New Delhi, India – June 2000


  • When the 2001 census is through, the Delhi head-count may stand at a staggering 1.43 crore. That’s one-and-half times the 1991 count of 94.2 lakh. Delhi’s population growth rate is much higher than other metros and well above the national growth rate. But the real culprits of this growth are migrants from other states, which comprise 42 percent of the growth.
  • It’s the information age. And so Delhi’s Chief Minister is going techno-savvy for a better government and better governance. Enter the chief minister’s information system (CMIS) – software designed to create an uninterrupted link between the CM, the cabinet ministers, the Delhi government Chief Secretary and all department heads.

    Scheduled for a June release, the greatest advantage of CMIS is that it will enable the CM to monitor the city government’s ongoing projects online. If a certain project has been held up for some reason, all that the CM has to do is go click-click to find out the reason, and without waiting for the file to get things moving, can immediately issue directives to put things back on the track.

    On the city government’s agenda are power and water projects, construction of flyovers, hospitals, relocation of industries, phasing out of polluting vehicles and induction of CNG buses, plus massive tree plantation.

  • Delhi, with its yen of keeping abreast of everything, is all for brands and labels. In the distant past, Pierre Cardin and Christian Dior were the must buys, then Tommy Hilfiger and Polo came in, and now it seems that in order to be noticed one has to flaunt a Dockers or an Old Navy label. The youth bandwagon also seems to love casual stuff from Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis, Guess and Esprit. The more hip and and happening party animals are believed to prefer Prada, Liz Clairborne and Nina Ricci. Some claim that their cologne must coincide with the label they are wearing. So much for intricate perfection!
  • Lou Bega, that mambo king, may soon boast of a ‘girl in Delhi’ in his song A Girlfriend Everywhere. Set to perform in the Capital on May 29, Lou is on a relay of MTV concerts in major metros. Even before Lou says hello to Dilli, one can count on a whole lot of Bega-mania in the city. And Lou promises to give Delhi the mambo time of its life, and a chance for all the Monicas, Jessicas and Tinas to meet the Mambo Man!

    The historic Purana Qila, which has stood witness to Delhi’s rejuvenation, periods of anarchy, and the rise & fall of empires, brings alive the history of the capital. Amidst the tranquility of the splendidly panoramic environs of Purana Qila, Delhi’s historic and legendary past comes to life.

    After Shah Jahan built Red Fort, the attention of administration shifted to gorgeous palaces of the fort. Today the fort is open for the public but only limited areas can be accessed. More than half of the fort area has been taken over by the Army. But even what is open to visit reminds one of the splendors and lavish lifestyle in which our rulers lived.

    Delhi has seen the death of many empires and resisted bloody attempts to eliminate her. Nadir Shah had ordered his soldiers to plunder and massacre Delhi. It is said that he got so much wealth from Delhi that he was not able to carry it home. Abdali and Taimur Lane were no different. They had tried their best to demolish the city of Delhi but it was some kind of a boon, which helped it to regain its lost glory each time Delhi was plundered.

    Art & Theatre
    The most celebrated art form of the Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu, Bharatanatyam is a dynamic and earthy dance style. It is, in effect, a tradition that demands of the performer – total dedication, detachment from worldly ties and a sublimation of self to the art. Bharatanatyam is a relatively new name. It was earlier known as Sadir, Dasi attam, and Thanjavur Natyam.

    The contemporary form of Bharatanatyam evolved during the late 18th or early 19th century. Sadir, which was till then the domain of devadasis (girls who were dedicated to gods), reached its nadir during 1910-1930 with the degeneration of social mores. But during 1926-35, under the championship of E Krishna Iyer, the dance regained its majesty and came to be known as Bharatanatyam.

    Bharatanatyam dancers are usually women and, like the sculptures they take their positions from, always dance bent-kneed. It is an extremely precise dance style where a huge repertoire of hand movements is used to convey moods and expressions.

    Bharatanatyam is vibrant and very demanding of the dancer. The body is visualized as made of triangles, one above and one below the torso. It is based upon a balanced distribution of body weight and firm positions of the lower limbs, allowing the hands to cut into a line, to flow around the body, or to take positions that enhance the basic form. A special feature of this dance form is Padams or poems on the hero-heroine theme. The tempo of these love songs is slow and each phase of the performance is crystallized into a specific mood of love.

    Feature of the Month – Jammu and Kashmir
    The paradise state of Jammu and Kashmir is the pride of India; with its lofty snow clad mountain ranges, sylvan landscape, unbelievably fresh mountain air and its beautiful people. Located at the extreme north west of the country, the state is divided into three broad segments, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Kashmir has the maximum population at
    53%, Jammu has 45%, while Ladakh is rather sparsely inhabited, due to obvious geographical constraints.

    Situated on the banks of the Tawi river, framed against the picturesque backdrop of the majestic Trikuta ranges, is the winter capital of the state, Jammu. It is believed that Raja Jamboolochan founded Jammu in the 9th century, though no such historical records of the region exist. The Sikhs took over from the Rajputs, following which, in 1832, Gulab Singh merged Jammu with Kashmir to form the present state. The region is inhabited by three large tribes – the sturdy Dogras dwelling in the plains, the Pahadis of the hills, and the nomadic mountain – dwelling tribes of the Gaddis and Gujjars.

    Jammu houses a huge number of temples and shrines, the soaring spires of which seem to pierce the skies above. The Raghunath group of temples, the largest in the north; the Amar Mahal Palace; the Ranbireshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva; the Baghi Bahu temple and Fort are some of the popular landmarks of the region. The Dogra Art Gallery showcases the Pahadi school of art, chiefly comprising of exquisite wall paintings that adorn the local temples. The handicrafts typical of Jammu are wooden ornaments, intricate bamboo work, straw fans, rush baskets etc.

    The sheer beauty and grandeur of the Kashmir Valley cannot be captured in plain words. Set at the foot of the awesome Himalayas, with the splendid Jhelum River meandering through it, this land of raw natural magnificence has enticed people from all over the world, for centuries. Aptly referred to as Paradise, Kashmir has been ruled by Emperor Ashoka, the Kushans, Gonondas, Guptas, Karkotas, Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs, and finally by the Dogras in the 19th century. Despite all these invasions, the Kashmiris have retained their traditions and innate simplicity. The major chunk of the population is Muslim, followed by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians.

    Kashmir is a land crisscrossed by umpteen lakes and rivers, each fascinating in its own way. The Jhelum or Vitasta, as it was called, is not only the bloodline, as it were, of the state, but also poses as the ethereal inspiration for many songs, legends, and poems. The other notable lakes include the Manasbal Lake, the Liddar river, the famous Dal lake, Nagin Lake and the Wular Lake, the largest in the state. Shalimar, Nasim Bagh, Nishat Bagh, and the legendary Chashme-e-Shahi are some of the delightful gardens that are to be found here.

    Apart from its being the land of soaring snow clad mountains, sparkling waterfalls, shikaras (water taxis), impressive chinar trees, and vast fields of vibrant flowers, Kashmir is also renowned for its unique handicrafts – papier-mâché, woodwork, stone jewellery, fine Pashmina and Shahtush shawls, carpet weaving and silverware. The arts and crafts of this region are more than 500 years old, and bear a distinct Persian imprint.

    The valley is studded with several mosques and temples, built in diverse architectural styles. The Hazratbal Mosque, the holiest of all Muslim shrines, the stone temples of Avantipur, the cave at Amarnath, the most sacred Hindu shrine in the state, the great Shankaracharya temple, the Martand Temple all add to the kaleidoscopic appeal of Kashmir.

    Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir and its very heart; Gulmarg, the snow haven; idyllic Pahalgam; Sonmarg, the golden meadow; Kokernag, Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary, Yusmarg and Daksum are some of the chief attractions of the valley.