MCI (P) 078/03/2019
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
MARCH 22, 2019
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Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
Marketing Team Head
India celebrated one of its most vibrant
and colourful festivals, Holi, yesterday
by throwing coloured liquid and powder
on each other in good-spirited humour.
The ritual starts by lighting up a
bonfire one day before the day of Holi.
The process symbolises the triumph of
good over evil.
The celebratory event, which usually
takes place in March, marks the onset of
Traditional Holi celebrations are the
biggest in Mathura and Vrindavan,
about four hours from Delhi, where
Lord Krishna is believed to have grown
Indian president Ram Nath Kovind
greeted the nation on Wednesday saying
that Holi is a celebration of “our sense of
fraternity and mutual goodwill”.
World’s three cheapest places to
live in India
Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru are
among the cheapest places to live in the
world, according to the Economist
Intelligence Unit’s 2019 Worldwide
Cost of Living Survey.
The study found that Paris,
Singapore and Hong Kong are the most
expensive cities in the world.
Zurich was placed fourth, while
Osaka shared fifth place with Geneva.
India gets first Lokpal
Former Supreme Court judge Pinaki
Chandra Ghose, 66, has been
appointed the country’s first
anti-corruption ombudsman or Lokpal
An ombudsman has the power to
investigate and address complaints or a
violation of rights against any public
entity, including the Prime Minister.
The formation of a committee that
will look into incidents of corruption
within the Indian government has been
in the works for six years now, since the
Lokpal Act was first passed in 2013.
Take a health test at Metro
stations in Delhi
The Delhi Metro has set up five kiosks
at interchange stations that will allow
people to do health tests.
The machines, equipped with
sensors, can identify 18 parameters
with a predictive report of at least 12
diseases in a few minutes.
A trained technician helps to
generate the results of the tests.
Chandigarh airport undergoes
runway expansion work
Chandigarh International Airport has
been undergoing expansion work to
increase its runway length from 9,000
feet to 10,400 feet, allowing
wide-bodied planes to operate from the
airport and connect to foreign
With the upgrade, passengers from
Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal
Pradesh, Punjab and Chandigarh will
not need to travel to Delhi or Amritsar
airports to board flights to Europe and
the United States.
Gujarat records alarming number
of swine flu cases
In the first 2
months of this year,
Gujarat has seen 4,296 swine flu cases –
double the number of cases recorded in
the whole of last year.
Until March 17, 125 people have
died in the state.
The virus became active towards
October end last year and increased
during November and December. It is
expected to subside by the end of this
month with temperatures rising.
A senior health official told the
Times of India that the number of cases
will plunge in the coming days and
drastically reduce by the end of the
Malaysian arrested for carrying
A man from Malaysia carrying a human
embryo in a nitrogen-packed canister
was arrested at Mumbai airport last
The arrest sheds light on a racket
involving the smuggling of frozen
embroys into India by an infertility
Times of India quoted Directorate of
Revenue Intelligence officials as saying
that the embryo was to be delivered to
the Indo Nippon IVF clinic in Bandra
They suspect it was meant to be
transplanted into the womb of Indian
surrogates – as the process is cheaper in
Mukesh Ambani saves his brother
The epic feud between India’s Ambani
brothers has taken a new twist with the
older and richer brother paying a debt
owned by his struggling sibling, helping
him avoid jail.
Mukesh Ambani on Monday
stepped in to save Anil from prison by
helping him clear the Rs5.5 billion
rupees debt he owed Ericsson.
The Supreme Court had earlier said
that failure to pay the Swedish telecom
company its dues by Wednesday would
land Anil in jail for three months.
Anil thanked his brother and
sister-in-law for standing by him
“during these trying times”.
Stillborn baby’s head
dismembered during delivery
In a tragic incident, the head of a baby
that had died in its mother’s womb got
separated during delivery at the
primary health centre in Koovathur
village in Tamil Nadu’s Kancheepurm
According to officials of the
Directorate of Public Health, the baby
died in the womb.
During the delivery, the head got
separated, while the torso got stuck in
the mother’s body.
The woman was later shifted to
Chengalpattu Medical Hospital where
the baby’s torso was removed.
Pollachi brides blacklisted
Young brides from Pollachi in Tamil
Nadu are being blacklisted because of
the sex scandal that shook the nation.
Parents are telling their daughters to
stop going to college and to pursue their
studies through distance education
A woman told NDTV: “People do
not want to marry girls from Pollachi.
This town, which has always been
known for its warm culture, is being
seen differently now.”
Last week, students also carried out
protests after videos showing sexual
assaults on college students were posted
Four men, in connection with the
cases, have been arrested for sexually
abusing women, blackmailing them
with videos and demanding money.
India ranks 140th on global list of
Indians are not as happy this year as
they were last year, according to the
United Nations’ latest World Happiness
Report. India is placed 140th on the
report, seven spots down from last year.
Finland tops the list.
The report ranks countries on six
variables that support well-being –
income, freedom, trust, healthy life
expectancy, social support and
March 22, 2019
Nirav Modi’s 173 paintings and
11 cars to be auctioned
India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED)
will soon start the auction of 173 paint-
ings and 11 vehicles of fugitive diaman-
taire Nirav Modi (right) after it obtained
permission from a special court in Mum-
bai on Wednesday.
The development comes after Modi
was arrested in London’s Holborn on
Tuesday afternoon in connection with
the Rs13,500 crore Punjab National
Bank (PNB) fraud case and will be held
by Metropolitan Police till March 29 af-
ter being denied bail.
The ED will put the 173 paintings of
the 48-year-old businessman on sale
which are valued at Rs57.72 crore
($11.3 million) and 11 vehicles that in-
clude a Rolls Royce, Porsche, Mercedes
and Toyota Fortuner.
The auction is expected to be held on
The ED has till date seized properties
worth Rs4,765 crore of Modi and his un-
cle Mehul Choksi.
Both left India days before the case
came to light in January last year.
The court has also issued a non-bail-
able warrant against his wife Ami Modi,
a United States national, for being the
beneficiary of the alleged purchase of
two apartments at Central Park in New
York using US$30 million of laundered
money, which her husband had ob-
tained fraudulently from PNB through
Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Let-
ters of Credit. The ED recently filed a
supplementary charge sheet against
The court also allowed the Income
Tax Department to sell another 68 paint-
ings seized by it as part of its separate
probe against Modi.
His extradition proceedings are
likely to start soon.
Modi and Choksi are under probe by
both the ED and the Central Bureau of
The ED filed money laundering cases
against them and others on Feb 15 last
year on the basis of an FIR registered by
On Wednesday, Modi appeared at
London’s Westminster Magistrates
Court accused by India of two charges of
conspiracy to commit fraud and conspir-
acy to conceal criminal property.
His lawyer George Hepburne Scott
said his client would deny the charges
which he believes are politically moti-
Despite offering to put up £500,000
security, Modi was told he would not be
District judge Marie Mallon ruled
there was a risk Modi would fail to sur-
render for future hearings due to his ac-
cess to a vast fortune which could help
him evade the courts, and his “keenness
to do so”.
Modi fled India last year after being
accused of having a central role in a
US$1.8-billion fraud involving PNB,
the country’s second-largest public
Lawyer Jonathan Swain, appearing
on behalf of the Indian authorities, said:
“This is a very high level, extended
Modi spoke only to confirm his iden-
tity and refusal to submit to extradition.
His lawyer Scott said the diamond
jeweller had been living in London since
June 2018. “His son had been here for
five years at school,” he added.
Modi was living “openly” in Britain,
paid local taxes and was trying to obtain
a driving licence, the lawyer said.
While in Britain, he has undertaken
work for which he was paid £20,000 per
Before his arrest, India’s main opposi-
tion Congress party had used the Modi
issue as a weapon to target the ruling
Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the
April-May general elections.
Mr Prakash Javadekar, a minister in
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
cabinet, said all the fugitives would have
to come back and “return the looted
money to the nation”.
In December, a British court agreed
that another high-profile Indian busi-
nessman, aviation tycoon Vijay Mallya,
could be extradited to his homeland to
face fraud charges. Mallya is currently
appealing the decision.
Indo-Asian News Service, Reuters
“This is a very
– Lawyer Jonathan Swain,
appearing on behalf of the
India’s capital New Delhi is a city which
has seen the rise and fall of several pow-
erful kingdoms over the centuries.
Folklore attributes the origin of the
word Delhi to “Dehli”, which means
threshold in Urdu.
Indeed, Delhi was historically the
gateway through which many foreign in-
vaders entered the prosperous Indo-
Those who made India their home
lived, died and were buried there.
Graves of all types – modest resting
places, some nameless and reclaimed by
nature, others created on an epic scale –
can be found scattered across Delhi.
The capital is often cynically referred
to as the “City of Tombs”, but it is these
monuments that tell the story of the pow-
erful empires that ruled pre-19th cen-
tury India from Delhi.
The tomb of Mughal emperor Hu-
mayun, commissioned in 1526, is a Un-
esco World Heritage site.
The massive complex, made of red
sandstone and marble, is the first of the
grand tombs that the Mughal dynasty is
Built on a raised platform, the mau-
soleum rises up 47 metres and is deco-
rated with latticed jaalis (screens).
The floors are laid out in pietra dura
(pictorial mosaic work using semi-pre-
The surrounding garden is symbolic
of the mythical Garden of Paradise.
Nawab Safdarjang’s grand tomb was
completed in 1754. Often derided by ex-
perts for being asymmetrical, it is an im-
posing monument with gardens laid out
in the “charbagh” (four gardens) style.
It is believed that the marble used in
this building was actually ripped from
other, older tombs in the vicinity, a sign
of the hard times that had befallen the
once mighty Mughals.
The ruins around the Qutb Minar
house the tombs of the 13th century Sul-
tan Iltutmish and his son.
These are among the oldest surviving
tombs of Delhi and are elaborately deco-
rated with Quranic verses and geometri-
In close proximity lie the graves of Ja-
mali-Kamali, a 16th century Sufi mystic
and his disciple.
The ceiling and the alcoves of the
building housing the graves are embel-
lished with blue and red incised plaster-
work, Islamic calligraphy and medal-
It has without a doubt the most beau-
tiful example of stucco work in all of
At the shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin,
a highly-venerated mystic from the 14th
century, the grand pavilion is adorned
with lattice work and marble arches.
Devotees throng his tomb praying for
favours and enjoying Sufi devotional mu-
sic. The tiny eateries surrounding it are
famous for authentic Mughlai cuisine.
Several well-preserved tombs of the
Sayyid and Lodhi dynasty rulers
(1414-1526AD) act as centrepieces to
the Lodhi Gardens.
The double-domed octagonal tomb
of Sikander Lodi is the earliest wall en-
closed tomb built in the subcontinent.
At the Sheesh Gumbad, one can see
the remnants of blue glazed tiles which
once adorned it.
Many of the tombs have mosques
next to them. An interesting feature of
these buildings is that, though the exte-
rior facade gives the impression of multi-
ple storeys, the interior houses only one
Most of the tombs in Delhi are actu-
ally cenotaphs, with a burial chamber un-
derground, which is out of bounds for vis-
Hindu architectural features like aus-
picious vessels, lotus finials, chattris
(canopies) and floral designs can be seen
along with Quranic calligraphic inscrip-
tions and geometric designs.
In the early years of Muslim invasion,
native artisans, unaware of Islamic archi-
tectural concepts, incorporated Hindu el-
ements in their work.
These monuments are therefore the
foremost examples of Indo-Islamic archi-
Each tomb reveals a new chapter in
the city’s rich history and anecdotes
about them abound.
Humayun’s tomb complex houses
the grave of his favourite barber, while a
Tughlaq ruler apparently had his much-
loved dog buried close to his final resting
Stories about unexplained phenom-
ena like the smell of sandalwood incense
at some graves and being slapped by in-
visible spirits at others are common.
Thomas Metcalfe, the British agent to
the court of the Mughal emperor Ba-
hadur Shah Zafar, obviously did not be-
lieve in them. He went to the extent of
converting the tomb of Mughal general
Quli Khan into a pleasure retreat. He
named it “Dilkhush” – that which
pleases the heart.
Adham Khan’s maze-like tomb is
said to have been used as a private resi-
dence by a British officer in the 1830s.
The Archaeological Survey of India is
struggling to manage the abundance of
historical monuments dotting Delhi.
At these places, saints and rulers rest
in peace surrounded by parakeets nest-
ing in their walls, squirrels chasing each
other and love-struck couples looking
It is not unusual to see boys playing
cricket in the open courtyards of these
mausoleums, and there have been in-
stances of vagabonds settling down to
live comfortably in a place built hun-
dreds of years ago to house the dead.
These tombs are markers of a civilisa-
tion lost in time and often do not make it
to a tourist’s itinerary.
If only one would stop and look, for it
is here that the dead speak to the visitor
about an era gone by!
It is best to visit Delhi from October
to March. Most tombs are easily
accessible by taxi, but it is always
advisable to hire a guide who can
educate you about the finer details.
Entrance to most mausoleums is free.
Many tour agencies can also customise
a tour to these graves, including to the
(Left) The 16th century Humayun’s tomb;
(above) intricate plaster work in the Jamali-
Kamali grave complex; (below) Sheesh Gumbad
with its distinctive blue tiles at Lodhi Gardens.
Delhi’s tombs reflect history
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