his Democrat Party opponents and became the President. The US even now has Arnold Schwarzeneger, a hugely popular action hero not only in US but also in Japan, Asia, Europe and other parts of the world. The man now holds the chair of the governorship of California and recently been reelected. Now, in South one cabinet minister stands out for his elegant traditional robes and a coveted award honouring him as the countrys top screen actor. Kim Myung-gon, a

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former movie star, traditional Korean opera singer and National Theatre director, occupied a space in the council of ministers just earlier this year. He is South Koreas minister of culture. When Kim, 54, makes appearances in his new role as a cabinet minister, members of the public still treat him like a star by taking pictures of him and asking for autographs.Kims appointment in March has added colour to a government dogged by low public approval ratings and shaken over criticism it mishandled relations with North Korea, political analysts say. Kim first made a name for himself as an opera singer specialising in a traditional story-telling song called pansori, which is like a oneman opera where the singer voices many characters and uses a folding fan as a prop. Kim then became a movie star after stumbling into the lead of a movie that dominated the local box office for years.He won the countrys top acting honour for the 1993 film Sopyonje, which tells of a down-and-out pansori singer trying to find a place in a modern world that has passed him by. Kim, who has appeared in more than 20 movies playing heroes in historical dramas and down-on-their-luck guys in contemporary films, has written books and lectured at universities.

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An UNI story
Panaji : Watching Indian films is not at all a problem for the French as they do not want these films to be dubbed in their own language, according Serge Sobczynski, in charge of the Cinema du Monde(Cinema of the World) section of the Cannes Film Festival. The French want to enjoy the original sound of Indian languages, so as to get a real feel of the work, he said. Mr Sobczynski is here at the of India International Film Festival to select Indian films for Cannes 2007 which would celebrate Indias 60th independence day during its own 60th anniversary next year. He told UNI that in France, films are screened with only French subtitles as people feel that watching a dubed film destroys the original effect. Can you get a real Ingmar Bergman except in the Swedish language? said Mr Sobczynski.He said during

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the Cannes 2007 there will be two days entirely devoted to Indian cinema one day for art films and the second day for the mainstream cinema. I will try to see as many films as possible in the India Panorama section of the Goa film festival to make selections for the Cannes, he said.Replying to a querry, Mr Sobczynski said Indian films were beginning to be appreciated in France and of late the market was also opening up for them. My take: I fully agree with Mr. Sobczynski. The dubbed film really destroys the delight of the original ones. I have seen it in Roja and Muthu Maharaja (original Muthu). Subtitles are the best way for a foreign film to be appreciated. Hasving said thzat, one must note, ironically though, Tamil Anniyan is the first Indian film to be dubbed in French. Rajinikants Muthu will be featured in one French film, Pret Moi Toi Main for 120 seconds.

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A Dubious Feat Sometime ago while commenting upon an UNI story I had written, that dubbed films diminish enjoyment of a particular film. The better option will be to have subtitles instead. Those were my personal opinions and they did not required to be corroborated. On the contrary, I was aware of the fact that a large number of audienc go for such films. Particularly enjoyed from this lot are action movies! Now this fact is proved by a recent report from far south. A prominent English eveninger from Tamilnadu has reported that Telugu dubbed movies are gaining ground once again in the state. Here is an excerpt:
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A decade ago, a host of Telugu films dubbed into Tamil flooded the theatres in the State. Movies of Dr. Rajashekhar, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna and Vijayashanthi were dubbed and released simultaneously. A handful of them managed a decent run. Over the years, patronage for such films reduced considerably and virtually came to a standstill with remakes being the norm. In contrast, Tamil moves dubbed to Telugu started to rule the roost in Andhra. The success of Ghajini, Chandramukhi, Poguru (Thimiru in Tamil), 7G Brindavan Colony (7G Rainbow Colony in Tamil) is example. The popularity of Tamil films being dubbed forced Telugu producers to contemplate a ban on the same. However, after a long gap, Kollywood seems to be veering towards dubbed Telugu films again. Three Telugu movies are ready for release in Tamil now. Chiranjeevis Jai Chiranjeeva, Mahesh Babus Arjun and Lawrence Raghavendra and Prabhu Deva-starrer Style are slated for release.

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Jai Chiranjeeva stars Chiranjeevi, Bhoomika and Sameera Reddy while Arjun features Mahesh Babu and Shriya and the whole movie is set in Madurai. Mahesh Babu, Keerthi Reddy are playing brother and sister and Shreya is in female lead. Prakshraj and Saritha are in other roles. Most of the faces are familiar for Tamil audiences. According to a prominent distributor, they are confident that these movies will do well. They all have big star cast and a story line, which would be to the liking of the audience. The fate of these movies will set a new path for several other Telugu films waiting to be dubbed Tamil. This pondering about the dubbed films did not catch my fancy until I watched Roja recently. This Mani Rathnam directed Arvind Swamy, Madhu starrer was a huge hit in about 1992. Originally released in Tamil, it was released later in dubbed versions in Telugu and Hindi. I was one of those who could not help but mesmerized by this flick in 1993 and there appeared no flaw then in the movie. Just last month I watched it on a channel and realized first time what a crime a

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dubbed film commits to original. Here I talk of Roja because it was a hit and never have I came across any comment about the quality of the dubbing in this film. In the movie, the main protagonist Roja is a village girl. Draped in the scenic beauty of rural Tamilnadu, Mani Rathnam has etched out a visual poetry on the silver screen. Now when you see the movie, the girls wearing Pudavai, Selai and men wearing Veshti with elaan, sandalwood powder tilak seen prominently on their forehead are seen speaking in Bihari dialect and accent without slightest hesitation! This movie was not the only one doing such a thing. The same feat was achieved in the Kamal Haasan movie, Appu Raja where Apoorva Sahodargal was brought on Hindi screen with dubbed dialogues. The lead actor and actress in the film, Kamal Haasan and Revathi respectively, roam singing in the Nilgiri jungle, which has a distinct Southern view in it. But all the characters in the film refer to the place as Lonavala, which is a tourist spot in Maharastra. And all types of trees but Nigiris crowd Lonavala. The same fate fell on Muthu, which is an all time

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hit of Superstar Rajinikant. Its dubbing is so lackluster that an important aspect of the film is twisted in the process. In the original, the main villain of the film is the brother of the Jamindars mother, while in Muthu Maharaja; he is shown as a friend of the Jamindars father. The state of the dubbed films being so, it is really surprising then that they are so popular in the territories where they are exhibited. Lack of quality films in the local language and an appetite for some good films on the part of the people in the region might be a reason for the same. I have seen this curious trend in Hindi nowadays with CDs and DVDs of films popular Southern actors like Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Balkrishna, Venkatesh, Vijay, Vikram, Arjun and many others are being sold. Footpaths of major cities in Maharashtra are full of these and they are being sold in no time. As said above, quality of dubbing of these films is nothing said the better. Still audience tend to enjoy, at least it seems going by the way they are growing in numbers and people enquiring about them. There are people whom I know, who see

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these films regularly, and they swear that they do not get the stuff in Bollywood movies. That explains one way the success of dubbed ones. But that has not given recognition to the people concerned with original films as they have received in Telugu. The dubbed films are in vogue for a long time in Andhra Pradesh where film industry is a major player in the whole of industrial sector in the state. There dubbed films as well as remakes continued to go hand in hand with the original ones and all these have competed each other without whining. But a recent decision of the leaders of the AP film industry might change this scenario. They have decided to impose a ban on the dubbed film releasing in the state and the decision is being implemented from 13th Nov. This year. The move is likely to have an effect not only on Hindi films, but also English, Tamil, Malayalam and other regional languages films as well. Even James Bond films have been released in their dubbed avatar in the past and they have collected the money as much as Telugu ones. Last

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year, many Tamil films like Anniyan, Chandramukhi, Thambi, Thimiru, SandaiKozhi etc. were dubbed in Telugu and received more than warm welcome by the Telugu audience. The recent decision might hamper the prospects of new arrivals, but none the same it will surely pave the way for remakes. Already AP film industry is full of rehabilitated Bollywood actors, music directors and above all actresses. If the audience is ready to accept them as much as their own artists, how can artisans keep them at a hands bay? This decision coming on the heels of the success of dubbed Tamil films, might be an attempt to save the Telugu industry from being washed away by the Tamil films, but it will certainly keep the audience with some options ready for them in the form of new films and that too good ones. An audience subsisting on a large number of halfbaked stuff will always be worse than the one willing to have a limited but good material at its disposal.

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7
Why Amitabh is Big B
Big Bs Bindass Bol
Hindi film superstar Amitabh Bachchan is known as Big B in India. It has something to do with his stature as the most successful actor in Hindi filmdom. As a man who has ruled Bollywood without any challenge for more than a decade, whose name spells profit for distributors and who have proved time and again, what length he can to achieve his goals, he deserves the title the fans and industry people have given to him. But it is his thinking mind that gives more credence to his already established position as the numero uno man of Hindi films. Any issue pertaining to Bollywood remains unresolved until BigB has aired his opinion on the same. And man, what thoughts he speaketh out. Sometimes he speaks what others in the industry are either afraid of speaking or cant speak up, being utterly unable to grasp the reality. One

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gets to know why Amitabh was once called One Man Industry. This guy is the only thinking block around. Others might feign intellectuality, the wisdom comes only from the knowledgeable ones.Given this background, his latest statement attributing Bollywodd success to economic progress of India goes on to be one more example of his amazing many sided persona. The burgeoning economic progress of the country has given a huge fillip to Indian films globally, Mr. Bachchan has been quoted as saying. This is not the first time that he has sighted some non filmy reasons as the base of success for the movies. It is a different matter altogether that many of these films featured Big B as in prominent roles and those who flooded theatres to watch his movies would vouch something else. Some two years ago, Mr. Bachchan had said that the frustration and anger in Indian youth after emergency was one of the reason for unbelievable success of his consecutive films. By doing so, he established himself as a thinking artist in Bollywood, a rare commodity in itself. His reasoning at that time was as valid as it is this time. There is no denying of the fact that after the emergency episode in 1975, Indian youth and people as a whole were full of resentment. They found their Exhaust valve in Big B. His portrayal of angry youth, full of vengeance taking revenge on society, was easily lapped up for this reason. Diwar, Lawaris, Trishulthese were some of the films that showed a fierce Amitabh with Vendetta as his sole agenda. This roles earned him the epitaph of Angry Young Man.

Why Amitabh is Big B

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But this could not be the success of Amitabh movies, as is proven by the recent run of his films on various Satellite Channels of his films. His popularity lies not in political reason or situations surrounding him but the solid base of his personality. Now he has explained away economic growth of the country as the reason for the stunning run of Bollywood movies in overseas market. I always believed that when a country does well economically, everything about it gets noticed - its dress, culture, language and the films, the 64year-old actor said while launching the album of his latest film Baabul which will have a world premiere on Dec 8. The success of Bollywood films like Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna shows that the Indian audience is also beginning to mature and are prepared to watch films with different topics and different subjects, he said. Mr. Bachchan was also categorical about venturing into Hollywood. Though revered in India and many Third World countries more than any actor from Hollywood, he has been asked time and again about working in Hollywood or winning an Oscar. This time also, asked whether he planned to move over to Hollywood films, Bachchan said such presumption gave the impression that acting in Hollywood films was the ultimate thing. We are happy with Bollywood films and we would like to see good films being produced in Bollywood which are universally acclaimed. Answering a question on different types of roles he had been playing during his illustrious career, the Big B said that we move with the time and adopt ourselves to the changing times, values and percep-

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tion. May be a film like Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna which deals with extra marital relations might not have been so successful a few years back.

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Figuring out the beauty
It was in the month of September that the issue of skinny models first cropped up. As an Indian, who is brought on the Aestheticism of Kamasutra, I always abhored these models. I always liked the models who have on their body right curves at the right place. Thats why when a buxom actress like Kate Winslet speaks against such models, it must assume some significance. Oscar-nominated Kate Winslet has said that she refused to have magazines in her house because she was worried about her six-year-old daughter Mia reading them.Its only a matter of time before she becomes aware of it and it frightens the life out of me, she told the BBC at the weekend.Winslet is not the only one to worry about the dietary craziness of teen girls who want to make it big in modelling.

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Sometime ago, the mother of a Brazilian fashion model who died from complications of anorexia made an emotional appeal for parents to take better care of aspiring young models. The death of Ana Carolina Reston (21) followed the death in August of Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos of heart failure during a fashion show in Montevideo. Reston died in November from a generalised infection caused by anorexia, an eating disorder in which sufferers obsessively deprive themselves of food in pursuit of an ultra-slim look. Reston weighed only 40 kg and was about 5 feet 8 inches tall. Take care of your children no money is worth the life of your child, not even the most famous (fashion) brand is worth this, Miriam, mother of Ana Carolina Reston told to a Brazillian newspaper. She said her daughter had been trying to help her family with the money she made as a model. Miriam spoke on national television and to local media to highlight the tragedy. She said she had pleaded with her daughter to eat more and to see a doctor. Spain barred models below a certain weight from a September fashion show in Madrid. Italian government and its fashion chiefs are working on a manifesto to crack down on the use of ultra-thin teenagers on the catwalk.Britains culture minister called for stick-thin models to be banned from the catwalk during London Fashion Week and the Indian health minister has warned that the number of young girls starving themselves to be thin is rocketing. But these attempte bore no apparent fruits . The issye remains hanged even today even so it was two months ago.This debate is going for a long time and

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the fashion world is divided over the issue, with many designers and models shrugging off concerns that ultrathin models may encourage eating disorders in girls and young women. Joining Winslet in this issue is Billie Piper, who starred in the hit British television series Doctor Who. What I resent is that there is an image of perfection that is getting thinner and thinner. Piper has said. She also said that her 13-year-old sister was already worried about her figure.I think the whole size zero debate is disgusting, she said in the upcoming edition of Glamour magazine, referring to the clothes size for the very thin. Why aspiring models take to starving themselves is an open question. It is true that a large chunk of the media, especially ad-world gives preference to ultra-thin models, but anyone with a sense would wouch that nothing proves a treat to the eye than a well bestowed human figure. A well sized womans body tops the list of the beatiful sights. If commercialization snatches, or tries to santch away this age old treat of the mankind, it is bound to fail. But the success hungry models fall prey to false notions and instead of a bountiful figure, Round Figure assumes more importance for them. This brings to anvil a major question : Do we succumb to the lure and hype created by commercial mediamen, who have access to the instruments that create an unnecessary hype around the people who deserve least. Do we need someone to tell us who or what looks beautiful? These skinny models apart, even 36-24-36 type standardizaiton of the beautiful women that has been kinda accepted by all

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and sundry all over the world appears to be one more way of the American way of categorization. It is heartning to see that eminent women of all types are coming forward to protest against this categorization. Beauty, as we see it, must come out of the figures.

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Needed : Indian lesson for Stallone
It happens now and then. Especially in moviedom. Stars who are accustomed to arclights can not breathe `out of focus. They try to prove the world that they can still grab the focus of the public. Many a stars and superstars have fallen prey to this attitude and some have really been sussessful in the endeavour. An actor after carving a larger than life image for himself, is assigned a measured time as his careerspan based on the experiences of past performers. Only a Amithabh or Rajnikant here or Marlon Brando there can outlong this careerspan. Examples of men who either proved to the world that they can overlive their prescribed and expected careerspan or perished in the process of attempting this can be found dime a dozen. But someone crying out loud to grab attention of public, and that too in Hollywood, was never heard of. And when

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that long unexpected thing happened, it could not become so curious as name of the person behind that cry. That man is Sylvester Stallone. One who is nourished on a regular dose of Bollywood, Hollywood and all other flicks, needs no introduction of Sylvester Stallone. The Rocky of the Seventies and Rambo of the eighties someshow was overshadowed in Nineties and afterwards. This action hero is now 60 years old and feels sidelined in Hollywood. He thinks its time to show people that careers of guys like him can last long after most people retire, and he sets out to prove it in his new movie, Rocky Balboa. People are living longer. They are healthier. They have more ambition, more energy, yet society is telling them to move aside, Stallone told Reuters. The movie Balboa, will be released in US theaters on December 20. It is the sixth movie in Rocky series that began with 1976s Rocky. Stallone famously raised about $1 million to make that low-budget film based on a screenplay he wrote and would not sell to Hollywoods studios unless he was the star. It subsequently went on to become a cult hit and established Stallone as the Superstar even before Rambo appeared on the scene. It also gave birth to various copied movies in India and elsewhere, the notable being `Boxer starring Mithun Chakraborthy and Main Intequam Loonga, a Dharmendra starrer. The original movie tells of a hapless boxer, Rocky The Italian Stallion Balboa, who overcomes huge odds to better his life. It became a surprise smash hit, earning over $117 million at US box offices, ($362 million in todays

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dollars), winning the Oscar for best film, and making Stallone a worldwide star. Four other movies followed the Philadelphia boxer through various stages career success, family troubles and bankruptcy. Stallone said the lovable lug has been championed by fans because he is humble, can be self-deprecating and is sometimes fearful of what life offers. He has an almost childlike naivete in the body of a very courageous fighter, Stallone said. Stallone said he wanted a nobler ending to the Rocky series than in 1990s Rocky V, in which Balboa fights a young boxer he trained to help save himself from financial collapse. Stallone, who wrote and directed Balboa, said he spent 6 1/2 years trying to get the movie made and most Hollywood studio executives scoffed at the idea. Eventually new management came in at the MGM studio which owns the Rocky films, and they helped Stallone raise $20 million a small amount by studio standards to make the movie. People in India, especially those in media and movies, tend to teach us about the excellence of Hollywood. But apart from the unacademic lure of the Indian movies, developments like these show that Hollywood can take a leaf out of us. We have more than one persona who have showed time and again that they need not go through tests once their mettle is unarguably proved. Take Amitabh Bachchan for example. The man who ruled Hindi movie industry for more than two decades, is now 65. Full five years more than Stallone. But he is still busiest actor in country. And if Stallone was a king in the Ring, Amitabh was the Shahenshah of action. But after a point in his

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career, he remained out of glare of cameras for about two years. Then he came again. Not Donning his usual Angry Young Man image but with a reinvented look of a sophisticated elder. Welded with the family dramas filled with Indian ethos, this elderly actor has now transgressed to yet unreached territories for Hindi cinema. Amitabhs resentful young actor might have been popular in Egypt and Mauritius, but his new avataar is now buzzword in places like Germany. A second example is that of Southern superstar Rajnikant. This actor is playing almost unifocal roles for more than twenty-five years, and still going places. He is the second most paid star in Asia (Pay: Approximately two million rupees per movie.) He had also at times put off his movie assignments, but every time he did so, managed to return with a bang. And with a bigger bang for that. He has not altered his image for a long time, but has experimented with the themes in the same set ups. That has endeared him to the public more and more. He did not nor does not require to say to public, that he wants to prove a certain point throgh his projects. Besides all these, Indian movie world is filled with people who have defied their age and set the screen on fire. Dileep Kumar, a stalwart in his own right, worked wonders in Saudagar in 1991, when he was more than 75 years old. Mohanlal, Mammooty, Chiranjeevi, Nagarajunthese are some of the actors in Indian films, who are past their forties and in some cases, even past their 50s but are not only have a footing in industry but also giving young performers a run for the money. They are playing usual Hero in the run-of-the-mill ven-

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tures as well as doing some memorable, so called meaningful roles. Thats why when Stallone claims to try to prove something, it sounds so unconvincing. And to return to his basic film for such an attempt is most fallacious. Balboa might come out as a good movie. But to relate it to one mans attempt to gain a footholding sucks the enjoyment out of it. Instead of banking on such fallacies, he should go on striking and shooting, the way we all liked him till now. Cmmon man, show must go on.

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Bollywood Dhoom in Germany
Bollywood cruises in Germany That Bollywood is crossing new frontiers in geographic terms is nothing of a news now. But that it has created a much frenzy outside India is certainly a thing to be applauded. That frenzy at this point of time is evident much in Germany. The country will witness a gala show in about a months time to celebrate the life Bollywoodway. In Germany, many people know Bollywood through television only. And for Germans, Bollywood films are those in which songs, dance, laughter, crying and all other masalas are rolled
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into one. For them, now Bollywood is to be presented live in show called Bharati. Which will showcase entire spectrum of the Indian movies from yesteryears to this day as they are. I read on a German website named ka-news.de the description of this show as follow (I have tried to translate it) : Bharati is a two hour long innovative work of art in fabric and tone, wherein 100 costumes made of expensive materials, brilliant fabric and vivid creations are employed. With these the Musical ensemble will tour all of Germany and Austria. The show will be held on 8 and 9 February 2007 in Baden-Baden. In this show, 15 artists and Six singers will play the songs from popular Bollywood films, which will be traditional tunes but will be played on modern lines. This will be second show of this proportion in Europe. The first being Bombay Dreams some two years ago. In fact, not only in Germany, but Bollywood films are gaining ground in Europe all over. Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner filmmakerYash Chopra has attributed this popularity to one reason. People who

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see our films feel happy, he said in an interview at this years Berlin Film Festival. The beats and strain of Bollywood music extravaganzas has become a booming economic and cultural force across Europe. Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Rithik Roshan starrer Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gum was shown on a German TV channel last year. This was the first time a Bollywood film was aired such a way. And it was a instant hity. Germany has a very small ethnic Indian (if not Asian) population, but radio stations there frequently broadcast listeners favourite Hindi, Punjabi, Pakistani, Ghazals, Indian Pop, Filmi and Bhangra hits. Indeed, in Germany, a national television network is drawing high ratings with prime-time Bollywood film marathon weekends. Dance schools around Europe are now besieged by people clamouring to sign up for courses in Bollywood-style dancing. Boutiques are all abling with glittery costume jewellery designed to make wearers look like Bollywood stars. In Britain, Bollywood films have started to make more money at the box office than home-grown

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productions. Pardes and Taal, produced by Subhash Ghai are two examples for this. This year, 69 Bollywood films have been released in Britain and 14 productions financed by the Indian film industry are being shot there. Britains three largest multiplex chains - Odeon, Vue Cinemas and Cineworld - routinely screen Hindi films that appear in the nations top 15 film lists. Hugely successful The Bollywood fad was spearheaded in Germany by Berlins Radio Multi-Kulti station, which specializes in ethnic programming. But the fad took off when dance club deejays began mixing Bhangra beats on their turntables. Arthouse cinemas featured Bollywood productions and that led to the first tentative prime-time TV viewings. They were hugely successful, says Joyce Mariel, a spokeswoman for RTL II television. The youthoriented network aired Good Times, Bad Times Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and, against all odds, scored high ratings.

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We had an average 2 million households, which is very good for us, Mariel recalls. And the best part of it all was that 73 per cent of the viewership was young women, which is an ideal target audience. Following up that success, RTL II aired Indian Love Story - Kal Ho Naa Ho and then showed Main Hoon Na last spring. Through word-ofmouth publicity alone, each was a bigger hit than the previous one.

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Tell of Two Woods
The Telugu film industry, that was rocking for last so many years is now seems to face music. The Tollywood seems to have been entangled in the time wrap of its own heydays. This biggest industry of Andhra Pradesh has been facing hard days for some time now and going by its present performance, it will be futile to hope that Telugu films prove to be a treat for our eyes in the year 2007. There are a number of films slated for release in coming months and they are worth Rs. 100 crores. There have been many upsets in the second half of the 2006, which include Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna starrers. These films have benn marred by the same storylines, inimaginative presentations. One senses as if the makers and performers of these flicks were taking audiences for a ride. This nullity or void on the part of makers has been aptly translated on the

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Box Office collections with only a handful of films making it in the hits category. Traditionally Christmas time is considered as auspicious for the film releases as Diwali and in case of Telugu films, that period extends upto Sankranthi. Accordingly, this year from the December 14th, several films will try their luck. NTR Juniors Rakhi has been released and it has been received well, if one goes by the initial reviews. Pawan Kalyan has been serching for a hit for last few years and he is throwing his hat with `Annavaram, joining them will be Allu Arjuns `Desamudhuru, Prabhas `Yogi which is a remake of Kananda blockbuster Jogi. Some reports cliam that Yogi is to be dubbed in Hindi and one satellite channel has bought rights for the same. Also testing waters will be Balakrishnas `Maharadhi whose release has been curiously postponed a couple of times now. These films were bought for staggering prices, all put together are about Rs. 90 crores to Rs. 100 crores. But, given the penchant of formulas and clichs in Telugu films, it is feared that half of these films might bomb miserably unless they have something substantial to offer to the discerning viewers. Already distributors have burned their fingers with Chiranjeevis `Stalin, Nagarjunas `Boss and Mahesh Babus `Sainikudu, all of which failed to reach the expectations of viewers, though they have garnered good openings. On the other hand, it was the small budget films that made waves bringing happiness to distributors and viewers. Sunils `Andala Ramudu is said to have collected four times the investment. Jagapathi Babus `Sama-

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nyudu, which started on a low key, has picked up considerably given its good content. Says a report in the newspaper Hindu: In the year 2006, only a handful of Telugu films hit the bulls eye and about hundred films bit the dust. Mahesh Babus `Pokiri, Nagarjunas `Sri Ramadasu, Siddharths `Bommarillu, Sunils `Andala Ramudu and Venkateshs `Lakshmi were the only genuine hits this year while several big heroes, including Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna, were down in the dumps. The biggest duds that incurred huge losses shattering all expectations include Pawan Kalyans `Bangaram, Balakrishnas `Veerabhadra, NTR Juniors `Ashok, Nagarjunas `Boss, Chiranjeevis `Stalin, and Mahesh Babus `Sainikudu. Ravitejas `Khatarnak, Prabhass `Pournami that halted the juggernaut of producer M.S. Raju, Siddharths `Chukkallo Chandrudu were also on the flop list. To make the matters worse, dubbed films from Kollywood and Hollywood rubbed salt on Telugu films wounds when they made a more money than these films. That prompted Telugu films producers association to take a drastic step. They decided to impose a ban on the dubbed Tamil films. This move also drew flank from some quarters, since it is many small producers, who use to dub and release the films. Many producers even went ahead as to question the rational behind this move and their argument was unambiguous: if big budget films can be remade and if they can have non-Telugu speaking artists, why cant we have dubbed films in the first place. While this year might end with a low note for Telugu films, in stark

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contrast stands the Tamil movie industry. Kollywood witnessed heightened activity and zeal this year, with many films turning out be profitable ventures. Especially pleasing thing for the industry is that many newcomers and dark horses proved to be winner. Kamal Haasan starrer Vettayadu Vilaiyadu was the first success of the year. This film is still going strong in many parts of Tamil Nadu. On many centers, it has already completed 100 days. It is considered to be a blockbuster.Director K.S. Ravikumar, who had in past delivered hits like Muthu and Padayappa, give yet another hit film with Varlaaru. This film initially was delayed much, so much so that nobody thought it would be released at all. But it was released and is running successfully. Its success might be gauged from the fact that after the packed houses run of the films in first few weeks, Superstar Rajnikanth called Ajith, the hero of the film and his wife Shalini on dinner and heaped praises on him. The film is now reckoned as the second coming of Ajith. Varlaaru got such a opening that it is considered to be the best opening a non-Rajini starrer can get. One such film which kept cash registers ticking was Imsai Arsan 23rd Pulikesi. Though the film has comedian Vadivelu in the lead role, it enjoyed a good run at the box office. Besides these there are many films like Thimiru, Em magan and now Rendu, which were profitable and had an envious stint on the box office. That made the producers from AP to dub them in Telugu and various other films from Kollywood found themselves to be remade in Kannada. The reason for the success of these films, as I se it, is that they had some original storylines, some out of

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box presentation and above all, these movies brimmed with novelties. Indeed in the first half of the year, Tamil movie marked was flooded with underworld flick with the successive successes of Thalainagaram, Kokki and other movies. But fortunately enough the trend was averted in time and now industry is reaping bonuses. It is high time Tollywood take a leaf out of Kollywood and enjoy the gains that it truly deserve.

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Spiritual Pull of the Hinduism
Eventhough world, especially English speaking literate class taked pride in deriding Hindu ethos. But the Hindu tradition and spirituality continues to overhelm people all over the world. This fact is corborated by a story that I chanced upon recenly. I reproduce the story as it is.
Allahabad : It was 38 years ago that Baba Rampuri, as this once Beverly Hills resident is now called, set out from Los Angeles in search of truth and peace. He was just 18 then. He has been at each Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh since 1971, and the son of an American dental surgeon turned Hindu ascetic says the English dictionary does not have a word to describe the bliss I experience each time I am here.
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His first halt was an ashram in Rajasthan, from where his guru took him to Haridwar, one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage centres on the bank of the Ganga, where he found his new home. By the time he was 20, he made up his mind to give up all worldly pleasures, including the company of the rich and the famous, to step into a contrasting world where abstinence was the buzzword. The saffron clad 56-year-old - who refuses to give his original American name - is now camping on the banks of the holy river here, taking part in the 42-day-long Ardh Kumbh - the every six-year religious cornucopia during which millions take dip in the Sangam, the confluence of three rivers sacred to Hindus, in the hope of gaining salvation from what the faithful believe the unending cycle of births and deaths. A dip at the Sangam during the Kumbh Mela gives me more pleasure that one could get in a football match, Baba Rampuri told IANS, taking a few puffs of the chillam which he describes as part of the tradition. I did go back to LA after my first visit here in 1968 but decided to return to India in 1971 once and for all and that too with just $20 in my pocket. Baba Rampuri was formally initiated into the world of Hindu ascetic life 36 years ago on these very banks of the Sangam. He was among the first few whites to find a privileged place in the Juna Akhara, which is considered the oldest of Indias nine Hindu akharas, or religious orders. There are many foreigners like Baba Rampuri, including women, who have left their homes in far away continents

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and have become Hindu sadhus. Most of them prefer not to reveal their original names. Says Jasraj Puri, an Australian who became a sadhu: My original name was washed down in the waters of the Ganga and got immersed in the Bay of Bengal 15 years ago when I joined the ashram of Swami Maheshwaranand, who went from India decades ago to set up base in Vienna. The 35-year-old former physiotherapist has picked up reasonably good Hindi as well and currently heads an ashram-cum-school run by his guru Maheshwaranand in Rajasthan. The polluted waters of the Ganga dont discourage him from a daily dip. The Ganga is spiritually so pure that pollution and even visible dirt becomes secondary and immaterial, explains Puri to IANS. Similarly, Ganga, 45, arrived here from her home in Britain nearly 10 years ago. I propose to spend the rest of my life in the Maha Nirvani Akhara, she said. While camping at the Ardh Kumbh, Ganga makes it a point to take a dip in the Sangam every morning. But it was a different experience on Mauni Amavasya (Jan 19), the holiest of the holy bathing days, she said after stepping out of the water in which an estimated ten million took a hallowed dip that day. Hindu spirituality continues to attract youth from various countries. Verena, 25, is a first-time visitor to the Kumbh from Germany and is so overwhelmed by the spiritual rituals here that she wouldnt mind settling down as a disciple in the Juna Akhara. And 24-year-old Dase, another Kumbh first-timer from Latvia, is only too keen to give her company. Susan, who has come from the US, is still

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debating whether she should abandon her filmmaking career in California and settle down to a saffron life of Hindu renunciates. I will go back at the end of the Kumbh Mela but I might be back soon. The divinity I have tasted here has been an unparalleled experience, which I cannot describe in words, said Susan. The list is endless. Besides the over 450 foreigners in the Maheshwaranand camp, the Juna and Maha Nirvani Akharas too boast of nearly 250 people belonging from 17 countries who have chosen to embrace the Hindu spiritual path. By Sharat Pradhan/Indo-Asian News Service

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Chiruthe eternal hero
The megastar of Telugu films Chiranjeevi recently completed 29 years of his film career. A function was organized to celebrate the occasion wherein his friend and another Telugu star Nagarjuna was present. Being one of the superstars quartet, (Amitabh Bachchan, Mohanlal and Rajinikant comprises other three in this club) Chiru, as he is fondly called by his fans, is undoubtedly the most prominent figure of the Indian movies. The word Chiranjeevi in Sanskrit means one who live on eternally. Chiranjeevis feats on screen and in movies make him really live eternally in the mind of the viewers.
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Chiranjeevi was as Siva Sankara Vara Prasad Konidela, on 22 August 1955 at Narasapur, Andhra Pradesh, India He was a student of the famous Madras Film Institute and later became a professional film star. His first public performance was in a government parade ballet at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 1976. He started his professional career the film Punadhirallu in 1978. Though Punadhirallu was his debut, his first success came up with a negative role in the film Intilo Ramayya Vidhilo Krishnayya which was released in the year 1981. His roles in movies such as Abilasha, Adavidonga, Chantabbayi, Challenge, Gang Leader, Master, Kondaveeti Donga, Kodama Simham, Indra, Tagore etc. were all block busters in Tollywood. In the pre-90s, Chiranjeevi was first seen on Hindi scree. His first Hindi film released was Pratibandh (1990) with Juhi Chawla as his heroine. The films was a blockbuster and Rami Reddy, the main villain in the films also received much attention in the film. The success of Pratibandh prompted producers to make another

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movie with Ciranjeevi, exploiting his macho man and angry young man image. This films Aaj Ka Gundaraj (1992) was a remake of Telugu hit Gang Leader. Meenakshi Sheshadri was the heroine in the film. As this movie minted money on the Box Office, Chiranjeevis popularity also soared. Though his subsequent films could not recreate the magic that is Chiranjeevi is known for, his charisma as an actor remains in place as is shown by the number of dubbed movies. These movies appear in small cities and run to packed houses as well as in CDs and DVDs which have a good run on Cable cicuit. Besides Telugu, Chiranjeevi commande a huge fan following in Tamilnadu also. He is married to Konidela Surekha on February 20, 1980 and is blessed with two daughters Susmita and Sirija, and one son Ramcharan Teja. His brothers Nagendra Babu and Pawan Kalyan are both into movies as well. Chiranjeevi is the founder of the Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust, which is the states largest recipient of Eye and Blood Donations. With the

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help of Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust more than 20,000 people have donated blood and more than 10 lakh people have pledged their eyes. Chiranjeevi also assists people for medical expenses in genuine cases.

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Shahrukh Ban Gaya Joker
It is official now. However Shahrukh might try to ape Big B, he alwasys turns out to be a damp squib. First he tried to step in the Bachchans shoe was when he acted in the remake of Don. His pubilcity machinery worked overtime and managed to proclaim that film as a hit, but the truth is that the film failed totally. Not satisfied with that misadventure, he jumped on the hot seat as anchor of the popular show Kaun Banega Crorepati on Star Plus. This time also he has got a bitting and in the attempt to crown himself as the new ruler of Bollywood, he has proved him-

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self a joker. Even figures substantiate these observations. A recent report in Hindustan Times tells how Khan has failed in recreating the magic that Bachchan created six years ago. There is a sheer absence in the overhyped performance of Shahrukh khan of the aura weaved by Bachchan. His popularity as host of KBC is no match for his predecessor Amitabh Bachchan, the report says. The data compiled by Indias Television Audience Measurement for the first four days showed a television viewership rating, or TVR, of 12.33. Bachchan, 61, had a bigger four-day audience in August 2005 with a 19.75 rating, the daily said. The paper did not provide the margin of error, and the show remains Indias most popular. Originally based on Who Wants to be a Millionaire from the USA, Kaun Banega Crorepati was started year 2000 as the main attraction og the relaunch of the Star Plus. The grandesque image and persona of Bachchan catapulated it to the heights unknown to the Satellite TV shows till then. It soon caught imagination of the millions of viewers across India. SO much so that

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this show played a big role in reviving Big Bs film career. The show ran in two parts, but was halted abruptly following Bachchans illness. It was resurected last week with 41-year-old Khan at the helm. As with his filmy image, Khan brought with him a lot of hoopla in the form of songs and dances in this show, which was not the part of the show in its prior run. The Show started on Jan. 22, and a random survey shows that audiences have given Khan, one of the biggest Bollywood heartthrobs of the past decade, the thumbs down, the Hindustan Times has said. Expectedly enough, Star Entertainment India doesnt agree with the findings. The number of people reached on Khans first day was 23 million compared to Bachchans 18 million, Paritosh Joshi, the networks president in charge of advertising and distribution said, according to the Hindustan Times. Joshis figures are based on those who watched the gameshow for at least a minute. The TVR, on the other hand, gives the number of people who sat through the hour-long program. If that does

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convince the anyone, here is some figures given by a portal moneycontrol.com. TAM numbers for the opening week of Kaun Banega Crorepati with SRK are in. It looks like Shahrukh Khan has lost out in round one, reports CNBC-TV18. While Shahrukhs KBC debuted with a 12.3 rating the first episode of Amitabh Bachchans KBC had garnered 19.75. But theres good news for Star Plus as well. The channels relative shares in the general entertainment category is up from 37.7 to 55.9 percent in the primetime in the 9-10 pm band in the KBC launch week. A closer look at the TAM data for all four episodes last week, however, shows a dipping interest in the show after the opening episode. Especially so on day three which was the 24th of January when KBC went head-to-head with the India-West Indies ODI in Cuttack. The show seems to have borne the brunt then, losing viewers to cricket. That settles the matter for once. The reality is that Shahrukh is no match for BigB.

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Germany Toying With Bollywood
It seemsthat popularity of Bollywod in Germany is to stay for a long and for better. I have already dedicated three posts on this subject and this is one more. This article appeared in Deutsche Welle; I was promted to bring it here as it is one of my favorite subject. The Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany is targetting adults this year with puzzles and jigsaws based on Bollywood. The worlds largest toy expo, the Nuremberg Fair, is strictly for adults only this year. The adults-only rule has sparked a whole range of new play products which industry observers say is all
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part of a trend toward stepping up marketing to aging children: people over 40 who play games to relax.
And Bollywood Indias most popular cultural export it seems, is a grown-ups playground. The countrys trademark hip-gyrating song-and-dance films with its formulaic mix of Indian family values, kitsch and sexual titillation have apparently proved an inspiration for several toymakers. Jigsaws and puzzles depicting Bollywood scenes are all set to feature large at the toy fair. Parents have been warned to keep their kids from sneaking a peek. Bollywood is a big topic here, especially among our adult customers, said Bettina Brogsitter, sales representative for the puzzle-maker Lupu. Some are going in for a more chaste version of Indias ubiquitous images. One German manufacturer of puzzles aims to entice European women who love all things Indian by launching a 1,000-piece puzzle, which would take days to solve, depicting Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom with four arms and the head of a one-tusked elephant. Other jigsaws on show in Nuremberg are more serene, depicting yoga positions and mandalas-designs symbolizing the universe. People are in search of inner calm, Brogsitter added.

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Three Cheers for Crowe
Three cheers for the Western culture and three cheers for those who despise it. How much Indians may frown upon bad influences of the western world, it is there that a kind of sensitivity shows itself every now and then. Not surprisingly enough, some sane voices also sprout there from time to time which hitherto are absent here. In the era when Karan Johars and Yash Chopras in India try to emulate every inch of the western flicks, and recreate every exaggerated glossy scene seen on a English screen, here comes the Gladitor, who has shown a sensitivity rarely seen elsewhere.
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Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Top of Form 1 Russell Crowe has declared to axe scantilydressed cheerleaders from his Sydney football club because they make men uncomfortable. Crowe, who co-owns one of Australias oldest rugby league clubs, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, will replace the club cheer girls this season with a drumming band of men and women after his wife Top of Form 2 Bottom of Form 2 Danielle Spencer and other fans complained. Crowe said that Research showed fans were uncomfortable going to games with girls on the sidelines dressed in skimpy green, red, white dance costumes. It makes women uncomfortable and it makes blokes who take their son to the football also uncomfortable, Crowe told Australian media. Weve talked to a lot of people and everyone sees it as being progressive. Crowe, a long-term Rabbitohs fan, bought the cash and win-strapped club in 2006 with Peter Holmes a Court, the scion of one of Australias wealthiest families.

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Pokkiri : Vijay has one more success
If one prefers only to look at entertaining value of a film, Pokkiri stands quite a good chance. In Mumabaiyya parlance, it is a paisa vasool film. Coming from the Ilaiy Dalpathi Vijay, it has all the elements that make Tamil films dear to every film buff. One expected a thrilling, action and romance saga for Vijay, who had been on a search out for a hit for a year or so. The initial response and thereafter also has shown that his search is over now and there is talk now of his being the next superstar of Kollywood. Undoubtedly, Pokkirri makes all Vijay fans happy with its stylish treatment, eye-catching stunts, an out of
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the blue story and witty dialogues. There are many plus points in the Pokkiri. The most prominent being that it does not hide violence. It does not either hide its intention of being a violent story. It takes us through the dark and sullen underworld where killing is the thumb rule. This is a remake film and it shows all through the film. But adding some true blue Vijay elements like stunts and comedy, Prabhu Deva has done it refreshingly new. Why he has kept some overt features in the movie is an open question. The opening scene of Vijay dreaming of being a batsman and the lady in the villain gang fascinating herself with Vijay was such scenes. Thank god, the number of such scenes are limited. Vijay shines in the movie from the word go. He was the same, dancing, acting and fighting the way he does. We are entertained like we do always. Still there was something missing this time in Pokkiri. As the one who relished and relish even today the Ghilli in 2004, this film is stops short somewhere near the expectations. While in Ghilli, Vijay carried the film on his shoulders, in Pokkiri, the film sways somewhere

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between the action and romance genres. I watched this film expecting it to be a action thriller. Thriller it is, but not the usual action thriller. The thrilling scenes come in as a concession the director has agreed to give to viewer so as not to make the film a run of the mill kind. Prabhu Deva has tried very much to make Pokkiri as spicy as possible. But he has failed to keep a balance between the romance of lead pair and magnetic fight scenes of Vijay, the lead protagonist. One more flaw is in storyline itself that the sudden twist in the tale comes very late. A basic opportunity to dwell on this twist and make use of it, to stuff it in the confrontation scenes between main protagonist and villain is lost in the process. To say the least, there are not a single confrontation between Vijay and Prakash Raj after the latter learns Vijays true identity diminishes the entertainment value of the film. Even the protective element of Vijay for Asin is used only as a vehicle to make the film running. No use of this angle is done from the angle of Prakash Raj.

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While watching Pokkiri, one is always reminded of Ghilli. Even some indications to that effect are provided in the film here and there. As if Sivakasi and Thirupachi never happened. Even some actors in that film appear here in different roles. Thats why a kind of anticipation was built as if this was the second part of Ghilli. But whereas in Ghilli, Trisha was shown harassed, hounded and sought by villain, in this film, the hero covertly does all this. In Ghilli, the story had ingrained human angles making it dear to all and sundry. In Pokkiri, when the main hero himself is ruffian, the human emotion are bound to take a back seat. As a effect, his tantrums also fell off. In the ruthless criminal world it it only bullet and guns that do all the talking. To compensate this loss, a separate comedy track is imbibed in the form of Vadivelu and he does it with a large effect. This part of the films gets 100 per cent marks. Especially are the comic scenes where Vadivelu tries to urinate in front of a wall and one where he opens the water tanker mistakingly. Heroine Asin looks good throughout the film. She looks the perfect match to hero Vijay and

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glamour girl for the audience. But this romantic angle overshadows many times other happenings in the film. She acts like she has no clue of whats going on screen in her absence. This comes out so starkly when the Inspector comes and harasses her mother, or when he sends goons to her house. Even when she knows that Vijay appreciates her and is ready to do anything for her, she not once tells Vijay about all this. This is a very weak character in the film and its only justification seems to be filling the need of glamour in the story. Pokkiri seems to be one of the biggest successful films in Kollywood. It might come second only to Shivaji-the Boss starring Rajinikant, which will be released in April. Till then, it will bask in the glory. That is the thing I fear most. Since Vijay has tasted success with two of the remade Mohan Babu flicks, he might go for a third one. That will be really sad for the Tamil audience. Because he has the capability to deliever original hits which he have proved in the past. So let us hope that his Alagiya Tamil Magan will be an original and as engrossing film as we are accustomed to. That

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will be the real success for Tamil filmdoms next superstar

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Indian movies growing out of all woods
The film industry in India could not have better than this. After witnessing its most successful year in the recent past in terms of box-office collections, the industry is poised to grow even more. And this is not an abstract anticipation of any Bollywoodwallah, it is a studied inference of an American institute. The PTI recently reported about a report by the Creative and Innovative Economy Centre (CIEC) of George Washington University Law School, wherein the centre has estimated that
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Indian film industry will grow by more than 15 per cent in the coming year. The reasons attributed are growing number of multiplexes and the availability of digital technology. What this report did not elaborate, and which I specifically observed some three months ago, that this trend of growth is more evident in Bollywood but it equally, or more precisely more forcefully exist in the regional film industries. The statistical data of these scattered centres of film making does not come up at once and hence it is relegated to the unhidden corners of respective trade papers. The Bollywood, that now produces Hindi films for mainly urban and overseas audience is considered worth 25, 000 Crores, according to Industry sources. Coming next to it is Kollywood or Tamil film industry which had a turnover of around 23, 155 Crores at the end of year 2005. This years data is yet to come by. The second biggest film industry in South India, that is Telugu film industry has a turnover to the tune of 23, 044 Crores.

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Even the once near-dead or non-existent industries are gaining or regaining ground in the unprecedented ways. The Marathi film industry was staring at its death just five years ago. But the Shwaas changed it all. The film released in 2004 won a Golden Lotus Award from the President and that provided a much-needed impetus to the Maharashtrian producers. Thats why this year saw as many as 75 films in Marathi language were passed for the release by the Central Certification Board of India, called Censor Board, compared to the two or three on an average in the 90s. The Bhojpuri films till recently remained in the shadow of the Hindi films. But as the Bollywood turn more and more urban; these films emerged strong with flavor of local themes and talent providing ingredients. Even Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan has thought it imperative to act in a Bhojpuri film, which was quite unthinkable in the past. So given this trend, it is hardly surprising that world is anticipating a big growth from Bollywood. The question is, will it take cognizance of the growth of other film industries in India.

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19
A walk in distaste
Yesterday evening. As I finished my daily work in the newspaper office, we readied ourselves for the things to come. It was me and my friend, Ashish, who were set for the tiny adventure that was to be unfolded. As decided before, our crime reporter Mangesh has arranged the tour with the help of a policeman. We were to take stock of the situation existing in the historical and inarguably the most infamous part of the Pune city, Budhwar Peth. We did not reach to the galli, as it is called locally, and decided to have the dinner first. It was a wise decision as the view unfolded within half an hour was nothing less than unsavory. Once done in
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hotel, we were out on the street that lead us to the main place where various hues of flesh trade take place day in and night out. The policeman aided us and quelled each and every querry posed by us, and they were plentiful. There was no shade of emotion on his face and he betrayed no awkwardness of the situation as we made our way through the constant in and out rush of the people condemned to quench their lust here. The curiosity was not limited to us either. Kuch nahin, hamare dost aaye hai, the policeman would tell everyone in the brothel as they scanned our faces. Is it a raid? Round? The girls and women in the dark and tiny rooms looked at us questioningly. There was not a word from their mouth but the air spoke more loudly than one could hear. Namaskaar, Namaste, the hapless females greeted us each time we entered a room. We were so not a position to answer that gesture in the manner that we would normally. These women demand at least Rs. 100 for once, informed our police guide. On one of question, he showed us even those women who

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settle for twenty or thirty Rs. Those women were past their prime. With number of men ready to sleep with them fastly depleted, they are sometimes even cant have their meal or breakfast. This being so, they sell themselves for any meagre amount they can get. Anyone sleeping with these women and here in these rooms, will that person have any wish to have sex later in his life? quiped Ashish. Yes, it is an open question. But the fact remains that women with some flesh on their bodies do thrive here and men who go for them has remained, if not increased, intact for at least two centuries. We were there for some one and two hours only. But that little amount of time itself opened our eyes to many facets of this world which hitherto woukd have never come to us in our mediocre life. Many myths were broken and many new thing known. Take for examle, the underaged girls relived from the brothels. Our policeman told us this way, Some girls take money from the middlemen. Then they come here and are enaged in prostitution. When all their money is spent, they convey their where-

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abouts to police or other institutions or better still some NGO. If they are thus freed from the prostitution home, they go to their native village and stay there for some time. After that, they again contact some middleman and come here through them.

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Tollywoods Sorry Picture
The picture cant be more contradictory. On one hand, Hindi movie channels are running successfully showing dubbed and remake versions of Telugu films, which in all earnestness seem to be getting a lot of response from audience. At the same time, Telugu films themselves are facing a hard day in Andhra Pradesh itself. Having found itself in a quagmire of business losses and a stiff competition from Bollywood and Kollywood, it is striving hard to regain its land. But for the passive onlooker, that seems a distant possibility. What make it more pitiful is that this year Tollywood is celebrating its 75th year.
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Telugu film industry in India has a unique standing. It has not only the distinction of being the third biggest film industry in India, in terms of films produced per year and the turnover achieved therein, it also thrives on many demi-gods and cult like fan following of some actors. These actors in turn have never let down their fans and have delivered year after year the films, that we relish even years later. Thats why a Chiranjeevi starrer Gang Leader became a super hit in the latter part of 1980s and when it is shown on Star Gold in a dubbed version (named Naya Don), it still got a better TRP. It prompted the channel to show one more dubbed movie named Vishwa. It was a Nagarjun starrer which was released in 2004 as Nenunnanu. The trend continued and rival channel Zee Cinema started to show some dubbed Chiranjeevi movies in prime time. Diler (Anji) and Rakshak (Mrugraju) are two films falling in this category. It is not that all Telugu films sell on star value. They usually have a strong story element with eye-catching picturisation and of course, a great music. That was the case till recently, i.e. till last

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year. Now it is almost a sorry picture. Tollywood has seen too many flops for the last couple of years and it is frantically searching for a hit. Even superstars like Chiranjeevi and Nagarjun are finding it difficult to break this mould. One problem that these actors face is the non-availability of good roles. They have been caught in a kind of trap where they cant play the roles they wish. In a recent interview, Chiranjeevi has said, My image troubles me in different ways. I cannot act in roles different from that of mass commercial ones due to image. That brings the real dilemna of a hero who has steadfastly lead the industry for more than a decade. Lack of worthwhile stories and too much insistence on the routine formulas, that have proved to be a bane for Tollywood. The producers in the industry seem only working for garnering the monetary profit from the films without giving a hint of thought as to what its outcome might be. Trying to emulate the Bollywood for that purpose is just a way of doing that. Thats why heroines and character artists from Mumbai find their way in Telugu films these days

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more and more. Add to that song (and they abound to the hilt) and dance sequences picturised on the exotic foreign locations. Not surprisingly, the budget of the film skyrockets to few crores. Given the stiff competition in this era, this money is hardly recovered giving more sleepless nights to everybody associated with the project. Even the advertising cost of the film amounts to few crores. From the start of this year, 40 films have been released in Andhra Pradesh and only two of the proved to be a hit. Thats why trade pundits are anticipating a bleak show ahead. Sankranti season, in which Tollywood is expected to make fortune did not yield expected revenue. Filmmakers and industry insiders are now pinpointing their hopes on summer season. Holidays to school and colleges mean a boon to the film circuit. Many big films are expected in this season. So one can only hope their expectations come true and we are treated to an entertaining fair once again, like we were in the past.

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21
Himesh faces music in Germany
It is Germany again. I have talked about Bollywood films being popular in the beer country and loat of shows and shooting concerning Bollywood taking place there. It seems that the love between Germany and bollywood has stretched too far and cracks have begun to show. Bollywoods current blue eyed boy Himesh Reshmiya is producing a film on his own life. This news item was flashed through various medias some time ago. At that time, no one cared much about the project. This same project has now created news in Germany for some wrong reasons. Reshmiya and his crew flew to Cologne
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this eek to film in one of the citys Gothic churches. But some residents opposed the shooting claiming the film crew had desecrated the site. Bollywood has unarguably got a foothold in Germany. Indian films have made it onto German cinema and television screens and have a huge following. But Indian filmmakers have also discovered Europe offers prime locations for shooting. While they have already almost exhausted some scenic spots in the Alps, ever new locations are hunted zealously which make them constantly vulnerable to controversy. The Agnes church is one of Colognes biggest sacred buildings. Its gothic steeple rises up to the sky. Surrounded by cramped apartment buildings and busy streets, the landmark church is an oasis of calm .Amid that sorrounding, a voice drons out of the loudspeakers. That voice belongs to Himesh Reshamiyya. He plays the lead in the Bollywood film Aap Ka Suroor, which is currently being shot in Germany. Agnes church is one of the films locations. The producers want to simulate a night-time concert

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in the huge nave and covered the windows and walls with black drapes. In a place where believers usually kneel down to pray, there are now 50 professional dancers in silver sequined dresses shaking their hips while a few hundred extras mill around waiting to play the cheering crowd. But having fun and dancing in a church has raised a few eyebrows. Colognes archbishop Joachim Meissner tried to stop the shooting from going ahead, but failed when it was revealed the churchs pastor had already signed the contract with the production company. Many parishioners are angry about the production. An elderly woman shakes her head as she enters the church and then turns to leave saying: I wanted to pray, to light a candle. Until Sunday, only the film team will be allowed to use in the main nave, which has upset more than a few people. They dont understand why she shoot has to take place in a building they consider holy. Deutsche welle recently reported about this episode. The full story is available on

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http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/ 0,2144,2387067,00.html

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CBFC certification: Telugu movies tops list
New Delhi, April 6 (PTI): Telegu movies have topped the list of feature films certified by the Central Board of Film Certification during last two years, according to figures available with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting here. A total of 245 Telegu films were awarded certificates. This was followed by Hindi films (223) Tamil films (162), Malayalam (77), Bhojpuri (76), Kannada (75) and Marathi 73, according to the official figures.

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The CBFC in all issued a total of 10,551 certificates during the year 2006, as against 7,417 during 2005. As many as 3,454 certificates were issued to celluloid films and 7,097 to video films during this period. These consisted of 1091 Indian feature films (celluloid), and 336 foreign feature films (celluloid). Out of 1636 Indian feature films (celluloid and video) certified during the period, 1130 were granted U certificates, 270 UA certificates, and 236 A certificates. Similarly, of the 1080 foreign feature films certified in the year, 460 were granted U certificates, 269 UA certificates, and 351 A certificates. The Board certified a total of 7,242 Indian short films during the period January to December, 2006, of which 6,717 were granted U certificates, 359 UA certificates, 165 A certificates. A total of 7097 certificates were issued to video films. Of these, there were 545 Indian feature films, 744 foreign feature films, 5494 Indian short films, 235 foreign short films, 75 Indian and 4 foreign films belonging to the Others category, long films other than feature.

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23
Shivaji: How many hurdles?
There is a song in the movie Padayappa. That song literally means : There are a thousand hurdles in life, but for you, these hurdles are only a step. That fits well in the real life of the movies hero Rajinikant as well. At the one hand his Shivaji the boss is creating much expexctations from all quarters. At the other hand, the perk and rumenaration that Rajni got has created a lot of buzzword. In Indian moviedom, there is hardly any actor at this moment to match his popularity and stature. Be as it may, rajinikant still faces some hurdles and as is shown in his many a films, he conquers them all. This time he has an uphill
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task ahead in his real life and every eye is on him now.Shivaji is directed by Shankar who gave us many hits like Kadhalan, Gentleman, Mudhalvan, Jeans and Indian. He is a stylish director but any director working with Rajini must bear one of the most daunting task and that task is to fulfill the publics expectations. And this task is compounded this time from the very first day of announcement of the Shivaji-the boss. The difficulties faced by Rajinikant that I mentioned above starts from this severity. Rajini is not only the flagh bearer of Tamil film industry, he is an icon for millions of his rasigans. He might have enjoyed their fierce loyalty and unconditional love for over two decades, he also has to respond to their anticipations. That he does so time and again must be credited to his uncanny down-toearthness.If he by chance misses the bus, a debacle is sure to follow as was proved at the time of Baba.To add to the woes of the Superstar, some external elements chip in, which make the outcome of a Rajni movie more thrilling than the movie itself. This time also, as the talk was on of Shivaji being a launch vehicle for the Rajini to his

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political career, there were many who contributed to the saga of Shivaji. First one was the Tamilnadu government itself which, fearing an onrush of the crowd and thereby encashment of the popularity by distributors, assumed all rights for the control of theatre ticket rates in Tamilnadu. As if it was not enough, VIjay T. Rajinder, an influencing personality in the Kollywood, cautioned against the hike of the ticket rates and declared that he will not sit quietly if the rates are increased.Then surfaced Rajinis old nemesis, Pattali Makkal Katchi which raised its head again to oppose the Shivaji. It particularly targeted a song oru koodai sunlight, oru koodai moonlight, on the pretext of using English words and sentences in the song. The party workers (or leaders?) even have shown readiness for an agitation for this cause. Pattali Makkal Katchi people have a history of opposing to Rajini, first time showing their trait at the time of release of Baba. But this time, Shivaji has faced resistance from one more quarter, and that is an unexpected one. A certain trade union in Thanjavoor has opposed some references to the Kaveri river in a song in

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Shivaji and they too seem ready for an agitation. What is funny in all this episode is the statement given by this union, in which it is said that Rajini has kept mum many times on Kaveri water dispute. Thats why, according to this union, he has no right to use Kaveris name in any song in his movie.As Shivaji-the boss has rewritten some records in the movie history of India, it has also has to face an unprecedented hurdle now. The Kannada Rakshan Vedike, an organisation specialing in isolating the Kannada peolple from neighbouring states, has decided to oppose the release of Shivaji-the boss in Karnataka. It is unusual development. Usually, even when non Kannada movies were banned or withheld from Karnataka (pls see some of my previous posts), Rajini films have been given the go. But this time now, the case is different. WIth the Kaveri tribunal award going in favour of Tamilnadu, Kannada Rakshan Vedike is full swing and to show its opposition to Tamilnadu, it has decided to play with Shivajis prospects.

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24
Pune on to Nandigram way?
Is Pune district to witness yet another Nandigram? That seems to be the question looming over Western Maharashtra at this point of time. As this land with a big agriculture presence and equally assuming industrial turnover, this part of the state seems to getting a reputation which it will hardly enjoy. Wagholi, a small village near Pune which might in immediate future become a part of the main city, is the center of this whole episode. A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is proposed to be set up here and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) is to acquire an estimated
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5,000 acres of land in the vicinity. That has given birth to a fierce agitation from farmers from these villages. The MIDC proposal to acquire resulted in discontent among the farmer community, being backed by some political and social activists opposed to the SEZ.
The whole issue started just a week ago when the MIDC appeared as the owner of the land in the villages of Wagholi, Kesanand, Bakori and Lonikand. A total of four thousand acres of land was to be acquired for this purpose. MIDC has been officially shown as the owner of the land in the Govt. documents. This entry appeared mysteriously and without the prior permission from the farmers in question. The fact created a storm and soon it became a wildfire. Farmers are more irritated since they are used to get a healthy amount in compensation when they sell their land to the industrial houses. But that is the case only when they get the chance to sell their land vehemently and directly to the willing buyers. In this case, MIDC, which is a nodal agency set up by Maharashtra government to facilitate the development of the small sector industry in the state, is being used to snatch away the land from the toilers. That is the main grudge here. And that is the issue in Nandigram also. The extent of the ire of the farmers was evident on Friday when angry farmers manhandled the Videocon officials. About 700 farmers, who are likely to be affected by the proposed SEZ at Lonikand village, protested

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against the project on Friday when a meeting, convened by the revenue official of Haveli taluka, was to discuss the process of possible land acquisitions under the SEZ. Farmers gathered at the spot and raised slogans opposing the move, the police said. The meeting was wound up hurriedly as protesters stoned the car of the revenue officer, who fled the scene and two officials of Viedocon were manhandled, the police said. They, however, said that either the revenue official or Videocon officials in the matter lodged no official complaint. Even a day after the friction between farmers and officers of Videocon Pvt. Ltd, the situation is tense on the outskirts of Pune on Saturday. The Wagholi and Lonikand villagers are suspicious about any unknown person entering the village and were checking their identity. Farmers have formed a committee to protest against the acquisitions for the proposed SEZ. It has now created a situation where people from outside these villages find it hard to enter or leave the area without proving their identity. One can gauge the situation from just on remark from an esteemed and seasoned Socialist leader like Bhai Vaidya. He summed it up on Sunday while talking to journalist, Exploitation of farmers under the name of SEZ. Otherwise a revolt from farmers is unavoidable.

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25
The Modis Operandi of Growth
First thing first. That Narendra Modi has made it to the record books as the longest serving chief minister of Gujarat. He became the longest serving head of Gujarat state with the completion of five years and almost eight months of his rule. Modi, who took over as chief minister on Oct 7, 2001, completed 2063 days of rule on Friday, 1st June 2007. The state of Gujarat has seen as many as 14 chief ministers in 47 years since its formation in 1960. There are many people in this country whose faces turn to red at the very mention of Narenda Modi. Some see in him the next Hitler and for
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some moderate ones, he is the biggest threat to the Indian democracy and integrity. It is actually another matter how far they have gone to know or study the man or the administrator behind this figure. For the last five years, Narendra Modi has provided almost all the fodder for opposition and attack from the opponents of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the process, he has built a reputation for himself that hardly betrays any human aspect or the kindness. Coming from the state of Gujarat, from where Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation and proponent of the Satyagraha and Ahimsa (non-violence), he has faced flak in immeasurable measure. Still he has achieved something that he should be rightly proud of even in future. Yes, there have been other leaders in the country who have been in the office far more than Mr. Modi. Prior to him, former chief minister Narendra Desai was the longest serving head of the Gujarat, being in power for 2062 days. Present Railway Minister of Laloo Prasad Yadav was the chief minister of Bihar for more than six years from 1990 onwards. Even before that, in Mahara-

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shtra, Vasantrao Naik was the Chief Minister of the state for almost 14 years from 1962 onwards. What sets Mr. Modi apart is his leadership qualities in terms of the political successes and the administrative traits in terms of the developmental work in the state. Gujarat inherited by Mr. Modi and Gujarat under Mr. Modi is vastly difference. This difference does not manifest through riots only, which media pleases to show at the very first opportunity. Just last week I was in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Being a citizen one could not help comparing the situation in different, especially so if one happens to come from a state which was a part of the concerned state. The development works in Gujarat are not only amazing, they are just awe inspiring. Not withstanding the vehement and powerful activism of Narmada Bachao Andolan, can one deny that the Sardar Sarovar dam has infused a new life in the farm sector of the Gujarat? Laloo Prasad in his tenure took Bihar to such depths that it became synonymous with disgrace. While people in Maharashtra woke up each day to the electricity less life, Gujarat has gone ahead with

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providing excess electrical power to the neighboring Maharashtra. Political philosophies apart, `Namo, as he is known widely, has proved to be a capable administrator, who has managed to provide the basic amenities to the public, a job for which he is entrusted. How many of the todays leaders are capable of boasting this feat. For starters, let us see what Mr. Modi has achieved throughout his tenure. g See how he handled the situation in the quake hit parts of Gujarat. When he took over as the Chief Minster Bhuj was a city of rubble. People were living in temporary shelters without basic infrastructure. Earthquake recovery became his first priority. Now Gujarat Reconstruction Programme is said to be one of the best reconstruction programmes on the global map and set a benchmark for reconstruction and disaster recovery, not only in India, but also in the entire Asia. g Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors meet is an innovative bi-annual submit organized by Narendra Modi to attract. Even the events like kite

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flying festival on Makar Sakranti were used for attracting foreign investment. This development pattern of Gujarat has been appreciated by all and it is recognized by the State organizations also. It was not long ago that Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has awarded the Gujarat State for various development works. This issue was also a topic for the hot political discussion. Just recently, Planning Commission of India has lauded the state for its development and even has gone to the extent of terming it as a star performer. According to the UNI story, Gujarats economic growth post-liberalistion, specifically in the last five years, has evoked admiration in the draft Gujarat Development Report, prepared by Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR) at the behest of the Planning Commission.Terming the state a star performer and a manufacturing specialist, the report makes specific mentions of investments in ports, roads, telecom and other infrastructure.A jarring note in the report comes in the form of Gujarat achieving an average growth rate of only 14 per cent in the manufacturing

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sector despite a potential for crossing the 20 per cent mark.However, for this under-performance, the report puts the onus on the conservative monetary and exchange rate policies of the Central Government and the RBI. Comparing Gujarat with other states, the report finds the western state doing exceedingly well on most economic parameters. The comparisons have been made against Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. It gives an example of how growing from a much lower level of Rs 11,500 against Rs 13,500 of Maharashtra in 1993, the per capita income of Gujarat crossed that of its neighbour in 2003 and stood at Rs 19,500, a jump of over 70 per cent in a decade growing fastest among its peers. Gujarat is in a class by itself. Among its peer states, Gujarat has the highest rate of growth of GDP, manufacturing and per capita SDP. The openness to immigration of labour, and the natural advantage of much land with little alternative use, local entrepreneurship, state support and local politics that is not against capital are significant factors, says the chapter onEconomic Performance of Gujarat in recent times.

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Given this background, can one deny that with the hooting that Namo gets regularly, he deserves a hats off too?

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Sivaji-the spoiled status
Thank God, Sivaji the boss is here. The total success of this film has lost its relevance for me and now, one has to resign himself to the fact that the movie has hit the halls. Till now we were only treated to the news of various hurdles coming in the way of this magnum opus of Tamil cinema. In the way, there was so much hype built up by media and Rajini fans that it was hard to forget the film for even a moment. So much so that some news channels had gone overboard to portray this film as the only offering from down south.

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Now that the `Sivaji the boss has just started to make waves in theatres, is it not time to ponder whether this film should have been given a fair treatment in terms of the publicity? First of all, the thing that played all over in the hype-trail of Sivaji was the amount Rajini fetched for this film. Some have quoted this amount to the tune of 16 Crores (160 million) Indian Rupees while others have went ahead to predict the amount to be some 20 Crores. Not dwelling much on this subject, one can only say that how can an actors remuneration be an attraction of the film. The expense occurred in the making of a film is not a sure guarantee of the quality for the film. This fact was more than evident in the case of Devdas (2002) starring Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai. That Sanjay Leela Bhansali, director of the film managed to get away with a success was a case apart. But the fact remains as it is. As many ardent fans of Tamil movies and Rajinikant himself know, this is not the first time that Rajini has got this much big amount for his presence in film. He has constantly seen his price soaring to sky after the `once-in-a-lifetime suc-

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cess of his `Baasha in Tamil. The movie catapulted him to the new heights of superstardom and since then he has never looked back. He is since long been the numero uno of the Tamil movie industry. He commands and receives such prices, because distributors and producers believe in him alike. But that amount created ripples in North and people were awestruck with it. How can someone other than Amitabh Bachchan or Shahrukh Khan get this much money? Surely, Director Shankar and AVM Studios, the producers of the `Sivaji the Boss must have gone mad, was the common refrain. But that refrain gave way to a remote curiosity, by which the angle of viewing has got twisted. A Rajini film is a complete entertainer. We have seen this in films like Muthu, Baasha, Padaiyappa and many more. One has to keep in mind while waiting or watching Sivaji. But now people throng and muse themselves, Hey, lets see this film. Come, lets see why this guy has been paid so much for this film? The reputation of director Shankar, a man known for his extravagant but socially relevant films like Gentleman, Indian

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(Hindustani), Kadhalan (Hum se Hai Mukabala) and Mudhalvan (Nayak), have been washed away by a wave named Rajinikant, whose own reputation as an actor has been faded away by the new image of highest paid actor in India. With this background, can one expect a helthy discussion on Rajinis performance, storyline of the film or music or any other aspect. Rarely one sees a hoopla hijacking a films credentials so overwhelmingly. With this background, one only hopes that Rajinis status as an actor, and not as a highest paid actor be established through Shivaji.

(At the moment this post is written, Sivaji has arrived with a bang and with some rave reviews. In Pune, from where I am writing, the film is scheduled to arrive on 22nd June 2007. It means one has to wait one more week to see Rajini in action. Till then, we have to be satisfied with reading the reviews of the film.)

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27
Two for tango, humble tango
Shivaji the Boss is a hit now. There is no doubt about it. But before the release of the film, some mediamen went on to ask Rajnikant about his comparion with Amithabh Bachchan. And Rajni, in his classic humble manner went further to say that Amitabh is Emperor. I could not but put this interview on my blog. You can also watch interview on NDTV here Now, the same bollywood giant Amitabh Bachchan has gone on record to praise Rajnikanth as the undisputed superstar, the emperor of the Indian cinema. Read the article here

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Sivaji reigns, as always, but
Sivaji-the entertainment personified Rajnikants latest flick Sivaji-the boss has hit theaters. After watching the movie seven days after its worldwide release, one is bound to be thrilled. The same emotion grips me as I remember the last nights venture. First of all, I must say the film did not let me down. All the Rajni theatrics and elements were there to give every value for my money. It was down and down a Rajni movie and the whole three hours and twenty minutes of the movie does not allow you to forget that any moment. Rajni means enter-

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tainmentand the Boss shows that in the most entertaining way in his inimitable style and styles. Sivaji-the directors dilemma One has to remember also that it is Director Shankars film who has given us such memorable hits as Gentleman, Kadhalan, Jeans, Indian and the best of all Anniyan. Sadly though, in Sivaji, Shankar has failed to live upto his name. It is as though, he has reeled under the stature of Super Star Rajni than making the movie his own. All the scenes, barring those song pasteurizations where classic Shankar touch props up unstopping. The breathtaking locations, much larger than life exquisite sets, the zing thing orchestrations you name it and Sivaji have it. But in the movie, right from the story no traces of directors skill are evident. For once, comedy is the Rajnis bastion and it does not take Shankar to make the comedy sequences memorable. Vivek and Rajni steal the show in their comedy scenes in the first half of the movie. Sivaji-the momentous moments What overcomes the failings of the director have been compensated by the some very fast, really

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brilliant and full confrontation scenes wherein whole experience of watching the movie assumes new meaning. For example, the scene where Rajni blackmails Adisheshan (Suman) for his black money. You have to see to believe the unchallenged confidence of Rajni on the screen while he orders Bhajia and Tea for the twosome. After finishing the taling and (eating), he tells Adi, Pay the bill for all this. We will settle it from 100 Crores. Wow! Man! That sets the screen on fire. Equally astounding scene is in climax, where the students vying for the falling money trample Adi. Thats what we want to see in a Shankar movie. A social message, a kind of common mans revenge in a very symbolic way, in a manner fit for the commercial flicks. Sivaji-the unsung movie One big letdown of the movie is the music score by AR Rehman. One expects from the Isai Puyal a thumping, vibrant and humming songs, the kind of which were present in Muthu and Padaiyappa. Even Baba score would fare better in comparison with the Sivaji. Except for Vaji Vaji song, no song clings to the nerves. Even the back-

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ground score also do not match to the stature of Rajni film. Sivaji-the boss of box office What Sivaji has achieved will be the subject of discussion for long in future. But it has indisputably bought to Indian regional cinema to the notice of the world cinema. After all when did you saw big queues lined up outside the theaters in the north India for a Tamil movie? When did you saw multiplexes in Mumbai increasing their no. of shows for a Tamil film in its second week? When did we saw a Tamil film finding its place in the top 10 films in UK? As I write this from Pune, five multiplexes and one single screen are running 16 shows daily for Sivaji, which is a feat for any regional film. It has wakened up to the fact that good or quality successful films are not the monopoly of the Hollywood or Bollywood. It has also shown the world that Rajnikant is not a subject of internet jokes only, but that he has far more substance than any other actor/hero in this country. In that sense, I think he is the most underestimated hero in India. Please check this and this to prove this point.

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Sivaji-fumbled fairy tale Shankar seems to have fumbled while transferring the story from the storyboard to celluloid. While most of the half is spent in portraying the love story of the hero and heroine, second part tries to deal with three menaces at one goi. e. black money, bribery and the menaces in the education system. That has created an unnecessary burden on the cinema as well as hero. Shankars earlier films centered on one theme and that ensued a big success for the flicks. Gentleman handled the problem of commercialization of the education system as Indian handled the bribery system of the country. Anniyan focused on the lawlessness in the citizens of India. It seems Shankar has tried to bundle all these themes in the one film. To be fair, he has succeeded in not making the affair a repetitive one. But it would have been better had he handled the one subject in this film. For that matter, one again thinks that had Mudhalvan been done with Rajni, we could have a movie of the lifetime. Sivaji leaves a lot to be wished.

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29
Bollywood in the dock again
After seeing the most successful year in terms of business, the bollywood is again feeling the heat this year. Big stars, expensive sets and locations or media hypealmost everything has proven unsuccessful for the industry to churn out a single superhit in the first half of the year. Whats more, the industry is staring at a big threat by down south to its monopoly over audience. Barring just one Guru, directed by the veteran southern directior Mani Rathnam, no film has seen cash registers ringing. By the end of the June, Rajnikants Sivaji has surpassed all the Hindi films in business. Even in the north cicuits
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like Delhi, it has made profits unseen by any southern film before. Even a Amithabh Bachchan starrer like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom failed to offer much resistance to the onslaught of Sivaji and now it seems the Kollywood express has much more steam than expected. Last year, riding on the multiplex boom and a strong economy, many Bollywood films registered stupendous successes. Lago Raho Munnabhai, Krishh, Dhoom2..those were the movies that gave dose over doses of adrenaline to the producers. Nothing that sort of the thing happened now. In comparison, analysts said, the turnover in the first six months of 2007 was just a fourth of about $55 million collected during the same period in 2006. Analysts are blaming to the weak scripts for the failures. Where are the good stories? You cant get away with only star appeal and foreign locales, said Bollywood trade analyst Komal Nahta. Guru was successful beacuse of its good script as well as hype that sorrounded it. The fact that the film was associated with the life of Reliance

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Groups founder, Dhirubhai Ambani, also gave the film an extra impetus. Compared to this one hit, the list of doomed big-budget films with top stars is long: Salaam-e-Ishq, Eklavya, Nishabd, Tara Rum Pum and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, and many more. This summer, Bollywood is also feeling the heat from Hollywood blockbusters. This week, five Bollywood films were beaten to dust by Oceans 13. No Bollywood film was released on May 4, the day Spiderman 3 hit the screens. Moreover, the distributors of the films tried to make dent in the traditional and emerging film markets by dubbing the film in Bhojpuri and other five languages. This films has become the highestgrossing Hollywood film in India, overtaking Titanic. Considering the heavy business Sivaji the Boss is doing and non-tamils are throngiing the cinema halls, a new curiosity might arise for the southern films which have hitherto been ahead in terms of content and technology than Bollywood. (Two of the blockbuster films from down south, Pok-

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kiri and Gajini are being remade with Salman Khan and Amir Khan respectively.) So much so that going by the response to the Sivaji-the Boss, plans are in the pipeline to rehasp some old Rajni films and market them. From that account, even if Bollywood successfully faces the onslaught of Hollywood, its real nemesis lies in south named Kollywood and Tollywood.

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Rajnikant : The new movie icon of India
The new frontiers As the monsoon has set in the this nation, which is stretched from Himalayas to the Indian Ocean, the news of Sivaji-the Boss conquering one after another box office records are also pouring in. In the hitherto untreaded parts of the country, where regional films were strictly a no-no till now, the film is marching ahead to say the least. Not only in India, but even in overseas markets also it saw even the Hollywood blockbusters in the fray bite the dust in top ten charts. It seems that whole of India is rediscovering this Style King often derided for his mannerisms which
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many others have tried to ape but fail the produce the charm that Rajni has. That also made the reigning Superstar of North India (devotees of Big B, please excuse me, but thats the kind of address more often than not used in Tamil and other South Indian press) to attend a special screening of the film. The Boss was also there with him. And even BigB praised Rajni on the occasion. He has already praised the Thalaivar as the emperor of Indian cinema.
The next question Now, question arises: Is Rajnikant the next movie icon of India? What Rajnikant has achieved is undoubtedly one of the biggest feats in movie industry in India as well as overseas. First of all, he climbed to the stardom in spite of any real backing from the industry. He has proved his mettle through his talents and mannerisms and most of all, his unparalleled ability to churn out films successively single handedly. In likes of MGR and Shivaji Ganeshan, not least Kamal Haasan, he created a place for himself that was unique in every sense. After appearing in some remakes of Amitabh Bachchan, he was described as Amitabh of Tamil movies. Then in 1983, just eight years after he made his entry on silver screen, Rajnikant starred in the Hindi movie Andha Kanoon, which had Amitabh himself in what was said to be a `guest appearance role but extended to a large part of

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the film, convincingly. That success set up a train of some flicks, some of them making hay on box office while some bringing tears to the producers and distributors. Rajni then satisfied himself with some petty side roles in Bollywood while consolidating his position in his home (?) industry. But even so, his popularity and fan following in rest of India continued to grow. His image as an maverick was also reinforced through the new media like internet, even though there he was more present through the odd jokes. But to speak of it, Rajinikant was the only non-Hindi actor to gain a large audience in the northern parts of India. His predecessors, like MG Ramachandran never quite entered in this specter, or some like Shivaji Ganeshan could only appear in one or couple of flicks. They never really have a base here. Even Kamal Haasan, who entered Hindi films with a bang through Ek Duje Ke liye (1980), could not make a mark here barring some odd films and a distant admiration from critics. (It was very later, in late 80s that Kamal made his re-entry through films like Appu Raja.) Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh, and Nagarjunall these heroes came and went but except for registering their presence, they could hardly do anything. In that sense, Rajnikant was the first and only southern hero who could navigate the box office. A large vacuum to fill Now with Sivaji, Rajni has arrived on the centrestage and with what role, a man single-handedly taking the system by the horns. Many a Bollywood heroes had their careers built on this his image but in the last few years, in an era of

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globalization, Bollywood has largely discarded this category giving way to some ice-candy floss cinemas. While the former category of heroes and cinemas might appear old fashioned to some, in India these types of films do really capture the imagination of the people. Thats why actors in these types of films are more endeared to the public. This is the large vacuum, that now only Rajnikant can fill. The process seems to have already started with Sivaji-the Boss gaining foothold even in non-Tamil speaking parts of India. If Rajnikant can bring the Tamil (or for that matter South Indian movie industry) with Bollywood, he will be the first to have this type of accomplishment. The day might be not far away when Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood would be amalgamated as one industry. The process has been already started with many a Tamil and Telugu films featuring prominent Hindi and Marathi artists in increasing numbers. And it will also be noted that the process was started by Rajni films whereby his Hindi films were dubbed in Tamil and vice versa (when the trend was almost non-existent.) His Dalpathi had Amrish Puri as the main villain. In a nutshell, Rajnikant is set be a movie icon for the new India. Sivaji-the Bosss collection records in UK and phenomenal rush it witnessed in Chicago, Muscat and Malaysiayou name it and he have itonly points to this fact. So toast to this new Sultan of the Indian Movies!

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31
123 Agreement : Deal or no Deal?
The long awaited and negotiated Nuclear Agreement, dubbed 123 Agreement from the no. of section in the relevant US law, is finally now in place. It has been one of the most criticized deal in India, while in America it is sure to be find a place in the most debated of the agreements. The congress is yet to approve the final draft of the agreement but it is only a matter of the time for that to happen. The time factor is the crucial issue in the affair between Indo-US deal. While the United Progressive Alliance government in India want to showcase this deal as the one significant foreign
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policy achievement before it goes to public for a renewed mandate next year, the George W. Bush administration in US also wants it to be finalised before the 2008 presidential election. The UPA government in lead by the Congress party that was in abyss for the eight years before it came to power. The erstwhile BJP led National Democratic Alliance government pursued some aggressive foreign policy, of which the Nuclear tests were a major part and cemented friendlier ties with US, both in Bill Clinton and George Bush regime. UPA needs something to counter that success and this deal provides the best chance for it to do so. Bush administrations predicament in Iraq as well as its almost failure in the war against terrorism is evident to everybody now. The need for the administration to illustrate one aspect where it has reaped some gains assumed significance now. That explains why both sides want to ink the deal as soon as possible. The speed with which both sides moved has been amply demonstrated in the statement by the Assistant Secretary of State Nicolas Burns, who was a key figure in the negotiations that led up to

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the finalization of the agreement. As Mr. Burns informed the mle, the negotiations lasted for about two years and two day. But, First of all, we were very careful when we began these the latest phase of these negotiations to remind the Indian Government that since the President and Prime Minister had their two agreements of July 05 and March 06, something else had happened: The Congress had debated over six, seven months those agreements and the Congress has passed the Hyde Act. . First, in late May, early June, the Indians came to us and said that they were ready to build a new state-of-the-art reprocessing facility that would be under IAEA safeguards and that any reprocessing of spent fuel would be done in conjunction with that new facility, fully safeguarded, fully transparent to the IAEA and to the United States and to the international community. That was a significant development in the negotiations. It was clear from the above statement that the matter was settled in just two months when the Indian government agreed to set up a reprocessing facility which will go through the inspection of IATA.

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Even as the nod from the Congress is awaited for this agreement, Mr. Burns has sent cat among pigeons by announcing that the right of return from this agreement remains, as imbibed in US laws with the reigning presidents. That effectively nullifies Indian diplomats claims that Indias national interests are well preserved in this deal. But the matter of the fact is that neither US nor India are keen to keep their interests intact. Bush administration, especially President Bush himself, wants to achieve a diplomatic milestone by bringing India into the Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty ambit. That will make the administration boast of an achievement denied by the misadventures elsewhere. A more larger sphere of this agreement lies within the intention of the Bush administration to make them take a lesson from this agreement. The motive has been explicitly told by Burn himself in the same meet. The agreement also sends an important message to nuclear outlaw regimes such as Iran. It sends a message that if you behave responsibly in regards to nonproliferation and you play by the rules, you will not be penalized,

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but will be invited to participate more fully in international nuclear trade. India has not proliferated, unlike North Korea in the past. India is willing to subject itself to full IAEA safeguards, unlike Iran today. And India has not violated its nuclear obligations, as Iran has and continues to do. Iran, of course, has reneged on its most important international commitments, he told the media. Mark the word, responsibly and by the rules, where the inherent meaning echoes wishes of the US administrators. The message is clear and same that of five years ago: either you are with us or against US. This agreement will also have a larger impact in another field. That of the nuclear trade. Indian nuclear program, civilian as well as strategic, was hitherto pursued independently by successive governments owing to the sanctions by US and Nuclear Suppliers Group. But this agreement will bring it closer in relation to US which means US companies will have a major role to play in the near future in India. Mr. Burns said, The final benefit will be that American firms will be, for the first time in three decades, able to invest in

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Indias nuclear industry. American companies have the finest nuclear technology in the world, and we are looking forward to American firms having the opportunity to bring their latest technology to the Indian market. We are confident that American companies will have equal access to this huge market and that they will succeed there. This agreement, which will bring US many fruits in just a stone. Indian government have inched forward to sign on this deal and for what price! Going by the confidence of US authorities and confidentiality preserved in the matter, it is all possible that Indian government will not be able to show off this agreement as an accomplishment, but rather a misdeed, committed in haste and repaid in stretches.

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The King rocksas always
It is full three decades since he breathed last. Even then music lovers, especially those who are not confined to their genres, all over the world are swayed by his music as they were in old days. The magic that the name of Elvis Presley spells is as strong today as it was thirty years ago. No one could match his enthusiasm nor could anyone attain his unique stylefew of them could indeed went in their skills as far as the King himself, but the public acceptance always illuded themit was the unique domain for the man. I remember hearing for the first time the name of Elvis Arron Presley way back in 1992. I had some
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good habits accompanying me in those days. One of them was to wake up early in the morning and tuning to the Doordarshan news in the breakfast show was next to ritual thing. In one of those aquainatcnes I caught this name in connection of a news item. The story referred to a postal stamp issued by the US Postal Department in Elviss memory. That piece of news, information provided with it and few clippings of his movies and songsthat was the stuff I was prevy to. That memories have long been remained with me. It took some five years before I realised, albeit partially, what Elvis meant and who he was. Around that time itself, a piece in the Telugu daily Eenadu caught my attention which reported the annual festival at Graceland. That aroused my curiosity. What I got to knew was enough to take me further searching for hima singer and musician who died at the bare age of 42, one who took US rock music to some new heights, which were never attained before. It would not be unworthwhile to say that he singlehandedly popularised rock music in the masses.

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During those dreamy days, I happened to hear `Jailhouse Rock and something clicked in me. Havent I heard this same song already, somewheresomehow? And I got the answer suddenlyThe movie Dil featuring Amir Khan and Madhuri Dixit has a peppy and popular number Khambe Jaisee Khadee Hai. The rhythm and beats were unmistakable. On the same line, one could graps the inspiration behind `Bachana e Hasino, from Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahee. Numerous songs in Hindi films owe their existence from Elvis songs and music. One question remains: What Elvis did? The answer is simple. He brought the Rock music to the centrestage of musicworld. When Elvis was but a rising star, Jazz and Blues were dominated by the Blacks. Whites had had only country music to tell the world. But the world cared a damn to hear the music. And classical western music was of only a few elite. Elvis made the world to lend an ear to the Rock music. Much as his movements were eye appealing, but they were equally matched by his crooning abilities. He gave voice to all the anger of the youththat of

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the post-War generation, the flower children or even a restive young generation of the Seventies. The name given to the elvis, The King, could not have been more apt. Many dressed in his attire, many aped his hairstyle, but the royal aura built around him could not be created by anyone. The King reigned supreme. It was his sole domain none dare come there. As every year, many of his fans congregated at his memorial at Graceland. If asked, they would tell only one thing The King rocksas always.

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33
Andhras WhYSR?
The twin city of Hyderbad has been shocked second time whithin a span of three months. The twin blasts have taken a toll of more than 45 persons with casualties including women and children. The day of the blast coincided with the 100th day of the fateful bomb blast in Mecca Masjid in the older part of Hyderabad.On the same day, prior to these blasts, Andhra Police has seized fake currency worth Two Crores and 70 Lakhs Rupees. The feat, though reported widely in local media in Andhra, got rare place in the media form North, which deemed it more important to report the misforun of Salman Khan! I could have easily lost on these news items, but
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for the Telugu channels which I chanced upon to see on that day. All the media organs in Andhra Pradesh have dwelt on these two aspects relating them to the latest blasts.
People in Andhra Pradesh have more enraged now with the undue comments coming from none other than the Chief Minister of the State himself. Y. S. R. Reddy has been quoted as saying, idi aantarjaatiy ugravaadamPak, Afghanisthanlo man nighu network vistarinchlem kadaa? Reddys comments have invited flak from the largest circulating daily in Telugu Eenadu. The newspaper has compared his statement with the statement of George W. Bush immediately after the attack on World Trade Centre on 11 Sept. 2001. The paper describes YSRs statement as this is the counterattack launched by CM in his unique style, the way he does after each attack. His statement has rubbed salt on the already wounded public psyche, says Eenadu. The terrorist attacks happen even in Bangalore, Malegaon, London, Baghdad, this is how YSR defended failure of the Intelligence organs in predicting and prohibiting the incident. Eenadu while commenting on this, says how can the CM compare Hyderabad with Baghdad of Iraq, which is engulfed in the Civil War? How dare CM speak like this even when he knows there has been no terrorist strike on US soil after 9/11. The AP govt. has categorized these blasts as an act aroused out of the frustration on the part of the terrorists. But, in the words of the paper, the blast occured on account of the failure of the government. The Andhra Pra-

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desh is comparatively a poor state. It was at least peaceful in the tenure of then CM Chandrababu Naidu. The Naidu govt. succeded, to an extent, in minimalising the Naxalite activities. The Reddy government has failed to achieve anything substantial in any direction. It had announced an amneity for the naxalites within few days after coming to power. That has yet to bear any fruit till now. Last month, some seven policemen were killed during a Bandh called by Naxals. Reddy government has unnecessarily induldged itself in non-issues like giving lands in Tirupati to the missionaries, announcing reservation for Muslims That has really turned AP in Iraq.

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A ghastly act, but a possible reaction too!
The rape and murder of a call centre employ here in Pune has shocked everyone. This is not the first incident but the its very reoccurence shows an inherent lethargy in the system.
The victim, Jyoti Choudharys body was found in a roadside farm yesterday near the Gahunje village near Talegaon Dabhade in Pune district. Primary investigations have revealed that she was raped and subsequently murdered by the driver of the company cab Purushottam Borate and his accomplice Pradeep Kokade. Both of them took the cab to the village saying that they have one employ to pick. Since Jyoti was speaking to her friend in Bangalore, she did not noticed this. It was only after some
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time that she knew she was mislead. But it was too late by then. As the contact with Jyoti was severed midway, her friend contacted her sister in Delhi who in turn contacted the relatives in Pune. Jyoti was living with her sister and brother- in-law in Pune. Yesterday was her last day in the company. Police had a complaint by her brother-in-law. Meanwhile this incident has once again brought to fore the insecurity in the BPO sector and especially the question of night shift for women. Some have even questioned the role of the company or the security measure taken so far. While the deceased person ought to get the full sympathy, the behavioral pattern of these company employees should also be put to test. This point has long been overlooked. India was long known for its poverty. It is one sector in which even today the country has done little to boast. The relative prosperity we have seen is there thanks to BPO and IT sector. While this affluence attracted hoards of new people, who are young and energetic all the same, it has also created an unbridgeable gulf between them and the lesser blessed people. The yesteryear jealousy between haves and have not has now transferred to this level. The driver and his accomplice apprehended in the above crime are a just example of this argument. Their names betray their humble origins in the Maval area of Pune. The wealth and opulence of their passengers, (considering that they ferry these employees daily) and the somewhat liberal attitude of the folks might have imbibed a feeling of envy in them. That might have prompted them

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to do such a ghastly act. Of course, this is an argument and the criminal bent of mind a person might have a different effect on a whole. What I only want to say is that this point should not be overlooked.

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The No Show of Sports Movies
Movies and sport compete each other in India for the popularity. The length and breadth of the country unites when it comes to the talk of the movies and sports, especially cricket. But this similarity has seldom been translated in cooperation. The history of the Indian cinema is bereft of any great sport movie till now and what has been showcased now is a relatively new work, which is a product of mainly changed attitude of new crop of filmmakers.
The dearth of good sport movies from Bollywood stable is especially appalling when one looks at the Hollywood which churns out excellent sport movies time and
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again. Compared to Hollywood, Bollywoods attempts have been too few in this direction. Neither the audience here has shown any taste for this genre of cinema nor the makers have shown any inclination to cultivate the same. The result is here for all to see, rather not to see. There were some sports movies in India in the past. Awwal Number, Boxer, Ashwini, Hip Hip Hurray etc. were the movies which attempted to showcase sports based subjects in the movie format. But it was only in the last five years or so that the trend has really got steam and the wagon is running in full vigor. Bend it like Beckham, though coming from Briton based filmmaker Gurinder Chadda, was a runaway hit and talk of the tinsel town some five years ago. That set the coin rolling and thereafter Lagaan, Chak de India etc have made their entry here. The question here is : Is this trend here to stay or die away before we even notice it? Some Important Sports Movies Hip Hip Hurray (1983) Director : Prakash Jha This film is about a Computer Engineer who happens to be a sport lover and soccer coach in a school in Ranchi. While carrying out his job duties, the hurdles and resistance he faces as well as his determination and the final victory of his soccer team forms the narrative of the movie. An excellent movie as a whole in its category. Boxer (1984) Director : Raj N. Sippy

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This flick inspired by the then stupendous success of Rocky starring Sylvester Stallone was more a run-of themill Bollywood film rather than a Boxing feature. But it helped Mithun Chakaborty to establish in Bollywood as a hero. Ashwini (1992) Director : Chandramauli This movie based on the real life story of ace athlete Ashwini Nachappa was a unique experiment in its genre. What was more noteworthy was that the main role of the athlete was enacted by Ashwini herself. The sad part of it was that though the film appeared well, it received a meager response at the box office. Awwal Number (1990) Director : Dev Anand The evergreen and irrepressible Dev Anand came up with this novel film. The disheartening part was the halfhearted treatment given to the portrayal of the subject. The film had dwelt on many subjects related to Cricket. Alas, but that dwelling was too superficial. This movie starring Dev Anand, Amir Khan and Aditya Pancholi could not even register its presence at theatres, let alone making any news. Lagaan (2001) Director : Ashutosh Gowarikar This was the film that heralded the new crop of sports movies adoring todays silver screens. It has cleverly blended patriotism, history and the cricket frenzy of Indians to give a superb celluloid venture. Making its pres-

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ence felt at the last stage of Oscar race has also helped it to an extent to be a memorable movie. Iqbal (2003) Director : Nagesh Kukoor This is the story of a deaf and mute but excessively talented Cricketer living in an obscure village. The film saw a stupendous response thanks to the story which was just a filmed version of the dreams and aspirations of thousands in this country. The film not only gave a new identity to Shreyas Talapade, but it also showed to Bollywood filmmakers that an entertaining and successful movie could be done without spicing it up with routine tricks. Chak De India (2007) Director : Shimit Amin This was perhaps the first film made with a focus on Hockey. Based on the life incidents of Mir Ranjan Negi, it has also blended patriotism and reality. It has received accolades as well as success at many levels. It has not lost focus on Hockey, on account of which it has really became a sports movie. Tara Ram Pam (2007) Director : Siddharth Anand Though this movie is a story of a Racing Champion, it stops short of bring a sport movie. The reason for this are too obvious. There is no depiction of Car Racing. Instead it focuses on family drama. The audience too did not heeded to the movie. The movie only showed some scenes on Racing field. Thats all. -

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36
The winner of Kremlin
Vladimir Putin, the outgoing president of the Russia, has once again registered a victory in the form of a stupendous success for his party United Russia, in the parliamentary elections of his country. The questions raised on the manner in which this triumph has come can easily be compensated off by Russian public as a whole with the achievements of the Putin in the last eight years in the office. These questions also, it might be pointed out, have been moved up only by some western countries, US being chief among them. The demand for an independent enquiry into the allegations of irregularities in electoral
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process put forward by the US gives only the hint of the extent to which it is wary of Putin.
By contrast, Putin has relished this victory with lan. He has not bothered himself with answering these demands and instead focusing on the future course of his action. Though he has exhibited joy in view of this victory, he has in his peculiar manner not gone overboard. He know his business well and he has just implied that he is going to do just that. Whether he will like to effect a change in the constitution and be a president for the third time, or will he wield his power by remaining behind the veil is to an open question. What one is sure of is that he has been rewarded for his spectacular accomplishment in bringing Russia to the brink of its former glory of a Superpower. When Putin took charge of the presidency in from Boris Yeltsin, land of Russia was nothing more than chaos. People were forced to stand in queues for their daily meal and industry had came to a standstill. As if it was not enough, Russias position in the international community was also diminishing. Old friends like India were looking the other way in the garb of globalization and new allies were hard to come by. The economic reforms started by Yeltsin regime had severely affected Russia and people were suspicious of any new move in that direction. Topping the list was the problem of separatism and terrorism, especially in Chechnya. V. Putin, as he is referred to in the Russian media, showed guts and resolve to solve many, if not all the prob-

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lems facing his country. One can recount how he managed to face hostage crisis in Moscow and Beslan, even sacrificing some lives for the integrity of the nation. On the economic front, not all of the credit goes to him, but the fact remains that he has used his resources so well, that today Russia does not look so impoverished as it looked not long ago. Instances can be counted when he has looked eye to eye with US or any other western country and scored a point or two. Here is one. Circa 2002. The then US Secretary of State is on Russias official visit. After two days of talks and meetings, he speaks all the good things and says, in the course of one of his briefings, that US does not want any country to help Iran. Within hours, Russias ministry of energy declares it will help Iran build a reactor at Bushehr for electricity generation. The only thing US could do was to issue a statement deploring this decision. These and other aspects have made Mr. Putin a conqueror. He has won his battles from the days in the KGB. He won them in Kremlin. Now he has won the hearts of his fellow countryman. A great achievement indeed!

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37
Happy Birhtday..Boss!
He reigns supreme in the hearts of those who, with a stomach for reverence and thirst for entertainment frequent the darkness of the film theatres. His mannerisms have survived the criticisms of the detractors and the onslaught of the time. Through thick and thin, from touring talkies to multiplexes, Tamil superstar Rajnikant rules the box office and the minds of cinegoers alike. This is not a new eulogy in the light of the recent success of the Sivaji the Boss, but a time tested praise the actor deserves most.
Rajnikant is celebrating his 58th birthday today. As I write this, he would be celebrating this occasion with the
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same modesty and charm that he is always known for. He will retreat to one of the holy places that only he knows, visit some orphanages or old peoples home, distribute some sweets or meal to students and many other charity deeds he do often. But for the millions of his fans worldwide, 12th Dec. is the day for commemoration every year. The reserved attitude of their idol notwithstanding, they will also be involved in welfare activities. Why Rajnikant holds this charisma and influence on so wide an audience is a question that a large no. of critics and viewers have pondered on alike. I would hardly like to add this leaf in the already heavy pile of life stories available on the net. What I would like only to add here, besides wishing him Happy Birthday of course, is that whenever an enjoyment-hungry man will take his place in the darkness of the theatre or in the comfort of his home moving his eye on the TV screen in search of the stuff that he wants, the brimming activities of Rajnikant will be there to amuse him. People call him desi James Bond or Amitabh Bachchan of the South India. I think and insist that it is pass. Rajnikant is Rajnikanthis own citations of Superstar and Style King fail to appropriately describe his personality. So, the best thing we can do is to watch his movie and sayRepeat Wish him again Happy Birthday Rajnikant.

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38
Hollywood faded out
Where would the English movie viewers go to watch their favorite and anticipated films? That is the question looming large in the minds of those who watch Hollywood stuff frequently. The regular theatres for the English movies are fast turning into endangered species. They are shrinking to exhibit the stuff in the fear of loosing the profit in the favor of dubbed movies. Dubbed movies also are fast encroaching on the space for the original Hollywood stuff.
It was in the year 1994. First Jurassic Park had made waves in the pre-publicity era and its release was widely expected. When the movie actually hit the theatres, it
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came in two separate versions i.e. English as well as Hindi. That heralded a trend whereby more and more foreign films were dubbed in Hindi and few other regional languages. That business strategy paid off very well paving the way for major and minor Hollywood studios to set up their offices here itself. What happened to English films later took place with films in other languages too. Chinese, Japanese, French and so many other films started making rounds. Not only through theatres, but through pirated CDs and DVDs too. Increasingly people started to see English films in their language instead of the original ones. The things have come to such a pass that Spiderman 3 last year was dubbed in Bhojpuri, a first for any Hollywood or for that matter, any non-Bhojpuri. The trend continued unabated and A Night in Museum was released in India in only Hindi. However, the film was available in English on DVD circuit. Rising localization and increasing competition has made original Hollywood films now as rare as old Hindi flicks. Either you see Hindi dubbed versions or else you see nothing. Even some multiplexes are going for the dubbed versions. In short, the day is not far away, when one will have to ask : English films, where are they?

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39
Chinese learners dwindling in Pune
Pune: Chinese may be the buzzword in kitchens, shops and businesses, but when it comes to the language, there seem to be few takers. Institutes teaching the Chinese language are seeing a fall in the number of students opting for the course.
Though there are few establishments in the city that offer such a course, their enrollments were rising until a couple of year ago. Anagha Natekar, co-ordinator of the course in Symbiosis Institute of Foreign Languages (SIFL), told TOI, It is our personal perception that the Chinese bubble has burst. We have a capacity of 25 students, but even that number is hard to achieve. Agrees Ketan Vadke who arranges personalised Chinese courses: Compared to other languages, demand for Chi195

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nese seems limited. However, by itself, the awareness about the language is definitely rising. We usually see business people and professionals enrolling for languagecourse. Swati Somani, training co-ordinator and counselor with Chrysalis institute has a different take. She asserts that, comparatively, the last two to three years have seen a rise in the number of students. Since there are few who know the language, lot of people opt for it to work as translators and interpreters. And, there is a fair bit of money in it, she said.

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Lost in translation!
PUNE: When Durga Dixit, director of the Aikyabharati Pratishtan gets requests for translation jobs, she just has to call up her regular translators and get the job done. For, Dixit has a group of trusted people who can translate documents into target languages. When the quantity of the work increases and she faces a deadline, however, she feels the crunch. There are just not enough people to go around. Many agencies have the same story, a dearth of skilled translators in the city. As Pune grows into an international industry and IT centre, translators and interpreters are in high demand. And, surprisingly, the situation is worse
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for Indian languages. There sure is a scarcity of translators, especially from vernacular languages to English and vice versa. Most of our work comes in these languages. The quantity of work is growing and the job can be done even at home. Still, there are just not enough skilled persons. And, where Pune loses, Mumbai gains. Trained manpower for this work is needed. We have proposed that the government start a new course aiming at translation from English to vernacular languages, says Dixit. BITS International handles translation works for domestic as well as foreign clients. Chairman and managing director of the organisation, Sandeep Nulkar says, Skilled manpower is not increasing at the same rate as the work is. One problem is the lack of specialised courses for this purpose. Even existing courses have not been tailored keeping in mind the concerns of practising translators. Since translation needs special skills, even though the number of students learning languages is increasing, that does not amount to the availability of the good translators.

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Interestingly, Pune seems to do well in grooming translation talent. Delhi and Pune are cities where a conductive ambience for emerging translators exists. Even Bangalore does not have Masters-level courses in as many languages as we have here. That is why so many IT companies there are hiring translators from Pune, Nulkar says. Madhura Datar, founder of the Language Services Bureau, has 45 years of experience in translating. There are many translators, but professional ones is hard to find, she says. For some not-so-common and Indian languages, the problem is more acute. Datar has trained many students over the years and still teaches those willing to learn. The situation has changed very much in the last few years. Though more people are learning the skills, theres scope for everyone. (The news can also be read at Times of India site here)

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When Mahatma called himself Farmer
Pune: The irony could not have been more severe. In a country where farmer suicides are a daily occurrence, the Father of the Nation professed himself a farmer.
When Mahatma Gandhi said, True India lies in villages and its countless farmers, he was not just mouthing meaningless words. Though the world recognised him as a barrister, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi counted himself as a farmer. Gandhi visited the Bhandarkar Oriental Reasearch Institute (BORI) here on September 1, 1945. He was accompanied by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Manilal Gandhi. After watching the research
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work at the institute, Gandhi was requested to give his comments in the visitor book. Bahut anand hua, (I am very pleased) is what he wrote. In the occupation column, Gandhi wrote, khedut, which in Gujarati means farmer. For many years, no one took notice of this fact. The record surfaced in 2001 when Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar visited the institute. M.G. Dhadphale, honorary secretary of the BORI, says: Sharad Pawar came here and observed our work. When he came to know that Mahatma Gandhi had signed in the visitor book, he was curious to find Mahatmas occupation. After the records were dug up, the fact sprung up. The same record shows that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had also wrote their profession as a farmer and Rajkumari Amrita Kaur wrote deshsevika while Manilal Gandhi wrote Editor, Indian Opinion in the occupation column. Renovation work to start soon Pune: A year after Union finance minister Dr P. Chidambaram declared a donation of Rs 7.5 crore for renovation of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in the city, the groundwork on the research centre is all set to start soon. The institute conducts research in ancient Sanskrit and other classical manuscripts. Last year, BORI, along with the other four institutions across the country associated with Mahatma Gandhi, was allocated Rs 30 crore to commemorate 150th anniversary of the 1857 freedom struggle.

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Prof M.G. Dhadphale, honorary secretary of the institute, said, We have so far received Rs 5 crore of the Rs 7.5 crore fund. The renovation plan includes some new constructions, extension of library and a new hostel of international standard. Computer supported readers rooms and classrooms for scholars would also be provided, he said. Some buildings of the institute are classified as heritage structures and their conservation work will also be undertaken, Dhadphale said.

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CYG ahead, its boom time for hospitality industry
Pune: With the number of people visiting the city on the rise, the hospitality industry in Pune is striving hard to cope with increasing demand for rooms. This has also resulted in new luxury hotels coming up in and around the city. The number of business class visitors to the city are also on the increase and hence the average occupancy rate of hotels in the city now is 80 per cent. A substantial increase in this number is anticipated with the approaching Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) that is scheduled
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from 12th to 18th October. Adding to this will be the onset of the festival season, beginning August, that will see more people visiting the city. According to the estimates of the CYG organisers, at least 2,000 athletes and officials will participate in the games. This inflow of visitors will coincide with the tourist season and Diwali, putting more pressure on the already burdened infrastructure. Taking this into consideration, some hotels have even started advance reservation for the month of October. According to sources, the hotels have already started getting many enquiries for reservations for October. Keeping this in mind, many star category and budget hotels are coming up in Pune. Arun Nayar, president of the Poona Hoteliers Association and director (operations) of Pride Hotels is confident that the city is ready to face the impending challenge. Our estimate is that there will be at least a demand for 3,000 rooms in October. Out of this, around 1,300 rooms will be in the Balewadi sports village and around 1,700 rooms will be required in the city hotels, he says.

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The existing capacity of city hotels is 3,000 rooms. But many of these rooms are being occupied by business and tourist visitors. Hence, the need for new luxury hotels. According to Nayar, with the completion of these hotels, some 3,000 additional rooms will be available. The new starcategory hotels coming up in Pune include, The O, Royal Orchid Centre, Saint Laurn, Holiday Inn and Westin. There are some budget hotels also coming up. Hinjewadi and Wakad areas have also seen many service apartments coming up. But there are some who are sceptical about the new developments in the industry. Ravi Karandeekar, a Punebased real estate consultant for the last 12 years says, The new hotels will cater only to the upper business class clients. The economy conscious visitors have very little choice. Shortage of accommodations is a real problem and the city needs more

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43
Pune-the foreign visitors hub
Pune: After hosting a large flock of foreign students over the years, the city is now seeing an increasing number of foreign visitors who are not students. Records show that foreigners who come to the city for non-academic purposes are growing in the last five years. Known as the Oxford of the East, the city boasts of a large number of foreign-national students. The number has been on the rise. Yet, the growth seems to be downwards on percentage basis as records show increasing number of non-student foreign national visiting the city. Every foreign national residing in the city for more than 180
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days has to register at the Foreigners Registration Branch in the Police Commisionerate. The records available with Foreigners Registration Branch show that 4,214 students registered in the last year as compared to 3,445 students in 2006, which shows a growth of 22 per cent. In 2005, the number of students registered was 3,784, while in 2004, the number was 2,900. This shows that number of foreign student dropped in 2006 while 2005 had witnessed a growth of almost 30 per cent. At the same period, overall foreign visitors have increased relatively. In 2007, there have been 6,153 visitors compared to 5,024 in the previous year. That amounts to a growth of 22.5 per cent. The growth in the preceding year was 9 per cent. The exception was in 2006, when there was a decline. The registration at the Foreigners Registration Branch is categorised on the basis of visa. They are put in student, tourist and others categories. The number of students is large but the overall visitors are growing. At times, the manpower in our office seems inadequate, says inspector S.V. Gadgil, who is in charge of the registration office. As most foreign tourists leave the

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city within days of their arrival, their count in the records is low. Spouses and relatives of students, those on medical visa or other purpose are included in other category.

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Log in the desi way
Domain Names In Indian Languages To Become A Reality Pune: The web is set to reach new heights in India as use of several Internet Domain Names (IDN) got a thumbs up at an international meet held at New Delhi recently.
Internet Corporation on Assigned Numeric Names (ICANN), the apex body, which controls domain names, discussed the subject at ICANNs 31st public meeting in the capital on Friday. Mahesh Kulkarni, the programme head of Punebased Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), gave a presentation on development of Internationalised Domain Names (IDN) in local languages.

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There are two sides to this issuepolicywise and technical. We have recommended to the Department of Information Technology and ICANN to bring some policy changes to enable IDNs in local languages. The work is going on for two years but it has reached an advanced stage now, said Kulkarni. India has 22 official languages and domain names in 13 languages have already been tested. But the issue now is allowing top level domain names (.com, .gov, .in, etc) in Indian languages. Kulkarni said, Given the complexities of our languages, the issue has to be resolved systematically. The main risk in allowing IDNs in Indian languages will be from phishing sites (who indulge in internet frauds using duplicate domain names). Keeping this in view, we have made some recommendations. According to him, if the suggestions are accepted, it could pave the way for email addresses in local languages. Risks and the solutions There are 22 languages written in 11 scripts. Many languages are written in more than one script Konkani is written in Roman, Devnagari, Malyalam and Kannada, while 54 languages (including dialects) are written in Devnagari. Solution: Deciding one script for any given language, on which a decision is yet to be taken. There are many characters common to more than one languages. Making it easier for fishing sites to pose as original websites.

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Solution: Reserving specific names for important sites and not allowing similar characters for domain names. A variant table of characters for each language has been prepared so that character set of one language is not copied to other characters. Many languages have similar sounding words (homophones) and similarly spelled words (homographs) making the access difficult as well as prone to risk. Solution: Unicode sets for each character has been finalised and only homographs are focused, restricting uncommon characters from using in domain names. There is a risk that some obscene words or phrases might be used by some elements to register the names. Solution: A list has been prepared of such words which will not be allowed to use, a la European countries.

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Net Access still a difficult task
Pune: Sandeep Kotrekar is a manager working in a private IT company. He wanted an internet connection on shifting to his new flat two months ago. But this proved more tedious than purchasing the flat itself. No internet service provider (ISP) was available, as my flat is close to the National Defence Academy. Citing security reasons, officials there objected to laying the cable. I managed to get a connection only after coercion and interruption from bigwigs, he says. Sandeep is not the only one who is facing a problem logging on to the net, as various parts in the city are faced with similar constraints of poor
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accessibility. While major ISPs are in the open sweating it out, customers are feeling the heat. Tata Indicom recently launched the wireless USB modem connectivity, followed by Reliance Infocom, while Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has launched its IPTV service on a broadband platform. Hathway, which provides internet through cable, has also offered to give modems free, while Sify has slashed rates. There are some small players, like You Telecom, which have a presence in selected areas. If this sounds like the war of the ISPs, it is not true. Those who approach these providers for connections have their own stories to tell. One who wants to get a BSNL connection has to get a landline phone first. The waiting lists of both, the telephone and the net connection, are a test of patience. Some other ISPs might be ready to give a connection, but the speed, customer support and billing of these companies have disconcerted many. While admitting that a waiting list does exist, Ramesh Mahajan, public relation officer of BSNL, says, There might be a few problem in

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some parts of the city. We are unable to provide service to new townships and colonies, where our infrastructure is not available. But we have given access to those townships where we were intimated in advance. A representative from the Hathway company said, We provide service to those customers where our network exists. Where it is not feasible, we hand over the service to other cable service company. Problems arising thereafter are taken care of by the respecive company. But that happens with any other ISP. Officials from Tata Indicom and Reliance Infocom did not respond despite repeated calls. PROBLEMS GALORE Low wireless access: Only few ISPs have wireless internet facilities in the city, many of which falter in the fringe areas. Those providing internet through mobiles pose a problem when the call traffic is high. Coverage strength is also a problem. No cable: Internet through cable is speedy enough, but many areas, especially sensitive zones, do not have the cable network for access.

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Immodest modems: Those going for USB modems have to shell out Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 for the apparatus. The amount is not recoverable after the service is discontinued. A customer is therefore forced to find a willing buyer. Low customer support: Small companies often do not have adequate customer support facilities. There are complaints from customers of automated responses and non-availability of officials to cater to calls.

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Miscreants use MNS tag to fleece north Indians
Pune: With the name of the political outfit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) instilling a sense of fear and alarm in the minds of migrant communities in the city, especially the north Indians, there is now an additional problem. A certain class of people have started using the tirade for their own benefit in the form of armtwisting tactics, to lighten the migrants of their property and money.
These people are using Raj Thackerays name and are holding us to ransom. We have been manhandelled and

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they have been threatening to take over our homes, says a labourer working on a construction site. These goons have no political affiliation to any party. Warje industrial area, for instance, has become a prime spot for such incidences since it has a huge number of migrant labour working on construction sites. The police department is aware of this new development. Most of the people involved in these incidents are local thugs and troublemakers. They have past grievances against these workers and are using the volatile political situation for settling personal scores. There is a financial angle in many a case, states an official attached with the Kothrud police station. Most of such brawls occur on Saturday which is the weekly payment day for labourers and they take place amidst the chanting of Jai Maharashtra. Sangita Tiwari president of the Maharashtra Uttar Bharatiya Ekta Manch, says, Till now, we have received many complaints of harassment but we have found no activist of any political party involved in the matter. Landlords and goons are taking advantage of the situation and we need to take a serious look at the matter. A few city-based travel companies have started a strategy of their own, Tiwari charged. In some of the fringe areas, goons hired by the travel companies create commotion in the colonies of the labourers. This panic leads to an immediate exodus and the travel agents then charge almost double the price for tickets. A Pune-Nagpur ticket which costs Rs 300 was issued at Rs 700, Tiwari informed. Meanwhile, representatives of the north Indian community have visited certain MNS func-

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tionaries in the city to apprise them of this harassment. Bala Shedge, MNS corporator, has assured them that a statement will be issued shortly clarifying that the MNS has nothing to do with this matter.

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Bloggers share ideas and tips
Pune: Around 50 bloggers, including software professionals and those into Indian-languages blogging, came together on Saturday at a meet organised by Indiblogger.in and Vineet Rajan, an MBA student and blogger at Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning.
Sandhya Rajan, who as Enthusiastic Evangelist represented Microsoft in the meet, said, India has the best pool of writers and blogging is emerging in a big way here. We wanted to contact as many bloggers from the country as possible and thus associated with Indiblogger.in. Such meetings have already been organised in Hyderabad and Bangalore, with Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata to follow suit. Anwin Joselyn, who along with his three
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friends, manages Indiblogger.in, said, This venture was created to remove the misconception that Indians are not serious bloggers. The site lists active bloggers all over India for whom language is no barrier. The meet also saw tips by Microsoft on making blogs popular. Karamveer Singh, who owns 200 sites, guided about how to make money by blogging. (Appeared in Times of India, 16th March 2008. )

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49
Will Astrology deliever?
The astrology is being put to scientific test first time in India. What is more fascinating is that the experiment is being carried out in Pune. Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Statistics Department of University of Pune and Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti have joined hands for this novel test which is a kind of attempt to verify the veracity of astrology. Informing about this experiment, Prakash Ghatpande who is the co-ordinator of the project said, We want to bring astrology into the realms of scientific investigation. To do it, it was necessary

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to do some study of this branch. This experiment is a part of this attempt. The project involves collecting and then verifying, analysing of a particular data. Sample of Kundalis (Horoscopes) some students are collected by the activists of the Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti from all over the state. The horoscopes belong to mentally challenged students as well as normal students. These samples will be mixed with each other and distributed to the astrologers who are willing to participate in the project. Dr. Naralikar is to make an announcement on Monday to the astrologers to come forward for this project. He said, Such test have been carried abroad. But to my knowledge, there have been no attempts here. We have kept an open approach without any bais. Asked about the failed attempts in the past to make astrologers take up challenges, he said, We will pursuade them to participate in this. After astrologers come forward, statistics department will provide them with the samples of horoscopes. Astrologers will be told to analyse the

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samples and tell exactly which students are mentally challenged and which are not. The statistics department is to ensure that the experiment will be a Double Blind Test one. The data providers as well as analysers will not be aware about who the horoscope belongs to. A random sampling of the horoscopes will also be done. If the astrologers succeed to identify the horoscopes correctly more than random sampling, it will be assumed that the astrology has some basis to it. Otherwise it will be established that it has no substance. We have collected all the data. The only remaining thing is the verification. University of California and other foreign universities have conducted such tests before. Even late V. M. Dandekar had done research in that direction but at institutional level, this is first of its kind project, said Ghatpande. WHY the test To bring astrology into the realm of scientific investigation and scrutiny. How it will be

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Horoscopes of students to be collected from all over the state. The students will be mentally challenged as well as normal ones. The horoscopes will be mixed and encoded by Statistical Department. They will be provided to astrologers willing to participate in the project. Astrologers will be asked to analyse and identify the origins of students. The findings will be matched to the findings of random sampling. Astrologers have to score over the random sampling to prove their logical basis. What Other Study Says University of Californias researcher Shawn Carlson had conducted a similar study in 1980s. The findings of the study was published in December 1985 in Nature. The controlled study was designed specifically to test whether astrologers can do what they say they can do. Carlson, a researcher at UCs Lawerence Berkeley Laboratory, found astrologers had no special ability to

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interpret personality from astrological readings. Astrologers also performed much worse in the test than they predicted they would, according to Carlson. Carlsons research involved 30 American and European astrologers considered by their peers to be among the best practitioners of their art. To check astrologers claims that they can tell from natal charts what people are really like and how they will fare in life. Carlson asked astrologers to interpret natal charts for 116 unseen clients. In the test, astrologers were allowed no face-to-face contact with their clients. Despite astrologers claims, Carlson found those in the study could correctly match only one of every three natal charts with the proper personality profile - the very proportion predicted by chance. In addition, astrologers in the study fell far short of their own prediction that they would correctly match one of every two natal charts provided. Even when astrologers expressed strong confidence in a particular match, they were no more likely to be correct, Carlson found.

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http://www.psychicinvestigator.com/demo/ AstroSkc.htm -

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Eight RTI Applications Led Him to Frauds, Forgery
A senior citizen was shockes when he found out that Pune Municipal Corporation can even resort to fraud and forgery to prove its point. The citizen could come to this inference using Right to Information tool. But even after unearthing this misdeeds, administration is sitting on his complaints and the enquiry has been lying in PMC filed for more than 10 months after the case was reopened by municipal commissioner in September 2007. It is lying now with additional

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commissioner (Special) Neelima Kerkatta, Khobragade and Dangat.


Prabhakar Vaze ,72, is fighting for last two years with the official apathy and high handedness. He is entangled in an administrative battle aroused over a construction without permission. Papers show that PMC officials have changed the documents to create an impreesion of law abiding procedure. In the process, though, there have been left too many loopholes to fill. The story started when P. R. Vaze, a practising civil engineer who also worked in central government engineering department on a responsible position, went to US for a six month stay in 2002. When he returned around December, he was surprised to find a fifth floor construction going on their property. The property belongs to three Vaze brothers and they had consent terms fixed for any construction on their estate. According to these terms, which were dictated by Mumbai High Court, consent of all three brothers must be obtained for the construction. When Vaze was about to approach PMC over the permission given to this construction, PMC issued to notice for this illegal structure. As there was no action again, then PMC commissioner ordered then city engineer to do an enquiry. Instead the city engineer in his report adviced to regularise the strucutre. Even though they themselves had rejected it on the ground that it had no provision for lift. Enraged over this, Vaze complained to PMC upon which an enquiry was ordered.

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The enquiry officer sought legal opinion which was given on 7.4.2007. This legal opinion referred to a rejected plan for fifth floor without provision of lift in 2001-2002. The legal cell opined that for any new construction in this property requires consent of all the three owners. The opinion also says, the aggrieved P. R. Vaze had already consented for the fifth floor-reference rejected plan above. The Vaze demanded original copy of his consent documents refered in the opinion under RTI, he received on 19.9.2007 a set of drawings supposed to have been signed by P. R. Vaze. As per the letter on 12.5. 2004 to the architect, all the drawings in his custody were cancelled by P. R. Vaze. The above mentioned drawing forms part of this cancelled drawings. This letter 12.5.2004 was also attached to the original complaint to commissioner dt. 19.4.2006. Therefore the stand taken by city engineer while giving his decision on 12.6.2007, that this letter was not in the custody of PMC is totally false. In addition, the drawings received by Vaze under RTI, does not bear his siganture as mentioned by legal cell. When it came to light that the plan for another independent construction was passed without consent by everyone and there was only one signature on the document, officials aaparently though out a plane. They managaed to get signature of the second owner on the plan. But in doing so, the officials forgot to take signature on both parts of the plan. The effect of this haste was now there are three sets of documents in PMC with one set having one siganture and second having two signatures. A

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third one is still to be obtained by Vaze. All the three documents bear one serial no. CC 3610/05 as also same date 17.01.06. Ironically, the arcitecht Sanjeev Oak had in his letter to PMC dated 21.4.2006 argued to grant permission to regularise fifth floor citing previous permissions with one signature, including CC 3610/05. Vaze alleges, Officials who conducted the first hearing conducted on 28.07.06 and the then city engineer were involved in this forgery. They had altered the document to cover up their mistake, as is evident from the documents provided by PMC. Meanwhile, they also submitted false reports regarding all this matter. Even when I approach them, they tell me contemptuously to go to the court. At my age, is it feasible to go to court. And is this a logic that theyr should commit a mistake and I should be made to suffer for it? Vaze is following the matter with PMC through RTI. He has filed at least eight RTI applications and all the misdeeds of officials have come to light thanks to RTI. Interestingly, the then commissioner Nitin Karir as also present one Pravinsingh Pardeshi had taken note of his arguments. While Kareer had ordered an enquiry of the case, Pardeshi last year ordered city engineer to reopen the case. But since then, nothing has happened. I have written at least 600 pages of letters and attended four Lokshahi Dins. Commissioner himself handed my documents to city engineer. Still, nobody is serious, complained Vaze.

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According to Vaze, the remedy to correct these wrongs is to revoke the plans and install a suo motu inquiry by the commissioner. How PMC officials Bungled The plan was passed without the consent of all three brothers as instructed by the Mumbai High Court. PMC officials claimed that the consent for the construction was obtained by P. R. Vaze, who complained otherwise. To hide the mistake, an attempt was made to obtain signatures of other owners. When the mistake came to light in a hearing in PMC, second set of sanctioned plan created with two signatures. After an order from PMC commissioner, officials visited the place to determine the plinth area of another building in the same estate. Officials applied wrong Development Control rules to determine the plinth area and came up with figure of 670 sq. ft. which is 1046 sq. ft. Officials claimed that P. R. Vaze had given his consent to plan whereas no consent was given by him since his signature does not appear on the drawing which were cancelled by him. City Engineer Prashant Waghmare in his report showed ignorance of a letter by which Vaze had cancelled his consent to any change in the plan of the building.

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(Published in Pune Mirror on 6th June 2008)

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The Green Killer
The sight of so much greenery might satisfy an environment loving citizen. But this greenery is taking its toll on the environment itself. For the last few years, residents in Bopodi and neighbouring are complaining of health problems, which are caused by the existence of hyacinth in Mula river. But the issue has now become a plaything between two municipal corporations and College of Military Engineering also. Officials from Pune Municipal Corporations claim they have routed out the hyacinth problem from Mutha river in PMC limits. But parts of Mula river flowing through PMC area is infected with huge spread of hyacinths. According to
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these officials, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is pushing these hyacinths in PMC area. We have proof that PCMC is pushing hyacinths in Mula river, which originally comes from Pavana river. They show readiness for co-operation when approached, but suddenly they resort to same old tactic of releasing water with hyacinths without informing, said Dr. Pramod Daigude, head of the PMC health department. Such irritated PMC is on this matter, that it has started to put girders in the riverbed so that this weed should not enter its area. It has issued expression of interest notices for inviting tenders so that the task can be given to private agencies. The process is expected to be completed within one month. This practise was till now followed only by College of Military Engineering, which is situated on Mula river. PCMC on its part has sent a letter to PMC denying any responsibility on the matter. Officials from PCMC, apparently taking pride in being the richest municipal corporation in Asia,

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shown readiness to pay the money for removal of weed. But they themselves have not done anything in the matter. When contacted, PMC officials were either unavailable or unwilling to comment. More Problems to follow Even when its cup of woe filled to the top, PMC is facing one more uphill task now. According to A. V. Patole, deputy head of the department and in-charge of weed removal programme, said, Till now we used to remove weed from riverbed successfully. But now a new type of weed is coming up which is called, Pistia or Nile Cabbage. It has come basically from US and it is a major headache there. It is spread over thousands of Kms. on rivers and lakes. Only aerial spraying of pesticides is done in US but we cant do it for environmental reasons. Another matter of concern for PMC is a proposed construction of gas pipeline near Harris Bridge. Maharashtra Gas Ltd. has built a bund under the bridge for this pipeline. It is also causing a stoppage to the flowing hyacinths.

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Patole said, Although the company has promised that it will remove the concrete bund once their construction is completed, our past experience does not allow us to believe them. So our problems are getting only complicated. -(Published in Pune Mirror on 8 April)

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What a time!
To what extent can the frustration of PMPML bus travellers go? Sunday witnessed one of the answers to above question when a sizable number of travellers in Warje came together to protest against the irregularities of PMPML service. The big spoof was made of PMPML time table and rules and those who did this are damn serious about it! The event was organised by Pune Bus Pravasi Sangh at Galinde Road bus stop. A mock PMPML time table making fun of manner in which city buses ply without schedule and notice was put in palce at the stop. A pamphlet displaying the strange rules of bus service was also
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put in place as well as distributed to people. It was meant to attract the attention of PMPML administration towards the long standing problem of these commuters. Those present at the occasion seemed amused by this agitation. There were problems galore behind all this fun. Hrushikesh Yewalekar of PBPS said, These protest was part of our attempts to get good services. This is a problem affecting whole of the city. We had submitted a statement with 1000 signatures to PMPML officials to give regular service. But no action has been taken. Therefore we have to take this step. According to Yewalekar, based on the norms, 2000 buses are required for the Pune but there are only 850 buses.
Abhijeet K., another activist from the organisation said, We organise regular events and create public awareness. We had submitted a memoraundum to Deputy General Manager of PMPML some time ago and he had promised us that time tables of PMPML buses will be in place before 13 April. But almost a month later, we have still to see the fulfilment of that promise. Therfore we resorted to this kind of agitation. The Mock Rules

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The administration is not responsible for someone getting heart attack in case a bus comes at scheduled time. There is no sure thing in life. Hence do not be sure that the bus will come ever. If four buses to a particular destinastion come at same time, take only one bus. Dont try to sit in two buses. Please be clear, it will attract double charge. If the bus does not come even after waiting for two hours, take your bike and go to the desired destination. Ticket fare is charged for entering the bus and not for sitting therein. The bus can fail any time in travel. Please co-operate to push it. The time table can change any time without prior notice. An accurate and clear time table has been posted specially for the convenience of the public. Therefore do not enquire in the office about the same. The travel is free for persons above 138 years of age. We are disposed towards the public service, so there is no need to be tahnkful for it.

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54
Punes Dog Problem
City of Pune is always discussing this issue and every time this issue comes up, both sides of argument, in and against killings of the dogs, debates it fiercely. A Supreme Court judgement prohibiting killing stray dogs has compounded the matter. Last year, while one death occured in the Pun Municipal limits on account of dog bites, 28 people in the district succumbed to dog bites. Year 2007 also saw 3,199 dog bite cases while there were 2,935 such cases in previous year. According to the PMIs health department, the estimated number of stray dogs in Pun is over

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40,000 and about 150-200 dog bites cases are registered daily in the city. Dr. Babasaheb Kalhapure, of Animal Farm, an animal rescue centre in Wade Bolhai says, Dogs attack by virtue of hormonal imbalance. If the dogs operated on for sterilisation, there will be no problem of these attacks. Asked about the details of dogs sterilisation, Dr. Kalhapure says, PMC and NGOs like us together can sterilise 400 to 500 dogs daily. But that is not happening as there is no initiative from PMC. As of today, about 25,000 dogs are sterilised in Pune alone. If PMC shows any kind of readiness for action, NGOs are ready to cooperate. Dr. Sucheta Visvanathan, who is also involved with dog rescue activity in the city, says, The only remedy is the sterilization program. Sterilized dogs are more controlled and they usually do not attack anybody. Citing her experience in Delhi, she says that even if stray dogs are killed or removed to other areas, dogs from other areas will take their place. -

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Menace in a Glance No. of Stray Dogs : 40,000 (In PMC limits) Sterilised Dogs (approx.) : 25,000 (In PMC limits)

Cost of Sterilisation : Rs. 470 (Each dog) Shelters for Dogs : 7 Dog bites Cases Registered: 4290 Solace in the Offing According to Dr. Kalhapure, a research is going on about the anti-rabies capsule which will be available in the market. This capsule will cost Rs. 35 to 40. At present, only anti-rabies injections are available for treatment which cost Rs. 375 each. A four injection course cost more than Rs. One thousand. Humanity Goes to Dogs

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In a shocking incident just two months ago, a day old baby girl was bitten to death by stray dogs after she was abandoned in the middle of the road at Kondhwa. One Suresh More spotted the infant on the NIBM road while he was on his way home around 3 am. He and another resident of area Avinash Tejija drove away the dogs and More alerted the police. The infant was immediately taken to Sassoon hospital, but she succumbed to her injuries within 30 minutes. (Published in Pune Mirror on 9 April 2008)

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Weeding Out Bodies From Mula River
The workers dredging out the weed from Mula river at Bopodi vomitted in the afternoon before having their lunch. The reason? They just had scraps of human flesh flashed across their body. The workers are developing nausea on account of this strange encounters. The work of moving (not removing) the hyacinth from the riverbed started on Thursday after the intervention of guardian minister of Pune, Ajit Pawar. Hours after the start, the workers belonging to Siddheswar Industries Pvt. Ltd. began experiencing human bodies to the boats they were riding in. Some of the bodies were
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being cut by the moving cutter fitted with the boats. We caught at least five bodies there yesterday. Even today a couple of bodies cut by our machines. Some of the bodies were bound in the sacks, said Vinod G. Khopade, in charge of the operations at the site. The workers were more puzzled by the attitude of police who despite being told about the incidence preferred to look away. It is very revolting. We even caught a body of a child. The bodies lie underneath the Hyacinth bed which is spread on the river. Therefore these bodies do not come on the surface and as nobody enters the river because of hyacinth, nobody notices them, said one of the workers. As the workers move along the river to cut the Hyacinth, bits of human flesh fly in all directions and some of the scraps even get struck in the machine itself. Majority og the bodies are that of babies and kids. Aba Takawane, the contractor of the weed romoving work, said, My workers are suffering for two days this situation. We had complained about this situation to police but

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they have not taken any cognizance. Officials tell us that once the body come to the bank, they will look into the matter. When contacted about this incidence, police personnels at Bopodi police chowky refused that any such incidence has taken place at all. According to policemen, if such a thing would have taken place, everybody in the city would have known it.
(Published in Pune Mirror on 10 May) -The hazard posed by the Hyacinth seems here to stay. Researchers, activists and authorities are vouching that only way to remove the weed is to dredge it from the river. But the controversy over the manner in which it is dumped and the way it authorities are locking horn is already started. In the tussle, city is feeling the most intense problem in the last decade. The ongoing work of removing Hyacinth from the Mula river was stopped on Saturday citing Maharashtra Pollution Control Boards notice. But the authorities from PCMC claimed that the work was stopped because of an assurance from Pune Municipal Corporation to complete the work. PMC on the other hand also said that it has finished cleaning its portion of the river. Dr. Sadashiv Patole, in charge of the Hyacinth removal drive of PMC, said, We have cleaned our part of the river. Now the ball is in the PCMCs court. Their work has been stopped and a stretch of five kilometres is choked with Hyacinth. So the situation is still grim.

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Dr. R. B. Chavan, Patoles counterpart in PCMC claimed that the work was stopped because PMC officials promised to complete the task. Is There Any Solution? Dr. Vikram Ghole, head of Department of Environment Studies, University of Pune, who has done research on Hyacinth problem, says that the only way we can remove the weed from the river is mechanical one. Various experiments to weed out the Hyacinths have been done. Even chemicals and bio-chemicals solutions have been looked at. But ultimately the only effective way is to remove it mechanically. Noted environment expert Sridhar Mahajan also asserted the fact that it is an uphill task to extinguish Hyacinth from the river. Only way to do it is to remove the pollution. As the pollution level increases, Hyacinth grow in abundance. That is a long term solution and seems difficult at present. Till it is done, removing the weed is only a temporary solution. Do It and Dump It Questions have also been asked about the way authorities dump the Hyacinth. While PCMCs style of dumping the cut Hyacinth in the river directly attracted criticism immediately, PMCs style also came in the line of fire. Stacks of Hyacinth can be seen on the banks of Mula which are potential breeding ground of insects, worms and mosquitos. According to Dr. Ghole, College of Military Engineering had started a vermiculture project in its campus wherein Hyacinth were fed to the worms. That was a good and ideal experiment. But PMC and PCMC have other ways to follow. The Hyacinths are either cut and left in the

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river water so that it can settle in the water once it is rotten, or stacked at the banks. Both of these ways are as hazardous as Hyacinth itself, if not more. One problem also is almost non-existent use of Hyacinth. It has a very high content of water i. e. 90 percent. Therefore practically it is impossible to put it to use. We did some experiments and made handmade paper, bio gas etc. from Hyacinth. But the output from those experiments was too low. Therefore it could not to be implemented in practice, said Dr. Ghole. Whos Area Is It If Puneites are faced with the continuance of this problem, it has something also to do with the jurisdiction problem. The Mula river, particularly the Hyacinth infected part, flow from three different administrative regions viz. PMC, PCMC and CME. While PMC claims that it has removed all the Hyacinth in its area, it blames PCMC of not doing enough. PCMC on its part has appointed people for the task and officials claim every now and then about rooting out the problem. CME has devised an unique way to solve the problem. It has often resorted to putting beams in the reverbed in its limits so that the Hyacinth do not flow there. Its drastic result is realised when PCMC suddenly releases large quantity of water from Pavana river. The Hyacinth there comes flowing with the water with the result that almost all the river gets covered by a green carpet. This show has been repeated even now with the ongoing drama. The developments this time do not show any sign either of any solution.

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(Published in Pune Mirror on 11 May)

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A reason to Cheer for diabetic wine lovers. A city reasearcher has invented the process to make wines from Jambul, an indigenous fruit with strong anti-diabetic characteristics. Not only this, but Padmakar Deshpande has also made wines from milk and banana also. After reading this, if you want to taste this stuff, you are standing with Dharmendra, Esha Deol and Amisha Patel. A regular trainer with Mitcon, Deshpande was working on ideas to make wines from indigenous fruits. World over, 90 percent wine is made from grapes. But the grape season lasts just two months here in India. Keeping this in view, I was experimenting on this. It will also increase
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demand and profitability of wines for locals, he says. Deshpandes idea seems to have become hit as he has got inquiries from Canada for his Jabul wine. But I am not doing it commercially. Rather I would like to teach this process to others, said Deshpande. He is expecting to get a patent for the same. Deshpandes feats include making wine from milk and coconut also. He claims to have learnt it from Adivasis. Some of the wines made from indigenous fruits have been consumed by celebrities also. According to him, Some friends did took these wines to Dharmendra, his daughter Esha Deol and Amisha Patel also. (Published in Pune Mirror on 14 April 2008)

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No to Terrorism from Muslims in Pune
A Muslim organisation in Pune has come forward to repeat what was hailed as the historic declaration in Deoband in February. An anti-terrorism conference is being organised in the city which is just an extension of the Deoband development. The conference will see many scholars and activists from Muslim community debating the issue deeply. All Maharashtra Rabta Madaarise Dinia, Pune is organising a one day conference in the city. The theme of this conference is anti-terrorism and overall development of the community. After the conference in Deoband condemned terrorism
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anti-Islamic, it was proposed that such types of discussions should be organised all over the country. Accordingly, the conference in Pune will be the first of its kind in the country after Deoband. Mushtak Umar Patel, who was instrumental in bringing this conference to Pune said, Actually this conference was scheduled to be held at Malegaon as it has large number of Muslim scholars. But we wanted it to be held here, as Pune has more number of Muslims pursuing modern education as well as scholars. Also anything happening here goes down to large people than in the other parts. We had to toil a lot for that but it is a pleasure to say that, yes, Pune is hosting the event. Some 36 maulanas from all over Maharashtra have consented to attend the conference. They will dwell on the reasons behind the terrorism, problems affecting Muslim community and persuading the discontented youths away from the terrorism. Efforts will be done to spread the message to everyone. Maulana Abdul Aleem Farooqi of Darul Muballigheen, who was one of the

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speakers at Deoband conference on 25 February will be one of the speakers on the occasion. The conference will be a community effort in all. While Patel and Maulana Nijamuddin Fakaruddin are looking after the organising responsibilities, big names like Amanulla Khan and Adv. A. Rahman, president of the Pune Cantonment Bar Association and Munawwar Pirbhoy, secretary of Haji Ghulam Mohammed Azam Education Trust have chipped in with their contributions. (Publsihed in Pune Mirror on 16 May 2008) Maulana Mohammad Abdulla Mughaisi from Meerat arrived at Mumbai airport from Delhi on Monday. But he was unwell and had to hospitalised in a private hospital. On Tuesday morning, he left the hospital against the advice from doctors and arrived in Pune. It was the love and affection from Puneites that brought me here, he said after addressing a one day anti-terrorism seminar in the city.

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About 500 to 600 muslim clerics all over the state today unanimously announced that there is no place in Islam to terrorism. Maulana Mugaisi who hails from Meerut was the key speaker at the event. All Maharashtra Rabta Madaarise Dinia, Pune had organised this seminar which deliberated for whole one day on various aspects of terrorism and ways to confront it. Maulan Mughaisi, who is the president of All India Milli Council, said, Terrorism activities of any kind are not Isalmic nor does it allows killing. Islam does not support terrorism and there is no place for anti-social activities in the religion. I can even say that those who indulge in such activities do not follow the path of Holy Quran. Warning that injustice makes a man take up the wrong path, he advised youth to take education and contribute to the progress of India. Maulan Amanulla Khan called upon everybody to owe up the resposibility of eachones religious places. Lets keep an eye and enquire about the strangers coming to our shrines, he said. Dilshad Jakhmi, himself a blind scholar from Delhi, won over everybodys heart saying that

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Muslims are as much part of India as much anyone else. He said that everyone should come forward for the defence of the country. Maulana Nizamuddin Khan from Pune also spoke at the occassion. Informing about the event, Mushtak Umar Patel said, We were expecting just 300 persons in the seminar. But we were pleasently surprised that there were 500 persons coming from Nanded, Aurangabad, Akola, Malegaon and even Banglore and Delhi. The seminar ended with a prayer for the peace and wellbeing of Maharashtra and India. Resolutions Passed at Seminar - Muslims in Pune city, district and state condemn all incidences of terrrorism and suicide attacks. - Real culprits in such incidences should be brought to justice and innocent people should be harrased in the name of investigation. - Muslim clerics and community should arrange such seminars and conferences all over the state in their respective cities and spread the mesasge of peace.

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(Publsihed in Pune Mirror on 28 May 2008)

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The members of the Siddhivinayak Manas Cooperative Society are up in arms against their builder, Siddhivinayak Anutej Group. The members are opposing construction of a new road through the garden of their society and allege that builder has used muscle power to crush their opposition. The 180 member society witnessed some stressful moments on Thursday as the friction between builder and members took a violent turn. According to a complaint filed with the Abhiruchi police chowky, some 50 to 60 goons were allegedly sent by the builder to threaten the members. A wall in the sounthern direction of
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the building was borken to pave the way for construction of the phase 2 of the builders project. Surendra Bhosale, chairman of the society said, The builder firm have four parteners viz. Vijay Agarwal, Sursh Aiyar, Sunil alias Pavan Mittal and Dhavan. They had promised us that society will have a compund wall on four sides and a garden will be in the middle. Now they want to pave the way for this new road. Yesterday we tried to oppose the goons but they manhandled and abused us and even misbehaved with women in the society. Meanwhile, Sunil Mittal, one of the partners of the firm described these accusations as malicious and false. He said that the firm has nothing to do with the incidence as the road in dispute does not fall in the area of their work. He even accused that the members of the society are trying to exert pressure on them to extort money. This is only one of the cases where consumers and builders are standing face to face. The complaints against the builder community are on the rise. Said Suryakant Pathak of Grahak Panchayat, Builders try to manage everything by lobbying.

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We have all types of complaints perataining to builders ranging from one flat selling to four people, cheating, selling apartments belonging to others or on anothers land. Grahak Panchayat experienced so heavy an increase in complaints against the builders that it established a separate cell for the purpose. Informing about the situation, Vijay Sagar, who handles these compalainst, said, We have some 50 cases each month in this category and we have identified about 53 ways in which builders cheat the consumers. There is no builder in Pune against whom there is not a complaint. These complaints belong to various categories like not giving the possession of the flat, asking more rate. In his argument, Sagar cited a case of a businessman from Gujrat who paid Rs. 28 lakhs for a flat. After the completion of the flat, builder refused to hand over the possession and asked Rs. 1 Lakh 76 thousand for additional charges. Such cases are rampant, Sagar said. He also has advice for the consumers : never buy a property without purchase deed. Among lakhs of build-

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ings in the city, only 12,000 societies have been registered. Among these societies, only 2,500 purchase deeds have been registered, he said cautioning that consumer can lose his possession in the absence of purchase deed. Experts advise citizens to look for all the documents. There are many builders who promise the moon, but the right choice is always difficult. Before deciding on a apartment/flat, check if the builder has the following documents:
Sale deed / Lease deed / Development Agreement Power of Attorney from the landowner, if a Development agreement is executed Layout approval Approved building plans Commencement certificate from Municipal Council / Corporation. N.A. permission and latest N.A. tax receipt. Latest 7 / 12 extract. Copy of ULC clearance certificate. Title report for the property under construction. Stamp Duty Cleareance Certificate. (Publsihed in Pune Mirror on 18 May)

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A Drive to the Discipline
The employees of the call centres indulge in sexual acts in their premise and we have no objection to it. But they should behave properly in our cabs. That is why we have made this code of conduct to be followed in all BPO employees, says Nana Kshirsagar, heading Maharashtra Call Centre Chalak Malak Sanghtana (association of owners and drivers of call centres.) The organisation, which was formed some two months ago, has called for a strike on 19 May which means on Monday most of the call centre vehicles will remain off the road.

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While Kshirsagar has attributed various reasons for the strike, including getting raw treatment in terms of payment and facilities, his organisation has finalised a code of conduct for the call centre employees who travel by the cabs. The code is meant to bring discipline in the employees of the BPOs and according to Kshirasagar, to avoid untoward incidences which have taken place in the past. The conduct of these employees should be scrutinized on the lines of Rajneesh followers. Our drivers suffer most because of their behaviour. We have been witness to hugging, kissing and all sorts of acts. Thats why we are demanding this code, said Kshirsagar. Some drivers attested Kshirsagars claims. Namdeo Ghorpade, whose cab is running for IBM domestic BPO on Fursungi road said that drivers get raw deal in BPOs. While maltreatment at the hands of company and employees is rampant, it is the behaviour in the cab itself that is a cause of concern. We do not get enough sleep. Still employees insist on going. They do act

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in such a manner that we get distracted. We are witness to such acts. Salim Khan, who plies cab in Vishrantwadi area has another story. He said, Companies does not provide us a lateral list of pick up and drops. Areas in different directions are given to us. When two or thre men-women employees are in vehicle, they talk obscenity with intention. But we are not supposed to see their acts or hear their conversations. Glasses of Tavera cabs are being covered with cloth, that is a regular practise. Still, some like Santosh Jain, who plies cab in Hinjwadi area seem not encountered this behaviour. He said, I am in this strike for payment rise. I have no problem with behaviours of BPO employees. Code of Conduct for employeesn Employees should not idulge in obscene behaviour in cabs.n Ganja, hard drink, beer, cigarete, Hukka should not be consumed in the cabs. n Women employees sitting in the cabs should wear clothes according to Indian culture.

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n They should not use mobiles in running vehicles. n Co-passengers and friends should not be taken in in vehicles. n The vehicle should be used only for plying between home and office. n Driver should not be pursued to drive to other locations. n Insistence on playing music in the vehicle should be allowed. n Conversation with drivers should be done only in Marathi and Hindi.n Personal task should not be given to drivers. n Driver should not be made to wait anywhere without reason. n Friendship with drivers should be avoided and conversation with him should be minimum. n Employees should not sleep in cabs. n Vehicle should be cleaned by employees in case of vomitting, urinating and spitting. n Employees should carry an identy card with him.

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60
A Bhandar of Controversies
Till now, people used to talk about Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute as a place of scholars. But for the last one month, they are witness to an ugly brawl of accusations and re-accusations between various parties. The premier institute in indology is now in the midst of a fight which is attributed to the power struggle in the institute. The thing settles to one thing : the contrlo of the grant of Rs. 7.5 Crores which BORI, is getting from central government. Election is being conducted for BORIs executive council on 5 June. For 25 seats in the institute, a total of 48 candidates are in the fray. The main
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players in this election are M. G. Dadhphale, present honourary secretary of the institute and Saroja Bhate and Dr. Lila Arjuwadkar, ex-honourary secretary. While Dhadphale is facing accusations from all quarters ranging from misappropriation of the funds to patronising encorachments, he refutes the charge that rival camp is making the charges keeping in view impending elections. The issue came to surface on 5 May when Bhate and Arjunwadkar announced a one day silent protest against an alleged encroachment in the institute. The matter was related to Green Glory Nursery, which was given a place in the premise on a one year lease. The lease period was over in January 08 still the nursery has not moved out. Bhate and Arjunwadkar camp alleges that Dhadphale is patronising this encroachment. Dhadphale refutes the charge and claims that he had issued notice to nursery. Meanwhile, Surekha Pathak, who runs this nursery has alleged that her nursery has made a scapegoat in the internal politics of the institute. Commenting about the controvesy, Saroja Bhate, a member of the Executive Body of the institute,

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said, We are not in conflict with Dhadphale but we have some points to make. First he cliamed that he has bought Rs. 11 Cores to institute, then he came to Rs. 7 crore and now he is settling on Rs. 5 Crores. This grant is governments decision, he has no hand in it. He does not have any document to prove his claims and our information is that Rs. 2 Crore which were to be received for digitization project have returned because the money was not used as stipulated. He is not convening meeting and information aboout anything is not provided. Angered with Dhadphales this style of functioning, all members of the executive body had resigned last year. Bhate expressed unhappiness over this controversy bringing disrepute to institute. Each one of us is trying to avoid any harm being done to the image of BORI. We are approching the press. But in this situation, what more can we do, she asked. Leela Arjunwadkar, who has stood against Dhadphale said, The institute has run into mismanagement in all respect. Dhadphale even does not give any information about anything. He does

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not honour even senior members. Even in his earlier stint in 2002-05, the institute was better. After that, he claimed that he has changed for the better. When I asked him how can he say so, he couldnt say anything. Arjunwadkar said that for the last two years, there has been no commendable research in the institute. The image of the institute has been spoiled bacause of the various controversies, which was never happened in the past . Dhadphales claims about bringing the grant on his own as well as about the status of the nursery were challenged. In BORI, General Body is supreme. Then come Regulating Council and Executive Body. Secretary is only a chief executive officer. Still he functions as though he is responsible to none. Even our election are staring in the face and still there is no scrutinizer for the process, which is mandatory by the rules. M. G. Dhadphale could not be contacted in his office as well as his residence even after repeated attempts.

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This is not the only issue dragged to the public glory. Court cases to money matters, the drama involves all. Just a week ago, distirct magistrate S. S. Phanasalkar-Joshi dismissed a resolution passed by the excutive body of the institute prohibiting Dhadphale from functioning as honorary secretary. A controversy is raging wherein new applications for life membership are pending for over six months. G. T. Panse, executive board chairman of the institute have accused Dhadphale for this saying he is not following the statuary rules. Dhadphale has obviously refused the charges. The issue assumes siginificanse as more than 1,600 life members eligible for votijg in the election. Pandit Vasantrao Gadgil and Dhadphale were involved in a controversy some time ago as differences among them caused a delay in payment of the salary to employees. Folowing some exchanges between them, Pt. Gadgil offered to resign from the post of treasurer but later resented and cancelled the offer. -

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The new governing council will control the use of grant money announced by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in his budget for the year 2007-08. The raging controversies are attributed to the full flowing coffers of the institute. After the vandalization of the institute in January 2004, it has survived on the limited funds which came largely from the state government. Some three months back, Bori received Rs 5 crore as a first instalment of the Rs 7.5-crore share that came its way through the Rs 30-crore special grants announced in the Union Budget 2007, for four premier institutions in the country. Apart from this special grant, Chidambaram had announced a grant of Rs. 2 crore grant during his visit to theb institute in December 2006 for the digitisation of rare manuscripts and books. Chairperson of Infosys Foundation Sudha Murthy had donated Rs 20 lakh to the institute. National Manuscript Mission too has donated Rs 5 lakh for preservation of the 29 rare Rigveda manuscripts that have figured in the UNESCOs World Memory list.

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While Maharashtra government has started an ambitious project to implement e-governance scheme in all its office, it is experiencing a manpower crunch. As the government is finding it difficult to offer competitive remuneration to IT professionals, it has devised a novel way to find the candidates: hire them from other offices. State department of Information and Technology has sent a letter to various departments to send applications for an appointment on deputation to work on state e-governance project, called as SETU. The applications have been invited from state government and semi-government employees and even from local bodies.
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According to Waman Kale, who is in charge of the process of Department of Information and technology, Maharashtra, told Pune Mirror from Mumbai, IT professionals come to us and once they get the experience, they leave the department for greener pastures in private companies. It has seriously hampered our number of projects. As this plan is a very new one, we want to work on it without interruption. So we have devised this way of to incorporate other government servants with It skills to implement our projects. Kale said, There are lot of e-governance projects going on in the state and Pune also. Our aim is to work paperless but it is a distant dream as of now. This is a part of the national e-governance project. While expressing inability to say exactly how much shortage of men the department is facing, Kale said that we have just invited the applications and we will depute the employees depending on the response we get. Under the national e-governance scheme, state government is required to create Maharashtra State Wide

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Area Network (MSWAN), Common Service Centre (CSC) and Data Centres. Departments to be covered under State E-governance projects Agriculture Commercial Taxes e-District Employment Exchange Land Records Municipalities Panchayats Police Property Registration Road Transport Treasuries(Published in Pune Mirror on 23 April)

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62
[Untitled]
Addicted to Orkut? or MySpace instead? There is danger ahead. As the Pune is poised to become a Cyber City, it is also home to most crimes targeted against women in the cyber world. The commonest of all the abuses are posting duplicate or bogus profiles on the social networking sites causing harassment to women.The fact has been revealed by experts in the field and also police records. According to Vishal Kumar, legal consultant with city based Asian School of Cyber Laws, This is the most common of cyber crimes found in Pune. Unfortunately not much cases are reported with police and thus escape the public eye. But as a consultant firm and private investi299

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gator, we can surely say that this is the biggest problem in the city. The record available with police says it clearly. Out of the 50-odd crime registered in the city since IT Act came into existence, some 13 offences pertain to harassment of girls and women. In the last six years, one fourth of the registered cyber crimes fall under this category. Remaining two thirds of the crime include all types of offence ranging from credit card theft and misuse to data and source code theft. These include creating false profiles on orkut, sending obscene mails, text messages and pictures. Registered crimes are just tip of the iceberg. We sometimes get complaints or just applications to block a particular site. In most of the cases, girls do not come forward for various reasons. They fear their image being maligned, said Chandrakant Thakur, assistant police inspector in the cyber crime branch. One worrying aspect in cyber crimes pertaining to creating obscene profiles is large number of unidentified culprits. Cyber sleuths say they can trace an offending PCs Internet Protocol

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number. But if it happens to be from an internet cafe, which usually do not keep detailed records of users, the culprit can not be traced. It lefts victims with the only option of removing the offending site form the cyber world. Vishal Kumar says since student community is high in the Pune, it is obvious that such types of crimes do happen. But he has a word of solace to the citizens also. Cyber crimes do happen everywhere, but in Pune the awareness for the same is very high. This is a good factor in all this story. -Major Cases In Pune7/10/03 Accused sent many obscene emails to the victim and threatened to send it to police, so that the matter is reported in the press girls image gets maligned. The accused also asked Rs. 15,000 to settle the matter. 10/10/03 One identified man posted a bogus profile of one girl on internet with obscene photos and content.
27/03/07 Accused used to call the victim on phone in filthy language. He thereafter posted an obscene profile showing the girl as call girl. 28/06/07

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A girl student posted an obscene profile of her friend as a call girl. The profile contained all the details of the friend. The victim who was from a business family in Kothrud, filed a complaint with police. Investigations revealed that the incidence occurred out of love triangle. 6/09/07 One unidentified person sent nude and obscene photos of a woman to her colleagues and relatives so as to malign her. 4/01/2008 A womans cell no. was posted in the RediffBol chat tool in the Pune group. The woman was mentioned as a call girl and another no. was given as her pimp who was actually her father-in-law. The culprit remains unidentified. 1/02/2008 One unidentified person sent obscene and threatening mails to a student of MIT college. When the girl blocked his mails, the person posted some derogatory scraps on two of her friends Orkut account. The person also threatened to beat the two guys also. March 2008 A girl was sent obscene emails and her duplicate profile was created on Orkut. Even numbers from the family members of the girl were given on the profile who in turn began received obscene calls. (Published in Pune Mirror on 30 April)

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63
A Dose of Protest from Doctors
It has been more than four months after central government cancelled the licenses of three government units producing vaccines. It has been creating its effect and the prices of vaccines are expected to be hiked. Now, an organisation from Pune has decided to oppose the decision and approach public representatives to raise their voices. Union government cancelled the production of three units producing vaccines in BCG Vaccine Laboratory at Guindy, Chennai; the Pasteur Institute, Coonoor and the Central Research Institute, Kasauli on account of bad manufac305

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turing practises. These units were producing vaccines for BCG, TT and DPT. They will be produced henceforth from Vaccines and Science Park, which is being erected at Chennai. It is expected to come up upto 2011 and will cost about Rs. 300 crores. The plan has come under the fire as allegations have been labeled regarding a close nexus between Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and a private vaccine manufacturing company. The ministry has not only stopped the production from existing units, it has also ordered to pull out the existing stock from the market. It has not even assigned any reasons thereof. Interestingly, government has iniated Expanded Program for Immunization on account of which demand-supply gap has increased. In view of this, the prices of vaccines are expected to increase. Dr. Abhijeet Vaidya, Arogy Sena, said, While the government produces DTP (triple dose) cost Rs. 2.25, it cost Rs. 3 now. In cases of vaccines like Hepatitis, which government does not make, the prices are as high as Rs. 32 to 180 for children and Rs. 52 to Rs. 323 for adults. Therefore it

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seems a ploy by government to create shortage and benefit private companies. The organisation however is not sitting idle and aims to approach member of Parliaments, political leaders and organisations so that they can create pressure to revoke the decision by union government. The increase in the price was confirmed by Dr. Avinash Bhondave, president of Indian Medical Association and who is actively involved in vaccination drive. The prices of vaccines have been increased by 20 percent over the years. Supply of DPT vaccines does not fall short, but supply of vaccines for measles and rabies is not sufficient. (Published in Pune Mirror on 9 june 2008)

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64
Pune Petrol Costliest in India
While there is much hoopla over whether there will be an increase in prices of petrol and diesel in the country, Puneites will bear the brunt most. The reason : Already petrol and diesel are costliest in the country. While rest of the country sells fuels without less taxes, in Pune it is already reeling under the burdens of taxes. While unleaded petrol costs Rs. 45 in New Delhi, it is priced Rs. 51.64. Same story is repeated for diesel which is sold at Rs. 38.45 per litre in Pune. Petrol dealers and oil company officials differ on the exact reasons behind this inequitable situation.
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There are mainly two factors making petrol and diesel more expensive to puneites. Pune Municipal Corporation not only charges octroi tax on petrol, it charges it on Value Added Tax. PMC in the past used to charge 4 percent octroi on the basic price of petrol. But since 2005, it has started to charge 4 percent octroi tax on the VATincluded price. Besides octroi, it is the sales tax which contributes to the prices of petrol being increased. Accroding to N. M. Sommaiya of Indian Oil Corporation, Prices of fuel at a particular place depend upon sales tax and octroi and fret. Maharashtra has the second highest sales tax in the country. State charges 28 percent of sales tax on petrol compared to 33 percent in Andhra. Earlier the state had 32 percent of tax which was brought on the current level two years ago. PMC on its part has announced last month to reduce octroi from 4 percent to 2 percent. That is expected to bring about a reduction of almost Rs. 2 in the prices of petrol, bringing it to Rs. 49.74 per litre as it is in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation area. As things stand today, only

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Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune municipal corporations charge octroi on petroleum products. The Solution As for every problem, this problem also has a solution. But parties involved in the matter do not see it nearby. Baba Dhumal, Vice President, Federation of All India Petrol Dealers Association blames sales tax for the heavy price. He said, We met unio petroleum minister Murali Devra in connection with this matter at least four times. We had requested to keep price of petrol uniform all over the country. High amount of sales tax takes petrol prices to higher level. But there is no action. According to Somaiya, bringing sales tax to a uniform level all over the country is the only solution. It can not be abolished, but it can be reduced. State can levy an uniform sales tax but for that a greater co-ordination and consensus is required. States are not willing to do away with their revenue. Therefore it is unlikely that this will come into reality unless Centre puts a pressure on them to do it. Looking at the current situation we are in, that is the thing most needed,

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said Somaiya.(Published in Pune Mirror on 30 May)

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[Untitled]
Even spending more money does not ensure smooth ride for you. Adulteration of petrol and diesel at subtle level affects a lot of vehicles. This problem is faced by many vehicle owners as well as manufacturer companies. According to Debasis Ray, head of Corporate Communications, Tata Motors, Across India, on an average every litre of diesel is mixed to the tune of 25% with kerosene and water too is added. This happens at the retail level, particularly on highways. Car owners therefore should ensure they use genuine filters, and replace the filters when required. If filters are not genuine or

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if are not replaced when required, the engine can get rusted and seize. Engineers from B. U. Bhandari Pvt .Ltd., authorised dealer and service centre of Tata motors said that spurious petrol causes starting problem in the car. Either the car does not start or engine is damaged. We do not get many cases of petrol adulteration but we see lot of diesel adulteration cases, the engineer said prefering anonymity. Most of the adulteration happens at outskirts of the city.Pranav Mehta of Mehta Auto Services, an authorised service centre of Bajaj Auto company said, This problem is especially more intense in two stroke engine vehicles. The adulterated petrol affects each part of the vehicle thereby reducing the total efficiency of the vehicle. Because of foreign materials in fuels engines became rushy, bearings are damaged. Though an oil rducing the extent of damage is available in the market, it is not hundred percent effective. According to Mehta, majority of petrol pupms in city sell pure fuel though outside pupms indulge in adultering the fuels. He advices consumers to

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continue with the same petrol or diesel and not change the brand to keep the purity of the petrol. Former director general of police S. M. Mushrif, who has laid a series investigation of petrol adulteration cases in Pune and Thane district said, The level of adulteration cases has really came down in last few years. Today there is no large scale adulterion going on in and around Pune. Mushrif had led the investigations in Thane distirct which had led to a petroleum giant in India around seven years ago as additional commissioner of police. The giant company possesed sole licence for the manufacturing of Naptha and through spurious means, this Naptha was distirbuted all over the country to blend with petrol and diesel. Mushrif alleges that even central government choose to look away when this racket was at work. At that time, India had not much foreign currency. Government was made to believe that mixing Naptha will reduce the burden of fuel demand. According to Mushrif, now the need to indulge in such scams is not there. Had there been large scale adulteration, we would not have seen the

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cruch for fuel that we are witnessing today, he said. As for as Pune is concerned, there were not many cases of large scale adulteration. Last year, only one case was registered. In February 2007, Pune rural police busted a major petrol adulteration racket operating in Loni Kalbhor and arrested 12 people. The police seized eight tankers and two pick-up vans containing 50,000 litres of adulterated petrol, estimated to be worth Rs 95 lakh.

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Narayan Murthy : Romancing Pune
This city is closest to my heart at no. 1. Here is where Infosys started and here is where we used to romance. I will be more than pleased if Pune becomes number one city in Information Technology sector, a nostalgic N. R. Narayan Murthy, chairman and Chief Mentor Officer of Infosys told on Wednesday. Murthy was given Life Time Achievement award by Pune Vyaspeeth in the 5th IT & BT, Animation and Gaming Conference & Exhibition named Hi-Tech Pune. Reacting to this felicitation, Murthy got nostalgic and gave a brief account of his romancing days in Pune about
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three decades ago. He also appreciated Punes clout in IT stature in his brief speech. I have special place for Pune in my heart. It is the number one city dear to me and at the second number is Mysore. It was here that Infosys started in an apartment in Model Colony and it was here that I courted my current wife Sudha who was then an employee of Tata Motors, Murthy said giving away the details of his romance. I remember every evening I would reach at the doors of Mahila Nivas where I would be joined by Sudha. We used to go to Poona Cafe each evening and ordered a king size banana shake for myself and king size orange juice for Sudha. The manager of the cafe would drive us away saying, You have spent here more time than the money you have spent for the food, Murthy said. But the romance went further. Then we would go to East Street and used to have full dinner in Rs. 9 only. Such were those days, he said. Murthy also praised Pune for its strides in IT and BT sector. When Suresh Kalmadi, MP and chairman of Pune Vyaspeeth expressed confi-

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dence that Pune will be number one city in every type of technology, Murthy said, I will be more than happy if it happens. He himself told the gathering, There are 18,300 people working at the Infosys campus at Pune while the strength in Bangalore is 23,000. As such Pune is second important place for Infosys and I am sure that the day is not far away when Pune will take over the Banglore in this respect, he said. Meanwhile, Dr. K. I. Varaprasad Reddy, executive director of Shanta Biotechnics Pvt. Ltd. was also given the Life Time Achievement award along with Murthy at the hands of Kalmadi in the function. A three day seminar on information technology, bio technology, animation and gaming was inaugurated at the hands of union minister for Information and Technology, Jyotiraditya Scindia. Ashok Chavan, minister of Industries and Culture of Maharashtra was present at the occasion. Speaking at the occasion, Scindia also said that he had some fond childhood memories of Pune. The city will be close to my heart as this is the city of my ancestors, he said.

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67
E-Wasting to Danger
As the issue of e-waste management has become a top most priority for administration, Pune city is sitting on the pile of 3600 tonnes of e-waste. The disposal system for the electronic waste is waiting to be set up because municipal corporation has yet to decide on the site for the same. And all this when municipal commissioner himself have promised to implement the system. According to officials reports, total Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipments (WEE) in Maharashtra is 20270.6 tonnes out of which Pune contributes 2584.21 tonnes and Pimpri Chinchwad area contributes 1032.37 tonnes. Central Pollution Control Board has identified
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Pune as among top ten cities generating e-waste. Alarmed by these warning, PMC commissioner Pravinsingh Pardeshi had announced in January this year that two plots will allotted to dispose off the e-waste in the city. After that the proposal was soon forgotten and there is no progress on the front. Now, officials claim that PMC has earmarked a five acre of land for the purpose but they are unsure where this land is. According to annual report on e-waste management prepared by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, more than 19,000 tonnes of ewaste is generated in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad area and the projected growth in the e-waste is estimated at 3500 tonnes a year. At present, 40 percent of the waste collected at PMCs garbage depot at Uruli Devachi is consists of e-waste. The same reports also says that obsolence rate of cellular phones, personal computers, Tvs and refrigerator in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad is 2 years, 5 years, 15 years and 17 years respectively. That means number of cell phones sold two years ago will be return as ewaste today.

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Suresh Jagtap, deputy municipal commissioner, solid waste management of the PMC said, We are yet to fix a site for the disposal of e-waste. Just now we are working on the plan but everything is at too primary level and nothing substantial can be said. Jagtap said that there are no concrete rules in Maharashtra regarding this subject and a lot of groundwork had to be done for the same. Interestingly, PMC had recently announced that it will conduct a survey to assess the volume of ewaste in the city. Shankar Kalmani of Saarathi, is pursuing the matter with the PMC said, PMC wants this process to hand over to private companies. They are failing to achieve this and in the process, a large chunk of e-waste is exposed to the environment causing lot of damage. The matter can be resolved in one or two meetings but almost six months are wasted in the process. This is unacceptable in all respect. Hazards of E-waste recycling Components Hazards

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Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) : Silicosis, Inhalation or contact with phosphor with cadmium or other metals. Printed Cicuit Board : Tin and Lead Inhalation, Respiratory irritation Plastics from computer and peripherals : Probable Hydrocarbons, heavy metals and brominated dioxins exposure Toner Cartridges : Respiratory tract irritation, carbon black possible human carcinogen (Source : Maharashtra Pollution Contorl Board, ) Yearly addition of e-waste in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad Cell phones : 2,20,499 PCS : 19,743 Refrigerators : 48,075 Tvs : 43,705 (Source : Census of India)

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68
With Chhatrapati of Kolhapur
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj belongs to all India. His ideology is inspiration to all people. As also Maharashtra belongs to all people. He never advocated targetting innocent people. These words came from no less authority than a decendent of the founder of Maratha empire and the present ruler of Kolhapur. Shrimant Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was in the city on Thursday for a book launch on Maharashtras forts and hills. After the launch of the book, Shahu Maharaj said that Chhatrapati Shivajis name should noy be used by any particular person or

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group as he is an inspiration to all the Indians. He was an Indian leader. Speaking to Pune Mirror, Shrimant Shahu Maharaj said, Chhatrapati Shivaji is not limited to Maharashtra. He is inspiration to all Indians. He taught how to fight and win forts. It was all about political battles and struggles. In his name, if soe group target innocent people, then it is totally wrong, he said. Shrimant Shahu Maharaj also said that the present plans by Maharahstra government to build a memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji in Arabian sea is all well if it executed well. What is wrong if a statue is erected of the person in whose name this state functions, he questioned. There is no occasion in Maharashtra that does not start with the name of Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule or Dr. Ambedkar. But it is just that some people are using their names for wrong reasons. Everybody has the right to benefit from Chhatrapati Shivajis teachings. But he never taught about violence on innocent people. Maharashtra is an integral a part of India and

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everyone is welcomed here, said Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur.

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DRY DAYS AHEAD!
As the half of monsoon season has passed without bringing any substantial rain, people are demanding of repeat of artificial rain experiment. Even though the situation seems sufficient to do so, scientists are saying otherwise. It means that for city, the dry days are ahead.
Almost one and half month has passed since the onset of monsoon in Maharashtra. In the period, a total of 172 mm. of rainfall has been recorded in the city. According to India Meteorological Department data, the accumulated seasonal rainfall in Pune sub-division since 1 June to 13 July was 100 to 200mm. while the normal readings are 200 to 400 mm. It is put in the deficient rainfall category which means the rainfall are 20 to 59 percent below normal. For the city itself, the rainfall has been 38 mm below the

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normal. Besides Pune, many parts of the state are reeling under the scarcity of rains. According to Dr. Medha Khole, Director, IMD, Pune, Even though clouds are gathered in the sky, they require semantic situations like trough, pressure to cause rainfall. The elements which cause rains in Maharashtra are low pressure belt in the bay of Bengal and Off-shore trough on the western sea shore. No such situation is envisaged immediately therefore rains are hardly predicted. Dr. Khole said that even though Met department issues forecasts for three or four days, forecasts for 48 hours are found accurate. Demands for artificial rain has been growing from various quarters as a solution to this problem. But meteorological experts are not sure. Dr. A. B. Mujumdar, Deputy Director General of Meterology (Weather Forecasting), IMD Pune said, We do not have sufficient data to say that the artificial rain experiment will be useful. We do not know whether the seeding (spreading of chemicals from special aeroplanes) will be effective in the experiment. There has to be data to support such an idea. Unless this data is there, the experiment will be pointless. According to Dr. Mujumdar, the artificial rain experiment is a continuos process and it can not bring results in isolated incidences. People are desperate now to have rains that is why they are making demands. Where is the data to prove that last experiment in 2004, named PrakalpVarsha was successful. Dr. J. R. Kulkarni, Scientist E at Indian Institute of Tropical Meterology said, To have rains, clouds are necessarily

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required. But they should have specific properties. We have to determine whether the seeding will have effect for which radars are required. It will take time as radars have to come, a suitable agency to carry out the experiments has to be found out. All these things depend on whether the state government contacts IITM, which had helped government four years ago to carry out PrakalpVarsha. According to Dr. Kulkarni, IITM had carried out the experiments in artificial rains for elevan years ago. This was twenty years ago. But now many a situations have altered so experiments have to be carried out again.

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A Meeting With French IT Journalist
He is here on a mission : to find out the work culture and secrets of success of Information Technology companies in India. He is also here to find out why European companies are not a part of them as also how much chance they stand to enter the market. Besides the oft repeated reason of linguistic barrier, he also sights one reason why European IT companies are not present in large number in India : the lack of data security. Valry Marchive, Editor At Large of LeMagIT, a French trade magazine dedicated to European IT sector is on a study tour of Indian IT companies. he started his sojourn from Pune on Monday
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when he visited KPIT Cummins at Hinjwadi. After that he also visited CapGemini and Tata Consultancy Services. Valry also has a meeting scheduled with French Economic Mission in New Delhi. He is currently visiting and studying various companies based on which a full series will appear in his magazine from around September. When asked what he has found about the companies, Valry said though he was impressed with the working of the companies and especially its staff, he has yet to form any substantive opinion on the same. He told what he thought was the reason for very less number of French IT companies in India. People in France are very poor in English. That is one reason why they fail to reach out to Indian companies. As an IT pro, I know many US and British companies have set up their offices in India. Compared to it, French companies have minimal presence. Another reason is that of data security issue. India is still perceived as a potential unsafe country in terms of data security. In France or any other European

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country, personal data is still perceived as critical and its safety is considered a priority issue. Express Transaction Elaborating on this issue, Valry gave an example of how transaction can be risky in India. The incident took place just a week ago. When I was scheduling my travel in India, I was booking flights to and from various cities from Jet Airways and Indian Airlines companys official websites. After six of my flights were booked, seventh flight could not be booked because I was told my American Express card has been blocked. When I enquired with the card company, I got a shock when I was told that large transactions of money are being done from my card in a single day. Since the transactions originated in India, American Express thought it safe to block the card, as India is seen as unsafe by the company, he said. Mixed Bag Pune Asked about the impressions of Pune, Valry said, This city reminds me of a south Italian town two decades ago. It is slow but also it has many companies and lot of young people. Girls here seem pretty, too. But I am amazed at the

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contrast of the life here. In Mumbai, I visited Goregaon East where I was surprised to find computers even in small huts. Here I asked some people how can they talk of high speed Internet when they do not have electricity itself. The people answered me that for Internet, they are not dependent on computers. They get it on their mobile handsets. Meanwhile, Valery is blogging his way in India at http:// blogs.lemagit.fr/ . He is writing about the India and Indian people as also IT companies.

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An Interview with Dr. R. A. Mashelkar I received the Maharashtra Bhushan by Maharashtra Bhushan award in 2005. Before me, Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar were the receipients. We all were Maharashtrians. But after me, Ratan Tata received it which was a noble gesture by state government. It showed the spirit of this state. But now, some people are bent on denying entry to people from other state. It hurts so much to see their limited agenda, said Dr. Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, a distinguished scientist on the present conditions.
Elaborating on the uniqueness and greatness of his beloved city, Pune, Dr. Mashelkar touched on some sub339

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jects that were close to his heart. After a story appeared in Pune Mirror some two months ago, (Small Lungs Choking, 9 May) he expressed his concern publicly about the state of affairs in Pune. Still, he says the city is exploding with growth, for which he has outline My Dream of My Pune. In an exclusive chat with Pune Mirror, Dr. Mashelkar outlined his take on some subject: On Pollution The extreme seriousness of pollution level in Pune was brought to our notice when I was heading the committee which prepared National Auto Fuel Policy five years ago. Originally, we had planned just seven cities but on my insistence, Pune was included the list of the cities where implemention Euro norms was prescribed immediately. I was so alarmed by the result of the study on pollution in Pune. Though the norms have been implemented, we have an issue of old vehicles plying on the road. Situation has not improved much since then. We should be worried. This is an issue which concerns our future generations. On Growth Pune is not expanding, it is explosing. So much development is taking place in every sphere that we are falling short of infrastructure. The growth is taking place, the only issue is that it should take place in planned manner and after taking everybody in confidence. People in Pune are more cultured, educated and aware. Therefore even some problems like reducing greenary, water pollution have arisen, innovative approach by the people themselves it less harmful compared to other cities. In some cases, like river pollution, we have all technologies and methods with

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us and no new technologies are required. Only the regulatory body (Pune Municipal Corporation) should utilise those technologies fully. On Pune Model Pune Model, which is basically about zero load shedding, is a unique experiment. I commended Pradeep Bhargav and Shantanu Dixit, who have made it possible because for whole of India, a total of 40,000 MW of captive power can be generated. Looking at what is happening in New Delhi for getting 20,000 MW of power from Nuclear power generation, this amount assumes significance. This model will be followed all over India, only it has to be highlighted more. I am glad that this model is developed in Pune. This model is also assumes significance because it is based on differential pricing. It is priced more to those who use more electricity. We have to emulate this basis for all the services in the country considering the diversity of consumer profile of these services. On Team Spirit I have always worked and thought in the trerms of Team spirit. Whether it be at Council of Scientific and Industrial search ot here in National Chemical Laboratory, I was looking to develope that work culture. It should be Team Pune, Team Maharahstra and thereafter Team India. My Dream of My Pune-Dr. Mashelkar I love Pune. I have often said that I would like to have the last day of my life in this great city only.

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To me it is a city, where a glorious past meets tyhe challenging present to create a great future, like no other city in India does. Pune is a sacred place for knowledge pilgrimage, but it must understand the rue meaning of Knowledge Economy. We must bring knowledge (Sarawati) and Economy (Lakshmi) together and create new Indian Sillicon Valleys of the 21st century in Pune. Pune must look at environment, enlightenment, ethics and equality. Puen must become not only the knowledge capital, cultural capital, educational capital but also the ethical capital. Pune should become a model of sustainable consumption that the world is looking for.

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72
Salute to Martyrs: After 150 years
Some 200 martyrs who lost their lives without any trace in the far away waters of Andaman will now be venerated in a different manner. Through an initiative from a city based organisation, the clay of the earth where the corpses of the martyrs were left to rot some 150 years ago, will be dissolved in the waters of Arabian sea on 9 th August.
Maharashtra Pradesh Swatantrya Sainik Mahasangh (Maharashtra Freedom Fighters Federation) has organised the program in Mumbai where the Kalash bearing the earth of Rock Island in Andaman Islands will be flown in Arabian Sea. In the British Raj, around 200 freedom fighte
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rs from the state lost their lives in Andaman. The bodies of the martyrs were thrown from the rock where the island is situated. Veteran socialist leader from Mumbai, Madhu Adelkar has collected this earth after an extensive research and five trips to the islands. He has also collected the information regarding the martyrs. Adelkar told Pune Mirror, After the unsuccessful mutiny of 1857, East India Company and thereafter British government sent many freedom fighters to Andaman. They had sent five boats carrying 700 people. These people were sent for life meaning they were never meant to return. I managed to get names of 375 martyrs who lost their lives during their imprisonment. After searching the details, I found out whereabouts of these people. They were all students and youths who were sent because government was afraid of them. Adelkar found out that there were 211 martyrs from Maharashtra who left this world without last rites. With the help from a Burmese guide, I could find the rock from where the bodies of the martyrs were thrown on the island. So I thought why we should not give the respect to them which they deserve. There was no information on these martyrs for 150 years and this is the first time it has brought to light. Accordingly, we have arranged this function wherein the the earth will be flown in the sea by the hands of veteran freedom fighters, said Adelkar. Informing about the function, Prabhakar Gupte said, We will take out a procession of the Kalash on 9th August. We will do a pooja and after offering the tributes to the martyrs, it will be brought to Goregaon Chowpaty.

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Veteran socialist leader and ex-minister Prabhakar Kunte and Mrinal Gore will attend this program. The main object of this program is to bring about awareness about the Andaman martyrs among students. For this reason, we have arranged competitions in the schools in Mumbai also which will go on till August.

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A two million Euro question
When one of the two 612 Scagliettis was going under hammer at the Fiorano Circuit in Maranello, Italy on 18 May, a city based Non-Governmental Organisation had little inkling that it will reap the widfall. But the car sold for EUR 220,000 which from that auction will be donated to the Centre for Learning Resources, run by Dr. John Kurien and to top it all, the donation has come on the recommendation from Tata Trust. Surprisingly, the NGO is tightlipped about the proceeds and does not want to react on the honour.

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Ferrari had conducted a Magic India Tour of two 612 Scagliettis, the companys flagship GT model cars which lasted from 25 February to 8 May. One of those two cars were sold in the auction conducted by RM auctions and Sothbeys in Italy. The auction was noted for the world record it created by selling Ferrari California Spyder 1961, which belonged to actor James Coburn, for the surprising amount of 7.04 billion euros (11 million dollars). The 612 Scagliettis was at the third position and received EUR 2,20,000 (Rs. 1,48,76,868.896) as price. When the reports of the donation surfaced, Pune Mirror had contacted CLR for the reaction. But the NGO said that they have not received any official communique from the auction house or Ferrari and as such they were unable to say anything on the subject. When asked about the confusion, Mariella Mengozzi, spokesperson for Ferrari told Pune Mirror, Yes, there was some miscommunication on account of which this confusion has been created. RM auctions has sold the car in auction. They are waiting for the payment from the buyer

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and as soon as the payment is received, the money will be given to CLR. Giving further details, Mengozzi said, As the trusted partner of Ferrari in India, the company had asked Tata Trust for the worthy organisations in India to donate the money. CLR was chosen on the recommendation from Tata Trust, which is headed by chairman Ratan Tata. Mengozzi also forwarded the correspondence between CLR head Dr. Kurien and Ferrari Communication department officer Gabriel Lalli in which it is explicitly stated that CLR is to get the money definitely. Even after this correspondence, Dr. Kurien preferred to not to comment saying that they will come with official statement only after getting the money. About CLR According to CLR website, the CLR is a nonprofit, non-governmental organisation (NGO). It is working in early childhood care and development and elementary education since 1984 in Maharashtra and other states in India.

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As a technical support organisation in the field of Early Childhood Care and Development and Elementary Education, we are committed to working in collaboration with all those engaged in understanding and meeting this challenge. (Published on 5 July)

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EKAThe Story Continues
When I did the supercomputer EKA story last month, which was published on 30 June, I had no inkling that the affair will take me to places. But that has happened. It so happened that I stubmled upon the new list of fastest 500 supercomputers in the world somewhere in June. I followed the matter because EKA, created by Computational Research Laboratory in Pune, had slided in the new list to the eighth place while it had stood at fourth place just six months ago. After communicating with the company, I managed to get some quoters. Based upon that, I gave the news report which
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appeared in the 30 June issue of Pune Mirror. The story run something like this :
Some generous help from US government and the theoretical calculations has taken EKA down in the world list. But the lab is determined to regain the position. The International Supercomputing Conference held recently at Dresden, Germany unveiled new list of top 500 fastest supercomputer in the world. Though EKA has given a performance of 132.8 Teraflops, it has been ranked at the 8th position in the new list.EKA, developed by the city based CRL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd., was ranked fourth supercomputer in November 2007 in SC07, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis at Reno, Nevada, USA. EKA uses nearly 1800 computing nodes. Last year, it had a peak performance of 170 Teraflops (TFlops or Trillion Floating Point Operations per Second) and a sustained performance of 120 Teraflops based on the LINPACK benchmarks which are used by the world-wide community to rank supercomputers based on performance. Reacting on this development, Harsha Ramchandra, spokesperson for CRL said, We have improved our rating to 132.8 Teraflops solely through software upgrade. This means that our system performance has grown practically but it has not grown theoretically. We are planning to build a bigger system which will improve our ranking. While ranking is important, it is not our end-all. She told Pune Mirrror, In fact, our main emphasis is on scaling applications which will effectively utilise the computing

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power of EKA. This is a difficult problem but we will be able to tackle it because of our proven expertise in software and our domain knowledge of a range of applications. Once we do this scaling, we will be able to solve several grand challenge problems in various application domains. It is this activity which will benefit users of HPC and so this is what we will focus on. EKA includes nodes and racks built by Hewlett Packard (HP Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c system) which uses high speed quad-core Clovertown processors from Intel Corp. and Dual Data Rate Infiniband switches from Mellanox Corp. and Voltaire Corp. Meanwhile, industry sources attributed this slide down of the supercomputer to the active support given by US government. While all the supercomputers in the US have come from the government funded labs, EKA was a product of privatley funded lab. After scientists in the US demanded to increase the funding from government, they got it. It has resulted in the top five slots being occupied by the US supercomputer with fastest supercomputer achieving a performance of 1.026 petaflop/s. Now, yesterday I, alongwith other media persons of course, got an invitation that C. Ramadorai, chairman of CRL will address a media meet. It was really a very lerning meet. We got to see complicated and large structure of EKA. I again reported on that which runs like this : The fastest super computer in Asia and eighth fastest in the world, EKA, runs on the Linux operating system. That is keeping in with the procedure followed by most of the supercomputers all over the world, including top 500 supercom-

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puters. Officials of the Computation Research Laboratory, which has developed EKA say that this system offers more stability hence it is an obvious choice. C. Ramadorai, chairman of CRL, who was in Pune to give an update on EKA, informed that CRLs performance was enhanced from 117.6 teraflops in November 2007 to 132 teraflops at present on the basis of software upgradation. This has been done on the basis of Linux operating system which offers more stability for complicated computations, which are necessary for a supercomputers. At present, CRL has ported various applications like Computer Aided Engineering, Computational Finance, Information Security, Atmospheric Sciences, Animation and Rendering, Seismic information. Linux offers most reliability for such types of applications. N. Seetha Rama Krishna, another high official from CRL said that most of the supercomputers all over the world use Linux for their operations. All MPI enabled applications are run on this platform. There are 14,400 cores in 1800 blades in the laboratory and there are dual quad-core Intel processors in each blade. Therefore keeping with the world practise, CRL is using Linux. The management software stack of the EKA is a mix of open source and commercial software. Giving information about the EKA cluster, Krishna said it is housed in octagonal structure which facilitates easy cooling for the super computer. It has 65 racks and server floor area is 4000 sq. ft. The air conditioning capacity is 350 ton and in terms of power consumption, EKA is 10 to 15 percent more efficient than other super computers in the world.

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CRL is also eyeing animation sector for the applications on EKA. Giving details about the move, Dr. Rajesh Lagu said, At present, animation movies are sequence of images rendered from computer models. They are set in motion through series of frames. Using EKA, the time for processing such images can be substantially reduced. It can also be used for Rendering which means process of calculating effects in a video editing file to produce final video output. Softwares like Maya and Renderman can be used effectively for this purpose. By doing so, we can make an animation film within a month which otherwise could take one year.

Ranking Doesnt Matter Speaking on the subject of sliding down in world ranking of super computers, C. Ramadorai said CRL is not really interested in the ranking but to put EKA for more and more into use by developing various applications. The power of the system is not in ranking but in applications, he said. He said that CRL did not expect that EKA will stand fourth fastest in the world. After that, governemnt labs in US approached government and got their fundings increased. But for us, this is a private corporate enterprise. Therefore without partaking in any race for the numbers, we are focusing on applications. EKA in a Nutshell Peak Performance : 172 Terabytes Sustained Performance : 132.8 Teraflops Total Memory : 28 Terabytes Storage : 80 Terabytes with 5.2 GB per second throughput Interconnect : 20 GBPS Infiniband DDR

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Cabling : 45 Kms (10 Km electrical, 15 Km Infiniband, 10 Km Ethernet)

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.pune Very Soon
Very soon, you will be able to log in a site which wont have a domain name like .com or .in. Instead, the domain name of the site, which is the electronic address of the site, will be .pune. The international body which controls internet domain names has issued new guidelines which allow locality specific domain names. Though the move has created new questions, it has also some good news for industry and businesses. The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted on June 26 to allow more generic top-level domain names beyond the 21 currently approved names such as .com and .biz and the country domain names such as .in and .uk. A final version of the implementation plan must be approved by the ICANN Board before the new process is launched. It is

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intended that the final version will be published in early 2009. This has opened doors also for the .pune domain name. When contacted, Jason Keenan, Media Adviser, ICANN told Pune Mirror, The new top level domains could include .pune. Its important to understand that the new TLDs will be ideas that come forward to ICANN. We are not suggesting what should be applied for. What has to happen is someone needs to put together an application that meets the conditions of the yet-to-be-finalised application process. The application period is expected to open in the second quarter of 2009. This will be a boom for the businesses in Pune as a top level domain name will give the city specific identity to the businesses and sites. According to Deepak Shikarpur, Chairman, IT committee, Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, With the growth of internet and eCommerce existing domain names are in short supply and hence .com alone was not sufficient. We started with .biz. Some countries like Singapore insist on .com.sg extension. In the same spirit we have an option of .in (India specific). Now a welcome step for Pune specific businesses is to get .pune domain name. This will boost ePresnece of Pune specific businesses. However, if one wants a national or global image then such businesses wont gain by .pune domain name change and hence these businesses wont bother to change. The Double Boananza The city specific top level domain name is not the only boon given by ICANN. It has also decided to allow these

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domain names in local languages. Termed Internationalised Domain Names in the cyber parlance, these will allow people to access websites and emails in their local languages. Indian languages were considered for IDNs in the conference held in January these year in New Delhi. ICANN has finally decided to give go ahead for the same. According to Keenan, As for Internationalized Domain Names, ICANNs goal is to have them available at the same time as the application for new top-level domains, so people will be able to apply for TLDs in characters from the language of the world. Dengate Thrush, ICANNs Board Chairman, was reported as saying, New generic Top Level Domains and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) will open up the Internet and make it look as diverse as the people who use it, added. What is ICANN To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. It was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interpretable. ICANN doesnt control content on the Internet. It is responsible for managing and coordinating the Domain Name System (DNS) to ensure that every address is unique and that all users of the Internet can find all valid addresses. It does this by overseeing the distribution of

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unique IP addresses and domain names. It also ensures that each domain name maps to the correct IP address. Sanjay Satolekar, chairman, Regional Advertising and Marketing Association The new .pune domain name will definitely help the city business as they will get new identity. We had earlier the attraction for .com but later .in was accepted vehemently. As the businesses are getting more localised, the new top level domain name will create affinity between the businesses and customers. As an advertising professional, it is also a welcome move as the advertisers tend to go for the more localised content and new local domain name will help them in maximizing their returns. Deepak Shikarpur, Chairman, IT committee, MCCIA With the growth of internet and eCommerce existing domain names are in short supply and hence .com alone was not sufficient. Now a welcome step for Pune specific businesses is to get .pune domain name. This will boost ePresnece of Pune specific businesses. However, if one wants a national or global image then such businesses wont gain by .pune domain name change and hence these businesses wont bother to change. Amit Tripathi, MD, ID8LabsAll the domain names, whether they are top level or not, cater to particular geography. Their role is to create an identity for the company. With internet services penetrating to city and zonal level, these is a great opportunity. The new domain names will create a great revenue platform for the most of the compa-

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nies as there are loads of services which are necessarily city specific. Also, it will also facilitate the easy names for companies in particular sector like calendar.pune will refer all the events taking place in city. However, the new domain name should be first promoted in the city first. After the model becomes successful, outside businesses should acquire it and thereafter only, big business should spread this domain name to outside world.

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Login the Krishna Way They are from different companies and different backgrounds. Even their credentials does not seem in tune with their inclinations. But some 300 Information Technology professionals have come forward to contribute to what they call their spiritual cause. These IT professionals are coming forward to the construction of a new ISKCON temple in Pune. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) movement is constructing a new temple at Katraj-Kondhwa road. While the religious organisation is trying to collect the money for the same through various projects, it has tapped a new and different genre : the college
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students and IT professionals. These people are not only contributing by monetary means but also giving different types of services without discarding their professional duties. According to the claims of the organisation, some 300 people are helping in the temple construction project while the ISKCON centre in Camp has regular 150 attendees from the IT field. Pune Mirror managed to talk a group of the professionals.
Amol Katkar, development manager in Symatec Systems, said The spiritual inclination and practise is rather helping us to do well in the professional life. Instead of wasting our time on partying or going to cinema, we devote that time to meditation. As Arjun was a good warrior and Krishna tought him to be same, we can also be good professionals through the teachings of the Bhagvad Gita. Incidentally, as a unique drive, ISKCON Pune centre runs several programs foucussing on students and professionals. According to Chaitanya Charan Das, spokesman of the organisation, the centre conducts seminars and courses in IIT Kharagpur as well as other higher education institutes. Students from these institutes are attached to Pune centre which is a reason behind the contributors. Chandru Amarnani, Project Manager, Tech Mahindra, said, Even our senior accept that being spiritual helps bettering our performance. Therefore they are also advocating conducting seminars and discourses for others in

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the industry. Uday Saundhankar and his wife not only gave their one month salary each for the construction but also pursued other to do tha same which helped to collect Rs 5 lakhs in donation. As these professionals profess their devotion to their belief, they also try to spread it, even enduring taunts from others. Nitin Lavhe, Senior Engineer, Patni Coputer Systems said, Yes, others who are not exposed to the spirituality do make fun of us at times. But ultimately, they have to admit the way we are so it never becomes an issue. These professionals also ridiculed the idea of leaving their professional duties for the sake of the spiritual calling. Instead, we are prepared to bear the stress and tension associated with our profession on account of this, was their definite response.

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The LinuxChix : Spread the word
They are young, they are learning the tricks of the trade but they certainly have a mission. Charmed by the security and easiness, the girls have joined the open source movement. Pune has just woken up to the feminine branch of the Linux Users Group and as there counterparts all over the world, the girl volunteers here also have come together under the banner of LinuxChix. Linux enthusiastic all over the world carry out their activities under the banner of Linux Users Group. Here in Pune, the group is called Pune Linux Users Group (PLUG). However to spread the message of Linux movement among women and girl students, the LinuxChix was born. Though it is about two decades old in the rest of the world, the Pune Chapter of the organization came into reality just last December. Since then, the group has con-

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ducted some four meetings and has managed to attract at least 30 members. Still in its infancy, the group has most of the members from Symbiosis Institute of Computer Sciences and Research. Smriti Garg, Rashmi Lakhotia, Shweta Rani and Janki Purohit, four students from second year M. Sc. (CA) are the volunteers for the LinuxChix Pune Chapter. Currently they are working on the Fedora project. Besides having regular meets, of which the next is scheduled on next Sunday, they have also given lectures in other colleges. Smriti said, The Linux offers a more secure platform because it is very hard to penetrate. Also, there far too less viruses in the system. Therefore it has became a preferred operating system for the students as well as professionals alike. In fact, many large organizations are going for the Linux. So we also wanted to be a part of the movement. Curriculum Vitae When asked why these girls were attracted to LinuxChix, Rashmi said, Our institute, SICSR itself encourages the open source movement. We are taught about the subject in line with our regular studies. In fact, it has become a kind of a part of our curriculum. According to these volunteers, not many people are aware as how Linux offers more facilities and that it is secure. With most of the users still attracted to an established brand, it is their duty to teach others about the system and their movement. Helping them in their goal is PLUG which also offers technical advice as well as act as a support group.

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The volunteers have taken the movement seriously and are working on the Fedora project along with Runa Bhattacharjee, who also volunteers for Fedora-India, KDEIndia, Gnome-India, ilug-cal and Ankur Bangla. Fedora is a ?Linux-based operating system that provides users with access to the latest Free and Open Source Softwares (FOSS.) Reaching to Others As to the need of forming a separate group of the women, the girls said that it is mainly because Linux has not reached to the majority of girls and women. Citing one of their demonstration experience, they said, We had a session in Abeda Inamdar College where almost all of the attendees were girls. They will rarely go to any male dominated place for learning about Linux. But when we conducted the session, we got a tremendous response. These volunteers are also quick to refuse that they cater only to female audience. When we conduct meetings or lectures, a part of the audience is men also. In fact, we are witness to some sessions where the male attendees have outnumbered the female audience. Our sessions are open to all and to limit them will defeat our main purpose, said the volunteers. The Chick Organisation LinuxChix is a community for women who like Linux and for anyone who wants to support women in computing. This is an international group of Free Software users and developers, founded in 1999 by Deb Richardson with the aim of supporting women in Linux. Richardson

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described it as an alternative to the locker room atmosphere found in some online technical forums and gave LinuxChix two core rules: be polite and be helpful. LinuxChix is now primarily a group for supporting women in computing, specifically in Open Source/Free Software/ Software Libre computing.

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Ganga Flows in Marathi
Ganga-a book written after the twenty years of toil is coming in Marathi now. The authentic work, created after he carried out research for radio documentaries, is translated by senior journalist Prakash Akolkar. The Marathi translation was released on Saturday by Ulhas Latkar of Ameya Prakashan by the hands of union Power minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Julian Crandall Hollick, the France born radio journalist works with Independent Broadcasting Associates Inc, US. When asked how Ganga came about, he replied through email, Ganga is the culmination of more than twenty years of living in India. Ganga brings together so many different aspects that go to make up India - her history, mythology, culture, the environment. And it brings them together in an uniquely Indian manner of paradox and contradictions; a goddess both in

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mythological and liquid form. The writer is too excited about the Marathi translation and relived his days in Mumbai and Pune on this occasion. Im tickled pink its appearing in Marathi. I have spent several years in Mumbai and a bit of time in Pune, but I have no real idea about Marathi readers. I will be extremely interested to read and hear their reaction. I lived and worked in Mumbai for several years in the 1990s with pavement dwellers and street kids in Byculla and I want to write a book about them because by chance I happened to stumble on them the week they made their first stab at organising themselves in October 1986. Ever since Ive been a sort of unofficial chronicler. And its a fabulously rich story that few Indians know. Julian was to Pune several times in the 1980s. He had spent his first Diwali here. Ganga, the book, was extremely well received in India last year. Julian is more pleased because the critics who reviewed it invariably looked at what it said and not at the nationality of the person who was writing about Ganga. He says, In most cases the greatest surprise for all readers has been the chapter on the extraordinary purifying powers of Ganga - The Mysterious Factor X. A river that purifies not just human souls but its own pollution! Now that really impresses the non-Indian reader. And I thought it was the weakest of all the chapters when I was writing the book. Did I get that one wrong! Interestingly, Ganga first appeared in radio documentary. Someone suggested a book after all the recordings were finished in late 2005. Because all the tapes are transcribed and saved it was relatively easy to make the transi-

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tion between electronic media and the written word. The printed form allows me to add so many explanations, to expand on what on the radio may be just a few seconds, he explained. Meanwhile, Akolkar, deputy editor of Maharashtra Times said, When I first read Ganga, I realised it is a serious book. It is not a travelogue or a novel. It is an issue and the question is not about Ganga but pollution of each and every river of Ganga. Then I decided to translate it. This was a different book altogether and I had to ask help to many experts for the work. The translation was completed in just eight months.

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IT Pros Turn to Music for Charity
They come from various companies and working in a sector which is deemed as highly paid one. Yet, these young lot are not content with the routine job and looking for fulfilling their social responsibility. To fulfil their aim, they have turned to music. Formed as K-SARAMusicallYours, the group is holding a musical event to help mentally retarded adults on 30 August. About ten IT professionals will present a musical show on with the help of some professional artists. This is the first event by the group and has been compiled without any formal participation from their respective employers. In the context of talk regarding stress in the IT sector, the social cause seems the way out for them. Saurabh Navangul, who is behind the group said, I was a part of a musical group before called Octave. The group did some

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programs to help the earthquake victims in Gujrat in 2001. After I joined the IT sector, I felt a need to come forward to help unlucky ones in the society. Fortunately enough, people with similar thinking came along and the group got bigger. At present, the group consists of Abhijit Patil, Anjali Navangul, Bharamanna D. Chavan, Abhay Krishan Rastogi, Amruta Chaka, Roopa Iyer, Asmita Patil, Arpita Agarwal, Ramesh Raman, Dipti Dhote, Smita Tikekar, Kuhoo Gupta and Priyanaka Rawal. Their program, to be held at Ramkrishna More Auditorium in Chinchwad will consist of music ranging from classical Indian to Rock spread over three hours. The proceeds of the event will go to Navkshitij, an organising dedicated to the work for mentally retarded adults. We have done similar shows for other oganisinations in the past. But as a group this is our first show. As we are doing this on individual level, we like not to show our companys names in it, said the members of the group. To spice up the event, help from professional musicians have been sought. When asked about the recent events indicating stress level in IT companies, the members said, Stress exists in every field. By doing this work, we have found a way to overcame the stress level. It takes us at least two months to prepare us for the event. Even our weekends are spent in it. When people ask us how you find time to do so, we say time has to be kept aside. (K-SARA can be contacted at saurabhnavangul@wipro.com)

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Ganeshotsav started here This wada stands on Kumthekar Road in a dilapidated condition hardly deceiving its historical significance. It was here that the Ganesh Utsav, which has assumed a staus of industry today was started by none other than Lokmanya Tilak, the father of Indian unrest. Even though it has many an ancedotes of importance associated with it, the place is fighting for the survival. Vinchurkar Wada is about two hundred and fifty years old structure with an area of about 16,000 sq. ft. It was built by Sardar Vinchurkar, who was serving in the Peshwas court. This structure is among those which came up immediately after the Shaniwar Wada was built. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the public Ganesh festival to arise the Indian people against the foreign British rule. First such festivity took place in the year of 1894.

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At that time, Tilak lived in Vinchurkar Wada where he lived for 15 years before shifting to Gaikwad Wada which today is known as Kesari Wada. He lived at this place from 1892 to 1905. At the time, Tilak taught to students Law here. Therefore, the Ganesh here was known as Law Class Ganpati. After Tilak shifted to Gaikwad Wada, the Ganesh festival shifted to that place. In 1994, when the centenary of Ganesh Utsav was celebrated, the celebration was revived in Wada also. Interestingly, this wada is also the place where Lokmanya Tilak and Swami Vivekananda stayed together. Swami Vivekananda had come to Pune with Tilak after a chance meeting in a train from Bombay. Tilak brought him and Swami Vivekananda stayed in the wada for few days discussing many subjects with Tilak and other scholars. Ironically, Tilak learnt after few years that the sanyasi he met was such a great personality. Also, Kesari, the newspaper with which Tilak fought with British Raj But such a place is standing in a dilapidated state. Except for a room, which is occupied by Khadi and Gramodyog Mandal office, few things are there to point to this rich history. Many dignitaries have promised to revive the building but nothing has helped. Ravindra Pathare, trustee of the Lokmany Tilak Pratham Prashtapit Ganpati Trust, said, Last year state home minister R. R. Patil came here and promised to give funds for the renovation of the Wada. But nothing has happened in the one year. We hear that the Wada has been sold by the present owner. So we are not sure whether we can have a festival next year.

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Many people and mandals have prospered by Ganeshotsav but the place where it started all has been neglected a lot. Every time we approach a leader, the person shows ignorance about the origin of the festival. The situation is quite difficult and unmanagable now, Pathare said. Deepak Tilak, great grandson of Lokmanya Tilak and chief trustee of Kesari-Maratha Trust, is the chief trustee of this trust also. Now, we are thinking of approaching central Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde who is now on the Kesari Maratha Trust Board, said Pathare.

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Wagh Nakh to Return to Land of Shivaji
Maharashtra, land of the Chhatrapati Shivaji, was missing it for the last two centuries. But Wagh Nakh, a famous weapon belonged to Shivaji Maharaj is to come to Maharashtra very soon. Maharashtra government has proposed to Victoria and Albert Museum, London in this regard. The museum has asked security to be provided and once it is cleared, the weapon will come in Mumbai first. Wagh Nakh or Tiger Claws is one of the irregualr weapons used by Chhatrapati Shivaji. It is
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famous in the popular folklore of Maharashtra because of its use in killing Afzal Khan by Shivaji himself. After the fall of Maratha Empire, it was taken outside India by British officers and landed in Victoria and Albert Museum. This weapon is being brought to Maharashtra for an exhibit and government has forwarded the proposal to the museum. Museum also has approved the idea but its decision hinges on the security aspect. Also the file for the security arrangements is doing round in Mantralaya, Mumbai. Meera Hindocha of Press Office, V&A Museum informed Pune Mirror through a mailed reply, I can confirm that we have received a loan request for the tiger claw weapon that may have belonged to Chhatrapati Shivaji. However, we have not yet agreed to lend the object and our decision will be dependent upon the confirmation of a suitable venue for the exhibition and the necessary security arrangements being cleared. Asked about the developments, R. R. Patil, deputy chief minister and Home minister of Maharashtra told Mirror, Yes, we have given the

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proposal. But they (the museum)want security to be arranged by us. The file has come to me some days ago and a decision in this regard will be taken soon. Historians Speak Babasaheb Purandare, who is known for his dedication for history of Maratha Empire could not be contacted as he is is in US now. But he has described the travel of Wagh Nakh to Britain in his previous writings. According to him, Grand Duff, who was political representative of East India Company in the court of Satara might have taken this weapon to Britain. He served in the court from 1818 to 1824. He also wrote the first book on Maratha on history. He befriended the then Maharaja of Satara Chhatrapati Pratapsinh and took the weapon with him while returning. His descendants donated it to the V&A museum. Ninad Bedekar, another historian of repute from Pune, differed on the authenticity of the weapon. Shivbhushan, the book in Sanskrit written in the lifetime of Shivaji and by his order, says that Shivaji killed Afzalkhan with sword. This is an authentic reference. As for as the claim that

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weapon belonged to Shivaji, it is also shrouded in mystery. We do not find any reference suggesting that Shivaji used this weapon. Asked as to what his reaction would be once the weapon comes here, Bedekar said, I will still tell the facts as they are.

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82
Rains in the city
Due to a cyclonic circulation in Central Maharashtra, city alongwith many parts of the state witnessed rains on Friday. The situation is expected to continue meaning in effect that city is to witness more rains in coming days.
Usually, the monsoon starts withdrawing from 1 September. The month of October is known for summer like heat. The weather in the city looked going on the track till yesterday with maximum temperature touching 33 degree celsius. But on Friday, the weather took another form and there were rains in many parts of the state like Marathwada and Central Maharashtra. Medha Khole, director, India Meterological Department, Pune said, The cyclonic circulation over east central Arabian sea off south Gujarat-north Maharashtra lies over Madhya Maharashtra and neighbourhood. Which is
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the reason for this unseasonal rain. In the last 24 hours, the city witnesse 7.2 mm of rains upto 5:30 PM. According to Khole, the southwest monsoon withdrawal this year started since 29 September which is almost a month late than normal. The met department expects the rain to continue for three days. Even though heavy rains are not normal after the withdrawal of monsoon, there have been many instance of rainfall exceeding the normal. Nine years ago, on 14 October 1999, Pune witnessed 200.5 mm rainfall. Last year also the withdrawal of monsoon was started on 30 September and was complete on 15 October. At that time, 3.2 mm rainfall was recorded.

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Astrologers Fail the Test
Almost four months after issue was raised, results have come that astrology has failed to pass the first scientific test in India. In this first statistical test, just 45 percent of the predictions by astrologers proved right. The test has given credence to the theory that astrology can not termed as a science. In what was touted as the first scientific test of astrology in India, Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Statistics Department of University of Pune and Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANS) joined hands to verify the veracity of astrology. Dr. Naralikar
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alongwith Dr. Narendra Dabholkar of ANS, Prof. Sudhakar Kunte from University of Pune declared the statistical data related to the test in a press conference yesterday. The project involved collecting and verifying, analysing of a particular data. In May 08, an appeal was made to the astroloher communities to participate in this event. Dr. Naralikar had appealed to the astrologers to come forward for the experiment. The announcement was received with much debate and controversy. Many astrology organisations condemned the initiative under one or another pretext but astrologers in Marathwada and Vidharbha responded to the project. Those astrologers who came forward, were provided a set of about 40 horoscopes of student. These students were mentally challenged as well as normal one, but their identity was not revealed to anybody. Astrologers were told to analyse the samples and tell exactly which students are mentally challenged and which are not. An important presumption of the test was that if astrologers manage to differentiate the horoscope with an

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accuracy of more than 90 percent, astrology was proved to be a science. If they could reach the accuracy of 70 percent, then further tests were to be carried out. About 50 percent accuracy was expected to be achieved on the basis of random sampling. Prakash Ghatpande, convenor of the test said, Major astrologers decided to boycott the test objecting to the stands of ANS. Majority of amateur astrologers decided to participate in the experiment and they have relied on the data provided by us. ANS activists collected the horoscopes from all over the state. We gave it to the participants. After their replies were received, the encryption was done and thereafter all the data rested with Prof. Kunte. Nobody else, not even Dr. Naralikar and Dr. Dabholkar were aware of it. We cant declare the exact statistics of the experiment right now. According to the data provided by organisers, 51 astrologers asked for the set of horoscopes but only 27 of them responded. Those not responding did not furnish any reason either. Among those who participated, 15 were amateurs and 8 were professional ones.

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Among the 27 participants, the right guesses range from 8 to 24. On an average, 17.25 out of 40 predictions were accurate. It means generally 45 percent predictions are right.
Meanwhile, astrologer community reacted sharply to the findings of the experiment. Siddheshwar Maratkar, director of Jyotish Vidya Prasaraka Mandal addressed a press conference challenging the results. He said that astrologers had boycotted the test citing the wrong method of conducting the tests. We had demanded that ANS should not be a part of the experiment, there might be 60% or more accurate results but they will not have any bearing on the scientific basis of astrology and the horoscopes with wrong predictions should be given to us for the verification. Even after agreeing to conditions, the results were declared. This is an attempted attack on the foundation of astrology. So we will not take part in any future tests as well. Meanwhile, Dr. Dabholkar put forward a proposal for one more test. The test will involve analysing the horoscopes of adults and accurately predict the past incidents or trends of a human being.

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84
First Graphic Novel of India
A youth from Pune has got the distinction of releasing the first graphic novel in India. Private Eye The Anonymous was released in the city on Thursday. The book is written by Tejas Modak, a 25 year old graphic artist. Though graphic novels have a cult of their own all over the world, there is none in India. Keeping this in mind, Tejas have written this graphic novel about a detective who likes humour. Accordingly, even though the novel is a thriller story, it is written in a humorous way. Basically graphic novels are a part of the comics but they are different in a way that in comics,
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same sets of characters appear again and again. But in novels, there is a different story each time. Also a graphic novel is balanced in terms of visuals and text also, Modak said about this art form. The book is published by Westland Books and Tranquebar Press. Tejas was used to write articles in newspapers in the past and works in an animation company now. I have managed to blend these two elements in the novel successfully, he says. The Book According to Tejas, he always liked the suspense stories and also humorous books. He used to imagine himself doing the stuff. He has portrayed the same fantasies with a different character. The book has a advantage that the text and drawings are done by the same person. The visuals are done in new ways generally avoiding the standard styles.

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85
CYG : The Games of Politics
(Pic: Yogesh Jadhav) Two days from now, Pune is to hold the third edition of Commonwealth Youth Games. This is one of the pet projects of Suresh Kalmadi, an influential member of parliament and administrator of the games.
The games, even before they can commence, are being known for the hectic politics played between two parties in Maharshtra. One party is that of Kalmadi and other one is Nationalist Congress Party led by Sharad Pawar, who is a prominent minister in the union cabinet. Essentially though, this is a tussle between Kalmadi and Pawar. While Sharad Pawar is helped by his nephew Ajit Pawar, Kalmadi has to slug it out with the help of his supporters.
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Kalmadi was a close associate and Man Friday of Pawar for a long period. Then he broke away owiong to the difference of opinion. Now, after two stints as MP and president of Indian Olympic Association, Kalmadi managed to bring CYG to Pune. At that time, Congress was ruling Pune Municipal Corporation. Situation changed last year and NCP came to power in PMC. It is trying every trick to make the games a hurdles race for Kalmadi whose credentials as a good administrator are at stake.First, the NCP did not waged a full fledged war and instead chose to go slow in the works related to CYG. Two weeks ago, it fired first salvo and refused to allot Rs 5 Crores asked by CYG organisers for the publicity. Kalmadi camp retalitated by keeping away Pune mayor Rajlaxmi Bhosale from attending a ceremony in CYG. She was not given an invitation for unveiling of Chhatrapati Shivajis stature at Balewadi, as is required by protocol.The war did not end here. PMCs subway at Baner Road, which allows entry to the Balewadi stadium, was inaugurated for public. Ajit Pawar inugurated the subway but Kalmadi was not invited for the party.On Friday, that is today, a CNG filling station was inaugurated at the hands of Kalmadi. This station will cater to Pune Municipal Transport buses. Even though PMT has vowed to ply 30 buses on CNG, only 9 buses are actually available with PMT. If you think the story ends here, it is not so. To counter Congress move, PMT has decided new buses on CNG to be dedicated to Puneites. The dedication is to be done at the hands of Ajit Pawar on Sunday itself. And guess what? Kalmadi is not invited.

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Booked to Literature
This is the third time that Culture House of Iran is participating in the Pune Book fair. There is huge community of Iranian students in Pune and I am one of them, said Ebrahim Aghajari. I always wanted to write whatever it may be. So I have become a writer. I am first time in Pune and I met three people here who spoke with me in French, said Frederic Mari. Frederic was sitting at the stall of Libre Edition publications from Pondicherry and was signing every book bought by the visitors. Ebrahim and Frederic were among those who added international look to the seventh edition of Pune Book Fair which is currently on at
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Ganesh Kala Krida Mandir. Frederic is living in Pondicherry since 1990. He writes in French but Shine, his first translated novel in English is available at the fair. Told through the medium of an Eagle Owl, this novel speaks about the eternal quest of the humanity. This is mostly a fictional work but to certain extent, there is personal element in it, he said. About India, he said that he felt he was destined to live here. I had visited Mumbai earlier but am in Pune first time. I have written plays, film scripts earlier and is currently writing a bulky novel, he said. Ebrahim has completed his B. E. and is pursuing M. Sc. in Instrumentation in University of Pune. He was managing the stall of Culture House of Iran. There are 100 to 200 visitors here daily. I think there should be more people. The city is considered as the culture capital of India. It is my opinion that the venue of the fair should be changed. If it was near University, then probably there could be larger crowd, he said.

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Sergey Bubka on a High
Sporting legend Sergey Bubka, the greatest polevaulter of all time, today launched the Bubka Podium Sports Foundation Scholarship to promote the spirit of sport at Community Aid and Sponsorship Program (CASP), an organization that supports under-privileged families and children in India. Bubka, a recepient of Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to grassroots sport earlier this year, launched the new initiative with CASP Project Manager Mr Ramesh Gorwadkar. The Sergey Bubka Podium Foundation Award, which will be implemented
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in 2009, will support young people who show outstanding sporting potential and best display the spirit of sport over the course of the year. The award funds will be used primarily to support nutrition with additional help with equipment, coaching fees and entry fees. Addressing a press conference, Bubka said, Creating this award for CASP means I can give children from this area a chance to really pursue their sporting dreams. These awards are not only about sporting prowess, but also seek to promote the values of sportsmanship and respect which I consider to be particularly important. Bubka, who also attended the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune during his visit to India, is chairman of the Coordination Commission for the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. He makes regular trips to charitable sports establishments around the world to encourage more young people to take up sport and to offer his support to sporting initiatives worldwide. The Tsar

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Having set world records 35 times, 18 times indoors and 17 times outdoors, Sergey Bubka is better known as the Tsar. Overall, Bubka is widely regarded as a living legend of sport. Bursting on the international scene as a 19-yearold he scored an upset victory at the inaugural World Championships of Athletics in 1983 - A victory that built his career into one of the most remarkable domination sport has ever seen. A World Champion for 16 years (1983 to 1999), Bubka has won 6 consecutive gold medals. He is still the only athlete in any event to win at six world championships. To top it all Bubkas transition in life reveals a great sport administrator, politician and businessman, a story not many have to boast about. This is his first foray in the social field and Pune has got the distinction of hosting the event.

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88
Vihang Netra Soars to New Heights
(Photos: Yogesh Jadhav) Vihang Netra, the spy plane made for the Indian army for surveillance purpose is going to be used for the radiation detection. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), the premier atomic research centre in India is thinking in this direction. The spy plane will have to carry laser altimeter for this task to be performed.
On the occasion of Defence Research and Development Organisations (DRDO) golden jubilee celebration an exhibition of various defence related products was inaugurated on Friday. Dr. Srikumar Banerjee, director, BARC inaugurated the exhibition at the Research and
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Development Establishment (Engineers), Dighi. While visiting all the stalls at the exhibition, Dr. Banerjee had a look at the Vihang Netra being displayed at the site. After he was briefed about the plane, Dr. Banerjee asked how low can it fly? When he was told that it can fly at any height, he said, We want the plane for the detection of radiation, a field wherein humans can not be deployed. He also enquired about the payload carrying capacity of the plane. Vihang Netra Vihang Netra is a unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by city based DEMA in association with Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) a DRDO laboratory. The plane has payload carrying capacity of 20 Kg which is mostly comprised of sensors and cameras. It can fly at 17,000 ft. altitude and has one way range of 10 Kms. Its maximum air speed is 100 Km/hour. Dr. R. N. Sarwade, director, SASE informed Pune Mirror that the design of the next version of Vihang Netra is ready. Vihang Netra 2 will be able to fly at higher altitude and it will have more features in it. Y. P. Jahagirdar of DEMA said, The aeroplane can fly at any height but the problem is that normal altimeters show the altitude from sea level. Laser altimeter shows the altitude from the ground level according to the terrain of surface. If we fly the plane at very low and any obstacle comes in between, then accidents will happen. That is why we told Dr. Banerjee that laser altimeters are required. (published in Pune Mirror on 8 Nov. 2008)

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[Untitled]
Today we did a trip of Panshet. We were five of us. We went to the Panshet Boasting Club, which is very near to the actual dam. After reaching there at about 10:15 Pm on Saturday night, that is yesterday, we had a bonfire.
The food was very good (Mutton handi) we slept for the night. What pleased most was the exellent photo opportunities. I did click a lot of pictures. Here is the one of them. The rest are posted at http://www.flickr.com/photos/31440960@N06/ sets/72157609813497500/

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90
Tracing the FrenchMaratha Steps
Chhatrapati Shivaji gave the territory of Pondhicherry to the French traders on annual lease of 10,000 Chachars (a South Indian currency prevalent in 17th century) on the condition of neutrality. The careers of the two nations in India i.e. the Marathas and the French ran concurrently. Chhatrapati Shivaji was crowned as King in the June 1674 while the French under the able leadership of Francois Martin founded Pondicherry in April 1674 as the capital of French India. The period 1690-1699 was the darkest period for both the nations as the Mughals overran the Mar423

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atha territory while the Dutch, capitulated Pondicherry. The period 1750-1754 brought the two to the zenith of there glory in India while both were crushed in 1761. Shivajis son, Chhatrapati Rajaram offered to sale Pondicherry to French but the French representatives in India could not pay the required amount. That is why is was forced to pay the province to Dutch. These are some of the interesting facts unearthed from an extensive research work done by a city based researcher. Umesh Kadam, senior lecturer in the history department of University of Pune has studied the relations between Marathas and French spanning over 150 years. Kadam, who is originally from Kolhapur had originally done the study for his thesis submitted over four years ago. After a stint in Shivaji University of Kolhapur and University of Pune, he made further research work in this direction. Now it is being published in book form very soon. This is only the second attempt to study relations between Maratha empire and French and it has noted some very striking facts hitherto

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unheeded. Just take a look:According to Kadam, the relations between the two were purely commercial on the side of the French and politically and commercially motivated on behalf of the Marathas. The commercial policy of the Marathas related to the Europeans clearly states that political issues of the state should be given importance and due recognition when ever there is a clash between the two policies. The French first came into contact with the Marathas in 1668. The Shivaji ConnectionThe French were granted permission by Shivaji to establish a factory at Rajapur. Shivaji was in constant conflict with the Siddi of Janjira and he needed arms and ammunition. He wanted help from the European nations and he was ready to give any place on the Konkan Coast to the nation which would supply him with arms and ammunitions. The English and the Portuguese preferred to remain neutral due to their relations with the Mughals and Bijapur, while the Dutch asked for Maratha help against the English in return for their co-operation. Shivaji at this point was not interested to arouse the English hence he turned down the

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Dutch offer. The French were the only nation which supplied Shivaji with guns and lead without and pre-condition. Shivaji in return gave them permission to settle at Rajapur. Shivaji with French arms was able to arm a notable fleet against the Siddi of Janjira and keep a check on the activities of the English and the Portuguese. Shivaji second son Rajaram had to flee to the south due to the Mughal invasion. As Marathas controlled both Jinji and Pondicherry the French came in direct day-to-day contact with the Maratha Court at Jinji. The relations between the two further worsened due to the prejudice of the French officers against the Marathas. The Marathas had demanded money, arms and ammunition, and French help against the Mughals, but the French preferred to remain neutral. The financial constraints of Rajaram forced him to sell Pondicherry. At first he gave priority to the French but they followed delaying tactics to have a better bargain. Finally Rajaram sold Pondicherry to the Dutch arch rivals of the French only because they were ready to pay a better price.

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The policy of Dupleix to build a French Empire in the south of India with the help of puppet Princes brought the French in direct conflict with the Marathas. This conflict with the Marathas in real sense brought the downfall of the French in India. The French trade in Bengal was ruined due to the Maratha invasions in Bengal carried out by Raghuji Bhosale from 1741-1748. This paved way for British to establish their control in Bengal as the French evacuated their trade from Bengal and shifted their interest towards the trade on the Coromandel Coast.-I Learned French for this workDr. Umesh Kadam has come from Kolhapur. After completing Master of Arts from Shivaji University, Kolhapur in 1998, he did his Ph.D. from Shivaji University, Kolhapur.To complete my study in the relations between French and Marathas, he completed certificate course in French. He visited Biblitheque Nationale, Archives Nationale in Paris and British Library and India Office Library in London under Research Scholarships provided by Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, Masion de Sciences de lHomme, Paris

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and Charles Wallace India Trust, London. After this work, he is working on a project titled Relations between the French and the Marathas with special reference to the French diplomatic projects in India proposed during 1761 to 1818.

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Pune Station on New Look Track
The Pune railway station is soon to wear a new look. The work for the renovation of waiting room, main building, platforms and entrance gate is heading to the completion. The reports say that one more entrance gate is to be added to the existing one keeping in view constantly growing number of passengers. Pune railway station is popularly known as Pune station. Built in 1925, the building is classified as a heritage structure. It was granted model railwaystation status about 11 years ago and it handles about 94 mail and express, 28 passenger and 40 local trains every day. More than one lakh pas429

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sengers (0.1 million) passengers come here or go form here. Pune-Mumbai railway network was the earliest networks in the country so it is not surprising that the Pune point was developed simultaneously with the establishment of Victoria Terminus (Mumbai). It was also due to the citys importance from the military point of view. However, it was in 1915 that the first design of the existing main building was created by architect P. Wilson and the project was implemented by British officers Colonel Kennedy and James Barkley. On July 27, 1925, the main building was inaugurated by the then Mumbai governor Sir Lesley Wilson and a special train was operated from Mumbai to Pune to mark the occasion. The station has since grown in operation to handle the existing number of trains and the high number of passengers. Electrification of the railway line in Pune was completed in 1929 and in the subsequent year, yet another Raj-era contribution came in the form of the Deccan Express.
The renovation of this building is being done after too many years. Some work was done at the occiasion of

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Commonwealth Youth Games. Central government has decided to develop this station into a world class station.

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The Trip To kolhapur
Just last month I, together with my family visited the city of Kolhapur. Kolhapur is known for the Mahalaxmi temple which is centuries old. It was also the city where one of the seat of Maratha empire was situated. I was very eager to visit this place and happy this time that I could eventually realize my dream.
The history of Kolhapur stresses to many centuries. In the ancient times, it was known as Karvirnagari. The Mahalaxmi temple, which houses the idol of Godess Laxmi is at least seven centuris old. It is built in the old Hemadpanti style of archtitecture. This temple showcases the most intrinsic style of designing as well as decoration. Surprisingly, even though Mahalaxmi is considered to be godess of money, her temple is bereft of the money
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extracting methods emloyed by most of the Hindu religious shrines all over India. The city stands on the bank of river Panchaganga. It is known as Dakshin Kashi on account of the deity Mahalaxmi or Ambabai. Kolhapur is archaeologically an important place in India due to the ancient temple of Goddess Shri Mahalaxmi . The place of Jyotiba is about 15Kms towards north of the city. The famous hill station Panhala is about 18 Kms towards North West of the town. This city is also home to the palace belonging to Shahu Maharaj, who was a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Shahu Maharaj was a great administrator himself and he carried out various reforms in his tenure which paved the way for Dalits and backward classes to stake claim to the education as well as other opportunities. It is a well known fact that it was Shahu Maharaj who helped Dr. Babasaheb Amberdkar for his education. Kolhapur has many places which stand witnesses to its glorious past. There are palaces built by Maratha kings. Panhala fort, a major tourist attraction is very near to the city. Also, Kolhapur is home to the Marathi films and shootings are still done at various places in and around the city. The city is also famous for its wrestling tradition. Kolhapur city and its surrounding regions prominently come under the sugarcane belt where the sugarcane is main cash crop. We could visit the temple and also see the Rankala lake which has become an icon for the city. The lake was built in the last leg of 18th century. Its sorrounding as also near-

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ness with Shalini Palace makes it a beautiful place. Many a romantic couple can be spotted here at any time in the day. We did the trip in a day. With the travel between Pune and Kolhapur only three and half hour, it was one of the most convenient trips that I have done.

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Mumbai Attacked Again
Mumbai was and is known as Bombay. The city has suffered much more attacks than any other cities in India. Yet again, terrorists have struck the city. Worse part is that everybody is confused as to what is happening.
Whatever outcome of this episode, it has brought to fore the vulnerabilities of the intelligence agencies in India. It is reported that the attackers had come for the sea. If it is true, then the incident puts marine intelligence of India in dock. I am still gathering the information and will write about it soon.

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94
It is a War, not just an attack
This is the first of its kind attack in India. Strategic and defence experts in Pune say that this is the assymetrical war in the guise of terrorist attack. They also vouch that defence forces can not help each time and police force themselves have to brace themselves for fighting with these attacks. Dr. Vijay Khare, reader in the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, University of Pune recently spent one month in Paris for his research work on comparative study of Counter terrorism mechanism system of India and France. In his work Khare has visited to various
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universities and strategic think tanks. He said, This is first direct asymmetric war on Indian Territory with external help and first time Indian Army, police force and paramilitary forces are working together. Terrorism issue is not between Hindu and Muslims, it is a asymmetric war against India. There is need to Unified single counter-terrorism mechanism for tackling this issue. There is also eed to understand psychology of minority community while conducting and operating counterterrorism operations. Us versus TheyKhare also said that there is need to coordinatie various intelligence agency and paramilitary forces , police forces while conducting counterterrorism issue. If there was proper coordination among forces and anti terrorist squad then Hemant Karkare and other officers could have been saved. There is also need political consensus to tackling this terrorism issue. He said, Unfortunately in India, common masses do not understand the roots of terrorism and it seems that there is conflict between majority vs minority. This real question among policy makers to how tacle terrorism issue.

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There is needed to get modern small arms in police forces and equippedmodern counterterrorism police force. Mumbai incidents are one tip of iceberg there is possibility of another attack on Indian Territory with weapons of mass destruction. Series of StrikesVice Admiral (Retd.) Om Bansal replied in an emailed message, Terror attacks such as the one in Mumbai now and even earlier, the train blasts and ones in Delhi, Ahmedabad etc. is declaration of war. Only it is an unconventional war, where the target is a peace loving civilians and the actors are non state. Here the enemy is a terrorist who does not belong to any state so whom do we fight with, negotiate for peace with, destroy? Just because all wings of armed forces are involved in the present case can not be the reason for calling it a war, its a war anyways. Did not the US declared that they were at war after 9/11? But you will now see, as does the US, that their response of attacking Iraq and even Afganistan is not the answer. I think the answer lies in resolving the underlying reason for terror, factors well known to every one.

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He says, I do not really think it is a failure of any one agency and there are too many of them. So, its a systemic failure. it is impossible to search each and every boat at sea/ near coast. Above all suicide attacks are very difficult to eliminate, if attacker wants to die, how can one stop him. Any agency which coordinates intelligence inputs, analyses these to make it usable input and then take follow up action will surely help. For such an agency to work, it should have legal sanction from parliament to have total control, so guarding own turf and trying to gain brownie points by keeping information or their assets to themselves. We need to have a single point responsibilities, with total cooperation from all agencies. Col. Ajay Mudholkar said, The action in Mumbai can at best be categorised into Low Intensity Conflict. It is definitely not a war since it is an action against a faceless group of people. It can involve all the three services wings depending on the nature of operation. There is definitely a need to improve our maritime reconnaisance efforts. With a very long sea-coast with

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not exactly friendly neighbour we need to intensify the patrolling along sea routes. This is also essential from our economic interests such as oil wells in this region. But with a lack of specific policy in this regard and the large mnumber of govt. agencies having a stake in the water it can not be termed as a failure but as as a lapse on part of concerned agency. The law-makers have to now wake to reality in this regard to formulate a formidable policy. All the sage politicians have been propagating these policies; but unfortunately, for the reasons unknown, no one has shown determination to bring these in existance. The necessity for the unified federal agency is a definite requirement of the day; especially in view of the technological advances which also give a diifferent advantage to the terrorist organizations also. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a retird lieutenant general said, These are the series of Fidayeen style terrorist strikes. A detailed analysis of the attack could be done only after knowing the motive of the attackers. Strenghthening of police forcem providing them the

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capacity of intelligence and capability to penetrate is necessary to prevent future incidents. (With Inputs from Nitin Brahme and Siddharth Gadkari)

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Confusion Reigns Even Now
The drama taking place in Mumbai has not come to an end even after almost 48 ours. The unfortunate incident has started a new debate in the Indian debate as to what can be done to tackle terrorism. A sense of helplessness has engulfed each of us. The situation can be compared to that of the Kargil invasion in 1999 or attack on parliament in December 200.
Meanwhile, Indian National Security Gurads (NSG) could reclaim back the Nariman House in southern Mumbai. This is the second victory for the forces after they managed to kill terrorist in the Hotel Oberoi Trident. Before the last terrorist could be put to rest, there was a
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major blast and a portion of the Nariman House came down. But NSG commandos could hole up the terrorists, who were four all in all, on fourth floor. At about 7:30, we watched the commandos walking out of the building. Meanwhile, according to Associated Press report, (Hostages said dead in Mumbai Jewish center) a Rabi and his wife were killed in the action. On the other hand, Indian forces continued to lose their men. Two NSG personnel lost their lives while serving the naiton. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, 31, was killed while engaging terrorists this morning at the Taj hotel, an NSG spokesperson told PTI. The officer hailed from Bangalore where his father works for the Indian Space Research Organisation. An officer of the Bihar Regiment, he was commissioned in the Indian Army in June 1999. Commando Chander received fatal bullet injuries during gunbattle at Nariman House, the official said.Israeli experts have criticized the handling of the entire episode by Indian forces. (Israeli experts say Indian forces acted prematurely in Mumbai) Moral of the stor:Confusion prevails!

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SCIENTIFIC AUTO RICKSHAWS LAUNCHED IN PUNE
Pune tops the country in the number of trips by auto rickshaws which stands at 4.87 lakhs currently.The new system of Scientific Management of Auto Rickshaws, which was inaugurated in the city is expected to reduce congestion in the city and buildconfidence in the public.
This information was given by Union Urban Development Secretary Dr. R. Ramachandran. Speaking after the inauguration of the Project Scientific Management of Auto Rickshaws, he said under the new system biokryptic I.D. Cards are being given to auto drivers who register under the scheme which will help curb unauthorized autos
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in the city. He also said that this is a pioneering scheme in the country and the components of advertisement in it had good potentials for part funding of the project. The Police commissioner Dr. Satyapal Singh said that30 per cent of auto rickshaws in Pune are illegal and Pune lacks any auto culture and discipline. Criticizing the operation of auto rickshaw drivers,he said only 20 to 30 per cent in Pune run on meter. Dr. Singh said no action can be taken against the auto rickshaw caught by them, as this power lies with the RTO authority who complains of staff shortage. The new system would bring in discipline, order and reduce the criminal elements. Six auto rickshaw drivers were given the Insurance Policy and the I.D. Card at the function. About 2000 auto rickshaws have already registered for the scheme in Pune. Introducing the details of the scheme the Chairman RTO, Pune and Divisional Commissioner Shri Nitin Karir said, Pune has about 50,000 auto rickshaws which move from point to point. This needs to change as dead mileage is very high and para transit is the need of the hour. Under the new Scheme a telephone call to a Centralized Control Room diverts the nearest auto rickshaw to the passenger. It also reduces the congestion at bus stops, railway stations and other crucial locations Dr. Karir said it is a purely voluntary scheme under which the drivers will be provided training by the police and they would get a close user cell phone and the system can be integrated into BRTS system in place in the city. A number of operator welfare measures such as uniform, insurance, medical test and setting up of a corporate wel-

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fare a fund for their family is the part of the scheme. Dr. Karir said this is a nationally replicable model and positive response from auto unions could help in making the pioneering scheme successful in the city. Social activist and Chairman of Auto Rickshaw Union Baba Adhav said the Union still has reservation about the scheme and certain aspects need to be clarified before unified response is given by Union. The Auto Drivers should not loose revenue on the advertisement they put up on their auto rickshaws. Once the financial equation of this scheme is cleared, the social security aspect is good part of it, all benefits need to be clarified since it is a 10 year contract. There is no provision for education of children of the drivers in the scheme he lamented. Roughly 30 per cent of the auto rickshaw drivers are very honest and disciplined. However, this fact is very rarely appreciated.

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Tremors after the Quake
Tremors are still felt here in India even as the worst terrorist attack of the country has ended about 30 hours ago. Two key personalities in the union government has offered to leave the post while in Maharashtra, where actual drama took place, state government seems on its way to ouster. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil Chakurkar, who was often derided for his inaction and insensitive approach towards the law and order situation in the country, put in his papers today. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, a trusted

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lieutenant of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has been appointed Home Minister in his place. Patil had drwan too much criticism for his handling of internal security matters, especially after blasts in Delhi, Banglore and Surat. Chidambaram, 63, had briefly served as Minister of Internal Security under late Rajiv Gandhi in late 1980. But his prime credentials lie in Finance Ministry having consistently given balanced budgets.
Prime Minister will himself look after the Finance portfolio now even as the country is suffering from the ripple effects of the global recession. That way, Singh is returning to original ministry after 12 years. He had held the Finance portfolio for five years under late P.V. Narasimha Rao. The appointment also came hours before the start of the all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister to discuss the Mumbai attacks and evolve a consensus on how to combat terror. Meanwhile, National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan has offered his resignation also owing to the moral responsibility. There are conflicting reports as to whether his resignation has been accepted or not. In the light of these developments, call are given for the resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister R. R. Patil for his failure to control the situation. Chief Minister Vilasrao

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Deshmukh is also under threat as pressure has been rising for him to vacate his place. The terrible episode and carnage on one hand, local media today is beaming the reports of how Deshmukh visited Hotel Taj with his actor son Ritesh and movie producer Ram Gopal Verma. Patil had a meeting with Deshmukh today in afternoon. After the meeting, he refused to put in his paper. When Akshardham was attacked, the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi did not resign and when the Parliament was attacked the then Union Home Minister L K Advani did not resign. Then why should I resign after the Mumbai attack? What morality is BJP talking about, Patil was shoen asking in front of news channels camera. But we, in media, are guessing that he will be ordered to abdicate his chair in a couple of days. Keeping in view nature of Sharad Pawar of Nationalist Congress Party, whom Patil follows, it is an obvious guess.

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It was a very minor story, the ones that we care not to go into detail. But days after we carried it, it made an impact and paved the way for migratory birds to flock together.
The banks of Mula-Mutha river are home to various species of birds. The site was marked for a bird sanctuary by Pune Municipal Commissioner. Srikant R. Shinde, personality development and motivational trainer and a nature lover as well, had noted how PMC was dumping the garbage and debris there. Pune Mirror had carried the report on November 9, 2008. Srikant also sent a mail to municipal commissioner referring to the report. It did have the effect. Pune Municipal Corporation corrected its mistake. The garbage and debris dumped near Mula-Mutha river has now stopped by PMC on the personal instructions of municipal commissioner Pravinsingh
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Pardeshi. The breeding ground for migratory and native birds could be saved by an initiative of an alert citizen.Commissioner Pardeshi sent letters to the concerned officer warning of suspension and show cause notice. He also ordered to remove all accumulated garbage by 25 nov and plant all trees and put up boards for no dumping and post permanent nuisanve detection squad for removing garbage. Many a brids among Great White pelican, painted stork, wooly necked stork, spot billed duck could be spotted there. As the smoke coming out of burning garbage has resided, the birds are flocking in large numbers. Even a big pipe has been laid near the entrance of sanctuary so that dumping vehicles can not come there. Still there is scope for more. As Srikant put it, I am pleased that PMC has acted fast and cleared the site. The gate should also be such that no buffalo enter the sanctuary as majority of the migratory birds lay their eggs on the ground. Buffalo destroy the eggs and birds cannot nest. Deep inside the sanctuary there is growth of sagwan saplings by the droppings of birds. But the people using this sanctuary as shortcut are so greedy that they cannot allow these saplings to be trees and taking them away. Some action is necessary also on these things. (Pictures by Manoj Bidkar)

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It can tear the enemy tanks, destruct these tanks and kill persons sitting in them. This indigenously developed weapon does away with expensive metals. Highly praised for its effectiveness, this weapon was designed and developed here. The Fin Stabilized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS) was developed in the Pune based Armanent Research and Development Establishment (ARDE). It was presented in the exhibition at ARDE, Pashan on Friday on the occasion of national Conference on Advances in Armanent Technology. FSAPDS is especially designed for firing from Arjun tank. What makes it special is it is made from Combustible Car461

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tridge Case, instead of the metal case in the old weapons. This anti-tank ammunition is of 120 mm diameter variety while its other variant 125 mm is designed to be used in T-72 tanks. S. P. Durwas, technical officer and who was instrumental in designing FSAPDS told Pune Mirror, We were using brass cartridge cases in earlier ammunitions. FSAPDS utilises combustible cartridge cases which burn out totally in the tanks rifled gun. It is made from aqueous pulp of cotton waste, TNT (Trinitrotoluene). What is more, it has 10 years of shelf life. This makes it much more affordable for us. It is es-timated that 125 mm FSAPDS ammunition could save the country foreign exchange of around Rs Two crores annually. FSAPDS is used to attack heavy armoured vehicles. It can damage the single heavy target i. e. 150 mm thick at 60 degrees upto 3500 meters. Lightweight LauncherAn another feather in the cap of ARDE is 84 mm Lightweight Launcher. This gun is built on the hybrid composite technology for gun barrel. It is a lightweight, man portable anti-tank gun. This gun weighs only 8

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kg. which is only half compared to an anti-tank infantry system. K. D. Deodhar, who headed the team of designers of this gun said, This gun was successfully designed in record time of 30 months and the same technology has been handed over to ministry of defence for indigenous bulk production. According to Deodhar, composite barrel technology has been established first time in the country through the 84 mm lightweight launcher. The technology has been validated by various users, troops at varied terrains. The technology has been transferred to Ordnance Factory Board for mass production. Meanwhile, Shekhar Dutta, deputy national security advisor of India inaugu-rated the conference. He said, Today the private sector has a good technological base that can link with the public sector. The focus of ARDE will move from na-tional laboratories to industry and the IITs and basic scientific research will then be undertaken by the universities and other national and regional institutions and laboratories.(Published in Pune Mirror on 22 Nov. 2008)

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A Million Smile Man
He gave the world Mickey Mouse and has since been making world laugh through various cartoons and stories. Even 42 years after his death, Walt Disney continues to mesmerize the people world over. Even two world wars and threat of the terror has not diminished the power of Disney characters to entertain the audience. Today marks the 43rd death anniversary of Walt Disney.
As happens with most children, I came across Mickey Mouse early in childhood. I might be five or six years old. Mickeys 50th anniversary was to be celebrated in that year. Thereafter, Donald Duck and Goofy also came in without any resistance. That delight lasted more than

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average as I found myself observing the cartoon characters for hours. I was myself a cartoon lover and an aspiring cartoonist, though I did become one. Therefore I would try to imitate the drawings. I have not seen enough Disney movies in recent times nor do I watch cartoons anymore. But I still adore them. Still, I salute the man who created this wonderful fantasyland. I think we need more these fantasies than all those extremely sophisticated sci-fi movies or disaster movies. I am sure those terrorist who fed on killing humans like rats have never seen Mickey, Donald or his three nephews. Had they seen it, world could have been much different. (The Obituary Appeared in New York Times on 6 DEc. 1966)

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Ashok Chavan, new Maharashtra CM
He is from Nanded, as me
Finally the word is out. Maharashtra, the state which has withnessed much bloodshed in the past week has a new Chief Minister. Putting an end to the controversies and debates, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee announced Ashok Chavans nomination in New Delhi on Friday evening. Of course, he and other leaders deliberated on the matter with their boss, Sonia Gandhi. Vilasrao Deshmukh was eased out of office in the aftermath of the audacious Mumbai terror attacks last week. He behaviour after the attacks was severly criticized by media. Chavan was in charge of the Industry portfolio in the Deshmukh cabinet. He is the eldest son of late Shan-

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karrao Chavan. The family is associated with Nanded from where I have come. Shortly after the nomination of Chavan, Narayan Rane, revenue minister in the outgoing ministry and a strong contender of CMs chair, hit out at Gandhi, Deshmukh and Chavan questioning the process of election of the new leader. Rane, who had come to the Congress a few years ago from the Shiv Sena, was pipped at the post by Chavan, a party loyalist and a Maratha, like Rane. Chavan represents Mudkhed constituency in the Assembly. He was a Member of Parliament for two years from 1987-89 and was elected to the Assembly from 1999. Names of Union Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Prithviraj Chavan had also done the rounds as chief ministerial contenders. Chagan Bhujbal will be the new Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister in the new cabinet. This is his second stint in both the capacities.

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Narayan Rane is a disappointed and enraged person today. He has missed out on a post which he was staring at for the last two and half years. After Ashok Chavan was given the chief ministership, Rane hit out at Congress leadership. On Friday, Rane slammed the Congress party for delaying its decision in choosing Vilasrao Deshmukhs successor. Targetting congress president, Sonia Gandhi and ousted chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, he had put a question mark on Chavans stature saying that Chavan was not worthy of his competition. He also said that Chavan did not have the experience to be the chief minister of a state.
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Congress leadership retaliated today by suspending Rane from the partys membership. It has been observed that after the announcement of the new leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in Maharashtra, Narayan Rane is making public statements deliberately with a view to lowering the prestige of the Indian National Congress, said AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi. The party has taken a serious view of his utterances and considering this as a case of gross indiscipline, Narayan Rane has been suspended from the party with immediate effect, he added. This however has not dettered Rane as he has dared Congress of exposing more and more scams. According to PTI, Rane claimed that he holds key to the survival of soon-to-be-formed Ashok Chavan led Congress-Nationalist Cognress Party Government in Maharashtra. If I wish, I can prevent the new government from taking charge or topple it when it is formed. The new government is not in a majority and I can prove it on the floor of the house, even if the

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opposition does not demand a trust vote, Rane was seen saying this on various TV channels. Rane refused to divulge his future course of action when the winter session of the legislature would be convened in Nagpur this month. I will be going to Nagpur, he said. He said he could provide a letter of 30 MLAs to the Governor saying that they were not supporting the new government. Referring to his suspension from the Congress, Rane said he had been expecting the action.
I consider this as a good omen. In 1997, Vilasrao Deshmukh was suspended from the party for six years and in 1999 he became the chief minister, Rane added.

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An unimpressive conference
Today there was a press conference of Anand Sharma, the minister of State for External Affairs and Information & Broadcasting. He was here for the Vodafone international marathon, which had its share of controversies. As expected, Sharma was asked several questions on media coverage of Mumbai terror attacks. Starting with a quite lengthy sermon on the achievements of United Progressive Alliance government in New Delhi, he took on all the questions, But could not answer satisfactorily any of the questions. H made usual promises of setting up of a Standing Media Consultative Committee comprising rep477

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resentatives of the Editors Guild, National Broadcasting Organization and the officials of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. It will be chaired by the Secretary, Information & Broadcasting. He also told of a move to conduct training programmes for print as well as electronic media persons on how to cover crisis events. But the surprise item was next question. When somebody popped up the question of hoax call to Pak president Asif Zardari, Sharma said he did not know anything on that issue. But in a statement later issued by Press & Information Bureau, he was quoted as, The issue of hoax call to the President of Pakistan (is as) a gimmick which can not divert attention from the seriousness of the dastardly terror attacks. Government of India has signaled that India has nothing to do with the hoax call business. The Minister said that the world has in one voice condemned the Mumbai terror attacks and this is bound to put pressure on Pakistan to act and added that India on its part will take all steps that are required to stamp out terrorism. He reiter-

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ated that the nation should also come together and speak in one voice against terrorism. Commenting about the role of media in covering Mumbai terror attacks, the Minister said that some television channels had gone overboard in reporting and as a result the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting had to issue notices.

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Maharashtra government has finally woken up. It has updated its website and has brought the new chief minister Ashok Chavan in his rightful place. Media reports had earliers pointed out how the official portal of government of Maharashtra was still showing Vilasrao Deshmukh as the chief minister of Maharahstra even five days after the swearing in of Chavan alongwith Chhagan Bhujbal as deputy Chief Minister.
Websites of state government of Maharashtra are notorious for being obsolete and slow. And that is when they say that the state is ahead in Information and Technology initiatives. I had done a story regarding the manpower crunch in Maharashtras IT de-partment. At that time, it was seen
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then that being unable to offer competitive remuneration to IT professionals, it has devised a novel way to find the candidates, that is to hire them from other offices. State department of Information and Technology had sent a letter to various de-partments to send applications for an appointment on deputation to work on state e-governance project, called as SETU. The applications have been invited from state government and semi-government employees and even from local bodies. Even as it is embarked on implementing the State Wide Area Network (SWAN) scheme, which officials have claimed to complete upto January 09, the government is still unable to get enough manpower. That is why it has now invited tenders for procuring the manpower. And we are still talking about e-governance! -Meanwhile, Ashok Chavan has given his private email id (ashokchavanmind@rediffmail.com) for the public to contact him with their grievences. This is a first in India. But the question is, and it has been rightly raised by many in the media, why should a office bearer give his personal email id when he should be supposed to be available on his official id?(chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in) We are still waiting to get that answer.

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Animals Dont Go Wild
Pune has too times seen wild animals straying into the resident areas. The year 2008 itself witnessed three such incidents where a leopard, a python and a Spotted Dear were found into the urban areas. That itself created panic as well as curiosity as to how these animals came to stray into the human domains? But there are suspicious factors behind these types of the events.
Shekhar Nanajkar, president of WILD, an organisation working in the field of conservation of forests and wildlife has come up with the statement to this effect. In his statement, he has said that whenever a wild animal is found in the citys limits, it is always said that it has come through
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the forest. But it is always a different case. Some people keep these animal in captivity, even though it is banned by law. When these animal are found out, there is a motive to turn their status into legal one, he says. Just yesterday, a spotted deer was found by two people in the Bavdhan area and was released in the wild. The deer had some minor injuries on its mouth and was given immediate treatment. After administering treatment, the deer was taken in a vehicle and released in the forest area in Khadakwasla. Eight months before that, a leopard was found in a housing colony in Nigdi. It seems that leopard has been spotted in Pune almost each year in the last 10 years. Nanajkar says, Animals are wary of the humans and they will never enter the urban areas. Even in deep forests, they try to avoid the areas where they feel human presence. Even wild animals can get their food in the villages and they have no reason to enter the cities. He has even accused that some affluent people are involved in keeping wild animals unlawfully. Villages around Pune and Lonavala are known to be trading centres of wild animals. Forest department turns a Nelsons eye towards these incidents on the pretext of sghortage of manpower.

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The Neighbouring Shopowner Needs Protection
Even though unorganised retail is reeling under the pressure of organised retail sector, it needs a strong protection. A code of conduct is necessary for the organised sector so that unorganised retail sector does not get affected. This is the recommendation given by a committee which has submitted its report to the government over the issue. The findings and recommendations of the report furnished by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and
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the follow-up action by the Government were tabled in the Rajya Sabha, the lower house of Parliament of India. The report was tabled by Shri Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Industry, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today Main FindingsIn its assesment of the impact on unorganized retailers, the report states that unorganized retailers in the vicinity of organized retailers experienced a decline in their volume of business and profit in the initial years after the entry of large organized retailers. But this adverse impact on sales and profit weakens over time. The report also claims that there was no evidence of a decline in overall employment in the unorganized sector as a result of the entry of organized retailers. It negates some decline in employment in the North and West regions saying that it also weakens over time.
The committee seems not to have been amused by these facts, which it itself has given: The rate of closure of unorganized retail shops in gross terms is found to be 4.2 per cent per annum. The rate of closure on account of competition from organized retail is at 1.7 per cent per annum.

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Small retailers have been extending more credit to attract and retain customers. Only 12 per cent of unorganized retailers have access to institutional credit and 37 per cent felt the need for better access to commercial bank credit. The unorganized retail sector is expected to grow at about 10 per cent per annum with sales rising from US $ 309 billion in 2006-07 to US$ 496 billion in 2011-12. At the same time, organized retail which now constitutes a small four per cent of total retail sector is likely to grow at a much faster pace of 45-50 per cent per annum and quadruple its share in total retail trade to 16 per cent by 2011-12. The full report is available here.

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x Setusamudram project which will demolish the Ramsetu should be cancelled and Ramsetu should be declared as a National historic property.
x Makbul Fida Hussain should be arrested for painting nude and blasphemous paintings of Hindu deities. x Anti-faith Bill and Temple Bill, proposed by Maharashtra government which can bring threat to the Hindu Dharma should be abolished. x Those who denigrate Hindu deities through the medium of advertisements, dramas, pictures, publications, products etc, they should be acted against. x The temples under Government custody should be handed over to the devotees and stop political interference in them.

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x Terrorist Mohammed Afzal who was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court should be hanged immediately. x To give the Kashmiri Hindus their due respect and rehabitalize them back to Kashmir. x Pollution increasing project of Dow Chemicals should be cancelled and Saint Tukaram Maharajs Tapobhumi Bhamchandra Hill should be declared as a place of Hindu pilgrimage. These were some of the resolutions passed on Thursday in a public rally in Pune. The meet organised by Hindu Dharmajagriti Samiti took place at Historic Shaniwar Wada. The recent incidences of Malegaon investigations, Mumbai attack seemed to have no impact on the congregation. Speaking on the occasion, Himani Savarkar, national president of Hindu Mahasabha in her speech, added that, Anyone in this country just wakes up, speaks against The Hindus, does atrocities against them, and we Hindus , we take no action against them. This Government, which keeps on appeasing the muslim community, also does not raise any voice against the atrocities done against Hindus. But henceforth, Hindus will not remain quiet. For this reason, the Kshatratej in Hindus should wake up now. Jeevan Gaurav, the lifetime achievement award was bestowed upon Shahir Yogesh for his services towards Hindutva. Bharatacharya S. G. Shevade presented the award. The award comprised of a shawl, sriphal, garland and a certificate

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Powerless Maharashtra
Government of India has released the year end reviews for various ministries, as is the custom. The report of Power ministry makes an entertaining reading. It gives total capacity of electricity generation at present in the country. But it cleverly avoids mentioning the rising demand for power in country. In every respect! Indian economy is growing at the rate of 8 percent each year and according to a study by The McKinsey & Company. According to the study, power demand may rise from the present 120 gigawatt (GW) to 315-335 GW by 2017. (1)

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But going by the data provided by ministry, (2) during the period from Jan. 08 to Nov. 08, total availability of energy in the country was 625289 MU(kilowatt per hour), as against 601517 MU during the same period last year, representing a growth of about 4%. Note that the growth has taken place compared to last year and it is still way far from satisfying the need of 120 GW. During the period Jan.08 to Nov.08 total energy exchanges in the country were 16918.90 MU. The condition in Maharashtra is still worse. The state is facing a power shortage of at least 5000 MW. Thanks to slow down and recession, the demand has come down significantly. Even though state energy ministers and chief ministers have repeatedly said that load shedding will be passe in few years. But the situation has worsened so much that the state has to declare power cuts for industries. Just before recession set its feet in India, industrial belts were in Maharashtra were reeling under the staggering day formula where they were forced to keep their shops shut for two days. Since July and upto September, big cities in the state were having 8 hours of load shedding

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while the villages were having 12 hours of load shedding. The same darkness reigns even today also and likely to be in coming days also. That is the prospects for 2009 for Maharashtra. -References1. Report in Economic Times2. PIB

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The Sweet Grapes
One is not sure whether it is a good or bad news. A new Indian Grape Processing Board is set to come into existence in Pune as the central government has approved the proposal. The move is expected to give boost to the wine industry in Maharashtra. According to figures provided by government, the Indian wine industry is worth Rs 275 crores and growing at 25 30% annually. Maharashtra is the No. 1 state in industry while Nashik is called the Wine Capital of India.
The Board will be an autonomous body facilitated by the Government of India and managed by the industry representatives. An outlay of Rs 5.39 crores has been sanctioned for the establishment of the Board. Pune is the

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principal grape growing area in the country. The wine industry in Maharashtra leads in the country. According to figures available with Maharashtra government, out of 61 wine industries in India, 58 are from the state. Two industries are located in Karnataka while Andhra has only one. Among these 58 industries, 30 are located in Nashik district while 11 are in Pune. Rest are in Sangli, Solpaur, Buldhana and Usmanabad. Board is expected to give a new boost to the Indian wine industry, by fostering sustainable development through Research and Development, Extension, Quality control and market research. Just last month, I have given a story of a move by National Horticulture Board to get Geographical Indication for the wine grown in the area of Nashik and Pune. The wine made from grapes cultivated in this area will be called Sahyadri Wine. However, currently the situation is not ripe with regard to wine industry. As an effect of recession and terror attacks, the demand has plummeted and stocks are piling up. Wine production in India (upto Sept. 2008): Two crores 25 lakh litre Wine production in Maharashtra (upto Sept. 2008) : Two Crores 11 lakh litre Wine industries in India : 61 Wine industries in Maharashtra : 58 Area under cultivation of grapes (India) : 60,000 Hectares Area under cultivation of grapes (Maha.): 35,236 Hectares

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Maharashtra government announced its wine policy in October 2001. Thereafter, the industry was given heavy encouragement in the state. Many major steps were taken like: To set up wine parks in the state. To issue licenses for the wineries at district level. To include wineries in the food processing industry sector and removing from the list of country made and foreign made liquor. To bring the excise duty on wine from 100 percent to 0 percent. It has faced wrath for opponents also but it did not deter the government from going ahead. Still, the industry has a long way to go as 98 percent of grapes produced in India used for the eating while in a country like France, 99 of grapes go into wine making. -

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Marathwada Divided
Finally Ashok Chavan has delivered that blow which each politician does at one or other point of time. He has stolen the devisional office of revenue department from Latur, which is former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukhs constituency. The new divisional commissionerate, which will be carved out of Aurangabad division will be set up at Nanded, the constituency of Chavan himself.
The entire Marathwada region comprising of Aurangabad, Latur, Nanded, Parbhani, Jalna, Usmanabad, Beed and Hingoli fell under the revenue division of Aurangabad. there was a proposal to divide the the division into two separate divisions of four districts each. The proposal was pending for many years and it was almost decided that
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the new division will be set up at Latur. Many divisional offices of various state government departments were set up in Latur. About 35 to 40 such offices are required for the commissonerate and 32 of them are already set up in Latur. Given the long tenure of Deshmukh, it was a forgone conclusion that the thing is decided. But lady luck smiled on Chavan before 2008 bid adieu and he found himself in the chair of chief minister. At the time of change of guard, it was rumoured that Chavan was a prodigy of Deshmukh. But with this decision, not only has he shown that he has a existence of his own, he can take tough decisions also. On the face of it, this decision is a rational one. Given the geographical location of Latur and Nanded, it is unarguably far easier to travel to latter. Better connectivity with road and rail facility is also a plus point for it. Distiricts of Latur, Parbhani, Hingoli and Nanded will be under the new division. All three districts beside Nanded are just three hours away while it takes at least five hours to travel to Aurangabad. As expected, the decision was welcomed wholeheartedly in Nanded but there was a violent reaction in Latur. An all party meeting was convened in Latur and a call for the district Band was given. But it does not seem to make any impact. the government machinery, including ministers and administrators, are too cunning to show their any move as a legal and valid one. If Chavan is to be believed, as he has given his reaction to the development, this decision was taken on the merit basis. His words seem to have some basis as a committee appointed for looking into the

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revenue divisions bifuraction had recommended Nanded as the ideal place for the new commissionerate. According to district gazeteer of Nanded, economic exploitation of available resources, initiative, co-operative efforts and financial backing will change the agrarian face of the district in a few years.

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Diamond Jubilee of NCL
National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) is celebrating Dimaond Jubilee of the institute begining from January 9. Even though built about three years before, NCL which is a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi was formally declared open on January 3, 1950. The then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was in Pune for the Science Congress at the time. Coinciding with that occasion, NCL was inuagurated. The Director of the institute Dr S. Sivaram told reporters that NCL will spend about Rs. 50 to 75 crore in the next five years on a mega research
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project on Solar Energy in which a next generation Non Silicon Solar Energy material will be developed using institutional facilities at the campus. NCL is also working on making a prototype for assembly of 1000 fuel cells for which it is talking to private sector companies for partnerships. About 4 to 5 crores funding received for it will be spent on the fuel cell assembly project in the next one to two years. NCL has also established a partnership with Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) Kalpakkam to use its expertise on programmes critical to development of Fast Breeder Reactor Technology. He said, Chemistry and Biology are fast becoming one and hence NCL is trying to build a Chemistry-Biology Interface so that chemists can work on biology. Under this a Utility Lab will be set up by NCL. About 100 acres of land has been made available by NCL to Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER), Pune to set up a new campus on Western site with an investment of Rs.500 crores. The campus will have housing, teaching and

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research facilities to accommodate 3000 students, 200 faculty and 500 Ph.D students. The NCL Director said the institution is attracting the best talent and currently it has 380 Ph.D students which is to be increased to 500 by end 2009. A new hostel for 135 students and laboratory building of 65000 sq.ft. space are being set up after development of which NCL will be one of the largest compuses for chemical science in the country. Dr. Sivaram said a Centre Of Excellence in Micro Reaction Engineering for Pharmaceutical Intermediate process improvement has been set up and private sector companies such as Ranbaxy, Lupin, Gharda Chemicals and others are partners in the Consortium who meet regularly to come up with generic solutions to process problems and take these to the market. He said the Centre has state of art machineries which are not available with the R & D set ups of private sector in the country. The intellelctual property of generic know how is retained by NCL while these companies have the right of first refusal for the technology development. Dr. Sivaram said this is a

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good example of public-private partnership in research in chemical and pharmaceutical field. A curtain raiser function is being held on 9th January 2009 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee Year of NCLs existence. The Director General of CSIR Prof. Sameer Bhattacharya would be Chief Guest on the occasion. The Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated by organizing a number of events including nine symposium/ workshops on organic chemistry, catalysis, microreactor engineering, solvent media and microbiology throughout the year. A Venture Centre is being set up at NCL Innovation Park and a Polymer Research Laboratory will also be set up among the new facilities to be created at NCL. A book is being launched on the history of NCL written by former Director Prof. L. K. Doraiswamy. The last phase of the NCL Innovation Park will be inaugurated in May 2009.

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Film Festival : Does It Help
The Pune International Film Festival was inaugurated yesterday. It was made to be a great event by all and sundry. Looking from the standpoint of an average cinegoer, I do not find it much exciting. They say the film festival is the place where you can have a vast view of cinema. For me, it is a place where those films are shown which can not stand in the theatre on their own. Iranian films are hailed by everyone citing their content, which they say is contemporary. To my mind, it is because they always portray Iran as others, particularly West, want to see. I have serious doubts whether people speaking on
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behalf of conneseaurs really have different aesthetic view than that of Hollywood. That is why no South Indian film is showcased in the current festival even though the current rage in Hindi viewers, Ghajini is a three year late remake of a successful Tamil films. Coming to the speeches at PIFF, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting & External Affairs Anand Sharma was quoted as saying that film making in India should continue to remain connected with social realities and problems and keep hopes alive in the poor as they have been in the past. One fails to understand what social realities he was talking about. Even when protagonist of Hindi flicks were used to be from common masses, as was used to be in Amithabh Bachchan films, it was far away from reality. Now, Hindi films no more happen in India. They either take place on an exclusively reserved paradise-like islands or in Mauritius or any other country, willing to welcome Bollywood in exchange of good money. Sharma also said that films should reflect the social challenges such as poverty, hunger,

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empowerment, violence and terrorism that confront us and we cannot allow these problems to overwhelm us. Since when was cinema a tool in fighting the social vices? People who used to make films based on these themes, were skilled in getting monetary help from government departments. Movies made with government money were showcased in festivals in other countries. That is why even festivals in India are unattended by public at large who has made Bollywood so big a industry. This is the seventh edition of PIFF taking place and history shows that forget about foreighn films, English films have been confined to multiplexes only. Audience for the non-Hindi regional films has seen a significant increase. Even second rate dubbed films are raking in money in Punes theatres. So much for the film festivals and enlightnement of the masses! Veteran actress Sulochana, filmstar Shashi Kapoor and well known actress Hema Malini were conferred the lifetime achievement award for their contribution to Indian cinema. This was the only welcome thing in the PIFF as they deserve it.

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