October 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Here is another round for your perusal:

  1. College-going girls in many cities of India have gained enormous self-confidence through sheer exposure to a wider world. In a recent function at a college in Jaipur, girl students were assertive about their opinions, and shared them confidently. Many of them came from families whose parents had not been to college themselves. The only barrier to their assertion was teasing and harassment they faced from boys and men on roads to college.
  2. Late NT Rama Rao, founder of Telugu Desam, was a popular film star. His popularity in films made him a popular politician too. In the glitter of Bollywood, Hindi cinema from Mumbai tends to overshadow the vibrancy of other film worlds; largest number of films are produced in Telugu cinema annually. Ramoji Film World on the outskirts of Hyderabad is the largest integrated film city in the world, a testimony to such vibrancy. Southern states in India, Andhra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu in particular, have demonstrated much closer connections between cinema and politics than Mumbai or Kolkata. Why?
  3. Udaipur is an extremely popular tourist destination for foreigners. Its attractions bring thousands of young foreigners to the city and its surroundings. Many restaurants and shops around key tourist sites cater to the tastes of such tourists, including use of their languages in menus and descriptions of products (Korean, German, Japanese, etc.). However, the mortality rate of such restaurants seems to be pretty high as several of them listed in such digital sites as Trip Advisor did not exist on the locations mentioned. Mobile carrying, google map searching young tourists, both Indian and foreigners, could be found in various by-lanes of the city. Digital information doesn’t disappear, even if the addressee does?
  4. The temperature for upcoming assembly elections in UP (the largest state in India) is rising steadily. The capital city of Lucknow is glittering, awaiting its first Metro. It appears that only a handful of districts & cities in the state have electricity and water 24/7. These are Etawah, Rampur, Kannauj, Amethi, Raibareilly. Why these? Because most important political families have nursed them as their winning constituencies. Can such high profile families be persuaded to contest next elections from other hitherto ignored districts & cities so that their future may also improve?
  5. It seems that monsoon season has ended in India. During the past four months, reports and photos of floods and landslides came from all over the country. Big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru were flooded for hours and days, restricting mobility and causing enormous damage. Lack of silting of barrages & dams causes floods in rural areas. Indiscriminate and unplanned construction causes flooding in urban areas. Why? Because, overall rainfall during this monsoon season will still be 2-3% below annual average! It is not the amount of rainfall but the inability to store, move and harvest water that causes flooding and related misery.


Rajesh Tandon