Month: November 2019

Mbala locks down Desiderio in DLSU rout of UP

first_imgFILE – Ben Mbala. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIn what became as one of the most lopsided games in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament, one odd matchup stood out.As defending champion La Salle wrapped up University of the Philippines 85-62 Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre, the matchup of the game was the hulking Ben Mbala against the rather diminutive Paul Desiderio.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Read Next And if Mbala was unsurprised in his defensive assignment, the same cannot be said for Desiderio.Mbala stands at 6-foot-8 and is a good 230-pounder while Desiderio stands at a generous six feet and is very much lighter than the Green Archer.“When he guarded me in the first quarter I was surprised because the guy in front of me was really big,” said Desiderio in Filipino. “And I felt awkward when he guarded me so I had no choice but to guard him in the second quarter.”Desiderio obviously struggled against the bigger Mbala as he shot 2-of-13 from the floor in 31 minutes of play.“La Salle had three bigs at a time and if we put Ibra [Ouattara] outside there’d be no rim protector so I had to get Ben.”ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LATEST STORIES And the reigning MVP had good reason for guarding the Fighting Maroons’ shooting guard.Desiderio shot the lights out in the first encounter between the two teams scoring a career-high 30 points in a 98-87 UP victory, and Mbala was tasked to prove he’s La Salle’s best individual defender.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’m bigger than him, and I just have to stay in front of him and even if I get blown by I know I’m bigger and faster,” said Mbala, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds in his matchup against Desiderio.“Well it’s part of basketball, you got to be able to adjust. They used me as a three then they used him as a four.” Archers, Eagles favorites to win UAAP Season 80 PLAY LIST 02:36Archers, Eagles favorites to win UAAP Season 8002:34UAAP SEASON 80 PREVIEW: DLSU GREEN ARCHERS00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brownlee, Tenorio shine as Ginebra takes 2-0 Finals lead BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients last_img read more

Cousins’ triple-double powers Pelicans past Cavs

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Pelicans: Host the Orlando Magic on Monday night. MOST READ Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins goes to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)NEW ORLEANS — DeMarcus Cousins came to the bench for the final time as the crowd rose to its feet. He exchanged high fives with Pelicans teammates and fans on the baseline, then motioned to the crowd with his raised right hand to keep the adulation coming.If Cousins, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday keep playing the way they did against LeBron James’ Cavaliers, there will be plenty more scenes like that.ADVERTISEMENT Cousins had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Pelicans pulled away for a convincing 123-101 victory over Cleveland on Saturday night.“I enjoy winning. Don’t you?” Cousins said when asked about his interplay with the jubilant crowd. “If we play like this on a nightly basis, we’ve got a very good chance of being the team that we want to be.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutDavis added 30 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks to help New Orleans win for the third time in four games. New Orleans’ All-Star frontcourt tandem had help from the backcourt, too, with Holiday scoring 29 points and E’Twaun Moore 24 as the Pelicans shot better than 53 percent.“We’re locked in as a unit. We feel like we can battle with the best of them. We’re starting to understand what it takes to win games,” said Cousins, who’s played in only 22 games with Davis since the trade that brought Cousins from Sacramento after last season’s All-Star Game. Wade, meanwhile, recalled Miami’s middling start when he and James first became teammates there in the 2010-11 season.“It just takes time to get that continuity,” Wade said. “At some point, we’ll get tired of being a .500 ball club.”EARLY PUSHMoore, who is starting while New Orleans awaits the recovery of Rajon Rando from a preseason core muscle injury, helped the Pelicans build an early double-digit lead. He hit his first five shots — three of them from 3-point range — and the last of those made it 40-27 early in the second quarter.WADE’S NEW WORLDWade came off the bench for a second straight game, but didn’t seem to mind.“I like the role that coach has me in,” Wade said. “Put the ball in my hands, allow me to make plays, allow me to score and attack and be myself.”He looked fine after missing one game with a left knee bruise. He drove past Holiday for one, soaring two-handed dunk and also set up a graceful floater with a behind-the-back move.UP NEXTCavaliers: Host the New York Knicks on Sunday night. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “We’re still learning how to play with one another, but the ball movement’s been good lately. Defensively, we’ve been good.”Cousins mostly scored on powerful inside moves, once dribbling through three converging defenders. He also tossed in the sporadic 3. Davis provided his usual mix of decisive spot-up jumpers and crowd-pleasing dunks, either on the break or crashing the boards for put-backs. Holiday complemented penetrating dribble drives with four 3s.“We’re going to be a special team,” Davis said. “We don’t feel it. We know it.”Kevin Love had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavs, who were without Derrick Rose and trailed most of the game. James had 18 points and Dwyane Wade 15 for Cleveland, which has lost three of four.After trailing by 13 at halftime, Cleveland briefly appeared to be taking control with a 21-7 run during which Love hit three 3s, grabbed four rebounds and added an assist.ADVERTISEMENT Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Bellinger, Dodgers top Astros to tie World Series 2-2 “We were playing with a lot of confidence. Guys were shooting their shots, not thinking twice about it,” Love said of the Cavs’ third-quarter surge to a brief 73-72 lead. “When we play like that, we’re tough. We just haven’t put together a good 48-minute span.”Cousins’ three-point play on a driving layup and Holiday’s 3 were bookends of a 12-2 run that put New Orleans back up by nine, and the Pelicans never trailed again.Love briefly left the game after falling to the floor, clutching his left knee under the basket. He returned in the fourth quarter, but the Pelicans put the game away with a 13-3 run, capped by Holiday’s fourth 3-pointer, which made it 108-89.“They’re a tough team to defend,” Love said.TIP-INSCavaliers: Although Rose previously sounded optimistic that his left ankle sprain would be healed enough to play in New Orleans, coach Tyronn Lue said before the game that Rose was still in pain. “I don’t know about a setback, but he still had soreness this morning when he tried to warm up,” Lue said. … Lue added that he inserted the 6-foot-5 Iman Shumpert in the starting lineup against New Orleans because he felt that was the best option for defending the 6-4 Holiday.Pelicans: Newly acquired F Josh Smith made his debut late in the first quarter for his first NBA action since the 2015-16 season. He made his only shot and grabbed two rebounds in a little less than seven minutes. … The Pelicans finished 13 of 31 (41.9 percent) from 3-point range.NO PANICJames, Love and Wade all said Cavs are unhappy with their recent play, but aren’t about to overreact after six games.“We know we have to get a lot better. We’re frustrated,” Love said. “But in no way are we going to panic.” Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 View commentslast_img read more

Wladimir Klitschko says he’ll decide future within 2 weeks

first_imgEvery 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV What ‘missteps’? BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. APHAMBURG, Germany — Former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko says he’ll decide whether to have a rematch with Anthony Joshua “within the next two weeks.”Klitschko, who lost by an 11th round TKO in a pulsating bout with the Briton on April 29, says in comments reported by news agency dpa, “My life isn’t only sport and boxing,” and that he’s planning “the career after the career.”ADVERTISEMENT BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES MOST READ Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Klitschko, who reigned over the heavyweight division for a decade, is also fighting Father Time at the age of 41.His fight in London’s Wembley Stadium against 2012 Olympic champion Joshua, 14 years his junior, was one of the best heavyweight bouts in recent times.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutKlitschko fell to 64-5 in a career that began in 1996 after he won the Olympic gold in Atlanta. Thunder center Kanter’s father released from custody in Turkey last_img read more

NBA 2K18 promises to release Celtics version of Kyrie Irving cover

first_imgEthel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters MOST READ Some fans, however, are more intrigued on what will happen with the upcoming NBA 2K18 video game, which features Kyrie Irving donning a Cavs jersey as cover athlete. Undefeated and unloved, Mayweather eyes final payday Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side The game is slated to come out on Sept. 19, while those who pre-ordered will get their hands on it a week earlier.LOOK: Kyrie Irving is cover athlete of NBA 2K18Shortly after the 25-year-old guard from Duke traded his red wine jersey for the Celtic green, 2K’s official Twitter page acknowledged the situation with a short tweet.Whoops— NBA 2K 2K18 (@NBA2K) August 22, 2017ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo LATEST STORIES Now that perhaps the biggest deal of this NBA off-season has pushed through, fans are left wondering how former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will fit under Brad Stevens’ system with the Boston Celtics.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingREAD: Cavaliers trade Irving to Celtics for Thomas — sourceADVERTISEMENT Jason Argent, 2K’s senior VP of basketball operations, gave a more detailed explanation about the game developer’s next move.“We are excited to be part of one of the most memorable NBA offseasons in history with Kyrie, our 2K18 cover athlete, and Isaiah, one of the stars of our 2K roster, trading places. This isn’t an unprecedented event, a cover athlete being traded – but it’s certainly interesting timing with 2K18 being released in less than a month,” he said in a statement, via the Game Informer.“The good news is that as the most authentic and realistic basketball game on the market, we’re used to being nimble and responding to changes in the NBA. Fans should be thrilled to know that we will issue a version of 2K18 featuring Kyrie in a Boston Celtics uniform at a later date,” he added.  Khristian Ibarrola /raSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul View commentslast_img read more

Saina raring for CWG gold

first_imgSania Nehwal is focussed on her main goal right now – winning the gold medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games (CWG). Not surprisingly, she is leaving no stone unturned to realise her dreams.Speaking to MAIL TODAY, Saina said she gave a miss to the recent China Masters and Japan Super Series championships in back- to- back weeks to concentrate on training for the CWG.”I decided to skip both the China Masters and the Japan Open in an attempt to focus on the CWG. I realised that I had a punishing schedule leading up to the World Championships. So, I decided to concentrate on training and cut down my playing schedule,” Saina said.When it was pointed out that she had never won a major title in India and whether that would be a factor weighing on her mind, she said playing at home increased the expectations of her fans.”I do not think there is any extra pressure on me while playing in India. The only factor is that the crowds have a lot of expectations from me every time I step on to the court. But then, one cannot help it. It is only fair for them to expect a good show from me,” Saina said.Saina, who is currently ranked third in the world, felt that the CWG would have a formidable field.”Make no mistake, it is going to be a tough field. There are players like Yip Yin Pui (World No. 12) and Malaysian Mee Choo Wong (World No. 15) in the fray. I will have to be at my best. There is no doubt about that,” she admitted.advertisementAs regards her ambition of becoming world No. 1, the Hyderabadi said she had not set any specific deadline for achieving that.”Right now my focus is on winning as many major titles that I can. As regards the No. 1 ranking, I am ready to wait. There is no hurry,” she said.On his part, chief national coach Pullela Gopi Chand denied that Saina would be under extra pressure while playing at home. “I do not think pressure is a factor that is going to affect her performance. She is focussed more than ever before on coming up with a sterling show at the CWG,” he said.Gopi Chand also felt that the fact that Saina has already played at the Siri Fort Sports Complex – the venue for the badminton events in the CWG – would work to her advantage.”She has played the Asian Badminton Championships at the same venue in April and that will also be an advantage. She will be familiar with the lighting and the drift inside the stadium,” he said.Gopi Chand also felt that the Indian players had to come up with the goods when it came to the men’s single competition, with world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei also in the fray.”Lee Chong Wei’s presence makes the men’s field very competitive. Our players will have to lift their game substantially in order to perform well. They have been training very hard and I see no reason why they should not win a medal,” he said.last_img read more

In God They Trust

first_img“Like the 63 nayanmars (Tamil Shaivaite saints), you have been given the 63 seats. You should accept it with the same amount of bhakti like the nayanmars,” declared M. Karunanidhi while climbing down from his three-day-long game of brinksmanship over seat-sharing with the Congress.(From left) Stalin, Rajathi and Kanimozhi with Karunanidhi (sitting)The invocation of religion by the staunchly atheist DMK patriarch reveals his acute vulnerability. This is not the first time that Karunanidhi has played the politics of threat and blackmail with an ally. He has done it before with the UPA and he did it earlier with the NDA. He is used to coming out on top, but in this latest battle with the Congress, it would seem that he has finally lost, whatever the pretence might be.The 2G scam has taken a heavy toll on the DMK and the Kalaignar. More than former telecom minister A. Raja, the ageing DMK chief is worried about the fallout of the scam on immediate members of his family. The corridors of Delhi are abuzz with talk that the CBI may summon his daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP, and wife Rajathi for questioning in the fast-expanding probe into the 2G scam. The direct implication of either Kanimozhi or Rajathi in the scam will be disastrous for the party and for Karunanidhi personally. CBI will submit a status report to the Supreme Court on March 15 and a chargesheet on March 31. Karunanidhi’s decision to accept the 63- seat demand of the Congress, after threatening to withdraw his ministers from the UPA Government over the same demand, came only after he received assurances from the Congress on his family and the 2G probe, say sources involved in the negotiations.advertisementAssurances from the Congress are clearly not enough in difficult times. The first family of Tamil Nadu politics, in a sharp departure from the party’s traditions, is seeking divine help and astrological advice in its effort to win the Assembly elections, despite all the negative publicity that the party has earned from the 2G scam.As a leading scriptwriter in the 1960s, Karunanidhi had penned fiery dialogues in film after film that conveyed a strong sense of rationality, and questioned several superstitions. That was in keeping with the tradition of the Dravidian movement, which was built on the foundation of rationalist ideology. Today, the DMK patriarch sports a yellow shawl, some say on the suggestion of an astrologer.Karunanidhi with his family at the millennium celebration of Thanjavur’s Big Temple in 2010It isn’t just Karunanidhi who is looking to astrologers for advice. The DMK leader’s second family (wife Dayalu and son M.K. Stalin) and third family (wife Rajathi and daughter Kanimozhi) have also sought the advice of astrologers. The predictions of one family astrologer will bring little comfort to the beleaguered family. “I had already predicted this downfall for the DMK a few years ago. Based on the stars, I had advised them to perform certain poojas at some of the famous temples, only to slow down the effect,” a family astrologer told India Today on the condition of anonymity. He says though the stars are good for Karunanidhi now, the stars of his son Stalin and daughter Kanimozhi do not show signs of victory.Recently, Rajathi embarked on a spiritual tour across Tamil Nadu. A few weeks ago, she visited the famous Nellaiyappar temple in Tirunelveli to offer prayers. Accompanied by state it Minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna, she offered prayers to Goddess Sri Gandhimathy and Lord Nellaiappar (Lord Shiva) at the temple. Priests performed archana and special deeparadhana during her 50-minute visit. Rajathi also visited the Nava Tirupathi (nine sacred Vaishnavite) temples near Tirunelveli during her state-wide tour.Karunanidhi has been following other superstitions in the last year. During the millennium celebrations at Thanjavur’s big temple in 2010, he avoided the main entrance because of a political jinx. It is believed that Indira Gandhi had to step down from power and M.G. Ramachandran suffered a stroke after they visited the big temple through the main entrance. That has prompted political leaders visiting the Shiva shrine to enter from the side entrance instead.Recent events have only strengthened a growing trend towards religiosity in Karunanidhi’s clan. During the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the wily patriarch’s son and DMK strongman from Madurai, M.K. Alagiri, launched his election campaign from a famous temple in Madurai after receiving full temple honours. Kanimozhi visited the famous Vaishnavite shrine Shri Rangam a few months ago. She and her mother Rajathi offered prayers at the Punnainallur Mariamman temple in Thanjavur when they visited the city for the temple’s millennium celebrations in 2010.advertisementKarunanidhi’s heir apparent and state Deputy Chief Minister Stalin visited the godman Sathya Sai Baba to seek his blessings. Rajathi even touched his feet. Kalaignar has also met Mata Amritanandamayi and Isha foundation’s Jaggi Vasudev in the recent past. When questioned about his new found affiliation to religious and spiritual leaders, Karunanidhi said he found nothing wrong in coordinating with religious persons willing to contribute to the welfare of the people.Hindu mythological metaphors are playing an important part in the DMK’s election campaign-there are several instances where Karunanidhi and Stalin are pictured as Lord Krishna and Arjuna, from the Bhagvad Gita, in the party’s election posters. The DMK has on earlier occasions used religious metaphors to propagate its own government’s programmes. In October 2009, an advertisement in the print media marking the launch of the government’s flagship medical insurance scheme had the Hindu god of death ‘Yama’ on a ferocious bull, slinging a rope on an old man in his death bed. But just before Yama’s rope reaches the old man, a hand with a full-sleeved white shirt and betraying just a hint of a yellow shawl grabs the rope to save the ailing man. The advertisement read, ‘Kaalamveesum kaiyetrai thadukka kalaignar kaapeetu thittam’, meaning Kalaignar insurance scheme to thwart the rope of Yama.For the moment, it is the Congress that has thwarted what could be 86-year-old Karunanidhi’s last act of drama in a long career in politics. The DMK chief must hope that the theatrics would help drum up the morale of the party rank and file who have the difficult task of defending the party and Raja against corruption charges. Karunanidhi’s brinksmanship with the Congress may have served some purpose in signalling to the cadres that it was the DMK that had the power to spurn the Congress, and therefore still held the upper hand in seat-sharing negotiations.The assurance that he reportedly received from the Congress party on the 2G probe may not mean much since the CBI is reporting directly to the Supreme Court on the investigation. But the DMK chief has few options. He is facing the prospect of losing power to Jayalalithaa. His arch-rival will go after his family tainted by the 2G scam. Losing power at the Centre at the same time would only make the DMK more vulnerable. That is a scenario from which even gods would find it difficult to rescue Karunandhi, his wives, sons and daughter. After six decades in politics, Karunanidhi should have known that reality when he finally accepted the Congress party’s “unreasonable” demand for 63 seats on March 8.- with Anand Natarajanlast_img read more

Indian shuttlers happy after BWF defers mandatory skirt rule

first_imgIndian shuttlers and officials on Monday welcomed the Badminton World Federation’s decision to defer the controversial mandatory skirt rule till December and hoped that the body would come up with a better regulation after fresh deliberations.Shuttler Jwala Gutta has welcomed BWF’s decision to suspend the mandatory skirt rule. AgenciesThe BWF Council in its meeting in Qingdao, China decided not to introduce the regulations regarding the mandatory use of skirts and to “further investigate the new clothing regulations after accepting a recommendation from the Women in Badminton Committee.”The mandatory ruling was initially supposed to be implemented on May 1 but after feedback from various quarters, was deferred by one a month to June 1.The rule had been fiercely opposed by India and some other Asian nations.India’s top doubles player Jwala Gutta said the BWF has done the right thing by going back to the drawing board to look for a more viable regulation.”It is a very good decision by the BWF. They couldn’t have gone ahead with the mandatory skirt ruling anyways. It can never be a compulsion on the players and it is good that they are rethinking about the decision,” Jwala said.Badminton Association of India Vice President TPS Puri also welcomed the decision of the governing body.”This is the right approach by the BWF. If it would have been made compulsory then many players would have become uncomfortable. A lot of nations, including India objected to the mandatory nature of the ruling and we welcome this decision of the governing body,” Puri said.advertisementThe decision to defer the implementation of the ruling was made after receiving feedback from the Athletes Commission, which represents the players’ interests in the BWF Council with full voting rights.”There have been various feedbacks from many quarters and after taking into account all these comments, especially those from the Athletes’ Commission, it is our recommendation to Council to do further study before implementing new clothing regulations,” former world champion Nora Perry, who heads the Women In Badminton Committee, said.”It is still our intention to focus on a better presentation of the game, but we would like to broaden the scope to include both men and women, and the feedback will also include views from various stakeholders such as the clothing manufacturers,” said Perry.”The Committee is also pleased that the BWF Council has accepted our recommendation and we would continue to work closely with the Athletes Commission, clothing manufacturers and other stakeholders to prepare a new proposal with a broader scope to Council in December,” she added. .Jwala said it is good that the committee has decided to bring apparel manufacturers on board.”It is nice that they are working closely with the cloth manufacturers. Hopefully they can come out with designer on-court outfits which will help raise the glamour quotient and the profile of women in badminton,” she said.Former shuttler Madhumita Bisht, who became the national sub-junior champion in 1977 and went on to become an eight-time national singles champion and nine-time doubles winner, said the number of times the ruling has been deferred indicates that the BWF is taking time to come out with the right regulation.”First they made it May 1, then June 1 and now December, it only shows they are on the right track and taking enough time to come out with the right decision,” she said.”Countries such as India, China, Indonesia and some European countries also objected to it and they can’t make it mandatory. Now I hope they will go through it properly and talk with all the associations and come out with a right approach.”It should always be the players’ prerogative to decide what they would wear and what makes them comfortable. If the ruling is restrictive in nature, it will hamper their performance. The BWF will definitely look into it now,” she added.- With PTI inputslast_img read more


first_imgTHE HIGHER CIRCLE Entries or exits, the power list, now in its fourth edition, is a barometer of its times. It is a charmed group of people, but also one that is subject to changes in the economy and society. In 2004, a year in which media was starting to,THE HIGHER CIRCLEEntries or exits, the power list, now in its fourth edition, is a barometer of its times.It is a charmed group of people, but also one that is subject to changes in the economy and society. In 2004, a year in which media was starting to make headlines, there was a sudden spurt in the representation: from six in 2003, their number went up to 10. In 2005, a year which saw a change of government and ideology, there was a change again-the number of academics/activists, in keeping with the altered state of the state, shot up to 13. This year again, after a succession of IPOs, launches of new TV channels and a new phase of FM radio bids, the media has bounced back. There is a core, though, to the list, dominated in the absence of the sarkar, by big business, that is undisturbed: 20 names have remained common to the list since its inception in 2003, including of the Brothers Ambani, who have since split. The average age of the power listers has declined: from 58 to 55. This year’s list has new stars: Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani is the highest entrant at No 13, while Vijay Mallya has shot up 18 places since last year. Merit, as always, triumphs.1. RATAN TATA, INDUSTRIALIST World Power Because he has made Tatas a truly global group with 25 per cent of its revenues coming from overseas operations across 40 countries. Because his group market capitalisation is now $45 billion (over Rs 2,00,000 crore), the largest in the country. Because Tata Group revenues have doubled to nearly a trillion rupees in just four years. Because he is the first among equals in an array of areas: Tata Tea is the world’s largest integrated tea company, TCS is Asia’s largest software company, and Tata Steel is India’s second largest steel producer. Because he has pumped more than Rs 4,500 crore into acquisitions since 2002, ranging from the purchase of the spiffy New York hotel, The Pierre, to a joint venture with IMACID, a chemicals company in Morocco. Because as chairman of the Government’s Investment Commission, he is not afraid of speaking out against vested private interests and political pulls. Because with Tata Sons raising the retirement age of non-executive directors to 75, he isn’t saying tata for another six years. Little-known fact: Is the country’s largest private sector employer with over 2,20,000 employees. Is embarrassed about: The public spat with Kumar Mangalam Birla over shareholding in Idea Cellular. Is secretive about: What the Rs 1-lakh car will look like. First love: Flying either of his two Falcon jets. Current love: Two German Shepherd pups. Holidays are: Private affairs mostly in Europe. Off-duty attire: Armani vests, casual shirts, khakis.2. MUKESH AMBANI, INDUSTRIALIST The Winner Because he has inherited the original legacy of the patriarch-Reliance Industries Limited. Because despite losing half his empire to his brother, he has raised Reliance Group’s market capitalisation from Rs 60,000 crore to Rs 1,09,000 crore. Because Reliance Industries, with revenues touching Rs 1,00,000 crore, continues to be India’s largest and only private sector company in the Fortune 500 list. Because he was cochairman of the World Economic Forum this year, when India was ‘everywhere’. Because his Reliance Petro is in line for a big bang Rs 6,000-crore public issue next month. Because he has ambitious plans to invest Rs 25,000 crore to double the capacity of his Jamnagar facility, making it the world’s largest grassroots refinery. Because he is all set to storm the retail segment with a Rs 30,000 crore spend on Wal-Mart-style stores. Because when he walks the corridors of power, everyone does a salaam namaste. Little cool buddies: Anand Jain and Manoj Modi, his classmates from Hill Grange School in Mumbai. Stress management tool: Watching a Hindi film every night and taking vacations in Africa, with his family. His children, Akash, Isha and Anant, joke that even the animals can recognise them. Little-known fact: Wife Nita downloads his diet chart on his phone to keep him from excessive eating. Hot wheels: The Rs 5.25-crore Maybach. Is member of the advisory board of: McKinsey, Citibank, Stanford University and Brookings Institution. Annual ritual: Predicting Oscar and Filmfare winners.3. N. R. NARAYANA MURTHY, INDUSTRIALIST Mentor Mantle Because he has transcended the growth of Infosys as a globally respected corporation to emerge as a thought leader promoting the cause of Indian companies on the world stage. Because he is a powerful Indian presence in top academic institutions ranging from Wharton to Cornell University. Because instead of kowtowing to former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, he quit as chairman of the Bangalore International Airport before pointing out his company’s investment in Karnataka. Because the only public office that would tempt him is that of Indian Ambassador to the US. Big move: Investing Rs 285 crore in Infosys’ global education campus in Mysore, the world’s largest training centre, which can absorb 30,000 students every year. Little cool buddy: 22-year-old son Rohan who is doing his PhD in computer science at Harvard. Stress management tool: Music and travel. He is on the move 25 days a month. Prized possession: The entire works of Mozart on 176 CDs. Little-known fact: Reads books on maths and solves crosswords and puzzles. Hopes to: Ring in the 25th anniversary of the company in July and step down to become non-executive chairman, functioning from an office where he can walk down from his home. Is obsessed with: Fairness and excellence in all his dealings, no matter with whom. Favourite line: “Go ahead. Do your own thing, and have fun.”4. AMITABH BACHCHAN, ACTOR Super Brand Because when he fell ill last year, the film and television industry went into intensive care. Because with his performances in Black, Bunty Aur Babli and Sarkar, he redefined old age to rhyme with cool dude. Because his own critical and commercial achievements, culminating in an awards sweep, have been bolstered by pride in his son Abhishek’s box office success. Because Kaun Banega Crorepati 2 surprised naysayers by winning audiences, phone calls and Rs 270 crore as ad revenue. Power moment: When Abhishek was nominated in the best actor category this year, even as he himself was nominated for best supporting actor. Stress management tool: Working out in his personal gym at home. Currently reading: Medical reports, income tax notices and scripts. Little-known fact: Loves listening to the same music as Abhishek, which varies from trance to house and hip-hop to electronica. Next move: To pray and start shooting by the end of this month. Last thing he does before going to bed: Read all newspaper and magazine cuttings that mention him or his family. Latest prized possession: Painting of Ganesh gifted to him by M.F. Husain when he visited him in hospital last year. In 1982, Husain had painted a Hanuman for him. Biggest personal discovery of the year: The excellence in medical care that helped him recover. The affection of friends, colleagues and well-wishers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who wrote to him during his illness. 5. KUMAR MANGALAM BIRLA, INDUSTRIALIST Growth King Becausehe is the chairman of one of the fastest growing business houses in India, with a market cap of Rs 50,000 crore. Because whether it is standing up to Ratan Tata or to Rajendra Lodha, he is not afraid of a bruiser. Because grandfather B.K. Birla has declared Kumar will inherit his stake in the sprawling family empire, making him the Birla to bet on. Because the Government has its ear cocked to his softspoken critiques, be it as chairman of the advisory committee of the Ministry of Company Affairs or as a member of the PM’s Advisory Council on Trade and Industry. Little cool buddies: His three children, Ananyashree, Aryaman Vikram and Advaitesha, aged 11, 8 and 2. Stress management tool: Weekly satsangs, conducted by the Chinmaya Mission at his home. Out of the closet: His favourite colour is blue, his favourite brand Louis Phillippe, which he owns. Hot wheels: Bottle green BMW 5 series.6. ANIL AMBANI, INDUSTRIALIST Return Of The Jedi Becausehe has not only fought tooth and nail for his share of empire but hammered out his own. Because the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is now No. 3 in India Inc. Because he has successfully listed the telecom arm Reliance Communications Venture to claim a group market capitalisation of over Rs 86,500 crore. Because with over Rs 5,000 crore in operating profits, ADAG is among the top three profit-making entities. Because with 19 million subscribers, he is the largest telecom player in the country. Because with his investments in media such as a 51 per cent stake in Adlabs, a hospital in Mumbai, acquisition of life insurance company AMP Sanmar, and investments in power projects in Dadri and Orissa, he is poised to have a presence in virtually every significant sector of the economy. Because he has successfully morphed a clutch of companies into a cohesive group despite an ongoing battle with his brother. Power moment: When he got his mother Kokilaben to ensure his brother kept his word on the sharing of natural gas for his proposed power plants. Hot wheels: Toyota Landcruiser. Book on his bedside: The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. Loves to: Talk facts and figures. His rivals are surprised by: How much he knows about their business.7. AZIM PREMJI, INDUSTRIALIST Mr Ethics Because the richest Indian with a personal wealth of over Rs 30,000 crore remained unruffled by the exit of Vivek Paul, the fifth vice-chairman of Wipro Technologies in six years, and showed he could run the company, which remains the largest BPO services provider in India. Because he has shown that he cares with a foundation that spends over Rs 20 crore a year from his personal wealth to improve primary education facilities for 2,500,000 students in 13 states. Because he believes ethics in business is an asset, not a liability, that may increase transaction time but reduces cost. Because the Financial Times ranked him tenth among the top 25 influential people in the world. Hot wheels: A Toyota Corolla, which the frugal tycoon bought last year after many years of being driven around Bangalore in a Ford Escort. Big cool buddy: His wife Yasmin. USP: Works the details. Little-known fact: Last year, this electrical engineer from Stanford became the first Indian to be awarded the Faraday Medal established in 1922 by the Institution of Electrical Engineers, Europe.8. NARESH GOYAL, BUSINESSMAN Air Don Because he owns India’s biggest and the most profitable airline, valued at Rs 11,000 crore. Because when Jet Airways launched flights to Singapore and London, even mighty rivals like Singapore Airlines and British Airways slashed fares by 30 per cent. Because he has a formidable global network of 123 airlines issuing Jet tickets to travellers to India. Close associates: Javed Akhtar, Yash Chopra, Deepak Parekh, Vijay Kelkar and almost every bureaucrat in the civil aviation ministry. Embarrassing moment: Fall out with Singapore Airlines, the carrier he admires the most. Was caught unawares: By the sudden onslaught of low-cost airlines. Is obsessed with: Getting passenger feedback on Jet’s on-time performance and inflight experience on a daily basis, even when he is in London, where he spends half of the year. Mentor power: J.R.D. Tata introduced him to the then Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar and Javed Akhtar put him in touch with Madhavrao Scindia, the then civil aviation minister. These associations were instrumental in his phenomenal rise. Little-known fact:Was working on a plan to launch an airline in Scotland before he started Jet Airways. Also known as: Kakaji. Next big move: Raise another $800 million (Rs 3,600 crore) from the market and launch flights to the US.9. SUNIL MITTAL, BUSINESSMAN Lord Of The Ring Because with over 17 million mobile subscribers and a presence in all 23 mobile phone circles, the cellular sultan has the biggest footprint in the country. Because Vodafone’s approximately Rs 6,700-crore purchase of 10 per cent of Bharti Tele-Ventures has made him the owner of a Rs 74,000-crore telecom company. Because with a personal wealth of over Rs 25,000 crore, the third richest man in the country is diversifying into agriculture and life insurance, the latter in partnership with French company, Axa. Close associates: Kamal Nath, Sheila Dikshit, Farooq Abdullah, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s family, and DLF’s K.P. Singh. Biggest regret: Withdrawal by Singapore’s Changi airport from the bid for modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports which also put Mittal out of the race. Latest customers: All the employees of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries who were asked to switch to Airtel when the empire split. Little-known fact: Is a part-time hotelier, having bought and refurbished the 12-acre, 150-room Le Meridien Barbarons Hotel in Seychelles, which came with his acquisition of Telecom Seychelles. Stress management tool: A daily walk around Delhi’s Lodhi Garden. Best recent compliment: From Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who said he was expecting him to effect a transformation in agriculture. Fetishes: Neatness. And can never switch off from business.10. SAMIR AND VINEET JAIN, MEDIA BARONS Expanding Times Because their ownership of The Times of India, the country’s largest selling English daily with a circulation of over two million, sustained in the face of competition, gives them tremendous corporate and political clout. Because they have fulfilled a long-standing ambition to enter the TV news channel market, with Times Now. Because they have set new trends in advertising by buying stakes in big cross-group advertisers such as Videocon and Pantaloon Retail. Because they had a successful IPO of Entertainment Network India Limited, that raised over Rs 200 crore and operates, among others, Radio Mirchi, which has seven radio stations, with seven more to go. Because while their rivals have dumbed down, they have smartened up. Power moment: Getting President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as guest editor of The Times of India. Relative values: The family’s close relationship with religious gurus. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Deepak Chopra are current favourites. Should be embarrassed about: The tabloid Mumbai Mirror, which was launched with much fanfare, and is now circulated free as part of TOI’s Mumbai edition. Prized possession: The family’s art collection, which Samir Jain’s brother-in-law was asked to evaluate. Character traits: Samir likes exotic flowers, endless religious discourses and Indian art; Vineet likes high tech, high life and low costs. Turnaround: Loosened purse-strings for journalists who were earlier second-class citizens.11. SUBHASH CHANDRA, MEDIA BARONS Turn Around Because his channel Zee TV is finally back in the TRP reckoning, with a 25 per cent revenue raise this year. Because in tandem with the Bhaskar Group, the chairman of Essel Group has taken on The Times of India in Mumbai with DNA. Because though he has stepped back from micro-managing, he still takes his role as TV pioneer seriously, launching Zee Sports, the first sports channel owned by an Indian, Play TV, the country’s first interactive gaming channel, and Zee Arabiya. Little-known fact: He is a high school dropout who wanted to be an engineer. Recent personal acquisition: A customised Mercedes Vito van. Surprise: Zee TV CEO Pradeep Guha has lasted more than a year. 12. ANAND MAHINDRA, INDUSTRIALIST In Top Gear Because he has ramped up M&M’s group turnover to Rs 14,300 crore from Rs 11,250 crore. Because the group market cap has doubled from Rs 6,750 crore to Rs 13,500 crore. Because all his businesses: auto, software, real estate and finance are firing from all cylinders. Because with the acquisition of aerospace engineering company Plexion and forging giant Am Forge, M&M is poised to storm the market as an auto conglomerate which designs, engineers and produces vehicles. Because he is entering the truck market with International Trucks and the car market with Renault. BecauseTech Mahindra will belisted this year. Because he is seen as the articulate face of the young Indian entrepreneur. Book on his bedside: Saturday by Ian McEwan. Latest passion: His new boat, Dreamcatcher. What he told Bush: “We would like to sell a tractor to you.”13. NANDAN NILEKANI, BUSINESS EXECUTIVE Digital Dada Because he has strengthened Infosys as a global brand that has doubled revenues in less than two years to cross the $2 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) mark this year. Because his thoughts on the playing field being levelled inspired a new business concept as interpreted in Thomas L. Friedman’s best seller The World is Flat. Because he believes brand India is on a winning wicket and chaired CII’s “India Everywhere” campaign at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year. Little-known fact: He got the Joseph Schumpeter award of the Austrian government, joining an elite club that includes Helmut Kohl and Ted Turner. Loves: Listening to Pink Floyd and Dire Straits on his iPod. First pay: Rs 1,200 with Patni Computers in 1979.14. PETER MUKERJEA, BUSINESS EXECUTIVE Murdoch’s Man Because his second Hindi entertainment channel, Star One, took off quicker than all the wits on the uber-successful Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Because after a little adjustment for cross-media control guidelines, the ill-starred direct-to-home (DTH) service, Tata Sky, will start operations by June in Mumbai, almost a decade after Rupert Murdoch first made his move. Because in the volatile world of satellite TV, his channel bouquet remains the leader in the Hindi general entertainment segment, with revenues of Rs 1,900 crore, and in the even more erratic world of TV talent, 13 years on, he remains the Star TV CEO. Usual management tool: Always ask why. If there’s no convincing answer, there’s no compelling reason. Little cool buddy: Eight-year-old daughter Vidhi, whose homework he does so he can spend time playing with her. Big cool buddies: Doon School mates (1971 batch). Among them, TV anchor Karan Thapar and Max India’s Analjit Singh. Best recent party: His 50th birthday in November last year, celebrated in Thailand, with family, including his 25-year-old and 23-year-old sons from his first marriage. Biggest revelation: When he went to a little tea shop in Nainital and saw Star Utsav on air through Doordarshan’s DTH service.15. DEEPAK PAREKH, BANKER Home Truth Because he has the ear of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is a trusted advisor of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. Because the Rs 1,50,000-crore HDFC group, serving 1.2 crore customers, is one of the largest financial sector groups, straddling home loans, insurance, banking and mutual funds. Because HDFC Bank is the best-run bank. Because thanks to his networking with global CEOs and investment bankers, he is the first stop for investors looking at India. Because no matter who is in power, Parekh is the crisis manager. Loves to: Watch cricket at Lords and tennis at Wimbledon. Favourite relaxation: The odd peg of a 30-year-old Ballantine, with a friend at his artistically designed apartment in south Mumbai. Secret passion: Chocolate cookies, which he buys by the bagful on his foreign trips. Is embarrassed about: His Mumbaiyya Hindi, but only when he is speaking to friends in the Capital.16. SUBRATA ROY, BUSINESSMAN The Survivor Because he has withstood a series of reverses, personal and professional, with his famous friends-if not his Rs 50,000-crore fiefdom-intact. Because he has made sure his luxury real estate and entertainment divisions are unaffected by the change in Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines making it mandatory for his parabanking company to deploy 100 per cent of its deposits in government securities. Because he beat tough competition to win the Indian cricket team’s sponsorship rights for four years, with a bid of over Rs 300 crore, ensuring his brand is always in the spotlight. Should be embarrassed about: His disappearing act which led to rumours of a mysterious illness. Home to him is: A 100-acre estate in Lucknow, where you need a smart card to enter. Recent accomplishment: Losing 15 kg in three months.17. KALANIDHI MARAN, MEDIA BARON Southern Express Because he launched the evening daily Tamizh Murasu that sells more than 4,00,000 copies and introduced the tabloid format for the first time in Tamil mass media in 2005. Because, in a switch in strategy, he bagged 45 of the 69 FM radio licences on offer this year to move beyond the Vindhyas. Because he expanded TV coverage with two more music channels-Aditya in Telugu music and Udaya 2 in Kannada-to make Sun TV a 14-channel network. Because all roadblocks to his DTH licence have been cleared. Because his is the No. 1 TV network in the country, with a 20 per cent share of the cable and satellite households, while Star at No. 2 has a 17 per cent share. Because even Jayalalithaa has not dared to target Maran, though he is bitter rival K. Karunanidhi’ grand nephew. Relative values: It doesn’t hurt that his younger brother Dayanidhi is Minister of Communications and Information Technology.Hot wheels: A gleaming silver Porsche bought last year. Loves: Spicy Thai cuisine18. ADITYA CHOPRA, PRODUCER Studio One Because Yash Raj Films (YRF) made Rs 130 crore at the box office last year from three successive films. Because while Yash Chopra is the public face of the company, his son has quietly powered the company into distribution, audio, home video, and now a Rs 100-crore state-of-the-art airconditioned studio, whose interiors have been designed by wife Payal. Because his “must-watch-every-new-film-in-a-theatre-on-Friday” theory allows him to tap into contemporary culture. Because nothing in his company escapes his eagle eye, from the pictures sent to the media to the font on premiere invites. Because while other filmmakers say give the market what it wants, he says the market should want what he gives. Because he can make, or unmake, Bollywood stars. Master-of-the-universe move: Has invested in a film development and special projects division which works on scripts by new writers, surprising in an industry which puts wordsmiths at the bottom of the food chain. Fetish: Never gets photographed or interviewed. Thinks nothing of: Dropping all work to fly to New York for over a week to help childhood buddy Karan Johar in the shoot of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Usually to be found: Playing table tennis with in-house directors at the YRF office-cum-studio.19. VIJAY MALLYA, BUSINESSMAN advertisementadvertisementadvertisementHigh On Flying Because by launching Kingfisher Airlines, he put the class back into economy air travel, and by paying over Rs 1,500 crore for Shaw Wallace, UB became the world’s second largest liquor company. Because two of his labels, Bagpiper and McDowell No. 1, are the largest selling whisky brands in the world. Cool buddies: Biotech tycoon Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, banker Anil Khanna, UB distributor Neeraj Rawal, car racer Vicky Chandok and school buddy Rafiq Gangjee.Stress management tool: Party, which he did in style for three consecutive days in Goa on turning 50. Lionel Ritchie sang-all night long. Fetish: Sports the all-black attire for 41 days before going to pray at Sabarimala once a year. Prized possession: Tipu Sultan’s sword bought for Rs 1.50 crore from a London auction house. New toy: A $35 million Airbus corporate jet to add to a collection which includes a fleet of 100 cars and two yachts.20. E. SREEDHARAN, ENGINEER Delivery Man Because with 4,50,000 people travelling by Delhi Metro on a daily basis, he has changed the way the Capital commutes. Because he has laid 56 km of rail lines in seven years at a cost of Rs 10,571 crore, in the busiest areas of Delhi, without disrupting traffic. Because he is an icon of credibility, as the Government showed when it invited him to evaluate the controversial airport modernisation bids. USP: Punctuality. Any train late by more than 60 seconds is declared “dead”. Stress management tool: Yoga, an afternoon nap, no parties, snooze time-8.30 p.m. Bet you didn’t know: Gifted a copy of The Bhagwad Gita to all DMRC staff on new year. Fetish: Keeps a notebook next to him, even when he is doing yoga, to write down ideas.21. K.V. KAMATH, BANKER Cashing In Because ICICI is the fastest growing and the largest private sector bank in the country. Because he took the total assets of what was once just a development finance institution, from over Rs 1,45,000 crore in 2004 to about Rs 2,10,000 crore last year. Because the total number of accounts in ICICI Bank jumped from 10 million to 17 million and total deposits from almost Rs 82,000 crore to Rs 1,34,000 crore in a year. Because ICICI is the leader in retail lending. Because he was the first to identify and benefit from the boom in small town India, and is now focusing on the rural market. Because he has taken the ICICI business global with branches in 10 countries across the globe. Because he enabled the successful settlement of troubles in India’s largest business house, Reliance. Books on his bedside: Adventures of a Bystander by Peter Drucker and Universal History of Numbers by Georges Ifrah. Loves to: Watch Formula One car racing and Grand Slam tennis. Mentor power: ICICI chairman emeritus Narayan Vaghul. Stress management tool: Weight training and stretching exercises. Fetish: Always dresses in shades of blue. Favourite film star: Ultimate showman Raj Kapoor. Would like to: Pay more attention to his health. Favourite line: The next growth horizon is rural India. We must make sure we get in place for the boom.22. SHAH RUKH KHAN, ACTOR Box-Office Badshah Because despite a lacklustre year at the box office, his marquee value remains undiminished, thanks to a series of high-visibility advertising campaigns. Because he has smartly replaced Amitabh Bachchan in the much-sought-after affections of the Gandhi family. Because at 40, he is the king every new pretender has to unseat. Books by his bedside: Reads several simultaneously. His current crop: Khushwant Singh’s I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale Sing; Muhammad Umar Memon’s Book of Urdu Short Stories; and A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage. Loves to: Watch DVDs, especially episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives and Nip and Tuck, usually on his new laptop, a Compaq Presario, the latest brand endorsed by him. What drives him: The idea of working. Fashion statement: Black Gucci vest, Seven jeans, Cesar Paciotti shoes, Tag Heuer watch and Louis Vuitton bag. Stress management tool: Spending time with his children Aryaan, 8, and Suhana, 4. Drops them to school first thing in the morning and tucks them to bed at night, before hitting his personal gym.23. PRANNOY AND RADHIKA ROY, MEDIA OWNERS Making News Because they have maintained their leadership in the hard-nosed English news channel segment with a 33 per cent market share. Because Prannoy Roy is still the most credible face on Indian TV. Because together, they constitute a formidable team which commands respect and loyalty in equal measure. Major moment: Making their maiden appearance at the WEF jamboree in Davos. Should be embarrassed about: Losing Rajdeep Sardesai and the others who joined him at CNN-IBN. Stress management tool: Weekends in Mussoorie hideaway. Relative values: Their closeness to Radhika’s sister Brinda Karat and niece, filmmaker Shonali Bose.24. RAHUL BAJAJ, INDUSTRIALIST Cruise Control Because in a highly competitive market, Bajaj Auto is back in the fast lane. Because within a year, his company’s gross turnover jumped from about Rs 5,800 crore to Rs 9,000 crore. Because the market capitalisation of his shares has almost quadrupled to Rs 30,000 crore. Because by March-end, Bajaj would have sold over 2.3 million bikes and could just nudge back to pole position. Because Hamara Bajaj is still the first voice to crash the sound barrier when it comes to airing Indian business interests. Because he is still the captain of Indian industry far beyond his two-wheeler empire. Favourite film stars: Clint Eastwood and Amitabh Bachchan. His all-time favourite movie is Sholay. Preferred vacation: Going on cruises. Has done five, including on the Caribbean, Alaska and the Mediterranean. Rare honour: The Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award last year. He is only the second Indian to have received it. Stays clear of: Party politics, as “I will lose the freedom to speak out”. Next goal: Ensuring the split with brother Shishir goes smoothly.25. RAMESH AND SUDHIR AGARWAL, MEDIA BARONS DNA Warriors Because they have forayed into English media by launching DNA in partnership with Zee, adding it to their folio of language newspapers in 26 cities and six states and securing an estimated readership of over 1.5 crore, according to the National Readership Survey. Because with a Rs 135-crore plan to launch FM stations in 17 towns, the Rs 2,000-crore group synergy is being closely watched by industry analysts. Because by sparing no expense in the launch of DNA (Rs 80 crore on just the market survey and ad blitz), they have shown they have deep pockets and the guts to empty them. Cool buddies: For Ramesh, they are sons Sudhir, Girish and Pawan, and classmate Vimal Bhandari. For Sudhir, it is homemaker wife Jyoti. Are embarrassed about: For Ramesh, it’s for being tightfisted with journalists in the past. For Sudhir, it’s for not having moved out of a small town in time. Addicted to: Work. So much so, that they had to organise annual Dandia fests on Dussehra to socialise in Bhopal. Next move: This year they plan to start Bhaskar from Punjab, another DNA edition and an FM radio station in Jaipur. Another 16 FM stations will be launched in January 2007. 26. M.F. HUSAIN, ARTIST Celebrity Feat Because he derives his power purely by dint of his barefoot genius. Becausethough he holds no public office, and never has, he is anall-encompassing cultural phenomenon. Because he is ubiquitous, whetherhe is being hounded by fundamentalists for a painting of Bharat Mata orbeing feted by the art mart. Because last year, his work Last Suppernotched the highest ever sale price of $2 million (approximately Rs 8.80 crore) in an online sale in Singapore. Because though he has no fixedaddress, he still manages to mark his presence indelibly in theimagination of innumerable people. Stress management tool: Watching Hindi films, sometimes more than one a day. Sometimes the same film over and over again. Current favourite: Iqbal. Obsessed with: Women. As muse and consort. Big cool buddy: Filmmaker Yash Chopra. Next move: To make his autobiographical film M.F. Husain ki Kahani. 27. AMAR SINGH, POLITICIAN Thakur On Top Beacuse he has transformed a personal embarrassment into a political campaign to revive the Third Front, getting support from across the divide, from J. Jayalalithaa to Prakash Karat. Because despite no mass appeal, he is probably the most important person in Uttar Pradesh, thanks to his proximity to Mulayam Singh Yadav. Because despite his troubles, his famous friends stand by him. Obsessive about: Sonia Gandhi, whom he blames for all the wrongs in his life, from his children’s education to the Samajwadi Party being kept out of the UPA Government. Should be embarrassed about: Risque phone conversations with women friends that his wife and daughters seem comfortable with. Stress management tool: Photo-ops with his close buddies at religious pilgrimage spots.28. JAVED AKHTAR AND SHABANA AZMI, ARTISTES Voices Of Reason Because taking time off from powerhouse performances and speed lyrics, they have invested effort in social causes, be it earthquake relief or creating awareness about the Muslim Personal Law Board. Because while Azmi’s international work continues, Akhtar has found an unexpected additional profession: as speaker at various symposiums across the world. Because they are often called to 10 Janpath for brainstorming sessions. Little-known fact: Azmi is the “world’s worst cook” and Akhtar was a gymnast as a boy and a ballroom dancer in his 20s. Prized possession: Azmi says it is her father’s gold Mont Blanc pen, the “only material possession he had”, which her mother gave her with a beautiful note. For Akhtar, it is an Anjolie Ela Menon.29. RAJNIKANT, ACTOR Marquee Mogul Because the Tamil superstar burned up the screens last year for 325 days, making Rs 60 crore with Chandramukhi. Because with a Rs 15-crore cheque for his forthcoming Sivaji, he has emerged as the country’s highest paid actor. Because he opened an entire new world market for Tamil films with his 1995 hit, Muthu. Because he has resisted the temptation to monetise his celebrity status and promote any brand. Little-known fact: After completing a film he goes on a 40-day pilgrimage to the Himalayas. Big cool buddies: Telugu actor Mohan Babu and Kannada star Ambarish. Prized possession: A white Fiat he bought from his first earnings in the 1970s. Stress management tool: A dose of meditation and Black Dog whisky. Relative values: Tamil star Dhanush is his son-in-law.30. RAGHAV BAHL, MEDIA TYCOON Business Boom Because with Awaaz, CNN-IBN and a stake in Channel 7, his Rs 1,100-crore media house TV18 has grown from being a single-channel company to a versatile news bouquet in the past 13 months. Because CNBC and Awaaz have given him 80 per cent of the business news market. Because he commands the respect of industry veterans with his non-abrasive but firm style of anchoring, which he does less frequently now, on the weekday CNBC show The Nation’s Business. Fetish: Guards his privacy fiercely. “I have no social friends. All my friends are people I work with,” he says. Should be embarrassed about: Not being tech savvy, despite being at the helm of a business empire. Stress management tool: A glass of Scotch, preferably Ballantine’s or Johnie Walker Black Label, aged between 12 and 18 years. Or a session of yoga.31. T. VENKATRAM REDDY, MEDIA BARON Deccan King Because he survived the onslaught of The Hindu and The Times of India to retain Deccan Chronicle’s position as Andhra Pradesh’s largest selling English daily. Because the Rs 149 crore he raised on the stock market in December 2004 helped him acquire The Asian Age, buy the Odyssey chain of stores, take his daily to Chennai and emerge, or so he says, as the owner of the fourth largest English newspaper. Because he also publishes The International Herald Tribune. Master-of-the-universe move: Launching Deccan Chronicle in Chennai last year to take on the Mahavishnu of Mount Road, The Hindu. Prized possessions: A Porsche Cayenne and a Rolex Daytona cosmograph. Big cool buddies: Vijay Mallya and M.J. Akbar. Should be embarrassed about: Not getting a second term in the Rajya Sabha despite his Congressman father.32. RAKESH JHUNJHUNWALA, STOSK BROKER Raging Bull Because from being a mere trader, he has gone on to become a builder of strong companies through private equity investments in assets as varied as ratings firm Crisil and security company Tops Security. Because he saw the future in 2002, predicting long before the charge of the bull brigade began, that the stock market was on the verge of a boom. Because he bet on Titan in 2001 when the stock was trading at Rs 35, and now, when he holds 8.5 per cent stake in the company, its stock price is Rs 800. Big cool buddies: Fellow investors Radhakrishnan Damani, Ramesh Damani and Kalpraj Dharamsi. Little-known fact: That he is the cousin of Anil Ambani’s lieutenant Amitabh Jhunjhunwala. Dream: To buy and fly a Gulfstream aircraft. Embarrassed about: His weight. He thinks he eats and drinks too much and wants to lose 25 kg. Next move: To become an international trader and investor when the Reserve Bank of India allows capital account convertibility.33. MAHENDRA MOHAN AND SANJAY GUPTA, MEDIA BARONS Heartland Honchos Because the 25-edition Dainik Jagran’s claim of the largest readership of about two crore is backed by IRS, NRS and ABC. Because they had a successful IPO, raising over Rs 300 crore. Because with strategic tie-ups with the UK-based O’Reilly’s The Independent and CNN-IBN, the Guptas acquired formidable partners last year. Because the group, with an annual turnover of more than Rs 450 crore, now plans to launch an English language newspaper and a standalone weekly tabloid. Little-known fact: Sanjay’s father, grandfather and uncle shared a prison cell in Kanpur during the Emergency for four days. Prized possessions: His father’s Rolex watch for Sanjay. For Mahendra, it is his father’s teachings. Best known for: Hosting parties which bring the heartland’s street cuisine to Delhi, with an array of chaats and sweets. Little cool buddies: Sanjay is close to son Dhruva, 12, while Mahendra has a card-playing set.34. SATISH SHARMA, POLITICIAN Favourite Uncle Because he is the only “uncle” who is as close to the Gandhi Gen Next as he was to Rajiv Gandhi. Because he is the only MP to contest from both the First Family constituencies, Amethi and Rae Bareli. Because though he may not have become minister, he has enough power to decide who does. Prized possession: The Indian flag carried by space shuttle Discovery. It hangs in his drawing room. His style: Patek Philippe watch, holidays on the French Riviera and flying his favourite B-200 King Air Beechcraft. Fetish: Jogging morning and evening at his farm. Relative values: His Dutch-born wife keeps his feet firmly on the ground.35. SACHIN TENDULKAR, SPORTSMAN Top Earner Because at 5 ft 4 inch, he continues to stand tall in cricket with more international centuries than anyone else in the game. Because after 16 years in a fickle business he is still the highest earning celebrity brand, over Big B and SRK. Because in his presence, presidents, prime ministers and tycoons all turn into fans. Little-known fact: The man of steel suffers from pre-match nerves and disturbed sleep before big games. It is his way of getting ready. Prized possession: Toss up between the Ferrari 360 Modena and the guitar presented to him by rock great Mark Knopfler. Big cool buddies: Everyone wants him to be their instant best friend but Tendulkar’s inner circle of childhood confidants and Mumbai cricketers is a small one. Stress management tool: The iPod with its Bose speaker-docking station that carries all his music. His favourites: Dire Straits, Pink Floyd and, recently, Robbie Williams.36. AAMIR KHAN, ACTOR Rebel With Cause Because he has emerged as Bollywood’s Arundhati Roy, taking on causes such as corruption and terrorism. Because he emerged from his self-imposed fouryear exile to get a great first-week box office revenue of Rs 19 crore for the Rs 35-crore Mangal Pandey; a dream-run of Rs 50 crore, and still counting, for the Rs 25-crore Rang De Basanti, and endorsements from Titan and Toyota. Because he rose above tabloid fodder about his second marriage to Kiran Rao to reach out to audiences directly with his work. Little-known fact: He is a big prankster, going to great lengths to play April Fool’s Day jokes on his friends. Fetish: Being accurately quoted in the media, down to the dotted i-s and the crossed t-s, and will pursue it even if it takes a two-hour SMS session. Preferred transport: He never travels in anything less than a Mercedes. This is written in every contract. Character trait: No starry tantrums while working. Often shares a makeup van and eats with the unit.37. KIRAN MAZUMDAR SHAW, BUSINESSWOMAN Bionic Woman Because apart from retaining her position as India’s richest woman, she has become a voice to reckon with on industrial issues. Because she was the only woman CMD in the high-powered CEO forum formed by the Government on how best to boost trade relations with the US. Because she is not afraid to speak her mind and has even taken on state governments. Because doors open for the Padma Bhushan winner in Delhi, even those leading to 10 Janpath. Badly needs: Stress management. Admits she hasn’t learnt to prioritise her life and tends to say yes to almost everything. Is embarrassed about: Bangalore’s infrastructure and the proposal to change its name to Bengaluru. Cool buddies: Nandan Nilekani, Vijay Mallya and Naina Lal Kidwai. Fashion statement: Pearls and kurtis. Loves: Everything Scottish. Husband John Shaw is from there, her home is called Glenmore, and she cannot live without vacations in Glasgow. Dotes on: Her 10-year-old nephew Eric, who lives in Indiana, USA.38. SUNITA NARAIN, ENVIRONMENTALIST Agent Provocateur Because she has become the Government’s lightning rod on environment issues. Because be it the vanishing tigers of Sariska, the clean-up of the Yamuna, fighting for green fuel for public transport or pushing soft drink companies to meet water quality standards, the Government sought and listened to her advice. Because she is willing to do in-depth research and push ahead with the cause even in the face of debilitating criticism. Cool buddies: Retired IAS officer Bhure Lal and agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan. Stress management: Yoga. A teacher comes home daily. Hot wheels: Wants to switch to a battery-operated car from her current Maruti Zen. Little-known fact: The fact-finding and research-oriented ecologist has a BA Pass course.39. KAPILA VATSYAYAN, CULTURAL ADMINISTRATOR Doughty Doyenne Because despite a PIL against her, the newly-nominated Rajya Sabha member has made a comeback to Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, one of the richest cultural institutions of the country, from where she was turfed out by the NDA government in 2000. Because as vice-chairperson of the advisory committee in the Culture Ministry, Indian representative on UNESCO’s executive board, and chief patron of the Asia project under the India International Centre, she is back in the heart of Delhi’s social circle. Fashion mishap: Tulsi beads and chandan on her forehead and a rudraksh necklace that supposedly keep her famous temper in check. Little-known fact: She often breaks into an impromptu dance when hosting a dinner. Character trait: Speaks in erudite elliptical sentences which only insiders understand.40. KARAN SINGH, POLITICIAN Dharmic Prince Because the political prince is a ready dispenser of cultural favours as president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and India International Centre. Because as head of the World Council of Religions and convener of the Congress party’s foreign relations cell, he indulges his other passions: of playing learned man and policy wonk. Because he hopes it will be a prelude to his long-cherished ambition to be vice-president of India next year. Big cool buddies: None after the late Romesh Thapar. Style: Safari suit with Nehru cap. Fetish: Is likely to burst into bhajans at any moment. Stress management tool: The sheersh asan. Next career move: From VIP to VPI.41. AVEEK SARKAR, MEDIA BARON Bengal Tiger Because with two news channels in three years, phenomenal growth of Bengali newspaper Ananda Bazar Patrika, a monopoly in the Bengali magazine market, and the biggest English newspaper in West Bangal, he has refused to follow the beaten path of other media houses in the state. Because his Star Ananda has set the tone for 24X7 news channels in Bengali, capturing 50 per cent of the West Bengal TV news market within a month of its launch. Should be embarrassed: That he “drinks only Grand Cru claret, Bolivian coffee and smokes only Davidoff cigars”. Fetish: His suits come from Lahore because he thinks the tailoring there is superior to that of Saville Row. Little-known fact: That he presented former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto an M.F. Husain painting. It showed her father being hanged.42. YOGI DEVESHWAR, BUSINESS EXECUTIVE Green Revolutionary Because he can give a lesson or two to the UPA on how to serve the aam admi, creating 2 million jobs primarily in tribal areas. Because he has integrated 3.5 million farmers across 31,000 villages into ITC’s value chain. Because he has diversified what was once a tobacco company into an FMCG behemoth, with only 60 per cent of his company’s earnings coming from the sale of cigarettes. Because CII, of which he is currently president, speaks his language-the speed of growth is not as important as its spread. Because green is not just a colour with him, but also-with practically no solid waste disposals for ITC-a corporate mantra. Favourite line: “I’m a very common person.” Pet gadget: A Treo phone, which he uses as his diary to keep in touch with everyone. Stress management tool: Used to be golf, but he doesn’t play that often now.43. SHOBHANA BHARTIA, MEDIA OWNER Chasing Times Because with the launch of Hindustan Times in Mumbai, she upped the stakes against The Times of India. Because the Rs 1,000-crore company has now diversified into FM radio, signing a joint venture with Richard Branson’s Virgin. Because she raised Rs 370 crore through a public issue. Because she has just been nominated to the Rajya Sabha, a house familiar to her father. Big cool buddies: Jyotiraditya Scindia, Raian Karanjawala and Murli Deora. Little-known facts: She has a fetish for even numbers. All her cars are either 8888 or 2222. Should be embarrassed about: Her editorial director referring to her as Princess in his newspaper columns.44. SANIA MIRZA, TENNIS PLAYER Smash Hit Because she became sport’s most visible brand in 2005, turning a modest Rs 5.5-lakh deal in January 2005 into a Rs 1.5-crore signing fee per deal 12 months later. Because, with a lightningspeed whip of her racquet, she became the biggest Indian sporting icon outside the cricket team. Because in an age of cultural straitjacketing, she defies all stereotypes. Mistress-of-the-universe move: Shooting up the WTA rankings from No. 206 to 31 last year, winning her first title and making it to the last 16 in the US Open. Fashion statement: Her T-shirt at Wimbledon that said, “Well-behaved women rarely make history”. Little-known fact: That she turned down an endorsement offer from Nike because it would have meant abandoning her oldest sponsor GVK, whose logo she still sports.45. PARMESHWAR GODREJ, SOCIAL ARBITER Queen P Because she led from the front at the WEF’s India Everywhere campaign, clapping for Indian delegates and performers alike. Because Heroes Project, a national movement cochaired by her along with Hollywood star Richard Gere, gathered more celebrity support with cricketing star Rahul Dravid and actor Amitabh Bachchan doing TV ads last year. Because in a city where parties are aplenty, her guest list remains the one to die for. Big cool buddies: From Bill Clinton and Goldie Hawn to her over-the-top kindred spirit Donatella Versace. Character trait: Is full of Punjabi warmth but not if you are on her wrong side. Prized possessions: Her family. Husband, three children, and grandchildren Aryaan and Azaar. Style statement: Gravity-defying dresses and unique, Ascot-worthy headgear.46. RAJIV SETHI, CULTURAL CZAR God Of Small Things Because the new vice-chairperson of the impressive-sounding Taskforce on Creative and Cultural Industries at the Planning Commission is on the verge of getting the Government to accord manufacturing sector status for unorganised rural artisans. Because, after a 90-minute presentation to Sonia Gandhi last year, both Renuka Choudhary and Sheila Dikshit rushed to offer him Delhi’s Safdarjung Airport land for his NGO, Asian Heritage Foundation. Because starting as chief aide to Pupul Jayakar in the 1980s, he has now become one of the world’s most sought after scenographers. Style: Creator of the angavastram chic, which he first tried on Rajiv Gandhi. Big cool buddy: Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Hot wheels: A bicycle in his office which he cannot ride and an Ambassador Classic, which is chauffeured. Prized possession: The best maintained network of international culturati.47. K. SUBRAHMANYAM, STRATEGIC ANALYST Atomic Power Because the chairman of the new Task Force on Global Strategic Developments will shape India’s future strategic thinking. Because the first convenor of the National Security Board’s passionate advocacy for the benefits of the nuclear deal was one of the many voices the Government listened to. Because it doesn’t hurt that S. Jaishankar, the head of Americas division in the Foreign Office and a key interlocutor in the Indo-US deal, is his son. Character trait: Obsessive about his work. When the then US Ambassador Frank Wisner called on him after a bypass surgery in 1996, he asked him, “Have you read my article today?” Little-known fact: As chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee in 1977-79, he drafted the standard operating procedure in case of a hijack and then spent 36 hours aboard a hijacked flight to Jammu in 1984. Best known for: Never losing an argument.48. CHARLES CORREA, ARCHITECT Urban Cowboy Because the architect, planner, activist and theoretician has been appointed chairman of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission where he is preserving and maintaining the aesthetics of Delhi’s skyline. Because as he showed in the controversial Mumbai mill land redevelopment case, he is not afraid to speak up for urban breathing space, taking on a powerful lobby of politicians, builders and mill owners. Master-of-the-universe move: His design of the new Brain and Cognitive Science building at MIT, Cambridge, unveiled in December 2005. The 30,000 sq ft structure is the largest neuroscience centre in the world and has a railroad line running through it. Stress management tools: Making films (You and Your Neighbourhood, 1955; City on Water, 1974) and watching films- from old favourites like La Dolce Vita to newer ones like Being John Malkovich. Prized possession: His toy trains, collected since childhood, which taught him the principles of basic design. Favourite line: “As an architect, your concerns are not limited by the commissions you get.”49. HARISH SALVE, LAWYER Legal Evangelist Because it was only after he was appointed the Supreme Court’s amicus curiae in the Best Bakery retrial that the court convicted nine of the 17 accused. Because it was he who won the case against reservation in private institutions. Because he has argued in court for almost all the other names in INDIA TODAY’s power list. Because though his fee ranges from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for a final hearing, it is never more than what he can deliver. Favourite cause: Civil liberty. Has represented Jayalalithaa against the income tax department and is taking on Amar Singh’s phone tapping case, solely because he sees both as victims of the government’s political agenda. Favourite song: Misty by Ella Fitzgerald. Especially when his wife Meenakshi sings it. Hot wheels: His red 530D turbo-prop BMW.50. VENUGOPAL DHOOT, INDUSTRIALIST Global Predator Because he is going international with a vengeance. Because he is the first port of call for M&A adventurers looking to sell consumer durables plants in India or abroad. Because he has bought out the picture tube division of Thomson and the Indian operations of Electrolux and is now gunning for Daewoo Electronics. Because he is the largest producer of glass shells for television companies. Because he is the third-largest picture tube maker in the world. Because Videocon is India’s largest television and washing machine maker. Little-known fact: Often gives lengthy discourses on the Bhagwad Gita for private audiences. Loves to: Play the flute in the mornings. Management tool: Brainstorming over lunch.last_img read more

Mary Kom hails inclusion of women’s boxing in London Olympics

first_imgFour-time world champion MC Mary Kom on Thursday hailed the inclusion of women’s boxing in the London Olympics as a “dream-come-true” moment and vowed to defy age and clinch gold in the 2012 Games.”It’s a dream-come-true for me. The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision has given me the strength to continue. I would represent my country at the biggest sporting show in the world and have to win gold. It cannot get any bigger then this,” an elated Mary Kom told PTI.Women’s boxing was on Thursday included in the 2012 London Games at an IOC meeting in Berlin. Boxing administrators had earlier lobbied for inclusion in the Beijing Olympics but could not get the IOC’s nod.The International Boxing Association last year roped in Mary Kom as it’s brand ambassador and the Indian played a crucial role in making AIBA’s campaign successful this time.”I was a part of the AIBA campaign and I travelled to countries like Sweden to raise awareness about the sport. I am thankful to the IOC for recognising our efforts,” she said.The 27-year-old mother of two, who currently competes in the pin weight 46kg division, would be in her 30s when the London Games are held but the Khel Ratna pugilist says she wouldn’t let age become a factor.”I am ready to make all the adjustments. I will have to increase my weight a bit to fit into the 51kg category which (along with 60kg and 75kg) has been picked for the London Games. Yes, it will be tough at that age but I have the will power to make it happen,” Mary Kom said.Mary Kom has won a medal at every World Championships starting with a silver in the first edition in 2001. The Manipuri clinched a gold in every edition of the event after that, prompting AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu to call her ‘Magnificent Mary’.Her fourth straight world title came in China last year where she went into the competition after just two months of training as the birth of her twin sons had kept her out of the ring for nearly two years.”If I could do it then, I can do it again,” she said.Mary Kom said she would have lost the motivation to continue for long had the sport not got the IOC approval for 2012 Games.”It’s all about motivation. If this had not happened, I would have competed for another couple of years but then my dream would have died,” she said.AIBA included women’s boxing in its programme in 1994 and the sport is currently competed in 120 countries.Compared to the 124 boxers who took part in the inaugural World Championships, there were 218 competitors in the last edition in China.advertisementlast_img read more

Jammu & Kashmir: Even as terror takes centrestage, people push ahead with elections

first_imgRallying ground: Parties like the NC are drawing crowds, as at this rally for Omar Abdullah in Kupwara town. But even a small gathering would be unsafe without security firepowerOmar Abdullah shifts the brand new silver-grey Scorpio Turbo into fifth gear. Noisy Srinagar has disappeared, the frequency-jamming car ahead is,Rallying ground: Parties like the NC are drawing crowds, as at this rally for Omar Abdullah in Kupwara town. But even a small gathering would be unsafe without security firepowerOmar Abdullah shifts the brand new silver-grey Scorpio Turbo into fifth gear. Noisy Srinagar has disappeared, the frequency-jamming car ahead is setting the pace and in cars behind there are more than a dozen guards bristling with automatic weapons.The sun-dappled, poplar-lined highway to Baramulla, from which he will veer off to address the day’s three political rallies in Kupwara district, is hauntingly beautiful. The company of Rashtriya Rifles by a stretch of apple orchards near the highway, checking for landmines, belong in a picture postcard from the edge. It’s a lovely day to drive.So Omar, son of Farooq, recently crowned king of the ruling National Conference (NC) and its chief minister-in-waiting, does what any urbane young man with a punishing poll schedule, troubled inheritance, tense future and life on the line-he now ranks after Farooq on the terrorist hit list-might do to unwind. He reaches out, taps a switch on the dash and plays a tape of Buddha Bar.As soothing lounge music fills the car, I tease him about how the day before, Mehbooba Mufti had complimented the “generosity of the Crown Prince who campaigns in helicopters and luxury cars”.It was in response to Omar’s own dig earlier, when he said he had to leave some space in newspapers for Mehbooba, archrival and leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that is riding on the promise of ridding the state of the “misrule, nepotism and corruption” of the NC. Omar laughs. He’s enjoying this. “She should talk,” he says. “She’s a political inheritor as well.”advertisementVILLAGE VOICEIndependent candidate Sofi on the trail in Handwara. He draws spontaneous, rapt crowds.Then he gets reflective. “In Kashmir, there are four or five of us in our late 20s to mid-30s.” There’s Mehbooba. There’s Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, a leader in the separatist Hurriyat Conference that is boycotting the polls.There are the Lone brothers, Sajjad and Billal, sons of recently assassinated Abdul Ghani Lone, whose Hurriyat-aligned but moderate People’s Conference have spawned two breakaway, independent candidates. “And there’s me,” says Omar, “We’ll be around for the next few years.” Pause. “After these elections, nobody will be able to say that I haven’t earned my place. It’s an extremely difficult election and I’m working very hard for it.”He and everybody else. On the afternoon of September 11, just five days from the first phase of polling, the state’s Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone was gunned down by Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists at an election rally in Kupwara district.A little later, militants fired at a crowd in Poonch district to the south, gathered at a political rally of an independent candidate. They killed a dozen innocents, including a 12-year-old boy.Though the administration is prepared for violence, the incidents have severely jolted the veneer of security, leading both Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and state Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to declare that security would be beefed up with half a million state and Central forces deployed across the state.Till the fourth and last phase of elections are held on October 8 in Jammu’s terrorist-infested Doda district, the grisly, deliberate toll will continue to rise, pushed by an estimated 3,000 militants spread across Jammu and Kashmir barring Ladakh.Already, since the assembly elections were notified on August 22, about 150 people have died, almost 120 split evenly among militants and civilians, the remaining security folk.Crown prince: Omar Abdullah plays it cool. The NC’s chief ministerin-waiting drives himself wherever he goes. He dresses casually, speaks forcefully, promises clean governance and smoothly trashes the opposition.This land, which ancient Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang and medieval Kashmiri historian Kalhan raved about as heaven on earth, is now a place where just contesting elections is an act of immense bravery. It will come a close second to the crucial act of actually getting out there and voting.In 1996, the government tom-tommed a 40 per cent turnout of the state’s electorate, but in places, actual turnout was reported as low as 8 per cent.This time, if 40 per cent of the state’s 56 lakh voters actually vote, backed by boosted security, the Election Commission’s statement of dealing sternly with incidents of rigging votes and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s pledge of “free and fair” elections, it will be regarded globally as an amazing success story.So far, contestants have come forward for elections in hundreds. In just 15 assembly constituencies in the two first-phase districts of Kupwara and Baramulla, bordering the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the hills teeming with terrorists, there are over a hundred candidates.advertisementAcross the state, all major national parties have fielded candidates. There are active state behemoths like the NC that earned a majority of 57 out of 87 assembly seats in the last elections in 1996, though by Omar’s own admission, anything above 40 seats this time will be a bonus.Congress punters scale it down to 35-37, predicting a NC wipe-out in Jammu. As if to pre-empt this, Omar plays direct at rallies. At a 5,000-strong meet in Kupwara town, after the customary pasting of his opponents- “those who use India’s machinery and then cry for azadi” and “those who owned disco-dancing clubs in Dubai”, this one aimed at Sajjad Lone-he lists out promises: district hospital, sports stadium, higher secondary school and a water-supply scheme.There is the three-year-old PDP of former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. There are breakaway Independents such as the iconic Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi, the key contestant in Handwara who recently left the People’s Conference and whose popular election line, “I can have my head cut of f, but I can’t bow my head” draws spontaneous, cheering, rapt crowds numbering hundreds in his home village of Machipora and elsewhere, his strident speech filled with hate for the NC.Ballot ready: Doda is so rugged and dangerous that it will be the only district to go for voting on October 8- to better focus security. These village defence committee volunteers will help regular troops.There is former militant Kuka Parray who is representing the Awami League from Sonawari in Baramulla; and dozens of traders, teachers and wealthy farmers.It is similar in the Jammu region, with the addition of pro-Hindutva parties like the Shiv Sena and a new coalition of 21 small parties and Independents, the Jammu State Morcha.The Morcha is being guided by the staunchly nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and vows to fight for statehood for the Jammu region, a part of the Union of India without the umbrella of Article 370 of India’s Constitution that bestows special status on Jammu and Kashmir.All this, because even a Kashmir in autumn has more promise of spring in one state election, and stakes big enough for entire nations. There’s something in it for everybody.Pakistan calls it a farce and its President Pervez Musharraf says he can’t stem the tide of militants from his country, which intelligence officials in Srinagar confirm is steady. (“You can’t really stop it,” says one.”If we kill 10, Pakistan will push in 15 so even if five die in the crossing, the strength remains con- stant.”) For India, elections signal free will and democracy are alive and well in its dominion, a crucial play against Pakistan’s claims over Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley.For Omar, it’s a chance to seal his inheritance, overcome his still halting Kashmiri and reverse nepotism in government, sloth, misappropriation and the overbearing attitude of the state’s security apparatus that he freely admits is part of his inheritance.advertisementFor the Hurriyat, it’s an opportunity lost. For people of Ladakh, where two independent candidates from Leh and Nubra constituencies have already been elected unopposed, it’s just a matter of time before the region is by general consensus and Central legislation declared a Union territory.Blood price: Abdul Rahman (right), a candidate from Handwara, was shot dead by militants a day after this photograph was takenFor those in the Jammu State Morcha, essentially a flanking manoeuvre by the BJP, it’s the first step to what many feel is inevitable, whether it comes next year or a decade later: statehood for Jammu. And for Independents, many thrust forward by hopeful groups of villagers or townsfolk to voice their crushed opinion, it is a chance to be part of what should be.It is time for a campaign pit stop. In the garden of the Showqueen Hotel and Restaurant in Handwara, Sheikh Abdul Rahman, independent candidate, sips tea. Next to him, unwinding with a hookah is Ali Mohammad Dar, the Congress’ district president and Rahman’s opponent-both are Sofi’s rivals.Dar is trashing the NC. “They keep switching between being with India and wanting autonomy for Kashmir.” He rants on about the Ikhwani, surrendered militants who now form part of J&K Police’s feared counter-terrorist Special Operations Group, and are known to lean on civilians.Rahman takes a different route. “It would have been better to provide four lakh jobs than hold elections.” If elections aren’t worth it, why fight? “We have to fight for our rights. Unless people have jobs they will pick up the gun.” And what of the threat to his life from the guns of fear and loathing militants are aiming at the elections? “The risk is always there.”The next day, he’s dead. Hizb-ul Mujahideen terrorists ambushed his Sumo, and as his hapless guards dropped their weapons and ran for their lives, the attackers riddled Rahman, his two nephews and his driver with bullets.A Kashmiri will wish for you zindagi, life. He will unashamedly crow about mohabbat, love-a shikara on Srinagar’s Dal Lake is christened “Hello My Sweetheart”, and farm tractors adorn stickers that proclaim, “Kiss”.But “miltan” still call the shots after 13 years of war. And they are doing their damnedest to destroy the elections of 2002, potentially the one that will undo the injustices of 1987 polls, widely believed to have been rigged, and that sparked the firestorm of militant hate that has so far killed 30,000, more than military casualties of independent India’s wars.Today, the terms high BP and low BP have as much to do with high or low blood pressure triggered by tension as they signify high or low levels of bullet-proofing. A phrase during an election speech, or even a simple belief in the concept of polls, can result in death.”In Kashmir, we have all become demons,” blaz es Sajjad Lone. “All of us. We can kill with mere words.” He’s remembering his father. Sajjad regains composure. “Kashmir is not about making India or Pakistan happy, but about making the people of Kashmir happy. We shouldn’t overestimate ourselves.”That theory will be tested over the next month. As Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, a sharecropper outside Baramulla, staring at the wake of Omar’s motorcade says, “I’ll vote in the name of Allah, but that day I don’t know where my finger will travel, to press the button for which party.” And so it shall come to pass.-Photographs by Narendra Bishtlast_img read more