RAKESH MATHUR'S INDIA MONITOR


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India facts..Krishna temple win..Sunil Gawde paintings..Fountain of Peace , Vrindavan , Orissa architecture...NRI Villas Early Restaurants Futurist Film...Guru Dutt

Hare Krishna Temple Wins Ten Year battle

BRITISH FORIEGN SECRETARY TO VISIT INDIA, PAKISTAN AND SRILANKA.

London, 21 August '96. Malcolm Rifkind, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, will visit Pakistan (27-28 August), India (28-30 August), Sri Lanka (30-31 August) during his first official visit to Asia.
Mr Rifkind will hold talks with Ministers, officials and business leaders on a variety of bilateral and international issues. The foreign Secretary said: "I am greatly looking forward to this trip. Britain has rich historical connections with the Commonwealth countries on the programme. They offer considerable commercial opportunities to the UK. I will also be seeking to strengthen further our bilateral relations with each country and will be raising matters of regional and international concern. "
Preceding this trip, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London has prepared a fact sheet on bi-lateral relationship between Britain and India.
INDIA FACT SHEET:

OFFICIAL TITLE: The Republic of India
KEY DATES: Independence: 15 August 1947
Republic Day: 26 January 1950
TYPE OF GOVT. Parliamentary Democracy
CURRENT GOVT. United Front - minority coalition
ELECTIONS: Last held April/May 1996 (next due within 5 years)
HEAD OF STATE: President Shankar Dayal Sharm
HEAD OF GOVT. Prime Minister Mr H.D. Deve Gowda (since June 1996)
Foreign Minister: Mr I.K. Gujral
Membership of key international organisations: United Nations, Commonwealth, Group of 77, Non-Aligned Movement, South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
ECONOMIC AREA 3.29m sq. kms (UK 244,755)
Population 937m (1995)
Population growth: 2.0% growth per annum(1985-94) UK 0.3%
GNP 278B US$ (1994)
GNP per capita: 310 US$ (1994)
GDP rate of growth: 2.9% (1985-94)
COMPOSITION OF GDP(1993/94)
%GDP %labour force
Agriculture, forestry 32 62
Non-Agriculture 27 11
Services 40 27
Social Indicators:
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 61(UK 76) 1993
INFANT MORTALITY (per 1000) 80(UK 9) 1993
ADULTI LITERACY:
57%(UK 96%) 1992
RELIGION:
Hindu 82.6% Muslim 11.4% Christian 2.4% Sikhs: 2%
BILATERAL: TRADE (M) 1992 1993 1994 1995
UK Exports 946 1130 1311.5 1682 (+28.3%)
UK Imports 860 1088 1283.8 1435 (+11.8%)
Position in UK export league table: 20 (1995)
UK share of India's imports: 6.6%
UK position as foreign investor: 3rd largest invester since 1991 and largest overall investor at nearly 3billion
Name of principle trade promotion body: Indo-British Partnership
UK development aid: 100.23m (1994/95)
EC development aid: 39.5 m (1994)
UK contribution to multilateral aid: 29.1m
UK community in India 55,000 (registered)
Indian community in UK 840,000
British High Commissioner The Hon David Gore-Booth CMG, since 9 March 96
Indian High Commissioner Dr L.M. Singhvi since april 1991

London 5 July. A rath-yatra (chariot procession) is to take place on Sunday 7 July in Central London to celebrate the victory of Hare Krishna temple at Bhaktivedanta Manor, Watford over the bureaucrats. The procession which is expected to attract thousands of Hindus will start from Marble Arch and after passing through Knighsbridge, Sloane Street and Chelsea Bridge will end at the Battersea Park. Lord Indira has been kind this weekend with the blessings of showers in London

The Temple was about to close down due to planning permission refusal on grounds of noise pollution and other environmental issues involved. After a series of enquiries, litigations, protest marches, and parliamentary lobbies, Mr John Gummer, the British Secretary of State for the Environment gave a permission for a new driveway to be built to facilitate visitors to the temple. In his statement, Mr Gummer recognised that the spiritual and religious needs of the devotees who visit the temple outweighed the changes to be made in the Green Belt. It is widely knows that the ruling Conservative Government does not wish to lose thousands of Indian votes in the general elections imminent in a few months time.

< Hare Krishna Temple is situated at 2 St James Road, Watford, Herts. WD1 8EA. Telephone number +44 (0)1923 249144 fax: (0)1923 2386


SWIRLING BLADES

A new exhibition of the the paintings by Sunil Gawde is to open at A.R.K.S. Gallery, London next week.

Following a year's residency at the renowned Glasgow School of Art, this will be Sunil Gawde's European debut exhibition in London. His new compositions focus on simple shapes; a semicicle, a diagonal, a wave, a fan. Much of the impact is created by light, shining on a glistening surface, dipping on the matt ribs, picking up ridges and furrows, peaks and troughs in relief.

About his work, Gawde says: "I build up a rhythm. it's a physical thing. Intellect and planning only go so far. The concept of the 'third eye' acknowledges this other, so-called sixth sense. When I paint, something is hammering in here."

Gawde studied fine art at Bombay's Sir J.J. School of Art, graduating in 1980. Since then he has exhibited widely in India. Now, aged 36, he makes his European debut. His stay in Scotland has, he says been useful. "Being away from home has helped me get a clearer view of my work. I like to go to extremes: to the edge. I know there are no short cuts. Each picture has to have its own sincerity."

The exhibition can be seen from 19 July to 9 August 1996 at A.R.K..S. Gallery, 16 North Audley Street, London W1Y IWE. Tel: 0171 491 4600.


Can the tiger save the forest?

Valmik Thapar describes the tiger as "India's national animal", yet even here, the plight of the tiger is desperate. Incessant poaching and the spiralling illegal trade in tiger derivatives is today the most serious and urgent threat to the tiger's very existence. Furthermore, its habitat is under great pressure due to development involving hundreds of thousands of trees every year.
In December 1995, Chris Jordan of Care the for Wild organisation visited New Delhi to meet Valmik Thapar. Valmik has been studying tigers for around 20 years. Valmik explained told Chris, "it is the habitat of the tiger that keeps alive a natural rhythm for humankind. These habitat are vital water catchement areas, they recharge the underground water table, increase agricultural productivity and prevent soil erosion. The tiger domains are repositories of not only India's wealth of biodiversity but of tribal life and culture. When it is no more, natural India will also be doomed."
Chris Jordan felt concerned and presented two fully equipped trucks to Satpura National Park's anti-poaching patrols. These trucks were bought with funds raised by Care for the Wild's supporters. According to Chris, India holds 55% of our planet's population of tigers. The final battle to save the tiger is being fought in the forests of India. Chris Jordan is appealing for more support to save the Indian tigers from the poachers, who kill tigers to sell their bones for chinese medicines across the border.


Striving for equal and just British society

Mr Birdi, who is of Indian descent, was rejected without any interview when he applied to Group 4 for a job as a security guard. But when he applied as John Smith, it was a different story. The tribunal ruled against the company, and said that its size and administrative resources made its failure to follow the Race Equality Code of practice is inexcusable. Mr Birdi was awarded 500 for injury to feelings in compensation.
Dr. Majid was a lecturer in law at the London Guildhall University. In 1991, he settled a racial discrimination complaint against the university on the understanding that the university would make changes in its recruitment and selection process for future principal lecturer posts, and that the case would have no adverse effect on his prospects for promotion.
He subsequently brought a further case against the university, claiming victimisation on six grounds including his failure to be appointed to two pricipal lecturer posts, performance related pay and appraisal reports.
The tribunal upheld his claim on two grounds: it found improprities in the interview procedures for two pricipal lecturer posts that Mr Majid had applied for; and found the university's justifications for placing Mr Majid last on the list of nominations for bonus pay as 'totally lacking in credibility.' Mr Majid was offered 15,000 in settlement plus a two year sabbatical.
These are some of the success stories of the Commission for Racial Equality, which is working for a just society. CRE aims for a society which gives everyone an equal chance to work, learn and live free from discrimination and prejudice, and from the fear of racial harassment and violence.
Herman Ouseley, Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality is forwarding its annual report to the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard, the Home Secretary for Great Britain. In this report, Ouseley emphasises, "our greatest concern is the deep sense of alienation among some of our young people. As a society, we ignore this at our peril."
If any of the readers is facing unjust treatment or racial discrimination, he/she is advised to contact Commission for Racial Equality, Elliot House, 10-12 A


A.R.K.S. Gallery in London is another venue where Indian art lovers congregate with artists and snobs. It is becoming the place to be seen - especially for the opening nights of exhibitions.

Ramachandran wins the heart of London art lovers.

This week, it is an exhibition of Ramachandran, a renowned painter. His colours are uplifting. According to Rupika Chawla, the art critic, to appreciate Ramachandran's worko, what is required is not an analytical perception but a visual sensibility to absorb the highly sophisticated visual language that the artist uses. Symbols of his use of nature in general, show the simplification of flowers, trees, birds and composite creatures and their development again, not through naturalism but through a different rhythm of representation, perspective and proportion which speaks of the reinterpretation of a visual tradition that spans many cultures.
A.R.K.S Gallery is situated at 16 North Audley Street, London W1Y 1WE, Tel: 0171 491 4600 fax No. 0171 491 4640.


Fountain of peace next to Harrods

By Rakesh Mathur

Brompton Road in London is one of the most fashionable areas. Harrods is the major attraction. When some of these fashionable people get tired of window shopping or real shopping in this area, they tend to stop by in a very pleasant cafe: Patisserie Valerie for a cup of capuccino and world famous pastries.

Now, the visitors to this cafe will find astonishing peace. An exhibition of prints has just opened at the cafe. These prints are reproduction of "Jharna Kala", Fountain Art, made by Sri Chinmoy. According to Alexandra Shaw, Sri Chinmoy is a global spritual leader who has created art of enlightenment.

Further comments have been made about Sri Chinmoy's work as "full of exuberance, rhythm and clarity". These works are composed of undulating patterns of colour applied directly, without blending, and without any restraint or mental involvement.

Sri Chinmoy's work may be described as abstract, however, his belief is that they are not, and says, "In some other world they are absolute realities". This absolute reality is our own inner world. Sri Chinmoy's work makes dive deep into our soul. At the opening of exhibition, a group of young girls sang, songs composed by Sri Chinmoy. One of the singers was Shankara, who celebrated her birthday on this occasion and looked very introspective. Sri Chinmoy's work affect people on different levels. This exhibition will continue until mid July and a visit to it before or after shopping Harrods is absolute must. The address: Patisserie Valerie, Knightsbridge, 215 Brompton Road, London SW3 2EJ. Tel: 0956 310 780.

VRINDAVAN IN LEICESTER

A Vrindavan garden is being planned in the Abbey Park in Leicester, Midlands, London. The sacred city of Vrindavan, legendary birthplace of Krishna, has devoted supporters in the UK. The group is raising money and developing links with the World Wildlife Fund -- India's reforestation of Vrindavan and its surroundings. Activities include twinned schools, sponsored tree planting and a sponsored cycle ride from source of the Yamuna in the Himalayas to Yamuna.

The friends of Vrindavan group is closely linked with Environ, the largest local environmental charity in Europe, which coordinates Leicester's Environment City campaign.Leicester was declared Britain's first Environment City in 1990.

VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE IN ORISSA

Vernacular architecture in the Indian Subcontinent is a vast field which has received relatively little attention. Many building traditions are still found as functioning frameworks for the ways of modernisation and they need to be studied and understood.

PRASADA, an institute in Leicester aims to document the settlement pattern, architectural forms, constructional methods and building processes of a number of distinct types of village. The study will include a village in coastal plains, a tribal hill village, a non-tribal hill village, a planned Brahmin village near Puri, a fishing village and weavers' village. Colloration is planned with the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and the School of Architecture, Bhubaneshwar.

This project is benefitting from the help of Prafulla Mohanti, artist and author of My Village, My Life and Through Brown Eyes. Prafulla Mohanti, native of the village of Nanpur, Orissa lives in Pimlico, London with Derek Moore who supports activities of Prafulla Mohanti.

HOMES FOR THE NRI'S NEW DELHI

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are now permitted to own two residences in India instead of only one, according to new regulations. Moreover, they are able to repatriate their full purchase price after three years. Now, even foreigners can own property in India for the first time.

In view of this legislation, more and more NRI's are buying properties in India which can be prove to be good investment in years to come. For that, they are looking for properties which meet the international standard. One such property in the market is Modi International Villas. We recently met Mr Brian A Moran, an American designer and property developer. Mode Inernational Villas is a joint operation of Brian and Satish Modi which are being developed just 15 minutes drive from the Delhi International Airport.

According to Brian A Moran, some of Villas unique features include:

1. A total environment development concept which creates a beautiful yet functional community with a special indoor-outdoor lifestyle;

2. Enhanced privacy achieved by an grouping free-standing as well as attached villas in clusters along winding brick lanes;

3. Extensive site work to create an undulating landscape with ponds and mature plantings entirely surrounded by an attractive parameter sercuity wall.

4. Comprehensive common facilities and resient services.

5. Special services for absentee owners.

A limited number of villas is being offered through special Authorized representatives in major cities around the world. Seven basic models are available in 23 variations. Each can be further tailored to the buyer's preferences. This extraordinary flexibility, combined with the many different ways the villas are built into the undulating landscape, means that no two villas will be the same.

The Villas are close to all facilities of the Capital but too far for the pollution and high prices of New Delhi to touch them. It can be an ideal place for second home in India as well as a prudent investment.


EARLY MEMORIES OF THE INDIAN RESTAURANTS

London Weekend Television and Granada Television have commissioned Gavin Weightman Associates to produce a series of television documentaries on early days of restaurants.

What they are trying to discover, and to illustrate with colourful stories, is the way in which British people have taken to eating since the last war, and how they reacted in the early days to the novel experience of tasting unfamiliar food.

The other side of the coin is the experience of those who opened restaurants to cater for this new taste which came with post-war affluence.

For example, did those who opened "Indian " restaurants have an idea of what kind of customer they would get? Were there any big surprises? How did they decide on the atmosphere and decor of their restaurants? Did they imagine them to be for the customers "romantic" places? How did they decide where to open a restaurant, and how did they calculate how much money could be made? Were there models to follow -- was the earlier experience of Chinese restaurants influential in anyway? Did they themselves ever try English food, and if so with what result?

The television series comes right up to the present, documenting we hope all the changes and adjustments along the way. If any reader and has any memories which might be interesting may send us including a full address and phone number.


GURU DUTT- a life in Cinema

Oxford University Press, Delhi has just published a biography of Guru Dutt, a legend of Indian cinema. The book contains interviews with his family, colleagues and friends. It discusses the making of classics like Pyaasa, Kagaz Ke Phool and Mr and Mrs 55 in careful detail.

Guru Dutt - a life in Cinema includes 36 pages of black and white photographs from various films and the man in action. It uncovers aspects of Guru Dutt that are much speculated upon.

The biography traces the life and works of a remarkable director and actor. The sensitivity and compassion Guru Dutt brought to his depictions of screen characters endowed them with a rare depth, and during his brief thirteen year career, he succeeded in replacing the repititive ingredients of formulaic cinema with an individual and lyrical vision.

The enigmatic, romantic, often tragic undertones of Guru Dutt's screen personae became closely associated with his persona off-screen. From the days when he was an unknown actor to his eventual suicide at the height of his fame, his own life seemed to acquire the characterstics associated with the doomed, disillusioned men he played.

The author Nasreen Munni Kabir traces the life of this unusual man through accounts of his films and a series of interviews with his family, colleagues and friends. Several years of painstaking research and conversations with Guru Dutt's associates have yielded a complete and compelling account of the artist.

This book is essential reading for all movie buffs.


FUTURIST FILM INSPIRED BY INDIA'S HERITAGE
By Rakesh Mathur

London, March 29, Bruce Willis stars in a new futuristic drama, '12 Monkeys' which is due to release in England very shortly. We saw it in a preview today and met Terry Gilliam, its director. This film is shuttles between the past and the future, sanity and madness, dreams and reality. According to the Terry Gilliam, this film depicts the time we live in where things are not as much in control as we are made to believe in. Mad cow disease is one example.

"In the 20th century we were made to believe that we are masters of the universe. Science and technology have all the answers. But we live in a strange time -there is a circle of dying and growing up. The Eastern philosophy and the machinery of time fascinates me. In my movies, I like to leave lots of questions for the audience to debate and sort out, " elaborated Terry Gilliam.

'12 Monkeys' is set in the year 2035 and humankind subsists in a desolate netherworld following the eradication of 99% of the Earth's population, a holocaust that makes the planet's surface uninhabitable and mankind's destiny uncertain.

When a film is so deeply ingrained in rich imagery, sumptuous sets and kaleidoscopic colours, it is not enough to narrate the outline of the story. The film captures variations of moods. We may be able to describe the film in the following manner.

In order to preserve their fate in this grave new world, survivors must rely on time travel as their only hope. Desperately hoping that the resources of the past might help them reclaim and rebuild the future, a group of scientist living beneath the once populous Philadelphia secure a volunteer to embark on an experimental trip back to the year 1996. There, they hope he can help mankind's desperate efforts to unravel this apocalyptic nightmare before it completely erases humanity form the planet.

In the film, Bruce Willis is Cole, the reluctant volunteer who may not be the ideal candidate to complete this dangerous assignment. However, he possesses a significant trait that supersedes the scientist' doubts - his obsession with a haunting image from his childhood, a memory whose meaning cannot be understood even though it replays itself endlessly in his tortured mind.

When Cole arrives in 1996, he meets Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the unstable son of a renowned scientist, and Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), a psychiatrist and author who's expertise lies in the study of madness and prophecy. Railly first diagnoses Cole as delusional; more simply, a madman. However, as their relationship grows, her alarm over his prophetic warnings of the world's fate turns to conviction, and she comes to believe that mankind may indeed be doomed.

While also questioning his own sanity, Cole struggles with Railly to unravel the mystery with his only two clues: the haunting childhood memory and a series of puzzling symbols from a group known only as The Army of the Twelve Monkeys.