Home / Tag Archives: london (page 3)

Tag Archives: london

#Impassioned: Arun Jaitley states his case for Land Bill in London

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has slammed opponents of his government’s plan to amend the country’s Land Acquisition Bill, claiming they are gaining a “Sadistic Thrill” out of opposing changes that are seen as critical to India’s economic growth.

In an impassioned speech to the UK India Business Council in London this week, Mr Jaitley said there was a “raging ideological battle” between “reform and obstruction” in India and laid out the case for a Bill that forms a key part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic reforms.

India’s poor infrastructure is widely considered one of the main impediments to economic growth and Mr Modi wants to make it easier to acquire land to pave the way for roads, mines and more than $300 billion worth of other projects.

The proposed changes mean projects in defence, rural electricity generation, rural housing and industrial corridors would not need to seek the consent of 80 percent of the affected landowners as mandated.

They will also be exempt from holding a social impact study involving public hearings - procedures that industry executives say can drag out the acquisition process for years.

Compensation to landholders will remain at four times the market price.

However, opponents continue to demand “fair compensation”, particularly for farmers who lose their land as well as more transparency in the acquisition process.

Read More »

#FullCircle: The “Seditious Half-Naked Fakir” takes his rightful place in Parliament Square

Mahatma Gandhi was "a seditious half-naked fakir" whose presence, Britain's war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill once claimed, was "nauseating".

Eighty-five years after Churchill uttered those infamous remarks, Gandhi appeared to come full circle on a crisp, sunny Spring morning in London as the Indian independence icon took his rightful place among some of the most famous statesmen in history in London's iconic parliament square.

Churchill's present-day successor David Cameron, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan were among the dignitaries present as a permanent memorial to the Mahatma was unveiled in the famous public square in the shadow of the Palace of Westminster.

Britain, and India have moved on from a time when Churchill's remarks were not only commonplace but were considered par for the course - Mr Cameron may have the Conservative Party leadership in common with Mr Churchill but the former's views on India and Indians couldn't be further removed from those of the latter.

Nevertheless, Churchill's words appear to still rankle - not least Mr Jaitley who alluded to them twice during his speech to a disappointingly sparse crowd who came to witness the memorial unveiled.

Mr Jaitley said: "In parliament square we find a statue of Sir Winston Churchill, the one man who opposed Gandhi most resolutely.  Some would detect an irony in the great Prime Minister sharing a public space with a man he once described as a half-naked fakir. 

"But even Churchill would have acknowledge that the resolve, determination and even cunning he displayed against Germany was matched by Gandhi's in standing up to the mighty British Empire." 

"What links the two is a great strength of character".

Mr Jaitley added that it was a fine tribute to modern Britain that Gandhi had been placed in the same space as his greatest foe as well as the man who was most famously inspired by Gandhi - Nelson Mandela.

Prime Minister Cameron said he was thrilled to be providing an "eternal home" in Britain to Gandhi - a man who had turned the "politically unimaginable into the politically inevitable".

Meanwhile Mr Bachchan lent his magnificent baritone to read out an extract from 'Non Violent Way to World Peace' by the Mahatma.

Whilst the senior Bachchan may have elicited the biggest cheer than anyone - or anything - else the highlight of the day was the emotional speech delivered by the erudite Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of the Mahatma.

The unveiling of the statue had been anything but a certainty. 

First announced in August 2014 by Chancellor George Osborne during his visit to India, the trust charged with building the statue initially struggled to raise the £750,000 required. 

The memorial was eventually completed with the help of wealthy Indian donors, including Infosys founder Narayan Murthy, industrialist Rahul Bajaj and steel tycoon Laxmi Mittal - thanks in no small part to the indomitable Lord Meghnad Desai and his wife Lady Kishwar Desai.

Fittingly, the 9-foot tall statue - created by acclaimed British sculptor Philip Jackson - will be the last memorial in the square.

Read More »

#Ubiquitous: Google opens first branded shop in Central London

Google is now truly everywhere. The search giant has opened the world’s first dedicated ‘Google Shop’ in central London in a move industry experts say is an attempt to match Apple’s High Street presence. The interactive shop has launched inside Currys PC World in Tottenham Court Road and represents a …

Read More »

#ReBirth: Dr Rohan Murty unveils Murty Classical Library of India in London

L to R: Professor Sheldon Pollock, Editor MCLI; Dr Rohan Murty; Mr Ranjan Matha, High Commissioner of India to UK; Mr Roly Keating, Chief Executive British Library

When the sage poet Valmiki penned the epic Ramayana more than 2500 years ago, it was written in Sankskrit - a language whose influence spread from Afghanistan, across south and southeast Asia all the way to Bali in Indonesia.

Sanskrit was also the language which gave birth to the Mahabharata and countless other works which have shaped the social, political, religious and aesthetic histories of vast swathes of the world. 

Yet, despite its importance - alongside other ancient Indian languages such as Pali and Urdu - Sanskrit barely registers in academic or cultural discourse in the west which remain pre-occupied with Greek and Latin.

Now a fledgling publishing venture is attempting to change that through the expertise of one of the western world's great academic institutions and the munificence of one of India's wealthiest families.

The Murty Classical Library of India (MCLI) is a collaboration between the Harvard University Press and computer scientist Dr Narayan Murty, an Harvard alum and the son of billionaire Indian tech tycoon Narayana Murthy.

The Library, funded to the tune of $5.2 million by Dr Murty, aims to publish modern English translations of the great literary works of India from the past two thousand years. 

MCLI had its official UK launch at India House on 27 March during which it unveiled its first five books which include 'Therigatha', a collection of poems penned by a group of Buddhist nuns in 600 BC and considered the earliest known collection of women's literature; the first volume of the 'Akbarnama', the official chronicle of the reign of the Mughal Emperor 'Akbar; and the extraordinary poetry of the Punjabi philosopher Bulleh Shah.

The Library aims to translate hundreds more works not only in Sanskrit but more than a dozen other Indian languages, including Pali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Persian, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. 

Digital editions of the translations will also be made available in the future.

The UKAsian caught up with Dr Murty and MCLI's visionary editor Professor Sheldon Pollock.

Read More »

#Shivaji: Celebrate Marathi culture with Maharashtra Mandal London

The Indian warrior king Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has long been an integral part of the identity of the Marathi community from India with the 17th Century ruler’s wisdom, courage, progressive attitudes and tolerance becoming benchmarks for the people of Maharashtra. Now Maharashtra Mandal London (MML), the world’s largest community organization …

Read More »

#PowerOfWomen: Line-up revealed for London Asian Film Festival 2015

Organizers have announced the full roster of films for this year's London Asian Film Festival (LAFF) which takes place across London from 19 March to 28 March.

This year's Festival highlights include critically acclaimed films such as 'Margarita With A Straw', 'Bhopal - A Prayer for Rain', 'Dukhtar', 'Rang Rasiya' and 'The World Before Her'.

The 17th edition London Asian Film Festival is once again organized by Tongues on Fire, which has built a reputation for promoting independent cinema as well as providing a showcase for female filmmakers.  In keeping with that ethos, LAFF 2015 celebrates 'The Power of Women', a theme that is reflected in this year's roster of special guests who include such filmmakers as Farah Khan, Nisha Pahuja and Afia Nathaniel.

Here's a list of the films being screened.

Opening Night Gala - 'Dukhtar'

Read More »