On Tuesday, during zero hour in the Rajya Sabha, BJP’s Goa MP, Vinay Dinu Tendulkar become the first Member of the Upper House to speak in Konkani with simultaneous interpretation on allowing “Dhirio” (bull fight) in Goa. This local sporting game is similar to Jallikatu in Tamil Nadu.

Simultaneous interpretation of Konkani speech was done for the first time in Parliament after 68 years. The speech was interpreted into English by a Konkani woman, Sriya Rane, a student from Delhi University. Sriya has been empanelled as an interpreter under the new scheme of interpreters for different languages in the House.

Naidu said, “Speaking in mother tongue enables to better expression of thoughts.”



It seems that the government is not scared about coronavirus inside Parliament. Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha functioned despite some worried lawmakers demanding that Parliament should be shut in view of the virus heading for the third deadly phase in which it may spread through community interaction. Their request was ignored.

Rajya Sabha Chairman, M. Venkaiah Naidu, on Wednesday sternly asked three members of the TMC—Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray and Nadimul Haque—to remove the masks they were wearing.

“No masks are allowed inside the House,” Naidu said adding that as senior members they should be aware of the rules. Congress member M.V. Rajeev Gowda said, “When we are advising everyone to practise social distancing, Parliament is continuing to function. We are probably most at risk within Parliament…the virus does not know that we are MPs.”

Naidu said that it was not up to him. “After all, it is the decision of the government and then of the House.” When Naidu again said that masks had to be taken off, Congress’ P. Chidambaram intervened and stated that it would be “unfair” to ask members, who were feeling vulnerable, to remove their masks.

Outside the House, Derek O’Brien told this newspaper that Parliament must be shut as the average age of MPs in the Rajya Sabha was 64 and in the Lok Sabha 53 years. “We all sit together, with hardly five inches’ gap between each other.” BJP MP Hema Malini said, “Seeing a large number of people coming to Parliament daily creates fear about coronavirus spread.”



Sanjay Dalmia, Chairman, Dalmia Group, claimed to The Sunday Guardian that his healthcare company has developed a capsule, a polyherbal combination, which can be used for prevention against coronavirus, “as it will work mainly on the immune system to further boost it and acts as a bronchodilator, decongestant, anti-inflammatory and lung detoxifier”. In an interview to newsX TV channel, Dalmia said, “The medicine to cure the virus may take a long time. Our idea of developing preventive capsules is to free people of mental scare.” According to him, the medicine will help in eliminating the infection and regulating the allergic reactions. The Dalmia Centre for Research and Development (DCRD), after many years of extensive research, developed a polyherbal combination of 15 herbs called Astha-15.



On 9 March, the international audience of Doordarshan found itself at loss when a well produced half-an-hour English show on the life and achievements of the Tibetan refugee community in India was pushed out of the screen. The Sunday Guardian learnt that a senior babu of Additional Director General rank, who also heads the DDI, threw tantrums, as the show started running, over the fear that the Chinese embassy in New Delhi might raise objections to showing images of the Tibetans’ top spiritual head Dalai Lama (and that too with first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru) and Tibetan refugees.

Interestingly, the show was conceived, approved and produced by the DDI’s own in-house team. The main guests of the show included Gyari Dolma, a prominent Tibetan leader. The show also featured a young Tibetan nurse and a computer engineer who profusely thanked the Indian government and people of this country for providing them affection, hospitality, opportunities for higher education and getting jobs.

For the Tibetans and their support groups across the world, this abrupt end to the show was too humiliating to ignore. But before it could become an issue of dispute or protests, the matter came to the notice of the Information and Broadcasting Minister. It was on his initiative that the show was reviewed and telecast the next day on 10 March albeit with a modification in the title. The show was earlier titled, “Tibet: Past, Present & Future; 60 Years on—A Look at the Lives of Tibetans in India”. It was changed to “Tibetans in India”.


Man Mohan can be contacted at rovingeditor@gmail.com


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