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Cybercafe in Madras..Italian view of India..Major talks of ethnic groups..CD Rom on Gandhi.. ..Internet in India..Comdex India..London..Asia Center..India gets Sense..Diwali Celebrations.. Hussain Exhibition..

A writer on the Internet writes:

I went to this new thing called CYBER CAFE - its a place in the city of Madras (India) where there are 16 terminals connected to the Internet via High speed satellite link. Any person who pays can use the Internet and send email, telnet, ftp, or anything he wants (except of course porn).

It is the second of its type in India and has a fast food joint attached. It is useful for foreigners who come to Madras but have to keep in touch with their email and talk to their companies abroad or send email urgently. They can also telnet to their account and use it. I have found it extremely useful and I recommend it to all readers of UKINDIA.

The address :

Netcafe@India (a division of Cyber Globe (I) pvt ltd)
101/1 Kanakasri Nagar, Cathedral Road (Next to Music Academy)
Madras (also called Chennai city)
India Ph 8263779

India as seen by an Italian eye hundred years ago.
By Rakesh Mathur

The British Raj in India - its life and leisure were admiringly captured by Federico Peliti, a confectioner and amateur photographer from Turin more than hundred years ago. Some of the most fascinating photographs were taken during the Victorian period when Lord Curzon was the Viceroy of India and it was followed by the coronation of Edward VII in Delhi 1903.

The historic images of these happenings were on display at the Italian Cultural Institute recently. The exhibition of 100 photographs and a further series of 156 on CD were put together by the curator Marina Miraglia, who sums up the exhibition: Peliti achieved one objective, "to emphasize and magnify the distance between the world of the elite that he was photographing and the often tragic and cruel reality of the rest of India."

Peliti's choice and composition of subjects reveals the influence of the pre-Raphaelite movement. His habit of setting his figures in a violent, almost corrosive light, slanting in at a flat angle was in tune with the art movements of the time. He widely used the natural wealth of India: its flora and fauna as background to his photographs. Born in Carignano on 29 June 1844, Peliti studied sculpture and graduated from the Accademia de Belle Arti in Turin in 1865. His studies in architecture, decoration and ornamental sculpture proved to have a far greater impact on him. It was a peculiar mix which later matured into the technical expertise that can be admired in the photographs of his sophisticated architectural cakes, created in neo-Gothic style for the celebrations proclaimed by Lord Lytton in 1876/77 for Queen Victoria's coronation as the Empress of India.

In 1867, Turinese confectionery companies were already supplying the Royal House of Savoy and other European royal households and were looking for artisits willing to dedicate themselves to confectionery decoration to meet the ever increasing demand.

Cooks and confectioners from Turin were considered among the finest interpreters of the pleasures of the palate and they were much sought after by the upper British class. After his appointment as Viceroy of India in 1869, Lord Mayo (69-72), as an exponent of leisure time culture, felt the need to counter the 'grandiloquent' and 'archaic' tastes of the local raja with the exquisite and enlightened elegance of Western cuisine. Federico Peliti was the winner of a contest held in Turin.

Federico Peliti wrote after winning the contest: "There are five fine arts: painting, poetry, music, sculpture and architecture, the main branch of which is confectionery". What he meant was archictectural models made in Sugar. Describing his art, he mentioned: "mellow range of flavours orchestrated around the variety and interplay of crossing flavours, required more than just creativity. An adequate cultural background was essential to be able to draw upon the 'science of proportions applied to flavours' - the real and inimitable secret of the 'reformed' cuisine."

The exhibition is worth seeing to get a glimpse into a glorious but paradoxical past, even if it is now available on CD ROM. For details, contact Italian Cultural Institute on telephone number 0171 235 1461.

Major addresses ethnic groups

18 January 1997, London. The British Prime Minister John Major this morning celebrated 50th anniversary of independence of India and Pakistan by addressing a rally of ethnic minorities at the Commonwealth Institute. In his keynote speech, he mentioned that most civil people tolerated each others. "Civility goes far beyond politeness. it's a breakwater against first thoughts and worst instincts. It inhibits anger, pulls away from prejudice. Civil people acknowledge other people - they respect their cultures and traditions.

"Islamic fundamentalism" - how glibly it trips off the tongue. it comes out for all the world as if there were no other things which go with "Islamic". But there are. And we must resist the temptation to judge a race or religion by its least worthy members."

The rally was mostly attended by the ethnic minority members of the conservative party. It also included prominent indians such as S.P. Hinduja, His Excellency Dr Luxmi Mal Singhvi and Baroness Shreela Flather. There were many media people who did not find it appropriate to hear from John Major that the ruling Tory party, has sinfe 1992 created the equivalent of two jobs every working minute - over 100 jobs every working hour. According to a parliamentary reply, the latest figures show an overall rise of 22 per cent in the unemployment rate for the Asian community.

Commenting on this Baronness Shreela Flather said that Asians and minorities will always face difficulties in the job market but the heartening thing is that more and more Asian women are getting jobs nowadays.


A multimedia on Mahatma Gandhi has just come out in Britain which consists of 45 minutes of selected film clips, 200 photographs, speeches in the original voice of Gandhi, interactive maps, timeline and hypertext.

The CD-ROM which is suitable for IBM Compatible Computers with windows 3.1 and above is published by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan and Krea Technology USA. The multimedia depicts the life and message of Mahatma Gandhi. It explores Gandhi's role as the liberator of India from British rule which was one of his many achievements. His life and teachings have a universal meaning for all humankind all over the world.

Gandhi's life was his message. On this CD ROM, one can re-live the trajectory of events in his 54-year public career. Professor K. Swaminathan, the Chief Editor of The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, headed a committee of scholars that prepared the script for this CD ROM.

Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, London is offering the CD-ROM at a special discount price of L34.99. The orders can be placed with Dr. M.N. Nandakumara, Executive Director, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Castletown Road, London W14 9HQ, Tel: 0171 381 3086.


Comdex India 1996 just finished in Pragati Maidaan in New Delhi . Pragati maidan is a mini disney world size House of halls , with different buildings mainly for exibitions , which stand under different provinces name . There architecture also represent the architecture of the states which these pavilions are named after.

India 96/Comdex was held from 4th December to 7th December 1996. It was jointly organised by Business India Exhibitions , Comdex softbank , Nasscom and MAIT. There were More than 500 Companies , Spread accross 25,000 sq Meters accupying 10 Halls at Pargati Maidan. AS these Halls were originally constructed for major exhibiitions, they were rather spacious and well presented. Every Big name in the IT Industry were present. Among the Largest Stalls were:

SCO , VSNL ( the only , and govt owned Internet service provider) TATA Unisys MODI Xerox Rockwell Semiconductors There were very many conferences and since no one has anything else left except to talk about the Internet & the Intranet , every participant at the Conference was repeating the same lines again and again. The also had some tea in between to clear the throats just to start again . :)

Jokes aside , some big names were there to give there speeches and make presentations. Names, such as SCO's ceo , VSNL , Chirman Microsofts , Regional Manager Intel , Manger India HP Digital NCR AMD IBM NOVELL ande more


Internet In india , as being under the hands of govt is not facing tough competetion. The Indian govt decided to make it available at lower rates.

Commercial rates are 15,000 rupees for 500 hrs.
Students ( shell accounts , more like X ptc accounts) 500 rs For 500 hrs or 1 Rs an hr ( what a heaven)
Email Providers are chrging what ever they like , one is charging 18rs a kb . the other is charging 1 rs a kb . the third is charging 3 rs a kb . Internet is only avaiable from VSNL (Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd ) Sprint is a reseller of email , and all the other are also buying bandwith from VSNL and using them as there backbone.

Web Culture:

Well , there are 5 Local Magazines there all full of what else but the NET . and amazingly they are all printed on excellent quality paper and the rates are , Guess what , 15 rs a mag . The Books on the other hand are also VERY CHEAP , Due to Our repsectfull BPB Publications , of whom we make copies here in our country . To give u an idea , i got 35 Books on unix in 4100 Indian Rupees. And they included CD's of Linix , Netscape , Internet Explorer. The Netscape 3 Book with cd was for 125/- ( talk about prices) The average Person in Delhi was as much net addict as a Pakistani would be , but again , we have MUCH MUCH MORE Internet and email users in our country , expected 40,000 - 60, 000 . where as the largest email provider there with 8 Nodes had 2300 users. the total numbers i was given was 20,000 or around that .

Overall Net Usage:

They again are not as free as we are to use credit cards and all , so they can not go and just get anything from the net , as they have to fill 10 forms to send 10$ out of india.


The following hardware was produced in India:

Epson lx 800 Unisys terminals and specialized Kb's Xerox Copier and fax series. And Nokia Mobile Phones. India Makes B/W Picture tube for montiors.

Pakistan was represented by a private company called Pakistan Computers.

The Exhibitors have extended welcoming hands to any Pakistani Company who wants to go to India. For more information on the Pakistani Computers and collaboration with India contact: TPCG Http://www.tpcg.com/ Email: Info@tpcg.com

By Rakesh Mathur

"Outrageous fashion, a pulsating club scene and lots of new money have turned Britain's capital into the coolest city on the planet," declared Newsweek magazine in one of its latest issues. Another survey conducted by Healey & Baker pronounced: London remains the best city in the world to locate a business today. The reasons given were that London is the best city in terms of easy access to markets and transport links. It is also best city in terms of availability of office space.

The international readers of Business Traveller Magazine have been voting London as their favourite Business City in the World for the last 11 years. There are plenty of benefits in having business meetings in London, according to a readership conducted by the magazine. London venue attracts record attendance; it has middle time zone; it is a centre of international networks and there are several professional Convention Bureau in London to manage business meetings.

London provides access to 370 million people via European Free Trade Association, it has more global companies than New York or Paris. World's largest centre for international finance - the City is situated here and it has excellent translation services - 193 languages spoken in the city. Londoners are renowned for good humour and friendliness. There are 5,500 restaurants and pubs to choose from and London provides encylopaedic choice of cuisines.

But one can not be too complacent about it. With Frankfurt and Paris striving hard to reach the first position in Europe in the shadow of IRA bombs in the City, one has to do a lot of work to maintain this position. In April 1994, London First Centre under the leadership of Stephen O'Brien CBE was established. Today it is enjoying a great success in attracting invward investment.

London First's mission is to engage business in promoting and improving London, to ensure that it has the resources, leadership and infrastructure needed to head the league of world cities in the 21st century.

Stephen O'Brien, in a recent interview said: London is currently at the centre of global attention as the world's most exciting place for commerce and culture. But this is not a simply a passing trend. We are presently dealing with 100 active projects from organisations all over the world which are looking to set up new operations here."

London First Centre provides a free consultancy service to companies considering London as a business location. It is funded by the Department of Trade & Industry; Coproration of London; Westminster City Council; London Docklands Development Corporation and 100 private sector funders including British Airways Plc, London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Psion Plc, Midland Bank plc KPMG, Clifford Chance etc.


On July 10, 1997, a major event will take place at the Royal Albert Hall, London in which Lata Mangeshkar hopes to sing with Noorjehan. It will be a celebration of the India's 50th independence day celebrations with performing artists.

Rajiv Sethi, well known impressario specially appointed for this event will combine popular art with elite art from the whole Indian subcontinent. The proceeds from this event will go towards establishing Asia Centre in Central London where there will be an ongoing programme of Asian art for the discerning audience of London.

Asia Centre is a brain child of Sir Peter Wakefield, a former British diplomat who is fascinated by the cultural richness of the Asian countries, especially the Indian subcontinent. Once established, there will be an ongoing programme of exhibitions, concerts and other events.

The management committee of Asia Centre is looking for funding which will help finding right premises and then build upon its success which it hopes to achieve from Royal Albert Hall. Prince Charles expects to give a keynote speech to the Asian Centre which will enhance its image. Readers of India Monitor are invited to give their suggestions and comments on what kind of artistic work they would like to see in Asia House.


Disabled Indian children will now have the support of the British organisation Sense Inernational to lead a better life.

There are more than 300,000 people in India who are targetted by Sense International, borne out of UK charity Sense, the National deafblind and Rubella Association. They have just appointed Akhil Paul, who will be responsible for the development of vitally needed services for deafblind and multiply disbaled throught out India.

There is just one specialist school in India currently working to meet the needs of deafblind children. The Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deafblind in Mumbai provides a highly respected service to 23 deafblind children but the demand for provision throughout the country is enormous. Sense International hopes that other services will soon start to appear throughout India.

At the moment, young children with multiple disabilities from Madras are faced with the only option of having to travel more than 1,300 kilometres to go to school.

Richard Hawkes, International Officer for Sense International says, "From its outset, it has been the intention of Sense International to act as a catalyst in India to stimulate the growth of services. All decisions will be made by people in India themselves and this is why our programme commences with the appointment of an Indian Development Manager.


Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in North London is one of the most important landmarks of the Hindus in Britain. Patronised by the kings, diplomats and other celebreties, attended by Prince Charles, this mandir has become a gateway to the Hindu dharma for millions of people living in England.

Diwali and the following day of the Hindu New Year will be celebrated in this temple in a grand way this year. On Monday 11 November, the 'Annakut Utsav' will attract thousands of people at the temple. For the celebrations, there will be a spectacular display of food which will be laid out on a 34 metres long, six stepped crescent shaped stand in the temple and offered to the Deities.

Over 1000 dishes will be arranged and once sanctified, be disributed as 'prasadam' to some fifty thousand people on the day. The ' Annakut Utsav' signifies auspiciousnessness heralding in the Hindu New Year day so that the whole year is brimmed with joy and piety.

Everyone is invited to the mandir at 105-119 Brentfield Road, Neasden, London NW10 8JP to attend Rajbhog Aarti at 11.30 and enjoy the prasadam with thousand others thereafter. For further information, contact the mandir at telephone number 0181 965 2651.

Another Diwali celebration will be attended by the Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind and His Excellency Dr Laxmi Mal Singhvi on 27 November 1996 at the Portman Hotel, London. There will be sumptuous banquet to celebrate Diwali which will attract dozens of Asian luminaries from all over Britain. This is an expensive affair. Details can be obtained from Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, 4A Castletown Road, London W14 9HQ, Tel 01713086.


London saw a one day exhibition of Hussain's latest work at A.R.K.S. Gallery on 3rd November.
Mobbed by the lovers and patrons of the contemporary Indian art, Hussain talked about his new film project, 'Gaja Gaamini' which he is producing and directing with Madhuri Dixit and Shabana Azmi. The film focusses on Vatsyayana's evocation of Gaja Gaamini (a woman who walks gracefully like an elephant) in his Kama Sutra. The film will be completed for release by the year 1998.
The rhythm, majesty and grace of Indian womanhood are Hussain's metaphor. During the exhibition, excerpts of films on video were shown in which Gaja Gaamini was shown as a woman walking with a child clinging to her side, and a potli (bag) filled with her valuables and the burdens of the world balanced on her head. Hussain's characters from myth and literature move unfettered through different times and spaces, back and forth, from the ghats of Varanasi where five women come together in one room. These are characters of Prem Chand, Tagore and Munto.

The film will also explore characters and philosophies of other poets and international writers. In Paris filming will be done at the cafe Deux Magots where Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir used to meet.
During the exhibition, we saw a 30 foot long scroll of Hussain's working drawings for the film, which ran across the gallery like a reel of film itself. The film is greatly influenced by the French director Goddard.

Never far from controversy, M.F. Hussain (born 1915) is perhaps the most celebrated Indian artist alive today. His work has been shown widely in India and abroad and, recently, has been much sought after at auction in the sale rooms of London and New York.
Hussain has worked on diverse themes and subjects - from his explorations of human emotion and nature, and his particularly well known equestrian series, to the diversity and richness of Indian mythology and tradition. Hussain's eclectic approach and unique sense of creativity allows him to focus at once on latter day saints and icons such as Mother Teresa. He has recently turned his attention to the Bollywood.

Hussain was a centre of controversy recently when he painted hindu deities in nude for which he apologised.