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The lady whom Gandhi addressed as his mother

Among all her children, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar became famous in Indian history as the ‘Ali brothers’ who started the ‘Khilafat Movement’ against British rule…writes Mohammad Suaib Khan

Among the few Muslim women who had actively participated in the Indian Independence movement, Abadi Bano Begum (Bi Amma) was a prominent face.

Her active participation in the struggle to liberate the country from the British Raj, even led Mahatma Gandhi to call her his mother.

Bi Amma was born in 1850 in Uttar Pradesh and was married to Abdul Ali Khan, a senior official of the princely state of Rampur who later died of cholera. He had five sons and a daughter.

Among all her children, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar became famous in Indian history as the ‘Ali brothers’ who started the ‘Khilafat Movement’ against British rule.

Professor Ajay Tiwari, who retired from Delhi University, told IANS: “Bi Amma came from a conservative family. Due to her husband, she was in great debt, and it was impossible for her to raise six children after his demise.

“When her brother-in-law advised her to sell-off some of their property, she refused saying that the property belonged to her children.

“Seeing her passion for the country, Gandhi ji addressed her as his mother and called himself her son. Imagine how impressed he must have been, that despite being a popular leader at that time, Gandhi ji called her his mother!”

Bi Amma, despite her poor financial condition, from 1917-1921, donated Rs 10 every month to protest against the British Defense Act, after Sarojini Naidu’s arrest.

Highlighting her contribution to the freedom struggle, Ajay Tiwari said: “Despite her poor economic condition, Bi Amma had won everyone’s heart with her spirit. The Defence of India Act influenced her religious beliefs and the idea of women’s independence after which, she changed herself.”

“When Congress leader Subramaniam Iyer was presiding over a meeting, Bi Amma wrote him a letter for the first time which later came to be known as a ‘document of the freedom movement’. In the letter, she stated she is writing to him even though according to their Sharia law, talking to another man is ‘kufr’ (sin).”

Bi Amma, despite her progressive nature, believed in the concept of ‘purdah’ (an Islamic custom of covering a woman’s face). However, when she had come to address a gathering in Punjab and removed her burqa on stage, panic spread among the Muslim community.

At the meeting, she said that she is older than most of the audience members and they all are like her sons. Therefore, she doesn’t have to follow ‘purdah’ in front of them. And this incident made her the unanimous mother of all those who fought in the freedom movement.

In 1917, she joined the movement for the release of her two sons from prison. Mahatma Gandhi encouraged her to speak up and get the support of women in the freedom movement. She travelled extensively across India to support and raise funds for the Khilafat and Indian Independence movement.

Talking about honouring her, Ajay Tiwari said: “She died in 1924 and 66 years after her death, the Pakistani government recognised her contribution to the freedom struggle by issuing a postage stamp in her honour.

“But in India we are not doing any remarkable work to remember her. If we try to save the memory of these extraordinary personalities like Abadi Bano Begum, then our celebration of independence will be worthwhile.”

ALSO READ-Tulu queen who united Hindus, Muslims against Portuguese

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Tulu queen who united Hindus, Muslims against Portuguese

Ullal port was a prosperous port and hub of the spice trade to the outer world and the Portuguese, Dutch and British had clearly set their eyes on it…reports Asian Lite News

Rani Abbakka, the great Tulu queen regarded as the first female freedom fighter of India, is not only known for her valour who repulsed the Portuguese army, but also her strength to unite people of different faiths against the armed forces of a foreign state.

The queen hails from Karnataka, which is, currently, communally divided. A region witnessing revenge killings among Hindus and Muslims, this state has a great lesson to learn from the legacy of Rani Abbakka, when Muslims and Hindus unitedly fought under her leadership against the Portuguese.

Rani Abbakka Chowta was the first Tuluva queen from Ullal province of the present Dakshina Kannada district. She represented the Chowta dynasty which ruled Tulu Nadu, comprising strategic regions of coastal Karnataka.

The Portuguese forces, after establishing their rule in Goa, turned their focus on capturing Mangaluru, Ullal ports. The brave Rani Abbakka, who left her husband and came back to her father, repulsed the Portuguese attacks for four decades, leading the army from the front.

She is regarded as one of the foremost woman warriors and bravest of the fighters. Historians say Rani Abbakka has not been given her due place in India’s as well as Karnataka’s history.

Abbakka’s uncle Tirumalaraya crowned her as the queen of Ullal. She married Lakshmappa Arasa Bangaraja II. However, the marriage did not last very long, as Rani Abbakka returned to Ullal.

Ullal port was a prosperous port and hub of the spice trade to the outer world and the Portuguese, Dutch and British had clearly set their eyes on it.

Knowing about the crouching foreign forces waiting for a chance to take over Ullal, the local chieftains united, forgetting their communal reservations.

Rani Abbakka gave equal representation to Hindus, Jains and Muslims. During her rule in the 16th century, the coastal region was an example of unity and integrity for the entire nation, as Hindus and Muslims stood shoulder to shoulder in every aspect.

When the Portuguese, unable to find traitors, came to know that Rani Abbakka’s estranged husband nursed a deep grudge against her, they launched attacks on Ullal from 1555 to 1568.

After Ullal was captured, Rani Abbakka took shelter in a mosque. She gathered an army and launched an attack on the Portuguese, in no time. Her army fought with valour and killed General Joao Peixoto after which the Portuguese had to retreat.

She forged an alliance with the Bijapur Sultan and the Calicut (Kerala) rulers. However, she was captured by the Portuguese army and sent to jail later.

Folklore has it that even in prison she revolted and died fighting. Her tale has been told through Yakshagana, the famous local art form of the region.

The Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava is held every year to commemorate her bravery and awards are given in her name. In 2003, the Indian postal department issued a special cover on Rani Abbakka. The bronze statues of the late queen are installed in Ullal and Bengaluru. The Indian Coast Guard Ship ICGS is named after Rani Abbakka.

Karnataka, which is presently in the news for Hindu-Muslim clashes, was once united and together repulsed attacks by foreign occupying forces.

The foreign enemies could not find internal enemies and destroy their local kingdoms as Hindus, Muslims and Jains were united. Patriots are still waiting for the day when people of different faiths will unite against the common enemy.

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SHE STEMS to prepare Omani women for nation’s manufacturing 

Emphasizing hands-on skills development and on-the-job training, SHE STEMS aims to prepare more Omani women for the nation’s manufacturing and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors…reports Asian Lite News

Believing in the importance of joint work between the public and private sectors, as well as emphasizing the principle of integration between the service units of the state’s administrative apparatus, and in order to achieve the objectives of Oman’s Vision 2040, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI) on Tuesday 9 August 2022 signed the SHE STEMS social development program agreement with Oman Cables Industry (OCI) and the Ministry of Labour (MoL).

The program was signed on behalf of MoHERI by Her Excellency Dr. Rahma Ibrahim Al-Mahrooqi – Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation; for the MoL by the Ministry’s Undersecretary for Human Resources Development Salim bin Musallam al Busaidi; and for OCI by the company’s CEO Cinzia Farisè.

Emphasizing hands-on skills development and on-the-job training, SHE STEMS aims to prepare more Omani women for the nation’s manufacturing and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors.

Registration in the program starts in September 2020 with a first cohort of 20 Omani women who will attend an extensive 6-month practical “Operating Maintenance” course certified by MoHERI. The training will be supervised by a number of highly proficient, qualified instructors. Upon completion, each participant will receive a SHE STEMS certificate recognized by MoHERI.

The eligibility criteria for participants are: Omani nationals aged between 18 to 28 years who are registered as job seekers with the Ministry of Labour, and who have a General Education Diploma as a minimum academic qualification. (It should be noted that this training will not be applicable if the candidate has attended other training supported by the Oman government). For enrollment, interested parties apply through omancables.com/careers before August 25th, 2022.

Speaking about the SHE STEMS program, Her Excellency Dr. Rahma Ibrahim Al-Mahrooqi stressed the importance of engaging all vital sectors in the effort to achieve the goals of the nation’s comprehensive development plans, and to implement Oman’s ambitious Vision 2040 with regard to building promising national employees in all fields. Her Excellency Al-Mahrooqi explained that she valued OCI’s initiative in collaboration with the MoHERI and MoL, which would serve to develop the skills of Omani women, and open new horizons for them in the labour market.

Her Excellency Al-Mahrooqi also indicated the Ministry’s keenness to cooperate with many sectors to ensure the quality of programs directed at female graduates and job seekers is maintained. This would ensure that participants receive high quality practical skills and work ethics, which would qualify and empower them to compete in local and international labour markets.

Underlining its support for SHE STEMS, the Ministry of Labour affirmed its full readiness to cooperate in this qualitative program and to provide the necessary support and incentives to contribute to the upgrading of human resources in the Sultanate of Oman.

According to Cinzia Farisè, CEO of Oman Cables Industry, the SHE STEMS program is considered an important milestone in OCI’s social ambition to support the local community. “We are very pleased and honored to launch this program in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and the Ministry of Labour. SHE STEMS forms part of a global initiative that has been molded, initiated, and launched within the Sultanate of Oman. This is an exciting program that aligns closely with OCI’s stated values of Innovation, Empowerment, and Excellence. We are confident that it will attract and empower more Omani unemployed women to achieve excellence in their individual career fields within Oman,” Cinzia Farisè explained.

The CEO added: “As part of the Prysmian Group, OCI is launching SHE STEMS as a joint amalgamation with Prysmian’s sustainability development strategy and goals, and within the framework of the Prysmian Social Ambition 2030 objectives of Diversity; Equality and Inclusion; Digital Inclusion; Community Empowerment; and Employee Engagement & Upskilling.”

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Lebanese cancer patients struggle to find medicines amid crisis

For those who are unable to pay for their medicines, they have to stop their treatment, which could have a detrimental effect on their health…writes Dana Halawi

Abbas Nasreddine, a Lebanese citizen in his 60s, has been battling lymphatic cancer for more than two years. But four months ago, he was forced to stop treatment temporarily due to a lack of cancer medicines in Lebanon.

Nasreddine, who was prescribed Imbruvica for life, was finally able to purchase his medicines from the local market recently. Still, he is not sure if he could buy it in future as Lebanon’s lingering financial crisis has made it increasingly difficult to obtain such medicines.

“I am very worried, because I do not know if my treatment could continue or not,” he said.

Since Lebanon was hit by a financial crisis in 2019, the value of the Lebanese currency against the U.S. dollar has decreased by more than 90 percent. Lebanon’s central bank has steadily reduced subsidies for a variety of commodities that were pegged to a fixed exchange rate, Xinhua reported.

Lebanon still subsidizes patients suffering from a number of chronic diseases, such as cancer. However, due to a lack of medicines, wealthier patients have to buy medicines either on the black market or from other countries through family or friends at higher prices.

For those who are unable to pay for their medicines, they have to stop their treatment, which could have a detrimental effect on their health.

Mohamed Jaber, a pharmacist and secretary-general of the Order of Pharmacists of Lebanon, blamed the drawn-out procedure of Banque Du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, for the medicine shortage.

Due to the financial crisis, the BDL asks medicine importers to obtain prior authorization. Such authorization is necessary for BDL to open letters of credit, which is required to import subsidized medicines, said Jaber.

The procedure usually takes a long time and delays the delivery of new shipments, sometimes making it difficult for patients to receive what they need, he said.

The shortage of cancer medicines has forced a big number of patients to stop their treatment, which has led to the deterioration of their health, said Nizar Bitar, a hematology and oncology medicine professor at the Sahel hospital in Beirut.

“Cancer patients have to take their medicines regularly, on time and in accordance with specific guidance. Because of a lack of medicines, we were sometimes obliged to provide outdated or less effective treatments to patients rather than new ones that would have improved their quality of life,” Bitar said.

Bitar said that some treatments involve the prescription of several medicines, but when one of them is unavailable, the doctor is compelled to change the treatment without being able to evaluate its consequences properly.

Some cancer patients in Lebanon have expressed their worry and concerns over the country’s failure to ensure necessary treatments for patients with cancers and other chronic diseases.

Fawzia Fayad, a woman who failed to survive cancer under the medicine shortage, was among one of a few outspoken Lebanese to voice concern about the country’s medicine shortage. She passed away on March 3 at 24, after failing to get proper medication.

In the past few months, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has on many occasions called on international bodies and donor countries to support Lebanon’s cancer-fighting patients amid the current economic crisis.

At a parliamentary health committee meeting on Monday, he promised to allocate more funds for cancer medication.

However, Jaber believed that the Lebanese government wouldn’t be able to resolve this problem anytime soon because of the severe financial crisis.

The best solution now is to allow importers to bring in non-subsidized cancer medicines to ensure they are available on the local market, even if at higher prices, he added.

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India News Lite Blogs

Mahatma’s time-keeper and a copious chronicler of his life 

It’s little wonder that Desai has been described on various occasions as Gandhi’s Boswell, a Plato to Gandhi’s Socrates and an Ananda to Gandhi’s Buddha…reports Vishnu Makhijani

Painstakingly written, day-after-day, “Mahadevbhaini Dayari” (Mahadevbhais Diary) chronicles in minute detail the major events in life of Mahatma Gandhi and in the Indian Independence struggle over a quarter-of-a-century from 1917 to 1942 by his personal secretary Mahadev Desai, one of the few individuals who had the closest access to the Father of the Nation during this period.

There are anecdotes about Gandhi’s life, his peculiarities and his philosophy of life, comments about the books he had read with a lot of intriguing citations from some books et al, in short, some of the most important elements from Gandhi’s life.

“He was much more than that (a private secretary),” Verrier Elwin, the British-born Indian anthropologist, ethnologist and tribal activist, has said of Desai.

“He was in fact Home and Foreign Secretary combined. He managed everything. He made all the arrangements. He was equally at home in the office, the guest-house and the kitchen. He looked after many guests and must have saved 10 years of Gandhi’s life by diverting from him unwanted visitors.”

The Mahatma’s paternal grandson, Rajmohan Gandhi, goes even further: “Waking up before Gandhi in pre-dawn darkness, and going to sleep long after his Master, Desai lived Gandhi’s day thrice over, first in an attempt to anticipate it, next in spending it alongside Gandhi, and finally in recording it into his diary.”

It’s little wonder that Desai has been described on various occasions as Gandhi’s Boswell, a Plato to Gandhi’s Socrates and an Ananda to Gandhi’s Buddha.

The platitudes are richly deserved for the man who translated Gandhi’s autobiography, “The Story of My Experiments with Truth” into English from the Gujarati original and was posthumously conferred the Sahatiya Akademi Award for “Mahadevbhaini Dayari”.

He was at ease with Gujarati, Bengali and English and is highly regarded as a translator and writer in Gujarati. He wrote several biographies, among them, “Vir Vallabhbhai” and “Be Khudai Khidmatgar” (on Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and his brother Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan).

A founding member of the All India Newspaper Editors’ Conference, Desai was also a regular contributor to Gandhi’s publications “Young India” and “Navjivan”, and for two years ran the “Independent” newspaper from Allahabad when Motilal Nehru requisitioned his services from Gandhi.

Born in an Avanil Brahmin family in the village of Saras in Gujarat’s Surat district, Mahadev Haribhai Desai (January 1, 1892-August 15, August 1942) was educated at the Surat High School and Bombay’s Elphinstone College, earning a BA degree. After obtaining an LLB in 1913, he took a job as an inspector at Bombay’s Central Cooperative Bank.

Desai first met Gandhi in 1915 when he sought his advice on how best to publish his book (a Gujarati translation of John Morley’s English book “On Compromise) and joined the Sabramati Ashram in 1917.

Beginning his diary on November 13 of that year, he maintained it till August 14, 1942, the day before his death of a massive heart attack at Poona’s Aga Khan Palace, where he was interred with Gandhi for participating in the Quit India movement that had been launched on August 8 of that year.

In 1919 when the colonial government arrested Gandhi in Punjab, he named Desai his heir. Desai was for the first time arrested and sentenced to a year in prison in 1921 for his writings.

In prison, Desai was aghast that the jail authorities mistreated prisoners, frequently flogging them. His report describing the life inside an Indian jail, published in “Young India” and “Navajivan”, compelled the British authorities to institute some drastic reform measures.

Desai took part in the Bardoli Satyagraha along with Sardar Patel and wrote a history of the Satyagraha in Gujarati which he translated into English as “The Story of Bardoli”.

Arrested and imprisoned for his participation in the Salt Satyagraha, he was released following the Gandhi-Irwin Pact and accompanied Gandhi to the Second Round Table Conference in London in 1931 along with Mirabehn, Devdas Gandhi and Pyarelal. He was the only person to accompany Gandhi at the meeting with King George V.

Gandhi resumed the Civil Disobedience Movement following the collapse of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact and the deadlock at the the Round Table Conference, and the new Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, determined to crush the movement, ordered a clampdown on the Indian National Congress and its activists.

In 1932, Desai was arrested again and sent to prison with Gandhi and Sardar Patel. He was re-arrested the next year and detained in Belgaum Jail. He also played a role in organising people’s movements in the princely states of Rajkot and Mysore in 1939 and was put in charge of selecting participants during the Individual Satyagraha of 1940.

Desai’s final prison term followed the Quit India Declaration of August 8, 1942. Arrested on the morning of August 9, he died six days later on August 15, the day on which India attained Independence five years later.

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Valli: An attempt to capture the pulse of the land

Before she started writing ‘Valli’, the author spoke to elders in the community and went into Adivasi settlements to understand their lives. As the story of Valli takes place in a Christian migrant village, the dialect of the Christian communities was used…writes Sukant Deepak

There is a certain quiet that underlines the whole novel. A rhythm that finds itself at peace with the enigmatic green all around. Even the violence has a precise sculpted beauty around it. When she writes about her land, Wayanad, it is with awe, and then — with gratitude.

Author Sheela Tomy’s delicate and ferocious glance in ‘Valli’ (HarperCollins India), her latest novel that recently hit the stands, comes from the fact that she grew up listening to the music of the forest and stories about the fight for the survival of her ancestors.

“The story of Valli begins on a February morning in 1970, on the day Comrade Varghese was shot dead, throwing light into the socio-political situation of the time. Major incidents in Valli take place in the 1970s, during the national emergency period and after the Naxal uprisings in Wayanad,” she tells.

The book, that received the Cherukad Award for Malayalam literature had been in her mind for more than a decade, with her father, a school teacher who used to tell her to write about the land, which has a distinct cultural history and geography, rich in myths and folklore. However, it was only after his departure that those stories took shape and became the book. She wrote the plot on three pages in her diary which was developed into ‘Valli’ in three years.

“In the attempt to capture the pulse of the land that made me who I am, I didn’t know where my characters were leading me to. The main characters are migrants from Thiruvithamkur who came to Wayanad. I wanted to show the transformation of my forest land over decades by man’s greed and the encroachments of the corporates, the real threats to the environment today. I wanted to show that the people of the land who once fought for valli (wages) are still fighting for vall (earth), their piece of land, and farmers are still on the brink of suicide. Narrating the story of four generations, their love, hope and resistance, it turned out to be a requiem for the forest. The forest became a main character unknowingly,” she says.

Interestingly, Tomy wrote this debut novel while she was (and still is) in the Middle East. Believing that distance worked for her, she says, “While writing ‘Valli’, I was a migrant in a desert land. I have felt the losses of my land so intensely that I started to write about it. Had it been written sitting in my homeland, the story and content could be the same, but the soul and song of Valli may have been different.”

Also a short-story writer and screenwriter, Tomy is more comfortable with the novel genre as it has a broader canvas and, “Writing short stories gives me much strain as I never get satisfied and keep on editing.”

Stressing that working with Jayasree Kalathil, who translated it from Malayalam into English was sheer pleasure, Tomy says it was her dream that someday the world would hear the untold stories of her forest village and was delighted when Jayasree came forward to translate it.

“I knew that a person who could conceive the music, rhythm and the politics of the land only could do justice to the story. I found Jayasree so involved in it and she was living with my characters the same way I did. I believe, was far beyond a literary re-creation. She was even rethinking the idea of the original text.”

Adding that translations pave way for the readers to new horizons, Tomy feels it is always interesting to hear stories from an unfamiliar land and by authors from different parts of the country.

“It is a world of versatility. My early readings had great influence from translations from Bengali literature. All languages have gems, but translators should be brilliant and skilful to do justice to the original text.”

While stories keep happening to/for her, Tomy says she is mostly “shy” to send them for publishing.

“The editing never ceases. I am never content. For a novel, it is a long but enjoyable process. Once I decide to write about a theme I live with it for months or years. I begin even without having all the characters or plot in mind. It develops gradually as I write.”

Before she started writing ‘Valli’, the author spoke to elders in the community and went into Adivasi settlements to understand their lives. As the story of Valli takes place in a Christian migrant village, the dialect of the Christian communities was used.

“I have employed many narrative devices — diary entries, letters, folk songs, Bible quotations, reinvented myths and popular film songs of the time — to reproduce the period effectively and to escape linear storytelling.”

“In fact, her second novel — ‘Aa Nadiyodu Peru Chodikkaruthu’ (Do not Ask the River Her Name) is set to be released later this month. It stands with people who are under siege and those who are forced to run away from their homeland. Background of the novel is the Middle East, particularly Jerusalem and Palestine,” she concludes.

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‘ Sita Ramam’ cleared for release in UAE

Meanwhile, the film, which has opened to good reviews, has so far grossed a sum of Rs 33 crore worldwide, its makers announced on Wednesday…reports Asian Lite News

Director Hanu Raghavapudi’s romantic entertainer ‘Sita Ramam’, featuring Dulquer Salmaan and Mrunal Thakur in the lead, has been cleared for release in the United Arab Emirates.

The film, which released in other parts of the world on August 5, was re-censored in the UAE and will now hit screens there on August 11.

Meanwhile, the film, which has opened to good reviews, has so far grossed a sum of Rs 33 crore worldwide, its makers announced on Wednesday.

‘Sita Ramam’, a beautiful love story set against the backdrop of a war in 1965, has Dulquer Salmaan playing the character of Lieutenant Ram, an orphan, serving the nation in snow-clad mesmerising terrains and gleaming lakes of Kashmir.

Pairing with Dulquer is Mrunal Thakur as Sita Mahalakshmi, the lead actress of the film, along with Rashmika Mandanna in an impressive role.

The film also features actress Rashmika Mandanna as Afreen, a Pakistan national who loathes India.

ALSO READ-‘Highway’ to have direct OTT release

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‘Highway’ to have direct OTT release

Talking about the film, director K V Guhan said, “Post the first wave of Covid, there was an unprecedented change in the film industry…reports Asian Lite News

Well-known cinematographer and director K V Guhan’s much-awaited psychological thriller, ‘Highway’, featuring Anand Deverakonda in the lead, will directly release on the OTT platform Aha on August 19.

The psychological thriller will also feature Sayami Kher and Manasa along with Abhishek Banerjee in a never-before-seen role.

Directed and written by K.V. Guhan and produced by Venkat Talari, the film is a psychological thriller about a photographer Vishnu (Anand Deverakonda) who falls in love with Tulasi (Manasa). When everything is going great, a serial killer kidnaps his lady love. What happens then is what ‘Highway’ is all about.

Talking about the film, director K V Guhan said, “Post the first wave of Covid, there was an unprecedented change in the film industry. At the same time, we were all connected to world content, irrespective of languages. There was a massive opening for concept films, new experiments, and novel thoughts. That’s when I narrated this idea to Anand and Abhishek, and being explorers themselves, they said ‘yes’.”

“The more you get into the story, the more it brings out the different shades of characters,” says Guhan, who adds that every twist and turn in this film will be new.

ALSO READ-Tamannah joins Bollywood dance competition at IFFM as judge

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Tamannah joins Bollywood dance competition at IFFM as judge

IFFM will be taking place, physically and virtually, from August 12-20, 2022. After the pandemic, this is the first time it has come with its physical event, since 2020 and 2021 was done virtually…reports Asian Lite News

Actress Tamannaah Bhatia, a classically trained dancer whose dancing skills are well known, will be one of the judges at the Bollywood dance competition that is to take place as part of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM). Dancers from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand among others will be taking part in this competition, which the IFFM has been organising over the years. The idea of it was born after seeing the fondness for Bollywood dance across the globe. The organisers have been getting registrations from across the globe for this competition.

The actor will be joined by the present Miss Australia, Miss Kristen Wright, in co-judging the competition. “I have been a dancer all my life. Bollywood dance is something that I grew up with and our movie industry shows such a versatile culture it is even reflected in our dance choreographies. We all know Bollywood has a fan following beyond India. And what makes this competition so special is people from across the globe are coming to take part in this competition,” says Tamannaah. She also adds, “I am really thankful to IFFM for giving me this opportunity to be part of this competition.

“The 13th edition of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) 2022 programme was officially launched by festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange at the Indian Consulate of Melbourne. Mitu says, “Indian movies have always had a huge fan following in Australia. The country is a powerhouse of talent and has given some of the most extremely talented artists in the world. Bollywood music and dance is an independent genre in itself and people are just waiting for a platform to express their talent and are providing that platform. And this time, we have got Tamannaah to judge the competition and she is a part of Bollywood and Southern India film industries. She has a huge following. It will be a treat for her fans to see her in person.”

IFFM will be taking place, physically and virtually, from August 12-20, 2022. After the pandemic, this is the first time it has come with its physical event, since 2020 and 2021 was done virtually. It is one of the biggest Indian film festivals that takes place outside of India and is also the only Indian film festival backed by the Australian government. The film festival will showcase more than 100 critically acclaimed movies. Some of the movies that are lined up for this year’s festival are the upcoming Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, Taapsee Pannu’s ‘Dobaaraa’ and the critically acclaimed ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’.

The event will be hosting some of the big names of Bollywood like Abhishek Bachchan, Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Vaani Kapoor to name a few.

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Food Lite Blogs

Retaining the real flavours

Our food is made in the authentic clay tandoor keeping the zests and essence of food accurate. There is minimum usage of gas and maximum usage of coal to prepare the dishes…says Chef. Vishay Vijan

Culinary Garage is a cloud kitchen based out of Chembur serving authentic Indian food across the city. Started Chef. Vishay Vijan – an IHM – Aurangabad alumni, in August 2020 it serves fulfilling meals to people around the city. The idea behind starting the kitchen was to serve people a food experience that they talk about from different parts of the country right here in Mumbai.

From the Black Dal taking you to the streets of Amritsar to the Soya Chaap reminding you of Delhi and the Laal Maas that brings a little bit of Rajasthan right here, the menu is vast yet limited. We caught up with Vishay to find out more:

When did you start the brand?

Vishay: I started Culinary Garage as a cloud kitchen based out of Chembur in August 2020 to serve fulfilling meals and authentic Indian food across the city.

A little about why you started this brand/ your inspiration

Vishay: The idea behind starting the kitchen was to serve people a food experience that they talk about from different parts of the country right here in Mumbai. Bringing together authentic local cuisine from across the country under one roof, the main objective of the kitchen is to be true to the dish and its roots. We aim to educate the people in Mumbai about the different dishes, and their flavours and give them a palate of foods from different parts of the country. The inspiration comes from the food itself and its ways of preparation from the origin city.

An insight into all the products/services/dishes on the menu you’re offering

Vishay: Each dish has been curated by sourcing ingredients from the origin place and made to excellence in our kitchen. Our food is made in the authentic clay tandoor keeping the zests and essence of food accurate. There is minimum usage of gas and maximum usage of coal to prepare the dishes.

There is no use of any artificial ingredients or colors in everything we prepare hence, retaining the real flavours of the dishes.

From the slow-cooked Black Dal taking you to the streets of Amritsar to the Soya Chaap reminding you of Delhi, the Laal Maas that brings a little bit of Rajasthan right here, and the Korma prompting the land of Nawabs, our menu is vast yet limited. A perfect blend of Fire and Coal brings the best of every Indian flavour to you.

Your Best-selling dishes

Vishay: Butter Chicken, Dal Makhni, Soya Chaap, Chicken Biryani, Mutton Biryani, and Chicken Tikka

Is anything special about your products or something offbeat you would like our users to know about?

Vishay: We ensure to keep innovating and introducing new and seasonal produce items from various parts of India on our menu. We had a winter special menu that had the Kaali Gajar Ka Halwa which is made from black carrots that were brought from Lucknow.

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