Malavika’s Mumbaistan: A Woman Thing?

Both women had distinguished themselves with their sterling commitment and loyalties to their respective parties.
Sushma Swaraj abd Sheila Dixit
Sushma Swaraj abd Sheila Dixit
Updated on Aug 08, 2019 09:19 AM IST
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ByMalavika Sangghvi

With all due to respect, there seems to be a sense of déjà vu surrounding the mourning of the late BJP leader Sushma Swaraj. And that is because the similarities with the recently-departed Congress leader Sheila Dixit are striking. Both women had distinguished themselves with their sterling commitment and loyalties to their respective parties; both had served as chief ministers of Delhi; both had succumbed to heart attacks, both had been regarded as among the tallest leaders of their times and above all, tributes to both had unequivocally harped on their qualities of warmth, kindness, graciousness and bipartisanism.

This last similarity is the one that struck us most while scrolling through the tributes that had poured in yesterday for Swaraj. Person after person had drawn attention to her humane qualities above all. The same had been the case with the late Sheila Dixit whose mourning had cut across party lines.

Could it be that these qualities of warmth, empathy, grace and compassion were, in fact, simply the hallmarks of their gender? Of course, one can be accused of bias in making this point. But still, it is worth considering. Are women politicians intrinsically more gracious, empathetic and humane than their male counterparts?

Just saying…

Dalrymple’s delight

William Dalrymple
William Dalrymple

“It was so exciting to see the first copy in Algiers,” says author William Dalrymple, newly-emerged after spending 10 days in the Sahara, about his latest offering ‘The Anarchy’. The book tells the story of the East India Company and how a private company, based thousands of miles overseas in one small office, five-windows wide and answerable only to its distant shareholders, came to control an entire subcontinent. “The East India Company’s founding charter authorised it to ‘wage war’ and it had always used violence to gain its ends,” says the book’s cover blurb. “The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation dealing in silks and spices and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. In less than half a century it had trained up a security force of around 200,000 men – twice the size of the British army – and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself.” According to those who have read it, The Anarchy could well be Dalrymple’s most ambitious and riveting books yet, one that he was born to write and for which he spent the past few years in meticulous research. No surprises that his delight in it finally seeing light and of holding its first copy in his hands is palpable. “I spent the whole night re-reading it. Like a child with his new presents during Christmas,” he says, about what appears to be a timely cautionary tale of the far reaching effects of what was the world’s first global corporate power.

Sing Mumbai Sing

Sarosh Nanavaty in a scene from the upcoming A Night on Broadway.
Sarosh Nanavaty in a scene from the upcoming A Night on Broadway.

Following on the heels of the recent success of musicals such as #SingIndiaSing and My Fair Lady, the curtains will rise on yet another paean to the genre, when producers Vishaal Asrani and Jiji Subi present A Night On Broadway at the Royal Opera House next month. Featuring three singers and four dancers, it will present chart-busting hits from productions such as The Phantom Of The Opera Evita, Cats, Les Misérables and Cabaret amongst others. “It will be a trip down memory lane with soaring ballads, fantastic sets, stunning visuals and breathtaking costumes,” says Sarosh Nanavaty, one of the show’s lead singers, whose recent performance in #SingIndiaSing had attracted favourable notice. As a part of the music industry for as long as she can remember – from collaborating with independent artists and bands to fronting her own electrp-rock band – Nanavaty says the musical theatre boom in Mumbai is a rising wave and it’s heartening for artists like her to see so many people take an interest in it. Besides the new production, she is also working on her original material as an independent artist for an album set to release soon. “It’s fun and exhausting to be a part of the music world and I hope to always keep learning from my colleagues,” she signs off.

A Candle For Lucky

In what seemed to be a sad moment, in a season of sadness, Lucky, the hapless street dog who had been beaten mercilessly by a watchman of a building society when he had tried to seek shelter from the rain, passed away yesterday in the early hours. “He got the best possible care at Crown Vet and an outpouring of love and donations from people from all around the world,” said Tina Kapur, the animal activist who has undertaken the care and nurturing of innumerable strays across the city. For the past few days, Kapur had been dutifully posting updates of Lucky’s progress, and though saddened by his loss, she was not giving up her fight for the larger cause. “The need of the hour now is to get justice for Lucky and other animals like him who are tormented by cruel people who think it’s okay to kill innocent sentient beings,” she said, adding, “We need to start a proper and targeted campaign to get archaic animal cruelty laws changed so that there is tangible judgment for anyone who does this.” As for Lucky, the details of his final journey are awaited. “Since this is a police case, he will have to be autopsied so that the injuries he received can be recorded,” said Kapur.

RIP Lucky, perhaps your senseless and painful end might not yet be in vain…

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