Bhadrak district administration relaxed the curfew for about nine hours on Tuesday as part of its strategy to gradually lift the curfew completely in a phased manner in the coming days.The curfew was lifted from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday. As the situation still remains tense, with chances of miscreants attempting to sabotage peace efforts, particularly in the evening hours under the cover of darkness, the curfew will remain in force.“Situation is fast improving. There are deep scars left due to communal violence and we need time for those wounds to heal. At the same time, we do not want to loosen our grip over the situation,” Revenue Divisional Commissioner A. B. Ota told The Hindu over phone on Tuesday.“As soon as communal violence erupted in the town on April 7, the administration handled the situation admirably. In 1991, when a communal violence broke out in Bhadrak, 21 deaths were reported. This time around, we have not come across a single injury.”Schools reopenedAlthough schools and other educational institutions reopened after five days on Tuesday, attendance was noticed to be thin as parents parents were wary about sending their wards to schools and colleges. “There is simmering tension in the town. There will be no harm if children remain absent for few more days. We hope situation gets back to normal soon,” said Rakesh Nanda, a parent. Banks and government offices functioned normally.Meanwhile, the Bhadrak district police expedited its investigation to trace miscreants who had instigated the violence in the town. As many as 35 platoons of police personnel of Odisha, two companies of CRPF and two companies of RAF would remain stationed till complete normalisation of the situation.
Nine passengers died and 12 others were injured when a private bus heading towards Latur overturned early on Sunday in Beed district.Police officials have rushed to the spot and rescue operation is underway.“The bus was travelling from Mumbai to Latur. The survivors have claimed that the driver was over-speeding, which could have led to this accident,” Mahesh Tak, API, attached to Ambhora Police Station, in Beed district said.The injured persons have been rushed to the Ahmednagar district civil hospital, which is around 70 km away from the accident spot.“The accident took place around 5.30 a.m.. When the bus was near Dhanora village, the driver lost control and the bus overturned,” he said.
Accusing the M.L. Khattar government of ‘callous insensitivity’, the Congress on Monday said the strictures passed by the High Court against the Haryana government upheld the ‘majesty of law.’Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhi said the strictures, however, had the “opposite effect” on the Haryana government. “In any responsible sensitive form of democratic governance, comments not strictures, of far less severity than we have heard in Haryana, would have led to apologies, resignations and complete unconditional acceptance. Here it has had the opposite effect,” said Mr. Singhvi. “There is a hardening of positions. There is a digging in of heels. There is an increase of arrogance and because we have the temerity to ask for President’s rule.” On Sunday, Prime Minister in his Mann Ki Baat programme had made it clear that ‘violence in the name of faith is unacceptable.’ But the Congress alleged that the BJP functionaries didn’t seem to take the Prime Minister’s words seriously. “It only addresses us the nation, the others — not the BJP wallahs. That is not Mann Ki Baat. Mr. Sakshi Maharaj, a member of the BJP national executive, says ‘I respect the judiciary, but I would want to say that crores of people are supporting Ram Rahim, only one person is complaining against him. Is one person right or crores of people are right’. Next time, they may conduct an opinion poll,” said Mr. SinghviThe Congress claimed that in the past two and half years since the BJP government came to power in Haryana, 72 people have been killed in public-police clashes, including those killed during the Jat agitation. But that had little effect on the government as it was claiming “handling of the Panchkula situation a success.” “The Chief Minister who spoke after a gap, said ‘authorities are doing a good job’. Three top officers of the State were present at the CM’s residence on Sunday at dinner and Mr. Khattar appreciated the police response and handling of the incident,” said the Congress spokesperson.Major victoryMeanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that Ram Rahim’s conviction was a message that no one is too big to be prosecuted. He also said that it was unlikely that Rahim’s 20-year term would be reduced on appeal.Mr. Swamy also lauded the CBI judge, who he said wasn’t “cowered” by the magnitude of the case. “It is a major victory after the triple talaq verdict and is a message for women’s safety. Ultimately the public reaction was so strong that the government also had to move in,” he said.
The South Goa police (Ponda) on Tuesday filed an FIR against former Dy. Speaker and former BJP MLA Vishnu Wagh and a publisher for publishing “vulgar” content in a controversial book of poems.Sudirsukt is a collection of poems penned by Mr. Wagh, in which a few poems have at times taken raunchy pot-shots at Goa’s influential Goud Saraswat Brahmin community and brought to the fore fault-lines in Goa’s subtle caste hierarchy.The book is collection of poems in Konkani, which was until last week in the race for a State-owned Konkani Academy award for literature, is a stormy debate on social media platforms, particularly Facebook.Mr. Wagh, a former editor, writer, poet, playwright and cartoonist is presently ailing and is admitted at State-owned Goa Medical College hospital.Publisher also bookedSuperintendent of Police (South Goa) Arvind Gawas confirmed the registration of FIR on Tuesday and told The Hindu that the FIR has been registered against the author Vishnu Wagh and publisher Hema Naik of Apurbai Prakashan, a local publishing house, which in 2013 released the controversial book.“An FIR has been filed for use of vulgar language in the book. We will now investigate,” Mr. Gawas said.The FIR has been filed under sections 293, 292 of Indian Penal Code and section 4 of Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986, following a complaint by a women’s rights activist from Margao in south Goa, Auda Viegas.Incidentally, the book, along with some more books of Mr. Wagh, were released by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in 2013, who also hails from the same community.Publisher Hema Naik, a Sahitya Academy award-winner writer in Konkani said, that she was unaware of the FIR filed against her, officially.“We will have to fight it. But as of now I have not been informed about the FIR,” Ms. Naik said.Responding to the charges of vulgarity in the book, Ms. Naik called for a “liberal attitude towards art and literature and also a broader thinking and greater tolerance for the creative field”. She declined to comment further on the issue at this stage.
In a new initiative, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday launched the ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Bikas’ (Our village, Our development) programme from the State Secretariat to reach out to people in rural areas and involve them in the development process.The programme was launched on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik, which is observed as Panchayati Raj Day in the State every year. Mr. Patnaik reminded the people about Biju Patnaik’s contribution to strengthen the Panchayati Raj institutions in the State.₹2 crore sanctioned He interacted with people of four gram panchayats — Narayanpatna panchayat in Koraput district, Khairabad panchayat in Jajpur district, Sasana panchayat in Sambalpur district and Sanakuda panchayat in Ganjam district – through videoconferencing during the inaugural session.During his interaction with Panchayati Raj representatives, Mr. Patnaik sanctioned a sum of ₹2 crore for as many as 32 projects in the four panchayats and stressed the need for their early completion.The panchayats were selected on the basis of performance of the Panchayati Raj institutions and the need for development work in those areas. Video vans were sent in advance to the panchayats concerned to facilitate the programme.According to official sources, Mr. Patnaik will hold such interactions twice a week to discuss with the people at the panchayat level about development of villages and pass orders as necessary.Tributes paidA series of mini-marathons and meetings were organised by different government and voluntary organisations as well as the ruling Biju Janata Dal in Bhubaneswar and other places during the day to pay tribute to the memory of Biju Patnaik.
Slowly they are being edged out, but some have not given up on the cycle rickshaw yet. In the polluted lanes and bylanes, these men do the thankless, back-breaking job of ferrying passengers, drawing on the last reserves of strength of their bodies and the rickshaws, in a losing race with modern means of transport. Most of them do not even own the rickshaws they ply and have to pay rent. Bhola of Lucknow, who was once a beggar, earns about ₹250 a day, but ₹40 of it goes towards the rent of the rickshaw. At night, Bhola stretches out on a tarpaulin sheet on the pavement, his home for the night.Once these men and their cycle rickshaws were the undisputed purveyors of men and material through the arteries of towns and cities. Now, it’s a poor man’s job. Planners and policy makers continue to see rickshaws as a nuisance on city streets, seeking to either control their numbers or ban them. They are often seen as irritants hampering the smooth flow of traffic. A misfit in the smart, global cities of today. The contribution of rickshaws to urban mobility is under-estimated. Despite the excitement about metro rail systems and flyovers, rickshaws somehow retain a place.(Text by Shaju John)
The National People’s Party (NPP), a regional group formed by former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma, and an ally of the BJP, has won the Williamnagar Assembly seat in Meghalaya on Tuesday. Election to the seat was postponed after the killing of the Nationalist Congress Party candidate in February.The victory has taken the NPP’s individual tally to 20 in the 60-member House with an effective strength of 59 after former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of Congress gave up Ampati, one of the two seats he had won. NPP candidate Marcuise N. Marak got 9,558 votes — 37.5% of the total votes cast. Independent candidate Sengbath R. Marak came second with 4,698 votes, while former Congress Minister Deborah C. Marak finished third with 4,517 votes. Mark, the widow of slain Nationalist Congress Party leader Jonathone N. Sangma who was expected to gain sympathy votes, came fourth with 4,009 votes.Election in Williamnagar had to be adjourned after extremists killed Mr. Sangma by blowing up his vehicle a week ahead of the polls on February 27. Mr Sangma was an NCP candidate of NCP, which later decided to field his wife.“The challenge of living up to the expectations of the people begins now,” said Mr. Marak, who had won the Rongrenggiri seat as an NCP candidate in 2008, after the result was declared.Apart from the NPP’s 20 MLAs and BJP’s two, the alliance constituents have six MLAs of the United Democratic Party, four from the People’s Democratic Front, two from the Hill State People’s Democratic Party, one from the NCP and two independents.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that all talks on seat sharing or alliances in Bihar now were just speculations.“Sab hawa mein batein chal rahi hai abhi (everything is just speculations now),” said Nitish Kumar while addressing media persons on the sidelines of his weekly Lok Samvad (public interaction) programme in Patna.Mr. Kumar is scheduled to meet BJP president Amit Shah on July 12 in Patna. Party sources told The Hindu that both the leaders would mull over seat sharing formula in the state for upcoming Lok Sabha elections.“When asked would he contest the upcoming assembly elections in four state in alliance with BJP or some other parties?” Mr Kumar said, “JD(U) would contest on its own as every political party wants to expand its base…earlier too we’ve contest polls in other states and won seats.”“The alliance with the BJP is for Bihar only,” he said. He further asserted that the NDA government was working well in the state and there was no confusion between its alliance partners.While reacting on political controversy over his “courtesy call” to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to know his well-being when he was undergoing medical check-up in Mumbai, Nitish Kumar said, “Now I’ll get to know about his (Lalu Prasad) health through newspapers or media persons.”“But, the way my phone call to know about his health was projected was totally unbecoming…it was not moral…besides political differences we keep in touch with each other on personal level and participate in our sukh-dukh (happiness and sorrow),” he said while, adding that he had called “four times” to know about well-being of ailing Lalu Prasad.On the “No Entry – Nitish Chacha” placard displayed by Lalu Prasad’s elder son and RJD MLA Tej Pratap Yadav at the gate of his residence, Mr. Kumar said, “It was laughable.”“When you do such things you don’t know about its impact on society at large..your party supporters may be happy but what about others?” said the Chief Minister.Mr. Kumar also reiterated that in the coming session of the Bihar Assembly, an amendment to the provisions of Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act 2016 would be brought.“The amendments will be basically on the feedback from interaction with general people and misuse of the provisions of the law by police and excise department officials…but, the liquor law will continue to be more effective in the state,” he said.
Assam Social Welfare Minister Pramila Rani Brahma on Friday said the number of fake children listed in the State’s anganwadi centres could be anywhere between six and nine lakh, and not 14 lakh as stated by the Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.Ms. Brahma blamed the “exaggerated” figure on the State’s former social welfare director S.S. Meenakshi Sundaram, who had submitted a report to the Centre without their knowledge two days before his transfer to another department.Citing Assam’s ‘fake children’ on Thursday, Ms. Gandhi said that the Centre has asked all States to remove the names of non-existing beneficiaries. “…In a survey last year, three lakh fake children were found to be listed in the anganwadis of Assam. Another survey in June this year revealed the existence of 14 lakh fake children. The beneficiary lists were inflated by ground level workers and this led to pilferage and leakage of funds,” Ms. Gandhi said.Ms. Brahma said, “A chunk of genuine beneficiaries may have missed out on counting because women in rural areas cannot take their children regularly to the anganwadi centres due to domestic and farm engagements.” There are about 44 lakh beneficiaries in Assam’s 62,000 anganwadi centres. The actual figure was found to be 35 lakh during a headcount, and this was in a report by Mr. Sundaram earlier. So the ghost beneficiaries tuned out to be nine lakh,” she said.But on August 10 Mr. Sundaram submitted another report to the Centre citing the 14 lakh. “I was not aware of this report, nor other officers of the department. At this point of time, I cannot say where he got the number from,” she said.The Minister also found fault with Mr. Sundaram’s assertion in the report to the Centre that he saved ₹1.10 crore per day after the detection of the ghost beneficiaries.“Our annual budget is ₹300 crore. His figure implies that there are no children in Assam’s anganwadi centres,” she said, adding that the department has been asked to find out how Mr. Sundaram arrived at the figure.
Villagers of Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district on Thursday joined veteran anti-graft activist Anna Hazare in his indefinite hunger strike over the Centre’s failure to appoint a Lokpal and mitigate agrarian distress.Speaking in Ralegan Siddhi, 85 km. from here, Mr. Hazare, 81, expressed his determination to carry on his fast till his last breath.“This [strike] will go on till there is life in my body….if the Narendra Modi government was indeed serious about appointing a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in States, I would not have had to take recourse to such an agitation,” said Anna Hazare as his agitation entered its second day.Earlier in the day, citizens of Parner taluk (where Ralegan Siddhi is located) came out in large numbers and took out a rally in Mr. Hazare’s support, while condemning the State and Central governments for their deliberate delay in appointing ombudsmen. “If this government so desired, it could have appointed the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in States while taking immediate steps to ensure that farmers received higher prices for their agriculture produce,” said Mr. Hazare. He further remarked that he had no expectations from the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.‘Subsidising tax evaders’ “On the one hand, these obscenely rich industrialists are evading tax agencies and fleeing abroad. Yet, this [Modi] government keeps on subsidising them instead of showing sensitivity to the plight of farmers,” he said.Mr. Hazare claimed truth about the Rafale jet fighter deal would have come out into the open had a Lokpal been in place.“In reality, the Central and the State governments have tarried so long as they are afraid of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas. Because, all power would pass to people. The PM and the Chief Ministers would be under the scanner once ombudsmen are appointed,” he remarked.Health concern Meanwhile, doctors have expressed concern about the activist’s health, noting a spike in Mr. Hazare’s blood sugar levels and a consequent rise in his blood pressure. They have advised close monitoring of his health.The veteran anti-corruption crusader, however, remained unruffled and said he could pull on with his fast for a week or more.Last week, Mr. Hazare had warned Mr. Modi of his intention of embarking on a hunger strike on January 30 over the non-implementation of the Lokpal Act and had accused him of “deceiving the people” with false promises of appointing the Lokpal.
Four persons were killed and one injured in an explosion at a firecracker factory here, police said on Friday. The incident took place on Thursday evening.House collapse The factory was being run out of the residence of one Nafis Khan in Bisanda area. The explosion caused his two-storey house to collapse, Additional Superintendent of Police Lal Bharat Kumar Pal said. The deceased were identified as Shahrukh (19), Salman (16), Nafis (35) and Ramvhadra (15). All four were killed on the spot, he said. The injured man was rushed to a hospital, where his condition was stated to be critical, the ASP said. He said a probe is under way to ascertain whether the factory had a licence.
The National Commission for Women on Wednesday asked Uttar Pradesh DGP O.P. Singh to enforce a ban on the sale of acid while noting that it is “disturbed” by the rise in incidents of such attacks in the State. Quoting a media report, the NCW said a 22-year-old woman was allegedly attacked with acid by her two brothers who later dumped her in Kot village in Greater Noida’s Dadri on May 9. In a letter to Mr. Singh, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma also sought a detailed action taken report. The NCW said that a team would soon visit the victim.
It’s not much—just 6 kilograms per second—but there’s water vapor coming off two regions of Ceres, the solar system’s largest asteroid. As astronomers report online today in Nature, the Herschel Space Observatory has discerned a watery spectral line at the far-infrared wavelength of 538 microns. Ceres revolves around the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter every 4.6 years. The asteroid’s path is somewhat elliptical, so its distance from the sun varies. Sunlight warms Ceres most when the asteroid comes closest, which was around the time Herschel detected the water vapor (shown with exaggerated clarity in this artist’s conception). This suggests the sun does to Ceres what it does to comets: converts water ice into gas. However, there’s a small chance the water vapor arises instead from geysers resembling those on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. We’ll find out more in February 2015, when NASA’s Dawn spacecraft goes into orbit and gives us our first close-up look at the first asteroid astronomers ever discovered, back in 1801.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)
ndian nationals, who form the largest foreign investor group in Dubai’s real estate, bought properties worth Dh83.65 billion in the last 5 years – from 2013 to 2017 – in Dubai’s property sector, according to statistics compiled by the Dubai Land Department (DLD).They invested Dh15.6 billion in Dubai’s real estate in 2017, Dh12 billion in 2016 and Dh20 billion in 2015 – their highest in a year, according to the DLD.Read it at Khaleej Times Related Items
Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, will host a major day-long conclave to discuss the economic relations between India and the UAE tomorrow (November 27).The second edition of Economic Times India-UAE Strategic Conclave is held under the patronage and presence of Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mabarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Tolerance.Read it at Trade Arabia Related Items
In the Book of Genesis, after creating heaven and earth, God commanded, “Let there be light.” And there was light. By contrast, according to the Rigveda, the most ancient of all Hindu scriptures: “There was no existence and there was no non-existence; there was no death and there was no deathlessness; there was no night and there was no day; there was darkness all around; in such an environment, an element self-manifested out of tapas (heat). That element was desire. (na asat asit no iti sat asit tadanim, na mrityuh asit amritam na tarhi na ratrayh ahnam asit. tamah asit tamasa guhyam agre… tapasah tat mahina ajayat yekam. Kamah tat agre samavartat adhi manasah retah prathamam yat asit (Mandala 10, Sukta 129). Thus, whereas light was the first element in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it was desire for Hindus. On the surface, this may appear insignificant. But this difference has manifested itself in profound ways in social mores and inhibitions, as well as laws and legal prohibitions, in the countries and cultures shaped by these two different views of the genesis of the universe.While Judeo-Christian culture viewed lust and desire with suspicion and disdain, even judging it sinful (to wit the Adam, Eve and the Apple story), Hindu culture embraced eroticism and sex as an essential ingredient and institutionalized it in the four exalted goals of Hindu life — dharma (duty/righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (sensual/sexual desire) and moksha (spiritual liberation). In Hindu weddings even today, the ceremony of giving away the bride, is accompanied by this exchange between the priest and the groom: “Who is she? Who is giving her away? Whom is she being given away to?” The groom responds, “Kama, desire, is giving her to me so that I may love her. Yeah, verily, Kama is the giver and Kama is the acceptor. Please enter this ocean of Kama, with Kama, I receive you.”Since kama was elevated to the same plane as dharma, artha and moksha, it is no surprise that before the advent of Islamic and Christian rulers, Hindu culture not only tolerated erotic literature, but embraced it.Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra may be the most globally known literary work on sex and erotica out of India, but several other prominent Sanskrit poets and playwrights celebrated the sensual in works that date between the 4th to 7th century. Kalidas, widely regarded as the greatest Sanskrit poet, expounded in copious details on the beauty of Parvati and her romance with Shiva in Kumarasambhavam: “Anyonyam utpidayat utpalakshyah stana dvayam pandu tatha pravridham, madhye yatha shyam mukhasya tasya mrinal sutrantam api alabhayam (Parvati’s eyes had the beauty of a lotus flower and she had large breasts with dark nipples in the middle. Her breasts touched each other so tightly that not even a single thread of a fine fiber from the stalk of the lotus plant could be passed through between them).” In the same book, he celebrated Parvati’s abdomen: “Madhyen sa vedi vilagna madhya valitrayam charu babhar bala, arohanartham nav yauvanen Kamasya sopanam iva prayuktam (Slender Parvati donned three muscle packs constructed by her youth so that Kamadeva, deploying the muscle packs as a ladder, could climb to the higher reaches of her body.”Parvati is no ordinary woman, she is the incarnation of goddess Kali, worshipped by a billion people today and by millions during Kalidas’ time, 1,500 to 1,600 years ago. According to oral tradition, Kalidas was struck by leprosy for his blasphemous descriptions of Parvati’s physical attributes, regaining his fingers only after writing Raghuvansham. It seems to not have deterred him as he continued his erotic writings, most famously his preeminent work Meghadutam in which he describes Yaksha’s wife, “Shroni bharat alas gamana, stokanamra stanabhyam (She walks lazily due to her large buttocks and she leans forward slightly and bends down a little due to the weight of her large breasts).”In Vikramorvashiyam, he extols Urvashi’s buttocks as well: “Pashchat nata guru nitambataya tatah asya, drishyate charu pada panktih alaktak anka (Maybe, due to her heavy buttocks, she may be heavily leaning towards the ground and she may have left prints of her feet, which were decorated red with the alaktak paste, on the wet soil).” This is the same Urvashi whose love story with the King Pururava was briefly described in the Rigveda, among the most sacred Hindu texts, in which she reminds the king of their good old days, when she was with him before their separation: “Trih sma ma ahnah shrathayah vaitasen ut sma me avyayai prinasi (We used to make love three times a day, there was no other woman I had to compete with either).”Another eminent Sanskrit poet, Harsha, wrote erotic odes to Damayanti, the princess of Vidarbha, a region in modern day Maharashtra, in Naishadh-Charitam. He eulogizes Damayanti’s breasts, “Yauvanayoh khalu dvayoh plavakumbhau bhavatah kuchau ubhau (Dmayanti’s breasts are as large as a big water-pot so that her youth can use them as a floating device to swim across the ocean of the young age).” He adds: “Brahma, himself, held her by her waist when was constructing her abdomen. That is why there is a dimple on her back due to the pressure from his thumbs and, also, that is why there are three abdominal muscle packs, which came out of the three spaces between the four fingers of his hands. Her buttocks are large and round. Her thighs are as tapered as a banana tree; her buttocks are round like a perfect chakra.”Other examples of erotic Sanskrit poetry from this period abound, such as Bhasa’s Swapna Vasavadattam, Bharavi’s Kirat Arjuniyam, Bhavabhuti’s Malati Madhav, Ban Bhat’s Kadambari, Dandi’s Avanti Sundari Katha, Bhatti’s Bhattimahakavyam, and Bhartrihari’s Shringar Shatak, among others. Even Hindu religious texts celebrated the sexual and erotic escapades of the Gods. Valmiki’s Ramayan, one of the holiest texts for Hindus, relates the story of the God Indra’s seduction of Gautam Rishi’s beautiful wife Ahalya while her husband was taking a bath. Indra appeared at the ashram in the guise of Gautam, pleading: “Ritukalam pratikshante narthinah susamahite, sangamam tu aham ichhami tyava sah sumadhyame (No one who wants to have sex waits till the menstruation time, O Slender One, I want to have sex with you).” After they make love, Ahalya thanks Indra, but pleads with him to leave before her husband returns, “Kritarthasmi surashrestha gachcha shighram itah prabho (I am honored and thankful, O Indra, please leave quickly).” Indra replies, “Sushroni, paritushtoasmi gamishyami yatha agatam (O lady with beautiful buttocks, I am very satisfied and I will go the way I came, very quickly).But none of these Sanskrit poets could match the erotic imagery that brims forth in Kalidas’ Kumarasmbhavam: “The rain drops fell first on Parvati’s eyelids and, then, after lingering there for a moment, they passed over the upper lip and then they fell on her lower lip where they stayed while. The rain drops scattered into million pieces when they fell down from her lower lips on her hard breasts.” Kalidas captured Shiva’s lustful playfulness with Parvati in these immortal words: “Sasvaje priyam uronipidanam prarthitam mukham anen na aharat, mekhala pranay lolatam gatam hastam asya shithilam rurodh sa (She pulled him tightly towards her whenever he embraced her; she moved closer to him whenever he kissed her and whenever he tried to untie her waistband, she pretended that she was trying to prevent him from doing so).”Such erotic playfulness, coyness and coquettishness are among the most enduring and endearing legacies of Sanskrit literature. Related Items
The Customs department will come down heavily on those accused in gold smuggling, recommending that their passports are cancelled, Sumit Kumar, the Commissioner of Customs, Cochin, said in Thiruvananthapuram.“We have decided to act tough on the offenders by referring their names to the regional passport officer for passport cancellation. This is in addition to usual charges under the Customs Act and Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA). Several names have been referred so far,” Kumar said on March 10, the New Indian Express reported.Along with seeking cancellation of the passports of the offenders, the department will also ask the ministry of external affairs to issue show-cause notices to smuggling accused, Kumar added, the Times of India reported. “The government has so far been lenient as it doesn’t want one-time offenders to feel the full weight of the law. That won’t be the case anymore,” Kumar was quoted as saying.Sometimes, innocent passengers land in trouble as they lack awareness about transportation of gold, Kumar said, pointing out that passengers can bring the gold that they had taken out of the country legally if they had made the required declaration during the time of their departure.The Customs department also wants the public to come forward and inform them about cases of smuggling, which will also bring them suitable rewards. The identity of the informants will not be revealed, since no database is maintained regarding informers. “Our informers can be rewarded up to 30 percent of the market value of the seized products. They needn’t come to court or take part in legal procedures. We will not contact them again,” Kumar added.Professional smugglers don’t care about fines or even preventive detention under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA). “They come out and go back to business. That is why we have decided to start from Kerala the initiative to write to MEA to suspend the passports of offenders,” Kumar added.A total of 13.568 kg of gold, valued at Rs 444,855,19, was seized by Air Customs, Trivandrum Airport, during 2017-2018 (until February), according to the report. Earlier this month, Customs authorities at the Cochin International Airport seized 3.225 kg gold worth Rs 1 crore over one week, the Hindu reported. The smugglers used various methods to transport the item, such as hiding it in the rectum, shoes, inner wear, etc., as well as carrying it in semi-solid paste form to smuggle the contraband. Related ItemsAviationCustomsgold
If public opinion polls are to be believed — and in India they aren’t — Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will lead the Bharatiya Janta Party to its largest electoral victory ever in Indian parliamentary elections that conclude next month. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition will win, or reach tantalizingly close to, a majority, enabling Modi to grasp, what only a year ago seemed improbable, the ultimate prize — prime minister of India.Much can still go wrong. Voting is spread over almost five weeks from April 7 till May 12 — an eternity in politics, which can turn on a dime. Even though Indians prefer Modi overwhelmingly for prime minister — in some polls by more than a 2-1 margin — over Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Jawaharlal Nehru-Indira Gandhi dynasty, in most states politics is intensely local. Fully a third of the parliamentary seats will be split among regional parties, whose ideologies, interests, loyalties and coalition objectives are notoriously changing and fickle. Then there is the internal opposition to Modi within the BJP, whose aging leadership he has marginalized and even humiliated in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.Assume nothing.Not how the vote might turn out. In 2004, public opinion polls forecast 300 seats for the NDA; it ended up with just 180. The BJP’s performance was grossly overstated in public opinion polls both in the 2004 and 2009 national elections, in which it got a drubbing.Not how the NDA or the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) or the Third Front coalitions hold after the elections. All coalition bargains before the elections are revisited once the votes are in.Not whether there might be a palace coup against Modi within the BJP. He has run rough shod over its supremely disciplined cadre and aging leadership, all of whom needed his infectious personal popularity to drum up victory. But once the elections are over, all bets are off.All these caveats notwithstanding, Modi should be able to cobble together a governing coalition — at the right price.Secular and left forces dread that eventuality, because of lingering suspicions about Modi’s role in the communalist riots that killed more than 1,000 people, primarily Muslims, all over Gujarat following the burning of a train in Godhra in 2002. Modi has never been charged by any judicial inquiry, but nor has he publicly answered questions about his acts of omission and commission during the riots. He has also never apologized for what are obvious failures of leadership under his watch. These are troubling concerns (for many fatal) and one can only hope that the constraints of coalition politics will serve as a deterrent to the Hindutva pressures, which no doubt, Modi will be under should be become prime minister.But in a political milieu reeking of opportunism and corruption, Modi is refreshingly (relatively of course) clean and incorruptible, although he is accused of political favoritism and giveaways to big industrial houses to lure them to invest in Gujarat.Modi’s redemption comes from helping to hopefully bring down the curtain on the sores of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has held the country in a thrall for nearly a half century since independence. For all his faults, Modi has succeeded in elevating the corruption, arrogance and ineptitude of the sycophants who surround Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi — opportunists who have collectively leached the country dry during this lost decade of development.However idealistic our political aspirations might be, elections involve just two or three competing options, more often than not, the choice of lesser and bigger evils. The thought of another Sonia-Rahul term ought to be anathema for most Indians, as should the delusions of regional princelings from Mulayam Singh, Mayawati, Jayalalitha, and others of their ilk, who harbor illusions of personal aggrandizement and grandeur.We can only hope that the pragmatism that has defined Modi’s politics (even at its worst) and the pressures of coalition partners will keep the worst of Modi’s political instincts and Hindutva pressures on him in check — and liberate perhaps the promise of economic development and inclusion that he is so eloquently espousing. Related Items
An unidentified person locked the judge’s chamber at a court in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, as he was allegedly being made to run from pillar to post to get justice. The incident took place during lunch recess at a court in Vasai. PTI town on Wednesday, the police said.Between 2 and 2.30 pm, when Magistrate S.B. Pawar and the court staff had stepped out for lunch, an unidentified person put a lock on the door of the judge’s chamber from outside, said police spokesperson Hemant Katkar. The culprit had pasted a piece of paper on the lock, on which was written, “Salman Khan convicted for five years by sessions court Mumbai. Got bail from high court within three hours and I am wandering door to door for justice.“I am a tax payer. I pay tax so the honourable judges get salary. And if I am denied for justice, have the right to seal. Court sealed by order of Dr Fayaz Khan,” it read. Katkar said a case under IPC section 341 (wrongful restraint) has been registered and police were trying to identify the doer of the mischief.