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4 VOL 35 NO 36 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

CONTENTS FOR THE WEEK AUGUST 28-SEPTEMBER 3

COLUMNS
12 Power Point 67 Everyone is a camera
42 COVER STORY Sachidananda Murthy
30 Mani-Festo
Bose Krishnamachari
74 Last Word
Mani Shankar Aiyar Barkha Dutt
SEX, LIES 60 Schizo-Nation
AND DR AGONS Anuja Chauhan

Imagine a television series in which all your


favourite characters are killed off one by one. And, 18 Current events: 56 Infosys: The
Justice Dipak company needs
yet you don't mind waiting an entire year to catch
Misra has his task to set its house in
the next season. Well, that is Game of Thrones cut out as the next order before looking
for you. The series has a strong viewership base Chief Justice of for a new CEO
across the world, and also in India. THE WEEK India
takes a look at the reasons for its popularity 68 Architecture:
26 Security: Sri Lankan
India needs a architect Madhura
forward-looking Prematilleke talks
national security about contentment
strategy and not a in the craft
reactive one

32 Unless the trial


is expedited,
Col Purohit will
remain an accused
in the blast case

NEXT WEEK
A Bodhi tree that travelled back to
India after 2,400 years

COVER IMAGING: BINESH SREEDHARAN


BHANU PRAKASH CHANDRA
SANJAY AHLAWAT
VIBI JOB

38 TAMIL NADU
Despite the two warring camps
40 TRIPLE TALAQ
The abolition of the 1,400-year-old
63 @LEISURE
More and more Indians are ditching
burying the hatchet for now, practice is a step towards bringing social the cities for the quaint charm and
uncertainty prevails in the AIADMK reform in the community natural setting of Goa K

Printed at Malayala Manorama Press, Kottayam, Print House India Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, M P Printers, Noida and Rajhans Enterprises, Bangalore and published from Manorama Buildings, Panampilly Nagar,
Kochi-682 036, by Jacob Mathew, on behalf of the Malayala Manorama Co.Ltd., Kottayam - 686 001. Editor Philip Mathew Focus/Infocus features are marketing/PR initiatives
6 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
LETTERS
INDEPENDENCE DAY SPECIAL Though not to the some omissions. The part was eyeing the prop-
AUGUST 20, 2017 $50
AHMED PATEL
GIVES HOPE
extent of the Britons and played by Maharaja Hari erty. Yet, Srikantadatta
TO CONGRESS
EXCLUSIVE:
STALKED GIRL the Japanese, we, in India, Singh in the annexation Wadiyar, the scion of the
TALKS OF THAT
DARK NIGHT
have a nostalgic afnity of his princely state to the Mysore royal family, who
LIFE OF with kings and their royal Union of India, which ulti- died in 2013, was a mem-
THE ways. mately pushed the nation ber of the Congress and
ROYALS
THEN & Raveendranath A., to the present turmoil represented Mysore four
NOW
0831-CRORE On email. in Jammu and Kashmir, times in the Lok Sabha. It
DIAMOND FOR
PAPERWEIGHT.
ROLLS-ROYCES
FOR GARBAGE
and the circumstances clearly shows that most of
PICK UP.
I THOROUGHLY under which the Union the royals dont know who
70 YEARS LATER,
INDIAS
ROYALS
ENJOYED reading the government abolished the to believe or are too naive.
SHAPE
POLITICAL AND
CORPORATE
cover story. It was a wel- princely titles, privileges S. Sreenivas,
CAREERS,
PRESERVE come change from mun- and privy purses have not On email.
dane politics. The account been illustrated properly.
ROYALS of the regal life led by the
royals and the life of their
S.R. Gopinathan,
Kottayam, Kerala.
THE UNION GOVERN-
MENT can play an impor-
RELOADED descendants made my tant role in preserving the
ON THE FACE of it, week. The snippets sprin- THE COVER STORY royal traditions by using
it may appear odd to kled in the stories were was timely and informa- them to boost tourism.
devote the cover story too good to miss. tive. Most of these royals Moin syed,
of your special issue to But the royal family that associate themselves with On email.
erstwhile kings and their caught my attention was the Congress, forgetting
progeny, but their con- Travancore. Their con- that it was Indira Gandhi Ingratitude
tribution in formulating tribution to society and who abolished the privy WHEN HAMID ANSARI
and enriching the destiny simplicity are exemplary. purse, which is the root stepped down as vice
of democratic India is Dilip Gurjar, cause for most of their president, he expressed
second to none (King of On email. misery! The Wadiyar his ingratitude to the
all rewinds, August 20). dynasty in Mysore sur- nation which gave him
Even after losing power I ENJOYED READING vived on rental income very high positions
and pelf, their persever- the reports on life of the because most of the prop- (Mani-festo, August
ance and adaptability are Indian royals then and erty was under litigation. 20). Ansari very conve-
noteworthy. now. However, I found It was said the Congress niently forgot to recall
that we had Zakir Husain,
THE WEEK MAGAZINE Estimated wealth part of our assets. The sole Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
has carried an article projecting a staggering owner is Sree Padmanab- and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
(Simplicity rules, August amount far beyond our haswamy. as our presidents. They
20) on the Travancore reach appeared in one I request you to urgently did not have any doubts
royal family to which I box but what was even correct this dangerously on safety of minorities in
belong. I thank the author more disturbing and damaging and hugely India.
for the considerate man- distressing was the last incorrect information T.V. Ravindran,
ner in which she has box with the heading regarding our assets and On email.
developed the article and Assets Include, wherein ensure that this correction
for highlighting a select the fabulous wealth of is prominently published. Watchout,
few significant events in the Sree Padmanabhas- Aswathi Thirunal Gouri Congress
the long saga of service of wamy temple has been Lakshmi Bayi, THE BJP HAS perfected
this ancient dynasty. brought in. Thiruvananthapuram. the art of forming govern-
However, the statement On behalf of my family, ments after securing man-
about our wealth and as- I categorically declare IT IS AN established dates and of forming gov-
sets, which appeared on that we have no claim of fact the wealth in Sree ernments without man-
page 104 under the head- any sort on even a gram of Padmanabhaswamy tem- dates (Old hand, August
ing Travancore Kingdom, gold, bit of silver or gem of ple belongs to the deity. 20). But all its efforts to
has shocked and horried this great temple. Noth- We deeply regret the inad- defeat Ahmed Patel in
us making it inevitable ing of this fabled wealth vertent error. the Rajya Sabha election
that we react. is ours and can never be Editor came to nought. The old
fox outwitted the BJP and
8 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
LETTERS
won a fifth successive from the BJP. EDITOR
PHILIP MATHEW
term in the upper house. Bal Govind,
SENIOR ASSISTANT EDITOR & DIRECTOR
The foolhardiness of two On email. RIYAD MATHEW
Congress turncoats, who EDITOR-IN-CHARGE EDITOR-IN-CHARGE (ONLINE) SENIOR NEWS EDITOR
V.S. JAYASCHANDRAN T R GOPAALAKRISHNAN STANLEY THOMAS
in their unbridled enthu- Protect children NEWS EDITOR DEPUTY NEWS EDITORS
siasm showed their bal- YOUR COVER STORY on LUKOSE MATHEW P. SRIDEVI, MATHEW T. GEORGE, MAIJO ABRAHAM
lot papers to Amit Shah, the 10-year-old rape victim RESIDENT EDITOR, DELHI CHIEF OF BUREAU, DELHI
K.S. SACHIDANANDA MURTHY R. PRASANNAN
tilted the scales, and Shah being denied abortion was
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
and company were forced really painful to go through BARKHA DUTT, ANITA PRATAP
to eat humble pie. (10 and mum, August 13). CHIEF OF BUREAU, MUMBAI DEPUTY CHIEFS OF BUREAU, DELHI
C.V. Aravind, This shows that a child is DNYANESH V. JATHAR VIJAYA PUSHKARNA, NEERU BHATIA
CHIEF SUBEDITORS SENIOR SUBEDITORS SUBEDITORS
On email. not safe today even at her S. NEERAJ KRISHNA VIJI RAJAN DIYA MATHEW
home. Just about anyone AJISH P. JOY ANIRUDHA KARINDALAM NEERAJ KRISHNAN
SUSAMMA KURIAN ANIRUDH MADHAVAN
THOUGH THE can assume the role of a NAVIN J. ANTONY
CONGRESS was able rapist. Parents must keep SENIOR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS
to snatch victory from constant vigil on their chil- REKHA DIXIT, MANDIRA NAYAR, NEHA K. SUNIL THOMAS, PRATUL SHARMA,
SHARMA BAJPAI, NAMRATA BIJI AHUJA, NAMITA KOHLI (DELHI); NIRANJAN TAKLE,
the jaws of defeat, Patel dren. The need of the hour RACHNA TYAGI (MUMBAI); AJAY UPRETY
SONI MISHRA, (DELHI); TARIQ AHMAD (LUCKNOW); DEEPAK TIWARI (BHOPAL);
and his party should not is to protect children from BHAT (SRINAGAR) PRATHIMA NANDAKUMAR (BENGALURU);
be on cloud nine as the sexual abuse and enact PRINCIPAL CORRESPONDENTS CITHARA PAUL (THIRUVANANTHAPURAM);
bigger challenge for it laws to give stringent pun- NACHIKET KELKAR (MUMBAI);
NANDINI GUNAVANTRAI OZA (AHMEDABAD); LAKSHMI SUBRAMANIAN (CHENNAI);
is the assembly election ishment to perpetrators. It LALITA IYER (HYDERABAD); RABI BANERJEE (KOLKATA)
SOUMIK DEY (DELHI)
in Gujarat. With such a is our moral duty to save SENIOR CORRESPONDENTS
CORRESPONDENTS MINI P. THOMAS, ABHINAV SINGH
depleted strength, the the innocence of children. DHRITI GANDHI RANJAN (DELHI); (BENGALURU); SHWETA THAKUR NANDA,
Congress will need a K.S. Thampi, ANURADHA VARANASI (MUMBAI) VANDANA (DELHI); ANJULY MATHAI
(KOCHI); PRIYANKA BHADANI (MUMBAI)
miracle to snatch power On email.
CHIEF REPORTER
UAE: JAIMON GEORGE, DUBAI
PRIZE-WINNING LETTER
NEW MEDIA
Open Letter to Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala on
NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA
his comments on the stalking incident involving his son HAZEEDA VIJAYAKUMAR SNEHA PILLAI RAHUL J. MOHAN
SAJU C. DANIEL SARATH RAMESH KUNIYL VIPIN DAS P.
Dear Subhash Barala, who believe they can do ANNIFRED SOLOMON SUMITRA NAIR
IT IS HEARTENING anything against law and VINOD V.K. ANCY K. SUNNY
JOSE K. GEORGE
to hear that you have go scot-free. Please keep VAISAKH E. HARI
promised action against your promise. ANITA BABU
your stalker son stat- K.R.K. Moorthy
PHOTO EDITOR: SANJOY GHOSH ART EDITOR: JAYAKRISHNAN M.T.
ing that the victim is Mumbai
DEPUTY PHOTO EDITORS ASST. ART EDITOR: BINESH SREEDHARAN
like your daughter. We BHANU PRAKASH CHANDRA, SALIL BERA CHIEF GRAPHIC ARTIST: N.V. JOSE
hope you genuinely NEXT WEEK's CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHERS ILLUSTRATOR: B. BHASKARAN
mean it and would act QUESTION ARVIND JAIN, SANJAY LAYOUT ARTIST: B. MANOJKUMAR
accordingly. Often such AHLAWAT (DELHI); JANAK BHAT DESIGNERS: DENI LAL, JOB P.K.
The Union government (MUMBAI);
statements are made to recently ordered Google,
GRAPHIC DESIGNER: SYAM KRISHNAN
SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER
soften the hue and cry ARTISTS: RAJESH A.S., SUMESH C.N.,
Facebook and other internet AMEY SUHAS MANSABDAR (MUMBAI)
SUJESH K., AJEESH KUMAR M.
against such crimes and giants to remove links to the PHOTOGRAPHER
JUNIOR ARTIST: JAIRAJ T.G.
slowly allow the initial Blue Whale Challenge game AAYUSH GOEL (DELHI)
RESEARCH HEAD: K. MANOHARAN
reactions to subside. SENIOR PICTURE COORDINATOR
from their platforms. RESEARCH ASSISTANT: RANI G.S.
BIMAL NATH C.
If you really intend Write an Open Letter in 200-
to protect your daugh- 250 words to the Centre on EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ter from your criminal the clampdown order and GEORGE JACOB
son, do not defend his stand a chance to to win an VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING, ADVERTISING SALES
VARGHESE CHANDY
action but condemn it Amazon gift voucher worth
VICE PRESIDENT, CIRCULATION CHIEF GENERAL MANAGER, SALES
and get him the punish- 0500. Send in your entries M. RAJAGOPALAN NAIR ANAND MATHEW
ment he deserves. This to youzone@theweek.in with CHIEF RESIDENT GM, MUMBAI REGIONAL CHIEF GM, CHENNAI
Open Letter as the subject. SHREE KUMAR MENON K.C. SURESH
will be a lesson for the
CHIEF RESIDENT GM, BENGALURU CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER-NORTH
sons of powerful people LAST DATE: August 31 RANJIT KURIEN AND HEAD, SPECIAL PROJECTS, NEW DELHI
R. RAJMOHAN
12 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

Squad goals was rst heard in


relation to American singer-

power point Sachidananda Murthy songwriter Taylor Swift and


her group of celebrity friends.
Squad goals which is more
often seen as #squadgoals is
Trump wants more a term more popular among
girls than guys. It means those
awesome stuffs one wants to

T
he initial reaction in India to the dollars to build roads, hospitals, dams do along with ones girlfriends.
enunciation of Donald Trumps and even a parliament building in war- Your squad goals are entirely
first Afghanistan policy has been ravaged Afghanistan. The cabinet com- dependent on the members of
positive, as the American president said mittee on security will have to decipher your squad; so, it can be a su-
words which were music to New Delhi. what more Trump expects from India. per cool brunch, to conquering
Trump used harsh words to declare There was both dread and expecta- Mt Everest and taking a sele
Pakistan as a haven for terrorist groups tion in the strategic affairs community in at the top with your best bud-
dies. Remember, now a squad
which constantly exported anarchy to New Delhi that Trump might ask India
goal is not even a goal unless
Afghanistan. He also gave up President to help militarily in Afghanistan, like
you update it in all available
George Bushs 2002 policy of exporting Bush had asked Vajpayee in 2003, during
social media platforms. Every-
democracy to allow Afghanistan develop the Iraq occupation. Bush wanted Indian
body arriving punctually as
its own native systems of governance. police to patrol the liberated zones, but
planned for an awesome stuff
The surge and withdrawal policies of Vajpayee ensured that the parliament could be the biggest squad goal
Bush and Barack Obama were thrown passed a resolution saying India should for any squad.
out of the window. Instead, there was stay out of the conict. Some NATO
reiteration that the US will strike at countries suggested Indias military in-
will, depending on the volvement in Afghanistan MILESTONES
ground situation. He during UPA regime also.
Tasty Android: Google said
summed it up by point- Manmohan Singh said In-
Android version 8.0 would be
ing out that strategically dia was only interested in
called Oreo. Earlier, Google had
applied force will create humanitarian and devel- partnered with KitKat after which
conditions for a political opment aid to Kabul, with Android 4.4 was named, and
process to achieve last- the exception that Afghan android branded KitKat bars were
ing peace, and he gave security forces underwent marketed around the world.
greater autonomy to the training in India. Paki-
BHASKARAN
generals on the field, stan has always resented Well deserved: Paralympian
promising to end micromanagement of Indian involvement in Afghanistan. Devendra Jhajharia, who won
the war from Washington. Trump omitted naming three key gold in mens F46 javelin throw
Yet, there was a sentence which would players with a strong interest in Afghani- at Rio Paralaympics, will be
make Narendra Modis internal security stanChina, which has developed a stra- honoured with Rajiv Gandhi Khel
team, consisting of ministers Arun Jait- tegic partnership with Pakistan and has Ratna award. He is the rst Indian
ley, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh, invested heavily for the natural resources to win two gold medals at the
look at the costs to India for implement- in Afghanistan; Russia, which considers Paralympics.
ing the Trump Doctrine for South Asia Afghanistan crucial for its Central Asia
and Indo-Pacic region. Trump wanted policy; and, Iran, Afghanistans major Safety rst: Facebook is adding
the US to develop its strategic partner- neighbour on the west, which Trump a dedicated Safety Check feature
ship with India as a key security and accuses of exporting terror to the Middle on its app and website, with a
dedicated button on navigation
economic partner. But, he stated that East. The US president has obviously
menu. It is designed as a disaster
India makes billion of dollars through chosen to publicly ignore them in the the
response system that let the
trade with the US and it must pay for the latest edition of the deadly Great Game
users inform friends and family
economic development of Afghanistan. being played in Afghanistan.
about their safety.
India has already invested billions of sachi@theweek.in
14 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
APERITIF party snacks

PICKLED SECRETS
RAJIV MEHRISHI IS a master of home affairs, be
it at the home ministry or in his kitchen. A con-
noisseur of pickles, the home secretary not only
loves the spicy relish, but can also pickle a variety
of vegetables. Bitter gourd, jackfruit, ginger or chil-
liesyou name it, he brines it. In fact, at times, he
makes up to 12 pickles simultaneously. And, as with
matters of internal security, Mehrishi keeps his
recipes top secret.

Late-night drive
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
KIRAN BEDI recently went around
Puducherry at night, incognito and
riding pillion on a scooter, to experi-
ence first hand how safe the place
was for women. She was not pleased.
Apparently, she could not spot a single
cop, but found several speeding motor-
cycles, some of them carrying three
persons. Bedi, however, was stumped
when asked why she didnt wear a hel-
met. Her explanation? She wanted to
look vulnerable.

Comrades reply
THE COMMUNIST PARTY of India
(Marxist) Polit Bureau has asked leader
Gautam Deb for a written explanation after
he criticised the party for denying Sitaram
Yechury another Rajya Sabha term. Deb,
a staunch critic of former general secre-
tary Prakash Karat, is reportedly writing a
lengthy reply detailing the events that led
him to criticise the party. But, what will
happen if the party takes action? Wait for
some time, said Deb. This is not right time
to say [anything] about that.
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 15

Great orators Meeting or speech?


WHAT DO MAHATMA Gandhi, BJP PRESIDENT AMIT SHAH, who was
Bal Thackeray and Prime Minister in Bengaluru recently, invited about 500
Narendra Modi have in common? They intellectuals, including academics, indus-
all captured the hearts of millions trialists, media personnel, social workers
with merely their words, without any and film stars, to a meeting. But, after a
help from the media, said Arun Jaitley. delay of one hour, followed by an hour-
The finance minister was releasing long speech by Shah, the meeting ended
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Rauts booka abruptly. The audience, who had hoped for
collection of a hundred interviews of an interactive session, was left speechless,
Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackerayon literally. Reporters, however, had a field day
August 19 in Mumbai. Though he teasing BJP state leaders, saying that their
found oratorical similarities, Jaitley boss had mistaken the intellectuals meet
wisely steered clear of discussing the for a party meeting.
content of their speeches.

Pic peeve
OBJECTION, SAID RAM
JETHMALANI, not in a court-
room, but at a book launch. The
noted criminal lawyer, 93, was
displeased with his image on
the cover of Courting Politics,
by Shweta Bansal. On August
19, Jethmalani was on stage
with six of the nine lawyer-
politicians the book is about.
They have made me look like a
monkey, he said, but soon for-
gave the author. Veteran lawyer
Shanti Bhushan later quipped
that the book should have been
called Nine Monkeys, as the
title indicated that politics was
a beautiful lady that the nine
lawyers were courting.

ILLUSTRATIONS: JAIRAJ TG
T.G.

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20 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 21
22 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 23
24 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 25
26 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
SECURITY
AFP

Defence A
s the Doklam crisis stares
the Narendra Modi gov-
ernment in its face, the
absence of a national secu-

mechanism
rity doctrine is telling in more ways
than one. Several drafts have been
made over the last many years, but
none has been adopted. Today, there
is no attempt to even formulate one.
India needs a forward-looking national security In 1999, the National Security
Advisory Board (NSAB), which
strategy and not a reactive one reports to the prime minister through
the security adviser, had prepared a
BY NAMRATA BIJI AHUJA draft nuclear doctrinemade pub-
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 27

Fire, power: The INS Ranvir during an The decision-making today, point-
exercise drill off the coast of Chennai. ed out a former NSAB member, is
The need for power projection using largely ad hoc. When something
naval assets was a recommendation of happens in Doklam, we react to that.
the national security doctrine When something else happens else-
where, we react to that, said the
have been several drafts, but none member. But the overall way in
was approved. That was probably which we can deal with these chal-
because the government could not lenges requires a well-thought-out
come to an understanding on what strategy. Today, there is an asymme-
constitutes national security policy. try between India and China, and, if
Another draft was made by the that asymmetry expands, our room
16-member NSAB, headed by for- for manoeuvre gets limited. So, how
mer foreign secretary Shyam Saran, do we get out of that?
during the UPAs second term The draft doctrine covered six
when Shivshankar Menon was the dimensionsdomestic, external,
NSA. The board made a presenta- military, economic, ecological and
tion before Prime Minister Modi strategic communications. The point
in September 2014. Saran used his was that Indias options should not
bilingual (Hindi and English) skills, get limited with a growing asymme-
which gave a softness to a complex try. If the asymmetry becomes so
issue that needed the indulgence of large on its borders with any of its
his audience. During the hour-and-a- neighbours, there will be no military
half audiovisual presentation, Modi options left, said the member. The
asked several questions, particularly enemy does not need to fight a war
on the recommendations to set up a then. So, how do we make certain that
cyber command and space command. we have at least the minimum capa-
This discussion was the boards swan bilities, so that if the adversary wants
song. Four months later, the mem- to do anything, it is clear to him that
bers met Modi over a farewell lunch. it will be a risk?
The doctrine has since been gather- The Saran-headed board had made
ing dust. specific recommendations like the
A new board was set up in 2016. need to deploy additional air strike
Instead of 16 members, there are only capabilities and attendant ground
four nowP.S. Raghavan, former facilities to deal with the logistic and
ambassador to Russia, heads it, with transport asymmetry on the Sino-
former Research and Analysis Wing Indian border; the need for power
official A.B. Mathur, Lt General (retd) projection using naval assets by giv-
S.L. Narasimhan and Prof Bimal ing priority to the Indian Navy among
N. Patel of Gujarat National Law the three armed forces; and appoint-
University as members. ing a chief of defence staff who will be
lic by then national security adviser The Saran-headed board had want- a senior authoritative interface of the
Brajesh Mishrain the midst of the ed their draft doctrine, a 45-page doc- armed forces within the government
Kargil war. It generated a healthy ument accessed by THE WEEK, to be to promote jointness of military
debate, and the doctrine, with a few put up in the public domain to gener- forces to meet challenges of modern
changes, was formally adopted by the ate discussion and debate. But, noth- warfare.
government in 2003. ing has happened. We made the pre- The focus on maritime assets was
Since then, the attempt had been sentation to the political leadership, explained in terms of expanding
to draft a national security strategy. but it is for the leadership to decide footprints of both India and China in
A few drafts were made during the upon implementing the recommen- southeast Asia and east Asia. Though
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) dations we made, said Saran. THE the Indian Ocean is low on Chinas
government. When I was the NSA, we WEEK got in touch with the office of priorities at present, given its preoc-
worked on it, said M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval cupation in the Yellow Sea, Taiwan
who was Manmohan Singhs security to seek his response, but Doval gently Strait and South China Sea, the pres-
adviser during the first term. There excused himself. ence of Chinese navy in the Indian
28 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
SECURITY
Interview/Rajiv Mehrishi, Union home secretary

Kashmir unrest, lynchings are overhyped


districts are peaceful. I wont say that
the situation is as normal as it was in
2015 or early 2016, but it is not as bad
as the national media, especially the
visual media, have made it out to be.
Primarily, I think it is sponsored
and funded by Pakistan. There has
been an increase in anti-India activity
across the border and that has been
SANJAY AHLAWAT

behind 95 per cent of the disturbanc-


es that we have seen from July last
year. In any case, compared with last
year, this year has been much better.
What is the home ministry doing
about lynching incidents across the
BY NAMRATA BIJI AHUJA es of the jigsaw together. Since this country?
involves the state governments, too, I would again say that there is so

I ndia may not have a national secu-


rity strategy like the United States
or China, but the unwritten poli-
the effort is to take everybody along as
it happened with the goods and ser-
vices tax. Therefore, it is taking time.
much hype by the media. I will
answer this question with the exam-
ple of Kashmir. Some schoolgirls
cy, as Union home secretary Rajiv Will the NCTC be a separate body? once threw stones over a local dispute
Mehrishi puts it, is zero tolerance Whenever such a body is created in with the police. From the media, it
to terrorism. In an exclusive inter- whatever shape, it will have to be appeared as if every girl in Kashmir
view with THE WEEK, Mehrishi, with the Union home ministry. For was throwing stones. Similarly, the
who retires on August 31, says the now, we have to address the concerns issue of lynching, too, is overhyped.
fundamentals are in place about what of the state governments and vari- It is a barbaric crime and needs to be
needs to be done to combat terrorism. ous agencies and find a satisfactory, dealt with strictly as per law. And I
Excerpts: workable and effective solution. dont think there is a single incident
Doesnt India need a national What is the status of the national where law has not taken its course,
security policy to give integrated, intelligence grid which will connect where arrests have not been made
cohesive advice to various arms of databases of core security agencies? or investigation is not on. And I am
the government? The NATGRID is progressing satis- pretty sure in due course, following
A national security policy, as a single factorily. I think it would see the light the due legal process, these people
document, might not exist, but we of day in 2018. will be brought to book.
cannot say there is no policy. There Do you think India needs a law on How is the counterterrorism
are elements of a policy, such as zero the right to privacy? cooperation with the US
tolerance to terror, not to allow mis- I think our current provisions have progressing?
use of NGOs, and so on. And, we have provided for that. For example, I We have a dialogue in place and we
a working system where I cant recall cannot intercept a telephone except have joint working groups. We have
a single instance which can be termed by following the due process of law, better sharing of inputs and a much
as half-hearted cooperation. We have so I think there are adequate provi- greater degree of cooperation on mat-
always had wholehearted coopera- sions to avoid misuse. There has not ters relating to internal security.
tion from all departments. Whether been any serious complaint of breach The Union home ministry wants
a single policy is needed, like in the of privacy of individuals by any gov- Facebook, Twitter and Google to
case of the US or China, requires a ernment agency. maintain their servers in India for
larger call. In Jammu and Kashmir, the security real time information to handle
Has the home ministry rejected situation has visibly deteriorated. terror threats.
the proposal to set up the National Some say it is worse than the 1990s. The national security council secre-
Counter Terrorism Centre? No, it is certainly not worse than the tariat is in talks with the concerned
The NCTC proposal is alive. I think it early 1990s. The current unrest is lim- service providers and we hope to
is a question of getting various piec- ited to three districts. The other 19 have an outcome soon.
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 29

NATIONAL SECURITY: THE DRAFT DOSSIER


Ecology
z Comprehensive study of Indias
Military ecological state
Domestic z Setup maritime commission, z Implement the 2008 National
z Empower inter-state bodies to aeronautic commission and space Action Plan on climate change
take critical decisions and cyber commands z National and sub-national
z Improve communications and z Appoint a chief of defence staff programmes should include health
connectivity in border areas z Integrate defence and civilian concerns arising out of climate
z Legalise third country trade through segments of weapons industry change
borders on a Most Favoured Nation z Nuclear doctrine should be in the
basis public domain

External
z Make transgression of the
LAC costly for China by forging Economic Strategic communications
alliances with other countries z Reduce dependence on import of z Use social media to shape public
z Strengthen relations with Saudi crude oil, gas and coal opinion
Arabia and Iran z Focus on solar energy and nuclear z Engage with citizens to align public
z Improve maritime security by power perception with states objectives
strengthening ties with maritime z Set up a National Energy z Make Doordarshan, Prasar Bharti
neighbours Commission and AIR fully autonomous
GRAPHICS: SYAM KRISHNAN; RESEARCH: NEERAJ KRISHNAN

Ocean will become more ubiquitous, or terrorist elements who may tar- you a certain degree of coherence
Saran told Modi. Indias edge in the get India, the draft doctrine stated. in dealing with the challenges you
Indian Ocean could be eroded if it There was also stress on strengthen- face. It comes with a clear picture
does not build up the quality and ing a ballistic missile defence system of what you are trying to achieve not
reach of its maritime assets. against the possibility of a first attack in the immediate term but in a five-
Another key recommendation was by the enemy. year, ten-year or fifteen-year time
on the need to develop nuclear capa- The draft had talked about the frame.
bilities based on the no-first-use doc- importance of strategic communica- According to Narayanan, a national
trine. For a no-first-use doctrine to tion. It even suggested making com- security strategy is a combination of
be credible, it should be backed with munication a part of each cabinet both actionable points as well as
a robust retaliation capability, after note, where it would explain how the an overarching policy framework.
suffering the first attack by the ene- government should use the media to Definitely, we need a national secu-
my. Unless you have survivable forc- communicate its policy decisions to rity strategy, which is why it has been
es, you cannot have that capability, the citizens. The doctrine wanted to in the works for the last 10-12 years,
the board said. India needs to focus change the all-too-secret image of the he said.
on not only having more nuclear sub- government. Strategy is about making choices
marines in the next few years, but also But, why do we need a doctrine? because you cannot do everything,
longer-range ballistic missiles that When the business of the state has summed up Saran. Every country
can be fired from those submarines. become so complex, not having that needs to decide what is important and
India must also take into account broad picture in front of you can lead what is not, he said, what is a great-
the possibility of Pakistans nuclear to inefficient decision-making, er priority and what is not, so that you
weapons or dangerous fissile mate- explained Saran. What the nation- direct the limited resources you have
rial falling into the hands of jihadi al security strategy does is to give to what your priorities are.
32 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
SECURITY

Only trial will tell


Is Lt Col Purohit an Army officer gone rogue or a political scapegoat?
BY DNYANESH JATHAR

R
elief was writ large on Lieutenant Colonel to be framed, despite him being in jail for nearly nine
Shrikant Purohits face as he entered the ses- years. From an unsung hero, he has now become an
sions court in Mumbai on August 22. The incarcerated hero, Salve reportedly told the Supreme
Supreme Court had granted him bail in the Court bench of Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice A.M.
2008 Malegaon blast case the previous day. Dressed in Sapre.
a white full-sleeved shirt and grey trousers, Purohit, Purohit is accused of forming Abhinav Bharat (a
45, accompanied by his team of lawyers led by Shrikant right wing organisation allegedly behind the Malegaon
Shivde, presented himself before Special Judge S.D. blast), collecting funds for it and arranging meetings in
Tekale to complete the formalities of the bail. I am which the Malegaon blast was allegedly planned. Salve
happy that I will get to spend time with my family after said Purohit accepted that he had, in 2007, attended
a long time, said Purohit. meetings of Abhinav Bharat, but had done so as an
The Supreme Court order came weeks after the Army officer in a covert operation, and had informed
National Investigation Agency had opposed his bail, his seniors about the groups activities. He has been
saying that he was one of the main conspirators behind caught in political crossfire, said Salve. He also argued
the Malegaon blast, which killed six people and injured that no conspirator would ever divulge details of the
about 100. conspiracy to superior officers. Salve said that there
As the legal team was busy with procedural matters, wasnt sufficient evidence that there was any conspira-
Purohit appeared calm. After asking the judge for per- cy hatched at those meetings.
mission, he stepped out of the courtroom to phone his Born in a middle-class Brahmin family in Pune,
wife, Aparna. Surrounded by policemen, he had a brief Purohit had always wanted to be an Army officer. His
conversation with her and, as he ended the call, a few father, a retired bank officer, encouraged him. Boys
bystanders shook his hand. He reciprocated without in Pune have a fascination for the Army as they see
words and returned to the courtroom. I want to get National Defence Academy cadets strolling on the
back to my family. I have two families, the first is the streets on weekends. Purohit was one such boy. He
Army. I do not wish to say anything more, he told the studied at Abhinav Vidyalaya and Garware College in
media during the lunch break. On August 23, he was Pune and, after graduation, joined the short service
released from Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai and taken to commission. After training at he Officers Training
the Colaba military base. Academy in Chennai, Purohit opted for the Maratha
Eminent lawyer Harish Salve, who appeared for Light Infantry regiment in 1994 and was posted in
Purohit in the Supreme Court, said charges were yet Kashmir. Around 2003-04, he was transferred to the

HOW THE CASE PROGRESSED


November January April
2008 2009 2011

z Arrested by Maharashtra anti terrorism squad (ATS) Purohit and 14 z NIA takes charge of the case
others named
z Booked under the Maharashtra Control of as key zPurohits aim was to form a
Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) conspirators national Hindu government
z Right-wing group Abhinav Bharat behind plot by the ATS z Purohit set up Abhinav Bharat claiming
he was a farmer
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 33

CURIOUS CASE OF
LT COL PUROHIT
Lt Colonel Purohit was granted conditional
bail by the Supreme Court, nine years after
he was sent to jail for his alleged
involvement in the 2008 Malegaon blast.
After completing his education from
Garwara College in Pune, he was
commissioned into Maratha Light Infantry
in 1994.He served in the counter-terrorism
operations unit in Jammu and Kashmir
from 20022005 and was then shifted to
Military Intelligence.

ALLEGED ROLE
Projected as a conspirator in the 2008
Malegaon blast, Purohit is alleged to have
formed a right-wing group Abhinav Bharat
to form a central Hindu government. He
claimed to have inltrated the group as a
farmer on the direction of his superiors,
which the NIA dismissed as false.

Free, ride: Purohit being taken to the Colaba


military base in Mumbai

PTI
Military Intelligence, where he continued till his arrest conspiracy, an NIA spokesperson told THE WEEK.
on November 5, 2008. His wife, a doctor, and two sons, On May 31, 2014, Purohit wrote an 18-page letter to
Kanishka Vikram and Yashovardhan, live in a bunga- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, explaining how the
low on Law College Road in Pune. Maharashtra ATS had used four of his recorded infor-
The NIA, which took over the investigation from mants against him. Two of them were made co-accused
the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in 2011, rec- while two were made witnesses. He claimed that he
ommended Purohits prosecution under the Unlawful was being made a scapegoat.
Activities (Prevention) Act. The NIA said it had evi- While dismissing his bail plea on April 25 this year,
dence against Purohit in the form of audio, video, call the Bombay High Court referred to a report submitted
data records and witness statements. We had opposed by the NIA, which said Purohit had prepared a consti-
Purohits bail application. The NIA has enough evi- tution for a Hindu rashtra with a separate saffron flag,
dence on him to show his involvement in the terror and had also plotted revenge for atrocities that Muslims

April 15, September April May July 26, August 21


2015 2016 2017 2017 2017 2017

Supreme Special NIA Supreme Court Purohit moves the NIA opposes Supreme Court
Court drops court rejects consults NIA and apex court after the Purohits grants him bail
MCOCA Purohits Maharashtra Bombay High Court bail plea
charges due bail plea government on denied him bail
to lack of Purohits bail plea
evidence
GRAPHICS: SYAM KRISHNAN; RESEARCH: NEERAJ KRISHNAN
34 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
SECURITY
allegedly committed against Hindus. The High Court did not
Im a simple soldier, accept Purohits claim that he had attended the meetings as
part of a covert operation.
says Lt Col Purohit The Supreme Court, while granting conditional bail to
Purohit, observed that the NIA has submitted a supplemen-
WHEN THE WEEK spoke to Lt Col Purohit in tary charge-sheet which is at variance with the charge-sheet
the corridors of the sessions court, he clearly filed by the ATS, and that the trial is likely to take a long time
did not want to say anything controversial and the appellant has been in prison for eight years and eight
on the day of his release on bail. Dressed months.
smartly, Purohit was polite even as he Advocate Sanjiv Punalekar, who represents four oth-
stressed that he did not wish to make any er accused, including Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Rakesh
political comments. Asked whether he was Dhawade, said, We have been saying from the beginning that
made a scapegoat by the previous political the ATS has [been up to] mischief. It is on record that Major
dispensation (the United Progressive Alliance Pravin Khanzode and Subedar K.K. Pawar had informed Army
government), Purohit merely said, I do not Headquarters that they had seen ATS inspector Shekhar Bagde
want to say anything now about politics. in suspicious circumstances at Sudhakar Chaturvedis house
On whether the Maharashtra ATS had framed [on November 3, 2008, when he was allegedly not home].
him in the case, Purohits response was: I Said special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal: Currently, we
are arguing framing of charges. Now that Col Purohit has been
would not like to comment anything on the
granted bail, his legal team will soon move an application to
investigations as the matter is sub judice. All
discharge him from the case. But, we have to fight with the
I want to say is that I remain a simple soldier
evidence we have. That is why I am here.
who loves his uniform and the Indian Army. I
Purohit, in his letter to Modi, had alleged that the ATS planned
thank the Army for standing by me. his arrest on November 5 after planting RDX in Chaturvedis
house on November 3. The ATS arrested Chaturvedi on
November 4, said Punalekar.
Old wounds: Residents at Bhikku Chowk, near Neela Gokhale, Purohits advocate in the Supreme Court,
the Malegaon blast site, in 2008 said: The bench has referred to the alleged role of the ATS in
AMEY MANSABDAR
36 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
SECURITY
planting the RDX, which the NIA had noted in Interview/Aparna Purohit
its investigation. This has raised serious doubts
about the investigation. The court has said there
are variances in the charge-sheets filed by the
He was doing
agencies. Said a senior NIA official: We could
not find any evidence to sustain the charge that his duty
Purohit provided RDX to other accused per- BY NAMRATA BIJI AHUJA
sons.

T
Senior lawyer Rohini Salian, he bail to Lt Col Purohit came as
who was earlier associated with a respite for his family, especially
the case, said: I left that brief his wife, Aparna, a homoeopathic
after voicing my reservations doctor. In an interview with THE
about the way NIA was handling WEEK, Aparna, 42, talks about wanting
the case. However, as a citizen a normal life for her family. Edited
of this country, I feel concerned. excerpts:
It could become a precedent. It Were you hopeful of Purohit getting
could also become a point of ref- bail after eight years and eight months?
erence for other accused to apply I had no idea that my husband would
for bail. Also, the way NIA has get bail. We have struggled quite a bit
negated important points in the to even get the Army papers out. In a
ATS charge-sheet is something All smiles: court of inquiry in 2009, a lot of positive
happening for the first time. Purohit
statements were made. All the papers were released a year and a
The UPA government, which and his half ago. A lot of my husbands seniors had deposed and shared
had entrusted the case to the wife, what he had reported to them. Even the Supreme Court has said
NIA, had called it a classic case Aparna, that prima facie it is seen that whatever he had done was reported
of Hindu terror. The BJP had before to his seniors. All his actions were in the line of duty.
rejected the claim. Purohits case, his arrest Was there any delay on the part of the Army?
however, does not put a lid on the No, the Army did not delay anything.
Hindu terror theory. Interestingly, Do you believe Purohit is innocent?
during the bail arguments, neither Absolutely. I stood by him because I know he is innocent.
the prosecutor nor the defence counsel refuted The Supreme Court has talked about discrepancies in probes
the fact that suspected Hindu extremists held conducted by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad and the
meetings in Bhopal. It is now part of the Supreme National Investigation Agency.
Courts records that Purohit was privy to the The court has acknowledged the fact that the RDX that was alleged
clandestine meetings of Abhinav Bharat. The fact to have been supplied by him and the swabs of RDX found had all
that he attended certain meetings only strength- been planted by the ATS.
ens the argument that Hindu extremists might Do you expect penal action against the ATS officials?
have tried to carry out terror acts, of which he I am not thinking on those lines. I just want him to be free of all this.
may or may not have been a part of. The family is so important and your children need you. They need a
There were mixed reactions to Purohits bail. comfortable life which we have not been able to provide.
Thankful Col Purohit finally got bail. His impris- How was Purohits life in custody?
onment is one of the most dangerous games He was subjected to gruesome third-degree torture. He was
played by the Congress to protect Pak backed beaten up and hung upside down. His feet were tied and pulled
terror groups, tweeted writer Madhu Kishwar. apart. All this was done to get a confession out of him. When he
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, how- was produced in court he could not even walk properly. Later, [on
ever, tweeted: It was expected as the present our request to the court] he was taken to the naval hospital in
BJP government is protecting all the accused Colaba and a complete examination was done. The doctors said
connected with the RSS in all bomb blast cases. two nerves in his hands were severed. When he was serving in
Whether Purohit is an Army operative gone Jammu and Kashmir, he had suffered an injury so his knee had to be
rogue or a man caught in political crossfire will reconstructed. Those ligaments were torn again.
become clear only if the trial in the Malegaon What do you plan to do next?
blast case is expedited and daily hearings are I am going to be out of this now. Whatever responsibility of the case
held. Till then, he will remain a prime accused is there, he will take it up and fight for himself.
in a bomb blast case, out on bail.
WITH NAMRATA BIJI AHUJA For full interview log in to www.theweek.in
38 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
TAMIL NADU
BY LAKSHMI SUBRAMANIAN

T
here were no drum rolls,
no huge posters dotting
the streets of Chennai.
The merger of the two
AIADMK factions, led by for-
mer Tamil Nadu chief minister O.
Panneerselvam and his successor
Edappadi K. Palaniswami, was sup-
posed to bring cheer to the cadre. But
it has only brought more uncertainty,
what with V.K. Sasikalas nephew
T.T.V. Dhinakaran and his support-
ers playing spoilsport.
At the party headquarters on
August 21, a subdued Panneerselvam
said, We have now come together
to follow the path laid by our
revolutionary leader Amma [former
chief minister J. Jayalalithaa].
Palaniswami, on the other hand,
was beaming. The party will
have a steering committee,
led by Panneerselvam, he said. K.P.
Munusamy, R. Vaithilingam and I will
be part of the committee to lead the
party effectively.
A three-time stopgap chief minis-
ter, Panneerselvam got a raw deal. As
deputy chief minister, he has been
allotted the finance, housing and
urban development ministries, and
not a powerful portfolio like home.
Also, not many from his faction have
benefited from the merger; only K.
Pandiarajan found place in the cabi-
net. P.H. Manoj Pandian, son of P.H.
Pandian, who had raised questions
over Jayalalithaas death, might be
made Tamil Nadu representative
in Delhi. The post is now held by
Thalavai Sundaram, who is close to

Camp ght
Dhinakaran. And some Rajya Sabha
members in the Panneerselvam camp
like V. Maitreyan have been promised
one more term.
A few compromises were made by
the Palaniswami camp, too, but with
Uncertainty looms large as infighting little or no inconvenience to the top
leadership. While D. Jayakumar had
continues within the AIADMK to part with his finance portfolio, he
VIBI JOB

Back together: O. Panneerselvam and


Edappadi Palaniswami (right)
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 39

has retained the fisheries ministry. governor, demanding a floor test, and has taken a hit. Writer and blogger
His son J. Jayavardhan is tipped to said that people had lost confidence A. Shankar said the party no lon-
join the Union cabinet. The AIADMK in the corrupt government. The call ger had any strong leader, and the
is expected to join the National for a trust vote is legal and has a cadres might not support any of the
Democratic Alliance, like the Janata precedent, said DMK spokesperson three faction leaders for long. The
Dal (United) had done in Bihar. Saravanan Annadurai. In the case infighting and lack of a strong lead-
The government seems to be of [former Karnataka chief minister ership could bring down the partys
stronger than earlier with more num- B.S.] Yeddyurappa, a trust vote was vote share of 44 per cent in the next
ber of ministers, said political ana- called within six days [in 2010], elections. Two or three years after it
lyst Raveendran Duraisamy. On the he said. The Supreme Court had loses power, the AIADMK will turn
face of it, Palaniswami has won and approved it in the interest of justice into a small party like the MDMK or
Panneerselvam had to settle for less. and constitutional propriety. VCK, said Shankar.
Now, Panneerselvam is the leader of Stalin is also trying to strengthen Also, the growing influence of the
the steering committee. But chances the opposition by bringing together BJP in Tamil Nadu politics cannot
are that Palaniswami will lead both leaders of other parties, like Congress be ignored. The merger between the
the party and the government in the vice president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) two AIADMK camps was orchestrat-
near future. general secretary Sitaram Yechury, ed by the BJP and the RSS idealogue
This will widen the fissures in the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi S. Gurumurthy. Till our Amma was
party at the grassroots level. I was a leader Thol Thirumavalavan and around, neither [Prime Minister]
district secretary when Amma was
alive. I supported Panneerselvam all
these days. But I dont know if I will
get back my position in the party, Leader of opposition M.K.
said a member. Also, differences will
emerge right from the stage of quot-
Stalin of the DMK wrote
ing tenders, said an office-bearer a letter to the governor
from Dindigul. There is no Amma to demanding a floor test,
control them now.
On August 22, Dhinakaran, the par- and said that people had
tys deputy general secretary, revolt- lost confidence in the
ed. Nineteen legislators of his faction
called on governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, corrupt government.

PTI
saying they had lost confidence in the
chief minister. Dhinakaran also has
the support of three other MLAs who
had contested on the AIADMKs two Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Narendra Modi or [BJP chief] Amit
leaves symbol. In the 234-member Kazhagam leader Vaiko. Shah could make us fall at their feet,
house, the party has 134 members, and It is the prerogative of the governor said Rajenthiran Thangadurai, an
Palaniswami would need the support to call for a trust vote. Palaniswami AIADMK member from Thanjavur.
of 117 members to prove his major- should now come up with a solu- BJP leader H. Raja, however,
ity. Party insiders said Dhinakaran tion, said Congress legislator S. denied the partys role in the merg-
had asked Palaniswami to concede Vijayadharini. But, it is better that er. It is the internal affair of the
demands made by his aunt Sasikala, he steps down.... It is not a majority AIADMK. They fell apart, they have
who is in jail in a case of unaccounted government now. now come together, he said. I dont
wealth. On August 23, Dhinakaran But the DMK does not want an think even the MLAs supporting
sacked six office bearers of the par- election now. So if the governor Dhinakaran will go to the extent of
ty. One of them, Vaithilingam, had doesnt call for a trust vote, Stalin toppling the government. Ultimately,
demanded that Sasikala be expelled could take the matter to court, which they all belong to the AIADMK and
from the party. will be more advantageous to his par- want the government to go on.
The DMK, the main opposition ty. Also, sources said Dhinakaran and However, the BJPs game plan is to
party, has called for a trust vote. It his MLAs were not interested in top- weaken the AIADMK and run a pup-
had adopted a wait-and-watch policy pling the government. They are only pet government. Its cadre base is
while talks for the merger were on. threatening to do so to negotiate with growing, and with actor Rajinikanth
But once Dhinakaran rebelled, oppo- Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. eyeing a political role, it is advantage
sition leader M.K. Stalin wrote to the But, the AIADMKs credibility BJP in Tamil Nadu.
40 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
CURRENT AFFAIRS

Three cheers!
The verdict invalidating instant talaq could be a
stepping stone to codified Muslim personal law
BY REKHA DIXIT former husband, said Shayara,
who has not met her children
The ban bench
I
n view of the different opinions after her divorce in October
recorded, by a majority of 3:2, 2015. But I wanted to chal-
the practice of talaq-e-biddat lenge the system. So that the
triple talaqis set aside. next generation, at least, is not FOR
With this order, a five-member so vulnerable. Justice Kurian Joseph
Constitution bench of the Supreme The Supreme Court, Justice Rohinton Nariman
Court abolished a 1,400-year-old having received several
Justice U.U. Lalit
practice followed by the Sunnis, the similar petitions, clubbed
dominant Muslim denomination in them together to decide
India. The moment the judgment was whether talaq-e-biddat
delivered, petitioners hugged each was central to Islam, Violates
other outside the court, womens and whether it was Article 14 of
groups declared that it was Eid for constitutionally val- Constitution
them, and parties across the politi- id. The petitioners
cal spectrum hailed it as historic. had raised two oth- Arbitrary &
From Prime Minister Narendra Modi er issuespolyg- whimsical in
to Congress vice president Rahul amy and nikah nature
Gandhi, almost all were on the same halala, the prac-
page for once. tice of a woman
It was not an Islamic practice; it having to have
had been created by clerics, said conjugal rela-
Maulana Suhaib Qasmi of the Jamiat tions with anoth-
Ulema-e-Hind, an influential Muslim er man, in case the hus-
body that fought talaq-e-biddat. band, after pronouncing talaq, wants
For decades, Muslim women had her back. The court, while saying it
found scant support for their fight was open to addressing these issues
against talaq-e-biddat, despite earlier at a later date, restricted the hearing are an organised lot. We will not allow
court rulings in their favour. Indeed, to triple talaq. this verdict to be negated.
the five womenShayara Bano, The talaq-e-biddat case has been In their dissenting judgment, Chief
Ishrat Jahan, Gulshan Parveen, Atiya compared to the Shah Bano judgment Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice S.
Sabri and Aafreen Rehmanwho had of 1985, in which the Supreme Court Abdul Nazeer said the Centre should
moved the Supreme Court against the had fixed alimony for the woman legislate against talaq-e-biddat, as it
practice, found resistance and threats, divorcee. But the Rajiv Gandhi gov- was not for the court to abolish a prac-
not support. Clerics pressured us to ernment negated it by a controversial tice covered under Muslim personal
take back the case, said Iqbal Ahmed, legislation that made alimony man- law. They directed the government
Shayaras father. datory only during iddat, the waiting to bring in the legislation within six
It was the grit of the wronged wom- period after the initial pronounce- months, during which the practice
en, and the joining forces of Muslim ments of divorce. Shah Bano died in would not be valid.
women under several organisations, penury. Earlier, the BJP-led National
that brought about the judgment. This is not 1985, said Zakia Democratic Alliance government
My marriage was a nightmare, and Soman of the Bharatiya Muslim had told the court that triple talaq
though I protest at the way it ended, Mahila Andolan. Shah Bano had no was not central to Islam. Now that
nothing can make me go back to my support, but Muslim women today the verdict is out, the government
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 41

Iqbal: Sitaron se aage jahaan aur bhi


AGAINST hai, abhi ishq ke imtihaan aur bhi hai
[This is not the end of the struggle,
Justice Abdul Nazeer
there is still a long way to go].
Chief Justice J.S. Khehar The entire bench agreed that talaq-
e-biddat had to be done away with.
According to the In their majority opinion, Justices
2011 census, of Rohinton Nariman, U.U. Lalit and
the 83.97 million Doesnt violate Kurian Joseph held that talaq-e-bid-
Muslim women, constitution dat was unIslamic. Joseph held that,
since it was not fundamental to Islam,
about 2.12 lakh are Practised for
1,400 years triple talaq did not enjoy the immu-
divorced. nity granted to personal laws.
The percentage of Part of Its an avant garde judgment that
instant divorces is personal law could open the door to codifying
not known. Muslim personal laws, said Supreme
Court lawyer Malvika Trivedi. The
minority opinion does not matter.
Making a reference to the 1937
Muslim Personal Law (Shariat)
Application Act, Nariman said triple
talaq was arbitrary and should be
Nothing can make voided. The act also mentions the
me go back to my other forms of talaq, which are all
unilateral, said Trivedi. By that rea-
former husband. But soning, all of them should be struck
I wanted to challenge down. All these issues, she said, will
the system. So that pop up eventually, resulting in codi-
fied personal law for Muslims.
the next generation, Shayara, who is still overwhelmed
at least, is not so at how a personal humiliation has
ended up creating history, is keen to
vulnerable. get custody of her children, finish her
Shayara Bano, a petitioner MBA and be independent. Please do
not politicise the issue, she said.
GRAPHICS: N.V. JOSE; RESEARCH: NEERAJ KRISHNAN
But the issue has already been
politicised. The BJP is claiming the
does not have much to do on the only way to free the religion from the verdict as its victory. Other parties,
matter. Since Khehar and Nazeem stranglehold of clerics. The Quran too, want to be seen in the right light.
were in the minority, what they said is in Arabic, she said. Most Muslims BJP leader Subramanian Swamy says
in their judgment is now only a sug- dont understand it, so clerics inter- the next move would be to press for
gestion. The Centre is not bound to pret at their convenience. But the a Uniform Civil Codean issue that
follow it, said Congress leader Salman Medina Charter clearly puts nation has been contentious since India
Khurshid, who was amicus curiae in before religion. So why shouldnt became free.
the case. India codify Muslim personal law? The All India Muslim Personal
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Those fighting for reforms point Law Board will discuss the judgment
Prasad said existing laws of domestic out that there is need for rules on at its executive body meet in Bhopal
violence should be enough to pun- divorce, inheritance and a host of in September, said member Atiya
ish men who pronounce triple talaq. other issues. We need a Muslim Siddiqua. Our laws are not man-
Others feel that there is now a need Marriage Act on the lines of the made, they are divine, said Siddiqua.
for codifying Muslim personal law. Hindu Marriage Act, said lawyer But it is true they have been misinter-
Farha Faiz, Supreme Court lawyer Chandra Rajan, who represents the preted and misused. We have already
associated with the Rashtrawadi All India Muslim Womens Personal started campaigns to tell people of
Muslim Mahila Sangh, said it was the Law Board. Faiz quoted a couplet by their rights within Islam.
42 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
COVER STORY

BASIC IN
Game of Thrones speaks to something primal in the
viewer. The abundance of sex, murders and betrayals
lights up eyes around the world, including a great
many in India. So, as the series wraps up its seventh
season, with the finale titled The Dragon and
the Wolf, THE WEEK looks at the show, its following
and its ever increasing popularity

BY REKHA DIXIT

ILLUSTRATIONS: JOB P.K.; IMAGING: BINESH SREEDHARAN


THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 43

STINCT
44 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
COVER STORY

T
sending their regards, and see what happens.
Only the completely insulated would not under-
stand what is happening. Season seven of the hugely
popular television series Game of Thrones (GoT) is
on air. While the GoT-ers are living in an alternative
These are funny times. So many universe, populated by medieval kings and queens
of our friends and colleagues are battling for an uncomfortable Iron Throne, the non
talking in strange tongues, utter- GoT-ers among us are putting up with this fan craze
ing totally incomprehensible with amazing fortitude. This too will pass, they sigh,
phrases like Valar Morghulis only too glad that this season is an abbreviated one,
or Dracarys. Sometimes, they with just seven episodes.
speak in English, but that doesnt Tuesday mornings are perhaps the worst, when,
make the utterances any clearer. fresh from viewing the latest episode, this burgeon-
Winter is here is right now the ing fan base discusses the developments in fictitious
oddest greeting in India, which Westeros and nearby lands. Will Valyrian steel be
is sweating under monsoon- more effective than dragonglass in the war against
induced mugginess. Have you the White Walkers? becomes the discussion dur-
noticed how this phrase lights up ing lunch break. The series is screened on Tuesday
eyes and brings a smile of cama- nights in India, but only a handful actually sit up till
raderie on certain faces? But, try 11pm to view the sanskari version. True gratification
telling these people someone is comes with watching the uncensored onereplete

VIOLENCE IS
GOLDEN
Jon Snow (right), one
of the main characters,
during a crucial battle
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 45

with blood gushing off slit throats and a delectable the infection. One doctor, noting the symptoms
selection of bare breasts and buttocks. On Monday and method of spread, has concluded it is viral in
morning (which is Sunday night in the US, shortly nature, not bacterial. Another fan, inspired by a
after it has been aired), the episode gets uploaded particularly gross sequencethe highlight was an
on the internet. GoT is reportedly not just the most acolyte peeling a scab off a patient and cleaning
watched television series, but also the most pirated the suppurating soresactually posted pictures of
one. The official figure of 25.1 million viewers for last a Greyscale-inspired dessert she rustled up. This
season, therefore, may be a far cry from real numbers. dessert is a tart with a dark, scaly exterior, from
And no, dissecting the events goes beyond swap- which, on puncturing, oozes a yellow custard.
ping review notes on the last episode. People actually Tempting or appetite killing, its anyones call.
spend an amazing amount of time and energy trying It is a sign of the times that the Bengaluru City
to understand stuff like what causes Greyscale dis- Police Twitter handle uses examples from
ease, a fictitious ailment created by the American GoT to drive in its message about safety.
author of the series, George R.R. Martin. He Dont be overconfident, always wear
describes it as a skin infection, creating a helmet, is one such message,
scabs over painful pus secretions. The with the image of the dishy actor
bodily damage is slow, but the patient Pedro Pascal aka Lord Oberyn
loses his mind rather rapidly. Martell. Spoiler alert: He was
In the GoT fan world, people have killed in a fight he was win-
sat down with actual doctors, trying ning as he hadnt worn a hel-
to diagnose what pathogen can cause met.
Even Union Minister Smriti
GODSWOOD Irani couldnt resist drawing
Place of worship parallels between Jon Snow of
dedicated to the Old GoT and Mihir Virani, a charac-
Gods of the forest
ter in the once popular Kyunki Saas
Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, which was Iranis
ticket to stardom. Both Snow and Virani
came back from the dead.
Just what is it in this make-believe world creat-
ed by Martin, and served on the idiot box through
the genius of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, that
has driven otherwise intelligent people crazy?
Fantasy is not a new genre. From J.R.R. Tolkiens
medieval magical realms to sci-fis Star Trek and
Star Wars, there are enough alternative worlds
around us. Even everyday London reveals its
magical streetsDiagon and Knockturn Alleys
for those who follow J.K. Rowling. If fantasy isnt
the novelty, then is it the generous servings of sex
and violence? Seriously, if it was just sex, why
could I not sit through Fifty Shades Darker? asks
S. Aishwarya, an ardent GoT follower based in
Delhi. The film, sequel to E.L. Jamess Fifty Shades
of Grey, released this year without making a ripple.
And, there is enough violence everywhere, adds
Aishwarya.
Richa Madhukar, a software professional based
in Delhi, says, I think the appeal is that GoT
pushes the boundary of our perceived values. You
grow up with a certain set of ideas, what is bad,
what is not allowed, and here, you are in a world
where everything is different. How you love, how
you kill, is like nothing you thought before. The
show appeals to the raw primate in you.
46 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
COVER STORY

Says Canada-based homemaker Surabhi a tie-up in December 2015 and all the seasons were
Dhondiyal, Before GoT, I cannot remember a aired one after another before the worldwide debut
time when watching television was more inter- of season six. In the wait for season seven, several
esting than going to the movies. Before this show, entrepreneurs had learnt to cash in on this pop craze.
you didnt get to see such cinematic resonance on Cousins Kamran and Omar Nissar, GoT fans,
television, in terms of the breadth and scope of opened a cafe by Dal Lake in Srinagar last December
the story, though now there are many. It was like and predictably named it Winterfell (after a castle in
watching a raunchy version of the Mahabharat. the series). Its the best place in the north, quips
Indians love to compare GoT with desi epic Kamran, amazed at the response theyve got to their
Mahabharat or even the new craze, Baahubali. themed cafe, complete with an Iron Throne. The
But, there is a fundamental difference. Whether name was half the marketing, he says. Pressed by an
in Mahabharat, Baahubali or for that matter even equally crazed GoT clientele, he is now planning to
Harry Potter and ancient Greek epics, there is a source GoT merchandise and even replace the crock-
common thread, good and evil are clearly defined. ery and cutlery to resemble what is seen in GoT tav-
There is punishment for wrong, even if that wrong erns. I ask him whether he also serves Aryas special-
is just vanity (remember Narcissus?). GoT is free ity (the child assassin killed her enemies and served
of any such shackles. In fact, one begins ques- them up as meat pies), and Kamran laughs, No, no.
tioning just what is right and what is wrong. A We draw a line there. Kamran has now written to
doting brother who spent a lifetime to avenge his
sisters murder and rape gets his head crushed
like a ducks egg, while his assailant, who is
sadistic without explanation, lives on to kill oth-
ers. Its nothing like what Ive seen before, says
Madhukar, who also watches programmes like
Breaking Bad and Westworld, which, though good,
arent addictive.
Each character is layered, neither saint nor
devil, says Sudha Nair, a Delhi-based
HR consultant. She was intro-
duced to GoT through her
teenaged daughter, Anushka,
who complements the seri-
al with the books. You
never know who is going
to do what. Everything is
so unpredictable, says
Sudha. The plot is best
described in a famous RAVEN
quote from the series Birds native to Westeros
itself: In the game of that deliver messages
thrones, even the humblest
pieces have wills of their own.
Sometimes they refuse to make
the moves you plan for them.
Martin, 68, observed the 20th anni-
versary of his first book of the series, A Song of
Ice and Fire last year, which sold well, but took
off when the first season opened on television in
2011. Its makers knew that a story of this scale
couldnt be dealt with in a film; it needed the
length and continuity of television. Although
India had a niche following for years, with a fan
base from Jodhpur to Guwahati, GoT blazed into
public consciousness when Star and HBO had
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 47

HBO about his cafe; he does not want to be flout- child artistes were rapidly growing up meant that the
ing a copyright. In Delhis Lajpat Nagar, anoth- series had to take off on its own, the books could come
er cafe, Westeros, had opened shop, though its later. Season seven is unknown territory, there is no
reviews are not too encouraging. book reference to fall back on. This season, thus, has
The current season has also revived interest in a nail-biting quality to it. Understandably, all actors
the books. Nagaraj Krishnan, head of the interna- have signed non-disclosure bonds.
tional division at HarperCollins India, says GoT Thus, the financial stakes were high when hackers
is among their top five brands, with over half a breached HBO servers (it reportedly took them six
million copies sold. What is the profile of the GoT months) and stole, by some accounts, 1.5 terabytes of
fan? Just about anyone over the age of 16, says data. They leaked episode four online, and also some
Nagaraj. scripts. The producers have been asked to pay up, in
Martin, who, it is said, wrote the books to be bitcoins, a ransom of $6 million. Star India leaked
free of the restrictions that writing for television episode five of the current season in early August.
imposed, might not have realised what he was in Mumbai Police arrested four persons in connection
for. After his books were adapted for television, with the leak.
they took on a life beyond imagination and he The leaks, as well as regular piracy, have cost the
hasnt been able to keep pace. The demands of producers dearly. The show is an expensive one,
continuity on television and the reality that the the scale of production amazing. Shooting is spread

TRICKS AND POLITICS


Daenerys Targaryen, the
Mother of Dragons (right),
and her counsel Tyrion
Lannister discuss plans to
defeat an enemy
48 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
COVER STORY

across scenic locales, from Ireland to Spain She compares it with the works of Indian
to Iceland. Google Earth didnt miss a author Amish, where again, there
chance to showcase the actual locales is the attempt to create a certain
where the scenes were shot. When type of macho hero. Such works,
the UK voted for Brexit last year, according to Niranjana, do well
one of the concerns was how it with a certain section of soci-
would affect the shootings. Then ety. I would not call it a rage.
there is the computer graphics There are many other issues
imaging of the fantastic crea- DRAGONGLASS which have occupied the youth,
turesfire-breathing dragons, A form of volcanic glass but which do not get reported. I
dire wolves and the White Walkers. that can be used to kill would call it a very smartly made
India has its own connect with the humanoid creatures called programme meant for television
series, with the costumes designed the White Walkers success.
and weapons forged in desi factories. But, once all the seasons are wrapped
Even the dragons were created in Mumbai. up, how long will GoT be remembered?
With two actors of part-Indian origin this sea- Observers feel that while the craze may ease,
son, Indira Varma and Staz Nair, the Indian touch is the steady fan base will continue. Fan fiction has
complete. ensured that GoT has gone beyond the life and
David J. Peterson has his own role to play. He creates world created by Martin, and Weiss and Benioff.
artificial languages for television and films. With only But there is always need for new stuff to draw in
a smattering of phrases provided by Martin, Peterson newer fans. The Lord of the Rings films revived
has created two fantastic languages, Valyrian and interest in Tolkiens books, which were written
Dothraki, each with extensive vocabularies. Like decades ago, as did the Narnia films with the works
Klingon, which was created for Star Trek, these two of C.S. Lewis, says Krishnan. Even the Mahabharat
languages have a burgeoning following. The Wiki of needs a regular re-telling. So, will there be edgier
Fire and Ice, created by GoT fans, provides as much reinterpretations, sequels and more? To quote from
background material on the places and characters as GoT itself, Old stories are like old friends. You have
you would have on Achilles or Hercules. to visit them from time to time.
Not all, however, are impressed by the GoT craze.
It is interesting to juxtapose the success of such
programmes with the reality in the world. Game of
Thrones on television and Donald Trump in
the White House, a changing Europe, too,
says Niranjana P., a researcher on contem-
porary culture. There is a clear white
supremacy being reinforced, and such
stuff gets popular in the US, which lacks
its own mythology. White America is
creating a heritage through pop culture.

FIRE, FORCE
One of the three drag-
ons on the show; Jaime
Lannister, one of the best
warriors in Westeros
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 49

ALL MEN MUST DIE


T
he setting is a medieval world. course of six seasons, Kings
Two continents, seven kingdoms Landing, the capital, sees
and one Iron Throne. There are several inter-family feuds
dragons, dire wolves, black magic, for power. Kings come and
heavy weaponry, manic violence, a lot go, and several vital charac-
of sex and a variety of scheming folk. ters lose their lives. Cersei
It is a fantasy tale that finds resonance Lannister is currently the IRON THRONE
in other popular stories; some have queen; there is no king. The seat for which the
compared it with Harry Potter and families are at war
The Lord of the Rings, even. What sets DAENERYS
apart this tale, however, is the moral In Essos, a continent to the east,
grey area it inhabits. No simple good Daenerys Targaryen (daughter of
versus evil story, this. a previous king) plots her return to
There are several warring fami- the throne. She soon amasses an
lies vying for the Iron Throne. The army, along with three dragons, and, the end of season six, only one major
main houses are Stark, Lannister, at the end of season six, sets sail for character has encountered them.
Targaryen and Baratheon. To simplify Westeros. The culmination would see all of
things, lets break the tale into three these separate stories come together.
parts. THE WALL Then, perhaps, Westeros will have a
In the North is the Wall, built to keep long, peaceful rule.
KINGS LANDING out White Walkers, who are human-
At the beginning of season one, a oid ice creatures. Beyond the Wall is
Baratheon rules the Seven Kingdoms. inhabitable ice land. The White Walkers
He is soon killed (gored by a boar) and slowly and steadily build an army of the
his son takes over. Throughout the dead and plan to attack Westeros. At
50 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
COVER STORY
11 24 14
Castle Black

FOLLOW TH
10

13

Winterfell 17
5 19
White Harbor
20 22
6

Gulltown
The Eyrie
Pyke
Riverrun

Lannisport Dragonstone
Daenerys hatches 8 18 23
dragon eggs; the Kings Landing Pentos
beasts, thought to 1 4 9
be extinct, return as 3 Storms End
game changers
Highgarden
Tyrosh

Oldtown
15
Sunspear

Battle of the Blackwater


Tyrion foils Stannis Baratheons
attempted coup of Kings Landing

King in the North


The bastard
unies the North, which
pledges itself to him

The Walkers army of


the dead

GRAPHICS: N.V. JOSE; RESEARCH: NEERAJ KRISHNAN


52 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
COVER STORY

INTERVIEW/Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar

GoTs popularity is a
pan-India phenomenon
BY PRIYANKA BHADANI

FOR YEARS, HBOs say Torrent Morghulis (torrents must die, in GoT
Game of Thrones has lingo).
been the worlds most What has been the campaigns impact on
pirated show. In India, viewership?
too, fans who are not We used the GoT campaign to make people who think
content with the shows they can find anything on torrent sites aware that they
censored version airing can now find almost anything on Hotstar Premium
on Star World Premiere [the paid, ad-free version of the service]. And yes, we
have been using ille- have seen a very meaningful surge in the viewership
gal file-sharing sites to of GoT on our platform.
download the uncut ver- There is a paywall for GoT on Hotstar Premium.
sion of the epic, episode Has the Indian audience embraced the subscription
by episode. model?
That, however, seems to be changing. Hotstar, the
homegrown streaming platform from Star Network,
has been streaming the unedited version of the show
since Season 6 last year. A lot of viewers who earlier
depended on illegal torrents are now paying to stream
it. Ajit Mohan, Hotstars chief executive officer, talks
to THE WEEK about the shows booming popularity
here.
Your ad campaign ahead of the current season of
GoT poked fun at those who relied on torrents.
How did you plan the remarkable campaign?
Until last year, when Hotstar started showing Game
Of Thrones, there was no legitimate delivery of the
show on on-demand/digital platforms. We presented
viewers with a completely new proposition: You get
access to episodes without any cuts, and it is aired at
the same time when the US airing happens. From a
fans point of view, it was a dramatic leap. [Earlier] you
had to wait days [to watch an episode], and you didnt
get to watch the original version. Now, you were on a
par with the world.
From a content point of view, we are not competing
with any of our peers in the subscription business.
The competition is with torrent [sites], where a lot of
pirated content is available. The fact that it [the con-
tent] was pirated, and that sometimes it was not even WAR LORD
of high-quality, did not really matter to consumers, A still from the Battle of
because that was the only option available to them. the Bastards, a crucial
We wanted to make a bold statement. We wanted to clash in the series
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 53

Yes, it has. We started Hotstar as a no-subscription The trafc on digital platforms is mostly coming
model, because we recognised that people were from urban areas. What kind of response has
already paying a meaningful amount for data. And Hotstar been getting from smaller towns,
data is pretty expensive relative to income in India specically for GoT?
and to what people are used to paying for traditional It [GoTs popularity] is a pan-India phenomenon. It
television. But, a year into the service, we realised is one of those shows that really appeal to the audi-
that there is a more discerning, affluent audience ence just on the quality of storytelling. It is by far one
who have access to high-quality broadband and who of the greatest television shows ever made. Its not
are willing to pay. That is why we created Hotstar that only the urban audience will gravitate towards
Premium. In the past 14 months since we launched it. It has got tremendous affinity across age groups
Premium, we have seen a steady growth. and geography.

The big money-spinners


SEASON 1-5 BUDGET THE BATTLE OF THE BASTARDS
$6 million per episode took 25 days to shoot.
SEASON 6 BUDGET The episode also used
$10 million per episode 600 crew members, 500 extras,
CERSEIS WALK OF SHAME cost 70 horses, 160 tonnes of gravel,
$50,000 a day, for four days 25 stuntmen and 4 camera crews
BATTLE OF THE BLACKWATER
$8 million
54 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
COVER STORY

GUEST COLUMN

GoT scores
with its script
and set design
BY SABU CYRIL

BE IT A REALITY show
or a full-length film, art
direction brings out the
creativity of a script. The
sets and costumes sup-
port the spectacle to a
great extent.
Game of Thrones is a
show that has many dif-
ferent worlds in it. And
all these worlds are very
distinct in the way they
look. The locations are

At Kings
set in different countries and they bring the feel of each
distinct world in GoT.
The set designs in some of the iconic scenes, like the fight
between the Mountain and the Viper in the fourth season,
was full of graffiti. I remember watching scenes of a severe
storm. As an art director, I know how these scenes can be
worked out to achieve 100 per cent perfection.
A seaside town in Croatia has
It is always the script that warrants the set designs. I become the centre of the Game
would say the set designs and the script in GoT hold the
key to its popularity. It is a dense script, but this calls for sets
of Thrones mania
that add visual depth to the story. The detailing of the sets
in GoT, including walls, stones and properties, is visible in BY K. SUNIL THOMAS/Dubrovnik, Croatia
every frame. It also gives depth to each character. If the sets
and war scenes are haphazardly done, there would be no

D
continuity from one scene to another. In the war sequences ubrovniks Old Town has always been
in GoT, the background walls are made of either real stones, a popular tourist attraction in Croatia.
fibreglass or plaster of Paris. The authenticity it brings to Passengers stepping off cruise liners
the visuals is what stands out. loved the charms of this Unesco World Heritage
I would say perfection depends on the budget. The Site, with its old cobblestone alleyways snaking
sets in GoT can be created cost-effectively, but perfection around medieval buildings. But nothing could
demands more money. It is the budget that decides the qual- have prepared the local people for the onslaught
ity. The extra money that we spend for the detailswhich of the hordes of tourists that have been descend-
is normally 40 per cent more than the basic costbrings ing on this town since it became Kings Landing,
perfection to the design. Apart from money, art directors the capital of the mythical continent of Westeros,
also require time to make the designs perfect. For Bahubali, where George R.R. Martins epic story unfolds.
for instance, we worked on the set designs for five years, Tourists with selfie sticks and GoT maps have
right from day one of its conception. I did more than 22,000 been swarming the many spots where the shows
sketches. It was like working for ten films. And we succeed- important scenes were shot: where Cersei did her
ed because of the freedom we had to bring in details to each walk of shame (the naked walk was shot using
and every set. a body double, my guide told me), where Tyrion
Cyril is a National Award-winning art director. Lannister peered at hostile ships in the Battle of the
As told to Lakshmi Subramanian. Blackwater, where Daenerys Targaryen walked
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 55

SHOW AND TELL


(Left and right) A tourist guide showing pictures of
crucial scenes, at the locations in Old Town where
they were shot; (above) George R.R. Martin

Tourist guides walk around in Dubrovnik with

Landing
pictures of crucial scenes from GoT and pictures
of the actual location. Only from this juxtaposition
do many tourists realise that the scenes have a fair
amount of special effectslike the high towers of
the palace added to the castle walls in Dubrovnik,
discussing strategies with Sir Jorah Mormont, and or the crowd at Cerseis walk of shame.
so on. Among the other GoT locations in Croatia are
Tourist arrivals have gone up ten times since the Trsteno Arboretum, where Lady Olenna holds
Game of Thrones began shooting here, said an offi- court (a few kilometres away from Old Town); Fort
cial. One of the bigger attractions is a replica of the Lovrijenac, where King Joffrey Baratheon holds
Iron Throne seen in the series (the original court and competitions; Pile Gate, where
is in a studio in Northern Ireland). Buy Littlefingers meetings with Cersei and
enough souvenirs, and you can sit on it Sansa take place; and Gradac Park, right
and have a picture clicked. next to the Old Town walls, where
And thus happened this August Joffreys wedding feast happens.
my brief, Instagram-friendly Many other scenes, like the ones
ascension to the throne! showing Daenerys in Meereen
A study three years ago found and Slavers Bay, were also shot
that 45 million international in and around Dubrovnik and
tourists a year selected destina- areas in Split, a town north on the
tions that were locations in a film
WILDFIRE Adriatic coast.
Highly flammable liquid.
or TV series. New Zealands tour- If ignited, the fire cannot But, people in Dubrovnik are far
ism revenue shot up after the Lord be put out by water from thrilled with the GoT craze and
of the Rings trilogy was shot there. the tourist dollars flowing in. Local
The country got $7 billion in 2014 alone. people recently held protests against
Northern Ireland, a major GoT location, the swarms of tourists crowding Old Town.
estimates an additional revenue of almost $200 (Cruise liners drop thousands of passengers
million to local businesses. Its total tourism rev- into the city every day.) The mayor, who was elect-
enue would be much higher. ed two months ago, has promised to cap the num-
This can only be good news for Croatia, where ber of tourists in Old Town at 4,000 a daymuch
tourism is the biggest earner. It has been focusing lower than Unescos recommended 8,000 visitors
on Indian tourist arrivals in a big way this summer. a day.
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 57

V
ishal Sikka looked tired
when he addressed the
media persons assembled
at Infosys headquarters in
Bengaluru through a video call from
Palo Alto in California on August 18.
Abruptly, the first non-founder chief
executive of Indias second largest Severance is paid during involuntary
IT company said he was quitting. I separation of an employee. There is
had left India as a teenager and got A major allegation no law governing severance pay at
an opportunity to come back many senior levels. Typically, at the execu-
decades later through Infosys. It is a
Murthy kept on tive level, there are always clauses
very sad day, he said. making was that and restrictions around employment
Sikka had been unhappy about post the current role. I feel that a two-
the persistent criticism of his style
corporate governance year severance package (which had
of functioning by N.R. Narayana was compromised been offered to Bansal) for a senior
Murthy, co-founder and first CEO of by the Infosys board executive is well within the globally
Infosys. The director board of Infosys accepted standards, said Rastogi.
placed the blame squarely on Murthy when the company After paying Bansal about 05 crore,
and seemed to be set for a battle with acquired the Israeli Infosys suspended the payment. He
him. The bigger challenge before the has invoked the arbitration clause in
board, however, would be finding a firm Panaya. the severance contract asking for the
successor to Sikka and safeguarding rest of the money.
investors interests. The day Sikka While no one is doubting Murthys
resigned, around 023,000 crore of right to question the board and the
investor wealth was wiped out as chief executive, experts say he should
Infosys stock plummeted 9.6 per cent. have been discreet. Every sharehold-
A major allegation Murthy kept er had a right to question a company,
on making was that corporate gov- involved in the valuation and the said Subramanyam S., CEO of Ascent
ernance was compromised by the whole process of approval did take Consulting, but the forum he used
Infosys board when the company place at the board level, he said. the media and open lettersappeared
acquired the Israeli firm Panaya. Panayas solutions are expected to to be a sticky issue between Murthy
Infosys paid $200 million for the help Infosys free up its workforce for and the board. Given his role in
company while the latest valuation higher skill processes. Panayas val- making Infosys what it is, Murthy
was $150 million. He also questioned uation at $200 million is negligible in rises above the board when it comes
the high severance package (018 comparison with the $30 billion valu- to questioning practices of manage-
crore) given to the former chief finan- ation of Infosys. Such small acquisi- ment or governance, which is a new
cial officer Rajiv Bansal. tions require clearance only from the standard by itself, he said.
Sidhant Rastogi, partner at Zinnov board, not from shareholders. It is The road ahead for Infosys is
Management Consulting, said there said that the Securities and Exchange expected to be bumpy, and finding
was no merit in the argument that Board of India has looked into the a new CEO in the current muddled
corporate governance was compro- acquisition. A problem will arise only environment and governance struc-
mised in the Panaya deal. A deal if the acquisition was facilitated to ture would be a big challenge. The
of this magnitude does not happen satisfy the personal agenda of Sikka, board and the founders, especially
lightly and there was a full process which looks impossible, said Aditya Murthy, would have to agree upon
and that was followed by Infosys. A Mohan Jadhav, professor (economics and jointly publish a credible and
third party agency, which in this case and finance) at T.A. Pai Management clear working mechanism between
is reported to be Deutsche Bank, was Institute, Manipal. them and the executive team, said
It is said that Bansal had to go Rastogi. Once the house is set in
because Sikka did not get along well some semblance of order, there may
with him. The severance package was be hope to get a good external candi-
decided in October 2015 after negoti- date. My opinion is, an external CEO
ations with the Infosys management, is not an imperative to Infosyss long-
Happier times: board representatives, Bansal and his term growth, said Rastogi.
N.R. Narayana Murthy with Vishal Sikka legal team from AZB and Partners. The founders still hold significant
58 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
INFOSYS
stake in Infosys, and these holdings
make much of their wealth. Murthy
The Infosys pie
and his family, for instance, hold
Non Promoter-Non Public 0.49%
3.44 per cent stake in the company.
Promoters slice
It was worth about 08,068 crore a Employee Trust 0.49%
day before Sikkas exit, and it Murthy Family 3.44%
declined to 07,040 crore when the Nilekani Family 2.29%
stock crashed after his resignation. Public 86.76%
These holdings must be a reason the among 7,29,506 Shibulal Family 1.86%
founders are reluctant to complete- shareholders
Dinesh Family 1.22%
ly give up the control. However,
many experts say it would be diffi- Gopalakrishnan Family 3.19%
cult for the board to find an outsid- Promoter & Promoter Group
er CEO who will step in and be able 12.75% among 19 shareholders
to perform under the glare of the
founders. Interestingly, this has
put some founders on the back foot. Bones of contention
If they decide to join back, it will Rajiv Bansal severance pay
be assumed that they forced Sikka Board: No impropriety, needed for amicable exit
out to get back into the company. If Founders: Doubts on whether this is hush money
any of the founders children join
the company, it will be viewed as Vishal Sikka compensation
Board: Has shareholder approval, linked to performance
nepotism, said Jadhav. Founders: Ratio of CEO to next level salary should be 1:2
While the bitter battle has defi-
nitely dented the image of brand David Kennedy severance pay
Infosys, it is unlikely to be a lasting Board: Severance pay part of contract for the former legal counsel
one. Boardroom battles, as long as Founders: Severance pay concept unprecedented for Infosys
they are resolved with resoluteness
and speed, do not hurt client-end Punita Sinha appointment
Board: Appointment based on credentials, shareholder approval
relationships. Yes, they remain a Founders: Conict because she is married to Union Minister Jayant Sinha
talking point, but they dont hurt
business that is ongoing, or new Sikkas extravagance
business that is being considered. Board: No impropriety; Sikka paid company when family used private
To that extent, the brand takes a jet once
temporary scar, and quickly the Founders: Use of private jets, expanding ofce space in US is an
extravagance
scar is erased and it is business as
usual, said brand expert Harish
Bijoor. RESEARCH: NEERAJ KRISHNAN; GRAPHICS: N.V. JOSE
The disturbances at the top level
are unlikely to hit the functioning
at the ground level. Most IT com- him to overcome this. Infosys is
panies have excellent processes not just a large company, it is an
to manage customer satisfaction, institution, said Alok Shende,
said Rastogi. At the same time, if
The road ahead for director, Ascentius Consulting.
the current instability and infight- Infosys is expected The institutional gravity offers a
ing persists over a few more months, tailwind that helps new CEOs sail
then there will be an impact on the
to be bumpy, and easier. Along with the new CEO,
win rate of new, especially large, finding a new CEO in Infosys should also recast its board
competitive deals that need top and get a new set directors who are
management attention.
the current muddled in greater sync with the exacting
The internal dissension would environment would values that Infosys has espoused
be the biggest challenge before the through the course of its history.
new CEO. But the lofty standards
be a big challenge. In the long term, the recent events
that the company had set for itself will be a small blip on Infosyss his-
from the beginning would guide torical map.
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 61

IN FOCUS

The Punjab Public School, Nabha


takes the lead in excellence
S
tarted in 1960 and formally inau-
gurated on April 11, 1961 by the
first President of India, Dr Rajen- Dr Jagpreet
dra Prasad, The Punjab Public School, Singh (right),
Nabha has emerged as a model of excel- Headmaster,
lence in the field of education. Nurtured The Punjab
in its infancy by the legendary Headmas- Public School,
ter, Mr J.K. Kate and now being led by an Nabha
equally dynamic and nationally known
presenting
Headmaster, Dr Jagpreet Singh, the
memento to
school is well on its way to set new stand-
Shri V.P. Singh
ards. Maj Gen O.P. Nandrajog, VSM, Rear
Badnore,
Admiral J.S. Bedi, AVSM, VSM, Maj Gen
J.S. Lidder, UYSM, AVSM, Mr Gurinder
Honble
Singh, IPS, Dr Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, Governor of
an entrepreneur, Mr Arvinder Singh Bub- Punjab and
ber, Chancellor, Kwantlen Polytechnic Administrator
University, British Columbia, Canada, Mr of Chandigarh.
Pawan Kant Munjal, MD CEO, Hero Mo-
toCorp Ltd, Prof Jagmohan Singh Raju,
Joseph J Aresty Professor, The Wharton
School, University of Pennsylvania, USA,
Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, PVSM, AVSM,
NM, ADC, Flag Ocer Commanding-
in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Gen
Bikram Singh, former Chief of Army Sta,
PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC, From the ICT
Lt Gen Rajinder Singh Sujlana, PVSM, Conclave
AVSM, VSM and Lt Gen TK Sapru, PVSM, organised by
YSM are a few of the outstanding alumni the school in
of the school. which ten top
The last one year has seen The Pun-
schools of
jab Public School scale new heights.
the country
The school won the 53rd All India IPSC
took part
(U-19) Athletics Championship trophy
for the fifth time in a row. A team of four
boys comprising Ekamveer Singh, Robin Equestrian Championship held at Mayo dynamic Headmaster, Dr Jagpreet Singh.
Singh, Kunal Demla and Sahilpreet Singh College, Ajmer. Besides, they romped He has won a number of awards includ-
bagged the first price in the My Innova- home with a massive haul of 47 medals11 ing Bharat Vidya Shiromani Award, Rajiv
tion event during a Robot Expo as part gold, 11 silver, 6 bronze and 19 copper at Gandhi Education Excellence Award,
of RobotzIndia V4.0 Competition held Delhi Horse Show. While Harkamal Sin- Derozio Award, Best Principal Perfor-
at Anna University, Chennai in February gh and Balkaran Singh got cash prizes mance Award, Asia Pacific Achievers
this year. The school recently organised worth Rs21,500/- and Rs1500/- respec- Award, Best Public School with Excel-
the ICT Conclave in which ten prestigious tively, Gurnawaz Singh was adjudged lent Faculty in Punjab, Bharat Vibhushan
schools of the country took part. It had the Best Rider of Group-I. Besides, the Samman Puraskar and Education World
competitions like Robo Soccer, Obsta- school lifted the All India IPSC Hockey Award. Besides, he is Director, Sports,
cle Avoidance Robot, the Path Finder, Championship (Boys U-19 & Girls U-17) Indian Public Schools Conference and
the Dirt Racer.The school added yet an- held on its campus in July. Joint Secretary, School Games Federa-
other feather to its cap by lifting the IPSC The man behind these successes is its tion of India.
62 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

forecast By K.K. Vamanan Nampoothiri


AUGUST 29 - SEPTEMBER 4

Aries Taurus Gemini


March 22-April 20 April 21-May 21 May 22-June 21
Hard work and determination If some important work gets Prosperity and success are
will make you successful. Do delayed, dont be disappoint- predicted. Do not take things
not count on luck in business ed. You must not disappoint too lightly. Be serious when
deals. Banking and insurance others either. Pay attention to a situation so demands.
bring gains. Your charming nature will your childrens education. Women will pur- Politicians should get engage in more social
win you many more buddies. An elder in chase building and property. Some of you activities rather than being laidback. Dont
the family will leave you a legacy. Events might change jobs. Be friendly to all. Dont mince words; be on the up and up. Your
and concerts will keep you busy. A timely squander away your wealth. Lecturers and critical views may not endear you to close
health check-up is the need of the hour. sportspersons have a gruelling week. companions.
Lucky dayMonday: a surprise Lucky daySaturday: gains via partner Lucky daySunday: new starts

Cancer Leo Virgo


June 22-July 23 July 24-August 23 August 24-September 23
Romance sails smooth with Think twice before taking any Your eloquent and liberal
no obstacles. Your impressive important decision at work. nature will contribute to trans-
administrative and advisory Watch what you eat as you forming the work environ-
skills will be put to test. You are prone to stomach disor- ment. Your buddies will be
will build contacts with people in power. A ders this week. Take care to avoid arguments your source of strength and your spouse will
busy and enjoyable week ahead for lecturers. with members of the opposite sex. Musicians bring luck. Your charitable nature will help
Dont let your family down; they will stand by will have opportunity to showcase their tal- you gain more admirers. You will be in the
you and bring you gains. Be friendly with your ent. Keep your parents happy as you stand to pink of health. Your optimism will pull you
seniors at workplace. gain from them. Journalists will do well. through many problems this week.
Lucky dayWednesday: overseas travel Lucky dayMonday: a gift from mother Lucky dayThursday: a dream comes true

Libra Scorpio Sagittarius


September 24-October 23 October 24-November 22 November 23-December 22
Despite the rough weather, Your well-informed and disci- Avoid arguments with wom-
you will keep your emotions plined nature will help achieve en. You will help the needy.
and temper under control. your goals. You may land in Travel could prove a good
Your stress levels will ease. trouble if you dont mind your change and might prove to be
Dodge your partners efforts to drag you words. Be extra careful with money this a learning experience. Legal issues could
back to your past; instead, be optimistic week. Those of you planning to marry will land you in a spot, so take extra care.
about the future. It is also the time to forgive. get a prudent and faithful partner. Time is Success awaits those in public service
Keep your land and estate in good condi- not favourable for travel. There will be finan- and educational research. Poultry owners
tion. Life at this point may evoke poetry. cial gains on the domestic front. will do well.
Lucky dayTuesday: persuasive best Lucky dayTuesday: a gift Lucky dayMonday: dad brings news

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces


December 23-January 20 January 21-February 19 February 20-March 21
Your gift of the gab could be Be ready to face false accusa- You will be innovative, and
put to use this week. Work tions. Be less critical of others. your job skills fetch you a pro-
will up your popularity. You Your versatility will aid you in motion. Make sure you invest
will become much more your career growth. Ensure you in real estate; huge profits are
popular on the social front. A change of use the right means to attain your goals. guaranteed. Teachers, journalists and writ-
job or residence is likely. You will be praised Your courteousness will be appreciated. It is ers will bring home a heavier purse. Some of
for your organising skills. A legacy is on its an ideal time to invest in farm and oil seeds you might shift to a new house or buy a new
way. Medical students will do well. Software business. And, wear that smile always this car. Try not to be too critical. A favourable
professionals get a high-paying job abroad. week. week for writers and lawyers.
Lucky daySaturday: gains via partners Lucky dayMonday: increase in income Lucky dayTuesday: the Midas touch
64 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3 , 2017

Riding high: Gaurav Arya,


who owns The Tamarind
hotel near Anjuna beach,
was among the first few
people to move to Goa
from Delhi

G
aurav Arya remembers of life and with different philosophies
talking to his bike the first have made Goa their home in recent
time he rode the old BSA years. Also, things have changed for
from Delhi to Goa. We are the better in Goa. The roads, the
here together, we made it, the hotelier connectivity, everything is better
and vintage bike restorer said to his now, said Gaurav, who has a bou-
bike. Gaurav moved to Assagao in Goa tique hotel, The Tamarind, and Caf
in 2007 after studying music in London. Cotinga near Anjuna beach.
In those days, in Delhi society, it was Rahul Malaney, who comes from
definitely a big step, recalled Gaurav, an entrepreneurial engineering fami-
36. People assumed that one moved to ly in Mumbai, studied philosophy and
Goa only to do techno and trance par- art in the United States, but moved to
ties. But his father wasnt among them. Mandrem in Goa with his partner Jill
I dont want to trap your soul, do what- Ferguson to start a water sports cen-
ever makes you happy, he told Gaurav. tre and caf, Vaayu. Anushka Nadia
Now, Gaurav feels vindicated Menon, 32, beauty and fashion pho-
because many people who said nasty tographer, DJ, singer and produc-
things about the move either have erafter living in Muscat, Australia
houses in Goa today or dream to have and Delhisettled down in Siolim
one. Some are even planning to move because she got sick of the city life.
here, he said. Though he shied away Textile designer and weaver Poonam
from the word trendsetter, he said he Pandit, also an Army kid and a bit of
and his friends were definitely pio- a free spirit, shifted to Siolim from
neers in doing it, at a time when it was Delhi almost eight years ago after get-
a taboo. Now, it has become trendy in ting an offer from Goa-based fashion
the rest of the country to move to Goa. designer Wendell Rodricks. The
Many people from different walks 42-year-old had earlier worked with
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3 , 2017 65

export companies, but now works on


traditional textiles of Goa for her own
brand, Kalakar.
Antima Nahar, 39, graphic design-
er and illustrator from Rajasthan,
studied and worked in London and
Mumbai. She moved to Siolim two
years ago to run her own branding
and brand communications com-
pany while trying to focus on her
health after a bad attack of rheuma-
toid arthritis. Smita Singh Rathore,
cofounder, Magnetic Fields Festival,
after studying and living in Milan,
Italy, for a while, moved to Assagao
from Delhi where she was designing
and running restaurants with her ex-
husband. The beauty of Goa, said the
39-year-old, brings out the creativity
in her because it allows you to zone in Making waves: Rahul
and do your work. Malaney, from Mumbai,
To Rahul, Goa seemed like the right moved to Mandrem
place because the ocean is cleaner to start his own water
here, and it has a really nice commu- sports centre and cafe,
nity of international people. If it is Vaayu
windy, we will go kite surfing. If there
are waves, then we will go surfing. If

there is no wind, no waves, we will go


wakeboarding and kayaking. But the
idea is to always appreciate whatever
Mother Nature provides, he said.
Anushka is enjoying being in
nature in Goa, especially consider-
ing Delhi was getting very polluted
and [she] was having a hard time
Sun, sand and song: Fashion breathing. As somebody already
photographer and singer Anushka set up in the business of beauty
Nadia Menon moved from Delhi to and fashion photography for the last
Siolim because she was sick of the 12 years and being quite well-known
city life in the industry, she now travels to
Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi only
for the bigger assignments that pay
well, be it photo-shoots or gigs.
Poonam discovered Baburao Babaji
Tidwe, who comes from a traditional
weaver family, making kashtis (loin-
cloths) and dhotis like the joda pan-
cha. He was the last guy weaving
saris, once a flourishing industry in
Goa, and was about to shut shop for
lack of demand when Poonam sug-
gested they try out something new.
Taking the same weave and construc-
tion of the joda panchas and kashtis,
66 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3 , 2017

they now make trendier designs using


Natural drift:
natural colour, ayurvedic dyes and
Smita Singh Rathore,
organic cotton. I am making scarves
cofounder, Magnetic
currently, and will move on to bigger
Fields Festival, moved
sized sarongs as well, she said.
to Assagao from Delhi
Antima, whose body just broke
down in Mumbai after her illness,
said, I felt Mumbai just wasnt the
place to heal, not to mention [spend-
ing] a lakh on rent and basics, which
didnt make any economic sense.
That prompted her to move to Goa
where she now makes the most of vid-
eo-conferencing and Skype when she
isnt travelling to Delhi and Mumbai
for meetings. She also documents ber plate on her car, said she is still the basics. She has happily sunk into
her arthritis journey through doodles peeling the layers of living in Goa. a village community life that involves
under her brand, Antz Doodles. We are buying up their properties, trips to the farm and growing her own
For Smita, Goas serenity was experi- increasing their rent, gentrifying the food.
enced in a paddy field one early morning place and making it hard for them to Though Anushka took some time
where she could hear the dewdrops live in a place where they have lived getting used to the pace of Goa
falling from the palm trees. Within five forever. But the minute you go in because everything is super slow,
months of that experience, she moved and take yourself a notch down and unlike cities where everything is
to Goa with her two kids, aged six and see things from their perspective done promptly, she has adjusted
eight, and a nanny, Seema. Smita is not they are simple, open and friendly, well by slowing her own pace down.
oblivious to reality and knows that she she said. She loves the richness and It has worked well! I am enjoying it,
is speaking from a position of privilege. abundance that Goa offers. It is a she said, while showing us around her
Though it was smooth sailing for her, prosperous state and you can feel expansive bungalow. See my house,
it wasnt the same for Seema. It was it in a lot of ways, said Smita. In this is not something that you can have
a new place for her and much harder Delhi, for instance, it is so important in Delhi or Mumbai. Antima echoes
for her to make friends. So Smita asked to make money so that you can live in Anushkas sentiment. Coming from
her to return to Delhi. a beautiful place, eat clean food, drink crammed spaces and paying so much
Warm, urban, multicultural and tra- clean water, but for that I have to be money, this is like heaven, she said.
ditional are some of the words used to away from my home and my kids and That was the reason why she bought
describe Goa. It is relaxed. People are employ people to take care of them. It her holiday home in Goa even before
fun. As long as you respect them and seems like it is all in reverse because she moved there.
understand that this is their home, they food, clean water and fresh air should Also, exercisebe it yoga, pilates,
are pretty cool with you and dont have be something that I should have any- running or swimminghas become
any issues, said Rahul. way. And, here it is there! Every house a part of their lives, as has catching
Smita, who had a few skirmishes is beautiful, every part is natural and I the sunset. While Gaurav, Anushka,
initially thanks to the Delhi num- dont have to make money to spend on Poonam and Antima have found their
permanent base in Goa, for Rahul
and Smita, it may well be a stopgap
arrangement. For now, it is definite-
ly Goa. I want to be here for about ten
years and then maybe move to the
Andaman Islands or Puducherry or
Varkala. But none are as rich as Goa
in terms of diversity, complexity and
the vibration, said Rahul. Where
Design element: will I go next, mused Smita. Maybe
Textile designer Poonam the mountains. You can only go deep-
Pandit shifted to Siolim er into nature. I have to go through
from Delhi for work a place like Goa which allows you a
little bit of both.
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 69

about specificity, a marriage of art 1


and technology.
He almost personifies architecture
and talks as though it is something BY DESIGN
thats living and breathing. And per- Some of

KESARA RATNAVIBHUSHANA
haps, to him, it really is. To a good Madhuras works:
architect, design is so much more than
1. Hidden House
how something looks. It is something
2. Anuradhapura Portal
that moves you emotionally. It is a
3. Long House
way of transforming the mundane, of
4. Villa Maggona
making peace with yourself and, most
5. Urban Garden
of all, of seeing the world. And this,
says Prematilleke, is something that
needs to be taught at a young age. I 2 3
observed this when I was living in
Finland, he says. Learning how to
appreciate good design was part of
the school curriculum there and so, it
got ingrained in the children. A strug-
gling student there would rather buy
one designer spoon than six regular
ones. They also have a culture that
celebrates architects. It is the only
country I know of whose currency
note features an architect.
RANITRI WEERASURIYA

The legacy of an architect is his


work and for it to endure, it must
merge with the native and the natu-

ERESH WEERASURIYA
ral. As a policy, well only build on
half the allotted land, he says. The
rest is for planting trees, receiving
rain and making the building a part 4
of the natural system. At the same
time, Prematilleke is also a realist.
Conservation can only survive when 5
SEBASTIAN POSINGIS

it goes hand in hand with commer-


cialism, he says. Every aspect of life
is commercialised, he says. If you
want something to survive, it has to
have commercial viability, at least
partly. The key is to control the man-
ner in which the two are balanced
and to draw a line demarcating where balcony. Architects need to pay heed
commercialism ends and conserva- to these factors when they are build-
tion begins. ing homes for the disadvantaged and
If a thing of beauty is a joy forever, poorer sections of society as much
then that joy should not be a privi- as they do when they are catering to
lege but rather a right. Thats why the needs of those who can afford it,
Prematilleke and his colleagues have he says. Can you catch a glimpse of a
proposed to implement what they sunrise or a sunset from a window?
RANITRI WEERASURIYA

call a bill of rights for users of archi- Can you let the light turn magical and
tecturethe right to look into the form patterns on the ceiling? These
distance from a building, the right are the joys of architecture, says
to fresh air and the right to access Prematilleke. And everyone should
open spaces, even if it is only a tiny have a right to joy.
70
SANJAY AHLAWAT THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

Conquer the sea: The all-women Indian


Navy team who will take INSV Tarini on
a voyage of over 21,000 nautical miles

ADVENTURE as well as the first all-women Asian


team to achieve this feat. But, we
have systems to deal with these issues,

The half dozen so it should not become an impedi-


ment, said Jamwal. She explained
that though on adventure voyages,
the level of camaraderie is higher
than during regular sorties, there is
Navika Sagar Parikrama is as much a still a hierarchy to be observed. The
test of team spirit as it is of human spirit chain of command and the authority
of the skipper are systems that help
BY REKHA DIXIT Commander Abhilash Tomys non- curb squabbles. Weve also trained as
stop circumnavigation (both record- a team for two years, and we under-

I
magine being all alone for making voyages). After all, this time, stand each other, she said. The lon-
months on end, cruising the crew is six member strong. But, gest the crew has sailed together is
through vast oceans in a sail- think again. Just how long can it be from Goa to Cape Town, a voyage of
boat, with not a human in sight before tempers fray and even the sight 43 days.
for days together. Now imagine being of another crew member becomes These women are a spunky lot. For
in these waters for months on end, in intolerable. In a boat that is just 17m each of them, a naval career meant
a sailboat, and always in the compa- long, there isnt really much place to going to sea, but the Navy does not
ny of five others. If handling loneli- get away. allow women on board its warships.
ness requires a certain kind of men- Human behaviour will be the big- I am from Manipur, for me navy
tal make-up, living in close confines gest challenge on this voyage, said means the sea. I wouldnt let off of
within a group requires another set of Lt Commander Pratibha Jamwal, 28, a chance like this, said Lt S. Vijaya
mental skills. one of the six women officers who will Devi, 28. Handpicked from 20, they
Navika Sagar Parikrama, the take the Navys latest sailboat, Indian were trained by Donde himself. It is
Indian Navys third circumnaviga- Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini, said that initially the plan was for a
tion expedition, may initially appear on a voyage of over 21,000 nauti- three-member crew, with a backup
much easier than Captain (retd) Dilip cal miles, hoping to become the first of three. But, later, the Navy decided
Dondes solo circumnavigation and all-women naval team in the world, that six is better than three.
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 71

Six set sail..


Navika Sagar Parikrama is the rst Goa
circumnavigation attempt by Asian women
and the rst such attempt by an all-women
naval team. They will set sail from Goa in
Port Stanley
September and are expected to be back (The Falklands)
in March 2018. The voyage will have
ve legs, with stopovers in Fremantle Cape Town
(South Africa)
(Australia), Lyttelton (New Zealand), Fremantle
(Australia) Lyttelton
Port Stanley (The Falklands) and (New Zealand)
Cape Town (South Africa) INSV Tarini
Crew z 55ft vessel, with a suite of six sails
z Built by Aquarius Shipyard, Goa
Skipper: Lt Cdr z Inducted into the navy in February
Vartika Joshi z Has an RO plant that will give 30 litres of water an hour
Crew: Lt Cdr z 130hp Volvo Penta D5 engine for auxiliary power
Pratibha Jamwal and z Inmarsat network system
P. Swathi, and z Superwind wind generator
Lieutenants z Raymarine electronic autopilot and one wind-driven autopilot
S. Vijaya Devi, z Emergency position indicating radio beacon, and a
B. Aishwarya and search and rescue transponder
Payal Gupta z HF/VHF radio with digital selective calling
GRAPHICS: SYAM KRISHNAN; RESEARCH: NEERAJ KRISHNAN

Skipper Lt Commander Vartika The voyage is scheduled for early being the norm.
Joshi, 26, a hill girl from Rishikesh, September, the date depending on Yet, these girls have a disarming
has already made history, being the wind and weather favourability. A manner. Its not too difficult, even
first woman to command a sea unit nautical circumnavigation means a you can do this if you start training,
in the Navy. Having sailed exten- round trip along the equator (where Lt Payal Gupta, 26, the baby of the
sively on INSV Mhadei, Tarinis the earth is at its widest), but since group told me. Agreed Jamwal, We
older sibling, shes already an old there are continents on the route, are not superheroes, we are ordi-
hand at sea. Our route will be simi- a voyage that covers the distance of nary people. Boddapatti chipped in,
lar to Captain Dondes 2009 voyage, the equator (21,600) nautical miles, Once you get the basics, its easy.
with stops at Fremantle (Australia), is considered a circumnavigation. Lt Cdr P. Swathi, 26, insisted that
Lyttelton (New Zealand), Port There are other criteria, too. For this expedition should not be viewed
Stanley (Falkland Islands) and Cape instance, the voyage should cross the from the limited scope of a female
Town (South Africa), she said. equator twice and touch two antipo- achievement. I am proud to be a
Aishwarya Boddapatti, 28, is a sea- dal points. The boat should be pro- woman, no doubt. But Id rather be
soned adventurer, having done bun- pelled by sails alone. known for my actions as a human
gee jumping, river rafting and deep- It will take around eight months being, she said. Swathis family has
sea diving, too. It was natural for her for the round trip from Goa. A trip overcome more challenges than the
to volunteer, Only later, I realised that will take these girls through others. Her parents are semi-lettered,
that this was much more than an Southern Ocean, and through the her father was a defence civilian in
adrenaline rush, she said. Officially, Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties, Visakhapatnam. We were three sis-
she is the technical expert, but she winds that can humble the most ters, everyone would tell my parents
says her unofficial role as the temper seasoned navigator. The seas will rise how theyd manage the dowry. They,
diffuser is more important. Im good up in certain stretches, waves several however, decided to educate us rath-
at making jokes, lightening the situ- metres high crashing on the deck, er than dower us, she said.
ation, she said, her eyes twinkling. tossing the boat like a cork. Further It is an investment that has
Her fiance is waiting for her to finish south, the cold polar bite will be felt already paid dividents several times
with the nautical knots so that they on every wave and every gust, with over, as their daughter sets off on a
can tie the marital one. temperatures of 4 to 5 degrees Celsius voyage of glory.
72 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

PEOPLE

BILLBOARD BOOK
The art of billboard painting seen
in Bollywood movie posters of yore
is nearly extinct. But Priti Paul of
Oxford Bookstore has attempted
to revive it in the form of paintings
in her book ABC Desi, seemingly
to teach the letters of the alphabet
to children, but really as a collec-
tors item. She was inspired by
French books so it was fitting that
Alexandre Ziegler, the French
ambassador to India, launched it at
the French embassy recently.

COURTESY: INSTAGRAM

YUMMY MUMMY
Kareena Kapoor Khan recently threw a glitzy baby shower
for her sister-in-law Soha Ali Khan, who is expecting
ng her first
h the pres-
baby in September. It was a star-studded affair with
ence of actors like Neha Dhupia and Konkona Sen Sharma.
reena
Stars also adorned the identical jackets worn by Kareena
and her sister Karisma Kapoor. Soha, who is married d to actor
Kunal Khemu, looked delicious in a peach ensemble. e.
THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 73

COURTESY: TWITTER

TOILET T
TROUBLE
After the Quality Council of India declared
Mumbai open defdefecation free, Twinkle Khanna
tweeted a picture of her standing in front of
a man defecating in the open. Good morn-
ing and I guess he
here is the first scene of Toilet
Ek Prem Katha papart 2 #WhenYourWalkGoes
DownTheToilet, she tweeted. The recently
released film Toil
Toilet Ek Prem Katha, starring her
husband Akshay K Kumar, dealt with the subject
of open defecation
defecation. The tweet went viral and
was retweeted mo
more than 2,000 times.

PRINCESS
PRIN
DIARY
DI
Princess Dian
Diana: Tragedy or Treason?,
a three-hour d documentary on Princess
Diana, will be
b aired on Discovery on
her 20th death anniversary on August 31. MUSIC TO THE EARS
Viewers will h hear exclusively from famed Sir Karl Jenkins, reportedly the most-
Princess Diana b biographer Andrew Morton, performed living composer in the world,
statemen from the channel. Other
read a statement will be the star at this years Symphony
interviews include two of her personal friends, Orchestra of India (SOI) season in
Mary Robertson an and James Colthurst, Princess Mumbai at the National Centre for the
Ke Wharfe, royal biographer
Dianas bodyguard Ken Performing Arts. Jenkins has a formi-
Ingrid Seward, royal his
historian Kate Williams and dable repertoire, the crowning glory of
reporters Tamron Hall and Deborah Norville. which is The Armed Man: A Mass for
The documentary will reportedly give Peace, which has been performed over
inside informatio
information about her life as 2,000 times. The autumn season of SOI
a royal wife and mother. will be hosted from September 13 to 28.
The Welsh-born conductor will perform
the The Universe (international pre-
CONTRIBU
CONTRIBUTORS: VIJAYA PUSHKARNA miere), which he has composed himself.
AND REKHA
REKH DIXIT
AP COMPILED BY ANJULY MATHAI
74 THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

last word Barkha Dutt


Constitution above codes

N
otwithstanding the inter- A closer reading of the verdict Hindus and Muslims when it comes
esting irony of an all-male shows that we are nowhere near that to marrying off their girls before
bench passing a historic point. Two judges dissented arguing adulthood. According to the last
verdict on an issue that Muslim that it was for Parliament to frame Indian census, nearly eight million
women have fought for on the front a new law. The three judges who Indian girls were married before they
lines, the Supreme Courts deci- scrapped triple talaq have differing were ten years old. Despite a Law
sion to strike down the retrograde reasons to make their case, with one Commission report suggesting an
custom of triple talaq, or instant arguing that the custom is bad in law automatic annulment of all marriages
divorce, must be welcomed without because it is frowned upon even in below the age of 18, the courts are yet
any equivocation. shariah. That, frankly, should have to resolve how to treat weddings that
I have long argued that liberals been irrelevant. may take place between the ages of
who qualify their endorsement with What we had hoped for was a legal 15 and 18. Under personal law of all
ifs and buts or bury the issue under a precedence that would allow us to faiths, age is not an automatic basis
mountain of political arguments get argue that whenever constitutional for ending such teen marriages.
it wrong. Feminism must trump faith principles collide with religious Then, there is the stranglehold
and the principle of equality must be codes, the constitutional notion of of social conservatism. Parliament
placed ahead of which party you like equality must win every time. The has refused to legislate on marital
or dislike. court has done well to strike down rape, almost suggesting that mar-
That said, there is no denying that one atavistic custom, but going for- riage is a license for sexual abuse.
the long shadow of Shah Bano contin- ward, it doesnt given women enough Once again this appalling cover for
ues to fall over the Congresss claim ammunition to apply the verdict sexual violence applies even to minor
to secularism. With one eye on the or- generally to all such cases. girls, if the wife happens to be
thodox Muslim vote, Rajiv Gandhis The truth is that traditional rituals above the age of 15. The courts, too,
government infamously overturned and practices of all religions militate have declined to get involved. So it
a 1985 Supreme Court judgment against equality for women. For is a bit premature for us to celebrate
that mandated alimony for Muslim instance, studies show there is little feminist freedom based on the talaq
women. Women have every reason to difference (in percentage) between judgment alone.
celebrate the courts avenging And then, there is the
of that legislative blunder. peculiar contradictions of the
But, as women mark this courtteenage girls of 15 are
moment, let us stop and ask, treated as autonomous adults,
has the court gone as far as it but a recent case involving the
could have? And, will the gov- conversion of a 24-year-old
ernmentwhich has made it a woman has been heard as a
point to underline the differ- complaint of love jihad even
ence between Prime Minister resulting in a court-ordered
Narendra Modi and Rajiv NIA investigation.
Gandhi on the issuenow The triple talaq verdict is a
show the gumption to work on one giant step towards gender
a progressive bill of rights that equality. But for women, the
is neither Hindu nor Muslim, road to freedom is still a long
but based on the rst principle march ahead.
of individual freedom? editor@theweek.in
BHASKARAN