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War of Memory
DEAD OR ALIVE
Even 35 years after the India-Pakistan war ended on December 17, 1971, the families of 54 soldiers who were declared ‘missing in action’ do not know the fate of their kin. Simmi Waraich reports on the trials and trauma of the affected families.
"If the cause be just and mind be strong,
No force is great, No distance long,
If selfless souls with such a strength,
Face hazards all, they win at length."

T
his is a diary noting in Dr R.S. Suri’s diary, father of Major Ashok Suri, captured in the 1971 war. The Army had declared Major Suri as "Killed in action".

A letter sent by Maj Ashok Suri to his father in 1975
A letter sent by Maj Ashok Suri to his father in 1975

Relative Anxiety

The goal of the Missing Defence Personnel Relatives Association (MDPRA), formed in 1993 with R.S. Suri as the Founder President, is to collect evidence and present it so that the Ministry of External Affairs could work on it as a single file. In the last year, they have met the Prime Minister and the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan asking for help in tracing the men by visiting Pakistan and going through jail records. They also wrote to the Army and Air Force Chiefs asking for a separate cell to work on the cases of missing persons which could provide regular updates to the family members. In addition, they asked for a separate Missing in Action Day and want that these men should be recognised as "missing" rather than "killed in action".

Inspired by the group, Supriyo Sen is working on a documentary film on the subject. It is due to be released soon. Also in the pipeline is a book on the issue.

Tribal art goes global
Every Bastar carving is unique because it carries the individual impression or signature of the artist. It is this exclusive trait that has made them popular the world over, writes Pradeep Chandra
P
ARIS is a long way from Bastar. For artisans of this predominantly tribal district in central India, the distance is multiplied manifold, given the differences in cultural upbringing, religious beliefs, social status as well as financial and economic standing.

Amritsari petha a big draw
Ravinder Singh Robin
A
mritsar
, which is famous for the Golden Temple, is also known for its sweetened white pumpkin or, the petha in common parlance. The Amritsari petha is prepared in the narrow lanes of the centuries-old Pethawala Bazaar in the walled city.

Volcanic find
A
Rutgers geologist at the State University of New Jersey, has come up with evidence that Earth practices recycling on a grand scale. In his report in the journal Nature, Prof Claude Herzberg offers new evidence that parts of the Earth’s crust that long ago dove hundreds or thousands of kilometres into the Earth’s interior, have resurfaced in the hot lava flow of Hawaiian volcanoes.

Polyester Parades
One of the first cities to use polyester or fibreglass animal figures to liven up its streets was Zurich in Switzerland. Many towns in the US have followed suit. With the variety of animal life we have, this is a great idea for civic bodies in India to take up, writes Lalit Mohan
I
T was funny in a surreal kind of way. A pink polka-dotted lion reared on its hind legs next to a mannequin on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse. A cow with zebra stripes and pink udders walked coyly on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. A moose looking like a roadmap stood by in the main square of Bennington, Vermont. And now, park benches painted with bizarre messages beckon in downtown Freeport, a small town in Illinois.

Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani
The recent visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to India has refreshed public’s memory about Dr Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis, the most revered Indian in China. Rajesh C. Bali pays tribute to the man who went on a mission to China and stayed on to serve the locals
D
R Dwarkanath Kotnis is still being remembered and loved in China and we shall never forget him for his services, the Chinese President Hu Jintao told the family members of Dr. Kotnis when he met them in Mumbai on November 23, 2006.

Price of Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Audrey Hepburn’s dress was recently sold for £ 467,200, writes Cahal Milmo
A
udrey Hepburn once told an interviewer: "My look is attainable. Women can don sunglasses and the little sleeveless dresses." And, she might have added, by having the small matter of £ 467,200 to spend on historic couture.

Films high on quality
The recent IFFI, despite the pervasive presence of Bollywood, was an opportunity to see some exceptional cinema, reports Ervell E Menezes
T
he curtain came down on the 37th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) or the third one to be held in Goa and that its management was the worst of all three there is little doubt. Delegates by the thousand, a surfeit of Bollywood stars, little room for parallel cinema and the neglect of international filmmakers are the straws in the wind and they seem to increase with each passing year.

Frames of identity
The Spinning Wheel Film Festival, held annually in the US, has finally come of age. Reema Anand describes some of the films screened there
T
he venue is Los Angeles, the dream venue for any important film festival. In the background are the fireworks of Disneyland, and in the foreground are prominent Sikhs from around the world, who have gathered to watch the Spinning Wheel L.A. chapter unfold. Sardar Dya Singh and his troupe have been flown from Melbourne, Australia, specially for a concert at the opening of the film festival.

Notes that linger on and on
Surendra Miglani
Meri jaan meri jaan pyaar kisi se ho hi gaya hai, hum kya karaen, vayee vayee vayee vayee
IN this beautiful number in the film Yahudi, composer Jaikishan had inserted the words vayee vayee vayee vayee while his senior partner Shanker wanted the song to be without this "encroachment". Jaikishan stuck to his guns and managed to retain them in the final version.

COLUMNS

NATUREPet theories
by Daksha Hathi

Food Talk: Pineapple pleasure
by Pushpesh Pant

Consumer rightsBridge over accidents
by Pushpa Girimaji

BRIDGE
by David Bird

ULTA PULTA: Face value
by Jaspal Bhatti

BOOKS

Outside the norm
Rumina Sethi
Chasing the Good Life: On Being Single
ed Bhaichand Patel.
Penguin/Viking. Pages 188. Rs. 325.

Traveller's impressions
Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu
A Barbarian in Asia
by Henri Michaux
Rupa. Pages 185. Price 295.

Books received: HINDI

Back of the book

Juggling the human brain
Aditi Garg
Creative Learning: A handbook for teachers and trainers
by Vijoy Prakash. Viva.
Pages 390. Rs. 395.

Violence as a means to a corrupt end
Kanwalpreet
Forms of Collective Violence, Riots, Pogroms and Genocide in Modern India.
by Paul R. Brass. Three Essays Collective.
Pages 184. Rs 250.

Road to the White House may be lined with books
A. Goldfarb

Design divine
The Taj Mahal represents the heavenly garden where the departed await entry to heaven, according to archaeologist Ebba Koch who spoke to Vimla Patil on her bestseller The Complete Taj Mahal

PUNJABI REVIEW
For better and for verse
Surinder Singh Tej
Bachpan Ghar Te Mein
by Parminderjeet
Chetna Parkashan, Ludhiana
Pages 120. Rs 120

Cops must read this one
Maneesh Chhibber
Maintenance of Public Order and Police Preparedness
Ed Maja Daruwala
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Price: Not mentioned

Loss and hurt





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