War of veterans

‘It is a model state’
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh talks to Rakesh Lohumi on a variety of issues before the coming assembly elections
On the Congress’ poll prospects
Virbhadra SinghThe Congress is set to repeat the 2003 performance when it won 43 seats. I am not making a claim for the sake of it but am making this observation on the basis of certain ground realities. First, no regime in the past accomplished so much on the development front as this government. The achievements can only be described as "spectacular".
‘Emotional integrity has been the key factor’
In the race for chief ministership, BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal dwells on many subjects in an interview with Pratibha Chauhan
Prem Kumar DhumalOn the BJP’s poll prospects
Seeing the anti-Congress sentiment sweeping the state our party is all set to get more than 50 seats and form the government comfortably. Every section of society—employees, farmers, fruit growers, women, unemployed and daily wagers—is totally disenchanted with the present Congress regime.


Jobs key issue
Kuldip Chauhan
ITH 17 assembly seats, the central region of Mandi-Kulu-Bilaspur has emerged a nerve centre for the ruling Congress and rivals BJP and BSP. The Congress faces the anti-incumbency factor which the BJP is cashing mainly on. Besides the "negatives of Congress," it has no campaign agenda. Issues at stake in Mandi include the growing unemployment among youth, displacement of farmers from farmlands by hydro projects.
Poor progress
Ambika Sharma
ITH the ruling Congress having discriminated against the twin districts of Solan and Sirmaur by according no cabinet berth to the area, voters have been feeling let down. This, despite the fact that all six MLAs of the ruling Congress are senior legislators who have won three to five elections. Posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker were allotted to these two districts but the absence of any cabinet minister has failed to enthuse the masses.

BSP to tilt balance of power
Kulwinder Sandhu
Kangra, the biggest district in the hill state with 16 assembly segments, is politically significant for all political parties. Recently, Major Vijay Singh Mankotia, state convener and projected chief ministerial candidate of the BSP raked up the issue of regional discrimination.

Women show their presence at an election rally at Nagrota Bagwan. — Photo by Kulwinder Sandhu

Women show their presence at an election rally at Nagrota Bagwan


Images from the past
Madonna and the Child at the St Thomas Mount is the oldest Christian painting in India,
reports Hector Choksi
HE earliest remains of painting in India belong to prehistoric times and it has not been possible to ascribe them a precise date. The oldest so far known are the wall paintings of the Yogimara caves of Ramgarh Hill in Madhya Pradesh from second century B.C. As far as Christianity is concerned, historians aver that the painting of Madonna and the Child in the Church of Our Lady of Expectations in the St Thomas Mount, near Madras, is the oldest.

Wonder called the Great Wall
Nivedita Choudhuri visits the world’s longest human-made structure stretching over 6,700 km
S a child, I was fascinated with everything Chinese. Chow mein. Fireworks. Silk. I was particularly spellbound by a picture of the Great Wall in my Class III history book. China was, however, out of bounds for tourists, but that only served to enhance its mystery quotient. Recently, I happened to visit China and I immediately grabbed the opportunity to go and see the Great Wall.


Joint (ad)venture
The recent Dus Kahaniyan is among the few multi-director, multi-story films,
writes Vikramdeep Johal
T is said too many cooks spoil the broth. In multi-story movies, however, one cook (read director) is not enough at times. Nikhil Advani made a hash of single-handedly narrating six love stories in Salaam-e-Ishq, one of the year’s biggest failures. On the other hand, Darna Zaroori Hai (2006) saw the collaboration of seven filmmakers, including Ram Gopal Varma, yet it failed to repeat the success of Darna Mana Hai, which had only one (Prawal Raman).

Good show, bad pick
With the Bollywood element drastically clipped, IFFI-07 was much more organised,
writes Ervell E. Menezes
HE curtain came down on the 38th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), or IFFI Goa, as it has come to be known and it was a good show, the organisation extremely good but the films were slightly below par. And director Neelam Kapur must be commended for her efforts that stood out in contrast to the one mismanaged last year.

Bollywood on the table
Aruti Nayar
Bollywood Today
by Kaveree Bamzai, Lustre Press/Roli, Pages 173. Rs 795
national fascination, along with cricket, Bollywood will continue to grab eyeballs and sustain interest. Kaveree Bamzai’s book caters to readers across the board, from avid movie watchers to students of cinema and the uninitiated foreign viewers. In fact, all those with a keen interest in the dream factory that churns out fantasies will like the book which reads very much like its subject matter.

Khoya Khoya Chand role my most glamorous yet: Soha
Subhash K. Jha
Soha Ali Khan says she enjoyed working in Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand. It has been her most glamorous role till date, she says. "For me personally it was a beautiful and unique experience. The past is always exciting. It was so much fun dressing up for this role. This was my most glamorous role to date," Soha said in an interview. Soha said she had to work hard for the role and spent four months improving her command over Urdu.

The doyen of ghazal
Parwaz Kulbhushan
Mehdi Hassan, the greatest ghazal singer of our times, turned 80 recently. He is a living legend who has given to this genre of music innovative and creative dimensions. The "nightingale" Lata Mangeshkar compares his voice to "the voice of God".

Pet passion
Subhash K. Jha
Bollywood has of late become extremely pet friendly. From Urmila Matondkar to Sushmita Sen to Rani Mukerji - they all dote on their pets. "They’re far more reliable than human companions," joked Sushmita, who has half a dozen dogs of various exotic breeds in her home, all looked after like royalty.


Living bravely with HIV
From testing HIV positive to enduring the subsequent stigma and depression, it has been an arduous trek towards empowerment for Salam Udita and many other women like her, who suffer from HIV/AIDS, says Thingnam Anjulika Samom
ROM testing HIV positive to enduring the subsequent stigma and depression, it has been an arduous long trek towards empowerment for Salam Udita (40) and many other women like her, who suffer from HIV/AIDS. When she was in her second year of graduate studies, Udita married her boyfriend, a drug user, much against the wishes of her family.


TELEVISION: Family drama

NATURE: Valley’s winged visitors
by Ehsan Fazili

FOOD TALK: Meat of the matter
by Pushpesh Pant

CONSUMER RIGHTS: Company must replace defective vehicle
by Pushpa Girimaji

by David Bird

ULTA PULTA: Sing and tell
by Jaspal Bhatti


Strengthening defence
Himmat Singh Gill
Winning India’s Next War
by Group Captain T. D. Joseph VM. Pages 261. Rs 820.
Budgeting for Indian Defence
by Wing Commander V. N. Srinivas. Pages 230. Rs 720.
Both titles by K.W. Publishers and the Centre for Air Power Studies.
Reflections of an Air Warrior
by Group Captain Arjun Subramaniam. K.W. Publishers. Pages 150. Rs 460.

Brown man’s burden
Sridhar K. Chari reviews a new biography of Rudyard Kipling which examines his ambivalent attitude towards the land and the people that inspired his best writings
Kipling Sahib
India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling
by Charles Allen. Little, Brown. Pages 426. Rs 795.

Words of wisdom
Manju Joshi
Wanderings with Poetry
by Dilip Sankarreddy. Peacock Books. Pages 98. Rs 125.

Fascinating tales for children
Laxmi Kant Verma
Chicken Mama and Other Stories
by Margaret Bhatty. Puffin Books. Pages 125. Rs 175.

Of fear, guilt and suspicion
Harbans Singh
Viral Match
by Rajesh Khullar. Rupa and Co. Pages 280. Rs 195.

A forgotten prophet
Ashish Alexander

Charting 100 years of Indian migration to New Zealand

Here’s why superheroes never lose

Back of the book

  • Governance of Rural Electricity Systems in India
    Ed Haribandhu Panda. Academic Foundation. Pages 376. Rs 895.

  • Writing A Nation
    An anthology of Indian Journalism
    Ed Nirmala Lakshman. Rupa. Rs. 795. Pages 715

  • The 13th Apostle
    by Richard & Rachael Heller HarperCollins Rs 195 Pages 42.