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#InternationalWomen’sDay: Creativity gives women wings to fly



Malini Arora
Photo IANS

New Delhi, March 7 

Three years ago, Malini Arora, 29, left a busy corporate job to satiate her itch to explore her creative instincts as a designer of contemporary ethnic wear.

It’s a bumpy ride, but then you get to drive, she says — a sentiment that resonates with several such Indian women who are turning entrepreneurs with their clutter-breaking creative pursuits. And the digital wave is helping them even more.

“I’m like a kid in a candy store when I’m in a fabric shop,” Noida-based Arora, who realised her dream with her brand Designs By Ikebana — promoted mainly through digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram — told IANS.

“I guess I always wanted to be a designer, but a little bit of gumption and that necessary nudge from my family finally made it happen. My corporate job paid the bills but my current pursuit gives me the courage to explore the creative world.

“To all those who are looking to venture out with their creativity, I say: Do it!”

There are also Pooja Kaul and Amita Mahajan, both mothers and keen architects. A sudden project to do up a nursery sowed the seeds of FLYFROG KIDS, an online kids décor platform.

“The idea was to create a line of vibrant products different from what was currently available in the market — with a focus on function as well as design. Our products have generic flowers, butterflies or sailors or dinosaurs as the main stars. We think that kids should have the freedom to imagine, think and dream,” Mahajan said, adding that child safety is a mainstay of their offerings.

They retail through lifestyle online portal to reach out to the affluent households across India, and decided early on that online was the way to go, given the country’s growing smart phone base.

There’s experimentation by women in the jewellery space too.

Chennai-based Bharathi Raviprakash was once a money changer. Her urge to break the monotony led to the birth of Studio Tara, a jewellery brand which offers diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, spinel, tourmalines, and other precious gems dramatically set in yellow and white gold.

It was her passion for precious stones, and an eye for design, that gave birth to Studio Tara, but Raviprakash’s thirst to learn more led her to a gemological institute in London, from where she graduated in 2002. Her designs reflect a raw feel, and appeal to the corporate crowd.

Another entrepreneur, 32-year-old Anubha Patankar, has carved a niche with her love for baking.

“I was already conducting chocolate-making courses for a few years just as a hobby, alongside my hectic corporate job in IT. Frankly, I loved it more than my job,” Patankar said, recollecting how her small stall in a society get-together focused attention on her culinary talent.

When she decided to quit her mundane job after having a second child, she began planning to open a baking institute — a dream that became a reality with the launch of Melting Momentz in Pune back in 2013. Two years later, Patankar had to move to Gurugram, where she set up the institute from scratch.

“I started promotions online to attract the tech-savvy crowd of Gurgaon (as it was then called). I changed my course content to include healthy baking and focused more on breads. Chemical-free, multi-grain and 100 per cent wheat breads became the synonym for Melting Momentz, where food enthusiasts could learn tips and tricks about cakes, icing, fondants, desserts, cookies, chocolates, eggless recipes and more.”

Her larger aim, as she puts it, is “to support women entrepreneurs in starting their own bakeries and outlets with full assistance from the studio”.

There are common threads that bind these stories: the joy of following their own hearts, the satisfaction of using their creativity and talent, as well as the peace of financial, social and mental freedom.

By Radhika Bhirani


(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at [email protected])


Rahul targets Prasad over pendency of cases in courts

Justice K M Joseph, overturned President’s rule in Uttarakhand in 2016. When his name was proposed for the Supreme Court, Modi ji s ego was hurt. Approval of over 100 judges, cleared for the Supreme Court and various High Courts are now on hold. #JudiciaryDemonetised(sic).



rahul gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi today hit out at Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad over huge pendency of cases in courts and shortage of judges, and charged him with “peddling fake news” instead.

His attack came after Prasad accused the Congress of hiring the services of controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica, accused of harvesting data stolen from Facebook, in previous elections.

The charge has been denied by the Congress, which instead accused the BJP of using the services of the firm.

Legal system collapsing under Pending Cases: Supreme Court 55,000+, High Court 37 Lakh+, Lower Courts 2.6 Crore+. Yet, a staggering 400 High Court and 6,000 Lower Court judges not appointed, while Law Minister preoccupied peddling fake news, Gandhi said on Twitter, using the hashtag JudiciaryDemonetised .

He also took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over delay in appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.

“Justice K M Joseph, overturned President’s rule in Uttarakhand in 2016. When his name was proposed for the Supreme Court, Modi ji s ego was hurt. Approval of over 100 judges, cleared for the Supreme Court and various High Courts are now on hold. #JudiciaryDemonetised(sic),” he said in another tweet.

The Congress and the BJP have been engaged in a slinging match between each other accusing the other of using the services of the controversial data firm.

The Facebook data scandal erupted after a whistleblower revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Trump’s 2016 campaign, accessed personal data from 50 million users of the website without their knowledge, and might have kept that data even after the social media giant told the company to delete it.

Prasad recently insisted that the Congress has used the services of Cambridge Analytica and said several media reports about the opposition party using the services of the firm had appeared in October and November last year and it never denied those stories till the BJP raised the issue.

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Karti Chidambaram protected from arrest till April 16 in Aircel-Maxis case



Karti Chidambaram

New Delhi, March 24: A special court here on Saturday granted interim protection from arrest, till April 16, to Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

Special Judge O. P. Saini directed that Chidambaram, the son of former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, will not be arrested in the case till April 16, the next date fixed for hearing on his anticipatory bail plea.

The court meanwhile directed him to join investigation whenever required and not to leave the country without permission.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate has sought three more weeks to file reply on his anticipatory bail plea.

Karti Chidambaram’s advocate and senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the court that his client was arrested arbitrarily by the CBI in the INX media case and now he apprehends that he may be arrested in the instant case without any reason and sought interim protection from arrest till the probe agencies filed the reply in the matter.

The CBI is investigating how Karti Chidambaram allegedly managed to get a clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his father was the Finance Minister in 2006.

The special court, trying 2G cases, had discharged the Maran brothers – Dayanidhi and Kalanithi – in the case, holding that that there was no prima facie case warranting the framing of charges.

The CBI had chargesheeted Maran, his brother and businessman Kalanithi Maran and others alleging that Dayanidhi Maran used his influence to help Krishnan buy Aircel by coercing its owner Sivasankaran to part with his stake.

Sivasankaran alleged that Dayanidhi Maran favoured the Maxis Group in the takeover of his company. In return, he alleged, the company made investments through Astro Network in a company stated to be owned by the Maran family.


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Rajnath hails CRPF’s contribution in meeting security challenges



79th Raising Day - Rajnath Singh

Gurugram, March 24: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday hailed the CRPF for its contribution in facing various security challenges posed by terrorism, leftwing extremist violence and insurgents in the Northeast, saying the force played a prominent role in ensuring security for the country’s development.

Addressing the force personnel here on the occasion of CRPF’s 79th anniversary, he also recalled several incidents where the valiant CRPF troopers successfully thwarted miscreants’ evil designs and said the country is proud of it.

“The force played a prominent role in ensuring safety and security which is a prerequisite for the economic development of the country,” he said.

Urging the CRPF personnel to inform people about the government’s development programmes while highlighting anti-development activities of the Maoists, he said the central force was successful in inflicting heavy losses on Maoists who were using tactics of desperation as the battle is in the final stages.

Highlighting the multidimensional role of the force, he said whether it is Jammu and Kashmir, leftwing extremism, the northeast, elections or Internal security, the country looks up to the CRPF.

Terming Maoism a serious challenge, he said due to the gallant and determined action of the CRPF and other security forces, it has entered in its last phase.

Rajnath Singh said that incidents of leftwing extremism have drastically come down in the recent past and the casualty rate of the rebels has gone up, noting that during 2017-18, the force gunned down 172 extremists while losing 63 of its personnel.

Maoists are now resorting to coward ambushes against security forces as they are unable to undertake a direct fight, he said, and also paid tributes to the 9 troopers who were killed in a blast in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma early this month.

The minister praised the courage of CRPF Commandant Chetan Cheetah who took nine bullets during an operation in Kashmir valley last year and displayed rare grit during recuperation. Cheeta joined duty few days back at the force headquarters in Delhi.

Assuring the troopers better facilities, including accommodation, he also also presented various police awards to 21 troopers for their gallantry and meritorious services.

The Home Minister added that CRPF was not only organising civic action programmes, but also taking active part in Swachhata Abhiyan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan and encouraging digital transactions.

Earlier he inspected the CRPF Contigents and took the salute.


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