India Travel News

Window on India
October 04, 2006

News Bullets

India Forges Ahead
Bharat Forge chief Baba Kalyani has acquired five companies in five different countries, operates plants in India, China, Japan, Germany and the US and has driven his company to within sniffing distance of becoming the worlds largest forgings manufacturer.
Reliance Industries , led by Mukesh Ambani, is one of Indias biggest corporates and operates the largest integrated petrochemicsls refinery in the world. Wipros Azim Premji has powered his company into an infotech powerhouse, becoming one of the worlds wealthiest men in the process.
Anand Mahindra, vice-chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra, signed an agreement last week with Germanys Cholz AG to acquire a 68 per cent stake in JECO Holdings AG which is among Germanys five largest forging companies with an annual capacity of one lakh tonnes and 800 employees.
The going is fine but the top companies are a bit worried as some state governments have done a volte face on acquiring land for special economic zones. Maharashtras chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh declared last week that his government would go slow on acquiring land for SEZs.

Better than China
The demographic profile of Indian ensures that it would have a young, working and consuming population for decades. China would be a country with an aging population thanks to its one child policy.
This demographic profile would ensure that the Indian economy would grow at a whopping 8.9 per cent this year. Little wonder that Singapore is to invest $ 1 billion in two multiproduct special economic zones in Tamil Nadu in a joint venture with the states industrial development corporation.

New Foreign Secretary
Shiv Shankar Menon, the new foreign secretary, has hit the headlines immediately after taking over his post. He has stood firmly with the Mumbai polices declaration that it was ISI, the intelligence unit of Pakistan, which masterminded the series of blasts in trains in Mumbai on July 11.
He categorically told Pakistan that India would provide evidence to that country about the involvement of the ISI.
Normally foreign secretaries are low-key beauracrats who operate behind the scene. But Menon is of a different mettle. He made news even before taking over the new post as he superseded a number of colleagues in the foreign service. He belongs to an illustrious family of diplomats. His grandfather K.P.S. Menon was the foreign secretary and more than that he was a progressive intellectual and author of several readable books.


Mahatma wins fans among youth - By Vidyadhar Date

College student Shruti Kapoor makes sure to flaunt the tattoo on her back, that of Mahatma Gandhi leaning on his walking stick. That just goes to show the new surge in popularity of the Mahatma among the young. Even the commercially-minded Times of India devoted several columns of coverage to Gandhiji on his birth anniversary on October 2.
The birthday was celebrated with more enthusiasm and more widely this year. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rode on a train in South Africa to the railway station where Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was thrown off for traveling first class with a white passenger.
That apart Gandhiji is not being understood in the right spirit. During a discussion in the popular television prime time programme on NDTV channel someone said how because of the recent influence of Gandhiji he did not quarrel with another motorist in a traffic jam. A real tribute to Gandhiji would be to live life as simply as possible if not like he did. A motorist should rather give up the car and take to public transport or the bicycle as far as possible. Gandhi did not believe in mere symbols. He really lived an austere, simple life. He led from the front. His life, his way of living were his real message.
His great-grandson Tushar Gandhi said Gandhi was being exploited widely by the corporate sector including the car company Audi in advertisements. Now, that is obviously a travesty of the great man.
It was also shocking to hear that recently film star Sanjay Dutt failed to recognize in real life the actor who played Mahatma Gandhi in the film Lage Raho Munnabhai. The film is very important but the story one heard about Sanjay Dutt raaises serious questions about his credibility. Dilip Prabhavalkar, who played Gandhi, is not an ordinary actor. He is a well-known face, his television Marathi serial Chimanrao became so popular some 20 years ago that he became a household name even in non-Marathi-speaking homes.
It seems that recently, after the release of the film Prabhavalkar found that Dutt did not recognize him at a meeting and had to tell him `Did you not recognize me? I played Gandhi in the film.'
One reason cited for Dutts failure is this. During the films shooting Prabhavalkar used to come well in advance and be ready with his make-up . Dutt used to arrive just before his shot , do the shooting and go away. He never saw the Gandhi actor without make-up.
But this also shows how deeply insensitive, class conscious and star status-ridden the Hindi film industry is. If this can happen to a man of Prabhavalkars stature, one can imagine how actors down the line and artistes cruelly named extra are treated by the stars.
Apart from being a prominent actor Prabhavalkar is also a well-read, well-educated, cultured man in real life. Decency demands that Dutt should have properly talked with the actor, especially when he is playing the role of Gandhi and Gandhi is the real hero of the film, though Dutt and Warsi are much more popular..
What Dutt seems to be good at is the commercial approach to films, switch into a role and switch off. You can suddenly enter into a tragic role without much preparation and still make a success of it. But that is not the best way of acting. Good acting needs tonnes of preparation, reading, immersing oneself in the role. One does not expect these guys to read Stanislavsky, the most famous guru of actors, but how can they ignore the basics ?
All this does not detract from the merits of the film. Dutt has given excellent performance and the film has certainly made Gandhi more relevant in an age . when the right-wing is working overtime to malign him. The film will now be analyzed by academics and one only hopes one will be spared their pretentious mumbo jumbo and utterly obscure stuff when they have nothing really significant to say as one got it from a sociologist..

One small way people can start doing as a tribute to Gandhiji would be to start walking both as physical exercise and for daily work.
The death of former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patels wife Lilaben in a fire is sad but it also shows the wasteful lifestyle of moneyed politicians. The fire broke out in the gymnasium in the house. With excess money floating around and enough people trying to garner it, the gym has become something fashionable, something that is good for the ego rather than the body.
Had it not been for the huge money-making business, the gym as it exists now would be something quite laughable. Surely, the human body can be kept in good health and shape by simple exercises which require no dependence on costly machinery at all.
Walking is best as the World Health Organisation declared last week in the observance of the world heart day. It was also a pleasant surprise to find advertising personality Prasoon Joshi declare that walking was far better than getting on to the treadmill. Normally, advertising people by the very nature of their work tell you to buy something you absolutely do not need and they are the biggest defenders of the corporate culture.
One advertisement of a walking machine did seem to be misleading the readers recently when it virtually condemned walking as a human activity . Moreover, it claimed to have the certificate of the Indian Medical Association without giving any details. When did the IMA or any of its office-bearers give such a certificate and on what basis ? We are not told that . . It is not the business of a medical body to give such testimonials. This raises serious questions of medical ethics.

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