Ayodhya is not where the action is
While for the rest of the world Deepawali marks Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya, this city itself celebrates Chhoti Diwali, the birth anniversary of Lord Hanuman, with far greater gaiety, reports Shahira Naim

Kanak Bhavan is a major attraction of AyodhyaA
long as eminent jurist L. M. Singhvi was alive, he first greeted the present-day Raja of Ayodhya, Vimlendra Mohan Pratap Mishra, on Deepawali before he wished anyone else, reveals poet-prince of Ayodhya Yatinder Mishra, reclining on the sofa of his majestic Rajsadan baithak. It was hundreds of years ago that another prince of Ayodhya had returned from a 14-year exile, which had concluded with a decisive victory over the then King of Lanka.

Kanak Bhavan is a major attraction of Ayodhya

Leading lights
Though the death of some Bollywood stalwarts has cast a shadow on the festival of lights this season, stars share plans for spreading cheer, going green and more, writes Jyothi Venkatesh
Revelry in time of new release
Shah Rukh Khan

Any film that is released during Diwali gets a big fillip because of the timing — you get a 10 per cent increase in business. Ra.One could also have come post-exams, as a summer release, but since any film coming around Diwali has an advantage, it’s been timed with this festival. So, if you want your festivities to start on a high note, go see Ra.One, as it’s a happy film.

Shoma A. Chatterji
Green this Diwali. This has become the flavour of the season over the past several years across the board among NGOs, the media, social programmes, clubs and even the youth. But is it a temporary fad among the youngsters, a fashion statement of its kind? Or is it a commitment born out of a mission to save not only the environment but also the lives of all living beings?

Worshipping Kartikeya
The younger brother of Lord Ganesha is welcomed fondly by the women in West Bengal’s red light areas, who, they hope, will emancipate them, writes Annam Suresh

bright red sari with chamki all over is set off by the sharply contrasted parrot green choli with heavy mirror work. The cheap imitation jewellery and glass bangles jangle in rhythm with silver anklets as her feet tap in gay abandon. Her kajal runs in streaks down her cheeks caked with powder and cheap rouge. She looks gaudy, she looks crass, she looks the harlot she is. But today, she looks happy, carefree.

Sweet alert
Diwali cheer rings diabetes alarm for Indians, says David Lalmalsawma

festival season in India, with the celebrations providing a perfect opportunity for family outings, late-night parties and customary feasting on sweets. But health experts warn that the festivities, coupled with genetic predisposition and lifestyle changes brought about by the increasing prosperity of the middle class, is contributing to the country being called the world’s "diabetes capital," with the highest number of diabetics in any nation.

Faith and festivity
Diwali stands out as a symbol of religious and communal harmony. Sikhs and Hindus have been jointly celebrating the festival for centuries, writes Varinder Singh

mere thought of Diwali sparks myriad sparkling perceptions and thoughts about loads of illumination and sweets as it is a festival of a beautiful combination of joy, hope, commitment, coherence, harmony and that of shimmering lights.

From Lakshmi with love
The festival of lights means decorating houses with diyas and bursting firecrackers all night. Pujas are performed to invoke the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi, says Lakshman Patel

most of us, Diwali means a festival of lights – of decorating houses with rows of lamps (hence Deepawali) and bursting firecrackers all night. There would be goodies at home, new clothes, pujas and rituals to invoke the blessings of goddess Lakshmi`85 and so on.

Decorations up for grabs
As India gets ready to celebrate the festival of lights, the market is flooded with the latest Diwali  artworks that you can choose to make this festive season a special one, reports Supriyo Hazra

is not simply an occasion where it all ends with the worshipping of the deity or with fireworks, it can be called a festival that brings life to millions who eagerly wait for this one day of merrymaking. Households gear up to buy the best decorations and products that promise`A0to make the festival a memorable one.

Festival of gods
Dev Deepawali is a unique spectacle held on the ghats of Varanasi during Kartik Purnima, which is held on the 15th day after Diwali, writes Shahira Naim

is a breathtaking scene, as innumerable earthen lamps float away on River Ganga. The ghats of Varanasi come alive with thousands of shimmering diyas. This is a unique tribute by the people of the city to the holiest of rivers on the occasion of Kartik Purnima, which is celebrated in the city as Dev Deepawali.

Sci-fi, comedy, drama to sizzle screens
The festival of lights will see a 3-D superhero (Ra.One), a philandering husband (Damadamm!) and a daughter in search  of her father (Tell Me O Kkhuda) in theatres.  Deepa Karmalkar predicts boxoffice results this festive season 

Diwali is regarded as the most auspicious time for a film release by the Hindi film industry. "That’s the time when people get their bonus, they are in a mood to spend a lot of money and take their families for outings. An ideal time for a film release," indicates Udaya Tara Nayar, veteran entertainment journalist.

John in action
Shoma A. Chatterji checks out with John Abraham, about his latest film, Force, which got him the highest opening of his career

ohn Abraham’s
Force has received a good opening at the boxoffice worldwide with the film’s collection in the first week hitting Rs 22 crore, including Rs 16 crore from India.



Food talk: Homemade mithai
by Pushpesh Pant

Globoscope: Slickly edited
by Ervell E. Menezes

ULTA PULTA: Mixed-up mithais
by Jaspal Bhatti


Melody maker
This delightful ‘musicography’ provides an analysis of not only RD’s music but also the cinema of the times the maverick composer lived in
R. D. Burman: The Man, The Music
By Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal.
HarperCollins. Rs 399. Pages 366.

Reviewed by Nonika Singh

The misunderstood leader
An Indian Political Life: Charan Singh and Congress Politics, 1937 to 1961
By Paul R. Brass.
Sage. Pages 575. Rs 895.

Reviewed by Kanwalpreet

Books received english

In search of lost glory
Evolution of Education in India
By Lachhman Dass Bhimbat. 
Ukay Publishing Co. Pages 132. Rs 295.

Reviewed by Satinder Kaur

Centre of oriental learning
History of University Oriental College, Lahore — 1870-2000
By Dr Syed Sultan Mahmood Hussain. 
Izharsons, Lahore. Pages 821. Rs 700.
Reviewed by M. Rajivlochan

Lukewarm reception for Booker Prize alternative
Chris Green
THE literary world has issued a lukewarm greeting to proposals for a new alternative to the Man Booker prize, which this year has been attacked for allegedly putting readability ahead of achievement in literary fiction.

Simply Sonia
Senior journalist and political chronicler Rasheed Kidwai captures the moment in the Congress Party’s history when Sonia Gandhi, who had just lost her husband to a political assassination, refused the leadership of the party. An exclusive excerpt from Kidwai’s new book, 24 Akbar Road A Short History of the People Behind the Fall and Rise of the Congress
At the conclusion of the meeting Arjun proposed that Sonia Gandhi take over as the AICC (All India Congress Committee) chief and all the other present unanimously endorsed his proposal. Many years later, Pawar claimed he had raised a mild objection – a contention challenged by almost all those present at the meeting. When asked to spell out his objection, Pawar said he wanted to know if Sonia Gandhi had been consulted in this regard.

Folk flavour
Eminent Punjabi folk singer Gurmeet Bawa talks of preserving and promoting her art
S. D. Sharma

music is a living and integral part of any regional culture, living and growing through oral transmission from one generation to the next. Punjabi folk songs have been able to devotedly preserve the rich culture and traditions of the region for centuries, but over the years their definitive concept is losing its vigour and vitality, making a way for vulgarity in lyrics, tone and performing style," laments Gurmeet Bawa, the internationally known Punjabi folk singer.

Good going in Germany
Indian language literature makes it to Frankfurt Fair
Madhusree Chatterjee

a first showcase of Indian indigenous writing, a literary panorama featuring works by over 30 language writers was on display at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany in a pilot exhibition for readers and publishers from Europe, the US and other countries.