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‘Left supporters have made a tactical shift towards BJP to fight Mamata’

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Snigdhendu Bhattacharya’s new book, Mission Bengal: A Saffron Experiment (HarperCollins, Rs 599), narrates how Mamata Banerjee’s attempts to reduce the Opposition to insignificance in the state backfired. In an interview with The Daily Guardian, the author shares how the saffron camp’s push for Hindutva and a tactical shift of the Left’s supporters have created a tough road ahead for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

 Q: The book is about the rise of the BJP in West Bengal. How is the party making inroads into the state?

 A: The origin of Hindutva can be traced back to the second half of the nineteenth century in Bengal. Some of the principal components of Hindutva — the concept of Bharat Mata, the very coinage of Hindutva, ‘Bande Mataram’, the very notion that Hindus were facing the danger of extermination — they were all born in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Bengal. It was a heartland of nationalism and that nationalist movement centred on Kolkata was predominantly Hindu in nature. The BJP and the RSS have been trying to remind Bengal’s people of exactly this. 

Q: It was the RSS which described Mamata as ‘Maa Durga’ for demolishing the Left in the state. Now it’s the saffron party versus Mamata. How do you see this change? 

A: Mamata Banerjee was called ‘Maa Durga’ at an RSS event in New Delhi in 2003. At that time, her party was in alliance with the BJP. After breaking out of the Congress in 1998, she had seen the BJP as a ‘natural ally’ against the Left because she thought the Congress would never go wholeheartedly against the Left in Bengal due to its national compulsion of keeping the BJP out of power. However, Mamata’s policies took a left turn towards the end of 2006. She started distancing herself from the BJP and, subsequently, snapped her ties with the NDA. She started proclaiming that she was the true torchbearer of leftist ideology. Besides, she took to the overt appeasement of Muslims in her bid to wean them away from the influence of the Left. So, from a natural ally they turned into principal opponents.

 Q: Bengal was the Left citadel. From there to a scenario where the BJP has become a force to reckon with, how do you see the state’s journey? 

A: The Left mismanaged its industrialisation drive in 2006-07 and could never recover from the electoral blows they received in the 2008 panchayat elections and the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Possibly, having been in power for three decades had drained them of their energy and ability to fight back, especially after the loss of power in 2011. First, supporters and grassroots-level organisers and even some district level leaders left the Left camp for the TMC. Then, the TMC’s consistent efforts at weakening the Left parties prompted a section of Left supporters and organisers to switch to the BJP after Narendra Modi came to power. Some Left leaders claimed that their supporters made a ‘tactical shift’ towards the BJP to get shelter from the Centre’s ruling party against the TMC’s highhandedness. However, I have also seen Left supporters who joined the BJP primarily to fight the TMC ultimately transformed into Hindutva warriors. 

Q: You have said “Bengal has become a political laboratory”. Why? 

A: It has become a political laboratory, indeed. On the one hand, the Sangh Parivar is trying to popularise Hindutva in the Hindu Bengali society by adopting myriad ways. After they managed to influence a large number of the Hindu population, Mamata Banerjee started changing her approach towards communities. Prashant Kishor’s team is trying many innovative ideas to weaken the strong wave of anti-incumbency that can be felt across rural Bengal. Both parties are adopting policies for particular segments — Dalits, tribals, migrants from Bangladesh, the unemployed youth and migrant workers, for example. There is an intense battle on social media, including the mushrooming of fake news peddlers masquerading as digital news platforms. Veteran political analysts I spoke to said they could not remember political campaigns at so many layers.

 Q: The BJP lacks a prominent Bengali face. How is it going to tackle this challenge? 

A: The BJP is preferring to go to the elections seeking votes in the name of PM Modi for a number of reasons. First, even though Dilip Ghosh is doubtlessly the most popular BJP leader in the state, a section of the BJP and RSS think tank believes Ghosh would not be accepted by the educated and cultured middle-class, especially the bhadralok community that held influence over Bengal’s public psyche for decades. The second reason is that Bengal BJP is fraught with factionalism — from the state-level to the districts. At the state level, we, the journalists, get to hear of three groups functioning in their own ways. By not announcing a CM candidate, the BJP wants to turn the battle into one between Mamata and Modi on the one hand, and on the other, keep all factions working towards the common goal of toppling the TMC government. To my understanding, not announcing a CM candidate is the BJP’s best choice at the present juncture.

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AN INSTITUTION DEDICATED TO PRACTICAL LEARNING

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The National High School, a government-affiliated institution, is managed by the director of MCube Practical Classes, Manoj Mehta. The school is established close to Parshwanath Jain Derasar, Bhuyangdev, Ahmedabad. “It has been three wonderful years since the journey of making MCube Practical Classes the best perceived establishment began,” said Mehta.

According to the director, the fundamental mission of the institution is to offer value-based practical knowledge and shape the youth to spread light in the world through their insight and experience and be the best version of themselves in the future.

“We ensure that we provide a rich learning atmosphere where students can work courageously on all features of their character, be it physical, mental or scholarly. The practical institute works on addressing the requirements, expectations and dreams of the students,” he said.

MCube Practical has well-equipped labs for all subjects. It has modern scientific supplies with some of the best instructors. Since the institute is dedicated to practical classes, the labs are given utmost importance and kept up to date for the benefit of the students. The faculty is also a significant aspect of the establishment and the institution guarantees that the staff is experienced, skilful and able enough to draw out the best in their students.

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UID IS EMERGING AS A HUB FOR DESIGN THINKING

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Design education is different from other types of education, and Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID) offers students the opportunity to interact with the world through their design ideas.

UID, which is considered to be one of the fastest growing institutes in India, is a constituent college of Karnavati University. The institution was recently in the news for sharing expert information on Design Thinking. Colonel Surojit Bose, Director, Academics, Administration & International Collaboration at UID, was interviewed by India News wherein he shared UID’s thoughts on the future of design education.

“Design Thinking is now being thought of as a problem-solving activity,” said Colonel Bose in the interview. He also discussed UID’s areas of focus, and the foundation stones of building a student-centric, innovative and future-ready knowledge hub of design.

UID has recently launched a course on Global Design, as part of which, students will visit different countries in each year of the programme. “Accreditations, credentials, infrastructure, faculty, and functional international collaborations are the pillars of UID’s success,” added Col. Bose.

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OFFERING THE BEST OF TECHNOLOGY AND MACHINERY

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Rubbing shoulders with the best in the country is Bhavya Machine Tools, an established and trusted name in the field of engineering workshop machinery. It is serving different manufacturing industries like chemical, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, steel and metal, automobile, textile, FMCG and more.

The company has a vast product basket and an immensely large network of industrial clients across the globe. With the help of a dedicated and diligent team, Bhavya Machine Tools provides 100 percent solutions to the requirements of customers at extremely competitive rates, adhering to stringent quality and service standards. The company has decades of experience and a market-focused approach which has led to a steady but phenomenal growth, from a meagre 20 products to a colossal range of 200+ products with a parallel increase of clients, both numerically and geographically.

In the past few years, the directors of Bhavya Machine Tools, Jatin Shah and Rohit Shah, have been honored by the Chief Minister of Gujarat twice because of their excellence in the field of engineering machinery and technology. Their primary focus has always been to bring the best emerging technology to serve customers domestically and globally, and empower the ‘Make In India’ campaign, empowered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Customer satisfaction, a positive attitude and a solution-oriented approach are the pillars of Bhavya Machine Tools. Remaining connected with customers and treating them as family is inculcated in each and every member of the team, which is evident from their tagline — ‘Solution with Difference’.

“The journey of Bhavya Machine Tools started 50 years ago when our father Kirtibhai Shah pioneered the business on a small scale on Relief Road. Later, in 1991, when we joined the business, we had absolutely no technical educational background,” said Jatin Shah. Despite the lack of technical knowledge, the two brothers, with their relentless determination, strived to make Bhavya Machine Tools a leader in the market of products that provide technical solutions.

When questioned about the business strategy of Bhavya Machine Tools, Rohit Shah said, “Our constant endeavour is how emerging technology can be brought to India. Being innovative is Bhavya’s ultimate strategy. To enable us to achieve this, we have not failed to participate in most of the significant exhibitions across India as well as in the Gulf countries. We believe, participating in exhibitions will update us on the latest technology and tools across the globe which Bhavya can bring to the Indian market and cater to the unfulfilled gaps. Also, we can make the world aware about the technology and machines that small scale units in India have but aren’t able to sell to the international market.”

Moreover, this is a company that creates families. The company is a platform to grow for anyone and everyone. The doors of Bhavya Machine Tools are always open for anyone who wants to enter. Anyone from any field or in need is provided the backup and support they require. The company believes that it needs to know the employees not only at the professional level but a personal level as well. The first priority is to solve the personal issues of the employees. As Bhavya’s wings spread to the international markets, the third generation of the Shah family, with their creative ideas and new technology, is set to join the family business.

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SFW THE GYM AND ZUGGOO ARE TAKING PATRONS TO THE PEAK OF FITNESS

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SFW the Gym has been on a mission to transform the citizens of Gujarat and the rest of the country into their fittest and healthiest selves for the past 7 years. It offers a unique gym and fitness club in almost all areas of Ahmedabad and Gujarat, where patrons are welcomed warmly.

SFW the Gym is known for the fundamental virtues of its excellence, passion and true understanding of sports and fitness. It is also the first to come up with the concept of the gym with a library, which helps members achieve mental health goals along with physical fitness.

Moreover, in order to bring out true transformations among members, in terms of fitness and health, people at the gym make sure that they talk to each member every day. “We inquire about their goals, tweak their fitness plans accordingly and provide guidance on how to move forward to bring out the changes that they seek,” said Manoj Rajput of SFW.

SFW the Gym also boasts of a team of highly skilled and knowledgeable trainers who assist members in their fitness journeys and make sure that they achieve their health and fitness goals. With a wide variety of workout plans and alternatives as well as the latest machines and equipment to suit the personality and lifestyle of all patrons, SFW the Gym also offers a varied range of membership plans to suit people from every walk of life.

“We, at SFW the Gym are not only proud of our mentorship for fitness, but we also take pride in changing the lives of our patrons. Though all are of different ages and body types, they have the same aspirations and passions to be fit and healthy. We are proud to be a part of their long-lasting fitness journey,” said Rajput.

He added, “We know that working out in the gym is only half the battle won. The other half depends on the food you eat. Knowing this, we have come up with a new venture, called Zuggoo.”

“We strive on providing food that is healthy, full of good nutrients and as safe as home-cooked meals. A lot of emphasis is given on quality checks and providing the best quality food,” he explained.

Besides taking people ahead in their pursuit of good health, Zuggoo is also contributing to the employment of many. The venture aims to establish about 100 franchises next, and even step into exporting.

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RONIL SHAH: THE MASTER OF CONTEMPORARY REAL ESTATE PROJECTS IN AHMEDABAD

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Ronil Shah started his career in 2013 and, within no time, made his mark on the industry. His first real estate project in Paldi area was a staggering success and there has been no looking back ever since.

Many prosperous commercial and residential projects in areas like South Bhopal, Mithakali, Paldi and Makarba have been finished under his competent guidance. He has successfully given shape to 11 projects in the past 7 years and crossed a whopping 5 lakh square feet mark in a short span. “We are aiming to cross 6 to 7 lakh square feet area by launching some groundbreaking projects in the city within the year 2020 itself,” said the young entrepreneur.

Ronil Shah also has a thriving group of employees who make sure that his visions are met without compromising on quality and concept. Distinctive concepts and designs are constantly adopted in his real estate projects to ensure that every client gets the best of both contemporary style and constructional value. “Creating a place that every person can call their own is what drives my purpose through every project I undertake,” said Shah, explaining his decision-making process and smooth running of the company.

Real estate has taken a drastic turn in the bustling city of Ahmedabad. Every residential project, commercial hub or industrial park has to abide by different sets of government rules. This creates a challenge, which Shah turns into opportunities. He keeps up with the changing times and has adapted to all new changes like RERA registration to ensure that no customer has to go through any kind of hassles while buying their dream home or office.

Ronil Shah also emphasizes on efficiency and precision in the everyday working of his company. According to him, every idea and concept has a life of its own and he always encourages employees to hone their skills by keeping up with changing scenarios in the market.

Shah has created a niche for his company and has a vision to transform the mega city of Ahmedabad into the city of contemporary style, aided by his constantly evolving and charismatic real estate projects.

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CHINA TO SANCTION LOCKHEED MARTIN, BOEING UNIT OVER TAIWAN ARMS SALE

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China said Monday it would impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, a Boeing defence division and other US firms involved in arms sales to Taiwan. The two US companies were involved recently in a sale of nearly $2 billion worth of missiles to Taiwan.

The status of Taiwan holds potential for conflict between the United States and China, during a wider struggle for technology, security and trade supremacy. Beijing says Taiwan is an inviolable part of China to be reclaimed, by force if necessary.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the sanctions were “to safeguard national interests” and would apply to those who have “behaved badly in the process of arms sales to Taiwan”.

“We will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests,” said Zhao, without giving further details on the sanctions.

Under the Donald Trump administration, the US has brought Taiwan into play as part of a wider diplomatic and economic squeeze of its rival, sending high-level envoys and boosting arms sales. The State Department said last week it had approved the sale of 135 air-to-ground missiles, in a move welcomed by Taiwan. Also approved was the sale of six MS-110 air reconnaissance pods and 11 M142 mobile light rocket launchers, taking the value of the three arms packages to $1.8 billion.

Beijing has intensified diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who believes the island is not part of “One China”.

A statement from the US State Department last week said the SLAM-ER missiles would help Taiwan “meet current and future threats”. The missiles provide “all-weather, day and night, precision attack capabilities against both moving and stationary targets” on the ground or ocean, the statement added.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said the weapons would help it “build credible combat capabilities and strengthen the development of asymmetric warfare”.

With agency inputs

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