“Tombs of emperors stand beside traffic junctions, forgotten fortresses command suburbs, the titles of lost dynasties are woven in the vernacular, if only as street names.”
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
Despite the turmoil caused by the geopolitical tensions over Ukraine, the economic barometer of Indian economy, Sensex, has spurted to all time highs breaching the 22000 point mark. The spurt is being attributed to a slew of positive domestic factors which have ultimately led to the robust inflow of FIIs (Foreign Institutional Investors).
The positive sentiment on the Dalal Street is being attributed to the reduction in inflationary pressure, narrowing CAD (Current Account Deficit), and favourable results of the opinion polls.
While the Trade Pundits were banking on Modi as the “only hope of the stock market”, the new data have shown that even a stable third front at the Center can propel the economy to newer highs.
The dependency of the Indian stock market on the FIIs is not a hidden fact. The unfavourable economic data being released by China and Japan have also resulted in the foreign investors banking on India.
Although brokers are betting big on this pre-election rally of the stock market, yet the market doesn’t seem to be stable. A plunge in the IT stocks led basically by the Infosys, spooked the Dalal Street on Thursday. Moreover, it is being said that any further rise in the value of rupee might be detrimental to the country’s exports on whose back the economy is seen to be reviving.
This instability in the economy does not only come from the Dalal Street but also from the vulnerabilities in Parliament. What is needed is a strong platform being built by the new government which is capable enough to carry the pressure of the internal and external turmoil and also back the national and international sentiments with stability. Now that platform can be NaMo’s ‘56 inch ki chaati’ or RaGa’s ‘deeper democratic set up’ or even the fledgling third front.
Written 10:59 PM by Ritika Pradhan
Friday, February 14, 2014
A perfect card, a huge teddy, lots of chocolates and a bunch of fresh roses- this was the idea of a perfect Valentine’s date till the people in love started asking for more from their lovers and eventually from the gift shops.
This is not how the celebration of February 14 started. Its origins stem from fertility festivals of ancient Rome, when young women were not given candy or flowers. They were whipped with strips of animal hide because they believed that this would make them more fertile. A couple of centuries later, Christians celebrated a priest named Valentine, who secretly performed marriage ceremonies for soldiers when the emperor had forbidden it. By the 1400's Valentine's Day was firmly established in England.
Slowly and gradually the tradition changed and people became softer. Roses and chocolates started to substitute the whips. But now lovers almost strike gold on this day.
For chocolatiers, jewelers, hoteliers and greeting card manufacturers valentine’s day is like Christmas in February. The multi-million industry which is thriving on not only on the pocket of people but also on their minds, has been successful in creating a whole week of expressing love. Exquisite roses on rose day, foreign chocolates on chocolate day, teddy bears on teddy day have made room for expensive jewellery and exotic holidays on the V-day.
Another blot that this beautiful day has seen in the last few decades is that while many feel this is a harmless bit of fun, others find it an abhorrent craze, or worse still, a plot by multinationals to impose Western culture elsewhere and increase their sales. It has been reported that many people celebrate it because they don’t want to be seen as unromantic.
A study conducted by a Stanford professor has put the estimated expense on this year’s Valentine’s Day at $130 per person. This Valentine’s Day, enthusiasts are expected to spend more than $17.6 billion on romance-related goods, jewelry, cards, flowers and chocolates, a ten-year high. That’s not even the whole picture, when you include all the other things that go along with the “perfect” romantic experience: heart shaped doohickeys, fancy dinners, candle lit romantic massages for two, romantic getaways, puppies and couples counseling.
But for many it’s just annoying. People dislike how Valentine’s Day represents the commercialisation of relationships, dictating how people can demonstrate love, defining what ‘romance’ should be, and suggesting being loving during the 364 other days of the year isn’t important.
You love it or hate it but Valentine’s Day is a phenomenon that you can’t ignore it. Clearly, the economics of love is serious business.
Written 9:44 PM by Ritika Pradhan
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
In the last one year, Indian Stock Market has been like a topsy-turvy land. A land wherein on the one hand a single statement by the US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke could jolt the Indian economy like never before then on the other hand the dynamism of the newly appointed RBI Governor, Dr. Raghuram Rajan is standing tall like a wall in the way. It is not only economic instability that has rattled the nation but also political precariousness. As India goes to polls in April-May this year for the 16th Lok Sabha elections, it is very difficult to determine whether there would be a stable government or not. This political uncertainty is making Indian Stock Market suffer. The general elections are happening at a time when the economic growth is at its all time lows and inflation is at its all time high, therefore it is very important to have a government which is capable of strengthening the confidence of not only the country but also of its investors.
While the Trade-Pandits are banking on the Bhartiye Janta Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as “the Indian stock market's greatest hope” the current political scenario says that it is too early to decide it considering the performance of an year old Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi elections. Modi has been presented by the BJP as the pro business future Prime Minister who comes with a proven business model. Both Rahul Gandhi and Arwind Kejriwal have failed to attract and convince investors. This was well reflected by the assembly elections results of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Chhattisgarh on December 9, 2013 when the markets jumped by 1.5 percent because of BJP leading the way. But one can’t ignore the fact that things don’t come easy and expected in India. Political instabilities have led to economic downturns and economic vulnerabilities have resulted in political crisis in the past. Whatever be the voter mood in the 2014 elections, the Indian market needs a stable government for a strong economy.
Written 11:22 PM by Ritika Pradhan
For the world the date was 11-12-13 but India was back to 1860s. The forenoon of December 13, 2011 will be remembered as one of the darkest hours of Indian judiciary. Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ganpat Singh Singhvi gave one of the most contradictory judgments by ‘setting aside’ Delhi High Court’s verdict of decriminalizing homosexuality.
Justice Singhvi, through his last judgment set the cogwheels rolling to the 19th Century which banned homosexuality as “against the law of the nature”. The judgment is being criticized for its logic.
Section 377 is an infringement of Article 14 of the Constitution which deals with the fundamental right to equality, Article 15 which deals with the fundamental right to non-discrimination and Article 21 which covers the fundamental right to life and liberty, including privacy and dignity. The judgment, in just one stroke, has turned millions of people into criminals who engage in consensual sex in the privacy of their homes.
A lot has been said about this judgment. Like one can’t bind love, or everybody has the right to choose his or her course of life. Innumerous questions have been raised on the equality of the LGBT community. But one of the biggest dangers is to the safety of the LGBT community.
We aren’t unaware of the cases of rapes, sexual assaults, extortions and other crimes against the community. Now that the risk has multiplied, the future of the community seems to be uncertain. Surprisingly the court is unmoved by the plight of the families whose members have suddenly turned into criminals if they express their love physically.
The inability to understand the essence of Section 377 is shocking. A closer look shows that the British imposed this because of the then prevailing Victorian beliefs. Sexual intercourse for the British was meant for begetting children and not for mere pleasure.
Thus, only penile vaginal intercourse was considered to be natural and any kind of penile non-vaginal intercourse was considered to be “unnatural” including penile oral and penile anal sex.
This lack of sensitivity towards a marginalised community puts at risk not only one community but also the value system of the society. As the SC calls a section of society “unnatural” and snatches the Fundamental Rights from them because they are a “minuscule minority” the situation to me seems to be of absolute disdain. And what is more appalling is Supreme Court’s decision to not to re-consider the judgement. For some it is the age of wisdom but this judgment has made it an age of foolishness.
Written 11:13 PM by Ritika Pradhan
Sunday, January 19, 2014
For some it’s dark and dirty, for others it’s lively and exciting, for some it is poor, for others it is the coffer of our cultural heritage, for some it is stingy and shabby but for others it is a mini India. Rich in food, art and handlooms, Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi is a home to some of oldest jewels of our history like the magnificent Red Fort and the Jama Masjid. But a little away from the grandeur and the limelight is a small restaurant, Shri Kanniyalal Durga Prashad Dixit Paranthe Waale, which has been there for around 140 years and is an important ingredient of the famous Paranthe waali Gali.
The fragrance of freshly fried paranthas adore the whole place and it is so irresistible that you can’t escape it however you try. Founded in 1875 by Late Kanniyalal Durga Prasad Dixit, the small restaurant serves around 30 varieties of vegetarian parathas including the parathas with exotic fillings like kaju, badam, rabri, khoya etc.
“We have been serving people the real Indian Paranthas for more than a century now. We are the fifth generation in the same business,” says the proud owner while he fries a mouth watering Nimbu parantha. “There are more than 1500 to 2000 visitors in a day in the Gali. Business is great but more than that we love the fact that we have been able to keep the dream of our forefathers alive and it is flourishing with each passing day,” he added.
From the famous personalities like Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and Akshay Kumar to a common man, the restaurant has seen them all and inherits the real taste of the rich Indian cuisine. The parantha is usually served without onions and garlic with sweet tamarind chutney, mint chutney, mixed vegetable pickle, paneer and potato curry, potato and fenugreek curry, and a mash of sweet pumpkin. A chilled sweet lassi adds to the taste.
“I come here very often with my friends and we enjoy the real taste of Indian cuisine,” said Deepankar Pathak, a software engineer and regular customer of the shop. “While I love gobhi parantha, my girl friend is a fan of nimbu paranthas. It is a good change from the mainstream junk food,” he added.
The culinary journey of the Parantha waali Gali has traversed a long journey. It has moved beyond the small lanes and elegant Havelis of Chandni Chowk to some of the biggest malls. Not only this, the gali is internationally acclaimed. The well known Mela restaurant in UK is imitates the ambience of the Paranthe waali Gali.
It might look old fashioned for a large chunk of the Pizza generation but for a larger chunk this is the real taste of India. What is more surprising is that in a small lane lies the flavours of a culture which is more than a century old.
Written 10:58 PM by Ritika Pradhan
Few things are too perfect to be called reality and one can experience this at Konark festival. The lights were as bright as they could be, the decorations were perfect and the feeling was as welcoming as ever. Just follow the rhythm along the scintillating Chandrabhaga beach and you will feel the grandeur of the Sun Temple and it is there that the miraculous parade of the Indian classical dances begins at the Annual Konark Festival.
The Konark festival is held every year from December 1 to December 5. This festival marks the onset of the various dance and music festivals being held in Odisha from December to March.
This year the five day festival seemed, to many, as lesser scintillating than the previous years’. As reported by Odisha Tourism, an expenditure of around Rs 80 lakh has been done on the decoration.
The perfect blend of art and beauty, Konark festival, began with the Odissi dance performance by Purnashree Raut and Group from Raipur, Chattisgarh which was followed by Bharatnatyam by Anitha Guha and Group of Bharathanjali Trust, Chennai. On the second day, Lasya Akademi’s Sadanam Balakrishnan and Group from Kerala performed Kathakali and Mohiniyattam which was followed by Rudrakshya Foundation’s Odissi dance performance by Guru Bichitrananda Swain and Group from Bhubaneswar. The following days were marked by other famous dance forms like Manipuri by Singhjit Singh and Group and Odissi by Aloka Kanungo and Group on the third day, Kuchipudi by Aekhya Punjala and Group and Odissi by Padmashree Ileana Citaristi and Group on the fourth day and Kathak by Rani Karnaa and Group and Odissi by GKCM Odissi Research Centre on the final day.
The dances ranging from themes like depiction of Ramayana to Krishna’s Raasleela, from Shiva’s anger to Parvati’s calmness, from lyrical prayers to imbibing the male stylization into various dance form.
The international sand art festival has also witnessed entries from across the world.
This festival is one of the greatest dance festivals held in the State. It attracts large number of tourists from across the world.
The festival truly binds India together in rhythmic ties. The winter breeze from the sea, the famous Sun temple in the backdrop and the magic of various dance forms create an atmosphere filled with rhythmic beats which not only provides food for eyes and ears but also nurtures the soul.
Written 10:37 PM by Ritika Pradhan