IB kept an eye on Aiyar’s dinner

Intelligence Bureau men were keeping a watch at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence when the “controversial” dinner took place in New Delhi on 6 December, one day before his suspension for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi “neech”. The IB knew who came for dinner, which was attended by former PM Manmohan Singh, former Vice President Hamid Ansari, a former chief of the Indian Army and several retired diplomats, who served in Islamabad. Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri and Pakistan’s High Commissioner and some Indian journalists were also present. The one-hour discussion, described as a part of Track-II, was confined to India-Pakistan relations. Kasuri next day attended an event organised by a think tank. Kasuri had attended a similar dinner at the Taj Mahal Hotel’s Chambers in April and one earlier in 2015 when his book was published. At a Gujarat Assembly election rally in Sanand, PM Narendra Modi accused the Indian dignitaries who attended Aiyar’s dinner, of “colluding” with Pakistan to influence the outcome of the Gujarat election results. This has set the tone for Parliament’s winter session, which effectively starts tomorrow, the day Gujarat elections results will come. The Congress is getting ready to ask the PM, irrespective of the Gujarat results, to “arrest all Indians” who attended the dinner, provided he has the “evidence” to prove the nexus with Pakistanis.

Great attraction

‘Startup India’ Attracts Korean Beauty Care Start-up

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two favourite missions, Startup India and Make In India, have started attracting many foreign start-ups. A 32-year-old South Korean entrepreneur, Dale Han (Deugcheon Han – Korean name) is busy these days to set up distribution channels in major Indian cities with a unique effective skincare regimen from his motherland. He runs his beauty business in Seoul too.

A former data analyst at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Dale is applying his analytical skills to provide optimal solution for the Indian skin. We met him in a Health Ministry unit where he had come to get his products certified.

Dale developed love for India when he first came to Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, for an exchange programme during his Masters degree in 2010. “The experience was fascinating. After discovering the ‘real India’, I decided to make it my second home,” Dale told The Sunday Guardian.

“I am grateful to Indian government’s programmes which are giving young foreigners like me an opportunity to do business here,” says Dale, who is currently manufacturing his products in industry-leading Korean cosmetic labs and is also working with local partners to bring Ayurvedic treatment to his mother country while transferring expertise to India. His firm Limese is a B2B and B2C start-up, which aims to bring cutting-edge skincare solution to e-commerce, retail stores, salons, spas and clinics. Dale helps Indian brands source their white label products from Korea too by handing multiple factories according to client’s specific requirements.Dale’s Indian experience has encouraged many other young Korean entrepreneurs dealing in different products. “I have become their guide now,” says Dale, son of a Seoul businessman, laughing.

Indians may not have heard of “K-beauty” yet, however, it has attracted a lot of interest from international investors. Global brands such as Lancôme, Maybelline or Shiseido use Korea as manufacturing base for their products. Recently, Unilever acquired a Korean local brand at $2.7 billion. The LVMH, a leading French luxury company, invested $50 million on a Korean skin-care brand in 2016, while Estée Lauder put an undisclosed amount on a local skincare product.

“The environmental factors in India such as high temperature, strong sunlight, and air pollution provide ground for the extra care which one can hardly treat with only homemade recipe or traditional herbal treatment. By combining modern science and nature extracts, K-beauty solution can deal with skin damage caused by the harsh environmental factors, like pollution in Delhi,” Limese’s founder-chairman points out.

Beginning 2018, Dale will launch a face mask while preparing to bring more Korean portfolio in the market.

Words of wisdom

Naidu Talks About Vedic Parliament

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu never misses an opportunity to share nuggets of wisdom. The other day he chose Shukracharya’s Niti Shastra, an ancient Indian classic on leadership, teaching primary ethics of right behaviour, to talk about “Vedic Democracy and Parliament”. It fitted his profile perfectly as Naidu is also the Chairman of the House of Elders (Rajya Sabha). He was delivering a lecture on the importance of legislature. “It is a wrong belief that India had acquired its Parliamentary system from foreign nations,” said Naidu Citing Niti Shastra, Naidu said that India derived its form of democracy from it. “The republic forms of governments, deliberative representative bodies and democratic self-governing institutions existed in our Vedic Bharat.” According to him, the general assembly of people was then known as “Samiti” (Lok Sabha), the assembly of elders was called “Sabha” (Rajya Sabha), members of the Sabha were called “Sabhasad” and the presiding officer was known as “Sabhapati”. In today’s system, Naidu is in favour of automatic suspension of unruly Members of Parliament.

Dress code

Swadeshi Jacket And Pagdi For Convocations

The Union Human Resource Development Ministry is looking kindly at a recent order of the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government, asking the state’s universities to replace the western convocation gown and headgear with a swadeshi jacket and pagdi (turban). An HRD Ministry official says, “It is a good idea; we may recommend this dress code in other states.”  While the students may have to wear a yellow “pagdi”, the chancellor, vice-chancellor, chief guest, members of the teachers’ executive and academic councils and departmental heads may have to sport a “saffron pagdi”. Depending on the wearer, the jacket will be off-white, yellowish cream or golden brown and the uttariya will be golden, maroon, grey and royal blue. The MP government’s higher education department in a circular on 27 November asked the universities to accommodate the changes with immediate effect.

Getting restless

Anna Hazare Planning Agitation in Delhi

Social activist Anna Hazare is getting restless once again. Reports from his Ralegan Siddhi village in Maharashtra indicate that he is waiting for the Gujarat Assembly results to make his first move. Anna seems to be pretty miffed with the Central government, as according to him, it has been going slow on corruption. His biggest demand till date, the appointment of a Lokpal at the national level, remains unfulfilled.

Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Anna says that he has written about 30 letters to the Prime Minister in the past three years. “I am yet to receive a reply,” he complains.

The BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra takes pains to keep the veteran social activist in good humour. His letters to the state government secretariat in Mumbai are promptly addressed. The authorities are afraid of the octogenarian’s whims, lest his tantrums start shaking the administration.

But the old man is running out of patience. He says that he may hit the national capital’s streets again with a protest from 23 March, the Martyrs Day. The farmers’ plight is also high on his agenda.

Man Mohan can be contacted at rovingeditor@gmail.com


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