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Indian designer Anita Dongre helps raise $570,000 for Singapore charities
REPORT ON PAGE 4
Anita Dongre (in black)
with models dipslaying her
clothes at the Gala Of Light.
MCI (P) 078/03/2019
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
OCTOBER 11, 2019
HRITHIK TO RAISE
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Defence Minister performs Shastra Puja
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performing
Shastra Puja (a ritual in which weapons are
worshipped), after India formally took
delivery of the first of the 36 long-awaited
French-made Rafale fighter jets acquired by
the Indian Air Force.
During a ceremony at French
manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s factory in
Merignac, near Bordeaux, on Tuesday,
Mr Singh wrote an “Om” on the jet and
offered flowers and a coconut on the
occasion of Vijayadashami, a widely
celebrated festival in India.
He later went on a sortie in the
Kerala woman admits
poisoning six family members
A woman in Kerala has confessed
to poisoning six members of her
family over a 14-year period by
adding cyanide to their food.
Police began investigations
earlier this year when the
brother-in-law of 47-year-old
suspect Jolly Thomas became
suspicious that she may have
forged his parents’ will.
Authorities discovered that
Ms Thomas, who is currently in
judicial custody, had been at the
scene of all six deaths, and that
each death had occurred after
eating a meal she had prepared.
She was allegedly motivated by
wanting control of the family
finances and property, police said.
1,400km great ‘green wall’
The federal government is mulling an
ambitious plan to create a 1,400km
long and 5km wide green belt from
Gujarat to the Delhi-Haryana border
as part of India’s efforts to deal with
land degradation and the eastward
march of the Thar desert.
The project intends to counter
climate change and desertification
and is inspired by Africa’s “Great
Green Wall” from Dakar to Djibouti.
MP school designed as train to
Authorities in Madhya Pradesh’s
tribal-dominated Dindori district has
designed a government school to look
like a train with the aim of attracting
The under-developed area has no
rail connectivity. So, keeping in mind
children’s attraction to trains,
Ms Santosh Uikey, the headmistress
of the secondary school in Khajri,
turned the building into a train
Moody’s cuts GDP growth forecast
Moody’s Investors Service has slashed its
2019-20 GDP growth forecast for India
to 5.8 per cent from 6.2 per cent earlier,
saying the economy was experiencing a
pronounced slowdown which is partly
related to long-lasting factors.
The projection is lower than the 6.1
per cent that the Reserve Bank of India
had forecast just last week. Moody’s had
lowered the growth forecast to 6.2 per
cent from 6.8 per cent in August.
The second informal summit between
Chinese President Xi Jinping and In-
dia’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi
will be held at Tamil Nadu’s Mamalla-
It will see the two leaders visit
some of the UNESCO World Heritage
sites there and attend a cultural pro-
gramme presented by Kalakshetra.
The Chinese President will arrive
post-noon (Indian time) today in Chen-
nai, which is 50km from Mamallapu-
The two leaders will then meet in
the evening at Mamallapuram, with
Mr Modi scheduled to take President
Xi around some of the major histori-
cal sites of the ancient port town built
by the Pallava rulers.
They will then have dinner and
attend a cultural programme.
The two leaders will hold the
second round of discussions between
their delegations tomorrow at the
Fisherman’s Cove hotel, after which
Mr Xi will depart at 2pm (Indian
There will be no formal ceremony
or signing of documents.
The Indian side will also have
Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval
at the talks. Chinese Foreign Minister
Wang Yi will also be present.
Mamallapuram was chosen as the
venue for the talks because both
Mr Xi and Mr Modi share a keen
interest in history and culture.
The Indian Prime Minister is also
keen that places other than New Delhi
should be showcased to visiting digni-
Mamallapuram also shares a con-
nection with China as Buddhist monk
Hiuen Tsang visited the place in the
The seaside centre also hosted
sailors from the Chinese port town of
Evidence of the links between the
two countries have been found in the
form of pottery and other relics found
Indo-Asian News Service
Modi-Xi talks near
ancient port town
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung visiting
Mamallapuram last week.
October 11, 2019
V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR
Deepavali arrived in Singapore three
Glitter, glamour and gratitude was
the theme of Gala Of Light, a charity
ball and celebration of the Indian
festival that took place last Friday at
Marina Bay Sands.
Organised by entrepreneurs and
friends Samia Khan and Bina Ram-
puria, it had a fashion show where
clothes designed by noted Indian de-
signer Anita Dongre were displayed by
The soiree also had a live auction of
specially-curated experiences, like
guest of honour S. Iswaran, Minister
for Communications, singing on stage,
dinner and an after-party featuring
Bollywood DJ Suketu.
More importantly, the event raised
funds and awaresses for Beyond Social
Services (BSS) and Compassion Fund,
charities dedicated to helping vulnera-
ble children and youths.
“We tend to forget that even in a
progressive nation such as Singapore,
there is an underprivileged segment of
society that needs support,” said
Samia, who deals in fashion wear
through her company Melange.
“We wanted to raise more aware-
ness and encourage the spirit of giving
Set up in 1969 to support those
who had been displaced by the Bukit
Ho Swee fires, BSS now works with
children and youths from less-privi-
leged backgrounds with a mission to
help them break the cycle of poverty.
Compassion Fund focuses on chil-
dren whose families are thrown into
crisis in the wake of an accident, death
or major illness to the breadwinner.
About 300 people attended the
gala, which raised $570,000, mainly
from table sales, the live auction,
sponsorships and donations. Anita’s
presence was a booster too for guests
to open their wallets.
“Anita readily agreed to attend the
event when she was approached,” said
Samia. “She wanted to support the
cause and give back to the community.
Now the gala will be held annually.”
Samia and Bina chose to work with
the top-notch Indian designer not only
because of her stunning designs, but
they were also captivated by her
“We have always been inspired by
creativity,” said Samia.
“Therefore, for this gala, we de-
cided to use fashion as a vehicle to
inspire people to give back to society.
Her philanthropic work is celebrated
as much as her artistry.”
Through her sustainable line Grass-
root, Anita, who counts the Duchess
of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton,
and celebrities Beyonce, Priyanka
Chopra and Sophie Turner among her
clients, provides work for rural and
underprivileged women artisans in In-
She works with around 600 artisans
through Ahmedabad-based Self-Em-
ployed Women’s Association, one of
the numerous NGOs she collaborates
“India has such amazing crafts in
every state and we work with NGOs
to ensure that these artisans are em-
ployed,” said Anita. “Rural economic
development for women is a part of
sustainability for me.”
Her endeavour is to use traditional
crafts on garments that would appeal
to global sensibilities.
The intent is also to empower the
craftspersons and revive several dying
craft forms of the country.
She also runs the Anita Dongre
Foundation, which works at the village
level to form self-help groups.
Made with eco-friendly fabrics by
the hands of women in remote Indian
villages, Anita has merged the past
with the present in a refreshing way.
Anita is a household name in India,
known for her multiple lines, including
her namesake bridal collection.
Her influence extends to her flag-
ship stores in New York and Quatre
Bornes, Mauritius. But her stock really
rose after she received a royal push
from the Duchess of Cambridge.
The duchess wore a Jaipur-inspired
tunic dress from her Summer 2016
Love Notes Collection during a tour of
India and Bhutan, launching Anita
into the fashion stratosphere.
That dress is a must-have for many
women even three years later.
“It definitely feels gratifying (that
powerful and prominent women are
wearing my designs),” said Anita.
“My clothes are for independent
women with a strong mind of their
own, a strong voice of their own.”
The likes of Beyonce, Priyanka,
Sophie and Hillary Clinton have all
donned her clothing and jewellery,
embracing the colour and craftsman-
ship of each piece.
But Anita’s customer base is more
than red carpet celebrities. She has
redefined women’s work-wear in In-
The designer has always believed
that women should maintain their
By launching smart dresses and
Indo-western outfits, she ensured that
working women broke out of the
stereotype of turning out in trousers
and shirts at work.
She has also taken fashion to the
masses. Her company now has over
1,000 sale points in more than 100
cities in India and overseas.
The House of Anita Dongre, which
was founded in 1995 and has grown to
four brands – contemporary line
Global Desi, western wear brand
AND, luxury brand Grassroot and
jewellery line Pinkcity – is close to a
Rs725 crore ($1.48 billion) entity.
Women in Singapore got a taste of
Anita’s festive range – fluid silhou-
ettes, geometric shapes and pretty
floral patterns – last Saturday when
she put up her latest offerings for sale
along with Melange at the Hilton
The 56-year-old was showing off
her line in Singapore for the first time.
It included the Jaipur Love collec-
tion, inspired by the Indian city’s
exquisite architecture and unique
blend of Rajputana and Mughal mo-
Hundreds of women thronged the
hall at the Hilton to pick pieces from
her latest collection, which had a price
range of $250 to $6,500 (ready to
wear $250-$750, occasion wear
$1,500 to $2,100 and bridal $5,500 to
Said Ayesha Raj, an art consultant
who took home a long dress and a
matching dupatta: “Anita’s my
favourite designer. Her dresses are
stylish, wearable and durable. They
bring out the feminine aspect.”
Indian designer Anita Dongre’s latest range on display at the Gala Of Light fashion show.
(Below) Organisers Bina Rampuria (in yellow) and Samia Khan (in green) with partners (from
left) Ratika Mehra, Kay Iswaran, Minister S. Iswaran, Ravina Kirplani and Shamsa Van Keulen.
“For this gala,
we decided to
use fashion as a
vehicle to inspire
people to give
back to society.”
– Organiser Samia Khan
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