Friday, October 30, 2009

Hiss | Film by Jennifer Lynch


Irrfan Khan,
Mallika Sherawat,
Jeff Douchette,
Divya Dutta,
Raman Trikha

About Jennifer Lynch:
Jennifer Chambers Lynch (born April 7, 1968) is an American film director and screenwriter, best known for writing the book The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and for writing and directing the 1993 feature film Boxing Helena.

Lynch was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of artist and filmmaker David Lynch and painter Peggy Reavey. At the age of three, Lynch appeared in her father's Eraserhead.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Deepika Padukone

Revitalizing 104 year old Bombay Stock Exchange

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Britney Inspired by Indian Cinema?

Swarathma | Contemporary Indian Folk-Fusion Band

Swarathma is a contemporary Indian folk-fusion band. With humble beginnings in Mysore, the band grew from strength to strength winning national and international praise for their electric stage act and insightful lyrics.

National Gallery of Modern Art New Delhi | नेशनल गैलरी ऑफ़ माडर्न आर्ट न्यू डेल्ही

View of Garet House from by James Baillie Fraser.

The National Gallery of Modern Art in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, presents "Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists", an exhibition of more than ninety paintings and drawings from the V&A 1790 – 1927, at National Gallery of Modern Art, Jaipur House, New Delhi from October 27, 2009 to December 6, 2009.

The exhibition is a collection from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum which shows rare and interesting watercolors, sketches, aquatints, lithographs and engravings by European artists who visited India between the 18th- and 20th-centuries.

Says Prof Rajeev Lochan, Director, NGMA: “The first visual representations of India by western artists were of imaginary landscapes and settings. They were based on the written accounts of travelers to India from across Europe. It was only after professional European artists began to travel to India that they painted, for the first time, scenes based on direct observation. Their passionate interest in this new and exciting land led to the creation of a comprehensive pictorial record of India, in a visual style familiar to western audiences.”

India’s spectacular architecture, the immense natural beauty of her landscapes, and the great diversity of her people have inspired many artists world over. The exhibition is divided into four sections showcasing the works of various schools of art. The exhibit begins with a ‘Picturesque’ tour of India through dramatic pictures of splendid forts, temples, and palaces. The second section showcases works by amateur artists who were captivated by the landscape and architecture of India. Many of these amateurs were East India Company employees, who transferred to canvas their personal experiences. The third section is dedicated to the Romanticism of Indian art that depicts striking, decorative paintings entirely from the imagination. For instance, on view is a panoramic view of the Taj Mahal, paintings of busy street scenes, majestic princes, and doe-eyed nautch girls. The fourth section, based on realism, documents the social life and people engaged in various professions during that time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shigar Fort | Hidden Paradise Of Rajahs

Shigar Fort was once home to Mongol princes, today it welcomes visitors to one of the most remote and dramatic parts of Pakistan while helping transform the lives of the local community.

Shigar Fort has been the centre of this community since the early 17th century, when it was built by the Mongol dynasty that ruled the stark Shigar valley until its overthrow in 1840. Even after its fall the dynasty retained influence through landholdings in the valley and its rajahs, the rulers, continued living in the stone and clay building.

Seventy years ago, as the fort crumbled with neglect, the royals took the seemingly drastic decision of moving to what had once been their cowshed, and then to an outbuilding next door as even the shed began to collapse. Then, in 1999, the Aga Khan Development Network, aiming at cultural and economic development, offered to restore the fort and build the rajah a new home, on one condition: the fort became a public trust.

The rajah agreed and the foundation spent $1.4m rebuilding the fort and converting it into an up-market, 20-room resort. The finished product was handed over to the luxury Serena hotel chain last year, with the organisation training the Shigar employees at its other hotels across Pakistan.

Image courtesy: EE.Jay

Sari Soldiers


Filmed over three years during the most historic and pivotal time in Nepal’s modern history, The Sari Soldiers is an extraordinary story of six women’s courageous efforts to shape Nepal’s future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King’s crackdown on civil liberties. When Devi, mother of a 15-year-old girl, witnesses her niece being tortured and murdered by the Royal Nepal Army, she speaks publicly about the atrocity. The army abducts her daughter in retaliation, and Devi embarks on a three-year struggle to uncover her daughter’s fate and see justice done.

The Sari Soldiers follows her and five other brave women, including Maoist Commander Kranti; Royal Nepal Army Officer Rajani; Krishna, a monarchist from a rural community who leads a rebellion against the Maoists; Mandira, a human rights lawyer; and Ram Kumari, a young student activist shaping the protests to reclaim democracy. The Sari Soldiers intimately delves into the extraordinary journey of these women on opposing sides of the conflict, through the democratic revolution that reshapes the country’s future.

More: The Sari Soldiers

Get Involved

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Handcrafted Indian Jewelry Designer

Varanasi. Kashi. Banaras.

The old, oldest, the legendary city, the eternal city at the banks of the mighty Ganga River, the carotid of India’s vast northern plains. For ages this place has been radiating a powerful image both within India as in the west, marveled at for its never-resting life around Mother Ganga, Religion melting into Magic as well as for local products like the traditional Banarasi Hand-woven Silks.

This Collection aims at bringing to you along with a small piece of this precious material, designed and hand-made in the city also a small piece of the age-old magic of this holy and worldly place, a genuine piece of Varanasi.

Source: Sanchali

The Uniform Project

The Uniform Project Trailer from The Uniform Project on Vimeo.

Indian Design Edge Book

Breaking the glass ceiling of existing perceptions and mindset about Indian design, Dr Darlie Koshy, an internationally acclaimed design management expert, in Indian Design Edge, attempts to trace and touch upon the evolution and growth of Indian design which makes it possible for design to add and realize value and to create brands in the new age economy.

This book is a step towards creating a vision for India to assume leadership in the world of design. Indian Design Edge has a ‘hands on, minds on’ approach emanating from years of experience as an academic leader, researcher, top manager, consultant and, above all, an innovative thinker.

There are illustrative design case studies, historical milestones, policy perspectives, industry insights and scenario analyses inspiring the reader to explore, discover and unleash the power of Indian design for success and growth.

Foreword by Ratan Tata.

iReport on Campaigning In India

Anish Kapoor Exclusive | अनिश कपूर एक्सक्लूसिव

Exclusive Sunday Evenings

Due to the popularity of Anish Kapoor, the Royal Academy of Arts is organising the following special Sunday evening viewings:

Sunday 8 November 2009
Sunday 22 November 2009
Sunday 6 December 2009

Tickets, £25, include a printed gallery guide and a glass of Villa Maria wine or a soft drink. Numbers are limited to ensure the quality of this unique viewing experience.

Tickets are available online only.

Click here to book.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Diwali at the Brown House

Aids Jaago | 4 short films by finest Indian Directors

About the AIDS Jaago Films

The much talked about, highly awaited short films from award winning Indian directors MIRA NAIR, VISHAL BHARDWAJ, SANTOSH SIVAN, and FARHAN AKHTAR that aim to dismantle myths and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Unaddressed, AIDS in India will soon reach epidemic proportions.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the films were the brainchild of Mira Nair. Forget dreary documentaries, India's finest directors put their individualistic stamp on these films, which use top Indian movie stars to maximize exposure of the films.

From South Indian superstar Prabhudeva, Irrfan Khan (Namesake), the iconic Shabana Azmi, to Bollywood stars Shiney Ahuja, Ayesha Takia, Boman Irani, Raima Sen, Siddharth and Sameera Reddy, Indian stars put their heavyweight audience draw behind the project hoping to change minds and save lives.

The result is 4 beautifully shot, rich stories about the human dimension of the disease.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Director Mira Nair's -- Amelia

The director discovered an icon with an iconoclastic streak - and a surprising sense of humility.

The Book Of Omens

BBC World News America has been behind the scenes at the Smithsonian, just days before the opening of its newest exhibition Falnama: The Book of Omens.

The Falnama manuscripts were created in Iran and Turkey during the 16th and 17th centuries. In the Islamic calendar, the year 1000 was looming on the horizon and sultans, shahs and common people used these manuscripts to explore the unknown.

The exhibition opens its doors on October 24 at the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC and is the first ever devoted to these illustrated texts, notable for their scale and bold compositions.

Works from the Topkapi Palace Library in Istanbul, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, the Louvre Museum in Paris and private collections from around the world feature in the exhibition.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

उमराव जान

Monday, October 12, 2009

A R Rahman OST for Couples Retreat

A Simple Guide To Hindu Gods

Source: Gheehappy

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yeh Mera Deewana Pan

By Yahudi

By Susheela Raman

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Time Out London with Anish Kapoor

Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts | महाराजा: भारत के रॉयल न्यायालयों की भव्यता

Thrones, gem-encrusted weapons, a Rolls Royce... there's nothing particularly subtle about the world of the maharajas as explored in this major exhibition, which covers the period from the collapse of the Mughal empire in the early eighteenth century to the end of British rule in 1947. Extravagance aside, the show looks at the changing role and influence of the maharajas - politically and socially, in India and Europe - through their patronage of artists and designers.

Cromwell Rd, London, SW7 2RL
Transport South Kensington


The word maharaja, literally ‘great king’, conjures up a vision of splendour and magnificence. The image of a turbaned, bejewelled ruler with absolute authority and immense wealth is pervasive and evocative, but it fails to do justice to his role in the cultural and political history of India. Maharaja: the splendour of India’s royal courts re-examines the world of the maharajas and their extraordinarily rich culture.

The exhibition spans the period from the beginning of the 18th century to the mid-20th century, bringing together over 250 magnificent objects, many being lent from India’s royal collections for the first time. It examines the changing role of the maharajas within a social and historical context and reveals how their patronage of the arts, both in India and Europe, resulted in splendid and beautiful objects symbolic of royal status, power and identity.

महाराजा शब्द, वस्तुतः ‘’महान राजा’, शान-शौकत एवं वैभव की छवि पेश करता है| पगड़ी पहने हुए एक रत्नजड़ित राजा की छवि जिसके पास पूर्ण प्राधिकार और अपरिमित दौलत है| वह व्यापक और उद्बोधक है परंतु वह भारत के सांस्कृतिक एवं राजनीतिक इतिहास में अपनी भूमिका को सही तरह से निभाने में असफल रहा| महाराजा: द स्प्लेनडर ऑफ इनडियाज रॉयल कोर्ट्स, महाराजाओं की दुनिया और उनके विशेष बहुमूल्य संस्कृति का पुनः परीक्षण करती है|

इस प्रदर्शनी में 18वीं सदी के आरंभ से लेकर मध्य-बीसवीं सदी तक की समय अवधि शामिल है| इसमें 250 से अधिक शानदार चीजें प्रदर्शित की जाएंगी| इनमें से बहुत सारी चीजों को भारत के राजकीय संग्रहों से प्रथम बार उधार लिया जा रहा है| यह, सामाजिक एवं ऐतिहासिक संदर्भ में महाराजाओं की बदलती हुई भूमिका का परीक्षण करती है| यह प्रदर्शनी दिखाती है कि भारत एवं यूरोप, दोनों में इनके द्वारा कला को दिए गए प्रश्रय ने किस प्रकार बहुत ही बढ़िया एवं सुन्दर चीजों की रचना की जो शाही ओहदे, सत्ता और पहचान के प्रतीक थे|

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bengali Paradise | बंगाली स्वर्ग


From a short story by Rabindranath Tagore and with music by Ravi Shankar, master director Tapan Sinha’s early classic was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, and is fondly remembered by Indians as a tender, moving work of humanism. Afghan fruit seller Rhemat befriends a six-year-old girl, Minie, in Calcutta, because she reminds him of his own daughter. An accidental stabbing then sees him imprisoned for eight years - but when he’s released, he's determined to find the girl.

{Kabuliwalla 1956 cover}

Kabuliwala Bengali: is a story written by Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore. Two films have been produced based on this story, both named Kabuliwala. The first was filmed in Bengali in 1956 by Tapan Sinha, and the second in Hindi, also titled, Kabuliwala in 1961, directed by Hemen Gupta, produced by Bimal Roy.

Here is the story of Kabuliwalla in Hindi. This story was included in our hindi bal bharti textbook during my high school years in India. Till today the story of Kabuliwalla fills me with joy and endless memories.

रवीन्द्रनाथ ठाकुर की कहानी

मेरी पाँच बरस की लड़की मिनी से घड़ीभर भी बोले बिना नहीं रहा जाता। एक दिन वह सवेरे-सवेरे ही बोली, "बाबूजी, रामदयाल दरबान है न, वह ‘काक’ को ‘कौआ’ कहता है। वह कुछ जानता नहीं न, बाबूजी।" मेरे कुछ कहने से पहले ही उसने दूसरी बात छेड़ दी। "देखो, बाबूजी, भोला कहता है – आकाश में हाथी सूँड से पानी फेंकता है, इसी से वर्षा होती है। अच्छा बाबूजी, भोला झूठ बोलता है, है न?" और फिर वह खेल में लग गई।

मेरा घर सड़क के किनारे है। एक दिन मिनी मेरे कमरे में खेल रही थी। अचानक वह खेल छोड़कर खिड़की के पास दौड़ी गई और बड़े ज़ोर से चिल्लाने लगी, "काबुलीवाले, ओ काबुलीवाले!"

कँधे पर मेवों की झोली लटकाए, हाथ में अँगूर की पिटारी लिए एक लंबा सा काबुली धीमी चाल से सड़क पर जा रहा था। जैसे ही वह मकान की ओर आने लगा, मिनी जान लेकर भीतर भाग गई। उसे डर लगा कि कहीं वह उसे पकड़ न ले जाए। उसके मन में यह बात बैठ गई थी कि काबुलीवाले की झोली के अंदर तलाश करने पर उस जैसे और भी
दो-चार बच्चे मिल सकते हैं।

काबुली ने मुसकराते हुए मुझे सलाम किया। मैंने उससे कुछ सौदा खरीदा। फिर वह बोला, "बाबू साहब, आप की लड़की कहाँ गई?"

मैंने मिनी के मन से डर दूर करने के लिए उसे बुलवा लिया। काबुली ने झोली से किशमिश और बादाम निकालकर मिनी को देना चाहा पर उसने कुछ न लिया। डरकर वह मेरे घुटनों से चिपट गई। काबुली से उसका पहला परिचय इस तरह हुआ। कुछ दिन बाद, किसी ज़रुरी काम से मैं बाहर जा रहा था। देखा कि मिनी काबुली से खूब बातें कर रही है और काबुली मुसकराता हुआ सुन रहा है। मिनी की झोली बादाम-किशमिश से भरी हुई थी। मैंने काबुली को अठन्नी देते हुए कहा, "इसे यह सब क्यों दे दिया? अब मत देना।" फिर मैं बाहर चला गया।

कुछ देर तक काबुली मिनी से बातें करता रहा। जाते समय वह अठन्नी मिनी की झोली में डालता गया। जब मैं घर लौटा तो देखा कि मिनी की माँ काबुली से अठन्नी लेने के कारण उस पर खूब गुस्सा हो रही है।

काबुली प्रतिदिन आता रहा। उसने किशमिश बादाम दे-देकर मिनी के छोटे से ह्रदय पर काफ़ी अधिकार जमा लिया था। दोनों में बहुत-बहुत बातें होतीं और वे खूब हँसते। रहमत काबुली को देखते ही मेरी लड़की हँसती हुई पूछती, "काबुलीवाले, ओ काबुलीवाले! तुम्हारी झोली में क्या है?"

रहमत हँसता हुआ कहता, "हाथी।" फिर वह मिनी से कहता, "तुम ससुराल कब जाओगी?"

इस पर उलटे वह रहमत से पूछती, "तुम ससुराल कब जाओगे?"

रहमत अपना मोटा घूँसा तानकर कहता, "हम ससुर को मारेगा।" इस पर मिनी खूब हँसती।

हर साल सरदियों के अंत में काबुली अपने देश चला जाता। जाने से पहले वह सब लोगों से पैसा वसूल करने में लगा रहता। उसे घर-घर घूमना पड़ता, मगर फिर भी प्रतिदिन वह मिनी से एक बार मिल जाता।

एक दिन सवेरे मैं अपने कमरे में बैठा कुछ काम कर रहा था। ठीक उसी समय सड़क पर बड़े ज़ोर का शोर सुनाई दिया। देखा तो अपने उस रहमत को दो सिपाही बाँधे लिए जा रहे हैं। रहमत के कुर्ते पर खून के दाग हैं और सिपाही के हाथ में खून से सना हुआ छुरा।

कुछ सिपाही से और कुछ रहमत के मुँह से सुना कि हमारे पड़ोस में रहने वाले एक आदमी ने रहमत से एक चादर खरीदी। उसके कुछ रुपए उस पर बाकी थे, जिन्हें देने से उसने इनकार कर दिया था। बस, इसी पर दोनों में बात बढ़ गई, और काबुली ने उसे छुरा मार दिया।

इतने में "काबुलीवाले, काबुलीवाले", कहती हुई मिनी घर से निकल आई। रहमत का चेहरा क्षणभर के लिए खिल उठा। मिनी ने आते ही पूछा, ‘’तुम ससुराल जाओगे?" रहमत ने हँसकर कहा, "हाँ, वहीं तो जा रहा हूँ।"

रहमत को लगा कि मिनी उसके उत्तर से प्रसन्न नहीं हुई। तब उसने घूँसा दिखाकर कहा, "ससुर को मारता पर क्या करुँ, हाथ बँधे हुए हैं।"

छुरा चलाने के अपराध में रहमत को कई साल की सज़ा हो गई।

काबुली का ख्याल धीरे-धीरे मेरे मन से बिलकुल उतर गया और मिनी भी उसे भूल गई।

कई साल बीत गए।

आज मेरी मिनी का विवाह है। लोग आ-जा रहे हैं। मैं अपने कमरे में बैठा हुआ खर्च का हिसाब लिख रहा था। इतने में रहमत सलाम करके एक ओर खड़ा हो गया।

पहले तो मैं उसे पहचान ही न सका। उसके पास न तो झोली थी और न चेहरे पर पहले जैसी खुशी। अंत में उसकी ओर ध्यान से देखकर पहचाना कि यह तो रहमत है।

मैंने पूछा, "क्यों रहमत कब आए?"

"कल ही शाम को जेल से छूटा हूँ," उसने बताया।

मैंने उससे कहा, "आज हमारे घर में एक जरुरी काम है, मैं उसमें लगा हुआ हूँ। आज तुम जाओ, फिर आना।"

वह उदास होकर जाने लगा। दरवाजे़ के पास रुककर बोला, "ज़रा बच्ची को नहीं देख सकता?"

शायद उसे यही विश्वास था कि मिनी अब भी वैसी ही बच्ची बनी हुई है। वह अब भी पहले की तरह "काबुलीवाले, ओ काबुलीवाले" चिल्लाती हुई दौड़ी चली आएगी। उन दोनों की उस पुरानी हँसी और बातचीत में किसी तरह की रुकावट न होगी। मैंने कहा, "आज घर में बहुत काम है। आज उससे मिलना न हो सकेगा।"

वह कुछ उदास हो गया और सलाम करके दरवाज़े से बाहर निकल गया।

मैं सोच ही रहा था कि उसे वापस बुलाऊँ। इतने मे वह स्वयं ही लौट आया और बोला, “'यह थोड़ा सा मेवा बच्ची के लिए लाया था। उसको दे दीजिएगा।“

मैने उसे पैसे देने चाहे पर उसने कहा, 'आपकी बहुत मेहरबानी है बाबू साहब! पैसे रहने दीजिए।' फिर ज़रा ठहरकर बोला, “आपकी जैसी मेरी भी एक बेटी हैं। मैं उसकी याद कर-करके आपकी बच्ची के लिए थोड़ा-सा मेवा ले आया करता हूँ। मैं यहाँ सौदा बेचने नहीं आता।“

उसने अपने कुरते की जेब में हाथ डालकर एक मैला-कुचैला मुड़ा हुआ कागज का टुकड़ा निकला औऱ बड़े जतन से उसकी चारों तह खोलकर दोनो हाथों से उसे फैलाकर मेरी मेज पर रख दिया। देखा कि कागज के उस टुकड़े पर एक नन्हें से हाथ के छोटे-से पंजे की छाप हैं। हाथ में थोड़ी-सी कालिख लगाकर, कागज़ पर उसी की छाप ले ली गई थी। अपनी बेटी इस याद को छाती से लगाकर, रहमत हर साल कलकत्ते के गली-कूचों में सौदा बेचने के लिए आता है।

देखकर मेरी आँखें भर आईं। सबकुछ भूलकर मैने उसी समय मिनी को बाहर बुलाया। विवाह की पूरी पोशाक और गहनें पहने मिनी शरम से सिकुड़ी मेरे पास आकर खड़ी हो गई।

उसे देखकर रहमत काबुली पहले तो सकपका गया। उससे पहले जैसी बातचीत न करते बना। बाद में वह हँसते हुए बोला, “लल्ली! सास के घर जा रही हैं क्या?”

मिनी अब सास का अर्थ समझने लगी थी। मारे शरम के उसका मुँह लाल हो उठा।

मिनी के चले जाने पर एक गहरी साँस भरकर रहमत ज़मीन पर बैठ गया। उसकी समझ में यह बात एकाएक स्पष्ट हो उठी कि उसकी बेटी भी इतने दिनों में बड़ी हो गई होगी। इन आठ वर्षों में उसका क्या हुआ होगा, कौन जाने? वह उसकी याद में खो गया।
मैने कुछ रुपए निकालकर उसके हाथ में रख दिए और कहा, “रहमत! तुम अपनी बेटी के पास देश चले जाओ।"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Limited First Amendment Rights for an Indian in America | फर्स्ट अमेंडमेंट रिघ्ट्स

An Indian scholar in the US faces over three decades in prison on an absurd charge. The story of a family’s battle for justice
BY Manju Sara Rajan

Dr Buddhi Kota Subbarao is not a man of few words. He is a scrupulous storyteller, who always starts at the beginning, maintains chronological order, and habitually fact-checks himself. Experience has taught this 68-year-old Supreme Court lawyer and former Indian Navy Captain, with a PhD in nuclear technology, the importance of covering every minute detail, of the power of technicalities, especially when it comes to the law. And it is precisely because of intricate details and indisputable facts that Dr Subbarao believes his son, Vikram S Buddhi, has been wrongfully convicted by an American court of threatening to kill former President George W Bush.

For several months now, and intermittently for the past three years, the case of Vikram Buddhi has featured in the International pages of several newspapers: ‘Desi arrested for threatening Bush’, ‘Threat to Bush, Indian Gets Bail’, ‘Terror Suspect’s Father Writes Again to Obama’. One headline after the other summarised various episodes in the curious tale of a gifted doctoral student who spent ten years pursuing PhD programmes in Pure and Applied Mathematics at Purdue University, Indiana, before suddenly morphing into a defendant in the case of United States of America vs Vikram S Buddhi. According to the US government, Vikram threatened Bush and others close to him through a series of Internet messages traced to Vikram’s university computer.

It’s too late to presume his innocence because Vikram was found guilty in June 2007; since then, he has spent more than two years in jail, and when he’s sentenced on 19 November 2009, the 37-year-old scholar faces up to 35 years in prison. So, sitting in their tiny flat in Vashi, a distant Mumbai suburb, his parents are hoping someone will notice that their brilliant introverted son hasn’t really done anything wrong.

The sentence will be the controversial end to a saga that first began on 16 January 2006, when Vikram was taken from his residence to be interrogated by members of the presidential protection agency, the Secret Service. According to the Criminal Complaint filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, ‘On 12/13/05, a concerned citizen contacted Secret Service’s Dallas Field Office to report a subject, using the screen name ‘extremist_bush’, posted a threatening message directed towards President George W Bush, Vice President Richard B Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush, Second Lady Lynne Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a Yahoo! Finance message board dedicated to Sirius Satellite Radio. The subject’s message was titled, CALL FOR ASSASSINATION OF GW BUSH.’

During a two-month-long investigation decoding IP Addresses, MAC Addresses, Address Resolution Protocols, and ARP Tables, the Secret Service tracked down the computers used to post the messages to terminals in Purdue University, and eventually they surmised the ‘subject’ of their investigations was Vikram. For two-and-a-half days they interrogated Vikram, then let him off, and filed a report clearly stating that he was not a threat to anyone. The matter should have ended there. But it didn’t. Ostensibly without a new motive, in the early evening of 14 April 2006, Secret Service agents arrested Vikram from his university apartment at Purdue.

Someone using various misspelt versions of the username ‘extremist_bush’ posted the controversial Internet messages over several months towards the end of 2005. Contrary to the US government’s contention that the messages threatened Bush and co, the messages, in fact, called upon Iraqis to avenge the war on their country. The posts are misguided, racist, and in appalling language, calling upon Iraqis to rape and kill ‘ANGLOSAXONS’ in a ‘TIT-FOR-TAT WAR’.

Dr Subbarao is adamant his son was not the author of the messages; the investigating officers reported that during interrogation, Vikram “admitted to posting the threatening messages… also admitted to deliberately using IP addresses other than his own in an attempt to conceal his identity”; Vikram didn’t deny it during his trial.

“Even if they can prove he wrote it, they do not have the ingredients required to prove he was a threat,” says Somnath Bharti, a Supreme Court lawyer who is familiar with the US justice system and canvassing for Vikram’s release. “They need to prove intent to act and pursuance of the intent. There is no act here, what has he done? All they have are lines on a webpage asking Iraqis to do something—you can’t put a man away for 35 years on that.”

Maybe not in New York, or Boston, or Los Angeles. But in Hammond, Indiana, there are limits to freedom of speech, especially if you’re just an immigrant Indian student. Indiana is a small but industrial state, which is socially and politically conservative. Though its name means ‘Land of the Indians’, Indiana is overwhelmingly White; in Hammond, where the trial took place, over 70 per cent of the population is White. And starting from the early part of the 20th century, Indiana has had a difficult, often embarrassing relationship with the White supremacist organisation Ku Klux Klan, which reportedly still operates various centres in the state.

It isn’t difficult to imagine how a Hammond judge and jury would have looked at Vikram, a mousey, serious, unemotional young man, whose personal experiences had taught him to rely only on himself. “He never talked about friends, he was a reserved person. He cared only about his studies,” says mother Syamala, who hasn’t seen him since he left for America in 1996. People who don’t know the grueling history of the Subbarao family may find it hard to understand how a son could have stayed away for so long. Any mother other than Syamala would have wondered if her son loved her at all. But Vikram, the middle child between an older and a younger sister, proved his merit as a considerate child through what was till 2006, the most traumatic experience of their lives.

Those who remember the ascent of Rajiv Gandhi and India during its Soviet phase may also recollect the story of a retired Indian naval captain, who was charged under the Official Secrets Act and Atomic Energy Act on suspicion of being an American spy. On 30 May 1988, Dr Subbarao, who retired from the Navy in 1987, was scheduled to fly to America on a consulting project (he was hired by Ceat, a company of the RPG Group to which Open belongs, as an advisor on a Ceat-AT&T communications project). “I was supposed to go for five weeks, one week for myself to show my PhD thesis to professors at MIT and Harvard,” remembers Dr Subbarao. But there were portentous signs from the moment he stepped outside his family home. “As I opened the door to leave, the lights went out in the building, my children and I walked down 12 storeys to get my suitcase to the gate,” he says. “I didn’t know then it was a sign that the light was about to go out of our lives forever.”

Dr Subbarao was arrested at the immigration counter; he wasn’t told why. At some point during his 90-day custody at a police station near the international airport, an officer told him the papers were calling him “deshdrohi”, a traitor.

The Maharashtra government claimed that a document in Dr Subbarao’s suitcase proved that he intended to sell information on India’s nuclear programme to the US. The matter reached such stratospheric levels of government that John Gunther Dean—America’s then Ambassador in India—was “confronted” by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In Dean’s documents at the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum, he admits an India-based American official was in charge of looking into India’s nuclear programme, but he doesn’t appear to know Dr Subbarao.

The document found in Dr Subbarao’s suitcase was titled ‘The Nuclear Power Plant Modelling and Design, Multivariable Control Approach’, which, as it turned out, was his doctoral thesis at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay. Vikram, who packed his father’s suitcase, had placed the work atop clothes and toiletries so his father would have it in good condition to show his MIT friends. It should have been simple enough to prove, but the law is also a matter of interpretation. After a year of incarceration without bail, Vikram insisted his father represent himself. “My son went on hunger strike till I agreed because he thought I could do a better job,” says Dr Subbarao, who began his study of Indian law with Criminal Procedure Code, a book Vikram brought to him in jail.

Dr Subbarao secured his own bail after some 20 months behind bars; the naval captain eventually won his case in the Sessions Court, and High Court—till the Supreme Court, tired of the Government’s persistent witch-hunt, confirmed his acquittal, and granted Dr Subbarao Rs 25,000 to cover his costs. It took five years. After his acquittal, Dr Subbarao took the Bar exam and now practises as a Supreme Court lawyer.

Looking back, he says he was a victim of the politics within India’s nuclear community. He believes he was targetted because Rajiv Gandhi secretly offered him the post of technical head of the nuclear submarine programme, and because Dr Subbarao was a constant critic of India’s sometimes - comical lot of nuclear scientists.

It’s unlikely that Vikram was unscathed by the trauma of his father’s incarceration and the ill treatment his family suffered as result. “People stopped talking to us. Since my daughters were both studying, it was always me and Vikram who went everywhere, arranging money, finding a lawyer. He had to grow up,” says Syamala.

Vikram was only 18, a first-year BSc Student at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. After his BSc and an MSc from IIT-Bombay, Vikram went to Purdue to study mathematics. He was a good student there, and a celebrated teacher’s assistant. But, according to Dr Subbarao, an incident changed Purdue’s perception of Vikram and, he alleges, incited university authorities to point fingers in Vikram’s direction during the initial Secret Service investigation.

“One African-American student was expelled from the university because he was allegedly copying, but no action was taken against three White students who were also caught,” recounts Dr Subbarao. “Vikram wrote a letter to the university president pointing out that the [US] Constitution requires all students be dealt with equally, but the administrators were annoyed that an Indian student had the audacity to point out something that amounted to racial bias. They were waiting for something to use against him when the [Internet] messages issue came along.”

About a month after Vikram was arrested, Dr Subbarao got a call from John Martin, Vikram’s court-appointed lawyer. It was the first time the parents heard what happened to their son. “We don’t have any relatives in the US, so I was asked to come over as early as possible so Vikram could be released on a bond.”

It took Dr Subbarao over a month to get an emergency visa; he arrived in America on 7 June 2006, with less than ten days to go for the trial to begin. After two Indian mathematics professors—friends of Dr Subbarao—posted $10,000 upfront for a $100,000 bond, Vikram was released. The duo leased an apartment from the only landlord in Hammond who agreed to take them on. They had so little money that both often skipped meals, and spoke to Syamala in Mumbai just once a week, and even then for just a few minutes at a time.

Vikram’s trial itself proceeded so dubiously, it sounds like it was staged in the one-eyed justice system of a banana republic, not in the United States of America. When it began on 26 June 2007, Vikram, accused of threatening American leaders and their wives, found himself in front of conservative Judge James T Moody, who has been described as “a hard-ass” by people who know him and his court manners. As one independent American observer said, “It seemed like he wanted to see this guy behind bars.”

Case records show that Judge Moody declared in open court that he would not instruct the jury on the commands of the First Amendment, leaving 12 men and women without a clue of the rights of the defendant. Moreover, the Judge warned the Defense Attorney (DA) that he would embarrass the DA if he attempted to link facts in the case to instructions in the First Amendment. “If it was some homespun hate-monger, there would probably have been more leeway, but for an outsider to say these things, it inflamed people,” says the observer.

The US Supreme Court has unambiguously stated in the past that in the context of expressing strong political opposition, even abusive speech is protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment rights. Gregory P Magarian, professor of law at Washington University School of Law, is not connected with Vikram’s case, and he didn’t have enough time for an exhaustive study of the details, but his reaction to Vikram’s conviction was decisive: “I believe the statements that led to the conviction are protected speech under the First Amendment. This conviction is very disturbing; I think it reflects serious disregard of our constitutional liberties. The First Amendment is supposed to protect appalling speech, as long as that speech doesn’t embody a true threat.” It seems in a country with the world’s most liberal gun laws, where protestors who turn up at a presidential healthcare meeting with firearms and put up poster threats go unpunished, an Indian mathematician’s words are deemed more dangerous than a Neanderthal with a Smith & Wesson.

Vikram’s trial only lasted four days in 2007, and midway through it, he was expelled from Purdue. He spent the initial months of his incarceration in county jails in Indiana, where he was the victim of verbal and physical attacks. According to his case files, ‘Throughout October 2007, an inmate repeatedly harassed Mr Buddhi calling him a ‘crazy Arab’ and a ‘crackhead’. The inmate then approached Mr Buddhi as he waited for his food tray and said that people like him should not be in this country. The inmate then pushed Mr Buddhi’s head against a metal doorframe. Mr Buddhi suffered a one inch laceration to his skull.’ Vikram was transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, Illinois, where he’s still awaiting his sentence. In the American system, an appeals process can only be initiated after sentencing, which in this case has taken an unusually long time.

Earlier this year, a new lawyer, one Arlington Foley, was appointed to his case. Foley has so far had only a single conversation with Dr Subbarao. (Foley’s secretary Susie perpetually insists he’s not in the office; he doesn’t answer his own emails, she prints it out for him.)

Dr Subbarao’s one-year Emergency Visa wasn’t renewed, despite his application specifically stating that he wanted to stay in the country till his son was sentenced. On 21 August 2007, Dr Subbarao’s passport was confiscated before he could appeal the visa denial, and jailed for one week. Without his passport he couldn’t get a ticket home and the appeals and petitions he filed to stay immigration proceedings dragged on for two years, before he was finally deported to India on 8 August. His passport was returned in Mumbai at the Immigration counter.

“They knew I would do everything I can to help my son if I was there so they kicked me out,” he says. But at least he is back home with his wife after being separated for three years. Since the beginning of 2009, Dr Subbarao has written to everyone from President Obama to Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna, asking that his son get a fair trial. Not a pardon—a fair trial. Unlike the US, which once sent a former President to North Korea to get its citizens out, and fought for the release of American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi from an Iranian prison, the Indian Government seems to be hoping that the Vikram Buddhi issue will go away on its own. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had an opportunity to bring up the case during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s India trip, but did nothing.

When Open spoke to MEA sources in August, they insisted that SM Krishna has asked US diplomats for a ‘clarification’. “When it comes to the security of NRIs, the Indian Government doesn’t care. Let’s see if they can make a few phone calls for an ordinary man,” says lawyer Bharti, who also met the minister on this issue. “They get all excited when Shah Rukh Khan is caught at the airport for two hours... but what about normal people?”

While the Government takes its time, NGO Delhi Forum has initiated an online petition and intends to organise a protest closer to the sentencing date. Lawyers who’ve looked at this case believe the American authorities will most likely deport Vikram—because if this outrageous case is posed with an appeal in front of the US Supreme Court, then it could find that the jury grossly misread the facts and/or that the judge misapplied the law, which could possibly cause international embarrassment.

Till then, somewhere in a jailhouse in Illinois, Vikram spends his time reading law books and teaching himself the vagaries of the US Constitution. Perhaps one day he may have to fight for himself. Like his father once did.

Source: Open Magazine

Friday, October 2, 2009

M.K. Gandhi | मोहनदास करमचंद गांधी

Today marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of M.K.Gandhi.

In India, Gandhi Jayanti is a national holiday celebrated to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the "Father of the Nation". It is celebrated on October 2, every year.

The United Nations General Assembly announced on 15 June 2007 that it adopted a resolution which declared that October 2 will be celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence.

On this day, in India, liquor is not sold or consumed in his honor.

Article from

Gandhi never liked to be photographed. The famous American photographer Margaret Bourke-White wrote in her autobiography: “Having thought of Mahatma Gandhi as a symbol of simplicity; I was a bit surprised to find that I had to go through several secretaries to get permission to photograph him.” Bourke White arrived two hours earlier than arranged. But instead of being taken to meet Gandhi, she was told that she would first have to learn to spin. Hours later, when it was deemed she could spin well enough, she was allowed to begin taking photographs. But she was told that Gandhi insisted on natural light - the camera flash would interrupt his reading. Bourke-White: “I found the inside of the hut to be even darker than I had anticipated... but when my eyes became accustomed... there sat Mahatma, crossed legged, a spidery figure with a bald head and spectacles. Could this be the man who was leading his people to freedom... who had kindled the imagination of the world?” Bourke-White pleaded with Gandhi and he finally agreed to allow her three flashbulbs.

The first flash failed in the heat and humidity. On the second, she forgot to pull the plate. Finally the third bulb worked. She had her picture. Despite the impossible conditions Bourke-White created some of the most haunting images of Gandhi.

Reluctantly Gandhi allowed amateur and professional photographers to photograph him – and became one of the most photographed personalities of our time! Over 5000 known photographs of Mahatma Gandhi were taken by about 350 photographers. It can be anticipated that another 2000-3000 photographs were taken by people who passed his way. However, the two major collections are the ones by Gandhi’s great nephew and personal assistant Kanu Gandhi and Gandhi’s eminent biographer Vithalbhai Jhaveri.

After Gandhi’s death in 1948, his youngest son Devdas began to collect photographs and films in order to document his father’s life and work as detailed as possible. When Devdas became the chief editor of Hindusthan Times he handed over his collection to Vithalbhai Jhaveri who also had begun to collect visuals on Gandhi from sources all over the world in the mid-1940’s. Vithalbhai Jhaveri (1916-1985), former member of the Indian National Movement, did much to promote Gandhian philosophy and preserve the memory of the unique nonviolent struggle for Indian independence. His deep research lead to the accumulation of the most comprehensive photographic collection of the life of Gandhi (4000) and India’s independence movement (5000), over 9000 photographs in total. Some of them were used in D.G. Tendulkar’s 8 volume biography Mahatma as well as for Jhaveri’s various exhibitions and his 5 hour documentary film Mahatma, but the majority of images have never been exposed to the public. After Jhaveri’s death in 1985 his collection received a preservation treatment and was turned into a scientific archive.

A similar befell had Kanu Gandhi’s collection which is with over 1300 photographs the second largest photo collection on Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi’s great nephew lived with his family on Gandhi’s ashrams in Ahmedabad and in central India, near Wardha. In 1936 Kanu Gandhi (1917-1986) was given his first camera and a roll of film and thus began his document of the last 11 years of Gandhi’s life. Gandhi agreed to be photographed by him on three conditions: Kanu was not to use a flash, the ashram would not finance it and Gandhi would never pose. He was thus able to capture Mahatma Gandhi in all his moods and moments. This is a collection of rare intimacy presenting Gandhi in the company of his family and other ashram members, and shows the private Gandhi in contrast to the public Mahatma.

Apart from several smaller collections these two major collections form part of GandhiServe Foundation’s photo archive, which is the best of its kind in terms of quality and quantity. The archive is gradually getting digitised and a large section of the pictures can be viewed in GandhiServe’s Online Image Archive.

A selection of the best 1000 images of Mahatma Gandhi has been made available in the GandhiServe Photo Store where prints from 4” x 6” to 20” x 30” can be ordered in b/w or duotone as well as photo products.

Now read this... Gandhi was a simple man but until a German company Montblanc decided to have him as their brand ambassador for a limited edition pen. The price? $24,763.

A man displays the Montblanc limited-edition commemorative fountain pen in honor of Mohandas Gandhi, portrait seen in backdrop. German luxury penmaker Montblanc launched the $24,763 pen just in time for the 140th anniversary of the birth of the Mahatma, the man who shunned foreign-made products, leaving some Indians puzzled and others angry.

The cheaper line of 3,000 roller ball and fountain pens retails for $3,205 to $3,642.

Now the sad story...

Even that is stratospherically out of reach for the vast majority of Indians, many of whom have been left out of India's economic boom. Over 450 million Indians struggle by on less than $1.25 a day.

Source: USA Today

Project Kashmir | प्रोजेक्ट कश्मीर

Most Indians and Pakistanis cant agree where Kashmir is on a map. But ask them who started the war, and they will have an answer.

From directors Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel comes
PROJECT KASHMIR--a feature documentary in which the directors, two American friends from opposite sides of the divide, investigate the war in Kashmir and find their friendship tested over deeply rooted political, cultural and religious biases they never had to face in the U.S. PROJECT KASHMIR explores war between countries and war within oneself by delving into the fraught lives of young people caught in the social/political conflict of one of the most beautiful, and most deadly, places on earth--Kashmir.

Beautifully lensed by Academy Award® winner, Ross Kauffman, the film captures the stunning beauty of Kashmir, while expertly interweaving deeply moving personal stories of Kashmiris with those of the two American women, who strive to reconcile their ethnic and religious heritage with the violence that haunts their homeland.

Project Kashmir

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CNN Intl' Interviews Amir Khan | अमीर खान

The story

He's a Bollywood A-lister, director and Oscar-nominated producer, but Aamir Khan's latest adventure in film sees him join up with CNN for a special Talk Asia Live event.

Khan has become one of he most sought-after actors in Bollywood, taking his own path in a career that began when he was a child actor.

He rose to international prominence in 2001 with "Lagaan", which was also his first foray into producing. The film caught the attention of a global audience with its mix of Bollywood melodies and a strong emotional and dramatic narrative.

Source: CNN
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