An Indian court on Saturday remanded an American citizen in custody for 14 days over allegations he molested a teenage boy in his hotel room. The 51-year-old US national was produced before a sessions court in Kolkata where a case was initiated against him under India’s stringent Protection of …Read More »
The 46th International Film Festival of India got underway this weekend with the first screening of a new film starring British-Indian star Dev Patel and a slew of British acting legends, including Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, Jeremy Northam and Stephen Fry. ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ tells the story of …Read More »
A Pakistani man convicted in March in a US court of conspiring with al-Qaida to bomb a shopping centre in Manchester should spend 30 years to life in prison, US prosecutors say. Abid Naseer, 29, poses an “extreme danger” to society given his “continued commitment” to cause mass casualties designed …Read More »
On the afternoon of 11 February 2010, four armed men stormed into the claustrophobic office of the lawyer Shahid Azmi in the Mumbai suburb of Kurla. Azmi died in a hail of bullets.
A renowned human rights activist, Azmi was defending a number of individuals charged under India’s draconian anti-terror laws. One of those individuals was a man charged in connection with the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai.
Two days before Mr Azmi was murdered, a respected linguist and author named Ramchandra Siras was the victim of an appalling invasion of privacy at Aligarh Muslim University – hundreds of miles north of Mumbai.
Professor Siras, 64, had been enjoying the company of a male companion on 8 February when four men, hired by the University and armed with cameras, barged into his campus apartment for a “sting operation”.
On 9 February Professor Siras, an authority on Marathi culture and language and who was on the verge of retirement, was suspended from his job for “gross misconduct”.
That suspension was later overturned by a court.
But, devastated by what he had endured, Professor Siras took his own life in early April of 2010.
The stories of Mr Azmi and Professor Siras have much in common – the intolerance visited on men and women in India who find themselves outside the suffocating “norm”; the extreme actions individuals and groups resort to in the name of “tradition” and “religion”; and Hansal Mehta.
The National Award-winning filmmaker had been lured out of self-imposed exile in 2012 to bring the story of Shahid Azmi to the big screen and it was an immediate triumph. Mehta’s ‘Shahid’ was a thoughtful and moving exploration of a grave injustice but which refused to be contemptuous or cynical.
Mehta, who had begun his career by creating a wildly popular cookery show before crashing and burning in Bollywood, was feted around the world.
Two years later the acclaim continued for ‘City Lights’, about a poor farmer from rural Rajasthan who moves to Mumbai for work.
And now, Mehta is back with ‘Aligarh’, the big screen re-telling of Professor Siras’ story.
Mehta is once again triumphant – helped along with a quite magnificent performance by Manoj Bajpayee as Professor Siras and writer Apurva Asrani who first discovered the story - in a film that re-lives a painfully sad story without overwhelming the audience with rhetoric or politics.
Much like Professor Siras, ‘Aligarh’ is blessed with a quiet, meditative quality – Mehta’s touch through and through – which leaves one feeling even more outraged at what happened to a man who “just wanted to love and be left alone”.
With ‘Shahid’, ‘City Lights’ and ‘Aligarh’, Mehta has rediscovered his voice – one of the finest in India – by telling the stories of the everyman outsiders of society – men and women just like him.
Here's Mehta, in his own words.Read More »
A Japanese farmer shot dead by suspected extremists in Bangladesh was buried in a Muslim graveyard on Tuesday after a cleric testified that he had “converted” to Islam, officials said. Hoshi Kunio was shot dead by three men on a motorbike who stopped his rickshaw on a dirt road last …Read More »
Indian police said on Wednesday they had arrested six people after a 50-year-old Muslim man was beaten to death over rumours he had eaten beef, a taboo in the Hindu-majority nation. Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged from his house on the outskirts of New Delhi and attacked by around 100 people …Read More »
This is the British Indian man who has been charged with a “Rash Act” in Singapore after he walked across the track during this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. The Straits Times reported that Yogivatam Pravin Dhokia, 27, appeared in court on Tuesday and was offered bail of 15,000 Singapore dollars …Read More »
The world's shortest man has died in American Samoa, aged 75.
Nepalese national Chandra Bahadur Dangi died on Thursday of an undisclosed illness at a medical centre in Pago Pago, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Mr Dangi, at 54.6 centimetres, held two Guinness World Records — the world's shortest man and the shortest person ever recorded.
The Guinness Book of Records officially recognised his records on February 26, 2012.
Until then, Mr Dangi had reportedly never left his remote Nepali village of Reemkholi in Dang district, more than 500 kilometres from the capital Kathmandu.
Since the awards, Mr Dangi travelled the world, sometimes with the world's tallest man, Sultan Kosen, who stands at 2.51 metres.
He had been touring the South Pacific since early this year with Samoa's Tupa'l Bruno's Magic Circus.
The American Samoa hospital where Mr Dangi was admitted several days ago said he was undergoing treatment but did not give the cause of death.
Earlier this year he was hospitalised in Samoa, reportedly with pneumonia.Read More »
A 43-year-old man from Scotland is celebrating today after being fitted with a “bionic” penis. Mohammad Abad, who works as a security guard in Edinburgh, lost his penis in a horrific accident when he was just six years old. Since then he has undergone hundreds of operations to “arm” himself …Read More »
A planned United Nations global satellite to be used for managing natural disasters and earth observation is to be named after the late Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, widely considered the “father” of India’s own domestic satellite programme. The ‘GlobalSat for DRR’ (Disaster Risk Reduction) is a …Read More »