Modi At UNGA: India For Peace, Not War

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that India has given the world “budh and not yudh (war)” and his government’s work in the past five years in areas such as sanitation, health and banking has given an inspiring message to the world.

Without naming Pakistan, PM Modi referred to India facing terrorism and said it’s cautioning the world against the menace reflects both “seriousness and anger” and the entire humanity needs to get united on the issue.

In his much-awaited address to the United Nations General Assembly, Modi spoke of the need to give new direction and new power to multilateralism and the UN.

Modi, who received applause during his speech, said India has made the biggest sacrifices in United Nations peacekeeping and being divided on terror undermines principles on which the United Nations was created.

“We belong to a country which has given the world Lord Budha and not war, given a message of peace and hence our voice to alert the world against terrorism has seriousness and anger. A world divided on terror damages the basis on which the UN was created. And hence I consider it essential for the world to be united against terrorism,” he said.

The Prime Minister spoke of how a developing country like India was seeking to transform the lives of its people, saying that its efforts will benefit the entire humanity.

Modi said he was re-elected with greater mandate in the world’s biggest election in the world’s biggest democracy.

“When a developing country successfully completes the world’s biggest sanitation programme and 11 crore toilets are built in five years, all the systems attached with it give an inspiring message to the world,” Modi said.

“When a developing country successfully runs the world’s biggest health insurance scheme and provides the facility of free treatment of Rs 5 lakh to 50 crore people, then the caring systems created to give a new direction to the world.

“When a developing country runs the biggest financial inclusion programme and opens 37 crore accounts of the poorest, it creates confidence among the poor throughout the world,” he said.

Referring to the slogan against the use of single-use plastic on a wall of the UN, the prime minister said the country has started a big campaign against single-use plastic.

“We belong to a country which has given the world Lord Budha and not war, given a message of peace and hence our voice to alert the world against terrorism has seriousness and anger. The world divided on terror damages the basis on which the UN was created. And hence I consider it essential for the world to be united against terrorism,” he said

Modi said India was an old and rich civilisation which has living traditions and which reflects the dreams of the world.

“Our traditions, our culture sees jeev me Shiv (Lord Shiva in every human being),” he said.

He asserted that India believes in public welfare through public participation and that’s why India’s inspiration was “sabka saath, sabka vikas and sabka vishwas (taking everyone along, development of all and trust of everyone),” adding that the slogan was not limited to the boundaries of India.

“The hard work is not pity, or showmanship, it is inspired by sense of duty,” he said.

Modi said the efforts are being made with focus on 130 citizens of India but the dreams they reflect are of entire humanity, all societies.

“The efforts are ours but the results are for all, for the entire world,” he said.

He said India has over the past five years strengthened the feeling of global bonding and this was also the aim of United Nations.

Modi said India has very less per capita emissions but was in the forefront of steps to tackle global warming.

The Prime Minister said when India will celebrate 75th year of its independence, two crore houses will be built for the poor.

Modi said when Swami Vivekananda addressed the World Parliament of Religions he stressed on harmony and peace and not dissension. (ANI)


Dr Kafeel Cleared Of Kids' Death Charge

Dr Kafeel Khan, who was suspended from Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College two years ago, has been cleared of charges of medical negligence, corruption and not performing his duty in the 2017 Gorakhpur children death case.

More than 60 children admitted at the hospital had lost their lives due to oxygen shortage in 2017.

The departmental enquiry report was handed over to Dr Kafeel by the medical college administration on Thursday.

“The allegations against the accused are insufficient… Therefore it is submitted that the accused officer is not guilty,” the report stated.

Khan, who was then posted with paediatrics department, was suspended from service on August 22, 2017, following the deaths of about 60 infants in the hospital due to lack of oxygen, after oxygen suppliers cut off supply due to non-payment of dues by the hospital.

He was later booked and arrested on charges of negligent in his duties resulting in a shortage of medical oxygen, culpable homicide, criminal breach of trust and not performing his duty in 2017. The doctor spent nine months in jail. He later secured bail from a court but continues to be suspended from the medical college.

An FIR was registered against Khan under charges of attempt to commit culpable homicide, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy. The additional charges of corruption and private practice have already been dropped during the investigation for lack of evidence.

Khan had claimed that he was made a scapegoat in BRD Medical College oxygen tragedy and demanded a CBI investigation. (ANI)


NRC Fears Drive Crowds To Bengal Offices

Even after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement clarifying that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be implemented in the state, people on Friday were seen standing anxiously in long queues inside the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters to collect important documents.

Hailing from South 24 Parganas district, Nazra Begum has been paying visits to the office for the past four days to get her daughter’s birth certificate.

Speaking to ANI, she said, “I am coming here regularly since last Monday to get my daughter’s birth certificate. I am really tensed because of all the talk around NRC. I have never visited a KMC office in my life but I am here to arrange all the important documents so that in future, no one from my family is left out.”

Farhat Zabina, a resident of Central Kolkata’s Rippon Street, was waiting in a queue to get her father’s death certificate.

“I am here for my father’s death certificate. I have been waiting since early morning. With all the rumours surrounding NRC, it is better to get all the proper documents,” Zabina said.

One of the KMC officials, Sahab Deb, said that it was becoming a big challenge to handle the increasing number of people inside the office.

“It is routine work but with the kind of crowd we are witnessing these days, it is becoming quite difficult for us to cope up with the work,” Deb said.

However, another official, SS Mukherjee, asserted that the large queues were not unusual and refused to connect them with the ongoing talks surrounding NRC.

“It is routine work, it’s not related to NRC. From January to December, we see such queues,” Mukherjee said. (ANI)


EC Defers K'taka Bypolls Till SC Order

In an unprecedented move, the Election Commission on Thursday submitted to Supreme Court that it will postpone bypolls in 15 seats to be held in Karanataka Assembly on October 21, till the apex court takes a final decision on a plea filed by 17 rebel MLAs challenging their disqualification.

This move by the Election Commission seems to have provided a huge relief for the MLAs, who had been disqualified by the former state Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar.

Appearing during the hearing in the court, the poll body submitted to the three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice N V Ramana that it would defer the by-polls for 15 Karnataka assembly seats.

The EC submitted that this court can first take a final order or decision in the pending petitions of these MLAs disqualification issue.

The lawyer appearing for MLAs told the top court that their prayer is to suspend by-polls, or defer it or stay the disqualification.

Taking into record the submissions by the EC, the apex court said, “we defer the by-polls, to be held on October 21, and we will hear the disqualified MLAs plea on October 22”.

The by-polls were scheduled to be held on October 21, and the result was to be declared on October 24.

In their petition, the MLAs requested for an interim order as the then speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified them and debarred them from being a member of the legislative assembly in its present term.

The MLAs had sought an interim order or direction to allow them permission to contest by-polls scheduled on October 21.

The top court will now hear and decide the petition of these MLAs on October 22. (ANI)


Recalling ‘Aradhana’ In Its Golden Jubilee Year

There are films that set box office records and there are some that script history. Shakti Samanta’s masterpiece creation Aradhana did both

Anniversary recalls of films are reserved for classics. Many may argue, but Aradhana, released on 27th this month, fifty years ago, was not one.

But it was much else. There are films that set box office records. There are some that script history. Aradhana did both. It made money, selling across India, in the erstwhile Soviet Union and elsewhere.

It refurbished romance as a popular theme and survived those that celebrated violence and the “angry young man”, invariably ending in tragedy.

Aradhana was essentially producer-director Shakti Samanta’s creation. Bengali literature provides numerous themes that can be made into films. Many have been first made into that language before being re-made in Hindi. But Aradhana was straight out of Hollywood, based on To Each His Own (1946).

Besides a gripping story, obvious inspiration was the Oscar-winning performance by Olivia de Havilland, the role that Sharmila Tagore enacted. Retaining the air force pilot bit but relocating it in scenic North Bengal, the Indianization by writer Sachin Bhoumick left little trace of the original.

This family drama spread over two generations was the launching pad for Rajesh Khanna’s twinkly-eyed superstardom. He had four flops before. With Aradhana began his journey of 17 consecutive hits at the box office between 1969 and 1974. 

I met him at a party during that period, dressed in gaudy silk kurta and tehemat, basking in success that few before him had enjoyed.

But his superstardom was short-lived. Undoubtedly charming and even successful, he lacked the physique and the mind to bear its burden.

Samanta had switched from his long-time favourite Shammi Kapoor who had given him two hits (Kashmir Ki Kali and An Evening in Paris) to this fresh-faced newcomer. Pairing him against Sharmila, his senior by a decade, was a gamble that paid off. 

Aradhana was a great musical. Samanta had replaced his long-time favourites Shankar Jaikishan. See any collection of old songs today – Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar or S D Burman – practically all Aradhana songs are there.

With S D Burman’s advent preference for male singers changed. The film cemented Kishore Kumar’s position as India’s most popular playback singer (Kora Kaagaz tha and Roop Tera Mastana) at the expense of Mohammed Rafi (Gunguna Rahe Hain). Kishored’s versatile but untrained voice, lost among those trained by Ustads of Hindustani Classical of that era, had remained on the periphery for 22 long years.

As in Guide (1965), both Rafi and Kishore had given outstanding songs to composer Sachin Dev Burman. But Kishore burst the popularity charts the second time over in Aradhana, never to look back. Common to both films, of course, were voices of Lata Mangeshkar and Burman’s own, in title songs.

Burman fell sick while composing for Aradhana. Son Rahul Dev Burman took up the baton. Kishore, too, shared the music credit. Once out of the father’s banyan tree shadow, RD’s musical genius came into its own.

Sharmila Tagore had by then done 22 films. Launched by Satyajit Ray (Apur Sansar in 1959), she had paired opposite Bengal’s superstar Uttam Kumar (Nayak in 19660. For Samanta, she had done Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Sawan Ki Ghata (1966) and An Evening in Paris (1967). But her Aradhana performance was vastly different.    

Precisely three months after Aradhana’s release, when she married Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, the cricketer, it is said, the Nawab’s mother faced the dilemma of having to choose between a bikini-wearing bahu (first Indian actress to do so in An Evening in Paris) and a self-sacrificing unwed mother of Aradhana and of her earlier film, Satyakam (1966).

The sensitive unwed mother theme was not new. At least two films, B R Chopra’s Dhool Ka Phool (1959) and Dharmaputra (1961) with both roles enacted by Mala Sinha had preceded Aradhana. But in Sharmila’s two performances, neither the mother nor the child, aroused pity or disdain.      

After Aradhana, Rajesh-Sharmila became the hit pair of the 1970s. Samanta repeated them with similar success in Amar Prem (1972). It was located in Calcutta (now Kolkata) for which R D Burman lent that rare Bengal folk lilt. No fan of Rafi, RD took Kishore all the way. Today, it would be difficult to judge which of the two films is better, popular.   

Indeed, the first half of the 1970s belonged to Rajesh-Sharmila. Other directors starred them together in Safar (1970), Daag (1973), Maalik (1972), Chhoti Bahu, Raja Rani and Avishkaar – seven in all.

Sujit Kumar, who drives the jeep riding which Rajesh croons “mere sapnon ki rani” acquired huge fan following. After being the leading man’s sidekick, he leap-frogged to play lead roles in Bhojpuri films.

Shakti Samanta did many more films later, including Kati Patang (1971), pairing Rajesh with another senior, Asha Parekh. It had great music by RD. But arguably, that film is not so lasting in public memory as Aradhana and Amar Prem. 

Half-a-century hence, Samanta and his story-teller Bhowmick are gone. Rajesh Khanna passed away in 2012, to be posthumously awarded Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award.

He won four Filmfare Awards for performances and two special awards for lifetime achievements. Long past his superstardom, he remained popular, though, and was elected to Parliament (1992-1996). The generation he mesmerized has faded.

Sharmila, gracefully aged, looks the same — pretty and petite. Her children have taken to films and she had a long stint as the Chief of the Central Board of Film Certification.   

Both the Burmans are gone, none to replace them — none to replace Kishore Kumar either.

One of the few survivors, Farida Jalal, the bubbly muse of Suraj, the pilot-son who sang Baaghon mein bahar hai, trade-marked that kind of role for years. Even as she plays the mother today, she remains a happy combination of wit and wisdom.  

For Samanta, Aradhana won the Filmfare Award for Best Film. At the 17th Filmfare Awards, Sharmila won her first Filmfare Best Actress Award. The song “Roop Tera Mastana” fetched the Best Male Playback Singer for Kishore Kumar.

Originally released in Hindi-Urdu and dubbed in Bengali, Aradhana’s huge success led to two remakes, with Tagore’s role being enacted by Vanishri. The Tamil film Sivagamiyin Selvan and the Telugu film Kannavari Kalalu were both released in 1974.

Old records say that Aradhana made a large impact on Indians in general. Wearing kurta over trousers became fashionable, and so was Khanna’s hairstyle, with parting in the middle, ears covered.    

It inspired many to take up films as a vocation. One of them was the popular American actor Tom Alter, who had made India his home and Bollywood his artistic arena.

He confessed in an interview that impressed watching Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana, he had headed to Film and Television Institute of India to train as an actor.  

The writer can be reached at


Sex Extortion Ring Targeting VIPs Busted

Madhya Pradesh police has extracted more than 4,000 files from the laptops and mobile phones of the accused arrested in the alleged honey trapping racket that targeted bureaucrats, businessmen and politicians.

The recovered files include audio recordings, video clips and screenshots of chats, with many of them said to be objectionable in nature, a source stated.

According to sources, the material was used to allegedly blackmail the bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen from the state.

In another development in the case, the SIT constituted to investigate the honey trapping scandal has initiated a probe in the complaints of human trafficking.

Acting on the complaint of the father of one of the accused girls, the police have registered an FIR in sections related to human trafficking. The complainant has alleged that her daughter and many others were lured into the gang by the prime accused- Aarti.

“Father of one of the girl’s involved in human trafficking has registered the police complaint under the sections of human trafficking. He has alleged that masterminds of the honey trapping blackmailing ring would lure young girls with false promises and then would force them in flesh trade”, the sources privy with the development said.

A case in this regard has been registered under section 370, 370 (A) and 120 (B) of IPC. According to sources, the girl may also be made a witness in the case.

Meanwhile, speaking about the honey trapping case SIT Chief Sanjeev Sharma told reporters that it is a serious crime and no names will be revealed until the probe is completed.

“It will be too early to take any names at this stage. The investigation is underway,” Sharma told media persons in Indore.

Six persons, including five women and a man, have been arrested in connection with the honey trapping case. The arrested accused includes Monica, Shweta and Aarti.

Monica was on Monday brought to Bhopal by police as part of the evidence gathering and further interrogation.

Speaking to media persons on September 23, police stated that Monica was living in Bhopal with one of the prime accused.

“We have talked to the college administration and the parents Monica to unearth why and how she got into honey trapping. Monica has also informed that she was living with one of the prime accused Aarti in a flat in Bhopal for the last four months”, the police told media persons.

The incident came to light after an Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) engineer had filed a complaint alleging that two women were blackmailing him by threatening to make some objectionable videos viral.

The Civic engineer was later suspended from the service by the IMC. (ANI)


Hafiz Family To Get Monthly Allowance

Pakistan has approached United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with a request to release monthly expenses for 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind and globally designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed. The council has ‘approved’ the letter after no objections were raised to it within the set deadline.

In a notification dated August 15 the UNSC committee pursuant to resolution 1267, 1989, 2253, said, “The Chair has the honor to refer to his draft letter to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan communicating the Committee’s decision with respect to the intention of the Pakistani authorities to authorize certain expenditures to the benefit of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (ODi.263), Haji Muhammad Ashraf (ODi.265) and Zafar Iqbal (ODi.308) to cover basic expenses, as specified in the note verbale of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan pursuant to paragraph 81 (a) of resolution 2368 (2017).”

“The Chair wishes to inform the members that no objections were placed by the set deadline of 15 August 2019 for the consideration of the draft letter. Consequently, the letter is approved and the Chair will instruct the Secretariat to dispatch it,” the letter added.

Pakistan in a letter to UN Security Council 1267 Committee has contended that Hafiz Saeed supports a family of four members, as a sole supporter, he is responsible for food, drink and clothes expenses for fall family members

“The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the United Nations presents Its compliments to the Security Council concerning Jarnaat Ud Da’wa and associated Individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, and has the honour to notify the committee, pursuant to paragraph 1(a) of security council resolution 1152(2002) and paragraph 81(a) of resolution 2360(2017), that the government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has received a request from a Pakistani citizen Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who is listed on the list established and maintained by the committee under permanent reference 001.263,” the letter stated.

“his bank account was blocked by the government of Pakistan under compliance with UNSC resolution1267 requesting an asset freeze exemption to access frozen funds In the amount of Pakistani rupees 011,50,000 to cover the necessary basic living expenses for himself and his family,” it added.

This development comes despite Pakistan claims that it is taking stringent actions against terrorist. In May, Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department had booked Hafiz Saeed and top leaders of JuD under charges of terror financing. The authorities have also arrested Saeed.

However, India, who has always accused Pakistan of supporting and providing safe haven to terrorists, dismissed the recent arrest of Saeed as a mere “drama”. (ANI)