Rethy Devi’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me to be published in Tamil

The 2014 Booker Prize nominated global classic novel in English, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me, authored by Rethy Devi will be published in Tamil soon. Jayashankar Menon, senior journalist and author has already completed the novel in Tamil, which is currently undergoing editing and proofreading.

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The book, which was written and published in Malayalam by the Green Books, while the English version is published by Book Venture, which is available on Amazon website. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me has been translated into 12 international languages. Termed by the book aficionados as one of the best ever novels of the 21st century, the book has elicited lot of interest the world over.

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The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me was submitted for the 2014 Manbooker Prize. Completed in a span of ten years, after referring in excess of 500 authoritative books, which occupies a pride of place on the bookshelves of around 60 countries. The book was released at the second biggest international Book Festival of the world, The Dubai International Book Fair 2015, where ten million people visited the fair. The then Ambassador of India in the UAE, Seetharam launched the book by handing it over to the renowned Indian writer Sethu. A sheer coincidence, though, Dan Brown, the author of Da Vinci Code was also present on that occasion.

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Rethy Devi’s novel is also included as one of the best 98 books, chosen from the Malayalam language at the Frankfurt International Book Festival with the stated objective of translating and acquainting Malayalam books with world class literature. “This, I consider, is a great honour I received for my novel”, says Rethy Devi.

She has also attended the International History Seminar in 2015. Her paper, titled: “Post Colonial Feminist and Feminist Identity” was presented, while other eminent personalites such as Dr. Upinder Singh (daughter of then then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh), Dr. Margret Frenz (Grand daughter of Dr. Herman Gundert), Dr. MGS Narayanan and others had presented their papers as well. The fictional biographical novel, titled: “Just Another Day In Paradise”, written by the renowned American writer Tom Mathews, New York, based on Rethy Devi’s life story, when she was a Human Rights Lawyer is also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Arun Arsha, Author of the novel, Auschwitz wrote, “Rethy Devi could go beyond The Da Vinci Code through her novel, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me. Her language is a blend of love and frenzy, just like a painting by Vincent Van Gog.” On the back cover of the latest edition, Arsha quotes a passage from the book, “There is a crazy female tree, on an island, surrounded by water on all the sides, which blooms only crazy lowers in all the seasons and it is me!”

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The Tamil translation of the novel, titled: Magdaleenaavi (enadhum) pen suvisesham has been translated by the senior journalist, actor and author, Jayashankar Menon. Although a native of Palakkad, the polyglot writes in English, Tamil and Malayalam, besides having spoken knowledge of many languages. A passionate personality, Jayashankar was instrumental in bringing out a musical thriller movie in Malayalam, Kamboji, produced by his aunt, Prof. Lakshmi Padmanabhan. The film went on to bag four state awards and several other accolades. Besides doing cameo role in that movie, the Chennai-based artist has also co-produced a short film, Charakku while portraying a crucial character as well.

The uniqueness of this book is that the Tamil version is written by a non-Tamil person. Currently, the book is undergoing several rounds of editing and proof reading. At an event held in Kochi last week, Rethy Devi had touch based ace Tamil film actor and politician, Kamal Hassan and handed over the manuscript of the novel and requesting him to write a preface.

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The 575 odd page book in Tamil, based on the most cardinal disciple of Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, is going to elicit much interest the other translations of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me had elicited across the globe.

Elaborating on the experience of transating the magnum opus, Jayashankar Menon said, “For more than three decades I was into full time active journalism covering conceivably all subjects. Of late, I ventured into the moving making aspects, meanwhile contemplating on taking up full time writing. I have about 30 odd Malayalam books at my disposal to be translated into Tamil and English. Last year, Rethy Devi, who contacted me through Linkedin, had thrown a challenge of writing her global classic into Tamil. What a way to start and what a book to translate! I readily accepted the offer. Although, I had my fair share of qutting my cosy job with a fat salary and sit to write a classic, with inherrent domestic pressure to sustain myelf, I did kick-start translating this book. Just eight months, 85K words, 575 odd pages, it was a non-stop marrathon. Some force was behind me, which was making me write in frenetic pace. When I look back, I couldn’t believe myself that I had completed the book within a year, which the original book was completed in ten years!”

The former VC of Malayalam University, Jayakumar IAS said, “This is a book of extraordinary bravery. It defies forbiddence and borders. My imagination of love is a sort of revolution itself. It is searching for the change from the existing male dominated power and forbiddence, which should be overcome.”

A couple of major book publishers have approached Rethy Devi and we will soon be finalising the publishing of the book, once we get to hear from Kamal Hassan, she added.

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Paani Foundation establishes training programme to make Maharasthra drought-free

Each year, drought afflicts thousands of villages in Maharashtra. In 2015, the situation was so grim that the government had to provide drinking water through the railways to several villages.

Photo Caption (From L-R): Satyajit Bhatkal, CEO, Paani Foundation; Kiran Rao, Founder, Paani Foundation and Dr. Avinash Pol, Project Director, Paani Foundation.

In early 2016, a not-for-profit company called Paani Foundation was set up by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao to work towards creating a drought-free Maharashtra. The Foundation is run by the core team members of the Satyamev Jayate TV show, according to a statement issued by the Foundation. The key difference in Paani Foundation’s approach is its belief that the only solution for the existing water crisis is a people’s movement. If people are convinced, motivated and trained, the Foundation believes that they themselves will have the power and ability to solve their water problems.

With this in mind, Paani Foundation has designed a training programme to teachpeople the science of watershed management and to develop their leadership skills. To bring people together and encourage them to apply their learnings from the training, the Foundation also organises the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup competition annually. The Satyamev Jayate Water Cup is essentially a competition between villages to see which village can do the maximum water conservation work in the period of the competition. Every village in the selected talukas is eligible to participate.

In 2016, the 3 talukas of Ambajogai, Koregaon and Warudwere chosen to participate in the competition.116 villages from these talukas took part, and through mass voluntary work or Shramdan done in the searing heat of April and May, an annual water storage capacity of 1,368 crore litres of water was created in just 45 days. Velu village from Koregaon taluka in Satara district received the first prize of Rs. 50 lakhs from the Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri. Devendra Fadnavis at a grand awards ceremony held in Mumbai last year. A documentary film titled ‘The Battle against Drought’ chronicles the journey of Water Cup 2016 and was released at the awards ceremony. The information of the journey of Paani foundation & Satyamev Jayate Water Cup was shared by Mr. Satyajit Bhatkal, CEO, Paani Foundation at a press conference held in Pune. Dr. Avinash Pol, Project Director, Paani Foundation and Kiran Rao, Founder, Paani Foundation were also present on the occasion.

The success of the pilot edition of the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup 2016 encouraged the Paani Foundation team to scale up its efforts from 3 to 30 talukas in 2017. Over 1,300 villages took part in the competition this year and between 8th April and 22nd May lakh of villagers came together to do outstanding water conservation work. To pay tribute to these Water Heroes and honour the winners, Paani Foundation will present the Satyamev Jayate

Water Cup 2017 Awards on Sunday, 6thAugust at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Balewadi, Pune.

The Chief Guest for the event is the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis. Aamir Khan, the co-founder of Paani Foundation and several leading lights from the field of business and arts will be present to salute these villagers.The top three villages will get a cash prize of Rs. 50 lakh, Rs. 30 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh respectively. In addition, the top village from each taluka will get a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh. Please do join us as we celebrate the villagers’ achievements, and be a part of this journey to make our state water-abundant.

List of 30 Talukas from 13 Districts where Satyamev Jayate Water Cup 2017 was organised:

· Ambajogai, Kaij and Dharur talukas in Beed district

· Bhoom, Paranda and Kalamb talukas in Osmanabad district

· Ausa and Nilanga talukas in Latur district

· Phulambri and Khultabad talukas in Aurangabad district

· Koregaon, Man and Khatav talukas in Satara district

· Khanapur, Atpadi and Jath talukas in Sangli district

· Purandar and Indapur talukas in Pune district

· Sangola and Uttar Solapur talukas in Solapur district

· Barshitakli, Patur and Akot talukas in Akola district

· Ralegaon, Kalamb and Umarkhed talukas in Yavatmal district

· Warud and Dharni talukas in Amravati district

· Karanjataluka in Washim district

· Arvitaluka in Wardha district

Love Matters: India’s first bilingual website launched at QTube Cafe in Bandra

Love Matters , India’s first bilingual website dedicated to love, sexuality and relationships organized a one of its kind Open mic session on Valentine day on February 14, 2017 in Mumbai’s quiet but hip QTube Café in Bandra. The event saw a jam packed venue where many came forward to share their tryst with love, sexuality or identity, their take on relationships, family, and society. The gathering was of young and old people, many came with their parents to taste the non judgmental and open minded session.

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While speaking at the event, Vithika Yadav, RNW Head-India, Love Matters India, said: “We organized this open mic session as a true free speech event for young Mumbaikars to come together and have an opportunity to have frank and open conversations on love, sexuality and relationships.”

Love Matters opened its doors for everyone and the differences of Mumbai walked in, slightly unsure and then they took to the stage, and all those differences dissolved to form, what united them for that moment forming a road of open dialogue. With an opportunity to share openly, people poured their hearts out; what they felt about love, lessons they have learnt on the way, good and bad both, how they feel towards every individual deserving a fair chance to love who they want, to freely talking about their sexuality, about society’s perception, attitude and acceptance of every individual.
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“The idea behind an open-mic event with young people is to shed all the judgement around different sexuality and preferences. We don’t want the society to label someone. We want everyone to come together and hear each other patiently”, Roshan Kokane, web editor for Love Matters India, pointed out.
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Love Matters India is moving towards changing how people perceive and are perceived by others, they want to bridge the gap that creates this difference through respectful dialogues and ‘Let’s Talk About Us’ the open mic session in Mumbai was a step towards creating that platform.

Love Matters India is the first ever bilingual English and Hindi website about sex and sexuality in India. It aims to provide science-based information on love, sex and relationships so people can make informed choices, and to create spaces where everyone is free to ask questions and engage in online conversations. In 2016 itself, the website has attracted an average of two million users a month and there in excess of one million followers on Facebook.

Lee Jeans appoint Jacqueline Fernandez as Brand Ambassador

Lee Jeans announced the appointment of Bollywood Actor Jacqueline Fernandez as its brand ambassador in India. In an exclusive media event held at JW Marriot Sahar, Mumbai, Lee Jeans introduced Jacqueline Fernandez as their brand ambassador.

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Jacqueline, with her optimistic spirit is known to have charted her way into the competitive Bollywood industry, making a mark of her own. An extremely popular personality, especially among the youth as she embodies the energy of today’s generation. This is reflective in her versatile craft and her curious attitude as she explores new mediums and new formats in the entertainment industry. Hence Lee has signed her up to further re-instate the brand’s own personality.

Latest product innovation

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Jacqueline’s immediate campaign with Lee will showcase their latest product innovation for the Indian Woman – Body OptixTM. Lee Jeans have always been flag bearers of relentless ideation, meeting true-blue craftsmanship. Creating stories in authentic denim, in all shapes, fits and sizes. Where curiosity inspires unique thinking. Pioneering fashion with purposeful designs. And delivering to the world of fashion, denims crafted with over a century’s worth of rich heritage; leading to creation of historic styles but with contemporary stitching.

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Speaking on the occasion, Jacqueline said: “Denims have this soft corner in all our hearts and these pairs are such a great companion of our growing up years. Lee is most definitely a synonym of denim as the brand has been here for over a 128 years because of innovators, ideators and master craftsmen as part of their team,” she further continued, “So there was no second thought, I mean who would think twice before signing up with a global Icon like Lee – at least I wouldn’t.”

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At the event, Lee Jeans also unveiled a game changing product innovation designed for the Indian woman – BODY OPTIX™ denims! Here, traditional denim designs are combined with ground-breaking vision science and design to create holistic body shaping specifically for the Indian female body.

Sharad Walia – General Manager of Lee India, said: “With BODY OPTIX™ denims, Lee Jeans is revolutionising the way denims have been envisioned, created and worn in the world. The primary objective of the brand has always been to bring to the end consumer, denims that are comfortable, easy to wear, yet add that certain X factor for the wearer and enhance their denim-wearing experience.”

Body OptixTM Denims

Lee BODY OPTIX™ is a joint accomplishment between vision scientists and denim designers. After extensive scientific tests and consumer research, premium LYCRA BEAUTY® fabrics and authentic design details have been incorporated with exquisite craftsmanship. The collection promises to create holistic body shaping specifically for the Indian female body, with an unprecedented 360° total body shaping and fully flattering fit.

Lee’s passion for denim, together with the constant pursuit of innovation, has produced the finest denim garments. Each piece is testament to the heritage and craftsmanship that has exemplified Lee as one of the world’s pioneering denim brands. BODY OPTIX™ is the result of more than 128 years of experience and expertise in designing the best denim. Lee continues to stay curious and explore all things new, constantly looking at the world from new angles, and never restricting themselves to the possibilities of better and more purposeful denim designs.

Lee – the Legendary Jeans Label since 1889

Lee is one of the world’s most iconic signatures of quality, innovation and craftsmanship. Following the establishment of the H.D. Lee Mercantile Company by Henry David Lee in Kansas, U.S., in 1889, Lee embarked on its journey to become a legendary denim brand. Over the years, Lee has made history with its many product innovations including the world’s first-ever zip fly jeans – the 101Z in 1926, the iconic Hair-on-hide leather label and the Lazy S back pocket stitching. From the launch of the 1st Lee bib overalls to the 13oz 101 cowboy jeans, Lee has demonstrated an undying passion for innovation, and has transformed itself from a practical and durable work-wear maker to a contemporary and trend setting fashion giant.

AIWUP Launches First Women Political Party in India

With the stated purpose of eliminating all gender discrimination, a first women political party in the country, All India Women United Party (AIWUP) has been launched. The AIWUP is a registered national political party, endeavouring to eliminate all gender based discrimination and create equal opportunities for men and women, with an aim of building a democratic secular and Socialist state of India, a media statement issued by the party said.

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For the first time in the history of India, a team of like-minded women, comprising of activists, environmentalists, professionals and others, has come forward to form a political party to fight for their political, legal and social rights and create a society where equal opportunities will exist for both the genders. The AIWUP has been formed following the vision of Rights guaranteed by UN Declarations and Conventions to Women and the Right to Equality guaranteed by the Constitution of India. It is an endeavor to create political awareness among women and provide them a platform to help fight against any kind of gender based discrimination.

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According to the Party President, Nasim Bano Khan, AIWUPis dedicated to building a democratic, secular and Socialist State of India on the principles of equality and will strive for the dignity for the women. She states, “Being an all-women party, we are committed towards the upliftment and empowerment of women, and at the same time, we are destined to address all relevant local and national issues that need an attention.” Coming from an NGO background and with over three decades of actively participating to address a whole range of social issues, Nasim is confident to see AIWUP at the forefront of the national politics in India in the coming years.

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Like Nasim, Lakshmi, who is the General Secretary of the Party, is also coming from an NGO background and for over three decades has been actively participating to address a whole range of social issues. Advocate Meena is also moved by the plight of the Indian women and is committed to make AIWUP a movement that can help achieve the goal of equality, development and peace for all women. Meena is the Vice President of the Party and as a seasoned legal professional. Meena pointed out: “Women must be aware of their political and legal rights, so that they can become capable to fight against any kind of injustice or discrimination that they often face in their life.”

Innovative ideas

Unlike other parties, AIWUP maintains strict guidelines that promote young generation of leaders to be at the forefront to lead the movement with their innovative ideas. The party mandates that the leadership will retire at the age of 65, and no successors or family members will be allowed to hold party positions. According to Lakshmi Krishnan, “We only promote talented and deserving candidates in our party. We are different and are entirely dedicated to achieve equality, development and peace for humans, irrespective of their caste, creed or gender.”

The national spokesperson of AIWUP, they are going to contest the upcoming Punjab and UP assembly elections and all other states. The name of candidates for Punjab elections is going to be finalized very soon, and they are going to share the list with the media very soon. The party is confident of making a significant debut in the Punjab elections, with their unique perspectives and a different set of goals to achieve.

AIWUP is an all-women national political party, registered with the Election Commission of India, with “Bangles” as their election symbol. The party follows the principles of equality for everyone in the society and will endeavour to eliminate all discrimination in the society to help build a harmonious environment for all men and women to live and prosper and also play their part in building the nation. AIWUP is going to contest forthcoming assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and other states.

Malavika Sarukkai debuts on group choreography Vamatara – Light

Malavika Sarukkai, danseuse par excellence, an acknowledged choreographer and a Padma Shree Awardee is introducing a group choreography for the first time ever, titled Vamatara – To The Light on September 2, 2016 at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Malleshwaram, Bangalore.

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Malavika’s choreographs are known for the incandescent beauty of the classical language of Bharata Natyam and the energised articulation of a contemporary mind. Intense, extraordinary and luminous are the qualities that distinguish her dancing.

New Chapter

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‘Vamatara – To the Light” is the latest dance creation of Malavika, which opens a new chapter in her artistic journey with the introduction of group choreography for the first time. The concept rests on the enduring image of the lotus rising from the sludge to the light, as a symbol of hope. What is more, this production includes group work in addition to Malavika Sarukkai’s solo choreographies. Vamatara is a validation of the dynamics within classical dance which allows for creative freedom, innovation and imagination.

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In recognition of her contribution, Malavika has received many awards including the Padma shree, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, the Kalaimamani award, the Raza award, the Mrinalini Sarabhai award and more. Furthermore, Malavika has recently been awarded the Natya Kala Acharya Award by the Music Academy of Bangalore.

SKF India, NAAM Foundation support drought affected farmers in Maharasthra

SKF India employees have joined hands with NAAM foundation to help drought affected farmers’ in Maharashtra. In a gesture of helping hand for community the employees decided to contribute the dividend income from their employees’ cooperative account for the cause. This amount was equally matched by the company raising a sum of Rs.7.75 lakh, according to a statement issued by SKF India.

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Shrikant Savangikar (extreme right) handing over the cheque to Nana Patekar along with SKF India Credit Society members at Pune

Water conservation philosophy

The recent scarcity of water across the state of Maharashtra has had a devastating effect in the rural areas, especially the farmers’ community. This initiative by SKF of helping the farmers from the drought affected areas is in line with SKF India’s priority and philosophy of water conservation.

The cheque was handed over to veteran bollywood actor and Co-Founder of NAAM Foundation Nana Patekar, by Shrikant Savangikar, Director of Sustainability, Quality and Business Excellence, SKF India along with SKF employees’ credit society chairman Govind Shevate, Dyanoba Deokar, Secretary of the credit society and Sikander Ghodke, member of credit society among other SKF employees and members, the statement said.

Shishir Joshipura, Managing Director and Country Head, SKF India, said: “SKF believes that an opportunity exists at every stage in operational value chain to reduce the environmental impact. Doing more with less preserves the environment and precious resources for future generations. SKF has embarked on an ambitious program three years ago to make all its facilities water neutral by 2018. Our employees represent the true face of our organization and this initiative represents our philosophy of making a meaningful difference to the community we live in.

Shrikant Savangikar, Director of Sustainability, Quality and Business Excellence, SKF India added: “Deficient monsoons for two consecutive years have now affected a large number of farmers and the alarming conditions are driving them towards life threatening situations. NAAM foundation has done encouraging work under the aegis of known names and we are happy to be able to make a contribution to make a meaningful difference.”