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Pune girl sets new record — skydiving in Maharashtrian sari!

She still is keen on pursuing her dream of skydiving over Mt. Everest, with two unsuccessful attempts made in 2010.

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Shital Rane-Mahajan

Mumbai, Feb 12 : Pune adventurist Shital Rane-Mahajan set a new record by becoming the first Indian to skydive sporting a colourful “Nav-wari sari” in Thailand on Monday.

Speaking to IANS shortly after landing, an elated Rane-Mahajan said owing to favourable weather conditions, she was able to skydive twice from an aircraft at heights of around 13,000 above the world-famous tourist resort of Pattaya.

“I wanted to do something different with International Women’s Day coming up next month, so I decided on wearing the Maharashtrian ‘Nav-wari sari’ for my skydives,” Rane-Mahajan told IANS on phone from Thai Skydiving Centre.

 

Recounting her experiences, she said that wearing the “Nav-wari sari” itself is a challenge since the attire is nine-yards (8.25 metres) long — compared to six yards of the regular Indian sari.

“First, to drape the ‘Nav-wari sari’ properly, plus to wear the parachutes on it, the safety gear and communication equipments, helmet, goggles, shoes, etc, add on to and make it all quite a challenge,” Rane-Mahajan explained, as she seemed to stumble in her first landing but escaped unhurt.

She grinned and admitted she had to make a lot of “extra preparations and precautions” for draping the “Nav-wari sari”, including pinning it up tightly and taping it in many places to ensure it did not come off her body from the staggering height as she soared down, with strong winds from the Gulf of Thailand lashing all through her descent.

Rane-Mahajan said that the country’s signature women’s wear sari is draped in different styles all over India, but the Maharashtrian style of “Nav-wari sari” is probably the most difficult and toughest to manage for women.

“I wanted to prove that Indian women can not only carry the sari graciously in their routine lives, but can also use it for high adventure like skydiving,” smiled the 35-year old extreme sportswoman.

The jump was originally scheduled on Sunday (February 11), but had to be postponed due to sudden heavy rains and stormy weather in Pattaya, though she managed a jump from 9,000 feet height.

With this, the Padma Shri laureate and mother of two sons (nine-year old twins) has set around 18 national skydiving records, plus six international records and completed 704 jumps around the world, bagging several national and international honours.

She shot to global fame on April 18, 2004, when she made her maiden jump — without practice dives — on the North Pole from a Russian MI-8 helicopter hovering at a height of 2,400 feet in minus 37 degree temperatures, making her the first woman in the world to accomplish the feat.

Two years later, on December 15, 2006, Rane-Mahajan made the world’s First Accelerated Free Fall Parachute Jump on South Pole in Antarctica, from a Twin Otter aircraft, coming down from a height of 11,600 feet.

This made her the first and the youngest woman in the world to achieve the feat at both the Poles at the age of 23.

On April 19, 2008, Rane-Mahajan tied the knot with a Finland-based engineer, Vaibhav Rane, and also created another national record.

The couple got married in a hot-air balloon, complete with a priest performing the ceremonies and parents in tow, around 750 feet up in the air above the Pune city skyline.

Image result for Shital Rane-Mahajan

Incidentally, Vaibhav is also an avid skydiver with 57 jumps to his credit. They became the first Indian civilian couple to skydive together in November 2011.

However, she still is keen on pursuing her dream of skydiving over Mt. Everest, with two unsuccessful attempts made in 2010.

Image result for Shital Rane-Mahajan

At present, Rane-Mahajan is on a real high — with dives on all seven continents — in around 10 years, on Antartica, Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America.

Last year, she became the first Indian woman to be nominated by Aero Club of India for the prestigious FAI Sabiha Gokcen Medal for completion of skydiving on all seven continents.

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(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])

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Madhya Pradesh farmers hopeful of being ‘debt-free’ as loan waiver scheme kicks-off

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Earth Climate

Bhopal, Jan 22 : A week after the launch of the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government claims 19.54 lakh farmers have filed their applications in the six days till Sunday.

While the opposition BJP has been calling the “Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana” a trick to cheat the farmers, the question is how the farmers of the state perceive the entire exercise.

Kailash Chaudhary, a farmer from Mandsaur district’s Babulda village, said: “About two years ago, six farmers sacrificed their lives for their rights in Pipliya Mandi. This is the beginning of the victory of their fight.”

“Forms are being filled for waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh. We feel that the government is taking our demands seriously,” Chaudhary told IANS.

Mandsaur was the centre of farmers’ agitation in 2017 when six farmers were killed in police firing in June, 2017. After the incident, the farmers’ movement had taken over the whole state, which then spread to the whole nation.

Farmer’s leader Kedar Sirohi said: “Farmers in different parts of the state are excited about the loan waiver. They are filing applications in large numbers.”

“To ensure they don’t face any difficulty in filing applications, leaders and workers of farmer organisations are helping them. Government officials is also alert to help out the farmers. Colour coding of application forms has made it easier for farmers to fill out the applications,” he said.

According to official figures, out of the 19.54 lakh forms filed till Sunday, around 60 per cent were green forms, 35 per cent were white forms and 5 percent were pink forms. The farmers are hopeful of becoming debt-free through this exercise.

As per the scheme, the farmers of the Aadhaar seeded list will have to submit green applications and the farmers of non-Aadhar seeded list will have to submit white coloured applications. Farmers have to submit a pink application to file an objection or claim against information provided in the green or white list.

However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been accusing the Congress of misleading the farmers and terming the scheme a trick to cheat them.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said the Congress promise of a loan waiver won’t be fulfilled by a mere announcement.

“The Chief Minister (Kamal Nath) and Congress leaders are saying they have fulfilled their promise of loan waiver to the farmers. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. An announcement does not mean fulfillment of the promise,” he said, adding the Congress was misleading the farmers.

Congress spokesperson Syed Jaffer responded that 55 lakh farmers will get their loans waived of under the scheme, for which the due process needs to be followed.

“No matter what charges the BJP makes, the truth is that farmers are happy and they trust that the Congress is fulfilling the promise that they made to them,” he said.

“Those farmers who are in debt, neither are they now receiving notices from the banks nor is their property being seized. Under BJP rule, farmers had to go to jail and lose their property just for not paying their power bills,” Jaffer told IANS.

Calling the scheme pro-farmer, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Sharma told IANS that political parties were creating doubts about the scheme.

“Farmers were reeling under debt which had increased manifold over the last one-and-a-half decade. Now they are getting waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh. The government is new and one should wait before making adverse comments,” he said.

Kamal Nath had signed the farm loan waiver file soon after taking oath as the Chief Minister. The filing of forms for the waiver started from January 15 and will continue till February 5.

According to the government, farmers will start getting the money in their loan accounts from February 22.

The Chief Minister had said that the scheme would benefit around 55 lakh farmers by waiving their loans worth Rs 50,000 crore.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

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Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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BenQ launches 4K home cinema projectors in India

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w2700 cinematic color with true 4k kv

New Delhi, Jan 22 : Taiwanese electronics company BenQ on Tuesday launched two new 4K home cinema projectors — “W2700” and “W5700” — with CinematicColor technology, projector-optimised HDR-PRO support and individual factory colour calibration in India.

The new projectors, “W2700” and “W5700”, priced at Rs 2.49 lakh and Rs 2.99 lakh respectively, are the world’s first 4K home cinema projectors, the company said.

“With this new range of 4K projectors, we are extremely optimistic that these will turn any room into a world-class home theatre with video enhancing technologies,” said Rajeev Singh, Managing Director, BenQ India.

Fuelled by DCI-P3 colour space, “W2700” delivers the highest level of image accuracy while the “W5700” projector provides a 1.6X big zoom along with 2D H/V lens shift that is ideal for audio visual (AV) rooms.

The HDR-PRO supported projectors also incorporate auto colour and tone mapping techniques to offer improved brightness and contrast range along with ideal image optimization for vivid video quality.

Designed with a compact profile, the light weight projectors facilitate tailored AV personalization with versatile short throw, big zoom and lens shift for a wide range of home cinema possibilities, the company said.

The projectors would begin shipping in the first quarter of 2019.

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