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Google doodle honours Amrita Pritam on 100th birth anniversary

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Amrita Pritam Doodle

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) Clad in a red and yellow salwar-kameez, her head demurely covered, she sits on a white sheet in a courtyard engrossed in a book, a sprig of roses at her feet. The archways behind her spell out Google as the global search engine honoured Punjabi-Hindi and Urdu novelist, essayist and poet Amrita Pritam on her 100th birth anniversary.

As The Guardian noted in an obituary, Pritam’s death in New Delhi on October 31, 2005 aged 86, was “mourned on both sides of the India-Pakistan border, for it was she who chronicled so movingly and passionately the pain of partition in 1947”.

“Regarded as the leading 20th-century poet of the Punjabi language, she wrote verses that are sung and recited in cities and villages by many who are illiterate – such is the hypnotic appeal of her poetry. She was, in many ways, the voice of the Punjabi people, for her poems gave utterance to their anguish. She enshrined the concept of ‘Punjabiat’, the deep consciousness of being a Punjabi – a child of the land of the five rivers – irrespective of religious or caste affiliation.”

Born in Gujranwala in what is now Pakistan, Pritam was known as the most important voice for women in Punjabi literature. She became the first woman in 1956 to win the Sahitya Akademi Award for her magnum opus, a long poem titled “Sunehade” (Messages). She received the Bharatiya Jnanpith, one of India’s highest literary awards, in 1982 for “Kagaz Te Canvas” (The Paper and the Canvas).

But then, such was her stature that it was Pritam who honoured the awards rather than the other way around – the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, in 2004 and before that the Padma Shri in 1969. Also in 2004 she was conferred with the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for Lifeime Achievement as an “immortal of literature”.

She also received the Bulgarian Vaptsarov Award in 1979 and Degree of Officer dens, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officier) from France. Nominated to the Rajya Sabha 1986-92, towards the end of her life, Pritam was honoured by Pakistan’s Punjabi Academy, to which she had remarked: “Bade dino baad mere maike ko meri yaad aayi” (My motherland remembered me after a long time).

Beginning her journey as a romantic poet, Pritam soon shifted gears and became part of the Progressive Writers’ Movement. Its effect was seen in “Lok Peed” (People’s Anguish) (1944), which openly criticised the war-torn economy after the Bengal famine of 1943.

Briefly working at the Lahore station of All India Radio before the partition of India, Pritam was also involved in social work participated in such activities wholeheartedly, after Independence when social activist Guru Radha Kishan took the initiative to bring the first Janta Library in Delhi, which was inaugurated by Balraj Sahni and Aruna Asaf Ali. This study centre-cum-library is still running at the Clock Tower in Delhi’s old quarters.

She married Pritam Singh, son of a leading hosiery merchant of Lahore’s Anarkali bazaar, in 1935, but left him in 1960. She is also said to have had unrequited affection for poet Sahir Ludhianvi, the story being depicted in her autobiography, “Rasidi Ticket” (Revenue Stamp). When another woman, singer Sudha Malhotra came into Sahir’s life, Pritam found solace in renowned artist and writer Imroz and spent the last 40 years of her life with him. Imroz designed most of her book covers and made her the subject of his several paintings. Their life together comes alive in “Amrita Imroz: A Love Story”.

In a career spanning over six decades, Pritam penned 28 novels, 18 anthologies of prose, five short stories and 16 miscellaneous prose volumes.

Such is what immortality is made of.

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Rahul Gandhi returning to lead Congress again?

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scindia rahul gandhi priyanka gandhi

New Delhi/Wayanad (Kerala), Dec 6 : Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi is all set to return to lead the party and is likely to take over after the Delhi assembly polls early next year. A hint to this effect was dropped by Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal who said that country wants his leadership more now.

Venugopal, who is accompanying Gandhi to his Kerala constituency Wayanad, told reporters: “The nation is going through a critical phase… The party needs his leadership and there is loud chorus from the workers to bring him again and we hope he will listen to them.”

A Congress session is scheduled in the next few months to ratify the appointment of interim President Sonia Gandhi. A source said that in the same meet, a chorus will grow to bring again Rahul Gandhi as planned by young leaders in the party.

Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the party organisation was first demanded at the AICC’s Hyderabad session in 2006 where workers from UP raised slogans in his favour and he was made party General Secretary in 2007. After that, the demand to make him Vice President was raised at the brainstorming session in Jaipur in 2013.

He was elected President unopposed in 2017 after demand from different quarters of the party, but during the 2019 General Elections, the party was routed under his leadership and he resigned in May taking the responsibility of poll debacle and did not budge to the party’s repeated requests to reconsider. In August, Sonia Gandhi was appointed interim party chief.

Though he may not be the party chief, but Rahul Gandhi’s decisions are evident within the party’s decisions as evinced by appointment of Nitin Raut as minister in the Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition government in Maharashtra and of Nana Patole as the Assembly Speaker.

The party is finalising a venue for the AICC session, which could be held in the Congress-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan in January and February, a source said.

By: BY SAIYED MOZIZ IMAM

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RBI holding repo rate bodes well for savings: Economists

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Reserve Bank of India RBI

New Delhi, Dec 6 : Even as many see the RBI’s pause on repo rate as a setback for the growth, some economists argue that any further cut could have affected households savings which have already seen a decline in recent times.

“Reduction in interest rate will work negatively. The interest rate is like a double-edged sword. It will have an impact on savings and it will have an impact on investments. We know very clearly that it does not have much impact on investments. Now, what is it doing? It is basically hampering the savings,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).

He also said that monetary policy is not just about interest rates.

“There are many things which monetary policy does. It can ensure that credit flow is better and the banking sector is in good shape. They can create money supply. So, it can do many things. They have to now see how savings could be improved,” the NIPFP professor said.

M. Govinda Rao, Chief Economic Advisor, Brickwork Ratings, said that transmission of the reduction in the policy (repo rate) requires the lending rates to fall. Further, that would also require the deposit rates to fall, which could result in reduced saving by households.

“When the inflation rate is perking up, if the banks also reduce the deposit rates, the rate of return on savings will decline which could not only reduce the incentive to save but also can hurt the elderly who maintain themselves from the interest income,” he said.

As per Economic Survey of FY19, gross savings fell nearly 60 basis points as a share of GDP in two years to 30.5 per cent in 2017-18. Household savings led the decline as its share contracted from as high as 23.6 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 17.2 per cent of GDP in 2017-18.

“The household sector savings declined from 23.6 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 17.2 per cent in 2017-18 and its net financial savings and a ratio of GDP declined from 7.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent during the same period. Thus, besides inflationary expectations, ensuring adequate real rate of return on the savings could be an objective of keeping the repo rate constant,” Govinda Rao said.

As against market expectations of a rate cut, the RBI on Thursday maintained the policy repo rate at 5.15 per cent. With this, the reverse repo rate also stands unchanged at 4.9 per cent. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was unanimous in its decision to maintain status quo on both rates and ‘accommodative’ stance.

(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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Immediately probe the encounter: Legal experts

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Hyderabad Murder Encounter

New Delhi, Dec 6 : Legal experts say as per the law a probe should be immediately set up into the mysterious encounter of the four accused in the rape and murder of a Hyderabad-based veterinarian.

“The rule of law should prevail in the country, there should be an immediate inquiry into the encounter of the accused,” said senior advocate Vikas Singh, former President of Supreme Court Bar Association.

A week after the brutal gang rape and murder of the young veterinarian in Hyderabad, police shot dead all the four accused in an alleged ‘encounter’ near Shadnagar town.

The accused were killed in the early hours of Friday when they allegedly snatched weapons from the police and tried to escape from Chatanpally near Shadnagar, about 50 kms from Hyderabad.

Singh emphasised that there should be balance between justice delivery system and human rights of the citizens. “The authorities should immediately begin an inquiry into this encounter, and this probe should be completed as soon as possible. The authorities should ascertain whether it was a genuine encounter or it was stage managed by the police,” added Singh.

The four accused killed in the encounter were identified as lorry drivers Mohammed Arif (26) and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu (20), and lorry cleaners Jollu Shiva (20) and Jollu Naveen (20). All hailed from the Narayanpet district of Telangana.

Senior advocate Puneet Mittal said that there should immediately be a judicial probe into the matter to unearth the real picture behind this mysterious encounter. “The probe should be on the factors that were behind this encounter. The families of the accused could also move the court seeking inquiry into the matter,” added Mittal.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parekh said according to the law the encounter should be looked into as killings. “As per law, a case should be registered against the police officials involved in the alleged encounter followed by a probe,” said Parekh.

He also insisted that usually the action of the police officials claiming self defence comes into the picture at the stage of the trial, but at this stage of the case there should be a probe immediately to verify the encounter.

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