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com | New Delhi | 28 pages | `10

March 05-11, 2017

The Bitter with


Paid News
should be a
Crime:

the Sweet
Chief Election
Commissioner
Dr Nasim Zaidi
p.03

When Violence
Replaced Vibrancy
at Ramjas College p.19

Why E-vehicles are


in the Spotlight p.08

How Kamala Mills


Became Indias Hippest
Dining Destination p.20

Meet the
Women
Heading
Why it may be time to think about sugar the Missions
way we do nicotine, but can an essential in India p.24
substance be called addictive? p.16-18
02 whats news
MARCH 05-11, 2017

A Tale of Two Roadshows


GST on Track Trump: Obama
for July 1 Tapped My Phones
Rollout Washington: US President Donald
Trump on Saturday accused his pre-
New Delhi: The GST Council has decessor Barack Obama of t ap-
fixed a 5% tax rate on small ho- ping his phone during last years
tels and r estaurants and ap - White H ouse c am-
proved a draft of key supporting paign, without pro-
legislation to enable the rollout viding e vidence o f
of the new indirect tax regime the explosive charge.
from July 1. The k ey decision- How low has Presi-
making body for GST, the coun- dent Obama gone to
cil, approved the final draft of tapp (sic) my phones
the Central GST (C-GST) and the during the v ery sa-
Integrated GST (I- GST). The cred election process. This is Nixon/
council will t ake up the St ate- Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy !
GST and the U nion Territory- Trump tweeted. Trumps adminis-
GST (UT-GST) laws at its ne xt tration has come under pr essure
meeting on March 16. from FBI and congressional investi-
The C- GST, w hich will gi ve gations into contacts between some
powers to the members of his campaign team and
Centre to levy Russian offic ials during hi s c am-
GST on g oods paign. Obama imposed sanctions on
and services af- PM Narendra Modi (L) and Congress Rahul Gandhi & SPs Akhilesh Yadav in Varanasi on Saturday Russia and ordered Russian diplo-
ter Union levies mats to leave the US in December
like e xcise and over the countrys involvement in

Modi Evokes 2014 in


service t ax ar e hacking political groups in the No-
subsumed, and vember 8 US presidential election.
the I-GST that is Trumps national security adviser,

Varanasi Roadshow
to be levied on Michael Flynn, resigned in February
inter-state sup - after revelations that he had di s-
plies, will go to Parliament for cussed US sanctions on Russia with
approval in the second half of the the Russian ambassador to the Unit-
Budget Session beginning March ed States before Trump took office.

I
9, said Union Finance Minister n an effort to convince voters to back the BJP in The BJP, which is locked in a tight battle with the Reuters
Arun J aitley, w ho chairs the the assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, Prime SP-Congress alliance and the BSP, hopes that a good
council. The S-GST, which will al- Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday led a road- performance in eastern UP will take it past the half-
low states to levy the tax after show in his constituency Varanasi. way mark in the 403-member assembly. The BJP has US Suspends
VAT and other st ate levies ar e
subsumed in the GST, will have
The last time M odi held such a
roadshow here was during the run- 84% Polling in
been out of power in UP for 5 1 years.
Modi started his journey thr ough
Speedy H-1B Visas
to be passed by each of the state up to the 2014 general election. The Manipur Varanasi from BHU after paying trib- Washington: B eginning A pril 3 ,
legislative assemblies. The UT- BJP swept that election in the state, Manipur saw a turnout of utes to its founder Pandit Madan companies cannot have their H-1B
GST will also go to Parliament for winning 73 of 80 Lok Sabha seats, 84% the figure is tenta- Mohan Mal viya. H e later offer ed visa applications ex-
approval. along with its ally Apna Dal. tive in the first phase of prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath and pedited by paying an
Jaitley said the model GST Law Forty-nine constituencies in the polls in 38 seats on Satur- Kaal Bhairav temples, befor e ad- additional fee. The
will have a clause to enable levy state voted on Saturday, in the sixth day. The polling in 49 seats dressing a rally in Jaunpur. US Citizens hip and
of up to 40% tax (20% each by phase of the election. BJP leaders be- in UP was 57% till 5 pm CM Akhilesh Yadav, his wife Dim- Immigration Servic-
the Centre and states) but the ef- lieve the roadshow, broadcast live on most of the re- ple and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also es in a statement said
fective tax rates will be kept at gional TV channels, will help them when the remain- held a road show in the city. BSP chief Mayawati too the suspension of
the previously approved levels of ing 40 seats, including Varanasi, go to the polls in the addressed a public rally in Rohaniya, around 20 km premium process-
5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. The rates final phase on March 8. from Varanasi. Varanasi, Jaunpur/ PTI, IANS ing could last six months, ad versely
will be what has been decided by affecting Indians, w ho get three-
the council. There wont be a fourths of the 85,000 H-1B visas is-
higher rate of taxation. But the
cap rate in the legislation is al-
Mumbai: BJP Pulls out of Mayor Race sued to high-skilled foreign workers
every year. However, petitioners can
ways put at a higher level to leave In a major climbdown, the BJP has withdrawn from take up any post, including that of deputy mayor. submit a request to expedite an H-1B
a headspace, just as in the Cus- the race for the mayoral post of Brihanmumbai Mu- The Sena has named Vishvanath Mahadeshwar for petition if they meet certain criteria.
toms Act you have a difference nicipal Corporation, Maharashtra CM Devendra mayor and Hareshwar Worlikar as deputy mayor. Premium processing costs around
between the bound rate and ap- Fadnavis said on Saturday. This would make it easi- The party with the highest number of corporators $1 ,200 more and has a r esponse
plied rate. So the applied rate is er for the Shiv Sena to get its nominee elected. can get its candidates elected to the two posts if oth- time of 15 days, compared to up to
going to be what the council has Fadnavis said BJP si ready to support Sena, its ally ers do not put up joint candidates. six months for st andard applica-
decided, Jaitley said. Our Bureau in Central and state governments, but would not Mumbai/ Agencies tions. PTI

Indian-Origin Businessman Shot Dead in US


New York: Just over a week after the killing comes two days after US President Donald any reason to believe that this was racially ing, Get o ut o f my c ountry. A lok M a-
of an Indian engineer in the US, an Indian- Trump had said the nation condemned as motivated, county sheriff Barry Faile said. dasani, who was with him at the bar , and an
origin businessman was shot dead outside hate and evil the killing ofengineer Srinivas Patel is survived by his wife and child, who American, Ian Grillot, who tried to stop the
his home in Lancaster, South Carolina, on Kuchibhotla the previous Wednesday at a bar were at home when he was killed. People left shooting, were shot and injured. Adam Pu-
Thursday night. in Olathe, Kansas. balloons and flowers outside his Speed Mart rinton, a 51-year-old US Navy veteran, was
Harnish Patel, 43, had closed his conveni- However, local officials in Lancaster said store in his memory. A sign on the door er ad, arrested and charged with the murder. The
ence store at 11.24 pm, and barely 10 minutes they do not believe that Patels killing was a Store closed for few days because of family hate crime had sent shockwaves across the
later he was shot dead outside his house, ac- bias crime and that investigations are contin- emergency. Sorry for the inconvenience. Indian-American community.
cording to media r eports. Patel s death uing, according to The Herald. I dont have Kuchibhotla was killed by a man scream- Agencies
in the news 03
MARCH 05-11, 2017

Paid News
Should be a Crime
As a high voltage election across five states draws to a close,
Chief Election Commissioner Dr Nasim Zaidi in an interview to
Anubhuti Vishnoi says paid news should be criminalised and
made an offence. He identifies complete disclosure by political
parties on funds received as the single biggest electoral
reform needed in India. Edited excerpts from the interview:

H
ow would you rate the political dis- ever, there are certain aspects which re-
course in this round of elections? quire reforms or legal amendments so
Overall the elections have been free and that our pr ocess becomes mor e free,
fair. There has been no casualty, no direct more fair and more peaceful. To ensure it
election-related death. So by and large is more free, each and every voter must
the election management has been very be able to c ast his or her v ote freely
good. A couple of cases were brought to there should be no intimidation or threat.
our knowledge involving 4-5 major par- So, in this regard, EC is saying that total-
ties in which parties or their leaders have iser machines must be employed at the
mixed r eligion in their elec tion c am- polling station level so that candidates do
paign. But w e also found that most of not know the voting pattern. This we are
these statements were made outside the seeking time and again from the Law min-
poll-going areas or outside the model istry. For a truly inclusive election, Com-
code of conduct (MCC) areas. We took a mission has been seeking amendments to
holistic view on those cases. On the state- ensure that as soon as a person turns 18,
ments made outside the polling ar eas, we he or she should be eligible to be regis-
have said this is per se not a violation but, tered as a voter. If that i s not possible,
if they make any reference to the poll-go- then this facility should be available 2-4
ing states, that is a violation of the MCC. I times a year. The other aspect relates to
would say that our advisory has had a fairness of election to prevent all in- monetisation in helping curb black Both par ties completed their argu-
proper effect, though sometimes some ducements. It is good to note that the g ov- money in these five elections? ments on the date w e fixed. Nobody
find tangential ways to avoid the code. ernment has accepted the EC ecommen-
r I wont comment on the demonetisation asked for further adjournment and all
The Commission always expects, lead- dation to make bribery a cognizable of- part because it is a government decision. of them wanted it to be decided before
ers, star campaigners to maintain a very fence. The home ministry has moved a But we have noticed during our five elec- date of notification in UP. Under such
high level of political debate, its content, relevant bill to the effect for circulation. tions so far, there have been extraordi- circumstances, we have taken the deci-
its tenor. But the real impact of this will be Further, if we have credible evidence of nary seizures. In 2012, w e seized `112 sion at the right pace.
felt after election when the period for fil- widespread use of bribe, we should have crore in terms of cash and liquor and this
ing election petitions ari ses. The High the power to countermand the election time we have already crossed `350 crore. You complete your term as CE C in
Courts will judge wheth- like we did in Tamil Nadu. We also say that we have a very stringent July. What is the single biggest re-
Again on fair elections, we are seeking expenditure control mechanism but the form you wish for?
It is good to er there has been a cor-
rupt practice or not and that paid news should be criminalised. It fact remains that there was considerable In my five years at EC, I have seen through
note that the that will be a significant should become an offence and we also cash and liquor. In UP alone liquor worth 72 elections 36 states. 1,600 million vot-
government has reflection. want that role of black money in political `60 crore has been seized. ers. One reform I strongly feel is needed is
accepted the EC funding should come to an end. There- transparency of political party funding
recommendation You have had a serv- fore, we are saying that there should be What is your view on simultaneous and expenditure. Disclose what you have
to make bribery ing CM ques tioning total transparency in funding of political polls? received, from whom you have received
a cognizable the credibility of the parties and their expenditure. The most impor tant par t r elates to and if you dont comply with it, be ready
EC and the de fence amendments in the relevant laws. The im- to face the penalty.
offence ministers comments Your vie w on the `2,000 c ap an- plementability lies with us and we feel
attracting an EC notice nounced on anonymous funding that conduct of simultaneous elections
So, we treat all alike. The commission has The Commission stands for four things-- will not be an insurmountable task. Desir-
taken the decision in both cases that you any money that is received by political ability of this remains of course but the
mentioned and I think the matter has parties should be disclosed in the public system will also have to deal with certain
closed. If political leaders or others criti-domain. There should be legal cover for unpredictable things President Rule, no
cize us for taking those decisions, so be it.it. Two, if there is a violation, there should confidence, alliance government split-
We issue notice wherever matter of viola- be penalty regime. One of the steps just ting, or inabilit y to form g overnment.
tion of MCC comes to our notice. moved is to reduce the anonymous dona- These issues have to be addressed as well.
tion cap from `20,000 to `2,000. I think We have to bring in EVMs and VVPATs
The Commission has repeatedly writ- it is a welcome step. Ideally, people say, and we have estimated a very ballpark fig-
ten to the Centre on need for electoral there should be complete disclosure but ure: `10,000 crore for these. We will take
reforms you always make some beginning. Also, time in production; requirements will be
Let me put it this way, that the EC has con- there are certain parties that raise their double. Lead time is required for it.
ducted so many elections close to 350 funds through collection during rallies.
general assembly and 16 parliamentary They say, how can we keep account of One of the biggest controversies be-
ones. The very fact that our credibility these contributions. Considering these fore these polls the SP feud over the
and integrity is well established not only aspects we decided that`2,000 is good to symbol was resolved by the EC in
in India but globall y shows that EC i s start with. Ther e is a school that sa ys record time. Was it a difficult deci-
equipped with due constitutional powers `2,000 will also be violated. Let us see, as sion?
and with existing legal powers. I would it comes. All documents were made available to
say that it will go on to conduct free and us by both parties in time. Both parties
fair elections in the same manner. How- Has there been a visible impact of de- agreed to be heard on the date we fixed.
04 in the news
MARCH 05-11, 2017

PM Modi at a
roadshow in
Varanasi

BHAKTI and the BALLOT


As the holy city gears up to vote on March 8,
made my wife angry whose hidden wealth spected seven-term BJP MLA has been
the BJP led by the prime minister embarks on came out. I say to her, we have to vote for dropped. The city seats have all been given
the BJP again and she replies mysteriously to the Congress, and local pundits round
a final assault to capture the Banarasi vote that time will tell w ho I v ote for, says every street corner say there is a solid
Mishra cheerfully. fight in South and Cantonment.
:: Saba Naqvi It is 9 pm and the boatmen at the ghat e ar The alliance is working well in Varanasi

V
aranasi is the sort of place where a political tricity. Sometimes even he is wrong be- lounging against the shoreline of the Gan- but thats before the Modi blitzkrieg from
question can get a philosophical answer. cause we all know this kabristan and bijli ga. These ar e the people r eferred to as March 4 to 6. The prime minister is giving
Between the ghats and the chaat , the talk is false. But Narendra Modi is strong manjhi in old Hindi film songs, a word three days to the city that elected him and
chants and the music, there is a view and a like Indira Gan dhi was and all else a re that evokes the romance of the river there is even a night halt planned.
counter-view in every street corner. And weak. If Rahul were Indira then we would and long gentle rides on open Bhupendra Yadav, handling
unlike the rest of India, including state cap- have an option boats. The boatmen ar e the BJP media, says that
ital Luckno w, Varanasi comes ali ve at part of the OBC bloc there will be such amaz-
night, when the citys residents, emerge in After Demonetisation called Nishad that the ing photo op portuni-
fresh kurtas and shirts to chatter and dis- Notebandi hit the pilgrims and touri sts BJP wooed success- ties that the doubts
cuss the sublime and the ridiculous in eve- hard, says Mishra. Some of them sat on the fully in 2014 as part will fade. Many resi-
ry street corner. steps of the ghats and wept, others did not of its overall strategy dents too believ e
Surendra Kumar Mishra runs a shop sell- have money for food and be gan to skip of reaching out to that Modi can pull off
ing artefacts and bric-a-brac on the steps meals. Mishra says he distributed `30,000 non-Yadav OBCs. some magic.
leading to the Dasas hwamedh ghat, the among tourists who paid him back one by Thi s gr oup has
most frequently visited ghat in Kashi. One one after they reached home. mostly scattered and Cabinet Checks In
cant miss him seated to the left of the steps. We were local people so we would not only a small percent- Meanwhile, the c abi-
Hes a happy, amiable soul who ponders starve, so I gave away the cash I had. age is left with the BJP. net drops in. One day a
why the PM talks of Hindu and Muslim elec- So did notebandi make him angry? It In Varanasi, it was the sunburnt Rajnath Singh,
attempt to build a jetty from tired after campaigning and
which tourists could watch the completing over 100 rallies, tells
Devotees take
Rahul Gandhi during
famous Ganga aarti that has in- part in Shiv Barat this writer that during his brief
an election campaign censed the boatmen. Notebandi procession on the stint as UP CM in 2001 he tried to
rally in Varanasi too hurt them for weeks. There is occasion of create a separate bloc within re-
Mahashivratri in
even a Nishad party in the fray served quotas for ati-pichda of
Varanasi
but most seemed to be headed the Scheduled Castes and the
for the SP-Congress alliance. OBCs, but Mayawati had re-
Indeed, if there is a rebirth for the Con- moved it.
gress as part of a political alliance led by the Two days later, Finance Minister Arun
SP, it could ironically come from this city Jaitley is in Varanasi for a night, just in from
that three years ago chanted the slogan of London and off to Kathmandu. He too be-
Har Har Modi. Five assembly seats com- lieves that its the non-Yadav OBCs and non-
prise the V aranasi L ok Sabha of w hich Chamar Dalits who will carry the BJP in UP.
three are in the city. Even predating Modis The state, he says, has five voter blocs: up-
ascent in the city, the BJP won the three per castes, Yadavs, Muslims, Dalit, non-Ya-
seats in the last assembly elections of 2012. dav OBCs. Anyone who carries two blocs
But in Varanasi Cantonment and North, the wins in a triangular contest . As things
combined votes of the Congress and the SP stand, he believ es the BJP could ha ve
were more than that of the BJPbut ( in a pre- chunks of three blocs. The SP and the BSP
Modi age) while in Varanasi South a r e- know who their v oter is. The C ongress
in the news 05
MARCH 05-11, 2017

SP-Congress and
BSP-QED Alliance
Have Benefited BJP
On the campaign trail in
does not know what its base is, he says with the Lok Sabha seat, scattered in pockets of
reference to the partys response to the new 50,000 or more in the assembly segments. eastern UP with Union
GDP figures. The Muslim community in Varanasi is over-
Modi had carefully chosen Varanasi to whelmingly linked to the business of weav- minister and Ghazipur
make his all-India debut outside of Gujarat. ing the famous Banarasi sari s. There is a
Deepak Malik, a retired professor from the small prosperous merchant class among the
MP Manoj Sinha and a
Banaras Hindu University, with an old com- Muslim weavers in this town but the majori-
munist movement assoc iation, told thi s ty are poor and illiterate. Many do not send
regional ally
writer in 2014 that the BJP was the most in- their children to school as they need them on
telligent at systematically building strate- the looms. At the most a few years in a ma- :: Prerna Katiyar

T
gies. They float an idea, withdra w it, they try darsa and then a life spent in the ghettos, in he chopper is about to land on a
another idea, then back it with c adre str- narrow lanes, between garbage dumps and patch of barren land at Deedar-
ength. They take different shapes and ava- cramped houses where people sleep around ganj in Azamgarh, our first stop.
tars and now they come with a well-pack- their looms. Thousands of people wave from
aged persona of Modi. Madanpura, a locality dominated by the below. They ar e her e to meet
That still applies to whats hap- community, also comes ali ve at hamare chaheete rail mantri(our
pening in Uttar Pradesh, and night. Preparations are being dear railway minister). That is Manoj Sinha,
Telecom and railway (MoS) minister Manoj Sinha is
Varanasi i s pack ed with made for a night nukkad telecom minister, MoS for railways and Ghaz- an MP from Poorvanchals Ghazipur constituency
Modi fans. Amitabh Bhat- rally of the Congress that ipur MP. Om Prakash Rajbhar, president of the
tacharya, a v eteran will be addressed by Raj Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), has aate-aate tsunami ban chuki hai, jo Sapa-Basa-
journalist, is treated as Babbar a nd P ramod come along and has made the crowd swell. pa ko Hind mahasagar ke oo paar jaa phekegi
something of a philos- Tiwari that turns out The two men hit the ground running. Ra- (The Modi wave that emanated from Noida
opher and raconteur to be a lively, packed jbhar is the first to engage and he does that has transformed into a tsunami by the time it
in Varanasi. He always event. in his inimitable style in warm Bhojpuri. hit Poorvanchal; it will wash away the SP and
has delightful obser- Mushtaq Ahmad Kaa bhaiya! Koi laptop-smartphone milal the BSP across the Indian Ocean).
vations about the city Noori, a small mobile kaa? (So, people, did anyone of you receive The crowd is by now hysterical, with many
that he claims to ha ve shop owner, says there any laptop or smartphone?) recording the speech for after-laughs. Almost
spent a lifetime studying. is almost 24-hour power Naaahiiii, is the response, in perfec t half of those gathered sport bright mustard
Its a 6,000-year-old city, supply in V aranasi but unison. Thats the cue to go in for the kill. turbans a sign of being a follower of
he says, and its inhabit ants how do you separate Muslim Ab piraat ba! (Now it must be hurting)! Ee Suheldev, a l egendary w arrior k ing w ho
like to count stars. Look how well power from Hindu power? Next log revadi bhi cheen- cheen ke baatat hai stopped the invasion of Mohammed Ghaznis
Union Finance
Modi has k ept up the craze for Minister Arun
to Madanpura is Sonarpura and (These people distribute even sweets after nephew in the region.
him. E very ball he thr ows i s a Jaitley at the Pandey Haveli, all ar eas with a identifying ones caste). Ab ee baar aapan
bouncer and people just say Wah, Traders Meet in mixed population. One can walk galti dohrai ka naahi(Do not repeat the mis- The Main Event
mazaa aa gaya (Great, that was en- Varanasi to Dasashwamedh ghats from take of elec ting this party). UP ke Sappu The Rajbhars represent one of 17 extreme
joyable). Why, you ask, and they these parts. Its impossible t o miya aur Dilli ke Pappu miya se bachna ka backward classes in UP and constitute 18% of
will not have a logical answer. Banaras, he physically separate people, even if there are chahi (Beware of UPs Akhilesh and Delhis the population in eastern UP and 2.5% in the
says, is a city of habitual usersof paan, bhang increasing divisions of the mind. Rahul). Ek se mahtaari pareshan, ek se pita country. BJP chief Amit Shah unveiled a stat-
and charas, and people like a little intoxica- Vishvambhar Nath Mishra, mahant of the pareshan (The mother is fed up with one, ue of Suheldev and launched a book on him
tion. Sankat Mochan temple, is also a quintessen- and the father with another). in Bahraich district in February. The rail min-
Reading the tea leaves is a full-time occu- tial Banarasi. Besides being one of the fore- Soon its the turn of the BSP to be at the re- istry, at the initiative of Sinha, also started the
pation in the chai shops of the city. Take the most citizens of the town, he is a religious ceiving end of Rajbhars jibes; it, of course, Suheldev Express to send the message far
atmospherics at the Pappu chai shop, an in- head and teaches physics at BHU. The influ- doesnt matter that he was with Mayawati in and wide.
stitution that is a short walk from the Assi ential Mishra family is the greatest patron of the last assembly elections. Ek bakhat mein The SBSP is contesting eight Poorvanchali
ghat, but really the sort of place many would a festival of classical music and he says that haathi peepal ka patta khaat ba, aaj-kal rupiya seats in alliance with the BJP, whose other
miss. Its a hole in the wall with benches and since Modiji came to power we are in aalap khaat hai toh kaha se motaai (There was a partner in the state is the Apna Dal faction led
tea is being made in a big, blackened kettle mode (that is before the raga comes to full time when the elephant used to feed on foli- by Anupriya Patel, which is fighting in twelve
outside in typical dhaba style. They recog- flow). The Mahant family has also been en- age but these days it is swallowing money no seats. While Rajbhar is in the fray from Za-
nise this writer from earlier visits and refuse gaged in getting the Ganga cleaned up and is wonder it is not gaining weight). Aaj Modiji ki hoorabad in Ghazipur, his son Arvind has
to take money for the tea, a very typical gen- a strong critic of many steps taken by govern- leher jo Noida se chali, woh Poorvanchal tak staked claim from Bansdih seat in Ballia.
erous Banarasi gesture. Have a sweet here, ments, current and past . We cant turn
have some chaat there, some thandai in the Ganga Ma into Sabarmati and create a mod-
city centre people lo ve to engag e with ern riverfront like the Gujarat model, says
those who are interested in the city. Mishra. He is an old-world traditionalist who
At Pappus shop, teachers, students and values humanist ideals and si uncomfortable
professors from BHU stop by to have a cup of with polarisations. All the greatest cultural
tea, journalists pop in as does bhajan sing - traditions, he says, have emerged on the
er Arvind Yogi, who records with T- Series. banks of the Ganga. As we talk, the temple
Hes a BJP bhakt but wishes caste was not a bells ring and the chanting begins. Its an-
calculation. As the cacophony of voices in- other magical Varanasi moment.
creases, he sings a bhajan for thi s writer: Later at night a gr oup gathers at Assi
Shiv Shiv bolo Kashi wasi, a beautiful ren- ghat: academics, writers, poets, a loc al
dition. For a moment the voices at Pappus psephologist. Someone talks of the verse
shop are silent. Beyond the pleasantries, of Kabir, another gives his political break-
however, visitors also reveal an enhanced down, a third regrets the student culture in
consciousness of their Hindu identity. BHU. Its dark but every now and then light
Varanasi is an interwoven city with large shines on the river.
Muslim pockets. There are 3 lakh Muslims in The writer is a freelance journalist
SBSP led by Om Prakash Rajbhar (L) is contesting eight Poorvanchali seats in alliance with the BJP
06 in the news
MARCH 05-11, 2017

Its now time for the main hs ow, and


the junior rail mantri gets into the act.

RISING
Aaj kal TV par do hee vigyapan dikhte
hai Baba Ramdev ka utpaad ur a Akh-
ilesh ki sarkar (These days only two
ads are visible on television: one of
Ramdevs products and another of
Akhileshs g overnment). Vigyapan
jaisa sukhi-sampann kisan aap mein
se kisi ne dekha hai? Maine ab tak ki

in the
beeso sabhao mein ek aesa chehra
nahi dekha (Has anyone of you seen
such prosperous farmers like in the ad
in real life; at least I ha vent in the

EAST
scores of rallies I have attended). If
anyone does, he declares he will quit
politics and serve Akhilesh for life. The
gallery erupts.
The junior rail mantris next station
is Lucknow Metro. The c redit for
starting the worlds first invisible met-
ro goes to Akhilesh. The rally by now
resembles a comedy club.
The crowd is swelling and Sinha is
elated. This is the same venue that
Akhilesh visited yesterday the crowd
today i s more than one and a half
times, I have been told, he tells ET The BJPs vastly improved
Magazine, pointing towards Nizama-
bad, our second stop in Az amgarh. performance in the zilla parishad
After the by-now-familiar Rajbhar hi-
jinks, Sinha invokes Kalyan Singh.
polls in Odisha bodes well for the
Remember what he used to say: be-
gunah to
party, but it will take a lot more to
The credit for chhedo matt unseat Naveen Patnaik in 2019
starting the aur gunehgar
worlds first ko chhodo
matt (Do not
invisible metro touch the in-
goes to UP CM nocent and
Akhilesh do not let g o 651
Manoj Sinha
the culprit).
Eastern :: G Seetharaman

I
UPs 49 assembly went to the polls yes- t is hard to dispute Naveen Patnaiks hold over Odisha. BJP has
terday. The last phase of 40 seats will After all, only two incumbent chief ministers Sikkims won eight
be contested onMarch 8. Pawan Chamling and Manik Sarkar in Tripura have times more zilla
The belt is also home to the Quami had a longer unbroken stint in power than Patnaik. The parishad seats
Ekta Dal (QED), led by the jailed chief of the Biju anata
J Dal (BJD) assumed office in 2000 than in
Mukhtar Ansari. The QED m erged and has won three successive elections since. He made 2012
with the BSP last month. light of concerns over anti-incumbency by improving 473
Sinhas ne xt stop i s M oham- the partys seat tally and vote share in 2009 and 2014.
medabad in Ghazipur to c ampaign However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a BJD ally
for Alka Rai, the widow of slain BJP in the government between 2000 and 2009, is hoping
Seats won in 2012
legislator Krishnanand Rai. Ansari, to deny Patnaik a fifth straight term in 2019. And the
the prime accused in the murder, is national party believes its impressive performance in
fighting for Mau Sadar constituency the recent zilla parishad elections could be a step in
from jail. Sinha corners the Ansari that direction. The BJP won Seats won in 2017
brothers (the others being Afzal and The BJD 297 out of the 646 seats in
BSP candidate from Mohammedabad 297
Sibgatullah). Sinha says the benefi-
continues to which elections were held in
February, up eightfold from
ciary of the B SP-QED alliance as be on top, 36 seats in 2012 (see The BJD
well as the SP-Congress tie-up is the winning more Won Eight Times More Seats).
BJP. The Muslim vote will now split than half the The party dislodged the Con-
between the SP and the BSP, in effect gress from the second posi-
giving us the advantage, Sinha tells constituencies, tion, with the latter winning a
ET Magazine, just before the chopper but its tally measly 60 seats, less than half
is about to land at the days last stop at dropped by a its total in 2012. 128
Zamania in Ghazipur. The BJD continues to be on
quarter from
Sinha is a Bhumihar, the communi- top, winning more than half
ty that represents 8% of Poorvanchal; 2012 the constituencies, but its tal-
he knows the importance of OBCs as ly dropped by a quarter from
60
well. Today, non-Yadav OBCs and 2012. In a statement issued after the results were an-
non-Jatav Dalits are also with us. nounced last week, Patnaik said in a statement that in 36 36
As the whirlwind tour comes to an some of the 30 districts the BJD hadnot performed as 16
end, its time to fly back to Babatpur well as expected and a course correction is needed.
airport in Varanasi. Sinha sits back They (the people) have given us a golden opportuni-
D

ss

rs
BJ
BJ

he
re
ng

and declares the party is going to win ty for serious introspection We shall review our per-
Ot
Co

in all the six seats of Ghazipur


. Its been formance very seriously and shall apply suitable cor- Source: State Election Commission, Odisha
a long da y. The da ys leading up to rectives both in terms of o g vernment and on organisa- *Elections were held in 851 out of 854 seats
**There was one less constituency in 2017
March 11 may be even longer. tional issues. than in 2012 and elections were held in 846
out of 853 seats
in the news 07
MARCH 05-11, 2017

BJD BJP Congress Others BJD BJP Congress Others

Odisha Congress
bucked the Seats has been losing Seats
won in won in
Modi wave in the 2014 20 1 ground with every 2014 117 16 10 4
2014 general assembly
election 2009 14 6 1 election 2009 103 27 6 11
Total seats Total seats 61 38 32 16
2004* 11 7 2 1 2004*
21 147
Source: IndiaVotes.com | *BJD and BJP were allies

Expressing the Angst BJP & Affiliates Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJPs ideo- nal squabbles.
According to Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo, one Odisha is the seventh poorest among Indias logical parent, and its affiliates like the Va- Rout says neither the BJP nor the C ongress
of the BJPs 10 MLAs in the east Indian state, states and union territories, with a third of navasi Kalyan Ashram, which works with has a leader who can match 70-year-old Pat-
this is the first time in 17 years the people the population, or nearly 14 million, living tribals, and Saraswati Shishu Mandir, a net- naik, son of former Odisha CM Biju Patnaik.
have voted against the Naveen Patnaik gov- below the poverty line in 2011-12, compared work of schools run by the RSS, throwing There has been talk for sometime now that
ernment. Its an indication to just over a fifth for the en- their weight behind the BJP during the re- Pradhan is the partys most probable chief
that the g overnment has Although Odisha is tire c ountry. (The a verage cent polls. ministerial face. However, Pradhan, who is
failed in all-round develop- the seventh poorest all-India po verty line i s a While the CMs statement may indicate that presently a Rajya Sabha member of Parlia-
ment of the state. He adds state in India, monthly per capita expendi- the BJD is a bit concerned at the esults,
r one of ment from Bihar, says he has no such ambi-
that the wins were also a vote ture of `816 in rural ar eas its ministers, Damodar Rout, sees no trouble tions. I want to strengthen the party first in
in support of the ban on old
poverty reduction in and `1,000 in urban areas.) for the BJD on the horizon. The votes of the the state. Party jeete to pehle (Let the party
`500 and `1 ,000 curr ency the state since But poverty reduction in the Congress have been transferred to the BJP win first).
notes, which Prime Minister 2004-2005 is also state since 2004-2005 is also and this election will not have Journalist Rabi Das believes
Narendra M odi announced among the steepest, among the steepest , with any impact on the general or Pradhan is emerging as a leader
on November 8. its poverty rate Odishas poverty rate falling assembly election. The votes of the but has a long way to go before
Rabi Das, a senior journal- falling from 57.2% from 57.2% to 32.6%. Congress leader Narasingha Congress have been he can take on Patnaik. Other
ist, says the voters who backed P a t n a i k s p o p u l i s t Mishra, leader of the opposi- transferred to the BJP leaders like Jual Oram, the
the BJP not out of love for the
to 32.6% schemes like 25 kg of rice a tion in the assembly, concurs BJP and this election partys sole Lok Sabha MP and
BJP but bec ause of ang er month at `1 per kg for every with him. The Congress did will not have any Union tribal affairs mini ster
against the BJD government. The BJD had family below the poverty line and `5,000 for well in the zilla parishad elec- impact on the (tribals account for a fourth of
full control over backward tribal districts like every pregnant woman have served the BJD tion in 200 7 w e w on 30 3 general or assembly the states population), Bijo y
Kalahandi and Malkangiri but the people well at the hustings, and the party will be seats, but we did badly in the election Mohapatra, and Dilip Ray have
there have now reposed faith in the BJP. hoping for a reprisal in 2019. But the BJP has 2009 assembly election. The Damodar Rout been sidelined, accor ding to
The BJP won 33 out of the 36 seats in Kala- repeatedly pointed out the central govern- party is staring at oblivion in BJD minister in Odisha political observers.
handi and 10 out of 15 in Malkangiri. Sudhir ments financial contribution to some of the near future in Odisha, as in
Pattnaik, editor of Samadrusti, an Odia fort- these initiatives, like the subsidised rice. several other st ates, one k ey Game Plans
nightly, says the BJP was strong in western What has come in handy for the BJP, ac- reason for which is infighting. Deo says the party will now focus on
Odisha districts like Kalahandi, Sambalpur cording to Sudhir Pattnaik, is the Sangh Pari- Mishra does not den y it, but next years urban body polls in the
and Sundergarh during the days of its alli- var network, with members of the Rashtriya adds that every party has inter- state, which he says will be the semi-
ance with the BJD. Their popularity dipped final before the final in 2019. The
during the Naveen Patnaik wave but now BJPs key election plank would be the
they have gained ground again. With two years to go for polls, How the BJD alleged corruption in the Patnaik gov-
Deo says the party scored victories in zilla where does the BJP stand? stacks up ernment. A `4,600-crore chit fund scam,
parishad seats in the nine Lok Sabha constit- which broke in 2012 and a key election issue
uencies where the party finished second in The network of the RSS and its Naveen Patnaik is in 2014, did not weigh on voters minds. (After
the 2014 election. The BJP managed to win affiliate organisations like perceived to be clean the election, an MP and a former MLA from
just one of the 21 Lok Sabha seats, despite Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram could the BJD were arrested in connection with the
though corruption allegations
getting 22% of the votes, which Union minis- come in handy for the party scam.) Ditto the `59,000-crore iron ore and
plague his party
ter Dharmendra Pradhan says was due to in 2019 manganese ore scam, which was looked into
lack of organi sational str ength; the BJD While common sense dictates by a commission before the elections.
bagged the other 20. Odishas assembly polls The decline of the Congress that anti-incumbency will Moreover, the opposition cannot really
have been held with the g eneral election has helped the BJP and be a factor given that the claim the moral high ground, given that an
since 2004. 2019 will basically be a fight BJD has been in power ex-MLA of the BJP and a former Youth Con-
Pradhan, who has become the BJPs most between the BJP and BJD since 2000, the partys seat gress chief were also put behind bars in the
visible face in Odisha, attributes the BJPs per- tally and vote share increased chit fund case.
formance in the zilla pari shad polls to the A good performance in the While it is too way too early to say which
urban body polls next year in both the general and
Modi governments welfare schemes, like issues will take centre stage in the run-up to
could provide the party a leg-up assembly elections in 2009
those related to cooking gas connections to 2019, analysts say despite being opponents,
and 2014
poor households, financial inclusion and toi- Dharmendra Pradhan top BJP leaders maintain friendly relations
let construction in homes. The disenchant-
has emerged as the partys Patnaik will be with Patnaik and the scenario in Delhi will
ment against the ruling dispensation helped
most visible leader in the betting on his determine whether the BJD might consider
us too.
state but he has a long way to go governments joining hands with the BJP in the state after
Modi also took a swipe at the Patnaik g ov-
to match Naveen Patnaiks populist schemes, the election, if the need arises.
ernment recently. Odisha, where there is so which helped the party Odisha is among the k ey states along
much poverty, starvation, unemployment popularity with West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
secure victories in
and where the BJP did not even have a foot- 2009 and 2014, where Modi has not brought the desired re-
hold to place its flag, people have given so sults for the BJP. But the key difference be-
Theres large-scale to deliver
much support that everyone is taken aback... tween Odisha and the other states is the BJP
migration of workers, again in
even the poor of Odisha have come with the has had more success electorally in the for-
malnutrition and 2019
BJP, said Modi at a rally last week in Uttar mer and was even a junior par tner in the
Pradesh, where the assembly election is on,
theres no healthcare government for nine years. So while it is not
alluding to the zilla parishad election results. system, no irrigation entirely unreasonable for the BJP to hope
The remark evoked strong reactions from schemes... We took that one of its own would be the states next
both the BJD and the Congress, which these issues to the chief minister, dislodging Patnaik is bound
slammed the prime minister. people to be a huge challenge.
Dharmendra Pradhan, Additional reporting by Prerna Katiyar
union minister, BJP
08 in focus
MARCH 05-11, 2017

Plug in,
Spark up
Electric vehicle sales are set to
get a boost amid pollution and
energy security concerns.
Startups and better battery
tech will act as catalysts
Electric Start
:: Malini Goyal Seven reasons why the
e-vehicle industry is

T
his love affair began in the 1980s. Chetan
Maini, thena sprightly teenager, was part of getting all the attention
the core solar car team at the University of
Michigan in the US and Australia. Soon af- Mahindra (M&M). Emission targets: Tougher Tell-tale signs are all over. The headline-
ter a t S tanford U niversity, i n t he e arly Today I see a 180 degree change, emission norms by 2020 grabbing American EV maker Tesla report-
1990s, hybrid cars kept his passion going. said Maini, now 46, on a visit to Delhi will make diesel and edly plans to debut in India this year. Guil-
By 1999, he gave it a name: Reva Electric earlier this week where he was at- petrol engines pricier, and laume Sicard, president of Nissan Indias
Cars, Indias first maker of e-vehicles. tending a two-day workshop organ- non-polluting EVs operations, says the company will soon be
It was an idea ahead of ised by Niti Aayog on mobility innova- attractive testing its popular Leaf EV. Home-grown
its time, recalls Maini, a tion. Attended by over 70 delegates, the M&M thinks there would be takers for a`25-
pioneer of e-vehicles (EVs) VIP li st included four ND A mini sters lakh plus electric sports car that it is devel-
in India. H ybrids, alter - Suresh Prabhu, Nitin Gadkari, Venkaiah Government nudge: Facing oping. Rahil Ansari, head of luxury
nate fuel and EVs werent a Naidu, Anant G eete and high-ranking heat from the judiciary, carmaker Audi India, says that it will
fad then. Pollution and cli- government officials like Arvind Panagari- NDA government is soon bring elec tric models in its
mate chang e w ere not ya and Amitabh Kant. weighing many policy high-volume segments like the Q -
making headlines yet. And All these years, it would be mostly us sops for EVs to lower family. They are upbeat not without a
Indias fledgling a uto- manufacturers who would lock ourselves
vehicular pollution reason. Today, 95% of the Toyota Cam-
We need a stable, mobile i ndustry w as in a room to discuss issues with nothing ry sales in India are of the hybrid variant,
concrete emerging. This (the workshop) says Shekar Vishwanathan, vice-chairman,
consistent long- barely selling six lakh
cars, often with dated was refreshingly different, says Soh-
Corporate push: Mahindra
Toyota Kirloskar Motor. He claims that the
Electric is pushing firms
term policy and a technology. Playing in a inder Gill, CEO of Hero Electric and like Bigbasket and Ola to Camry hybrid is 47% more fuel efficient
public transport niche space, it was a director of the Society of Manufactur- use EVs as part of their than the conventional variant.
program that tough ride. Despite mak- ers of Electric Vehicles. fleet with the bait of The government is readying a scheme
Adds an upbeat Maini: The work- better cost economics where commercial EVs may not be required
pushes EVs ing some head way on
the technolo gy fr ont, shop looked at a range of issues from ener- to get permits, which are costly and time-
Sohinder Gill, and a pr esence in 24 gy security to a thrust on ernewable energy consuming, to help boost electric mobili-
CEO, Hero Electric and countries, Reva was los- and brought together multiple stakehold- Startup spin: Ventures like ty. The government is determined to
director, Society of
ing money, and in 2010 ers. This hasnt happened before. I see eve- Lithium Urban make this (EVs) happen, says Ashok
Manufacturers of Technologies, which uses
Electric Vehicles was sold to Mahindra & rything coming together. Jhunjhunwla, advisor, ministry of
EVs to offer staff
power and new & e r newable energy.
transportation services to
Cab aggregator Ola and its investor
firms in Bengaluru, are
Global Pioneers entering the fray Softbank have made a proposal to Niti
Aayog to run electric taxis. In a pilot, Mahi-
Four countries that are leading the e-vehicle wave ndra Electric, Ola and the government are
Glamour quotient: partnering to introduce a fleet of 300 elec-
Companies like Elon Musk- tric cars in Nagpur to test the feasibility of
led Tesla have added a e-taxis in India. Road and highway minister
Norway China touch of glamour and Gadkari has promised all help including
buzz to EVs globally; charging stations in his home constituency
Oslo is the worlds EV capital. At 5 Pollution concerns and energy security have Tesla may enter India this (Nagpur) for this. We are working with the
lakh units today, it has the highest pushed China to nurture the EV industry, summer government to push mass mobility solu-
per capita of EVs. By 2025, It which could create new jobs and boost tions in electric. The ecosystem is falling in
expects 100% of its new car sales to exports. With cumulative sales of 9.5 lakh, place. The industr y is at an inflec tion
come from zero emission vehicles, China has the worlds largest fleet of Cheaper battery: It helps
up from 40% today that globally, lithium point, says Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahi-
new energy vehicles that include
both passenger cars and LCVs battery costs, a big ndra Electric. Cities in Gujarat and
hurdle, are declining; Uttar Pradesh have been reportedly
expected to dip from identified for the next phase.

US Estonia $600 per kwh in 2011 to


under $200 kwh by 2020
It is a story playing out globally too.
Global EV sales are expected to double
by 2024, accounting for 6% of new vehicles
With 30 EV models, sales The Baltic state started on its sales.
grew 37% in 2016 over a EV journey with a bang when Ecosystem enabler: Policy
year ago to touch 1.59 lakh. in 2011 it set up a nation- support, cheaper batteries,
About 50% of EV sales wide electric charge network Startup Experiments
to boost EV sales and usage.
better range (the distance Startups are likely to play a critical
come from California, home
It has since run into rough EVs can run on single role in building the ecosystem
to Tesla, which hopes to sell
1.5 million zero emission weather with the state charge) and charging around EVs, says V Ramakrishnan,
vehicles by 2025 subsidised project likely infrastructure will push
cofounder of automotive consultan-
to end in 2017 growth
in focus 09
MARCH 05-11, 2017

cy Advanteum. In July 2015, Sanjay Krishnan more efficient and less expensive. MNCs are
founded Lithium Urban Technologies, a Ben- working together like Nissan and BMW
galuru-based startup that offers employee and Daimler and Qualcomm to reduce bat-
transportation services using EVs to compa- EVs faced lot tery cost and charging time. A ccording to an
nies like Tesco, Unisys, Accenture and Adobe. of hurdles. But Ernst & Young report, these collaborations
We wanted to look at transportation from an oil security and will help bring down the cost of battery and
energy level as oil security and a surge in pol- charging time to $150/kw (it was $600/kw in
lution were making headlines, he says.
pollution are 2011) and to just 20-30 minutes of charging
Lithium has 10 customers, 55 employees now nudging by 2025. The range (how many km can an
and owns 400 EVs. Each vehicle has two driv- government EV run on a single charg e) has been improv-
ers who work on shifts. We have done lots of and industry ing rapidly. Most EVs in the market today
things that have never been done before, he to find can barely manage a range of 100 miles. But
says. His company owns and operates charg- the recently-launched Tesla model S P100D
ing stations, too. Companies initially come
solutions promises an average of 315 miles per charge.
to us not because of the green factor but the Chetan Maini, Add to thi s two other impor tant factors.
cost economics that we offer, he says. For founder, Mahindra Countries like the US and India, for which
Electric, (formerly
example, he says, the running cost of a Mahi- Reva Electric
oil security has become a strategic issue,
ndra E2O (an electric hatchback) is 70-80 Car Co) have been e xploring alternati ve energy
paise per km as against say an Indica which sources to r educe their oil dependence.
could be upwards of `4 per km. Beyond cost, Also, amid growing concerns around pollu-
bear in mind that the 10 -12 million km that the tion and climate change, governments glob-
startups fleet has logged so far have a green ally are tightening emission norms. For ex-
footprint. In three years, Krishnan plans to ample in India, tougher emission norms by
take the company pan India with a few thou-
sand EVs in most big cities like Chennai, Hy-
A, B, C, D of e-vehicles 2020 will make diesel and petrol engines
pricier and non-polluting EV s relatively
derabad, Mumbai, Pune. more attractive. The best global example is
Bigbasket too is one of the early adopters. Norway. Through a slew of financial
The e-grocer has been using about 10 eSupro Hybrid electric vehicle or HEV Pairs and non-financial incentives, it
vans for intra-city delivery in Noida and re- internal combustion powertrain (petrol or leads the world in per capi-
portedly plans to increase the number to 50 diesel) with an electric one to achieve ta E Vs. It h as 5,00,000
over the next six months. Mahindra Electric, better fuel economy and performance EVs on the r oad today
which launched four variants in 2016 e2o and in 2016 EVs com-
plus, eVerito, eSupro Van in cargo and a pas- Example: Toyota Prius prised 40% of new ly
senger version is hoping sales to grow expo- registered passeng er
nentially with demand from companies like cars. Progress like this
Amazon and Ola. We have reached a stage will disrupt the automobile industry, says
where t he m odels h ave b een f ine- Anil Sharma, principal analyst, IHS Markit.
tuned and are now ready to scale Battery Electric Vehicle or BEV EVs require new technologies and compo-
up, Babu says. Uses rechargeable battery, electric nent systems that will offe r windows for
Progress has been slower motors and motor controller to power new players across the value chain from
in two-wheelers for which the vehicle and has no internal batteries, charging st ations to ev en full-
India is the worlds largest combustion engine fledged cars to get into the game. Chinese
market. In 2016, the indus- mobile maker LeEco too is betting on EVs.
try sold just 22,000 e-bikes, Example: Nissan Leaf
or just 0 .5% of tot al sales. Change Afoot
There has been a huge negativ- Worried about surging pollution, the gov-
ity around high battery costs, says Gill. But ernment is likely to push for electrifica-
that may be set to change. Last year, Hero Mo-
tocorp invested `205 crore in Ather Energy,
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle or PHEV tion of commercial vehicles and pub-
lic transport. It is expected to ban
A hybrid that can be recharged by plugging
an IIT-Chennai incubated startup that is de- diesel vehicles in a phased manner
in and is paired with an internal
veloping e-bikes. Gill of Hero Electric says that while targeting to roll out over 50
demand is picking up from customers like
combustion engine lakh electric and hybrid vehicles
food delivery companies and e-bike taxi start-
ups like Promto.
Example: Chevrolet Volt in the next three years. Reports
suggest that if the government
NOW, a bike taxi and delivery platform, is manages to intr oduce 50 lakh
one of them. With over 70 merchants includ- EVs, it will save up to 9,500 million tonnes
ing companies like Subway and BurgerK- of fossil fuel and cut emission of greenhouse
ing, it has over 290 bikers offering Fuel cell electric vehicle or FCEV gases by up to 2 lakh tonnes. Studies sug gest
food delivery services. With 120 Uses fuel cell, instead of battery, to that India could potentially sell 7 million
e-bikes in its stable, it expects power the vehicle. With almost zero EVs by 2020. Power availability, a big pre-
the number of e-bikers to grow emission, they are also used in indoor condition for EVs, should help. In 2016, for
to 1,500 by the end of this year. applications like forklifts in warehouses the first time in history, India turned from a
For conventional bikes we pay power-starved to po wer-surplus nation.
`2 per km as fuel cost . E-bikes Example: Toyota Mirai With a thrust on solar power, Indias solar
take the fuel cost out of the equa- power generation capacity crossed 9 GW by
tion making it much cheaper for us, sa ys 2016 end; the plan i s to get to 175 GW by
Bharat Khandelwal, cofounder, NOW. 2022, even as tariffs have tumbled to under
FAME India scheme of 2016. The Delhi state for plug-ins, patchy availability of power and `3 per kwh from double digits in 2011.
Shifting Undercurrents government has further slashed value added drivers rang e anxiet y (t ypically on one The future looks bright, as long as the
If EVs are so cost-and-fuel efficient then why tax from 12.5% to 5% for EVs. Yet, they remain charge, a battery can run a limited distance government plays the lead role. What we
has growth been so patch so far the se gment expensive. F or e xample, the e -Verito i s making drivers anxious if they run out of need is a stable, consistent long-term policy
has grown by just 9% between 2013 and 2016 around `1 lakh pricier than the Verito diesel in charge midway). Also, for companies like a public transport programme that push-
on a compounded annual basis. In 2016 India Delhi despite the government subsidy, says Toyota, hybrid kitsare currently imported (as es EVs, says Gill. The concern is that with
sold just 34,283 EVs (two-and-four wheelers). Babu of Mahindra Electric. The price differ- current volumes dont justify local manufac- multiple ministries involved from road
There are several reasons for this. Typically, ence is even more striking in two-wheelers. turing) and hence pay stiff duties of over 80%. transport & highways and heavy industries
the cost of an EV is substantially higher than An Ather e-bike is two times the price of a con- A combination of factors impr oving to ministry of power and urban develop-
conventional vehicles thanks to the high bat- ventional bike. In a `1 lakh bike, the lithium technology, rising pollution concerns, gov- ment there might be coordination issues.
tery cost. This is despite the government sub- battery alone would cost `40,000. Think of it ernment policies and startups evolving new Challenges are always there. But there are
sidy often available to EVs. The Indian govern- like this you pay for five years of fuel upfront business models is creating an enabling huge compulsions too (of rising pollution
ment offers incentives of up to`29,000 for e- when you buy an e-bike, says Gill. There are environment. Lithium batteries, a critical and oil imports). We will figure a way out,
bikes and `1.38 lakh for e -cars under the other challenges of charging infrastructure factor in popularising EVs, are becoming says an upbeat Jhunjhunwala.
10 news analysis
MARCH 05-11, 2017

Driven to
Desperation
Plummeting incomes and unyielding
cab aggregators are taking a toll of
thousands of harried drivers
:: Rajiv Singh & Rahul Sachitanand

A
year ago, SP Soni, 41, went from driving a private taxi in Dwarka in Delhi to
signing up on cab aggregator Olas platform. Flush with incentives from Ola,
his earnings skyrocketed to as much as `85,000 a month as he zipped
around the national capital region, rushing to meet his quota of rides. While
those heady days allowed the likes of Soni to make a killing, the good times
came to an abrupt end earlier this year when incentives were lowered and
drivers used to a comfortable cushion of sops found themselves staring
at drastically reduced earnings.
Soni, the sole breadwinner for a family of six, has driven into uncharted
territory. He has defaulted on three successive payments on his car and
emptied out his savings trying to make ends meet. Its hard to fight against
Ola and Uber. But I take inspiration from Gandhi who defeated the mighty
Britishers, he says.
Having gotten used to earning as much as a lakh of rupees
monthly (and splurging on the back of this increased in-
come), drivers across the country are considering a
new, tough reality.
Gagan Yadav, 32, curses himself for being too
ambitious and splurging on a new c ar last
year. Badi galti kar di (made a big mis-
take), he rues. Garibon ko kabhi bada
nahin sochna chahi ye (poor people
should never think big). While his in-
come has tumbled fr om `90,000 to
NARASIMHA MURTHY
`20,000 a month, he has to contin ue to
pay `600 a day for his car. I dont know
how I will manage my family, he says in
a choked voice, as his two-year-old son
tries to attract his attention in their two-
room rented apartment in Dwarka. I
put in 16-17 hours every day but am not
able to earn even `2,000 now.

Off-Track
Stung by this steep decline in their for tunes,
drivers such as Soni and Yadav had been part
of a strike that began on February 10 in Jantar
Mantar in Delhi, attracting some 5,000 drivers
initially; union members claimed all 1.5 lakh Its hard
drivers showed up in support. Drivers and un-
ion leaders claim that aggregators pushed
to fight
cabs they helped finance, prioritising book- against
ings ahead of those who purchased cars exter- Ola
nally. What Drivers Want and Uber.
The aggregators suddenly stopped incen- But I take
tives to the drivers in an attempt to stem their Increase in fare from as low as inspiration
ballooning losses. It was not only the number `6 km to `16 km from Gandhi who
of rides or hours logged in by the drivers that
made them earn close to a lakh till a few Elimination of 25% defeated the mighty
months back. It was hefty incentives at times commission charged by Britishers
four times the amount earned by the drivers app-based aggregators
which got them hooked to the cab aggrega- SP Soni, 41
tors. As our business has grown over three Restart incentives
years in India, we are seeing sustainable earn- to boost income Before Uber/Ola: Was driver
ing opportunities for driver partners With a with a private taxi stand
P H O T O : A S H WA N I N AG PA L

60% year-on-year increase in driver signups in Slow down or stop the Been with Ola since last year
January 2017, Amit Jain, president of Uber addition of new cabs
India, said in a blog post on March 3, 24 days Monthly earnings at peak:
after protests kicked off in Delhi. Provide for accident `85,000/month
Over the past couple of years, both Ola and insurance, and allow
unlimited hours to meet targets Monthly earnings now:
Uber have been in a rush to expand their busi-
`30,000/month
news analysis 11
MARCH 05-11, 2017

ness in India. They have aggressively poached If I drive, I will


drivers from other allied areas (radio cab pro- struggle. But if
viders, private taxi fleets, private drivers even
I dont drive, I
mechanics) and bey ond (students, y oung
graduates, electricians and more) to grow
will die
their platform.
Currently, Ola claims to cover 102 cities on Rajesh
its platform, with 5 ,00,000 vehicles and Pachore, 45
5,50,000 drivers and Uber is present in 29 cit-
ies with 4,00,000 cars. It doesnt disclose the Before Uber/Ola: Worked
number of drivers it has signed up. as a mechanic for 20 years
Both aggregators have lined up ambitious Been with Uber/Ola since:
expansion plans (see The Aggregators Road- Two years. Was on strike
map) as they look to unseat legacy transport for 12 days
options (buses, autos and kaali-peeli cabs in
cities like Mumbai) in their race to disrupt ur- Monthly earnings at peak:
ban transport. `70,000/month
Keeping the funnel of drivers flowing, then,
Monthly earnings now:
is critical to the success of these ag
gregators in
India. Because Uber is a two-sided market, `25,000/month
we need to balance the needs of riders and
drivers. Uber rolls outs incentives and promo-
tions to introduce the service in new cities, Driver Gagan Yadav is one of the hundreds Dark Stretch ride, says Ravi Rathore, vice-president of Sar-
Ubers Jain said in the blog post of March 3. of taxi drivers in Delhi who dared to dream big Early operators in this space like Meru Cabs vodaya Driver Association of Delhi, w hich
Without doing this, its hard to ensure driv- when app-based cab aggregators lured all to and upstarts like DriveU, a driver aggrega- claims to represent over two lakh drivers in
ers are compensated for their time when few earn lakhs by turning entrepreneur. I too tor, sniff an op portunity in the st andoff. Delhi-NCR. Rathore blasts the cab aggregators
riders are aware of the service. As more riders bought a car on loan, he says, but never re- Weve had 7,000 new sign ups from the for exploiting drivers, with their very survival
use Uber, drivers are busier and c an earn alised it would turn out to be a di
saster. Once driver partners of other platforms in the at risk, he dramatically claims.
more. Thi s in turn attrac ts more drivers, the incentives and other sops were removed, past two months, says Nilesh Sangoi, CEO Merus chief Sangoi agrees that unviable
which helps guarantee faster pickups for rid- drivers started choking. What was never an of Meru Cabs. The entire ecosystem of rates have wrecked the odds of profits in this
ers, and allows us to adjust incentives over issue aggregators charging as low as `4 to 6 driver partners is able to see through the im- space, especially for drivers. We dont want
time. Ola declined to answer emails and text per km from consumers suddenly became a permanence of incentives and are pleading to sell below cost price we dont provide
messages seeking comment. flashpoint. to increase the minimum fares. unviable incentives and our goal is to be equi-
Meanwhile, Ashok Shastry, COO of Bengal- table for the consumer, driver and the com-
uru-based DriveU, which has some 1, 600 pany, he contends. While Meru has around
Drivers are being drivers enlisted, says doz- 20,000 cabs on the roads,
exploited. We dont
demand the moon, just fair
ens of aggrieved aggregator
partners are signing up or
The he hopes this driver-aggre-
gator conflict will give the
terms of doing business are seeking to align with his Aggregators radio taxi operator a fresh
Ravi Rathore, vice-president, platform. We provide a Roadmap lease of life.
Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi more sane w ork environ- On the road, there seem
Weve had 7,000 new ment and let drivers decide Ola has invest- few options a vailable to
signups from the driver
partners of other
how many hours to work, ed `50 crore into drivers. In Delhi, the pro-
he says. Theres a sense of its leasing subsidiary tests have fizzled out as
platforms in the past sanity with their lives. pragmatism has trumped
two months. The entire Ola Fleet Technologies
It isnt as if Delhis cab ag- idealism for drivers. Some
ecosystem of driver gregator dri vers ar e the In September 2015, it 70% of drivers are back on
partners is able to see
only ones affected. Across announced plans the roads in the NCR and
through the
impermanence of
the countr y, di squiet has to invest aggregators have shown
incentives and are spread among dri vers `5,000 crore in little interest in engaging
pleading to increase the roiled by falling earnings. the cab-leasing with unions. The cour ts
While p rotests h ave o c- programme too have dec ided not to
minimum fares
curred in B engaluru, Hy- interfere. A rude jolt was
Nilesh Sangoi,
CEO, Meru Cabs derabad and Delhi, Mum- Uber too reportedly in store for Rathore, the
bai too has had its fair invested `244 Delhi taxi union rep in the
share, with the n ext one crore in its cab High Court. You cannot
scheduled for March 21. In leasing busi- go on fighting, as you do
Before Uber/Ola: Was driver Bengaluru, the pr otests ness last year with the government. You
with a private taxi stand have become quickly politi- will have to r esolve and
I put in 16-17 hours every cised, with the JD(S) leader
Uber plans to lease end this agitation as it will
day but am not able to Has been with Uber since last and former CM HD Kumar- up to 2,00,000 not get you anything, ob-
earn even `2,000 now two years. Was on strike aswamy joining an increas- vehicles over the served Justice Rajiv Sahai
for 10 days. Now with Ola ingly noisy agitation. We next two years Endlaw earlier this week.
Gagan Yadav, 32 Monthly earnings at peak: want drivers to g et a fair Ola has signed a Saddled with car loans
deal, says Raju Patil from `2,600 crore and s limmer earnings,
`80,000-90,000/month the Sangharsh Taxi Tourist drivers no w find them-
deal with M&M selves down a dark stretch
Monthly earnings now: Taxi Chalak Malak Sangh in
to buy 40,000
`20,000/month Mumbai. We will ha ve
vehicles
with few signs of escape.
thousands of drivers join us Two drivers reportedly at-
for a day to press for our de- tempted suic ide outside
mands. the Ola headquarters in Bengaluru and many
Drivers in Mumbai too have similar needs. others are getting increasingly desperate.
Besides incentives, the drivers also want ag- Rajesh Pachore was on strike for 12 days.
gregators to fork out for health insur- Going on strike was a Catch-22 situation for
ance and help stop harassment from the driver from Rohini in north-west Delhi.
law enforcement over enthusiastic Compelled to r estart working to pa y hi s
to enforce local transport norms. 1 3-year-old da ughters school fee s, his
In Delhi, pr otesting drivers gloomy forecast typifies the challenges his
say that Uber and Ola need to peers face. Driving is the only skill I know,
charge customers more. They he laments. If I drive, I will struggle. But if
must charge `16 for every km of we dont drive, I will die.
12 trendspotting
MARCH 05-11, 2017
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100

Hack
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100

to the
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100

Future
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100 0110101001011011101110101101
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111 1010011010100101010110100101
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100 1101100110101010101110111101
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101 0111010100110110110110100101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100 0110101001011011101110101101
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111 1010011010100101010110100101
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100 1101100110101010101110111101
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101 0111010100110110110110100101
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100 0110101001011011101110101101
1010011010100101010110100101
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111 1101100110101010101110111101
How non-tech 10101001101010010101011010010
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
10110110011010101010111011110
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
0111010100110110110110100101
0110101001011011101110101101
10011101010011011011011010010
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100
companies are 10011010100101101110111010110
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111
10101001101010010101011010010
1010011010100101010110100101
1101100110101010101110111101
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
10110110011010101010111011110 0111010100110110110110100101
using hackathons to
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
10011101010011011011011010010
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100
0110101001011011101110101101
1010011010100101010110100101
10011010100101101110111010110
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111 1101100110101010101110111101
decode consumer 10101001101010010101011010010
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
10110110011010101010111011110 0111010100110110110110100101
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
10011101010011011011011010010 0110101001011011101110101101
behaviour and hunt
1101010011010100101010110100101 1101010011010100101010110100
10011010100101101110111010110
0101101100110101010101110111101 0101101100110101010101110111
10101001101010010101011010010
1010011010100101010110100101
1101100110101010101110111101
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
10110110011010101010111011110 0111010100110110110110100101
for retail solutions
0100110101001011011101110101101 0100110101001011011101110101
10011101010011011011011010010 0110101001011011101110101101
0111010100110110110110100101
0100111010100110110110110100101 0100111010100110110110110100
10011010100101101110111010110

:: Rajiv Singh
On the Hackathon Wagon
I
n January last year, Mark Zuckerberg gathered a couple of hundred
Facebook engineers for a much vaunted fiftieth hackathon. As helium
balloons spelling HACK 50 danced in the air at the Menlo Park FROM BEER TO AUTO TO FMCG, ALL ARE ON IT
headquarters, they slumped over their laptops for a backbr eak-
ing 24 hours as they tried to put dazzling ideas into a workable
code. Hackathons are the lifeblood of technology compa-
nies. Twitter was cranked out at a hack day. Facebook
dreamed up Chat and Post and Safety Check at hacka-
thons. But these marathons for programmers are no
longer the preserve of technology companies or of
Silicon Valley.
AB InBev,
Anheuser-Busch InBev knew that February 2017,
neatly st acked Budweiser bottles
Innovation and discounts arent enough to bait Bengaluru
is the oxygen lager lovers. Factors driving in-
for any cremental volume are far more
Hackathon GE Healthcare,
company. A complex. Early this month in Ben- February 2017,
galuru, the worlds largest brewer on retail
hackathon hosted a hackathon on retail optimi-
supplies that sation where it asked coders to create optimisation Bengaluru
oxygen solutions to gauge return on investment by worlds
Shripati Acharya, and to capture changes in price promo- largest brewer Hackathon on digital
managing partner, tional activities. asked coders to health technologies
Prime Venture The beer maker, as it turns out, is not the
Partners only non-technology company using geeks to create solutions for looked for solutions by
decode consumer behaviour and hunt for retail gauging return on analysing videos. This
solutions. Take Daimler India. The hackathon by the investment; capture involved emotional
automaker in Bengaluru last October resulted in three
innovative ideas: vehicle detection and traffic mapping, changes in price gesture detection
which included a prototype to help ambulances ease their promotional activity; like distress alarms
way through traffic; a Skype-like, interactive, Android appli- to build a tool to for ICU patients for
cation for cars without internet for peer-to-peer video com-
munication; and an app to tackle driver distraction. support data proactive attention
The perception about hackathons has undergone a sea change in visualisation; and from nurse or tele-
India, says Sachin Gupta, cofounder of HackerEarth, a Bengaluru- to gain insights into nurse staff; motion
based online platform for programmers, which conducted 18 hacka-
thons in 2015. The number shot up to 30 in 2016. India, says Gupta, is effectiveness of detection like restless
slowly transforming into a hub of innovation. If, in the past decade, the investment toward movement by patient
country was largely seen as a back office for corporate giants fr om the driving sales that can trigger alarms
West, now it is evolving into a product nation. And businesses need
technology more than ever before to survive these changing times.
trendspotting 13
MARCH 05-11, 2017

Tech Interest san, cofounder of Exotel. drives an incredible shift in customers expec-
One reason why hackathons are gaining ac- About 890 teams were given sample audio tations and we have to build capabilities to
ceptance among non-IT firms is the blurring
line between technology and non-technology The Benefits of files and asked to use speech-recognition al-
gorithms and machine learning to write code
meet them. One way to build those capabili-
ties is through hackathons. They also create

Hackathons
companies. From operations to human re- that would use the voice as an input and rec- opportunities to reach out to developers
sources, from finance to sales, every division ognise the emotion behind it. The code would across various communities. A recent trend
is either enabled by technology or fundamen- then be run across thousands of voice sam- that is emerging is that non-tech industries are
tally disrupted by it. Every function of a busi- Innovative ideas: ples to choose the best model. The winning
hack was the one that came closest to de-
exploring hackathons as a channel to crowd-
source t alent and
ness is being transformed by technology,
says Gupta. Ideas for new products tecting the sentiment of con versations, ideas. Thought-pro- Software is
Engineers Over the ne xt dec- usually take months, if says Ganesan. voking ideas g et
eating the
and techies ade, he says, a lot of not years. Hackathons Retail giant Walmart too is trying to transformed into ap-
companies will devel- figure out the d ynamics of human- plications/products world and
are no longer op strong technologi- fast-track the process machine interac tion. In A ugust in a few days to a few every business
at the cal c apabilities in- 2016, Walmart Labs India, the tech weeks.
Low-cost that exists
periphery house because tech is arm of W almart, conduc ted a Tech evangelists,
today is
of business. going to dri ve their solutions: It takes hackathon in Bengaluru to crowd- however, are not sur-
becoming
source ideas in r etail and under- prised to see a meta-
Hackathons business. This will re-
loads of investment to
quire them not only to stand customer analytics using ma- morphosis in the na- completely
are one way build strong technical create a product or chine learning. ture of hackathons as transformed
to engage teams but to also culti- solution. Hackathons In a brief presented to coders, it point- diverse companies
by technology
with this vate close r elation-
help in creating
ed out the challenge: while customer transac- experiment with the
Sachin Gupta,
tions are both online and at physical stores, idea. Innovation is
community ships with the pr o- same solutions at how can one get a single view of customer the o xygen for an y
cofounder, HackerEarth
grammer community
Shivakumar Ganesan,
cofounder, Exotel
to foster innovation. a fraction of those behaviour and transaction patterns? How can company. A hacka-
This is what Exo- one leverage the latest techniques in machine thon supplies that oxy-
tel, a cloud telephony
costs learning and deep learning to pr ovide insights gen, sa ys Shripati
company that helps to the marketing team? The solutions, the Acharya, managing
businesses communi- Stoke creative brief concluded, s hould be ac tionable, partner at Prime Ven-
cate with customers mindset: During cross-channel, repeatable, scalable and ture Partners, an early-
efficiently o ver c alls internal hackathons, reusable in other domains for maximum stage investment fund
and texts, did through impact. Sreekumar Bahuleyan, senior in Bengaluru.
its hackathon on ma- employees need to director, human resources, Walmart Acharya points out thr ee
chine learning. For a com- step out of their normal Labs India, sa ys: Today, technology quick benefits: innovative ideas, low-cost so-
pany that claims to po wer over 3 million roles and skillsets to lutions and the stoking of creative mindset.
customer conversations every day and has While ideas for new pr oducts c an t ake
processed 1.2 billion calls over the last five perform unfamiliar months, hackathons fast-track the process.
years, the challenge was to offer actionable creative tasks The cost advantage too is huge. During inter-
analytics based on customer conversations. nal hackathons, sa ys Acharya, employees
It was planning to build a system that could step out of their normal oles
r to perform crea-
flag the sentiment of conversations as hap- tive tasks.
py, sad, angry and neutral.
We w anted t o s ee h ow Public Service Too
some of the smar test engi- Even state governments are wracking the
neering minds would ap- brains of engineers to find solutions to
proach thi s pr oblem, everyday pr oblems. T ake, for in-
says Shivakumar Gane- stance, Code for Karnataka. The IT
department of the st ate govern-
ment conducted a hackathon in De-
cember 2015 to explore mobile tech-
nology for better governance.
One of the ideas emerging out of hack-
HUL, athon was mFIR, a mobile app that regis-
April 2016, Walmart ters complaints at the site of an acc ident.
Hackathon by FMCG The app sends notifications to the police by
major on gamifying Bengaluru Labs India, sharing the location so that they can reach the
purchasing behaviour of August 2016, spot quickly. People present on the spot can
also add images related to the accident.
customers; the challenge for developers Bengaluru Even local administrations are persuaded
was to build the biggest Daimler India, to use coders to solve real-life challenges. Ur-
multiplayer social gaming The hackathon to crowdsource ban Hack was the first ever smart city hacka-
October 2016, thon in India by the Bangalore City Police and
system plus loyalty programme in the ideas in retail, explored three
themes: human-machine
Bengaluru the Metropolitan Transport Corporation in
IVR (interactive voice response) and October 2015. The challenge for the police
messaging space interaction; customer The hackathon by the automaker
and the local administration was manifold:
growing traffic, declining public safet y, in-
analytics using machine resulted in three innovative ideas: creasing commuting time resulting in loss of
learning/deep learning vehicle detection and traffic productivity and ri sing c rimes. The hack
proved to be a blessing.
mapping, which included a SatarkApp, one of the solutions by cod-
prototype to help ambulances ers, addressed the issue of personal safety
and reporting of crime. Tag Car, a road traf-
Hackathon by Indias biggest online travel player ease their way through traffic in
fic management system based on IOT (inter-
on building innovative apps explored applying case of emergencies; Skype- net of things), used unique RFID (radio fre-
analytics to data to describe, predict, quantify like, interactive, Android quency tags identification) to track vehicles

and envision a smart future; using big data application for cars without in real time and helped in spotting traffic
violations, rerouting traffic, tracking lost
MakeMyTrip, to solve real-life challenges; leveraging internet using peer-to-peer cars and sug gesting gr een corridors for
cloud infrastructure; and creating apps to make video communication; and an app emergency vehicles.
October 2016, to tackle driver distraction Zuckerberg is not alone. His grey tees and
Bengaluru the experience of a traveller hassle free helium balloons may be missing, but many
are hacking their way to a better future.
14 centrespread centrespread 15
MARCH 05-11, 2017 MARCH 05-11, 2017

ABVP Ve r s u s t h e Poste r Boys / Gi r l s

were clashes between ABVP and


SFI at the Savitribai Phule Pune
University in Pune. Way back in
Shehla Rashid 2006, a violent student mob had
killed professor HS Sabharwal of
Madhav College in Ujjain after
he cancelled elections to the stu-
dents union. All the accused were
later acquitted.
Randeep Hooda Virender Sehwag Kanhaiya Kumar

T K W
he way Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur aur came into the spotlight after the issue of ith the ABVP growing
(daughter of a martyred soldier) dominated clashes between the ABVP and AISA over a in strength over the
discourse once again showed the power of social seminar at Ramjas College in Delhi boiled over last decade or so, it has
media and its role in student politics. In the aftermath with well-known student leader Shehla Rashid, an repeatedly clashed with student
of the violent clashes between rival student unions, MPhil student and JNU Students Union vice-pres- leaders from other political
the RSS-afliated ABVP on one side and the AISA and ident leading the charge. The seminar had invited dispensations. In January 2016,
SFI on the other, the 20-year-old had posted a prole Umar Khalid, one of the JNU student leaders who Hyderabad University PhD stu-
picture of herself holding a poster saying she is not had shot to fame last year. Khalid was among the dent Rohith Vemula committed
afraid of the ABVP. The campaign and the 2016 video two students arrested along with Kanhaiya Kumar, suicide, following his suspen-
by her went viral, getting a lot of support and some former president of the JNU Students Union, last sion after complaints by ABVP
celebrity trolls like cricketer Virender Sehwag and ac- year. The Ramjas agitations saw violence and stone leaders that they were assaulted
tor Randeep Hooda. Kaur complained about receiving pelting between two groups of students and also be- by Vemula. Last week, even as
rape threats over social media. tween the police and students. events in Delhi unfolded, there

History of Campus Protests


The Bihar Movement that was ultimately led by Jayaprakash
Narayan was also a product of student agitations started by the BIHAR The All Assam Students Unions movement in the
Bihar Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti (BCCS), and the prime demands late '70s to mid-80s against illegal immigrants from
ASSAM Bangladesh was largely non-violent. However, the
were better food and facilities in student hostels. The move-
ment snowballed and in 1974 the BCCS gheraoed the state WEST blame for the 1983 Nellie Massacre, a pogrom that
legislative assembly, damaging government property, setting GUJARAT BENGAL saw the killings of hundreds of Muslims settled in
No political movement succeeds re to a ministers residence and a telephone exchange. Assam during the British period, is often laid at the
without the youth and energy of door of the movement.

students. This raw energy was


The Navnirman Movement in Gujarat in the '70s against the
harnessed by the leaders of the Indian Chimanbhai Patel-led Congress government turned violent leading to
KERALA
freedom struggle, by Jayaprakash multiple deaths. It started when in December 1973 students of LD College
of Engineering, Ahmedabad went on strike in protest against a 20% hike West Bengal have seen much violence on campus. In
Narayan in the '70s agitation against in hostel food fees. The movement spread across cities, and needed the the '60s and '70s the Naxalite movement recruited
Indira Gandhi, and more recently by the army to be called in. Patel was asked by Indira Gandhi to resign. heavily from among students and violence was
forces that galvanised around Anna perpetrated by the student groups afliated to the
CP(ML) as well as the police. Even after the Naxal
Hazare. No wonder then Indian students Kerala witnessed the murder of many student political activists in the '90s,
movement died down the culture of violence did not
have strong and sometimes opposing Yo u n g Tu r ks w h o including the killing of SFI leader Kochaniyan, allegedly by members of the
and clashes between the CPM-afliated SFI and the
Congress-afliated Chhatra Praishad, with regular
political views and ideas. India has a Be came Vete ran s Congress-afliated KSU in 1992 and then the death of three ABVP workers in
use of re arms, became commonplace over the next
June 1996, who drowned while trying to escape a mob at Parumala College. The
history of violent student politics; SFI activists arrested were all later acquitted due to lack of evidence.
few decades.
Student politics, like trade unions and
passionate rivalries are a given and political families, are one of the fast
casualties are not uncommon. These tracks in Indian politics
struggles are also excellent launching The Bihar Group
Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and
pads for national leaders, a great way Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance
Mamata Banerjee Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat

to get an early start for those without Minister Arun Jaitley both can be considered prod- Both the current chief minister and
her immediate predecessor came into
Karat was one of the founders of SFI at the Jawa-
harlal Nehru University, and prior to that had
dynasties to prop them up in politics. ucts of student politics and student movements in
India. Modi was associated with the Navnirman mainstream politics from student politics. been active in anti-apartheid
It also makes heroes/villains out of Movement in Gujarat while Jaitley was president of While Banerjee learned the ropes in the
'70s, emerging as an MP in 1984,
agitations at the University
of Edinburgh in Great Britain.
The Assam Leaders
Prafulla Mahanta and
youngsters, as it did with Gurmehar the Delhi University Students Union in the 1970s.
Bhattacharjee was an active SFI leader in Karat was rusticated from the Bhrigu Phukan were leaders
Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sharad Yadav,
Kaur last week. ET Magazine takes a the '60s and a minister since 1977. university for the agitation
and then later taken back Sushil Modi were associated with of AASU who later formed the
Asom Gana Parishad.
look at the rough and tumble of Indian on good behaviour. the JP movement and the BCCS.

student politics over the ages Yechury joined the SFI in


The Kerala Leaders
JNU and was its president
after the Emergency Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala CM,
:: Suman Layak was lifted. and former CMs AK Anthony and
Oommen Chandy were
products of student politics.
16 cover story
MARCH 05-11, 2017

The
Bitter
It may be time to think
about sugar the way we
do nicotine, but can
an essential
With The
Sweet
substance be
called addictive?

:: Hari Pulakkat
How Much is

I
t i s a situ ation y ou
may ha ve faced at
some point in y our
Too Much?
life. You have been liv-
ing responsibly, exer-
cising fr equently and The maximum allowed intake
avoiding fatt y food and
desserts. You go for a party
is still not clear, but most
and eat a piece of c ake. It researchers think that more
tastes good, and you have an-
other piece. The next day you
than six teaspoons a day
feel hungry and crave for a sweet is too much
snack. You give in to temptation, as
sugary snacks are within easy reach.
Before you realise, several weeks have
gone by and you have consumed a lot of sug-
ar. You are under threat of a long period of high-
sugar diet. What would you call this behaviour?
Even a decade ago, few people would have called such a
habit an addiction. The word was reserved for more seri- behaviour in people as well. Some scientists are also re-
ous stuff: alcohol, drugs and nicotine. Eating sugar searching ways to counter food addictions. Sugar is
was a habit that came and went, thought scien- Last year, a set of two papers published by sci-
consumed in
tists, and not as dangerous or permanent as entists from the Queens land University of
beverages like
drinking alcohol or smoking. In the last Technology (QUT), A ustralia, pr ovided
decade, some psychologists and neuro- clues to food addiction and how to control tea and coffee,
scientists have begun to chang e their it, in experiments conducted on labora- and it is easy to
opinion, after they studied people who tory animals. exceed the
consume junk food e xcessively and They found that long-term consump- limit
found sev eral similarities with w ell- tion of sugar produces changes in animal
known addictive behaviour. Not just in brains, somewhat like those produced by
what they do every day but also in how nicotine and drugs. They also found that
their brains respond to this behaviour. it was possible to reduce an animals crav-
ing for sugar with drugs used commonly to
Food Addiction treat nicotine addiction. The association
This is causing a change of mindset among Those who are between sugar and nicotine was unlikely to
some neuroscientists. Around the world, addicted to be accidental. Sugar is also present
neuroscientists have seen that animals can Maybe we should think about sugar the
be addicted to certain foods, and that this sugar show all way we think about nicotine, says Selena
in many other
addiction can have serious consequences the signs of Bartlett, neuroscientist and professor at common foods
for them throughout life. We observe in addiction: QUT. like bread, biscuits
animals all the classic symptoms of food binging, craving Other studies back up this finding. In a
addiction, says Nicole Avena, assistant paper published last year in the journal
and sauces
professor at the Icahn School of Medicine
and withdrawal PLOS One, Nicole A vena and her col-
at Mount Sinai in New York. We see bing- symptoms leagues show that highly processed foods So the combined intake of
ing, craving and withdrawal symptoms. Nicole Avena, which contain a lot of sugar produce ad-
assistant professor, all these often far exceeds
Such findings are being extended to human dictive behaviour. Avena, a research neu-
beings, as neuroscientists observe similar Icahn School of Medicine roscientist at the New Y ork Obesit y Re-
the desired limit
cover story 17
MARCH 05-11, 2017

search Center at Columbia University, had dence is getting stronger by the day, and
earlier shown in animal models that bing e that the issue is largely one of semantics.
eating produced changes in the brain sim- While sc ientists wrestle with defini-
ilar to those pr oduced with addic tive tions, it is clear that some of the conse-
drugs. Avena is now at the forefront of the quences of high sugar consumption are in
movement among neuroscientists to es- no doubt. People like desserts very much,
tablish that food in general, and sugar in and it is easy to lose control of your urges
particular, i s addic tive. PLOS One i s a when eating sweet stuff. People want to
peer-reviewed, open access scientific stop, says Ashley Gearhardt, assistant
journal published by the San Francisco- professor of psychology at the University
headquartered Public Library of Sciences of Michigan. But they repeatedly fail. It si
(PLOS). not due to lack of desire to stop that they
Other laboratories around the world fail. Interestingly, the more you get ex-
have been r eporting similar find ings. posed to sugar, the more difficult it is to
Three years ago, David Ludwig and other
scientists fr om Har vard U niversity
The Reward Pathway control eating more of it. Your brain starts
responding less and less to the pleasur e of
showed that foods that raised blood sugar How Addiction Works eating sweet stuff, forcing you to eat more
levels quickly lit up a par t of the brain and more. Even at the level of common
called nucleus accumbens, primarily be- The reward pathway is a set of neurons that connects a part of sense, these are parallels with drugs of
cause of their high sugar content . This the brain called VTA to another part called nucleus accumbens and then abuse. Common sense, though, si not con-
portion of the brain is involved in addic- to the cerebral cortex sidered technical evidence in science.
tion. Among others, Mark Gold of the Uni-
versity of Florida and Kelly Brownell of Certain activities release a chemical called dopamine in Bad for You
Stanford University have both pioneered the VTA, which activates the pathway and makes the activity There i s another aspec t of sugar con-
the concept of food addiction, based on seem pleasurable sumption that is also beyond doubt: sugar
their own research in their labs. Gold had is bad for you. Although it is self-evident,
found that overeating reduces drug use in medical scientists have only recently real-
Drugs of abuse activate this pathway. Unfortunately, certain
many people, which suggests that food it- ised how bad sugar is for the human body.
foods like sugar also activate this pathway, and over time more of the
self might work as a drug. Sugars role as a disease-causing agent got
substance is needed to produce the same activation
worldwide attention when Robert Lustig,
Flawed Argument? a professor of paediatrics at the University
Not all neuroscientists agree with these So the animal usually a human being continues the activity of California in San Francisco, gave a lec-
definitions. There is not enough evidence despite the negative consequences, exactly like in addiction ture that went viral on YouTube in 2009.
to say that food is addictive, they say, be- Sugar these days is a term commonly
cause much of the research is based on used to describe sucrose, the white sub-
animal models. They also say that sugar is stance that we add to desserts and bever-
part of food, and never eaten by itself like Sugar is a mixture of two ages. It is half glucose and half fructose.
other addictive substances. The idea of Why Sugar is compounds, Glucose can go all over the body and be
food addiction is a flawed idea, says Hish-
Bad for you fructose and processed in all cells. Fructose can be pro-
am Ziauddin, senior clinical research as- glucose cessed only in the liver. So eating too
sociate at Cambridge University neurosci- much of sugar even in unrefined form
ence department. Ziauddin reviewed all Glucose can be like jaggery or in disguise like in fruit juice
recent research literature on the topic and processed in all cells of the can tax the liver too much and cause
found that the results are not yet convinc- body, but only liver can take many metabolic diseases. Obesity, diabe-
ing. He thinks that some standard aspects care of tes, heart disease and c ancer are men-
of drug addiction, like dose dependency, fructose tioned frequently in combination with
are yet to be evaluated fully. eating sugar.
None of the substances normally In technical parlance, sugar is a term
thought as addictive nicotine, alcohol, Excess fructose overloads used for a variety of biochemicals with a
drugs is necessary for survival. Food is the liver, and leads to many specific structure. In this sense, glucose is
necessary for survival, and sugar in small metabolic problems a sugar. So is lactose found in milk or
doses is also an important part of the diet. Over a long period, it can cause maltose, formed w hen enz ymes break
Can an essential substance be called ad- obesity and increase the risk down starch. Our story is applicable to
dictive? Those who champion the idea of of diabetes, heart disease sugar in both senses, but especially to the
food addiction, however, say that the evi- and cancer common variety that we add to our des-

The Most Addictive Substances in the World


Sugar does not figure in this 2007 study by
psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist
David Nutt and his colleagues,
but it may well in future

Heroin Cocaine Nicotine Barbiturates Alcohol


Causes dopamine Prevents neurons from Sucked by the Block some of the Interferes with
levels in the brains turning dopamine lungs and brains chemical messaging in the
reward system to signal off, resulting delivered to the signalling, brain, slowing
increase by up to in abnormal activation brain, with drug effectively muting breathing,
200% in experimental of the brains reward levels peaking several brain regions thinking and
animals pathways in 10 seconds heart rate
Source: Business Insider
18 cover story
MARCH 05-11, 2017

serts. High-calorie food contains sugars in plenty,


and can raise glucose levels quickly. Any food that
raises glucose levels quickly is a potential addic-
Just
Desserts
tive substance, according to scientists that argue
in favour of food addiction. Such foods provide
energy for the body and pleasure for the brain. Eat
them too much and too quickly, and you have a
serious problem.

All Calories Arent the Same


The big advance in our understanding of food in re- Why do we like the
cent times has come from one fact, now accepted
nearly universally by the medical research commu- sweet stuff so much?
nity. Not all calories are the same. A hundred calories
from protein or fat have a different impact on the

Q
body when compared with 100 calories from carbo- uality of food matters to ani-
hydrates. Different kinds of carbohydrates with the mals. If we look back a few
same amount of calories also produce different bio- million y ears, it was the
logical effects. And the difference in impact is not quality of food coupled with
just on the body. It is on our brains as well. serious mental challenges
As the Harvard study three years ago showed, in acquiring food that in-
the total amount of calories in the food did not creased our brain size, and helped us
matter to the brain. The brains of indi- evolve from arboreal monkeys to hu-
viduals in two groups, each given man beings. Early humans ate a diet
a glass of milks hake with the rich in protein and plant nutrients,
same amount of calories and cleverly combining meat and fruit to
tasted no differ ent, r e- obtain maximum nourishment.
sponded differently to the That was long ag o. Human diets
drink because they raised may not have changed much till the
the blood sugar levels at invention of agriculture, when
different speeds. One had our ancestors st arted eating
a spec ial kind of st arch cooked cereals. We grew short-
that rai sed it q uickly, er and our brains started reduc-
while the other had a differ- ing in size for the first time after
ent kind of starch that was increasing three times through
absorbed slowly. The addic- several million years. Our brains
Addiction tion area in the brain, the have continued to shrink in the last
nucleus accumbens, lit up 10,000 years, but this doesnt mean
behaviour in the brains of people we have become less smart.
leads to whose blood sugar spiked. It may be a way to make the brain
changes in the This was strong evidence more efficient. It may also be that
structure and that the so-called high gly- frequent famines and food short-
caemic foods were bad. The ages have affec ted our dev elop-
function of the
brain rewarded eating high- ment, and availability of food now
brain glycaemic foods by making is reversing the shrinking of our
Vivek Benegal, their consumption pleasur- brains.
professor of
t
sweetness ou
able, but in an environment While thi s i s specula-
psychiatry, Nimhans,
v e ta k e n th e
We ha
where people are generally tion at the moment , an
tion,
sed it in isola
Bengaluru
not short of energy. It is a abundance of f ood has
od a n d u
good reason for addiction, certainly affected human o f fo
o m a ll th e g ood stuff that
away fr re
with it in natu
although high- glycaemic beings and their brains in a
foods are eaten regularly. The jury is still out on different way.
co m es p ac k e d
the technical use of the term, according to some By making them sick.
neuroscientists, but the evidence si getting strong- Over thousands of years, tion that gave people energy and, pr obably, saved
er by the day. bodies of human beings have their lives. Things are different now. Human beings
Semantics does not always matter in science, adapted to scarcity in many ways. We stored fat around have completely altered their food environment, and a
but in this case it does. The consequences of eating our bellies, to be used up when food became scarce. once-useful adaption has been turned on its head. W e
sugar or high-glycaemic foods are different if we When we continue to eat and accum ulate belly fat have taken the sweetness out of food and used it inso- i
call the process as addictive or not. Addictive be- through many years, our body processes are no longer lation, away from all the good stuff that comes packed
haviour gets gradually worse over a period of time. able to cope. Result? Diabetes, heart disease and cancer. with it in nature. Desserts and sugary drinks spike your
So a head start in exposure is the worst thing you In the old days, when human beings were living in blood sugar quickly. Fruits seldom do so, unless you
can do. The risk of addiction is considerably low- the forest, sweetness was an indication that a particu- eat too much too quickly, which is a very difficult thing
er if you get exposed to a substance at 25 years of lar thing was safe to eat. We knew fruits were safe be- to do in a natural environment.
age compared with 16 years of age, says Vivek cause they were sweet. There is probably no food in Nature rarely makes a substance in isolation. Fruits
Benegal, professor of psychiatry at the National nature that is both sweet and toxic. So the brain devel- come with fibre and other stuff that slow down the re-
Institute of M ental H ealth and Neur osciences oped a reward pathway (see The Reward Pathway: lease of glucose into the bloodstream. Which is why an
(Nimhans) in Bengaluru. Benegal studies addic- How Addiction Works) that made eating sweet foods orange and a glass of orange juice have completely dif-
tion, especially alcohol addiction. pleasurable, and forced people to eat such things mor e ferent effects on our body. Taking the sugar out of fruits
We could interpret this finding in the context of and more when hungry. was an unnatural thing to do. The brain used an adap-
food addiction. It is rare for a child to get exposed This was fine in nature, as these foods were not just tation that once saved lives to the new situation, with-
to a substance of abuse, like drugs or nicotine, or sweet. They were also packed with nutrition. Food out understanding the difference. The results were
alcohol. But even toddlers are exposed to sugary was scarce in the forest, says Ashley Gearhardt, as- disastrous.
snacks in modern lives. If you give them too much sistant professor of psychology at the University of Sweetness in isolation has thus become deadly, the
junk food early in life, they are in danger of devel- Michigan, and sweet things were packed with calo- precursor of many illnesses. To make it worse, our
oping a life-long liking for high-calorie food. Eat- ries. The brain si an energy-hungry organ that needed brains were also fooled into believing that the sweet
ing sweet snacks can be even worse, and set them a constant supply of calories. stuff was good for you, thus making you eat more and
on a course for disease very early in life. Changing Fruits have had an important role in our evolution. more of it. This behaviour was good when eating fruits
course can be difficult in adult life, even for those The dexterity of our hands may be an adaptation to in an age of scarcity. But not when eating desserts in an
with the knowledge of the risks. After all, every ad- pluck fruit. A fondness for sweet things was an adapta- age of plenty.
dict is aware of the dangers of their behaviour.
spotlight 19
MARCH 05-11, 2017

From Vibrancy to Violence


A Ramjas College alumnus on why last weeks clashes on campus were unprecedented
at an institution that is no stranger to debate and dissent

:: Shantanu Nandan Sharma

D
elhi Universitys Ramjas College turns 100 cians belonging to various ideologies. But it
this year. In mid-February, President of In- used to be vibranc y, not violence, J ha
dia Pranab Mukherjee released a centenary adds. Spartacus, for example, has invited
postage stamp of the college which had a politicians such as former BJP mini ster
humble past in old Delhis Daryaganj local- Arun Shourie, Prakash Karat of the CPI(M)
ity in the pre-Independence period before and Arvind Kejriwal when he was an RTI
being shifted to DUs north campus. activist, not Delhi chief minister.
In one of the centenary celebration pro- Even the epicenter of the students
grammes held late last year, former SC movement of 1990 against the Mandal
judge Justice Mukundakam Sharma thun- Commissions formula of extending 27.5%
dered from the podium, I am a pr oud reservation to other backward class (OBC)
Ramjasian, prompting students to cheer candidates in government jobs, was lo-
in one voice. The college departments that cated near the Ramjas College. The agita-
have societies of their own have in the past tors dubbed the area surrounded by Ram-
one year organised a number of pro- jas, Delhi School of Economics and DUs
grammes; these included historian Romila law faculty as Kranti Chowk (revolution-
Thapars talk on secularism, a slideshow ary crossroads). This writer is a Ramjas
on 800 years of architecture of medieval College alumnus.
India and a host of dance, drama, music Rajendra Prasad who was principal of
festivals and fine art exhibitions. Ramjas College for 32 years and who wit-
The festive mood on campus came to an Protests erupted at Ramjas College after members of the ABVP opposed the presence of JNU student Umar nessed many episodes of student turbu-
abrupt halt last week and was replaced by Khalid who was supposed to speak at a seminar organised at the campus lence in those decades, retired last Tues-
unprecedented violence of a political na- day. A day before he retired, he wrote an
ture. Student groups belonging to two op- years, both as a student and then as a fac- open letter with an emotive appeal to the
posite ideologies, the BJP-affiliate ABVP and ulty member. Yes, there used to be some students to promote a peaceful atmos-
Left-backed AISA, clashed in the presence clashes between students belonging to phere and restrain from any kind of con-
of the police, leading to further protests, various regions. But never before have I frontation.
counter-protests and atense atmosphere in seen a politic al violence of thi s magni- Meanwhile, Delhi Polices crime branch
DUs north campus. There were reports tude, Rahul adds. has begun a probe into the Ramjas violence.
that some Left students chanted slogans The National Human Rights Commission
like Kashmir ki azadi, which were coun- Revolutionary Crossroads has issued a notice to the Delhi Police com-
tered by ABVP protestors with diktats such Rajesh Jha, a former Ramjas students un- missioner over reports of female students
as Desh ke gadaro ko, goli maaro saalon ko ion president and present assistant profes- being attacked by the police during the
(kill the anti-nationals). sor of DU s Rajdhani C ollege, claims he clash. And Gurmehar Kaur, whose Not
Kumar Rahul, an assistant professor of somehow escaped being Afraid of ABVP challenge on
the colleges political science department, manhandled by ABVP stu- The recent social media stirred a row,
says the atmosphere has been vitiated be- dents on the da y of last withdrew from the agitation,
cause of the existence of a highly polarised weeks clash. Another associ-
incident was the demonstrating ho w tense
political discourse. Theres no neutral ate professor of the universi- result of an ego the situation had been with-
space left now. If you question the ABVP, ty, Prasant a Chakra varty, battle between in the University. Kaur, who
you are bracketed as anti-national. If you was hospitalised and would two groups. Had was tr olled b y c ricketer
question the Left groups, you become a need protracted treatment there been no Virender Sehwag and actor
Sanghi, he says. Sanghi is derived from the after getting roughed up re- external elements, Randeep Hooda and nudged
word Sangh, meaning followers of the Rash- portedly by ABVP students. there would not minister of state for home
triya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent Ramjas has always taken Kiren R ijiju t o w onder o n
organisation of the BJP and the ABVP. a lead in dialogues and de-
have been any Twitter who had polluted
I have been in Ramjas for the last 22 bates where differences of violence her mind, i s an undergrad
opinion and dissent were re-
PC Tulsian, principal, student of LSR College of DU
Ramjas College
Ramjas College
spected and ev en encour- and the daughter of a Kargil
aged. W ithin the teaching war martyr.
community too, various ideologies have PC Tulsian, the newly appointed princi-
co-existed, says Jha. The problem started pal of Ramjas, says that debates and delib-
only in the recent years when the DU ad- erations that are an integral part of the col-
ministration got marginalised and Univer- lege, will continue, but academics will re-
sity Grants C ommission and mini stry of main the top priority. He mentions how the
human resource development began to colleges statistical department organised
micromanage the affairs of the university. an inter-college debate on a macroeconom-
Jha wants to remind todays generation ic subject early this week, even as protest
how two professors from Ramjas, NK Kak- marches were continuing outside the col-
kar and SS Rathi, belonged to two different lege. The college is functioning as usual.
political camps of the DU Teachers Associ- The classes are going on, laboratories are
ation in the 1990s. Kakkar leaned towards open. We have produced some of the best
the BJP and Rathi towards the Congress, but talents including many IAS and IPS officers
they did no t bear any personal grudges in the past. The recent incident was the re-
against each other. Ramjas political sci- sult of an ego battle between two groups.
ence society, Spartacus, has always encour- Had there been no external elements, there
aged vibrant discourse by inviting politi- would not have been any violence.
20 food & drink
MARCH 05-11, 2017

P H O T O S : B H A R AT C H A N D A
Hottest
Property
Kamala Mills in Mumbai is
transforming into the countrys
hippest dining destination, with The 37-acre premises of Kamala Mills in Mumbais Lower Parel is bursting at the seams
with almost all major restaurant companies in the country setting up shop here

one of the highest concentration


of restaurants
:: Anoothi Vishal
What I think is this: You should give up looking for lost
cats and start searching for the other half of your shadow
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

T
P H O T O S : B H A R AT C H A N D A

here are no cats on the wall but there are shadows,


lines, distances, women crossing the street, not in a frenetic New
York way but in a placid Kyoto fashion, peering down, perhaps
looking for missing parts of their shadows and souls.
The art work on the walls at the new Fatty Bao in Kamala Mills,
Mumbai, is more nuanced, complex and stylised than the cheer-
ful, colourful mural that defines the restaurants older outlet in
Delhis RK Puram. Its as if the little, gregarious, ramen-slurping
girl grew up to be a mysterious sophisticate. Its hard to define what
exactly you feel for her till oyu come back home and pick upour y
well-thumbed copy of Kafka on the Shore. Then, it adds up. If Mu-
rakamis world is filled with gaps, missing shadows, fragments of
dreams, words never said and, indeed, the Japanese aesthetic of
wabi-sabi, a word that is hard to define but which loosely means
finding beauty in the imperfect, this is exactly the sense of fluidity,
transience and imperfect beauty that you glimpse on the walls of
this new restaurant.
As a brand, The Fatty Bao is a work in progress. Its more grown
up here at Kamala Mills than its older avatars in Delhi, Bengaluru Since all boats rise with
and Mumbais Bandra. While some of the trademark features and the tide, restaurants
foods remain, others have shifted shape and taste. Theres kathal
that have come in now
have to do much less
Food hubs help because to get customers
Sameer Seth, partner,
they attract diverse Bombay canteen
customers with their
diverse brands and it bao for fashionable vegetarians (as also a Jain menu) and
becomes easier to get baked pork dim sum that reminds you of Cantonese puff
pastry but also of Portuguese-influenced egg tarts from Ma-
clearances and licences cau. The well-loved Fatty oysters (with chorizo, panko-
Manu Chandra, partner, Fatty Bao crumbed) now have a fresher sibling fresh Kochi oysters
cured in yuzu and dotted with Sriracha caviar in a nod to
millennial gastronomy. The drinks are more elegant, less
syrupy; the brand is upgrading.
Its fitting this change should have come in a space that it-
self is undergoing major transformation. Fr om being a
sleepy industrial-turned-office zone of two years ago, Ka-
mala Mills in Mumbais Lower Parel is transforming itself
into the countrys hottest dining destination, with one of the
highest concentration of restaurants in an area that was not
exclusively planned for F&B retail. The upgraded Fatty
(which opened on February 27) is its newest tenant but al-
most all major restaurant companies in the country are set-
ting up shop here.
Its only the last six months that have seen so much activ-
ity. The erstwhile mill is suddenly the Indian restaurant
worlds f avourite i ncubator. B rand n ew c oncepts o r
tweaked ones are looking to test the reception that Maxi-
mum Citys millennial audience affords them. The 37-acre
premises are bursting at the seams; weekends are chaotic,
food & drink 21
MARCH 05-11, 2017

The two most


traffic jams a given and in Mumbai buzzing laugh its promoters restaurateurs have been gravitating to-
where people are loath to stir out of wards Kamala Mills. Food hubs help because they attract di-
their neighbourhoods, food-centric
restaurants of verse customers with their diverse brands and it becomes eas-
treks to the south from as far as Juhu the last two- ier to get clearances and licences, says Chetan Rampal, part-
and Bandra are now being undertak- three months in ner The Fatty Bao. Also, since the ownership is controlled by a
en just to be at Kamala. Kamala Mills single family, infrastructure here is better than at some of the
I am mulling this change as I stand neighbouring mills where ownership is split.
outside The F atty Bao with Man u
seem to be Koko Maru who has signed 65 restaurants in the complex, sell-
Chandra, its par tner. It s a q uiet by the Tham ing, he claims, `350 crore of stock last year says owners are
break from the frenetic preparations brothers and widening the roads, building parks and more to improve condi-
inside for a launch party that night. Theory by tions. Rentals have doubled from two years ago, restaurateurs
We are not talking anything in par- say (from `200 per sq ft to `400 per sq ft) but the common
ticular till Chandra, his nose for news
Mickhiel Pinto model that seems to be prevailing is a certain fixed rent or 15%
as sharp as his prodigious sense of revenue share, whichever is higher.
smell, murmurs under hi s breath, Meanwhile, a slew of interesting concepts has already come
Thats the man to know. about. D:Oh! by deGustibus Hospitality (that owns Indigo) is a
Before I can ask, Who?, he has already called out to a well- casual, no-frills place, with jhoola seating, a coffee shop with
dressed young man stepping out of his car. So, Chirag, whats comfort food and self-service. Anurag Katiar, CEO, says the
happening? asks Chandra. The young man bursts in on the plan is to roll out 50 restaurants pan-India, but Kamala Mills,
scene and into the story with a stream of information: X restau- with the presence of every major restaurant company, was
rant did a stupendous`2 crore sales last month. Y has seen the deemed the ideal place to incubate it.
sharpest dip in business. There are two new deals he has bro- Near D:Oh!, Anjan Chatterjees Speciality Restaurants is
kered, he says, and Z restaurateur will now rent space where readying to foray into modern Asian food in April. Called Mr
something else is shutting. Pohs (Progressive Oriental House), the concept is likely to be
helmed by a top chef in the countr y (watch this space for more)
Mills on a Roll and have top-of-the-line sushi, dim sum, small plates plus a sec-
Meet Chirag Maru, 33, who is much more than the go-to broker tion on modern Asian cooked with cutting-edge techniques
for all restaurant deals in Kamala Mills and inc reasingly in all of for a younger, casual audience.
Mumbai too. Diners swirling their wine may not know him but There i s also buzz about AD
all restaurateurs do. Maru is on their speed dials, often their Singhs Lady Baga, Zorawar Kal-
friend and confidant. If location, location, location are the ras modern European bar and a
three most important factors for any restaurants success (as is says. The Fatty Bao has come up, incidentally, in the site for the new concept b y Ri yaz Amlani,
the common belief ), Maru is currently the most important man first restaurant, Tilt. However, it was The Bombay Canteen three of the top restaurateurs in
to know in the business in Mumbai. By his own admission, he (TBC) in 2015 that changed Kamala Mills for ever. the countr y. Meanwhile, at the
has a decisive say in the leasing rights to all properties within With its chotas and badas, platters of no-fuss modern moment, the most successful res-
Kamala Mills and decides which brand to place where, if at all Indian food rooted in a regional context, The Bombay Canteen taurant in Kamala Mills (and
though he doesnt own these sites. His rise to influence paral- was a hit. Mumbais hipsters, the arty crowd, tourists and even Mumbai) seems to be Koko by the
lels the rise of Kamala Mill as a hip dining destination. Their south Mumbai snobs started visiting the area; perhaps inevita- Tham brothers. Just a few months
stories and destinies are linked. Both are compelling. ble in a city starved of good Indian food. When we started, old, the gastropub has b een
Till two years ago, I used to beg people to take up space because of the neighbouring offices, we knew we would get packing a punch with its matcha
here. Now, restaurateurs beg me, he says. A commerce gradu- lunch business. We didnt know whether we would get a dinner whisky sours, gin and champa li-
ate, who liked to party, Maru started off with property con- crowd, so we focused on our dinners, confesses Sameer Seth, queur combinations, top-grade Chirag Maru, 33,
sultants Knight Frank India. Because of his personal interest in partner at the restaurant. Today, about 400-500 people sail in hamachi and pork belly. Its an
restaurants, he started a restaurants division in the company. every day during weekends. Since all boats rise with the tide, expensive restaurant (in the vi-
has a decisive
After a while, as his client base grew, he decided to go it alone. restaurants that have come in now have to do much less to get cinity of `2,000 per head) but say in the leasing
Having seen concepts like Clarke Quay in Singapore and the customers, says Seth, who, however, cautions that while Ka- has been doing the best sales in rights to all
Dubai malls where space is sold to many restaurants as a con- mala Mills may seem a huge success story, most restaurants the premises, we hear. properties within
solidated retail space, Maru says he decided to focus on selling have been here for only six months. That is too soon to say The other hit seems to be Theo-
hubs rather than individual deals. The big break came three whether they are succeeding. ry, a mammoth gastr opub (that
Kamala Mills and
years ago with Kamala Mills. word again) meets nightclub, by decides which
In 2014, Maru says, the conservative business family, the The Incubator Mickhiel Pinto, who used to be brand to place
Govanis, that controls the mill was er luctant to give out space to Nothing succeeds like success, or at least the perception of it. part of the Indigo and Tote team where, if at all
restaurants. It took me six months to convince them, Maru With TBC being its leading light we
are like the show house, with Rahul Akerkar. Delhi restau-
rateur Priyank Sukhija has opened
a huge outpost of his brand Tamasha next door to Kamala Mills
and a slew of Delhi restaurateurs is now apparently looking to
bring their brands to this part of the world.
While the NCR has its cyberhub, which is also one of the
largest planned restaurant hubs in the country (though
smaller in area than Kamala Mills), uncertainty vis--vis pol-
icy post a Supreme Court ruling that no licences for liq uor
sales will be given along national and state highways; though
the ruling pertains to liquor vends only, as was clarified eari-
er this week, restaurateurs apprehended that it may be used
to apply to them means that restaurateurs have been in-
creasingly looking at alternatives. For the moment, Kamala
Mills is where the goldrush is, though there seems to be some
kind of vetting before the pass.
We dont want to give space to newcomers who have ill-de-
fined concepts or those who spoil the market with cheap `90
beers. We want good concepts by seasoned restaurateurs
I interview newcomers and also study
the personal habits of restaurateurs,
Kamala Mills, with the says man-of-the-moment Maru. De-
spite the upbeat mood, there have
presence of every major been failures too, like the much-
restaurant company, was vaunted Chemistry 101, an ambi- The writer
deemed the ideal place tious molecular mixology bar that
looks at
restaurants,
to incubate D:Oh! shut in less than six months. oLcation food trends
and
is important but clearly theres more to culinary
Anurag Katiar, CEO,
deGustibus Hospitality the fickle business of restaurants. concepts
22 travel guide
MARCH 05-11, 2017

When in Jerusalem...
The ancient city takes you on an
overwhelming journey from
the Wailing Wall through the
murals of the Cardo to Calvary

GETTYIMAGES
3

1. & 2. The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple


Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem; 3. Zion Gate, one of the eight
existing gates into the old city; 4. Street in Jew Quarter
:: Anita Rao-Kashi

S
GETTYIMAGES

tark and rough, and rising more than 60 ft 2


into the sky and nearly 1,500 ft long, the
wall was massive, built with limestones,
and looked solid and ancient. In the mid-
morning light, it seemed bathed in a gold-
en-orange hue. In front of it, seemingly
dwarfed due to its hs eer proportions, were
clusters of women. Some sat on chairs,
others stood. Most of them had one or both
their hands on the wall. Apart from a mut-
ed buzz, generated from collective prayers
muttered under the breath, an eerie si-
lence hung in the air. There was an occa-
sional wail, though many of the women The historic city
were weeping silently, while they stuffed the wall is the only surviving portion of the
the crevices between the stones with piec- Temple Mount, part of the Second Tem-
of Jerusalem is
es of paper filled with prayers. Of all the ple, built by Herod the Great around 20 the capital of
places in Jerusalem, the Western Wall, bet- BC. Jews come here to mourn the destruc- Israel and is
ter known as the Wailing Wall, is the most tion of the Temple Mount by the Romans, located in the
unsettling as well as the most indescriba- from where it gained its epithet. But unlike
eastern part of
bly overwhelming. what I had imagined, there was no melo-
Considered to be over 2,000 years old, drama or overt expression of grief; instead the country
How to Reach: El Al is the only airline
that flies direct to Tel Aviv and operates
P I C : A N I TA R A O - K A S H I

4 from Mumbai with a few weekly flights.


Jerusalem is about 70 km to the south-
east of Tel Aviv with convenient bus con- Know This
nections

Where to Stay: Jerusalem has plenty of The Old Town is a


accommodation options and staying near warren of cobbled
or within the Old Town is a good idea. One streets, undulat-
can also choose a hotel like Inbal Hotel
which is located a bit outside the Old ing terrain, tall
Town, and serves some delicious Israeli walls and winding
breakfast dishes paths so make sure
What to Eat: The Old City has a plethora of you have comfort-
street vendors and cafes dishing out falafel, able footwear and
kibbeh, hummus and other Middle Eastern plenty of water.
and Mediterranean staples. Also worth try- Some places may
ing are shakshuka (an egg and tomato
Anita Rao-
dish), tabbouleh, stuffed vine leaves, sam- have a dress code,
Kashi is a
Bengaluru- busak (a kind of empanada), bureka so check ahead
based travel (stuffed filo pastry) baklava and halva (a
writer pasty sweet dish in various flavours)
Herods Temple and the Wailing Wall

travel guide 23
MARCH 05-11, 2017

GETTYIMAGES
Altar in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

I was buffeted by waves of silent emotion


that seemed to radiate from those around
Way of Sorrow
I
me, which made it all the more disconcert- f the Western Wall is the highlight of Jerusalem Citadel or Tower of David, a massive fortress dating back to the 2nd
ing. So I stepped away to give myself a bit of for the Jews, Via Dolorosa occupies that posi- century BC.
space and sat silently on the steps where I tion for Christians. Translated to way of sor- We stepped out in between, using one or the other of the eight main
was joined by my guide Sharon. rows/suffering/grief this is ostensibly the path gates, which had names such as Damascus, Jaffa, Zion and Herod. Lead-
that Jesus Christ took on the way to crucifixion. It ing off from the Zion Gate was a path flanked by tall limestone walls that
Glaring History ends at the equally important and iconic Church of led to the Franciscan Monastery. Nearby was another iconic spot the
Snatches from my guide book came to mind: Holy Sepulchre, the place he is believed to be cru- supposed site of the Last Supper. Called the Cenacle, it was largish room
about Jerusalem being the bir th place of cified and later buried. with pillars and Gothic architecture. The building itself si estimated to be
three Abrahamic religions Juda- around 1,000 years old but is believed to be the place where the monu-
ism, Christianity and Islam, and The devout faithfully trace mental event took place. There were a handful people there but an air of
GETTYIMAGES

Offering prayers
that it had an incredibly compli- in Temple Mount
it to identify with the suffer- solemnity pervaded the whole place, with people speaking in whispers
cated hi story that w ent back ing of Christ. There is no occasionally.
5,000 years or more. It was per- clear agreement on the
haps one of the most fought-over length of the path and de- Simple Beauty
cities in human history and con- pending on who you choose When I stepped out, darkness was already falling and the alleys were al-
tinued to be something of a to believe, it could be any- most empty. So Sharon and I headed back to one of the man y clusters of
touchy issue. I knew it would be where between 250 m and cafes in Old City. Since it was a little h
umid, we sat in a tiny pavement cafe
impossible to take in everything 600 m, tracing its route via while the owner efficiently put together falafel pockets and iced tea. It
in a day or two, or even a week narrow cobbled lanes, was crunchy from fresh lettuce and tomato, while the falafel balls were
there was simply just too much to arched doorways and gen- massive, crispy andmildly spiced.The pita was soft and the creamy hum-
see and absorb. Even as I sat on tly-stepped avenues. mus beautifully tied everything together. As we chased it down with the
those steps, it was difficult to es- cold brew, we also interacted with other tourists and locals, in between
The route is broken into 14
cape the sheer history and its con- discussing the touchy and fraught-with-tension politics of the region.
stations, each of them associ-
vergence with religion and poli- Then all of a sudden, Sharon jumped up and said, Let me show you
ated with a specific incident,
tics. And even though I belonged something interesting. I seriously doubted it as my head was still whirl-
story or encounter during the
to none of the three religions that ing from the staggering amount I had seen thr ough the day and had aban-
last journey. It starts with the
were birthed here, I started to feel doned any attempts to process it. But I wordlessly followed her as she led
place where Jesus is con-
like I was dr owning. So Sharon me out of the Old City through Jaffa Gate and to the Cit adel where a crowd
demned to death and moves
whisked me through an arched was waiting. She left me for a moment to buy tickets and then led me in-
through the place where he
pathway above the tunnels of the side. The fortress was dramatically lit and we walked along the ramparts
donned the crown of thorns, where he stumbled
Western Wall that went back to the time of to a corner where rows of seats had been set up . Soon the lights dimmed,
and fell three times, where he met his mother Mary,
the First Temple to parts less overwhelming. music filled the air and for the ne xt 45 minutes I was treated to a mesmer-
where Simon of Cyrene was com-
We arrived at the Cardo, an excavated ising and st ylised ren-
manded to help Jesus and where Ve-
thoroughfare going back to the Byzantine era The mount where dering of J erusalems
ronica wiped blood. Many of the sta-
with beautiful pillars, mosaics and even a Jesus was crucified history through an in-
huge wall mural depicting everyday life in tions are also marked by monasteries credible sound and light
ancient Jerusalem. Encased within towering which take their names from these in- show.
walls that came up sometime during the 16th cidents and encounters such as the The music faded and
century, Sharon told me that the Old City of Monastery of Flagellation, Church of the big lights c ame on
Jerusalem was made up of four rough quar- Our Lady of Spasm and Chapel of St but I was still in the grips
ters, designated Jewish, Christian, Armenian Veronica. of the story. Silently we
and Muslim. As we took an arbitrary path The last five stations are located made our way out and I
through them and crossed from one quarter within the Church of Holy Sepulchre. hung behind, wanting to
to the other, there were subtle differences A large stone edifice, it has an air of spend a few mor e mo-
and interesting sights. poignancy and piety. It is also dimly ments. I stood on the
Narrow, noisy, crowded and colourful lit but beautiful mosaics on the vault- terrace opposite the Cit-
alleys in the Muslim quarter became wider ed ceilings reflect the light and give it adel, leaning on an iron
and ornate in the Jewish quarter. It includ- a very unreal look. Inside is located a fence and stared at the
ed the towering wall and the Cardo as well large boulder that is protected by brooding walls. Jerusa-
as a handful of other beautiful structures glass and is called Calvary or Golgotha where Christ lems hi story, despite
and sq uares. In the Chri stian q uarter, is believed to have been crucified. While all these the just-concluded show, was still too humongous to wrap my head
there was an abundance of churches but are accessed by narrows sets of wooden stairs, near around. A gentle, cool breeze blew across, bringing with it distant strains
none more popular or stunning than the the entrance of the church is a large rectangular from an unseen violin. It seemed to sweep away the heaviness and in-
Church of the Holy Sepulchre (see Via Do- slab called the Stone of Anointing where Christs duced a sense of calm. Quite apart from the other heavy adjectives, it also
lorosa). The Armenian quarter was the qui- body was prepared for burial. pointed to simple beauty. Above, beneath and beyond everything, per-
etest but also had the beautiful Jerusalem haps that is whats most enduring about e J rusalem.
24 special report
MARCH 05-11, 2017

WOMEN
The American
Dream-Come-True

WITH A
MaryKay Loss Carlson
Charg dAffaires & deputy chief of mission, US embassy

Reached India: August 2016

MISSION
Credentials: She was principal deputy
executive secretary in the depart-
ment of states executive secretariat
in Washington, DC. Also served in
Santo Domingo, Nairobi and Maputo
What she loves in India: Delhis lush
greenery, flowers and gardens
:: Ishani Duttagupta

C
ooking with Stella, a 2009 film
directed by Dilip Mehta, brother of
filmmaker Deepa Mehta, created
quite a buzz in Delhis diplomatic
circles, especially among women. A

S
light comedy, about a Canadian diplomat
hes the woman caught in the middle of a big transition She says while the department of state has gender equal-
(played by Lisa Ray) who arrives in Delhi with in the US administration. But MaryKay Loss Carlson ity in the middle and lower ranks, things become tough for
her husband, was largely shot inside the looks at the change as a great opportunity to follow up women at senior positions. Across cultures, priorities are
Canadian High Commission. Many women on the strong legacy set up not just by the Barack Obama considered different for men and women, she says. The
diplomats could identify with the scenes administration, b ut a lso p residents b efore h im. The reason why women may not be vying for deputy chief of
where Rays staff were agog about a woman framework is strong and the platform has taken off under mission or chief of mission jobs is partly because they may
going out to work while her husband stayed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We now hope to see a tre- have elder parents to look after at home and ma y shy away
mendous acceleration in the positive trajectory of Indo-US from bidding for senior positions half way around the
home and learnt cooking. Cut to the summer
relations under President Donald Trump, she says. world.
of 2017 and things have changed somewhat. Carlson says the posting has come at a ery
v exciting time In the first ten y ears of her diplomatic c areer s he
New Delhi has around 15 women heads of and on an assignment which is a dream-come-true. This thought she would remain single but met her h usband Au-
missions, representing countries as diverse as is a really good place to be in also because India has such a brey Carlson, a fellow foreign services official, during a
Kenya, Argentina and the Philippines. long and strong tradition of women leaders in positions of trip to Washington, DC. I had to leave the job I was doing
However, theres still a long way to go, points power at the highest level, she says. and make a career decision in moving to China because
She looks forward to travelling in India not just to enjoy my husband was posted there, she recalls. Although she
out Australian High Commissioner Harinder
the diversity of language and culture but also to meet peo- hated making the choice at that time,he s believes it turned
Sidhu, since only around 10% of the missions ple. The Indians are noisy and the democracy is messy; out be good in the long run.
in India are headed by women. Last month, but its the same in America and thats the connection.
Sidhu organised a lunch for all her women
counterparts where they discussed the issues P H OTO S : A S H WA N I N AG PA L
they have faced, including gender
discrimination in foreign services and
violence against young women in India.
CB Muthamma, the first woman to join the
Just Right staff here in India are women.
Even though she doesnt deny that there
is an underlying gender bias in diplomacy,
Indian Foreign Service in 1949, had fought she f eels that meeting man y inspiring
against flagrant gender bias in the services a Suzannah Jessep women in government and civil society in
woman officer had to, for instance, obtain Acting New Zealand high commissioner India has been very positive for her. Moth-
permission from the government to get erhood and childcare are challenges that
Reached India: January 2016 many women diplomats ha ve to face in
married and she could be asked to resign
their career paths, says Jessep. Husband
because of that. From the first woman foreign Senior policy officer at
Credentials:
Mike Hogan, a musician and composer, is at
secretary Chokila Iyer to Arundhati Ghose, the ministry of foreign affairs home when she is at work and helps with
Nirupama Rao and Meera Shankar, women and trade, deputy high commis- bringing up their two children Grace, 8,
have made their mark in the services. Yet the sioner to Vanuatu in the Pacific and Max, 5. During my previous assign-
number of women IFS officers is a matter of ment, my children were very young and it
Spending time
What she loves in India: was tiring looking after them. My hus-
concern. Suryakanthi Tripathi, a retired with her kids at Delhis gardens band and I made the choice that he
Indian diplomat and former ambassador to remains at home and lo oks aft er
Spain, says that the small number of Indian them when I go out t o work. Now

S
women who make it to the top jobs in the uzannah Jessep can proudly say that they go to school, she says.
foreign services is not because of glass ceiling the foreign service in her countr y, Jessep is soaking in Indias diver-
but because very few women opt for the IFS. New Zealand, is very well represented sity and the vibr ant democracy,
Back in 1974, when I joined the foreign by women at all levels. While Joanna Kemp- but feels confronted every time
kers, the high commissioner-designate for she finds an instance of a young
service we had two girls in a class of 20 and
India will soon be presenting her creden- woman being treated differently
even after so many years the proportion is not tials to President Pranab Mukherjee and from her male count erparts.
too different, she says. then heading the mission, charge daffaires Even as she plans an outreach
What are the takeaways from women Jessep is the deputy high commissioner. programme for international
heading missions in India? On the eve of The head of immigration in India too is a womens da y with a lo cal
International Womens Day on March 8, woman and so are the two trade commis- NGO, she will make sure that
sioners and the consular officer. We are all male colleagues too join
ET Magazine caught up with some of them:
very proud of the fact that a majorit
y of our in the activity.
special report 25
The Crusade of Oz MARCH 05-11, 2017

I
ndia is among Austral-
ias larg est mi ssions
and Harinder Sidh u
chose the Delhi posting
Harinder Sidhu
Australian High Commissioner
Just Like Home J udith Kapijimpanga likes to call herself the new kid on the block
having arrived in Delhi in January this year and presenting her
credentials last month. This is her first posting outside Africa,
and shes excited that she is in a neighbourhood that has so many
,

because she felt the bilat-


Reached India:
February 2016
Judith Kapijimpanga women heading diplomatic missions, including a few from Africa
eral ties w ere at a high Zambian High Commissioner like Botswana, Uganda and Kenya. Kapijimpanga is all set to focus
point. The relationship Credentials: A career on economic diplomacy and enhancing bilateral ties with India.
has accelerated quite dra- Reached India: This is my first time in India, but I feel at home bec ause back in
matically and spans stra-
officer with the January 2017 Lusaka we have a large community of people of Indian origin and
tegic, economic, cultural
department of foreign I even went to school with some of them, he s says. While people
affairs and trade Credentials: Was high
and people -to -people of Indian origin in Zambia have traditionally been merchants,
ties, she says. Sidhu is the commissioner in traders and businesspeople most of them being four th-gener-
What she loves in India:
second Indian-origin Aus- different African ation Zambians with roots in diverse Indian states many
tralian ambassador in
Visiting Hauz Khas countries, are making forays into manufacturing and agri indus-
Delhi after P eter V ar- Village in Delhi, where including tries. Historically, since the time of Mahatma Gan-
ghese. Sidhu, whose par- shopping, food and Tanzania, dhi, our two countries have been natural part-
ents ar e fr om Punjab , monuments mingle Uganda and ners and now the Indian government is provid-
says: I never visited India ing collaborati ve sup port in k ey ar eas of
when I was growing up, so now I have a great opportunity
Rwanda. infrastructure, health and educ ation. But I
to explore my heritage and history in Punjab. Was also would also like to see more exchange in tourism
She is also part of the Australian foreign ministrys Wom- the cabinet because we have a lot to offer such as wildlife and
en in Leadership initiative. It became evident to us a few minister the famous Victoria Falls. We want Indian inves-
years back that women were not moving up the ranks as tors to tap our country, she says.
much as we would like. When I joined the foreign service What she loves A mother of four, she looks forward to her two
in India:
30 years ago, exactly 50% of my batch were women, but daughters and son attending school and colle ge in
when we looked at statistics a couple of years ago we found Street Delhi. My eldest daughter is going to college in
that only 27% of ambassadors were women. She knows it food Tanzania while my husband has stayed back in
is not easy. She herself returned to Canberra from a foreign Zambia to look after his business, says the high
posting when her child was six. Now, when her daughter commissioner, who is upbeat about a new era of
has graduated, Sidhu felt liberated again to take up an over- gender equality in her country, with women be-
seas posting. Australia has put in place workplace flexibili- ing accepted in all walks of life, from senior posi-
ty. It is making efforts to tackle cultural and other uncon- tions in policymaking to loading trucks.
scious biases and trying to find out why women dont put
up their hands to take up leadership positions.
Efforts are also on to support spouses of diplomats. Tra-
ditionally, the diplomat was a man support-
ed by his wife to help in entertain-
ing and other social duties. Now
we help spouses who want to
work and encourage them to
Auto Motif
A
travel and continue with their mbassador Melba Pria is known as the autorickshaw
careers, s he sa ys. A lot of diplomat as the humble three-wheeler is her official
Sidhus activities in India in- mode of transport. She is also outspoken enough to
volve engaging with w omen publicly criticise the immigration policies of US President
leaders and running economic Donald Trump and has even suggested that Mexico will
empowerment and leadership welcome Indian IT professionals whom the US may
programmes for women. want to send back home.
Pria has been travelling to India for 20 years
and loves being in Delhi she had in fact asked
for the posting. In-
dia is a lot like Mexi-
co with its warmth Melba Pria
and colours and I Mexican
live in awe. But the Ambassador
country also con-
fronts you in differ- Reached India:
ent wa ys, sa ys April 2015
Pria. Her explana-
tion for the unusual Credentials:
choice of offic ial Ambassador
vehicle is simple it to Indonesia
brings her closer to
the people as s he What she loves in
India:
travels like millions
of Indians do. As for Visiting
the fumes and pol- markets in
lution, s he feels Delhi
that the M exican
ambassador c an
breathe the same air that the childr en in
Delhi do, thereby highlighting environ-
mental problems as well. Her own secu-
rity on the streets of Delhi is of less con-
cern to her than the safety of thousands
of women in India.
For her, International Womens Day
is about recognising women in rural
India who work hard but dont get
paid. They do pr oductive work
but dont get paid. We need to rec-
ognise their w ork and contribu-
tion, she says.
26 special report
MARCH 05-11, 2017

Language Going the Extra Mile


No Bar Maria Cristina Ueltschi
Argentine Ambassador

Aashna Kanhai Reached India: September 2016


Ambassador of Suriname Credentials: Served in Nigeria, Spain, Russia and Chile
Reached India: April 2012 What she loves in India: Visiting Jaipur

T
Credentials: A political his is Maria Cristina Ueltschis first posting as ambassador
appointee, she graduated in and she is already enthralled by the colours, sights and
law from the Netherlands sounds of India. Her 17-year-old daughter too is happy in
Delhi. The challenge for Ueltschi is huge: the fact that Argentina
What she loves in India: is relatively unknown here apart from its football team.
Visiting temples She is trying to promote Argentina as a tourist destination for
Indians seeking experiences beyond Asia and Europe. She is also

W
hen Aashna Kanhai arrived in Delhi, pitching the Argentinian Malbec wine and wine tourism. There
she was a single mother with a bab y are different festivals and ac tivities around the wine industr y
daughter. In the last few years, her which we think will be very attractive for Indian tourists looking
daughter has grown up even as Kanhai ex- out for new things, she says.
plores life in India. She also feels that cultural ties bet
ween the two countries can be
There have been challenges one of the tapped starting with a project to translate the works of Jorge Luis
worst being harassment by a former disgrun- Borges into Bangla and Hindi. T o celebrate International Womens
tled male employee of the embassy from Day, Ueltschi is promoting performances by tango singer Gabriela
whom she faced cyber bullying. But I took up Torres who is touring India. In the last few months, the ambassa-
the matter with the Delhi Police like any wom- dor has explored quite a bit of the country, including Ajanta, Agra,
an in Delhi would do rather than use my diplo- Jaipur and Jodhpur. And there are many more states to go and
matic influence, she says. The matter has many more people to meet. Overall, 2017 promises be a very busy
been sorted out and she is all praise for the po- year for Ueltschi, who feels that a woman diplomat, like all other
lice and the Indian government. women professionals, has to go an extra mile to prove her mettle.
She says her fluency in Hindi helps her to
blend in easily. My daughter and I travel
around a lot in the Metro and autorickshaw. We
go for picnics and visit monuments and parks,
she says. Kanhai enjoys a special bond with Ex-
ternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who
Nordic Goal
A Nina
communicates with her in Hindi. I feel inspir ed mbassador Nina Vaskunlahti, who has been in the foreign
and empowered by her. Last year, on Interna-
tional Womens Day, she invited all the women
service for 32 years, knows that moving around the world is
part of a diplomats life. Still, India has been daunting. The
Vaskunlahti
heads of mission in Delhi for tea and that was size of India with its 29 states is a challenge and I have to prioritise Finnish Ambassador
truly a special occasion. my work and travel, she says. Reached India:
Kanhais discovery of India goes on alongside She is focused on taking Indo-Finnish relationship to a new lev-
September 2016
her diplomatic duties. el, with stronger ties between the political establishments, busi-
nesses and civil society of thetwo countries. She also spends Credentials:
time in Helsinki talking about India. Ambassador to
It is an exciting time to be in Delhi when the country is mak- Turkey
ing its way forward, she says. She wants to make Finland, a small
Nordic nation, more visible in India amidst fierce competition What she loves in India:
from other bigger countries. Yoga lessons
When Vaskunlahti joined the foreign service in 1984,
there were 11 women and 4 men in her batch. T oday
10 of her women classmates hold senior positions
in diplomatic service. Most of them are married
with kids and have made it to ambassador
posts, she says proudly about the Nordic ena-
bling environment where gender equality is
promoted in all walks of life.
She is married to Dr Andreas Herdina,
who lives in Helsinki. But Ambassador
Vaskunlahti is happy that they meet regu-
larly and get to spend time together in Hel-
sinki, Delhi or somewhere in between.
A WEEKLY DOSE OF QUICK, QUIRKY AND TRENDY INFORMATION
al fresco 27
MARCH 05-11, 2017

Based on Books
REMEMBERING GAGARIN

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was


born on March 9, 1934 in the village
In February, readers invested their time in reading books that were adapted of Klushino, Russia.
into movies. Here are the top 10 bestsellers of last month that have made it Check out some
to the big screen and more so to the Oscars 2017: interesting facts
about the first man
who went to space
on April 12:
Lion 13 Hours
Saroo Brierley Mitchell Zuckoff

Sully
Fences
Chesley Sullenberger
August Wilson

Gagarins space mission lasted just 108


minutes, and the trip once around the Earth
at 17,500 mph took less than an hour
and a half. He orbited the Earth once in
his Vostok 1 spacecraft

Story of One of the factors contributing to Gagarins


Hidden Figures Your Life selection for the launch of Vostok 1 was the
fact that he was only 5ft 2 inch tall, a
Margot Lee Shetterly Ted Chiang distinct advantage in the spacecrafts
cramped two-metre wide cockpit

He was a fighter pilot


before becoming a
cosmonaut and he
continued to fly jet
planes in the 1960s

The Jungle Book Silence


Rudyard Kipling Shusaku Endo The launch of the first
reusable spacecraft, the
space shuttle Columbia,
took place 20 years to
the day after Gagarins
historic achievement

Fantastic Beasts A Man


and Where to Called Ove
Find Them Fredrik
JK Rowling Backman Yuris Night is celebrated every year on
April 12 to commemorate milestones in
space exploration. A 50-gun salute is
held in Moscow. A statue of Gagarin, a
gift from the Russian Space Agency, was
installed in Greenwich, London in 2013

S O U RC E : L I V E S C I E N C E . CO M , P R I M A RY FAC T S. CO M
The data has been collated over a period of one month February 01-28, 2017 SOURCE: FLIPKART

WEEKLY VECTOR
Quality of Life
These are the leading nations according to the Quality of Life Index 2017:

190.3 189.7 184.9 184.7 183.6 182.9 179.7 101.5


AUSTRIA GERMANY DENMARK NEW ZEALAND SPAIN FINLAND US INDIA
Compiled by Numbeo.com, the scores are based on purchasing power, pollution, house price to income ratio, cost of living, safety, healthcare, traffic commute time and climate; India is ranked 51
28 feel smart
MARCH 05-11, 2017

KING SALMAN
PEOPLE, PLACES AND IDEAS MAKING HEADLINES

His packing check list included HOW ARE HIS


plates, carpets, gold-coloured HOSTS DEALING
elevators and two Mercedes Benz WITH THE,
S600s. AHEM,
SITUATION?
NOT REALLY A LIGHT PACKER, Well, Indonesia is
THEN. hoping the visit will
One could say that. In Jarkarta, yield investments of
they were staying in four luxury $25 billion so they are
IS THAT WHAT WE ARE CALLING hotels, with some 10,000 going all out to ensure
BHAI NOW? personnel to provide security and their guests comfortable.
No, not Bollywood's Salman Khan. over 150 chefs to cater to the They have even covered
This is Salman bin Abdulaziz al party, 24x7. up any statues of naked
Saud, the king of Saudi Arabia. men and women, lest the
WHAT ABOUT THEIR PRIVATE Saudi visitors take offence.
WHAT ABOUT HIM? HOLIDAY?
Thats on the beach, in Bali, where PHEW. GUESS THIS IS
He is on a trip o
t Indonesia, the WHAT IT MEANS TO TRAVEL
first Saudi leader in about half a they will be guarded by 2,500
military and police personnel, not KING-SIZE!
century to visit the country. Three
days of work, six days of holiday. to mention naval vessels parked This is hardly a first. When
offshore. One of the resorts has the Saudi royal family visited
put up two-metre-high screens to the Maldives in 2014 for
THATS NOT SO UNUSUAL. give their royal guests privacy, as about a month, they booked
I forgot to add that the king well as a wooden staircase for resorts on three entire
arrived with an entourage of them to access the water, should islands, for the princely
1,500 and 459 tonnes of luggage. they fancy a dip. tab of $30 million.

FORM IV
Statement about ownership and other particulars about newspaper GET L I ST E N D O B R OWS E W ATC H D O W N LOA D
THE ECONOMIC TIMES MAGAZINE, New Delhi to be published as
per Rule 8 of the PRB Act
1. Place of publication : The Times of India
7, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg Hamley's Mega wasn't enough, the machine also has a built in Blue -

2. Periodicity of the Publication : Weekly


New Delhi-110002
Wheelz Segway tooth speaker that gets fairly loud. Just pair it with
your phone like any Bluetooth speaker and you can
Get It For: `79,999
play your music while you ride along. Obviously,

T
3. a) Printer's Name : Rajeev Yadav, for the Proprietors, wo wheels but placed side-by-side instead of this will affect your battery life so if you want to
Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
b) Nationality : Indian back to front, like on a cycle. For the begin- maximise range, don't use the speaker. A set of
c) Address : 7 B S Z Marg, New Delhi-110 002 ner, it can be quite intimidating to get on one LED guide lights in front and back come on when
of these. But once you learn, it's loads of fun. The the device is powered on.
4. a) Publisher's Name : Rajeev Yadav, for the proprietors, difference between this and the numerous so-called We tried it on smooth roads: driveways, paved
Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 'hoverboards' is the handle. On a typical hover- areas and even inside the house. However, it can't
b) Nationality : Indian board, there is much go over any obstacles (even tiny stones or bumps),
c) Address : 7 B S Z Marg, New Delhi-110 002
more of a learning which means using it on the o r ad is not advised.
5. a) Editor (Delhi ) : Brian Carvalho curve because you It's ideal to use inside a large mall or if you live in a
b) Nationality : Indian have to find your bal- large apartment complex with lots of paved are-
c) Address : The Times of India ance plus use your as. And be prepared to take a few spills at first a
7, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg feet (rather, ankle bike helmet and elbow/knee pads are recom-
New Delhi-110 002 movement) to turn mended.
Name & Address of shareholders of the Company holding more than 1% of the left and right. Here, This is a brand that si sold and serviced by
paid up capital as on 28.02.2017. the handle takes on Hamley's in India so you can stop worrying
the responsibility of about poor quality batteries and explosions.
1). Sanmati Properties Ltd., 10, Daryaganj, Ground Floor, New Delhi - 110 002, 2). turns. Having said that, it is still not something that air-
Bharat Nidhi Ltd, 1st Floor, Express Building, 9-10, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, In that sense, it's more like a Segway. Although they lines will allow, either in carry-on or check-in
New Delhi - 110 002, 3). P.N.B. Finance & Industries Ltd., 10, Daryaganj, Ground
Floor, New Delhi 110 002, 4). Camac Commercial Company Ltd., Ist Floor, use the term Segway here, it has nothing to do with baggage. If you need to transport it anywhere, it
Express Building, 9-10, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi - 110 002, 5). Arth the brand Segway. It comes with a small wire- has to be by road or train. The price si a bit on
Udyog Limited 16-A, Lajpat Nagar -IV, New Delhi - 110 024, 6). Jacaranda less remote (to power it on/off ) and a wall the higher side too if you're willing to forego
Corporate Services Limited, 10, Daryaganj, Ground Floor, New Delhi - 110 002, charger. A small backlit display near your the Hamley's name, we've
7). T.M. Investments Limited., 10, Daryaganj, Ground Floor, New Delhi - 110 002, feet shows you the speed and battery seen very similar ma-
8). Ashoka Viniyoga Ltd., 77A, Block-B, Greater Kailash-1, New Delhi - 110 048.
status though the speed is superfluous chines priced at `25,000
I , Rajeev Yadav, hereby declare that the particulars given above are true to the because you can't see it while riding. from a brand called iD-
best of my knowledge and belief. Step on and the built in motors u a to-sta- rift.
Rajeev Yadav bilise it and then you simply lean forward Hitesh Raj Bhagat
March 5, 2017 Publisher
or backward to control the speed. If all this

PUBLISHED FOR THE PROPRIETORS, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. by Rajeev Yadav at Times House, 7, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110 002 and printed by him at (A) The Times of India Press, 13 & 15/1, Site IV, Industrial Area, Sahibabad, UP (B) Elegant Offset Printers, Shed No. D2-31, Thivim Industrial Estate, Karas-
wada, Mapusa Goa - 403526. EDITOR: Brian Carvalho (Responsible for selection of news under PRB Act). Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved.
RNI No.: DELENG/2012/48648. MADE IN NEW DELHI VOLUME 06 NO.10. AIR CHARGE: Raipur, Ahmedabad, Srinagar, Leh & via `2.00 PRICE IN NEPAL: NEP `15.00 except on Saturday & Sunday: NEP `25.00.