No Child’s Play This
As a society, we might pride ourselves on being nurturing and treating children as ‘God’s gift’, but the truth is that there is no system in place to ensure that children are valued by the family, educational institutions and the state as an asset as well as a resource for the future, writes Aruti Nayar
WE love our children, or at least, claim to do so,  especially if one were to go by the outrage expressed by the Indian media and the public over the Norwegian child care department’s bid to take the kids of the Indian geo-scientist into its custody, mainly due to the ‘disconnect with parents.’ They were removed from their parental home and the subsequent debate raised critical concerns about what is meant by the concept of "best interest" in matters relating to children, and parenting.

Odes to a monument
K. D. L. Khan takes a look at some of the costliest paintings of the Taj Mahal, the famous edifice which has inspired generations of painters world over 
n 2011, 24 lakh tourists visited the Taj William Hodge’s Taj Mahal aquatints, published as a book, was sold for Rs 22.9 lakh Mahal and conservatively more than 100 lakh of photographs must have been taken of the famous edifice to enliven photo albums all over the world. The very first photographs ever taken of the Taj Mahal in 1849 was by one Dr Murray and this 150-year-old archival collection of Taj Mahal photographs was auctioned for Rs 4 crore in 1999 by his descendants. Dr Murray lived in Agra for 20 years from 1848 to 1868.

William Hodge’s Taj Mahal aquatints, published as a book, was sold for Rs 22.9 lakh

Haven for hanguls 
The Dachigam National Park in Kashmir is again becoming a safe abode for endangered species, writes Azhar Qadri
On the outskirts of Srinagar city, a majestic swath of forest serves as the last safe abode for many endangered animal and bird species, including the rare Hangul or Kashmiri stag. As snow unsettles life across Kashmir, inside Dachigam National Park life goes on to complete its annual circle and one man, Nazir Malik, who has spent half his life in forests and mountains of the state, articulately pleads for the critically endangered Hangul.

Enchantment with creative loom
Weaving traditions of India are fascinating but there is danger of some of them getting lost due to negligence. By sourcing and marketing less-known weaves, Ritika Mittal is trying to keep alive the cultural practices of the North-East. A report by Smita Deodhar

Ritika Mittal (third from left), who went to the North-East region to seek fabric, ended up making an emotional connection with manyB
anarasi, Chanderi, Paithani, Ikat, Baluchari... the great weaving traditions of India make up a long and luminous list, and the fabled fabrics continue to enjoy great popularity despite changing dress codes. But try to locate the Rhimai, Mising, Konyak weaves on this list, and you’ll draw a blank. These are just three of the vast repertoire of handloom weaves produced in each tribal home in villages in India’s north-eastern states. 

Ritika Mittal (third from left), who went to the North-East region to seek fabric, ended up making an emotional connection with many

Perched on a high
A view of the tree house perched on a gulmohar tree, 35 feet above the forest floor, in a coffee plantation in WayanadWith its Edakkal Caves, homestays with tree houses among the coffee plantations, Wayanad in Kerala provides a soothing alternative to weary tourists, write Hugh and Colleen Gantzer

e are perched in a soaring tree. It’s a gulmohar tree thirty-five feet above the forest floor, in the midst of a coffee plantation, deep in the highlands of Kerala’s Wayanad. There is every comfort. There is a mini-fridge; a combination safe; a coffee-maker; a TV with its own DTH dish; a Milano shower unit, which offers a choice of overhead sluicing, hand-held spraying, or multiple drenching from six jets, all at the pressure and temperature of your choice; and all other trappings of starred living.
A view of the tree house perched on  a gulmohar tree, 35 feet above the forest floor, in a coffee plantation in Wayanad

The gay traveller
Conservative India is an unlikely hotspot on LGBT tourists’ map, writes Diksha Madhok 

Changing mindsets have created business opportunities for travel operators, who are now portraying India as a gay-friendly destinationW
hen Thomas Roth first visited India, he was often asked about his wife and children—questions he would try to evade. That was 30 years ago, when homosexuality was a criminal offence in India and for many the term "gay" only meant "happy". Roth is again planning a trip to India, this time with his partner, and hopes the visit will coincide with the annual Queer Pride parade in New Delhi.
Changing mindsets have created business opportunities for travel operators, who are now portraying India as a gay-friendly destination Photo: Reuters

Rehash formula
Expect a flurry of remakes from Hindi cinema in the weeks and months ahead as most of the filmmakers want to make merry by jumping on to the sequel bandwagon, writes Saibal Chatterjee

he last major Mumbai film released in the year gone by was Farhan Akhtar’s much-hyped sequel to 2006’s Don, which, in turn, was an updated remake of the iconic 1978 Amitabh Bachchan-starrer of the same name. The commercial success of Don 2 wasn’t surprising at all. When you have Shah Rukh Khan heading the cast, a bumper opening is guaranteed.

A feminine feminist
M. L. Dhawan on the multi-talented artiste Shabana Azmi, who has been conferred with the Padma Bhushan
habana Azmi, who has been awarded the coveted Padma Bhushan for her contribution to the development of purposeful cinema this year, richly deserved this recognition. With her power-packed portrayals, the roles performed by this multi-talented artiste became a voice for women in Indian society.

An Apple a Day 


TELEVISION: wild encounters 

Food talk: Peas perfect
by Pushpesh Pant

consumers beware!: Onus to give receipt is on the seller
by Pushpa Girimaji

globoscope: Delightful romcom
by Ervell E. Menezes

ULTA PULTAAge-old problems
by Jaspal Bhatti



Keeping a martyr’s memory alive
We see how the young Bhagat Singh became a revolutionary as we journey along with him on his short-but-action-packed life.  Here was a precocious young boy, buffeted by the forces that shaped events around him.
Saheed Bhagat Singh
by Harish Dhillon. 
Indus Source Books.  Pages 244. Rs 225.

Reviewed by Roopinder Singh

Romancing history
The Yellow Emperor’s Cure
by Kunal Basu.
Picador India
Pages 325. Rs 499 
Reviewed by Manisha Gangahar

Of love and loss
Can Love Happen Twice?
by Ravinder Singh
Penguin Metro Reads.
Pages 214. Rs 125. 
Reviewed by Balwinder Kaur

Ground-breaking work
The Turning Point
by Fritjof Capra. 
Pages 516. Rs 499.
Reviewed by Kuldip Singh Dhir

Poet of the pulse of Punjab
It may be impossible to take Patar out of Punjab or Punjab out of poet Surjit Patar, but despite being rooted in Punjabi soil the poet has a voice nuanced in humanism that transcends regional barriers. Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry describes how she collaborated with Patar for her various theatre productions
HE award of the 2012 Padma Shri to Surjit Patar is indeed a proud moment for every Punjabi, as his identification with Punjab is inextricably woven into the imagery and syntax of his poems.

German court bans Mein Kampf excerpts
Moscow: A court in Munich has banned British publisher Peter McGee from printing excerpts in Germany from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf because it breaches copyright laws.

Goa the cradle of Indo-western wear
ETERAN designer Wendell Rodricks has carried the sartorial legacy of Goa to a new level by documenting it in Moda Goa - a first-of-its kind pictorial and illustrative fashion chronicle of the state. He says Goa was the cradle of Indo-Western couture.

Beauty and terror of the flatlands
EN years ago, Jon McGregor’s first short story was published in Granta magazine. In Winter The Sky was about a teenager who, driving back home after a romantic tryst, is so distracted by the warm memory of the girl he has just kissed, that he runs over a man and kills him.