Independence Day: India celebrates 71st Independence Day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from Red Fort in Delhi

 

Interesting tweets

And Goole’s special doodle

GoogleIndIndependence

Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See

“A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret.

Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering.

At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.

Doerr’s combination of soaring imagination and meticulous observation is electric. As Europe is engulfed by war and lives collide unpredictably, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ is a captivating and devastating elegy for innocence.

– Amazon’s blurb of “All the Light We Cannot See”

All the Light We Cannot See by [Doerr, Anthony]

Review from our editor, Mohan, on Amazon

I chanced on a copy of Anthony Doerr’s bestseller with a bit of trepidation: was this yet another novel about WWII? One would think that all, if not most of the stories of the great war have been reviewed and written. But no, this came across as a surprisingly refreshing epic saga.

The focus of the story, set in the five years of the world war (between 1939 and 1944) is on the lives and travails of two main characters – Marie Laure and Werner. Marie Laure is a blind 14-year-old French girl who flees from Paris to the countryside with her father who is a locksmith for a renowned museum. Werner is a radio-and-gadget-obsessed German orphan picked from his orphanage to attend an elite military school.

The strong characters will leave you reflecting on the story much after you have finished the novel. The fast paced twists and turns in the plot with engaging characters keep readers hooked through the saga.

It is not for nothing that the book received several acclaimed literary awards, including The 2015 Pulitzer Prize and The Carnegie Medal for Fiction, ending as a New York Times Bestseller

About the author: Anthony Doerr has won numerous prizes for his fiction, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize. His most recent novel, All the Light We Cannot See, was named a best book of 2014 by a number of publications, and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. Visit him at http://www.anthonydoerr.com.


You may also be interested in other recent book review (link) | You may also be interested in the Books section of GaramChai

Can NRIs use proxy voting for elections in India? Yes !

According to the proposal, NRIs, like members of Indian armed forces, would also be allowed to use the option of proxy voting.

Non Resident Indians (NRIs), by definition are people of Indian origin who hold an Indian passport but ordinarily live in a foreign country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been courting this group of Indians assiduously, anchoring the annual festival – Parivarsi Bharitiya Divas and other outreach events.  The NRI and Indian diaspora is courted by Indian political and business leaders for the large foreign exchange remittances and the other global resources at their disposal. Now, the government wants them to exercise their franchise too!

Vote

Some NRIs who aren’t eligible to participate in the political processes in their host countries try to keep abreast of happenings back in India. They feel that the ability to vote in Indian elections will keep them engaged and enfranchised.

The Government of India has a provision for absentee and proxy voting by members of Armed forces and their families. The Election Comission also allows armed forces personnel to vote at their place of posting, as an interim measure, would be limited to “peace stations” and not include those posted at forward and disturbed areas. (Frequently Asked Questions by Service Voters)

The Indian law does not prevent eligible NRIs from voting in person. The main constraint is the time and cost: currently, an NRI who wishes to vote in state or central elections must travel back to his home constituency to cast a vote in person. He may also be required to show a voter’s ID or other documents as required by local polling officials. Data indicates that only 10-12,000 NRIs voted in the past election since most others didn’t want to spend a lot of money to travel to India to exercise their franchise.

Things are likely to change after the Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians by amending electoral laws. The cabinet approved the proposal on August 2, 2017 but the law, “Representation of the People Act” still needs to be amended to include proxy voting as other means to cast their votes. According to the proposal, NRIs, like members of Indian armed forces, would also be allowed to use the option of proxy voting.

Articles on the topic

  • Indian expatriates welcome proxy voting move – Gulf News
  • Only 24,000 overseas Indians have registered as voters – Times of India
  • EC moots proxy voting for NRIs – The Hindu  
  • NRIs In US Welcome Cabinet Decision To Extend Proxy Voting – NDTV

Janmashtami in America and around the world.

The Hindu festival season is upon us and Janmashtami, invoking the birth of lord Krishna will be celebrated by Hindus all around the world. Here is a recent poster from Pushti Margiya Vaishnav Samaj temple in Florida, US of one such celebration.

If you are looking for a Hindu temple near where you live, check out GaramChai.com ‘s extensive listings.

Janmashti

Titan Watches goes global via Amazon.com

As per some estimates, about $1 out of every $2 spent online in the US goes to Amazon.  Therefore, it was just a matter of time before Indian fashion brands began leveraging leveraging the digital marketing reach of Amazon.com to reach out to global audiences.

Indian jewellery and watch giant, Titan [Tata group company] has signed up with Amazon to sell in the US through its Global Selling Program. The deal will enable Titan to take its two popular watch brands — Titan and Fastrack — to global customers on Amazon.com in the US and eventually across other Amazon marketplaces.

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Gopal Pillai of Amazon India with S Ravikant, CEO of Titan Company.

 

“This is the first time we are taking the online route to enter a new market,” said S Ravikant, CEO – Watches and Accessories, Titan Company.

“The normal practice is to first identify local partners in a new market, set up stores, etc. This partnership is not just about Amazon taking Titan to the US market, it is about taking India to the US. The US watch market is estimated at $11-12 billion, to which e-commerce contributes 12-15 per cent.”

“We will offer Titan an end-to-end solution and help the brand cater to the growing appetite for quality Indian products amongst global consumers,” said Gopal Pillai, Director and GM, Seller Services, Amazon India. “Since its inception in 2015, our Global Selling Programme has grown multi-fold and has been constantly taking Made-in-India products global. We are delighted that the programme is enabling emerging companies as well as iconic Indian brands such as Titan to leverage the opportunity to access a large base of Amazon customers.”

The tie-up also enables Titan to market its range of watches, especially popular brands like ‘Edge’ and ‘Ragaa’ to customers across ethnicities on the Amazon platform in the US and its other marketplaces.

The watch market in the US is estimated to be $11-12 billion per annum. As part of its global strategy to market brands on its seamless e-commerce platform, Amazon will showcase Titan watches and subsequently its accessories as ‘Made in India’ products in the US and other markets.


More about Titan India (link) –  –Titan Industries is the world’s fifth largest watch manufacturer and India‘s leading producer of watches under the Titan, Raga, Orion, Nebula, Octane etc.

Amazon Global Selling – makes selling internationally simpler and easier. Learn more below about why you should sell internationally and get started today by registering in one of our marketplaces.

Drive East 2017 — Indian Classical Dance & Music Festival in NYC — Aug 21-27

A gathering of Indian storytellers share perspectives through diverse forms of Indian Classical Dance and Music: 50+ artists from all over the world come together to New York City for Drive East 2017

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August 8, 2017: New York, NY: This August will see its fifth Drive East festival in Manhattan, from August 21 – 27, 2017. Promising to have an even more impactful and immersive experience this year, Navatman sets off its week long Indian performing arts festival at Dixon Place on the Lower East Side. While usually at LaMama, the intimacy of Dixon Place serves to accentuate a sense of inclusiveness and immersiveness as soon as you enter the space, making it an ideal venue for the to view and experience all the nuances of Indian classical dance and music. From widely acclaimed stalwarts to lesser known gems, Navatman bring NYC 20+ concerts in Indian classical dance and music.

“This year, Drive East’s curation has been a little more nuanced. For instance, our four bharatanatyam performers each come from vastly different styles, allowing the patron to understand some of the more delicate nuances of the form. On the other hand, every kathak performance features guest and collaborative artists – such as Jin Won working with Korean Drums, and Rachna Nivas and Rina Mehta of Leela Dance collective working with tap. Some nights are intended to give you a more traditional feel, like the solos on Tuesday evening, and others are intended on showing the more unique aspects of Indian dance and music such as Saturday night’s artists Rajasthani Caravan, Devdutta Sengupta, and Battery Dance Company. – Sahasra Sambamoorthi, founder and co-curator of Drive East and Navatman

In addition to the 20+ concerts, there are a slew of smaller events: rangoli designs that are planned to adorn the festival steps, official artist meet and greets post each performance, free storytelling sessions on Hindu mythology for families, and advanced intensives for adults in the mornings. Each day brings more than just the concert, but an immersive experience that takes you through every performance.

“We are excited to move to a space that really allows a lot of intimacy between the performer and the viewer. Every year, we’d get feedback that people really loved seeing the shows where the performers were no more than an arm’s length away, so we took that to heart when we decided to move to Dixon Place this year.” – Sridhar Shanmugam, founder and co-curator of Drive East and Navatman

Some of the exciting dance events this year include: the beautiful and brilliant Odissi danseuse Sujata Mohapatra who will be performing on opening night; co-founders Sridhar Shanmugam & Sahasra Sambamoorthi will be performing on stage together, Renjith & Vijna form a husband and wife duet team from Chennai, and Prince of Dance – a power-packed evening of full length concerts by male dancers that includes Christopher Gurusamy (Bharatanatyam) & Avijit Das (Kuchipudi).

This year brings an interesting mix of collaborating Indian styles with other traditional forms. We have 3 Kathak performances but each performance highlights a different aspect and commonality with another style. We have Kathak being set to Korean drums (Jin Won and Sue Yeon Park), and Kathak being juxtaposed with tap dance (Leela Dance Collective). In addition, we have rarer art forms like Manipuri (Devdutta Sengupta) gracing the stage this year.

Music brings us the eminent sarod player Aashish Khan, who will be opening the festival, and the melodious and lyrical music of sitarist Kinnar Seen. Carnatic music can be rarer to find in Manhattan, but Drive East has two soloists Shankar Ramani and Ananya Ashok, not to mention the firebrand Navatman Music Collective, one of the only carnatic choirs in the world. The brilliant Rajasthani Caravan troupe joins us from India, bringing with them unique the sights and sounds of folk music and dance.

A new addition to the festival, Navatman will also host Saturday Youth Day concerts. Youth concerts allow exceptional up and coming students trained by stalwart gurus a place in the festival as well, such as  Guitar Prasanna’s students who perform Carnatic music on electric guitars.

About Navatman:

Navatman, Inc was founded with an eye on creating a sustainable home for the South Asian arts in New York City and its surrounding neighborhoods, particularly emphasizing Indian classical music and dance. We are a game-changing organization dedicated to creating ground-breaking work in the South Asian classical performing arts in the areas of education, performance, and production. We are best known for our Manhattan-based classes, critically acclaimed productions, dynamic dance company, and stellar carnatic choir, all of which have received reviews in mainstream press including the New York Times, India Abroad, The Hindu, the Financial Times, and The Star-Ledger, to name a few. Navatman continues to see success in their goal to preserve Indian classical music and dance through democratizing these art forms by increasing their accessibility, and innovating on pre-existing business and organizational models to stay relevant, fresh and exciting.

Concert Line Up:

Monday, August 21st:

  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Aashish Khan – Sarode Recital
  • 8:30PM – 10PM Sujata Mohapatra – Odissi Recital

Tuesday, August 22nd:

  • 6PM – 7PM Indrani Khare: Hindustani Vocal Recital
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Kinnar Seen – Sitar Recital
  • 8:30 – 10PM Janaki Rangarajan – Bharatanatyam Recital

Wednesday, August 23rd:

  • 6PM – 7PM Jin Won and Sue Yeon Park – Kathak Meets Korean Arts
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Navatman Dance, Feat. Sridhar Shanmugam – Bharatanatyam Recital
  • 8:30 – 10PM Shankar Ramani – Carnatic Vocal Recital

Thursday, August 24th:

  • 6PM – 7PM Pranamya Suri – Kuchipudi Recital
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Apoorva Jayaraman – Bharatanatyam Recital
  • 8:30PM – 10PM Ananya Ashok – Carnatic Vocal Recital

Friday, August 25th:

  • 6PM – 7PM Prince of Dance: Christopher Gurusamy – Bharatanatyam Recital
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Prince of Dance: Avijit Das – Kuchipudi Recital

Saturday, August 26th:

  • 2:30PM – 3:30PM Youth Concert Day: Shankhadip Chakraborty – Hindustani Vocal Recital
  • 3:45PM – 4:45PM Youth Concert Day: Carnatic Power – Carnatic Guitar Recital
  • 6PM – 7PM Rare Arts of India: Devdutta Sengupta Ghosh – Manipuri Recital
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Battery Dance Company – The Durga Project featuring Unnath Hassan Rathnaraju,  sponsored by State bank of India
  • 8:30PM – 10PM Rajasthani Caravan – Rajasthani Folk Music & Dance Recital

Sunday, August 27th:

  • 2:00PM – 3:30PM Navatman Music Collective – Carnatic Choir Recital
  • 3:45PM – 4:45PM Rachna Nivas and Rina Mehta of the Leela Dance Collective with guest artist Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards – Kathak Recital
  • 4PM – 5PM Renjith & Vijna – Bharatanatyam Duet Recital

Educational Events:

  • August 21 – August 25: 5PM – 5:30PM – Free storytelling sessions on Indian mythology for children
  • August 26: 12:30PM – 2:30PM – Saturday Youth Day

You may also be interested in checking out Garamchai.com ‘s Art and Culture section with extensive listings of Indian Dance and Music academies around North America

Techie reaches mother’s flat on return from US, finds her skeleton

Here is a morbid story that is bound to send shivers down most of us, especially Non Resident Indians with elderly parents living alone in India.


Man reaches mother’s flat on return from US, finds her skeleton

When Rituraj Sahani arrived from the US and reached his mother’s Oshiwara flat Sunday morning, no one answered the door. He managed to enter the house with the help of a keymaker. On reaching the bedroom, he found his 63-year-old mother’s skeletal remains. Given the complete decomposition of the body, police believe she passed away at least a few weeks ago. They have registered a case of accidental death and are waiting for the post-mortem report. They believe she died of natural causes as no injury marks were found on her body and the door was locked from the inside.

Subhash Khanvilkar, senior inspector, Oshiwara police station, said, “Asha K Sahani had been staying alone at her 10th floor residence in Wells Cot society in Andheri’s Lokhandwala area since her husband died in 2013. Their son Rituraj, an engineer, had moved to the US in 1997.” “The last conversation between the mother and son took place in April 2016. At that point, Sahani had told him that she felt lonely. She had also asked him to get her into an old-age home,” the officer said.

Khanwilkar said that since the 10th floor has only two flats and both belong to the Sahanis, neighbours did not sense any foul smell. “In the bedroom, Rituraj found the body of his mother, which had decomposed to such an extent that only her skeleton remained. We suspect she must have passed away at least a few weeks ago.”

Police are now recording statements of Rituraj and residents of the building to find out when was the last time anyone spoke to her. “The post-mortem report, too, will give us some clarity on the time of death,” said an officer.

re-published from Indian Express

Other Articles on the topic: