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Archive for the ‘News and Views’ Category

Commonwealth Games 2010 saw a grand opening in Delhi a couple of hours ago. All the controversy that surrounded it was kept aside as people witnessed most spectacular show ever.

Here is a link to the spectacular live performance of  the CWG Theme song by AR RAHMAN-

And here’s a link to video of the opening ceremony-

For those of you who are outside India, you can watch live web stream here-

* India – Doordarshan, DD Sports
* Australia – Network Ten, Foxtel
* Fiji – Mai TV
* Canada – CBC, CBC Bold
* Cyprus – Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation
* Namibia – Namibia Broadcasting Corporation
* New Zealand – Sky Network Television and Prime (New Zealand TV channel)
* Nigeria – Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria
* Malaysia – Astro
* Seychelles – Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation
* Singapore – MediaCorp Channel 5
* South Africa – South Africa Broadcasting Corporation
* Tanzania – Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation
* United Kingdom – British Broadcasting Corporation
* United States – Video Sound Inc.

Here’s to next 13 days of rigorous games, fun, and party!


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President Obama makes a toast in honor of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

President Obama makes a toast in honor of India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. If you watch the you tube video here, it appears he actually said “Prime Minister Mohammad Singh”.  He welcomed all in hindi, “aapka suagut hai.

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Mont Blanc's $23000 Mahatma Gandhi Pen

Mont Blanc's $24,763 Mahatma Gandhi Pen on Gandhi Jayanti

Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday celebration has reduced to  mere efforts to monetize . Mont Blanc has launched 241 limited edition 18k gold plated $24,763/ each  pens. The pen is engraved with Gandhi’s image and tricked out with a saffron-colored mandarin garnet on the clip and a rhodium-plated nib. A billboard put up this week over Mumbai’s teeming slums shows a gaunt Gandhi next to an image of the swanky pen, with golden threads woven around it to represent Gandhi’s spinning wheel. This one is oozing with irony! Gandhi who lived and preached life of minimalism, his name, today, is being used as a sales gimmick for the opulent and  could-not-care-less types. Mont Blanc got it all wrong.

Traffic moves past a billboard displaying a portrait of Mohandas Gandhi, the ascetic father of India's independence, besides an image of a Montblanc pen in India.

Traffic moves past a billboard displaying a portrait of Mohandas Gandhi, the ascetic father of India's independence, besides an image of a Montblanc pen in India.

gandhi09

Internet search giant Google paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on Friday on the 140th anniversary of his birth, replacing the ‘G’ in its colorful logo with a picture of the Indian independence hero.  Nice gesture.

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Bunker Roy, Founder Barefoot College

Bunker Roy, Founder Barefoot College

Our job is to show how it is possible to take an illiterate woman and make her into an engineer in six months and show that she can solar-electrify a village.- Bunker Roy, Founder Barefoot College (Tilonia, Rajasthan).

The students are mostly women. Some are grandmothers. Hundreds have come through here from villages across India and a dozen other countries to learn how to install and maintain solar energy in rural areas. Even though it’s sophisticated coursework, the only pre-requisite for admission to the Barefoot College is that there are no pre-requisites, not even to speak the language.

Bunker Roy founded the Barefoot College in 1972. Projects have always compromised of basic underlying principle of sustainability or self reliance in all aspects of life. Bunker Roy believes,’Any technology that brings in dependency on anybody on the outside is not a technology that will work.’

Over the years Barefoot College has addressed problems of drinking water, girl education, health & sanitation, rural unemployment, income generation, electricity and power, as well as social awareness and the conservation of ecological systems in rural communities. The campus spreads over 80,000 square feet area and consists of residences, a guest house, a library, dining room, meeting halls, an open air theatre, an administrative block, a ten-bed referral base hospital, pathological laboratory, teacher’s training unit, water testing laboratory, a Post Office, STD/ISD call booth, a Craft Shop and Development Centre, an Internet dhaba (cafe), a puppet workshop, an audio visual unit, a screen printing press, a dormitory for residential trainees and a 700,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank. The College is also completely solar-electrified.

Today solar energy drives not just the equipment. This is a larger social experiment to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. It begins in the classroom run by instructors who themselves have little or no formal education. Instruction is delivered with a mix of body language, a few essential terms in English, and lots of hands-on practice.

The students create an illustrated manual they’ll take home. It’s the closest thing to a diploma certifying their training as solar technicians. But just coming here is an unlikely achievement for students like 56-year-old Sarka Mussara, a widowed grandmother and many others who never attended school or even left her village.

Roy says a key to sustaining rural jobs and development is to use technology that can be managed by the local community, like solar lanterns and technology that’s more familiar, like rainwater collectors. All the roofs of this whole campus are connected underground to a 400,000 liter tank. We collect every drop of rain that falls on the campus.

These women, who come here to train themselves, are obviously going to have a very positive effect on the society. They are going to make sure that their daughters go to school or train themselves to be self reliant in life.

Barefoot College is not only a blessing for women of India, but even outside India. Women from Africa, Afghanistan,  and other under-developed parts of the world come here to get trained. Barefoot College has solar electrified some 350 villages across India and dozens more in sub-Saharan Africa and even war-torn Afghanistan.

Source: (1) Barefoot College in India, Article by Fred De Sam Lazaro of RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY (2) Website of Barefoot College India – http://www.barefootcollege.org/

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AR Rahman- Oscars 2008

AR Rahman- Oscars 2009

A R Rahman, now know as Mozart Of Madras,  picks up three Oscars  for his work in Danny Boyle’s Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire. Rahman is the third Indian to win an Oscar, after costume designer Bhanu Athaiya for her work in Gandhi in 1983 and director Satyajit Ray in 1992.

“I just want to thank again the whole crew of Slumdog Millionaire, especially Danny Boyle, for giving me such a great opportunity,” he said, while accepting the award.

Slumdog Millionaire took the best-picture Academy Award and seven other Oscars today, including director for Danny Boyle, whose ghetto-to-glory story paralleled the film’s unlikely rise to Hollywood’s summit. It was a big winner at the Golden Globe Awards. It won film of the year and two other awards at the Richard Attenborough Film Awards, voted on by British critics. The movie has British director, producer, writer and studio. Nevertheless India has claimed it as its own perhaps because of the cast, crew, and location.

Here is the script of the film Slumdog Millionaire.

However the film has not been much loved in India. Not only did the film failed to capture the imaginations of Indian film goers; it’s also been dogged by controversy over its name and the treatment of its child stars. Some have called it poverty-porn.

Residents of a Mumbai slum show their displeasure over the name of the hit film Slumdog Millionaire in a protest outside the office the film's co-star, Anil Kapoor.

Residents of a Mumbai slum show their displeasure over the name of the hit film Slumdog Millionaire in a protest outside the office the film's co-star, Anil Kapoor.

“If ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ projects India as Third World dirty underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations,” leading actor Amitabh Bachchan said in a posting on his blog  from Paris, France. “Its just that the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a westerner, gets creative global recognition,” he added.”The commercial escapist world of Indian cinema had vociferously battled for years, on the attention paid and the adulation given to the legendary Satyajit Ray… and not a word of appreciation for the entertaining mass-oriented box office blockbusters that were being churned out from Mumbai. “Ray portrayed reality. While, the other – escapism, fantasy and incredulous posturing. Unimpressive for Cannes and Berlin and Venice (film festivals),” he explained.

Smile Pinky; Best Documentary Short Subject

Smile Pinky: Best Documentary Short Subject

While Slumdog Millionaire won eight  Oscars, it’s not the only film shot in India that was nominated and won. A 40-minute documentary about an eight-year-old girl Pinky Sonkar from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, Smile Pinky by American filmmaker Magan Mylan has also been nominated for Best Documentary.

Pinky had stopped smiling, even stopped going to school because she was ashamed of her cleft lip, a deformity 35,000 children are born with in India every year. Then this year, The Smile Train arrived in Pinky’s village and her world changed forever. The story was captured by American filmmaker Magan Mylan for the world in a film he called Smile Pinky. While Pinky was getting ready getting her passport and visa ready to walk on the red carpet, she did not know why. Pinky’s mother could not watch the Oscar ceremony since she does not have access to television set.

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Sanjay Dutt Joins Samajwadi Party
Sanjay Dutt Joins Samajwadi Party

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