Tag Archives: India

George Harrison’s sitar to be auctioned

August 1972: Former Beatle George Harrison (1943 - 2001) with his wife, model Patti Boyd and sitar player Ravi Shankar (centre)Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Harrison (left) and Boyd (right) went to India so he could play the sitar under Ravi Shankar (middle)

A sitar owned and played by George Harrison is going to be auctioned in the United States.

The instrument, purchased from a shop on London‘s Oxford Street in 1965, was used by Harrison during the recording of the Beatles song Norwegian Wood.

The Indian string instrument, crafted by a well-known music shop in Kolkata, was later gifted to a friend of Harrison’s first wife, Patti Boyd.

Bidding for the sitar will begin on 28 September at $50,000 (£37,327).

Harrison had discovered the sitar in 1965, on the set of the Beatles’ second film, Help.

His love affair with oriental mysticism first made itself known in Norwegian Wood, John Lennon’s tale of an extra-marital fling. Acoustic guitar and muted bass were augmented by the Indian instrument.

“We’d recorded the Norwegian Wood backing track and it needed something. We would usually start looking through the cupboard to see if we could come up with something, a new sound, and I picked the sitar up – it was just lying around; I hadn’t really figured out what to do with it,” Harrison was quoted as saying in The Beatles Anthologies.

“It was quite spontaneous: I found the notes that played the lick. It fitted and it worked.”

Next year, Harrison gifted the sitar to George Drummond, a friend of Boyd, during the couple’s honeymoon in Barbados.

The Beatles recorded Norwegian Wood – the first Western rock band to use the sitar on a commercial recording – in October 1965, heralding a short lived “raga-rock” genre.

A year later, Harrison travelled to India to learn how to play the instrument under the renowned sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.

In an interview with the BBC‘s Mark Tully in April 2000, Shankar said when he first heard Harrison playing the sitar in Norwegian Wood, he was not impressed.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said, “it sounded so strange. Just imagine some Indian villager trying to play the violin when you know what it should sound like.”

Harrison later agreed, saying the sitar on Norwegian Wood was “very rudimentary”.

“I didn’t know how to tune it properly, and it was a very cheap sitar to begin with. But that was the environment in the band, everybody was very open to bringing in new ideas.”

Image caption The sitar will be auctioned later this month

Store described as Sikh religious mission in massive immigration scam loses licence

A CONVENIENCE store used as a bogus Sikh religious mission in a huge scam to bring almost 200 migrants into the country illegally has had its licence revoked.

West Yorkshire Police took action against the operators of Birkenshaw Convenience Store after shopkeeper Malkeet Singh Rathod was jailed earlier this year for nine years.

Rathod, who ran the Old Lane store at the time, was convicted of fraud by misrepresentation and five charges of money laundering following a trial at Leeds Crown Court in June.

He charged people thousands of pounds by acting as a licensed sponsor to gain them entry from India posing as religious workers who were needed in the Sikh community.

Following the conviction, the police called for the alcohol licence at the store to be revoked, and a Kirklees Council licensing panel agreed at a meeting today.

PC Leon Stansfield of the police’s licensing unit stated Rathod signed the premises licence over to a relative, Kawaljeet Rathod, in March after it became clear he had a strong chance of going to jail.

PC Stansfield explained that during 2007 and 2008 the store address was used as a bogus Sikh religious mission, as was another store in Featherstone also owned by Rathod.

“Both these religious missions were then registered with the Charity Commission, they were then further registered with the Home Office with a sponsor licence.

“This allowed persons to enter and remain in the UK from India, and remain as bogus religious workers.

“It became apparent during the investigation that large sums of money were charged to these individuals to allow them to remain in the UK.”

He added: “In reality these missions did not exist, the migrants disappeared into the so-called black economy and Mr Malkeet Rathod is believed to have personally benefited between two to three million pounds, most of which has been sent back to India.”

Police said that the licensing objections of preventing crime and disorder and public safety had been put at risk by fraud.

“Serious and organised crime has major impacts on today’s society and the welfare of the individuals smuggled and trafficked into the UK can only be guessed at,” said PC Stansfield.

The panel agreed to revoke the alcohol licence which operated from 6am to 9pm, seven days a week.

Police outlined how when officers raided the shop in Old Lane they found a number of fake stamps and stationery. A large number of fake documents such as study certificates, copies of passports and ID cards and fake letterheads were also found on a laptop.

A similar licensing review is taking place for a second shop owned by Rathod after calls from Wakefield Police.

When Rathod was jailed, after a trial lasting more than 11 weeks, Judge Christopher Batty told him: “This was a fraud that goes to the very heart of the immigration system in this country. The sponsorship system is based on trust. Conduct of people like you undermines the confidence the public has in that system.

“It raises suspicion against those who have come to this country legitimately and those who provide a genuine service to citizens of this country.”

Carbon dating reveals earliest origins of zero symbol

Bakhshali manuscriptImage copyright Bodleian Library
Image caption Reading from right to left the small dot zero is the seventh character at the bottom right of the manuscript

Carbon dating shows an ancient Indian manuscript has the earliest recorded origin of the zero symbol.

The Bakhshali manuscript is now believed to date from the 3rd or 4th Century, making it hundreds of years older than previously thought.

It means the document, held in Oxford, has an earlier zero symbol than a temple in Gwailor, India.

The finding is of “vital importance” to the history of mathematics, Richard Ovenden from Bodleian Libraries said.

The zero symbol evolved from a dot used in ancient India and can be seen throughout the Bakhshali manuscript.

The dot originally indicated orders of magnitude in a number system and eventually evolved to have a hollow centre, the Bodleian Libraries said.

Earlier research had dated the Bakhshali manuscript to the 8th and 12th Century, but now carbon dating has shown it to be centuries older.

Bodleian Libraries said scholars had previously struggled to date it because it is made of 70 leaves of birch bark and composed of material from three different periods.

The manuscript was found by a farmer in a village called Bakhshali, in what is now Pakistan, in 1881 before being acquired by the indologist Rudolf Hoernle, who presented it to the Bodleian Libraries in 1902.

The creation of zero was one of the “greatest breakthroughs” in mathematics, Prof Marcus Du Sautoy of the University of Oxford said.

Image copyright Bodleian Libraries
Image caption The creation of zero was one of the “greatest breakthroughs” in mathematics, Prof Marcus Du Sautoy from the University of Oxford said

Indian actress highlights sensitive issue during Bradford performance

A TOP Indian actress has visited Bradford to perform in a play raising awareness of rape.

The Indian Workers’ Association G.B.’s Bradford Branch held the function at Shaheed Udham Singh Hall earlier this month. Anita Shabdeesh, who has acted in more than 15 Hindi and Punjabi films, 35 serials and directed over 40 plays in India, performed the solo act drama called ‘Man Mitti Da Bolya’ (Mind of a woman spoke against crime she suffered).

Over 300 people attended to watch the play, and after the act finished many ladies from the audience rushed to the stage to hug her. The audience praised the function for raising the awareness of rape women faced in India.

The play dealt with three women who were raped and depicted different reactions because they were from the different section of the society. It showed the cruelty the women suffered at the hands of cruel men.

Recent figures show that there is one rape in every fifteen minutes in India and domestic violence against women is happening in every five minutes. Mrs Shabdeesh received standing ovation from the audience at the end of her act. The play was written by her husband named Shabdeesh.

Newspaper headlines: ‘UK will regret Brexit’ and Prince George school intruder

Image copyright Telegraph
Image caption The Telegraph leads on comments made by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who said Britain will “regret Brexit“, and called on Europe to develop stronger economic and political ties. The article calls the speech a “blueprint” for the “United States of Europe“, with closer unions on asylum, defence and foreign policy.
Image copyright Express Newspapers
Image caption The Daily Express also highlights Jean-Claude Juncker’s speech on the EU‘s future post-Brexit, claiming “Brussels boss reveals plot to grab even more power”. The article highlights a quote from UKIP MEP Nigel Farage after the speech, in which he says “thank God we are leaving” the EU.
Image copyright News UK
Image caption New figures show foreign companies selling goods to the UK through Amazon and eBay are evading tax on a third of all sales, according to The Times. The article claims HM Revenue and Customs has accused Amazon of not tackling the multi-billion pound fraud, while profiting from commissions of sales. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee said the marketplace was being obstructive in providing data, which is costing taxpayers £1.5bn per year.
Image copyright Johnston Press
Image caption The i leads on news that MPs passed a Labour motion for a “fair pay rise” for NHS workers, after the DUP signalled it would not side with the government whip. Although the vote is non-binding it will put pressure on the government to consider a pay rise, after reports the cap for police and prison officers would be lifted. The DUP has a pact with the Conservatives to give Theresa May a working majority, so the government can pass major legislation.
Image copyright GMG
Image caption The Guardian reports on an independent inquiry into football sexual abuse, which has heard claims that ex-England manager Graham Taylor was warned about the perversions of an Aston Villa scout convicted for offences over a 13-year period.
Image copyright Financial Times
Image caption The Bank of England faces a dilemma on whether to raise interest rates as unemployment hits a 42-year low. Low unemployment has not yet resulted in higher wages, according to the Financial Times. The paper claims the unemployment rate falling to 4.3% and inflation climbing to 2.9% suggests higher interest rates are required to “cool the economy and halt inflation’s rise”. But with poor wage growth the UK’s central bank remains hesitant to raise interest rates from its record 0.25% low.
Image copyright DMG Media
Image caption The Metro reports on news that security measures at Prince George’s new school have been reviewed after a woman was arrested on suspicion of burglary. Thomas’s Battersea school was broken in to on Tuesday afternoon when lessons were in progress. Kensington Palace said the young prince was in the school at the time.
Image copyright News UK
Image caption The Sun also leads on news the Prince George’s school in Battersea was the victim of an intruder, who the paper claims tried to break in twice in a 24-hour period.
Image copyright Mirror newspapers
Image caption The Daily Mirror also highlights the news that the Metropolitan Police is investigating reports of an intrusion at Prince George’s school. It also reports that ex-England football manager Graham Taylor has been accused of assisting a cover-up of sexual abuse in the game.
Image copyright DMG Media
Image caption The Daily Mail leads on news that UK overseas territories ravaged by Hurricane Irma cannot use a £13bn foreign aid budget because they are “too wealthy”. The paper adds that rules set out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development dictates that areas like Anguila and British Virgin Islands cannot receive aid, whereas developing economies like China and India can.

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Curry festival founder speaks of urgent need for new generation of curry chefs

THIS week work started on a major new development, which is expected to cement Bradford’s reputation as the UK capital of curry.

The World Food Centre, which will be based on Filey Street in the city centre, will include two restaurants, a hotel and banqueting suites, and will cost around £5 million.

But one of the most interesting aspects of the development is the training facility, which the developers hope will ensure Bradford becomes the centre of top class Asian food. Up to 100 people a year could be trained in the facility.

The plans are by Mi7 Developments, working in partnership with Jinnah Restaurants, which will fund the proposal, and the World Curry Festival.

The Telegraph & Argus spoke to Zulfi Karim, organiser of the Festival and owner of Curryosity cafe in Saltaire, about why such a training centre is needed in the city.

He warned that unless new, skilled chefs are created locally, the city’s curry industry could face a swift decline.

He said: “In Bradford curry is a big business. It is not just the restaurants, it is the whole supply chain, we’ve got a great network of food distribution in the city, including big suppliers of spice and rice.

“We think the industry is worth about £500 million to Bradford, and it employs thousands of people. The city’s curry houses are also vital to Bradford’s tourism and visitor economy.

“People visit Bradford for a number of different reasons, and curry is one of those, whether we like it or not.

“But although it is a big industry, it faces some major challenges.”

He said that many of the first generation of immigrants from India and Pakistan came to the UK with a strong heritage of cooking. Many of today’s curry restaurants were set up by this generation, which were trained to cook in Asia.

However, Mr Karim said that many of the people working in today’s curry houses have little in formal training, and recent government curbs on immigration meant that it was much more difficult to recruit chefs from abroad.

He said: “The curry industry didn’t necessarily invest in training chefs. Bradford is a great place to get curry, but there has been a lack of talent coming through for many, many years.

“As businesses grow, it is often the case that the person who set it up 50 years ago steps back and is now in the the office dealing with the business, rather than cooking.

“Now where does the chef in the kitchen come from? It used to be that as the business owner stood back, you could get a good quality chef from Asia. Because if this, the UK wasn’t producing the high quality college courses that focused on curry. We weren’t investing in training that next generation of chefs.

“When the government changed the regulations for entering into the country in 2008 it meant it was much more difficult to bring more chefs in. Spaces in kitchens started to open, and businesses struggled to fill them.

“We don’t have the chefs being trained. There is a big gap, and currently that isn’t being filled. School, collages and places where they train people for the hospitality industry are not turning out what we would call curry chefs. I’m not sure why this is the case. As an employer, I’m finding people who come out of these courses aren’t people I can take on in my kitchen without having to give them additional training.

“Requirements of our restaurants aren’t being fulfilled by existing education providers. I think that’s where we are now.

“We need to raise awareness out there that there is an industry here that is very popular, and for it to survive we need to raise awareness that we have this industry that is very popular, but for it to survive and grow it needs to look at how it is going to train and recruit future chefs.

“There have been a few attempts to set up curry collages, but they’ve all fallen at the first hurdle. One issue is we are short of people to train the trainees.

“There needs to be more support at government level and at local level for the curry industry to get the support it needs. The way forward is not to look abroad, it is to train people from this country to be great chefs.

“One of the issues for a lot of the better chefs is the language problem. A lot don’t have the English skills. This means it is very difficult for these chefs to train emerging talent.

“Bradford has to lead the way with this due to its rich heritage of curry and its existing businesses.

“We have had to set up this Centre of Excellence because there is no other provision in place to do this training. It is a shame something like this is not already available.”

“The next great curry chef might not be from a South Asian background. It would take great satisfaction in having a head chef who wasn’t from the South Asian community. I’d really like to see that happen, but we’ve got a long way to go.

“We have to move with the times. There are probably some businesses that probably need to go, they haven’t moved with the times and are not sustainable – they don’t cater for the market they serve.

“We do need to sort out the wheat from the chaff, that will not necessarily be a bad thing.”

Lorry driver in court over M1 deaths

David WagstaffImage copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Lorry driver David Wagstaff appeared before magistrates in Milton Keynes

A second lorry driver has appeared in court charged over a crash on the M1 motorway in which eight people died.

Two lorries and a minibus crashed near Newport Pagnell on 26 August.

David Wagstaff, 53, of Stoke-on-Trent is accused of eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was given bail.

The driver of the other lorry, Ryszard Masierak, 31, appeared in court last month and was remanded in custody.

Crown Court appearance

Mr Wagstaff, of Derwent Street, appeared before magistrates in Milton Keynes earlier and was bailed on condition he did not leave the UK without permission.

The other lorry driver, Polish national Mr Masierak, of Barnards Close, Evesham, Worcestershire, appeared before magistrates on 28 August.

He is charged with eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving, eight counts of causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed alcohol limit and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Both lorry drivers are expected to appear at Aylesbury Crown Court on 26 September.

Image caption Two lorries and a minibus were involved in the crash

The crash happened on the southbound carriageway of the M1 near junction 14 at Newport Pagnell at 03:15 BST.

Six men and two women died when the three vehicles collided.

A fiveyear-old girl, a man and a woman were left with life-threatening injuries. Another person was admitted to hospital with less severe injuries.

The victims were Catholics from Nottingham’s Malayali community and originated from Kerala in southern India.

They were on their way to catch the Eurostar to France when the crash happened.


M1 crash victims

  • Minibus driver Cyriac Joseph, 52
  • Rishi Rajeev Kumar, 27
  • Vivek Baskaran, 26
  • Karthikeyan Pugalur Ramasubramanian, 33
  • Panneerselvam Annamalai, 63
  • Subramaniyan Arachelvan, 58
  • Lavanyalakshmi Seetharaman, 33
  • Tamilmani Arachelvan, 50

James Anderson: England bowler takes 500th Test wicket

Anderson takes 500th Test wicket

James Anderson has become the first England bowler to take 500 Test wickets.

The Lancashire player, 35, reached the milestone when he bowled Kraigg Brathwaite on day two of the final Test against West Indies at Lord’s.

Anderson is only the sixth bowler – and third seamer – to reach 500, and the five ahead of him have retired.

Brathwaite’s dismissal in the final session left West Indies 6-1 in their second innings, trailing by 65.

Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan holds the Test record with 800 wickets, with Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne on 708 and India leg-spinner Anil Kumble on 619.

Anderson, who made his debut at Lord’s in 2003, is playing his 129th Test.

In 2015, he surpassed Sir Ian Botham’s long-standing England record of 383 Test wickets in his 100th Test, also against West Indies.

Team-mate Stuart Broad, who has 386, is the next most prolific wicket-taker for England.

Anderson’s 500 wickets have come at an average of less than 28.

Beginning the third Test with 497 wickets, he took 2-31 as West Indies were bowled out for 123 in the first innings on Thursday.

He needed only 12 deliveries in the second innings to reach the landmark, swinging one in to bowl Brathwaite between bat and pad.

How long can Anderson go on for?

Australia’s Glenn McGrath (563) and West Indies’ Courtney Walsh (519) are the only seamers to have taken more Test wickets than Anderson.

McGrath played until he was 36, while Walsh retired at 38.

However, Anderson said before the third Test there was “no reason” he could not continue playing into his 40s.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have the body I have. For a fast bowler, not much stress goes through my body – a lot less than a lot of other fast bowlers.

“It’s just a case of looking after myself. If I can keep fit, keep my speeds up, there’s no reason why not.”

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott told BBC Test Match Special: “He can get quite a lot more.

“The only thing I don’t know is if he can stay fit. If he can, he will get a lot more wickets.”

Murray Ward ‘arrested over sex attacks on children’ in New Delhi

A British man has been arrested over allegations he sexually assaulted children at a home for the blind in India, police have said.

Murray Ward, 54, from Gloucestershire, is accused of abusing three boys at the National Association for the Blind hostel in New Delhi on Friday, Delhi police said.

He could face at least 10 years in prison if convicted.

A Foreign Office spokesman said it was investigating.

The British High Commission in New Delhi has been asked to comment.

Police said Mr Ward, who is married with a family in the UK, had been employed in a senior managerial position at Sterlite Technology Limited in Gurgaon until April 2017.

“The arrested British national Murray Ward has been in India since last October,” Ishwar Singh, deputy commissioner of Delhi police, told AFP.

“We have charged him under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.”

Lorry driver due in court over M1 crash deaths

Wreckage of lorry and minibusImage copyright LNP / BBC
Image caption Eight minibus passengers died in the crash with two lorries on the southbound M1 at Newport Pagnell

A lorry driver is due in court charged with several offences over a crash on the M1 which killed eight people.

Two lorries and a minibus were involved in the crash on the motorway near Newport Pagnell on Saturday.

Ryszard Masierak, 31, is charged with eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He is also charged with causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed alcohol limit.

Mr Masierak, of Evesham, Worcestershire, is due to appear at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court later.

The other lorry driver, David Wagstaff, 53, of Derwent Street, Stoke-on-Trent, has also been charged over the crash.

Mr Wagstaff is accused of eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and is due to appear at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court on 11 September.

Six men and two women died when the three vehicles collided shortly before 03:15 BST on the southbound carriageway of the motorway between junctions 15 and 14.

Image copyright LNP
Image caption The road was closed for several hours for recovery work to take place

A fiveyear-old girl, a man and a woman were left with life-threatening injuries and remain in hospital. Another person was admitted to hospital with less severe injuries.

The minibus driver and owner of Nottingham-based ABC Travels, who was killed in the crash, has been named as Cyriac Joseph.

He has been described in tributes as an “extraordinary father” and a “great leader” within the south Indian community in Nottingham.

Mr Joseph had been taking a group of people from India to London, from where they were due to start a tour of Europe.

Three other fatalities have been named as employees of IT company Wipro.

The firm said Karthikeyan Ramasubramaniyam Pugalur, Rishi Rajeev Kumar and Vivek Bhaskaran all died in the crash, while another employee was critically injured.