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India's 'Emergency' on London stage

Indian themes and plays are increasingly making their presence felt in the world of London theatre, and more news, reports Prasun Sonwalkar.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2006 11:57 IST

Indian themes and plays are increasingly making their presence felt in the hallowed world of London theatre.

The frequency is more after Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Bombay Dreams" pulled in the crowds for months in the West End.

Theatre lovers are again treated to a compelling Indian story in the form of "A Fine Balance", being staged at the Hampstead Theatre.

The play, produced by the Tamasha Theatre Company, is a compelling retelling of the book by the same name by Rohinton Mistry.

The play, being staged until Jan 28, revolves around the days of emergency rule imposed by then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975-77, and particularly around the infamous sterilisation programmes carried out during the period.

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More Asian magistrates in British courts

The British county of Buckinghamshire is the latest to initiate a drive to recruit more Asian magistrates.

The newly launched Magistrates Shadowing Scheme follows criticism that there were very few Asians or other minorities in key positions in Britain's judicial system.

Arif Hussain, from Wooburn Moor, is one of the few ethnic minority magistrates operating in High Wycombe. He has addressed seminars to ethnic groups on the role of judges.

He said: "I think anything that can encourage more people from the minority groups to get involved is a positive step. I believe that you cannot complain about anything that happens to you unless you have tried to make a difference, and being a magistrate is a great way of doing that."

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The caste dynamics of Asian charity

When people from the Indian subcontinent migrate, they carry their caste, language and regional affiliations. Thus there are a large number of groups based on these lines, each seeking to maintain its identity in a foreign country.

Many of them are active in charity and donate funds for activities in Britain and the Indian subcontinent. Such groups spring into action during major events such as the earthquakes in Gujarat and Pakistani Kashmir.

The latest example is the Lohana community of north London, a group of retired people, donating 5,000 pounds to the St Luke's Hospice Kenton Grange after a Diwali dinner.

The Lohana Social Centre was set up in 1996 to provide a day centre for retired senior members of the community.

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Quest for a yoga centre

Yoga has long been popular in the West. But thanks to the several Indian channels beaming yoga-based programmes, more people are taking to the ancient science of keeping fit.

Marie Beard, who describes yoga as her first love, is working hard to get a centre in Newquay in southwest England built to teach yoga. She returned last year after spending a month in Kerala.

She says: "Yoga is my first love. It teaches a person self respect, self acceptance and self love and when this flame is lit within it naturally radiates outwards for the good of all."

First Published: Jan 23, 2006 11:51 IST