The Bird Man Of India Salim Ali, now in Comics too !!!

Amar Chitra Katha is launching a new title inspired by nation’s
foremost naturalist and ornithologist Salim Ali

As the nation has started noticing that one of our favourite backyard
bird, sparrow, is disappearing fast and are taking preventive steps –
another recognition for an avid bird-lover, noted naturalist and
ornithologist Salim Ali, has come very timely. Ali, who spent his
entire life working for birds in India, has inspired a comic series
published by Amar Chitra Katha (ACK).

“ACK Media is proud to associate with Bombay Natural History Society
in launching our new title, ‘Salim Ali’ – The Bird Man of India,”
expresses Reena Puri, Editor, Amar Chitra Katha, adding, “We had
stories from mythology, history and literature but there was a vacuum
as far as natural history is concerned. Wildlife and its conservation
are very important parts of contemporary thought. With Ali, and his
story, we make a beginning for the same and hope to write more about
people and movements associated with this subject.”

Ali received his first lesson in ornithology from WS Millard, then the
secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society. Millard helped him
identify a Yellow-throated sparrow. Over the years, Ali’s interest in
birds led to his close association with the society. And after
Independence, he wrote to the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal
Nehru, asking for financial assistance to support the work of the
institution. Dr Asad Rahmani, Director of BNHS said, “We are very
proud to launch the Amar Chitra Katha title on Salim Ali and thank ACK
Media for this initative.”

‘Salim Ali – The Bird Man of India’ will portray the noted
ornithologist as someone passionate about birds and nature and how he
never thought of money, fame, comfort or even safety while he went
about single-mindedly trying to learn as much about the birds of India
as he could. It took around eight months to complete this new title.
The scriptwriter Shalini Srinivasan says, “I referred to his
autobiography, ‘The fall of a sparrow’ and many other books like
‘Salim Ali for Schools’ by Zai Whittaker; ‘Salim Ali – India’s
Birdman’ by Reena Dutta Gupta. We also talked with his relatives and
referred to BNHS archival material to help more in the script.”

The series is out already and is expected to generate awareness about
environment and birds.

‘Nawabi’ Marathas flourish in Hyderabad

Maharashtrians have had their presence in the City for at least 300 years.

For Marathis, Hyderabad is not home away from home but an extended home. This community has given much to the City of pearls and has imbibed many cultural strains.

Maharashtrians have had their presence in the City for at least 300 years. Marathi organisations say the Maharashtrians living in Andhra Pradesh could be between 10-12 lakhs while the number of them living in Hyderabad could be around 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh. They are concentrated in Shalibanda, Gowliguda, Dhoolpet, Sultan Bazar, Kachiguda and Nallakunta. Many of them are doctors, educationists or lawyers. There are more than 25 Marathi organisations in the City .

Marathwada was part of the former Hyderabad state until May 1, 1960, when it was transferred to Bombay. “As Hyderabad was the capital of the Nizam’s Hyderabad since 1724, people from Marathwada came here for opportunities,” says DP Joshi, president of Marathi Sahitya Parishad. Old timers note that Maharashtrians were appointed in the Nizam’s army or revenue service. They were called Nawabi Marathas.

Pratik Manohar Bhosale had never heard of Hyderabad but was told by his friends in Kanerwadi, a small village in Osmanabad, that it was a land of opportunities. “He says that his life changed after coming here. He spent his entire life here despite not having any relatives here,” says Saroj Bhosale, Pratik’s daughter. There are many like Bhosale who came in search of livelihood.

For some like Malini Rajurkar (singer), Dr Pandit (CCMB scientist), Vilas Afzalpurkar (chief justice of High Court) life changed after shifting here.

Taking about festivals, Dr Vishwanath Gogate, a member of AP Chitpawan Sangha, a Maharashtrian association said, “On Gudi Padwa, we make the traditional Puranpoli at home.”

“We speak Marathi and Telugu and are fluent in Urdu. We don’t feel like outsiders,” says theatre personality Bhaskar Shewalkar.

When Satish Surve came to the City, he never knew it would become his home. After 48 years, he cannot think of living anywhere else. “I initially stayed on because of my work and my son’s education. But the City is so peaceful and people are accommodating. I cannot think of shifting base now,” he says.

Like many others from his community Satish Surve feels insecure because of the treatment being meted out to North Indians in Mumbai.“If Maharashtrians can ask people from other places to leave then why not the locals here?” Dr Vishwanath Gogate says the community has no problems. Some pinpricks, but nothing serious.

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Punsri (Modiland), an example for the self sustainability in India

Punsri, a motley village in Himmatnagar, talks about wi-fi and optical fiber broadband network, its children spend best of their times in air-conditioned classrooms with CCTV cameras.

Gujarat, it seems is gaining a popularity day by day and becoming role model for other states in India. Gujarat, also addressed as “Modiland” in western world now, rather seems to be no more a part of India, for many heads of the nation. A delegation from Kenya led by Vice-President for Kenya is coming to visit a village- PUNSRI on 24th May, a village, Taloda taluka near Himmatnagar around 50 kms from Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat. This village is an example for the self sustainability for all the villages!!! A true role model…

Punsri, has an incredible story to say, which may sounds like fairy tale. An Oasis in the Desert. It should make us belief in what good governance can do. Think of an Indian village and what comes to mind are images of mooing cows, open drains and children playing ants and frog games. But, Punsri, a motley village in Himmatnagar, talks about wi-fi and optical fiber broadband network, its children spend best of their times in air-conditioned classrooms with CCTV cameras. The village also boasts of its own mini-bus transport system and there are 25-odd CCTVs located on important junctions to spot litterbugs.

Its clearly a model of ideal utilization of funds without any scams.The actual granted amount reaches to the bottom. Its the real indian dream.We have some other model villagese.g. Ralegan Siddhi which is a self sustained village and crime free.

Many such villages in Gujarat have developed by using Govt grant /subsidy for the developmental work. Even private Trusts are equally participating good public work. Many villages are self sustained.

If you think Punsri is drenched in NRI funds, think again. Not a single rupee has come from across the seven seas, instead the village managed its funds over the last five years that it received from central and state sponsored developmental schemes.

District development officer Ravi Arora says, “There is not a single family in Punsri which has an NRI family member. The village has just managed its accounts well and villagers here agreed on a co-operative approach to development.”

“The village panchayat pays an annual premium of Rs 25 lakh against insurance for each of the 6,000 villagers who have a cover of Rs 1 lakh and a mediclaim policy of Rs 25,000. Our schools have zero dropout rates, CCTV cameras in classrooms help us keep watch on teachers in classrooms. Our reverse osmosis plant supplies 20-litre pure water cans to houses for a token cost of Rs 4. These are bare essentials for a standard life today and why should our village be behind,” claims the village sarpanch Hemant Patel, 29.

The village panchayat had a capital of Rs 25,000 five years ago. Today, the deposits have soared to Rs 75 lakh. “The turn-around happened when we sold part of our grazing land as plotted schemes to various communities. The money is deposited in government coffers,” says Patel. The village received rewards from the central government and the state governments recently.

Identifying Gujarat as perhaps the best example of effective governance and impressive development in India, a Congressional report showered praise on the chief minister Narendra Modi and said that the state under him has become a key driver of national economic growth. Narendra Modi’s Gujarat best example of effective governance

Mamata Banerjee a spoilsport says a simple woman

Taniya Bhardwaj: I hold offers from the University College, London and the School of Oriental and African Studies to study development and administration. I too will probably leave, and now you know the reason why.

Taniya Bhardwaj a student of political science from Presidency University who was labelled as ‘Maoist’ by Mamata Banerjee on a news channel and became a centre of attraction, writes an open letter to CM:

Dear ‘Simple Man’,

On being asked a simple question, you acquired a complicated avatar. We all went to the CNN-IBN question-answer session on Friday, May 18, at the Town Hall expecting to hear some heated exchanges, but it got too hot to handle.

You, the most important person in West Bengal, labelled me and the rest of the audience ‘Maoist and CPM cadres’. What exactly did we do to deserve this honour? We asked you questions. I asked you whether affiliates of your party, specifically minister Madan Mitra and MP Arabul Islam, who wield power, should act, or should have acted, more responsibly.

Like many others, I was also greatly disturbed when Madan Mitra pronounced his own judgement on a rape victim before the police were done investigating. This woman, whose character was assassinated, is an Anglo-Indian, a member of the minority community. Thus, if we were to even forget about sensitivity, the question of political correctness still hangs over his conduct.

A few months ago, this very same man had misbehaved with policemen who had stopped his car on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass as part of its routine. As for the Arabul Islam case, it is still making headlines.

I asked you something that had been on the minds of most people around me, people who voted for ‘paribartan’ (change). Is this what we expect of our leaders? The ones who set examples and whom people follow. This is all that I wanted to know. What I got to know, instead, is that in West Bengal, asking a question can be the equivalent of being a Maoist.

‘Simple man’, you claimed with pride on stage that you’re not a feminist.

That proclamation did not surprise us, especially after the Katwa and Park Street cases. You also spoke of democracy. The answers you gave to the questions you took before mine were sprinkled with words like ‘people’, ‘democracy’, and ‘Bengal’.

But one of the most important features of a true democracy, which I have learnt as a student of political science, is freedom of expression. This freedom is the one that allows an individual to express oneself, to not have to mince words out of fear of authority. It involves enjoying a chuckle or two at cartoon about important public figures.

Sadly, there seems to be a gradual failure in this aspect of the democratic machinery in the state. And just like I won’t become a Maoist simply because you called me one, the state too won’t epitomize democracy unless it is truly so in all spheres. All said and done, what you did was in haste and it made me the centre of attention. And as you stomped off in fury, you automatically assumed the role of the spoilsport.

It would have been so much more ‘simple’ had you just answered my question, or even said “No comments” and moved on. The question became so important because you chose to make it important.

You have spoken of ‘brain drain’ so many times. I hold offers from the University College, London and the School of Oriental and African Studies to study development and administration. I too will probably leave, and now you know the reason why. Had you stayed on, it would have been fun. And you would have honestly been ‘a Chief Minister with a difference’. The role of your office as Chief Minister is to aggregate interest – you should at the least have heard us all out.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”. So said Abraham Lincoln.

Love

A Simple Woman – Taniya Bhardwaj

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik’s sculpture with a message “Flowers Bloom, Earth Smiles”

116th Ooty Flower Show festival, Ooty: Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik’s sculpture with a message “Flowers Bloom, Earth Smiles” at 116th Ooty Flower Show festival.

Torrent Blackout:Hackers down Reliance “Big” Time, and counting !!!

Online hacker group Anonymous pulled down the Reliance Big Entertainment (RBE) website today  after targeting websites of the Supreme Court of India and the All India Congress Committee on Thursday to protest Internet censorship. With a few hours the followers of the @opindia(opindia_revenge) shot up to around 1000 where followers comenting:

Anish Jain ‏@Anish9500: @sreyo @opindia_revenge the govt. will lose. Egypt lost,Libya lost. The present Sonia Gandhi govt. will too.
Chirag Advani ‏@ChiragAdvani: @opindia_revenge You’ve got 1000 followers(and increasing) in few hours. This shows how tired we are from this Govt.
Shreyo ‏@sreyo: there’s a war going on between @opindia_revenge and those who r behind banning websites and services. dis day had 2 come sometime & its now.
Vidyut ‏@Vidyut: Reliance should partner with #TPB instead of blocking. They have too many fans to manage distribution on their own. :p@opindia_revenge
TomJerry ‏@TomJerrTJ: @opindia_revenge http://rbe.co.in is down again, the root cause of censorship of my torrent sites. I wish you keep attacking 24hours 😛

Anonymous launched Operation India with a tweet that said, “Namaste #India, your time has come to trash the current government and install a new one. Good luck.”

A YouTube video uploaded on May 15 by user Sen0nymous, titled ‘Operation India Engaged’, issued a call to action for fellow hackers. The video stated, “It has been known that the Government of India and its ministers are committing aristocracy. The idea of democracy remains an idea only.”

“We were and are watching closely all activities of the Government and its ministers. Many ministers were and are charged with severe cases of corruption. They do not care. They do not care for the injustice happening. They do not care for the freedom being snatched.”

“The Government has been covering up its activities and hiding the facts from its citizens. It has imposed the IT Act which allows it to censor the internet as it seems fit. None other than the Department of Telecommunications needs to be blamed. One cannot block on purview of security concerns.”

On Thursday afternoon, the websites of the Supreme Court (supremecourtofindia.nic.in) and the All India Congress Committee (aicc.org.in) were attacked and taken down. The Supreme Court’s portal was back after a few hours, but the hackers said AICC will remain down the whole day.

The Twitter account for Operation India, @opindia_revenge, claimed it had also targeted the website of the Department of Telecommunications (dot.gov.in), but it was quickly back.

Similarly, Sen0nymous reported that the Delhi government’s portal (delhi.gov.in) had been targeted , but it was back soon after.

The attacks come after the government asked Internet Service Providers to block websites such as The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site, as well as video-sharing service Vimeo among others.

Anonymous is a disbanded group of unknown hackers spread across the globe. The international ‘hacktivist’ group has previously attacked the US Department of Justice, US Copyrights Office, Sony Playstation Network, FBI and Egyptian government websites, among others.

Whistle blower homemaker Vidyut Kale at receiving end of IT Rules

Vidyut, a housewife having little income is at serious risk of being attacked by a team of seasoned lawyers with money to burn for daring expose corrupt practices.

Remember Vidyut Kale, daredevil homemaker-cum-blogger that blogged to draw attention to the Keenan and Reuben murders when mainstream media had reported the story and let it go & due to her efforts led to large-scale media attention that helped the poor families get attention to their case and prevent the killers from going scot-free…??

Now, Vidyut is chased by a batteries of lawyers to delete the contents on her blog aamjanta.com about her expose on history of alleged financial misdoings by Belvedere yacht party fame Lt Col (retd) Gautam Dutta and Anju Datta of Marine Solutions..  She has received a take down notice for her article being defamatory. The IT Rules are so arbitrary that she has no chance to defend herself against the takedown, because no explanation or even verification of the premise of the take down notice being correct is required.

Legal voices on Twitter have pointed out that the legal notice that Vidyut received is stupid, as Vidyut is the author, not an intermediary, and the IT bill applies only to intermediaries. This means, that she does not have to take down her content, but the lawyers can make her ISP block her website if she does not, yes, without a court hearing. In short, the IT bill is evil, but has not legally been used against her yet.

In reporting stories from the RTI documents related to sailing scams she was again covering an area that is not big enough for mainstream media, but an important leak of money as well as integrity for the country. Not to mention the illegal practices around sailing making it a security risk through norms of “looking the other way”.

Anand Philip (Cerebral Salad/Anand Philip Blog) a friend of Vidyut appeals on his blog:

Vidyut, who is a housewife and has little income is at serious risk of being attacked by a team of seasoned lawyers with money to burnfor daring expose corrupt practices. This is a very concerning sign for freedom of speech and whistle blowing in our country. Any media attention highlighting her situation and precarious situation of smaller content producers in India like bloggers, independent artists, cartoonists, etc and the role played by the IT Rules will go a long way in protecting their rights and drawing attention to their victimization.