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Monsoon Duo performed live in historic Gaiety Theatre

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Monsoon-Duo

“In seven years what we liked about India is the diversity of culture”- Monsoon Duo

The magic of Monsoon Duo left the audiences spell bounded and proved the statement that music is universal language true. Their first every performance in Shimla won many hearts and left their audience spell bounded.

It is often said the music is a universal language and same was experience at the historic Gaiety Theatre, the Mall Shimla, in a musical concert – Canadian Voices- Celebrating Canadian Creativity, organized by Consulate General of Canada, Chandigarh on March 14.

In the concert the famous Monsoon Duo – Canada based Indo-jazz music group were see performing and winning the hearts of the audiences. The Monsoon Duo consists of Jonathan Kay (tenor, soprano saxophones) and Andrew Kay (alto saxophone, percussion). The group is inspired by jazz musician John Coltrane, who was deeply influenced by Indian music and during their performance they performed the famous piece “India”.

“It has been seven years when we came to India to learn the Indian Classical music. We have been trained in Jazz music but wanted to learn the India Classical Music too in its pure form”, informed Monsoon Duo.

Currently both brothers are learning North Indian classical music in Kolkata, under the famous vocalist Guru Pandit Shantanu Bhattacharya. It was their first performance in Shimla as they shared, “Though we have travelled many times through Shimla but this is our first performance. We love this place for its scenic beauty and wish to perform here again if ever given an opportunity.”

Monsoon-Duo3

“In seven years what we liked about India is the diversity of culture. Each state has something new to offer. It is always like a new world if we travel which we often do. Other than that we also enjoy the variety of food especially Punjabi and South India”, they shared further.

When on one hand Indians are drifting away from their music Monsoon Duo has spent seven years learning it as they shared, “No doubt we do find India classical music bit hard to learn as it is not something that we have grown up learning. However, we feel there is lot of scope of experimenting and fusion so we took up getting trained in this form. The names of various Ragas are difficult to remember but we are getting along with them now.”

Music is often consider being the refection of one’s inner thoughts and while performing the inner joy of the musicians came out in a form of smile on their faces while performing. Though the musicians were playing classical music but still it seemed that they were not alien to it which made listeners too go in trance.

Monsoon-Duo2

However due to bad weather the concert failed to fetch spectators in large number. The majority of spectators comprised of Auckland House School students and even foreigners were seen enjoying the show.

While commenting on the concert Madan Kumar, a classical music lover said, “It was an amazing show. I did not feel that it was being played by someone who does not belong to this nation. They played it so well that how the time flew by I did not even realize it. I feel that it is a lesson for our people who are drifting away to western music that even they find scope in Indian music which is looked down upon by the youngsters.”

“I enjoyed the fusion part most rather than Raga as I am also a big fan of John Coltrane and I really like the way they created the artificial sounds that we hear in any natural place. It was a wonderful evening I can say and wish to have more such evenings in the future too”, expressed Anil Sharma, a college student.

The way musicians used Ghungroo was an amazing site; to produce the sound effect in the music piece India.

Art & Culture

Book Review: ‘The Billionaire Raj: A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age’ by James Crabtree

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The Billionaire Raj A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age

For long, we all have broached the subject of India’s experiment with socialism. The state-controlled the various fields of business, planning was central; also the means of production were not with capitalists but with the state. The state promised to uplift the poor form the poverty, raise their living standard by utilization of these means of production to bring economic and social equality in society.

But years after embracing socialism growth was still sluggish, corruption percolating deep into the system, choices with the people were far and few. Inequality was, as ever, still prevalent in the society. Amenities like telephone and exuded power and exclusivity. The world mocked our “License Raj” and we became notorious for our Hindu Growth rate.

Eventually, the closed economy turned sclerotic and ran into trouble. On the contrary, economies worldwide grew rapidly, at this time. India was left with no other option, but to open its economy to the world. Finally, India yielded and opened its economy in 1991, with an hope of removing the ills of corruption, creating more jobs, removing social inequality and to overcome challenges of economic development. The new era of neo-liberalization was considered augury of prosperity and egalitarian society.

However, who would have imagined that within 27 years of opening up the economy, the majority of the wealth would be held by a handful of people. James Crabtree in his debut book, “The Billionaire Raj: A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age, offers an overview of this fascinating journey of India’s new Gilded Age.”

He writes,

Yet the decades after 1947, it at least grew economically more equal, with an elite that lived modestly by the standard of the industrialized West.

A silver lining to India’s bygone era of socialism.

The Billionaire Raj is the narrative of the breakneck rise of the Indian riches- Bollygarchs, as he calls them- corporate power, their lifestyle and the mansions.

The book is an overview of the concomitant of wealth: inequality, crony capitalism, massive corruption and mega scams. The writer explores the exorbitant funding of political parties by these tycoons, the costly affair of India’s election.

The book talks at length about the deep-rooted problem of mounting debt, IPL, about Modi and his tenure as Prime Minister of India. The pro and cons of various reforms ushered under his regime. Mr. Crabtree is successful in raising the fundamental question that holds imperative to India’s future.

The book is well researched, the exceptional storytelling skill of the writer keeps the readers engrossed; the personal interview with various business tycoons like Vijay Mallya, Naveen Jindal, Gautam Adani etc, offer the readers classic vignettes of their life, their perspective about the event that unfolded in this age.

The writer has successfully flagged various fissures as a warning that can pull India down. The country will have to fix these fissures first, only then it can fulfil the ambition to lead Asia.

Today India stands at the crossroads of what sort of superpower it will become

, he further writes.

Mr. Crabtree offers an optimistic view about India’s future:

India’s new Gilded Age can blossom into a progressive Era of its own, in which the perils of inequality and crony capitalism are left decisively behind,

he writes.

The Billionaire Raj will make us ruminate about the era of Neo-liberalization, as we did aggressively about Indian Socialism in the past. The Billionaire Raj is an eye-opener for all of us and will certainly be helpful in paving the way for our future ahead. The book is Locus classicus on the contemporary history of India- a must read for every Indian.

About James Crabtree

James Crabtree, a former Mumbai bureau chief for The Financial Times. He spent 5 years in India before moving to Singapore. At present, he is an Associate Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore.

Book Review by Sunny Grack, Kotgarh, Shimla

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Art & Culture

HIMCOSTE’s workshop to aware rural artisans of Geographical Indications Act

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HIMCOSTE WOrkshop on Geographical Indications

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Patent Information Centre (HPPIC) established under the aegis of Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) has been declared as the nodal agency for the filing of Geographical Indications applications for traditional valuable products of H.P under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, IFS Kunal Satyarthi Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE, today informed.

He said till date, the Centre has been able to obtain registration for Kullu shawl, Kangra Tea, Kinnauri Shawl, Chamba Ruma and Kangra Paintings under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

The applications of Chamba Chappal, Kala Zeera, Chulli Oil are under process with the Registrar of Geographical indications at Chennai
.
The Centre has identified a number of products (agriculture/horticulture/handicrafts/metal crafts etc.) for registration under GI Act, 1999 (for eg. Bharmour Rajmah, Chamba Chappal, Chamba metal crafts, Angoori, Kalpa Wine, Kinnauri Apple, Rajmah).

Also, the Centre has facilitated registration of about 200 Authorized Users (AU) of registered GIs from H.P.

Recently, the State Govt.has issued a notification on State Level committee on Registration and Protection of Goods in H.P and the State Govt. has also issued a notification regulation of Kullu Shawl GI under the Chairmanship of D.C Kullu.

The above committees would perform the task of checking falsification /counterfeiting of Registered GIs in H.P and would approach the appropriate authorities for taking necessary action in the matter.

HIMCOSTE’s One-Day GI Awareness Workshop

On August 3, 2018, one-day awareness workshop on Geographical Indication, “Creating Value through Geographical indication” will be organized by HIMCOSTE in collaboration with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, GoI.

Through this workshop, the HIMCOSTE aims to spread awareness and make the participants aware of the Geographical Indications Act. It would result in providing commercial opportunities to rural artisans of District Kullu, which in turn would result in the socio-economic development of rural artisans. During the workshop, applicants would be asked for registration of Authorised Usership of Kullu Shawl under Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) of Goods Act, 1999.

After the workshop, D.C Kullu would chair a meeting of the committee constituted by Govt. of Himachal Pradesh. Issues related to infringement of Kullu Shawl and regulation of Kullu Shawl GI would be discussed in the meeting. About 200 participants would attend the workshop.

The Chief Guest for the workshop will be Minister of Forests, H.P Govind Singh Thakur. Yunus Khan, Deputy Commissioner, Kullu, IPS Shalini Agnihotri, Superintendent of Police, Kullu and will be the Guest of Honour.

On behalf of HIMCOSTE, Sh. Kunal Satyarthi, IFS, Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE will remain present during the workshop.

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Incentives to Himachali films under State’s own Film Policy: Govt

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Film policy of Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government today announced that it would form its own film-policy and will encourage local films and artists in various ways.

A meeting regarding formulating the film policy of the State was held here today under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary Dr. Shrikant Baldi.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Baldi said the state had the advantage of adventurous, heritage, spiritual, seasonal and unexplored destinations and the efforts would be made to attract the filmmakers for film production in the state.

He said that the cultural, mythological, historical heritage and glorious traditions of the state would also be publicized in a big way to attract investment in the film sector in the state.

The government would endeavour to provide an opportunity to the talents in the field of acting and other related fields besides generating employment opportunities to the youth of the state.

Dr. Baldi said that production of regional films based on Himachali dialects would be especially encouraged, for which the government would provide various incentives to the producers.

Various other important issues like establishing required infrastructure and to make available desired facilities to the filmmakers and providing them attractive financial incentives were also discussed in the meeting.

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