Aishwarya Rai – Mummy # 1, Karishma # 2

Aishwarya Rai - Mummy # 1

Aishwarya Rai – Mummy # 1

This news will cheer up some diehard fans of Bollywood mother Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Aishwarya tops the list of the ideal celebrity mothers in Bollywood.

According to an online survey Ash shares this status with her Hollywood counterpart Angelina Jolie.

After facing lot of flak for her ever increasing post pregnancy bulge, this online voting will come as good news for Aishwarya.

The survey was conducted by matrimonial portal to find out the Bollywood diva who has the qualities of being an ideal mother and if Indians see her fit the role well.

It seems the voters have been impressed by Ash’s motherhood. Aishwarya gave birth to Aaradhya in November last year and since then she has dedicated all her time and energy towards the new born. So much so that she has compromised her own fitness and gained unimaginable amount of weight.

But this did not stop her fans to vote for the beautiful lady.

Altogether 54 per cent of the respondents voted for the former Miss World, Karisma Kapoor followed by 27 per cent votes as the ideal mother.

Malaika Arora Khan and Lara Dutta were the other contenders as the ideal celebrity mom in the survey.

Actress Angelina Jolie was voted the top mother from Hollywood with 67 per cent respondents.

The survey further revealed that Indians feel that National Award winning actress Priyanka Chopra would make an ideal mother once she attains motherhood as she got 30 per cent of the votes followed by Kareena Kapoor.

Yesteryear actress Hema Mailini and her daughter Esha Deol were voted the ‘Most popular celebrity mother-daughter duo’ who make a great pairing and share a bond.

Poli(tics)wood, like Bollywood

Shombit Sengupta an international creative business strategy consultant writes in The Indian Express

Electronic media has made Indian politics more and more entertaining. It’s beating Bollywood’s clichéd storylines of love, hate, fight, prison, poor man becomes rich man. Indian politics has more or less the same storylines except the love affair bit, making it Poliwood. Wonder why our political journalists are avoiding love affair diagnostics?

We’ve got enough titillating stories where politicians invoke celestial powers to get jobs done. Even Indira Gandhi had visited Ma Anandamayi with daughter-in-law Maneka. A few months ago, instead of inviting investors, a yagna was held in Bengal for getting business into the state. Did it work? A believer pointed out, “Didn’t Hillary Clinton come to Kolkata last week to promise American economic partnership?”

On issues of governance, we seem to witness Bollywood-style histrionics or banana skin slips, where the banana skin can be clandestinely put in front of a politician by anyone with a vested interest. In a one-party majority Presidential system of government where the whole nation elects the leader, there’s less of a chance for Poliwood drama. 

In India, from being colonised by a gun-toting monarchical British political system, we chose our current Parliamentary politics. This democratic government process seems to match the diversity of our Hindu-dominated, multiple God culture where all politicians are perforce wary of banana skins, from voters and opposition alike. In trying to escape banana skins, how much attention are elected politicians paying to keeping their electoral promises? Only when the quality of politics is at a higher ground can there be better governance. Instead of giving us Poliwood stories of corruption, divisive politics, managing caste equations and allies, can we have our elected representatives resolve our many economic problems, and provide employment, education and health for the masses?

Read the full column : Poliwood

Congress in throes of terminal illness in Hyderabad

Mobashar Jawed “M.J.” Akbar, the Editor of The Sunday Guardian and editorial director, India Today and Headlines Today writes about media greed, conscience and coercive instruments used by Congress to suppress media in his column titled Cats, whiskers and mice in The Dawn (Pakistan):

Every victor in a democracy now knows that defeat is only a matter of time; the age of permanent re-election is so last century.

But as long as that dismal horizon seems only a distant possibility, the powerful remain serene if not smug.

When possibility metamorphoses into probability, good judgment begins to disappear. The mood gets brittle. The prospect of life outside the pomp and perquisites of office makes ministers frantic, and sends chief ministers (as well as their mentors) into a frenzy.

What other explanation can there be for the crude decision in Andhra Pradesh to freeze the bank accounts of the Sakshi media group in the expectation that its print and audio-visual properties would collapse?

It is obvious that the Congress government in Hyderabad is in the throes of a terminal illness. The party is being taken apart by a nutcracker: Telengana is one handle, and the rising popularity of Jagan Reddy the other. The Congress is loath to acknowledge that both these handles are self-created.

….It is time its sympathisers told Congress that quasi-censorship does not work, for two reasons. Media has more resilience than governments imagine. It is also counterproductive, for in popular assessment it only exaggerates the impact of bad news. If you have something to hide, then it must truly be terrible. An odour turns into a stink, precisely because you are not allowed to gauge its level. The best recipe for media is to leave it alone. Some politicians cannot resist feeding it occasionally, and if this
feed is just information, no harm and perhaps some good done. The fate of governments is not determined by media. When governments die, it is always suicide, never murder.

Read the full column in the Dawn: Cats, whiskers and mice

India wants a people’s president not a party hack, except Vajpayee

Vinod Mehta, the editorial chairman, Outlook, and its founding editor-in-chief writes in his column Delhi Dairy: 

A Weighted Chair

So, what kind of a president does India want? The political class appears united in demanding a ‘political’ president. The consensus is that we live in tricky and complex constitutional times in which only someone who has lived through the dirt and partisanship of our system can operate. Alas, that is not what the country wants. Thus, once again, we’ve a disconnect between the rulers and the ruled.

Political presidents come in various shapes and sizes. From Zail Singh to Pratibha Patil, they have not left us with a record which can be described as exemplary. The idea of the scholar-intellectual has been quietly buried. The non-political presidents, from K.R. Narayanan to A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, have emerged with some dignity. Lack of political experience was an asset, not a handicap, for them.

A loyal and obedient career politician is kicked upstairs as a reward for unwavering mediocrity. Such an appointee would be a misfit in the India of 2012. The anti-politician mood raging in the country would get a fillip if a safe, colourless choice is made. Of course, the poor aam admi has no option but to accept Pranab Mukherjee or Meira Kumar or Manmohan Singh since there’s nothing he or she can do about it. On the other hand, the elevation of an individual like Gopal Gandhi or S.Y. Qureshi or Hamid Ansari or Narayana Murthy would be loudly lauded. Such a person, besides carrying no party baggage, would bring a fresh mindset to the post. India wants a people’s president not a party hack. If there’s one career politician with the capacity to bring lustre to Rashtrapati Bhawan, it is the unavailable A. B. Vajpayee.

I’m sure mine is not a minority view, but I’d like to see an all-party convention to keep Rashtrapati Bhawan away from the politicians’ clutches. They have more than enough jobs to squabble over!

Last Week, On A Flight…

I got talking with a smart lady about the possibility of a so-called celeb being elected president. “As long as it is not Shobhaa De, I’ve no problem,” she said.

The Tribune 130 Years: A Witness to History

The Partition affected people and institutions alike. This excerpt from The Tribune 130 Years: A Witness to History authored by V. N. Datta traces the newspaper’s tumultuous passage from Lahore to Chandigarh.

IT speaks volumes of the strength and resilience of The Tribune that it resumed publication soon after the Partition. It had stopped publishing for 40 days. After the Partition, the first issue of the paper appeared from Simla on September 25, 1947. The Tribune had to find a suitable place for its publication. Amritsar was sulking on the border, and was not considered the right place for the publication of the paper. Ludhiana was not developed, and Ambala city had water problems.

A small printing press near the Ridge known as Liddell’s was available, which The Tribune trustees secured through the aegis of the Punjab government. A large bungalow ‘Bantony’ on the Mall was obtained for providing accommodation to The Tribune office and staff and some other employees, who occupied three rooms on the first floor. The Tribune began to function under difficult circumstances because of the small printing press, inadequate staff, and financial crunch.

Mercifully, cash reserves approximating to Rs 10 lakh had been transferred from the Punjab National Bank, Lahore, to its Delhi office three days before the Partition. The Tribune also held securities worth nearly Rs 25 lakh. Vallabhbhai Patel, the Home Minister, asked the Minister of Rehabilitation, K.C. Neogy to ‘give all facilities to The Tribune to resume publication’.

Later, owing to the initiative of the Chief Minister, Punjab, Gopi Chand Bhargava, the special representative of The Tribune,A.C. Bali, went to Lahore at his personal risk and succeeded in bringing back The Tribune records, The Tribune files since 1881, and some library books in five trucks provided by the Pakistan government with a police escort for their safety till the Indian border. Excerpted from The Tribune 130 Years: A Witness to History by V. N. Datta. Hay House India. Pages 380. Rs 500.

Read the full review: Journey of a newspaper

Time: This is normal, I want people to see it

The more people see it, the more it'll become normal in our culture.

The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture.

Time‘s editor Rick Stengel has defended the magazine’s latest cover featuring a mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old child.

The May 21 issue includes a profile of Dr Bill Sears and leads with a shot of 26-year-old Jamie Lynne Grumet feding her son Aram.

Grumet told the magazine that she was breastfed until she was 6 years old, and added: “I grew up this way and never thought about raising my kids differently.

“People have to realise this is biologically normal. The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping. I want people to see it.”

Broadcasters MSNBC and ABC chose to censor the image when discussing it during some programming.

Following the controversy surrounding the image, Time editor Stengel said: “It’s certainly an arresting image. It’s an image to get people’s attention about a serious subject.

“Some people think it’s great and some people are revolted by it. That’s what you want, you want people talking.”

ArcelorMittal’s Eye-ful Tower-a landmark to rival Eiffel Tower

The ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture, left, before its official unveiling at the Olympic Park, London, Friday May 11, 2012. The steel sculpture designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond stands 114.5 meters (376ft) high, 63% of of the sculpture is recycled steel and incorporates the five Olympic rings. AP Photo/Tim Hales.

Critics say it looks like a roller coaster gone badly awry. Fans say it’s a landmark to rival the Eiffel Tower. London got a towering new venue Friday, as authorities announced completion of the Orbit, a 115-meter (377- foot) looped and twisting steel tower beside London’s new Olympic Stadium that will give visitors panoramic views over the city.

Some critics have called the ruby-red lattice of tubular steel an eyesore. British tabloids have labeled it “the Eye-ful Tower,” ”the Godzilla of public art” and worse. But artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, who designed the tower, find it beautiful. Belmond, who described the looping structure as “a curve in space,” said he thought people would be won over by it.

“St. Paul’s (Cathedral) was hated when it was begun,” he said. “Everyone wanted a spire” — but now the great church’s dome is universally loved. He said if a groundbreaking structure works “it starts to do something to you and your concept of beauty changes.” Kapoor noted that Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower was considered “the most tremendously ugly object” by many when it was first built. “There will be those who love it and those who hate it, and that’s OK,” Kapoor said of the tower, whose full name is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, after the steel company that stumped up most of the 22.7 million pound ($36.5 million) cost.

“I think it’s awkward,” Kapoor said — considering that a compliment. “It has its elbows sticking out in a way. … It refuses to be an emblem.” A little awkwardness is to be expected when you ask an artist to design a building. Kapoor, a past winner of art’s prestigious Turner Prize, is known for large-scale installations like “Marsyas” — a giant blood-red PVC membrane that was displayed at London’s Tate Modern in 2002 — and “The Bean,” a 110-ton (100-metric ton) stainless steel sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Even for him, though, the scale of the Orbit is monumental. He says the structure can only truly be appreciated from inside — something most of the public will not have the chance to do until 2014, when it reopens as the centerpiece of a brand-new park on the site of the 2012 London Olympic Park. Before that, it will be open to ticketholders for this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, whop can ride the elevator to the top at a cost of 15 pounds ($22).

Kapoor said visitors would enter a “dark and heavy” steel canopy at base before emerging into the light high above ground, where a wraparound viewing deck and a pair of huge concave mirrors create “a kind of observatory, looking out at London.” “It’s as if one is in an instrument for looking,” Kapoor said. London Olympic organizers hope the Orbit, which can accommodate up to 5,000 visitors a day, will become a major tourist attraction. It is, they note proudly, the tallest sculpture in Europe — and 22 meters (72 feet) higher than the Statue of Liberty. On a clear day, views from its observation deck extend for 32 kilometers (20 miles) across London and the green hills beyond. The tower will be at the heart of a new 227-hectare (560-acre) park, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, that will include a lush river valley, biking trails and a tree-lined promenade. It is due to open in stages starting in July 2013 and finishing in early 2014. London Mayor Boris Johnson takes credit for pitching the idea of a tower to steel baron Lakshmi Mittal at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in 2009. He is a huge fan of the finished product. “It is a genuine Kapoor,” Johnson said. “It has all the enigmatic qualities of some of his great pieces.” And he believes other Londoners will come to love it, too. “I think so,” he said, then paused. “In the end.” Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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