THE INTERNATIONAL
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                 Est 1992: The Region’s Oldest, Authoritative
                  Magazine of Gulf Indian Society & History               2011 • ISSUE 2 • VOL. 18.2

        April 1, 2011 - May 31, 2011
                                                                                        Congratulations Team India!
                                                                                        World Cup Champions 2011

     eal Eus!
    R oc

                                                                    Thumbay Moideen:
                                                             Medicine To Mega Success
                                                           We Could Have Lost The Taj
                                                           It’s Ok Dubai, I Forgive You
                                                         Dil Chahta Hai Pretty Woman
                                                      Tehelka On The Sabarmati Train
                                                    Indian Hearts Are More Vulnerable

      The International Indian                                                                                       1
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    India’s Revolution
                                                                                                                                                     Theologian Walter Brueggemann         diplomat       revealed     that    the   in India. Indian civil society could
                                                                                                                                                 writes about speaking the human           BJP’s Arun Jaitley, leader of the         easily channel the restlessness of
                                                                                                                                                 agenda that honors social pluralism,      Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, had        young Indians and empower them
                                                                                                                                                 “in a way that touches our shared         admitted to him in a meeting on           to organize and rally the country.
                                                                                                                                                 human requirements of love, mercy,        May 6, 2005 that Hindu nationalism        Their manifesto could include
                                                                                                                                                 justice, peace and freedom. These         is an “opportunistic issue” for his       three main demands: An end to

          What Should It Look Like?                                                                                                              are the property of no confessional
                                                                                                                                                 truth and the monopoly of no
                                                                                                                                                 confessional       community,”      he
                                                                                                                                                                                           party. “Pressed on the question
                                                                                                                                                                                           of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that
                                                                                                                                                                                           Hindu nationalism ‘will always be a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     corruption with rigidly enforced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     accountability; equal opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     that tangibly cuts unemployment;
                                                                                                                                                 points out.                               ‘talking point’ for the BJP.’             and poverty eradication beyond
                                                                                                                                                     I am humbled by genuine                    Those who haven’t seen through       mere sloganeering.
    Politics will be principally shaped by religious communities. The only question is, will they be repressive and                              manifestations of supplication            the BJP’s well crafted propaganda,            Violence is not the solution for
                                                                                                                                                 and personal faith in anyone truly        should stop and consider how              India, but a peaceful revolution
    totalitarian religious communities or lucid, progressive ones.                                                                                                                                                                   must come about in a tangible
                                                                                                                                                 seeking God, but I have seen              ideology has been hammered into
                                  - Eugene D. Genovese, Emory University scholar-in-residence                                                    through religion. I figure it is mostly   Indian minds and reinforced as            manner that clearly addresses
                                                                                                                                                 ideology and by allowing a volatile       something religious when it is not        the predicament of marginalized
                                                                                                                                                 mixture of the two, we invite havoc       - it is ideology disguised, a wolf in     Indians. It is they who face a

            round the Middle East                    I am delighted India won, but I           his Maker.                                        in our land.                              sheep’s clothing.                         bleak future and contend with
            people are risking everything        have no interest in cricket, its hold             But this not how religion plays                   One can only discuss the                   What India needs is a genuine        the high cost of living, massive
            to change their lives, but           on the country baffles me; CNN                out in India. It is controlled and                impact of ideology doled out              spiritual revolution: Hindu, Muslim       unemployment,           dehumanizing
    nothing seems to be happening                actually interviewed a bunch of               manipulated      by    unscrupulous               as religion on a personal basis;          or Christian, we need an authentic        poverty and the despair of being
    in India. Only a countrywide                 obsessive Indian fans who declared:           politicians and corrupt clergy. Yoga              I don’t have to look beyond my            relationship with our Creator, not        left behind as liberalization benefits
    obsession with cricket’s gladiators          ”cricket is like a god to us.” Be that        may have attracted Westerners to                  own experience – rather late in life      allow ourselves to be duped by            less than half our country.
    of the 2011 World Cup. Reminds me            as it may, it’s obvious India has two         flock to India for enlightenment,                 I have concluded Christianity is          any religious ideology as Hindutva,           India’s youth, comprising two
    of how the Roman Empire, which               major obsessions where change                 but our tradition of using religion               a western ideology that over the          Islamism, or Christianity. We             thirds of the population, can be a
    once ruled much of the world,                is urgently needed: both are used             crudely is pretty obvious. Politicians            centuries has diminished the way          need more open dialogue on our            major force to reckon with, if they
    kept its population distracted from          to manipulate Indians, often with             manipulate religion for vote banks,               of life exemplified by Jesus. It has      common spiritual concerns, which          harness the subversive, ubiquitous
    their miseries by entertaining them          deadly combined effect - politics             businessmen think they can buy                    very successfully positioned itself       can be a vital source of personal         power of social media like
    in the infamous Coliseum. India’s            and religion. Since it is supposedly          divine favors to make their fortunes              globally in people’s minds as the         and social morality in our country’s      Facebook, Twitter etc. They must
    stark reality is that our have-nots          in the realm of the sacred, the latter        and the common man hopes his                      Christian religion - a completely         public life.                              unite and demand transparency
    comprise half the world’s poor and           probably has more clout for the               prayers will bring luck. The age old,             unfounded claim, for Christ was not            India must revolt against the        in governance and create a
    they are deluded by the widespread           wrong reasons in India, unlike the            all pervasive caste system gives                  its founder. Its Protestant version       politics of religion that pits Indian     nationwide solidarity, employing
    notion of Maya - that life is an             generally progressive debates on              religious sanction to our society’s               is decentralized, while the Catholic      against Indian.                           all the resources available to wage
    illusion; it probably accounts for           such matters in the West.                     twisted hierarchy. Indians are                    system is centralized in Rome.                 Nevertheless, is there no need       a peaceful yet unrelenting fight
                                                     Let’s take a look at religion             strangely satisfied with religiosity              Christianity combined controls over       for a social and political revolution     for genuine democracy. Youth
    the lethargy and inaction of our
                                                                                                                                                                                           in India like the Middle East?            associations, independent trade
    most unfortunate citizens.                   and see if we can examine how it              and it’s outward manifestations;                  two billion lives across the globe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     unions, citizen’s and women’s
         We Indians are easily beguiled-         works objectively and gain some               without exception few seem to                         Most people who claim to                   Unlike several Arab governments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     groups must empower any such
    bamboozled          by       customs,        fresh insights. Most people would             seek something deeper.                            follow Christ have not stopped to         on the brink, India still has a choice:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     initiative with a total commitment
    caste, creed, an assortment                  agree there is something they                     Granted,     wealth     is     not            think he was a Jew; he did not start      whether to implode eventually
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to an organized movement for the
    of popular mendicants and a                  seek beyond what is man-ordained              worshipped only by Indians -                      any religion; those who accept            and disintegrate politically and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     rights of the people.
    conniving leadership. Why don’t              - like membership in a religious              sometimes it appears there is in                  the decoy mindlessly, forget that         spiritually as a people and a nation          If India doesn’t find the truth
    the disadvantaged rise up and                denomination, regular attendance              fact only one religion that controls              reliable thinkers like Gandhiji,          - or, become stronger through all         that sustained and motivated
    demand their rightful share of               in a temple, mosque, or church                mankind - materialism, the religion               even Tolstoy perhaps and many             the upheaval around us and use            Gandhiji, so clearly embodied as
    the nation’s wealth that is being            etc. The majority of devotees may             of the world. In India there is                   others were discerning enough to          it to rebuild a solid democratic          our national tenet, I see little hope
    looted systematically by a handful           be satisfied with a notion of piety,          Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth,                   reject it. Christianity bears little      foundation.                               for the future despite our steady
    of politicians and businessmen? TII          rituals and traditions, but there is          elsewhere the god Mammon rules;                   resemblance to the plain teachings             India’s media enjoys much more       annual GDP figures.
    does not reach a mass audience in            a spiritual aspect of seeking the             less of an overt religious symbol                 of Jesus; it began long after Christ      freedom than any Middle Eastern               It could all unravel someday.
    India but one hopes our educated,            Creator that goes deeper. It is this          perhaps, but equally effective in                 as the state religion of Rome in 317      state. Why hasn’t it taken the                Satyamev jayate.
    affluent readers are taking note of          transcendent nature of faith that             controlling men’s minds and hearts.               AD, when it was established by the        initiative to issue a clarion call for
    the revolutions in the region and            can ensure understanding and                      In our pluralistic country we                 emperor Constantine.                      change? Tunisians and Egyptians
    doing some introspection about               religious harmony in our country              somehow need to build trust and                       Increasingly however, many            discarded       their     dictatorships
    the situation back home. In our              if it becomes people’s focus.                 respect for one another’s beliefs                 people are concluding they need not       because of a unique alliance:
    schizophrenic nation of extreme              Because it is the universal element           in all faith communities, possible                follow Christianity to follow Christ.     youth power, alternative media,                                     Frank Raj
    poverty and extreme wealth, much             - the mystical, unworldly side of a           only if we can offer one another                      WikiLeaks recently exposed            solidarity and sheer determination.                 Founder Editor & Publisher
    needs to change.                             person’s longing to connect with              authentic, inspirational values.                  how Robert Blake a senior US              The Internet is hardly censored

2                                                                                                                     The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                 3

    EST: 1992 The Region’s Oldest, Authoritative
     Magazine of Gulf Indian Society & History
                                                                                                                                          64          The Sabarmati Train Burning Case
                                                                                                                                                      By: Ashish Khetan
                                                                                                                                                      The horrific burning of 59 Hindus in coach
                                                                                                                                                      S-6 of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra on 27
                                                                                                                                                      February 2002 and the deadly Muslim pogrom
                                                                                                                                                      that followed is one of the worst ruptures in
    BUZZ WORD                                                                                                                                         recent Indian history.                                                                                                                                                                         seiciloP ytiralugeR dna sdn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                erT yrtsudnI no kooltuO nA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             :etatsE laeR naidnI • tnioP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           nO 81

    90 •
                                                                                                                                                      Dubai Healthcare City Launches BR Medical                                                                  emoc srepoleved neve dna

                      Liali Jewellery Celebrates
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sreliater erehw ,gniliater no

                                                                                                                                                      Suites | By: A Staff Reporter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  .stcnicerp gnippohs lanoita                                                                                 stnemgeS liateR ni seitin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ercer gnitaerc ni rentrap ot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             rehtegot                                                                           utroppO
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   gniliateR noitanitseD
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                gniliateR yruxuL              ,tnempoleved fo egats tnec

                      Nawrouz!                                                                                                                        Cutting-Edge Medical Centre Features 21 Fully-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ,sertnec gnippohs yruxul w                                                                                    san sti ni si aidnI ni gniliate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ef ot detimil si aidnI ni gnili                                                                                 r noitanitseD
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ater yruxuL         troppus ot erutcurtsarfni lac
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 eht gniredisnoC .sletoh rat                                                                                     isyhp fo ytilibaliavanu ot eu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              s evfi dna snoitacol teerts h                  era ereht ,snoitacol nabru t                                       d yliramirp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             .wollahs yltnedive si noitart                                    gih tceles                                   a sevorpmi erutcurtsarfni tr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           enep eht ,yrtnuoc eht fo ss                                                                                      opsnart sA .ti
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alc remusnoc            nabrubus eht ni gniliater no

                                                                                                                                                      Equipped Clinics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  eht ,inimegpaC yb tropeR h                                                                                   itanitsed rof seitinutroppo s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tlaeW dlroW 010 eht ot gn                                                                                     uodnemert
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                idroccA            tnemniatretne etairporppa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              a gnidrocer ,900 ni 007,6                                                                                         htiw debbulC .snoitacol na
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               bruxe dna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 revo saw aidnI ni noitalup                          emeht neve dna gnimag ,s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sremusnoc yhtlaew lareveS                                    op s’IWNH                                            tnaruatser ,xelpitlum sa hc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            .raey eht gnirud htworg lau                    a sa sseccus kcurts evah e                                          us snoitpo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                kcal eht sesopxe hcihw ,se                                 nna %9.05                                     bolg eht ssorca snoitanitse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             sahcrup yruxul rieht rof dao                                                                                d eseht ,skrap
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             rba levart      gnitnemirepxe ydaerla era
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sertnec gnippohs naidnI .to

                      Marks & Spencer Al-Futtaim
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            era ereht ,010 fo sA .yrtnu                                                                                                                   pstoh tsiruot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           oc eht ni snoitanitsed yruxu                      ,)gniliater ecneirepxe ro( gn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         l elbatius fo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            FLD – yruxul sa demret eb                                                                                       iliater laitneirepxe fo stpecn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         nac hcihw ,sertnec gnippoh                                                                                          oc eht htiw

                                                                                                                                                      Why Is There No Looting In Japan?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         s eerht ylno          eht ot secneirepxe gnippoh
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           teertS hgiH( muidallaP dna                                                                                         s elytsefil edivorp ot tnaw y
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         erolagnaB ni ytiC BU ,ihleD                                                                                          eht erehw
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ni oiropmE

                      Launches New Season New
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .iabmuM ni )xineohP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            htiw mgidarap wen a sretn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          e dna htiaf fo pael a sekat

                                                                                                                                                      By: Jim Picht

                      Style Campaign                                                                                                                  The absence of looting in Japan has taken many
    91 •
                                                                                                                       TI                             western observers by surprise.
                                                                                                                     Hist I India
                                                                                                                                          82                                                                       36
                      Giordano Brings A Burst Of                                                                     See ory Quiz                                                                                              Indian Real Estate
                                                                                                                         page                         It’s Okay Dubai, I Forgive You
                      Colour To Spring 2011                                                                                     30
                                                                                                                                                      By: Bushra Alvi                                                          By: Himadri Mayank and Abhishek Kiran Gupta

                                                                                                                                                      With much trepidation I stepped on Dubai soil                            On Comfortable Ground

                                                            Thumbay Moideen:True Success And Learning Never Ends                                                                                                               An Outlook on Industry Trends
                      Bank Of Baroda Opens A New            By: Ruqya Khan                                                                            and surveyed all around me with an accusing eye.

                      Customer Centre Service Centre        “I think a man’s success should be measured by the number of lives
                      At National Paints, Sharjah           he touches, the amount of respect he has gained not just in society
                                                            but in the eyes of his children and his subordinates.”
                                                                                                                                         COLUMNS                                                                               The Case For India
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               By: Michael Steven Samuel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               It’s time for the average NRI to take a cue from world

                                                       16                                                                                 50
                                                                                                                                                      EAST MEETS WEST                                                          superpowers and realize that India is changing and will be
                                                            Dil Chahta Hai Pretty Woman                                                                                                                                        one of the financial markets ‘to be in’ the 21st century.
                                                            By: Peter Souri Raj                                                                       PARENTING
                                                            On many a chilly winter night, I remember
                                                            waking up in their home in the wee hours, to
                                                                                                                                                      Arguing About Learning
                                                                                                                                                      Japanese                                                   FOOD
                                                            find Loy practicing at the keyboards.                                                     By: Cynthia Lim

                                                                                                                                                      I started to doubt my deci-

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Chutney’s & Relishes
                                                            A Family In Every Country                                                                 sion to join the legions of                                              By: Golden Reejsinghani
                                                            By: Anita Thomas                                                                          Asian parents sending their children to Saturday                         Chutneys and relishes have come to be accepted as an
                                                            The annual school hiatus – summer breaks,                                                 school, forcing them to master the language of                           integral part of food and make a good combination
                                                            October breaks, Christmas breaks and Easter                                               their ancestors.                                                         with lunch or dinner; they make even the most prosaic

                                                            breaks – often signal transitions; departures,                                                                                                                     meals invitingly delicious.
                                                            goodbyes and heartbreaks, friends moving away,                                            GUPTARA GARMAGARAM
                                                            pink slips and uncertainties (given current times),                                       The Cost Of Corruption | By: Prabhu Guptara

                                                            graduations and moving on.                                                                Indian customers found that they had enormous
                                                                                                                                                      choice… which were all either instantly or very

                                                       32                                                                                                                                                          20
                                                            We Could Have Lost The Taj Mahal                                                          quickly available to customers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Galapagos: Cruising In Style

     2 Editorial                                            By: Marianne de Nazareth
                                                            The amazing story of one man’s fight to save the Taj Mahal from                           SOLDIERS                                                                 By: Kathy Newbern & J.S. Fletcher
     6 Letters                                              being lost forever to future generations!                                                 When A Soldier Cries                                                     Located about 600 miles off Ecuador, the Galapagos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               archipelago has 13 large islands, six small ones and 40
                                                                                                                                                      By: Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM,

     7 Editor’s Resort Pick                                 Fortune Hotels Leveraging On The Power Of Spread                                          VSM, PhD                                                                 islets.
     95 TII Central
                                                            By: A Staff Reporter                                                                      In the recent past, India was witness to the most
                                                            As India’s Fortune Hotels brand continues to leverage on its expansion                    unfortunate sight of numerous military veterans                          Go To Vietnam | By: S. Sinha
                                                            mode, it makes sure that it does not compromise on its exceptional quality                returning their medals to the President to register                      VIETNAM: Ties to ancient India, dense jungles, a
                                                            and service.                                                                              their protest against the government’s indifference                      maze of waterways, mountains with towering cliffs,
                                                                                                                                                      to their pleas.                                                          hairpin bends. Keep it simple or make it special. Take

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               a boat on the Mekong Delta, local air connections are

                                                            Payback Time: For Young Indian Pro’s |
                                                            By: Shyamola Khanna                                                                       FUTUREQUEST                                                              affordable.

                                                            Over the last couple of years a welcome                                                   Organized Religion: A Goliath Rules The World
                                                            change has been taking place in India                                                     By: Frank Raj                                                            Turkish Airlines Launches Its Inaugural Flight
                                                            quietly and effectively, in the field of                                                  One can only marvel at the strategy and control                          To Los Angeles | By: A Staff Reporter
                                                            education.                                                                                the goliath of religion has acquired over men and                        Turkish Airline’s new Comfort Class is the best in

                                                                                                                                                      over nations. All of this in the name of God!                            premium economy and offers great value for money
                                                            Indian Hearts Are More Vulnerable |
                                                            By: Deepa Ballal                                                             THE INTERNATIONAL INDIAN is owned by Global Indian Travellers Association (GITA) a private limited company incorporated in England and Wales
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4                                                                                                             The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5
                                                                                                                                                                Editor ' s PICK
Letters to the Editor
                                                                                             THE INTERNATIONAL

                                                                                  EST: 1992 The Region’s Oldest, Authoritative
    No credibility                        was not the point of this article,       Magazine of Gulf Indian Society & History
                                          the synopsis was out of order. I
        The Congress party has            wrote and submitted it to give                     PUBLISHERS
    finally agreed to a parliamentary     a voice to the people exploited                 Prof. Prabhu Guptara
    investigation into the telecom        by the hold a Green Card has                        Santosh Shetty
    scandal that has infuriated the       on their lives once they decide                FOUNDER EDITOR
    entire country. The award of          to go through the process for                         Frank Raj                            By: Frank Raj
    2G telecom licences, which as         love and a bonafide marriage -             CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
    per an official audit, has cost       something so easily done when                      Erik R. Hadden
    the national exchequer $39bn,         things like this aren’t in the                   Prem Souri Kishore
    needs to be addressed, if the         way - and the fact that it’s not
                                                                                           Benjamin H. Parker
    reigning government has to            always about a Green Card but
                                          more to do with the sacrifice                     Vishal Mangalwadi
    retain any credibility.
                                          and hassle it takes to live in the               TRAVEL EDITOR
        The 8 to 9 per cent GDP
    growth rates, of which India is       same country as your spouse.                       Shana Raj Parker
    so proud of, stands diminished,       I’m disappointed because it                       MANAGER PR
    and Dr. Manmohan Singh has            ultimately went the way every                     Christine DeSouza
    lost all credibility to be the        other story to do with this                   CREATIVE DIRECTOR
    Prime Minister of India.              subject goes and missed the                           Balan Iyer
                                          mark completely.                                GRAPHIC ARTIST
    Rajendra K. Aneja                                                                      Melany Caguindagan
    Dubai                                 Rowena                                          PHOTOGRAPHER
                                          Dubai                                            Benjamin H. Parker
    Disappointed                                                                          INTERNATIONAL
                                          Canada Calling!                                CORRESPONDENTS
        I understand that as an                                                        CANADA         Rubina Jacob
    Editor you must bear with a               I am a Canadian citizen living         SINGAPORE Amita Sarwal
    lot of writers grumbling about        in Vancouver who spent over 15                  UK          Rudy Otter
    their edits so thank you for          years living in Sharjah, U.A.E. I                           Sarina Menezes
    indulging me.                         found your magazine’s website                                                                                                                                             Elegance and taste, all rooms are Wi-Fi enabled
                                                                                                      Shamlal Puri
        I just saw my article in          through a friend and enjoy
    TII 18.1 and I am surprised           reading the articles there.
                                                                                         USA          Prem Souri Kishore                                                                               Getting there
                                                                                      BAHRAIN          Hemu Gorde
    and disappointed by the title,            However, when I asked my                                                               Stunning: The Grand Millennium Hotel      • Abu Dhabi International Airport is only 30 minutes away
                                          local library if they had a copy of           OMAN          Rahul Dev                                                                • Telephone: +971 (2) 443 9999 • Facsimile: +971 (2) 443 9444
    synopsis and illustrations...
                                          International Indian, they did not            QATAR         Ada Pillai                       • Email:
    they makes it seem like the
    Green Card was one of the             have one and had not heard of it.                       INDIA
    main motivators and the line              Bearing in mind that there are             DELHI        Vishal Arora
    ‘keep in mind it wasn’t for the
    Green Card’ was taken out of
                                          thousands of Indo-Canadians
                                          living in Vancouver and many
                                                                                       CHENNAI Aruna Srinivasan
                                                                                      HYDERABAD Shyamola Khanna
                                                                                                                                     Grand Millennium Abu Dhabi                                                        requiring 300 or more rooms”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       said Michael Sorgenfrey, General
    the article.                          of them have connections and                  MUMBAI        Navin Tauro                                                                                                      Manager Grand Millennium Al
        I have no words for the           friend to the Gulf region, we                KOLKATA Archisman Dinda                       Large groups key focus for Abu Dhabi’s biggest hotel                              Wahda.
                                          would love to see a copy of                                                                                                                                                      All rooms are Wi-Fi enabled

    illustrations. It looks like the                                                          DIRECTOR
    woman is positively gagging           your magazine here, I haven’t                     Raina Raj Hadden                               pitomized in the Grand           largest spa and health club. A             and there are a number of
    for the Green Card. Whoever           seen it in Newsstands either.                 GENERAL MANAGER                                    Millennium Al Wahda, Abu         supersized gym is equipped                 business centres within the hotel,
    edited it did me a disservice             Good luck on your continued                     Peter Souri Raj                              Dhabi’s largest hotel, is        with top-of-the-line Technogym             including one fully equipped
    because it was a very personal        success with TII and I hope the             CHIEF MANAGER, INDIA                           the concept of urban luxury for        aerobic and weight training                business centre located within
    story and incorrectly portrayed.      next time I pass a bookstore, i                     Kailash Purohit                                                                                                          the health and fitness centre.
                                                                                                                                     the modern business traveller          machines, as well as a range of
        I think you will agree that       see TII displayed prominently                                                                                                                                                    Eight meeting rooms located
    the article was edited (liberally)    on the shelves !!!                                                                         or discerning city-break visitor.      eclectic dining options.
                                                                                                                                     It is a 844 room stunning hotel            The hotel’s stunning rooftop           in the office tower also offer
    to reflect what the illustrator                                             TII MIDDLE EAST OFFICES:
    eventually produced - ‘Lured          Joan Chandran                         BAHRAIN                                              in the heart of the UAE capital’s      outdoor swimming pool and wide             flexible options for meeting
    Into Marriage By A Green Card’        Vancouver                             Lloyd Rebello |                business district. With over           choice of dining venues, bars              planners and come with the
                                                                                Mob: +973-3910 6690                                                                                                                    added bonus of data screens.
                                                                                QATAR                                                585 contemporarily furnished           and shops make this hotel simply
                                                                                Merwyn Ferrao |               luxury guest rooms and 265             unique.                                    In addition the banquet hall
                                                                                Mob: +974-611 5525                                   stylish residences, spacious does          Grand Millennium Al Wahda              located on the ground floor can
                                                                                Peter Souri Raj |                not quite describe the Grand           represents the fifth Grand                 accommodate up to 300 for a
                                         The best letters to the editor         Mob: +97150 457 3836                                 Millennium. Expect high levels         Millennium hotel worldwide.                theatre style gathering or 150 for
                                         will win exquisite gifts from                                        Audited Circulation    of personal service combined               “It is the only hotel in the city      a gala dinner.
                                                                                                              26,865 copies          with state-of-the-art-technology       capable of accommodating large
                                                Liali Jewellery.                                              Nov/Dec 2009           complemented by the city’s             groups under one roof i.e. those                                  Frank Raj is TII's
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Founding Editor and Publisher
                                            Email your letters to:
6                                                                                                         The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                     7
          Cover Story

      Thumbay Moideen
    True Success And Learning Never Ends
    “I think a man’s success should be measured by the number of
    lives he touches, the amount of respect he has gained not just
    in society but in the eyes of his children and his subordinates.
    When I strive for success I aim for these objectives because I
    know once these are taken care of, the rest will fall into place.
    I believe Almighty God is in the details as much as he is in the
    big picture.” - Thumbay Moideen, President, Thumbay Group

    By: Ruqya Khan

       alm,     composed         and                                                               pioneering spirit with conviction
       confident        –     that’s                                                               and courage and that soon led
       Thumbay             Moideen,                                                                to the setting up of his own
Founder President of the                                                                           entity in 1997 known as the
Thumbay Group. A Mangalorean                                                                       Thumbay Group. The company
by birth, born in a traditional, well                                                              ventured into setting up UAE’s
known business family, Moideen                                                                     first private medical college: Gulf
is an entrepreneur at heart.                                                                       Medical College in Ajman. This
Today, his name is synonymous                                                                      was followed by GMC Hospital
with professionalism and a                                                                         & Research Centre, Gulf Medical
positive approach to business.                                                                     Centre & GMC Pharmacy in Dubai.
A forward thinker who sets                                                                         The Gulf Medical University
milestones as his strategic plans,                                                                 (formerly Gulf Medical College)
he comes across as humble and                                                                      and GMC Hospital & Research
willing to learn and grow from                                                                     Centre,     Ajman,     established
every life experience.                                                                             in 1998 has been involved
    Hailing from Karnataka, with                                                                   in undergraduate education
three generations of business                                                                      in     Medicine,    Physiotherapy,
acumen behind him, Moideen‘s                                                                       Dentistry,      Pharmacy       and
tryst with the marketplace began                                                                   Premium Healthcare delivery for
at the age of 21. Demonstrating                                                                    a decade. The institution became
his considerable skills right                                                                      a university following a Decree
from the beginning while taking                                                                    by H. E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin
charge of the large business                                                                       Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of
house established by his father                                                                    Higher Education and Scientific
Ahamed Hajee Mohiudeen in                                                                          Research, U.A.E.
1957, he took the organization to                                                                      Thumbay       believes     that
great heights within a few years.                                                                  dreams are strong mentors in                                         Thumbay Moideen with his
    Moideen        matched        his Thumbay Moideen, President of Thumbay Group: Life            life, he said, “Believe in yourself                                   son’s Akbar and Akram
                                           is a brilliant teacher only if you are a good student

8                                                                                                                 The International Indian   The International Indian                              9
               Cover Story

     and your destiny. When you                            Though he is listed among                       the challenge and established the
     follow your dreams with faith,                     the Arabian Business Indian                        UAE’s first private Medical College,
     you will surely succeed. Risks are                 Power List 2010 as one of the                      Gulf Medical College in Ajman.”
     an important part of everyday                      100 most influential Indians in                        Today, the Thumbay Group
     life. You cannot succeed without                   the Gulf, Moideen is unassuming                    has evolved as a major healthcare
     facing them. Also, you may never                   to the core. He is thankful for                    player in the Gulf making
     know whether you could have                        his accomplishments and feels                      determined strides beyond the
     excelled at anything if you did                    blessed to be imparting both                       region. It has also diversified its
     not give it a try. Since childhood,                education and health to society. “In               interests into other sectors of
     it has always been important for                   my community, we value education                   business – education, medical
                                                                                                           research, a chain of pharmacies
                                                                                                           under the brand GMC Pharmacy,
                                                                                                           a chain of GMC Diagnostic
                                                                                                           laboratories, Zo & Mo Optical
                                                                                                           Centres, Blends & Brews, a Coffee
                                                                                                           Shoppe chain, Body & Soul Health
                                                                                                           Clubs,     trading,   construction
                                                                                                           (Thumbay Builders) and real
                                                                                                               Thumbay believes, “Life is a
                                                                                                           brilliant teacher only if you are
                                                                                                           a good student. We get many
                                                                                                           lessons from everyday events
                                                                                                           but what we learn from them
                                                                                                           only depends on attention to
                                                                                                           detail. It was just a ‘by the way’
                                                                                                           suggestion that I was given but it
                                                                                                           has now become the purpose of
                                                                                                           my being,” he reveals.
     Thumbay Moideen at the inauguration of the e-Learning portal in the Information and Learning Centre       The Gulf Medical University
     of Gulf Medical University by His Excellency Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India.     (GMU) is a seat of learning that
     me to give my best because I                       and medicine. By setting up GMU,                   allows local students wanting
     respected the trust my parents                     I have been able to connect both                   to study medicine and health
     placed in me.”                                     these areas to be of service to                    sciences to stay at home instead
         Moideen recalls his memories                   people.” It is surprising to know                  of spending vast sums of money
     of childhood, “I grew up in                        that this was not his initial plan                 abroad. Located in the Al Jurf area
     a business family. Each day,                       of business when he first came to                  of Ajman, the university features
     each moment was a learning                         UAE. “I started off by seeking to                  colleges devoted to medicine,
     experience.     I    always  had                   position myself in the real estate                 pharmaceuticals and dentistry.
     opportunities to gain inspiration                  sector. I started in Ajman as I felt the           Alongside the campus is the GMC
     from elder role models in the                      emirate had large scope for growth                 Hospital & Research Centre.
     family. Even simple occasions                      and many opportunities. Attending                      Moideen is currently the
     like family meals and social                       an important social event, I met                   President of the Asian Hospital
     gatherings were meaningful.                        with His Highness Sheikh Humaid                    Federation, UAE region, and
     They taught me the approach and                    Bin Rashid Al-Nuaimi, Member                       is eyeing an expansion of his
     attitude in which one must carry                   of the Supreme Council of UAE                      business to include hospitals
     himself – it was all part of the                   and Ruler of Ajman. I discussed                    around the world.
     learning process. I was blessed                    about our family business, etc.,                       The MBBS, BPT, Pharma D,
     to be born with the name that I                    and His Highness suggested I                       DMD and Masters in Clinical
     have. I work towards carrying                      branch out from the timber and                     Pathology programs conducted
     forward the pride and honour                       construction industry to set up a                  by the University have received
     that comes with this name. It is a                 medical education institute in the                 approval from the Ministry and
     responsibility by itself.”                         region. Motivated by him, I took up                is listed in the directories of

10                                                                                                                         The International Indian
         Cover Story
                                                                                                                                                                                          Admissions Open
 WHO, EMRO and IMED under its first International hospital
 the auspices of the Foundation operational in Blantyre, Malawi
                                                                              for a stronger brand identity and
                                                                              value. “Learn from the World”
                                                                                                                                                                                          K1 to Grade 9
 for Advancement of International from April 2010. Plans to open              is the new brand statement for
 Medical Education & Research branches                of    Gulf   Medical    the Gulf Medical University. It
 (FAIMER). Students from over University and GMC Hospitals                    depicts learning as a process that
 50 nations around the world are on the verge of finalization                 cannot be limited to books or the
 are enrolled in the educational in Malaysia, South Africa and
 programs of GMU.                        Mauritius. The Gulf Medical
     The graduation certificates of University and GMC Hospitals are
                                                                              precincts of the institution alone.
                                                                              The avenues of learning are very
                                                                              broad, so why learn from just one
                                                                                                                                CANDOR International School
 all programs of the Gulf Medical also looking to establish branches          place? With a perfect blend of
 University are attested by the in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria and India            capable faculty from all across                                           Candor Leadership
                                                                                                                              Proposed Curricula
 Ministry of Higher Education among other countries.                          the world and a state-of-the-art
                                                                                                                                 IB PYP (K-Gr.5)        The founding team of IT professionals and entrepreneurs from the US,
 and are accepted throughout                Thumbay       admits,      “Our   infrastructure, we ensure that our
                                                                                                                               IGCSE (Gr.6-Gr.10)       UK and India came together to establish the first green school where
 the world. The graduates of Gulf expansion plans are rather                  students acquire the best from
 Medical University are eligible ambitious especially in such                 the world to hone their skills and                IB DP (Gr.11-12)        education is relevant, international in content and approach yet
 to apply for USMLE & PLAB difficult times, but I enjoy                       knowledge. My aim is to give                                              affordable.
 examinations and can also apply challenges and I pray that I will            the students the best possible
 for post graduate and specialized be able to fulfil them. As the             resources so that they may be the
                                                                                                                            ESL & SEN programmes        Faculty and Administration
 studies around the globe.               administrator and facilitator of     best to come.”                                                            The school is spearheaded by Pradip K Das, who has completed his
     The University offers the the organization I ensure that                     Recently, The Gulf Medical                 with well trained and
                                                                                                                                                        research in the UK and is experienced in establishing, managing and
 M.B.B.S - Bachelor of Medicine, we have good quality control,                University established another                  qualified teachers.
                                                                                                                                                        setting up international schools. All staff are well qualified and
 B.P.T - Bachelor of Physio- financial               management         and   pioneering initiative with the
                                                                                                                                                        experienced in international education both overseas and in India.
 therapy, D.M.D - Doctor of outstanding success. These are                    inauguration - by His Excellency
 Dental Medicine, Pharm. D – the virtues I have inherited and                 Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former
 Doctorate of Pharmacy and these are the values I want to                     President of India - of its e-Learning                                    Infrastructure
 several other programs. This is pass down to my sons and our                 portal at the Information and                Robotics & Arts integrated   As the physical environment of a school greatly impacts or impedes
 the only medical university in the students,” he declares.                   Learning Centre of the university.              in the curriculum.        learning, Candor has invested in internationally accepted educational
 region which offers admissions             As part of the AED 350 million    Explaining the salient features                                           facilities that match the programme.
 to both boys and girls of all expansion plan, a new brand                    of the GMU e-Learning courses,
 nationalities. The university has identity has been proposed for             Thumbay’s plan is to deliver,
 the infrastructure and facilities the Gulf Medical University and            “Online courses along with face             Integrated sports programme   Residential Facility
 that are on par with some of the GMC Hospital.                               to face contact sessions using                   in partnership with      At Candor, the residential facilities (for Gr. 5 up) are welcoming and
 established medical schools in             Explaining     the    rationale   a blended approach, to enable                  GLOBOSPORT & Mahesh        student-friendly. Every step is taken to ensure quality of life for our
 the world.                              Thumbay says, “With over a           further learning as evidence of               Bhupathi Tennis Academy
                                                                                                                                                        residential students, comfortable accommodation, caring and
     The Gulf Medical University decade of experience, we have                the university’s commitment to                                            experienced dorm parents, 24X7 medical facilities, and a cafeteria that
 and GMC Hospitals is now on a grown into international brands                promote lifelong study. Online                                            will provide an international cuisine.
 massive expansion phase with of repute and hence the need                    courses are to be designed and
 The Gulf Medical University, campus is spread across an area of 25           delivered to various categories of
                                                                                                                            Day Scholars, Weekly &      Parent Partnership
 acres and a built-up area of 2 million square feet. Adding more feathers     learners including those who wish
                                                                              to enhance their awareness of                   Regular Boarding          We are convinced that a strong partnership between parents and the
 to its cap is a first-of-its-kind full-fledged campus with a 300-bed
 speciality hospital, a mosque, a health club, an additional floor at the     health issues, students aspiring to                                       school is necessary in order that an all- round development takes place.
 existing building, an expanded library, housing and hostel for faculty       pursue health sector careers and
 and staff, a convention centre, an amphitheatre, and a restaurant. All       professionals who wish to improve
 these will be ready by 2012 as part of the first phase of expansion.         their knowledge and skills specific
                                                                              to their domain and disciplines. In
 With the completion of first phase the group will have a staff strength      their growth and development will
 of around 2,500 with more than 2,000 people housed on the campus             be our own success.”
 including staff, students and faculty.
                                                                              Honours And Achievements
 The second phase of the expansion plan will be announced in the next            Moideen infuses dedication,
 six months, which will be huge in scope involving several international      discipline and hard work at all
 companies as part of the prestigious project.                                levels of his organization. He
                                                                              enjoys a great deal of respect

12                                                                                             The International Indian
             Cover Story

     from all quarters of society,        Finance degree from American                       give my children whatever they
     evident from his positions on        University of Sharjah. In his spare                may ask for but for me it was
     boards of various organizations.     time, he is actively involved in the               important they understood the
     He is the Chief Patron of the        construction projects of Thumbay                   worth of what they have. It is easy
     Ajman Indian Association &           Builders, which is currently                       for a family to go astray in the
     Indian Business Council, Ajman,      managing the expansion of The                      strong flow of power and money,
     the Beary’s Association, Dubai,      Gulf Medical University Campus.                    which is why we have stayed close
     and the recipient of the Best           Moideen is married to Zora,                     to our roots. I encouraged the
     Achievement Award in the field of
     medical education & healthcare
     awarded by HH Sheikh Humaid
     Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of
     Ajman. He received the award
     for ‘Achievements in the field of
     Medical Education & Healthcare’
     by the Karnataka Sangha,
     Sharjah and is a Member of the
     International Hospital Federation-
     Ferney Voltaire, France (Greater
     Geneva Area).
         Thumbay was also recently
     honoured at a grand ceremony at
     the House of Lords, in UK by Lord
     Adam Patel of Blackburn for his
     efforts in the field of healthcare
     and medical education.         The
     program was organized by the
     Progressive Muslims Forum,            Moideen is currently the President of the Asian Hospital Federation, UAE region, and is eyeing an
     United Kingdom and sponsored                            expansion of his business to include hospitals around the world.
     by AOC International UK - sharing
     of international good practices in   an accomplished artist in her own                  boys to accompany me at work
     healthcare and education and to      right. Her paintings often adorn                   since they were 16 but they were
     celebrate the achievements of        the otherwise silent corridors                     not given any responsibilities until
     Muslim community.                    of the university campus and                       they were intellectually capable of
                                          hospital lobbies. “I confess that I                handling them. Education moulds
     Family Comes First                   am a workaholic. But I do try my                   the man and only when a mind is
         Inspite of his many honours      best to balance my time between                    properly sculptured and set can we
     and achievements, Thumbay            work and home. As a family, we                     truly use it to its fullest aptitude.”
     prefers to keep his feet firmly on   go on holidays and spend quality                       A truly God fearing man
     the ground. “Life is a series of     time together. My instant escape                   Thumbay observes, “I think
     changes. I do not let my success                                                        a man’s success should be
                                          is a good book or a quick game
                                                                                             measured by the number of
     reflect in the tone of my voice or   of tennis with the boys. Times are                 lives he touches, the amount of
     the strength of my words. To be      such that I seldom find the time                   respect he has gained not just
     God fearing, focused and hard        but when I do I ensure I am in that                in society but in the eyes of his
     working is the key to my success.    moment fully and not just for the                  children and his subordinates.
     When you live by good example,       sake of it.”                                       When I strive for success I aim for
     you achieve good results,” is the        Thumbay readily admits, “As                    these objectives because I know
     philosophy he is passing on to his   a son, I received a lot from my                    once these are taken care of, the
     two sons, Akbar and Akram.           father.”                                           rest will fall into place. I believe
         Akbar manages the Thumbay            It is evident that he is a good                Almighty God is in the details as
     Group’s hospitals as the Director,   father too with his priorities in                  much as he is in the big picture!”
     while Akram is pursuing a            the right place, admitting. “By the
                                                                                                          Ruqya Khan, is a Sharjah based
     Business      Administration     &   grace of God, I have been able to                                               freelance writer.

14                                                                                                                 The International Indian
             Celebrity Encounter

                                      Dil Chahta Hai
                                      Pretty Woman
     On many a chilly winter night, I remember waking up in their home in

                                                                                                                                         WAY DEEPER
     the wee hours, to find Loy practicing at the keyboards.

     By: Peter Souri Raj

               e first met at Catering      more there than in my room.               Bombay where the real action

                                                                                                                                         THAN PIZZA
               College,    Bombay       –      On many a chilly winter night,         and money was, beckoned.
               way back in 1978. I          I remember waking up in their                 I got posted out of Delhi and
     had asked Lucia, a classmate,          home in the wee hours, to find            we didn’t meet for many years.
     if she knew anyone who gave            Loy practicing at the keyboards           Whenever I passed through
     guitar lessons and that’s how          – this after performing the whole         Bombay, I stayed with them and it
     we were introduced. I was doing                                                  was just like old times. Many years
     my Fourth Year specialization                                                    later he played keyboards at my
     in Hotel Management and Loy                                                      wedding in Bangalore. By then he
     at that time, was a struggling                                                   had become famous – one third
     musician, playing keyboards for                                                  of the hit Bollywood music trio,
     a band at the Horizon Hotel. His                                                 Shankar, Ehsan, Loy, that churned
     girlfriend Nancy was a year junior                                               out hits like Kal Ho Naa Ho, Dil
     to me and they were very much                                                    Chahate Hai, Pretty Woman etc.
     in love.         He and I hit it off                                             etc. But he was still the same old
     immediately – sharing a common                                                   affable, loveable friend and none
     passion for music, and pretty                                                    of the fame had as yet gone to
     soon we went past tutor/pupil                                                    his head – I remember traveling
     to become firm friends. But his                                                  with him once in his car, from
     luck changed overnight, the band                                                 his home in the suburbs to the
     was ‘discovered’ and moved to                                                    recording studio in Bandra. Along
     New Delhi as the headline act at                                                 the way, people recognized him
     Bali Hai, the rooftop hot spot at                                                and waved excitedly to him – he
     Welcomgroup Maurya Sheraton. I                                                   had definitely arrived.
     was a Management Trainee there                                                       Today Loy Mendonsa is a huge
     and couldn’t wait for my stint at         Loy playing keyboards at my wedding,   music star and with life’s twists
     Bali Hai – to get to hear ‘Ebony’                Dec. 1996, Bangalore            and turns, things are not quite
     live every night. Nancy arrived        evening. And the same morning             the way they used to be. But I will
     shortly after and they took up         he would be off, bright and early,        never forget the wonderful times
     residence in Anand Niketan - the       to Mount St. Mary’s School, where         we spent together – they were
     band was now making a lot more         he taught music. But this back            very, very special and I will cherish
     money than they were in Bombay         breaking work wasn’t in vain              them for the rest of my life. And
     and along with the five-star           and he got his first solo break -         give anything to have them back.
     hospitality they were entitled to,     composing the music for what              God bless you and keep you, Loy.
     were doing quite well, thank you.      became a hit TV programme,
     I was given a spare key to their       Quiz Time. Ad jingles, headline              Peter Souri Raj has frequently hobnobbed
     home and since it was a lot closer     music shows etc. saw the band                with celebrities during his long stint in the
     than my digs at Green Park, I was      go from strength to strength, but         hotel industry. TII features some of his more
                                                                                                memorable encounters in this series.

                                                                                                                                         K.S.A - KUWAIT - U.A.E - QATAR*
                                                                                                           The International Indian
                Travel                                                                                                                                    You can see why naturalist tour guides laughingly
                                                                                                                                                          call Fernandina Island “Iguana World.” Visitors
                                                                                                                                                          must step carefully over hundreds of the dark
                                                                                                                                                          reptiles that blend into the black volcanic rock.
                                                                                                                                                          (Photo by: J.S. Fletcher )

                                                       Cruising In Style
     Located about 600 miles off Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago
     has 13 large islands, six small ones and 40 islets. Examples of
     animal interactions abound, and cruising is the best way to see
     more islands and more wildlife if you’re visiting the Galapagos.

     By: Kathy Newbern & J.S. Fletcher

         he equatorial sun is blazing                     now we know why: The dinosaur-                        sea turtles in the water that we
         even though it’s still morning                   esque creatures are everywhere.                       can’t count them all.
         on the island of Fernandina.                        Later, at a mangrove bay, a                            Examples of such animal
     We step carefully over hundreds                      cruiser’s walking stick proves                        interactions abound, and cruising
                                                                                                                is the best way to see more
                                                                                                                islands and more wildlife if you’re
                                                                                                                visiting the Galapagos.
                                                                                                                    Located about 600 miles
                                                                                                                off Ecuador, the Galapagos
                                                                                                                archipelago has 13 large islands,
                                                                                                                six small ones and 40 islets.
                                                                                                                Our ship, the well-appointed,
                                                                                                                four-deck, 210-foot MV Eclipse
                                                                                                                crossed the equator four times in
                                                                                                                our seven-island visit.
                                                                                                                    Our Abercrombie & Kent
                                                                                                                “Wonders of the Galapagos”
                                                                                                                trip was perfectly orchestrated;
                                                                                                                the Eclipse fantastic. This mid-
                                                                                 (Photo by: Kathy M. Newbern)   size, luxury ship gave adventure
     After a morning of hiking and bird watching, guests return by panga (inflatable boat) to the four-deck,    cruising an elegant edge from
       210-foot luxury ship, the MV Eclipse. Adventure cruising is the best and most environmentally-           delicious cuisine and three-
                                   sensitive way to explore the Galapagos.                                      times-daily cabin service to white
     of dark reptiles that blend into                     attractive to a sea lion that tries                   tablecloth-and-china         dinner
     the black volcanic rock.                             to wrestle it from her with his                       service     and    post-excursion
         The naturalist guides here in                    mouth.                                                snacks.
     the Galapagos laughingly call                            Another afternoon, from our                           Ships generally carry 16-100
     this island “Iguana World,” and                      ship’s top deck, we spot so many                      passengers – ours had 48 – and

20                                                                                                                             The International Indian

     their itineraries are carefully                    vermillion flycatcher, remained                         &     Kent    (A&K),    explained:
     planned in advance to avoid                        elusive, as did the usually-present                     “Adventure cruising is the best
     overcrowding and especially                        pink flamingoes.                                        and      most    environmentally-
     overstressing the creatures.                          We delighted in the funny,                           sensitive way to explore the
        Park lands – which encompass                    blue-footed boobies and graceful,                       islands of the Galapagos, and
     90 percent of the islands – are                    red-throated frigates, as well as                       A&K began offering adventure
     protected, but challenges remain,                  the huge albatrosses.                                   cruises there in 1989. As
                                                                                                                experts on small-ship cruising
                                                                                                                in destinations worldwide, A&K
                                                                                                                carefully matches the ship to the
                                                                                                                destination, choosing those that
                                                                                                                offer the best, most comfortable
                                                                                                                accommodations        and     most
                                                                                                                personal service, along with
                                                                                                                thoughtful itineraries planned by
                                                                                                                A&K’s award-winning expedition
                                                                                                                staff. Most importantly, Eclipse
                                                                                                                (A&K’s Galapagos ship of
                                                                                                                choice) has earned the Smart
                                                                                                                Voyager green seal of approval in
                                                                                                                recognition of environmentally-
                                                                                                                sensitive operating practices.”
                                                                                                                    Margarita Sanchez oversees
                                                                                    (Photo by: J.S. Fletcher)
                                                                                                                A&K’s      Ecuador     operations.
       Guests stop for a chat during the long climb up the walkway overlooking the moonlike landscape of        She loves visitors’ reactions
      the Galapagos’ Bartolome Island. Those who reach the top are rewarded with a stunning view of the         to the Galapagos, which is
                                      Galapagos landmark Pinnacle Rock.                                         A&K’s second-most requested
     like keeping tourism, fishing,                         Our Charles Darwin Research                         destination after African safaris.
     residential needs and natural                      Station stop on Santa Cruz                                  The islands have likewise
     resources all in balance.                          Island gave us a great photo op                         inspired her personally. “It’s a
         Guests are only allowed to                     alongside the islands’ best known                       very unique place in the world. It
     tour islands and view the wildlife                 creatures, the giant tortoises. (The                    not only helps you connect with
     with an official naturalist guide                  name Galapagos comes from the                           the world and nature but helps
     and only walk on marked paths,                     Spanish for “saddle” after the                          you connect with yourself. After
     adhering to National Park Service                  saddle-backed tortoises.)                               (visiting) Galapagos, I learned
     rules. Each guest also pays a $100                     The bright red Sally Lightfoot                      to value silence a lot more. In
     park fee. Eclipse allotted one                     crabs made for stunning photos                          Fernandina, for instance, you
     guide per 12 passengers making                     against the black volcanic rocks.                       have to be careful not to step on
     our excursions personalized.                           Then, there are the sea lions.                      the iguanas. That experience you                               Educomp the Largest Education Services Company in India,
         What strikes us as amazing                     Everyone, us included, fell in love                     don’t find anywhere else in the
     is just how close you can get to                   with these sweet-faced creatures,                       world. You really learn to respect                             brings to you Le Mont High School, Lavasa, where the
     all these animals because they                     especially the young ones we                            the animals, respect the rules. I                              entire city is your child's classroom.
     express no fear of people.                         stood alongside on the beautiful,                       think to us as tour operators, we
         We snorkeled daily with                        red-sand beach on Rabida Island.                        would like to have more people                                 Le Mont High is a co-educational, residential school following
     playful sea lions, bullet-fast                     One photo buff sat next to a                            coming, but as Ecuadorians, we                                 international curriculum, opening its first academic session for
     penguins, gentle golden rays and                   young pair, and the more curious                        want to protect it, so we are glad                             grades 4th - 9th in August, 2011, expanding to the IBDP in 2012.
     dozens of sea turtles.                             one came over to sniff his sandals.                     there is the National Park and all
         Birders delighted in spotting                      Galapagos      visitors      are                    the rules.”
     the Galapagos mockingbird, hawk                    expected to reach 180,000 this                              Charles     Darwin’s      1835
     and dove; pelicans and herons;                     year, nearly three times the                            Galapagos visit and subsequent            T: +91-20-64730110      E:              W:
     the Nazca boobie, flightless                       61,000 who came in 2000.                                book “The Origin of the Species”
     cormorant, and swallow-tailed                          Pamela Lassers, who handles                         helped put the area on the
     gull; though the “big get,” the                    media relations for Abercrombie                         map. November marked the

22                                                                                                                             The International Indian

     book’s 150th anniversary. Due to                           dishes like fresh ceviche with                         Our island visits that created                  IF YOU’RE GOING                cruise excursion options can include a tour of Old Town, a day trip to
     strong conservation and strict                             popcorn, baked pork leg, baked                     lasting memories were Santa                    Cruising: Abercrombie &             the popular handicraft region of Otavalo, and the chance to set foot
     regulations, most of the endemic                           turkey, fried corn, Cassava/yucca                  Cruz, home to the Charles Darwin           Kent regularly offers Galapagos         on the equator - and watch a demonstration on how draining water
     wildlife and fauna Darwin outlined                         muchin (similar to hushpuppies),                   Research Center; lava-crusted              sailings on the MV Eclipse              reverses direction when moved from just north of the line to south of
     in his studies remain visible today.                       potato patties with peanut                         Bartolome, with its climb up 372           featuring 27 spacious cabins, all       the line - really. A monument and museum mark the spot as “la mitad
         In one of her on-board                                 sauce, plus fish in coconut sauce,                 steps for the best viewing point of
                                                                                                                                                              with outside sea views, private         del mundo, the middle of the world.”
     lectures, naturalist Ivonne Torres,                        rice with lentils and cheese,                      the Galapagos landmark Pinnacle
     who happens to be married to a                             and mote pillo (white corn with                    Rock; the stunning, red-sand beach         baths and air conditioning.
     local fisherman, said, “I have a lot                       scrambled eggs).                                   on Rabida; finding land iguana on          Ship amenities include a hot
     of faith in the Galapagos and how                              An unexpected deck party                       Isabela Island and spotting blue-          tub, lending library of books
     we’re managing it. We’ve only                              proved lively when a five-some                     footed boobies on a cliff above            and DVDs, lounge, two bars,
     lost five percent of our endemic                           of cooks and waiters and even                      a cave reached by panga; black,            a pair of elliptical machines,
                                                                                                                   volcanic rock Fernandina, with             complimentary wine at lunch and
                                                                                                                   all those iguanas, and, on its far         dinner, and free services from
                                                                                                                   side, an active volcano providing a        the ship’s doctor. Details: www.
                                                                                                                   white smoke plume in the distance
                                                                                                                   and a far-off red glow at night; and                FLIGHTS/HOTELS
                                                                                                                   finally Espanola’s dreamy, white-
                                                                                                                                                                  All of the three daily flights to
                                                                                                                   sand beach filled with friendly
                                                                                                                   (mostly) sea lions in aquamarine           the Galapagos Islands originate
                                                                                                                   surf, plus a trek here to see boobie       from mainland Ecuador’s capital
                                                                                                                   colonies, a blow hole and the              of Quito, a city of nearly two
                                                                                                                   unforgettable mating dance of the          million and a UNESCO cultural
                                                                                                                   waved albatross.                           heritage       site     (www.quito.
     (Photo by: J.S. Fletcher)
        The mating dance of the Waved Albatross on the island of Española, their only nesting place, is a                                                     com), and from its largest city,
       sight visitors never forget. Another highlight is seeing the giant tortoises Galapagos is so known for at                                              Guayaquil. Quito flights pass           (Photo by Eclipse staff)
     the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. Charles Darwin’s 1835 Galapagos visit                                                          through Guayaquil. Flights arrive
                and subsequent book ‘The Origin of Species’ brought this area worldwide attention.                                                                                                    Eclipse guests get an unexpected suprise on their way back to the ship - the chance to photograph playful dolphins.
                                                                                                                                                              at one of the islands’ two airports
     flora and fauna. Tourists visit less                       the ship’s photographer                                                                       - Baltra or San Cristobal. Two
     than one percent of the marine                             performed. This volunteer
                                                                                                                                                              airlines serve the islands: Aerogal        ADD-ON
     reserve, so there’s a small impact.”                       group calls itself “La Yapa,”                                                                                                                Must: Peru’s Machu Picchu - “This combination
         The naturalists are the experts                        Spanish for “something                                                                        and Tame.
                                                                                                                                                                  For Quito accommodations,              of Galapagos and Machu Picchu is a success,”
     who get you up close and tell                              extra.” Passengers raved
     you what you’re seeing on their                            over their gift of music,                                                                     check out the beautifully                  promises A&K’s Margarita Sanchez. She’s so right.
     islands (they freelance from ship                          which            commanded                                                                    appointed         Plaza       Grande           When To Go: There are different wildlife
     to ship). Ours were outstanding:                           a      second,       farewell                                                                 (                 highlights different months of the year in the
     Javier Cando, Charly Malo, Ivonne                          performance.                                                                                  overlooking the city square, Plaza         Galapagos. Naturalist Charly Malo suggests
     Torres and Cati Iturralde.                                    An      on-deck,     night                                                                 de la Independencia, in popular            “any month but March - March is the hottest. In
         Days aboard the Eclipse                                lecture on the explosion                                                                      Old Town. The dining room is
     include early-morning outings                              of stars had naturalists
                                                                                                                                                                                                         January, there’s the mating of the land iguanas;
                                                                                                                                                              positioned with lovely balconies           September through November, baby sea lions are
     (before the sun heats up and                               pointing out the Southern                                                                     for people watching, and dinner
     the animals retreat) for hikes,                            Cross       and     southern                                                                                                             born; in December, you see albatross with babies
                                                                                                                                                              includes operatic serenades.
     birdwatching, kayaking or panga                            hemisphere constellations.
                                                                                                                                                                  The Plaza Grande’s sister
                                                                                                                                                                                                         ... For me, I like May and June. June, July and
     tours (inflatable boats for going                             The passengers were
                                                                                                                                                              property, the five-star Swissotel          August is high season. March and September are
     ashore), then lunch back aboard                            a jolly lot, too - 48 in all -                                                                                                           low season.” More families come with children, of
     and free time, followed by an                              about half Americans and (Photo by: Kathy M. Newbern)                                         (,
     afternoon excursion, which is                              half Brits, so language was                                                                   has five restaurants, an Amrita            course, when school’s out.
     often a snorkel opportunity.                               never a barrier. The sole On Espanola Island, Gardner Bay’s dreamy beach is a great           Spa and executive level service
     The ship provides free wetsuits,                           German couple managed place to spot sea lions in the aquamarine surf and on the               (included for A&K guests) with
                                                                                                              powdery white sand.
     snorkel masks and fins.                                    to communicate with their                                                                     gorgeous views of a distant                     U.S. based, award-winning travel writers Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher write
         On-deck breakfast and lunch                            spotty English and, like all of us,      We were waving goodbye                               volcano and the city.                       about luxury, spas, cruising and romantic destinations worldwide when not operating their
     buffets were a hit, including the                          big smiles brought on by all that far too soon to the fascinating                                 Pre-Cruise Tours: A&K pre-          personalized romance novel company,, where they put you in the middle of the
     Ecuadorian luncheon of native                              the Galapagos offers.               islands of the Galapagos.                                                                                                                 romance and adventure by starring in your own book.

24                                                                                                                                 The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                                                      25
              Reader s Trip Advice

                                             Go To Vietnam
     VIETNAM: Ties to ancient India, dense jungles, a maze of
     waterways, mountains with towering cliffs, hairpin bends. Take a
     boat on the Mekong Delta, local air connections are affordable.
     Keep it simple or make it special, says veteran traveller S. Sinha.

                                                                                                        US$ 44 for a superior Double
                                                                                                        Bed room including breakfast.
                                                                                                        RESTAURANT:The ‘Blue Ginger’
                                                                                                        in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly
                                                                                                        Saigon). Specialty: Seafood
                                                                                                        Steamboat & Caramelized Pork.
                                                                                                        Live folk music. Main courses:
                                                                                                        From $2 - $6.
                                                                                                        SHOPPING: Silver jewellery is a
                                                                                                        good buy.
                                                                                                        CAUTION: Stick to bottled water;
                                                                                                        use sunscreen
                                                                                                        DON’T MISS: The Cu Chi tunnels
                                                                                                        where the Vietcong hid and
                                                                                                        fought the Americans
                                                                                                        UNIQUE: Vietnamese coffee is
                                                                                                        a must, similar to South Indian
     S. Sinha , Sales & Marketing manager of Thrifty Car Rental in Dubai seen at the Mi Son Temple in   filter coffee with its own flavour.
     Hoi An, a UNESCO world heritage site in Vietnam. An avid traveller, Sinha does two trips a year,   It is grown in the highlands of
                                    and highly recommends Vietnam.                                      Vietnam. Eat the local food,
                                                                                                        very tasty and budget friendly.
 WHO: S. Sinha, Sales &                               from the Vietnam War, steeped                     COSTS: All inclusive about
 Marketing Manager, Thrifty Car                       in history, has ancient India links.              US$ 100 per day for a 10 day
 Rental, Dubai, UAE                                   WHERE: Top destinations are:                      trip includes local air travel in
 WHAT: 10 day package tour to                         Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hoi An,                  Vietnam on Air Asia or Vietnam
 Vietnam                                              Hue and Halong Bay                                Airlines.
 WHEN: Two seasons in Saigon:                         HOW: We flew Oman Air and Air
 Always hot (average 82°F/28°C)                       Asia locally. Round trip ex Dubai
 and rainy season (May to                             is approx: US$ 1300, there are                                     TII invites contributions for
 November, and the dry season                         options, shop around.                                     ‘Reader’s Trip Advice’ a new series
                                                                                                                        to share holiday experiences.
 from December to April.                              GOOD HOTEL: Vien Dong, for                          Send details on your most recent trip to the
 WHY: Unique country recovering                       3-4 star accommodation, about                                Editor:

                                                 Ancient Temple                        Unesco Site                        Back To Basics
     Sinha’s Photos                                                                 Limestone Caves In
                                                                                       Ha Long Bay’
       Of Vietnam

26                                                                                                                          The International Indian

                                          A Family
                                          In Every Country
     The annual school hiatus - Summer breaks, October breaks,
     Christmas breaks and Easter breaks – often signal transitions;
     departures, goodbyes and heartbreaks, friends moving away, pink
     slips and uncertainties (given current times), graduations and moving
     on. Transition and change, ever present in our lives, was never more
     highlighted than when Aideen invited me to join a public speaking
     group - parents from school - all ascending the learning curve of
     standing up and speaking out - without fear, with confidence.

                                                                             By: Anita Thomas

                                                                             not ‘public speaking’?
                                                                                 The group of eight parents had
                                                                             chosen their topics independently.
                                                                             Interestingly, almost all of the
                                                                             themes had to do with the very
                                                                             essence of being an impermanent
                                                                             resident – transitions, stepping
                                                                             out of comfort zones, challenges,
                                                                             unwritten pages, chapters closed
                                                                             and chapters beginning.
                                                                                 Aideen held up Spencer
                                                                             Johnson’s book ‘Who Moved
                                                                             My Cheese?’ and proceeded to
                                                                             sketch the analogies between
                                                                             our personal calendar of desires
                                                                             - a different lifestyle, a job, a
                                                                             relationship, money, freedom,
                                                                             health,    recognition,   spiritual

             y first instinct was to      Aideen – friend and erstwhile      peace … or even public speaking
             say no, in alarm and         neighbour – and our shared         … and the simple story line of the
             consternation. And then in   history spanned leaking roofs,     book (of mice and men and what
     a rush, before I had time to think   feuding pets, a common gate,       happens when the cheese - aka
     it over, I emailed her a yes and     a marauding python, garage         comfort zones aka security aka
     took a deep breath.                  sales and some very interesting    certitudes - suddenly disappears).
         I said yes because it was        dinners and barbeques ... so why       The parallels were simple.

28                                                                                          The International Indian

         The reality of our lives,            of tentative roots; the providing of    (bring your passport, do you
     she said, is change, continual           stability while acknowledging the       need a visa? We’ll be back by
     change; difficult, uncomfortable,        impermanence … and the circle           dusk); Usman who home delivers
     frightening, sometimes all of it all     begins all over again.                  mutton; Richard who converts
     at the same time. Our community              On the flip side are the            photographs to canvas; Christine
     is, by its very definition, transitory   opportunities - and the time -          who alters clothes and Mr. Lim
     and at the beginning of a school         to build bridges spanning the           who drives children to school, but
     year, we are either moving our           familiar and newly found.               doesn’t speak English.
     families to a new country - or               Soon, it is a whole new                 Change, as Aideen suggested,
     continent - or some of our friends       family: Gina, who takes care of         can be difficult, uncomfortable
     or colleagues are. And we lose           home and kitchen, laundry and           and frightening - and sometimes
     them. New families arrive and we         pets; Mr. Chong, who massages           all of it altogether - but its glory
     welcome them; we accommodate             feet back to health; Denis who          and grace lies in the providential
     them in our lives.                       does odd jobs but is never on           discoveries of new families and
         Or, it is the time when our          time because he is probably             friends, all waiting to be found
     children have finished school            counselling prisoners; Desmond,         (before they get left behind),
     and are leaving home, continuing         who diffidently suggests organic        always just a heartbeat away.
     their education, not in a town or        ‘chicken poo’ for the red palms;
     city just a few hours drive away,        Mari, celebrating her fortieth with              Anita Thomas is a freelance writer
     but across continents. Australia,        a splash out lunch in Indonesia,            based in Singapore. Visit her website at
     Europe. Perhaps the Americas.            a couple of hours away by ferry
         Change, difficult, uncomfortable,
     frightening; sometimes all of it all
     at the same time. And we learn to                   TII India History Quiz!
     anticipate it, almost always pro
     actively. And when it happens,           TII launches a quiz on Indian history authored by Dr. VK Kapoor, a
     we embrace it. I was given a list        surgeon from Lucknow, UP, India who is currently working at the
     of topics and two minutes for            Zayed Military Hospital, Abu Dhabi UAE. Answers to the questions
     an impromptu delivery. A quote           can be found on Readers should
     from John Lilly found immediate          email their replies to by May 15, 2011.
     resonance: “Our only security is         Winners will recieve an exciting prize!
     our ability to change.”                              ANCIENT INDIA: Identify the correct answers!
         And our reality I wondered? It
     has to be our shared differences.                                            2. The river (starts in Tib
     Local or expatriate, resident or          1. A neolithic farming             Mansarovar Lake and flo near
     non-resident, visitor or native -         community (mud brick houses,       distance of 2,800 km to
                                                                                                              ws a
     the phases come and go and we             domestication of animals)          the Arabian Sea at Karac n
     are continually in flux; some more        existed around 6,500 BC at         Pakistan) around which
                                                                                                              hi in
     than others.                              a place on the Bolan river in     civilisation, with agricult
                                                                                                             an ancient
         ‘Impermanents’ aka impermanent         Baluchistan (present Pakistan)   backbone, existed aroun
                                                                                                            ure as its
     residents shoulder additional              – it was occupied until about    1,500 BC in the north-w
                                                                                                             d 3,000-
                                                2,500 BC:                                                  est of India:
     challenges - the guilt and the
     fact of ageing parents in distant                                           A. Ganga
     countries, adapting to different           A. Mehargarh                     B. Yamuna
     cultures and climates, myriad              B. Harappa                       C. Indus
     education systems, the absence of          C. Mohenjodaro                   D. Krishna
                                                D. Lothal                                                 s
     family support groups, the leaving
                                                3. Twin cities (population        4. One animal which wa to the
     behind of good friends, the need                                             believe d not to be known
                                                35,000-40,000 people) of an                              Indian
     to create comfort zones for the
                                                ancient Indian civilisation:      people of this ancient
     children and the family, multiple                                            civilisation:
     homes, the giving up of jobs, the
     learning of new languages, the             A. Harappa - Mohenjodaro
                                                B. Patliputra - Nalanda              A. Camel
     inexorable building of friendships                                              B. Dog
     and relationships, the putting down        C. Hastinapur - Indraprastha
                                                D. Taxila – Gandhar                  C. Cow
                                                                                     D. Horse
30                                                                                                       The International Indian

                We Could Have Lost
                                 The Taj Mahal
     The amazing story of one man’s fight to save the Taj Mahal from being lost
     forever to future generations!

     By: Marianne de Nazareth

               hen Jay Bajaj the man                                            toxic emissions from neighboring
               who made the famous                                              polluting industries. Mehta was
               documentary - “The                                               alarmed and outraged that the
     Man Who Saved the Taj Mahal”                                               Taj Mahal, one of the greatest
     on Mahesh Chander Mehta, the                                               symbols of love had what in
     lawyer and his fight to ‘save’ the                                         common parlance is known as
     Taj contacted me, I felt the story                                         “marble cancer.” And he realised
     just had to be told.                                                       that if allowed to continue, the
         It is a story about Mehta,                                             building would be lost forever to
     an extraordinary man who                                                   future generations.
     saved the Taj Mahal from                                                       His was a desperate fight with
     being destroyed by acid rain                                               the polluters in the courts and
     and pollution. A wonderful                                                 finally it took eleven long years
     story about one man who                                                    to make the ruling that brought
     stood up and fought single                                                 this landmark case to a successful
     handedly against an array of                                               conclusion. Talking to Mehta he
     overwhelming odds, a classic                                               said, “ I started learning more and
     David versus Goliath situation                                             more at that time about what
     which the world needs to                                                   atmospheric pollution meant,
                                          The Taj Mahal, Agra
     know. Subsequently Mehta                                                   because I was ignorant about the
     won the prestigious Goldman          visited the Taj Mahal just like any   pollution at that time. Only when
     Environmental Prize and the          other tourist. The monument           I came with a scientist to visit the
     coveted Ramon Magasaysay             was already 300 years old, and        whole area did I realize that the
     Award for Public Service (an         Mehta was shocked to see that         Mathura refinery, which is located
     award commonly known as              the beautiful white marble of         right next to the Taj Mahal,
     the alternative Nobel Prize).        the Taj Mahal had turned a sickly     was one of the major polluting
         A quick rewind to 1984 when      yellow due to acid rain. The          industries, apart from other
     MC Mehta, an advocate from           marble of the monument was            industries in the Taj Trapezium.”
     the Supreme Court of India           being ruined due to the very high         “The Taj Trapezium is a

32                                                                                              The International Indian

                                           faced with an opposing lobby who This was my first environment
                                           wanted the polluting industries to related case and it was a great
                                           continue. We however wanted the challenge at that time, because
                                           Mathura Refinery to change the Public Justice Litigation existed
                                           fuel they were using as experts but Environmental Litigation was
                                           including some Italians who knew nowhere on the scene.”
                                           marble suggested that as a remedy.          It took Mehta 12 years to fight
                                           The Government of India took a the case alone in the Supreme
                                           very stern stand, saying that it is Court of India and finally he won it.
                                           practically impossible to change The court ordered closure of several
                                           the fuel pattern of the Mathura polluting industries in the area
                                           Refinery, primarily because the unless they changed to clean fuel.
                                           nearest pipeline is about 400-500 This was a landmark judgement
                                           miles away and it would be a huge and changed the condition of the
                                           expenditure to change. We kept Taj almost immediately.
                                           trying to persuade the factories,           Justice          Kuldeep           Singh
                                           and finally to our great relief, the remembers, “It was the end of
                                           refinery agreed , if they were given December that they inaugurated
                                           3-4 years time, they might do it”     the gas in the Mathura refinery.
                                               Reverting back to Mehta he The result was that the pollution
     MC Mehta- 12 year long legal fight    revealed, “ When I filed this case came down from 800-900 kilos
     10,400 square kilometer area in       before the court and it was listed
     which there are 255 historical        for hearing, I got the shock of
     monuments which are nationally        my life, because the honourable
     protected and four world heritage     judges were not ready to listen
     sites. So it was not a question of    to the case. They said, “ The
     only saving the Taj Mahal, but        Government of India and the
     along with the Taj Mahal the          State Governments, should look
     whole city needed to survive.”        into whatever you are talking
         Justice Kuldip Singh, a former    about.” They all said India is a
     Supreme Court Judge who               poor country and already so
     presided over the case recalled       much has been spent on the
     the issue and said, “The Mathura      refinery and so the court was not
     refinery was generating about         interested in getting involved.
     800-900 kgs of carbon every           Then I said that in preparing this
     hour, and the totality of that was    case, I have taken six months,
     directed mainly towards the Taj.      more than 200 hours and this
     We called NEERI,( the National        honourable court is not hearing
     Environmental and Engineering         this case even for two minutes? I
     Institute ) to advise us and NEERI    said that I have one duty, where
     set up various inspection stations    as Your Lordships have two
     to examine the monument. They         duties. First, you are citizens of
     finally came out with a finding       this country and as citizens you       Justice Kuldeep Singh: Mathura refinery was
     that the Taj was actually in the      have a duty to protect the cultural spewing 800-900 kgs of carbon hourly at the Taj
     process of suffering with what        heritage and the environment of
     they called yellow cancer. If this    this country. You have failed in the per hour to just 87 kilos per hour
     pollution continued they said,        first duty; the second duty is to and that also stopped because
     probably, in another century the      deliver justice.                      experts suggested that they
     Taj might not be there.                   When they finally heard should have had some different
         “My only concern was to know      me, I argued for about 30-35 machinery to control further
     that the Taj Mahal, one of the most   minutes and then the presiding pollution.
     wonderful monuments in the world,     justice nodded and said, “Yes,                            Marianne de Nazareth is a
     should be protected. But I was        we will issue notices in this case.               freelance writer based in Bangalore

34                                                                                                       The International Indian
           Real Estate Focus

             Indian Real Estate:
                                                         Indian Real Estate:
                                                         An Outlook on
                                                         Industry Trends

                       On Comfortable Ground
                 An Outlook on Industry Trends

     “It is a comfortable feeling to know that you stand on your own
     ground. Land is about the only thing that can’t fly away.”
                       - Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle Of Barset

     By: Himadri Mayank and Abhishek Kiran Gupta

         fter one and a half                                                   of property rates slowed
         years     of     gradual                                              down considerably and was
         consolidation,       real                                             recorded to be stable across
  estate in India has fathomed                                                 most of the micro-markets
  its own comfortable ground,                                                  by end of the year. Despite
  and is poised to take a                                                      a rise in absorption levels
  giant leap in years to come.                                                 and stabilization of rents,
  While a differential pace                                                    construction     delays    have
  of strengthening is evident                                                  resulted in the deferment
  across sectors, geographies                                                  of supply of office projects
  and      segments,       several                                             across Indian cities. However,
  property market indicators                                                   upbeat over the tremendous
  point to the fact that the                                                   response in the residential
  industry has indeed bottomed                                                 sector,     developers       are
  out in the current cycle. The                                                increasingly focusing their
  various stakeholders in the                                                  energies on execution and
  entire supply chain – the                                                    delivery of office space, rather
  material        manufacturers,                                               than launching new ones.
  developers,            property      opportunities with pragmatism.             Overall, we believe that
  consultants, occupiers, investors                                         the year 2011 will be a strategic
  and policy makers, have all          Outlook: Office Real Estate          window of opportunity for
  emerged stronger and better             The commercial office sector      occupiers and investors, when
  primed than yesteryears. The         entered into a phase of gradual      rents and capital values in most
  year 2011 will usher a new decade    recovery in 2010, when firms         of the micro-markets would
  of opportunities for Indian real     began charting their expansion       be at their cyclical bottom and
  estate and the winners will be       plans, strategically assessing the   remain undervalued. Several
  those who balance caution with       abundant real estate options in      markets have already shown
  diligence evaluating all potential   the market. The rate of decline      signs of steady revival in terms

36                                                                                         The International Indian
             Real Estate Focus

     of strengthening of demand for          the purchasing power of home these projects are implemented
     office space as well as an increase     buyers in 2011, which will influence with design capacities for a
     in capital market transactions. The     the         absorption           Ultra Low Cost Housing by Private Developers
     year 2011 should see more wealth        dynamics      of    the
     being created across industries         residential sector. In
     in India, which will trickle down       2011, although select
     as demand for real estate. We           developers        would
     forecast the absorption of office       still launch premium
     space across the top seven cities       projects, the rate of
     of India to grow nearly 1.8 times       new supply in the
     from 19.6 million sq ft recorded in     segment is expected
     2009 to 35.7 million sq ft in 2011.1    to     remain    range-
                                             bound in the near
     Activity Radar for 2011                 term.
         Mumbai         would       leave
     Bangalore behind as the city with           Large       number
     the highest office stock by end         of launches would
     of 2011. Gurgaon is projected to        continue to be in the
     be leader in terms of demand for        range of INR 2,000-
     office space with 4 million sq ft of    3,000 per sq ft at the
     net absorption projected in 2011.       leapfrogged suburban locations         long term vision, these far flung
     Hyderabad and Pune are the only             Since 1Q09, more than 50%          areas could serve as alternate
     cities with a good mix of IT and        of the units that were launched        nodes to the city and help in
     IT SEZ projects in supply. Around       every quarter have been priced         decongesting the urban sprawls.
     10 million sq ft of office space will   less than INR 3,000 per sq ft          Several infrastructure initiatives
     become operational in Gurgaon           at the time of launch. Apart           are underway to connect these
     and Mumbai suburbs each during          from Mumbai and NCR-Delhi, a           leapfrogged locations with city
     2011, the highest among all the         majority of upcoming nodes of          centres and already developed
     micro-markets.                          residential growth in other cities     office locations. In 2011, residential
                                             are priced within this range. The      projects priced in the range
     Outlook: Residential Real Estate        current scenario has opened            of INR 2,000 – 3,000 per sq ft
         The       residential    sector     up new locations for residential       would continue to get launched
     continued its strong growth             development,        which      were    at these locations and should see
     trajectory in 2010, which it has        otherwise unattractive to the          increasing acceptance from the
     been treading from the second           Indian home buyer. The far flung       price sensitive home buyers.
     half of ‘09. Residential property       suburban locations, where land
     rates have attained the previous        is relatively inexpensive, have           Launch of Ultra Low Cost
     peaks of 2008 across several            witnessed the launch of these          (ULC) Housing by private
     markets. The year also saw an           aggressively priced projects.          developers – ‘Housing for all’
     increased number of launches in             This phenomenon known as              The ultra low cost housing
     the premium segment, mostly in          ‘leapfrogging’ is not new to real      (having a ticket size of less than
     the Mumbai market. Residential          estate but can have far reaching       INR 10 Lakhs), so far, has not
     property rates are likely to            implications. Initial nodes created    been fully embraced at a large
     continue their upward trajectory,       by leapfrogging lack in terms          scale by the private real estate
     albeit at a slower pace than 2010.      of social infrastructure, public       development players in India.
     We will continue to see rapid           services    and       entertainment    However, due to the large shortfall
     sale velocities in the affordable       options due to the absence of a        of housing units in this particular
     segment for projects which              threshold population to support        segment, the demand for housing
     are priced at or below market           these     amenities.       However,    units by the economically weaker
     averages. Likely hardening of           planned growth of infrastructure       sections remains high and the
     interest rates, coupled with            can provide tremendous impetus         segment is critical for increasing
     high inflationary pressures and         to residential and commercial          home ownership in India. With
     rising property rates, will impact      growth in these tertiary nuclei. If    the Government trying to gather

38                                                                                                   The International Indian
              Real Estate Focus

     momentum for the category                       cities since hitting trough during the IGBC Green Townships
     further with the theme – ‘Housing               mid-2009. This rapid reversion Rating System, a pilot version
     for All’, the real estate industry              to peak levels has been driven by of which has been launched,
     is expected to soon harness the                 a healthy absorption rate across should be beneficial at a larger
                                                                cities during 2H09 scale of certifying residential
           Quarterly Movement of Residential Capital Values
                                                                and 2010. However, townships.                  Interestingly,        the
                                                                developers       should sector has witnessed sustainable
                                                                be cautious against construction across segments,
                                                                further       aggressive be it value housing or premium
                                                                increments             in residential towers. We expect
                                                                residential rates which the trend to continue in future,
                                                                would push the sector as buyers become aware of the
                                                                to become overvalued. benefits of green buildings and
                                                                Stabilisation        and in turn developers look forward
                                                                wilting of absorption to market their products with a
                                                                rates have already green certification.
                                                                been witnessed in
                                                                certain markets. Also, Activity Radar for 2011
                                                                significant absorption          In Navi Mumbai, the approval
                                                                volumes in the initial of the new airport has brought
                                                                wave during 2009 forth a marked reaction on the
                                                                were taken up by residential space front, with
     massive opportunities of scale investors, who would be hawking several                               existing          residential
     and scope at the base of the an exit during 2011, which will projects in Panvel witnessing
     pyramid. Several developers further increase the available appreciation in less than a
     have already launched and built stock in the secondary market. week after the announcement.
     projects successfully in the The two-direction theory of Several land deals are on
     segment, which should be the price movement is likely to be the anvil for development of
     one to watch for during 2011.                   seen in the sector during 2011, hospitality, as the sector will
         Impact on affordability will wherein                     select    geographies gather a lot of activity when the
     influence the price and absorption would witness a rapid increase in airport becomes operational.
     dynamics Rapidly rising real residential rates due to improving The much awaited euphoria is
     estate rates is a cause of concern infrastructure,                  while Existing and Upcoming Residential Projects with IGBC Green
     for the money market regulators others would languish                                       Homes Rating in India
     in India, who have increased the due to an already
     Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and overvalued market.
     repo rates in tranches during 2010
     to tame liquidity and inflation. As Sustainability to gain
     a result, major banks increased focus as the industry
     the offered housing interest looks forward towards
     rates recently. The hardening of IGBC Green Homes
     interest rates coupled with rise standards
     in residential rates would impact                   Sustainability, which
     the decision of the home buyer, is already prominent in
     who is now dependent on rise the commercial sector,
     of income levels to offset the will gain focus in the
     diminished affordability.                       residential space as well
                                                     in the coming years.
     The two-direction theory of                     Indian Green Building
     price movement                                  Council (IGBC) recently rolled out expected to continue as the
         Average residential capital Green Homes, which is its first area has tremendous potential
     values have increased between rating programme, exclusively for real estate growth. Lower
     20-35% across a majority of Indian for the residential sector. Also, Parel has become the centre

40                                                                                                                The International Indian
             Real Estate Focus

     for luxury residential projects      south-east       (NIBM      Road,        Indian cities. Based out of Mumbai,
     in Mumbai with over USD 10           Hadapsar, Kondhwa) zones of              he also contributes towards
     billion (INR 45,000 crore) worth     Pune have seen considerable              regional and local research
     of residential projects under        activity during the last 2 years         publications covering economy,
     construction. With the location      and should remain active in the          sector analyses, market forecasts
     providing further opportunities      next year as well.                       and investment strategies.
     for growth due to available land        Hitec City and Gachibowli in             Abhishek Kiran Gupta, Head of
     parcels from auctioning of sick      Hyderabad have yet to register           Research & REIS leads the Jones
     mills, the location should be the    any significant growth of activity       Lang LaSalle India Research
     one to watch for during 2011.        and prices since 2008 due to             team and is based in Mumbai. He
         Noida (including Noida city,     the geo-political instability in         manages research operations on a
     Noida-Greater Noida Expressway,      the region. However, taking cues         Pan-India level and is responsible
     Noida Extension and Greater          from other markets of India, if          for the team’s outputs, including
     Noida) has been the dominant         stability exists in other spheres,       research reports such as topical
     leader in terms of residential       the locations should record              white papers, property market
     launches during 2010 and is          growth in 2011.                          digests and bespoke research
     expected to be the leader in                                                  projects based on specific client
     2011 as well. Apart from the         About the Authors                        requirements.
     large scale availability of land         Himadri Mayank, Manager,
     due to opening of new sectors,       Research & REIS joined Jones
     the metro rail connectivity to       Lang LaSalle India in July 2008
     Noida has increased the size of      and is responsible for managing
     its residential market multifold.    the quarterly research offering –
     However, investors should be         Real Estate Intelligence Service
     wary of the oversupply conditions    (REIS), which tracks, analyses and
     being built up in Noida due to       forecasts trends in office, retail and
     a massive influx of residential      residential property sectors for
     supply. Although the prime areas                                                                                        Indian Real Estate:
     of Gurgaon are saturated in terms      About Jones Lang LaSalle India
     of residential developments, the          Jones Lang LaSalle is India’s premiere and largest professional               An Outlook on
     future growth corridors are the       services firm specializing in real estate. With an extensive geographic           Industry Trends
     Golf Course Extension Road and        footprint across ten cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune,
     Dwarka – Gurgaon Expressway.          Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi, Chandigarh and Coimbatore)
     The National Highway-8 and            and a staff strength of over 3500, the firm provides investors,
     Sohna Road are also witnessing        developers, local corporates and multinational companies with a
     considerable residential activity.    comprehensive range of services including research, consultancy,
         In Bangalore, Hosur Road and      transactions, project and development services, integrated facility
     Bellary Road have witnessed           management, property and asset management, capital markets,
     high residential activity during      residential, hotels and retail advisory. For further information,
     the past two years and are            please visit
     expected to remain active in the          Real Estate Intelligence Service (REIS) India is a subscription
     coming years. While Hosur Road        based research service designed to provide you with cutting edge
     connects the city to Electronic       insights into India’s diverse and challenging real estate markets
     City, the Bellary Road connects       through collation, analysis and forecasts of property market
     to the new international airport.     indicators and trends across all major Indian markets across
         The southern suburbs of           various real estate asset classes - office, retail, residential.
     Chennai, including development            REIS empowers you with consistent and complete market
     along the Old Mahabalipuram           data and analyses for all real estate indicators by specific micro
     Road and Great Southern Trunk         markets. It is supplemented by value added services including
     Road should witness considerable      client briefings, presentations and rapid market updates.
     residential activity.                     For more details, contact: Himadri Mayank - himadri.mayank@
         The     north-west    (Wakad, or Abhishek Kiran Gupta -
     Pimple, Aundh Annexe) and

42                                                                                                The International Indian
         18 On Point • Indian Real Estate: An Outlook on Industry Trends and Regularity Policies

                       Real Estate Focus
         Opportunities in Retail Segments                                                           destination retailing, where retailers and even developers come
                                                                                                    together to partner in creating recreational shopping precincts.
         Destination Retailing
         Destination retailing in India is in its nascent stage of development,
                                                                                                    Luxury Retailing

                                                                                   The Puravankara Group                                                                                                                In fact many reasons. Kovai                     Contemporary and Indian                                                     standards. So drinking pure
         primarily due to unavailability of physical infrastructure to support
                                                                                                    Luxury retailing in India is limited to few luxury shopping centres,
         it. As transport infrastructure improves at urban locations, there are
         tremendous opportunities for destination retailing in the suburban
                                                                                                    select high street locations and five star hotels. Considering the
                                                                                                    consumer class of the country, the penetration is evidently shallow.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hills landscape is dotted with                  styled villas. The Slopes will be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            On Point • Indian Real Estate: An Outlook on Industry Trends and Regularity Policies   water straight out of the taps,
         and exurban locations. Clubbed with appropriate entertainment
                                                                                                    According to the 010 World Wealth Report by Capgemini, the                                                         a reputed higher secondary                      a separate gated community                                                  watching your children play in

         options such as multiplex, restaurants, gaming and even theme
     URAVANKARA                                                  was since
         parks, these destinations across the globe have struck success as a   1998,
                                                                                                    HNWI’s population in India was over 16,700 in 009, recording a
                                                                                               PURAVANKARA                                                                      Puravankara are also the                school,         multi-speciality                with Spanish, Contemporary                                                  a safe unpolluted environment,
                                                                                                    50.9% annual growth during the year. Several wealthy consumers
     established retailing (or experience retailing), in caters to the upper end of the
                                           in 1975,
         tourist hotspot. Indian shopping centres are already experimenting
                                                                                                    travel abroad for their luxury purchases, which exposes the lack        pioneers in starting India’s first real     hospital, strip malls, central                  and Indian style villas of sizes                                            breathing unadulterated air
    with the concepts of experiential
 response to provide lifestyle shopping experiences to the
    where they want        to the growing housing sector across various                             of suitable luxury destinations in the country. As of 010, there are
                                                                                                                                                                            estate privileges program, Purva            mall, a luxurious resort hotel                  2200, 2400 & 2800 sq. ft.                                                   at home and outside and a
 need for quality housing Emporio in Delhi, UB City of the Palladium (High Street It has
                                                                                                    only three shopping centres, which can be termed as luxury – DLF
                                                                      regions in Bangalore and country.                                                                     Privileges which was launched in            & spa, dedicated space for                         To manage this one-of-a                                                  robust back-up power setup
 and commercial space in with Phoenix) in Mumbai. in Bangalore, Chennai,
    Collabetition takes a leap of faith and enters a new paradigm the projects                                                                                              2004. Purva Privileges entitles             senior living, sports village,                  -kind mini city, Rakindo, the                                               is an everyday reality at Kovai
 metropolitan cities of India. Kochi and Coimbatore. The group                                                                                                              all Puravankara home owners to              and of course the picturesque                   promoters of Kovai Hills,                                                   Hills.
 Since then, the group has also has a presence in Colombo,                                                                                                                  an attractive referral program,             Kovai Hills Golf & Country club                 have formed a joint venture                                                     Kovai Hills is a flagship
 grown to be one of the leading Dubai, the United Kingdom and                                                                                                               concierge services and a host of            with a Golf Academy.                            with Weston Solutions, a                                                    project of Rakindo, world
 Real Estate Developers of the the United States.                                                                                                                           special offers.                                 To ensure that you enjoy an                 world leader in infrastructure                                              class       master      planners
 country, serving the needs                                              A wholly owned subsidiary,                                                                             The Puravankara Group has               incomparable lifestyle there                    management to ensure all                                                    and      developers.     Rakindo
 of a discerning clientele. Provident Housing Ltd. was                                                                                                                      the distinction of being awarded            are 3 types of habitats; The                    common utilities and facilities                                             is initiating a real estate
 PURAVANKARA is one of the established, to cater to the                                                                                                                     the Finaliste, international Prix d’        Highlands, The Links and The                    are maintained to the highest                                               revolution that does not
                                                                                                                                                                            Excellence – 1998 for its project           Slopes. The Highlands will                                                                                                     only bring international
                                                                                                                                                                            “Purva Park” in Bangalore.                  be 15,000 sq. Ft of ultra                                                                                                      architecture and amenities
                                                                                                                                                                            This award was for the group                luxury plug and play plots                                                                                                     to India, but one that
                                                                                                                                                                            residential category by FIABCI,             where you build your dream                                                                                                     brings the true meaning of
                                                                                                                                                                            Paris, the International Federation         home opening to the best                                                                                                       lifestyle, like pure air, clean
                                                                                                                                                                            of Real Estate. Two prestigious             views of the surrounding                                                                                                       water, hygienic habitats,
                                                                                                                                                                            projects, Purva Graces & Purva              hill ranges and the golf                                                                                                       good       roads,    peaceful
                                                                                                                                                                            Heights, received a PA 1 rating by          course sneaks up into                                                                                                          surrounding and a secure
                                                                                                                                                                            CRISIL.                                     your backyard. The Links                                                                                                       neighborhood.             Every
                                                                                                                                                                                With a land bank of over                will be 3500 - 4500 sq. ft                                                                                                     moment. Everyday.
                                                                                                                                                                            125 million sq ft, their efforts
                                                                                                                                                                            are channeled at developing
                                                                                                                                                                            exclusive and distinct living
                                                                                                                                                                            experiences for their valued                  Nyati Group: The Assurance Of Sound Values
                                                                                                                                                                            customers and building a

                                                                                                                                                                            future wherein PURAVANKARA                       or the Nyati Group, it’s                    awards and thousands of                                                    a wide spectrum of clients’
 most trusted names in the                                                                               growing demand for mid-                                            becomes a household name                         always about construction                   satisfied customers over the                                               needs, ranging from 1000 sq.
 Indian real estate market and                                                                           segment    housing.   Currently                                    across the country and is known             with care and value-based                        years. Their projects offer                                                ft. apartments to 5200 sq.
 also one of the highest CRISIL                                                                          two large projects comprising                                      worldwide for the development               deliveries. That’s why whether                   value for money, both for the                                              ft. ones. As a brand, Nyati
 rated-outstanding developers                                                                            of 5,500 units projects are                                        of a fine living environment with           they are building residences                     home seeker and the investor.                                              is already established and
 in India.                                                                                               being developed in Chennai and                                     highest quality and unmatched               or creating work and leisure                        Commenting on the current                                               respected. These projects
     An ISO 9001 Certified company                                                                       Bengaluru.                                                         value for money.                            spaces, they have made                           real estate scenario Harish                                                get that value attached to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        certain principles a way of                      Shroff,   General      Manager,                                            them too. All their projects
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        life. These include customer-                    Business Development, Nyati                                                are self-sufficient and are in
                                Kovai Hills From Rakindo Developers                                                                                                                                                     centric      planning
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        meticulous detailing; 100%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and                   Group, felt that the “real estate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         market     has become more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    good neighbourhoods with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    schools and other amenities,
                                                                                                   Global Lifestyle in a new mini city                                                                                  safe transactions and timely                     stable with realistic demands.                                             making these areas viable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        possession;        professional                  There is a lot of requirement                                              and most sought after. Also
     I magine a city where no
       massive skyscrapers block
     the lovely sunset; imagine a
                                                                                                            A golf themed Integrated
                                                                                                         Township on the foot hills of
                                                                                                         the mighty Western Ghats
                                                                                                                                                                            infrastructure that is mastered
                                                                                                                                                                            to perfection make this city,
                                                                                                                                                                            the most livable city in India.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        management systems and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        concern for the environment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         for middle segment housing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         which, in the days to come,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    with more than 300 clients
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    from the Middle East and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            These values make the                        shall constitute maximum                                                   Gulf regions, the Nyati group
     city where everything is within                                                                     in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu,                                         While polluting industries are              Nyati Group one of Pune’s                        number of projects”.                                                       looks after their total property
     walking distance and being                                                                          Kovai Hills is spread over                                         purposely kept away from this               premier real estate groups                          At present, the Nyati group                                             management like renting out
     stuck in traffic is unheard of;                                                                     1000 acres and is designed                                         mini city, the new economy                  and the company continues                        has four projects at advanced                                              their units and arrangement
     imagine a city with all modern                                                                      as an exclusive all-inclusive                                      industries related to IT and                to grow in stature and                           level of construction. The                                                 of home loans for NRI’s at
     trappings yet which sits in the                                                                     city. Varied living spaces                                         ITES will find due space here.              repute – validated by ISO                        major USP of all these projects                                            attractive terms from banks
     lap of nature without harming                                                                       matching individual styles                                             It is pegged as the exclusive           certifications,      numerous                    is that Nyati is catering to                                               and financial institutions.
     it; imagine Kovai Hills.                                                                            and preferences coupled with                                       all-inclusive city for a reason.

44                                                                                                                                                                                           The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                                                     45

                                             The Case                                                                     instruments. Equity linked mutual
                                                                                                                          funds are tax free and if held for
                                                                                                                          over a year, are not even charged
                                                                                                                                                                  savings account with a higher but
                                                                                                                                                                  not guaranteed rate of interest.
                                                                                                                                                                  It was created as an avenue
                                                                                                                                                                                                        mutual funds fall less while when
                                                                                                                                                                                                        the market rises mutual funds
                                                                                                                                                                                                        enjoy a higher growth compared

                                                              For India
                                                                                                                          exit load fees. Also, gone are the      for the average person to get         to its benchmarks. While this is
                                                                                                                          days when mutual funds would            involved in the market without        not true of all mutual funds, like
                                                                                                                          charge services first and cut a         investing huge sums of money          every product, choosing one that
                                                                                                                          fraction of your capital. Today,        or monitoring the market on a         is the right fit for the investor is
                                                                                                                          every paisa you put in is reflected     day to day basis. It is essentially   vital.
                                                                                                                          on your statement.                      a collective pool of money from           Now consider mutual funds
                                                                                                                              As a result of all the scandals     thousands of investors controlled     in India. Every paisa you invest is
     It’s time for the average NRI to take a cue from world superpowers                                                   coming out in India it is only          by a fund manager. While the          reflected in your statement, and
     and realize that India is changing and will be one of the financial                                                  natural to worry about its effects      source of returns can vary from       the exit load is nil if withdrawn
                                                                                                                          on financial markets. India             fund to fund i.e. equity, debt,       after one year from investment
     markets ‘to be in’ the 21st century.                                                                                 strives for transparency but the        commodities, specific financial       date and there are no other
                                                                                                                          important aspect to note is that        sectors etc, the fundamentals are     charges. In the case of equity
                                                                                                                          with all the scandals coming to         still the same.                       mutual funds the returns are
                                                                                                                          light, action is being taken and
     By: Michael Steven Samuel                                                                                            the guilty do have to answer for
                                                                                                                          their crimes.
                                                                                                                              With the advent of online
                                                                                                                          banking, your money is at your
                                                                                                                          fingertips be it online share

           inancially         speaking,   that level of the average Indian to   that coined the acronym BRIC              trading or even redemption
           opportunities abound. Go       the boardrooms of India, multi-       (Brazil, Russia, India and China)         of mutual fund units.           Most
           to any metropolitan city       million dollar expansion plans        first outlined how India would            transactions can be completed
     and you will find people with        are being hashed out in order to      eventually overtake China in              using the Internet and the money
     a newfound sense of purpose;         cement India’s position as a force    terms of GDP growth. It is a              is in your bank account within a
     people for whom higher education     to be reckoned with on the world      well established fact that India          few working days depending on
     was out of reach are able to find    stage.                                is growing with a GDP growth              the instrument.
     the financial means to do so. From      Jim O Neill’s 2003 report          comparable to China already.                  Another major problem in
                                                                                It is only a matter of time               years past was the repatriation
                                                                                before India truly comes into             of money. It used to be extremely
                                                                                its own. NRIs have contributed            difficult to repatriate money that
                                                                                significantly to this growth, be it       was invested in India back to the
                                                                                supporting families at home to            current country of residence.
                                                                                expanding retirement property,            This process now requires a few
                                                                                that foreign exchange was vital           documents and an amount of up
                                                                                to our country’s development.             to one million dollars is repatriable      The advantages of a mutual         tax free and there are a number
                                                                                This column seeks to outline              every calendar year.                    fund are clear cut. Your money        of funds that have produced
                                                                                why India still is the best avenue                                                is managed by a professional          compounded annualized returns
                                                                                for investment returns with later         Mutual Funds                            and is adequately diversified.        above 20% year on year.
                                                                                editions keeping you up-to-date               In terms of what to invest in,      Furthermore,       MFs      enjoy         It is a new dawn and we stand
                                                                                as to what’s happening in Indian          assuming a risk averse investor,        economies of scale due to the         on the cusp of a phenomenon that
                                                                                markets.                                  who doesn’t have the time to            size of their orders and as a         all Indians have the opportunity
                                                                                    Typically speaking, NRIs tend         monitor his portfolio and is only       result transaction costs are          to be a part of, profit from and
                                                                                to invest abroad maximizing               interested in long term returns         significantly lower. Furthermore,     will bitterly regret not grasping in
                                                                                their gains while reducing their          with a fraction of his monthly          mutual funds are extremely liquid     later years.
                                                                                domestic tax liability. However,          income available for investment-        and can be encashed when the
                                                                                                                          the optimal vehicle for such an         need arises. Also, due to the               Michael Steven Samuel is a Wealth
                                                                                taxation is no longer the spectre                                                                                       Manager with Chhabria Seshadri Securities
                                                                                it once was especially when it            investor would be mutual funds.         active management involved
                                                                                                                          A mutual fund is essentially a          with mutual funds, if indices fall,      and holds a BA (Honours) in Business
                                                                                comes to investing in financial                                                                                            Finance from Durham University, UK

46                                                                                             The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                              47

                           Fortune Hotels
                                                                                                                                                 Thus, during the fiscal year
                                                                                                                                             2010 to 2011, Fortune Hotels saw
                                                                                                                                             the sweeping proliferation of
                                                                                                                                             hotels countrywide, with as many
                                                                                                                                             as 5000 Alliance Rooms and more

             Leveraging On The Power Of Spread                                                                                               than 2900 Operational Rooms.
                                                                                                                                             These comprised the opening of
                                                                                                                                             four new Fortune Hotels, Fortune
                                                                                                                                             Select Excalibur on Sohna Road
                                                                                                                                             in Gurgaon, Fortune Inn Exotica
     As India’s Fortune Hotels brand continues to leverage on its                                                                            at Hinjewadi in Pune, Fortune                                    Fortune Select JPCosmos, Bengaluru
     expansion mode, it makes sure that it does not compromise on its                                                                        Select Loudon in Kolkata and             of destinations and hotels. Going          well, because of its convenient
     exceptional quality and service.                                                                                                        Fortune JP Palace in Mysore.             with its trademark tag line ‘Let           locations, service quality and
                                                                                                                                             Plans are afoot to launch 2 new          Fortune Take You Places’, the              excellent      cuisine.    ‘Fortune
                                                                                                                                             hotels in New Delhi on M G Road          Fortune chain has become known             Holidays’ has been created
     By: A Staff Reporter                                                                                                                    and in Chhatarpur respectively, a        for its distinguished branding,            specifically for the domestic
                                                                                                                                             hotel in Manesar and the 2nd hotel       which is in ample evidence                 leisure segment. From beach

                                                              he Fortune Hotels brand              growing hotel chains in India,                                                                                                getaways and idyllic retreats, to
                                                              draws its strength from              catering to both the leisure and                                                                                              cultural sightseeing and historical
                                                              a     proud     lineage-ITC          business travelers. The recipient                                                                                             forays, ‘Fortune Holidays’ offer
                                                        Ltd., which is a pioneer in the            of many prestigious awards,                                                                                                   a variety of all-inclusive, family-
                                                        hospitality industry in India              and with its holistic approach                                                                                                friendly exciting holiday packages
                                                        with ITC-Welcomgroup, and its              towards growth, expansion and                                                                                                 at popular holiday destinations
                                                        ability to provide a distinctive           brand extensions, Fortune Hotels                                                                                              like Goa, Jaipur, Mussoorie,
                                                        experience to its customers.               is recognised by the industry as                                                                                              Lavasa, Darjeeling, Ooty, Port
                                                        The ITC brand has become                   a leading ‘First Class Full Service                                                                                           Blair, Tirupati, Madurai, Jammu,
                                                        synonymous        with     Indian          Business Hotel Chain’, with 63                                                                                                Kolkata & Mysore.
                                                        hospitality. As one of India’s             alliances and 37 operating hotels                                                                                                 The chain has been the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 recipient of numerous accolades
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 and awards - Hospitality India
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Award for the ‘Best First Class
                                                                                                                                                                        Fortune JP Palace, Mysore                                Hotel Chain 2006, 2008 and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 2009 & 2010’, the PATWA Award
                                                                                                                                             in Chennai. Also awaited eagerly         through its branded restaurants,           for the ‘Best First Class Business
                                                                                                                                             is the opening of the prestigious        chic décor, convenient service             Hotel Chain 2007’, the Abacus
                                                                                                                                             Fortune Select The Savoy in              design and sub-brands that cater           TAFI Award for the ‘Best Value
                                                                                                                                             Mussoorie that would target both         to different categories of guests.         Hotel Chain in India 2009’ and
                                                                                                                                             the domestic and international              The chain attracts a large              Safari India Award for the ‘Best
                                                                                                                                             market segment.                          number of leisure travellers as            First Class Hotel Chain’ in 2010.
                                                                                                                                                 Suresh Kumar, President,
                                                                                                                                             Fortune Park Hotels Ltd., says,
                                                                                                                                             “The Fortune Hotels brand comes
                                                                              Fortune Select Manohar, Hyderabad                              from solid stock-ITC Ltd.- the
                                                                                                                                             trailblazer in India’s hospitality
                                                        most dynamic hospitality chains,           across 47 cities.
                                                                                                                                             industry. The focus of the brand
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48                                                                                                                The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                              49
             East Meets West Parenting

         Arguing About Learning
                                                                                                                         friends with people who look         his darling daughter, the apple of   School In Japan). I was convinced
                                                                                                                         different from you.                  his eye. His opinion was shared by   that it was time for Maia to get
                                                                                                                             My husband was wise enough       the wise Junior School Principal     a good grasp of Japanese, and
                                                                                                                         to recognize that as the parent      at UNIS who urged me to let          besides, the cost of an English
                                                                                                                         who spent the most time with         Maia, one of the hardest working     education in Tokyo was half my
                                                                                                                         Maia, I knew what was best for       students she had ever seen, enjoy    husband’s annual net income—a
                                                                                                                         her. But there was one thing he      her well-deserved weekend.           price tag that was enough to
                                                                                                                         disagreed about, and that was            Faced with this two-pronged      persuade me that           Maia
                                                                                                                         the question of whether we
                                                                                                                         should teach Maia Japanese. The
                                                                                                                         arguments were even stranger
                    I started to doubt my decision to join the legions of                                                considering that he is 100%
                    Asian parents sending their children to Saturday                                                     made in Japan and Japanese
                    school, forcing them to master the language of their                                                 is his own mother tongue—
                    ancestors. I sought reassurance from my husband,                                                     literally. Japanese is the only
                                                                                                                         language his own mother
                    only to be chastised for being too hard on his darling                                               speaks!
                    daughter, the apple of his eye. His opinion was shared                                                   When Maia turned six, I
     by the wise Junior School Principal at UNIS who urged me to let                                                     signed her up for Japanese
     Maia, one of the hardest working students she had ever seen, enjoy                                                  school on Saturdays. We were
                                                                                                                         then living in Manhattan and
     her well-deserved weekend.                                                                                          Maia and I got on a school
                                                                                                                         bus that took us to a school in
                                                                                                                         Queens early in the morning
                                                                                                                         and drove us back home way
     By: Cynthia Lim                                                                                                     past noon. While most children
                                                                                                                         were sleeping in or enjoying
                                                                                                                         Saturday morning cartoons,

                                                                                                                         Maia was learning to read and
          ike most married couples,       don’t fight over who leaves the      never protested about changing            write the Japanese hiragana
          my husband and I argue.         toothpaste cap off, but we do        Maia’s dirty diapers. I convinced         alphabet.
          Our loudest arguments are       bicker endlessly about the right     him that the task of keeping                  Usually, Maia loved school.
     about—you guessed it—money,          room temperature. He’s quick to      Maia’s little bottom clean was            She enjoyed going to UNIS
     which is the number one reason       turn on the air conditioner in the   the essential first step to father-       (United Nations International
     all married couples fight. He        summer and I’m slow to turn on       daughter bonding.                         School) from Mondays to
                                                                                   There was nary a whimper              Fridays, but she clearly dreaded
                                                                               when I asked him to visit Maia’s
       Maia’s silence as we toured a nearby                                    kindergarten class and explain
                                                                                                                         Japanese school. She never
                                                                                                                         complained, but the bounce           opposition, I relented, and Maia     had learned enough English in
      Japanese school bothered me though.                                      what he, a diplomat, did in the           in her step was missing and so       never went to Saturday schools       New York.
        She was clearly frightened by her                                      office all day. While other dads
                                                                               talked about working with big
                                                                                                                         was her normal enthusiasm for        again. That did not mean I gave         She certainly knew enough to
                                                                                                                         learning.                            up on her learning Japanese. I       entertain our Japanese friends
       inability to speak Japanese fluently.                                   numbers on Wall Street, owning                I started to doubt my decision   merely chose to postpone the         and relatives who, dying to hear
                                                                               fleets of yellow taxis, or arguing        to join the legions of Asian         battle until we returned to Tokyo.   her American accent, constantly
     reminds me that we can’t take        the heater in the winter.            difficult cases in front of judges        parents sending their children to       The following year, we were       begged her to say something
     our savings to the grave. I retort      However, we rarely have           and juries, my husband kept his           Saturday school, forcing them        back in Tokyo, and while I           in English, as if she were a
     that we won’t have enough to         arguments about parenting. Much      presentation simple. He led many          to master the language of their      weighed the option of sending        performing parrot.
     buy our coffins.                     to the dismay of my mother-in-       young minds to believe that               ancestors. I sought reassurance      Maia to a local Japanese school,        Maia’s silence as we toured a
        Money’s not the only thing we     law, who thinks of child-rearing     world peace can be achieved by            from my husband, only to be          my husband was adamant that          nearby Japanese school bothered
     don’t see eye to eye about. We       as women’s work, my husband          shaking lots of hands and making          chastised for being too hard on      she should attend ASIJ (American     me though. She was clearly

50                                                                                            The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                  51
             East Meets West Parenting                                                                                                                                                                                      Impact

     frightened by her inability to
     speak Japanese fluently. Knowing
     that we would be leaving Tokyo
                                           after another I wrote her short
                                           stories using these characters. I
                                           snuck these stories into Maia’s
                                                                                  all. He knew. He had been to a
                                                                                  Japanese school all his life.
                                                                                      I never succeeded in changing
                                                                                                                                                Payback Time:
                                                                                                                                                       For Young Indian Pro’s
     again in a few years, I wondered if   lunch box for her to read at           my husband’s opinion, but
     my husband might be right in not      school. In response, my husband        I did manage to reverse the
     wanting her to zigzag between         nonchalantly commented that I          local government’s decision.
     two very different systems of         had too much time on my hands.         I threatened to sue—a trick I
     education.                                My husband never understood        learned from my friends in New
         Seeing Maia’s pretty little       why I vehemently insisted that         York—and to bring the case all
     face devoid of its usual zest and     Maia learn Japanese and I was          the way to the Supreme Court if
     enthusiasm for a new school,          completely bewildered by his           needed.                                           Over the last couple of years a welcome change has been taking
     I relented yet again and Maia         ambivalence towards Japanese. I            Japanese bureaucrats are
     started third grade at ASIJ.          fumed at his seeming lack of pride     notorious for being slow to
                                                                                                                                    place in India quietly and effectively, in the field of education. Young
         Despite this choice, Maia         for his own national language          change, but faced with a very                     men and women, fresh MBAs, junior and senior techies from well
     was unable to avoid studying          and his willingness to accept a        stubborn mother, they grudgingly                  know MNCs are all chipping in with a growing sense of awareness
     Japanese. As a Japanese citizen,      monolingual child!                     relented.                                         that they need to contribute their mite to society. They have a strong
     Maia was expected to know                 Our argument reached fever             My husband and I continue to
     Japanese.   She was promptly          pitch when I suggested that            argue, but at least we agree that                 belief they can make a difference.
     placed in a Japanese language         Maia spend a part of her summer        attending an American school
     class for native speakers. It was     vacation studying at the nearby        and      experiencing    Japanese
     a class full of Japanese students     Japanese school. Maia was eager        school both contributed to Maia’s
     who had never lived outside of        for the experience and the school      excellent education in English
     Japan, and unlike Maia, they knew     was prepared to welcome her,           and Japanese.                                     By: Shyamola Khanna
     all of their Japanese hiragana and    but the local government would
     katakana alphabets and a few          not hear of it. And my husband
     hundred Kanji characters, too!        agreed with them.                           Cynthia Lim has lived, studied, worked
                                                                                      and parented in more than a dozen cities

         Maia had a lot of catching up         They reasoned that enrolling
     to do and again my husband and        Maia at ASIJ made her completely        in four continents. Born in the Philippines,            little more than                                                             on providing breakfast while
                                                                                       she is of Chinese heritage - although she           four years ago in                                                            they would network and
     I argued. His idea of helping Maia    ineligible for Japanese education       has never been to China, unless you count a
     with her Japanese homework was        which was compulsory for nine                                                                   Bangalore, on a                                                              involve as many people from
                                                                                    few stopovers in Hong Kong - and is now a
     to read the Japanese newspaper        years for every Japanese child!           Japanese citizen living in New York City.      clear Sunday morning                                                                the IT fraternity as they
     beside her while she worked!          I countered that the last time I                                                         in January 2007 ten                                                                 could so that every Sunday,
     I, on the other hand, cooked          checked, Maia was Japanese.            She has a hard time answering the question,       software engineers found                                                            a little bit of sunshine could
     up ways to help her remember          She had a Japanese passport, for       “Where are you from?” She likes to think          themselves with nothing                                                             shine on one of the many
     complicated Kanji characters.         goodness’ sake. How could she              of herself as a nomad, or even a hermit       to do; bored, restless,                                                             shelters for orphans, the
         Ever heard of handmade Kanji      be ineligible? It was her right!         crab, toting her home around on her back.       they felt something was                                                             aged and the destitute.
     wallpaper?                                It did not matter that we were                                                       missing. They could do                                                                  By May 2007, they
         It guaranteed that Maia saw       paying local taxes and that Maia’s            Even while traveling all over the world,   more, something that                                                                registered the group as an
                                                                                           Cynthia was able to raise a fantastic    made them feel better                       Demonstrating activities to kids        NGO and called it Aashayein
     Kanji characters wherever she         Japanese and non-Japanese                      daughter - kind, easy-going, and with
     went in our tiny Tokyo apartment,     friends were brushing up on their                                                        in the deeper sense. They felt a      given because food is restricted.        Foundation. From the initial 10
                                                                                           admission offers from Harvard, Yale
     including the bathroom.               Japanese at local schools located           and Princeton, to boot! Right now, she’s     need to give something back to        When they got involved in                members they have now grown
         In order to catch up with her     in neighborhoods with large              looking forward to attending her daughter’s     society-but what could they do?       feeding poor orphans and saw             to an impressive 300 members in
     classmates, Maia had to learn         expat populations. It certainly felt          college graduation in the spring, but in   Where does one begin with these       the eager and happy smiles on            both Hyderabad and Bangalore.
     the 240 Kanji characters she had      like we were in a different Japan.         the meantime, she is keeping busy, taking     things? Where and how does one        the children’s faces when they              From providing breakfast,
     missed learning while we were             While I refused to give up         classes at the French Culinary Institute, and     take a step in the right direction?   were told they could eat without         Aashayein has come a long
     in New York—on her own time.          and explored ways to change             offering seminars on international parenting          The young engineers came         any restrictions, they knew they         way. They have grown in their
     While my husband lamented the         our local government’s thinking,                         and child-rearing in general.   from homes where meals were           had taken a step in the right            scope - and now help kids with
     unfairness of it all and reassured    my husband simply shook his                                                              taken for granted but this does       direction.                               their studies (shikshan abhiyan),
                                                                                   Read more East Meets West Parenting in           not happen in an orphanage               Within the month they                 sponsoring their textbooks and
     Maia that English was the             head, and confided in Maia that              The Washington Times Communities.
     universal language, one morning       Japanese school was not fun at                                                           where the items are counted and       decided their group would carry          stationery (pustak abhiyan), and

52                                                                                                    The International Indian      The International Indian                                                                                             53

     providing them breakfast. And all      of rote learning and not really             Maths and apply them to real life                                                                           tremendously and their       they have learnt to enter data
     of it is done on a voluntary basis.    understanding anything.                     situations.                                                                                                 families are happy at        for a market research company
     From their enormous network,              So while their classmates at                 There was one other thing                                                                               the change of status         in Kannada.  In Nagpur they
     youngsters are ready to not only       IIM(A) were mulling over pay                they were quite sure of – they                                                                              of their child - from a      are training to work within the
     sponsor the meal but are also                                                      were not going to live on                                                                                   helpless dependant to        intranet of Dinshaw’s Ice Cream
     ready to teach or help with the                                                    idealism, charity and donations!                                                                            an earning independent       entering data in three fields in
     textbooks etc.                                                                     They wanted to develop a viable                                                                             is a long jump!              Marathi, English and Hindi. 
         Coming from an IT background,                                                  business proposition that could                                                                                 The youngsters AMBA          AMBA has earned considerable
     one would expect their network                                                     sustain itself and not burn out                                                                             addresses  cannot go         recognition for its work. Sugandha
     to be powerful and they do not                                                     through lack of commitment.                                                                                 through formal education.    as the founder was awarded the
     disappoint. The group has been                                                     They      wanted to grow with                                                                               Therefore they are taken     Ashoka Fellowship in 2007 for
     recognized for its exceptional                                                     partners and employ more and                                                                                through a visual process     her initiative in conceiving and
     dedication to the cause and its                                                    more people in the future.                                                                                  of recognizing the keys      establishing AMBA CEEICs. The
     unbroken record - not one Sunday                                                       So after Little Flower High                    Rohan with yardstick fellowship program fellows          on a computer keyboard.      Ashoka fellowship is awarded to
     has gone by without something                                                      School in Hyderabad gave them                                                                               Gradually the degree of      social entrepreneurs who have
     happening at some orphanage                                                        the opportunity to work with their          (                     and difficulty of learning is increased        innovative and practical ideas
     or some poor government school                                                     first batch of kids in the month            you can see how it is buzzing till they are able to do effective                             for solving social problems. The
     in some basti or the other. If it is                                               of May and the response of kids             with job and internship offers, and accurate data entry work.                                organization believes in investing
     not a painting competition then                                                    and parents was overwhelmingly              and invitations to all and sundry There is no definite curriculum. At                        in social entrepreneurs worldwide,
     it is a marathon for the cause or                                                  positive, they knew they had a              to participate. The numbers times some of the individuals have                               who are practical visionaries with
     maybe a walk to gather funds for                                                   winning option. In the last few             are growing and recognition is taken over 2 years to complete                                the drive, creativity and potential
     the underprivileged or a sale of                                                   years they have evolved and                 pouring in from all quarters.                          the learning process sufficient       to bring about large-scale social
     Aashayein T-shirts to raise funds            Interactive activity based sessions   grown. Their basics are :                                                                          enough to complete a specific job     change.
     and awareness. They are proud of       packages and perks, these two                   Butterfly Fields (BF) is                Yardstick                                              effectively at the AMBA CEEIC.            The money has come in handy
     their journey so far!                  Hyderabadis were streamlining               developing its own games and                     A very recent entrant in the                          And who are the teachers?         for spreading AMBA’s module for
                                            how they could work out a                   fun exercises. Some of these                field, Yardstick is another group of From among their own - those                            learning and development across
     Butterfly Fields                       curriculum and through what                 have been patented and are on               youngsters who look at Butterfly who have graduated to working                               the country. As of today, AMBA
         Their logo says it all—Why         means they could make their                 their way to becoming regular               Fields as their seniors and effectively, also act as
     Crawl When You Can Fly?                ideas come alive                            commercial board games. This                mentors, rather than competition mentors to the new
         When you meet K. Sharat                The first thing they did was            earns them revenue. Some of the             because they are doing the same entrants.
     Chandra and Praveen Y, you get         to register their NGO Butterfly             brightest minds in IT are working           thing. Their purpose is to make
     this feeling that either you are       Fields in the year 2005.                    in their free time to realize their         Maths and Science interesting What the
     in the wrong place or they are!            They were quite sure of one             childhood dreams - create a                 and their motto ‘Celebrate youngsters do
     Both are IIT graduates and later,      thing - they were not going to              game where you can have loads               Children” spells out their focus.                            The computers
     class-mates at IIM (A) where they      start their own school. They                of fun.                                                                                            come      from      large
     opted out of placements and            would have to work in conjunction               BF works in tandem with                 AMBA CEEIC (Centers for the                            MNCs who are now
     chose to do something of their         with established schools where              schools that have registered for            Economic Empowerment of the                            partners in AMBA’s
     own. That feeling of optimism is       the infrastructure and the                  their special classes where kids            Intellectually Challenged )                            work. As for the
     reflected in their happy relaxed       students were already in place.             pay a little extra . This is where all           Sugandha Sukrutraj started work, the youngsters
     demeanour where they give you          Through many visits to schools,             their best efforts are pooled in.           AMBA through the sheer are printing receipts
     the feeling that they can talk for     toy shops, garages, puncture                    BF works after school hours in          compassion of her very generous within the intranet of                                       Yardstick fellowship program fellows
     hours on their pet project.            shops, book stores and through              their own centres dotted across             heart.      Making             a      mentally a telecommunications
         Both felt very strongly about      an in-depth study of various                the city where kids come in to              and       intellectually               disabled company;                       dispatching   is operating out of 16 cities and
     working in the field of education      curricula, they realized that the           play and experiment with the                young person economically newsletters for Intel and entering                                 has 26 collaborations in places
     because they believed not enough       best option for them would be to            toys that are freely available to           independent, has been her focus athletes’ details into the Games                             as far apart as Rohtak in Haryana
     is being done to make education        supplement school learning by               them. They are allowed to open              for many years. She has worked Management System of ‘Special                                 to Ujjain in MP and Nagpur in
     interesting – their main concern       encouraging hands on learning               up and reassemble toy cars and              with such kids and has brought Olympics Bharat’ covering all                                 Maharashtra.
     was with Maths and Science.            through “interactive activity               any other toys that take their              them up to such a level that the states and union territories
     They wanted kids to enjoy these        based sessions.” This would                 fancy - the kids have the freedom           many of them are earning a in India.   In Ujjain in MP , AMBA
     subjects instead of studying           help the child to appreciate the            to do as they please.                       small stipend and are very happy. members are doing data entry                                      Shyamola Khanna is a freelance writer
     them in the old fashioned way          fundamentals of Science and                     Take a peep at their website            Their self esteem has grown in Hindi and in Mandya village                                                         based in Hyderabad

54                                                                                                       The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                                55

                               Indian Hearts
                                                                                                                                          have high blood pressure and 20-             He explains there are two                       history of heart diseases.
                                                                                                                                          25 per cent have high cholesterol.       types of patients who visit a                           “Beyond the age of 30, a
                                                                                                                                              Smoking       is     dramatically    cardiologist. One is asymptomatic                   regular check up for Sugar and
                                                                                                                                          increasing amongst teenagers in          who has increased awareness of                      Lipids every 6 months with an ECG
                                                                                                                                          the 15 to 18 age bracket, figures        the ailment, but no symptoms of                     every year is a must,” cautions Dr
                                                                                                                                          that were not so high in the past.       the disease and the second type                     Sivadas. “60 per cent of heart

                                     Are More Vulnerable                                                                                      Dr       Michael
                                                                                                                                          Cardiologist, Khalifa Hospital,
                                                                                                                                          Abu Dhabi Healthcare Authority
                                                                                                                                                                         Khouri,   those who come with symptoms
                                                                                                                                                                                   like deep chest pain, nausea,
                                                                                                                                                                                   giddiness,         breathlessness,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       attack cases we get are diabetic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       and 40 per cent are hypertension
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       patients,” he observes.
                                                                                                                                          (HAAD),  laments that nearly 20          increased sweating and severe                           Stress and smoking too have
     Doctors say unlike Westerners who undergo periodic check ups after                                                                   percent of the heart patients            weakness.                                           compounded this problem and
     the age of forty, Indians wait for dangerous symptoms to begin.                                                                      coming to Khalifa Hospital were              Dr Jairam Aithal, Cardiologist                  pose as risk factors. “Youngsters
                                                                                                                                          unaware they had diabetes or             NMC, Abu Dhabi agrees with this                     these days have lofty aspirations
                                                                                                                                          hypertension or high cholesterol.        pattern of cases coming to him                      and work 14-16 hours a day, stay
     By: Deepa Ballal                                                                                                                     “There is lack of medical research       too on a daily basis. “Apart from                   away from family, smoke heavily,
                                                                                                                                          in the UAE because of the general        those with some signs of heart                      exercise less and rely totally on
                                                                                                                                          movement of people due to their          disease, now we even get to see                     restaurants for their meals. And
     Unexpected Heart Problem                                                                  them a new lease of life. A life           temporary nature of jobs and             people who have had some cases                      one day they pay a price for

         am 70 years old and a                                                                 that ensures they can see their            most of these studies are carried        of heart attack in close relatives,                 this kind of a lifestyle,” says Dr
         physician with an MBBS,                                                               kids grow, graduate, get married,          out over a period of time. Like in       visiting us for a check up. And                     Sivadas.
         MD from Mysore, working in                                                            celebrate birthdays, anniversaries         Asia and North Africa, smoking is                                                                “Apart from these, medical
     Dubai. I realized I could have a                                                          and be amidst family and friends           widely prevalent in the UAE and                                                              practitioners have now detected
     heart problem when my exercise                                                            sharing joys and sorrows.                  many people suffer from diabetes                                                             a new risk factor–Arrhythmia
     intolerance      was      gradually                                                           One in two deaths in the               and hypertension.” he added.                                                                 (abnormal  electrical activity  in
     increasing. I felt increasing                                                             UAE is by cardiovascular disease               They call it a life style disease.                                                       the  heart  where the heart beat
     fatigue in my legs especially when                                                        (CVDs). The  first cardio event            It has no barriers. Age, caste,                                                              may be too fast or too slow,
     I walked uphill. Many at this age                                                         occurs at around 45 years, which           creed, nationality, bank balance,                                                            and may be regular or irregular)
     would easily neglect this, thinking                                                       is 10 to 15 years earlier than the         what ever. A disease that can                                                                especially in youngsters,” he
     it could be age related fatigue. But                                                      international average of 55 to 60          strike youngsters as young as                                                                affirms.
     I being a doctor felt this needed                                                         years. According to the World              22 and those as old 70. Obesity,                                                                 Following is the alarming
     further evaluation as over a period                                                       Health Organization, by 2030,              sedentary lifestyle, affluence,                                                              prognosis (outcome after a
     I could feel increasing fatigue                                                           almost 23.6 million people will            decreased physical activity faulty                                                           heart attack) as observed by Dr
     in my legs though there was no                                                            die from cardiovascular diseases.          food habits, spending long hours                                                             Sivadas.
     chest discomfort. Earlier I knew       Mohammed Najeeb heart patient: Warning bachelors   CVDs are the number one cause              in front of the TV and computer                                                              • 15 per cent of the cases result
                                                    not to binge on unhealthy food.
     that I had dyslipedemia but I had                                                         of death globally.                         and devoting less time to burn                                                               in death within a few minutes
     stopped taking Statins for over a      Dhabi. Since my operation I                            Recently a medical symposium           the stored calories have in a way                                                            without medical care
     year. I had my own thinking that       have lost 4 kgs.    Now I regularly                (held at Grand Hyatt, Dubai)               paved the path for more than one                                                             • In 25 per cent of the cases
     being a nonsmoker, vegetarian          exercise and ensure that I eat less                headed by medical experts, Dr              disease.                                      Dr N P Sivadas, Specialist Cardiologist,       death occurs in 24 hours
     with an active life I would not        of oily food.                                      Michael Khouri, Dr Azan Binbrek                  Dr N P Sivadas, Specialist          Aster Medical Centre, Dubai: 60% of the patients   • 40 per cent of all heart attack
                                                                                                                                                                                                     come very late.
     be a candidate for heart vessel        90 Per cent Block                                  and Dr Jacques Genest (MD,                 Cardiologist,      Aster      Medical                                                        patients die in the first month
     block. But a CT Angio (diagnostic         I am 55 yrs old. I had a 90 per                 Faculty of Medicine, Canada),              Centre, Dubai,   sees 15 cases a day     this is a good sign of increasing                       80 per cent of survivors live
     standard for determining the           cent block in one of my arteries.                  highlighted this concern and               with people suffering from one           awareness,” he observes. Unlike                     for 1 year, 75 per cent for 5 years,
     presence, location and severity of     With an able cardiologist like Dr                  attributed the growing numbers             or the other kind of discomfort          Westerners       who      undergo                   50 per cent for 10 years and 25
     heart disease)  showed otherwise       Jairam Aithal, it was successfully                 to the general lack of awareness of        related to the heart. According to       periodic check up at 40 years of                    per cent for 20 years. These
     and indicated a 90 per cent block      treated. I was reborn on 10th May,                 the risk factors of cardiovascular         him, many patients suffering from        age, Indians wait for symptoms to                   statistics could have been less
     in LAD  (A major blood vessel          2010.                                              diseases that includes diabetes,           cardiac ailments are reluctant to        begin, he adds.                                     frightening had diet, exercise and
     called Left Anterior Descending).         These are unnerving accounts                    hypertension,           cholesterol,       come to the doctor and slight off            Though the age for screening                    periodic check ups become a
     High Cholesterol                       of people who have gone through                    smoking and wrong lifestyles. The          the discomfort as gas trouble.           for heart ailments for men is                       part of people’s lives.
         When I was 29 I was diagnosed      one of the toughest phases in                      experts noted that  UAE has the            “60%  of the patients come very          45-60 years and for women                               “The habit of having healthy
     with high cholesterol. And when I      their lives because of some kind                   second highest rate of diabetes            late. The severity of the case can       it is beyond 55 years (after                        food has to be inculcated at a
     was 55, a heart problem was first      of a heart ailment and are alive                   in the world where around 25 per           be drastically reduced if they           menopause), experts insist that                     very young age right from the
     detected. I underwent surgery          today. They can’t stop thanking                    cent of the population suffers             call on the doctor sooner,” he           this process will have to be done                   age of two. Sad but true that
     in November 2010 at NMC, Abu           their doctors who have given                       from this disease. 25 per cent             emphasizes.                              earlier if there exists a family                    these days one finds more of junk

56                                                                                                             The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                        57

     food like chips, cream biscuits                        which have significant amounts         exercise and a low fat, high fibre                       (BHF) ‘Mending Broken Hearts’                               reduce         cholesterol    in
     in the snack boxes of children                         of oil in them and include more        diet has now made him fit and                            campaign at a reception held                                the blood. It has already
     and less of nutritious food,”                          fruits and vegetables in their         confident. “I feel like playing                          at the British Consulate in                                 been         approved       and
     explains Pranita Anand Gavankar,                       diet,” says Dr Aithal.                 volleyball now, “says an ecstatic                        Dubai.    Commemorating        its                          widely used in the Gulf
                                                                 Yoga, meditation (to keep         Babu.” He has quit smoking and                           50th anniversary this year to                               region for several years.
                                                            the mind cool and calm), regular       alcohol.                                                 mark the incredible life-saving                             The new indication for
                                                            exercise (that helps open new             Babu considers this as a                              achievements it has made since                              Rosuvastatin is to reduce
                                                            blood vessels and increases HDL        rebirth and is happy that today                          1961, this event provided an                                risk of stroke, heart attack
                                                            or the good cholesterol), proper       his family and friends have                              opportunity to highlight the                                and           revascularization
                                                            diet that includes use of olive oil    become very health conscious.                            campaign and showcase artworks                              procedures in individuals
                                                            and most importantly spending          “Because of my sickness, today                           from some of the foremost                                   without evident heart
                                                            time with family and friends           my whole family is healthy,” says                        contemporary artists in the UK                              disease but with increased
                                                            helps reduce stress and ensures        Babu laughing. Being a social                            who have produced themed                                    risk of cardiovascular
                                                            healthier and happier lives,           worker and Vice President of                             original artworks in support of                             disease based on certain MK Babu: “Because of my sickness, today my whole family is healthy.”
                                                            according to Dr Sivadas.               the Kerala Social Centre, Abu                            the campaign. Over the years                                indicators. Previously such             the vital role the 300 gram, fist
                                                                 But why is leading a healthy      Dhabi, he has now initiated                              BHF has been instrumental in                                patients were not considered shaped organ, plays in supplying
                                                            life style so difficult? Why is it     many health related awareness                            funding some of the greatest                                eligible for the treatment.             every cell in the body with freshly
                                                            that exercise and healthy diets                                                                 breakthroughs in heart sciences                                  Nevertheless          what     all oxygenated blood. “One has
                                                            enter our lives only after a spate                                                              and their scientists believe that                           cardiologists             unanimously to salute this organ that beats
                                                            of illness or when doctors insist?                                                                                                                                     agree to is that in heart one hundred thousand times
                                                            The answer remains simple: Will                                                                                                                                        related diseases the and pumps gallons of blood
       Pranita Anand Gavankar, Dietician, Cedars            power. Many of us know that on                                                                                                                                         emphasis has to be on everyday,“ notes Dr Sivadas.
 International Hospital, Dubai: These days one finds more
                                                            any given day salads are better                                                                                                                                        the prevention part of it       “Take care of your heart and it
        of junk food in the snack boxes of children.                                                                                                                                                                               and not on the treatment. will take care of you,” sums up Dr
                                                            than french fries, yet we succumb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   A theory that they not Binbrek.
     Dietician, Cedars International                        to temptation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   only “preach” to their          And the best way to do it, is
     Hospital, Dubai.                                            “We primarily ask our patients
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   patients but practise to increase the HDL (High density
         Dr         Azan          Binbrek,                  to lose weight, do regular
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   it too. Despite keeping lipid or good cholesterol) in
     Consultant  Cardiologist, Rashid                       exercise and stop smoking. UAE                                                                                                                                         stressful work schedules, our body by way of exercising,
     Hospital, Dubai insists that schools                   still has a long way to go in the                                                                                                                                      they take time to care using monosaturated fats (like
     have a big role to play in planting                    prevention of cardiovascular                                                                                                                                           for their body and spend canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil)
     a healthy lifestyle in children.                       diseases because this is multi                                                                                                                                         time with their families.    including soluble fibre (found
     “Junk food outlets need to be                          disciplinary where it is the joint                                                                In the UK, artists have produced themed original artworks in support
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At 66, Dr Sivadas in fruits, vegetables, Oats)
                                                                                                                                                                         of the “Mending Broken Hearts” campaign.
     away from school premises and                          responsibility of the government                                                                                                                                       still follows a strict diet restricting red meat, including
     exercise should be made a part of                      and the media,” says  Dr Azan                                                                   with adequate funding, cardiac coupled with regular exercise. lean chicken and fish, in ones diet.
     their daily lives,” he explains.                       Binbrek .                                                                                       research will reach a point, in as Dr Aithal not only exercises 45                                     56 year old Mohammad
         “It is very important that the                          55 year old Babu, hailing from                                                             little as 10 years where mending minutes everyday but walks to Najeeb, a bank employee residing
     patient come with their spouse                         Kozikode in Kerala, landed in Abu      Dr Jairam Aithal, Cardiologist NMC, Abu Dhabi:
                                                                                                                                                            a damaged heart, while serious, work and takes the stairs instead in Abu Dhabi, underwent a heart
                                                                                                   Unlike Westerners, Indians wait for symptoms to begin.
     for medicines and follow up. This                      Dhabi in 1981. Initial years were                                                               may be no more challenging than of the lift. To this day he hasn’t surgery 5 months back and
     is because getting an angioplasty                      stressful and he gradually fell prey   programmes. An aspect which                              mending a broken leg.                                       bought a car and can’t stop today follows a strict diet regime.
     or a bypass operation is work                          to alcohol and cigarettes. “I was a    even Dr Binbrek considers                                      Research is ongoing in this acknowledging the benefits of Though he normally prefers to eat
     only half done. The rest depends                       good boy before coming here,”          to be extremely helpful.  “We                            field and governments are keen walking, a habit he picked up out, as his family is back in India,
     on lifestyle modification that                         chuckles Babu. His unhealthy           should play an active role in                            to help people fight the disease. during his tenure as a Cardiologist he is very choosy of what he eats
     includes proper diet, regular                          lifestyle soon invited diabetes. On    the community by promoting                               The Gulf Ministries of Health in Australia. It helped him lose 40 and cautions young bachelors
     exercise, adequate maintenance                         10th May 2010, Babu was in the         health awareness about diseases                          recently approved Rosuvastatin kgs over three years. “At home binging on fast food. “I see how
     of weight and a happy disposition.                     ICU, NMC, Abu Dhabi, after being       and their prevention, such as                            (chemical name of the medicine), we use 1 tsp oil for the whole day many of them eat Biriyani, Ghee
         The first thing I ask them to                      operated for a severe block in         cardiovascular diseases,” says Dr                        which reduces the risk of stroke, for 4 people,” he adds.                                           Rice, Kerala Parotta (contains
     do is reduce the intake of  oil                        one of his arteries. Despite being     Binbrek.                                                 and myocardial infarction (heart                                   Trust your heart is an oft Maida, egg and oil) Samosas,
     (coconut oil is abundantly used                        constantly told to see a doctor            Efforts are now on in Dubai to                       attack), following the approval quoted adage. And in this fried bananas, egg sandwiches
     by Indians coming from Kerala,                         by his wife, he kept postponing it     increase the awareness of CVDs.                          by the US Food and Drug scenario it couldn’t have been etc., from restaurants which is
     Karnataka and Tamil Nadu; it                           for nearly 3 months. Luckily Babu      Recently Dubai Healthcare City                           Administration (FDA) and EU more accurate. “People come not advisable as all these contain
     would be prudent to substitute                         survived and today celebrates          (DHCC), took a step forward in this                      Health Authorities. Rosuvastatin is back to us for they know a heart high quantities of fat,” he warns.
     that with    sunflower oil instead),                   each day as a gift. Periodic check     direction. It announced its support                      a lipid lowering drug that belongs problem would potentially kill                                             Deepa Ballal is a freelance writer
     stop eating papads and pickle                          up, proper medication, regular         for the British Heart Foundation’s                       to a class known as Statins that them,” says Dr Aithal emphasizing                                                         based in Dubai, UAE

58                                                                                                                          The International Indian        The International Indian                                                                                                                                59
             Guptara Garmagaram

                                                 The Cost Of
                                                                                                                            foreign products, between out of        Further, there is an obligation       and know-how transfers. Well, I
                                                                                                                            date and modern products, and           to substitute foreign engineers       have nothing against technology
                                                                                                                            between efficient and inefficient       with Indian ones!     That will       transfers that take place on a

                                                                                                                            products… which were all either         disadvantage foreign engineers        negotiated basis between Indian
                                                                                                                            instantly or very quickly available     who we should be welcoming,           and foreign companies, but our
                                                                                                                            to customers.                                                                            national policy should
                                                                                                                                 So      what       exactly                                                          not     force       foreign
                                                                                                                            are the trade rules and                                                                  companies to transfer
                                                                                                                            regulations        that    are                                                           technology - because
                                                                                                                            preventing so much                                                                       this simply discourages
                                                                                                                            money from flowing                                                                       foreign         companies
     As soon as the applicable rules and regulations were either removed                                                    in?         In addition to                                                               from doing business
     or changed to allow greater competition, Indian customers found                                                        high       import        costs,                                                          with India. In fact, our
                                                                                                                            there are “quantitative                                                                  national policy should
     that they had enormous choice between Indian and foreign products,                                                     restrictions” (that is,                                                                  not be concerned with
     between out of date and modern products, and between efficient and                                                     only a certain quantity                                                                  encouraging the import
     inefficient products… which were all either instantly or very quickly                                                  of a product can be                                                                      of foreign technology
     available to customers.                                                                                                imported         during       a                                                          which, at best, enables
                                                                                                                            specified time period,                                                                   us to catch up or
                                                                                                                            for example a year),                                                                     keep up with the rest
     By: Prabhu Guptara                                                                                                     “import licensing” (that                                                                 of the world. No, our
                                                                                                                            is licences are required                                                                 national policy should
                                                                                                                            before you can import                                                                    be concerned with

          here are many ways to            2011 published recently by the        When we talk about corruption,             something), “mandatory testing          and force companies to employ         encouraging and incentivizing our
          measure how much money           European Commission, the EU’s         we usually refer to bribery                and           certification” (totally   Indian engineers even if they are     own research and development,
          is being lost to our nation      executive body. That is of course     and fraud indulged in by our               unnecessary,          time-consuming,   poorly qualified. In any case, such   so that we come up with new
     through our corruption. Here is       only in relation to the EU. You can   politicians and bureaucrats.               energy-consuming and expensive          requirements are unprecedented        products and patents that lead
     one measure:                          and should add in the investment      However, protecting the big                tests for products, with final          internationally, and would limit      the world.
        In just four years, EU-India
                                           that could come into our country      business houses from foreign               issue of certificates before            foreign investments in India.             Finally, the report notes

     trade increased by 31% to over        from all the other countries in the   competition is a much more                 they can be imported), as well          Specifically in the telecoms          that, though there has been
     53 billion euro in 2009. Also,        world.                                significant sort of corruption             as “complicated and lengthy             field, such provisions are a step     “some improvement” in India’s
     since 2003, EU investment to             Anyway, according to this          because it enables existing                customs procedures”.                    backward – Indians saw the            intellectual     property       rights
                                                                                 Indian big businesses to continue               But which are the most             benefits of liberalization in this    enforcement            infrastructure,
                                                                                                                            important        “significant   trade   sector before we saw them in any      “there     are    still    significant
       There is an obligation to substitute                                      to disadvantage and exploit the
                                                                                 Indian consumer. That is why               irritants … which need to be            other sector.                         concerns about India’s response
       foreign engineers with Indian ones!                                       politicians, bureaucrats and
                                                                                 industrialists club together to
                                                                                                                                 First, there are licensing
                                                                                                                                                                        The report also points out
                                                                                                                                                                    that India does not comply with
                                                                                                                                                                                                          to counterfeiting and piracy.” In
                                                                                                                                                                                                          other words, we are still not doing
     India more than quadrupled to         Report, what’s stopping all these     try and prevent liberalization.            requirements, relating to new           international standards, and that     enough in these matters.
     3.1 billion euro in 2009. This is     thousands of European crores              We have seen the pros and              security provisions, that have          our country has an unpredictable          The good news is that, at
     because we liberalized some           from coming into our country?         cons of liberalization in one              been proposed. These would              environment for bidders.              least in relation to the EU, there
     areas of business.                    Simply our trade rules and            sector after another – telephones,         prevent non-Indian operators                Then,    India’s    investment    is a comprehensive free trade
         However, because we did not       regulations.                          computers,       scooters,     cars…       from bidding for telecoms               policy continues to hinder            agreement with India currently
     liberalise other areas of business,       Why do these trade rules and      Big Indian companies were                  projects. What are the proposed         foreign investments.          Many    being negotiated. If we don’t drag
     we are missing out on billions        regulations exist? In theory, to      exploiting their own people by             new requirements? Any foreign           important economic sectors            our heels as we usually do, it will be
     more.                                 protect India and Indians from        selling inefficient and out of date        company bidding for a telecoms          such as multi-brand retail remain     a great day for the average Indian.
         How many billions? The best       exploitation by foreign interests.    products at far too high a price,          project must get prior security         closed to foreign investment.
     available estimate is: between        In reality, most such rules and       by creating artificial scarcities. As      clearance (as if the greatest           This benefits Indian players            Professor Prabhu Guptara has written the
                                                                                                                            threat to India’s security is foreign   but disadvantages the Indian              above in an entirely private capacity, and
     9 and 19 billion euros. If we         regulations exist to provide          soon as the applicable rules and                                                                                            none of the above should be related in any
     took the midpoint figure of 14        bureaucrats the possibility of        regulations were either removed            companies! We all know very well        customer. Further, a series of
                                                                                                                                                                                                          way to any of the companies or organisations
     billion euros, that’s something       asking for bribes, and they           or changed to allow greater                that the greatest threat is our own     measures has been adopted to          with which he is now, or has in the past, been
     like 84,000 crore Indian rupees       exist to protect the big Indian       competition, Indian customers              lax security arrangements and           control foreign capital flows and                connected. His personal website is:
     That’s according to the Trade         companies owned and run by our        found that they had enormous               the corruption which makes such         ensure maximum benefit for local                 
     and Investment Barriers Report        elites, from foreign competition.     choice between Indian and                  arrangements easy to get past).         companies through technology          He blogs at:

60                                                                                               The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                   61

               What’s Your Cultural
                                                                                                                              how not to be in-your-face.                                                      As a woman now living in the
                                                                                                                                  In a city that I once lived, it was                                       Arab world, I’ve had to learn a
                                                                                                                              not uncommon for utter strangers                                              few new lessons myself. Of how
                                                                                                                              to come up and complement you                                                 not to stare at the handsome

                                    Competence Quotient?
                                                                                                                              on your looks; it was accepted                                                men who stride masterfully
                                                                                                                              with equal aplomb and both                                                    through the malls and streets of
                                                                                                                              parties walked away never to                                                  my city, looking magnifique in
                                                                                                                              meet again. Try that in, say Saudi                                            their flowing snowy white robes.
                                                                                                                              Arabia. You are so dead.                                                      Or how to not gawk at a woman
                                                                                                                                  In my family, the elders would                                            in a niqab trying to sip her latte
                                                                                                                              never stop asking when I was                                                  through a straw, while keeping
     “So your wife is black woman, eh....?” – asks an Indian Techie,                                                          getting married; and soon after                                               her face covered. Of how not
     taking a deep drag of his cigarette during the smoke break. Answer:                                                      that, it was why are you not                                                  to openly gape at an “Arabian
                                                                                                                              having children. Try that in the                                              Nights” setting of men in shisha
     awkward silence. The question would not have been so inappropriate                                                       western world, and you would be                                               cafes, relaxing with their buddies.
     if the setting had not been a city in the USA, the questioner a “brown                                                   a social outcast.                                                             For me acculturation is an
     skin” and the listener, a white guy. So what is wrong with this scene?                                                       In India, a head-hunter once                                              exciting work-in-progress. I learn
                                                                                                                              remarked to me that I was way                                                 from each new experience and I
     Just about everything, starting with how the person asking lacks                                                         too old for a job – buddy, if he                                              enrich my host city with my past
     cultural competency.                                                                                                     was in North America, I would                                                 knowledge; I get new world views
                                                                                                                              have slapped a discriminatory             tried very hard to make eye-        and discard fixed notions; I grow,
                                                                                                                              law suit on him!                          contact and greet my neighbors      I mature and I get better. And I
                                                                                                                                  Elsewhere in the world,               in Gulf elevators but met with      work on scoring the perfect CCQ.
     By: Neetha Raman                                                                                                         its common for complete                   no success. Obviously I am in a        How about you? Are you
                                                                                                                              strangers to greet each other             cultural disconnect. Regretfully,   there yet?
                                                                                                                              in the elevators and call out a           I fear to persist in case someone           Neetha Raman is a freelance writer

                                                                                                                              “have a nice day” greeting; I             thinks I am a stalker.                                   based in the UAE
        heard the incident as it was         you speak the Queen’s language        are confined by
        narrated to me by a friend           better than I do?                     geography and
        and could not help but cringe            So what’s your Cultural           ethnicity and our
     and apologize to everyone on            Competence Quotient? Are you          comfortable little                                                                                                  •	Half	acre	developed	plots	
     a fellow-Indian’s behalf. I’ve
     traveled around, lived and worked
                                             the Indian Techie, the White
                                             Canadian or someone more
                                                                                   boxes. Cultural
                                                                                   competency is                                   Own Land for as little                                                in	a	gated	community,	
                                                                                                                                                                                                         suitable	for	large	
     outside India for several years
     and had good manners instilled
     in me, so I can’t help cringe. On
                                             enlightened? In today’s world
                                             where borders are blurred, work
                                             places revel in advertising their
                                                                                   what sets you
                                                                                   apart from the
                                                                                   pack: it gives
                                                                                                                                   as AED 1.50 per sq. ft.                                               developments	
     behalf of the humankind out             ethnic diversities, and people        you brownie                                                                                  (approx.)              •	17	kms	from	Thuraiyur	
     there which so deplorably lacks in      call more than just one country       points at                                                                                                             town
     any form of cultural competency,        “home”, it is imperative that we      the work                                                                                                            •	45	kms	from	Trichy
     cultural sensitivity and cultural       get our act together on cultural      place, it is
              appropriateness, I cringe.     appropriateness.                      the deal-                                                                                                           •	28	kms	from	Perambalur

                  I can say this with            In India, HR Managers scramble    maker or                                                                                                            •	32	kms	from	GVK-SEZ
                  complete confidence:       to get their executives to attend     deal-breaker, it gives you the title
                  a lack of cultural         social skills programs and China      of “he’s an okay guy”, it opens
               competence is not the         works toward tutoring its teeming     doors to success and gets you
               prerogative of Indians        billions in English; Americans try    winning popularity polls.
             alone. Trust me. White          picking up the odd Hindi phrase          Yet, cultural competency                                                                                      
              Canadians have asked           and practice the Japanese bow         is not something we can learn
                me “How do you speak         in front of their mirrors while the   successfully in classrooms; most
                 such good English” –        British are recalling what they       of it comes from within - good                                                                     tallmme
                                                                                                                                                                                   Ins che e
                  the sub text being –       learnt from the natives in their      manners and a hefty dose of                                                                        S ilabl          Call	Now:	+97156	604	1084
                    how does a brown
                     half-pint native like
                                             erstwhile colonies.
                                                 But why? Because we no longer
                                                                                   common sense. And learning the
                                                                                   hard way what not to ask. And                                                                      Avaermss &pply
                                                                                                                                                                                          T    a
                                                                                                                                                                                                       	         +97150	389	8485
                                                                                                                                                                                         * i t ion
                                                                                                                                                                                          d            	         +97150	767	3318

62                                                                                                 The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                               63

                  The Sabarmati Train
                                                                                                                                       added ‘Kriya pratikriya ki chain         Rahman Dhantiya. At the time            who spent nine years in jail. A
                                                                                                                                       chal rahi hai. Hum chahte hain ki        of writing, it’s not known what         TEHELKA sting caught two of
                                                                                                                                       na kriya ho aur na pratikriya (This      exactly the court has found them        these BJP men admitting on
                                                                                                                                       is a chain of action and reaction.       guilty of. The court will deliver its   camera they were actually at
                                                                                                                                       We want both the action and              full judgment on February 25.           home that day and the police

                                                                     Burning Case                                                      reaction to stop)’ — justifying the
                                                                                                                                       post-Godhra pogrom as a sequel
                                                                                                                                       to the train carnage.
                                                                                                                                                                                    In truth, Maulvi Umarji and
                                                                                                                                                                                Kalota’s acquittal, combined
                                                                                                                                                                                with the large number of other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fabricated their statements. They
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        went along to “serve the cause
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        of Hindutva”. The judge has now
                                                                                                                                           Modi had thus pronounced             acquittals, has knocked the             discarded all nine testimonies
                                                                                                                                       his verdict on the nature of the         bottom out of the prosecution’s
     The horrific burning of 59 Hindus in coach S-6 of the Sabarmati
     Express at Godhra on 27 February 2002 and the deadly Muslim
                                                                                                                                       Godhra incident even before
                                                                                                                                       the investigation had begun.
                                                                                                                                       Accordingly, on 3 March 2002,
                                                                                                                                                                                argument that the conspiracy
                                                                                                                                                                                was hatched by the political and
                                                                                                                                                                                religious leaders of the Muslim
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2   Ajay Baria, a Hindu vendor,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            forced into the plot, saw it all

     pogrom that followed is one of the worst ruptures in recent Indian                                                                the stringent anti-terror law POTA       community in Godhra.                    Judge Patel has relied hugely
                                                                                                                                       was invoked and the Godhra case              In a significant and shaming        on Baria’s account. But why
     history. It is imperative, therefore, to understand the flawed nature                                                             morphed into an act of terrorism.        move, the judge has also                would Muslim conspirators pick
     of the verdict on the Godhra carnage that was handed out by Judge                                                                 But since mob fury could not             discarded the testimonies of nine       a Hindu man at the last minute
     PR Patel on 22 February 2011.                                                                                                     pass muster as terrorism without         BJP men, who had falsely accused        to help load the petrol and burn
                                                                                                                                       introducing the element of               41 innocent Muslims, as being           the train? TEHELKA tried to
                                                                                                                                       conspiracy, six days after POTA          extremely unreliable. Among the         track him but failed. His mother
                                                                                                                                       was invoked, on 9 March, the             41 accused by them were Kalota,         said he had been coerced into
     By: Ashish Khetan                                                                                                                 police invoked section 120(b)            four Muslim corporators — Haji,         becoming a police witness and
                                                                                                                                       of the Indian Penal Code, which          Bhana, Shaikh and Dhantiya —            lived under constant police
                                                                                                                                       pertains to criminal conspiracy.         and two advocates — Hathila and         surveillance.

                                                                                                                                           In the course of the next few        Karim Shaikh.

             his verdict has far- the prosecution’s point of view: his arrest.                                                         weeks, in addition to Kalota and             It’s important to recall that,          Two petrol pump attendants
             reaching      implications. Maulvi Umarji and Mohammad                                According to the prosecution,       Umarji, six other respectable            in its 2007 sting investigation             who claim they sold 140
             Over the past few days, Hussain Kalota. Both Umarji Umarji had instructed his co-                                         members of the Muslim community          (The Truth about Gujarat 2002),         litres of fuel to some Muslims
     the media has been                                                                                accused to burn coach S-6       in Godhra were charged with              TEHELKA had exposed that                on 26 Feb
     reporting how the verdict                                                                         and it was at his behest        terrorism. Four were corporators         these nine BJP men who were
     up- holds the idea that the                                                                       that the entire conspiracy      of the municipal council — Bilal         cited as eyewitnesses were, in          Ranjitsinh and Pratapsinh Patel
     carnage at Godhra was a                                                                           was hatched. Kalota, who        Haji, Farooq Mohammad Bhana,             fact, not even present at the           had first told the police that they
     premeditated conspiracy.                                                                          did not figure in the core      Salim Shaikh and Abdul Rahman            scene of crime. They had been           had not sold any loose petrol
     But the facts are much                                                                            group of conspirators, was      Dhantiya. Two were advocates             asked to give false testimonies         that crucial night. In a shocking
     more complicated. And                                                                             accused by the police of        — Rol Amin Hussain Hathila and           by the police to further the Modi       turnaround, six months later,
     darker. There was indeed                                                                          inciting the violent mob        Habib Karim Shaikh.                      government’s communal and               they changed their version.
     a conspiracy: but of an                                                                           once it was assembled.              To establish the culpability of      political agenda, and they had          However, TEHELKA caught
     entirely different kind.                                                                              On the day of carnage,      Muslims cutting across social and        gone along to “serve the cause of       Ranjitsinh admitting on camera
     This is the story of how it                                                                       the Gujarat government          economic strata, the police also         Hindutva”.                              that he and Pratap had been
     played out.                                                                                       had issued a press release      booked 134 Muslims of varying                                                    bribed 50,000 by police officer
          On      February      22,                                                                    calling the Godhra incident     descriptions. Of these, only 94          THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LIES                Noel Parmar to do that. He
     Judge PR Patel walked                                                                             an act of “terror”. Two         were tried (17 went absconding,          OF GODHRA                               also tutored them to identify
     into a packed courtroom Seeking truth: Judge PR Patel during his visit to the Godhra carnage site days later, Modi had made       13 were released for lack of                                                     particular Muslims in court as
     inside Sabarmati Jail in                                                                          an offensively sweeping         evidence, 5 died during trial, 5         The prosecution’s conspiracy            being the buyers
     Ahmedabad. After nine years in and Kalota had been charged statement. Instead of condemning                                       were juveniles and not tried). The       theory against Godhra

     jail, 63 people — two-thirds of the as the masterminds of the those who had been part of the                                      trial was eventually conducted           Muslims rested primarily on five          Jabir Bahera, a petty
     accused — had been acquitted, 31 carnage. Umarji was one of the terrible arson, he generically                                    in a regular court, after a central      sets of witnesses                         criminal, who first named
     had been deemed guilty.             most respected Muslim clerics accused the Muslims of Godhra of                                review committee revoked the                                                     Maulvi Umarji as a mastermind

          Set aside for a moment the in Godhra. Kalota was the chief possessing “criminal tendencies”.                                 application of POTA from the               Nine BJP men who claimed
     pathos of those wasted years in political opponent of the BJP in In an interview to Zee TV, asked                                 case.                                      to be eyewitnesses to the             Bahera claimed it was Umarji
     jail. Consider this instead. Of the the communally sensitive town about the Muslims who had been                                      Of the eight influential political   carnage                                 who picked coach S-6 as the
     acquitted, there are two men and was president of the Godhra massacred in the aftermath of                                        figures, the court has convicted                                                 target, but also said Umarji was
     who were most crucial from Municipal Council at the time of the Godhra train burning, he                                          just two — Bilal Haji and Abdul          These men accused 41 Muslims            not at any conspiracy meetings.

64                                                                                                          The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                65

     He later retracted everything       discrediting of these nine BJP                   local Muslim leaders had then             team — IGs Ashish Bhatia, Geeta          TRANSCRIPT1: Kakul Pathak,                       KP: I did not write the
                                         men is proof that there was a                    descended upon Cabin A and                Johri and Shivanand Jha — were           BJP’s media cell convenor in                     statement on my own.

     5  Sikandar Siddique, another
        petty criminal, said he had
     pulled the chain the second time
                                         deliberate conspiracy by the
                                         Modi dispensation to implicate
                                         innocent Muslims.
                                                                                          attacked the police personnel
                                                                                          to free their arrested co-
                                                                                          conspirators. The judge set this
                                                                                                                                    all from the Gujarat police. It
                                                                                                                                    was these three officers who
                                                                                                                                    were entrusted with the direct
                                                                                                                                                                                   Godhra district                            T: Along with you, there
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              were six or seven more
                                             Not only were they asked                     assertion aside as baseless.              supervision of the investigations.                                                        KP: Yes.
     Siddique is an obvious unreliable   to put up false testimonies, the                    He also told the public                The entire supporting team of                                                             T: Who were they?
     witness. Besides Umarji, he had     police then deliberately failed                  prosecutor that he did not believe        policemen was also picked from                                                            KP: The total number
     said Maulvi Punjabi had incited     to produce their call data —                     the police claim that another             the Gujarat police. But the most                                                          was 13...
     the mob. But Punjabi was not        something that could have easily                 15 accused had been arrested              shocking appointment to the SIT                                                           T: Who were they? Was
     even in the country that day        nailed their exact location at the               during the course of the day              was Noel Parmar, a deputy SP                                                              there someone with the
                                         time of the incident. Kakul Pathak,              on 27 February 2002. Instead,             with the Gujarat police.                                                                  surname Advani?
         Two of these — Murli            in fact, had told this reporter                  the judge said the evidence                   Parmar     was     the     chief                                                      KP: No, I don’t know
     Mulchandani and Kakul Pathak        that the police had drafted his                  before the court established that         investigating officer of the Godhra      A key ‘witness’, Pathak blames police officers   if there was any
     — were caught on camera telling     testimony in advance. All he did                 they had been arrested during             carnage. It was he who had              Noel Parmar, Rakesh Asthana and JK Bhatt          Advani... No, there was
     the TEHELKA reporter that both      was give his consent and sign.                   combing operations by the police          constructed the premeditated           for the ‘statement’ he signed. The TEHELKA         no Advani...
     of them were actually sleeping          Stop for a moment and let                    on the night of 27-28 February.           conspiracy theory which was            sting caught him at a roadside dhaba in Godhra     T: Some Sindhi?
     at home when the incident           the full implication of all this sink            These conclusions by the                  supposedly under independent                      on 17 July 2007. Excerpts:              KP: There were three
     occurred. Shockingly, they said     in. Now combine it with Judge                    judge, coupled with TEHELKA’s             review by the SIT. When the SIT        TEHELKA: When did you                              Sindhis: Murli
     not only them but the other                                                               exhaustive 2007 sting, raise         was formed, Parmar was serving         reach the station?                                 Mulchandani, Jiwat Bhai
     seven BJP ‘eyewitnesses’                                                                  disturbing questions India           his     fourth     post-retirement     KP: At 8, 8.15...                                  and Sonu.
     had also not been present                                                                 can ill-ignore.                      extension given by the Gujarat         T: People had left by then?                        T: The other 10-12
     at Godhra station (see boxes                                                                                                   police. How could a probe              KP: There was no one                               (witnesses) also did not
     on pages 67 and 72). Pathak
     also confessed that though
     all nine were from the BJP,
                                                                                               W      hat was the motive
                                                                                                      behind these nine
                                                                                                false testimonies by BJP
                                                                                                                                    officer be inducted into the SIT
                                                                                                                                    to review his own investigation,
                                                                                                                                    petitioners protested. Under
                                                                                                                                                                           T: The Muslim mob? It
                                                                                                                                                                           had left?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              see anything?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              KP: Nobody was there...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              T: So will you speak out?
     the police had passed them                                                                 members?      Were     there        pressure, the SIT reluctantly          KP: There were dead                                KP: I can’t destroy my
     off as VHP members to                                                                      instructions from the top?          dropped him from the probe             bodies all over the                                image... or that of the
     justify their presence at the                                                              Why did the police write out        team. But, in another malicious        compartment. How many,                             party (BJP).
     railway station. (The call for                                                             pre-fabricated testimonies?         move, it inducted Parmar’s aide        even we didn’t know.                               T: But innocent people
     the Ayodhya karseva had                                                                    Why were they passed off            Ramesh Patel instead. The logic?       T: So you have not taken                           were named...
     been given by the VHP).                                                                    as eyewitnesses?                    Patel was familiar with the case       anybody’s name on your                             KP: Yes, innocent persons
     TEHELKA had also laid out in                                                                   The Modi establishment          so his presence would help the         own accord?                                        were named.
     great detail the pre-existing                                                              is not the only official            investigators.
     political     and    business                                                              entity that has answers to              The idea behind the SIT was        witnesses.    But   dismayingly,                   When you consider the fact that
     rivalries that had guided the                                                              give. The large number of           to have an independent review of       when Murli Mulchandani and                         both testimony and evidence
     testimonies of these nine                                                                  acquittals by Judge Patel,          the Gujarat police investigation       Kakul Pathak were examined by                      produced by this same reporter
     BJP men.                                                                                   including that of Umarji and        by neutral officers. That purpose      the SIT, they were not quizzed                     has been cited as an important
         These nine witnesses                                                                   Kalota, and the discredited         was defeated when the probe in         about their damning confessions                    piece of evidence by the SIT in
     were a critical link in the         In the clear: Alleged mastermind Maulvi Umarji         BJP witnesses also cast a           effect was handed back to the
                                                     was among those acquitted                                                                                             made before this TEHELKA                           three other riot cases — Naroda
     prosecution’s theory. Forty-                                                               shadow on the credibility of        Gujarat police, under the cloak of     reporter. Eventhe basic question                   Gaon, Naroda Patiya and Gulberg
     one Muslims had stayed behind       Patel’s own findings.                            the Supreme Court-constituted             the SIT.                               of whether they were caught on                     Society — the inconsistency
     bars for the last nine years as         There were other crucial pieces              Special Investigation Team (SIT).             Raghavan visited Gujarat           camera by TEHELKA was not put                      becomes even more glaring. Why
     previous judges had denied bail     in the prosecution’s case that the                   The SIT had been set up by            only for three days in a month.        before them.                                       did the SIT not want to nail Pathak
     based on these testimonies.         judge has discarded. For one, the                the apex court on 26 March                For all practical purposes, the           Even     more    dismayingly,                   and Mulchandani? Why did Jha
     By calling them unreliable          police had claimed that 15 of the                2008. Nine major riot cases,              investigation was carried out by       though this reporter’s statement                   accept the sanctity of the Gujarat
     now, Judge Patel has validated      accused were arrested from the                   including the Godhra train                the Gujarat police. In less than       was recorded by the SIT, his                       police investigation in toto?
     both TEHELKA’s findings and         scene of crime immediately after                 carnage, was handed over to it            10 months, IGP Jha claimed he          testimony — about Pathak                              In a report submitted to the
     the assertions of the Muslim        the incident and made to squat                   for re-investigation. Though the          had concluded his scrutiny of          and Mulchandani admitting on                       Supreme Court on 11 February
     accused that the Gujarat police     near Cabin A, guarded by armed                   court picked retired CBI director         the Godhra carnage investigation       camera that they had fudged                        2009, Raghavan said the SIT
     had manufactured evidence and       police personnel. According                      RK Raghavan, a Tamil Nadu cadre           carried out by the Gujarat state       their statements — and the                         had “thoroughly reviewed” the
     tutored witnesses.                  to them, a Muslim mob which                      officer, as chairman, the three           police. He claimed to have re-         supporting sting footage were                      Gujarat police investigation and
         But more importantly, the       included Kalota and a few other                  crucial members of the probe              examined all the crucial police        not produced before the court.                     found it to be “on correct lines”.

66                                                                                                       The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                    67

     He said IGP Shivanand Jha had          case put up by the prosecution.      karsevaks on the train and Muslim          the carboys were loaded, the           the rubber vestibule covering         4 July, Baria had given incomplete
     re-examined all the key police         The entire conspiracy theory spun    vendors on the platform, the               hawkers forced him to go along.        between coaches S-6 and S-7,          names of 17 accused with no
     witnesses. Satisfied, Raghavan         by the prosecution was based         conspirators mobilised a violent           They drove up to Cabin A, where        then forcibly entered coach           addresses. A day later, on 5 July,
     said, the SIT had accepted the         on two primary claims: One,          Muslim mob and used the petrol             the train was standing. According      S-6 by sliding open the locked        when the police recorded his
     Gujarat police investigation and       that on the night of 26 February     bought the previous night to set           to him, a few hawkers first tried      vestibule door. This theory about     statement again, he miraculously
     therefore not filed any additional     2002, two secret meetings were       the train on fire. According to the        to set coach S-2 on fire. When         the cut vestibule and forced          gave full names with complete
     chargesheet.                           held at Aman Guest House near        police, though Kalota was not              they failed, they cut the vestibule    entry was first made in Ajay          descriptions and addresses. But
          But now, with Judge Patel         Godhra railway station. It was       part of the original conspiracy,           between coaches S-6 and S-7.           Baria’s statement to the police       on 9 July, before the magistrate,
     completely       discarding     the    decided there that petrol should     he incited the rioters to burn the         Having done that, six hawkers          on 4 July 2002. By this time          Baria again forgot all the details

     testimonies of the nine BJP            be bought and used the next          train once the mob had built up.           went inside S-6 and poured             the forensic team had already         he had so elaborately given only
     members, the SIT’s claim that          morning to set coach S-6 of the          Bizarrely, the police also claim       ‘kerosene’ along the coach floor.      examined the coach at least           four days earlier. Clearly, the
     it thoroughly re-examined all                                               that the Muslim conspirators               Three others sprinkled kerosene        thrice on 1 May 2002; 3 May 2002      fumbling Baria was testifying
     important      police    witnesses        Tehelka’s sting                   forced a Hindu tea vendor to help          through the windows into the           and 2 July 2002 and not found         under the influence of the police.
     stands exposed. Also the 63                                                 them burn the train. On 9 July             coach. A vendor then threw a           anything amiss with the vestibule.         But this was not the only use
     acquittals stand testimony to            had exposed the                    2002, five months after the actual         burning cloth inside.                  However, once Baria’s statement       Baria was put to. According to
     the prejudiced and malicious
     nature of the investigation first
                                              lie of the police                  incident, the police produced this
                                                                                 new witness: Ajay Kanu Baria.
                                                                                                                                Interestingly the police do
                                                                                                                            not say that Baria was present in
                                                                                                                                                                   had been recorded before a
                                                                                                                                                                   magistrate on 9 July 2002, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                         him, a Muslim man called Sikander
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Siddique was part of the group
     done by the Gujarat CID and later
     validated by the SIT. Clearly, the
     SIT investigation has failed to
     stand scrutiny at the lowest level
     of the judiciary. The question is,
     was this mere incompetence or
                                               witnesses. This
                                             reporter had even
                                                deposed, but
                                             curiously, this did
                                                                     ”           Baria was unemployed at the time.
                                                                                 He claimed that on the morning of
                                                                                 27 February 2002, just after the
                                                                                 arrival of the Sabarmati Express,
                                                                                 nine Muslim hawkers whom he
                                                                                 knew since they all sold wares at
                                                                                 Godhra station, forcibly took him
                                                                                                                            either of the conspiracy meetings
                                                                                                                            or that his name was suggested
                                                                                                                            by any of the conspirators as
                                                                                                                            one who could provide help the
                                                                                                                            next day. Yet, the introduction
                                                                                                                            of Ajay Baria — ‘the Hindu tea
                                                                                                                            vendor who saw everything’ — is
                                                                                                                                                                   police requisitioned the forensic
                                                                                                                                                                   team (FSL) again on 11 July 2002.
                                                                                                                                                                       Strangely, on 11 July 2002,
                                                                                                                                                                   while re-examining the coach
                                                                                                                                                                   for the fourth time, the FSL
                                                                                                                                                                   concluded that the vestibule
                                                                                                                                                                   door had indeed been forcibly
                                                                                                                                                                                                         that burnt the train.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              The story of Sikandar is even
                                                                                                                                                                                                         stranger than what has gone
                                                                                                                                                                                                         before and smacks of blatant
                                                                                                                                                                                                         engineering by the police. Once
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Sikandar was tracked down, he
                                                                                                                                                                                                         was made to give a statement
          AFTER THE initial years of            not come up                      to the house of Razzak Kurkur,             integral to the prosecution’s case.    opened and, as a result, had got      before the magistrate. He duly
     outrage against the Godhra                  in the trial                    the owner of Aman Guest House.             In fact, apart from the nine lying     completely jammed into the toilet     endorsed the police case. In
     carnage and the bloody riots                                                Once there, the nine went inside           BJP men, the police’s conspiracy       wall. ‘We have taken pictures         an interesting detail, the police
     that followed, both the national       passing Sabarmati train on fire.     Kurkur’s house and brought out             theory, upheld by Judge Patel,         of the sliding door (vestibule        claimed Sikandar had come from
     media and opposition political             According to the police, five    carboys filled with ‘kerosene’ (he         primarily rests on five people:        door) which shows it has got          Surat to depose, but Sikandar
     parties have become less and           Muslim vendors were present at       doesn’t specify the number of              Baria, the two petrol pump             completely jammed in the north        told the judge he had been
     less vigilant about unearthing the     the first meeting. At the second     carboys and he specifically uses           attendants mentioned above,            side toilet. That’s the reason we     in Godhra the previous day.
     facts of what really happened or       meeting,      which     happened     the word kerosene). One of the             and two petty Muslim criminals,        have not been able to take it out     Clearly, either Sikandar or the
     seeking accountability for it.         after the buying of the petrol,      hawkers, he said, then forced him          Jabir Yamin Bahera and Sikandar        and examine it in the lab,’ the FSL   police were lying. But that is a
          TEHELKA is often asked why        two vendors and two Muslim           to load a carboy onto a rickshaw           Siddique.                              reported.                             small detail compared to what
     it pursues the Gujarat story so        corporators — Bilal Haji and         while the other hawkers loaded                 In its 2007 undercover                 It is important to note that      happened afterwards. Once his
     aggressively. In the face of the       Farooq Bhana — were present.         the rest.                                  investigation, TEHELKA had             all the windows and doors of          statement had been secured,
     stark and overwhelming evidence            According to the police again,       This beggars belief. Why would         conclusively established that like     coach S-6 were extricated by          in an obvious quid pro quo
     of foul play by the State, it is       though Maulvi Umarji himself         alleged Muslim fundamentalists,            the nine BJP men, the testimonies      the FSL and taken for forensic        arrangement, the police made
     difficult to do otherwise.             was not present at any of these      gripped by hatred towards                  of these five ‘key’ police witnesses   examination in the lab. But when      Baria exonerate Sikandar through
          For instance, the terrible        meetings, it was he who had          karsevaks, induct a Hindu tea              were completely bogus. But more        Judge Patel carried out a spot        a test identification parade — an
     miscarriages of justice just in this   chosen coach S-6 as a target         vendor into their ‘plot’ at the last       on that later. First look at the       inspection on 30 May 2010, he         exercise unknown in law because
     case alone don’t end with the          and it was at his behest that        minute? Surely they would know             inherently uneasy pieces in the        found the vestibule door was not      it’s only the accused who are put
     nine BJP men and their perjuries.      the meetings were held and 140       that he would be the first to turn         story about these five men that        jammed as the FSL had claimed         through identification parades,
     In a surprise move, despite all his    litres of petrol were bought from    hostile? With an entire Muslim-            everyone seems to be missing.          but instead stood in its original     not witnesses. At this parade,
     own astute conclusions which           a nearby petrol pump called          dominated town to draw from,                   With Baria’s entry, the police     position. This clearly shows that     Baria claimed Sikandar was not
     contravenes the position, Judge        Kalabhai Petrol Pump. The police     why would they risk involving a            propounded a new theory                either there was some post-           the Sikandar he had first named
     Patel still upheld the police          claimed that two attendants from     Hindu? If there were already nine          through a second chargesheet           facto tampering of evidence or        and so the latter was let off.
     theory that the Godhra carnage         Kalabhai Petrol Pump had told        hawkers to load the carboys, why           filed on 20 September 2002.            the forensic team report was               Now, to stitch their improbable
     was the result of a premeditated       them that the accused had indeed     did they need Baria to load just           These were some of its key             doctored.                             vestibule theory even more
     conspiracy.                            bought 140 litres of petrol.         one?                                       propositions. And anomalies.               Baria’s Section 164 CRPC          tightly, the police tracked down
          The question is why? And how          The police also claim that the       Baria said the rickshaw was                FIRST, THIS chargesheet            statement itself suffers from         an accused named Jabir Bin
     can he justify this?                   next morning, taking advantage       parrot-coloured but he could not           claimed      that     the     Muslim   many improbabilities. On his first    Yamin Bahera on 22 January
          Have a look at the malevolent     of an altercation between            see its registration number. Once          conspirators had cut open              appearance before the police on       2003. Produced before the

68                                                                                               The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                        69

     magistrate on 4 February 2003, suspect. If the SIT had acted in clear indictment of the Modi                                     harsh punishment. But to call           got down and raised slogans. I       of the men grabbed her from
     he parroted the entire police good faith and produced this establishment and its malevolent                                      it a premeditated conspiracy is         got up. Ten or 12 people from my     behind, clamped her mouth and
     theory — the forced entry, the TEHELKA reporter’s testimony attempt to tar the Muslim                                            to blight Godhra Muslims with           coach had alighted. I felt Bajrang   tried dragging her away. Her
     throwing of petrol — and claimed and sting footage, this is what the community.                                                  a canard that is perhaps not            Dal members had also alighted        mother shouted loudly for help;
     he was one of the accused                                                                        As if that were not enough,     deserved.                               from other coaches and were          the man let go. Sophia says
     who had entered through                                                                     the proceedings of the court             Given the persistent desire         shouting slogans. There was loud     she and her family stood in the
     the vestibule. But he made                                                                  — available with TEHELKA             to turn away from the truth,            noise on the platform. After three   booking clerk’s office for a while
     one glaring mistake. He                                                                     — itself tells a big story. The      therefore, it is necessary to revisit   or four minutes, a few passengers    then gave up the idea of going
     told the court that he had                                                                  defence had pointed many             the events on 27 February 2002,         came running inside the coach,       to Vadodara, took a rickshaw
     exited from the northern                                                                    glaring inconsistencies in the       the suspect police investigation        closed the door and said a quarrel   and went back to her aunt’s
     side — the same door                                                                        testimonies recorded by the          that followed and the untenable         had taken place on the platform      house. According to Sophia, the

     through which karsevaks                                                                     police. The prosecution and          case that emerged, in greater           and stones were being pelted.        karsevaks also tried to abduct
     were exiting. None of the                                                                   witnesses failed to provide          detail. This might help readers             They told everybody to shut      another burqa-clad woman on
     150 survivors had seen                                                                      convincing explanations for          draw their own conclusions.                                                  the platform. However, the police
     Bahera or for that matter                                                                   many of them.                                                                   Some survivor                     have failed to identify the woman
     anybody entering the                                                                        The main questions raised            The Arrival: Sabarmati Express                                               or record her statement till date.
     coach and pouring petrol                                                                    by the defence were:                 Enters Godhra Station                    karsevaks say the                       Though the police recorded
         Bahera later retracted
     his entire statement before

     August 2003.
         This brings one to the two judge would have known.
     final star witnesses: Prabhatsinh
                                                                                                 • There was no reason
                                                                                                 why the accused would
                                                                                                 specifically target coach S-6.
     the POTA court on 24 Relief at last: Mohammad Kalota, the other main accused, is also free There was no material to
                                                                                                 show Maulvi Umarji had any
                                                                                         knowledge of who was travelling
                                             In 2007, this reporter had on this coach, or of having any
                                                                                                                                      7:43 am. 27 February 2002. The
                                                                                                                                      karsevaks returning from Ayodhya,
                                                                                                                                      arrives at platform No. 1 The train
                                                                                                                                      is five hours late. Scheduled arrival
                                                                                                                                      was 2:55 am.
                                                                                                                                                      Express,    carrying
                                                                                                                                                                               mob was shouting
                                                                                                                                                                              to let the abducted
                                                                                                                                                                              girls go. Everything
                                                                                                                                                                                points to a mob
                                                                                                                                                                                                        ”          Sophia and her family’s statement
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   on 28 March 2002 — a month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   after the Godhra incident — they
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   neither mentioned the episode
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   in the official narration of events
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   nor included Sophia’s statement
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   in the first chargesheet filed on
     Patel and Ranjitsinh Patel, two managed to track down pump enmity with them.                                                     First Provocation: Karsevaks               upsurge, not a                    22 May 2002. These statements
     salesmen employed at Kalabhai attendant            Ranjitsinh         Patel. • The entire train was full of                      Clash with Muslim Vendors                                                    were only made part of the first
     Petrol Pump at the time of the Caught on camera, in an incrim-                          karsevaks drawn from VHP and             During      the   trial,    several
                                                                                                                                                                                   conspiracy                      supplementary chargesheet filed
     Godhra incident. On 10 April inating admission, he had                                  Bajrang Dal. Why would Umarji            eyewitnesses told the court             the windows and doors.’              six months later.
     2002, just a month after the told TEHELKA he was bribed                                 and his co-conspirators target           that there was a fight between                                                   It was this aborted abduction
     incident, the two told the police 50,000 by chief investigating                         coach S-6 alone?                         karsevaks and Muslim tea vendors        Second Provocation: Karsevaks        of Sophia that aggravated the
     that they had been at work from officer Noel Parmar to change • There was nothing to show that                                   on the platform. Veer Chedi Pal, a      Try to Abduct a Muslim               situation. A rumour went through
     6 pm on 26 February to 9 am his testimony. He claimed his                               on or before 26 February 2002,           survivor of the coach S-6 inferno,      Girl from the Platform               the station that karsevaks had
     on 27 February 2002, and had colleague Prabhatsinh Patel was                            there was any friction between           told the court: ‘A few karsevaks        There was more than a tea-stall      abducted many Muslim girls. A
     not sold any loose petrol during bribed the same amount. This                           karsevaks and Godhra Muslims             beat up a Muslim vendor who             wrangle on the platform. Some        mob gathered. Though Sophia
     that period. But after Bahera’s is why, in a sudden turn-around,                        grave enough to provoke                  had entered the coach to sell tea.      karsevaks had allegedly tried to     had taken refuge in the booking
     statement before the magistrate, they had both claimed to have                          premeditated carnage.                    Then they threw him out of the          abduct a Muslim girl. Sophia Bano    clerk’s    office,   the    rumour
     on 23 February 2003, the police sold petrol to the accused the • Nothing to show that any                                        compartment.’                           Shaikh, around 18, accompanied       spread that the karsevaks had
     approached the two salesmen night before the carnage. Ranjit                            Godhra resident was even                     Another survivor Govindsinh         by her mother and sister, was        successfully abducted her and
     again. In a shocking turnaround, also said the police had told him                      aware that karsevaks were                Ratnasinh Panda, 54, an army            visiting relatives in Godhra and     other girls in coach S-6. During the
     both now claimed they had sold when the time came to identify                           travelling back on this train.           man travelling from Lucknow             had come to the station to board a   trial, Purshotbhai Govardhanbhai
     140 litres of petrol to six Muslims, the accused in court, they would • Nothing to show the altercation                          to Ahmedabad, told the court:           train for her hometown Vadodara.     Patel, a coach S-6 karsevak, told
     including Bahera, who had come tutor him secretly in advance so                         between tea vendors and                  ‘I had a reservation for berth 9            Sophia testified before the      the court that the mob had been
     in a parrot-coloured tempo to the he could remember the faces                           karsevaks on February 27 or the          in coach S-6, but a Bajrang Dal         court that she and her family        shouting slogans for the women
     pump.                                of the accused and pin them in                     alleged molestation of a Muslim          activist asked me to shift to berth     were standing on platform No.        to be released from the coach.
         It’s the improbable testimonies court.                                              girl were ever an element of the         3. There were about 250 people          1 when the Sabarmati pulled in.
     of these five — Baria, Bahera,          This was a bombshell. Here                      conspiracy.                              in the coach. Most passengers           Some men with saffron strips         The First Halt: Chain Is Pulled;
     Sikandar,       Prabhatsinh     and was a star witness admitting he                      Still, curiously the judge upheld       were sitting unreserved and were        on their head got off for tea and    Sabarmati Stops
     Ranjitsinh Patel — that the judge had been bribed by the police the conspiracy theory. From all                                  members of the Bajrang Dal. At          snacks. They were shouting Jai       After the altercation, both
     has relied on while upholding the to lie. There should have been an credible evidence, the horrific                              every station, they would get           Shri Ram. Some of them were          Muslims and karsevaks started
     conspiracy theory.                   uproar. Nothing happened.                      events at Godhra seem the result             down and shout Jai Shri Ram. On         beating a Muslim man with a stick    pelting stones at each other on
         The nine BJP men were lying;        EVEN TO a non-partisan of a criminal but spontaneous                                     27 February 2002, between 7:30          and shouting “Kill Musalmans”.       the platform. Many passengers
     the other five were coerced. eye, TEHELKA’s investigation mob upsurge. Whoever was in                                            am and 7:45 am, when the train          Frightened, Sophia and her family    have corroborated this in their
     That makes all 14 star witnesses should have added up to a that mob definitely deserves                                          reached Godhra, the karsevaks           started moving away when one         testimonies during the trial. The

70                                                                                                         The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                        71

     Father’s agony: Fruit-seller Ishaq Mamdu’s son,      Blighted youth: Abdul Qalandar was 17 when     Teen trauma: Shaaqir Patadia was 14 when he       Lucky escape: Sughra Bibi’s grandson Irfan was 15 when he was arrested,     Jailed dad: The Jujara siblings had to quit school as a result
     despite being visually impaired, was sent to jail         arrested. He got bail seven years later   was picked up. He got bail along with Qalandar                        but was let off after five weeks

          TRANSCRIPT 2: Murli                            T: Then nothing is going to                     been pulled from four coaches.                   Master (ASM) Rajindersingh                         because he was separated from               when he saw a mob of about 200-
       Mirchandani, vice-chairman,                       happen in the case?                             We informed the station master.”                 Meena, manning the cabin.                          Cabin A by 8-10 coaches.                    500 people running towards the

        Godhra Municipal Council                         MM: Nothing is going to                             Plausibly, eyewitness accounts                  It’s this second halting that is                   The heavy stone-pelting had              train from the back. They were
                                                         happen... All these Muslims will                suggest it was the karsevaks who                 the most contentious fact in the                   begun to break the window                   pelting stones.
                                                         come out (of Jail). Just mark my                pulled the chain as some of their                chain of events leading to the                                                                     When TEHELKA’s stung Meena
                                                         words.                                          colleagues had got left behind.                  carnage. The police claim the                           Judge Patel has                        in 2007, he had said that when
                                                         T: When I met Kakul… He told me                 But the police say two Muslim                    two Muslim vendors had pulled                                                                  he came down and asked the
                                                         he wrote to KPS Gill…                           vendors — Illyas Mullah and                      the chain with an intention to                         relied on a Hindu                       mob why they were chasing the
                                                         MM: What did he write?
                                                         T: He wrote that we was not
                                                                                                         Anwar Kalandar — had pulled the
                                                                                                         chain from outside. Interestingly,
                                                                                                                                                          burn the train. But the evidence
                                                                                                                                                          that emerged during the trial
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 vendor to uphold                        train, a few of them had replied
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         that one of their people had

      A key police witness in the train burning case,
      Mirchandani was caught in the TEHELKA
                                                         present there
                                                         MM: He was also not there, I
                                                         was also not there... Those who
                                                         became witness, were they ever
                                                         at the spot? … Was I present
                                                         at the Railway Station? I was
                                                         sleeping at home when this
                                                                                                         the police do not claim that
                                                                                                         they were part of the Aman
                                                                                                         Guesthouse meetings or part of
                                                                                                         the conspiracy in any way. Then
                                                                                                         why would they pull the chain?
                                                                                                         The prosecution failed to answer
                                                                                                         this basic question. Importantly,
                                                                                                                                                          suggested this second halt was
                                                                                                                                                          caused by the bursting of hose
                                                                                                                                                          pipes, not chain-pulling.
                                                                                                                                                             Assistant train driver Mukesh
                                                                                                                                                          Pachauri told the court that the
                                                                                                                                                          heavy stone-pelting and ensuing
                                                                                                                                                          carnage didn’t allow him to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   the conspiracy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     theory. Why
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   would Muslim
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ”                been abducted by the karsevaks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         on the train. Meena also said he
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         heard some of them suggesting
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         the coach be set on fire to drive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         people out of it so they could find
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         the missing person. But he saw
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         no sharp weapons or inflammable
      sting on 23 July 2007. Excerpted transcript:
                                                         happened… Do you know whose                     both vendors retracted their                     investigate the reason for the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ask a Hindu to                        material with the mob.
     TEHELKA: Who are these people                       names I gave (in my statement)?                 statements before the trial began.               drop in vacuum pressure which                              help them?
     who have changed their version?                     T: No, I don’t know.                                On the contrary, train guard                 had resulted in the second halt.                                                               Tinderbox: The Packed S-6
     MURLI MIRCHANDANI: Raju                             MM: Kalota and Bilal, who are                   Satyanarayan Verma told the                      But driver Jadhav told the court                                                               Coach was a Death Trap
     Darji, Dileep Dasadia… they all                     now accused in the case. I am                   court that many passengers were                  that he was informed by the                                                                    By all accounts, coach S-6 was
     have changed their version…                         not changing my version.                        left behind at the station. When                 lobby assistant in the Carriage                    panes. Survivors told the court             bursting at its seams. It was
     They took money... They are                         T: Half of the people (Muslims)                 the train started pulling out, he                Department at the Godhra                           that at this stage the passengers           carrying over 200 passengers,
     in league with them (Godhra                         would have been out of jail, had                saw many passengers running to                   Station that two hose pipes had                    had downed all the iron shutters            at least three times its normal
     Muslims)...                                         you not given your statement.                   catch it.                                        burst and were replaced by him                     and locked the doors to save                capacity. Its doors and windows
     T: I think Kakul Pathak has also                    MM: If the statement is there, it is                In this chaos, the chain-pulling             before the train finally left for                  themselves.                                 were shut. Further, to stop the
     given an affidavit?                                 there... What can I do about it? …              was set right and the train began                Ahmedabad.                                            The police had not yet                   mob from forcing its way into the
     MM: Yes. He turned hostile...                       If the statement has been made...               to move again. The time was now                                                                     reached. The two officials closest          compartment, the passengers
                                                                                                         7:55 am.                                         Ground Zero: The Fury of the                       to Ground Zero were ASM Meena               had blocked the doors with their
     railway police personnel, some                      Rajendrarao        Raghunathrao                                                                  Mob Intensifies                                    and his colleague AK Sharma,                luggage.
     tea vendors and a railway officer                   Jadhav, he got the signal to leave              The Fateful Halt: Chain is Pulled                Before the assistant driver could                  both manning Cabin A.                           Outside, unable to dissuade
     stationed at the parcel office on                   at about 7:45 am. “The train had                Again, Sabarmati Halts Near                      find out why the train had halted a                   Meena told the court that                the mob, the frightened Meena
     that day also testified to this. After              just started moving,” Jadhav told               Cabin A                                          second time, the mob combusted.                    about 10 coaches had already                ran back to his cabin. His
     a scheduled stop of five minutes,                   the court, “when the chain was                  At 8 am, after the train had moved               It had chased the train to Cabin                   passed beyond Cabin A when                  colleague Sharma had already
     the Sabarmati Express started its                   pulled at about 7:47 am. The train              a short distance, it again came to               A. Driver Jadhav says he saw a                     the driver blew the chain-pulling           informed their seniors about the
     onward journey at 7.47 am.                          stopped. My assistant driver and                a halt near Cabin A. The time is                 1,000-strong mob pelting stones                    whistle. He got down from his               situation.
         According to the train driver                   guard found that the chain had                  recorded by Assistant Station                    but he couldn’t see much more                      cabin to set the chain right. That’s            Inside coach S-6, no one

72                                                                                                                           The International Indian     The International Indian                                                                                                                      73

                                                                                              Each     BJP      man    identified       Darji, and a criminal complaint        bottom part of the coach. The         was made to the abduction
                                                                                              different people from the mob.            had been lodged against him. In        coach and tracks showed no            attempt on Sophia Bano.

                                                                                              Interestingly, if they were indeed        2002, after the Sabarmati Express      such signs.                               Instead, the chargesheet set up
                                                                                              eyewitnesses, none of them                carnage, Raju Darji, Deepak Soni        In effect, the state’s own           a conspiracy theory. It said, ‘The
                                                                                              talked of the accused as cutting          and Murli Mulchandani, along with                                            train reached Cabin A at about
                                                                                              the vestibule covering or forcibly        six other BJP members, claimed            Noel Parmar                        8:05 am. At that time, in order to
                                                                                              entering the coach. How could             they saw Kalota, Bilal Haji and                                              fulfill their intentional and illegal
                                                                                              they? First, they were not at Cabin       three other Muslim corporators            was the chief                      conspiracy, the accused persons
                                                                                              A. Secondly, the police only came
                                                                                              up with that theory much later.
                                                                                                                                        ‘attack the train’.
                                                                                                                                            Ludicrously, these nine BJP
                                                                                                                                                                                  investigative                      pulled the chain of coach S-6,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     changed the disc of the train and
                                                                                                                                                                               officer. But he was
                                                                                              Simmering Rivalries: Godhra’s
                                                                                              Political Context
                                                                                              The testimonies of these nine
                                                                                              BJP men have a complex
                                                                                              political backdrop. Godhra is
                                                                                              divided into 12 wards, each with
                                                                                                                                        men claimed they could identify
                                                                                                                                        the 41 Muslims they had named
                                                                                                                                        — including sundry pick-pockets
                                                                                                                                        and truck drivers — because
                                                                                                                                        they were all Godhra residents.
                                                                                                                                        However, when cross-examined,
                                                                                                                                        they admitted to their pre-
                                                                                                                                                                                far from neutral.
                                                                                                                                                                               He hated Muslims
                                                                                                                                                                                and cursed them
                                                                                                                                                                                                        ”            got the train stopped.’ The police
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     then claim that the accused, with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     a mob, set coach S-6 on fire by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     using ‘petrol-like inflammable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     liquids’ (sic).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         But this theory left basic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     questions unanswered. Who were
                                                                                              three corporator seats. In the            existing enmity with Kalota and
                                                                                                                                                                                    for having                       the main conspirators? When was
                     Afer the fire: Justice UC Banerjee inspects one of the burnt bogies
                                                                                              December 1999 municipal council           others.                                    10 children                       the conspiracy hatched? What
                                                                                              elections, the BJP won 11 seats,                                                                                       was the motive? Since the train
     could quite make out what was                      and the following night. Within       independent Muslim candidates             Science And Fiction: The              forensic report ruled out the          was scheduled to arrive at 2:55
     happening as all the windows and                   a fortnight, over 40 people were      16, the Congress five, and four           Forensic Report                       claims made by the nine BJP            am, was the conspiracy hatched
     doors were shut. This was more                     arrested. (The court has now          seats were bagged by pro-BJP              As the police were still banking on   members and several karsevaks          days in advance or only after they
     or less the case in every coach.                   discredited this theory about         independents.                             the theory that petrol or kerosene    that inflammable liquid had been       came to know the train was late?
     During the trial, testimonies of                   spot arrests).                            Murli Mulchandani, one of             was sprinkled on the train from       thrown from outside.                       The police had no evidence to
     passengers in other coaches                            Apart from police and the fire    the nine BJP men, had been                outside, as the nine BJP men had          In a curious twist, the forensic   prove the accused had pulled the
     established that the mob had                       brigade, the first independent        the president of the municipal            claimed, a FSL report came on 17      team then decided to carry out         chain. Or where the inflammable
     pelted stones on the coaches S-2,                  witnesses to come forward and         council. In 1999, he had contested        May 2002. Importantly, it drew        an experiment with a bucket            liquid had come from. The only
     S-5, S-4 and S-7 as well. Burning                  identify people from the mob          but lost. To form the House in the        the following conclusions:            of water. And what conclusion          conspirators the police had
     rags were also thrown at coaches                   were the nine BJP men whom            council, a party needs 19 seats.          • Many marks caused by stones         does the report draw from this         named till then was the mob and
     S-4 and S-2. A witness testified                   both the judge and TEHELKA’s          The BJP had formed the House,               were observed on the southern       experiment?                            the 54 Godhra Muslims already
     that a burning rag had landed in                   investigation has discredited.        supported by five Congress and              outer side of the burnt coach           In a dazzling leap of un-          arrested.
     coach S-4 which the passengers                     Between them they identified 41       three Muslim corporators. Raju              S-6. The windows on the             deductive logic, the report                In this first chargesheet, the
     promptly threw out.                                Godhra Muslims. All nine claimed      Darji, a BJP corporator (who                southern side were primarily        claims, ‘On the basis of the above     only ‘evidence’ were statements
                                                        they had gone to the station          claims to be a witness to the fire)         broken by high intensity            experimental demonstration, a          from police, fire personnel, the
     Smoke And Fire: Eyewitness                         to serve refreshments to the          was elected president. Deepak               stonepelting, while the ones on     conclusion can be drawn that           nine BJP men, some karsevaks
     Accounts By S-6 Passengers                         karsevaks. They claimed they          Soni, another BJP corporator                the northern side were broken       60 litres of inflammable liquid        and the forensic report. The
     Meena told the court that he first                 saw everything — the assembling       (also one of the nine witnesses),           due to the heat of the fire.        was poured towards the western         trouble is all of this contradicted
     spotted smoke rising from coach                    of the mob, the sharp-edged           was appointed president of the            • There was no sign of corrosive      side of the coach by using a           itself. Further, the police’s claim
     S-6 at about 8:30 am. Passengers                   weapons       and      inflammable    education board formed under                fluid in the fire.                  wide-mouthed container and             that a few railway policemen
     inside S-6 also first saw the smoke,               material they were carrying, and      the council.                              • The coach windows were closed       by standing on the passage             had witnessed the arson was
     then the fire. Many survivors told                 the actual starting of the fire. In       But a year after the elections,         at the time of the fire.            between the northern door of the       highly suspect as no survivor had
     the court that after they spotted                  nine identical statements they        24 corporators — 16 Muslim,               • At the place where the train        eastern side of coach S-6 and the      mentioned police presence at
     smoke in S-6, they opened the                      said, ‘Five to six people who         five Congress and three Hindu               stopped, the windows of coach       compartment… The coach was set         that time.
     door on the northern side and                      had plastic containers of liquid      independents — joined ranks                 S-6 were 7 ft above the ground.     on fire immediately thereafter.’           Given this dogged obfuscation
     started vacating the coach.                        in their hands had sprinkled the      against the BJP and moved a                 So, it was not possible to throw                                           of the truth, perhaps it is
                                                        liquid from the said containers       no-confidence motion. The BJP               inflammable fluid into the          First Chargesheet: A Loose             necessary to revisit the events
     Manufacturing Truth: The Nine                      upon one compartment and set          lost the House. These 24 now                coach from a bucket or carboy.      Conspiracy Theory is Hatched           of February 27, the subsequent
     BJP Men                                            it ablaze. We all stayed under the    elected Kalota as president of              If this had happened, a major       In the first chargesheet filed on      police investigation and the
     As mentioned earlier, the police                   cover of Cabin A.’                    the municipal council. During a             part of the fluid would have        22 May 2002, the police briefly        untenable case it built.
     claimed it had arrested 15 people                      Fascinatingly,     the    only    no-confidence motion debate,                fallen back around the track        mentioned the scuffle between
     from the spot and another 15                       variation in the nine statements      Muslim corporator Bilal Haji had            outside. This would’ve caught       the karsevaks and the platform         Noel Parmar, a New
     during the course of the day                       is the names of the culprits.         beaten up BJP corporator Raju               fire too and damaged the outer,     vendors. However, no reference         Investigating Officer, Takes Over

74                                                                                                           The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                         75

     On 27 May 2002 — five days                        method to the madness, on 9            policemen.                                 coloured rickshaw parked near              On 26 February 2002, the           confession,      after     watching
     after the first chargesheet — a                   July 2002, five months after the                                                  the coach. However, they went a         eve of the Godhra incident, he        television for a while, he came

     new investigating officer was                     incident, the police produced          The Chain-Pullers: Two Muslim              step ahead of Baria and provided        was sitting at a tea stall when       out of the guesthouse at around
     appointed: Noel Parmar, ACP,                      their new star witness: Ajay Kanu      Vendors Are Tortured and                   the     rickshaw’s       registration   three hawkers, including Salim        7:15 am, and saw a hawker
     Vadodara city control room, took                  Baria, the Hindu tea vendor who        Tutored into Making a Statement            number and its owner’s name.                                                  named Mahboob Latika running
     over from KC Bawa, Western                        saw it all.                            With Baria’s statement, several            Both also claimed to have seen              Proof of the                      from the direction of the station
     Railways Deputy Superintendent                        Baria’s ludicrous claims have      pieces fell into place for the             the nine vendors, who Baria                                                   shouting, ‘Beating… beating.’
     of Police.                                        already been detailed above.           police. They had found a witness           alleged had set S-6 on fire, near           cavalier way                      Bahera went near the Parcel
        Parmar was far from neutral:
     he was highly communal. These
                                                       But he was the convenient tool
                                                       through which the police tried to
                                                                                              to claim that ‘kerosene’ was
                                                                                              brought to the spot, to explain
                                                                                                                                         the coach carrying carboys and
                                                                                                                                         later running toward Signal Falia.
                                                                                                                                                                                     Muslims were                      Office and saw five other Muslim
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       hawkers pelting stones at the
                                                                                                                                                                                    being accused,
     are snatches of what he told
     TEHELKA’s hidden camera in
                                                       pull all its loose threads together.
                                                       Dauntingly, it is on his testimony
                                                                                              how the accused gained entry,
                                                                                              and how the ‘kerosene’ was
                                                                                              poured into the coach and set
                                                                                              on fire. But one hitch remained.
                                                                                              The police still had to prove that
                                                                                              it was the conspirators who had
                                                                                              stopped the train near Cabin A.
                                                                                                                                         At this point, they said, they also
                                                                                                                                         heard the nine hawkers saying,
                                                                                                                                         ‘The train is properly set on fire
                                                                                                                                         from inside.’
                                                                                                                                             After     two      weeks
                                                                                                                                         confinement, the duo were
                                                                                                                                         produced in court and their
                                                                                                                                                                                    Maulvi Punjabi
                                                                                                                                                                                    was named as
                                                                                                                                                                                   an inciter. But he
                                                                                                                                                                                                           ”           train. After that, Baria, along with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       the nine Muslim hawkers, went
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       to Kurkur’s house and loaded
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       the petrol-filled carboys into a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       tempo. Kurkur then told them
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       to take the tempo near Cabin A.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Kurkur and Paanwala followed on
                                                                                              Surely they couldn’t have relied           statements recorded. Parmar
                                                                                                                                                                                   wasn’t even in the                  an M-80 scooter, with Paanwala
                                                                                              on Hindu karsevaks to stop the             then told them to leave Godhra              country then                      driving and Kurkur riding pillion,
                                                                                              train exactly where they wanted            and not keep contact with local                                               carrying a carboy. On reaching
                                                                                              so that Godhra Muslims could               Muslims. After about a year and         Paanwala, came up to him and          Cabin A, they first approached
                                                                                              burn it.                                   a half, Hussain and Kalandar            said that Razzak Kurkur wanted        coach S-2. There, Bahera says, he
                                                                                                   To get around this, the               returned to Godhra and retracted        to see him. When he reached           saw a few hawkers armed with
                                                                                              police came up with two more               their statements in affidavits filed    Kurkur’s house, Kurkur instructed     sticks, pipes and dhariyas trying
                                                                                              witnesses — both Muslim —                  before the Supreme Court.               him to buy petrol. Along with a       to break down the train’s doors
                                                                                              who now confessed it was they                  In an interview with TEHELKA        few other Muslim hawkers, Bahera      and windows. From coach S-2,
                                                                                              who had pulled the chain that              in 2007, the two narrated how           then went to Kalabhai Pump and        they proceeded to S-6, where
                                                                                              brought the train to a halt near           they were illegally confined and        bought 140 litres of petrol in        the hawkers had cut the vestibule
                                                                                              Cabin A. The statements of these           tortured by Parmar and his team.        seven carboys, each holding 20        with a pair of scissors. Bahera says
                  Freedom bond: Acquitted persons sign release forms before heading home      witnesses — Illias Mullah Hussain          “Every night, the cops would come       litres. This was stored at Kurkur’s   he and a few other vendors then
                                                                                              and Anwar Sattar Kalandar, part-           and put a log of wood on my legs        house, located behind his shop-       entered S-6 with five carboys and
     2007. ‘During Partition, many                     that Judge Patel has most relied.      time hawkers and part-time truck           and then walk over it,” said Hussain.   cum- guesthouse at Signal Falia.      poured petrol along the floor of
     Muslims of Godhra migrated                           During    its    investigation,     drivers — were recorded on 9 July          “I was given electric shocks on my          After that, at about 11:30 pm,    the coach. When the passengers
     to Pakistan… In fact, there is an                 TEHELKA tried to reach Baria,          and 26 July 2002. Both said they           genitals,” said Kalandar. They were     Bahera says he was standing at        started running helter-skelter,
     area called Godhra Colony in                      but failed. Kakul Pathak, one          were present at the station when           made to memorise a statement            Kurkur’s shop when two people         Bahera and a few others stole a
     Karachi… Every family in Godhra                   of the BJP men, told TEHELKA           the karsevaks beat up the tea              handed to them by the police. “The      — Bilal Haji and Farukh Bhana,        gold ring from a passenger who
     has a relative in Karachi… They                   that Baria lived under close           vendors. After this fight, they said       cops would come and ask us how          both Godhra corporators —             had jumped out of the coach.
     are fundamentalists… This area,                   supervision of Parmar. Pathak          they were told by Salim Paanwala           much we had memorised from              arrived. The corporators told him     He and his accomplices then
     Signal Falia, was completely                      said the last he had heard of          (a paan-seller at the station who          the hand-written notes we were          they had just met ‘Maulvi Sahab’      ambushed an armyman and hit
     Hindu but gradually Muslims took                  him, Baria was selling tea near        has been absconding since the              given,” both said.                      who had conveyed the message          him with a rod. Later, one of them
     over… In 1989 also there were                     Parmar’s office in Vadodara.           incident) and Razzak Kurkur that                                                   that the Sabarmati Express was        escorted the armyman to the
     riots… Eight Hindus were burnt                    TEHELKA then decided to meet           the karsevaks had abducted a               The Plug in the Hole: Jabir Bin         coming and they were to burn          road. Through all this, the mob
     alive… They all eat cow meat                      his mother who was a daily             Muslim girl from the platform and          Yamin Bahera is Arrested.               coach S-6. After that, Salim          had continued to pelt stones
     since it comes cheap… No family                   wage labourer in Godhra. Baria’s       they had to stop the train. So,            He Names Maulvi Umarji as the           Paanwala went to the station to       at the train. A stray stone came
     has less than ten children…’                      mother said her son had become         both along with another vendor             Mastermind                              enquire if the train was running      and hit Bahera on the forehead.
         Little wonder then that far                   a police witness out of fear. She      called Hussain Suleman Gijju               On 22 January 2003, the police          late. When he came back with          He rushed to a clinic for first aid.
     from doing a fair job, Parmar                     said he was not an eyewitness,         (who, according to the police, is          arrested Jabir Bin Yamin Bahera, a      the information that the train was    The next day, he says, he came
     bribed the pump attendants to                     he was at home and fast asleep         still absconding) scaled different         hawker at Godhra railway station        late by four hours, Bahera and        to know that after he had left the
     change their testimonies.                         at the time of the incident. She       coaches, turned the discs and              who had been absconding.                the other hawkers went home           spot, a hawker named Hasan Lalu
                                                       also said Baria now lived under        stopped the train. Both also               Thirteen days after his arrest, the     and gathered again near Kurkur’s      threw a burning mashaal inside
     The Hindu Hand: Ajay Baria                        the constant vigil of the police.      named all the accused whom Baria           police produced him in court and        Aman Guesthouse at 6 am on 27         the coach, which then caught fire.
     The first chargesheet was a mesh                  He could not visit her often and       had named in his statement. Both           had his confession recorded. This       February 2002.                            According to Bahera, he
     of conflicting claims. To bring                   was always accompanied by two          said they had seen the parrot-             is what Bahera claimed.                     According       to     Bahera’s   visited Maulvi Hussain Umarji

76                                                                                                            The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                         77
             Tehelka                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Health

                                                                                                                                                            Dubai Healthcare City
     during the next few days. On his                                             mentioned by anyone. According
     first visit, Umarji told him he was   Fresh Fuel: Fake Witnesses             to him, Maulvi Yakub Punjabi had
     paying 1,500 to all those who had     Produced to Prove the Source           been shouting provocative slogans
     been arrested; he did not pay         of the Petrol                          from the rooftop of a masjid when
     Bahera though. On his second
     visit, Umarji told him to escape.
                                           The story of Prabhatsinh Patel
                                           and Ranjitsinh Patel – the two
                                                                                  the train halted near Cabin A. In
                                                                                  an embarrassing disclosure which                                                                    Launches BR Medical Suites
     Having done so, Bahera says he        salesmen employed at Kalabhai          showed the cavalier way in which
     sold the ring he had robbed a         Pump – has already been detailed.      names were being added to the
     few months later to a jeweller in     How they first claimed they had        accused list, it was later revealed
     Anand for 2,000.                      not sold any loose petrol on 26        that Punjabi was not in the country            Cutting-Edge Medical Centre Features 21 Fully-Equipped Clinics
         In August 2003, Bahera            February. How this changed to          at the time of Godhra incident. His
     retracted his statement. But since    the assertion that they had sold       passport and visa both proved
     he had also given the statement       140 litres of petrol to six Muslims,   that. The suspicious circumstances
     before a magistrate, the court        including Kurkur and Paanwala,         under which Sikandar’s statement               By: A Staff Reporter
     has not factored in his retraction.   Bahera, Siraj Lala, Salim Zarda        was recorded before the
     The suspicious circumstances          and Shaukat Babu. How they later       magistrate has been detailed in the

     under which Bahera’s statement        told TEHELKA they had been             first half of the story.
     was recorded have already been        paid and tutored by investigating          While examining Sikandar, in                       ubai    Healthcare      City surgical ambulatory care through confident BR Medical Suites will
     detailed at the start.                officer Noel Parmar to say all this.   what could qualify as a cover-up,                      (DHCC), an integrated the finest specialists equipped further enhance Dubai Healthcare
                                                                                  the SIT inexplicably corrected the                     healthcare    free     zone to offer excellent medical care City’s pursuit for excellence and
     Stitched Up: Conspiracy and           The Seesaw Trail: Confessions,         inaccuracy about Maulvi Punjabi                and a member of TECOM and diagnosis in a wide range of reflect the wider work of Dr. B.
     Conspirators                          Chargesheets and Retractions           and recorded a fresh statement                 Investments Sciences Cluster, disciplines.                                                            R. Shetty in providing accessible,
     Armed with Bahera’s confession,       Later, the police obtained             from Sikander omitting Punjabi’s               today announced the launch of                    His Excellency Qadhi Saeed quality healthcare in the UAE.”
     the police now claimed to             confessions from six other             name but keeping Umarji’s. The                 BR Medical Suites, a cutting- Al Murooshid said: “The past                                               Dr. B. R. Shetty is a recipient of
     know the main conspirators            accused under section 32 of            SIT failed to ask Sikandar the                 edge medical centre that will decade has witnessed major several prestigious global awards
     (Maulvi Umarji, Bilal Haji, Farukh    POTA in which a police confession      basic question: why did he falsely             offer world-class clinical and transformations in healthcare including the most notable
     Bhana, Razzak Kurkur and              is considered admissible in a          name Punjabi and on whose                      diagnostic        services                                                                                   ‘Order of Abu Dhabi
     Salim Paanwala); where the            court — Shaukat Bhano, Salim           instructions? If he had falsely                with renowned industry                                                                                       Award-2005’ that was
     conspirators had gathered on the      Zarda, Irfan Patalia, Mehboob          implicated Punjabi, what was the               experts.                                                                                                     given in recognition of his
     eve of the incident (at Kurkur’s      Latika, Shaukat Bibina and Shakir      genuineness of his claims about                    The launch ceremony                                                                                      remarkable       contribution
     shop); where the petrol had been      Babu (all Muslim hawkers). All         Umarji? It was clear the Gujarat               was attended by His                                                                                          to healthcare in the
     bought from (Kalabhai Pump);          six hawkers have since retracted       police wanted to implicate Muslim              Excellency Qadhi Saeed                                                                                       region. He has also been
     and where it was stored (at           their confessions. Also on 16          clerics for the carnage.                       Al Murooshid, Director-                                                                                      awarded the ‘Padma Shri’,
     Kurkur’s house, behind his shop).     May 2005, the POTA review                  What happened to the                       General of Dubai Health                                                                                      one of the highest civilian
     But most importantly, the police      committee revoked POTA from            Sabarmati Express on 27 February               Authority          (DHA).                                                                                    honours conferred by the
     had now linked the conspiracy to      the case. As a result, all six POTA    2002 will always be a blot on the              Others      present     on                                                                                   Government of India for
     Godhra’s most significant Muslim      confessions became infructuous.        nation’s conscience. It deserves               the occasion included                                                                                        exceptional achievements.
     religious figure — Maulvi Umarji.         The police also took a             fair but harsh retribution. There              Dr. Ayesha Abdulla,                                                                                              DHCC continues to
         With Kalota and others Muslim     statement        from      Sikandar    can be no arguing that. What is                Managing Director of                                                                                         attract new providers in
     corporators in jail, Godhra’s         Mohammad Siddique, a Muslim            being argued is whether this was               TECOM         Investments                                                                                    various specialties including
     Muslim political leadership was       boy living with his family along       a horrific upsurge of mob anger or             Sciences Cluster, Dr. His Excellency Qadhi Dr. Ayesha Abdulla, Managing Director ofDubai Health ENT, ayurvedic medicine,
                                                                                                                                                                 Authority (DHA),
                                                                                                                                                                                      Saeed Al Murooshid, Director-General of
     already in the dock. With Umarji      the tracks at the time of the          a premeditated conspiracy. That                B. R. Shetty, Managing         Investments Sciences Cluster, Dr. B. R. Shetty, Managing Director and CEO     obstetrics and gynecology/
     named a prime conspirator,            Godhra incident. Siddique has          there was a conspiracy afoot in
                                                                                                                                                                                               at the opening of
                                                                                                                                 Director and CEO of of New Medical Centre GroupHealthcare City. BR Medical Suites in Dubai fertility treatment and
     the entire Muslim community           since migrated to Surat.               Gujarat those years is undoubtable.            the Abu Dhabi-based                                                                                          internal medicine. The
     of Godhra was indicted. The               Siddique’s statement mirrored      But as this story shows, it was                New Medical Centre Group, in the region and in Dubai. The integrated healthcare free zone
     police were now in a position         the names of the accused and           a conspiracy of a different kind.              government officials and medical quality of healthcare services has evolved into a cluster of over
     to claim that the Sabarmati           the sequence of events as stated       It was a conspiracy designed to                professionals.                             and standards are constantly 90 outpatient medical centres
     Express incident was not an           in Bahera’s confession. He also        rent the fabric of this country: a                 BR Medical Suites comprises improving and we continue and diagnostic laboratories, two
     act of spontaneous rioting but        claimed Maulvi Umarji had told         conspiracy by State machinery to               21 fully-equipped clinics including to attract leading national JCI-accredited hospitals, as well
     a cold-blooded, premeditated          him he was paying 1,500 to all         blacken one community’s name.                  examination rooms, a diagnostic and international healthcare as more than 150 commercial
     act of communal violence, with        those who had set the train on         And declare them the enemy.                    centre and four operating providers. This is translating healthcare and retail services
     respectable Muslims from Godhra       fire. However, Siddique also named                                                    theatres with 10 recovery beds. into more patient choice and that follow stringent standards in
                                                                                       Ashish Khetan is a senior reporter with   It will provide safe medical and better patient outcomes. We are healthcare delivery.
     at the centre of the conspiracy.      one more religious leader not          Tehelka. Article reproduced with permission.

78                                                                                                    The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                                  79
             Stimulus That

                                        Why Is There
                                                                                                                               Those who blithely report         and American characters are                         Japanese aren’t looting now.
                                                                                                                           on the social altruism of the         shaped. To say that the Japanese                    Perhaps they are, but they do
                                                                                                                           Japanese seem never to have           aren’t looting because they’re                      it so politely we don’t notice
                                                                                                                           heard of Japanese criminal gangs

                               No Looting In Japan?
                                                                                                                           like the Yakuza or of Japanese sex
                                                                                                                           tourism in Thailand. And yet the
                                                                                                                           general behavior of the Japanese
                                                                                                                           people in this crisis is different
                                                                                                                           than we would expect in the U.S.,
                                                                                                                           remarkably so, hence it invites
     The absence of looting in Japan has taken many western observers by                                                   speculation about the causes.
     surprise. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans experienced                                                       I reject racial explanations
     looting on a scale that astonished even American cynics. After last                                                   out of hand. Without any
     year’s earthquake, the looting in Chile was serious enough to require                                                 evidence of genomic differences
                                                                                                                           yielding significant differences
     military intervention.                                                                                                in behavior, the observation that
                                                                                                                           New Orleans’ looters were largely
                                                                                                                           black is indeed racist.
     By: Jim Picht                                                                                                             We might as well observe
                                                                                                                           that they were mostly American,
                                                                                                                           mostly Louisianan, and that very

                                                                                                                           few had doctoral degrees. Those        An aerial view shows houses burning and the Natori river flooded over the surrounding area in Natori
            here was looting in Haiti        question is, “why?”                 swept all their possessions away,         observations aren’t explanations,     city, Miyagi Prefecture, March 11, 2011. 8.8 magnitude earthquake strikes in Tohoku area,, northern
            after its earthquake last year      There’s substantial internet     remember that millions of people          and to insinuate that they are is     part of Japan, bringing tsunami, a huge tidal wave covering Kesennuma port, Miyagi and Miyako port
            and in England during the        chatter on the subject, and the     affected by the quake weren’t in                                                               Iwate Prefecture. ( Photo credit: The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )
                                                                                                                           a slander.
     2007 floods. So far, though, there      chatter is disturbing. The answer   the path of a tsunami.                        Cultural explanations are         “better” or racially mono-cultural                  in the videos of the disaster
     is no looting reported                                                                  A distressing number          much more to the point than racial    ignores history and ignores the                     region. Perhaps concerns about
     from Japan.                                                                         of writers have noted             explanations, but the correct         very serious problems Japan                         appearance and obligation trump
         Is it really that                                                               that there are few black,         ones probably have nothing to         has faced before this weekend’s                     the urge to smash and grab.
     surprising?              The                                                        Hispanic or Arab people           do with cultural (read “racial”)      disaster.                                              Whatever the reasons, they
     politeness,          honesty                                                        in Japan. As one put it,          homogeneity or the superiority            In some ways their behavior                     speak to the variety of cultures
     and orderly behavior of                                                             “Japanese do not loot,            of Japanese culture in general.       will strike us as extraordinarily                   and institutions in this world.
     the Japanese is widely                                                              black     Americans      in       Consider, for instance, the fact      admirable. In others it will be, at                 They shouldn’t serve as excuses
     admired. A Brazilian                                                                Louisiana do. If that is a        that Japan is a very densely          best, baffling.                                     to gloat or to damn diversity.
     friend in the jewellery                                                             fact, how is it racist?”          populated country of people who           There are always tradeoffs,
     business,       under    the                                                            A related idea is             are taught that conformity and        in cultures as in economies as in
     influence of severe jet-                                                            that Japanese culture is          consensus are virtues.                political institutions. There’s much                         James Picht teaches economics at the
     lag, left an unlocked                                                               superior to those lesser              To someone raised in a culture    to admire in Japanese culture,                                     Louisiana Scholars’ College in
     briefcase         containing                                                        cultures, less inclined to        that prizes individualism and         much that’s good and beautiful,                        Natchitoches, La., where he went to take
     thousands of dollars in                                                             reward people who loot            independence, those virtues           just as there’s much to admire                            a break from working in Moscow and
     cash and hundreds of                             Jim Picht: the author              and riot. New Orleans is a        sound almost offensive, yet they      in a falcon or a shark. Launch a                       Washington. But he fell in love and there
     thousands of dollars in                                                             largely black city; enough                                                                                                     he stayed. Now he teaches, takes pictures,
                                                                                                                           make much more sense in a place       shark into the air over Colorado                         and with wife Lisa raises two children.
     gem stones on a Tokyo commuter          most people seem to settle on is,   said, some might say.                     like Japan than in the sparsely       or release a falcon a hundred feet
     train.                                  “race.” Many argue that Japanese       Whether Japanese culture is                                                                                                               A German Hispanic married to an
                                                                                                                           populated American wild west. In      under the Pacific, and they seem                     Englishwoman, he’s a great fan of diversity,
         His host talked him out of          homogeneity is a strength,          superior to others is a question          the latter setting, the “cowboy”      less admirable.
     cutting his wrists and escorted         diversity a weakness. The           of values and perspective. The                                                                                                             though as a German who also teaches
                                                                                                                           mentality has better survival             Japanese        culture    hasn’t                            Russian, he has to struggle with
     him to the next station served by       Japanese aren’t looting because     victims of Japanese atrocities            value.                                revealed itself as a superior                                 his constant urge to invade Poland.
     the train, where the briefcase and      they’re all one big happy culture   in China might beg to differ, as              The     Japanese      national    culture, just one that’s well                                        He tweets and has a blog at
     its contents were waiting for him       with none of the predation that     might the builders of the bridge          character is shaped by the            suited to maintaining public                                     
     at the lost-and-found counter.          occurs when people of different     over the river Kwai and the               interactions     of      necessity,   order immediately after a major
         If stories like that are credible   cultures look longingly at each     “comfort women” conscripted               environment and history that          disaster.                                              Read more of Jim’s columns in Stimulus
     in Japan and unthinkable in             others’ possessions.                from other Asian countries to                                                                                                       That! in The Washington Times Communities.
                                                                                                                           give it peculiar strengths and            We can entertain ourselves             
     New York, Paris or London, the             Before you argue that tsunamis   entertain Japanese troops.                weaknesses, just as the French        endlessly speculating why the

80                                                                                              The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                                      81
           Moving On

                   It’s Okay Dubai,
                                                                                                                                   arrest that claimed his life. I was opportunity to grow and learn.                            I have seen Dubai in her
                                                                                                                                   not brave enough to say “Yes”.         I have seen the fulfillment of                     prime, suitably arrogant and
                                                                                                                                        Ironically, for the very reason many dreams here and though                          appropriately humble. I have
                                                                                                                                   I hated Dubai, I grew to love this I wish with all my heart that my                       taken personal pride and gloated

                                                                  I Forgive You
                                                                                                                                   place too, for as time passed, I father could have shared in my                           about her success to friends and
                                                                                                                                   felt a bonding with the                                                                           relatives, I have borne
                                                                                                                                   city that was so special.                                                                         the brunt of recession, I
                                                                                                                                   I was in the place where                                                                          have cheered along with
                                                                                                                                   my father had spent the                                                                           thousands as Burj Khalifa
                                                                                                                                   last couple of days of his                                                                        was inaugurated, I stood
     With much trepidation I stepped on Dubai soil and surveyed all                                                                life and, in an odd way,                                                                          in awe and fascination
     around me with an accusing eye. All the beauty, glitz and glamour of                                                          I felt closer to him than                                                                         as the musical fountains
     Dubai was lost on me as I tried to settle into my life here.                                                                  ever before. I felt one-up                                                                        twisted and turned and
                                                                                                                                   over my siblings on this                                                                          gyrated to sensuous
                                                                                                                                   account. Somehow I felt                                                                           music. The waters of
     By: Bushra Alvi                                                                                                               my father’s presence                                                                              the Arabian Sea have
                                                                                                                                   with me at all times and                                                                          swirled around my feet
                                                                                                                                   felt comforted.                                                                                   at      Jumeirah    beach,

         s April approaches and          wretched. Every time I stood in                existence at that time? Did he                 Later, when I took up                                                                         the harsh desert sun
         I brace myself for my           the balcony and looked around,                 ever go on a desert safari? Did            a job in Dubai Internet                                                                           has scorched my skin.
         father’s death anniversary,     the image of my father would                   he ever take an Abra ride? Did he          City as the editor of a             Bushra Alvi with her parents and her daughter Muzna           I have played guide to
  I ponder over my feelings toward       flash through my mind and I                    also relish ‘mandi’ like I do? Which       travel website, I started missing joy and success, I now realize that                     numerous friends and relatives
  the city that took his life. Looking   missed him all the more–more                   bazaar did he frequent? From               Dad terribly again and during the blaming the city was my way of                          and discovered endless treasures
  back at the time we shifted to         than even in the past decade and               which shop did he get all those            time I spent there he was very dealing with my loss.                                      in Dubai’s souks. I have wandered
  Dubai some years ago, I wonder         a half as I thought of his many                yards and yards of exquisite lace,         much alive in my memory. Dad               And now as I write this, my                    in the lanes of Bastakiya and
  at the force of my emotions.           official visits to this country.               Jacquard and Chinese silks? Such           had been  a world traveler, the heart is heavy once more but this                         smoked ‘shisha’ sitting at the
      I never wanted to come to                                                         were the thoughts that haunted             nature of his work took him all time because I am bidding adieu                           waterfront with them. I have
  Dubai initially and resisted when                                                     me for months.                             around the country and all over to this city which has been my                            shopped with vengeance at all
  my husband was offered a job                                                              I often thought of asking              the world where he went to read home for several years. Taking a                          the shopping festivals which are
  here, for Dubai is the place where                                                    where Maktoum Hospital was, as             papers or attend conferences or break from my packing, I once                             such an integral part of the city
  my father breathed his last.                                                          that was the place from where              give lectures, and each time I more stand in my balcony and                               and I have clicked thousands
  Yes, he died here in a friend’s                                                       my brother finally claimed my              edited those destination guides look out across the city. It has                          of photographs of the daily
  house in Deira, all those many                                                        father’s body to take home to              I thought of his visit to those been a perfect day. The blue of                           fireworks that dazzle the sky on
  years ago, on his way back from                                                       Delhi for burial. Somehow I never          places, the names so familiar, the sky interrupted here and                               such occasions. I have adorned
  Makkah, after performing Umrah                                                        mustered the courage. Imagine              the pictures still so vivid from there with puffs of lazy white                           my car with the UAE flag on
  (pilgrimage) in the holy month                                                        my shock and horror when later             the postcards he mailed home clouds; the blue of the Dubai                                National Days and have even tried
  of Ramadan. He was to return to                                                       I took up a job at a language              or the photographs he took or Creek interrupted with a shimmer                            to memorize the National Anthem
  Delhi a few days after Eid-ul-Fitr                                                    institute in Deira and had to cross        what we saw in all those travel of gold as the sun languidly                              from my son’s school diary!
  but he never did. This place was                                                      Maktoum Hospital twice a day as            magazines that flooded our embraces the water; the blue                                       A distant humming catches
  the last on his itinerary but the      Bushra Alvi’s daughter Muzna and son Mustafa   I went to and from my place of             house for years. Even all my glass of the buildings dotting the                           my attention as I look up and see
  return date was not confirmed,                   on a visit to Dubai Mall             work. It was unnerving.                    initial information about Dubai creek side adding that perfect                            another aircraft vanish into the
  perhaps because it was fated that      Dad had been invited by the                        During my first Ramadan in             had been from my father’s touch to the scenery.                                           sky reminding me of my flight a
  he never would.                        government of the UAE for the                  Dubai, I felt my father’s loss all         description of the place and               Across I can see a fleet of                    few days hence.
      With much trepidation I            promotion and establishment of                 the more acutely. I celebrated Eid         literature he collected about it.      dhows waiting at the wharfage,                         I smile, even as my eyes turn
  stepped on Dubai soil and              the Unani System of Medicine.                  with mixed feelings hating Dubai               Settling in, though a delayed their bellies swollen with the                          misty for I am finally at peace
  surveyed all around me with an         His efforts bore fruit when                    all the more for it was exactly            process, finally did happen and cargo they will carry to distant                          with this city.
  accusing eye. All the beauty, glitz    later a Center for Unani/Islamic               three days after Eid-ul-Fitr, on           when I looked around the city lands; not too far away I can see                               Years and years after my
  and glamour of Dubai was lost          Medicine was established at Abu                the 4th of Shawwal (8 April), that         in which my father had died, the distinct Dubai Creek Golf &                              father has passed away, I can now
  on me as I tried to settle into my     Dhabi, but Dad was not there to                he was lost to us forever. Some            the feeling of despair wasn’t Yacht Club. National flags are                              truly say without any grudge,
  life here.                             see it happen. I often wondered                months later my brother visited            quite as intense.        The city I fluttering proudly atop consulate                     “It’s okay, Dubai, I forgive you!”
      Being in Dubai was torturous.      - Did Dad see the fascinating                  us in Dubai and asked if I would           was antagonistic towards and buildings and here and there a
  Wounds were opened afresh, the         buildings on Sheikh Zayed                      like to see the house where Daddy          which I took such a long time to seagull spreads its wings with a                                  Bushra Alvi is a freelance writer
  sense of loss intensified and I felt   Road? Was Deira City Centre in                 had suffered the massive cardiac           adjust to, has given me many an guttural cry.                                                              based in Dubai, UAE

82                                                                                                      The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                           83

                           Chutney’s                                                                      Ingredients                                                black and it turns soft, toss in cold water and put in
                                                                                                          250 grams blanched almonds                                 a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and with the
                                                                                                                                                                      help of a knife keep on chopping the mixture till it
                                                                                                          1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
                                                                                                                                                                                                  is well blended together.
                                                                                                          100 grams raisins

                                             & Relishes
                                                                                                          50 grams dates
                                                                                                          1/4 teaspoon saffron dissolved in
                                                                                                          1 tablespoon hot milk
                                                                                                          Juice of 1 lime
                                                                                                          Salt to taste

     Chutneys and relishes have come to be accepted as an integral                                        Method 
     part of food and make a good combination with lunch or dinner;                                       Mix together all the above ingredients and grind to
     they make even the most prosaic meals invitingly delicious.                                          a paste in a blender. If the chutney is too thick add
                                                                                                          water according to taste. Serve with hot puris.
     They not only have a knack of brightening up any food and
     enhancing the taste, they are also good for health because they
     are usually made of raw herbs, fruits, vegetables and nuts which
     naturally retain their vitamin content.

     By: Golden Reejsinghani

                                                                                                                                                                                     Onion Relish
                                                    Drain out the water from the corn and add the                                                                                                          Ingredients
                                              vegetables and put in a serving bowl. Mix together                                                                                         500 grams baby onions, peeled
                                              oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and pour over the corn                                                                                                      2 cups vinegar
                                                                                mixture and serve.                                                                                                       1/2 cup sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                            2 tablespoons ginger strips
                                                                                                                                                                                             100 grams seedless raisins
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Pinch of salt
                                                          Almond Chutney
                                                                                                                              Brinjal Relish                                                           4 dry red chilies

                                                                                                                                                                     Heat sugar with vinegar, and when the sugar melts
                                                                                                          Ingredients                                                 put in the remaining ingredients and cook over a
                                                                                                          1 purple brinjal                                             slow fire till the ingredients are translucent. Cool
                  Corn Relish                                                                             1 medium onion chopped finely                                                                         and bottle.
                                                                                                          1 medium tomato chopped finely
 Ingredients                                                                                              1 green chili chopped finely                                             Mango Chutney
 1 small tin whole corn                                                                                   1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic’
 1 cup chopped green capsicums                                                                            2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves                                                        Ingredients
 1 cup chopped tomatoes                                                                                   2 tablespoons virgin olive oil                                                1 kg flesh of half – ripe mangoes
 1/4 cup chopped onions                                                                                   1 tablespoon lime juice                                                                        750 grams sugar
 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil                                                                           Salt and pepper to taste                                                                      12 cloves of garlic
 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar                                                                                                                                                                        3 tablespoons salt
 Salt and pepper to taste                                                                                 Method                                                                                 1 teaspoon chili powder
                                                                                                          Grill the brinjal over an open flame till its skin turns           1 tablespoon each of cumin, cardamom and

84                                                                             The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                        85

     coriander seeds                                                                                                    Ingredients                                                                                          Method
     6 cloves                                                                                                           1 cup chopped spinach                                      Peel, core and slice the apples. Boil the apples,
     2 – Inch piece cinnamon stick, broken into tiny bits                                                               1/2 cup coriander leaves                              onions and grapes in 1 cup water until soft. Remove
     3 tablespoons each of blanched and sliced                                                                          1/4 cup mint leaves                                    from fire. Cool until bearably hot and pass through
     almonds and pistachio nuts                                                                                         1/2 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste                       a fine sieve. Return the apples to fire and stir in
     1 cup white vinegar                                                                                                1 medium onion                                            the rest of the ingredients. Cook and stir over a
                                                                                                                        100 grams chopped tomatoes                                  slow fire until the mixture turns thick. Remove
                                                                                                                        1 teaspoon chaat masala                                 the chutney from fire and store in a airtight bottle
                                                                                                                        1 teaspoon black salt                                                                          when cooled.
                                                                                                                        50 grams fresh besan sev
                                                                                                                        1 green chili

                                                            Slice, peel and core the pineapple. Remove all the
                                                                eyes carefully and dice into small pieces. Heat 1
                                                              teaspoon of ghee and toss in the mustard seeds.
                                                                   When the seeds stop sputtering, add onion
                                                                and chilies and sauté until soft. Add pineapple,
                                                            seasonings and 1/2 cup hot water. Cover and cook
                                                                 over a medium fire stirring frequently until the
     Method                                                 pineapple turns soft. Add more water if necessary.
     Peel and slice the mangoes in quarters. Discard             Remove from fire and mash to a smooth paste
     the seed stones and weigh the flesh. Place 1 cup         with the help of a wooden spoon. Reheat before
     of water in a large heavy bottomed vessel along
     with the sugar. When the sugar dissolves, toss in
                                                                                                                                                                                            Apricot chutney
     the mango pieces, salt, garlic and spices. Cook on
     a slow fire for about 1 hour, stirring continuously                Spinach Chutney                                                                                                                               Ingredients
                                                                                                                                                                                                         100 grams dried apricots
     so that the chutney does not get burnt. When the                                                                                                                                                           50 grams sultanas
     mango pieces turn soft and transparent and the                                                                                                                                                        1 tablespoon lime juice
     chutney turns almost dry, stir in the nuts. Remove                                                                 Method
                                                                                                                        Mix together all the above ingredients and grind to            1/4 teaspoon each of salt and chili powder.
     from the fire and set aside to cool. Stir in the                                                                                                                                              1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
     vinegar and pour the chutney into a clean glass                                                                    a paste in the blender. Serve with snacks of your
                                                                                                                        choice.                                                                        Few drops essence of rose
     bottle.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sugar to taste
                                                                                                                                           Apple chutney
                Pineapple Chutney                                                                                       Ingredients                                            Wash and soak the apricots and grapes in enough
                                                                                                                        750 grams apple                                        water to cover them. Set aside until they turn soft.
     Ingredients                                                                                                        250 grams sugar                                         Drain thoroughly. Remove the seed stones of the
     1 pineapple                                                                                                        500 grams sultanas                                      apricots and grind them to a smooth paste along
     4 green chilies                                                                                                    2 small onions minced                                   with the sultanas and the sugar. Stir in the rest of
     1 small onion minced                                                                                               3/4 cup vinegar                                           the ingredients. Mix thoroughly and serve with
     1 teaspoon ghee                                                                                                    2 teaspoons chili powder                                                                        plain puris.
     1/2 teaspoon each of mustard seeds and                                                                             1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
     cardamom powder                                                                                                    1/2 teaspoon salt                                                                        Golden Reejsinghani is a
     Salt and chili powder to taste                                                                                                                                                                     freelance writer based in Mumbai

86                                                                                           The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                        87

                                   Turkish Airlines
                                                                                                                                                          Legendary Athlete Kobe Bryant Named New Global
                                                                                                                                                               Brand Ambassador for Turkish Airlines…
                                                                                                                                                             Turkish Airlines has named                          featuring Mr. Bryant is planned
                                                                                                                                                         legendary       basketball    star                      for 2011.     The first television
      Launches Its Inaugural Flight To Los Angeles                                                                                                       Kobe Bryant as global brand
                                                                                                                                                         ambassador for the airline for the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 advertisements with Mr. Bryant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 are slated to run in the U.S. and
                                                                                                                                                         next two years. Turkish Airlines,                       the Middle East in the first quarter
                                                                                                                                                         the fourth biggest network carrier                      of 2011, after which it will be
                                                                                                                                                         in Europe, has rapidly expanded its                     broadcast globally to more than
     Turkish Airline’s new Comfort Class is the best in premium economy                                                                                  U.S. presence in recent years and                       80 countries. In addition to the
     and offers great value for money                                                                                                                    launched its first non-stop flight                      U.S., the campaign will focus on
                                                                                                                                                         from the West Coast with four                           the Middle East and the Far East
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Kobe Bryant, NBA star - Turkish
     By: A Staff Reporter                                                                                                                                flights per week from Los Angeles’                      where the basketball player has                              Airlines brand ambassador
                                                                                                                                                         LAX Airport to Atatürk Airport in                       a large fan base. The campaign
                                                                                                                                                         Istanbul beginning March 3, 2011.                       also will include billboards, print
                                                                                                                                                             A global advertising campaign                       and online components.
                                                                      Passengers traveling                    seat pitch and a seating area of
                                                                  to/from Los Angeles                         19.5 inches, Comfort Class offers
                                                                  will experience the                         the widest possible knee and                                             Turkish Airlines Offers                                                         international      flight    and
                                                                  exceptional       service                   seat space, compared to other                                                                                                                            continuing on to another
                                                                  aboard the brand-new                        airlines with premium economy.                                        Istanbul Transit Passengers                                                        destination outside of Turkey
                                                                  Boeing        777-300ER                     Every seat is also equipped with                                     Complimentary City Tours And                                                        will be offered courtesy hotel
                                                                                                                                                          Ms. Ayse Misirli Mirza
                                                                  aircraft. Equipped with                     10.6 inch in-arm monitors with                General Manager,                                                                                           accommodation. The duration
                                                                  the latest technology,                      AVOD services and connects to               Dubai & Sri Lanka
                                                                                                                                                                                       Hotel Accommodation                                                             of the lay-over in Istanbul must

                                                                                                                                                           Turkish Airlines Inc.
                                                                  the planes feature New                      iPods or USB devices. Internet,                   urkish Airlines passengers                       that each of them has left. To                        be over 7 hours for Business
                                                                  Comfort Class                               GSM and Live TV applications will                 with connecting flights in                       arrange the tour, upon arrival                        Class passengers and 10 hours
                                                                      With the affordability                  be accessible for Comfort Class                   Istanbul will be offered a                       at Istanbul Atatürk Airport,                          for those travelling Economy
   (L-R) Ms. Fatma Yuceler, General Manager, Western USA,         of economy and the                          passengers.                                complimentary city tour if time                         transit passengers are to visit                       Class, and the continuing flight
Turkish Airlines; Ms. Gina Marie Lindsey, Executive Director, Los luxury of Business Class,                       To view Turkish Airlines’ flight       between flights permits. Visitors                       the Turkish Airlines hotel desk                       must be the first scheduled
Angeles World Airports (LAX) and Mr. Hamdi Topcu, Chairman the new Comfort Class                              schedule, please visit www.thy.                                                                                                                          connection.
 of the Board & Chairman of the Executive Committee, Turkish boasts of a 46 inch                                                                         will have the opportunity to                            and will then be collected by a
                                                                                                              com.                                       see the historical sights of a                          private guide.                                           “Turkey is a beautiful
        Airlines cutting the ribbon to inaugurate the flight

                                                                                                                                                         city that has hosted major                                 In addition to the city                            country combining history,
           urkish Airlines celebrated                     Scheduled flight times for Los Angeles are as follows:                                                                                                                                                       rich culture and modern-day
           the launch of its inaugural                                                                                                                   civilizations of the world, and                         tour, passengers arriving in
                                                          Istanbul – Los Angeles                                      Departure / Arrival                the many magnificent traces                             Istanbul on a Turkish Airlines                        attractions, and we wish to
           flight from Istanbul to Los                    Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday                         11:10     15:25                                                                                                                                  share this with those travelling
     Angeles, the airline’s fourth                        Los Angeles – Istanbul                                      Departure / Arrival                                                                                                                              with us. Facilitating cultural
     destination in the United States                     Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday                         17:55     17:10 (+1)                                                                                                                             exchanges and bridging ties
     on 3rd of March 2011. Non-stop                        All times are in Local Mean Time (LMT)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       between travelers is the best
     flights are scheduled to operate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  way to increase awareness
     four times per week on Tuesday,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   about Turkey and its offerings,
     Thursday, Saturday and Sunday                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     and this is the idea behind
     with the Boeing 777-300ER                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         making available the city tours
     aircraft.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         to transit passengers. The hotel
         To celebrate the new route,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   accommodation offered to lay-
     Turkish Airlines is offering an                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   over passengers is simply for
     exceptionally discounted rate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ease of travel and convenience,
     on all flights from Los Angeles                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and going that one step further
     to Istanbul purchased on/or                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       for our guests,” said Ayse Mirza,
     before April 30, 2011. Round-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Turkish Airlines Abu Dhabi
     trip flights are available for                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Director.
     $752.00 including all taxes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          These promotions are valid
     and fees.                                                                                                                                            Transit visitors on Turkish Airlines will have the opportunity to see the historical sights of a city that
                                                                                                                                                                                       has hosted major civilizations of the world                                     for an unlimited period of time.
                                                               Turkish Airlines Comfort Class

88                                                                                                                            The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                                            89
             Buzz Word

                 Liali Jewellery Celebrates Nawrouz!                                                                     Giordano Brings A Burst Of Colour To Spring 2011
                                                                                                                                • New exciting hues in stores beginning March • Polo shirt collection gets refreshed •
           Jewellery set of rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds add sparkle
                                       to the occasion
                                                                                                     Ruby Set
                                                                                                                         S   pring brings a bloom
                                                                                                                             of new colours to
                                                                                                                         Giordano, as the leading
               To celebrate the rubies. In the fascinating world of            as the stone of prosperity, the           retailer rolls out its Spring
                 occasion         of gemstones, ruby is considered to          sapphire gemstone is noted for            collection in stores across
                 Nawrouz,      LIALI be the king of gemstones so the           its blue colour and one of the            the region.
Emerald Set     Jewellery,       the elegant combination of ruby and           most wearable of all gemstones                Available from March
                leading retailer of diamond reflect beauty and power.          giving the wearer a confident and         in all Giordano stores, the
 luxury jewellery in Dubai, offers         The magnificent Evergreen set       astounding image.                         seasonal palette offers
 an array of gift sets comprising of features emeralds and diamonds.               Raed Baker, Chairman of LIALI         Blossom       Pink,    Fiesta
 a pendant with chain, a matching               Emeralds are considered        Jewellery, said: “On the occasion         Orange, Dolphin Blue, Gold
 ring and earrings in precious                  to have the most beautiful,    of Nawrouz, LIALI’s carefully             Medal, Happy Green, Purple Rain,                            Giordano’s New Collection
 gemstones at an amazing starting              most intense and most           designed jewellery sets hope that         Deep Purple, and Sangria Red          tipping stripes on collar and              collection are simply refreshing
 price of AED 4,499. Each set is                radiant green that can be      each gemstone will bring peace            along with the all-time classics      sleeve openings, available in 100          and embody the simplicity and
 highlighted by 12 brilliant-cut                possibly imagined. The         and prosperity. Whether for               white, black, grey and navy blue.     per cent soft compact knit cotton          innovative styling that Giordano
 diamonds which team with                           green of the emerald       personal use or to give as a gift,        The new hues for the new season       for men and in the cotton-lycra            is known and loved for. With
 an oval shaped stone in the                             is the color of       we ensure the highest standard of         will appear across polos, printed     skinny fit polo for women. The             this spring collection, we are
 centre. You also get any                                life and of the       craftsmanship in every creation.          tees and basic tees.                  shirts are not just fashionable            certain that our customers will be
 extra gift from LIALI with        Sapphire Set        springtime making       Every piece of jewellery from Liali           Giordano is also expanding        but also practical and made                delighted with the high quality
 every purchase over AED.                          the set a unique and        carries an assurance of premium           its polo shirt collections for both   of materials allowing for easy             and performance of our polos
 2000/-                                authentic piece of its own.             quality, which is an essential            men and women. A new addition         washing.                                   that offer true value for money,”
      The Ruby-Roses set has               The Midnight Blue set has           requirement for customers who             to the range is the “tipping polo”       “Spring is in the air and               said Ishwar Chugani, Executive
 been sourced from the finest sapphires and diamonds. Known                    want nothing less than the best.”         in nine varied color options with     the colours for the Giordano               Director, Giordano Fashions LLC.

                                                  Marks & Spencer Al-Futtaim                                              Bank Of Baroda Opens A New Customer Centre
                                                    Launches New Season                                                     Service Centre At National Paints, Sharjah
                                                     New Style Campaign
                                                                                                                                ank of Baroda, the only        Debit cards for NRE accounts,
                                                   •	 Chic and tailored, New Season New Style pieces                            Indian Bank in the UAE         Remittances to India, Balance
                                                      are up-to-the-minute yet easy-to-wear and match                           started a new Customer         Enquiry, statement of accounts
                                                                                                                         Service Centre (CSC) at National      (for UAE/ Indian accounts) etc.
                                                      with other pieces                                                  Paints, Sharjah. The new CSC          Cash deposit and withdrawal
                                                   •	 Available in stores from 24 February                               will cater to the specific needs      services are also available at the
                                                                                                                         of individuals and corporates         Full Functional ATM.
                                                 1960s-influenced dresses      “New Season New Style has been            located in and around National            Speaking on the occasion,
                                                 in strong blocks of colour,   created especially for the eclectic       Paints area in Sharjah at their       Mr. Gupta said “It gives us

     M    arks & Spencer Al-Futtaim,
          a leader in family fashion,
     beauty, food and home ware,
                                          all pieces make mix-and-match
                                          dressing effortless.
                                              New Season New Style lingerie
                                                                               mix of customers that Marks
                                                                               & Spencer in the Gulf region
                                                                               caters to. Internationally-aware
                                                                                                                         doorstep. It is the Bank’s 13th
                                                                                                                         office in UAE.
                                                                                                                             At the CSC, the customers
                                                                                                                                                               great pleasure to start Bank
                                                                                                                                                               of Baroda’s 13th office in
                                                                                                                                                               UAE. Bank of Baroda’s vision
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Inauguration by Mr. Ashok K. Gupta ,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Chief Executive (GCC Operations)
     today announced that its New         incorporates many key trends,        and cultured, our customers               can avail most of the services        encompasses a clear strategy               about 200,000 customers, with
     Season New Style collection,         with beautiful lace detailing on     will appreciate not only the              such as, Opening of current/          and an unwavering commitment               6 branches at Bur Dubai, Deira,
     featuring     chic    smart   and    feminine sets that are ideal under   collection’s contemporary styles,         savings/ NRE Savings Accounts,        to deliver outstanding service             Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah,
     casualwear pieces, will be           any outfit. For men, the look is     but also the quality that they            Renewal of FDRs, Cheque book          for our customers no matter how            Sharjah and Al Ain and now 7
     available in stores throughout the   smart yet relaxed, with luxurious    expect from M&S.”                         issuance, Collection of Cheques,      big or small. We are continuously          customer service centres at Jebel
     region from 24 February.             like cashmere adding extra               The New Season New Style              Letter of Credit application/         working      towards     enabling          Ali(Dubai), Mussaffa (Abu Dhabi),
        Tailored yet feminine, the        softness and drape to coats and      collection will be available in           documents acceptance, loan            greater access to our products             RAKIA, Al Qusais (Dubai), Sheikh
     collection features an easy-to-      blazers.                             all Marks & Spencer Al-Futtaim            applications for all types of loans   and services.”                             Zayed Road(Dubai), Karama
     wear palette of warm neutrals;           Natasha     Tulsi,   Marketing   stores across the Middle East             for individuals/SMEs/Corporates,          The Bank is present in UAE             (Dubai) and National Paints
     from the latest pencil skirts to     Manager, Marks & Spencer, said:      from 24 February.                         Internet banking/ ATM Cards,          for the last 36 years, serving             (Sharjah).

90                                                                                            The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                       91

                                                                When A
                                                                                                                                reckless nor impulsive. They are          It is unfair to expect that         a dark chapter in the history of
                                                                                                                                fully aware of the trauma and          there would be no aberrations          Independent India.
                                                                                                                                privations their families would        in a 1.3 million strong force.            When       the      government

                               Soldier Cries
                                                                                                                                have to suffer should they die in      However, it must be appreciated        expresses its inability to spare a
                                                                                                                                the call of duty. Their inexplicable   that 90 percent of the troops          small piece of suitable land for
                                                                                                                                behavior is purely due to intense      are deployed on borders or in          a war memorial in the capital
                                                                                                                                attachment and loyalty to their        counter-insurgency operations.         to honour independent India’s
                                                                                                                                colleagues and the group.              Soldiers doing duty in remote          martyrs, it hurts every soldier.
                                                                                                                                    The worst thing for a soldier is   and uncongenial areas feel             They consider it to be an affront to
                                                                                                                                to lose a ‘buddy’. Poignant notes      terribly pained when a few acts        the memory of those who made
                                                                                                                                of the ‘Last Post’ send shivers        of misdemeanor and indiscretion        the supreme sacrifice. When a
     In the recent past, India was witness to the most unfortunate sight of                                                     down the toughest of soldiers’         are cited to paint a negative          senior member of the ruling party
     numerous military veterans returning their medals to the President to                                                      backs. Tears shed in the memory        picture of the services as a whole.    declares that commemoration of
                                                                                                                                of a fallen comrade are invariably     When the government                    the Kargil war is not warranted
     register their protest against the government’s indifference to their pleas.                                               accompanied by a sense of guilt
     Medals earned during active service are the proudest possession of soldiers                                                and helplessness. Many tend                 The Indian military thrives on shared
     and their being driven to surrender them should have made the government                                                   to blame themselves for their
     sit up and take note. But true to its wont, the government remained totally                                                failure to save their colleague’s             commitment among soldiers to
     unconcerned and unmoved.                                                                                                   life. This is the reasons why arms              achieving the assigned goal
                                                                                                                                are reversed while bidding final
                                                                                                                                farewell to a friend.                  shows apathy                           as the war took place due to an
                                                                                                                                When his leaders let him down              A supportive government’s          intelligence  failure of the earlier
     By: Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD                                                                                 The military as an institution     compassion acts as a major             government, soldiers are left
                                                                                                                                sustains itself on the trust-loyalty   motivator for the soldiers. It         aghast at the brazenness of the
                                                                                                                                equation existing between the          is not a question of financial         logic. When the government

           he profession of arms is           grieve through wailing, howling,      Soldiers were not to blame for              leadership and the rank and file.      remunerations alone. It is the way     adopts a negative attitude and
           all about management of            weeping and even sobbing. Their       the failure, yet they felt that they            When military leaders indulge      a government treats and values         makes no effort to redress their
           violence, destruction and          grief finds expression not through    had let the nation down. Scars of           in land grabbing, sale of liquor       its soldiers that matter. Except for   genuine grievances, soldiers are
     death. As it is not easy to muster       tears but through their silent        retreat in the face of the Chinese          or fake encounters, soldiers           token inanities on Independence        left a disillusioned lot with no one
     courage and nerve to kill other          anguish. Here are five triggers       onslaught continue to haunt our             start wondering whether such           Day, the government has singularly     to provide solace.
     human beings, soldiers are trained       that overwhelm soldiers’ hearts       soldiers. Inability to dominate             leaders deserve their trust and        failed to appreciate the intensity     Finally
     to acquire a streak of ruthlessness      and make them cringe with pain.       and crush forces inimical to                confidence.                            of sense of hurt of the soldiers at        Military is a social organization,
     and      brutality.  Consequently,       When he loses in battle               national interests makes soldiers           When countrymen fail                   their continued neglect. Frequent      albeit highly structured and
     according to common perception,             Soldiers see themselves as         miserable. They become restless             to understand                          degradation of their status through    disciplined.      It    consists    of
     soldiers are supposed to be              the sole guardians of national        for an opportunity to redeem                    Soldiers’      dedication     to   manipulated pay commission             living human beings with their
     cold-hearted and unsentimental           security. Being the last bastion      lost honour.                                duty, loyalty to the nation and        awards has made them skeptical         normal share of sentiments
                                                                                    When he loses a buddy                       willingness for the supreme            about government’s intent.             and idiosyncrasies. Soldiers go
        The worst thing for a soldier is to lose a                                      Self preservation is a strong           sacrifice are driven less by               In the recent past, India was      through phases of elation and
                                                                                    natural instinct and subordination          material      considerations    and    witness to the most unfortunate        sorrow. It is just that they are
     ‘buddy’. Poignant notes of the ‘Last Post’ send                                of personal interests to group              more by an overwhelming urge           sight of numerous military             trained to keep their emotions
      shivers down the toughest of soldiers’ backs                                  interests is against normal human           to earn the love and respect           veterans returning their medals        under control lest it affects their
                                                                                    psyche. However, military life is           of their countrymen. As the            to the President to register their     performance in crisis situations.
     fighters, totally impervious to          of the state, the military is fully   all about camaraderie and group             soldiers know that their image         protest against the government’s       Their anguish remains muted due
     emotional weaknesses. It is just not     aware of the fact that it cannot      cohesion. The Indian military               in society is dependent on the         indifference to their pleas. Medals    to their strong sense of loyalty
     ‘soldierly’ to cry and shed tears like   fail the nation, whatever the odds.   thrives on shared commitment                media, they tend to be very            earned during active service           to the country and to uphold
     other mortals. Voltaire observed,            Memories of reverses suffered     among soldiers to achieving                 sensitive to adverse publicity and     are the proudest possession of         military honour. For that reason,
     “Tears are the silent language           during the Chinese aggression         the assigned goal. Shared                   undue criticism. Soldiers do not       soldiers and their being driven        soldiers need to be handled with
     of grief”. Grief is a fundamental        of 1962 still cause immense pain.     commitment flows from cohesion              question subjecting the military       to surrender them should have          sensitivity and compassion.
     sentiment. It spares no one and          Despite the fact that the soldiers    developed through rigorous                  to public scrutiny. However, they      made the government sit up and
     soldiers are no exception. Soldiers      were ill-equipped and ill-clothed     training, caring and emotional              want it to be done in an objective     take note. But true to its wont,         The author is a retired General Officer of
                                                                                                                                manner, duly recognizing the           the government remained totally           the Indian Army. He is India’s foremost
     by nature are highly sensitive to        to fight in snow-bound areas, their   bonding. It is not uncommon to                                                                                             expert on defence modernisation procedures
     the environment and its responses.       devotion and valor were in the        see soldiers risk their lives for their     army’s prompt action against           unconcerned and unmoved. This           and offsets. He has been highlighting issues
         However, soldiers do not             highest traditions of the services.   colleagues. Soldiers are neither            transgressing officers.                episode will certainly go down as                 concerning India and its military.

92                                                                                                   The International Indian   The International Indian                                                                                                  93

     Futurequest... continued from page 96...

     in the name of God! But the giant       those who will have to contend        14, p. 266).
     is not invincible; many can testify     with        intolerance,  perhaps         GK Chesterton chose to
     from experience it is possible to       even danger.  Besides my own          write a a poem precisely on the
     bring him down, if at least one         experience,  which I hope to share    occasion of his conversion, taken
     requirement is met, though it’s         someday, the best illustrations of    from the weekly English edition
     probably the hardest.                   such a pilgrimage I can think of      of  L’Osservatore Romano on 16
         Stop the bus to Rome,               are the conversions of the well       July 2008, page 4:
     Jerusalem, Jeddah or Benares            known English writers CS Lewis
     and get off if you are trapped          and GK Chesterton whose own           “...The sages have a hundred                                            TIIs ‘where-to-get-it’ section. Products and
     on board organized religion’s           descriptions of the event speaks      maps to give                                                            services for our 200,000 discerning readers.
     bandwagon! It’s a matter of ‘No!’       for itself.                           That trace their crawling cosmos
     and a matter of ‘Yes!’                      CS Lewis wrote: “You must         like a tree,
         Speaking from experience,           picture me alone in that room         They rattle reason out through
     you can overcome fear if you            at Magdalen, night after night,       many a sieve
                                                                                                                                                   Food                  Emigration                       Emigration
     trust your Maker for the outcome.       feeling, whenever my mind lifted      That stores the sand and lets the
         It would be presumptuous            even for a second from my work,       gold go free;                                 Hungry? Call 800 45 01
     of me to tell you who God is;           the steady, unrelenting approach      And all these things are less than  
     research and many dissimilar            of Him whom I so earnestly            dust to me
     testimonies seem to indicate that       desired not to meet. That which       Because my name is Lazarus and
     such a precious discovery is the        I greatly feared had at last come     I live”
                                                                                   (The Convert).
      Someone has observed, the greatest pilgrimage
      is the shortest one; from the mind to the heart.                                 American missionary to India
                                                                                   E. Stanley Jones pointed out, “To
       It maybe the shortest but it is not the easiest,                            pass from estrangement from
         fraught as it is with doubt and fear and for                              God to be a son of God is the
      those who will have to contend with intolerance,                             basic fact of conversion. That
                    perhaps even danger.                                           altered relationship with God
                                                                                   gives you an altered relationship
     supreme epiphany and a gift by          upon me. In the Trinity Term          with yourself, with your brother
     revelation. But Christian, Jew,         of 1929 I gave in, and admitted       man, with nature, with the
     Hindu or Muslim we all have so          that God was God, and knelt           universe.”
     much to gain and nothing to lose        and prayed: perhaps, that night,          Jones explained that in
     by bolting to personal spiritual        the most dejected and reluctant       conversion one is not attached                                Movers                  Emigration                       TII Central
     freedom. We can let go of               convert in all England.”              primarily to an order, nor to an
     institutional religion for a simple,        “I did not then see what is now   institution, nor a movement, nor a                                                                  Only AED 999
     authentic faith in God.                 the most shining and obvious          set of beliefs, nor a code of action,                                                               for this space!
         One cannot help but recall the      thing; the Divine humility which      but primarily to a Person, and
     words of Christ (Matthew 15: 3) in      will accept a convert even on         secondarily to these other things.
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     this context: “And why do you, by       such terms. The Prodigal Son at                                                                                                          Ideal for: Insurance, Travel,
     your traditions, violate the direct     least walked home on his own          Who is that Person is the central                                                                  Property, Restaurants etc.
     commandments of God?” Does              feet. But who can duly adore          question of life
     this apply only to people who call      that Love which will open the                                                                                                  
     themselves Christians or is there       high gates to a prodigal who is                                                                                                          DUBAI
     meaning in it for all?                  brought in kicking, struggling,         Frank Raj is TII’s founding editor and
                                                                                   publisher. His column ‘No2 Religion, Yes                                                 
         Someone        has     observed,    resentful, and darting his eyes in                                                                                                       OMAN
     the greatest pilgrimage is the          every direction for a chance of        2 Faith is published by The Washington                                                  
     shortest one; from the mind to          escape?... The hardness of God              Times online. He is co-author of the                                                         QATAR
     the heart. It maybe the shortest        is kinder than the softness of           upcoming publication ‘Universal Book                                                  
     but it is not the easiest, fraught as   men, and His compulsion is our          of the Scriptures,’ and author of ‘Desh                                                          INDIA
     it is with doubt and fear and for       liberation”. (Surprised By Joy, ch.           Aur Diaspora’. He blogs at www.                                                  

94                                                                                                    The International Indian

                    Organized Religion:
                                        A Goliath Rules The World
     “I have read much philosophy, and though I do not see how it is possible to refuse intellectual assent to
     certain theories of the Absolute, I can find nothing in them to induce me to depart from my instinctive
     disbelief in what is usually meant by the word religion.”
                                                                 - W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer’s Notebook
 As I turned my attention to all that is done by people who profess Christianity, I was horrified.”
                                                                                   - Leo Tolstoy, Confessions
     “Transport yourselves with me to the day on which all men will be judged, when God will deal with each
     according to his works. I see all the dead of former ages and, of our own stand in his presence. Are you
     sure that our Creator and Father will say to the wise and virtuous Confucius, to the lawgiver Solon, to
     Pythagoras, to Zaleucus, to Socrates, to Plato, to the divine Antonines to the good Trajan, to Titus, the
     delight of the human race, to Epictetus, and to so many other model men: ‘Go, monsters, go and submit to
     a chastisement infinite in its intensity and duration; your torment shall be as eternal as I.”
                                                                            - Voltaire, A Treatise On Toleration

     By: Frank Raj

        rthur Schopenhauer, the                      This long haul is unlikely to               However, I also recognize
        19th    century        German            be executed with five smooth                that those philosophers have
        philosopher,        explained            stones.                                     all succeeded and failed in their
  how, “All truth passes through                     However,    while    probing            quests.
  three stages. First, it is ridiculed.          for facts and information to                    It is not for me to speculate
  Second, it is violently opposed.               underscore the urgent need to               about anyone’s place in eternity,
  Third, it is accepted as self-                 discern the difference between              but if those past voices had
  evident.”                                      religion and genuine faith it’s             not spoken out, asked the hard
                                                                                             questions, I wouldn’t be writing a
         One can only marvel at the strategy and                                             column like No 2 Religion, Yes 2
                                                                                             Faith, which I do in The Washington
        control the goliath of religion has acquired                                         Times. Check it out at: http://
       over men and over nations. All of this in the                                         communities.washingtontimes.
                       name of God!                                                          com/neighborhood/no-2-religion-
      If you wonder what a column                obvious many others have gone                   Goliath however continues to
  like this hopes to achieve by                  the distance before me.                     tower over the global religious
  stalking the Goliath of religion,                  As Maugham, Tolstoy and                 landscape.
  have no doubt the thought comes                Voltaire and a host of others have              One can only marvel at
  frequently to my mind.                         done, I also plan to consult those          the strategy and control this
      David with the head of Goliath             philosophers that have pondered             towering giant has acquired over
  by Caravaggio                                  religion and faith.                         men and over nations. All of this

                                                                                                            continued on page 94...
96                                                                                                                 The International Indian
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