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It was purely a matter of chance, that the man on our cover in this month, is one of the former Finance Ministers of India, Shree Yashwant Sinha. Keeping with the matters of business and budget, we have interviewed the father-son duo Rakesh and Rohan Verma of MaymyIndia and introduce a new writer—Marryam Reshii. She will be one of the travel columnists for Hitchhiker’s from this month. I hope that you have a good month, and for the men, celebrate the women that you have in your life. They deserve it!
MARCH 2013 `25 Issue no. 16 Volume no. 43 An MBD Publication RNI No.: 23870/72 D E M O C R A T I C W O R L D HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE INTRODUCING VETERAN TRAVEL AND FOOD WRITER, MARRYAM RESHII PAGE 40 SWINGING THE VINE TWO-BITS ABOUT THE LATEST TWITTER APP PAGE 20 The Kite Runner PLUS: WAREHOUSE ISSUE A BRIEF CHAT WITH YASHWANT SINHA PAGE 12 GARNISH FOREIGN DESPATCHES EDIT ORIAL SONICA MALHOTRA KANDHARI | firstname.lastname@example.org A Backpack of Reforms ALL EYES WERE on Finance Minister P. Chidambaram of the most high-profile FMs that India can boast of, when he presented the Budget 2013-2014 on February greatly admired and equally criticised. We spoke less 28, 2013. There have been issues which have been in about business and more about matters of the heart. the foreground in the past year, and the FM and his The man of substance left us truly impressed. Read INDIA BYTE team had issues that they could take credit for—allow- about him on Page 12. ing FDI in retail and civil aviation, and decontrolling Keeping with the matters of business and budget, fuel prices—albeit these issues were not a part of we have interviewed the father-son duo Rakesh and Pranab Mukherjee’s Budget Agenda. This Budget Rohan Verma of MaymyIndia. We have added a twist session started on a stormy note, with the Hyderabad to our Looking Back section this month and made our blasts and Home Minister’s remarks about Bharatiya master entrepreneurs look back at the initial days Janata Party disrupting sessions. The month-long of business. Do let us know what you think about it. session began with a customary address by President Since we are all about celebrating women this month, Pranab Mukherjee to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha it gives us great pleasure to introduce a new writer— and Rajya Sabha. We hoped that the sessions would Marryam Reshii is one of the most familiar names in prove to be productive over time—after all it carried a the gastronomical and travel writing in India, and has heavy legislative agenda, including getting Parliament been for the past 20 years. She has written for a slew of nod three ordinances, introduction of as many as 16 prestigious Indian and international magazines. As I bills, consideration and passage of 35 Bills. said, surprise! She will be one of the travel columnists YASHWANT SINHA: I know that the aam admi was waiting with bated for Hitchhiker’s from this month. I hope that you have "When India lend a breath for the budget. Being one of the crowd, I a good month, and for the men, celebrate the women helping hand to the hoped that the February Budget would bring some that you have in your life. They deserve it! emerging nation-state good news for us, the women. Come on Mister of Bangladesh, India’s Finance Minister, we deserved it—it is after all our stocks rose further month in March when the world celebrates Women’s globally. A nation, I Day on March 8th. We are the people who buy goods believe deeply, has to being sold, who hold on tight to the purse strings. It be strong and confident was purely a matter of chance, that the man on our in order to emerge" cover in this month, is one of the former Finance Ministers of India, Shree Yashwant Sinha. He is one MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 1 TOC RAKESH AND ROHAN VERMA FATHER AND SON ENTREPRENEUR THE PATHFINDERS DUO LOOK BACK AT THE INITIAL DAYS OF MAYMYINDIA READ MORE ON PAGE 24 TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S | MARCH 2 0 13 C O V E R DE S IGN B Y S A MEER K I SHOR E | P HOTO B Y SUBHOJIT PAUL 12 COVER STORY VIVEK BHANDARI 24 | SOURCES OF THE 12 | The Kite Runner INDIAN SELF: Excavating India’s political foundations Former Finance Minister and BJP politician Yashwant Sinha talks of the world of administrative service, politics, inspirations and mentors SIDDHARTHA VAIDYANATHAN 28 | INDIAN CRICKET DOESN‘T OPERATE IN COPYRIGHT Democratic World is published & printed by M Gulab Singh & Sons A VACUUM: It is a part of (a unit of MBD Group) at Gulab Bhawan 6, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi 110002, India and printed at Perfect Printers Gulab Bhawan 6, Bahadur Shah Zafar a society that discourages Please Recycle This Magazine Marg, New Delhi 110002, India. Democratic World is for private circulation only. women from excelling in And Remove Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without the written Inserts Before Recycling permission of M Gulab Singh & Sons. ‘male bastions’’ 2 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 30 ISSUE 30 | IS SMALL, SIMPLER? A closer look at the smaller states and do they solve the administrative problem? REGULARS 01| EDITORIAL 06 | UP-TO-DATE 10 | FOREIGN DESPATCHES 26 | LOOKING BACK 36 | READING ROOM 44 48 | STICKY NOTES GARNISH 44 | Bite-sized China in Tanbdoori India Chef Liu Zhijun brings a bit of his homeland to India GOOD KARMA WAREHOUSE SOCIAL AGENDA HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE 34 | THE ‘FARMGURU’ 38 | GADGETS & 20 | GO AHEAD MAKE 40 | CITY OF ARTS AND OF INDIA Rikin Gandhi GIZMOS TESLA MODEL A SCENE Is the Twitter SCIENCES A bit of botj of Digital Green is teaching S Why the car is fast, smart app—Vine—creating the right with loads of fun, that’s the Indian farmers, the key and green—enough to make vibe in the social media scene? Valencia for you—Marryam to a better produce your neighbours envious Tushar Kanwar explores... Reshii MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 3 EDITORIAL SALES & MARKETING Managing Editor: Monica Malhotra Kandhari Mayank Khantwal Group Editor: Sonica Malhotra Kandhari (Manager- Ad Sales), Editor: Dr Chander Trikha Mamta Bhatt and Democratic World is a monthly magazine published and printed by M Gulab Singh & Deputy Managing Editor: Rohini Banerjee Arjun Sawhney Sons (a unit of MBD Group). It is published at Gulab Bhawan, 6, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002, India and printed at Perfect Printers, Gulab Bhawan, 6, Sub Editor: Manjiri Indurkar Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002, India. The magazine is edited by PRODUCTION & LOGISTICS Dr Chander Trikha, Gulab Bhawan, 6, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002, EDITORIAL CO-ORDINATION Alok Kashyap, General Manager (Production) India. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without the Mamta Bhatt written permission of M Gulab Singh & Sons. 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(Publisher) 4 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 POPE BENEDICT XVI THEY SAID “I have come to the certainty that IT my strengths are no longer suited to an exercise of the Petrine ministry” UPtoDATE In the Valley: Spectators wait for the final news Afzal Guru Hanged Guru Labelled as ‘Martyr’ in the Valley HUNG\\ Afzal Guru, 43, was hanged inside the Tihar epitaph in Afzal’s name was discovered by a group of Jail on the morning of February 9, 2013, for plotting youngsters. Its inscription in archaic Urdu read: “The Feb 9 an attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. He martyr of the nation, Mohammad Afzal Guru, Date of was buried inside the jail complex in accordance with Martyrdom: 9th February 2013 Saturday, whose mor- the jail manual. The death triggered protests across tal remains are lying in the custody of the Govern- the Valley. Kashmiri separatists reserved a grave for ment of India. The nation is awaiting its return.” the “burial” of the body of Afzal Guru at the expansive Bhat was executed in the same prison as Guru for cemetery at Iddgah in downtown Srinagar, just as the murder of a police officer and a bank manager on was the they have done for the body of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader, Maqbool Bhat. Tucked in a February 11, 1984. Both have been buried on the jail premises. Abdul Ahad, a grave digger, said that not date of freshly-laid tombstone of cement concrete on Mazar- less than 1,000 militants and civilians were buried at hanging e-Shuhada, beside Bhat’s empty grave, a black granite the Mazar-e-Shuhada in the past 22 years. 6 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 up-to-date FROM AROUND THE WORLD // ICC Women’s World Cup; Aussies Win CRICKET\\ In this edition of the ICC Women’s Cricket World, the Indian team got eliminated as early as the group stages for the first time in eight editions. The team lost to Sri Lanka. Runs overflowed from the opponents’ bats, while the Indian side saw some way- ward bowling. When it came to scoring, Indian bats- women functioned at snail’s pace and failed to fire. Barring Thirush Kamini’s hundred in the first game and Harmanpreet Kaur’s knock against England, only Karuna Jain and Poonam Raut managed half-centu- ries. Reema Malhotra (38) was the highest scorer for India against Sri Lanka. That was the turning point,” In Worse Condition? An Agustawestland chopper said Diana Edulji, former Test cricketer. The tourna- ment which was spread over 18 days in which 24 matches produced outstanding individual and team After Coalgate, its Choppergate performances, with Australia crowned champions, AK Antony denies resignation and New Zealand captain Suzie Bates named Player of the Tournament. rumours SCAM\\ The Choppergate controversy began after Italian agencies arrested Fin- THE GLORY meccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for suspected corruption to seal a deal made CUP with Indian officials. A CBI team and defence ministry officials left for Italy to get more information on the alleged kickbacks in the $750 million (`3,600 crore) chopper deal. Playing down reports that he has offered to resign over Choppergate, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said he will do his duty and be present in the Budget Session. Answering questions on whether there were “differences” between the government and the ministry over the scam, he ruled out the allegations. Antony added that the government was acting together in the matter and said that the Centre and his ministry had “nothing to hide”. He assured that “nobody will be spared” if any wrongdoing was found. On the other hand, Britain allegedly will help India in investigations into the alleged AgustaWestland chopper deal controversy, Manmohan Singh said. APPOINTED John Kerry; US Secretary of State John Kerry was ceremonially sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden as the new US Secretary of State. Kerry took over from outgoing secretary Hillary Clinton in a private ceremony. Mr Kerry was, until then, the Democratic Senator for Massachusetts. MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 7 up-to-date \\ FROM AROUND THE WORLD The Flight Path (left) The trail of smoke left by the meteorite Aftermath (below) Rubbles and broken glass at the site Meteorite Shoots Across the Russian Sky 400 People Injured in the ‘Fireball Shower’ METEORITE \\ Around 400 people were Mountains. “I felt like I was blinded by head- at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant but there was injured when a meteorite shot across the sky lights,” he said. No fatalities were reported no environmental threat, a plant spokeswom- in central Russia in mid-February sending but President Vladimir Putin, who was due an said. Such incidents are rare. A meteorite fireballs crashing to Earth, smashing win- to host Finance Ministry officials from the is thought to have devastated an area of more dows and setting off car alarms. Residents Group of 20 nations in Moscow, and Prime than 2,000sqkm (1,250m) in Siberia in 1908, on their way to work in Chelyabinsk heard Minister Dmitry Medvedev were informed smashing windows as far as 200km (125m) what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright immediately regarding the incident. A from the point of impact. The Emergencies light and then felt a ministry official said the Ministry described the events as a “meteor shockwave, according to meteor shower may have shower in the form of fireballs” and said a Reuters correspondent There was a been connected with an background radiation levels were normal. It in the industrial city 1,500km (950m) east of flash...and felt asteroid, the size of an Olympic swimming pool, urged residents not to panic. Chelyabinsk city authorities urged people Moscow. The meteorite a shockwave that was due to pass Earth to stay indoors unless they needed to pick up raced across the horizon, leaving a long white trail that smashed at a distance of 27,520km (17,100m), but this could their children from schools and kindergar- tens. They said a blast had been heard at an in its wake which could windows not be confirmed. A altitude of 10,000metres (32,800ft), apparent- be seen as far as 200km (125m) away in Yekater- – bystander loud noise, resembling an explosion, rang out ly signalling it occurred when the meteorite entered Earth’s atmosphere. The US space inburg. Mobile phones at around 9.20am. The agency NASA has said an asteroid known worked only intermittent- shockwave could be felt as 2012 DA14, about 46metres in diameter, ly. Chelyabinsk city authorities said about 400 in apartment buildings in the industrial city’s would have an encounter with Earth closer people sought medical help, mainly for light centre. “I was standing at a bus stop, seeing than any asteroid since scientists began rou- injuries caused by flying glass. “I was driving off my girlfriend,” said Andrei, a resident. tinely monitoring them about 15 years ago. to work, it was quite dark, but it suddenly “Then there was a flash and I saw a trail of Television, weather and communications became as bright,” said Viktor Prokofiev, smoke across the sky and felt a shockwave satellites fly about 500m (800km) higher. The 36, a resident of Yekaterinburg in the Urals that smashed windows.” A wall was damaged moon is 14 times farther away. 8 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 up-to-date FROM AROUND THE WORLD // NATION SALT & PEPPER Hyderabad Blast Kills 16 FUNNY ONE-LINERS POP- BLASTS\\ Twin bomb south of Musi (river) in and the second near UP AS THE POPE CALLS IT blasts rocked Hyderabad the southern part of the Konark theatre. Reports QUITS on February 21, 2013, Andhra Pradesh capital state over a kilogram of killing at least 16 people and about 15km from explosive was used in and injuring over 100 the heart of the city, each bomb. A specific others. In the first terror when the busy commer- alert warning attack by “Local soothsayer insists strike in the city since cial area was crowded Pakistan-based terror- ominously#Pope resigns 2007, the blasts triggered with people returning ist group was allegedly & lightning bolt strikes by Improvised Explosive home. The first blast shared by central secu- Devices (IED) tied to took place around 7pm rity agencies with Hyder- theVatican...Followed two bicycles took place near a tiffin centre oppo- abad police on Thursday by Italian Helicopter in Dilsukhnagar area, site Venkatadri theatre morning, officials said. scandal..Comprende?” Dilip Cherian@ DILIPtheCHERIAN | Columnist Sri Lankan Army faces flak after “Since#Pope’s resigna- photographs surface Slain LTTE tion, lightning has hit Chief’s Son Allegedly Murdered St Peters, a quake struck south of Rome, and now Etna is erupting.” benwedeman@bencnn | Twitterati “#Pope Benedict Resigned to Avoid Arrest, Seizure of Church Wealth by Easter” Anonymous 4thEstate @4thAnon | Hackers “Apparently special break- fasts are being served on the 1st March, the day A Victim? A file photo of Balachandran Prabhakaran before his death after the #Pope stands down— Ex Benedict.” ALLEGATION \\ A series of photographs showing Balachandran Prabhakaran, son of Barra Best @barrabest | Twitterati Villupillai Prabhakaran, head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), shot and dead were revealed recently leading to allegations that the boy’s death may have been slaughter. The allegations were brought to the fore by Channel 4, one of “I just want to point out that the leading UK media channels. One of the photos shows the boy sitting in a bun- Noah was more than 500 ker, alive and unharmed, apparently in the custody of Sri Lankan troops. Another years old when he built the picture which was taken a few hours later shows the boy’s body lying on the ark. #Pope #quitter” ground, his chest pierced by bullets. The images, contained in a new documentary, Leith McPherson @leithmcp | Twitterati No Fire Zone, are slated to be screened at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival during the UN Human Rights Council meeting in March 2013, suggest that the boy of 11 years was captured alive and killed at a later stage. MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 9 foreign despatches \\ NOTES FROM THE DIA SPOR A RAHUL CHOUDAHA New York, Are Indian USA RAHUL CHOUDAHA A higher education specialist based out of New York, Dr Choudaha blogs on www. DrEducation.com and B-schools in a specialises in strategic management of higher education, institution building, collaborations and market development. He holds a PhD in bubble, as US higher education from the University of Denver, an MBA from NITIE, Mumbai, and BE from Jabalpur University. He edits a blog, DrEducation. colleges are? com and writes, speaks and consults on trends related to student mobility, collaborations, quality and policy at the intersection of research, marketing, technology and strategy ARE INDIAN B-schools in a bubble, as some experts are claiming that American colleges are? Joseph Schumpeter, in a recent article in The Economist entitled The Latest Bubble? argues the American higher education bubble is already beginning to burst. He quotes PayPal co- B-schools and corresponding media frenzy associated with corpo- founder, Peter Thiel, “Higher education fills all the criteria for a bub- rate top pay packages. ble: tuition costs are too high, debt loads are too onerous, and there is The social prestige associated with an MBA has also contributed mounting evidence that the rewards are over-rated.” to the demand for MBAs. One crude indicator is the matrimonial This claim is also applicable to Indian B-schools. With more classifieds, where an MBA degree is often positioned as a measure of than 3,000 such schools in the country, India has three times more success and achievement. We can also see it when someone says that B-schools than the US. This difference becomes stark when one they have an MBA vs MEd—we are already judging that the person considers that the size of the Indian economy is one-tenth of the US with an MBA is “better” than one with an MEd. These social stereo- economy. The result is poor quality education and an oversupply of types of MBAs as a measure of success have contributed to undue and MBA graduates which, in turn, increase unemployability and under- irrational expectations for people to pursue them. employability among graduates. According to economists Karl Case On the supply side, given the appetite for MBA degrees, many and Robert Shiller, a bubble represents “A situation in which exces- entrepreneurs and politicians have seen an opportunity to make easy sive public expectations for future price increases cause prices to be money. The barriers to entry to start a B-school are quite low, both in temporarily elevated”. In other words, a bubble simply represents an terms of financial and regulatory requirements. These barriers are over-estimation of future expected returns. Based on this simple defi- even lower if one ignores the regulatory requirements. In addition, nition, we can clearly see that Indian B-schools are in a bubble. On the emergence of new models—especially the one-year MBA and the demand side—from students and families—expectations of social distance learning—have accelerated the supply of MBA programmes, prestige and career advancement from an MBA degree are reaching a many of which are not recognised by AICTE. The result is too many level of irrational exuberance. Similarly, on the supply side, promoters’ unrecognised, poor quality MBA programmes in the market. So, expectations of earning easy money are also blown out of proportion. what is the way out? One of the ways out seems to be the foreign uni- One of the characteristics of a bubble is “herd behaviour”. This versities bill which is hanging fire. India must wake up to the need can be seen in the large number of students who continue to aspire for internationalisation of higher education and put in place a policy to an MBA degree. MBAs are perceived to offer a safe and reward- framework to address concerns, if it wants to reap the benefits. The ing career path. This perception, and accompanying herd behaviour, foreign universities bill has turned out to be like a car with square are largely driven by the salary war (read: inflated salaries) among wheels. Though the bill is still awaiting approval of the Parliament, 10 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 foreign despatches NOTES FROM THE DIA SPOR A // “According to it has generated excitement the Ministry absolute scores are still considered the only benchmark for admis- among many institutions in of Labour and sions, ISB adopted a holistic admissions process on the lines of the India. There are questions about the bill’s effectiveness Employment, best B-schools by integrating personal interviews and essays. This expanded the choice for many talented students. Unfortunately, regu- and relevance. Also, there are while 12.8mn latory structures had tried to restrict the ISB model and its growth. a few foreign institutions, like Lancaster University, which people are India is slated to become a top ranking talent provider, globally by 2020, provided it brings about quantitative and qualitative changes in decided not to wait for the bill added to the its vocational and doctoral studies curricula. As of now, they are poor and have started their cam- puses in partnership with labour force cousins to the more lucrative course choices for India’s youth. The two extremes of post-secondary education, vocational and doctoral, are GD Goenka. annually, facing acute quantitative and qualitative challenges in attracting talent, This is an example of how a disjointed approach can vocational delivering value and meeting society’s expectations. Vocational edu- cation is impaled on the quantitative front by the large gap between render a policy irrelevant. training is demand and supply. It highlights the need for a comprehensive internation- available According to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, while 12.8mn people are added to the labour force annually, alisation policy on higher edu- to only a vocational training is available to only a miniscule 4.3mn. On the cation which can maximise the relevance and benefits at miniscule qualitative scale lies the dismal skill development and training scenar- io. A report by the World Bank notes that over 60 per cent of gradu- three primary levels: infusing 4.3mn” ates from the vocational stream in India remain unemployed even excellence, encouraging insti- three years after graduation. If vocational training is in shambles, not tutional diversity and building much can be written about the postdoctoral education system either, capacity. Jane Knight defined internationalisation as the “process of struggling with the issues of quality and accessibility. According to the integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, the purpose, functions or delivery of postsecondary education.” This universities enrolled nearly 36,000 students in doctoral programmes definition clarifies that internationalisation is a much broader, more in 2005-06—a small number for one of the largest education systems comprehensive and flexible concept. It recognises and encourages in the world enrolling more than 8.5mn students at the undergradu- diverse approaches and accepts that there is no one prescriptive for- ate level. Despite such a small number, concerns for quality have mula for all institutions. The context in India is different, and so, the been growing. Challenges faced by vocational and doctoral educa- concept of internationalisation should be adapted to the unique chal- tion systems in India are complex and dynamic, wherein choices are lenges and needs of the country. driven by societal and labour market rewards. Competition for scarce There is no denying that Indian higher education is struggling to resources and jobs is high. As a result, there is a marked preference infuse quality at the systemic level. Consider the recent case of the for career paths with low risk and high employability. 100 per cent cut-off requirement by the Sri Ram College of Com- Five major changes proposed at societal, policy and institutional lev- merce, Delhi, for admission to undergraduate programme. Instances els, will pave the way for better post-secondary education in India. like these question the whole premise that Indian higher education The Indian post-secondary education system needs to recognise is reforming and expanding access to college courses. In reality, the the value of institutional diversity. To quote noted higher education availability of quality institutions is unable to keep pace with demand. researcher Frans van Vught, member of the Group of Policy Advisors Indian institutions are facing a crisis of confidence where many to the President of the European Commission, diversity among insti- students are aspiring for the same select institutions. A systematic tutions is expected to “…better serve the needs of the labour market, approach to internationalisation may help bring in global good prac- offer more and better access to a larger student body and allow insti- tices and more high-quality institutions. For example, in just a decade, tutional specialisation by which the effectiveness of the overall higher ISB, Hyderabad, has emerged as an inspiration for many other Indian education system increases.” institutions. It is a hallmark of global practices adoption, covering He adds that institutional diversity offers various career pathways to admissions, teaching, research and governance. In a country where students and stimulates upward social mobility. MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 11 12 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 cover story THE KITE RUNNER // The Kite Runner Former Finance Minister and BJP politician Yashwant Sinha talks of his journey into the world of administrative services, politics, inspiration and his mentor By Rohini Banerjee Photographs by Subhojit Paul Design by Sameer Kishore MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 13 cover story \\ THE KITE RUNNER ere is a small story. It starts in a place called blur of colours; colours of bright kites and glass marbles. Kadamkuan in Patna in These were the games he would cherish playing with his the 1940s. For those who neighbourhood gang in those sprawling compounds and are from the eastern part of fields of Kadamkuan. Then, there was a game called India, they may be familiar “chance”. A mix between “catch me if you can” or “lock- with the place. For those unaware, Kadamkuan remains and-key”, he was the master of this game, being quick on in the living memory because it was home to Jayaprakash his feet. Up the walls and over the fields he would tear Narayan. Jayaprakash Narayan, JP, Jayaprakash or through, spending his hours. But, it was flying kites which Loknayak—one of the most prominent freedom fighters he was obsessed with. So obsessed in fact that one of his and social activists—was known by many names. He recurrent childhood dreams was of him and his friends was to lead a movement in the early 1970s against the running after one particularly large bright kite. Confident Centre’s regime. However, this is not the story of JP. It is of his abilities, and an eternal optimist, the lad would of a young lad, also from Kadamkuan, and who was to manage to catch the string right at the end, beating the hold JP in the highest esteem so much so to pave a path rest; all the time. according to the elder man’s ideals. The young lad was The idyllic childhood games were paused when he so enchanted by the movement and the man at its helm was led to Sir Ganesh Dutta Patliputra High English that he would, years later, change his career path as a School. The name of the particular institution was longer tribute to him. But we get ahead of ourselves. Revert to the and grander than its premises. Housed in a disputed Kadamkuan of the 1940s. building, there was a legal war being waged between the The area was home to several eminent people who had school authorities and the land-lord, who also happened made their houses with sprawling compounds in the to be the neighbourhood lawyer. One day the legal battle “New Area”, built after the 1934 Bihar Earthquake— ended, and the boy and his friends hurried to their classes one of the worst recorded earthquakes in this country’s to discover (to their unbridled joy) that desks had being history. In New Area, there also lived a large family of thrown while text books lay strewn on the ground like seven brothers and four sisters and their parents in a large flotsam. With alacrity students went back to their homes rented house. The protagonist of our story is the seventh to declare their independence from studies to alarmed brother and the ninth child of this family. The boy, as parents. That holiday continued for fourth months, after it would be clear later, was a late bloomer. Being one of which the school was re-started and re-established on a the youngest, he was left to his devices for a long period new premise, a little further ahead, and the kite, marble of time. Till he was seven, no one in the family really and chance games were put away for a bit longer. worried enough about him to send him to school. His In that school, our protagonist continued his studies. elder siblings home schooled him and he learnt the letters, Academics was yet to become a priority (such a contrast alphabets and basic arithmetic thanks to his brothers. to his later life). His elder brothers had taken care of Probably, when he became too inquisitive or noisy, he is that legacy or burden; call it what you will. Most of not too sure which of his attributes was to blame, one them were intuitively good in their studies. There were of his much-elder brothers caught hold of him and took few regrets or complaints in that family, barring one. him to the nearest school in the neighbourhood—a walk None of the excellent academically brilliant brothers had from his home. Thus, till seven, life was immersed in the managed to crack the Union Public Service Commission 14 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 His book Confessions of a Swadeshi Reformer “A high-ranking IPS officer was present in my interview panel. He saw my NCC record and asked me why had I placed IPS so low on my rung of priorities. I said, just because I had excelled in the NCC, it did not necessarily mean that I should be condemned to a life of a policeman. I think that statement might have sealed my fate” —Yashwant Sinha Examinations or UPSC—as of then. None of them belonged to the government cadre. However, our young protagonist was least plagued by such worries; now in Class VIII, he had consecutively failed his mathematics examinations (and scored a solid zero twice in a row). He had bigger problems on his mind. And then there was this new emotion that he was feeling increasingly. In a gist, he was starting to feel inadequate. In that New Area of Kadamkuan, where all the eminent people lived, there were also the children of those eminent people. Our protagonist was a friendly chap with friends from all sections and some of them went to “good” schools. They came back with tales of class and home work and a better curricula. It made the boy think that perhaps, he, too, wanted to be in a “good school”. Suddenly Sir Ganesh Dutta Patliputra High English School did not seem adequate. So, the carefree lad who bothered more about kites than kilogram tables, went up to his parents. For the first time, he demanded to be put in a”good” school. In those days admission was an informal affair. The boy’s father—bemused by the change in his youngest son—obliged. He spoke to people and there ended the Patliputra days and a new chapter started in the reputed Patna Collegiate School. THE PATLIPUTRA BAGGAGE There are few people who can narrate a story well. There are even fewer still, who can do it quickly. Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha is one of A bureaucrat-turned-politician, Yashwant Sinha is the few who blessed with a sharp memory, solid hold considered by many as one of the Finance Ministers over words, and more importantly, a deliciously self- who transformed the Indian economy. He has deprecating, yet confident, sense of humour, which been held in high-esteem by his friends, and more makes him an excellent narrator. He not only tells a importantly, by his foes, as a man of character. His story crisply and lucidly, but also, takes his audience life has been impressive—early on he tasted success into its very fabric. Thus, when he speaks of his as a bureaucrat. Then Sinha took a U-turn to enter seven-year-old self—dreaming of a kite and running Indian politics with a ticket from Janata Dal. He after it—you are with him. You can sense his hope served as a spokesperson for Bharatiya Janata Party and determination. (BJP), served stints as the Foreign and Finance MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 15 cover story \\ THE KITE RUNNER “I could be a minister if I wanted to be, but you cannot be an IAS officer even if you wanted” —Yashwant Sinha A retort to a former CM of Bihar Ministers in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. quite an arrogant person. From his stories, however, However, Sinha is perhaps best remembered as an the BJP member emerges as an intuitive person—in administrative officer who held important posts for control of his destiny. As he shares his life story, the 24 years upholding Indian concerns in international root cause of his confidence emerges. As a student conferences and in social and political delegations. hailing from a Hindi-medium, neighbourhood At the end of the day, the man who sits across school, Sinha struggled to gain the confidence of his me in his political uniform of a crisp kurta-pyjama new teachers in the reputed Patna Collegiate School. and a Nehru jacket, is ready with a smile. Being And the label of being a “Hindi-medium student” was the storyteller, he does not make his life seem less one that he carried into his college and Master’s days. or more than what it was, or is. He swings between Sinha recalls one particular teacher who seemed being self-deprecating and confident. Sometimes, to take pleasure in pointing out his mistakes. He with a hearty laugh or with a smile that his seven- took to referring Sinha as the “Patliputra Boy”. In year-old self might have flashed, he admits to being those days of strict attendance and roll calls, students CAREER TIME LINE Resigned from Worked as the the Indian Completed his Master's Consul General Administrative in political science from of India from Service and joined Patna University Frankfurt active politics 1937 1958 1960 1971 1973 1980 1984 Born in Patna, Selected Served as First Served as Bihar, to Late for Indian Secretary at the the Joint Dhana Devi and Administrative Indian Embassy in Secretary in Bipin Bihari Saran Service Bonn in Germany the Ministry of Surface Transport 16 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 cover story THE KITE RUNNER // were marked FA—fled away—if they were missing (Master’s), a fierce debater, the young man was from afternoon classes and roll calls. An indisposed preparing himself unknowingly for a life under the Sinha, hoping to be excused from classes, wrote an public glare. The pressure he put himself through, application for leave one afternoon. He, however, was not for a career. He wanted to be a man of several mispelt key words; headache and permission. Not parts, and shed the Patliputra label. This was like only did his teacher cancel his request, he read out his dream again—chasing a goal, only this time, his the misspellings before the class. Sinha did not mind rivals were not his neighbourhood boys but young “Everyone in the the Patliputra Baggage, as he saw it. Instead, he chose men who came from English-medium schools. college was a friend. to concentrate on his lessons and in a short span he “Everyone in the college was a friend. I have some I have some of these was one of the top students. of these old friends in my life still. However, there old friends in my life “Patna Collegiate School produced large numbers are a core group of three of us who came from Hindi- still. However, there of first-division state rankers. When my batch medium background. One day we decided that we are a core group of three of us who came passed out, we were just 11 first-division boys. The would speak to each other in English and English from Hindi-medium usual score was around 25. Though the school did only. Determined, we dispersed for the day. Next day background. One comparatively worse, a Patliputra Student got through onwards, we started to avoid each other like plague. day we decided that one of the most reputed colleges of the region, (Patna If we spotted anyone, we would try to look the other we would speak College),” Sinha says with a chuckle. way. For a while, we judiciously continued to avoid to each other in English and English In those days, Matriculation was followed by an each other, till I decided that we couldn’t carry on. only. Determined, Intermediate degree, then two years of Bachelor’s My friends and I decided we would converse in we dispersed for and two more years of Master’s. The memory of the English, but occasionally,” he said breaking into a the day. Next day consecutive zeros had managed to scar Sinha enough booming laugh. onwards, we started to wipe traces of arithmetic from his life. He happily to avoid each other like plague. If we moved into liberal arts. Little did he know that years THE PUNJAB MAIL spotted anyone, we later, numbers would be a part of his every day life “In college, I decided to break my Hindi-medium would try to look as the Finance Minister. Also, he knew that he never mold and joined the debate team. The best orator the other way. For a wished to be a “boxwallah”—a jargon used to describe among us was a young man who came from Doon while, we judiciously a corporate guy, derived from the large number of School. There was no way I could beat his skills. continued to avoid each other, till I Patna youths who opted to be employed at Metal Box Instead, I decided to be the second-best. I joined his decided that we India Limited. team for an Intermediate Debate, a pretty prestigious couldn't carry on. My On one hand, Sinha was becoming stronger in event, held between top colleges in Patna, namely the friends and I decided academics, on the other his parents were getting Patna Women’s College, Magadh College and some we would converse alarmed, even their sixth son had failed to crack the more. I doggedly prepared a five-minute speech. in English, but occasionally” UPSC tests. So, Sinha was to be their last hope. As a And then rote learnt it while pacing the banks of student of history (Bachelor’s) and political science the Ganga. I went and delivered it without pausing. —Yashwant Sinha Served as the Finance Minister Served as the in Prime Minister Served as the Resigned from Finance Minister Foreign Minister Chandrasekhar's in the Atal Bihari the post of cabinet in the Atal Bihari Vice-President Elected to the Vajpayee ministry Vajpayee ministry Rajya Sabha of BJP 1986 1988 1989 1990 1996 1998 2002 2004 2009 Became the Became the national Was defeated in the Became the Lok Sabha elections All-India General spokesperson of the General Secretary from the Hazaribagh Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party of Janata Dal constituency in Bihar Janata Party MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 17 cover story \\ THE KITE RUNNER “After his death, I finally joined active politics as a tribute to him” —Yashwant Sinha On his life mentor, Jayaprakash Narayan Friends later informed me that I had earned a remains were discovered recently, I hope you have nickname—Punjab Mail—one of the few fast trains heard”, he informs me). He also played Sergius in travelling from Patna in those days for my non- Arms and the Man. He was one of the active members stop rant. Though, I was forewarned, I continued of the National Cadet Corps from his school days. in the same breathless fashion in the main debate. His participation also earned him a seat at Indian Thankfully, my partner, (Doon student) was an Military Academy in Dehradun. “I took part in the excellent orator. Together we bagged the team cup. I Republic Day parade, I was an NCC cadre. I was on realised that I loved debating.” Due to his relentless stage acting and debating. If there is a single regret pursuing of all debate competitions, he soon became that I have, is rejecting the military academy offer. I one of the busiest and best debaters of his college. was and remain fascinated by the military uniform. I The incident sheds light on yet another impressive have a tremendous respect for the men and women attribute laudable in Sinha. Faced with any who go to war for our well-being. I have to make do by impediment, he has always managed to see it as a reading fiction based around wars,” he says. challenge, and turned it around to his advantage. And Even if the Army uniform was not for him, another through it all, he often manifested the energy and uniform was waiting. That of a civil servant. He was rigour of a seven year old pursuing his kite. In college almost ready for his role having chosen the “right he took up multiple activities; theatre being one. subject” and the “right attitude”. Sinha interjects and He played Lord Hastings in Richard the Third (“His states he just had an attitude. Though he was one of 18 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 cover story THE KITE RUNNER // RAPID FIRE ROUND the top scorers in the civil entrance tests, he scored poorly in the Viva Voce (140 out of 400) something he suspects was due to one of his answers. “A high- ranking IPS officer was present in my interview panel. He saw my NCC record and asked me why had Tribute to a Mentor I placed IPS so low on my list of priorities. I said, If his world travel just because I had excelled in the NCC, it did not shows his confident necessarily mean that I should be condemned to a life stride, the mention of a policeman,” he says, laughing. Even if his answer of JP throws up a was not smart, his scores were—enough for him to softer side of Sinha. get through the Bihar Cadre of the IAS. Punjab Mail He becomes mellow was right on track. and contemplative. Not joining the Indian “I COULD BE A MINISTER, BUT YOU Army, and active poli- CANNOT BE AN IAS OFFICER” tics sooner, are the two First the district training course in Arrah, then as regrets he harbours. a sub-divisional officer at Giridih and then finally becoming the Deputy Commissioner of the Santhal “There were two chanc- Paraganas, Sinha rose through the ranks quickly. His es I had to work with JP stint was marked by difficulties—one of them being closely. At the end of the 1967 Bihar Famine. Though the situation was 1974, when I was back tragic, it brought him a step closer to his childhood to India, JP was in the hero–Jayaprakash Narayan. middle of his protests against the Indira Gandhi regime. He offered me a chance “I had grown up hearing stories of the man being to manage the Rajendra Memorial Trust and run the Peace Corps parallel to it. In tied to a slab of ice, being tortured and yet never exchange I would have received a token salary of Rs 500 and a small apartment. giving in. I had grown to idiolise him. During My wife and I went to a common friend's house where I wanted to formerly seal the Bihar Famine, JP was leading the Bihar Relief the deal. JP's wife, Prabhavatiji, hugged my wife to welcome her to the family. Committee. In order to help him out, I organised an Allegedly, my wife shed a tear. She understood that my and her's lives were to entertainment programme. We managed to gather a change. JP saw her reaction. He later told me that even if I was ready to quit my sum of `1 lakh, which I presented to the committee. comfortable life, my family was not. So, he asked me to wait a bit longer. In 1984, He acknowledged our effort by agreeing to meet me. I tried again. Some well-meaning politician friends stopped me. After his death, I Two days before the scheduled meeting, the then finally joined active politics as a tribute to him.” CM of Bihar (who shall be unnamed) and his CPI friend visited my office. In those days, government Sinha first joined the Janata Party, then the Janata Dal, and then the Samajwadi ministers manifested their superiority by behaving Janata Party. Finally luck brought him to the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1993, and badly with bureaucrats. I had heard so many horror he heads its Policy Formulation Action Group (PFAG). A Member of Parliament tales that I was pretty nervous about the meeting. and former Finance and Foreign Minister of India, he has finally found his place. It turned out to be as bad as I expected. We had a “Though you have not asked me, but others do. No, I have never regretted quit- tiff,” he remembers. At the end of the argument, ting the Indian Administrative Services. And yes, this is what I was meant to do.” Sinha uttered his “famous last words”—“I could be a It seems that the man in question has found his uniform at last. The kite runner minister if I wanted to be, but you cannot be an IAS has caught his prize yet again. officer even if you wanted”. “I was nearly suspended. However, the worst bit was that I never got to meet JP,” he recalls. That meeting with JP was to be further postponed, arrogance, had his journey been easy. However, it was as Sinha would do rounds of top official posts in both well-earned one. Confidence is key to his being—it Indian and foreign shores before landing up in India is not a matter of how one perceives himself, but in 1974. His stint at the Ministry of Commerce took how others perceives a confident being. Say, even a him all over the world. I was tempted to ask, for a nation. “I was in Germany when the Pokhran Tests man who battled with the English language for so happened. Overnight, I noticed the world’s perception long, how was it to actually land on shores were it of us had changed. When India lend a helping hand was spoken? “I felt that it was long overdue, my visit to the emerging nation-state of Bangladesh, India’s to those places,” he says with a laugh. There is a flash stocks rose further globally. A nation, I believe deeply, of his confidence again. We would have labelled it has to be strong and confident in order to emerge.” MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 19 social agenda \\ GO AHE AD AND MAKE A SCENE Go Ahead And Make A Scene An online six second video app is taking the world by storm BY TUSHAR KANWAR 20 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 social agenda GO AHE AD AND MAKE A SCENE // S TIPS & TOOLS ix seconds. That’s the sort of time it stitched together video is decidedly low- takes for a luxury sedan to hit 100 definition to boot! The videos even remind kmph, or how long most recruiters me of the animated GIF files people have look at the average resume before making been putting up on the Internet for well 1. For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn, a ‘fit or no-fit’ decision. Of late though, over a decade now! is one of Earnest Hemmingway's short six seconds has assumed a whole new Yet, in less than a couple of weeks since stories. Not the title of the story, but meaning in the social space courtesy Vine, Twitter launched the Vine app for the the story itself. If Hemmingway could a new app released by social networking iPhone (an Android app is in the works), say all he had to in six words, you could titan Twitter. What Vine does is let people media houses have used it to report sto- certainly do that in 6 seconds. What shoot and share six-second looped videos, ries, brands have used it to create ads you need to know is how to 'cut the turning the person on the street into a and contests and designers at New York crap.' When the time is less, choose mini-movie-maker. Fashion Week have broadcasted real-time your content wisely and say what you Sounds like you’ve heard this pitch backstage clippings during the show. have to. Only, what you have to. Period. before? Sure, tonnes of apps have tried to Celebs like Paul McCartney and Arnold 2. Vine could get you your 'six seconds bring mobile video sharing to the main- Schwarzenegger are already on it, sharing of fame'. However, that shall only stream, but where Vine excels–its secret snippets of their lives. happen if you remember to keep it sauce, so to speak–is its simplicity. (Of Not to mention the bad press the app real and more importantly original. course, having the backing of Twitter and has gotten for initial glut of smut upload- Sourcing other people's videos could a direct connection to its hundreds of mil- ed by users, leading Apple to slap it with land you in the Vine Hall of Shame. lion active users doesn’t hurt either!) At its a 17+ rating. You see, like everything else core is the idea that sharing a video can be online, Vine users shared inappropriate 3. Make a plan and stick to it. When almost as simple as sending out a tweet, videos on the network a.k.a porn. But treading on new waters, you need and just as Twitter’s 140-character limit that’s not the biggest of complaints I have to be better prepared. Therefore, it forces people to write more efficiently, with the service. Basic features, such as would be best to make a plan and Vine’s six-second limit challenges you to the ability to find people to follow, are follow it, that will help you navigate use visuals that convey (and get to) your broken. You can’t change the title or tags better through the new platform, point faster. But besides that incredibly of the video once it is posted, or block will keep you organised and help simple premise, it’s pretty easy to use as people who post offensive comments. You you conquer the space faster. well. Touch the screen to record. Lift your can’t save or export content. You can’t use finger to stop. Fill six seconds, write a the front facing camera on your iPhone 4. Be up-to-date. If you don't keep caption and post immediately, either to to record the Vine, only the rear camera. up with the changing times, you'll be Twitter, Facebook, or Vine’s own network. And oh yes, the service isn’t available on left behind. Keep an eye on what your That’s it. any other platform other than Apple’s, peers are doing; keep a track of the Sounds simple enough, right? What’s which cuts out a ton of folks who could latest trends. Make notes, brainstorm, more interesting is that compared to be vine-ing today! If you get a feeling it’s pick ideas and implement them. social video apps that have been around a rushed service without all basic features 5. Be Unforgettable: Keep your recently, Vine is as easily characterized of today’s social networks, that’s not content fresh and keep it flowing. If by what’s not there. For example, there’s entirely incorrect. your content is not innovative, and no way to edit your video, no Instagram- more importantly, is not flowing in like filters, not even a playback button VINE @ BUSINESS regularly, people will forget you. to review your video. The focus is front- Not surprisingly, it’s easy to get hooked And that would be the end of the and-center on the short stop-motion onto the service, watching streams of road for you. So remember to keep video you shoot. Heck, forget editing your sometimes inane, sometimes remark- it fresh and keep it coming. video, you can't even upload a video from able videos that creative minds across the your phone’s media gallery, and the final world are dishing out. But is there more MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 21 social agenda \\ GO AHE AD AND MAKE A SCENE BLOG WATCH Sowmya to Vine than cute puppy, cat and baby Rajendran videos? Is there a professional connection to the service, as businesses grapple with how they can best leverage their 6-sec- The Girl Who onds-of-fame on this new social network? Absolutely, if the past few weeks are Walked Out... anything to go by. Already, marketers and A man who touts himself as a ‘one-man we were required to be ‘modest’. So retailers are pushing out how-to videos army for social reform’, Dr Rajith Kumar we’d read all about patriarchy in Virginia of their latest products, showing off the recently delivered a talk at a Trivandrum Woolf’s gently mocking, quietly angry product in action. Restaurateurs and cof- college to discuss ‘gender equality’. style and laugh at that absurd declara- fee shops are pushing out recipes for the Since it takes 10 minutes for a man to tion form we all signed. Some would day, promoting their menus and giving transfer his sperm to a woman and 10 wear sleeveless clothes and cover up their brands a video fillip. Tech startups months for a woman to deliver, the pro- when going past problematic professors. and media houses are promoting com- fessor advised women to remain ‘within These were small, tiny rebellions. But pany culture by offering Vines on behind- their limits’. He added that women there it was that beautiful idea that our the-scenes-looks at their offices. So, how shouldn’t jump too much—they could bodies were our own. can you make Vine work for you? displace their uterus. This particular incident sparked off my First, bear in mind that it is a new While such misogynistic BS flies around nostalgia because something similar service, so pretty much everyone is learn- often, what was spectacular about this happened when we were students—as ing their way around. Don’t let the hype talk was one girl who walked out. She a part of value education, we were machinery make your decisions–use the didn’t stop even when Dr Rajith made required to attend lectures on religions. app only if you have a clear purpose of disparaging comments about her. I love I will give this to Stella Maris, we were being on the network. Your business must her unhesitating stride, the expression not gagged. For one on Islam, someone have a clear reason to present videos to of outrage on her face. I see in her a asked the speaker why it was okay for the world before your first Vine is posted. hope that someday it will be considered a man to have three wives but not for Think of Vine as a micro-storytelling offensive, even criminal, to express a woman to have three husbands. The app – clearly, you must know what story anti-women sentiments, just as it is to speaker said this was because it was you are to tell for it to interest the audi- express sentiments that are against a ‘proven’ that women were at a higher ence and result in commerce. Remember religion, race or caste. risk of getting STDs. I asked the speaker to keep the content original–don’t “vine” I remember when I entered Stella Maris, if he knew that lesbians are at the lowest clips of movies or material that is subject I was pretty naive. The women I met risk for HIV transmission (lower than to copyright–showing other people’s copy- there shook me from my comfort zone. heterosexuals). righted works, even for those six seconds, I was judgmental, moralistic even, when He tried convincing us why wearing a could result in legal action. I was in school. I read Woman’s Era sin- purdah was a good idea—by claiming Once you’re on the platform, plan for cerely and thought feminism was just a that if two women went past a man, one it much like any other medium–keep the lot of screechy women. I was entrenched wearing the purdah and one without content fresh, and keep it coming! And as in a thought system that I couldn’t break it, he’d obviously look at the woman always, keep an eye on what others from out of—because I didn’t have the intel- without it. Many asked him why the man your industry are doing on the platform. lectual backing. College changed all couldn’t be blindfolded instead. He had Know what’s trending on Vine, pay atten- that. It wasn’t just the inspiring literature no answers for any of it and ultimately tion and take notes and incorporate the we studied, but interactions I had with bowed out saying he was out of time. really compelling ideas into your own friends. We were in a women’s college The girl who walked out, Arya, spoke on Vine strategy. that was conventional—I remember the Asianet later. Simply and sensibly, she Additional Reading: Mashable’s Going first question during my interview was answered that even if religions corrobo- Viral Visualized (infographic): http:// ‘What’s your favourite book’ and just as rated Dr Rajith, she didn’t see the point on.mash.to/W5UTNo I was rambling about Shame (I thought in upholding prejudices just because quoting a Rushdie novel would get me they exist. I only wish her friends had a seat), they asked me a second—‘Will walked out with her. I do hope she awak- Tushar Kanwar, a self-confessed you wear sleeveless clothes to college?’ ened in them that anger we have always gizmo-holic, is Benga- It’s ironic that I found my freedom within been taught to tame. luru-based technology these cloisters. While classes were (The blog has been edited and modified freelancer, who has primarily about writers and thinkers who for print. To read the blog visit http://cal- contributed to leading Indian technology publi- were non-conformists, on the corridors, amur.org/gargi/) cations for years. 22 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 PLATFORM VIVEK BHANDARI | Political Analyst Sources of the Indian Self Excavating India’s Political Foundations WHILE WATCHING Daniel Day-Lewis’ the connotation of these ideas really the self”, has always lent itself to a riveting performance as Abraham was in the 1860s. This begs a ques- variety of interpretations. Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s biopic tion: If the American experience is ABOUT THE Acknowledging that the issue Lincoln, many viewers were struck by described as a story about “liberty”, WRITER of the raj in swaraj referred to the how effectively the film captures the what were the foundational ideas that pursuit of political independence complexity of debates surrounding gave shape to India’s “Indian-ness”? from colonial rule, and therefore the DR VIVEK BHANDARI the meanings of words like “free- At the level of ideas, is there any is a noted historian goal of political sovereignty, Vajpeyi dom” and “equality,” terms that are concept that has come to capture the and former director chooses instead to focus on the swa the staple of political contestation in story of the making of modern India? of the Institute of (i.e., the “self”) part of the term. liberal democracies. National consti- Of an India understood as an imag- Rural Management, Then she asks: What were the dif- Anand (IRMA), a post tutions, which delineate the param- ined community (to use Benedict ferent ways in which intellectuals, that he took up after eters for the functioning of political Anderson’s evocative phrase) mak- spending 15 years opposed to colonialism in the early systems, use words and phrases ing sense of itself as it traversed the in the US. Today he 20th century, imagined conceptions with connotations and are subject to journey from colonial subjugation, is a keen observer of the Indian “self,” of the swa- in multiple interpretations and read- to political independence, and one of a dramatically swaraj. In pursuit of the answer, she transforming India ings. Reflecting on all that must have that now nurtures hopes of global constructs an analysis in which she transpired in those turbulent years of ascendency? assigns concepts that provide the the American Civil War and it’s after- There are many answers to these framework for these individuals’ con- math in which slavery was outlawed, questions, this is only to be expected. struction of the Indian self. For MK one cannot but marvel at the compli- Ananya Vajpeyi, in a new book Gandhi, it is ahimsa (non-violence), cated ways in which powerful ideas entitled Righteous Republic: The for BR Ambedkar it is dukha (suffer- like “freedom,” “equality,” and “jus- Political Foundations of Modern India, ing), for Rabindranath Tagore viraha tice” acquired the connotations they approaches this issue in a refresh- (longing), for Abanindranath Tagore did, and went on to shape the lives of ing way. She constructs an analysis samvega (aesthetic shock), and for countless Americans by redrawing around a term that served as rallying Jawaharlal Nehru both dharma (aspi- the map of race relations. One also cry in the days of Indian nationalism ration) and artha (purpose). Since realises how distinctly American—in and continues to excite the Indian each of these individuals needed to the sense of being a product of the imagination, the idea of swaraj (self evolve a conceptual platform from very specific circumstances that rule). This term, which can mean where to launch an intellectual cri- shaped the American experience— both “rule by the self” and “rule over tique of colonialism and western 24 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 platform VIVEK BHANDARI // HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT THIS COLUMN? WISH TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND IDEAS ON THIS MONTH’S ISSUE? — Write to us email@example.com ...the idea of swaraj (self-rule)is a term, which can mean both “rule by the self” and “rule over the self”, has always lent itself to a vari- modernity, these categories could not, by design, be derived from ety of interpretations...” European ways of thought or western texts, but need to have their moor- ings in the diverse Indic traditions that populate the Indian landscape. This was the realistic way in which leaders could respond to the predica- ment they faced, i.e., of articulating “the people,” came to be imagined by India, punctuate this mood all too a sense of Indian sovereignty that the makers of modern India. Just as well. As does that fact the Indian was not derived from the conceptual American connotations of terms like state is in war with many of this own vocabulary of western modernity. “freedom” and “equality” are deeply people in large swathes of the central This quest forced them “to swim out embedded in the American history Indian tribal heartland over issues of into the wide deep waters of the tradi- of slavery, empire, and capitalism, land acquisition, cultural autonomy tions that had once been their own.” (p. Vajpeyi’s analysis provides us with an for adivasis, and the management of xvii) Thus, the “search for the self—the approach for grasping the conceptual natural resources. self whose political sovereignty had to be vocabulary shaped by India’s his- Clearly, the aspirations for the Indi- reinstated—took the form of an attempt tory of colonialism and nationalism. an republic as articulated by the five to recover a line of moral inquiry from a In many ways, Vajpeyi furthers the iconic figures analysed by Vajpeyi are welter of Indian traditions.” (p. xxi). analysis of Sunil Khilnani’s The Idea far from being realised. For this rea- The choices of these five individu- of India by explaining how, despite son, it is provocative to place Ananya als reveal the distinct ways in which the ascendency of Nehruvian concep- Vajpeyi’s intellectual history of the the founders of modern Indian tions of nationalism and socialism in idea of India characterised as a Righ- political discourses chose to set lim- the early years of the Indian republic, teous Republic alongside Arundhati its on what constitutes their India, other imaginings have continued to Roy’s characterisation of contem- indeed the connotation they accorded serve as the protagonists of India’s porary India as a Broken Republic, to the Indian “self”. It is noteworthy epic journey. the title of her last book. While both that the preambles of both the Indian It is tempting to ask whether the books are different in their objec- and American Constitutions begin righteousness that the early nation- tives, style, and content, their conclu- with the phrase “we the people”, in builders imagined for the Indian sions only serve to remind us of how acknowledgement of the democratic republic is, in fact, reflected in con- contentiously the different Indian principle that “the people” are the temporary ground realities. Most selves—from the Adivasi, Dalit, rural sovereign power that sustain their would answer this question in the selves on the one hand, to the global- respective polities. What Vajpeyi’s negative, since the country is clearly ising, liberalising, nationalist selves analysis does so admirably is to struggling to resolve a variety of on the other—continue to shape the deepen our grasp of how the category social and institutional pathologies. destiny of the Indian republic. of the Indian self, which serves as The ongoing debates about corrup- (The views expressed in this column are the basis for what is Indian about tion and the position of women in of the author alone) MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 25 looking back \\ MAPMYINDIA PHOTO BY SURESH GOLA THE PATHFINDERS Father-son duo looks back at the process of pioneering digital maps of 5,79,000 towns and villages, street level maps of over 4,000 cities and 1.8 million kilometres of road network, and how MapmyIndia got to know India, inside out Rakesh Verma: By 2004, we realised Rohan Verma: I was in my first year models around the world for digital digital maps would be a crowded mar- of electrical engineering at Stanford maps—companies like MapQuest, ket. We knew the only thing that could University, US, when my father had YahooMaps and Maporama. At that differentiate us from the crowd was a this idea— web maps. These were time, we weren’t really thinking about brand that people could rely on. Being early days of the internet. There had a consumer focus as opposed to a a product company, we were nothing been a boom and bust but people focus on enterprise clients. We were without a brand. The first step towards hadn’t thought of many ways of mak- just excited by the possibilities of what making a brand was to take it to con- ing money through the internet. I we could do with this business. It took sumers. So, we thought of the internet. began benchmarking the different us three months to build the website 26 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 looking back MAPMYINDIA // and load it with our digital maps. We were going to call it Mappls because “My own experience of working with DOSSIER the enterprise and government com- product companies in the US...shaped munity knew us by that name then. But, somehow this didn’t jive. One my interest in consumer businesses. NAME: Rakesh Verma day over lunch, we came up with the name—MapmyIndia. Along with ideas and products, a PROFESSION: Rakesh Verma: When we launched consumer business needs money. You the portal in September 2004, it was a Entreprenuer hit. In months, we were getting 5,000- cannot survive in a consumer space 2004: Launched the portal, MapmyIndia, in 6,000 unique visitors a day when inter- net penetration was barely there. without sufficient cash...”—Rakesh Verma September of the year. The Rohan Verma: I think we were lucky. entry was in the internet We were in the right place at the right space time. There was no company like of Sherpalo Ventures (who had invest- In 2007, we were moving from being a 2007: MapmyIndia in this country. When we ed in Google, Amazon and Zynga). software to a hardware company. Moved from being a launched, we also got press attention. Kleiner Perkins and Ram Shriram Rohan Verma: Even though we were software to a hardware In fact, the media has been our lucky invested in us in August 2006. With a small company, we gave in to the company charm because we had a solid product money in the bank, we could focus on demands of professionals, and went to back it up. technology. Around this time, the world in for television and print advertising Rakesh Verma: We were thrilled to was moving from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. campaigns in 2008-09. But what we see the traction. The scale of reaching My father wanted us to upgrade, too. did well and differently from other out to more people is what is exciting So, I took a quarter off from Stanford players was that when we started sell- about the consumer space. As entre- to do this. Soon, MapmyIndia became ing devices in 2007, we invested in preneurs, we found this connect with one of the first Web 2.0 technology por- educating the market. We hired 150 people very exhilarating. Looking back, tals in India. sales people on the ground. This built I know we wouldn’t have enjoyed our Rakesh Verma: Since then, we have long-lasting value. When people went journey as much if we had only stayed raised $25 million in total, and reached to buy our product, we had a guy at the in the enterprise space. My own experi- four investors—Kleiner Perkins Cau- retail point. That organically created, ence of working with product compa- field and Byers, Sherpalo Ventures, and helped perpetuate what the GPS NAME: nies in the US, and on programmes Nexus India Capital, and last year, was. This kind of street presence was Rohan Verma like Project Saturn for GM had shaped Zenrin Co. As a product company, we a conventional FMCG approach but it my interest in consumer businesses. needed a lot of upfront investment. was unconventional for a company of PROFESSION: Along with ideas and products, a con- Plus, our challenges were greater our size. Investing in a market before Second generation entreprenuer sumer business needs money. You can- because we didn’t just create a brand, it’s even born is what forerunners do. not survive in a consumer space with- we created an entire category. We are That has had a lasting brand impact— 2007: Passed out of out sufficient cash in your war chest. thought leaders in the mapping and our customers associate these products Standford Rohan Verma: At Stanford, I took a navigation solutions space in India. for us. course on entrepreneurship. We had That was tough, we enjoy the advan- Rakesh Verma: After the GPS device some great guest faculty, including tages of being first movers and have in 2007, we’ve launched products like people from iconic venture capital been able to sustain our market share mobile maps, navigation systems and firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield and even when the market was growing. tracking devices. We’ve grown over Byers, and David Filo, the co-founder of Yet, not everybody agreed with all our 600 per cent over the past three years. Yahoo. I’d hang around after classes to decisions. When we brought out our Today, 75 per cent of our revenue talk to them, and MapmyIndia would GPS device Navigator in 2007, it was comes from consumer business. come up in our conversations. Those new for India. People wondered why Rohan Verma: By the time I was fin- discussions led us to think that our we were doing this. Some of our inves- ishing up at Stanford in 2007, the com- company had potential to attract multi- tors felt we should not have entered this pany had achieved a lot. Our people million dollar investments. My father space on our own. Our investors felt we had done a great job, yet we had done and I worked together on a business should just supply maps to manufac- only half of what we could do with the plan—he would work on it from India, turers. But, we knew we were going the portal. Going forward, we don’t want and I would work in the US. I then pre- right way. After its launch, the brand to “complexify” our maps but we cer- sented the business plan to Kleiner Per- really started building on its own. In tainly want to personalise it. Our maps kins Caufield Byers and Ram Shriram 2004, we’d entered the internet space. should know you. MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 27 PLATFORM SIDDHARTHA VAIDYANATHAN | Sports Columnist Cricket in India doesn’t operate in a vacuum It is part of a society that discourages women from excelling in ‘male bastions’ SIFT THROUGH THE reports from the cricket was in danger of dying if the malaise when issues as serious as recent Women’s World Cup held in current situation persists. those raised by Edulji come to the fore India—which Australia won—and 3. Police outnumbered spectators in ABOUT THE only before a major event. words like ‘sexism’, ‘apathy’, ‘dis- many of the World Cup matches. WRITER The average Indian fan approaches criminatory’ and ‘insult’ pop out. An estimated 300 watched the women’s cricket in the same way he The two-week long tournament, with Australia-Pakistan match at the approaches the Asian Games or the Siddhartha matches in Mumbai and Cuttack, Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. This Olympics: make some noise every four Vidyanathan hardly created a ripple and was the despite entry into the stadiums is a writer who years and then forget about it in the latest illustration of why the women’s being free. divides his time intervening period. There are no rag- game is languishing in the margins. 4. When asked about the poor crowd between India and ing TV debates about women’s cricket, A few points: response, tournament director, the US. He blogs no online wars over team selection. at sidveeblogs. 1. A week before the start of the tour- Suru Nayak, said the International The BCCI has plenty to answer for. wordpress.com nament, whose schedules were Cricket Council (ICC) were respon- Women’s cricket came under the aegis announced three years ago, all sible for promoting the event. “The of the board in 2006. Yes, state associa- matches were moved from Mum- BCCI has no say in the tourna- tions have allowed women players to bai’s Wankhede Stadium to accom- ment, it’s the ICC who are organis- use training facilities. Yes, there has modate a Ranji Trophy final and ing it,” he told the Times of India. been a burgeoning of the back-room an Irani Trophy match. The games 5. India were eliminated from the staff of the women teams. But none of were held in three other stadiums tournament within the first week. this can make up for the fact that the in Mumbai and two venues in Cut- And along with them went the little BCCI has done little to integrate the tack, which is in the opposite end of bit of interest that remained. Not women’s game into the mainstream. the country. that the grounds were full even for “If there is more support from the 2. Two days before the start of the India games. Reports suggest vast BCCI, then standards will rise,” said tournament Diana Edulji, a for- empty spaces even for matches Clare Connor, the ICC women’s com- mer Indian captain and one of the involving the hosts. mittee chairman. “The passion is pioneers of the women’s game, These are big issues for a global there for the game, people just need slammed the Board of Control for tournament. There is something to know more about women’s cricket Cricket in India (BCCI) for their wrong when organisers allow domes- probably, and hopefully that support disinterest. In an interview to tic matches to take precedence over a will grow.” ESPNCricinfo, she said women’s World Cup. And one senses a deeper The organisers did little to advertise 28 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 platform SIDDHARTHA VIDYANATHAN // Corporates have to cop some blame too. Advertising and mar- keting priorities seem so lopsid- ed that even pre-eminent women crick- eters like Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami don’t find themselves on hoardings and TV advertisements” the tournament. No signboards and schedule women’s T20 games dur- effort in vitalising the grassroots. Par- hoardings that screamed at you. No ing the IPL and international T20s. ents need to encourage girls to play serious promotion of the event. Even This can be a great way to introduce with the boys in the neighborhood women cricket fans in Mumbai—who women’s cricket stars to the average maidans. They need to push them to would have flocked to the grounds for fan. This can also serve as a chance to attend summer training camps. And an international match or IPL—didn’t allow more interaction between the they need to be willing to send teen- show much interest. A review of the men and women cricketers. It would age girls to countries like England tournament in ESPNCricinfo was give young, aspiring women cricket- to play in clubs and leagues, to hone critical of the lack of atmosphere in the ers a chance to learn from some of their skills. Schools and colleges need grounds. There was no music to pep the leading lights in the men’s game. to have cricket tournaments for girls. up the games, no regular announce- And vice-versa. Corporates have to cop Clubs must start women’s-only teams ments. The participating country’s some blame too. Advertising and mar- and actively seek out talented players national anthems were played only keting priorities seem so lopsided that from their respective cities. Women’s in the final. There were no cheerlead- even pre-eminent women cricketers cricket in India doesn’t operate in a ers, no mid-innings entertainment. like Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami vacuum. It is part of a larger society Back in February 2008, I watched don’t find themselves on hoardings that discourages women from excel- India play Australia in a T20 match in and TV ads. Companies need to rec- ling in fields that have traditionally Melbourne. As an opening act before ognise that these women would serve been male bastions. It operates in a the game, England and Australia as an inspiration for others aspiring to culture where large number of women played a women’s T20. This was a fine take up the game. Popular culture is cricketers give up the game once they initiative on the part of the Australian yet to embrace women’s cricket. There are married. board. Not only did it allow the women has been no Bend It Like Beckham or For every Mithali or Jhulan, there a chance to compete in front of a big Dare to Dream (the story of US wom- are thousands of girls whose par- crowd but also gave the fans an incen- en’s soccer) that has seeped into public ents frown upon them for picking tive to come and watch them. There consciousness. Movies, documenta- up a bat and ball. Until that equa- was entertainment through the game. ries and magazines can play their part tion changes, the blatant disparity And the women later spoke of how in spreading the message. The blame between the men’s and women’s much of a difference it makes to have game, though, can only go so far. To game will sadly continue. a big crowd watching them. see a real change in the profile of the (The views expressed in this column are The BCCI must follow this lead and women’s game, we need a collective of the author alone) MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 29 Issue | A closer look at smaller states Is Small, Simpler? In the year 1956 the Centre, under the leadership of the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru, initiated a process of territorial re-demarcation of the country. The State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) was formed to oversee the ‘redrawing’ of the Indian map on linguistic lines. As a result, the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, etc were formed between the years 1956-1960. The current states of Punjab and Haryana were formed in the 1966, while Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh were formed in the year 2000. BY MANJIRI INDURKAR THE DEMAND for a separate state of Telangana is today also raises questions on the argument of administra- TELANGANA more than 50 years old. The state of Andhra Pradesh tive viability. In the past few years, Bihar has seen a was formed against the recommendation of the SRC, dramatic growth; however Jharkhand has failed to which wanted to keep the region separate. A pact— do the same. It could be argued that Chhattisgarh Gentleman’s Agreement—was signed in 1956 between and Uttarakhand got small parts of their mother ON 2009, Telangana Rash- Telangana and Andhra leaders. The agreement provided states, but Jharkhand constituted a significant part triya Samiti President safeguards with the purpose of preventing discrimina- of undivided Bihar, owing to its under performance. K. Chandrashekhar Rao tion against Telangana. The alleged violations of this But it cannot be ignored that the success of Bihar is a started a fast unto death. agreement are cited as one of the reasons for demands product of strong governance and political will. Now He demanded the intro- of a separate statehood for Telangana. In this battle for there are Vidharbha, Telangana and Bundelkhand— duction of a Telangana statehood, Telangana’s not the only participant. The past all demanding political autonomy. That leads us to Bill in Parliament. On decades have seen an increase in the demand to break ponder over Nehru’s decision of dividing states on December 9, 2009, the up existing states—the Hindi Heartland of UP into linguistic lines. Existing small states do not always then Home Minister P. Bundelkhand, Purvanchal, Awadh Pradesh and Pas- lead to success stories—so do / can smaller states Chidambaram made an chim Pradesh. The Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is lead to wholesome development? The available data announcement where also demanding for political autonomy. The premise of presents a mixed image, thus it will be safe to say he said the Centre will these demands are being set is ‘administrative viability’. that division alone is not the answer. Is not better to start a process of forming The argument is that smaller states are better gov- invest the available resources in the making the cur- a separate Telangana, erned, and thus are more likely to develop. While the rent infrastructure robust? How viable is the idea of pending the introduction newly-formed Chhattisgarh is performing relatively smaller states for India? DW spoke to experts Dr Asha and passage of a separa- better, its mother state Madhya Pradesh has not been Sarangi, Professor of Political Science at the Jawaha- tion resolution in the AP able to replicate the success story. The failed state rlal Nehru University, and Professor Ambuja Kumar Assembly. This led to of the Northeastern region of the country, after the Tripathy, Professor of Political Science at the Delhi mass protests... breakup of Greater Assam into several smaller states, University, for the Issue of the Month. 30 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 issue SMALLER STATES // ASHA nated due to their developmental deficit and SARANGI believe that a break-up into smaller entities might prove to be advantageous. Break-up also demands attention of the Centre and extra investment of resources. HOWEVER, A division is not simply a question of resource and investment, but accounts for political stability, and to a large extent, warrants administrative efficiency. It has to do with the nature of coalition politics in a region, and its manipulative tactics on the part of the dominant regional party or parties and players. If it is too strong then the Centre often gives in to the demands. Whether or not such divisions bring suc- cess cannot be ascertained simply. We can not rely only on GDP figures to indicate growth, as it does not address the issue of regional inequality, structures of poverty and backwardness. Cutting the size of states to manageable administrative units might be a short term answer to manage equitable dis- tribution of wealth. But it will be so only in those cases where developmental parameters are already in place, and a certain degree of political maturity exists. In can occur in states geared towards de-centralisation of power and resources. If there is a need to Dr Asha Sarangi is an Associate Professor redraw the map of India, considerations such at the Centre for Political Studies, JNU. as equitable distribution of resources, fair Recently, she edited a volume (with Sudha share of natural resources for the intra-state uses, transparency and accountability of rule, Pai) titled ‘Interrogating Reorganisation and inter-state parity should be kept in mind. of States: Culture, Identity and Politics in The present-day politicians need to remind India’ published by Routledge India, 2011 themselves about the democratic agenda of change, and the urgent need to take peoples wishes into account. For instance, in case of Telangana, both DR ASHA SARANGI//The idea of forming began to breed the logic of ‘internal colonial- Congress and the TDP need to come to new states and dividing larger ones into ism’ (more prosperous parts asserting their terms with the demand for separate state- smaller entities began in the 1920s. It was economic and cultural hegemony over the hood for Telangana on some fundamental only after independence that the idea of backward ones). A number of protest move- issues, and not indulge in populist tactics. states being formed on the lines of linguistic ments arose due to these internal disequilib- Partially, I agree with the idea that instead homogeneity and geographical compact- rium across regions. In terms of population of breaking-up states, perhaps strengthen- ness started especially with the formation growth, often it is the idea of ‘size’ that leads ing the current infrastructure and focusing of States Reorganisation Commission, and to a demand for partition. Importantly, the on making the system more robust would prior to that, with the Dar Commission and demand can also be seen as a regional asser- be a better option. However, infrastructural JVC. But the 14 states formed, were too tion and can be a result of coalition politics, growth and development has to be in accor- large. Amalgamated areas which could have with regional parties leading the drive. Also, dance with egalitarian ethos. Simply corpora- been cut into separate, smaller states. Thus, partition demand has a lot to do with identity tising the economy is not an answer for the regional imbalances and diversities were not politics, and issues of distributive justice and growth and development of a plural society administratively taken care of. And states equality. Backward states often feel discrimi- such as India. MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 31 issue \\ SMALLER STATES AMBUJA KUMAR AMBUJA KUMAR TRIPATHY // The demand Bihar) between 1970 TRIPATHY for smaller states is not new, and similar cries and 2005. The Gini have been heard from time-to-time, sometime coefficient of per on basis of ethnicity, and increasingly on basis capita consumption of a demand for better governance and rapid is found highest development. The country has witnessed peo- for Tamil Nadu and ple’s agitation based on this demand. Accord- Maharashtra (0.35 ing to estimates, a rational re-organisation and 0.4 per cent) of the federal country into smaller states will showing extreme vari- give India around 50 states. In mid 1970s, ations intrastate even Rasheeduddin Khan had argued for 56 states, in the richest states. on the basis of social and cultural factors. The mixed record is Post-2000, there has been a spate of demands the testimony to the after the formation of three new states; Chhat- fact that the size of tisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand. The state and degree of Telangana agitation has raised interesting development may not questions about the relationship between state have the direct causal size and better development—does size mat- relationship. ter? Are smaller states better governed? Those However, it also must in favor of smaller states argue that they make be noted that there is for better delivery of public services, account- nothing wrong with ability, opportunities and access to opportuni- the core idea of creat- ties. There are no definitive answers. After all, ing new states—but what is the effective size of an administrative given the plethora of unit if it wishes to deliver good governance and demands a serious citizens’ services? Evidence of performance case-by-case analysis of small versus larger states is highly mixed, is to be made. Federal Ambuja Kumar Tripathy showing clearly that there is little relationship unity or stability is teaches political science between size and developmental efficacy. no longer a concern at Lakshmibai College As W. Arthur Lewis has noted: any under- like in the 1950s and standing of “the engine of growth” would be 1960s, so demands (DU). He is also a Fellow a “theory of government, where government should not be perceived as threats to federal- at the Developing would appear to be as much the problem, ism. Smaller states are being proposed on the Countries Research as the solution”. So, it is the quality of gov- grounds of more pragmatic parameters such Centre at DU and works ernment intervention that really matters. It as economic growth, development, demo- is debatable whether this is dependent on graphic size and administrative convenience on state, development the size of state. Let us look at the hard data rather than merely on the linguistic or cultural and civil societies. His concerning the roles that state governments principle. So the underlying basis of numer- areas of specialisation have played in fostering rates and patterns of ous demands now could be made subject to are political philosophy economic development. During the Xth Five rational analysis. Year Plan period, Chhattisgarh experienced Conceptually speaking, in smaller states it is and development politics 9.2 per cent of growth (annual) compared to easier for people to be heard, and their devel- MP’s 4.3 per cent, Jharkhand saw an 11.1 per opment needs are taken care of better. Central cent annual growth compared to Bihar’s 4.7 policies are easier to implement and monitor. per cent, and Uttaranchal achieved 8.8 per cent It frees people of the deprivation complex and need to address the basic issues of better gov- growth compared to UP’s 4.6 per cent. If we the feeling of domination by more powerful ernance, economic viability, administrative take some more estimates, we can see that the sections from other regions of the bigger state. convenience and greater people’s participa- BPL population is 32 per cent in Chhattisgarh, Sometimes, such demands have roots in the tion. The groups making demands are to be 14 per cent in MP, 25per cent in Uttaranchal continuing underdevelopment and neglect of convinced that the mere creation of smaller and 14.4 per cent in UP. Research indicates sub-regions within large states, for instance states out of the existing bigger ones does not that the richest states (like Punjab) grew three demands for the formation of Vidharbha, guarantee good governance and faster and to four times faster than poorer states (say, Bodoland and Saurashtra. In such cases, we inclusive economic development. 32 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 good karma \\ DIGITAL GREEN THE ‘FARMGURU’ OF INDIA Rikin Gandhi is teaching the farmers of the country the keys to a better produce BY DEBASHISH DUTTA 34 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 good karma DIGITAL GREEN // to interpreters. If to someone land repre- “So, we pondered over the question of who sents belonging, air is often where you don’t should produce the videos—shouldn’t it be belong; similarly, air might signify the height the locals?” The group began training mem- of joy, land in that context could mean losing bers of the partner NGOs and village com- a grip. It could be interesting to note which munities. It worked wonderfully, shooting school of thought Gandhi subscribes to. A the 10 to 15 per cent data upto 70 to 75 per postgraduate in aeronautics and astronautics cent. The high-frequency screening of vid- from the MIT (US), and a licensed pilot, Gan- eos—once in every two weeks with a media- dhi decided to give up the lofty heights and tor available to answer questions—turned focused on earth instead. Perhaps, for him, out to be affective. “The people who were land symbolises stability, as he mentions in being featured knew they would become role an interview, “I have been reading autobiogra- models for communities, and the people phies of astronauts who see the earth from above who watched it could identify with the faces.” with new perspective. They become philosophi- After the initial success, Gandhi pondered cal; think about the futility of wars and human over the viability to implement the project greed. Many become farmers, teachers and go all over a larger area. Thus, Digital Green came the way to reconnect...” into being. Chance brought Gandhi to India, for a Funded by the Gates and Forbes Founda- Maharashtra biodiesel project. After fail- tions and the Centre, Digital Green works on ing that, he got involved with a Microsoft the same idea, albeit with innovations. With- Research Project in Bengaluru. It was around in a short span, it has touched 2,000 villages 2007, and the project looked at emerging in seven states and 150,000 farmers. The aim markets and scope of technology in small- is to further this reach, and by 2015, as part scale farming systems. A computer science of a collaboration with the National Rural graduate, Gandhi says, “For six months, we Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Digital Green were going around exploring possibilities, plans to expand to 10,000 villages. visiting farmers. We began a partnership Of course, there were initial hiccups. In with an NGO situated on the outskirts of Jharkhand there were villages surviving with- Bengaluru, Green Foundation, focusing on out power supply, so from rented TV sets Dossier sustainable agricultural process and bio- they had to shift to pico projectors. The works diversity. Like most NGOs, they were, too, of the Digital Green are open to all, easily NAME: bound by human capacity, finances and were available on Youtube. Perhaps their most Rikin Gandhi (Founder and CEO) interested to see if technology could add effi- innovative endeavour—the idea of a social ciency.” The idea was to start conversations network for farmers, Farmbook, their version ORGANISATION NAME: with villagers and educate them about new of Facebook. Farmbook lists complete details Digital Green techniques. Instead of the usual man-to-man of actual farmers registered with them. Then, STARTED IN: 2008 demonstrations, the group thought that there is Wondervillage, on the lines of Farm- videos would help. “Initially, we had 20 TV ville, the notoriously popular, game. Wonder- WEBSITE : sets, one each for a village, an investment of village has been worked upon in such a way http://www.digitalgreen.org $20,” Gandhi remembers. The videos were that it has not only adopted but meliorated then screened by the research group, in the the concept of its precursor, changing the evenings in schools, panchayat buildings and virtual world of crops and colonies into a A s part of the Mahindra Rise Project, residences. The idea was not revolutionary palpably real experience. “You are faced with set out to pick 20 innovators from nor were the results. “Krishi Darshan had problems of rural development, that’s where different fields, the July issue of been doing similar stuff for decades and only village gurus (actual farmers and members Tehelka featured Rikin Gandhi, a 30-year- 10 to 15 per cent of our viewers implemented of Farmbook) come to your rescue.” Similar old. The article contains a shot of the geeky, the techniques,” recalls Gandhi. There was to those astronauts, in whose journals he Indian lad, who looks in his teens, while a need to innovate on the existing idea. They sought inspiration, Gandhi wishes to con- the article begins with a profound thought: experimented by making the process more tinue his voyage by using the same platform “Oddly enough for someone who seems so com- inclusive. “We realised that localisation was and deal with institution building, health and mitted to his task, land held little interest... it was important. People were getting information nutrition next. On cards is a plan to tie-up the skies and astronomy that captivated him.” from different sources, but they did not know with Vodafone which would enable audio dis- Despite what the writer wished to convey, who to trust. From there came the idea of tribution of programme through the mobile land and air often hold different meanings democratising the process,” says Gandhi, network. Truly digital, and green. MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 35 “I was raised by strong women, especially on my mother’s side. I have to write READING ROOM about them” — Manil Suri Author The City of Devi Emotional and surprising, quite a page-turner this BY JAISHREE SRINIVASAN (CONTAINS SPOILERS) Manil Suri’s The denizens are trying to carry on with between them, a fact that pushes City of Devi is the final installment in some modicum of normalcy. Karun towards marrying Sarita. ABOUT a trilogy which began with The Death Central to the story is Sarita, a THE The first half of the novel is rather of Vishnu in 2001. The second book devoted and yet modern Hindu wife AUTHOR slow and builds up the story of the in the series was The Age of Shiva, in search of her missing husband. relationship between the three pro- which although not as acclaimed as Her undying hope and relentless tagonists through elaborate descrip- the first novel, received good reviews quest leads her through markets in Manil Suri tions of love-making, both queer and was born in all around. Suri cleverly links the search of the last elusive pomegran- Mumbai and is straight, exposing the fundamental three novels not through narrative ate which she believes will rescue a professor of reason for Karun’s reluctance to sub- but through the theme of the holy her marriage, hospitals, even discos mathematics mit himself completely to Sarita. The trinity in Hinduism. The surprise using various means of transport. and affiliate underlying complexity of Karun’s professor of being that the final novel deals with Her husband Karun, a physicist Asian studies at psyche is not explored fully but the Devi and not Bramha as being a part has gone missing and although his the University story ambles along to a fairly thrill- of the holy triumvirate. This also whereabouts are unknown, Sarita of Maryland, ing second half dominated by the seems to be an intelligent contem- believes that her willpower, cour- Baltimore narrative of rival factions playing out County. He is porary twist given to an old ideology. age and a helping hand from the the author of the their hostilities through destruction In marrying the topics of mythology mother of the universe, Devi would novels The Death of the city of their livelihood. Pas- with modern day power scenario help her succeed in finding him, a of Vishnu, The sions are roused through evoking in an increasingly insecure world mission shared by the second main Age of Shiva, and devotion towards the city’s patron threatened by terrorism and warfare, character in the novel, Ijaz. Jazter, as Goddess, Mumba Devi resulting in Suri has come up a complex layered Ijaz likes to call himself in the third Publisher: the city being ravaged by the Hindu Bloomsbury novel that also manages to present person, is a Muslim with only one India chief, Bhim’s men as well as the rival an interesting human tale of emo- religion as he claims himself- hav- muslim gangs. As the story reaches tions centered on love for an individ- ing sex with other men. Right at the ISBN: a final crescendo, emotions are laid ual. The story begins in Mumbai that very beginning, it becomes clear that 9781408833919 bare and many surprises come to the has been nearly annihilated through there’s more to it than Ijaz’s seem- Price: `499 fore. The three characters in keeping nuclear bombs in the battle ensuing ingly helpful nature when he offers with the theme of the holy trinity between rival gangs of Hindu and to assist Sarita in her quest to find Pages: 400 resolve their complex story of lov- Muslim fundamentalist factions, Karun. Ijaz, as it turns out, has been ing and losing through a Bollywood fueled by a CIA supported Pakistan in a relationship with Karun for sev- style climax after a crazy odyssey army. As the city lies bleeding, the eral years before things turned sour that takes them through the length 36 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 “India and Indians have always meant business” reading room CRITICS & AUTHORS // — Kshama V. Kaushik and breadth of the island sometimes Goddess, just as it presents itself as style, living up to Suri’s reputation ABOUT on foot, in trains that are being a modern, heartless haven where of being one of the most iconoclas- THE bombed, and even on elephants. people often sell their souls to realise tic storytellers of our time. Despite AUTHORS Suri reveals his background of being their dreams. the background of a modern day an expert Mathematician by balanc- In summary, despite being graph- world terrorised by violence with no Kshama V. ing out the equations of violence and ic, dramatic and very violent, The respite, the novel succeeds in con- Kaushik, love in a city that equally supports City of Devi is a story told rather well veying the triumph of love, hope and Chartered traditional beliefs of faith in the in an uniquely satiric and dramatic faith, against all odds. Accountant, is a freelance consultant. She is the co-author of Corporate Governance: Myth to Reality. Kaushik Dutta, Chartered Accountant, is a member of CII's India Means Business National Council on Corporate Governance. A look at the economic history of India A Visiting Professor in IIM and how it has shaped the way we do Lucknow, he is the co-author business here BY SANGITA THAKUR VARMA of Corporate Governance MOST WITH an interest in economics are rather put off Surat and Hiranand Sahu of Patna who were Sahukars or Pages: by the thought of reading economic history. Given the moneylenders. The Elephant called India was trumpeting 352 15-page bibliography, a casual reader intrigued by the title high. But the advent of the British traders on its shores ISBN-10: may well feel tempted to put India Means Business How changed all that. Hundi and arbitrage go back to the 18th 0198072619 the Elephant Earned its Stripes back on the bookshelf. But century and if it were not were the House of Jagat Seths ignore the rather text-bookish package, and the 339 pages founded by Hiranand Sahu the British perhaps would not Publishers: Oxford in hardback make for an interesting read. Chartered have succeeded in setting up their empire. The conspiracy University Press accountant-researchers-authors Kshama V. Kaushik and of Seths led to the Battle of Plassey and the victory of the Kaushik Dutta have done an exemplary job as economic English. It is such interesting tidbits that make the book Price: $54.75 historians setting the context of Indian business. As India interesting. India’s multi-format business has its root in opens up to the world, the book becomes a collector’s its history as we learn from the book and also that ASSO- edition for any company wanting to do business here. It CHAM, FICCI, CII are but modern and evolved versions takes on a cultural-commercial journey of discovery of of srenis or nigamas of ancient times. The authors’ insights India down the ages and in the process unravels the way into Indian family business and their knack for survival Indian business ethos was formed. What we learn in through the rough and tumble of politics is interesting. the process is that India has always meant business. The Right from the time of the nationalist movement, busi- story starts at the beginning of the 18th century when the ness families in India have avoided confrontational poli- Indian subcontinent had a flourishing overseas trade. tics and their “biggest advantage…is their ability to adjust The painstaking research of the authors is obvious but to prevalent political dispensation”. The cynics amongst nowhere does it interfere in the narrative to make it a dull us may perhaps find this “ability” an euphemism for piece of history. So we learn about Zaveris of Ahmedabad some harsher adjectives especially in the current scenario who still continue in ancestral jewellery trade, Travadis of where neither are cutting a very ethical picture. MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 37 WARE HOUSE Our pick of the boldest, bravest and craziest gadgets. Glance through the Warehouse page and check them out. Happy hunting! We are including this car not only because we love cars, but because of the previously unimaginable horizon that this manufacturer has brought close to reality—a car that is eco- friendly without feeling like one. This piece of art on wheels, the “Moonshot” Tesla Model S has been painstakingly in development for years, and was finally unleashed late 2012. Priced around `60 lakh—actually on the lower side considering its impressive stats—this car will TESLA MODEL S fit the standard definition of a sports car for people who love sexy cars (basically everyone), and is powered by batteries to keep the green brigade happy. Not an easy agreement, as most `60,00,000 luxury car manufacturers will tell you. We salute Elon Musk for his attempts! Tesla Model S SCANADU SCOUT CHARGECARD Scout can measure a bunch of A neat little Kickstarter project— your vital stats by holding it right ChargeCard—has introduced a small next to your temple. Check out chip that can be carried around www.scanadu.com. which supports the God of modern Price: `10,000 connector cable–Micro USB. 38 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 warehouse GADGE TS & GIZMOS // Geeks are a predictable bunch—if you ask them about an ‘ideal life’, it would be a cross of Matrix and James Bond. Geeks' favourite games are probably Quake, Call of Duty, etc. Good news for them, parts of the above fictional worlds are com- ing to life, powered by Linux. Please wipe up the drool and concentrate, here is a .338 LAPUA setup that allows an iPad to pair with a gun’s scope to allow a shooter to ‘lock’ on MAGNUM a target (after taking in weather conditions) and fire a shot so awesome that one `11,00,000 absolutely cannot miss. As an added benefit, there is always the good feeling of living like an open-source soul, even if it costs one `11,00,000. If any of you would like to own one of these beauties, look at www.tracking-point.com SONIC SCREWDRIVER Some people say that Doctor Who is the James Bond of science fiction, though Mr Bond uses quite a lot of Sci-Fi goodies himself. Looking past `5,000 that, we would say that the army of fans that the show has garnered, will appreciate that somebody has gone on to prepare the Sonic Screwdriver, which the good Doctor uses for—absolutely anything. Lock-pick kit to tracking a bunch of nasty aliens, the Sonic Screwdriver promises to do anything—that the show’s writers can think of. It will do none of those things in real life, but it is still a good piece of the show memorabilia, and would work for you as a trusted universal remote. Yours for some `5000, plus shipping. Check out www.iwantoneofthose.com FIREFOX OS; WEB TO THE CORE BLACKBERRY 10 IS HERE Firefox OS sounds a lot like Google's It's February and after a long wait Chrome OS, down to the fact that Blackberry 10 is finally out there. both operating systems are named It is not as closed as an Apple is. after their respective browsers. Monetarily speaking its cheapest to develop for BB. MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 39 HITCH HIKER PHOTOS BY MARRYAM RESHII Other Face: The City of Arts and Sciences City of the Arts and Sciences A bit of both, with loads of fun, that’s Valencia for you BY MARRYAM RESHII M y journey from freezing Madrid, where the weather forecast kept predicting snow, to warm, sunny Valencia took exactly two hours, but it was like going to another country altogether. The skies in Valencia resolutely remained fiercely blue, orange trees lined every street; one end of the city was bound by a beach, along which ran a line of paella restaurants. The old part of the city was crammed with historic squares, churches and clock towers, while the new part was graced with the cutting edge City of Arts and Sciences designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. Add to it the largest historic covered market in the country, the home of not only paella but also the little known tigernut (yes! You read that right!) and also a super potent drink called Agua de Valencia, so famous that it is now branded and sold in bottles to eager tourists. And no, this is not all that Valencia was telling me how he and his wife bought an ancient has to offer: it is but a foretaste. wine cellar in newly fashionable El Cabanyal district I was propping up the bar at Casa Montana. Young Alejandro Garcia Llinares and turned it into a smart bar where the accent is on 40 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 hitchhiker’s guide VALENCIA // HIKER There are few who have not heard of Marryam H. Reshii. Reshii is OF THE a well-known restaurant critic and gastronomy writer, a relentless MONTH traveller, and a woman slightly obsessed with olive oil, Kashmiri recipes, Indian heritage foods, French patisserie and fine chocolate... well, her list is long. A keen photographer, Reshii lives in Delhi with her husband and two children the tapas: golden fried potatoes with garlic aioli and fava beans napped in a sauce so addictive I wonder if it has some illegal substance in it. Washing it down is a glass or three of Vermouth taken from the enor- mous casks that line the little bodega. Once you have Catholic Imagery: spent time in Spain, you will figure out how to ration (Above) Local handi- your intake. crafts in Mediterranean Grazing is the name of the game, and the more time colours you take to do it, and the more places you visit, the better you can be said to have mastered the game. So after exploring the marina with a desi connection, I was ready for paella (the desi connection, for those who care, is because Vijay Mallya found it difficult to dock his outsize yacht in the expansive marina. Authorities are now thinking of widening it before Shri Mallya comes calling again). Paella is a beautiful dish. It con- tains rice (of the variety known as bomba), and two or more of the following: garlic, garafon beans, broad beans, rabbit, chicken, seafood and saffron. It was traditionally made over a wood fire, but modern living being what it is, that is a thing of the past. The row of paella restaurants that overlook the beach all specialise in seafood paella. La Marcelina is usually Plated Paella: (Above) A acknowledged to be the most popular. must have when in Valencia What is the main difference between biryani and paella is that a restaurant specialising in the former would have ready prepared all its biryani before the restaurant opened and kept it warm. The idea of helps that the rice needs neither soaking nor washing cooking each order of biryani a la minute is laugh- and the paella pans are wide and shallow so that all able. In Valencia, each and every restaurant, no mat- liquid evaporates rapidly. Unlike biryani, where every ter how tiny, cooks their paella to order. I guess it restaurant or household would have a single recipe, MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 41 hitchhiker’s guide \\ VALENCIA Birth Place: It is said that paella originated in Valencia tacle on the other hand, was a self-conscious spectacle, magnificent nevertheless. The next day was a whirlwind of visiting the iconic Central Market, built entirely of metal, like the Eiffel Tower and eating and drinking my way through a mountain of food and drink. The narrow streets of the old part of the city wound through lanes with a fair proportion of restaurants, bars and cafes. One of the cafes had another desi connection: Café De Las Horas right on Conde de Almodovar. Unabashedly over the top, quirky, colourful and artistic, the pedestrian only walkway is in the heart of the old town, a stone’s throw from the plaza with the Cathedral and the Basilica of the Virgin de los Desamparados, two partners own the Café (it’s actually a bar), one Indian. When I expressed my admiration of the interiors of his bar, Marc Insa- nally went the extra mile to show me the photographs of ‘before’ and ‘after’ he and his partner did up the shed and made it drop dead glamorous with the kind of back-breaking work that no desi entrepreneur Goodness Glass: In-house Vermouth with patate bravas and pinto beans at Casa would ever dream of doing. It’s where I sampled my Montana first Agua de Valencia—a blow-away-the-top-of-your- head cocktail made from vodka, gin, champagne or paella really does come in several choices of meats. It is said that the original com- cava and fresh orange juice. You would think that any bination was rabbit and chicken with two types of beans, but lobster, shrimp, mus- drink at all made and/or drunk in Valencia just had to sels, fish and any permutation and combination thereof is completely kosher. It have orange juice or pulp in it, going by the number of doesn’t even have to be the trademark golden colour: my host, Miguel Angel Perez, orange trees on every street. But you would not have Valencian to the core, ordered squid ink paella, so his rice was black. taken into account the smooth, refreshing horchata. That first day was relaxed, and so Miguel Perez and I drove to the City of Arts and Made of tiger nuts—don’t be fooled by the name: their Sciences to walk about in the courtyards of the buildings and admire the curvilinear appearance is like shrivelled peanuts—horchata is a silhouettes of the science museum and the aquarium, set amid open gardens where filling drink that is touted as a lactose-free alternative the sporty and fitness oriented portion of the population jogged and cycled their way to milk. Apparently, you go for an evening walk and through what were the lungs of the city. Speaking for myself, Calatrava’s vision was visit an horchateria for an ice-cold drink. so extraordinary that it was like being in a museum. The very next day, amidst build- There’s too much to tell you about Valencia: I plan ings that ranged from the 13th to 18th centuries, I felt that I was in an organically to visit that city again during the unique Fallas celebra- developing city that was being used by its inhabitants: the Arts and Sciences spec- tions, so there’ll be more stories yet. 42 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 GARNISH PHOTOS BY RADISSON BLU HOTEL MBD LUDHIANA Chef's Special: Special crab dish in sauce; [below] Chinese Spring Rolls Bite-sized China in Tandoori India Chef Liu Zhijun brings a bit of his homeland here BY RADHIKA HASWANI F ood brings everyone together, and Chinese cuisine is a favourite for too spicy and oily—something to suit and please the many people. From kids to grown ups, everyone is delighted at the local palate. “What is made here, is not authentic at mention of spring rolls, hakka noodles, chilly chicken, Schezwan all. The Chilly Chicken served in Ludhiana is Punjabi chicken, prawn curry, American choupsey or chicken dimsum dipped Chilly Chicken, not Chinese,” he feels. But otherwise in Schezwan sauce. I couldn't stop myself from fantasising about he is a huge fan of Indian food, among his top favou- these dishes during my entire conversation with Chef Liu Zhijun—the Master rites are tandoori chicken, tandoori fish and chicken Chef at Radisson Blu Hotel MBD Ludhiana. Chef Zhijun had read a lot on India tikka. And Ludhiana serves him the best of the tan- and on arriving found it to be exactly like those descriptions that he had in mind. doori chicken and chicken tikka—rich in taste and Excited, he started his India journey on January 1, 2013—the perfect day for a spices and he’s completely loving it. new plan, a new experience—an amazing opportunity to explore a land of friendly He enjoys making Indian curries and experiments people and delicious food. with rice and vegetables to create innovative dishes One of his plans for his time in India includes introducing the authentic Chinese that are only known to him—even tries to make the flavour to Indians, as he feels the so-called Chinese dishes served in this country is Indian tandoori dishes that he loves so much. French 44 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 garnish LIU ZHIJUN // CHEF OF THE Chef Liu Zhijun, Master Chef at Radisson Blu Hotel MBD MONTH Ludhiana, specialises in Cantonese, Szechwan, Huaiyang, Beijing, Hunan and Asian cuisines. He loves learning regional dishes all around the world and is all set to enjoy a variety of delicious Indian flavours. crab in XO sauce and chicken with Schezwan sauce are some of his popular dishes at Radisson Blu Hotel MBD Ludhiana. He not only makes his colleagues in The Man: We caught India eat authentic Chinese cuisine, but also convinc- the busy Chef at his es the vegetarians to eat non-vegetarian dishes once kitchen in a while. “You should eat non-veg once or twice a week, non-veg is good” are his exact words. Chef Zhijun has a remarkable and varied 27 years’ experience in the industry and plans to satisfy people with his food both Oriental and Indian. In 1988, he graduated from the HEFEI Academy of Cooking Association and Probation Jinjiang Hotel in Shang- hai and was immediately taken on as a Sous Chef at the Sapphire Hotel in China at the age of 18. This marked the beginning for this fun-loving, accommo- dating, simple Kitchen King. Chef Zhijun has worked in several hotels in China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia—the Marriott Hotel, The Grand Hotel, The Great Wall Hotel, TY Lounge Restaurant, Lemon Cuisine Restaurant and Helnan Palestine Hotel. In 2004, he also studied Food and Beverage Management at the American University of Cairo. Now he finds himself at Radisson Blu Hotel MBD Ludhiana which replicates the popular restau- rant concept, R.E.D., present in Radisson Blu MBD and locals to indulge in amazingly delicious food hotels (the Noida R.E.D. has been awarded the Times and enjoy the tranquility. Chef Zhijun takes time to Food Guide Awards four times). in Ludhiana, R.E.D. proudly tell me how happy he felt when his food was serves a rich variety of global cuisine and is situ- praised and appreciated by Egyptian ministers. After ated on the banks of the Sutlej—a choice for guests all, appreciation is something that makes every effort MARCH 2013 DEMOCRATIC WORLD 45 garnish // LIU ZHIJUN and hard work, worth it. It was the encouragement that he received from his parents at the age of 12 that motivated him to become a chef. He was so absolutely Basic Ingredients: (Above) The egg noodle is a must-have in every Chinese kitchen as thrilled when his parents loved the dinner he had pre- are green leafy vegetables that make a salad and a stir fry yummy! pared for them, that he immediately made a commit- ment to cooking. He also vividly remembers the first dish he made as a professional chef—prawns with KITCHEN Schezwan sauce—and the praise he was showered MUST HAVE with from the guests and his colleagues. When asked to share stories of his childhood and mischief, Chef Liu insisted that as a hard-working boy, he had no such experiences. That mild manner of his has carried through to his adulthood, and Chef Liu has never had a fight or an argument in his life, though he warns that he would resort to one if anyone were to touch his woks. According to him, woks play a major role in Chi- nese cooking. When not using those woks to produce Obsessed: The Chef, usually a gentle man, can delicious and mouth-watering dishes for others, he fight for woks enjoys eating with others as well. Outside the kitchen he keeps himself busy with reading, swimming, surf- ing the internet and playing basketball. His journey here in India has just begun and he is enjoying every bit of it. The first thing he was success- ful at was making a lot of new friends. “My colleagues are very friendly, the atmosphere here is good and the management is amazing. They Desiness: Chef loves an honest Punjabi Chinese... make me feel comfortable and at home.” One thing only, don’t call it authentic in India and the first name he blurts out is the magi- he really likes about India is the culture and diversi- Chinese cal city of Mumbai—tempted to try the sea food there. ty—there is so much to see, feel and observe in India. While here in India he will indulge in local diners It has only been six with the authentic Chinese cuisine that he intends weeks in Ludhiana to introduce, and in return he will get something Spice Route: He but he is already in unforgettable—the flavour of the Indian culture, concentrates on food that love with the food, is palatable and flavourful its people, diversity and hospitality. This, combined people and place. He with his passion for cooking and emphasis on eating is excited just at the healthy food, will make his dream of becoming one thought of travelling the greatest chef come to life very soon. 46 DEMOCRATIC WORLD MARCH 2013 A qui ck guide -start STICKY NOTES to wha fresh, t’s fu worth n & y peek.. of a . SAHEB BIW RETURNS I AUR GANGSTER After the crit ic Gangster, a al success of Saheb Biw ctor director i aur returns with Tig a sequel to h manshu Dhulia drama film is romantic .T thri Gangster wil he Saheb his Biwi and th ller l once again e palace in UP re , this time w turn to their royal WATCH form of Irrfa ith new entr n ants in the all set to hit Khan and Soha Ali Kh the screens on an. It is it's not the on M e to be misse arch 8, 2013, and d! olden ing to her G ELYSIUM those who cr ied while listen vourite actor might fa Foster fans, ood news for you. Your her perform in All you Jodi e's some g n still watch ent Rhodes. Globe sp eech, ther ment, but you ca gh ag ced her retire plays the tou e space have announ film Elysium where she lthy live on a man-mad a g her upcomin r 2159, where the very wea ax is on Damon as M March 8, Set in th e yea a ruined Earth. Matt easing on e the rest on d world. Rel station, whil g equality in a polarise in mission to br is a mustwatch! 2013, this one LISTEN ATTEND INTERNATIONAL YOGA FESTIVAL Yoga is the in-thing today. Everyone knows it. Either one HEARTTHROB is doing Yoga, or one is pretending to do it. That is why Tegan and Sara, twin sisters of the Canadian indie rock the Yoga International Festival is a must visit for all you band, known to have contributed to every strata of the Yoga-crazy people. With more than 400 people from over music industry, have come out with their best music album 30 countries, it's grown to become one of the largest yoga yet—Heartthrob. The album brings to life the good old gatherings in the world. So what are you waiting for? Pack 80s atmosphere capturing the emotional force of romance. your bags and head towards Rishikesh. It takes place at the After cranking out seven albums, their eight shines as the Parmarth Niketan Ashram between 1st and 7th March. emblem of their talent and potential. 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