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  • How The Government Is Playing A Duplicitous Game Over 'Padmavati'

    It is a fact that most of those who raged and fulminated and fatwa-ed against Salman Rushdie had never ploughed through The Satanic Verses. Geoffrey Robertson who defended Rushdie in the blasphemy case writes "As with the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, his fatwa was a case of sentence first and trial later." And so it is with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati, a film that has not yet been released but has already become target practice for the likes of the Shree Rajput Karni Sena, issuing threats of violence and bodily injury.

    Mahipal Singh Makrana, the president of the Sena has threatened to do to Deepika Padukone, the lead actor in the film what "Lord Ram's brother did to Surpanakha." Her latest "provocation" was to say that nothing can stop the release of Padmavati. The film's sets have already been vandalised, not once, but twice. Bhansali himself was attacked while shooting in Jaipur. Thakur Abhishek Som, national president of the Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Yuva Mahasabha demanded that Padukone leave the country or face beheading. He announced a Rs 5 crore reward to anyone beheading Bhansali or Padukone though he offered no proof the Yuva Mahasabha has Rs 5 crore to spare. He has finally been booked but remains defiant. The Bajrang Dal has already protested against even showing the trailer of Padmavati in Meerut. The Karni Sena vandalised shops in a mall in Kota in Rajasthan where a theatre was screening the trailer. To add more drama the Shri Rajput Karni Sena has vowed to write letters of protest in their own blood. At least it's their own blood.

    It is time, yet again, for the lumpen fringe to relish their fifteen minutes of fame.

    Bollywood films often do not even pretend to pay lip service to logical accuracy. It's ludicrous that they are being held to demands of historical accuracy.
    At one level, one could ignore them, deny them the media oxygen they desperately crave as they posture before news cameras. But when the Uttar Pradesh government says they are concerned that the release of Padmavati could be provoke "serious law and order problems" it means the fringe has very much entered the mainstream. "The release of the film of December 1 is not in the interest of peace and order," the Uttar Pradesh Home Department has told the Union Information and Broadcasting ministry. The Sarv Samaj Samiti blocked the gates of Chittorgarh shouting "Jai Jai Rani Padmini." The CBFC has returned Padmavati's application for certification citing "technical difficulties" which will probably delay its release.

    But at least the Karni Sena and its cohorts are unequivocal about their demands, bloodthirsty as some of those demands are – heads and noses.

    The government is playing a far more duplicitous game – talking pieties about law and order on one hand, yet indulging and coddling those threatening to disrupt law and order.

    Haryana minister Vipul Goel has said "glamourising Alauddin Khilji's character" was "like praising those who carry out acid attacks on girls."And it does not really help matters when highway minister Nitin Gadkari says "People have a right to be offended... filmmakers should not distort historical facts." And he's added that freedom of expression is not absolute.

    Of course, people have a right to be offended. It's probably the right exercised with most gusto in India these days. But to be offended means to not read a book, to not watch a film, to not listen to a song. To be offended can even mean a call to boycott a film. To be offended cannot mean to vandalise theatres, kill writers, ransack movie sets, and threaten to maim and behead people. And every time the government does not put that squarely front and centre, every time it says the law must be followed and then qualifies it with a "but filmmakers should show sensitivity" the vandals, the so-called fringe see it as a green signal, a wink and nudge. It is grotesque that Sanjay Leela Bhansali needs to show sensitivity in his film but the Karni Sena can threaten to cut off someone's nose in real life.

    Pharrell's Adidas Holi Sneaker Collection Sparks Debate About Cultural Appropriation

    American rapper and music producer Pharrell Williams visited India for the first time last week to promote a new collection of Adidas sneakers and clothing inspired by the Holi spring festival.

    The Adidas “Hu Holi” collection includes sneakers, shirts, hoodies, and shorts that come in a variety of bright colors. The company says the collection drew its influence from the “magic and beauty” of Holi celebrations in India and Nepal.

    Yet while Williams did learn about the spiritual symbolism behind Holi during his trip, images of him looking slightly uncomfortable during the celebration coincided with accusations that Germany-based Adidas is commercializing a beloved Hindu tradition to sell shoes.

    Some people pointed out that Adidas’ new collection seems to tread rather close to cultural appropriation: After all, a German company is using an American celebrity to sell $250 shoes that very explicitly use imagery from a Hindu celebration.

    And, as at least one person noted, it would be easy (and much cheaper) to get that same “Holi-inspired” look by wearing white shoes and clothes to a real Holi event.

    Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation told HuffPost that when she saw the image of Williams at the Holi party, she saw someone who was “taking it all in.”

    “I remember my first Holi in India. I probably had the same look on my face,” Shukla said. “Holi there is at once beautiful and overwhelming, and you better be ready to duck!”

    In an interview with the Indian news channel NDTV, Williams praised India’s “incredible” and “fascinating” culture, and said he’s trying to learn more about the country. He said he knows about a couple of Hindu deities.

    Williams said his goal promoting the Adidas collection is to “give diversity as many opportunities to present itself as possible.”

    “Some of the most beautiful people on the planet are in my opinion from Africa and from India and there’s from light to dark, dark to light on both of those countries and they’re incredibly vivid human beings to begin with, but then their customs and the aesthetic of their customs are just as beautiful,” he said. “The Holi festival is the perfect example, people are literally throwing color around.”

    Sonia Gandhi's advice to revitalise Congress, counter Modi juggernaut will not be easy for party president Rahul

    If Congress president Rahul Gandhi has to counter the Narendra Modi juggernaut in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, he will have to revitalise the party from scratch. That’s the indication UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave on Friday.

    Referring to party’s Steering Committee meeting, she said, “Certainly, Rahul always wanted new and younger people in the party. It’s very valid that without them, how could a party grow? (sic) But he also said that older leaders who, worked for years (in Congress), can’t be ignored.”

    During her interaction at the India Today Conclave, Sonia commented on Rahul’s leadership style after he took over as the new party chief and said that the leadership style doesn’t make much difference. Whether it’s Rahul or any other, Congress has its policies that everyone follows.

    File image of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. PTI File image of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. PTI
    While emphasising that Congress had to adopt a new style of connecting with people, the former Congress chief said that the need of the hour was to revitalise the party.

    She asserted that older generation leaders couldn’t be done away with and a balance was needed between the younger lot and senior leaders.

    And to revitalise the grand old party of India, Rahul obviously would have to take tough decisions, which might not go down well with the senior leadership.

    Recently, the Congress has faced electoral debacle in three northeastern states — Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. From being in power in 13 states, Congress is reduced to just four now. The party might have tasted victory in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh bypolls, but upcoming elections in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will pose a tough challenge for Rahul’s leadership.

    By emphasising the importance of the old guard and the need to maintain a balance vis-à-vis revitalisation of the party, Sonia has probably placed a handicap before her son.

    A balancing act

    For Rahul, it will be like walking a tight rope to maintain a balance between the young leaders and the old guard, while revitalising the party.

    Many a times it had been a point of debate and discussion that it won’t be palatable for the old guard within the Congress party – who have worked with Rahul’s grand mother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi – to accept the leadership of this Nehru-Gandhi scion.

    While Sonia had always backed the old order, Rahul has often faced difficulty in reining in the senior leaders.

    Sources in the party said that when Rahul was vice-president, he, on many occasions, maintained distance from a few senior leaders, who are apparently close to Sonia Gandhi.

    Gujarat election is a case in point, when senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “neech".

    Rahul was quick to control the damage and asked Aiyar to apologise. Later, Aiyar was suspended from the primary membership of the party.

    Let’s not forget that Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, who was once regarded as Rahul Gandhi’s ‘political guru’, fell out of favour in 2012 after repeatedly going against the party line on issues such as the Batla House encounter in September 2008 against Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists.

    Reliance Jio introduces new data plans: Here's a detailed list of what's on offer

    Reliance Jio Summer Surprise has finally came to an end but most of the plans were modified and improved during the Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer.

    Now, the company has made the offers even more attractive by increasing data limits to bigger data packs at the same price. However, the most popular Rs 309 and Rs 509 plans have been modified to offer lesser data for lesser number of days.

    Reliance Jio has modified most of the plans with new validity periods and has inserted two new data plans in the mix.

    The offers still come under the Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan and still range from Rs 19 to Rs 9,999. The company has not specified an expiry date for the offers yet.

    Here are the revised offers from Reliance Jio under Dhan Dhana Dhan:

    Rs 19 data pack
    The data pack offers one day validity along with 200MB of data along with unlimited voice calling and text messages.

    Rs 49 data pack
    Comes with a validity of 3 days and data limit of 600MB with unlimited voice calls and text messages.

    Rs 96 data pack
    The plan comes with a validity of 7 days and a limit of 7GB data( 1GB per day) . The speed will drop to 128Mbps after the data threshold is met.

    Rs 149 data pack
    This pack comes with 28 days validity, and just 2GB 4G data. Users will only get 100 SMSs with this data pack. However there is no daily limit on the 2GB data offered by the pack.

    Rs 309 data pack
    The user will get unlimited data but only 56GB of which will be available at 4G speeds and there is a 1GB/day limit as well. The offer comes with a validity of 56 days instead of 84days under the previous offer.

    Rs 349 data pack
    This newly introduced pack will be valid for 56 days and will come with a 10+10GB limit spread across 28 days each. There will no daily limit on the pack but only 10 GB will be available for 28 days.

    Rs 399 data pack
    This pack will replace the Rs 309 pack with a validity of 84 days and a 1GB per day data limit.

    Rs 509 data pack
    Similar to the Rs 309 pack this plan will be unlimited but the consumer will get 112GB of data at 4G speeds and an upper limit of 2GB per day. The validity will extend to 56 days.

    Rs 999 data pack
    Offers 90GB instead of 60GB data at 4G speeds for a validity period of 90 days.

    Rs 1,999 data pack
    Offers 155GB instead of 125GB data at 4G speeds for a period of 120 days.

    Rs 4,999 data pack
    Offers 380GB data at 4G speeds for a period of 210 days instead of 180 days.

    Rs 9,999 data pack
    Offers 780GB data at 4G speeds for a period of 390 days instead of 360 days

    Jaitley to launch pension scheme with 8% fixed rate

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will today launch a pension scheme for elederly with 8 per cent fixed rate of interest on their savings.

    It can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this scheme, the finance ministry said in a statement today.

    PMVVY is a pension scheme announced by the government exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above which is available from May 4, 2017 to May 3, 2018.

    "Scheme provides an assured return of 8 per cent per annum payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30 per annum effective) for 10 years," it said.

    Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase, it said.

    The scheme is exempted from Goods and Services Tax, it said, adding, loan up to 75 per cent of purchase price shall be allowed after 3 policy years to meet the liquidity needs.

    Loan interest will be recovered from the pension installments and loan to be recovered from claim proceeds, it said, adding the scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical or terminal illness of self or spouse.

    On such premature exit, 98 per cent of the purchase price will be refunded.

    On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the purchase price will be paid to the beneficiary.

    The shortfall owing to the difference between the interest guaranteed and the actual interest earned and the expenses relating to administration shall be subsidised by the Government of India and reimbursed to the LIC, it said.

    2017 WWE Great Balls of Fire results, recap, grades Lesnar retains, Reigns turns heel?

    Goodness, gracious. WWE Great Balls of Fire may have sounded like a joke when it was first announced, but it wound up being an incredible first edition of the new Raw-brand pay-per-view card. The lead up to Sunday's PPV featured two of the best rivalry builds in all of 2017. As it turned out, the two matches were just as good.

    Though no titles changed hands during the show, the double main event stole the show in Dallas as Brock Lesnar defended his universal championship in a brief slugfest against Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns took his ultra-physical feud with Braun Strowman to an entirely new level of violence (not to mention attempted murder). The undercard beneath it was largely average, save for an electric Raw tag team championship match as Cesaro and Sheamus held off a late rally in the final seconds from The Hardy Boyz to win a red-hot 30-minute iron man match.
    Be sure to check out the results and grades below, then subscribe to my podcast In This Corner with Brian Campbell where we will break down the entire pay-per-view Monday morning.

    WWE Great Balls of Fire results, grades

    Cruiserweight Championship -- Neville (c) def. Akira Tozawa via pinfall to retain the title: Relegated to kickoff show status, this one came to a somewhat abrupt halt just as it was heating up. One thing the match accomplished in putting over was Neville's willingness as a heel to do anything it takes to win -- a trait fans saw more and more of in his feud with Austin Aries. Tozawa appeared on the verge of victory late after Neville missed on a Red Arrow. Tozawa landed a hurricanrana and Shining Wizard to set up his senton finisher from the top rope, but Neville smartly rolled out of the ring to avoid being pinned. After being thrown back in, Neville crotched Tozawa on the ropes before kicking the ropes to add insult to injury. Neville then kicked Tozawa in the stomach to set up the pin. Grade: C+

    Bray Wyatt def. Seth Rollins via pinfall: If perception is reality, it has felt like Wyatt hasn't been booked to win a pay-per-view match in years. That streak is over. Wyatt was victorious in the opening chapter of this feud, which included strong booking for his heel character. Wyatt used a thumb to the eye while the referee was distracted to injure Rollins, leaving him exposed for the Sister Abigail finisher and the subsequent 1-2-3. The match was a physical one throughout .Wyatt dominated early, including a superplex that shook the ring and a spiked DDT on the ring apron. A stiff clothesline from Wyatt stuffed a Rollins rally and sent him head over heels. Wyatt set up the finishing sequence by screaming in Rollins' face: "This is what a God looks like."

    Esha Gupta's pole dance moves are sexy as hell

    Esha Gupta, who is all set to play the "badass bombshell" in Milan Luthria's Baadshaho, is learning pole dancing. The actress posted a video of her practicing her sexy moves in a black two-piece on Instagram. "Doing some monkey business with my pretty  lanaroxy," Esha captioned the video, tagging her pole dancing instructor, Roksolana Chubenko.

    Fans went gaga over the Jannat 2 actor's irresistible moves and could not stop complimenting her. In fact, some of them requested Esha to feature in a dance number and showcase her skills.

    Esha's last Bollywood release was Vidyut Jammwal-starrer Commando 2, where she played the main antagonist. She will be seen next in Baadshaho, a heist drama set against the backdrop of 1975 Emergency. The film, which is scheduled to release on September 1, also features Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Vidyut Jamwal, Ileana D'Cruz and Sanjay Mishra.

    Soundarya Rajinikanth And Ashwin Are Officially Divorced

     A Chennai-based family court finalised the divorce proceedings of superstar Rajinikanth's daughter Soundarya and her estranged husband R Ashwin, reports Times Of India.

    Soundarya and Ashwin were reportedly living separately for seven months and were unable to reconcile, therefore the court granted them divorce, stated the TOI report.

    Soundarya and Ashwin filed for divorce by mutual consent on grounds of difference of opinion but the terms of their separation and details about the custody of the two-year-old son Ved are unknown. Their lawyers said that Soundarya and Ashwin had been living separately for about seven months now and "their misunderstanding over various issues reached a point of no return earlier than that," reports Times Of India.

    Soundarya is the younger of Ranjikanth and Latha Rajinikanth's two daughters. Soundarya's sister is Aishwaryaa, who is married to actor Dhanush. Soundarya married Ashwin, a Chennai-based businessman, in 2010. In September 2016, Soundarya announced that she and Ashwin were ending their marriage in a tweet and she filed for divorce in December 2016.

    Soundarya debuted as director with 2014 Tamil Kochadaiiyaan, which featured her father Rajinikanth and Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone. Soundarya's Kochadaiiyaan was the first Indian film to use the motion capture technology. Before Kochadaiiyaan, Soundarya worked as a graphic designer in films like Sivaji, Chennai 600028 and Sandakozhi.

    Soundarya's next film Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 or VIP 2 releases later this month. VIP 2 features Dhanush (also the film's producer) in lead role with Bollywood actress Kajol as antagonist. VIP 2 also stars Amala Paul.

    मां का अंतिम संस्कार

    चीन में एक व्यक्ति को नौकरी से केवल इसलिए हाथ धोना पड़ा क्योंकि उसने अपनी मां के अंतिम संस्कार पर कथित रूप से ज्यादा रकम खर्च कर दी थी। यह हादसा गुआंगडोंग प्रांत के हाई वे ब्यूरो के निदेशक जाई पिंगफा के साथ हुआ। इसके पीछे कारण बताया गया कि उनके इस काम से समाज पर गलत प्रभाव पड़ेगा।
    समारोहों में अनुशासन बनाए रखने के लिए गठित एक आयोग ने अपनी जांच में बताया कि पिंगफा ने अपनी मां के अंतिम संस्कार में एक हजार से ज्यादा लोगों को बुलाया था। क्रिया-कर्म के बाद उन्होंने बड़े पैमाने पर खाने-पीने का भी इंतजाम कराया था।
    मां की अंतिम यात्रा में बेटे का इतना खर्च करना अधिकारियों को नहीं सुहाया और उन्होंने पिंगफा को नौकरी से बेदखल कर दिया।

    Free Jio ends today, from April 1 here is what you will pay: All plans, Jio Prime explained

    Announced last year in September, Jio made headlines for its free offers. All those free offers end now. In other words, Jio will become a paid service from April 1, that is tomorrow, because today Jio Happy New Year offer will end.

    So in case you are using Jio SIM cards, what are the options in front of you? A lot has been reported about what happens next, after you take the Prime subscription or if you don't take the Prime subscription. Most of Jio users, by now, know what is Jio Prime and what all it offers. But for, those who still are little confused about Jio Prime postpaid, Jio Prime prepaid, non-prime postpaid plans and similar things, here are some answers.

    Take Jio Prime membership: This will get you entry into the Jio special membership club and that will give you access to special Jio plans. Needless to say, this also means you will be able to continue using Jio services. It costs Rs 99 for one year. Once you take Jio Prime membership, you will still have to subscribe to some monthly, weekly or a day plan.Use Jio without Prime: This is also possible but you will pay more for data and services. Plans are explained down in this article.

    Don't recharge after Prime subscription: The Jio SIM will continue to work. You will get SMS. You will receive calls. But you won't be able to make calls or send messages. This will work until 90 days. After that your SIM will be deactivated.

    No Prime, no recharge: This will mean no service on your Jio SIM. If you don't recharge then after a stipulated period -- possibly 90 days -- your SIM will be deactivated.

    Now the plans...
    Jio Prime postpaid plans: Reliance Jio offers three recharge plans to its Prime postpaid users. The three plans are- Rs 303, Rs 499 and Rs 999. Under Rs 303, you get unlimited free voice calls and SMSes, unlimited data, 30GB 4G data with 1GB per day limit and subscription to Jio apps. For Rs 499, you get unlimited free voice calls, SMses, 60GB 4G data with 2GB per day FUP. Rs 999 plan will get you unlimited voice calls, SMSes and 60GB 4G data with no FUP limits.

    Jio non-Prime postpaid plans: Non-Prime members who have taken postpaid connection will also get the same three prices of plans but with different data limits. Rs 303 gives 2.5GB 4G data, Rs 499 gives 5GB data and finally the Rs 999 plan that offers 12.5GB.

    Note for Jio postpaid users: Bill will generated monthly. Also, Jio will keep a refundable amount of Rs 4000 as security deposit for the connection. Applicable taxes will be extra for all Postpaid tariffs plans.

    Jio Prime prepaid plans: Jio offers total ten plans to its prepaid customers. However, the prime members have an advantage over the non-prime members. The Prepaid plans for Jio Prime members starts from Rs 19 and goes all the way up to Rs 9,999. Below are the details of these plans:

    -- Rs 19 plan: The pans has a 1 day validity and offers unlimited voice calls - 200MB 4G data.

    -- Rs 49 plan: You get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 600 MB 4G data. Validity is for three days.

    -- Rs  96 plan: This is a seven-day pack with free voice callings, SMSes and 7GB data with FUP 1GB per day.

    -- Rs 149 plan: You get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 2GB 4G data for 28 days.

    -- Rs 303 plan:This is 28 days valid pack that offers unlimited free voice calls, SMSes and 28GB 4G data with FUP limit of 1GB per day.

    -- Rs 499 plan: User gets unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 56GB  with FUP  of 2GB a day for 28 days.

    Also Read: Jio Prime offer to expire tomorrow, and here is what you gain or lose from it

    -- Rs 999 plan: Under this plan, the prime members get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 60GB 4G data. The plan is valid for 60 days.

    -- Rs 1999 plan: You get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 125GB 4G data with a pack validity of 90 days.

    -- Rs 4999 plan: There's unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 350GB 4G data with a validity of 180 days.

    -- Rs 9999 plan: Under this plan you get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 750GB 4G data with a pack validity of 360 days.

    Jio non-Prime prepaid plans: Non-prime members again get ten packs for their prepaid connection. Here are they:

    -- Rs 19 plan: This is the cheapest recharge offered by Jio and comes with a one-day validity. You get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 100MB 4G data in this.

    -- Rs 49 plan: You get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 300MB 4G data for three days.

    -- Rs 96 plan: This is a seven-day pack with free voice callings, SMSes and 0.6GB 4G data.

    -- Rs 149 plan: You get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 1GB 4G data with this recharge. It has a validity of 28 days.

    -- Rs 303 plan: The non-Prime members subscribing to this offer get free voice calling and SMSes  and 2.5GB data. The plan is valid for 28 days.

    -- Rs 499 plan: User gets unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 5GB 4G data with this plan. It is valid for 28 days.

    -- Rs 999 plan: Under this plan, the non-prime members can enjoy unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 12.5GB 4G data for a month.

    -- Rs 1999 plan: You get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 30 GB 4G data for a month with this recharge.

    -- Rs 4999 plan: There's unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 100GB 4G data for a month under this plan.

    -- Rs 9999 plan: Under this plan you get unlimited free voice calling, SMSes and 200GB 4G data for a month.

    Jio Prepaid top up vouchers: There are three top ups available for Jio  prepaid users. Rs 10 which gives a balance of Rs 7.7, Rs 20 that gives a balance amount of Rs 15.39 and Rs 50 will claim you Rs 40.48 balance.

    Jio prepaid full talktime: There are nine full talktime recharge options given on Jio.com - Rs 100, Rs 150, Rs 200, Rs 300, Rs 500, Rs 750, Rs 1000, Rs 2000 and Rs 5000.

    Note for Jio prepaid users: Prepaid tariffs are inclusive of all applicable taxes.  

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