MP’s Funds
Used or misused?

The debate over the use of funds by MPs under the local area development scheme has been on for quite some time. Aditi Tandon finds out the reasons for the confusion surrounding the controversial scheme

Photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

In the 15 years of its existence, the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) has not quite managed a life-saving performance. It still faces scathing criticism that had begun right at its inception on December 23, 1993, when the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao announced the scheme in Parliament. He fixed Rs 5 lakh per MP as a token amount to address "locally-felt needs" in his constituency.

Miniature magic
Azera Rahman
Miniature art is a centuries-old form that was patronised by the Mughals, the Rajputs of Rajasthan and the royal families of northern India. But somewhere along the way, it lost its glory. Chhotulal and Yugal Kishore Sharma of Rajasthan are two of the few artists who remain loyal to this art and are striving to revive it.

An experience called Paris
Tanushree Podder takes a tour of the city’s cobbled streets, quaint wayside cafes, broad avenues and shopping hubs
ay Paree, the City of Lights, has always been a dream destination whether you are once-in-a-while-traveller or a globetrotter. It is not just a city where tourists always arrive in hordes, it is an experience. Ours began one April morning when the flight landed at Charles de Gaulle airport.

On a prayer and wings of steel
Champion mountaineer Harbhajan Singh is no stranger to the peaks of the Himalayas as he gets ready for yet another first — skiing down the world's highest peak. Sanjeev Singh Bariana reports how the gutsy sportsman is preparing for this feat
ountaineer Harbhajan Singh these days is polishing his act to ski down the Mt Everest, one of the most treacherous mountain peaks of the Himalayas. Harbhajan Singh, DIG (Jammu), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), is a no mean accomplisher, having already scaled the Nanda Devi peak and Mount Abhigamin, both in Garhwal Himalayas, Mana Peak, Mt Nunkun and White Needle in Janskar range, Mt Pinnacle and Mt Pyramid in Sikkim and Mt Stok Kangri and Mt Kasket in Ladakh.

Soap queen’s reality check
he has revolutionised the small screen over the last decade with her unique brand of ‘saas bahu’ sagas.After producing hugely popular and successful television shows like the long-running Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, Ekta Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms is all set to make a new foray into reality shows.

Telling effect of titles
Surendra Miglani
f face is the index of a man, title is the index of a movie. Film producers Udai Tiwari and Raj Kundra must have realised this when they released their venture Strangers in December last year. Though a Hindi flick, cinegoers mistook it for an English movie. And why blame only the viewers. Several newspapers listed this Jimmy Shergill-Kay Kay Menon-Nandana Sen-starrer among English movies in their show time columns.

Indiana rewind
As the latest Indiana film hits the screen, Ervell E. Menezes looks at the series that have entertained cinegoers for decades
o, 19 years after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), the fedora-toting Indiana Jones is back again with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But then, that’s Hollywood for you, they gauge the market, feel the pulse and then take the risk, Last Crusade be damned, we shall have another they mean to say.

No items numbers for my movies: Kunal Kohli
tem numbers are in vogue but Yash Raj Films’ blue-eyed director Kunal Kohli doesn’t approve of them and says using the term "item" for an actress is derogatory. "I don’t believe in item numbers. Neither do I believe in item girls. How can you call a girl ‘item’? It sounds so cheap. It is humiliating," said Kohli.


Teachers of a different class
Rehana teaches Muslim girls from the first to the 10th standard in Mumbai’s suburbs. At the same time she is preparing for her school leaving exams. In a community where access to basic education for girls is riddled with obstacles, 20 young teachers like her have been educating schoolgirls for free, writes Geeta Seshu
n the last 10 years since I started teaching Muslim girls, I have seen a change. Earlier, they dropped out by the sixth or seventh standard. Today more and more girls want to study further. But I am impatient.

Romancing the car
stunning woman won't set his heart racing but a car is more than enough to leave Aussie bloke Edward Smith gasping for more. Smith claims to have had romantic relationships with 1,000 cars, insisting that he would prefer a car over a woman any day.


TELEVISIONFrom paanch to dus

nature: The turtle wins the race

FOOD TALKFlower power
by Pushpesh Pant

FASHION: Stand out with cufflinks

by David Bird

ULTA PULTA: Deflated love
by Jaspal Bhatti


OFf the shelf
The world of a writer
V. N. Datta
A Writer’s People: Ways of Looking and Feeling by V. S. Naipaul. Picador.
Pages 192. £10.99.


Books received

Spiritual odyssey
Harbans Singh
Limping to the Centre of the World
by Timeri N. Murari. Penguin Books. Pages 287. Rs 350.

Road to safety
H. Kishie Singh
Your Child’s Road Safety Handbook by Harman Singh Sidhu.
ArriveSafe, Chandigarh. Pages 98. Rs 185.

Homecoming of a storyteller’s son
Hugh Thomson
In Arabian Nights by Tahir Shah. Doubleday.
Pages 424. £12.99.

A noteworthy literary life
Alok Bhalla
Sant Singh Sekhon by Tejwant Singh Gill. Sahitya Akademi,
New Delhi. Pages 126. Rs 40.

City of undying memory
Shahira Naim
Shaam-e-Awadh:Writings on Lucknow
Ed. Veena Talwar Oldenburg. Penguin. Pages 273. Rs 395.

On the road to better governance
V. Eshwar Anand
Splendour in the Grass: Innovations in Administration
Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances. Penguin. Pages 305. Rs 495.

Indians best in buying books: Jeffrey Archer