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BJP’s summer of discontent

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With the 9 rebel Congress MLAs joining the BJP, there is a major dissatisfaction within the Uttarakhand unit of the BJP.. A week after the BJP lost its shot at power in Uttarakhand, its core committee comprising of State President, Organisation Secretary, 5 MPs and BJP President Amit Shah met today at 3 pm at 11 Ashoka Road to deliberate upon the future course of action in the changed political situation in the state and the way forward.

The meeting began at around 3 pm and was progressing smoothly till the issue of induction of 9 rebel MLAs came up. As soon as this issue came up, several MLAs voiced their disapproval over the inclusion of the rebel MLAs. The dominant view was that the induction of rebels in the party will put a lot of them in an uncomfortable situation. They also pointed out that they have campaigned against corruption of Vijay Bahuguna and Harak Singh Rawat and others for a long time and now with them on our side, our attack on Congress will be blunted. They also objected to the kind of language used by couple of rebel MLAs against BJP and RSS pracharaks. But as a political fait accompli, the final decision of rebel MLAs was left to the Party President Amit Shah.

According to the sources, one of them also expressed unhappiness over the way whole operation was conducted and also suggested that party believed too much in the kind of information supplied by the rebels. The Party President gave the rebels a patient hearing and it was suggested that if they have to join BJP, then this was the best time. All MLAs accepted the decision taken by the Party President. There was no discussion on the reasons why the party lost its bid on power in Uttarakhand.

Apart from this, it was also decided that the BJP will launch a state-wide agitation against the Congress party. The BJP is planning to send Vans fitted with TV to various places across the state and show the sting operation of CM Harish Rawat and how the Congress led by Harish Rawat had indulged in horse trading. At present, its Congress 1 and BJP 0 in Uttarakhand but the fight is far from over for the BJP, both from within as well as outside.

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OBITUARY: Basu Chatterjee – He told stories about you and me

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Basu Chatterjee

One of India”s great storytellers Basu Chatterjee and the high priest of middle cinema in India passed away in Mumbai today. Basu was one of the founding fathers of the new wave cinema, with stark but poignant Sara Akash in 1969, and a fountainhead of middle cinema (along with older colleague Hrishikesh Mukherjee), so popular nowadays. Unlike many of his contemporaries his cinema was not obscure or tedious. A prolific filmmaker he drew upon the cinema of his predecessors Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee and European new wave masters to tell human stories of middle-class Bharat that is India.

What some of our young filmmakers are doing successfully today Basu Da did it four decades ago. Just see his oeuvre — Piya Ka Ghar, Choti Si Baat, Chit Chor, Rajanigandha, Swami, Baton Baton Mein, Manpasand, Priyatama, Manzil, Chakrvyuh, Prem Vivah, Khatta Meetha, Dillagi, Shaukeen, Jeena Yahan, Kamla ki Maut, Ek Ruka hua faisla, Chameli ki Shaadi, Sheesha, Triyacharitra, Gudgudee and many others. He worked with many top stars — Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Jeetendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Mithun Chakraborty, Anil Kapoor, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, Moushumi Chatterjee, Neetu Singh, Tina (Ambani). At the same time we could see Girish Karnad, Utpal Dutt, Amol Palekar, Farooq Shaikh ,Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi ,Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Vidya Sinha, Mallika Sarabhai and others. He was as familiar with Sarat Chandra as with as with George Bernard Shaw. He often drew on literature for his stories and was equally at home with Manu Bhandari and Paddy Chayefsky. His films were layered but were always simply told. Basu”s cinema was unobtrusive, straight from the heart set in in a familiar milieu.

Always economical in his craft (his film had excellent cinematography by KK Mahajan and AK Bir for the most), he seldom compromised with quality. Much before the trend of casting directors, Basu Chatterjee”s films were always perfectly cast with interesting actors doing small cameos. He had begun his career as a cartoonist (Bal Thackeray and Lakshman were his contemporaries) in the fifties, which gave him his brevity of expression and wit. He had spent his childhood in Mathura and thus had an excellent grasp of the Hindi language. Usually writing his own scripts, his dialogue is laced with everyday lingo and profundities in equal measure. A staunch film society enthusiast he was always up to speed with the best of world cinema, yet he kept his own storytelling simple. Interestingly many of his films had outstanding music and he worked with a range of composers like SD Burman, Salil Chowdhury, RD Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Rajesh Roshan and Bappi Lahiri, who all gave him distinctive scores.

Whether it is middle-class office romance in Rajanigandha or a lower middle class bride discovering her husband and his family in a Mumbai Chawl in Piya ka Ghar, Mumbai local romance of Bandra Christians (Baton Baton Mein), premarital relationships in a conservative middle class setting (Kamala Ki Maut) or the Hindi adaptations of classics like Pygmalion (Man Pasand), Twelve Angry Men (Ek Ruka Hua Faisla) Basu da ”s characters were always well etched out. You would often see simple everyday happenings highlighted in his films. Many of his films had strong women characters –Swami, Chitchor, Jeena Yahan, Apne Paraye, Pasand Apni Apni. Subtle humour expressed quietly was another of his hallmark.

Basu Chatterjee was one of the first filmmakers to successfully take to the small screen. His series on everyday life Rajni (featuring Priya Tendulkar) was the first attempt at consumer guidance on Indian screen. Kakaji Kahin, Byomkesh Bakshi, Darpan and Ek Prem Katha were some of his other landmark serials. If he had been keeping good health in the last few years, I am sure we would have seen some pathbreaking stuff from him on streaming platforms as well.

Though he won several National awards (and many Filmfare awards too), he remains one of the most underrated directors in Indian cinema. He has neither been honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke Award or has been given a Padma award, though many lesser deserving contemporaries have been given these honours. One rarely saw him at gala film parties or award shows. Yet his films will continue to inspire generations of film makers. His passing away brings to a close another great chapter in Indian film history. I am fortunate to have worked with him over the years. We did not meet so often but I was in touch with him until recently and had asked her daughter Rupali to please facilitate my telephonic conversation with him after his recent illness. Unfortunately, that call did not happen. I will always treasure my time spent with him.

By: Amit Khanna

(Amit Khanna wrote lyrics for Basu Chatterjees “Swami” (1977) and “Man Pasand” (1980). He also produced “Man Pasand” and executive-produced the 1997 release, “Gudgudee”)

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N95 or cotton masks? The fashion wars begin

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N-95 mask

New Delhi, June 4 : As people start stepping out of their houses, the demand for face masks and protective gear is at an all-time high.

While N95 and surgical masks are most popular, cloth masks have proven to be equally effective and are fashionable. They are soft, comfortable and flexible while providing ample coverage to the nose and mouth.

They offer features such as triple-layer filtration, leakage control (to prevent an unfiltered airflow), ultra-cool technology and protection from pollution, pollen, smoke and dust.

Moreover, these masks are washable and can be re-used. While specialized masks (N95/surgical) have seen a surge in demand, the Indian government and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also issued an advisory on usage of cloth masks or homemade mask as an approved option to contain the spread.

All major fashion brands like Louis Phillippe, Jack & Jones, Max and W for Women have started making cloth masks and selling them online. Amazon Fashion has launched a dedicated mask store offers that offers over 500 cloth masks from over 35 sellers across the country. You can also find masks made by local sellers like Wear Your Opinion, Bon Organik, Rapsodia among others.

Here are a few recommended options if you are in search of a mask that suits your fashion needs.

Printed

Print on print is always in fashion and these soft masks are available in tropical, geometric and quirky styles.

Floral

Soothing floral designs in subtle pastels are perfect for everyday wear and are feminine

Checks & Stripes

Masks in muted checks and stripes are ideal to wear to work they keep the look professional along with being functional.

Monotone

Pick from a range of bright, bold and solid coloured masks, one for every day of the week

(Puja Gupta can be contacted at [email protected])

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CoronaVirus: ‘Covid-19 vaccine not possible soon’

“Finally, social distancing. Otherwise it would be very difficult to stop the chain of infection. You should be satisfied when the number of subjects infected by a single coronavirus subject will be under 1.”

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Vaccine

New Delhi, June 4 : It is not possible to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 soon, as the RNA virus changes very quickly and this makes it difficult to create a good vaccine, says Claudio Colosio Unimi Professor, Department of Health Sciences University of Milan, Italy.

Claudio as the Director, Occupational Health Unit of the Hospitals Saints Paolo and Carlo of Milano, has been extensively handling the Covid-19 pandemic. When queried about a vaccine still not appearing on the horizon, Claudio said there is no vaccine for HIV infection yet (and people still survive).

And is there a possibility to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, and how soon is it possible?

Claudio replied “Not very soon. RNA viruses change very quickly and this makes it difficult to create a good vaccine.”

Elaborating on the Italian experience of Covid-19, — a possibility the population has developed herd immunity after experiencing the viral infection attack for close to 6 months — Claudio said “No. Today the rate of immunization is in the order, depending on the areas, of 2-15 per cent. Very far from herd immunity.”

Italy was worst hit by coronavirus, currently the number of cases have reduced drastically from 5,000 to less than 300 cases a day.

Comparatively, India is just where Italy was months back. More than 9,000 cases were reported on Thursday. It also posted over 5,000 for over two weeks, before crossing 6,000, then 7,000 and 8,000 in rapid succession.

On suggestions for India from his experience in Italy, Claudio said: “Doing the big sacrifice of locking down if possible.

“Otherwise mandatory mask: surgical mask is ok for most situations. However, I understand how difficult this is in India.

“Finally, social distancing. Otherwise it would be very difficult to stop the chain of infection. You should be satisfied when the number of subjects infected by a single coronavirus subject will be under 1.”

Citing the Covid-19 study at the University of Milan, Claudio said: “We are studying the trends of infection among healthcare workers and whether the approaches are adequate to avoid the spreading of the disease (“contact tracing”).”

Queried on the increasing levels of pollution, especially in Indian context which has many polluted cities, aiding the spread of coronavirus, Claudio said “There is not any evidence of this. Just only a hypothesis. I don”t trust it.”

When asked, if the current trend of number cases would lead India in the US, UK direction, where the viral infection ran havoc claiming thousands of lives, Claudio said “This is something we cannot anticipate from here. For sure the risk is highest in the most populated regions, and in any place where social distancing is difficult. And India suffers both these risk determinants!”

Responding to a query on Italy”s efforts in bringing down deaths due to Covid-19, (according to WHO since May 25 Italy has reported less than 100 deaths a day), Claudio said “With social distancing and removing these people (vulnerable group) from the more risky jobs, for example some departments in the hospitals for health care workers.

“A good solution requires smart job done.”

(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at [email protected])

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