Pune: The Ahmednagar police on Monday arrested Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Shivaji Kardile in connection with the murders of Shiv Sena leaders Sanjay Kotkar and Vasant Thube on Saturday.However, Mr. Kardile, MLA from Ahmednagar’s Rahuri constituency, denied his arrest and said he “voluntarily gave himself up” at the Bhingar police station this morning.A press note issued by the Ahmednagar police on Sunday had declared that the BJP MLA, along with 53 others connected to the crime and vandalism at the Ahmednagar Superintendent of Police’s office, was absconding.On Sunday, the police booked Mr. Kardile, along with NCP MLC Arun Jagtap (Sangram Jagtap’s father) and 30 others for allegedly hatching a conspiracy and executing the killings. ‘Allegations false’The BJP MLA refuted all allegations against him. “The police are investigating the crime and the culprits will be brought to justice. I have no relation with it. Since Saturday, the opposition [read Shiv Sena] is besmirching some members of my family and me by linking our names with the murders. Seeing this, I voluntary decided to appear before the police and cooperate with the probe,” Mr. Kardile told a local television channel.The second high-profile arrest in the case comes a day after Mr. Kardile’s son-in-law, National Congress Party (NCP) legislator Sangram Jagtap, and four others were taken into police custody in connection with the murders.Mr. Jagtap was taken into police custody in the wee hours of Sunday. Congress candidate Vishal Kotkar, who won the Kedgaon bypoll to the Ahmednagar civic body; his father Balasaheb Kotkar; Sandeep Gunjal and Bhanudas Kotkar were also booked for their alleged roles in the double murder.Soon after Mr. Jagtap was arrested, Mr. Kardile, along with a mob of over 200 persons allegedly vandalised the office of the Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar. However, Mr. Kardile denied allegations, stating that events had been “misinterpreted”. “After Sangram [Jagtap] was arrested, a mob had gathered at the SP’s office. I was returning from a function and decided to stop en route and pacify the mob. I urged the crowd to show restraint,” he said, adding he was ready to face any inquiry. The aftermath of the Kedgaon bypoll coupled with years of political rivalry are said to be the broad reasons for the murders of the two Sena leaders, who were first shot at and then attacked with sharp weapons.The murders have led to the suspension of police inspector Abhay Parmar of Ahmednagar’s Kotwali police station Minister of State for Home, Deepak Kesarkar. He has been replaced by PI Ramesh Ratnaparkhi.Mr. Parmar’s suspension was prompted by Shiv Sena’s allegations about the allegedly controversial role of the police authorities in Kedgaon in the crime.All three families — the Kardiles, the Jagtaps and the Kotkars — are related to each other by marriage and virtually dominate Ahmednagar politics, especially at the taluka and civic body levels.Both Mr. Kardile and Congress leader Bhanudas Kotkar have a history of crime, their names figuring prominently in the murder of lottery-ticket businessman Ashok Lande in 2008. The incident has snowballed into a political slug-fest, with the Sena and the NCP trading charges.On Sunday, senior Shiv Sena leader and Minister Ramdas Kadam, alleged that the murders were “a premeditated conspiracy by the BJP, Congress and NCP”. Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, retaliated by accusing the Sena of attempting to tarnish his party’s reputation by fabricating charges.
The Rajasthan government’s new flagship Annapurna Milk Scheme for supplying milk thrice in a week to about 62 lakh children studying in the State-run schools is set to increase the burden on teachers, who are already performing a number of tasks in addition to their main work of imparting education.Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje launched the scheme at the Government Model Senior Secondary School at Dahmi Kalan, near here, on Monday, barely five months before the Assembly elections due later this year. The scheme is considered one of the biggest ones initiated by the BJP government. Ms. Raje affirmed at the launch ceremony that the Annapura Scheme would lay the foundation for the State’s happy and healthy future. “Every child in the government schools will get fresh, pure and nutritious warm milk three days a week. This will improve nutritional levels among children and help increase enrolments,” she said.Women’s cooperativesThe Chief Minister said the women’s milk producers’ cooperative societies would be entrusted with the task of supplying milk to schools. “This will ensure good quality of milk, as mothers do not compromise on the quality of their children’s milk,” Ms. Raje remarked.62 lakh studentsUnder the scheme to be implemented with a budget allocation of ₹218 crore, about 62 lakh students in 66,506 government schools will be provided warm milk as part of the mid-day meals. Students till Class V will get 150 ml of warm milk thrice a week, while those studying in Classes VI to VIII will get 200 ml.Teachers of government schools will be involved in the purchase of milk from the milk cooperative societies and distribution to the students. With crucial questions on the flagship scheme’s proper implementation coming up, the Rajasthan Shikshak Sangh (Shekhawat) said while the schools were understaffed, the teachers would be “overburdened” with new responsibilities.“The milk will be served without sugar because no extra budget has been allotted for it. The teachers will be burdened with the additional work of storing and boiling the milk. It will affect the standard of education and may lead to dropout of students,” Shikshak Sangh spokesperson Prakash Mishra said.Perishable itemSince milk is a perishable item and there is an inadequate infrastructure in the schools, the teachers will be unwilling to take on the extra responsibility. Mr. Mishra said the scheme would in fact encourage privatisation of education, as the Right to Education Act was being violated “with impunity” in the State.
Nine months after tabling a Bill in the Assembly, the Assam government has decided to implement the policy of deducting the pay of employees who do not take care of their parents and physically-challenged siblings.The suicide of an elderly couple, abused and neglected by their son, in Sivasagar on July 1 has influenced this decision. The State government will also make changes in the service rules of employees in accordance with the State Population Policy passed last year. This will make people with more than two children ineligible for government jobs and election or nomination to the Panchayat and other local bodies. “The suicide of businessman-theatre producer Rajani Khargharia and his wife was painful. It reminded us of the PRONAM Bill, 2017, that was passed by the Assembly [in September] last year,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday, warning employees who treat their parents shabbily.PRONAM, which stands for Assam Employees’ Parents Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring Bill, aims at “accountability for employees of the State government or any other organisation in Assam in taking care of their parents and divyang (disabled) siblings and in matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”The purpose of the bill was not to interfere with the private life of State government employees but to ensure that their parents and siblings with disabilities, if neglected, could lodge a complaint with the employee’s department, Mr. Sarma said.Upon receiving the complaint, the department would then deduct 10% of the employee’s monthly salary and give it to their neglected parents and physically-challenged siblings, he said.The government, Mr. Sarma said, would also implement the two-child policy for jobs and elections to local bodies and Panchayats. The policy, passed in the Assembly soon after the PRONAM Bill last year, also proposes to disqualify MLAs ignoring family planning.“In case any MLA from the State flouts the family planning norms, say MLAs having more than two children, he/she may be disqualified from his or her membership and be debarred from contesting polls,” the policy, drafted by the Health & Family Welfare Department, said.Assam was the 12th State in India to come up with such a policy for barring people with more than two children from applying for government jobs, contesting polls, and from housing and other beneficiary schemes.“Assam is facing a dangerous population explosion,” Mr. Sarma had said last year to justify the population policy.According to the 2011 Census, the population of Assam increased from 2.66 crore in 2001 to 3.2 crore, with the decadal growth being 17.07%. Although there was a decline in the decadal growth of population, the rate of increase was at an unsustainable level, the government said.Various minority groups had panned the population policy as being anti-Muslim.
Parents of Ehtesham Bilal, 19 — who went missing on October 28 but reappeared on Friday in an online post, wielding weapons under the Islamic State banner — asked their son to return home and appealed to Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind chief Zakir Musa to help them.Distraught and refusing to take meals, Bilal’s mother appealed to her son to shun the militant outfit. “Whatever group you have joined, please return. I appeal to Zakir Musa and will pray for his long life, help me in returning my son,” she said in a video.Bilal, who was a student at Sharda University in Noida was reported missing on October 28by his parents. His father, who owns a hardware shop in Srinagar, expressed shock over his son’s purported audio message,where he pledges allegiance to the IS-motivated Jundul Khilafah and to IS’s Iraq-based leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.“I heard your audio message. You talk about Islam. Islam says heaven lies under the feet of mother. Islam warns against disobedience to your parents. I order you to return to your family, Your mother hasn’t eaten anything [since you went missing],” he said.On Friday, a six-minute audio, attributed to Bilal, and pictures, where he was wielding a gun and weapons strapped with an IS flag in the backdrop, were uploaded on social media. “I was looking into the eyes of those 100 kufaars (non-Muslims) when they attacked me in groups like dogs. I was defending my Afghan muslim brothers. I was even then an advocate of khilaf (Islamic State)…and have chosen the path of jihad,” Bilal purportedly says in the audio.He was apparently referring to a clash that took place between local and Afghan students at Sharda University on October 4. A senior counter-insurgency police officer told The Hindu that Bilal has joined militant ranks and his movement was traced to Srinagar and Pulwama. “We are investigating the matter,” the officer said.National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah described the development as “a worrying trend”.“If this is genuine, it’s hugely worrying. Sometimes, seemingly small actions have huge consequences. If what happened to him at Sharda University has led him to choose such a destructive path, it’s even more tragic. One more life on the path to ruin and one more family in turmoil,” Mr. Abdullah tweeted.
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Manipur on January 4, security measures have been beefed up on an unprecedented scale. The police and paramilitary forces, including Assam Rifles, are conducting pre-dawn cordon-and-search operations at several places. During a search on Saturday evening, insurgent leader Anand Laishram, 21, of Chajing Karam near Imphal was arrested by the joint forces. Election ploy: Cong.Mr. Modi is likely to announce a slew of developmental projects during his visit lasting a few hours. However, Congress MLA N. Loken said: “It is too late. Mr. Modi and other BJP leaders may announce some projects involving huge amounts. This is mere election ploy. Because no construction work can be taken up in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha election.”Police sources said the search operations would continue. Identification papers of all youngsters are being verified.The police said the arrested insurgent leader, Anand Laishram, took part in the June 4, 2015 ambush against soldiers at Paraolen in Chandel district, in which 18 Army men were killed on the spot and 11 others were seriously injured. Authorities had announced a reward ₹2 lakh for information leading to his arrest, the police said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday called the Rafale deal a “big scam” and said that she supported the views of the Congress party on this issue.One of the most vocal critics of the BJP-led government at the Centre, Ms. Banerjee has not spoken much about the Rafale deal. Asked about The Hindu’s revelations on the deal, the West Bengal Chief Minister said Mr. Modi is used to taking unilateral decisions and interfering in every issue and referred to demonetisation.“I was not sure how much money was involved but something has happened behind the curtains in the deal. Rafale is a big scam and I support Congress on this,” she said. The Trinamool Congress chairperson said Mr. Modi turns out to be a chaiwala (tea vendor) during the polls and becomes Rafale-wala after it. During his public meeting at Jalpaiguri Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said he had a deep bond with north Bengal which produces tea as he had once been a tea vendor. Row over circuit courtMs. Banerjee also took strong exception to the Mr Modi’s inaugurating the Circuit Bench of the Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri during the day.Speaking to journalists Ms Banerjee said neither the State government nor the High Court was informed of the inauguration. “The manpower for the Circuit Bench has to be provided by us. The High Court will send judges. It is like the groom and the bride are missing and the band party comes and plays a political tune,” the Chief Minister said.During his rally Mr. Modi had criticised the State government for the delay in opening up the Circuit Bench.
Actor-turned politician Sunny Deol escaped unhurt after his vehicle was involved in a collision with three cars on Monday, police said.The mishap occurred after one of the tyres in Deol’s sports utility vehicle burst near a ‘Gurdwara’ in Sohal village, Gurdaspur Deputy Superintendent of Police (rural) Manjit Singh told PTI. A total of four vehicles collided with each other in the accident. Mr. Deol’s cavalcade was going towards Fatehgarh Churian where the BJP candidate had to campaign, the DSP said.“Out of four, one vehicle belonged to a villager, rest other vehicles were part of Mr. Deol’s cavalcade,” he said. Nobody was hurt in the accident, he added.After the accident, Mr. Deol resumed his journey to Fatehgarh Churian for poll campaigning, the DSP said. Mr. Deol is pitted against Congress candidate and sitting MP Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has been at the receiving end of tough questions from Congress numerous times over the past 5 years. But his pugnacious exchange with lawmakers at a hearing of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee today is likely to go down as one of his more memorable visits to Capitol Hill.Bolden was first grilled by Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA), chair of the commerce, justice, and science appropriations subcommittee, over alleged lapses of security at NASA, which Wolf and many others believe has made the agency vulnerable to espionage by China. Bolden said NASA was improving its security.Then Wolf demanded to know why NASA had been slow to share information with the committee on the expected budget and schedule for programs and the road maps for achieving goals such as the development of a rocket that can take astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). “As a result, we are often required to make decisions in an information vacuum,” Wolf said. At one point, he remarked, “Instead of posturing, let’s just be honest.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The comment got Bolden hot under the collar. “Every time I come here, my integrity is impugned,” Bolden replied. He insisted that he had never misrepresented anything to the committee. “I am offended,” he said.Bolden was challenged by Wolf and other lawmakers on several elements of the administration’s 2015 budget proposal, including the decision to continue funding a controversial asteroid capture mission, and the decision to mothball the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) if NASA can’t find more partners to share the cost.“We are still looking for ways to save SOFIA,” Bolden said, while reiterating the administration’s view that SOFIA was a lower priority than other astrophysics missions in NASA’s portfolio.Representative John Culberson (R-TX) asked whether NASA had made any contingency plans for sending U.S. astronauts to the ISS in the event of a continuing diplomatic standoff with Russia. Bolden answered that if Congress were to grant the $858 million that NASA requested in the 2015 budget for the development of a commercial crew vehicle, the agency would expect to have access to the space station without reliance on the Russians by 2017.
Budget cuts. Infectious disease. Conflict of interest scandals. Bioterrorism. Just when the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) thought it had faced just about every conceivable problem, today a black bear (Ursus americanus) took shelter in one of the pine trees on its sprawling campus in Bethesda, Maryland.At about midday, NIH employees received an e-mail telling them about the bear (which apparently breached NIH’s security fence, built after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks). Local police, media, and animal control officials soon descended, according to media reports. Soon, Twitter was abuzz with bear reports and jokes.“OMG the bear is at NIH! The bear does not have appropriate identification!” tweeted @sarahrodeo.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“I’m sure he’s trying to find parking,” speculated @SofiaL246.The bear even appeared to have his own Twitter handle—@NIH_Bear. “I’m not a bear! I’m Senior Faculty here to grumble about funding lines!!” came a tweet from the account, suspiciously also marked “@NIHDirector.”“It’s summertime. I need to fatten up,” read another @NIH_Bear dispatch. “Please send more junior investigators. #yum.”“Who among you has not, when funding decisions weren’t going your way, climbed a tree on the @NIH campus and eaten a librarian?” @NIH_Bear asked.“I want Collins, in a scuba-suit, with an R01 and a budget-cap waiver,” @NIH_Bear demanded at one point. (Francis Collins is NIH’s director; an R01 is the agency’s bread-and-butter grant.)After local media reported that officials were firing fireworks to scare the bear out of the tree, and considering using tranquilizing darts, @DigitalDistrict had this very inside-the-beltway suggestion: “Instead of tranqs, just hold a 2 hour budget meeting underneath the tree. Guaranteed sedation.”The bear had been tranquilized and was awaiting transport off the NIH campus as this item went to press.Black bears have become increasingly frequent visitors to the Washington, D.C., suburbs, where NIH is located, as a result of booming populations.(Video courtesy of WJLA)
How did life on Earth get its start? Do humans harbor genes that jumped from microbes? And does speaking a second language change how you view the world? Science’s Emily Conover and Susanne Bard chat about these stories and more. Plus, Nikolaus Correll discusses the future of robotic materials inspired by nature.
A top Indian-American lawmaker and right bodies have described as “troubling” the US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries and vowed to resist the “hatred”.In one of the biggest victories of Trump during his presidency, the US Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the travel ban that restricted the entry of people from Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela. Read it at Deccan Herald Related Items
The outbound tourism from India is on the rise, as per the data collated by a leading visa outsourcing firm.Read it at Indian Epxress Related Items
Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is more than just a great musician and sufi singer for percussionist Brook Martinez. He is the spirit that binds the 11 members of his all Caucasian band, the Brooklyn Qawwali Party, founded in 2003, which performs jazz to Nusrat’s music.Growing up with hip-hop, sufi music did not feature in Martinez’s teenage world. Then, one evening, he saw Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on a VH1 Awards ceremony. “I heard Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for the first time then and my first reaction was ‘who is this large Pakistani guy’? That performance completely bowled me over.”Martinez, who studied jazz and contemporary music at New York University, says the decisive moment that led to the formation of Brooklyn Qawwali Party came after he heard Nusrat’s interview on a TV channel. “Nusrat said qawwali is like jazz. That immediately caught my attention. Nusrat himself said that he improvises his music, and that’s when I got the idea to play and popularize Nusrat’s qawwali music through the medium I know best – jazz.” Martinez picked up some of Nusrat’s songs, transcribed the music and began rehearsing with other musician friends who were also fans of Nusrat. Shawn Trail, a percussionist in the band, remembers walking into a music store and picking up his first Nusrat CD by chance: “I was just looking at some CDs when I saw a CD of Nusrat’s final studio recording. The packaging and the beautiful art work was so interesting that I decided to buy that CD! Though I must add that the packaging might have drawn me to Nusrat, but it was his music that blew me away.”Many in the band had heard Nusrat’s music on their own, while others had been introduced to his music by Martinez. The band was established in 2003 under the temporary name Martinez’s Qawwali party and performed its first gig at a friend’s apartment in Red Hook in Brooklyn, New York.Qawwali is a vibrant, improvising musical tradition that dates back 700 years ago. The songs that constitute the qawwali repertoire are principally in Urdu and Punjabi.The improvisation tradition of qawali has served the Brooklyn Qawwali party well as the group plays Nusrat’s music to their individual instruments. Says Tony Barba, a saxophone player in the band, “I am trained in jazz and find a lot of similarity in sufi music and jazz. Both improvise while being performed live, have solos and repetition of themes.”Martinezs explains, “Nusrat also introduces Hindustani classical while singing qawwali. We follow the main components of qawwali, meaning we repeat the melody in jazz and then one person goes solo. We have designated clappers as well. It’s the same in qawwali.”Martinez adds, “We decided that we won’t sing the songs since the words were unfamiliar to us and we weren’t sure of our diction. We included just basic chorus words to give the effect, like Dum Mast Kalandar and Allah Hu.”Performing in public was not easy at first. Recalls Martinez of the debut public performance at the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn in September 2003: “I was really scared. I did have thoughts like who am I to play this music? I am neither sufi, nor Pakistani or even South Asian. I wasn’t sure how the audience would receive us.”But the gig was a hit and since then the group has attracted many South Asians fans, some of who do a double take. Oftentimes, South Asian audience members recognize a song, Martinez says, “There are tentative smiles and whispers amongst the audience when they realize that we are all white Americans playing their music. The response though is extremely positive in the end.”Tony Barba adds: “When we play, we do try to see how the audience is reacting. There are times when the audience face lights up, because they recognize the music or the song and then they start clapping. That’s really satisfying for us.”A fan, Shridhar Bhave, who has attended many of shows, says: “The main thing about BQP is it transcends all the borders and barriers of language, religion, countries and race. It actually shows the power of music. It’s a unique experience listening to Allah Hu from a jazz ensemble.”Another fan, Avantika Pandit, adds: “I am extremely impressed. It is something very different and unique. For me as an Indian, who knows Nusrat’s style of singing, watching Caucasians performing it in a jazz form – this format itself intrigues me!”The group, in turn, has introduced many of its fans to Nusrat’s music, says Barba, “There are many people, friends of friends and relatives who have not been exposed to Nusrat’s music but now, after listening to his music at our performances, they are huge fans of Nusrat!” Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is the spirit that binds the 11 members of the Brooklyn Qawwali Party jazz band together.Barba, who had developed an interest in Indian music, says he was struck by Nusrat’s voice and melody the first time he heard it: “I had never been exposed to any qawwali before and when I heard him, I was awe-struck. Sufi music sounded similar to Indian music to me, but still different in some ways. In fact, I know people who don’t know anything about qawwali or what kind of music it is, but if you mention Nusrat’s name, they know who he is!”Brooklyn Qawwali Party, which performs regularly at Brooklyn’s Joe’s Pub, performed at the Indian and Pakistani Independence Day parades in New York last year.Whatever the language or the event, the central theme of qawwali remains spiritual, exemplifying the devotion and love for the Divine. That devotion seems evident on the faces of members of the Brooklyn Qawwali Party. Percussionist Trail says playing Nusrat’s music is equivalent to praying: “It is definitely a spiritual practice for me. I have reached a higher state of consciousness while playing qawwali music.”Martinez adds, “We are not westernizing sufi music. It is just a pure expression of our feeling in our unique way. It’s not pure, but it is borne out of immense love and respect for Nusrat.”The sentiment is shared by Barba: “For all the members in the band, music is spiritual in nature. When we play it, we experience it. We were conscious that the members we put together know that and relate to that feeling.”Says Trail: “Most music tends to have a direct connection with the creator. Nusrat’s voice seems to have a direct connection with the universe. I had heard sufi music in Morocco, but Nusrat went further than his own vision.” Related Items
The Vice-Chancellor of Tripura University, Vijaykumar Laxmikantrao Dharurkar, resigned on Saturday two days after a local news channel carried out a sting operation that showed him accepting a bribe to favour contracts. University sources have confirmed his resignation.The university’s senior-most faculty, Sangram Sinha, who was in Kolkata, has been appointed as interim V-C till the Ministry of Human Resource Development announces permanent selection for the post, sources added.“The Registrar has requested me to return immediately,” Dr. Sinha told The Hindu before boarding a flight for Agartala. Prof. Dharurkar took over as V-C in July last year and his tenure was for five years. He replaced Prof. A.K. Ghosh, who too had landed in controversy over corruption charges. The local news channel had played multiple videos and audio clips showing Prof. Dharurkar negotiating and accepting cash from a representative of a Kolkata-based printing company.
There were smiles on the faces of scores of apple growers in Srinagar on Thursday when Governor Satya Pal Malik announced market intervention scheme to buy crop worth ₹8,000 crore directly from the farmers in Kashmir.Muhammad Yousuf Dar, an apple trader who also heads the Baramulla Fruit Growers’ Association, termed it “a welcome move”. “We want the government to ensure that it [scheme] reaches the grass-roots level. This will also help resolve unemployment issue,” said Mr. Dar. He said over 10 crore boxes of apple are exported outside Kashmir annually.Trying timesMuhammad Maqbool, another trader, said the government’s move has “brought cheer for us in these trying times”. “Such interventions should continue,” said Mr. Maqbool.The August 5 decision of the Union government to revoke J&K’s special status resulted in a communication blockade, affecting the traders’ ability to tie up with wholesale buyers outside or line up with transport companies.Kashmir produces 75% of the total apple crop in the country at 20 lakh metric tonnes. “The fruit growers are not sure about prices and sell in distress. Even the grade ‘C’ apple will be bought. It will triple its price. The intervention of ₹8,000 crore will reach out to 60% of total population of J&K,” said Mr. Malik while launching the scheme at the horticulture department in Srinagar.The government’s market intervention, the first of its kind in J&K, will allow the apples produce to be bought from the doorsteps of the orchardists. “Direct payment will be made to their account. Transportation will be the job of the procurer only,” said Mr. Malik.The government has set up mandis for the scheme at Srinagar’s Parimpora, Baramulla’s Sopore, Shopian and Anantnag’s Botengu.In an indirect reference to the amendment to Article 370, the Governor said: “History cannot be reversed. There is sympathy for people of J&K. People should learn the art of seeking and taking [from the Centre]. The whole country belongs to you.”
A railway court here has framed charges against Gurdaspur MP Sunny Deol and actor Karisma Kapoor in a 22-year-old case of alleged chain pulling in a train at the Naraina Railway Station in Rajasthan during the shooting for a film. The two actors challenged the order through a revision petition in a sessions court on Wednesday.Mr. Deol and Ms. Kapoor, along with stuntman Tinu Verma and Satish Shah, had allegedly entered the station and stopped train 2413-A Uplink Express by pulling its emergency chain in 1997, causing its delay by 25 minutes. The film unit was shooting for a movie Bajrang at Sanvarda village near Phulera in Jaipur district. The Assistant Station Master said in his complaint that a few persons from Mumbai shooting for a movie in a nearby village had illegally stopped the train.After framing the charges under the Railway Act earlier this week, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Railways) summoned three witnesses for the next hearing on September 24. The actors have been accused of violating Sections 141 (needlessly interfering with the means of communication in a train), 145 (drunkenness or nuisance), 146 (obstructing a railway servant in his duties) and 147 (trespass and refusal to desist from trespass) of the Railways Act.The revision petition filed in the sessions court stated that the railway court had framed the same charges for the second time after its charges read out earlier in 2009 were set aside in 2010. A.K. Jain, counsel for Mr. Deol and Ms. Kapoor, contended that the September 17 order for framing of charges was against the law.
Independent candidate Chakat Aboh, widow of assassinated MLA Tirong Aboh, has won Khonsa West seat in Arunachal Pradesh by a margin of 1887 votes. She defeated independent candidate Azet Homtok, who polled 3818 votes. Byelections were necessitated in the constituency after MLA Tirong Aboh was gunned down by suspected militants in May, two days ahead of poll results. In a rare show of unity, all political parties, including Congress and the BJP, fielded Aboh’s widow, Ms. Chakat Aboh, as a common candidate. An estimated 89 per cent of the over 10,000 voters had exercised their franchise in the by-election to the seat held on October 21.
MOST READ ‘Pamana’: Mausoleum caretaker cherishes humble work for family PLAY LIST 03:06‘Pamana’: Mausoleum caretaker cherishes humble work for family02:12San Beda, Lyceum early favorites ahead of NCAA Season 9303:122 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games K-pop star Jung Joon-young convicted of gang rape, spycam crimes LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next SAN BEDA 66 – Tankoua 11, Mocon 10, Potts 8, Bolick 6, Soberano 6, Cabanag 5, Carino 4, Bahio 4, Doliguez 3, Adamos 3, Tongco 2, Presbitero 2, Oftana 2, Abuda 0.MAPUA 55 – Bunag 20, Orquina 11, Magboo 10, Nieles 6, Victoria 4, Aguirre 2, Gabo 2, Jimenez 0, Raflores 0.Quarters: 23-6, 31-20, 51-32, 66-55. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Mapua still tried to recover and cut the deficit to just nine, 64-55, after a Kim Magboo bucket with 1:12 to play, but Robert Bolick’s free throws doused that rally as San Beda cruised to its fifth straight victory.Donald Tankoua made a living in the paint for the Red Lions, grabbing 11 points and 16 rebounds for his best game to date.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutJavee Mocon got 10 markers and six boards, Davon Potts had eight points and three rebounds, and Bolick collected six markers, eight boards, and four dimes in the balanced attack for San Beda.Despite the comfortable triumph, coach Boyet Fernandez chided his wards for what he felt was a lackluster showing in the payoff period. SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games San Beda’s Davon Potts and Donald Tankoua celebrate. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Beda stepped on the gas pedal early and blew Mapua out, 66-55, to nab its sixth win in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Coming off a week-long break, the Red Lions imposed their will early and raced to a 23-6 charge in the first period, pulling away from the Cardinals and grabbing a lead as high as 25, 49-24 late in the third quarter.ADVERTISEMENT For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. “If we played the way we played in the fourth quarter, I think we’ll have a hard time against them. We played bad in the fourth quarter,” he said. “I just have to let the other guys realize that we can’t let those things happen. I hope my players realize that.”The Cardinals missed the services of Andoy Estrella, who is nursing an MCL injury.In his absence, Christian Bunag stepped up for the skidding Mapua (1-6) with 20 points and 18 rebounds in the team’s fifth consecutive defeat.Almel Orquina got 11 markers and four boards, while Magboo had 10 points and four rebounds.The Scores:ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NBA: Analyst Charles Barkley says it’s ‘stupid’ that Kyrie Irving wants to leave Cavs WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses