Authors Posts by Babita Mittal

Babita Mittal

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Personal insults were at the root of a row between Australia’s David Warner and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock during the tea break of the fourth day of the first Test, their captains said.

The incident is in the hands of match referee Jeff Crowe, with no immediate clarity about when a decision could be expected.

CCTV footage showed Warner apparently turning on De Kock as the players walked up a narrow staircase leading to the dressing rooms at the start of the interval here in a match won by Australia.

“What was said and done during that interval was regrettable on both sides,” said Australian captain Steve Smith.

“Quinton got personal and evoked an emotional response from Davey. Those things are not on from both sides. Getting personal on the field is crossing the line in my opinion.”

Smith’s version was disputed by South African manager Mohammed Moosajee, who blamed Warner.

“There were words said out on the field. If you are saying something you’ve got to take it and that’s the opinion of Quinton. Let the investigations begin and let the match officials decide,” said Moosajee.

South African captain Faf du Plessis said the umpires needed to ensure proper behaviour on the field.

“From what I’ve heard there was a lot of personal stuff being said, to and from. Who started it, I don’t know. If it was happening on the field it should have been nipped in the bud. The fact that it spilled over after the field shouldn’t have happened.”

Very chirpy

The CCTV footage shows Warner being restrained by teammates Usman Khawaja and Nathan Lyon before being persuaded to go into the dressing room by Smith.

Du Plessis said he had been aware of the incident.

“I heard the commotion and went outside and just asked David to go into his dressing room. It needs to stay on the field when you are chirping each other. There need to be boundaries on that.”

Smith acknowledged his players were “certainly very chirpy on the field”.

But he said that as far as he aware his players had not got personal with De Kock.

Smith said he hoped the remaining three Tests would be played in the right spirit but added: “We play our best cricket when we’re aggressive, when we’re in the fight together and hunting as a pack as one. We’re working for each other and backing our mates up in the field. That’s part of being an Australian.”

He said there had been “regrettable incidents from both parties” but hoped for better behaviour in the next three Tests.

“I’m not going to say nothing will ever happen again but as far as I’m concerned we’ve just got to try and play within the spirit of the game.”

Du Plessis said he expected aggression from the opposition when he played against Australia.

“I’m certainly not sitting here complaining about it. I was disappointed to see the way it unfolded yesterday but I expect a tough series and I look forward to the battle.”

According to Du Plessis, De Kock was unaffected by the incident.

“Quinny’s fine. I don’t think you get a reaction from him most of the time. When you look at him now it’s like nothing happened.”

Meanwhile, Australian off-spinner Lyon was charged with conduct contrary to the spirit of the game after he dropped the ball next to AB de Villiers after completing a run-out of South Africa’s star batsman, an incident captured on television.

Lyon was expected to be fined or penalised with a demerit point for what is classified as a level one offence.

He was said to have apologised to De Villiers and the pair were seen shaking hands while the teams warmed up today.

The Jeep Compass is working very well for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in India. Exports to right-hand drive markets are also going quite well for the brand. The Compass is built at the Fiat factory in Ranjangaon, near Pune. 25,000 units of the SUV have been produced in just 7 months of production.

The Compass has been FCA’s biggest hit in India in years, and the company sells over 2,000 units of the SUV each month. The Compass competes with the Hyundai Tucson at the higher end and the Mahindra XUV500-Hyundai Creta at the lower end.

The Compass is available with four engine-transmission combinations: petrol-manual, petrol-automatic, diesel-manual and diesel-4X4. The petrol engine of the Compass is a 1.4 liter turbocharged unit capable of outputting a maximum power of 160 PS and a maximum torque of 250 Nm.

The engine is available with 6 speed manual and 7 speed, twin clutch automatic gearboxes. The petrol Compass is front wheel driven. The diesel Compass gets a 2 liter turbocharged engine with 170 PS and 350 Nm. The 6 speed manual gearbox is available with front wheel drive and four wheel drive options.

Later this year, Jeep India will introduce the Trailhawk variant of the Compass Diesel 4X4. The Trailhawk variant will be an off-road focused variant, which will be much costlier than the regular diesel versions. It will have different tyres, bumpers, slightly revised styling and also more features. We expect it to be priced at a little over Rs. 25 lakhs. A key mechanical change on the Trailhawk Compass is expected to be a 9 speed automatic gearbox sourced from ZF. This gearbox is also expected to be offered on the diesel, front wheel driven variants of the Compass.

The addition of the automatic option on the Compass Diesel could push up sales significantly. For now, prices of the Compass start from Rs. 15.21 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi. The new variants of the SUV, due for 2018, will be much more costlier though. Sometime in 2019, Jeep is likely to expand its affordable SUV range in India by introducing a sub-4 meter model. The sub-4 meter SUV from Jeep will take on the Maruti Vitara Brezza, and is expected to either use the Renegade Small-Wide platform or be based on another new SUV that FCA plans to introduce soon globally.

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Speaking at an administrative review meeting in Durgapur town, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that the state will reward anyone who helps foil communal violence with a government job, while alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its partner organisations were paying miscreants to incite unrest in the state.

She claimed the state had definite proof of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) involvement in communal clashes in the state. Young people are being given money and asked to defile places of worship, she alleged, adding that several RSS supporters have been arrested in connection with such an incident in North 24 Parganas district.

Banerjee asked to step up mass vigilantism to counter attempts to incite communal unrest, while advising the police to reward those who help the administration with definite information. Depending on the sensitivity of the information passed on to the police, a person will be rewarded either with a job or a substantial cash prize, she said on Monday.

Anyone found guilty of conspiring to disrupt peace will be dealt with the full force of law, regardless of faith and political affiliation, she added. She asked the state police chief Surajit Kar Purkayastha to make arrangements to step up surveillance in partnership with the public.

Top police officers said vigilantism could help, but, at the same time, it could also be counter-productive. Vigilantes are, as a rule, a double-edged sword, they said, asking not to be identified.

Dilip Ghosh, the state president of the BJP, denied Banerjee’s allegations saying that his party wasn’t behind any communal unrest anywhere in India. Most of the country is now ruled by the BJP and there is no unrest anywhere, he said, while alleging that West Bengal was harbouring extremist leaders for political gains of the ruling party.

If the forthcoming panchayat elections are not rigged, the Trinamool Congress will not be able to hold on to its bastion, Ghosh claimed.

Meanwhile, Banerjee has started to reach out to political parties with the proposal of forming an alliance to oppose the BJP. She has already spoken on phone with K. Chandrashekhar Rao, the chief minister of Telangana, to discuss a possible alliance. Without naming Tripura, she said the people of West Bengal will not bow to external disruptive forces.

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Three days after a note by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha directing senior political leaders and government functionaries not to participate in Tibet-related activities became public, the Tibetan government-in-exile has shifted a high-profile event planned to commemorate Dalai Lama’s 60th year in exile. The event will now happen in Dharamshala, not Delhi.

While Tibetan leaders have officially said they ‘understand’ India’s ‘compulsions’, the government has picked sentiments of ‘outrage, hurt and anger’ following the cabinet secretary’s note.

On Friday, the Indian Express reported that Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale first wrote to the cabinet secretary pointing to the sensitivity of relations with China.

He specifically mentioned a ‘Thank You India’ Event being organised in Delhi’s Thyagaraja Stadium on April 1 by the Tibetan government in exile. “The Dalai Lama set-up also intends to invite a number of Indian dignitaries…Participation by senior leaders, or government functionaries..is not desirable and should be discouraged.”

China sees Tibet as an integral part of itself and does not recognize the Tibetan government in exile.

Ngodup Dhongchung, representative of the Dalai Lama in Delhi, confirmed that the event has been rescheduled.

“We will now have the event in Dharamshala instead of Delhi. We will also have it on March 31 instead of April 1.” For the Delhi event, the Tibetan government in exile is understood to have invited former PM Dr Manmohan Singh and BJP’s senior leader L K Advani.

While Dr Singh’s office said that he had declined the invitation, sources close to Advani said he had received a letter but had not expressed his consent. Tibetan officials familiar with the development say that the rescheduled event will be a ‘low-key affair’.

Asked if there was disappointment in the community, Dhongchung said, “Some people may be disappointed. But we are guests of India. Indian people have been very generous to us. We understand the compulsions.” But privately, three senior Tibetan figures said that there is a sense of hurt in the community.

The government has picked this sentiment. Tibetan activists have conveyed to authorities that this was a sign of ‘personal humiliation’ for the Dalai Lama. Officials familiar with the issue believe that the message could have been privately conveyed to the Dalai Lama’s office and the government in exile.

“If we did it as a signal to China, it symbolises weakness. It also sends out a message to Tibetans we are abandoning them. The Dalai Lama represents the moderate strand within the movement. If Tibetans begin feeling his approach is futile, it will lead to radicalisation,” said a person familiar with the development.

The government, this view holds, has in any case been very restrained in its engagement with the Dalai Lama. PM Narendra Modi is reported to have had only one meeting with Tibetan leader, on the eve of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit in 2014, which did not go well. From the government, the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar are understood to have had a few meetings each with the Dalai Lama in close to four years. At the political level, only junior ministers, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) Mahesh Sharma, have metthe Dalai Lama.

There is, however, another view – that India has actually supported the cause of Tibet. Proponents of the second theory point to the Dalai Lama being allowed to visit Arunachal Pradesh, parts of which China considers part of its territory, in 2017. The head of the Tibetan government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, was also present at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in 2014.

Alka Acharya, Professor of Chinese Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, said, “We saw an active use of the so called ‘Tibet card’ over the past few years. What is actually happening now is a course-correction of sorts, or reverting to the older position that Tibetan political activities will not be encouraged and the government will distance itself from any such activity.” Acharya attributed it to the new FS Gokhale’s orientation. “As Joint Secretary handling the relationship in 2009, he had not allowed the 50th anniversary celebrations to escalate either.” Acharya held that India-China relation had been undergoing ‘tremendous stress’ and the government is seeking to ‘reset ties’ as Gokhale announced during a recent visit to Beijing.

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चाय बेचनेवाले को आप किसी भी नजर से देखते हों, क्या लगता है? हर महीने वह कितने रुपये कमा सकता है? प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी के पकौड़ा रोजगार पर मजाक बनाने वाले भी शायद इस बात पर यकीन न करें, लेकिन पुणे में एक चायवाले ने कमाई का नया रेकॉर्ड बनाया है। इस चायवाले ने हर महीने 12 लाख रुपये की कमाई कर बड़े-बड़ों को पीछे छोड़ दिया है।

पुणे में ‘येवले टी हाउस’ चाय पीने के लिए सभी का पसंदीदा स्पॉट बन गया है। यह शहर के कुछ फेमस स्टॉल्स में से एक है। येवले टी हाउस के को-फाउंडर नवनाथ येवले कहते हैं कि बहुत जल्द वह इसे अंतरराष्ट्रीय ब्रांड बनाने वाले हैं।

नवनाथ ने कहा, ‘पकौड़ा बिजनस से उलट चाय बेचने का बिजनस भी भारतीयों को रोजगार दे रहा है। यह तेजी से बढ़ रहा है और इसे लेकर मैं बेहद खुश हूं।’ फिलहाल, पुणे भर में येवले टी स्टॉल के तीन सेंटर हैं और हर सेंटर पर करीब 12 लोग काम करते हैं।

 

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नई दिल्ली.गाजियाबाद के इंदिरापुरम में घर के बाथरूम में एक दंपति की लाश मिलने से सनसनी फैल गई। दोनों मृतकों के शरीर पर एक भी कपड़ा नहीं था। एसएसपी एचएन सिंह ने बताया कि दोनों के शवों का पोस्टमार्टम हो गया है, लेकिन रिपोर्ट में मौत का कारण स्पष्ट नहीं हुआ है। पुलिस ने फोरेंसिक लैब में जांच के लिए विसरा प्रिजर्व करा दिया है।ये था मामला…

– जानकारी के मुताबिक, ज्ञानखंड 1 में नीरज सिंघानिया, पत्नी रुचि सिंघानिया और बेटी पिहू के साथ रहते थे। नीरज मोबाइल कंपनी मैट्रिक्स में डीजीएम और पत्नी रुचि अमेरिका की आई कंपनी में काम करती थीं।

– वे मूल रूप से बरेली के रहने वाले थे। साथ में छोटा भाई वरुण उसकी पत्नी व बहन भी रहती हैं। शुक्रवार को नीरज के पिता प्रेमप्रकाश सिंघानिया का जन्मदिन और रुचि के माता-पिता की मैरिज एनिवर्सरी थी।

– सभी मिलकर इसे रात में सेलिब्रेट करने वाले थे। इसके लिए रुचि के पैरंट्स भी यहीं आए हुए थे। होली मनाकर शाम करीब साढ़े 5 बजे सभी अपने-अपने कमरे में चले गए।

– रुचि खाना बनाने की बात कहकर बाथरूम में चली गई। नीरज के पिता प्रेमप्रकाश सिंघानिया के अनुसार शाम 7:30 बजे के करीब उन्होंने नीरज के रूम को नॉक किया लेकिन कोई जवाब नहीं मिला।

ऐसे पता चला हो गई है डेथ

– नीरज के पिता ने सोचा कि कुछ देर बाद पति-पत्नी उठ जाएंगे। रात 9:30 बजे के करीब वापस उन्होंने बेडरूम को नॉक किया, लेकिन इस बार भी कोई जवाब नहीं मिला।

– इसके बाद उन्होंने अपने छोटे बेटे वरुण को बताया तो उसने स्टूल लगाकर बेडरूम के अंदर झांका। वरुण को बाथरूम के अंदर अपनी भाभी का पैर नजर आया।

– इस पर परिवार को कुछ संदेह हुआ। बेडरूम का दरवाजा तोड़कर वे अंदर घुसे तो देखा कि नीरज और रुचि बाथरूम के अंदर बेहोश पड़े थे।

– मैक्स हॉस्पिटल से डॉक्टर बुलाया गया, जिसने नीरज और रुचि को मृत घोषित कर दिया।

– प्रेमप्रकाश सिंघानिया ने बताया कि बाथरूम के अंदर गैस गीजर लगा हुआ है, लेकिन वह इस्तेमाल नहीं किया गया है।

– बाल्टी के अंदर भी पानी मौजूद नहीं था. ऐसे में दोनों की मौत को लेकर पूरा परिवार स्तब्ध है कि आखिर उनके बेटे-बहू की मौत कैसे हुई।

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Katrina Kaif is busy shooting for Aanand L Rai’s Zero, a film also starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma. The gorgeous diva took to her Instagram account to post a picture from the sets of the film Saturday night.

And O boy, she looks dayum pretty.

In the picture, we see Katrina wearing a peach lehenga – choli with zardosi work. A long necklace with green beads, a choker, jhumkas, maang tika and the nath (nose ring) compliment her attire. Going by the pic, it looks likely that there’s a wedding scene in the film, or maybe a scene for a film within the film!

For the unversed, Katrina plays an actress in the film which will see Shah Rukh essaying a dwarf. Zero will bring the Jab Tak Hai Jaan trio back on screen and it would be interesting to see what each of SRK, Katrina and Anushka have in store for us. Katrina also shared another pic from the sets of the film. And it has SRK in the frame.

According to a report in Bollywoodlife.com, Anushka and Katrina will be essaying characters they have never played in the past.“While everyone thinks that only Shah Rukh Khan has a special role in the film with a disability, they will be surprised to know that Anushka and Katrina’s characters also face various challenges. While everyone knows Katrina plays a diva, nobody knows that she is also an alcoholic in the movie. She battles with alcoholism, which affects her life in various ways. Anushka, on the other hand plays a struggling scientist. The makers are trying to keep these details a secret because they don’t want to give out too much information,” Bollywoodlife quoted a source as saying.

However, initial reports suggested that Anushka would be playing the role of a mentally challenged girl. Nonetheless, since the makers are tight-lipped about the plot and the characters in the film, we can only wait to know what they have in store for us.

WhatsApp’s long-requested and only recently introduced Delete for Everyone feature looks set to get an update. The most recent WhatsApp beta (v2.18.69) for Android now gives users up to 4,096 seconds (68 minutes and 16 seconds) to delete a message for everyone in a chat. Currently, in stable builds, the window a user has to delete a message for everyone is 420 seconds (or 7 minutes). Depending on how well it’s received, this extension can be expected to make its way to the stable build soon. It is also reportedly making its way to the iPhone app soon.

The change was first spotted by WABetaInfo, the WhatsApp update tracking site. The site notes that v2.18.68 WhatsApp beta version for Android includes an update to the Stickers feature that disabled by default – a slight modification of its icon. Since the news was reported on Friday, WhatsApp has released two more beta versions for Android (v2.18.70 and v.2.18.71), and WABetaInfo has spotted new disabled-by-default features like Locked Recording (locking the voice message record button into place when recording), and sticker pack size display.

Another feature WhatsApp was recently spotted in testing, but once again disabled by default, shows whether a message has been forwarded. The Forwarded Message label shows up on top of message if it has been forwarded from another, or same chat. The move if nothing classifies forwards, and could be amongst the first steps to combat spam and fake news. The feature was spotted in WhatsApp beta (v2.18.67) for Android. The same version also brought Stickers to Android – but can’t be used.

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As the mystery around Sridevi’s sudden demise last week continued, her husband and film producer has opened up — perhaps for the first time to a friend — about his unscheduled trip to see his wife in Dubai, how they hugged and kissed when he surprised her and how he found her lying in a bathtub full of water without a drop of water spilling out.

Boney has recounted the “detailed account of what exactly transpired on the fateful evening of February 24” to his friend of 30 years, trade analyst Komal Nahta, who has reproduced the conversation in a blog shared on his official Twitter page.

Nahta wrote that Boney told him he pushed open the bathroom door — which had not been locked from inside — at around 8 pm after getting no response to loud calls for and a knock on the door. Earlier, there had been a lot of speculation about the time that Boney had opened the bathroom door.

Nahta told IANS that the conversation happened on Wednesday before Sridevi’s funeral.

It was barely two hours after Boney surprised — his “jaan” and mother of their two daughters Janhvi and Khushi — at Room No. 2201 at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel here, that he faced the shock of her death, writes Nahta.

Nahta likened Boney’s “unscheduled trip to Dubai” to one such outing the producer had planned in Bangalore in 1994 to catch by surprise.

Boney said: “On 24th (February 24) morning, I spoke to her. When she told me, ‘Papa (that’s how she addressed Boney), I’m missing you’, I also told her that I was missing her a lot. But I didn’t tell her that I would be joining her in Dubai in the evening. Janhvi had seconded my idea of going to Dubai because she was scared, her mom, not used to being alone, would misplace her passport or some important document if she was alone.”

According to Boney, there had been only two occasions in the last 24 years when they had not travelled together abroad — when had travelled to New Jersey and Vancouver — for two film appearances.

“Although I didn’t accompany her on those two trips, I made sure that my friend’s wife was with her on both the occasions. The Dubai stay was the first time was alone for two days — 22nd and 23rd — in a foreign land,” he said.

Boney, and Khushi were in Dubai for a family wedding which wrapped up on February 20. While Boney returned to attend an “important meeting” to attend in Lucknow on February 22, continued her stay in Dubai to shop for Janhvi and spent two days “relaxing in her hotel room”.

The producer told Nahta that he booked himself for a 3.30 p.m. flight to Dubai on February 24, and reached the hotel where his wife was staying at around 6.20 p.m. Dubai time.

After reaching the hotel where the couple hugged and kissed, and chatted for around 15 minutes, Boney freshened up and suggested they go on a “romantic dinner”.

Then Sridevi, who as he says, was in “relaxation mode”, went for a bath.

“I went to the living room while went to the master bathroom to bathe and get ready,” Boney was quoted by Nahta as having said.

In the living room, Boney told Nahta that he surfed channels and was watching the South Africa-India cricket match for few minutes followed by the Pakistan Super League cricket match highlights.

After around 15-20 minutes, he was restless as it was around 8 p.m. then and being a Saturday, he felt restaurants would fill up.

Nahta wrote: “Boney’s impatience made him shout out to from the living room itself. After calling out to her twice, Boney lowered the volume of the TV set. Still no reply. He then walked to the bedroom and knocked at the bathroom door and even called out to her. The unsuspecting husband, hearing the tap inside on, then called out ‘Jaan, Jaan’ still louder but got no reply, which was unusual.

“He panicked and opened the door which had not been bolted from inside, nervous but yet not at all prepared for what he was going to see. The tub was full of water and was immersed completely, from head to toe, inside the tub. Devastated, he reached out to her but watching her motionless, he feared the worst.

had drowned! Boney’s world had come crashing down.”

The much-loved actress’ sudden demise raised several questions.

But as Nahta puts it: “Whether she first drowned and then became unconscious, or she first fell asleep or unconscious and then drowned, nobody will, perhaps, ever know. But she probably never got a chance to even struggle for a minute because had she moved her arms and legs in panic while drowning, there would be some water spilling out of the tub. But there wasn’t a drop of water on the floor outside the tub area.

“The mystery will remain unsolved.”

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Offense factories across the country work overtime these days, churning out seemingly endless topics for the citizenry to fume over, attack or file cases against for purportedly going against ‘Indian’ culture. This time it is the cover of Grihalakshmi, the women’s magazine from the Malayala Manorama group in Kerala. Published to mark International Women’s Day, the cover features model Gilu Joseph nursing an infant with her breast exposed as part of the magazine’s ‘Breastfeed freely’ campaign to “end the stigma” around baring breasts to nurse infants in public. The magazine’s campaign was apparently triggered by a photograph of a young mother from Kerala similarly breastfeeding her infant, uploaded on Facebook by her husband.

The cover text, “Mothers tell Kerala: Don’t stare, we want to breastfeed” seems directed to middle-class morality rather than the countless working-class women who matter-factly breastfeed their infants in public. It is this morality that seems to have taken umbrage at the sight of Ms Joseph’s bare breast. The practice of covering the breast or retreating to ‘private’ spaces to nurse seems to be a more recent urban phenomenon – the precise constituency that Grihalakshmi caters to. Perhaps for this reason, the cover depicting the standardized Hindu woman, complete with thaali and sindoor seems to speak to a section that maybe in need of shedding squeamishness around a natural bodily function.

 Besides the social media storm, with criticisms about the model flaunting her body to exhortations to the magazine to run a campaign for hijab-clad women to shed their covering, other objections took legal shape.

On March 1, a case was filed in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) in Kollam against the magazine and the model Gilu Joseph under Sections 3 and 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986. The complaint alleges that the cover photograph is “lascivious in nature, appealing to prurient interests and tends to degrade the dignity of womanhood.” Interestingly, the legal exemption of “representation for religious purposes or in ancient monuments” accepts that nude and semi-clad women are part of our cultural heritage and thus beyond the criteria laid down in the Act. Unfortunately, this is rarely understood to mean that “indecency” is subjective, contextual and ever-changing; the law is instead used as a tool of censorship.

In the complaint filed with the Kerala State Commission for Child Rights for violating the child model’s rights and ‘fake feeding’, one wonders whether the sight of a child alongside a bare breast is any more scandalous than the myriad instances of (mis)use of babies and children for advertising products from infant food and diapers to advertisements for home loans and paint.

The purpose of the cover image was undoubtedly to jolt, to make readers sit up and take notice and discuss the issue. It has certainly been able to do that…but the debate now seems less about the right of mothers to breastfeed their babies freely in public. The moral outrage over seeing a bare-breasted mother must not, however, be conflated with other more reasoned critiques of the image, that of promoting stereotypes of mothers and feeding into the male gaze: the glamourous model is focused more on the camera than her baby. As iconic art critic John Berger would put it, the “Ways of seeing” determine how an image is read. Can Gilu Joseph’s bare breast be perceived as erotic, or maternal, or both? Can motherhood and breastfeeding be glamorous and sexy too? The incensed reactions to the Grihalakshmi cover are indicative of the inability to perceive women in multiple and perhaps contradictory roles.  The erotic and sensual aspects of the cover apparently militate with the asexual mother symbol, and this seems to be intolerable for some.

The disjunct with the alluring mother image could also be because women who breastfeed their children (or indeed those of others, like ‘wet’ nurses) hold that the process is not as sacrosanct as the hype built around it -nectar-like milk and the ever-sacrificing smiling mother. The joy of motherhood and bonding with your baby might be somewhat outdone by sleepless nights, raw nipples, backaches and being constantly on call as your baby’s food factory. Many women experience breastfeeding as exhausting and sometimes downright boring, when done several times a day for months on end. For mothers who are under-nourished and over-worked, breastfeeding can be a painful and draining experience. The switch over to formula milk has been driven in no small part by plush advertising and glib marketing.

Indeed, in recognition of the need to promote the health benefits of breastfeeding, a government scheme MAA (Mother’s Absolute Affection), launched in 2016 had earmarked Rs 4.3 lakh for every one of the country’s 685 districts. One of the ‘faces’ of the campaign was popular actor Madhuri Dixit, with her own son (not a model), demurely dressed like all the other women in the publicity material. Breasts are decorously covered with sarees or dupattas, the babies appropriately swaddled, thus providing no opportunity for the outrage brigade to vandalise every bus stand, railway station or health centre across the country.

Exposing breasts has undoubtedly been a fraught issue in Kerala, where up until the early nineteenth century, so-called lower caste women were forbidden from covering their upper bodies and had to pay ‘mulakkaram’ or a breast tax to do so. In the land of the Channar Lahala or the revolt by Nadar women who won the right to cover their breasts in 1859, the public discussion over Gilu Joseph’s right to bare hers, seems particularly ironic. The key to gauging the worthiness of this battle should perhaps be placed in the arena of consent and broadening choices for women. On both these counts, the Grihalakshmi cover scores.

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