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Africans in India: Fallout of the Why Tandoori

ON THE Racing Against Highway Chicken May Date

BLACK Prejudices,
Shutdown on Karnataka is
Back to the
MONEY and Time
p.16 Professionals Transforming
the Humble
DEMONETISATION Entrepreneurs Millet into a
p.12 Super Food p.20 | New Delhi | 28 pages | `10

April 09-15, 2017

Both Uday Kotak and

Aditya Puri are focused on
customers and profits.
Just that Kotak Bank and HDFC
Bank have different routes
to get there
02 whats news
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Row Over
Yeddyurappa Modi Assures Hasina of Centre Rushes
2,000 Paramilitary
Personnel to Odisha
Giving Money to
Farmer Family
Bengaluru: Karnataka BJP pres-
Early Solution to Teesta Bhadrak (Odisha): The Centre on
Saturday rushed 2,000 paramilitary
personnel to Odisha to assist the lo-
ident BS Yeddyurappa was in cal administration in maintaining
the midst of a controversy on law and order in Bhadrak district,
Saturday, after a video footage which has witnessed violence and
of him handing tension in the last few days. Central
over money to forces rushed to Bhadrak district of
a farmers fam- Odisha in view of the prevailing ten-
ily did the sion there, a home ministry spokes-
rounds, ahead person said. Curfew remained in
of the bypolls force in the town while prohibitory
to two assem- orders were imposed in nearby
bly constituencies. Responding Dhamnagar and Basudevpur after
to the attack by the ruling Con- the town witnessed violence over al-
gress, Yeddyurappa said he was leged abusive remarks on social me-
giving relief of `1 lakh to the fam- dia against Hindu deities. About 20
ily of a farmer, who had commit- people have been detained in con-
ted suicide recently, and that it nection with the violence that left
had nothing to do with elections several shops gutted and vehicles
to Gundlupet and Nanjangud on damaged. Police personnel have
Sunday. The video shows Yed- been patrolling sensitive localities,
durappa interacting with the police said. Violence erupted in
family members before hand- Bhadrak on Thursday after a group
ing over the money to them. staged demonstration near the po-
On behalf of the party, we lice station, demanding the immedi-
have given `1 lakh donation. We ate arrest of those involved in post-
were about to leave before 5 pm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flanked by his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina (left) and West ing offensive remarks against Hindu
Renukacharya (former minis- Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday PTI deities on social media. PTI
ter) came here a couple of days

P Hasina Pays
back and had spent time with rime Minister Narendra Modi on ments, including 22 pacts, MoUs and
them and collected informa- Saturday hoped that there would agreements in key areas like civil nu-
Tribute to 1971 Hold Parties
tion, Yeddyurappa said. be an early solution to the issue of clear cooperation. Stating that energy
PTI sharing waters of the river Teesta with security was an important dimension War Heroes Accountable for
Bangladesh, while describing Dhakas to the partnership, Modi said: Today, New Delhi: Bangladesh Poll Promises: CJI
zero-tolerance policy towards terror- we added an additional 60 MW of pow- PM Sheikh Hasina on
Dalai Lama: China ism as an inspiration. er to the 600 MW of power already Saturday paid tributes New Delhi: Electoral promises rou-
Gives Political India and Bangladesh signed five de- flowing from India to Bangladesh. The to Indian soldiers who tinely remain unfulfilled and mani-
festos turn out to be mere pieces of
Colour to My Visit fence-related MoUs, including a $500
million line of credit for defence pur-
supply of another 500 MW has already
been committed. The two sides have
died in the Liberation
War of 1971 that gave paper, for which political parties
Tawang: The Dalai Lama on Sat- chases from India. agreed to finance a diesel oil pipeline birth to her country. must be held
urday accused China of spread- Acknowledging the presence of West from Assam to Bangladesh . The visiting premier accountable, Chief
ing wrong information about Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee who has Modi jointly launched with Sheikh said she was grateful to Justice of India JS
his trip to Arunachal Pradesh, been opposing the Teesta agreement Hasina train and bus services between the people and the Gov- Khehar said on Sat-
urday. At a seminar
saying it is normal for Beijing to as my honoured guest, he said that Kolkata and Khulna in Bangladesh, and ernment of India for
on Economic
give political colour to his her feelings for Bangladesh are as restored the once defunct Radhikapur- their contribution to
Reforms with Refer-
spiritual visits. His visit has trig- warm as my own. I firmly believe that Biral rail link between the countries. He her countrys libera-
ence to Electoral
gered protests by China. The it is only my government and Excellen- also expressed hope for early imple- tion. PM Narendra issues, the CJI, speaking in the pres-
Dalai Lama also criticised China cy Sheikh Hasina, your government, mentation of the Bhutan-Bangladesh- Modi said this was an ence of President Pranab Mukher-
for making a bid to name his that can and will find an early solution India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement. occasion to also re- jee, said political parties give bra-
successor. The Chinese people to Teesta water sharing, Modi said. He After releasing a Hindi translation of member the thousands zen excuses like lack of consensus
were being fed wrong informa- also appreciated Bangladeshs efforts to Bangladeshs founder Sheikh Mujibur killed in Bangladesh by among their members to justify
tion (by China) about me. The contain religious extremism. Rahmans autobiography, Modi said the Pakistani army and non-fulfilment of their poll promis-
Chinese people have every right The PM announced a $4.5 billion line both countries would jointly produce a its militia allies. He said es. He said manifestos remain piec-
to know the reality, but totali- of credit for implementing projects in film on Mujibur Rahman and a docu- a generation, including es of paper due to short-term mem-
tarianism had done a great dam- priority sectors in Bangladesh. India mentary on the 1971 Liberation War. himself, was influenced ory of citizens but political parties
age, he said. AFP and Bangladesh concluded 36 docu- Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury / New Delhi by Mujibur Rahman. must be held accountable. PTI

Strike Kills 15 Near Syrias IS-held Raqa: Report

Beirut: At least 15 civilians, including four which relies on a network of sources inside the country, hoping to encircle it before
children, were killed in a suspected US-led Syria for its information, says it determines launching a final assault. Its forces last
coalition airstrike on Saturday near the Is- whose planes carry out raids according to month seized the Tabqa military airport
lamic States Syrian bastion Raqa, a moni- type, location, flight patterns and muni- from IS, and have entered the complex of
tor said. The Syrian Observatory for Hu- tions used. the key Tabqa dam, after being airlifted be-
man Rights said at least 17 people were in- Heneyda is around 25 km west of the city hind jihadist lines by US forces.
jured in the strike on Heneyda, and that the of Raqa, the target of a major operation led They continue to battle for the town of
death toll could rise further. by a Kurdish-Arab alliance of fighters and Tabqa, around 40 kilometres west of Raqa,
The strike was suspected to have been backed by the US-led coalition. The Syrian with clashes going on Saturday, the Obser-
carried out by the US-led coalition fighting Democratic Forces have for months been vatory said.
the IS in Syria and Iraq. The Observatory, Syrians walk past damaged buildings advancing towards the city in the north of AFP
in the rebel-held town of Douma
in the news 03
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Monk in the Middle

A US president who occasionally pokes China in the eye may have
provided India an opportunity to play the Tibet card
:: Jyoti Malhotra

ts been an odd week for Indian for- the Tibetans and therefore a remind-
eign policy. The Dalai Lama has final- er that China has no actual control
ly reached Tawang in Arunachal the Chinese have become stronger,
Pradesh to the chagrin of the Chi- faster and more powerful. How dare
nese, where he is expected to confer an ailing, ageing Tibetan monk who
secretly with other senior lamas on happens to live in India steal half a
the subject of his reincarnation. And march over their real position as the
Chinese President Xi Jinpings visit to worlds most powerful nation?
America has been overshadowed by Of course Xi Jinping can destroy
US strikes on Syria. Tibet with a flourish of his hand re-
For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, member he cut his teeth in the Com-
a muddled international picture al- munist party in that province. Mean-
lows Delhi to lower its profile and while, the fact remains that Beijing is
make friends under the radar. Now, upset that Delhi has dared to set the
for example, would be a good time to monk among the big cats.
reach out to Beijing and push trade It will be interesting to see how
and investment on much more equal China reacts to the Dalai Lamas visit
terms. to Tawang; what Modi and Xi Jinping
Certainly, Delhi is watching closely will say to each other when they
how the US-China-Russia triangle un- meet in Astana, Kazakhstan in June,
folds. Modi is planning to travel to on the margins of the SCO meeting;
Washington DC over the next couple and whether Modi and Trump will
of months no dates are fixed yet discuss the Dalai Lama along with
so the next big thing to watch will be China and Pakistan. The world
how he and Trump get along. awaits another interesting week.
The news from Washington is that
Trump is planning to impose eco- The Dalai Lama at the Sangdok Palri
nomic levies on China and that one of Monastery at Jang, Tawang
Xis goals during his US visit is to min- (R) US President Donald Trump and
imise that punishment. Moreover, it Chinese President Xi Jinping
is rumoured the US will also sign an
arms package deal with Taiwan.
Apart from undermining its own One pursue the China-Pakistan Econom-
China policy, thereby keeping China ic Corridor, which gives them a
unstable, the US is also telling Beijing greater foothold into Pakistan than
that if it wants to be a big power, it they have already. Meanwhile, Bei-
must be tough on North Koreas nu- jing has taken substantial delight in
clear ambitions. blocking UN sanctions on Jaish-e-
A US president who occasionally Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.
pokes China in the eye not too A Dalai Lama visit to Arunachal
roughly, though is what seems best Pradesh, which got the Chinese into
for India. It gives Delhi the cover it such a lather, is really not such a big
needs to pursue its own track with deal the Tibetan holy leader has
the Dalai Lama. An India which is five been to the state six times and even
t i m e s e c o n o m i c a l ly to the Tawang monas-
weaker than China can For PM Modi, a tery four times, al-
hardly afford to take too muddled interna- though admittedly the
tough a position, but it is tional picture last trip was in 2009. So
clear that both Modi and allows Delhi to even though the Chi-
his national security ad- lower its profile nese foreign ministry
visor, Ajit Doval, be- and make friends spokesperson threat-
lieved it was high time to under the radar. ened a downgrading of
play the Tibet Card Now would be a the relationship and
even if considerable dis- good time to reach the ever-friendly Glob-
use means that only half out to Beijing and al Times wagged an un-
a card is left. ceremonious finger at
push trade and
Modi, of course, hasnt Delhi, reminding it that
investment on
forgotten the personal it was a substantially
slight by the Chinese
more equal terms weaker power, the
president in Tashkent question that must be
last year, on the margins of the Shang- asked is, why is China getting so up-
hai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) set at something that has happened
meeting, when he asked him not to many times before?
block Indias entry into the Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG). But Xi smiled Reminders & Reactions
ever so gently and shook his head and The answer has to do substantially
reportedly changed the subject or with Chinas self-image. Since the Da-
The writer
talked about NSG rules, meaning that lai Lama last visited Tawang where
is a senior India didnt qualify. the sixth Dalai Lama was born in
journalist The Chinese have also decided to 1683, which is why it is significant to
04 big story
APRIL 09-15, 2017

The inside story of the
game plan to trap Dash for Unaccounted Cash
high-value depositors of


17.92 lakh 3.78 lakh: No. of cases being pursued by I-T department engages
two private data
No. of people from field officers. Include cases where online inquiry
scrapped notes with whom online was ignored or responses were not satisfactory
analytics companies to
analyse deposit data
suspect tax profiles responses were post demonetisation
sought Verification is closed if cash deposits were
declared under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan New cases are expected
Yojana, a window that was open till March 31 to be detected by these
two firms
:: Shantanu Nandan Sharma Searches, surveys and open inquiries are
conducted Probe is on, separately,

t was exactly five months before yesterday that the of 600-odd cases of
government dramatically flagged off its crack- searches after
down on unaccounted for and counterfeit cash demonetisation. Some
with an unscheduled, televised evening address by
of these cases are being
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The shock, awe In the select-
shared with other
and disruption that followed manifested in cash ed cases, tax agencies such as the CBI
shortages as people queued up outside banks to profiles were
exchange `500 and `1,000 notes, which had been
and ED
not aligned with
rendered useless, for new ones. The government
deposits of
and the Reserve Bank of India pulled out all the
stops to ensure that scrapped notes
after demonetisa-
Over the past two those with stashes of old
notes were caught off tion (between
months, income- guard. Apart from im- November 8 and
tax authorities posing a `4,000 limit for December 30, 2016)
have sounded out exchange, indelible ink
used only during elec-
about 17.92 lakh tions was also applied Depositors of `5 lakh and below not
high-value on depositors fingers to questioned except in a few cases where
depositors either restrict multiple ex- deposits were between `3 lakh and `5 lakh
changes by the same set
via email or text of people. There was, No manual intervention at this stage
messages however, no upper limit
on the deposit of old
notes, which would have had many sitting on piles
of `500 and `1,000 notes heaving a collective sigh
of relief. Perhaps prematurely.
Challenges Ahead
Over the past two months, income-tax authori-
ties have sounded out about 17.92 lakh high-value Many high-value Many high depositors have Many of the cases are
depositors either via email or text messages. These depositors either dont declared themselves likely to be
are cases in which the tax profiles of the account have PAN or, if they do, as farmers. How will the challenged in
holders are not aligned with the deposit of dont have their I-T department establish tribunals and courts.
scrapped notes made by them. The query from the present addresses, their income was not from This means the recovery
income-tax department: where did the moolah
making it difficult for I-T agricultural activities, of taxes and penalties
that had been deposited come from? Many who as-
sumed that depositing their cash in banks would sleuths to spot them which are non-taxable? may take several years
big story 05
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Which are these four lakh- Demonetisation Effect? Long Haul Ahead
odd cases (being pursued)? Searches and seizures doubled in R Prasad, former chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes
They have refused to avail of 2016-17 from a year ago (CBDT), foresees massive litigation. Which are these four lakh-
the black money disclosure odd cases (being pursued by I-T)? They are the ones who re-
window. That means they fused to avail of the black money disclosure window. They are
are willing to battle it out with No. of Groups Searched willing to battle it out with the I-T department. Expect a large
the I-T department. Expect a number of appeals and litigation in the years to come, says
large number of appeals and Prasad. According to the former income-tax chief, the quantum
litigation 1,037 of black money recovered from demonetisation would be clear-
er only after five years. And the journey ahead for the I-T de-
R Prasad, former chairman, CBDT
445 partment, as he foresees, is a difficult one. One can safely as-
sume that many cases will remain untraceable. Some may not
have PAN cards at all whereas others may no longer be residing
at the addresses given for their PAN cards. Prasad adds that in
ensure that their hoard automatically turned to white may be in some cases the I-T department would be able to spot the money
for a rude shock. trail, but recovery will be a totally different and near-impossi-
As this article was being written, assessing officers of the I-T 2015-16 2016-17* ble ballgame.
department were following up on as many as 3.78 lakh cases in A bigger question that crops up is whether the huge illicit po-
which deposits of `5 lakh or more of old notes were made; some litical money that would have also entered banking channels,
sub-`5 lakh credits are also being investigated. These depositors thanks to demonetisation, would ever be identified and recov-
collectively comprise those who chose to ignore the taxmans Assets Seized (` crore) ered by the I-T sleuths. There
query as well as those whose responses did not satisfy the au- were speculations that a number
thorities. Meanwhile, another set of depositors was exonerated of politicians either hid their
The big
after they availed of a disclosure window the Pradhan Mantri 1,416 cash in non-KYC compliant dis- multi-crore
Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) to declare their black money. trict cooperative bank accounts question is:
Cash Course
712 or camouflaged it as non-taxable
agricultural income. Politicians
when will the
Depositors with dubious sources of income may be wondering money also went into banks as official data be
what will happen next. Will there be searches, surveys or open sales receipts of valid business- released on
enquiries in the days to come? Will some of those with suspect es. The challenge for the I-T de-
deposits be taxed with penal- partment will be to establish in
how much of
ties and then freed? Could the course of its investigation the `15.45 lakh
An I-T sleuth some face prosecution which, 2015-16 2016-17* that a jewellers white money, crore in old
says many of according to the current law, for example, belongs to that of a
notes was black
the cases may could lead to imprisonment up
to seven years. However, the
Also, did politicians use op- money?
stretch up to biggest multi-crore question is: Undisclosed Income erators to hide their money?
two years or when will the official data be Admitted (` crore) After all, its these middlemen who use multiple layers of shell
more before released on how much of the
`15.45 lakh crore in old notes
companies to transfer a huge stash of cash from the source to a
destination all through legal banking channels and merely for
one can come to
a conclusion on
was black money?
We live in a democratic
14,697 a commission. A shell company is a non-trading company used
as a vehicle for financial manoeuvres. Those paper compa-
the quantum of country where the aggrieved 11,066 nies mostly remain dormant.
parties get a chance to appeal.
black money So, I assume many of these cases Black is Back
recovered (3.78 lakh) will stretch up to two Only last week, the Enforcement Directorate, in its biggest
years or more before we come crackdown on shell companies, raided 500 such firms in 110
to a conclusion on the quantum of black money recovered locations across 16 states in the country on the suspicion that
through demonetisation, says a senior I-T sleuth involved in the they may have been involved in dubious transactions to laun-
process of following up high-value depositors. According to un- 2015-16 2016-17* der money during demonetisation. Simultaneous raids were
confirmed sources, the government mopped up about `2,000 conducted in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh,
crore worth of black money through PMGKY disclosure window Patna, Ranchi, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar. At least two per-
(*till February 28, 2017)
that was open till March 31; theres no official word on it as yet. sons, one each from Chennai and Bengaluru, were arrested
If statistics related to prosecution and compounding are fac- under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) during
tored in, there has been a surge in the number of cases since the the crackdown which, according to reports, was mandated di-
note ban and, according to I-T officers, because of it. Consider, rectly by the Prime Ministers Office (PMO). The Enforcement
for instance, compounding of offences under I-T Act 1961, which Compounding vs Prosecution* Directorate administratively comes under the ministry of fi-
is broadly an out-of-court settlement where guilt is admitted,
hefty fines are slapped but theres no prosecution. The number
of compounding applications filed in 2016-17 till February was 1,440
1,440, a sharp rise from the 737 filed in the previous year; its
also the highest numer since 2012-13.
The number of I-T cases in which the prosecution complaints
were filed till February 28 was 745, again the highest in the last five Compounding
fiscal years. Of the 745 cases, only 83 have been disposed of by the
courts. The number of persons convicted so far in those cases,
737 Applications
(till February
according to data available with the I-T department, was 14.
Searches and seizures have also picked up. Till February
28, 2017, the number of business groups and organisa-
tions searched was 1,037, up from 445 in 2015-16. Total
assets seized `1,416 crore between April 2016 and
February 2017 were almost two times the value of those
seized in the previous year. Post demonetisation, there
were about 600 cases of I-T searches, most of which were
handed over to the other investigating agencies such as CBI Prosecution
and the Enforcement Directorate. complaints
The I-T department launched another crackdown in about
filed 745
100 places on Friday, targeting entities allegedly linked to
261 (till February 2017)

BSP chief Mayawatis brother Anand Kumar, Tamil Nadu min- 2015-16 2016-17
ister C Vijayabaskar, Tamil actor Sarathkumar and a host of (*In compounding, guilt is admitted, but there is a provision
commodity traders and shell company operators. of compensation in lieu of prosecution)
06 big story
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Legalise Betting, Lotteries Broad Patterns of Cash

Deposits Post Demonetisation
and Other Activities that Most high-value depositors have claimed

Generate Illicit Cash cash to be sales receipts.

They include jewellers
and sellers of luxury
:: Sudhir Chandra or expensive

f India is to get rid of black money altogether, the even prosecute offenders. gadgets (laptops, high-
government has to move a step further and hit The present government has already given two
end mobiles)
hard at areas that generate huge illicit cash. windows for black money hoarders to come clean.
There has been a series of effective measures set- First, it brought the Income Disclosure Scheme
ting up a Special Investigation Team on black mon- (IDS) last year, and according to news reports, black
ey, rolling out a disclosure window, demonetising money disclosed was `50,000 crore. Second, fol-
high-value notes and plugging the leakages in social lowing the demonetisation of `500 and `1,000
schemes to curb Indias parallel economy. But the notes, the government extended one more window When
winning shot has to be something more radical: le- to black money hoarders in the form of the Pradhan confronted by
galising betting, lotteries and such activities that Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. This window closed on nance, not the PMO. I-T department,
generate large illicit cash, and taxing agricultural March 31. No one doubts the se- many high-value
income so as to shrink the sanctuaries being used by riousness of the Central
depositors have
black money hoarders. All these still wont yield re- Strike at the Roots government in cracking
sults unless there is a major bureaucratic reform to To register a total victory over black money, the gov- down on black money, claimed that the
back the system taking on black money. ernment has to strike at the sources that generate starting with demoneti- cash is
huge cash and all in black. sation. But if statistics on money
First, leg
legalise betting on cricket, football and oth- cash detection in the re- accumulated
er sports, a and even on election results. Let the gov- cently concluded elec- over the
ernment co collect revenues and, in that process, curb tions in five states Ut- years
generation of black money.
the genera tar Pradesh, Punjab,
Secon the government should take yet anoth- Goa, Uttarakhand and
er bold step like demonetisation, and tax agri- Manipur are any indi-
cultural incomes. Since the interests of mar-
cultur cation, demonetisation Cash deposits in shell
ginal farmers should be taken care of, start has failed to break the companies were noticed.
taxing only rich farmers with a net income of
taxi backbone of the parallel Money then moved
`5 lakh or more per year. Also, tax corpo- black economy in India.
through layers of
rates and others owning agricultural Black money is still get-
lands which they mainly misuse for con- ting generated and used companies, through
verting their income from other busi- widely in elections, the banking channels before
nesses. only difference being reaching the destination.
Third, the government must initiate re- that it is now in the high- The operators of this
fo in school education to emphasise on denomination `2,000. process are believed to
va system, cleanliness, social responsibil- Ahead of the Punjab have laundered money
ity etc along with tax compliance. One cant ex- elections, for example,
pect tax compliance
co as a standalone objective if other the Election Commis-
for politicians and
malpract such as copying, petty frauds are not sion-appointed surveil- bureaucrats, among
curbed at school level. Inculcating a value system lance teams seized others
indispensable for achieving honesty in paying
is indis `57.66 crore in cash, up
taxes ata a later stage. five times from `11.96
The government Finally,
Fin massive bureaucratic reforms are a crore in the 2012 assem-
must if black money is to be eradicated. The bly polls. In the 2014
should take another government needs to provide officials with all
govern general elections, cash
bold step like the nece
necessary facilities when transferred so that seized in Punjab was
demonetisation, they do not see transfer as a punishment. only `14.07 crore, way
Lets first examine Many taxpayers feel that even if taxes are paid below the cash seizure in
what really consti- and tax agricultural and returns are filed, there is a chance that they the recent poll conduct-
tutes black money. In incomes may get caught in the web and would be forced to ed immediately after de-
accountants par- go around tax offices even when they did not earn monetisation.
lance, black money means unaccounted money. For much earlier. Some amount of sensitisation is needed In the first week of March, as the assembly elections in the
income-tax department, it means the money that has to dispel the fear in the mind of taxpayers. A change five states wound down, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim
not been subject to tax. From the Enforcement Direc- of mindset of a large number of officers is also a pre- Zaidi told ET that these polls witnessed extraordinary sei-
torates angle, it is the money hoarded without due requisite. Tax gatherers and taxpayers have to be on zures. In 2012, we seized `112 crore in terms of cash and liq-
sanction of law and regulations. For vigilance agen- the same page. Human interface in paying taxes uor and this time we have already crossed `350 crore. We have
cies, it means proceeds of kickbacks, while for agen- needs to be reduced to almost zero level. a very stringent expenditure control mechanism but the fact
cies investigating crimes (e.g. CBI), black money are Bureaucrats also make high-pitched and fanciful remains that there was considerable cash and liquor. In UP
proceeds of crimes. For investigators following ter- assessments without evidence. As soon as assess- alone liquor worth `60 crore has been seized, Zaidi said.
rorism-related cases, black money means resources ments are made raising huge demands, they resort to This perhaps indicates that a crackdown alone is not enough
that bankroll subversive activities. all kinds of coercive recovery measures, including at- if the sources that generate black money keep flourishing. For-
All these black money definitions can be sub- tachment of bank accounts. As it is often noticed in mer CBDT chairman Sudhir Chandra recommends even bolder
grouped into two. One, black money is of legitimate the past, many such attempts to maximise tax collec- decisions to curb black money at the sources. He wants the gov-
origin when the taxpayer chooses not to pay tax, but tion often get knocked down in appeals. What re- ernment to legalise betting, lotteries and the like that generate
the money is not tainted. This generally stems from mains permanent in the minds of the taxpayers is the large illicit cash; he even advocates taxing agriculture income,
ignorance and inhibitions; sometimes it is a con- harassment faced during the period a not-so-easy decision for the government as it could be con-
scious attempt to evade tax. Here, a mechanism to of investigation. strued as anti-farmer and hence would be politically suicidal
pardon the offender often works. The tendency of Another set of bureaucrats go up (See Legalise Betting, Lotteries...).
not paying taxes on legitimate income can be curbed the ladder despite being the most in- The Modi government, however, has shown that it isnt
by educating taxpayers about the advantages of hav- decisive. As they refuse to take deci- averse to making bold gambits. The landslide in the Uttar
ing white money over black. sions, they make no mistakes. Can Pradesh polls positions it even better to unleash more surprises
The second broad group of black money is of we expect our taxpayers to be honest The writer is surprises that may elicit as much if not more shock and awe
a former
tainted origin. This is where the government must and proactive if our bureaucracy re- CBDT than demonetisation did. Over to the sequel to the note ban,
use harsh measures to confiscate illicit cash and fuses to change? chairman this time to choke the generation of black money at source.
perspective 07
APRIL 09-15, 2017

One Mans

A Brahmin who went on to and in unfenced demarcation. Like in many Indian

villages, the Harijan colony was a satellite cluster of
that those who ate any kind of meat were barbarians.
The other meat-eating upper castes felt in their heart
discover the delights of a huts and dwellings outside the main village and sepa- of hearts that perhaps the Harijans and tribals were
rated by about half a km stretch of fields. heathens. The Harjans may have quietly chuckled
succulent steak only to give A lovely canal drawn from the rivers embankment and joked that the pompous upper castes didnt
upstream meandered around Gorur and skirted the know what they were missing.
it up later in life has few Harijan colony like a necklace, adorned with swaying
coconut and areca palms along its banks. While there Assorted Palate
regrets about either was a butchers shop for mutton in the market area Thanks to the millions abjuring beef, it was available
where the Gowdas and others lived, I remember the in plenty and for a song less than `1 a kg in those
:: GR Gopinath beef stall, under a palm thatch, that was perched on days in the early 60s. A kg of chicken could be bought

grew up in Gorur, an ancient, picturesque village in the bank of the canal just outside the Dalit satellite for `4 or `5, and mutton for `10 a kg.
Karnataka on the banks of the river Hemavathy, the village. The pork shop was near the farmers weekly Though I had tasted all kinds of meat while in the
principal tributary to the Cauvery. Walking barefoot market where agriculture produce and farm imple- Army, and was even taught how to cook snakes dur-
to the local Kannada-medium middle school my fa- ments and also farm-reared animals and drought ani- ing my commando survival training course, I had
ther taught in the village high school at a tender age, mals chicken, cattle, pigs, never eaten beef. A visit to the
I became conscious of Gorurs culture and hoary tra- sheep, horses and donkeys US was an eye-opener. I had a
ditions, its numerous caste systems and composition were bought and sold. While A visit to the US was an chance to visit the abattoirs,
and the tacit power play beneath the surface of that cattle ended up mostly with eye-opener. After a few beef shops and meat works in
idyllic rural setting. farmers for their homestead weeks, it dawned on me malls. The variety of beef avail-
The Brahmins, like me and my family, and the Lin- farming for milk, ploughing how food was so much a able in restaurants indicated
gayat community were pure vegetarian, (though I and drawing their bullock cart its vital role in a meal. After a
began to eat meat after I joined the Army). The Gow- a few ended up like the oth-
part of evolution of the few weeks of trekking and trav-
das the farming class ate lamb, chicken and fish er animals brought to the human race and depend- el in the US, I found myself lap-
and a few sub-castes among them consumed domes- weekly market: on the dinner ed so much on the geog- ping up steaks and burgers.
tic pork. The tribal people of various denominations plates of some of the people in raphy, beliefs and reli- Then it dawned on me how
and origins ate wildcats, rodents in paddy fields, rab- Gorur and its surrounding gious systems prejudiced and stupid we were
bits and wild boar that were aplenty in the bush and small hamlets. The hide and and how food was so much a
countryside. The Dalits or Harijans (so called by the bones went to the leather tan- part of evolution of the human
Mahatma in those days) and the few Muslims who ning and bone meal process- race and depended so much on
lived in Gorur from time immemorial consumed beef ing unit owned by a prosper- the geography, climate, beliefs
meat of cows, oxen and buffaloes. ous Muslim businessman of and religious systems, tribal
The Harijans lived from hand to mouth. So heart- Gorur who also had a paddy culture. It was also determined
wrenching was their poverty that my father often hulling mill. It has always by the flora and fauna and fish
pointed out to me, how life was cruel and unfair, been so as far as I could re- and fowl native to that region
quoting Tolstoy, that ironically those who worked the member and as far in time as and country, and differed from
hardest were the least compensated. He told me that my father, my grandfather region to region and religion to
they would come to the landlords doors after the and his grandfather could re- religion and tribe to tribe.
days labour, collect their daily wages, then go to the call. It was all part of village I was not happy I ate beef. So I
village baniya to buy their ragi (a kind of millet), the life and its lore. gave it up one day. Not out of any
local staple. God often compensated them with suc- The village and its people of religious convictions but maybe
culent wild greens, mushrooms and crabs they had many castes and creeds lived more out of some strange unac-
collected during the weeding operations of the day in in harmony, at least when it countable sensibilities.
the paddy fields. came to their food, culinary tastes and habits and Would I recommend beef, or a beef ban, to any-
also their festivals and temples and gods; and folk tra- body? Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi had the best answer
Farmers Market ditions, too which even in as small a village as Gorur to that question: I do not doubt that Hindus are for-
The various castes and tradesmen Brahmins, Gow- of 3,000 was as rich, varied and variegated as the bidden the slaughter of cows. I have been long
The author das and Lingayats, and potters, carpenters, gold- tapestry of the vibrant fabric of the villages weaving pledged to serve the cow but how can my religion
is the smiths, blacksmiths, fishermen and their numerous community. also be the religion of the rest of the Indians? It will
founder of
Deccan sub-castes and also a few tribes lived in various Perhaps the devout Brahmins and Lingayats who mean coercion against those Indians who are not
Aviation quarters of the village, in a kind of social hierarchy were fierce vegetarian proponents were convinced Hindus.
08 cover story
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Uday Kotak is gung-ho

on free mobile banking
and Aditya Puri is counting
on customer charges. Are Kotak
Mahindra Bank and HDFC Bank
following divergent strategies or are they
similar at their core?

We have said let us make this simple Started in 2003, converting Started in 1994, as a If you deposit exceptional amount
an NBFC to a bank greenfield operation
and stupid. Zero balance and zero started by HDFC of cash, it costs me. Pay my cost. I
charges for 811 customers. We think Led by an entrepreneur, am not a free enterprise. I have to
it is sustainable Uday Kotak, with a Led by a professional give returns to shareholders
Uday Kotak, executive vice-chairman, background in financing banker, Aditya Puri, Aditya Puri, MD, HDFC Bank
Kotak Mahindra Bank ex-Citibank
Disruptor, offers high
savings account Growth focused on
interest rate deposits, current and
:: Suman Layak savings accounts existence and take up a Mumbai job with Kotak
olkata of the early 1990s may not have Mahindra Finance Ltd (KMFL), led by a 33-year-

Mobile banking
fired the imagination of a BHU engineer- is a new offering Leader in salary old entrepreneur, Uday Kotak. The electrical en-
ing grad with an IIM-A diploma to boot. that could change accounts, broker gineer and management grad moved from con-
For 30-year-old Dipak Gupta, there was sulting to a hire-purchase and leasing business.
its dynamics financing
an added burden. He ran the city office of Just that, at that time, Gupta confesses he did not
the consulting and accounting firm AF know hire purchase from leasing.
Focused on being Focused on
Ferguson, while his family stayed in Mum- Its been 25 years since Gupta hit the ground
bai. Five days a week at a cousins home in
profitable with growth, running, working with aircraft and boiler leases,
Kolkatas College Street, and weekends in every profitability innovative leasing ideas which were firsts in India.
Mumbai was a dreary routine. In 1992 customer follows KMFL has since converted to a bank (in 2003). To-
Gupta was happy to escape this dual-city day Kotak Mahindra Bank, with a market capitali-
cover story 09
APRIL 09-15, 2017

sation in excess of `1.6 lakh crore, is taking one more leap

of faith with a no-frills mobile banking model. There are
David and Goliath
At the HDFC Bank House, the headquarters of HDFC Bank
parallels with Guptas move from Kolkata.
This leap will help the bank escape from a box. Kotak
in Mumbais Lower Parel business district, the senior pros
are in no hurry to respond to Kotak. Much like Kotak, HDFC
Mahindra Banks retail banking play has been largely re- Bank too has a senior team (of 30-40 people) that came to- MERGE
stricted to the mass affluent customer. Uday Kotaks new gether in the 1990s, and many of them have stuck on. Adi- Top six private sector banks by market cap (` crore)
gamble, a zero-charges, mobile-only banking product tya Puri was heading Citibank in Malaysia in 1994, when
named 811 is riding on the Reserve Bank of Indias Aadhaar-
based process that allows a bank to authenticate a custom-
HDFC Bank was being set up, and Paresh Sukthankar, who
is deputy managing director today, had joined in after Puri
HDFC Bank 3,68,686.27
er on the basis of the Aadhaar number alone over a smart- from Citibank India.
phone. It is a huge technology bet for Kotak, who is gam-
bling on doubling his customer base to 16 million in the
We have always targeted growth ahead of the market
three to four percentage points more than the industry,
ICICI Bank 1,61,355.05
next 18 months. Gupta lets on that Kotak personally was says Sukthankar, indicating that the bank will keep growing
scared of technology, till a couple of years back. Thats faster than the industry. And he makes it clear that there Kotak Mahindra Bank 1,60,977.31
when he left his Blackberry for an iPhone. will not be a me-too mobile banking product. If Kotak was
For those who love league tables, the announcement of
811 by Kotak on March 29 was a bit of a dampener. The ex-
all about the mass affluent, HDFC Bank, says Sukthankar,
already has around 55% of its branches in semi-urban and
Axis Bank 1,20,646.32
pectation was of something bigger pos- rural areas. And if Kotak Bank is riding on
sibly a merger with Axis Bank. Rumour With 811, Kotak digital India initiatives (811 is a play on No- IndusInd Bank 84,434.67
mills were working overtime for a month: vember 8, 2016, the day demonetisation was
has changed the
if not Axis, bets were on a buyout of Mahi-
ndra Financial Services of the Mahindra &
announced), Sukthankar says HDFC Bank is
narrative for now, bridging the gap between India and Bharat. Yes Bank 70,894.53
Mahindra Group. The Kotak-Axis merger but it is only a In many ways we have exploded the myth of
Market capitalisation, as on April 7; Source: BSE
would have created the second highest matter of time being an urban bank. Note: Both Kotak and Axis Bank have denied merger rumours
valued bank in India by market capitalisa- The two banks had actually tied up in 2006
tion, overtaking ICICI Bank and the pub-
before all to share each others ATMs. At the time Kotak
lic sector State Bank of India. Market institutions start to had around 75 ATMs while HDFC Bank had a Kotak well, says they are similar in their approach to bank-
leader HDFC Bank, led by consummate think that way little more than 1,300. In the last 11 years HDFC ing: hard-nosed and profitability-focused. Also, both banks
banker Aditya Puri, then would have V Vaidyanathan, Bank has spread itself to 2,500 cities/towns, have assiduously avoided betting too big on infrastructure
been in direct line of sight for Uday Kotak, chairman, Capital First while Kotak today has around 1,400 branches. and large corporate debts, something large competitors
the entrepreneur. A look at the financials for the nine months like SBI or ICICI Bank have to contend with. Sukthankar
Kotak versus HDFC Bank can be the stuff of re- ended December 2016 (see How They Stack Up) of explains how HDFC Banks exposure to various sectors
ality shows. The two are similar in many ways the top five Indian banks by market capitalisa- mirrors the Indian economy. India is a domestic con-
(see Different Strokes for Different Folks), yet tion shows the catch-up Kotak Bank has to play. sumption-led economy, with 60-65% of the GDP accounted
as different as chalk and cheese. At a total income of `15,741 crore, it is one-tenth for by consumption, and this is how our loans and advanc-
At a recent business meet in Mumbai, Puri of State Bank of India (SBI), around one-fourth es exposure is also structured.
said that digital wallets is not a viable business, of HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank and a little more Gupta of Kotak tells a different story. In the late 1990s,
and that banking charges and better services than a third of Axis Bank. there were around 4,000 large non-banking finance com-
should go hand in hand. Net profits at `2,435 crore, however, almost equal panies, but by 2000 only
Meanwhile, Kotak has made his intent to grow very clear. those of Axis, and are one-third of ICICI Banks and SBIs around 10 of them survived. A
In an interview with ET on March 30, he said that he consid- and 23% of HDFC Banks. In terms of advances and depos- lot of our learning came from
Kotak tries to
ered the digital opportunity as big a play as consolidation its, too, it is around a quarter of HDFC Bank. This is what that period and we created a make sure every
and asset reconstruction (dealing with bad loans). The bank makes the intent to double its customer base in 18 months separate bad assets division. A customer is
is raising `5,400 crore in equity and it can spend in any area. and the noise around mergers and acquisitions significant. lot of our lending is directed by: profitable from
Banker turned entrepreneur V Vaidyanathan, chairman Sukthankar also points out that HDFC Bank is no alien to how will I recover this if it goes the word go,
of Capital First, feels Kotak has changed the game. Most growing through acquisitions itself. The HDFC Bank and bad? As a result of this focus on
leading private banks, whether ICICI, HDFC Bank or Kotak, Times Bank merger in 2000 was one of the first of Indian risk, Kotak Bank and HDFC whereas HDFC
have built state-of-the-art institutions and are seamlessly private sector banks and not under distress or under the Bank have the best non-per- Banks strategy is
navigating into the new digital world. With 811, Kotak has guidance of the regulator. Later in 2008, Centurion Bank of forming asset numbers. With to first acquire the
changed the narrative for now, but it is only a matter of time Punjab merged into HDFC Bank. Kotak at 1.07% and HDFC Bank customer and then
before all institutions start to think that way, says Vaidy- In many ways, Kotak Mahindra Bank is a smaller version at 0.32%, the two are way better
anathan who, a decade ago, was instrumental in building of HDFC Bank, almost like a twin born a decade later with placed than the competition. find profitability
PH Ravikumar,
ICICI Banks portfolio of retail assets. the same genes. A senior banker, who knows both Puri and chairman, Vastu
Different Ways
PH Ravikumar, a former senior
banker with ICICI Bank, founder

BUT CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH managing director of commodity

exchange NCDEX and now an af-
fordable housing finance entrepre-
neur, says about Puri: Often I have
Started a decade apart, both banks had a strong brand to begin with seen him ask people who come to
meet him if they have an HDFC Bank ac-
count. He wouldnt ask me, as I am former ICICI Bank, but
Both were lucky to land Both banks have built those accompanying me to his office would be invited to
become HDFC Bank customers.
banking licences that are the basics of banking, Ravikumar points out one key difference between Kotak
doled out rarely branches and ATMs and HDFC Bank. At Kotak they try to make sure every cus-
tomer is profitable from the word go, whereas HDFC Banks
strategy is to first acquire the customer and then find prof-
The minimum balance and service charges regime is present in both banks
Two major pillars of HDFC Banks growth have been the
grab (along with ICICI Bank) for the salary accounts of In-
dias private sector and emerging as a banker of choice for
Profitability focus is With 75% of the market with PSU banks, the brokerage business. The financial markets needed
products that cater to their needs, not just funds but also
a common trait in the which are unable to respond to changing products that help them in the environment and we pro-
strategy of HDFC environment, both Kotak Bank and HDFC vided those products, says Sukthankar. He also reiterates
Bank and Kotak Bank are targeting a growth in clientele that HDFC Bank wants to see a customer become profitable
during the life cycle, if not immediately.
10 cover story
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Another differentiator for Kotak is the higher inter-

We are moving We cater to the est rate for its savings bank accounts at 6% (now also
offered by Yes Bank), again something that larger

from high net worth complete customer banks like HDFC Bank or ICICI Bank did not hurry to
copy. You could call it a guerrilla tactic of a smaller
competitor, although Gupta of Kotak explains it in a
to mass retail spectrum different way. We see this as a term deposit that we
would have otherwise got at 7% or more.
Dipak Gupta, joint managing director at Paresh Sukthankar, deputy managing Sukthankar counters that this would invariably
raise a banks lending rates. There is one more reason
Kotak Mahindra Bank, is virtually No. 2 director, HDFC Bank, was part of its core
why HDFC Bank is not worried about Kotaks mobile
to Uday Kotak. He speaks about the founding team. He speaks about the banking push. Sukthankar says that HDFC Bank lever-
banks latest mobile push. Excerpts: banks growth strategies. Excerpts: ages its branch network much better than even the
public sector banks that have a presence in similar
How did the push into mobile banking come What is your mobile or digital strategy? areas. Our smaller branches do auto loan, gold loan,
about? In the last two-three years we have become die-hard con- tractor loans, agri loans and small business loans,
All along, we had targeted a segment that we call the verts to the digital space. We are doing everything, from while those of many other banks do not offer such a
mass affluent. It did not make sense to go beyond and offering to the customer banking options on the mobile comprehensive suite.
have large branches. The cost of serving customers and desktop to using customer data and customer rela- If Sukthankar implies that there is some learning
was higher. Having built our products for one seg- tionship management tools to provide a better product. here for Kotak Bank, it may have already happened
ment, we never really looked at other segments. Post While there will be some customers who will be mobile through its acquisition of ING Vysya Bank in 2014.
demonetisation, the government started pushing digi- only, our model is not either this or that. For rural cus- Gupta explains that one of the learnings from ING was
tal, and came up with some path-breaking facilitation tomers who would like to know their balance, we have the amount of business that its branches could gener-
for doing KYC based on Aadhaar number. Physical even started missed-call banking where we let them ate in the immediate vicinity, especially by lending to
verification could be replaced by Aadhaar-based veri- know the balance in response to a missed call. We want small and medium enterprises located nearby.
fication with an OTP sent to the phone. It brought our customers to decide what is convenient for them.
down the cost of customer acquisition and also the Puri vs Kotak
time from three to seven days, it has now become Where will growth for HDFC Bank come from? Kotak Bank, however, promises to do a lot more over
just a minute over the smartphone. This is not some- I do not think there are too many banks with our the smart phone. Gupta tries to position the 811 ac-
thing that has been in the works. We have created the breadth. In most of the areas we are market leaders. We count as a multipurpose vehicle that can double as a
offering in the last few months after demonetisation. have always targeted growth ahead of the market and we wallet and a virtual debit card. The customer gets one
want to grow 3-4 percentage points higher than the in- transaction in cash free and then will have to pay
What is the cost of acquiring the customer? dustry. We are present in 2,500 cities/towns and have charges if she wants to come to the branch for more
It is as low as `100-500, almost 80% lower than what it 55% of our physical presence in semi-urban and rural In- physical interaction.
was earlier, and because costs are low dia, catering to the complete customer spec- The cost of acquiring a physical customer used to
we can live with a zero-balance ac- trum, including through self-help be `1,000 to `6,000, with the normal KYC process.
count. groups and joint liability groups. Now it is down to `500 or less, explains Gupta, add-
ing that serving the customer
Will this offering help you Have you consciously will also cost less and there-
double your customer avoided exposure to infra- fore will make business The good news
base? structure? sense. The reach-out to pro-
It is a change in our customer We just believe our book spective customers will be
for both Kotak
category. We are moving from needs to be diversified. Even largely through advertising and Puri is that
high net worth to mass retail. It at the peak we never had channels. there is huge
has fallen into place because of more than 3-4% infra on our In the ET interview, Uday
the opportunity and the Decem- books, so in hindsight it was Kotak had said, We think its
ber guideline by RBI allowing Aad- wise, as we were sustainable and at this point awaiting banks,
haar-based KYC. Now we have to ex- selective. there is no intent to charge. especially those
ecute this. While Kotak is offering a
zero-balance account at the
from the
low end, Aditya Puri is speak- private sector
ing about charges at the high- that are not
er end. Puri told ET, in a
March 8 interview: Pay my
burdened with
cost. I am not a free enter- non-performing
prise. I have to give returns to assets
The journeys may be via

HOW THEY STACK UP different routes but the destination is one.

And the good news for both Kotak and Puri is that
At standalone level, Kotak Bank has the smallest income among the top five there is huge growth awaiting banks, especially those
in the private sector that are not burdened with non-
Indian banks by market cap (` crore) performing assets.
Says Ravikumar: The private sector players now
NET PROFIT (%) NET NON- TOTAL TOTAL have 25% share of the market. In the next five years,
BANK AFTER TAX this will go up to 50%. There are new markets too and
payments bank licences are also being given out by the
SBI 1,53,259.09 7,669.28 4.24 20,40,778 14,97,164 RBI. A senior financial services entrepreneur, who did
not want to be named, says: A banking licence is the
key here. Once that is in the bag, it is a question of keep-
HDFC Bank 60,041.79 10,559.57 0.32 6,34,705 4,95,043 ing ones head and grabbing new customers.
In the interview with ET, Puri had pointed out that
as far as the unbanked and unorganised sector is con-
ICICI Bank 57,075 7,776.45 4.35 4,65,284 4,57,469 cerned, HDFC Bank has a virtual monopoly as he has
put out his products across the country. We are hav-
Axis Bank 42,052.16 2,454.18 2.18 3,70,790 3,47,175 ing the best time of our lives, he said. Puri, however,
retires in four years, upon turning 70, and succession
planning is already being discussed. At 58, Kotak has
Kotak Mahindra Bank 15,741.44 2,435.02 1.07 1,49,352 1,29,261 more time on his side and if size is a criterion more
to do, too.
For April-Dec 2016; Source: ETIG, Capitaline
state watch 11
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Heir-Rising Poll
The fight for Jayalalithaas constituency RK Nagar is also about scoring nakaran is fighting under the party name
AIADMK (Amma) with a hat as the symbol,
and Madhusudhanan under the AIADMK
a point: who is the rightful political successor of Amma? (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) with an electric
pole as the symbol.
This is a very important election de-
THE BIG FIGHT spite the fact that it will not dislodge the
government, says political analyst Aazhi
TTV Dhinakaran, 53 Senthilnathan. The government under
Party: AIADMK (Amma) Sasikalas chosen, Edappadi Palanisamy
Symbol: Hat (EPS), is secure with a simple majority of
Nephew of Sasikala. A win for 122 MLAs in a 234-member House, not
him will be pitched as a decla- counting RK Nagar. It is an important
ration of support for Sasikala election for every party. If Dhinakaran
loses, it will be a big blow for the Sasikala
E Madhusudhanan, 75 camp. It will directly affect her position in
Party: AIADMK (Puratchi the party. In that situation, OPS and EPS
Thalaivi Amma) factions could come together. Dhinakaran
Symbol: Electric Pole has taken a very big risk by contesting this
Former AIADMK presidium election, he adds.
chairman, now in
Panneerselvams camp OPS or Not
Equally desperate is the Panneerselvam
Maruthu Ganesh, 42 camp, the rival claimant to Jayalalithaas
Party: DMK legacy. The voters of RK Nagar must
Symbol: Rising Sun throw away traitorous Sasikala and her
A former journalist with the family and vote for Annan (elder brother)
Tamil daily Dinakaran, this is Madhusudhanan and help the real AIAD-
his debut in electoral MK retrieve the two leaves symbol,
politics. A loss will dent scream loudspeakers attached to jeeps fer-
Stalins image rying Madhusudhanan and a host of AI-
ADMK old-timers and MPs who have
thrown in their lot with this camp.
J Deepa, 43 Madhusudhanan, 75, is a former MLA of
Party: Independent RK Nagar and a familiar face in the con-
Symbol: Boat stituency. For the OPS team, his winning
Jayalalithaas niece; she is the by-poll or at least garnering more votes
banking on family ties than Dhinakaran is crucial, to prove to the
and an uncanny people that they are the legatee.
resemblance to her aunt If the OPS camp manages to get a good
chunk of votes, they can salvage the situa-
tion to some extent, says Senthilnathan.
:: Sandhya Ravishankar
nmindful of the searing heat of Chennai uncanny resemblance to her aunt, TTV cally, post Amma, into Sasikalas faction Can DMK Rise?

summer, candidates travel in autorick-
shaws strapped with blaring loudspeakers
and set up tiny stages in the kurukku sand-
hus (narrow lanes) of the congested Dr
Radhakrishnan Nagar (RK Nagar) constitu-
ency in North Chennai.
The fiercely fought battle is not just for
Dhinakaran is VK Sasikalas nephew. He and O Panneerselvams (OPS) group, the
was anointed as deputy general secretary

Kazhagam (AIADMK) by his aunt hours

numbers weighed in favour of Sasikala
of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra who managed to get the majority of leg-
islators on her side. But the sentiments
before she surrendered at the Parappana of the people and the cadre seemed
Agraharam Central Jail in Bengaluru. She
was convicted by the Supreme Court in
stacked against her, as she was consid-
ered a usurper of Jayas legacy, a power
As the two factions of the AIADMK fight in
what has been the party stronghold, rival
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has
fielded a first-time candidate, Maruthu
Ganesh, who was a journalist with the Ta-
mil daily Dinakaran.
We will win because of the split in the
the 2.62 lakh electorate mostly poor and the disproportionate grabber in a hurry. It is AIADMK and a lack of leadership in the
middle-class voters in a cosmopolitan con- assets case and sen- this perception that party, claims TKS Elangovan, Rajya Sab-
stituency but also for an answer to a po- tenced to four years If Dhinakaran Sasikala and Dhina- ha MP and DMK spokesperson. In the
litical question that has been roiling Tamil imprisonment. loses, it will be a karan want to disprove past, RK Nagar voted only for MGR, Jay-
Nadu since the death of J Jayalalithaa last As Sasikala drove out with a win for the latter alalithaa and two leaves. All three are not
December: who is the rightful political of Chennai to Bengalu-
big blow for the in RK Nagar. present in this election.
heir of the former chief minister? This was, ru jail, Dhinakaran Sasikala camp. Throughout this cam- A failure would not dent Ganeshs politi-
after all, her constituency. She fought and made his return to the It will affect her paign, Dhinakaran has cal career, but analysts say a loss would tell
won from here after she was acquitted in a very heart of state poli- said: This is Ammas on Stalins leadership, who is leading the
disproportionate assets case in 2015, and tics after being left out position in constituency. We will campaign in the absence of his ailing fa-
again in the assembly poll of 2016. That is in the cold for six long the party follow her path. I will ther and DMK leader M Karunanidhi. It
why the RK Nagar by-poll, scheduled for years. In 2011, Jay- complete her work. I will be a big setback for Stalin if the DMK
Aazhi Senthilnathan
April 12, is being keenly contested and alalithaa threw out her appeal to voters of RK loses this by-poll. It will call his leadership
political analyst
watched, despite its result having no effect confidante Sasikala Nagar constituency to into question, says Senthilnathan.
on the stability of the government. and her relatives from vote for us and help us Which is why the RK Nagar by-poll isnt
the Poes Garden residence as well as the get back the two leaves symbol. quite like any other: it can possibly resolve
Desperate Dhinakaran party. Sasikala was allowed back into The Election Commission (EC) has fro- the question of Jayalalithaas heir as well as
Family and politics are tied up in this poll. Jayas home but the relatives were firmly zen the AIADMKs two leaves symbol and settle the query on how good Karunani-
If Jayalalithaas niece J Deepa has thrown shut out. has not allowed Dhinakaran or OPS fac- dhis successor is.
her hat into the ring as an independent Dhinakaran is now the de facto boss of tions E Madhusudhanan to use the AIAD- The writer is a Chennai-based freelance journalist
candidate, banking on familial ties and an the AIADMK. When the party split verti- MKs name or symbol in this by-poll. Dhi- with The Lede
12 in focus
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Roadhouse Blues

The Supreme Court
shutdown of liquor outlets
off Indias highways has
shaken thousands of
professionals and
entrepreneurs in the
alcobev sector. Whats
their Plan B, or C?

:: Ishani Duttagupta
ts early evening at DLF Cyber Hub in

I Gurgaon, billed as Indias first integrat-

ed food and entertainment destination
and spread over 2 lakh square feet.
Young men and women would trickle in
from nearby offices into what till March
31 was Indias most happening F&B hub.
Iconic restaurants, lounge bars and ca-
Cyber Hub in Gurgaon has been hit by the Supreme Court order

fes from SodaBottleOpenerWala and darkness tells most of the story. But nology. Just yesterday one of my assis- havent had to contend with such a
Oh! Calcutta to Olive Bistro and Beer Grover, a partner at RJ Brewing Solu- tant brewers from a Gurgaon unit asked shock in a long time. Most of what
Caf jostle for a meaty share of the tions, has more to worry about. At least me about his job and whether he should Yangdup Lama has done over the past
consumers wallet. five microbrewery outlets that were be- look out for other options. I just didnt two decades is connected to spirits and
Alas, not any more, as Ishan Grover, a ing planned on Chandigarhs Madhya know what to tell him. alcohol, whether training and teaching,
master brewer, will tell you over a fresh Marg near a state highway are being Veterans in the alcobev sector mixing or helping liquor brands. The
lime and soda. Perched on a bar stool at shelved. Similarly, Im losing projects in mixologist and entrepreneur now runs
Quaff, a beer pub in the heart of Cyber Pune and Bengaluru. Cocktails & Dreams, a speakeasy bar in
Hub, Grover explains what the Supreme Gurgaon, and Thirsty Three Hospitali-
Courts liquor ban on restaurants off Low Spirits
Many of my upcoming ty, a beverage consultancy and bartend-
highways means for him. RJ Brewing Solutions sets up micro- projects have been shut ing school for aspiring professionals.
He doesnt need to say much, though. breweries and then makes beers on the down in different cities, Lama is not ruling out an alternative
The microbrewery that is shut and in basis of monthly contracts. Grover is including five in career now.
passionate about the beer brewing in- A career in mixology now feels quite
dustry and had placed his bets on its
Chandigarh. At some of uncertain. Ours are skilled jobs and
fast growth when he ventured into the the pubs and only over the last few years have young
business a few years ago. RJ Brewing microbreweries I have people been taking them up. Efforts of
has over 27 units across India. Not all of sent the staff on leave. senior mixologists and investments
them are up and running since April 1. Some of their jobs are made by international brands to build
Many of the companys young brew- the career of a bartender have gone for
ers who work at the Cyber Hub units uncertain if pubs close a toss, says Lama, who consults with a
have been given leave. Bar and pub down clutch of big alcobev brands. He now
owners are waiting to see what policy Ishan Grover, master brewer, RJ fears that rentals in some locations in
various state governments will follow. Brewing Solutions
Entrepreneurs dont start F&B outlets,
thinking that they will have to suddenly
relocate lock, stock and barrel. And
many dont have deep enough pockets
to shift units at costs that could go up to
`5 crore per unit, explains Grover.
Many of his employees are science
graduates trained in fermentation tech-

Dealing with customers who

drink too much is part of our
training. We have often
stopped serving drinks to
such customers and even
counselled them
Aman Dua, head mixologist, Massive
in focus 13
APRIL 09-15, 2017

to take them home, he says.

Dua reckons he and his colleagues are With so many
Taking the relatively lucky because of the number of unemployed, the job
pledge of
outlets 15 across the country under market will be down
Massive Restaurants. But I have been talk- in the coming
responsibility is ing to friends who are working with other
very much part groups and most of them are downbeat. months
Many are facing uncertainty and some have Manish Chauhan,
of our training head bartender,
been fired.
and it is unfair Duas colleagues Manish Chauhan, 27,
Farzi Cafe
Connaught Place,
that careers are head bartender at Farzi Cafe Connaught New Delhi
being so badly Place in New Delhi, and Bradley Pereira, 23,
impacted for no bartender at Farzi Cafe Kamala Mills in
Mumbai, are part of the talented team of
fault of ours mixologists at Massive Restaurants who
Dhanashree Punekar, have been creating techniques of molecular
GM (operations), STIR
Academy of Bartending, mixology with Indian ingredients. Example:
Mumbai the Banta, a carbonated, vodka-based cock-
tail that is bottled using the traditional Indi-
an soda water technique.
I moved to bartending from a chef s job
because I found this sector more exciting.
Basu as general manager, operations. In Most of us have family commitments and
Mumbai, many small, standalone establish- we are very worried about the shrinking
ments had to shut down because of the new opportunities for us after the judgment,
highway rule and many young bartenders says Pereira, who lives with his mother in
and mixologists are losing their jobs. Taking Mumbai.
the pledge of responsibility is very much
part of our training and it is unfair that ca-
reers are being so badly impacted for no
fault of ours, says Punekar, who also works
as a freelancer for events and parties. cluding some projects that he is working on
Aman Dua, 29, is head mixologist at Mas- in Gurgaon and Bengaluru. Many projects
sive Restaurants, run by Zorawar Kalra, and will be put on the backburner. Students
with brands such as Farzi Caf, Masala Li- who planned to make a career in the F&B
brary, Pa Pa Ya and Masala Bar in its stable. industry may think twice about it. Real es-
He grew up in Karnal and has been a bar- tate investors will keep away from prime
tender and mixologist for over seven years, land around metros and highways for en-
joining Massive Restaurants in 2012, after tertainment development projects, says
winning the Belvedere Vodka Cocktail Com- LeBlanc. His other apprehension is that
petition and a visit to Hong Kong for a bar- foreign tourists may see this as a negative
tending course. for an Indian holiday.
Dua focuses on exploring techniques of LeBlanc is focussed on equipment design,
molecular mixology using scientific tech- brewpub management and business devel-
Gone for a toss are efforts niques. His other focal point? Dealing with opment of craft breweries. Our main busi-
of senior mixologists and customers who drink too much is an intrin- ness is as a service provider, so direct invest-
investments made by sic part of our training. We have often ments are affected in a limited fashion. We
international brands to stopped serving drinks to such customers are assessing how much our projects have
and even counselled them and called a taxi been hit.
build the career of a As a professional in the brewing industry
bartender for more than three decades, LeBlanc feels
Yangdup Lama, mixologist who heads
I moved to the bar from a that doing business in India was anyway an
Cocktails & Dreams, Gurgaon Doing business in India is kitchen job because mixology entrepreneurs nightmare.You always
already an entrepreneurs excited me. Now Im worried need a Plan B and sometimes even a Plan C.
Matthew Callaghan is the Irish head
nightmare. I see this SC ruling Bradley Pereira, bartender, Farzi Cafe
Kamala Mills, Mumbai brewer at pH4 Food and Beverages, the
the Delhi-NCR region which are not af- as just another deterrent for company that runs Toit brewpub in Ben-
fected by the Supreme Court rule will sky- foreign companies to invest galuru. Callaghan has worked in various
rocket, and student registrations at bar in India Chauhan, who hails from the small town capacities, including as consultant and
training schools will slow down. of Pauri Garhwal in Uttarakhand, started his trainer, for various breweries and
Andr P LeBlanc,
business development consultant, career in the kitchen. However, his first job brewpubs in Denmark, South Korea, Aus-
Bar Code Velho Microbrew, Panjim at the night club Elevate in Noida helped him tralia, Micronesia, England, Isle of Man and
In Mumbai, mixologist Shatbhi Basu who learn the ropes of bartending and he has not Ireland for almost 20 years. But he has nev-
runs the STIR Academy of Bartending has looked back since. While there is no threat er seen something like this.
been getting calls from many of her former to my job, many of my friends in the NCR The implementation of the new law is
students over the past week. They all want region who were working in bars have been causing confusion among all involved. A
to express their opinion about responsible laid off. With so many of them unemployed, week after the clarification, businesses are
bartending and mixology practices, which the job market will be down over the coming still waiting for the excise department to
we train them in. Unfortunately, because months, says Chauhan, whose mixology determine if they fall within the 500 metre
many of them are independent and theres videos are popular on YouTube. restriction, says Callaghan, who is also the
no industry body that represents our Andr P LeBlanc, a Belgian, has been in president of the Craft Brewers Association
views on the new law and how detri- India since 2016, working as a business de- of India. Having worked in many countries
mental it will be for us, they are not velopment consultant and head brew mas- with strict rules, he feels that it is important
heard, she says. ter at Goa-based Velho Microbrew. He start- to recognise the fine line between heavy
Dhanashree Punekar, an alumnus of ed his career in the brewing industry in 1986 regulation and a total ban.
the Institute of Catering Management & and has worked around the world in North For now, Callaghan isnt ruling out his
Applied Nutrition, SNDT University, America, Europe and Asia. Plan B: semi-retirement, if not retirement
Mumbai, completed a course at STIR LeBlanc fears the highway liquor ban will itself.
Academy in 2006 and now works with impact crores of rupees of investment, in-
14 centrespread centrespread 15
APRIL 09-15, 2017 APRIL 09-15, 2017

Infamous ATM Frauds

Who invented the ATM? In May 2016, a gang of thieves in Japan used credit
card data stolen from South Africa's Standard Bank to
WhileJohn Shepherd-Barron is withdraw $13 million from 14,000 ATMs in
commonly believed to have come up all of three hours. The criminals are still at large.

with the idea for the ATM, others have

contested it. Other teams of engineers at banks
were said to have been working on a cash Ercan Findikoglu, a Turkish citizen, hacked into banks'
dispenser at the same time. systems and even removed the withdrawal limits at ATMs.
He then used a global network of thieves to withdraw
$55 million in three attempts between Febru-
How did it work? ary 2011 and February 2013. One of them was
The customer had to insert caught in a New York diner with $1 million in cash, which
a cheque into the machine nally led to Findikoglu's capture and extradition to the
and enter a PIN, which had to US in 2015. He was convicted in February this year.
match the cheque before cash was
dispensed. This was followed by Last year, around 3.2 million debit cards were found to have
a magnetic-stripe card following been compromised in India after banks discovered that
concerns over security. certain debit cards were used to withdraw mon-
ey in other countries when the account holders
Predecessors to the ATM were in India. The security breach may have originated
in a malware in the systems of Hitachi Payment Services,
Vending Bankograph, which offers ATM and point of sale machine services.
machines a short-lived machine
for stamps, to deposit cash and
Source: CBS News, Reuters and other media reports
newspapers cheques, invented by Luther
and candy George Simjian in 1960
Total ATM installations worldwide are
Source: Smithsonian magazine
projected to hit 4 million in four years
The ubiquitous automated teller machine (ATM) is turning 50 this year. Global ATM installations (million)

ATMs per 1,00,000 adults It was on June 27, 1967, that the rst ATM was opened to the public at a Barclays 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
in 2015 3.2 3.3 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.9 4
South branch in a suburb of London. ET Magazine takes you through the history of a
Koreans South Korea Source: Retail Banking Research
have utilitarian and time-saving invention and ATM statistics around the world at a
access to 278.7 time when digital transactions seem to be growing rapidly
more Australia Growth of ATMs is slowing as cashless
:: G Seetharaman
ATMs than 164.6 transactions rise
any other Global ATM installations grew The volume of cashless There were
Macao at CAGR of 9.9% between 2010 transactions grew 52% 99 billion cash
nationality and 2015, but are expected to between 2011 and 2015, withdrawals and
UK grow at just 4% between while ATM withdrawals 471 billion cashless
254.1 131.6 North America has three 2015 and 2020 grew at 33% payments in 2015
times as many ATMs as the Source: Retail Banking Research, Accenture
European Union
ATMs per 1,00,000 adults in 2015 India has more
Canada Japan Madagascar South
127.6 South Sudan has the Asia than doubled its
least ATMs North America European 8.9 ATMs since 2012
220.5 Guinea Union
2 220.5 Middle East & Installed ATMs
ATMs per 1,00,000 1.9 70.4 North Africa East Asia &
Feb-12 Feb-17
adults in 2015 the Pacic
Croatia Myanmar
Niger 1.9 27.9 52.2
Portugal Latin America and
174.9 Democratic the Caribbean
Republic of Sub-
the Congo Saharan
Germany 1.3 41 Africa
121.1 Burundi 6.1
Russia 1
173 India

South Sudan

Source: World Bank Source: Reserve Bank of India

16 special report
APRIL 09-15, 2017

A Race against Time

How Africans, battling deep-rooted prejudices and biases, are fast running out of hope in India


John Uche Jesus,

fashion designer, Delhi

A Nigerian, John came to

India in 2010 to study
fashion from JD
Institute in Delhi

Turned entrepre-
neur in 2012 by
starting his own
fashion label
Diamond Ark
His son, born in India,
is named after the
eldest son of his
landlord, Rahul

The problem is not racism

but the perception... At
times, it is best to ignore, to
pretend that you havent heard

:: Rajiv Singh

ts 8 pm on a muggy Tuesday. Saffron funky sleeveless Tees and sporty caps.
Anthony Regal Restaurant in Jagat Farm shopping cen-
tre in Amritpuram is just 2.5 km from
The girls are clad in Tees and jeans or
long skirts and sport vibrant scarfs. An
Ibokette Ansal Plaza mall in Greater Noida, where effort has been made, it appears, to be
a bunch of African students were bru- fully covered. At least by most of the
student, Lovely tally thrashed by a mob on March 27. A girls.
Professional University, week later, it seems as if things have re- Charles Kennedy, vice-president of
turned to normal for African students in the Nigerian Citizen Welfare Association
Jalandar the locality, who are celebrating a birth- in Uttar Pradesh, spots a girl in a short
day at Saffron. dress, who evidently hasnt followed the
It wont be fair The students are mostly from Noida unwritten dress code. Which country
to label the International University. The boys are are you from maam, he asks politely.
entire country as dressed in Bermuda shorts, Tanzania. Please go back and dress
racist. Such things yourself properly. You cant be here like
this. Kennedy then fires a barrage of in-
can happen structions to the youngsters: Dont stay
anywhere in the late. Dont go back alone, stay in a group,
world. It cant be and take an Ola or Uber. Avoid an auto.
said to be an India- Kennedy, who is big brother to most
specific thing of the students gathered, is answerable
to their parents back in Nigeria. He came
to India as a student in 2008, began a
professional career with Apollo Hospi-
tals as a facilitator, assisting African na-
tionals coming to India for medical tour-
ism, and married a Punjabi. Now a father
of three, Kennedy has a day job at Jaypee
Hospital in Greater Noida. But its the

other hat he wears, as a community lead-

er, thats taking more of his mind space
these days.
The African community may want to
special report 17
APRIL 09-15, 2017

from JD Institute in Delhi, and turned en- can happen anywhere in the world. It cant
trepreneur after two years by starting his be said to be an India-specific thing.
own fashion label Diamond Ark. Ibokette, one of three Africans who stay
Its tough to At times, it is best to ignore, to pretend together at Rani Bagh in north-west Delhi,
preach tolerance that you havent heard anything, says Je- is emphatic that he has not encountered
to people on both the sus, who named his three year old son Ra- any racist comments or violent behaviour
sides: locals as well as hul after the eldest son of his landlord. At- either in his locality or at his college. We
tacks like the one in Greater Noida not- are the only blacks in this part of Delhi, he
young African withstanding, he prefers to look at the says, and I hope that things get back to
students brighter side. I am normal as soon as possi-
what I am because of In-
dia. Had the entire
We have been sensitising ble. Ibokette is not the only
the locals about the need to African who hopes that
Bosco Kaweesi, country been hostile, he
be more understanding
would have never been India will remain true to
legal adviser, All Africa able to stay and do busi- Dependra Pathak, special its nature: magnani-
ness. The problem is commissioner of police mous and welcoming.
Students Association, not racism but the per- Blessing Freeman too de-
Bengaluru (Operations) and Delhi Police
ception. cided to continue her
chief spokesperson
Anthony Regal stay in Delhi, in spite of
Ibokette, who came to few shameful incidents
India three years back that tarnished the image
to study information technol- of the capital city over the last
ogy at Lovely Professional few years.
U n ive r s i t y i n P u n j a b, In 2014, a mob attacked
agrees. Generalisation, he three African men in a metro
reckons, has done more station. The same year, Del-
harm than good to the Afri- his former Law Minister Som-
can community across the nath Bharti led a vigilante mob

world. The erroneous percep- in Khirki Extension in south Delhi,

tion that all blacks are drug dealers accusing African women of being
would be equivalent to an equally mislead- prostitutes. But what caused a global out-
ing conclusion. It wont be fair to label the rage was the way in which a student from
entire country as racist, says Ibokette, the Democratic Republic of Congo was
adding that it was only because he had met beaten to death following an argument in
enough good Indians back in Nigeria May last year.
get on with life, and business and the frigerator for human flesh. There is an that he came to the country. Badly shaken after the Greater Noida in-
party. But it may not be quite that easy. urgent need to dispel the ignorance about While conceding that he was heartbro- cident, Blessing who is pursuing dentistry
Since March 27, Kennedys cellphone has Africans. ken to see the video of the Greater Noida from a college in Ghaziabad was in a di-
been constantly buzzing with calls from Over 70 km from Greater Noida, at Vi- violence which went viral across the lemma: to go back or to stay. A call from
anxious parents. I have barely been able kaspuri in West Delhi, ignorance about the world, Ibokette believes it was the work of her mother in Nigeria reinforced her hope.
to sleep over the last week, he confesses. community is in ample display. Ye habshi a few who were uneducated and unex- Dont worry. God will protect you.
insaan kha jaate hain (These Africans are posed (to other lifestyles). Such things Staying with her younger sister since the
Checking Stereotypes cannibals), insists Avtar Singh, a shop
Though the attack on March 27, which owner. Singh proudly discloses his credi-

drew global outrage and condemnation, ble source: my father and grandfather
was described by the heads of several Afri- used to say so. Habshi is a term used to de-
can missions as racist and xenophobic, scribe Africans who traditionally came to
Charles stays away from making a sweep- India as merchants, fishermen and slaves.
ing statement. Had the country been rac- Gulveen Kaur, another resident of the
ist, he lets on, he would not have been able Punjabi-dominated locality that has seen a
to marry an Indian and live in India with steady influx of Africans over the last three
his three kids. Admitting that the India he years, harbours a similar perception. Ye
is seeing now is not what it used to be when janwar hote hain. Jungle main rehna cha-
he came to the country in 2008, Charles hiye (These are animals. They should live
doesnt want to tar all Indians with the in forests), says the 35-year-old home-
same brush. Its a country that still gives maker. Theres no particular reason for
me hope. her prejudice as she has never encoun-
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj la- tered any problem with the African com-
belled the attacks as criminal acts and munity in her area. Blame it perhaps on
said that they could not be called racist conditioning.
at least not before the inquiry was com-
plete. Thats difficult for many of the 2.5 Problem of Perception
lakh-odd Africans in the country to swal- Oblivious to whatever his Indian neigh-
low, as they battle deep-rooted prejudices bours think about Africans, John Uche Je-
virtually on a day to day basis. sus has been busy with his small fashion
Misperceptions that range from the ste- boutique. A Nigerian, Jesus came
reotypical to the primitive abound. For to India in 2010 to study fashion
instance, its common to typecast an Afri- Charles Kennedy,
can as a drug dealer, never mind that its
only a fraction of the community that may facilitator at Jaypee
be involved in peddling narcotics. The
more bizarre rumour that spread in Great-
We are black. We Hospital, Greater
er Noida was that the community was par- are Africans. But Noida; also vice-
taking of human flesh, which led to the we are not cannibals. president, Nigerian
Greater Noida police actually entering There is an urgent Citizen Welfare
homes for a check. need to dispel the
We are black. We are Africans. But we
ignorance about Association, Uttar
are not cannibals, thunders Kennedy. Its Pradesh
devastating, he adds, when the police Africans
barge into your home and search your re-
18 special report
APRIL 09-15, 2017

OA Jeshurun aka Jessy,
football coach, Delhi
past five years, Blessing contends
that socially it will take India years
to evolve and mature. Asserting that A professional
while the cultural norms in Africa are as Nigerian footballer,
strict as India, people back home in Ni- Jessy came to
geria dont judge on the basis of clothes
that one wears. Here people keep star-
India in 2013
ing and laughing. I dont like it, she
says, adding that it has become increas- Has been run-
ingly difficult to hold onto the belief that ning football
the country has place for those with
black skin. But I have not given up
hope. classes for
Meanwhile, the ripples of the Greater kids in Delhi
Noida incident are being felt in Bengalu-
ru, home to a 25,000-strong African
population. The fury of Russell (he
In spite of
didnt want to reveal his full name) is sporadic
evident on a phone call with this writer. incidents of
We are not slaves, and we wont toler-
ate violence, says the 21-year-old study-
ing in a private college. What really wor- against
ries and scares him is that African stu- Africans, he
dents have not yet been violent in India,
but he contends that they are fast run-
prefers to
ning out of patience. Its no more about stay in India
if, but about when, he says, hinting that
unless the students retaliate they will
continue to be treated as punching bags.
Imagine if we start hitting Indians back We must learn
in Africa. What happens then, he asks, thats precisely what keeps Bosco Kaweesi to assimilate been exploited. Caste and colonial ideology
adding that Bengaluru too has been infa- busy. A social activist and legal adviser to the made only a fair-skinned superior.
mous for mistreating Africans. Africa Students Association, Bosco came to
and be sensitive So can Indians break away from their preju-
In March 2015, four African nationals India in 1995. Its tough to preach tolerance to the local culture dices and stereotypes? Kumari reckons it wont
were assaulted by a group of locals at By- to people on both the sides: locals as well as be easy. It will take at least a century for Indians
rathi in Bengaluru. Last year in Febru- young African students, he says. The big- never interacted with an African. Her outlook to evolve sociologically. We are racists, she
ary a mob attacked a 21-year-old African gest challenge, he reckons, is to make the lo- changed when she enrolled her 11-year-old son says. The growth of fairness and skin-whiten-
woman and set her car ablaze. Last cal population understand that its not fair to for football coaching by a Nigerian, OA Jeshu- ing market in India underlines our love for
month, a Nigerian man died in an appar- judge the Africans by their accent and tone. run, aka Jessy, at Sujan Singh Park near Khan white skin. As long as we dont accept the way
ent accident, but the African communi- Its their normal accent that makes them Market in January this year. God made us, the problem will persist. Afri-
ty alleged it was a murder. sound aggressive. They are not violent, he Jessy has been terrific, she says, adding cans in India are as hard-working and honest as
Keeping emotions and tempers in says, adding that the task becomes all the that she could not have hoped for a better any Indian.
check can be difficult in such times, and more complex because at times the local au- coach for her son. Somebody who till recently Meanwhile at Sujan Singh Park on a
thorities too are not aware of the culture. would have been perceived to be an alien Wednesday evening, Jessy is training hard
Bosco, along with the local police authori- from dark lands and jungles is now a polite, with the kids. The toughest task is to make
African Countries ties, has been conducting campaigns to sensi- modest and nice human being. We have to them realise that football is team work, and
with the Most tise the local population and the African com- see beyond black and white and get rid of our that they need to pass the ball to their team-
Overseas Indians munity about the need to be tolerant and un-
derstand each other. The more they mix, the
prejudices, shrugs Goyal.
Ranjana Kumari, a social scientist and di-
mates, he says. Keep passing, keep rolling,
he screams. A professional football player
(Top 10 as on Dec 2016) from Nigeria, Jessy came to India in 2013 for
greener pastures and turned coach in a few
South Africa 15,60,000 months. Conceding that the Greater Noida in-
cident was devastating, Jessy calls for some
Mauritius 8,94,500 rector for Centre for Social Research, explains
how the imagery of Africans being uncivi-
introspection by the African community in
India. We must learn to assimilate and be
lised and alien got built. Indians were always sensitive to the local culture, he says. Playing
Kenya 80,000 more they will understand each other. made to believe that foreign means white. loud music or going overboard with celebra-
So for an Indian, a foreign land would be Aus- tions shouldnt cause inconvenience to locals.
Seeing Beyond Colours tralia, America, Canada or Europe. It would Jessy contends that the gulf between the two
Tanzania 60,000 Back in Delhi, slowly but surely perceptions never be Africa. communities would get bridged as more and
may be crumbling. Harleen Goyal, a home- Another issue that more Indians start talking in
maker, was under the impression that all helped shaped the per- We are raciststhe growth English. Though he himself has
Nigeria 40,035 Africans are drug dealers,
African ception about blacks was of fairness and skin- learnt Hindi thoda thoda, he
thanks tto the recurring news the colonial hangover of whitening market in India reckons that mastering the
Uganda 30,000 African nationals being ar-
of Africa Indians. Being ruled by underlines our love for language is a tough ask.
rested on charges of drug white skinned for so white skin As the coaching session
peddling. It was quite rare,
pedd long, we started emulat- comes to an abrupt end with
Zambia 23,000 she confesses, to ing our masters, ex- Ranjana Kumari, director, children running for cover
read about people plains Kumari, adding Centre for Social Research, Delhi due to an unexpected evening
from other nationali- that caste system too drizzle, Jessy packs his bag,
Mozambique 21,500 ties being indicted for
tie played a part in perpetu- and waits for the parents to
illegal drugs. This made
illega ating the stereotypes. In take back their children. The
Note: Estimates
me believe that all Af- the Brahmanical scheme of kids are my responsibility, he
Madagascar 17,500 of Africans work- ricans are into the things, people from so- says. The trust displayed by the
ing and studying
in India vary business of selling called lower castes were the parents is a small beginning in
Botswana 12,000 between 2 lakh drugs, she says, add-
d ones who were dark tearing down barriers and falla-
and 2.5 lakh ing that her perception
in skinned, if not black. And cies built over decades, even cen-
Source: MEA reinforced because she had
got reinfor those were the ones who had turies.
state watch 19
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Problem of Plenty
West Bengal has seen a massive overproduction of
potato and rice, leading to a sharp drop in prices
:: Sutanuka Ghosal

nlike farmers of Uttar Pradesh, 45-year-old Tapan Sam- Barring a handful of rich farmers in the three districts of
ui, a potato farmer in West Bengal, has no hopes pinned West Midnapore, Burdwan and Hooghly, who can afford
on a loan waiver. Samui didnt borrow from a bank. He to hold on to their crop, rent space in a cold storage and
had sown the potato crop in 40 kattha of land (roughly pay to transport the crop, all farmers in the state share
two-thirds of an acre) last December. Demonetisation Samuis predicament. Smaller farmers mostly sell their
was announced a month before that and Samui had no produce to middlemen.
access to cash and bank deposits at the time. He bor- Once sold, the potato crop actually becomes a trade
Bengals potato harvest has seen a 22% jump
rowed `30,000 from a local moneylender to buy seeds. of paper slips, informally known as aloo bond (potato
in production to 11 million tonnes, leading to a
The states potato harvest this year (the tuber harvest bond). The bonds sell at a premium in a bad year and price crash. The state seems to have managed
typically begins in end-January and continues through their prices fall after a good harvest. An ideal tempera- well with the kharif paddy harvest
February) has seen a 22% jump in production to 11 million ture of 8-14 degree Celsius when the potato was sown
tonnes, leading to a price crash. At least four potato farm- and an absence of late blight disease resulted in the
ers have committed suicide so far. The state has started a bumper crop of 11 million tonnes as against 9 million storages were still to be unloaded when demonetisation
small procurement of 28,000 tonnes (at `4.60 a kilo) that tonnes in 2016. was announced. Inter-state trade that happens through
has helped shore up prices and improved market senti- Bengals potato consumption is not more than 5.5 mil- cash transaction came to a halt and prices dropped to
ment, but it may be too little too late. In 2016, the prices at lion tonnes. It generally sends about 4.5 million tonnes `200 per quintal (`2 per kilo), says Patit Paban De,
the farm ranged between `6 and `8 a kilo. to neighbouring states. This meant, at 11 million tonnes, president, West Bengal Cold Storage Association.
Bengal Agriculture Minister Purnendu Basu says pota- the state had an excess of 1 million tonnes. Cold storage Basu cites demonetisation as a major blow to the farm-
to farmers must share part of the blame for the situation. space in West Bengal for only 6.5 million tonnes leaves ing community: We have started procuring potatoes
Time and again we have advised farmers to shift to other little leeway. What compounded the problem this year from farmers directly. Our aim is to help small and mar-
crops. As they got better prices for potato last year, they was last years stock. Nearly 35% of potatoes in cold ginal farmers. Apart from selling to neighbouring states
again took to potato cultivation in a big way. like Odisha, Assam and Jharkhand, the government has
explored exports to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. We
No Cash, Only Potatoes are trying to convince farmers to produce potato seeds in
With a harvest of 6,500 kg, Samui, based in Hooghly
districts Baikunthapur, 80 km west of Kolkata, is sitting
A Starchy Deluge a portion of their land. This can help create alternative
earnings and also reduce our dependence on Jalandhar-
on a huge loss. Here is his economics in his own words: Overproduction brings misery for based potato seed supply, says Basu.
The cost of production of a kilo of potato was between West Bengal farmers
`3.80 and `4.20. But I had to sell some of the crop at a Rice to the Occasion
throwaway price of `1.80-1.90 per The state produced 11 million tonnes of While potato continues to be a headache, the state seems
kilo as there were few takers. potato in 2017, 2 million tonnes more than in 2016 to have managed well with the kharif paddy harvest in
Samui now has the money- 2016 it was harvested from end of October till the third
Govt is offering `4.60 per kg potato for mid-day
lender breathing down his meal but price has dropped below `2 per kg week of November and also saw overproduction in the
neck. But he is not alone. state. West Bengal produced 16.2 million tonnes of rice in
At least 4 farmers have committed suicide kharif 2016, higher by 2.5% compared with 2015. The
Food Corporation of India, the central agency, has so far
The state saw a record 16.2 million tonnes of rice procured 1.2 lakh tonnes of paddy for the marketing sea-
production too in the 2016 kharif season, 2.5% son 2016-17. West Bengals food and supplies department
more than in 2015 also plans to procure 52 lakh tonnes of paddy from farm-
ers at `20 more than the central purchase price of `1,470
State govt plans to procure 52 lakh tonnes of paddy per quintal.
from farmers at `20 more than the central purchase
Kerala too saved the day by emerging as a major buyer
price of `1,470 per quintal
as rice prices surged in the southern state. Kerala State
Bengal is trying to sell rice and potato to Cooperative Consumers Federation Limited is procuring
other states rice on behalf of the government. Its managing director M
Ramanunny says: We have already bought 500 tonnes of
The potato harvest happened soon after swarna masuri rice from Bengal. We may go for long-term
CM Mamata Banerjee stated that the ties with Bengal for rice procurement.
state may see a famine due to demone- Meanwhile the potato market sentiment improved
tisation last week as the government-announced procurement
started at `4.60 per kilo leading to a price rise of `1-1.50
There is certainly no famine. Now a kilo across varieties of potatoes. Possibly, Samui of Bai-
state ministers blame demoneti- kunthapur can sell the remainder of his crop now to cut
sation for farmers not getting a
his losses.
fair price
20 trendspotting
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Millet Pizza,
How Karnataka is transforming the
states humble and traditional food
into an urban delight
:: Sowmya Aji
Grist for the Millet

bout three years ago, while reviewing
crop production and cultivation, Kar-
natakas Agriculture Minister Krishna
Byre Gowda realised that figures were
shrinking hugely for the states tradi-
Area under millet
cultivation in Karnataka 18 lakh
tional crops the millets ragi in the Total cultivated area under all crops
south and jola in the north.
Ragi and jola cultivation is the basic
identity of the Karnataka farmer. It rat-
73 lakh
33 lakh
tled me to see the drastic shrinkage in
the acreage under millet production, Area under millet cultivation
Gowda, who himself grew ragi till 2008 in India
in his ancestral fields in the dry Kolar
district, told ET Magazine.
Ragi (finger millet), the staple diet
food of southern Karnataka popular-
121.4 lakh
ised by former Prime Minister HD Deve Major millet-growing states: Karnataka,
Gowda, was down from 7.88 lakh hec- Andhra Pradesh, Telangana,
tares in 2010-11 to 6.46 lakh hectares in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh,
2012-13. Production plunged from
Punjab, Rajasthan
14.99 lakh tonnes in 2010-11 to 8.58 Major millet-growing countries:
lakh tonnes in 2012-13. The scenario India, Nigeria, Niger, China, Mali,
Burkina Faso, Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia,
Senegal, Russian Federation

was similar with jola (sorghum), the the name of eating fibre. We
Millets Grown in Karnataka staple of northern Karnataka. Current- have locally-grown, cheaper
ly, the state has about 73 lakh hectares and better nutritional options,
Ragi (finger millet)
under cultivation in the kharif crop, 33 why not push those, he asked.
lakh in rabi of which hardly 18.09 lakh
Jola (sorghum/great millet)
hectares from both seasons are cov- Millet Promotion
ered by millets. The programme objective was
Sajje (pearl millet) The millet crops, which we call multi-pronged: familiarise the
siridhaanya, require minimum wa- urban population with the
Navane (foxtail millet) ter, minimum inputs. They provide health benefits of eating millets;
maximum nutrition. They are actual- create products that the urban-
Baragu (proso millet); Saame (little ly the best option. Farmers, however, ite eats like pizzas, burgers, pas-
millet) are growing high-yielding varieties of tas and desserts from millets;
maize, wheat and paddy, as they research on how to improve
Oodhalu (barnyard millet) get better returns from the the seed quality of millets so promoting a back-to-the-old-ways cul-
market, while more and that they yield more per acre ture and methodology to deal with the
Arka (kodo millet) more people are eating and expand the market for drastic water shortage.
only those. This has re- the millet farmer, making it We have to change our crop pat-
Korale (brown top millet) sulted in a decline in the more profitable to grow terns, go for our traditional crops like
production of our tradi- them. ragi and all the minor millets, which
tional foods, Gowda With Karnataka going grow with much lesser water, farmer
said. through continuous drought leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar told
The situation spurred for the last three years ET Magazine . The problem is that
him to brainstorm with and the monsoons ap- these crops do not fetch us market re-
the officials of the agri-
We serve millet pearing chancy this turns. If the marketing is pushed and
culture department on pizzas, millet ice year also, farmers rep- we get `5,000 per quintal for our crop,
programmes specifical- creams, burgers, resentatives also feel that is when we can grow ragi and
ly aimed at pushing the breads and they that the push for millets manage our livelihood, too.
humble millet into the is a good thing. The minimum support price that the
urban and also the na-
have become There are 14 organic Centre and state have jointly an-
tional market. People extremely popular and millet farmers re- nounced for ragi and jola this year is
eat oats and quinoa, HR Jayaram, owner, gional federations in `1,650 and `1,600 per quintal, respec-
spend huge amounts in Forgotten Food restaurant the state, which are tively, way below the demand of
trendspotting 21
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Millet Merits

`5,000. It is not remunera-

Consumes 70% less water Woman threshing millet
than other crops
tive, Gowda admitted,
even I, as a farmer, saw Requires no pesticides,
minimal fertilisers
some profit only when we
started growing banana and High in proteins, dietary fibres,
other such crops. B Complex, amino acids, folic acid,
The point about the market be- vitamin E, iron, magnesium,
ing developed comes after this. Karnataka, copper, phosphorous, zinc,
however, is slowly pushing forward the mil- potassium, calcium
let promotion programme in the hope that Reduces obesity
it will slowly boost the market to the extent
Reduces risk for diabetes and
that the demand and supply equations will cardiovascular diseases
give the farmers sufficient income, leading
to increased production. Prevents gallstones and stomach ulcers
It is certainly difficult to con- Reduces anaemia, asthma and liver
vince a paddy or sugarcane disorders
grower to shift to millets,
Prevents allergic reactions
Kodihalli Chandrashekar
admitted. While nature Relieves constipation There are 14 organic and
and water shortage might Reduces risk of hypertension, millet farmers regional
push them to it finally, that oxidative stress federations in Karnataka,
situation has not yet happened. which are promoting
Farmers are currently growing ragi
only because it gives good fodder for the back-to-the-old-ways and also the Mexican food of chia seeds, to
cattle as a side product. So unless the mar- methodology to deal with take forward the concept of balanced diet
ket situation changes, increasing the area being developed, from millet idlis and do- the drastic water shortage and better health. This programme is
under ragi cultivation is not feasible, he sas, to snacks like chaklis, kurkure, cook- good for the consumer, good for the envi-
added. ies, desserts, pastries, pastas ronment as millets have the lowest eco-
Awareness about the health Nutritional and so on. All of these are on ice creams, burgers, breads and it has be- logical footprint and are sustainable. It is
benefits of various millets is Value of display along with shops set up come extremely popular, says HR Jayar- also best option for the farmers to grow
slowly growing in the urban Finger Millet by manufacturers. Products am of Forgotten Food restaurant. His reci- due to the low input costs, Gowda said.
areas, even as the agricul- per 100g like ragi dosas are made at pes use navane ((foxtail millet), sajje (pearl The state is pondering introducing mil-
ture department has held the melas and sold to con- millet) arka (kodo millet), oodhalu (barn- lets in a big way in governmental pro-
about 50 millet melas in sumers, who are now com- yard millet) baragu (porso millet) along grammes like the ICDS (Integrated Child
Bengaluru and the other Protein: 7.6 g ing in large with ragi. Development Programme) that tackles
29 district headquar- Fat: 1.5 g numbers, It used to be the poor mans food, malnutrition in children. Discus-
ters in the state to push Carbohydrates: 72.6 g
Gowda said. but now it has become a superfood, sions are on with the women
it. They are putting The depart- the toast of the rich man, says and child development de-
out nutritional Vitamin A: 0.48 mg ment has held chef Ramaswamy Selvaraju at partment for the same.
charts and explain- Thiamine (B1): 0.33 mg millet awareness Taj Vivanta, who has devel- Ragi and jola are already
ing the importance Riboflavin (B2): 0.11 mg programmes for oped 222 millet-based food being supplied through
of eating millets chefs of top hotels in- recipes in his kitchen. Peo- the public distribution
Niacin (B3): 1.2 mg
rather than just rice cluding five stars. The ple come and ask us for mil- system, though there
and wheat. Fibre: 3.6 g private sector, however, let-based breakfasts. We have are hitches due to the
Besides this, all Zinc: 2.36 mg has already boomed on its developed ragi and navane patchy production the
kinds of products are Iron: 4.14 mg own, with several exclusive based pancakes, muffins. Weve millets. There is also a plan
millet serving restaurants used saame (little millet) in to push millets into the
and hotels coming up in salads and it has been an Millet crops highly subsidised 198
Source: State Bengaluru. We have differ- amazing success. Add a little Indira Canteenus
ent, modern recipes. We lemon juice and olive oil and
require minimum planned for Bengalu-
Millets used to department
water, minimum
serve millet pizzas, millet it is a huge hit. We have even ru, though this again is
be the poor made brownies and cook- inputs and provide d e p e n d e n t o n i n -
mans food, but ies peoples habits are maximum creased production.
now it has changing, they want to ex-
nutrition. Farmers, moves, The states millet
become a super periment with food, he
however, are
though, have
said. been making waves
food, the toast of growing high- and seem to have
the rich man For a Balanced Diet yielding varieties caught the attention of
Ramaswamy Selvaraju, While organic and millet neighbouring Tamil
chef, Taj Vivanta of maize, wheat Nadu, also a major mil-
shops are mushrooming
across the city, the problem and paddy, as they let growing state. Tamil
of a lack of assured produc- get better returns Nadu has now planned
tion of millets remains. To Krishna Byre Gowda, a Millet Summit in
tackle the essential problem agriculture minister, Chennai on April 21.
of low yield per acre, the ag- Karnataka Karnataka is going a
riculture department has set step further and
up a consortium comprising ICRISAT (In- planned a National Trade Fair on organics
ternational Crops Research Institute for and millets between April 28 and 30 in
the Semi-Arid Tropics) from Hyderabad, Bengaluru, where farmers, producers, ex-
National Centre for Biological Sciences porters, domestic trading companies,
and the four agricultural universities in food caterers, restaurants, supermarkets
the state to work on genome based marker and speciality chain stores are expected to
assisted breeding for better varieties of participate in huge numbers.
ragi, jola, tur, bengal gram and ground- It is inevitable that millets are the food
nut. of the future, chef Selvaraju pointed out.
We will expand our millet promotion They are fat-free, cholesterol-free and
Chef Ramaswamy Selvaraju has developed 222 millet-based
drive to include pulses, amaranth leaves very tasty. What else do we need?
food recipes in his kitchen at Taj Vivanta
22 past forward
APRIL 09-15, 2017


A clutch of archaeologists across the country is unearthing the food of ancestors from the
oldest curry to tandoori chicken in Harappa to shed light on the evolution of eating
:: Avantika Bhuyan

id you know that the concept of the good ol ples from 50 different surfaces such as pot- ents to the lab and started cooking, using cal people, I realised I was doing things
tandoori chicken dates back to the Harap- tery, tools, dental calculus, animal remains different utensils and methods. Roasting wrong. Instead of boiling eggplants and
pan period? Or that the singhara the wa- and traced evidence of a proto-curry made was definitely prevalent back then because turmeric individually, I should have
ter chestnut has been found as a 70 mil- with aubergine, ginger and turmeric. of the way some seeds, which we found, cooked them together. When you mix all
lion-year-old fossil in India? What if you Kashyap spoke about this unexpected were charred. They used to bake, but not the ingredients with salt, the starches are at
could find out not just what was on the finding in Farmana: Archaeobotanist Lin- the way we do. It was more of cooking un- a perfect stage to be identified under the
menu of the ancients but also how their ta- da Perry, my PhD mentor, used starch grain der water, she says. microscope, says Kashyap. With such a
ble was laid? A clutch of archaeologists analysis a method of examining starch significant discovery behind her, she has
across the country is working hard to un- granules stored within plants under the mi- Curry Forward now moved on from ancient tools to mod-
earth the food of our ancestors to shed light croscope to prove that the pre-Columbi- The current cooking methods in Farmana ern ones, from understanding the past to
on the evolution of food materials and an civilisation in Mexico grew seven kinds guided her in the quest to trace the proto- deciphering the future in her new role as
practices in the Indian subcontinent. of chilli some 6,100 years ago. Kashyap curry as they were still using some of the the user experience researcher at Google
The average Indians interest in the ar- started looking for tubers and fruits in the ancient techniques. After talking to the lo- in Seattle, Washington. Though she loves
chaeology of food was nudged out of its Harappan diet using this working on cloud, she does miss the excite-
stupor for a bit in 2010 when archaeologists method. After collecting resi- ment of waking up in the wee hours, bub-
Arunima Kashyap and Steve Weber of due from pottery and human bling with anticipation of discovering evi-
Washington State University Vancouver teeth, she found that people dences, which have been lying silent under
discovered the worlds first known or old- had been cooking with tur- the earth for centuries.
est curry in the dusty village of Farmana in meric, ginger, garlic and egg- It was at the behest of Vasant Shinde,
Haryana. Using the innovative method of plant more than 4,000 years now vice-chancellor and professor in
starch grain analysis, they examined sam- ago. I brought the ingredi- South Asian archaeology at Deccan Col-
lege, Pune, that Kashyap went to Farmana
to mentor a group of women archaeolo-
(Clockwise from below) A view of residential complexes No. 2 and 4 in a dig in Farmana,
Haryana; a silbatta found in Rakhigarhi; a flat stone used for grinding corn from Farmana gists and ended up making this discovery.
He says that the concept of tandoori chick-
en goes back to the Harappan era. We
found similar tandoors at the sites and lot
of poultry bones as well, he says. Having
worked across Gujarat, Haryana and Maha-
rashtra, he is busy supervising findings
from the site of Rakhigarhi the largest
Harappan city again in Haryana. We
Vasant Shinde of found shells there, which was very
Deccan College, Pune, strange as the coast is thousands
says that the of kilometres
kilome away. Maybe
concept of they aate the mollusc in-
tandoori side the shell and then
us it to make ban-
chicken goes gles.
g We guess the
back to the shells
s came from
Harappan era. Dwarka,
D he says.
He found similarr This
Th also shows how
tran of knowledge,
tandoors and poultry
oultry methods
meth and ingredi-
bones at sites ents was
w taking place in
the olden times. Such is the
past forward 23
APRIL 09-15, 2017

What these findings also do is take one on ceramic or clay? asks Banerjee.
At his Pune-based company, a journey through the evolution of food hab- For chef Ranveer Brar, archaeological
Phytolith Research Institute, its some of which we take for granted. studies are not always about finding recipes
Sanjay Eksambekar identifies Chillies, tomatoes, potatoes are all recent or creating them in a modern context, they
additions. They arrived on the west coast are about understanding the ingredients.
microfossils of plant like pollen through the Portuguese, says Kurush Dalal, How does one break them down or treat
and starch to trace food habits Mumbai-based archaeologist and culinary them better. Also, it sheds light on the evolu-
anthropologist. There was no makki ki roti tion of dishes. For instance, what was aviyal
being eaten with sarson ka saag earlier. made with earlier? It couldnt have been
The saag was being eaten with jau (bar- with potatoes, as they arrived a lot later in
ley) ki roti. According to him, beef history, says Brar, who refers to writings of
was the No. 1 source of protein at all historian Pushpesh Pant, Achaya and Dalal.
Bronze Age sites, vegetarianism be- Why are archaeologists still focusing on
ing a post-Buddhist phenomenon. Harappan sites more than any other? Pant
Oil formed less than one-twentieth says one of the reasons is that Harappa is per-
part of cooking. Till as recently as haps the best excavated and arouses interest
150 years ago, onions would have
been been dry roasted in a kadhai and
oil would have been added in a small
(Right) Images of phytoliths, quantity right at the end, he says. Archaeologists Arunima
scanned under a microscope Through these ever-changing food habits,
there have been foods that have stayed with
Kashyap and Steve Weber of
global interest in human evolution us. Ber has been a constant companion Washington State University
and diet that the German research since the early Bronze Age, as have been all Vancouver discovered the
institute, Max Planck Society, has now magnesium and if he kinds of marrows doodhi, parwal, potol, worlds first known or oldest
collaborated with Deccan College to re- ate more meat, they says Dalal.
search the topic more deeply. We have would contain more zinc and cop-
curry in the dusty village of
formed a team, with four to five scientists per, he says. Past is a Moveable Feast Farmana in Haryana
from India, and are using all the latest tech- In another leafy neighbourhood of Pune, Now the question is, are all these wonderful
niques in our research, he says. Sanjay Eksambekar is busy peering down findings, which are taking place in the world
In his findings, Shinde has found out not his microscope, identifying microfossils of food archaeology, being translated on the
just traces of what our ancestors ate but also phytoliths, pollen and starch. This is multi- chefs table? They are, though only through
the crockery that they used. For instance, disciplinary in nature and such analysis can small, stray efforts. For instance in 2014, Da-
from 5,000 BC to the beginning of the Chris- help decode several mysteries of the past lal and Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, who is a
tian era, we got remains of plates in Punjab and the present. I look at silica impressions food writer and owner of the state-of-the-art
and Haryana. For the same period, we got of skeletal remains of plants, he says. Hav- kitchen studio, APB Cook Studio, came to-
bowls in Gujarat. It indicates that more rotis ing worked in the Chalcolithic sites in Rajas- gether for the event, Archaeology of Food.
were eaten in the former, and more por- than and Neolithic sites in Karnataka, he has Dalal spoke about the changing relationship
ridge-like foods using sorghum and millets now embarked on a project at his company, of human beings with food, starting from the
were consumed in Gujarat, he says. Phytolith Research Institute finding evi- Stone Age, and Ghildiyal conceptualised and
dence of ayurveda at different archaeologi- cooked a meal using only those ingredients
Finding Food cal sites. and methods available to the ancients. So, an
In this Indiana Jones-esque quest, there are eclectic set of dishes makhana with melon
several tools that come to the aid of archae- seed, lime and rock salt, jowar bajra por-
ologists, one of the most popular being ridge with melon seeds, brinjal stuffed with
starch grain analysis. Then theres dental lamb mince, nachni bhakri with greens and
calculus, which is the analysis of substances millet kheer with honey made their way to
stuck to the tooth. Human bones are also the table.
chemically treated. If a person ate more She also found references in scholar KT
plants, his bones would contain more Achayas book, A Historical Companion to
Indian Food, in which he had mentioned with the mystery surrounding the script.
the eggplant dish. Since they didnt have Also, after Partition, Indian archaeologists
chillies at that time, I used long pepper. It did not have access to Mohenjo-daro, so they
Kurush Dalal, Mumbai- was deep-fried at that time, but I chose to focused on Harappa. There has been a con-
based archaeologist and bake. Partly because, people today stant expansion of Harappan sites they
wouldnt appreciate deep-fried eggplant have now come to the borders of Delhi, he
culinary anthropologist, says. The other reason, he says, is the politics
and also I didnt understand how the an-
says beef was the No. 1 cients would have done this without the egg- of food. Today, the consensus is that Harap-
source of protein at all plant exploding, she says. pa was a pre-Vedic civilisation. It is assumed
Bronze Age sites, and With no formal recipes to fall back on, that the Dravidian civilisation was pushed
oil formed less than chefs and writers often take the liberty down south by the Aryans. Now, if we found
of recreating dishes by adding ingredi- out what the ancestors ate, these claims
1/20th part of ents that have been locally grown in a could be disputed, he says.
cooking region for years. For instance, when Chefs and historians, however, feel that
food writer Soity Banerjee set out to the archaeology of food is more important
recreate the proto-curry, she had today than ever before, when the culinary
only three ingredients to work with: heritage is slowly disappearing. There is an
turmeric, ginger and eggplant. She interest in old recipes but I am more inter-
felt that the recipe needed something ested in the culture of food, how its linked to
else and thats when she added pabri, the ecosystem, says Sudha Gopalakrishnan,
which lent a sweet, slightly peppery note executive director, Sahapedia, an open on-
to the dish. This led to many more ques- line resource on the arts, culture and herit-
tions. For instance, since this dish belongs to age of India. She has now started consulting
a mature Harappan phase, did they cook in archaeologists and historians to document
regional cuisines. We have done capsules
on Gujarat and Uttarakhand and will do one
Dalal and Ghildiyal conceptualised and
cooked a meal using only ingredients and
on Punjab next. There is a disconnect be-
methods available to the ancients. They made tween theorists and practitioners, and we
makhana with melon seed, lime and rock salt, need to break that, she says.
and jowar bajra porridge The writer is a Delhi-based freelance journalist
24 travel guide
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Tomb Riders
From the temples of Luxor through bustling Cairo to the pyramids of
Giza, Egypt offers a captivating canvas of the past and the present

tion, unrequited love, untimely death

one more bewitching than the other.
Ramses VIs tomb is perched on a
steep gradient, with centuries-old art on
its alabaster walls. Kawy explains that the
tombs marked elaborate preparations
for the royals journey to the next world.
Thats why these were well-stocked with
all the material goods a ruler might need
during the transit furniture, clothes,
jewellery, food, even wine. Loyal serv-
ants were buried with their masters to
take care of them. Mummification fur-
ther helped preserve the royals bodies
till their eternal souls became reanimat-
ed with a new birth.

Past Continuous
Located on River Nile, Luxor the phar-
aohs glorious capital city from 16th cen-
tury BC to 11th century BC stands on the
site of ancient Thebes. Referred to as an

open-air museum, its astounding wing-
span encompasses some of the worlds
most prized antiquities: the Luxor Tem-
ple, the hieroglyph-lined Karnak Tem-
ple, the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of
the Queens, Deir el-Bahari and Deir el-
3 1. Entrance to the Luxor Temple 2. Artefact
Medina, among others. Great mortuary
for sale in Old Cairo 3. Panoramic view of
Cairo 4. Colossi of Memnon, two gargantu- temples nestle close to the citys borders
an stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III as well as the Colossi of Memnon (two
gargantuan stone statues of Pharaoh
Amenhotep III) and the Temple of Hat-
terials sprung up sarcophagi, pottery, shepsut devoted to the beautiful Egyp-
linens, flowers. tian pharaoh.
Today, the Valley of the Kings, a barren Its a lot of history to wrap ones head
tract west of Luxor, hosts 63 tombs of the around. But then this is Egypt, where
pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1539-1075 myth and reality are so intertwined it is
BC) Tutankhamun, Horemheb, Seti I, impossible to tell one from the other. The
Twosret, Ramses II and VI as well as wonders of pharaonic and medieval
queens and other elites of the 18th, 19th, times the captivating canvas of eccen-
and 20th dynasties. Each one tells a tale tric kings, manipulative queens, warri-
of power, intrigue, overvaulting ambi- ors, knights and their loyal minions are



:: Neeta Lal

he Valley of the Kings in the southern spiracy? Tomb robbers, treasure hunt-
Egyptian city of Luxor is a great sweep of ers and archaeologists have been comb-
sand and stone swathed in a shimmer of ing the Valley of the Kings for centuries.
heat haze. Inside the cavernous tomb of Yet the mysteries of the worlds most
Tutankhamun, discovered by British ar- expansive ensemble of tombs on the
chaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, the Niles west bank continue to confound.
guide Salem Kawy narrates the tragic tale Just when excavators thought they
of the Egyptian child pharaoh who be- had unearthed all that there was to in
came king at the age of nine, married his these underground mausoleums, in
half-sister, fathered two stillborn daugh- 2005, archaeologist Otto Schaden stum-
ters and died at 18. bled upon yet another sensational tomb
The writer is How did Tut or Tutankhamun die just 50 feet from Tuts resting place.
a Delhi-
based so young? Was he afflicted by a secret ill- Though the crypt dubbed Site KV 63
journalist ness? Or was he the victim of a royal con- yielded no mummy, a trove of rare ma-
travel guide 25
APRIL 09-15, 2017

5. The cityscape of Cairo at sunset from

the Mosque of Muhammad Ali in the
Citadel 6. Souvenirs at Khan el-Khalili
7. Temple of Hatshepsut, devoted to the
beautiful Egyptian pharaoh 8. Pyramid of
Chephren, Giza 9. Hurghada marina
bustles with cruise ships 10. Hurghada
seaside 11. View of Hurghada across the
7 Red Sea

5 8

Luxor Temple, built by Amenhotep and a
few subsequent Egyptian pharaohs. looks
eerily spectacular on a nocturnal tour. Its
humungous sculptures and installations, lit
up by phosphorescent flood lights, throw
sinister shadows on the ground.
The Temple of Karnak a mighty complex
comprising the Great Temple of Amon Ra,
the Temple of Khonso, the Ipt Temple, the
Temple of Ptah, the Tem-
ple of Montho and the
Temple of the God Osiris 9
was the venue of this years
Luxor African Film Festi-
val. There was a feast of
films at the venue, marked
by the high-wattage pres-
ence of actors, filmmakers
and technicians.
Cairo, the sprawling GETTYIMAGES
capital city of some 20
million people, is a mael- 10 Indians to come to Egypt.
strom of sights, sounds Despite the downturn, entrepreneurial
and smells. Its perpetually zeal thrives. In Hurghada, resorts along the
gridlocked roads have ka- Red Sea seem to have sprung out of sand. Re-
mikaze vehicles belching branded by the government as the Egyptian
noxious fumes, scooters Riviera, the city is peppered with handsome
hauling families of four, mules pulling carts ry experience. Shops peddle trinkets, scarves hotels, golf courses, tennis clubs and spas
of vegetables. Men in drab western garb or and perfume flasks. A persistent parade of and is a magnet for swimmers and scuba di-
traditional galabiyas and abaya-clad women hawkers holding out armfuls of wallet, neck- vers. Downtown Hurghada is a melee of peo-
add to the ever moving landscape. The his- laces, rugs, ottoman covers or gorilla masks ple, kiosks and a lively marina.
toric Tahrir Square, the pivot around which never tires of asking: Madam, you from In- We devote half a day to exploring the Red
Cairo seems to flow, has the Nile as its vis- dia? You know Amitabh Bachchan? Seas reefs and underwater marine life. Sail-
cous backdrop. Contrasting sharply with Cairos tumult is ing to the middle of the ocean in a cruise
However, Cairos heart beats in its souks the spirituality and serenity of the Giza pyra- Slump in Tourism liner, we moor up and huddle into a subma-
awash with an eclectic mix of goods: jewel- mids. Located near the city on a plateau on Despite the countrys formidable cultural rine to inspect incredible coral reefs, shoals
lery, rugs, collectibles, perfumes, cosmet- the Niles west bank, these architectural wealth, tourism, one of the centrepieces of of fish, dolphins and other protagonists of
ics, antiques, medieval trinkets, carpets, wonders are some of the most magnificent the Egyptian economy, has taken a beating the aquamarine sea. The intrepid among us
alabaster masterpieces, prayer rugs, bolts man-made structures showcasing Egypts lately. A popular uprising in January 2011 that plunge into the waters to snorkel or dive.
of cotton and handcrafted majlis cushions. rich and glorious past. More than 4,000 toppled president Hosni Mubarak and ousted Tourists from Russia, England and Ger-
In the labyrinthine alleys of the citys centu- years later, the pyramids still retain much of Mohamed Morsi in 2013 unleashed military many flock to Hurghada by the planeloads,
ries-old Khan el-Khalili bazaar art and com- their splendour, attracting over three million violence that almost decimated tourism catered to by over 300 hotels cosseted
merce coalesce to create a remarkably senso- tourists each year. across Cairo, Giza, Luxor and other cultural along the west coast of the Red Sea. Yet most
destinations along the Nile River. report slim pickings. At twilight, as we am-
A series of high-profile airline disasters, ble along the citys promenade, with a zeph-
including the downing of Metrojet 7K 9268 yr serenading us, the sight of near-empty
11 in Sharm el-Sheikh in October 2015, eateries and sheesha bars is heart-breaking.
wreaked further havoc on an industry that At the spiffy Tia Resorts & Spa, one of the
contributed 11.4% of Egypts GDP in 2015. At biggest players in town with an inventory of
its peak in 2010, Egypts tourism sector em- 1,500 rooms, the service is a tad over-
ployed over 10% of the countrys workforce whelming due to low footfalls. Yet the hotel
and raked in $12.5 billion, a tenth of the is adding new restaurants and rooms in the
countrys GDP. hope that the number of guests will eventu-
Today, thousands in the hospitality sector ally surge.
are jobless and revenues have plummeted, This optimism is pervasive across Egypt.
savaging an already spluttering economy. Sitting at his antique stall in downtown
Tourist numbers, say locals, are down by half Hurghada, shopkeeper Ahmad says philo-
and though the Cairo government pledges to sophically: It is lean now, but I know tour-
resuscitate the industry to 15 million annual ists will return to Egypt. Hope they do. For
visitors, theres little evidence of it on the the country is far too stunning, its attrac-
ground. Everywhere we go Luxor, Giza, tions simply too dazzling and its people so
Hurghada, Cairo theres one plea from the warm and charming, that the wheel will
locals, We need more tourists. Please ask simply have to turn.
26 food & drink
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Piping Haute
Chef Srijith Gopinathan, who has snatched two
Michelin stars for his restaurant, is the best bet to
take Indian cuisine to the next level internationally 1

:: Reshmi Dasgupta 2

ts rare to catch a chef eating. And if he hap- to 50:50 between Californian and Indian.
pens to be the worlds most highly rated In- California has the best produce in
dian chef at present at least according to the world, he enthuses, I get
the western standard, the Guide Michelin great ingredients within an 80
cooking for him must be a nightmare too. mile radius! Californian
No wonder a tremulous, toqued youngster freshness and Indian rich-
came to inquire if the masala omelette was ness make an exciting
up to scratch. jugalbandi, so splurg-
Srijith Gopinathan, who runs the two ing is easy. Restraint is
Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant at the tougher but clev-
the Taj Campton Place Hotel in San Fran- erer option, as paring
cisco, let off his signature warm laugh and yet sharpening Indias
replied in the affirmative. The youngster lavish lure demands
went off blushing furiously and we got down genius. Thats proba-
to the business of our morning tete-a-tete: bly where Gopinathans
Indias culinary future. eclectic CV comes in. He
That second star sets him apart on the is an Indian trained in the 3
already impressive list of Indian chefs in classic western style, (I hesi-
the Michelin list, including his Taj group tate to give a more specific
colleague Chef Sriram Aylur of The Quilon regional tag) via the Culinary
in London. But its also his location boun- Institute of America and
tiful California that makes him the best stints at the best restaurants
bet to take Indian cuisine to the next level, in the genre. He knows what
internationally. to hone, what to diffuse, to of recalibrating.
The question is, where and how can India make that next grade. Genius also lies in identifying textures,
fit into an haute cuisine table dominated by It could be asked why aim- flavours and aromas that appeal and those
French classicism, Japanese minimalism, ing for Guide Michelins stars that dont. Too sharp a mustard can repel,
New Nordic primitivism, Peruvian cross- is necessary at all, as it is as a fellow chef in the US recently realised.
culturalism and other prevailing food probably skewed against less- Turmeric has a great golden colour but its
trends? With authenticity, simplicity, great understood cuisines. The an- taste can overwhelm so it must be handled
produce and an astute understanding of swer is unexceptionable. deftly. Being Indian but not too Indian is
market trends. Earnings. That first star the challenge.
Gopinathans oeuvre, luckily, has all of added 15% to Campton Take Gopinathans cauliflower curd rice,
that. And that second star gives an added Places takings. The second curry leaf granola and tumeric whey or
gravitas that his youth and cheery manner has pushed it up by another string hoppers, seasonal vegetables,
charmingly belie. Indeed, what it took (at 20%. Which chef would not spiced cashewnut broth and black mus-
least by his reckoning as the anonymous want that? 1. Indian flavours find a new avatar in this dish of shisito tard. In essence they are undoubtedly In-
Michelin adjudicators dont say why stars But with Tokyo conclusive- pepper pakora, mint yoghurt and red radish at the restaurant dian, but their simplicity makes them uni-
at Taj Campton Place Hotel 2. Chef Gopinathan 3. Spice Pot
are awarded or removed) to get that second ly beating Paris in the num- 4. Cucumber chaas, mint and ginger 5. Mung-bean dumplings versal. The on-trend absence of flourish in
one is key. ber of stars, the taste prefer- their description adds appeal.
Ive simplified, he says reflectively. ences of Michelin judges is That Gopinathan has a separate vegetari-
And sharpened flavours. Five years of obvious. It is not surprising, therefore, that Heroic Turmeric an tasting menu points to another obvious
winning and retaining a single star obvi- even the flamboyant Gaggan Anand has Noting whats in and whats out is crucial. way forward. Besides meats, Californias
ously gave him the inspiration and insight to toned down his culinary histrionics at the Molecular gastronomy, Gopinathan af- vegetables, fruits, dairy and grains are excel-
hone his art to get the next one. It has also Bangkok restaurant bearing his first name firms, is pass there even if it still has a ca- lent; Indias repertoire of vegetarian dishes
coincided with the menu going from 80:20 before Guide Michelins Thailand debut. chet here. Nordic mosses, roots and fer- is also unparalleled. In his expert hands,
mentations have limited applicability. that will be the standout feature of a New
Health is the new catchword, and anything Indian haute cuisine.
that promotes it will bring in diners and dol- So far hes concentrated on familiar ter-
lars, it seems. rain: the Malabar, Konkan and Coroman-
Turmeric is the new hero! pronounces del coasts of south India. But theres a vast
Gopinathan. Harvard professors have hinterland of flavours to discover, choose
been praising the anti-inflammatory and and redefine. San Franciscos list of res-
5 other healing properties of curcumin (the taurants also points to adventurous pal-
active constituent of turmeric), so now eve- ates, which makes it an ideal place to in-
ryone wants it! But I learnt about that from novate and experiment.
my grandmother when I was two, as she put One chef cannot fuel a revolution, but he
it on cuts and scrapes! can show the way. Gopinathan remembers
Turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander, pa- being wowed by Rene Redzepis creations at
prika, cinnamon, coconut. So many Indi- a chefs event. Noma and the New Nordic
an flavours are now in that the opportunity movement followed. Now Gopinathan is
for cross-cultural culinary maestros like best placed to spearhead Indias culinary
Gopinathan to reposition Indian cuisine is Rene-sance. And maybe hell inspire the
obvious. India has the raw material in toqued young chef to reimagine that masala
terms of its traditional dishes; its a question omelette one day.
al fresco 27
APRIL 09-15, 2017


Business Class
The month of March saw a trend of management and entrepreneurial
The Titanic hit an iceberg on April 14,
1912, before sinking in the Atlantic.
Here are some facts about arguably
the most famous ship that ever sailed:
books being lapped up by readers. Here are the top 10 bestsellers:

Elon Musk
Rich Dad Ashlee Vance
Poor Dad
The RMS Titanic was the worlds largest pas-
Robert T senger ship when it entered service, meas-
Kiyosaki uring 269 m (882 feet) in length, and the
largest man-made moving object on Earth

It cost $7.5 mil-

lion to build. More
Zero to One than 15,000 men
Investor Peter Thiel with worked on the ship
during its construc-
Benjamin Blake Masters tion in Belfast,
Northern Ireland

A first class
ticket on the
Titanic cost
The Think and $4,375 in 1912
Rich Dads (almost
Grow Rich $100,000
Business School
Workbook today). The
Robert T Kiyosaki ship featured
Napoleon Hill an onboard
swimming pool, a gymnasium, a squash
court, and a Turkish bath and two separate
libraries one for first-class passengers,
and one for second class

The 100 feet tall

iceberg was spot-
Steve Jobs Shoe Dog ted at 11.40pm on
April 14, 1912. Just
Walter Phil Knight 37 seconds elapsed
Isaacson between the sight-
ing of the iceberg and the collision. The ship
broke in two at around 2.20am on April 15

Only 706 passengers and crew (out

of 2,228) survived the disaster

Who Moved Connect The British newspa-

per London Daily
My Cheese? the Dots Mail reported Titan-
Spencer Rashmi ic Sunk, No Lives
Lost in their initial
Johnson Bansal April 16, 1912 story.
The New York Times
devoted 75 pages to coverage of the Titanic
in the first week after the disaster

The data has been collated over a period of one month March 01-31, 2017 SOURCE: FLIPKART SOURCE: THETELEGRAPH, JSONLINE.COM LIFEBUZZ.COM

Health Matters
Here are the healthiest countries of the world according to the Bloomberg Index 2017, with data
compiled from the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organization

93.11 91.21 90.75 90.23 89.24 89.19 89.15 88.92


Health grades are based on factors such as life expectancy from birth and causes of death
28 feel smart
APRIL 09-15, 2017

Crash of Cars
Game for Android & iOS
Get It For: Free


thinned out a bit to make it

rash of cars is an arcade-style
smoother and more jovial.
battle game where your goal is
But they gave it the
go-ahead; they liked what to destroy the other cars in the
they saw,' Santos said. arena. There is a single player mode
as well as multiplayer mode where
BUT THE BUST WAS NOT you can play with your friends
over the Internet. You start with a

basic car and earn coins in each
Remember the grinning bust IT?
Santos said he had to base level for collecting the crown and
of football star Cristiano
Ronaldo? his work off photographs of destroying enemy cars. Collected
Ronaldo as the striker was coins can be used to unlock addi-
YOU MEAN THE HIDEOUS unable to model for him in tional cars that are stronger and
BUST AT MADEIRA person. 'It's impossible to faster (or you can just customise
AIRPORT? please the Greeks and the
your existing car). There are areas
Well, not according to its Trojans, and even Jesus
based on landscapes: desert, beach,
sculptor Emanuel Santos. to question couldn't please everyone...
e statue led many on social media ar It's a matter of taste and not moon and city. In each arena you can
The unveiling of th player of the ye
m blance to the four-time Fifa as simple as it seems,' collect various power-ups that can
The unveiling of the statue the work's rese Santos said. 'The end result help you damage the other cars. The
led many on social media to is never going to please control scheme is basic you control
question the work's the year which adorned the newly everyone.'
resemblance to the player. But Santos, the car by pressing left/right on the
named Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo in screen and tap the fire button to use
40, has defended his work, as he Funchal, Portugal, after offering his WELL, HE HAS PLEASED MORE
believes the Real Madrid star is a fan PEOPLE IN A WAY HE COULD NEVER the power-ups. The graphics are well
services to the owner of the airport,
of the statue. According to Santos, where he was previously employed as HAVE IMAGINED! done and gameplay is addictive.
Ronaldo, in fact, had asked him to a cleaner. Santos spent three weeks Well, like it or not, it's gonna be there. Overall, a fun game that will keep
make the portrait more jovial, and had creating the bust before it was cast in At least this is better than the bizarre you hooked for hours. Karan Bajaj
praised his efforts. bronze. Michael Jackson artwork by artist Jeff
Koons or famous Czech artist David
'Cristiano only asked for some change
Cernys controversial purple middle
finger in the center of Pragues Vltava
Santos was chosen to recreate the App for Android
in the face's wrinkles. He said it made River. They are sure to make you Get It For: Free
image of the four-time Fifa player of him look older and asked for it to be wonder why they were ever made.

his app of-
fers a way
for a bunch
of friends to go
out and split the
GET L I ST E N DO B R OWS E WATC H bill without hav-
ing to deal with
awkward IOUs

Zebronics ZEB-Fit 500 and reminders.

omegrown brand Zebronics is the latest design matte finish strap is removable it has
You can use the
to launch fitness wearables and it's pret- a dual lock design which prevents the band
ty good for a first attempt. Apart from Premium wearable devices from falling out during day-to-day usage. app to book mov-
Xiaomi, this is one of the cheapest fitness bands Get it For: `3,999 However, there is no option to get just re- ies and events, buy gifts (even gift
with a heart rate tracker and OLED display. placement straps at the moment to change experiences) and get restaurant
Like most fitness bands, the ZEB- colours. The 0.5-inch OLED display is deals. You can also use it to pool
Fit 500 can track steps, distance, easy to read even in daylight and is money to buy gifts, plan vacations
calories as well as sleep quality. It handy to get a quick look at various and find out about trending activ-

also offers you the option of stats. There is a touch-sensitive ities. The developers have al-
switching to exercise-based button on top to switch between ready struck up deals with big
heart rate tracking when you are various information and a button names in the business such as
running or jogging (instead of the on the side to access advanced BookMyShow, Amazon, Flipkart,
automatic heart tracking which functions. MakeMyTrip and others. If you
measures infrequently). When Battery life came to be over 12 create a pool, you can use the
connected with the smartphone, days with continuous usage dur- pooled money in many different
you can set it to notify you about in- ing our testing. What we did not ways: you can convert it to any
coming calls as well as SMS and What- like was the charger the band uses a gift card on the platform instant-
sApp. A sedentary reminder tells you to custom charger that clips on the back of ly. If you choose to, you can also
get moving every so often. It also offers the fitness core and takes careful preci- have the amount (up to `20,000)
advanced functions like anti-lost, find phone sion to be connected properly. Overall, the
transferred to your bank account
and camera shutter. The band itself can store Zebronics Zeb-Fit 500 is budget fitness track-
for free. For amounts larger than
data for the last 7 days when not synced with water resistant and comfortable to wear the er that is loaded with features usually found
`20,000, there is a charge of 1% to
the Zeb-Fit app. Final checkboxes: it weighs core has a curved design that fits ergonomi- on premium wearables devices.
transfer to bank. Hitesh Raj Bhagat
25 grams, comes in three stylish colours, is cally with the curve of your wrist. The custom Karan Bajaj

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