The Truth About Telling the Truth

first_imgThe client had a major problem. They weren’t achieving the outcomes they needed, and they were entering a critical stage, one in which it was imperative that they obtain the outcomes their clients needed.The first reason this company was not obtaining the results they needed was driven by the fact they selected a partner who wasn’t strategic enough. This supplier lacked the core competencies and capabilities to help them. This was a good company, they simply had the wrong business model for this particular client.The second reason they were failing was that they weren’t spending enough money.A Case of UnderinvestingDuring our first meeting, I explained to the CEO and his Chief Operating Officer that they were underinvesting in the outcome they needed. I explained to them that in order to reach their goals, they would have to spend an additional million dollars over 12 months. That was the required investment based on their current situation.After meeting with me, this company decided to meet with a competitor. That competitor provided conflicting information. Where I had recommended they spend $1 million, my competitor recommended they spend $500,000, not an insignificant amount of money. Naturally, they wanted to believe a $500,000 investment would achieve the results they needed. They accepted my competitor’s recommendation, and they rejected mine.One week later, I received an email from someone on the operations team literally begging for help with this set of data points that indicated that the $500,000 investment was not working.The TruthYou do not serve your clients by allowing them to underinvest in the results they need. You do not serve your clients by telling them what they want to hear, especially when it comes to what is necessary to produce results, whether those things are money, time, energy, or real changes. You don’t serve your clients by avoiding uncomfortable conversations.If you really want to help people, tell them the truth, not what you believe they want to hear so that you can win an opportunity only to fail the client. The truth about telling the truth is that it won’t always win your business in the short run. But it will help you with the long game.last_img read more

No new tax proposals in Rajasthan

first_imgRajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje presented a ₹1,66,000-crore budget in the State Assembly on Wednesday, while announcing a slew of measures and financial allocations for infrastructure development, transport, agriculture, higher education and water resources.Except a 15% increase in the value added tax on tobacco products, no new tax proposal was made in the Budget. Ms. Raje, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said the State had achieved a myriad of awards and recognitions and bagged many laurels during the last three years.The State government was giving the highest priority to the issues of farmers and protecting the interests of entrepreneurs and small-scale businessmen while creating jobs for the unemployed youths, said Ms. Raje in her speech.The budget projected an estimated fiscal deficit for 2017-18 at ₹24,753 crore, which is 2.99% of the GSDP and the estimated total revenue receipt for the financial year at ₹1,30,162 crore. The estimated own tax revenue for 2017-18 was 8.34% of GSDP.She said ₹.36 crore would be allocated for basic infrastructure, conservation, beautification and renovation works at various tourist places, while the interest subsidy under the crop loan scheme would be ₹370 crore and compensatory interest subsidy to cooperative banks would be ₹.150 crore.Among the salient features of the budget, subsidy for sprinkler equipment will be increased by 5% and mini-kits will be distributed to one lakh farmers based on the reports of soil health cards. The Home Department will get ₹.5,600 crore in the new financial year, while the road and air transport will be strengthened as part of measures to improve infrastructure.Higher educationShe allotted ₹1,399 crore were for higher education, with Karauli and Bharatpur getting new engineering colleges, while admissions to the government schools will be increased by 32% and smart labs will be set up in schools. Among the tax proposals, a composition scheme for micro and small enterprises having turnover up to ₹50 lakh was introduced with the rate of composition fee at 2%. New reliefs were also provided in the stamp duty and registration fees.last_img read more

Virbhadra Singh applies for bail in disproportionate assets case

first_imgDisproportionate assets case: Virbhadra Singh appears before ED  The other accused are LIC agent Anand Chauhan, Tarini Infrastructure managing director Vakamulla Chandrashekhar, Universal Apples Associates (Himachal Pradesh) owner Chunni Lal Chauhan, Prem Raj, Lavan Kumar Roach, Ram Prakash Bhatia and Joginder Singh Ghalta.The CBI has accused Mr. Singh of amassing assets worth Rs. 10.30 crore between May 2009 and June 2012, when he was the Union Steel Minister. It alleged that the LIC agent helped Mr. Singh invest unaccounted money in life insurance policies.In his annual returns, Mr. Singh later showed the additional amount as income from the sale of apples from his orchard. An MoU was later prepared showing the LIC agent as the orchard manager. Mr. Raj and Mr. Roach were shown as witnesses. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh and others on Monday appeared before Additional Sessions Judge Virender Kumar Goyal in Delhi and applied for bail in a disproportionate assets case.The judge issued notice to the CBI and posted their bail applications on May 29 for arguments.Taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by CBI, the judge, on May 9, summoned them to appear in the court on Monday.Also Readlast_img read more

Statewide protest for farm loan waiver on October 20

first_imgThe farmers’ core committee on Tuesday called for a statewide protest against the State government on October 20 to intensify its demand for a complete farm loan waiver.About 10,000 farmers took part in the meeting held in Jalgaon. Notable leaders such as Swabhimani Paksha chief Raju Shetti, independent legislator Bacchu Kadu and veteran farmers’ leader Raghunath Dada Patil participated in the meeting. The committee is spearheading the farmer’s agitation across the State for their various demands.The committee censured the State government and the Modi government for the present plight of farmers. They especially blamed demonetisation for their travails. – a significant number of them women – all of whom attacked the State government’s criteria and framework of the current farm loan waiver proposals.Mr. Shetti said, “October 20 was chosen to hold the protest as Balipratipada is an auspicious occasion for farmers. Instead of farmers celebrating this day, we have planned a massive protest to draw the attention of the Centre and State to the ground reality. We reiterate our demand for immediate implementation of the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee so that farmers get a better deal for their agricultural produce.”Mr. Patil said that a symbolic ‘FIR’ under Sections 302 (murder) and 420 (cheating) against the Chief Minister would be lodged on October 20. He said, “The State’s proposals are a scam and responsible for farmer suicides. Only a small minority of well-off farmers will benefit from it. Our repeated warnings requesting the government to not push the loan waiver scheme in its current form has fallen on deaf ears.”While the BJP’s ally, the Shiv Sena, and the Nationalist Congress Party will kick off their agitations on October 1, Yogendra Yadav’s Swaraj Party is implementing a concrete plan for farmers in suicide-racked Vidarbha.last_img read more

Mehbooba’s brother nominated as MLC

first_imgJammu & Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra on Friday nominated Tassaduq Mufti, brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, for the vacant MLC seat in the Assembly, paving the way for his induction into the Cabinet.A Raj Bhavan spokesman said that in exercise of powers vested in the Governor under sub-section (6) of Section 50 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Vohra nominated Mr. Mufti as a member of the Council. He is likely to take oath as an MLC on December 26. Of late, Mr. Mufti, who worked as a coordinator of the CM’s grievance cell, has faced criticism within the bureaucracy and from the Opposition National Conference for calling meetings of many departments.Mr. Mufti is likely to be made Minister during the upcoming Assembly session in Jammu.In a separate development, Governor Vohra accepted the resignation of Syed Farooq Andrabi, Minister of State (MoS), Haj, Power Development Department, and Public Health Engineering. Mr. Andrabi is an uncle of Ms. Mufti. His resignation is aimed at fending off any criticism of “promoting too many relatives in the Cabinet”, said a PDP source.last_img read more

Punjab war on drug menace

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday launched the Drug Abuse Prevention Officer initiative aimed at engaging government employees and citizens to wipe out the menace of drugs from the State.Paying tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at a State-level function at Khatkar Kalan on Martyrs’ Day, Capt. Amarinder said the DAPO programme will involve engaging dedicated volunteers to work in their localities in coordination with the local administration, the police and the Special Task Force.He said more than 4,25,000 volunteers have already registered on the DAPO website as part of the campaign and more applications were expected.“I appeal to one and all to become part of the anti-drugs campaign of the government. It is the collective responsibility of all to rescue the youth from the clutches of drugs, which is destroying the future generations. It is important for everyone to support the government in this fight against drugs in the interest of the State’s development and progress,” he said.Airport renamingReferring to the demand to name Mohali International Airport after Bhagat Singh, Capt. Singh said the Punjab government has already taken up the issue with the Centre and he would personally pursue the matter.The Chief Minister dedicated to the nation the Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Memorial and Museum to commemorate the sacrifices of the martyrs.last_img read more

Six Youth Congress workers held for tearing PM’s poster

first_imgSix Youth Congress members were arrested on Sunday for allegedly tearing down the poster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a petrol pump here while protesting against the high fuel prices.Shouting “BJP, down down”, the Youth Congress activists tore down the poster at a fuel station in Delta Square. “The BJD had come to power pledging to bring ‘Achche Din’. But now the action of the government is just the opposite. Prices of petrol and diesel have become unaffordable. We will not let posters of the Prime Minister to be displayed at any fuel station in the State till the prices do not come down,” said State Youth Congress president Loknath Maharathy, who was leading the agitation.The Youth Congress members also took out rallies on motorcycles shouting slogans against the price hike. The protesters also asked petrol pump owners in the city to remove Mr. Modi’s posters.‘Partisan role’ Slamming the BJD government after the arrest of the youth leaders, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Prasad Harichandan alleged that the police played a partisan and discriminatory role while dealing with the Congress protesters.The BJP, on the other hand, accused the ruling BJD in the State of using the Congress for its benefit. State BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty alleged that both the BJD and the Congress were working together against the Narendra Modi government.Refuting the allegation, BJD spokesperson Amar Satpathy said the BJD had organised its protest against fuel price hike earlier and there was no question of joining hands with the Congress. (With PTI inputs)last_img read more

RLD and SP raise EVM malfunction issue in UP by-election voting

first_imgThe Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on Monday raised allegations of rigging in the Noorpur Assembly and Kairana Lok Sabha by-election polling after EVM malfunction was reported in several booths.The RLD’s candidate in Kairana Tabassum Hasan has written to the Chief Election Commissioner complaining about malfunctioning EVM and VVPATs in the constituency. Despite raising the flag, the administration is not dealing with the issue and voters were being deprived of their right, she wrote, urging the EC to urgently send engineers and technicians to repair the machines.In a letter to the UP Chief Election Officer, SP State president Naresh Uttam Patel has complained that faulty EVMs were reported from 113 booths in the stronghold of the SP and its allies in Noorpur. “It appears that the EVMs are made to go faulty in such large numbers on the directions of the State government so that people cannot go and vote in these booths,” Mr. Patel wrote.A delegation led by BJP UP vice-president J.P.S. Rathore met the UPCEO demanding immediate restoration of EVMs and possible re-polling on booths where voting was stalled for a long time. Submits list of 67 booths in Kairana where faulty EVMs have been reported. The BJP also says that the election officers and booth officers were not paying heed to complaints raised by BJP polling agents.As per her complaint, EVM related issues have been reported in booths in each of the five Assembly segments in Kairana. Shamli: 47 booths, Kairana 13, Gangoh 48, Nakud 38, and Thana Bhawan 9. Raising the issue on Twitter, RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary said: “So many malfunctioning EVMs point to some sort of systematic anarchy!”The SP also raised allegations of rigging in the Noorpur bypoll, saying that EVMs in most of the booths in Dalit and Muslim areas were “selectively” not functioning. The SP pointed out at least 19 booths where EVM malfunctioning was allegedly reported. The EC is yet to comment on the accusations by the Opposition. SP president Akhilesh Yadav said: “Is this a technical fault or failure of election management or a conspiracy to deprive people their voting rights? At this rate, the foundations of democracy will be shaken.”SP MLC Udaiveer Singh alleged there was “scientific rigging” going on as EVMs were “selectively” malfunctioning in 90% Dalit and Muslim populated booths in Noorpur. “No engineer (are) available, DM irresponsibly behaving. Ramzan being used as a tool by BJP. Yahi hai (this is) digital India aur VIKAS (development),”he said.Almost 90% of officers in Noorpur have their phones switched off, added Mr. Singh. “Administration ko message hai kaise bhi jeetna hai (It has been indicated to the administration to ensure victory at any cost),” he said.The SP says that polling has been stalled in many booths in Noorpur seat, including 97, 200,231,205,206 337, 25,29,30,266,30,24, 222,305,282,311,230,287,221.last_img read more

Will Maharashtra CM overrule Amit Shah, asks Sharad Pawar

first_imgTaking a cue from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah’s remarks that reservations can not exceed 50%, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Friday said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will have to show courage to overrule his party president while granting quota to the Marathas.“He (Shah) has clearly said that reservations cannot be given above 50 per cent and that the demand for the same was not right. Now, it is a test for the Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis),” said Mr. Pawar. He said that the government should clarify its position in court which will ensure no harm to reservation of other groups. Mr. Pawar also extended support to reservation for Muslims in Maharashtra.The Maharashtra Assembly, in its recently concluded winter session, unanimously passed a Bill providing 16 % quota in jobs and education to the Marathas, taking the overall reservations in the State to 68% from the existing 52%. Addressing poll rallies in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Telangana, Mr. Shah had opposed the TRS government’s proposal to increase reservation for Muslims, saying the Supreme Court has imposed an overall cap of 50%.Homecoming for ex-MLCMr Pawar’s dare to the CM came at a press conference convened to announce the return of Prashant Hiray, ex-MLC from Nashik, to the NCP. Mr. Hiray had quit the NCP, to join the BJP and has been a former Maharashtra minister. Mr. Hiray and ex-MLC Apurva Hiray joined the NCP along with several followers in the presence of Mr. Pawar.Taunting the BJP which is enlisting leaders from other parties, Mr. Pawar said he does not need to depend on adopted ones as his real followers are enough to sail him through. “We don’t run our houses depending on adopted leaders. We don’t even need to depend on them. We are the ones who work on self-respect,” he said. The Hiray family, which enjoys influence across Nashik district and runs several educational institutes, has been close to Mr. Pawar for years. They parted ways over differences with NCP strongman Chhagan Bhujbal, who also hails from Nashik. “Yes, there were certain problems between us. But everything has been sorted out,” said Mr. Bhujbal.last_img read more

Panjab University relaxes hostel rules

first_imgThe 48-day-long struggle by a group of Panjab University students demanding round-the-clock freedom of movement in girls’ hostels has finally yielded results.The University’s Senate has decided to allow unrestricted movement in hostels for girls, with a condition that students going out after 11 p.m. will have to make an entry in a register.“The Senate deliberated on the issue of 24×7 opening of girls’ hostels. It was resolved that students be allowed to exit hostels after 11 p.m., after making an entry in the register maintained by the hostel,” an official statement by the University said on Saturday.“The message is loud and clear that women have now come forward to assert themselves…” Kanupriya, president of the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) told The Hindu. The students elected the first women president of the PUCSC this year.Victory marchSeveral students led by Ms. Kanupriya, and from the Students For Society (SFS), All India Students’ Association and Panjab Students’ Union, held a victory march on the campus after the Senate’s decision.A visibly elated Sunidhi, of the Physics department, said, “It’s a collective win…the freedom of movement will go a long way towards increasing socialisation on the campus.”last_img read more

Kashmiri separatists to take on Islamic State supporters

first_imgSeparatists under the umbrella Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) plan to confront Islamic State (IS) supporters on Friday by holding a protest against the unfurling of an IS flag at the pulpit of the Jamia Masjid here last week.All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Valley’s head priest whose family traditionally delivers a sermon from the pulpit every Friday, on Monday registered a protest against the move “to usurp” the politically significant pulpit. He met JRL leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik to rally their support against the act. During the meeting of the Awami Action Committee, chaired by the Mirwaiz, the attempt by the alleged IS supporters was termed as a “violation of the pulpit by a bunch of goons”. The Mirwaiz, sources said, described the act as “a ploy” against the entire separatist leadership.He is reported to have asserted at the meeting that the pulpit represented the religious identity, social and political aspirations of the people of Kashmir for the past many decades and that it would continue to do so, no matter how many conspiracies were hatched by “miscreants backed by security agencies”.Joint protestThe Mirwaiz, who will chair another meeting on Wednesday, called for a joint protest on January 4, and described the coming Friday as Youm-e-Taqadus (Day of Consecration).Supporting the Mirwaiz, Hurriyat faction chairman Mr. Geelani and JKLF chief Mr. Malik said, “These mischievous actions cannot be tolerated and people should be cautious and conscious about such disrespectful events.” All three plan to offer prayers together.The Jamaat-e-Islami and traders’ bodies including the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) condemned the masked men’s bid to unfurl the IS flag at the pulpit.“The mosque is our pride,” said KEA chairman Yasin Khan. “The desecration wouldn’t be tolerated. There’s a need to come up with a collective strategy to foil such nefarious designs,” he added.According to the police, it had killed at least 10 IS recruits, who switched sides from the Hizbul Mujahideen or Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen in 2018.“The IS ranks are negligible and its limited influence was confined to urban pockets, especially Srinagar and Pulwama,” said a senior police official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It did influence educated and Internet-hooked youth like Esa Fazili through online literature and videos,” he added.last_img read more

Good news soon on tie-up with JJP: AAP

first_imgHaryana Aam Aadmi Party chief Naveen Jaihind on Friday alleged that the BJP is spreading hatred in the name of religion and caste in the country and his party was ready to make any sacrifice to throw it out of power.Mr. Jaihind, addressing a press conference here, said AAP was ready to accept any of the five Lok Sabha seats offered by the Jannayak Janta Party for their alliance to work and keep the BJP out of power. He said that AAP was in talks with the JJP for an alliance in Lok Sabha election in Haryana and “good news” was expected soon, adding that the outcome of the talks was expected by the month-end. “It is important to save the country,” said Mr. Jaihind.He alleged that the BJP leaders dressed themselves in Army uniform to take political mileage out of the air strikes in the wake of the Pulwama attack and played politics on the martyrdom of the Army jawans.Delhi modelMr. Jaihind said that his party would go to the people in Haryana with the AAP’s Delhi model of development and remind the masses about the promises made by the BJP in its manifestos. “The BJP promised to implement the Swaminathan Commission report, provide two crore jobs to the youth and transfer ₹15 lakh in every bank account, but failed to keep any of its promises. In Haryana, it provided just a few thousand government jobs in Group D category against the promise of one lakh jobs every year. Crime against women has gone up and farmers are in distress,” said the AAP Haryana chief. He said the BJP had also failed to keep its word on developing smart cities and all it could do was to change the name of Gurgaon to Gurugram.Asserting that his party was ready to contest all 10 Lok Sabha seats if talks for an alliance with the JJP did not materialise, Mr. Jaihind said that AAP would appoint in-charges for all 10,000 polling stations in the State over the next 10 days.last_img read more

Sometimes It Pays to Be a Weakling

first_imgLISBON—Sometimes it’s better not to be the best. Take rams. Those with bigger horns get the girl more often—but they also die younger, according to research being presented here tomorrow at the XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology. The tradeoff helps explain a long-standing puzzle about why the best genes for mating don’t take over.Pondering the peacock’s elaborate plumage, the father of evolutionary biology, Charles Darwin, proposed that the drive for sex—and for producing offspring—was a powerful force in evolution. Fending off potential rivals or vying for a female’s attention has driven males to be ever more extreme—bigger, stronger, more colorful. This process, called sexual selection, should also affect the genes, so that only versions of genes that lead to these enhanced qualities should exist. But this isn’t what happens in the real world. There are plenty of small, weak males among the supermen.Sheep are a good example. Males with the biggest horns get the ewe more often—they tussle with each other over mates and big horns provide an advantage. Yet some guys still have stubby horns. “It has always been a bit of a mystery as to why there would be so much variation in horn type,” says evolutionary biologist Susan Johnston of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Johnston realized that she might be able to resolve this paradox by analyzing long-term data about wild sheep living on an island off Scotland’s coast. She and her colleagues have been collecting information on the Soay sheep since 1985 and kept records on how long the sheep live, what offspring they sire, and other life history traits. The researchers have also gathered genetic data, assessing a range of DNA bases called SNPs at specific spots in the genome. Meanwhile, research on wild and domestic sheep has shown that one gene primarily controls horn size in these animals. Thus, the researchers could link life history data to the versions of the horn-size gene in each animal. “Few studies have been able to examine all these components of the evolutionary equation at the same time,” says Russell Bonduriansky, an evolutionary biologist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who was not involved with the work.Johnston’s team analyzed 1750 sheep that they had studied over 2 decades. They found two versions, or alleles, of the horn gene, a large-horn allele and a small-horn allele. Sheep carried either two of the same allele or one of each. As expected, rams with two large-horn alleles sported the biggest horns and sired more lambs—about three per year, versus only 1.6 offspring per year for the males who carried two small-horn alleles. But males with the two small-horn alleles lived longer, having a 75% chance of surviving each year, compared with a 61% chance in males with two big-horn alleles. “Horn length has opposite effects on reproduction and survival,” says Thomas Flatt, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland who was not involved with the study.Johnston suggests that this effect on survival could be indirect: Small-horned males may spend a lot more time eating and taking care of themselves because they don’t have females to watch over and court.An animal’s lifetime fitness—how well it does in life—is a combination of how long it lives and how many offspring it produces. The individuals with one allele of each type have the best of both worlds—largish horns and a long life—and came out on top, Johnston’s team reports at the conference and also online today in Nature. They produce about three offspring per year and last an average of four mating seasons as opposed to three seasons for the rams with two large-horn alleles.  Given the advantage of having one of each allele, “[natural] selection can’t get rid of one of the alleles,” Flatt adds.”This study provides a very clear, compelling confirmation that genetic variation in important traits is maintained by tradeoffs between components of fitness such as survival and reproduction,” Bonduriansky says. “It tells us the genetic basis of [sexually selected] traits can be startlingly simple.”Furthermore, Johnston says, “how genetic variation is maintained is fundamental to many different real-life problems.” It can matter for health; for example, in Africa the allele that leads to sickle cell anemia persists in humans because it also protects against malaria. Genetic variation in crops is coming to be more appreciated as well, as that diversity should help plants withstand pathogens better. And variation may be what saves species forced to adapt to climate change.*Correction, 21 August, 1:58 p.m.: Susan Johnston is at the University of Edinburgh, not the University of Sheffield, as previously reported.last_img read more

New Survey Finds U.S. Sequester Has Meant Less Academic Research

first_imgThis year’s mandatory across-the-board budget cuts to U.S. research agencies have translated into less money for academic scientists and delays in their research projects.A survey of public and private U.S. research universities released today finds that 70% of the 74 respondents report that sequestration has caused a reduction in federal research grants to their institutions and has slowed campus-based research. The biggest effects are fewer student positions (31%), a reduction in temporary or part-time staff positions (30%), and a decline in postdoctoral fellows (24%). Some 22% of respondents said they also have had to reduce the number of permanent staff members.The survey, conducted last month, polled 171 members of the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. “The survey shows that sequestration is already eroding America’s research capabilities at universities across the country,” according to a statement issued by the two organizations and by The Science Coalition, which lobbies for academic research.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Ebola vaccines racing forward at record pace

first_imgOn 2 September, a 39-year-old woman in Bethesda, Maryland, received a novel Ebola vaccine never given to humans before. In as little as 2 months, this same vaccine may go into the arms of thousands of health care workers and other first-line responders to the Ebola epidemic now wreaking havoc in West Africa. No experimental vaccine has ever been on a faster track toward widespread use. “It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director-general at the World Health Organization (WHO).On 5 September, more than 200 “technical experts” convened by WHO recommended bypassing the usual time-consuming regulatory pathways for potential Ebola vaccines and therapies. “We have to change the sense that there is no hope in this situation to a realistic hope,” Kieny said. No one expects a vaccine will slow the epidemic directly, yet it could help keep and attract workers leading containment efforts.The Bethesda woman is taking part in a phase I trial at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of several small studies getting under way in four countries to assess this vaccine’s safety and the immune responses it triggers. The genetically engineered vaccine she received contains genes for a surface protein from two different strains of Ebola stitched into a harmless chimpanzee adenovirus that serves as a vector. Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is developing the vaccine in collaboration with NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), may produce as many as 10,000 doses by the end of the year.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A second Ebola vaccine starting human tests this month uses a similar Trojan horse strategy. Initially engineered by the Public Health Agency of Canada and now being developed by NewLink Genetics of Ames, Iowa, this vaccine contains the Ebola surface protein gene inside a weakened version of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which commonly infects farm animals. Most of the 1500 doses of this vaccine that exist will be used in clinical studies, a company representative says.Both vaccines have protected monkeys and smaller animals in lab experiments. A study published online on 7 September in Nature Medicine shows that monkeys primed with the NIAID/GSK preparation and boosted by yet another vaccine that uses a vector known as MVA—a modified version of the smallpox vaccine virus—were protected from an Ebola virus “challenge” 10 months after their last vaccination. The researchers, led by NIAID’s Nancy Sullivan, claim this is the first demonstration of “durable” protection from Ebola virus.If the ongoing safety trials are encouraging—and results will be in as soon as November—health care workers and first responders would be the first to get the vaccines, following the recommendation of another WHO panel in August. Many of these responders have been killed and sickened by the virus, and recruiting people to fight the epidemic has been difficult. But putting the vaccines on such a fast track raises a host of perplexing issues “that the field has to think through very carefully,” says John Mascola, who heads NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC).Typically, vaccines that pass phase I safety trials move into expanded phase II trials meant to answer the same questions in more people, finally moving into phase IIb and phase III tests to determine whether they actually work and should go to market. Mascola and other Ebola vaccine developers have long contended that traditional efficacy trials could not be done because past outbreaks have ended quickly with the help of standard infection control procedures such as isolating confirmed cases, testing their contacts, and making sure that all health care workers wear personal protective equipment.Instead, researchers had planned to take advantage of what’s known as the Animal Rule at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The rule says when efficacy studies “are not ethical or feasible,” FDA will license vaccines for diseases if they work in two animal models and if large-scale phase II studies conducted in humans prove they are safe and trigger immune responses that mirror those in protected animals.But with today’s fast-moving epidemic, which has spread to five West African countries and killed more than half of the roughly 4000 cases, talk about large phase II studies in unaffected populations has gone out the window. Now, the push is to vaccinate people at high risk and try to gain interpretable data, says Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Hill’s group will soon launch a small safety study of the NIAID/GSK vaccine, and he is confident it will pass muster. “Then it’s decision time,” he says. “Not just whether we go forward but how to go forward.”Traditionally, efficacy trials randomly assign participants to receive the vaccine or a dummy shot. That’s clearly not ethical here, so some researchers are calling for a “step-wedge” trial, which analyzes what happens to people at similar risk who receive the vaccine at different times. That way those who have been vaccinated can be compared with others who have yet to receive their shots. “You can’t give everyone the vaccine the same day,” Hill notes.But a step-wedge design could face serious limitations. The rate of spread can differ between sites because one might have, say, better or worse personal protection measures, which could cloud analyses of a vaccine’s shortcomings or strengths. Researchers might also have trouble detecting efficacy if a vaccine offers only partial protection, NIAID’s Mascola says. “If there’s a 50% mortality with Ebola and you use the vaccine and it’s 40% protective, what does that mean?” he asks.Impassioned debates also surround which experimental vaccine to deploy. As the Nature Medicine study shows, the chimp adenovirus vaccine worked best when boosted with the MVA-Ebola construct. But that’s not being assessed in the initial human trials. Mascola says a company has made the MVA preparation in bulk but it’s not ready for testing.Thomas Geisbert, a researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, who helped develop several VSV Ebola vaccines, including the one made by NewLink Genetics, contends “it’s a much stronger vaccine system.” The VSV replicates, unlike the chimpanzee adenovirus vector, stimulating an immune response that Geisbert argues is as good as the one achieved by the prime-boost approach NIAID has championed. “In the context of an outbreak, where you are going to put first responders on an airplane, you don’t have time for a prime-boost,” he says. “You need a single injection.”But even though this VSV is weakened, safety concerns remain about the possibility that it could cause neurological disease, as it has in some animal studies, or infect livestock. And Anthony Fauci, who heads NIAID, says that the chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine may work well enough without the extra boost, noting that a single injection protected 100% of monkeys challenged with Ebola virus at 5 weeks. “The vaccine was developed to be able to induce immunity really fast,” he says.Fauci and his NIAID colleagues say it makes sense to test different vaccine strategies in parallel. “We’ve been fooled by trying to translate monkey findings to humans before,” says Fauci, who notes that an AIDS vaccine worked well in monkeys and actually increased HIV infection rates when tested in humans.Gary Nabel, who headed NIAID’s VRC before leaving in 2012 to join Sanofi in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says manufacturers should massively scale up production now, before trial results are in. “If it were me personally, I’d err on the side of caution, and I’d think carefully about stockpiling doses,” Nabel says. “If it isn’t safe, you throw away those lots. In the worst case you’ve wasted some money.”If the virus spreads even farther and one of these vaccines does prove safe and effective but is not available, “I think there’ll be a lot of finger-pointing,” Nabel says. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and this is an extraordinary time.”*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.last_img read more

Praying With The Flute

first_imgHis musical journey had the most unlikely beginnings and yet today he is the greatest living flute player in the world. He bemoans that while he may create heavenly music blowing into a piece of bamboo, he remains jealous of Lord Krishna, who despite not having any recordings of his music, is celebrated all over the world in poetry and prose for his talents with the flute. By contrast, Hariprasad Chaurasia laments, he had to struggle, perform tapasya for many years, and yet he doesn’t have even one percent of Krishna’s recognition. But, then, he concedes with his wry humor and a twinkle in his eyes, “Well Krishna is the creator of this world and I am just a humble lover of his flute.” Every time you meet Hariprasad Chaurasia, you are transported into a world of mischief, music and magic, on and off the stage. His innocent smile hides a sharp mind and ready wit. He is also nurturing outstanding talent in his school Brindavan, which is based on the gurukul system.In an exclusive interview with Little India’s Kavita Chhibber, conducted in Michigan and Philadelphia, Chaurasia talks about his life’s journey, and why despite the hoopla to the contrary, he is optimistic about the future of Indian classical music.You came from a family of wrestlers. How much of a handicap was that in your quest to become a musician? My father was a wrestler and though everyone liked music in the family, it was taboo to even think of a musical career. In his eyes, music meant performing at a courtesan’s mehfil, or you sang when begging for alms. My mother died when I was five and my father had vowed never to marry and raised three of us single handedly. He was very strict, and children those days did not dare speak up before their parents. If I describe some of the thrashings I received from him, you will be aghast. Looking back however I can understand, his frustrations, a full blooded, young man, not marrying and raising us, cooking for us, single handedly must have been very stressful.I used to wrestle to keep him happy, but would often go to my friend’s house where the parents encouraged music and would satisfy my urge to sing. Every one knew my father’s temper, so they all kept my secret. When I was about nine years old I started learning vocal music from Pandit Rajaram. He was our neighbor and both his wife and he were very fond of me, as they had no children. He would teach me secretly and when he discovered that I had talent he started working very hard on me. Then a chance rendition became the turning point musically I believe. Indeed. At the age of 15, I heard the flute for the first time on Allahabad radio. It was as if I was transported to heaven. The flautist was Pt Bholanath and that was the major turning point in my life. He was a bachelor and must have been happy to see a youngster like me at his doorstep. He hoped to get me to at least cut his vegetables and grind his spices in return for the music that I wanted to learn! I began learning the flute from him. Once I was practicing at home and my father heard me. When he asked me to open my door and asked what was I playing, I said, “Oh, I was just whistling.” I got an even worse thrashing for whistling, because that was not something good boys indulged in.In the meantime I found a job, initially as a typist and then as a clerk in the Uttar Pradesh government. I knew at that point that playing the flute was my life’s calling. Soon after, while I was still in my teens I got an offer to work as a staff artist on Cuttack radio in Orissa and I accepted. It was then that my father found out that I was a musician. It was a major shock for him. Not only the fact that I had learnt music and was now going to earn a living as a musician, but also that I was leaving him, when he had sacrificed his whole life for us. He tried to stop me, but for me it was as if God had answered my prayer. I had felt so tortured, so stifled, not being able to give the amount of time I wanted to give to my music, and now it seemed as if I could finally break free and be on my own, to practice as long as I wanted.In Orissa there was nothing but Orissi dance and I didn’t know the language, I was vegetarian and all they ate was fish and meat, so I threw myself into my music, and practiced day and night. Soon people heard me on the radio and started inviting me home, the Orissi dancers asked me to accompany them, and I stared getting paid very well. What I made in a month at the radio station I began to make in a day as an accompanist. In fact the girls would seduce me with movie tickets and say, here I have a movie ticket for you, don’t play the flute at that other girl’s dance, play for me. The director of the radio station was very kind and one day called me and said, there is a long list of complaints against you, that you hardly ever come to the radio station and are too busy performing outside. So son, why don’t you come once a month and sign for the entire month, and the day you do show up, do some good work.’I started doing some compositions then, just to stop people from grumbling. Soon the director left and since the others were not too pleased with my extra curricular activities they had me transferred to Bombay. Bombay was a major culture shock. My salary was Rs 250 ($5). That just covered the cost of my train fare for the month. A small, room cost Rs 500. I had brought some savings with me and had decided I would work for a month or two and then return to Orissa and continue with my work there as I had been making good money. I realize now that nothing in this life ever happens by accident. When I played at the radio station, some of the famous music directors from the films, like Madan Mohan and Roshan, heard me and soon after I started getting an abundance of assignments to play for films. I would be out all day after my radio station work and return home only at night with my pockets bulging with cash. Very soon I resigned from the radio station, and made working for film directors my full time job.You worked with SD and RD Burman. Can you share some memories of these stalwarts?SD Burman was a very gifted musician, a simple man but exceedingly stingy! He had a hard time parting with his cash even after he had become very affluent. There was a time we were all struggling and staying in rooms in a hotel, and Sachinda, as we lovingly called him, would hide behind a curtain if he was eating something. Once lyricist Anand Bakshi had come over to discuss a song, and Sachinda told him he must eat something, borrowed ten bucks that Anand Bakshi could ill afford to shell out, got the errand boy to get a dozen bananas, fed Bakshi one and kept the rest for himself!I still remember this incident where we had to all meet at his place once he had made it, to discuss the composition of a song. I arrived straight from another recording and saw the producer, director, the hero and the heroine and some 4-5 musicians seated around this table. Sachin da asked his wife to provide tea and some sweets. His wife Mira brought a plateful of rasgullas, which someone had probably brought from Calcutta for him.In between, the servant came and whispered there was no sugar in the house. Sachinda promptly said, “oh, then never mind the tea, by the time you get the sugar the tea will be cold.” But he couldn’t send the sweets away! Reluctantly he asked people around him to have a rasgulla. People were too scared of him and said “No, no, we have already eaten before we came.”Well I had come straight from a recording and was pretty hungry. As he covered his face with his fingers and closed his eyes to think of a tune, I made a grab for the sweets. In no time I had polished off 15 rasgullas and there were barely a couple left. Dada saw his precious sweets disappear and was quite annoyed.The next day Lata Mangeshkar was to be briefed about a song and I was asked to play the flute at various points in the song. As I started, dada chimed in, still rattled about his lost rasgullas, “See Lata, he is sounding extra sweet today isn’t he. I’m not surprised considering all the rasgullas he polished off at my house yesterday. It has made his flute extra sweet today!”Sachinda was very serious and would seldom smile. RD on the other hand was generous and full of mischief. Not too many people know that he was a serious student of music as Sachin da had sent him to learn from Ali Akbar Khan. We would often sit in a separate room cracking wild jokes laughing our heads off then rearrange our facial features and look very serious when it was time to go before his father. At times Sachinda would wonder and ask, “Who was laughing outside?”The one time that I did make him laugh happened because of a trick I played on a shehnai player Dakshina Mohan Tagore. Both Sachin da and Dakshina Mohan Tagore had dreams of the latter going abroad and striking it big. Once we were in London and we found a street where they would print phony newspapers with any headlines we wanted. So we got this headline printed ” Indian Musician Dakshina Mohan Tagore Caught Streaking Across West End.” I took the paper to Sachinda and said “What a shameful thing, look at how Dakshina ji is making his name abroad.” Dada was shocked until suddenly it dawned on him that he had been had and he burst into laughter. Dakshina babu however didn’t forgive us for a long time!Bollywood made me affluent. Soon I had my own flat and a car, and all the material comforts, and then the discontentment started.I believe that it was santoor maestro, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma who really got you back on track.I worship Shiv Kumar Sharma from the deepest interiors of my heart. He is the elder brother I was lucky to have. Shivji is not of this world. I realized that the moment I set eyes on him. We met in the 1950s at a youth festival and then again in Bombay in 1961 and became very close. Once he was married, his wife was like my second mother. I would fight with her, walk off with things he got from his hometown of Jammu and demand particular dishes. We had a lot of fun creating music for films together and touring and indulging in my brand of mischief. Once we were being hosted by two very scary looking old ladies and we wriggled out of that by telling them Shivji snored and I screamed. Shivji was, indeed the one who asked me one day if playing in Bollywood films was all I was going to do in my life. I was not growing as an artist. I needed more. What did I have to show in terms of personal creativity, or growth? He was right. I back tracked and decided to find my guru.For that you went to the reclusive Anna Purna Devi, Baba Allauddin Khan’s daughter, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s sister and Ravi Shankar’s ex wife. Why her? She had stopped performing in public and was considered very moody.She asked me the same question when she kicked me out of her house the first time I showed up there! Many years ago, when I was a lad, her father the legendary Sarod maestro Baba Allauddin Khan used to come to Allahabad and stay at a hotel owned by my best friend’s parents and my friend would drag me to listen to him. One day he forced me to take my flute. When Baba saw the flute he asked me to play. He liked what he heard and asked me to come to Maihar where he lived and become his disciple. I told him my father would kill me. Then he said, if you can come, come. I will feed you, clothe you and train you. If you cannot and I die, then go to my daughter Anna Purna. She is endowed with amazing talent. Strangely he did not recommend his son sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan. That somehow stayed in my mind and then I realized Anna Purna Devi was living in Bombay and she was married to Pt. Ravi Shankar.Anna Purna Devi played the surbahar and when I went to her for the first time, she threw me out. As it is, filmi musicians have a flaky reputation, on top of that I played the flute, and not surbahar, her forte and thirdly she wondered why was I coming to her and not going to Raviji. The second time she threatened to call the police, but I persisted, and finally after three years of persistently dogging her, she finally relented. She asked me to play something and when I did, she said, that if I had to learn from her, I had to start from scratch.To show her I was serious. I decided to switch hands. I used to play with my right-hand, I switched to the left and believe me it is sheer torture. It’s like if I tell you that instead of walking straight, walk backwards for the rest of your life without looking back. I used to cry in sheer agony.You have heard of stories about baba beating up his students with a hammer if they made a mistake. His son Ali Akbar Khan once jumped from the first floor of the house and ran away to Lucknow to work in a radio station, because he was beaten so much. Although one time the tables were turned on Baba as he tried to hit a foreign student who turned on Baba and there was Baba running and asking for help and apologizing as the irate student chased him with a stick.Annapurnaji too was a very strict disciplinarian and even more demanding than her father. She did not play the flute so she would sing the ragas and teach me. All I can say is that if I am ever reborn I want to have the same teacher in each birth. She has brought a depth and meaning to my music that is incomparable. I realized because of her that I am finally on the right path. I have missed out so much that can never be made up, because she came into my life so much later. She is not just my guru, and my mother, she is the reincarnation of goddess Saraswati for me. In my life my music has been my greatest passion, until I met her. I realize that I have never loved anyone as much as I have loved her, and she has showered immense love on me in return. I still go and learn from her. When I am away I miss her terribly.   Anna Purnaji doesn’t perform in public. I believe, from the stories I have heard, she was a far superior performer than even Raviji and her fame began to upset him, and so Baba made her vow that she would give up performing in public. Raviji has commented upon his marriage to her in his autobiography. What is your take on her and Shubho?That is the greatest tragedy of the women of our country and my heart bleeds at the sacrifice they have made through the ages. I also do not approve of talking about my woman in public. We worship our women. They are devis, whether they are our mothers, or wives, sisters, or daughters, and it is in poor taste for a man of that stature to make any kind of comment about a lady.I would never have the inclination or the guts to speak about my wife in public no matter how turbulent our relationship. It’s just not done, even though I love Raviji and have the utmost regard for him. I don’t think there is any truth to the story that Baba asked her to stop playing or that Raviji felt threatened. I have never had the courage to ask her and I have never seen her play. All I know is that from what I have heard from others she was far superior as a musician than anyone else in that era.I saw her son Shubho who was a young, kind child and was emerging as a very gifted musician and painter. He was very dedicated to his music and would practice almost 8-9 hours every day. He was also studying painting. Then he chose to move to the USA and lost focus. I know people blame Raviji for spoiling him, but the fact is it was not Raviji’s fault. Shubho was old enough to know right from wrong. I think sometimes when you are fortunate enough to be born in a musical family you may take it for granted. It’s really important for sons and daughters of artists to not get scattered, but unfortunately that is what I see happening a lot of the times. It is very interesting to see how all three – Raviji, Ali Akbar Khan and Annapurna Devi, were taught by the same master, but their playing was ruled by their own temperament, making them uniquely different from each other.You have collaborated with an amazing number of vocal and instrumental artists, both from the west and India, including with Jethro Tull in three concerts recently.Yes they now call it fusion music, but I think its confusion in the minds of those who created the phrase. We play alongside each other, it’s not in fusion but in unison. I have enjoyed playing with all the artists. In 1972 we had musicians from the west and fellow Indians, including Ravi Shankar, Allah Rakha, George Harrison, Jean Pierre Ramphal and toured 54 cities. It was really interesting to see how each artist approached his music, the concert, and his moods, both on and off stage.Yehudi Menhuin was great. He loved Indian culture and music and was one of the genuinely humble men I have known. Of course at times there were ego hassles when even the audience could see the other musician was trying to outshine me, or over shadow me. Don’t ask me for names. How can I tell you which one of my 5 kids is more naughty? I normally walk away from controversies. It’s more of a stress being embroiled in them. Jethro Tull was surprisingly fun and very well behaved and we played to a full house everywhere. We worked on a few melodies together and at other times we played our own stuff but it all jelled very well.You created a CD “Divine Dhrupad.” It was interesting, because dhrupad is either sung or played on the veena traditionally. Well I come from the Senia gharana and it is a pre-requisite to start with dhrupad when you start learning music, and after that you can go to khayal or thumri. I have felt that the singers who sing dhrupad have been trying to monopolize and control the dhrupad style, so I decided to play it on the flute, and every one appreciated it greatly.What do you think of the young musicians of today? They are getting younger and younger these days. I think they are very short-sighted. These days they are more interested in signing contracts, and cash in on their talents as early as possible. What they don’t realize is that if you are not ready, you will flounder eventually. It’s like working on an empty stomach versus a full stomach. An empty vessel only makes a lot of noise. We were never ready until our guru told us that we were, but these days there is no reverence for teachers. Earlier we used to run after our teachers, now the teachers run after their students, and are often told, please sit, my son is watching TV. Or he is taking a shower or still sleeping. Even those artists who are famous all over the world have not been able to teach their own kids the discipline necessary to become a great musician.Their kids too have released records, signed contracts well before their musical talent has reached the level it should. However I’m very happy to see how parents today are pushing their kids to learn music or some classical art form, something I never saw in my time. I do have to say, however, that if you truly want to understand and learn classical music you have to live in India and learn it there. There are no two ways about it. You have created some beautiful music for films along with Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma. Has the quality of film music deteriorated and is it why you are so picky? Well I won’t really blame the music composer because the quality of music in films has deteriorated. The days of Baiju Bawra, Anarkali are gone, when the music director would research each scene and create great melodies. Now any boy who can shake his hips and any girl who can wear skimpy clothes are made to star in a movie. What kind of music can you provide for such a film? It seems like ages since the last time I saw an actress wearing a sari throughout a movie. The singers don’t want to learn and take short cuts. The musician doesn’t want to tire his brains by thinking too hard, because there is no time. It’s all a rat race now.If you were given the opportunity of doing a duet with one of the past legends who would you choose? First of all I don’t think I have the talent to perform duets with anyone of the musical greats, but if I could have the honor of accompanying them my choice would be Baba Allauddin Khan. He was an amazing musician and an amazing teacher. He played a variety of instruments from trumpet, to sarod, to sitar, to piano, to violin to ghatam. What is amazing is the fact that the temperament of each instrument is so different and so unique and he could play all of them beautifully. I have yet to meet anyone who was such colossal talent.Tell me something about your dream, ” Brindavan.”To this day my gurus have never charged me for anything. Instead they have fed me and taken care of me. I wanted to revive that gurukul tradition, and to build a school for music where I wanted to select about 10 students or so, adopt them and provide them with everything. They would study and learn music, see other fellow musicians perform, attend and give lectures and of course be educated in other subjects as well. It would be an all-round education. They would be from all age groups, but will not get a degree. Just the fact that they are from Brindavan will be a certificate enough.Lord Krishna’s Brindavan is known by his idol. Here my Brindavan would be alive with the lord’s music through his instrument. I didn’t know how to go about it though. It was in 1988 that Rajiv Gandhi asked me to fly to Japan with him and asked me how my music was and if there was anything I needed. I told him about my dream and he said he can arrange for 20 acres of land for me in Delhi. I said I was based in Bombay and while eventually I would love to see a music gurukul in each state, with my earlier commitments and I was still giving music in Bollywood, it would be hard to shift.I was then given land in a prime location in Juhu, but many years passed and I had no clue how to start building. I had neither the knowledge nor the financial resources. I have somehow always had God’s grace, where whenever I do dream of something, somehow the doors open.It was in the nineties that I bumped into Ratan Tata of the Tatas at a function where I was being honored. His father had always been fond of me and Ratan had seen me around his father growing up. He asked me how I was and I told him how I had no clue about using the land given to me to create my dream school. Within a short time, the Tatas sanctioned Rs 3 crores for the project and not just that, Ratan used his construction company to build the school including the Krishna temple I had wanted and handed me the keys. Today we have about 100 students who come in to study music, though there are only 6-7 who stay there full time and are totally supported by me. That is all I can afford at this time.If you were to le your life all over again, what would you desire?” To be born again as a musician. In a way it was good that I was not born in a gharana. It is too much of a burden to carry on your forefathers’ legacy and be constantly compared to them. My son learnt the sitar, but decided he’d rather go for academics, his first love. He didn’t like the thought of being constantly compared to me. He studied in London and USA and is doing pretty well.There is a lot of concern that classical music is being drowned in Indi-pop and remix kind of music.Well, this trend won’t last. Even when these youngsters do these remixes, they are going to the old songs. Eventually you cannot stop the sun from rising, the water from flowing, the moon from spreading its light and you cannot change the seven notes to anything else. Classical music will retain its luster, the pollution will be washed away. I’m really not worried by this temporary deviation.We listen to Hariprasad Chaurasia. What does Hariprasad Chaurasia listen to?Also, you seem to have a very hectic schedule, touring, teaching at home and abroad, charity concerts. You are now in your sixties. How do you cope? I love traditional music and folk tunes. I was in Korea recently and asked them after my performance to play their traditional music. They did and I had a wonderful time.I guess I don’t get the time to get tired! There have been occasions where I have flown to a different country for a 1hour recital and flown back immediately after to perform somewhere else. For me my music is my aradhana, my prayer, and each auditorium a temple. Music rejuvenates and energizes me and the love I have received in return is the greatest reward.  Related Itemslast_img read more

Censored Web

first_imgNew rules established by India’s Department of Information Technology on April 11 censor speech deemed “disparaging,” “harassing,” “blasphemous” or “hateful.” The rules require Internet sites and service providers to remove offending posts within 36 hours “upon obtaining knowledge by itself” or if they have “been brought to actual knowledge by an affected person in writing or through email….” The Information Technology (Intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011, prohibit content that:(a)belongs to another person and to which the user does not have any right to;(b)is grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, libellous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever;(c)harm minors in any way;(d)infringes any patent, trademark, copyright or other proprietary rights;(e)violates any law for the time being in force;(f)deceives or misleads the addressee about the origin of such messages or communicates any information which is grossly offensive or menacing in nature;(g)impersonate another person;(h)contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer resource;(i)threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states, or or public order or causes incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence or prevents investigation of any offence or is insulting any other nation.Freedom House ranked India 14th among 37 countries on Web freedom in its Freedom on the Net 2011 report, rating it “partly free.” Internet Freedom Rankings1Estonia2USA3Germany4Australia5UK6Italy7South Africa8Brazil9Kenya10Mexico11South Korea12Georgia13Nigeria14India15Malaysia Blocked WebsitesThe Center for Internet and Society recently published a list of 11 Web sites banned by the Department of Information Technology. http://www.zone-h.orghttp://donotdial100.webs.comhttp://www.bloggernews.net/124029http://www.google.co.in/#h1=en&source=hp&biw=1276&bih=843&=dr+babasaheb+ambedkar+wallpaper&aq=4&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=dr+babas&gs_rfai=&fp=e791fe993fa412bahttp://www.cinemahd.net/desktop-enhancements/wallpaper/23945-wallpapers-beautiful-girl-wallpaper.htmlhttp://www.chakpak.com/find/images/kamasutra-hindi-moviehttp://www.submitlink.khatana.net/2010/09/jennifer-stano-is-engaged-to.htmlhttp://www.result.khatana.net/2010/11/im-no-panty-girl-yana-gupta-wardrobe.htmlhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/l-Hate-Ambedkar/172025102828076http://www.indybay.orghttp://arizona.indymedia.orgThe blocked website links can be found on www.littleindia.com   Related Itemslast_img read more

Cotton acreage to rise in 2 States

first_imgFarmers in Punjab and Haryana have sown more cotton this season as against the corresponding period last year on expectation of better returns on the produce, experts and officials told The Hindu.In Punjab, cotton crop has been sown in nearly 4 lakh hectares and may go up by 10,000 hectares as the sowing is still going on, according to the State Agriculture department. The acreage was nearly 2.84 lakh hectares in 2018. In Haryana, farmers had sown cotton in 6.35 lakh hectares till June 6. Last year the total area under cotton was 6.61 lakh hectares.“The area in Punjab and Haryana has seen an increase this year as farmers are expecting to fetch better price. Last season the yield was good and incidence of disease was less, which has motivated the farmers to opt for cotton this year,” India Cotton Association Limited president Mahesh Sharda told The Hindu. Bt cotton In Punjab and Haryana, Bt cotton is sown in over 95% of the total area, the rest 5% cotton are usually the indigenous (desi) varieties. Cotton is usually planted from mid-April till late May in most parts of the States.Punjab Agriculture Secretary K.S. Pannu said that cotton acreage is likely to surpass the 4 lakh-hectare mark as the rise in the minimum support price last year had helped farmers fetch better returns. “After the whitefly attack in 2015, the farmers were a little reluctant to sow cotton, but after reaping a good yield last couple of years their confidence has increased,” said Mr. Pannu.Haryana Agriculture department Joint Director Jagraj Dhandi said, “the area under cotton is likely to remain the same as last year or could even surpass it as the sowing is still going on. This year the cotton sowing has been delayed as the wheat crop was harvested late on account of intermittent rains.”last_img read more