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Reduce helplessness for a stable society: Sudha Murthy

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sudha murthy

New Delhi, Dec 11 : The conversation starts with Jean Paul Sartre and ends with Ayushmann Khurrana. And she seems happy about that.

At Infosys’ guesthouse in the national capital, which shuns shouting ‘corporates’, Sudha Murthy is sitting in a small room. The larger conference hall is reserved for waiting journalists.

In town for the Penguin Annual Lecture 2019, Murthy says her many roles, including being the Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, a writer, social worker and administrator, complete her.

“I must thank my excellent support system, else it would have been tough to do justice to them all. Frankly, there is not much demand from home and I don’t socialise much — no partying, get-togethers and very rare wedding appearances,” Murthy smiles.

That gives her enough time to write, she says.

“It is after all my cherished expression that lets me talk about what I feel deeply about, my joys, the sorrows,” she says, and adds, perhaps as an afterthought, “When something comes to my mind, I finish a book within 15-20 days.”

Murthy, however, doesn’t really like the fact that most schools, except perhaps some alternative ones, pay little attention to encouraging writing or pushing students towards other art forms.

“There seems to be such a drastic change from our times when hobby classes were an integral part. Now, both schools and parents are only looking at making their kids computer proficient from an early age.

“Of course, it also has to do with the intense competition in the face of a huge population, but it would be nice if they realised that encouraging creativity at an early age works wonders later on,” she says.

As the conversation veers towards her latest book ‘The Daughter from a Wishing Tree: Unusual Tales from Women in Mythology’, the author insists that mythology, which has been written by men, does not really boast of many prominent women characters, except Sita and Draupdi.

“And this is despite the fact that several women have taken very strong and decisive decisions, which have changed dynasties. Yet, they remain unsung. The book is, therefore, about unusual women, away from the popular narrative, but extremely important,” she says.

Stating that mythology happens to be an indispensable part of Indian culture, Murthy feels that it can be the saving light in the bleakest of times.

“Once you understand that it is not to be taken literally and is open to interpretation, it serves its true purpose — taking life head-on and never getting bogged down even in the worst of times,” she says.

For Murthy, who for decades has been working with the underprivileged, the one emotion that always strikes her is helplessness.

“The moment people start feeling that, they take extreme measures. Look at the French Revolution or the Naxalite movement closer home. In order to ascertain a healthy and stable society, it is important to reduce that helplessness and that’s what I work for,” she says.

Considering the fact that she was the only girl student in her engineering class and was the first woman engineer to be hired by TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO), does she feel that things have really changed for women?

“For educated women, yes. If you look at the southern states, the demand for dowry has come down considerably in most communities. Education, leading to financial independence, has surely made women more empowered,” Murthy says.

Not only social justice, education or poverty alleviation, Murthy knows her cinema well too.

“I am a complete movie buff who still prefers to go for the late night show and seldom watch movies at home. Nowadays, I don’t miss any films starring Ayushmann Khurrana considering the fact that he makes such sensible choices. Well, I do miss the subtle style of directors like Basu Bhattacharya and Hrishikesh Mukherjee, but really admire Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s work among the contemporary directors,” Murthy concludes.

India

Jamia to Rajghat March on March 30 against CAA

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Amit Shah

New Delhi, Jan 23 After Home Minister Amit Shah refused to listen to protesters who are opposing Citizenship Law, NRC and NPR, the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) announced to take out Jamia-to-Rajghat march on January 30, the protest against the amended Citizenship Act .

Police which is under the control of Amit Shah will again try to crackdown on protests as the government has turned its deaf ear to the protesters demand.

The march will be led by women and the JCC aims to involve people from around the city. To boost participation, the JCC is planning to visit all anti-CAA sit-in sites here, including the Shaheen Bagh and the Khajuri Khas.

A similar march was organised on December 15. But the agitators marching towards the Rashtrapati Bhawan turned violent and set ablaze public and private vehicles, and attacked public properties.

The Delhi Police then launched crackdown, entered the Jamia Millia Islamia campus and allegedly damaged a library.

Since then, the people are protesting against the police crackdown and the CAA outside Jamia’s gate number 7. Protests are also on in several areas, including Shaheen Bagh and Khajuri Khas.

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India

India terms Imran Khan’s act of raising Kashmir at Davos as ‘desperate’

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Raveesh Kumar

New Delhi, Jan 23: India has termed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attempt of raising Kashmir at Davos as ‘desperate act.’

“His remarks suggest that he is desperate and rapidly losing hope. The global community can now see through their double standards. While they pretend to be victims of terrorism on the one hand, they foster extremists who spread terrorism in India and other countries on the other,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He added that there was “nothing new” in what Imran Khan had said at the World Economic Forum meet in Davos, Switzerland.

Kumar also claimed that Pakistan’s attempts to create an “alarmist situation” in Kashmir have failed miserably.

“Our position on Kashmir has been clear and consistent through the years. These are bilateral issues that need to be discussed between India and Pakistan, and there is no role for a third party in this situation,” he said.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson also maintained that the World Economic Forum was not an appropriate platform to discuss such issues.

Imran Khan had urged international powers including the United Nations and the United States to help de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan before things get to a point of no return.

“You cannot have two nuclear-armed countries even contemplating a conflict,” he said.

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Sonia, Priyanka visit Amethi, meet families of accident victims

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Sonia Gandhi

Amethi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on Thursday, reached Amethi to meet the families of six persons of a family who died in a road mishap.

The Gandhis made an unscheduled trip to Bharetha village in Amethi and met the bereaved family who had lost their family members, including the former village head, in the mishap.

The accident had taken place on Monday night when a truck collided with a Bolero on the Amethi-Gauriganj highway. The family in Bolero was returning to its village after attending a function in Gauriganj.

Earlier Sonia and Priyanka, who are on a two-day visit to Rae Bareli, met party workers and asked them to reach out to the people and expose the ruling BJP which is trying to mislead people on the issue of citizenship laws.

Sonia Gandhi asked party workers to raises local issues and continue to fight against injustice.

She said that the training being given by experts to newly elected party office bearers should be implemented at all costs. She also asked party men to focus on problems being faced by farmers and the youth in the state.

Sonia and Priyanka will be returning to Delhi on Thursday evening.

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