Armed with NavIC, India asserts self-reliance!

Stories of India’s resilience have been legendary. It was on 11 May 1998 that India shocked the world with Operation Shakti (Pokhran II). The United State’s spy satellites, plugged as capable of taking pictures of objects as small as two feet wide from 100 miles in orbit, completely missed the feat. India, fully aware of the importance of maintaining secrecy of the mission, integrated the 58th Engineer Regiment with DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation); the objective being to camouflage the nuclear test site.

IFFI 2019’s non-feature films tackle old, yet pertinent issues

IFFI 2019 held at Panjim in Goa through November 20th till November 28th witnessed a flurry of cinematic works, expressed through screenings, talks, discussions, workshops and exhibitions held all over the streets of India’s smallest state. The venues of International Film Festival of India were spread across INOX in Panjim, INOX at Porvorim, Maquinez Palace, Kala Academy, old GMC building and open air-screenings at Miramar Beach and Joggers Park in Altinho.

‘Give Peace A Chance Now’

“Ab jake yahan pe pragati hogi (Now there’ll be some development here),” beams 52-year-old Gopal Singh distinctly upbeat with the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya. Surprisingly, Singh’s friend Quber Khan echoes his sentiments saying, “About time, Ayodhya moves away from this hatred. The locals here have lived in peace together for years but have become pawns in the hands of political parties.” Like say, Singh and Khan who work in the buffalo trade shuffling between the Juber Ganj Animal Market in Faizabad and Khurdabad where they reside, a little distance away from Ayodhya - the epicentre of all the drama.

India jumps on the Agritech bandwagon

It’s incredulous yet true. Today, every 9th Agritech start-up in the world is from India. There are 3,103 global agritech start-ups of which there are 450 Agritech start-ups operating in India and growing at 25 per cent annually. This and more was revealed in ‘Agritech In India: Emerging Trends in 2019’, a NASSCOM report released in August 2019.

The Hunter Now Gets Hunted

The Masai of Kenya are known the world over for their lion-fighting skills the world over. Back home, in India are their counterparts, the Pardhis renowned in history for their exceptional skills in handling exotic wildlife and their knowledge of India’s jungles but relegated to penury owing to the flurry of wildlife laws and skewed socio-legal perceptions. Why, during the Raj era, the Pardhis were known to have assisted in royal Bengal Tiger hunts, even trained the now-extinct Asiatic cheetahs which, they kept as pets and hunting companions.

Weaving success even through troubled times!

The story of Bhujodi is as legendary as that of the mythical bird Phoenix. The Kutchch village and its weavers prospered for a good 500 years before losing it all, in a jiffy, and bounced back with a vengeance and how. The weavers of the 500-year-old village that lies barely eight km from Bhuj were visionary, even created the first-ever weavers’ cooperative of Kutchch in particular and Gujarat, in general, the Shree Bhujodi Cotton and Wool Handloom Cooperative Ltd on 25 March 1954. They, collectively, rose in fame and began supplying their trademark ‘Bhujodi shawl’ to metros across India and over the world even receiving national and state awards.

India’s Petroglyphs Etch Her Rightful Place In History

A depression in a rock in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri indicates that it was left by someone lying down. For years, local villagers insist the impression was created by Sita, Lord Rama’s wife who lay on the surface during the period in which the demon king Ravana had abducted her. The story, however incredulous, bears immense significance. Mythology is usually weaved around fact. And, it was only in this millennium that the zone’s myriad carvings were scientifically analysed and examined by archaeologists to reveal the presence of petroglyphs created by prehistoric man: a fact that changes history for the zone.

The Wadars made history, today even restore it!

Outside a rock cave housing Lord Shiva’s sculptures dating back to the second century, on his haunches sits a 30-year-old Kailash Dashrath Dhotre chipping away at a stone, carving a pattern in near similarity to match a row of others forming an archaic, age-old boundary to a large Banyan tree. After an hour, Kailash’s efforts bear fruit and the stone made ready for fitting in identical pattern with the rest of its sort.

Spirit of Forest Law Being Quashed in Gujarat

The Supreme Court’s February 28 2019 order staying its February 13 order directing 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh illegal forest dwellers whose claims over the forest land have been rejected by the authorities, is vindicated by the proceedings at Ground Zero across Gujarat. “The state of Gujarat, in particular, acts in gross defiance of the law and is simply not serious about recognising rights,” feels Action Research in Community Health and Development (ARCH) trustee Ambrish Mehta.

India Needs Legislation for LGBTI Community

So, joining the Parkfield Community School at Birmingham in United Kingdom are four more schools putting an end to lessons on ‘Diversity and LGBT issues’, following complaints by parents. The Leigh Trust suspended the ‘No Outsiders’ project, which teaches tolerance of diverse groups, including those of different races, genders and sexual orientation, until an agreement with parents had been reached.

Mining stalemate will affect polls in Goa

Goa, India’s smallest state, will be going to Lok Sabha polls on April 23, 2019, and the issues that matter the most have boiled down to three — mining and the urgent need for its resumption; sustainable development of tourism and infrastructure. While tourism figures surged ahead compared to past years, and infrastructure recently received a boost with the 5.1-kilometre-long cable-stayed Atal Setu bridge on the Mandovi river in Goa — the third-such to connect the state capital with North Goa — it’s mining that remains largely in focus this time around.

Flaw in poll model deprives millions of rights in Mumbai

The one issue that affects Mumbai, India’s financial capital and home to 22 million residents (official figures), is that it’s home for the undocumented millions who are deprived of electoral representation too. And this repeats, year after year, owing to a flaw in the very model. Now, for the imminent Lok Sabha elections of 2019, about 35,000 of the city’s rag-pickers - mostly Tamilian - are expected to be travelling back to their villages along Tamil Nadu’s coasts to exercise their right to franchise following fervent calls from their families back home.

East forced to adapt to mainstream India’s time

The issue of tweaking time has been niggling India for long. Particularly so, considering the geographical vastness of India spanning about 2,933 kilometers between its western and eastern points that have led to demands for two separate time zones for long. However, in view of security concerns, the Guwahati High Court even dismissed a Public Interest Litigation on March 6, 2017 seeking a directive to the Centre for a different time zone on the basis of a High Level Committee set up by the Ministry of Science & Technology.

Develop But At An Affordable Cost

That for India to grow, development is imperative isn’t being contested. However, for any developing country, the growth has to be in sync with integral variables that, simply, cannot be compromised. Variables such as environment or human rights which, in view of hurtling developments, ultimately become casualty. Also, in the game of numbers on which democracy rests, it’s the weakest - those with the least numbers; those with the softest voices; those with meagre means or on the lowermost rungs of a social hierarchy who pay the highest price.

Sabarimala, Secularism and Sensationalism!

The Sabarimala imbroglio has been a populist bone of contention for political parties that have aligned despite differences for fear of upsetting a sizeable religious faction. The issues here are primarily dual in nature. The Right to Equality of women being compromised by an arguably ‘patriarchal’ custom barring those of menstrual age entry is in direct opposition to the Religious Freedom of the Sabarimala Temple Authorities in conducting their internal affairs. The September 2018 Supreme Court verdict upholding the rights of women of all ages to enter Sabarimala Temple has stirred a hornet’s nest.