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Books

Zee Jaipur Literature Festival opens

One of the key events in India’s literary calendar, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2018  (#ZEEJLF) will open tomorrow and continue its legacy as a diverse and equitable platform for literary and artistic expression across languages, religions, countries, politics and genres.

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival programme boasts of a range of speakers from far corners of India and the world, and will continue to be a platform for social, moral, and economic debate that changed the cultural landscape of our country.

This year the Festival presents marquee names including, celebrated American novelist Amy Tan, award-winning playwright & screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard, Booker-winner Michael Ondaatje, Paramita Satpathy Tripathyan influential voice in Odia fiction-writing recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award, acclaimed travel writer Pico Iyer, Padma Bhushan awardee writer and art historian B. N. Goswamy, former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, internet sensation and performance poet Rupi Kaur, cult young adult writer Anthony Horowitz, Sahitya Akademi awardee Hindi writer Mridula Garg, Gruffalo creator and the enticing children’s author Julia Donaldson, Manoranjan Byapari the acclaimed Dalit writer from Bengal, Suki Kim, the first undercover journalist in North Korea, Pulitzer-awardee of Spotlight fame Michael Rezendes,  acclaimed Kannada novelist and playwright Vivek Shanbhag, Bollywood personalities Anurag Kashyap, Sharmila Tagore and Soha Ali Khan, Padma Vibhushan awardee danseuse Sonal Mansingh,  Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding, tabla wizard Zakir Hussain, Sahitya Akademi awardee Kiran Nagarkar, popular writers Ashwin Sanghi, Amish, Chetan Bhagat, and businessperson & anthropologist Sudha Murthy and several others.

There is much to look forward to at Jaipur BookMark (JBM), the business segment of the Festival, providing the much-needed B2B support and infrastructure to the global publishing industry converged at the Festival. JBM will be held at JBM Haveli in Diggi Palace and has a host of sessions, roundtables and masterclasses.

Starting tomorrow the city will be overtaken by a deluge of cultural and heritage events spilling beyond the four walls of Diggi Palace with over 400 events in 10 venues,including the Music Stage at Clarks Amer, and two special heritage sessions at Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal respectively, supported by Rajasthan Tourism.

The Festival’s carefully curated sessions offer a wide array of themes encompassing poetry including sessions like Hasso, Hasso, Phir Hasso, milk and honey, Nude: The Poet Within and more, gender studies with The Feminine Gaze: Women Writing Memoir, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and likewise, children’s writing, crime writing, environment, the vast canvas of Indian languages, journalism and media including Sansad: Inside Parliament, Rajasthan: Badalte Mahaul Mein Media, Across Barbed Wires, and Undercover in North Korea: Facts and Fictions, Bollywood, several Rajasthan focus sessions, business and economy, Asia/China/Southeast Asia, history, sociology, Shakespeare, religion and identity, sport and many more.

This year the Festival is working with 51 different corporate partners, education institutions, government departments, trusts and foundations who support the event and celebrate the core values of democracy and equality it stands for.

This year the Festival has booked 4,000+ hotel nights to host over 500+ speakers and over 178 musicians, who will participate in 205 sessions, 19 concerts of infectious music played morning and night. The Festival, produced by Teamwork Arts, has an essential team of 375 volunteers and crew of 300 who make the event run smoothly.

Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, ‘It’s lovely to be backstage at Jaipur watching the Festival come alive before my eyes. Seeing the faces of eager young volunteers reminds me of the tremendous youth energy that is harnessed and also unleashed at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. Literature is an infectious form of magic, and shared stories and narratives reinforce our human bonds and understanding, and we welcome one and all at the Festival to join in this magical Celebration of the word”

William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “We have gathered talent from across the globe—from Afghanistan to Patagonia and Tasmania to Turkey—to present writers of genius as diverse as the great literary critic Homi K. Bhabha, travel writer Redmond O’Hanlon, terror expert Peter Bergen and the theoretical particle physicist Lisa Randall. We import some of the world’s most admired playwrights and novelists, including Tom Stoppard, Michael Ondaatje and Amy Tan. We delve deeply into areas of world literature we have so far failed to explore, notably the novelists and poets of Scandinavia, Syria and West Africa while returning to examine eternal classics such as the works of Conrad, Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf.”

Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, producer of the Festival, said, “The city of Jaipur comes alive in January with the sounds of music, of words and ideas, discussions and debates. Where else can you listen to the best minds from across the world, take in the beauty and heritage of the magnificent Amber fort, dine out amongst the stars and meet up with old friends!!”

Business

NZ traders welcome India’s new GST regime

India is a tremendous area of potential growth for New Zealand trade, believes Glenn Coldham, Head of Customs in NZ for DHL Global Forwarding. “We are very encouraged by moves to bring forward an FTA between our two countries to reduce barriers to trade including duty.”

Glenn was speaking in Auckland at a workshop conducted by India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC), focusing on dealing with various logistical issues, while doing trade with India.

“At times we do experience inconsistencies with moving sea and air shipments out of India due to the complexities of documentation and associated approvals to allow cargo to move without delay.

“However, it is very pleasing to know India has started to reduce that complexity with the new GST introduction as part of those improvements.” Glenn expressed his positivity on the changes being introduced in the Indian market.

India is a very large and attractive destination for companies intending to expand their markets internationally and businesses have the option to enter the Indian market either with or without direct investment, says TMF Group’s Company Secretary, Siddhartha Sharma.

“There are a number of very flexible structures that can be used, such as, branch office or representative office right through to incorporating a private or public company and this will depend on the business’s operations and vision.

“Recent Government moves to put more of the compliance processes online and provide a fast track route to incorporation have lessened historical complexities but it is crucial to have the right service provider to assist you with your Indian set up and operations.”

However he reiterated that the documentation requirements are still substantial, rigid and complex.

With the implementation of the new GST regime in India, the country can now boast of One Country, One Tax, says the newly appointed Honorary Consul of India in Auckland, Bhav Dhillon.

“There is still differentiation in product categories. With the onset of the digital economy and progress in e-registration of companies, now it’s becoming even easier for companies to do business with India. This was reflected in the fact that India has leaped 30 spots to the number 100 spot, in the World Bank’s latest global ranking on Ease of Doing Business,” said Bhav.

INZBC board member, Sameer Handa informed that India Unplugged as a series is aimed to help and educate the market on doing trade with India.

 

Bollywood Entertainment

Film: Exploring the Indian Diaspora

What does it mean to be a diasporic Indian?
Shuchi Kothari, Associate Professor in Media and Communication at the University of Auckland, explores this in three short films which will be shown at the Auckland Art Gallery on 12 November.
Dr Kothari is an Indian New Zealander from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, who has lived in Auckland for over 20 years. She teaches screen production at the University of Auckland and has written award-winning films such as Firaaq, Apron Strings, and Coffee & Allah.
Among Dr Kothari’s three films screening at the Art Gallery is her directorial debut Shit One Carries. “My labour of love,” she says.
The 17-minute film, directed and written by Dr Kothari, deals with Avi, a middle-aged Silicon Valley engineer, who returns briefly to his childhood home in India to care for his bedridden father. Their prickly relationship is in contrast to the warmth Amrutdada shares with all his professional caregivers especially Natthu – a young attendant responsible for wiping bottoms and bedpans.
One afternoon, everything goes out of kilter when Amrutdada has diarrhoea and Natthu is not on call. Avi panics. He tries desperately to get someone – anyone – to clean up after his father.
“When forced to perform the unpleasant task himself, Avi realises that to clean his father’s shit, he must let go of his own crap,” says Dr Kothari.
Her other films screening are: Fleeting beauty – about an Indian woman giving her Pakeha lover an unusual history lesson with more than a hint of spice, and Clean Linen set in the summer of ’84 when a nine-year-old Kiwi-Indian boy discovers a family secret only to realise that some things don’t come out in the wash.
Immigration

NZ launches Welcoming Communities programme

 

Talk to any visitor to New Zealand and the first things they are likely to comment on are the beautiful scenery and the friendly locals. Kiwis are seen as friendly, hospitable and inclusive – qualities highlighted in a new programme launched in New Zealaland: ‘Welcoming Communities’ or Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori.

“We want newcomers to know that their cultures and identities are valued and that opportunities exist for them to get to know us well,” says Steve McGill, General Manager, Settlement, Protection & Attraction for Immigration New Zealand.

“We want them to fulfill their potential to contribute and be part of New Zealand’s prosperity.”

Councils in five regions are working with their communities to pilot Welcoming Communities, which puts out the welcome mat to newcomers: migrants, former refugees, international students and family members.

The pilot communities taking part are: Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty, Southland, Whanganui, Palmerston North, and Canterbury.

Communities that make newcomers feel welcome are likely to enjoy better social outcomes, greater social cohesion and stronger economic growth. In this environment, everyone is able to fully participate in the economic, civic and social life of the community.

Building connections between locals and newcomers mean everyone feels included and knows they belong.

It’s not just New Zealand that sees value in being welcoming. Welcoming Communities is part of an international movement. Countries running similar initiatives include Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States of America.

Education

How technology can help girl education in India

Can hackathons make education more accessible for girls in India? While India takes pride in its IITs and IIMs, a large number of girls quietly drop out from education school-level onwards. Want to change that? Here’s your chance with ‘Hack4Her’ – a unique hackathon organised by Women’s Education Project India, in association with TechGig and Random Hacks of Kindness India.

You swell with pride when your child bids you ‘bye’ happily at her school gate. Her education is her passport to an independent life and a confident future. But are all girls in India this fortunate?

Female literacy in India stands at just 65.46% (2011 census), when the world average is 79.7%! Further, the school dropout rate amongst adolescent Indian girls is 63.5%. Which means that most girls going to school right now will gradually fallout from the education fold and may get into employment or family life even when their education stands at bay.

This may sound like a common practice at many households and the outcomes stand out as child brides, young mothers and women with little or no access to basic necessities in life.

As we read this quietly wearing a thoughtful look, a big question stands tall – are we doing enough to bridge the gap between Indian women and their education?

Of course the government and other agencies are doing their bit but what about the rest of us? Each of us is an agent of change and there is no dearth of opportunities to bring about any change.

Women’s Education Project (WEP) India – an international organisation which supports women education – has organised a unique hackathon titled ‘Hack4Her’ to find new-age solutions to promote women education in the country. WEP India has joined hands with TechGig and Random Hacks of Kindness India for this unique contest which invites everyone to share ideas and ways to promote women education, and welfare at large.

Anybody – irrespective of age, gender, location, or education – can submit his disruptive ideas to help bridge the gap between women and education at the TechGig website. One can submit his idea either in PPT or PDF formats. Speaking of this association, Dipti Tandon, Product Head, TechGig said, “We are excited to partner with Women’s Education Project and Random Hacks of Kindness India for Hack4Her. At TechGig, we strongly believe in making women the forefront of all endeavours. We have the Geek Goddess series where we celebrate the feats of women coders exclusively. We are hopeful that Hack4Her will give light to many ideas that will boost tech solutions to enhance women education.”

Ramathreya Krishnamurthi, Business Head, TimesJobs and TechGig too expressed his aspirations from this hackathon. He said, “India is marching on to become a progressive society, however women-related issues continue to be ignored and that is a big drawback in our society’s mobilisation. With Hack4Her, we hope to have not just one or two, but more than a dozen of bright ideas that will ignite the cause of women education in India. TechGig is committed towards making technology a forefront of our daily lives and we keep hosting world-class coding contests to promote that idea. Being part of this hackathon is one such move. We invite everyone to share their ideas to promote women education”.

The team from Women’s Education Project India India is equally excited about this partnership. “Women’s Education Project -India conceptualised the idea of Hack4Her in the context of some real challenges faced by a woman to pursue her education in India. Here, we are talking about women in rural parts of the country who drop out due to various socio-economic reasons. By addressing some of the resolvable challenges, through this hackathon, we are talking baby steps to ensure our women in the coming generations don’t drop out of schools and colleges for reasons that could have been just a hack away. This hackathon in one step closer to make a woman self-reliant and independently empowered through education,” said Shruthi Dinkar, Director, Women’s Education Project India.

The participants too are excited about this contest. Since this hackathon was made live on TechGig, more than 1,916 registrations have already happened. This is just an initial number which is rising with every passing day.

The hackathon winner will take home a prize of Rs 80,000 and shortlisted candidates will get to present their ideas at Women’s Education Project India’s Forum on Nov 11, 2017. Details are mentioned at https://www.techgig.com/hackathon/Hack4Her#overview

Politics

India-US step up cooperation to combat terrorism

 

On his maiden visit to India in his current capacity, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two discussed stepping up effective cooperation to combat terrorism in all its forms and promoting regional stability and security.

The India Prime Minister noted the firm upward trajectory in the bilateral strategic partnership following the positive and far-reaching talks with President Trump in June this year.

Modi shared the resolve expressed by Secretary Tillerson on taking further steps in the direction of accelerating and strengthening the content, pace and scope of the bilateral engagement. They affirmed that a strengthened India-US partnership is not just of mutual benefit to both countries, but has significant positive impact on the prospects for regional and global stability and prosperity.

In the context of President Trump’s new South Asia Policy, Prime Minister noted the commonality in the objectives of eradicating terrorism, terrorist infrastructure, safe havens, and support, while bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Earlier in the day, Secretary Tillerson also had detailed discussions with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

News

JLF’s US edition gets great reception


Typically this time of the year, Boulder (USA) witnesses an odyssey of autumn colors with the cottonwoods, aspen and maples trees decorating the side walks with golden leaves. This time, however, it is witnessing a display of culture and literature with 70 eminent authors around the world descending for the third-edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) in Colorado.

India’s Ambassador to the United States, Navtej Sarna, joined in two sessions at the Main Boulder Public Library on 15 and 16 September. Sarna, is also the author of the novels “The Exile” and “We Weren’t Lovers Like That”, the short story collection “Winter Evenings”, and non-fiction works including “Indians at Herod’s Gate”, “Second Thoughts”, and “The Book of Nanak”. Sarna has served as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador to Israel, Secretary at India’s Foreign Office, and also as its longest-serving spokesperson.

Sarna spoke at the inaugural session Freedom to Dream, which was the theme of the Literature Festival. The session was underpinned by a provocative dialogue about diverse topics like migrating, poets, American dreams, globalism, nationalism, climate control, feminism and ancestral cultures.

Sarna explored the benefits of the growing interest in literature in India which is celebrating 70 years of independence. “We have come a long way. Where we once had few writers, we now have many and the journey of our literature’s outreach to the world is one of the most significant aspects of this journey as Indian writing has now been brought to the world. India is now a literary destination and a reading destination and the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival has led this growth.”

Sarna also participated in the session The Untrod Path: Writing Travel: Christina Lamb, John
Huston, Lori Erickson, Navtej Sarna and William Dalrymple. In a suddenly shrunken planet, the
conventions of travel writing are being challenged by more experiential insider accounts. Five
panelists speak of their very different approaches to recording and sharing their journeys with Irene Vilar.

“Descriptions of the peaceful and lavender filled gardens of the 800-year-old Indian hospice in
Jerusalem moved me to a much deeper understanding of this land and the people who call it holy.”
said Sarna in his exploration of his own father’s story, adding that “the barbed wire was rolled up many years ago but the virtual barrier between east and west Jerusalem still remains.”

During his final session – Second Thoughts: A Writer and a Diplomat, Sarna discussed his books on subjects as varied as romance, religion and history, in conversation with John Elliott.

“Sikh history is a young religion, just 500 years old. But it is replete with dramatic events in this period: a lot of the martial aspect, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of battles. All that together is a huge area waiting to be written about,” said Sarna.

News

Spicy performances come to NZ as part of Diwali Celebrations

International performers, the Kalika Kala Kendra dance group, will bring centuries-old traditions to life on the main stage at the 2017 Auckland Diwali Festival, being held in Auckland’s central city next month. This is the 16th year of the Auckland Diwali Festival, which will take place at Aotea Square and Queen Street from midday to 9pmon Saturday, 14 and Sunday, 15 October.

The free, family friendly festival showcases and celebrates traditional and contemporary Indian culture, including dance and music, food, fashion, arts and crafts, and street-theatre, ending with the famous Barfoot & Thompson fireworks finale.

The renowned Kalika Kala Kendra dancers, who will travel to Auckland from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra State, India to perform at Auckland Diwali Festival, were founded by Marathi film star and social activist Rajashree Nagarkar to provide girls in her nomadic community with a livelihood.

They are experts at the romantic folk dance style known as ‘lavani’ – a combination of traditional song and dance performed to the quick tempo beats of dholki, a percussion instrument.

While the origins of lavani date back to the 1560s, it wasn’t until the 1700s that the musical style came into prominence as a form of entertainment and morale booster for weary soldiers.

The dancers wear 9 metre long saris and heavy jewellery including a wide belt at the waist. Their ghungroos, or ankle bells, can weigh as much as 10-15kg.

Charmaine Ngarimu, Head of Major Events for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), says Auckland is shaped by a rich ethnic mix of people and traditions.

“The Auckland Diwali Festival is an opportunity to celebrate and connect with local Indian communities. It’s a must do event in Auckland’s major event calendar, and the popularity of the festival continues to grow every year, attracting tens of thousands of people during the weekend.”

Asia New Zealand Foundation Executive Director Simon Draper says the Auckland Diwali Festival brings together many different Indian communities.

“This festival is an opportunity that gives these communities the chance to share their own special cultural traditions and foods with the wider Auckland community. We’re delighted to still be supporting this iconic event 15 years after it was first held.”

The Kalika Kala Kendra dance group will join more than 800 local performers,  including regular festival favourites BAD (Bhangra Auckland Da), Raunak Punjab Dee, and the Khottey Sikkey Dance Group, and the hotly contested Radio Tarana Bollywood Dance Competition and the Indian Weekender Mr and Ms. Diwali contest.

The Kalika Kala Kendra dance group is visiting New Zealand courtesy of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the High Commission of India and Air New Zealand.

News

Mahendra Sharma to lead Waitakere Indian Association

Mahendra Sharma has been appointed president of the Waitakere Indian Association at the association’s recent AGM meeting on 10 September in Auckland. All of the association’s new and existing Board members embody the spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table, says says Sharma. “We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue to strengthen community in Waitakere.”

Speaking at the event, Minister for Community and Voluntary Sector, Alfred Ngaro, said that the Indian community has been contributing positively not only to the New Zealand economy but also culturally and events such as Holi and Diwali bring all Kiwis together to celebrate the great diversity in our country.

A new partnership was also signed between Waitakere Indian Association and Best Pacific Institute of Education. Speaking on behalf of Best Pacific Institute of Education, the Community Development Manager Li‘Ilolahia said, “Partnership with Waitakere Indian Association is a pivotal for the growth of education sector in West Auckland as the institute provides free education for various courses and the ethnic people can increase their skills by availing such opportunities provided by Best.”

The Trustees of Waitakere Indian Association also honoured five new life members who have not only contributed to the welfare of the Indian Diaspora in West Auckland but also to the community at large.

There are more than 180,000 Indians living in New Zealand and Hindi is the fourth largest spoken language.

Since its formation in 2000, Waitakere Indian Association has been working with various government agencies and local Indian associations in promoting, advocating and integrating the Indian Diaspora, culture and values with the Kiwi way of life.

News

Indian students earn NZ Excellence Awards

 

As many as 31 talented young university students from India have received a 2017 New Zealand Excellence Award, Education New Zealand (ENZ) announced today.

The students are pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate study in New Zealand in the fields of business, design or STEM related programmes (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

ENZ Chief Executive Grant McPherson says India is a core trade, economic, political and education partner for New Zealand, with two-way trade valued at around $2.5 billion.

“These top young scholars will further strengthen ties between our two countries, by contributing to a broader exchange of ideas in our universities, building our respective research capabilities, and enriching New Zealand culture.

“I congratulate these students on being selected by their university for these awards, and I hope they succeed in their studies and become lifelong ambassadors for New ZealandIndian students scholarship in New Zealand.”

Nineteen of the students received their awards in person at the annual India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) Summit in Auckland today, which is focussed on education and technology opportunities. INZBC invited a delegation from India to take part in this summit.

The New Zealand Excellence Awards were established by New Zealand’s universities and Education New Zealand in 2016, to increase the number of talented Indian students studying in universities here. All eight of New Zealand’s universities are ranked in the top 450 in the QS world rankings.

This is the first round of the awards, and each scholarship has a value of NZD $5,000 towards the first year tuition fee. The scholarships will be awarded again in 2018, and applications are due to open on 1 September 2017.

Last year, more than 28,000 Indian students came to study in New Zealand, making India the second largest source of international students. Indian student enrolments at New Zealand universities are continuing to increase each year, reflecting a market trend towards higher level qualifications.

The full list of 2017 New Zealand Excellence Award winners has been published on the Study in New Zealand website here.

Food

Indian Night set for Alexandra Park

Continuing with its international cuisine theme on race nights, Auckland’s Alexandra Park is hosting Indian Night on 24 March. “We’re slowly getting around the globe with the different evenings proving really popular. Tickets are also selling well for our Indian Night but we’ve still got availability,” says Joel Reichardt, Sales and Marketing Manager at Alexandra Park.

He says Alexandra Park has considerable success in delivery first-class Indian experiences, helped by its function centre being a popular venue for Indian weddings and Diwali events.

“Indian Aucklanders have a long and strong association with Alexandra Park. We’ve got our own onsite Indian chef and it’s well worth checking out the menu he has designed for Indian Night on our website. It’s comprehensive, authentic and it literally makes your mouth water.

“It’s set to be a great Friday night at the trots and rest assured no one will leave hungry.”

Alexandra Park’s Tasman Room will be beautifully decorated and its all-you-can-eat buffet package is just $60 per person, with the all-inclusive house drinks package just $99 per person.

“We think Indian Night is the perfect opportunity to have a lovely evening out with your family, friends, colleagues and partner.

“Rather than just heading to an Indian restaurant or cooking at home, we’re offering a fantastic and endless menu with the spectacle of great harness racing under lights. The atmosphere will be terrific.”

General admission into Alexandra Park as well as car-parking and race books remain free on the night.

The next internationally-themed cuisine race nights at Alexandra Park will be American Night on 21 April and Mexican Night on 5 May 2017.

Entertainment

NZ Gets Pickled with 20 Years of Indian Ink

Kiwis have patronized and praised the now-legendary play Krishnan’s Dairy. And now Indian Ink Theatre Company has chosen to share the highly acclaimed The Pickle King with audiences across New Zealand, in this, their 20th anniversary year.

From 4 May – 9 September, ten centres throughout Aotearoa will experience the artistry and magic of an Indian Ink show as the relationships at the Empire Hotel are brought to life on stage. Touring to Napier, Gisborne, Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, Auckland and Wellington, this will be Indian Ink’s largest tour yet!

Once the finest hotel in town, the Empire is now as faded as the dreams of the piano player who haunts the lobby. Ammachy runs the Empire with an iron fist and has one big problem; her niece is blind and she will not be married. Sasha knows she must not marry because she is cursed – everything she loves dies. Jojo is a heart surgeon. However, as a recent arrival from India the only work she can find is as a night porter in the Empire.

Delving into love, death and what is worth preserving, The Pickle King, has been updated to reflect modern times with star of The Elephant ThiefVanessa Kumar(Boys Will Be Boys, Peter Pan), stepping into the role of Jojo, and bright new talent Kalyani Nagarajan (The Brokenwood Mysteries 3, Polo) as Sasha. Both women will play multiple characters alongside Andrew Ford (Le Sud, The Lady Killers) as George. Multi-talented pianist Ayrton Foote, supports the action on stage.

Kalyani Nagarajan (in red) and Vanessa Kumar.

Kalyani and Vanessa have come through the same course at Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School, following in the footsteps of Indian Ink co-founder Jacob Rajan, who himself was the first Indian to graduate from NZ Drama School in 1994.

Indian Ink was formed when these two were only young, and the plays have become part of NZ drama history  – being studied at Secondary and Tertiary levels – an now they are starring in the 20th anniversary tour to 10 centres throughout NZ over 5 months.

First performed in 2002, The Pickle King enchanted audiences and reviewers alike with this sublime and ridiculous, simple yet profound tale. The show received a record seven nominations in New Zealand’s theatre awards, and won the highly contested supreme award, ‘Production of the Year’.

In 2003, Indian Ink took The Pickle King to the Edinburgh Fringe, winning the ‘Fringe First Award’, and in 2007, it played another successful two-week season at DBS Arts Centre, Singapore. Published alongside Krishnan’s Dairy and The Candlestickmaker, this trilogy is now taught as part of the NZ Secondary Schools Drama curriculum and at Universities.

Three of the original production team, Justin Lewis, Director, John Verryt, Set and Costume Designer, and Jo Kilgour, Lighting Designer, will be collaborating alongside the Music Director, Ben Wilcock, to create a vibrant theatrical experience.

Immigration

Indian students in NZ need compassion

The ejection of 41 international students, who now have deportation orders against them after the Immigration Minister has coldly rejected their appeals, is further evidence of a Government that is heartless and out of touch, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. Some of these Indian students are taking refuge in a Church in Auckland with a hope that the police will not arrest them at a religious place.

“The plight of these students who are seeking refuge in a church, and the potential for immigration officials and police to be raiding this church to extract the students, could cause significant damage to New Zealand’s reputation as a welcoming and progressive country – especially for international education.

“In the current global climate this simply isn’t wise, and it’s likely the rest of the 300 students will suffer the same fate as the 41 who are now hiding from authorities.

“This is a manifestly unjust situation for these students. There is no evidence of the students themselves having done wrong but they are being punished while the rogue agents get off scotfree.

“The situation has arisen because of a cowboy industry that the National Government has taken no responsibility for controlling. It’s the students whose lives are being ruined, and New Zealand’s reputation will suffer.

“The Immigration Minister has failed these students and New Zealand for not exercising any discretion or common sense by rejecting their appeals.

“The students should simply have their applications assessed on the merits with those eligible being able to stay. It’s about time we had a Government that offers compassion and natural justice,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

The Migrants Workers Union’s Anu Kallti, who is supporting these students, told SBS Punjabi newspaper that Immigration New Zealand needs to look at different parties involved in this whole mess. “These students are actually the victims. The Anglican Bishop of Auckland has written to Prime Minister Bill English to seek clemency for them, and we are hoping he will listen.”

Joe Carolan of the Unite Union says these students are victims of the immigration machine.

“We are saying these students are migrant workers and they are exploited by the agents, by the education providers, and if you want to punish them, punish the agents, punish the education providers, punish the immigration officials and also punish the ministers who have been complicit in setting up those schools,” he told SBS.

Education Immigration Study Abroad

Key Does ‘Big Sell’ for More Indian Students

The Prime Minister is doing the “big sell” for more foreign students to prop up under-funded public education and private education businesses, says New Zealand First.

“Unsuspecting students from overseas are being used.

“Prime Minister John Key met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington and couldn’t help himself marketing the overseas student scheme to Modi,” says New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters.

“The big carrot Key dangled before the Indian prime minister was the government’s policy of allowing foreign students to work 20 hours a week in New Zealand. The government admitted in Parliament this week that it extended work hours for the students as a marketing tool and it is proving to be an attraction.

“Modi said he wanted more Indian students in New Zealand and suggested Key and the government increase marketing in Indian universities.

“The National government is shamefully refusing to fund education adequately, with the result our universities and secondary schools are desperate for cash and must look for foreign fee paying students.

“At the same time National has bowed to lobbying from the private education sector, where much money is being made out of foreign students.

“Last year there were 66,702 foreign students given work visas while we have 70,000 young New Zealanders unable to get a job.

“It’s time to start working to get young New Zealanders into jobs and stop flogging off overseas student work visas as an incentive to get them to come to New Zealand,” says Peters.

“New Zealand First supports foreign student education providing fees are paid from their country of origin, which is what export education is meant to be about. That is, another economy paying the New Zealand economy to educate that other economy’s students.

“What we have is a serious perversion of the purpose of the export education, at an enormous disadvantage to New Zealand workers trying to get jobs.

“Students and parents need to wake up to just how grossly unfair this is for young New Zealanders.”

Education Entertainment

Indian performers to visit schools

From Mumbai to Morrinsville – top Indian performers will visit New Zealand schools for public Diwali festivals and will also take to the road and visit schools in Tauranga and Waikato.

Folk-dance group Mudra Creation, from Mumbai, and a puppet troupe led by master puppeteer Mahipat Kavi, from Gujarat, are being hosted in New Zealand by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The performers will visit Tauranga Intermediate on Tuesday 20 October, and Greenpark School and Papamoa Primary the following day. They will then travel to Waikato on Thursday 22 October to perform at Morrinsville Intermediate that day, and Hillcrest Normal School the following day.

Asia New Zealand Foundation director of culture Jennifer King says the school visits are a long-running component of the Foundation’s Diwali programme, but this is the first time international Diwali performers have travelled outside Auckland and Wellington.

“These school visits give hundreds of New Zealand children the chance to learn about the traditions of Diwali, and to see the performers close up and ask them questions. It’s a fantastic way to learn about India.

“Often it also gives children from Indian families the confidence to talk about their own culture in their classroom. We’re excited to be able to take these visits to Tauranga and Waikato, where, like many parts of New Zealand, a growing number of people identify as Indian.”

Ms King says the Asia New Zealand Foundation is very grateful for the support of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which has enabled the artists to travel to New Zealand from India.

Puppeteer Mahipat Kavi, from the western state of Gujarat, has been entertaining crowds for the past 50 years and also founded a puppet academy. His Puppet and Plays theatre company has animated some of India’s favourite stories, produced puppet serials for television and films for educational purposes.

Mudra Creation specialises in the folk dances of Maharashtra state, in India’s mid-west. The 10 dancers visiting the schools will perform a range of dances, including the lively lavani dance, often seen in popular Bollywood movies.

The two groups will also perform at Auckland’s Diwali Festival on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October, at Hamilton Diwali Mela on Saturday 24 October, and then at Wellington’s Diwali Festival of Lights on Monday 26 October.

Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrating the triumph of light over darkness and the renewal of life. Families celebrate with gatherings, clay lamps, fireworks, sharing of sweets, and worship to Lakshmi – the goddess of love, wealth and prosperity. Diwali is now also celebrated by other faiths in India and in overseas Indian communities.

Global Indians Immigration

Indian Students Exploited by Employers

New Zealand First says Kiwi employers and new immigrant employers are exploiting thousands of Indian ‘students’ flooding into New Zealand.

“They are too afraid to speak out as their purpose in migrating to New Zealand is to gain permanent residence. Study is just a pathway they can use,” says Leader Winston Peters.

National has been in denial but Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse admitted on Radio Live today that Indian students are coming to New Zealand with the intention of staying permanently.

“Numbers have soared since the National government softened restrictions allowing foreign students to work, pushing numbers to unacceptable levels.

“We have 93,000 overseas students, a rise of 12 per cent in the past year. The number of Indian students has risen 60 per cent. It’s not the quality of our education that is being exported it is our soft access to citizenship.

“The government did not do a proper analysis before allowing foreign students to work and now there is a mess to clean up,” says Peters.

“Indian students are taking over low skilled jobs in service stations, supermarkets and horticulture. They are being exploited and ripped off with low wages, willing to accept any working conditions,” says New Zealand First Ethic Affairs Spokesperson Mahesh Bindra.

“An Indian restaurant chain has just been fined for the second time in two weeks for exploiting student workers, some receiving as little as $4 an hour in 2013.

“The so-called export education industry is nothing of the sort. It was supposed to bring in much-needed overseas money, but now students can pay with New Zealand dollars earned here.

“Student visas are being used to flood the job market, drive down wages and undermine working conditions, as well as increase the already record number of permanent immigrants,” says Bindra.

Entertainment News

India’s largest lit fest ends on a high

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, advertised as the world’s largest free literary festival, attracted 2,45,000 footfalls over the five days ending 25 January – the highest ever in the festival’s eight-year history. The over-crowded festival compromised the quality of experience for many visitors who had to either share crowded standing space, or be disappointed as gates were closed for certain popular sessions.

This was no surprise as the festival saw a doubling of international visitors from 50 countries, according to an official statement, and a 40% increase in students attending the festival held at Diggi Palace in Jaipur.

While more than 300 authors (up from 240 in 2014), and 140 musicians participated, only a few authors dominated audience’s attention, while many struggled to attract enough numbers to their sessions. The crowds struggled to secure space even as 209 sessions were spread across 10 venues, including two new locations Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal. The festival also took some authors to schools in Jaipur, with 50 sessions taking place over two weeks.

– Electric sessions with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Sir. V.S. Naipaul rocked the festival on the fourth day

– 40% increase in students visiting the Festival, with average age of visitor being 21 years old
– Dates for next year announced as 21-25 January 2016
– Festival set to travel to London, UK and Boulder, USA later this year

The sessions that attracted the most cheer and crowd were by Nobel laureate Sir V.S.Naipaul, and by former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The two speakers drew the biggest audience at the Rajnigandha Front Lawns with 5,000 excited book-lovers per event. Another sweet-heart of the crowd was legenday Bollywood actor Waheeda Rehman who launched her book Conversations With Waheeda Rehman, written by Nasreen Munni Kabir.

Similar crowds were also attracted by Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor who was in Jaipur to launch film critic Anupama Chopra’s new book: The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema.

Anupama Chopra and Sonam Kapoor

Other highlights over the five days included Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, renowned travel writer Paul Theroux, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi as well as leading novelists Sarah Waters, Kamila Shamsie, Amit Chaudhuri and Eimear McBride.

This year the Festival awarded three prizes, including the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, which was won by Jhumpa Lahiri, the Ojas Art Award which was presented to Bhajju Shyam and Venkat Raman Singh Shyam, as well as the Khushwant Singh Memorial Prize for Poetry which was awarded to poet Arundhathi Subramaniam for her work When God is a Traveller.

However, the highlight of the festival was its programme that brought together a plurality of speakers from across the political, social, religious, artistic, and national divide, to create a cultural forum for discussion.

The festival also championed freedom of creative expression with daily drawings from DNA newspaper’s Chief Cartoonist, Manjul – prompting discussion and debate over the rights and responsibility of writers and artists in the current climate.

The concluding debate of the festival was titled “Culture is the New Politics” featuring Suhel Seth, Rajiv Malhotra, Arshia Sattar and Shazia Ilmi. The audience were also polled on the debate during the event, with 55.7% agreeing that culture is the new politics.

Encouraged by this year’s success, the organizers have decided to add two further editions of JLF across the world: first at the Southbank Centre in London this May, and then a third JLF festival in Boulder, Colorado, US in the autumn. The international outposts of the JLF festivals will be produced by Teamwork Arts, in addition to the 21 other festivals they produce in 11 different countries each year.

“Another year over and the next one just begun,” says Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director of the festival. “My head is already teaming with ideas, themes, concepts for next year. 2016 will be our best yet!”

Not wishing to rest, William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the festival, is looking forward to the next year. “We already have Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Noam Chomsky, A L Kennedy and Thomas Piketty confirmed for next year.”

Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, Producer of the Festival, said, “We have seen a record footfall across the five days.”

News

Have heart, will donate: football club shows way for organ donation

While Brazil gets ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world – FIFA 2014, one the country’s biggest football clubs is in news for a different reason.

Sport Club Recife, one of the top teams in the north-east of Brazil, has channelized Brazilians’ love for football to a cause that’s of high relevance in the country.

The club asked its fans to become “immortal fans” by donating their organs upon their death.

They conveyed the message through a video that was shown to the fans at every match at the club’s Ilha do Retiro stadium.

The video shows an organ recipient say: “I promise that your eyes will keep on watching Sport Club Recife.”

Within two years, the club managed to sign up 66,000 fans as organ donors.

The waiting list for organ donors has been reduced to zero in Recife, and the neighboring regions have also benefited positively from the initiative.

Pernambuco’s Institute of Integrated Medicine, which used to perform from five to seven heart transplants a year, ended up performing 28 transplants last year, Fernando Figueira, director of the institute told BBC.

But it is not just sufficient to get fans to sign up as organ donors. It is important to get them to let their relatives know. As per local laws in Brazil, it is the family members that can decide about organ donation after the person’s death.

Efforts are being made to ensure that donors are creating awareness among family members.

The success of the scheme has attracted other clubs around the world, including Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, to replicate the scheme.

 

 

Entertainment News Travel

Top Must-Have Android Apps for Indians

Indians around the world use many Android apps either to stay in touch with what’s happening in India, or to take care of personal matters like banking, messaging, phone calls and so on.

The Global Indian profiles some of these best Android apps for Indians living abroad.

Music

Saavn: This is by far the most popular and most entertaining music app for both Android and iOS. The music is free and includes not just latest Bollywood music, but also provides access to a collection of Indian regional, and even English music. The most popular feature is the staff-curated playlists for various genres.
From the newest songs to hard-to-find classics, Saavn’s catalog provides songs in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Gujarati, Malayalam, and Bhojpuri.

Download

Travel

MakeMyTrip: Planning to book tickets for domestic travel by air or train? Use MakeMy trip app to compare fares and timings of trains and flights. It even offers options to book hotels, but you would be better off contacting hotels directly for bookings.

Download

iXigo Trains: While Indian Railways‘ official IRCTC website is notorious for slow speed and downtime, this iXigo web app works much better. While this is not the official IRCTC app, it helps you find train tickets, find PNR status, and get accurate train running information. There are no ads in the app.  It even lets you find budget hotels in most Indian cities, classify them by area, get the best hotel deals and call hotels for free and book online! The makers of this app have even gone a step further – the app can scans your SMS for PNRs and provide PNR status change updates and delay notifications.

Download

AskLaila: If you are looking phone numbers and addresses of local businesses, you can download AskLaila app for Android phones.

Download

Culture

Indian festivals and holidays: Planning a visit to India and not too sure when the holidays and festivals are? Use this app for  a list of all the major Indian festivals and holidays.

Features:
1. Instantly know which holidays fall on which dates.
2. Short 4 line description of each holiday.
3. Link to Wikipedia article for the selected holiday for further reading

Download

Salah Timings: This Android app provides Islamic prayer timings (Salat), and shows you the direction to Mecca from anywhere in the world. For devout Muslims, it’s a handy tool for religious observance.

Download

Shopping

Now NRIs can send gifts to India with a click of a button, thanks to many mobile apps developed by leading online shopping sites like Flipkart, Amazon and eBay. With growing competition among these online shopping sites, the prices are highly competitive. Some of these apps also show bargains and special offers.

Flipkart: Flipkart is by far the most popular shopping website for India and offers a range of products from apparel to books, kitchen appliances and much more.
Download

Amazon: Now shop on Amazon.in via Amazon global shopping application

Download

eBay: eBay is not yet big in India but in case you like something on eBay, you can use this app which provides listings on eBay.in too.

Download

Snapdeal: Snapdeal is not as big as leading shopping portals, but offers good customer experience and a range of products. Use this official app to shop on Snapdeal.

Download

Sports

Indians’ love for cricket is legendary. It is no wonder that some of the cricket apps for Android are very popular among Indians. However, football and other games are also gaining popularity with Indian audience. Here’s our round-up of popular sport apps for Android.

Sports schedules including FIFA World Cup: The month-long 2014 FIFA World Cup action begins on 12 June. Catch every match with this football app for the 2014 Football World Cup – get game results on-the-go!

This app provides mobile guide to match schedules, standings, and venues. As the competition unfolds, the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final match-ups will be revealed.

Download

CricketNext Live: This is a very popular Android app for live cricket score and other updates.

Download

Cricbuzz: Crickbuzz offers scores of popular cricket matches.

Download

ESPNCricInfo: With comprehensive access to popular cricket matches, ESPNCricInfo has put some of the best information about cricket into this official mobile app.

Download

News

Stay in touch with the latest news about India and Indians with some of the best mobile apps developed my Indian news media.

NDTV: You can watch news videos and live news updates from NDTV on this Android mobile app.
Download

IBNLive for Android: This mobile app for CNN-IBN offers live news from one of the popular news channels from India.

Download

MSN India News: For some unbiased news about India, tune in to MSN India news which is owned by Yahoo!
Download

Times of India: Official Android application of the popular Indian daily.
Download

Banking and finance

Many NRIs have accounts in India and would find it easier to keep track of their banking transactions with an Android app. Many of these apps let you complete netbanking transactions like paying utility bills, paying a relative in India, renew fixed deposits and request account statements.

You can also download applications for monitoring your stock market investments.

iMobile: Transact with your ICICI Bank account with this mobile app for Android users.
Download

State Bank Freedom: Whether you have your PF with State Bank or your fixed deposits, you can access your details with this official mobile app for State Bank of India customers.

Download

Citibank: Many customers of Citibank have accounts in India. You can access your account with this application developed by Citibank.

Download

Standard Chartered Bank: This app lets you complete Netbanking transactions in your StanChart account with the click of a button.

Download

ICICI Stock Watch: Use this app to get updates on various equity stocks trading on leading Indain exchanges including BSE and NSE.

Download

Moneycontrol Markets: This Adroid application provides updates on not just Indian but also global equities markets in real-time. A must-have app for serious stock investors.

Download

Did we miss any app? Please suggest your favorite Android app in the comments below.

Lifestyle News

Can my dog, cat migrate to NZ from India?

DogFood

 You are not allowed to import a dog or cat directly from India into New Zealand or Australia. Find out a way to get around this restriction.

DogFood

R. Swaminathan received permanent resident visa for New Zealand. As he packed his bags in Bangalore, and prepared to wind down his set up, he began to enquire about formalities to complete for taking his golden retriever to Auckland.

To his shock, he was told that he was not allowed to bring his dog to New Zealand.

India is one of the countries where rabies is not well-controlled, and as such, does not feature in the list of countries approved for exporting dogs or even cats to New Zealand.

The only option available to Swaminathan was to send his dog to one of the approved countries for a 180-day quarantine, before the dog could re-unite with the owner in New Zealand. Even then, his retriever would need to stay in a month-long quarantine in New Zealand.

New Zealand is free from rabies, heart-worm and most ticks, and takes steps to preserve it. New Zealand pet import requirements are therefore strict.

New Zealand has categorized countries for the purpose of importing dogs and cats:

  • Category 1: Australia. Your dog or cat doesn’t need a permit to import, neither does it need post-arrival quarantine. The only check needed is a post-arrival inspection.
  • Category 2: Rabies-free countries, which are: Singapore, Bahrain, Fiji, Mauritius, Hawaii, Japan, Iceland, Barbados, Falkland Islands, French Polynesia, and New Caledonia. The dog or cat would need a permit, a post-arrival quarantine of at least 10 days, and a post-arrival check.
  • Category 3: Pacific Island nations. Requirements are same as category 2, which means pets from Pacific Island countries will need to go through a post-arrival inspection and quarantine, and need a permit too.
  • Category 4: Where rabies is absent or well-controlled. This list includes countries like the US, Malaysia, Canada, Hong Kong, France, UK and a host of other countries. The requirements are the same as category 2.
  • Category 5: All other countries.

For those from India or any other country not specified above, a direct import of dog or cat is not permitted.

The only solution is to take your pet to one of the countries listed in any of the above categories, where the pet is quarantined for six months.

After that, the pet-owner would need to obtain a veterinary certificate before importing the pet into New Zealand, where it would be put through a further quarantine for a month.

The pet will need to be micro-chipped before it is vaccinated at the country of origin, because the chips will need to contain a record of vaccination. The importer will also need to give at least 72 hours’ notice to the quarantine department in New Zealand before the arrival of the pet.

Even if you are from one of the listed countries, there are many formalities to be completed before transport, and on arrival. It is advisable to hire a professional animal exporter and transporter.

Can I carry my pet’s bedding?

Yes, bedding is allowed to be imported, as long as it is not made of hay or straw.

How much does it cost to import a dog or cat?

All expenses associated with transport, vaccination, permit, quarantine and other formalities are to be borne by the importer. Besides, there may be bio-security and customs charges to be paid. Import permit application fees is NZ$166.67.

How long does it take to import a dog or cat?

There’s a strict time-table to be followed for vaccination and vet-checks. Please refer to the ministry guide for importing dogs and cats for details.

Which other pets can be imported to New Zealand?

Apart from dogs and cats, the following pets can be imported to New Zealand: chinchillas, fish, horses and rabbits.

Which pets are not permitted to be imported to New Zealand?

If you have any of the following as your pets, you are in tough luck. These pets are not allowed from any country: guinea pigs, birds of any kind, mice and rats, snakes and any reptiles.

Can I take my dog or cat with me in the cabin?

Unfortunately, dogs and cats can not be imported by carrying them with you in the cabin. They must travel as cargo. The only exception being an assistance dog which may travel in the cabin.

If you have any questions about bringing your dog or cat to New Zealand, read these FAQs about importing pets to New Zealand.

For any queries, contact the ministry of primary industries of the New Zealand government.