Following last year’s ‘Secrets of Sinauli: Discovery of the Century,’ Manoj Bajpayee reunites with Neeraj Pandey for ‘Secrets of the Kohinoor’—the second installment of the discovery+ ‘Secrets’ franchise. Directed by Raghav Jairath, the docuseries features interviews of historians, diplomats, authors, diamond experts, etc., such as Irfan Habib, Navtej Sarna, Shashi Tharoor, Danielle Kinsey, Miles Taylor, Manvendra Kumar Pundhir, J Sai Deepak, and Polisher Pauline Willemse, among others. Bajpayee yet again serves as the story’s narrator.
Koh-i-Noor, or Kohinoor, is a Persian word which translates to ‘Mountain of Light’. When Nadir Shah, the Afsharid Shah of Persia, looted the famous stone from the treasury of the Mughal Empire, he is said to have exclaimed, ‘Koh-i-Noor’ on seeing it for the first time. It is believed that no one can buy Kohinoor as its value is enormously high. That makes it easily the most precious and sought-after jewel on the planet Earth, as evident from the following claim, “If a strong man were to throw four stones – one north, one south, one east, one west, and a fifth stone up into the air – and if the space between them were to be filled with gold, all would not equal the value of the Koh-i-Noor.” Evidently, kohinoor can change hands only in two ways. It can either be obtained by force or its ownership can be transferred if it’s obtained in the form of a gift. And that’s how the stone has been passed from one hand to another over the course of history.
For the longest time, Kohinoor, one of the most beautiful and largest cut diamonds in the world, has been shrouded in mysteries and secrets. The discovery+ docuseries ‘Secrets of the Kohinoor’ retraces the story and controversies around what is perhaps India’s most prized possession that was wrongfully snatched away from its rightful heir during the British rule. The two-part series also examines the very many questions about its origins, ever changing ownership, weight and size, and appearance and luminosity, among other things. The Kohinoor is currently kept at the Tower of London as part of the British Crown Jewels. The diamond is currently set in the crown of the Queen Mother.
The scope of the docuseries is tremendous as it takes us through our rich history, uncovering the stories of multiple rulers and their insatiable desire for the Kohinoor, which led to destructive and avoidable wars, triggered tantalising mind games, and empowered rulers and ruined dynasties. In doing so, it also explores fascinating stories of powerful rulers whose lives were intertwined with the diamond. On one hand, we have someone like the Mughal Emperor Babur, who manages to keep himself away from Kohinoor. On the other hand, we have Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who just can’t keep Kohinoor away from his sight. We also come across those kings and queens who managed to possess it briefly, only to lose it eventually. There are also those who lost everything but still couldn’t possess it.
‘Secrets of the Kohinoor’ is a well-made documentary. It’s heartening to see one of the country’s leading filmmakers like Neeraj Pandey so heavily invested in stories such as Sinauli and Kohinoor. And Major Bajpayee is just the perfect narrator and discovery+ is just the ideal platform for something like this. One wishes the series would have used live action re-enactments instead of animations. A somewhat similar series, ‘Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan,’ which debuted on Netflix last year, used a combination of graphic re-enactments, voiceover narration, and historian interviews to devastating effect in the epic retelling of the bloodiest period in Japanese feudal history. ‘Secrets of the Kohinoor’ had a great opportunity to achieve something similar, but unfortunately, the budgetary constraints once again got in the way, depriving us of something truly wonderful.
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UK minister plans to change immigration policy
Suella Braverman, the country’s new interior minister who is of Indian descent, stated in an interview with The Sun on Sunday that the Liz Truss government in the UK hopes to keep its promise made during the 2019 election campaign to reduce net migration.
Braverman stated that Britain has a high number of low-skilled migrants and a large number of international students adding that the students more often brought dependents with them to UK thereby affecting the country’s growth.
“What we’ve got is too many low skilled workers coming into this country. We’ve also got a very high number of students coming into this country and we’ve got a really high number of dependents,” the interior minister said.
Suella Braverman continued, saying that the UK government will limit migration and reassess immigration policy because “those individuals are coming here, they’re not necessarily working or they’re working in low-skilled positions, and they’re not contributing to building our economy.”
In the year ending June 2021, net migration to the UK was 239,000, according to the UK’s office for national statistics. There have been more non-EU workers, particularly those from India, while there are fewer European Union workers in the UK as a result of Brexit. Therefore, a decrease in net migration to the UK may have an impact on Indian immigrants and students who want to study there.
In line with Suella Braverman’s remarks, the Guardian reported earlier this week that Liz Truss would alter immigration laws to address the serious labour shortage in the nation.
Anti-Sikh riots of 1984 marks one of the ‘darkest’ years: US senator
The anti-Sikh riots of 1984 was one of the “darkest” years, according to a US senator who emphasised the significance of remembering the horrors committed against Sikhs so that those responsible may be held accountable.
Following the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her Sikh bodyguards, unrest broke out in Delhi and other regions of the nation. In India, around 3,000 Sikhs were killed, largely in the capital.
“1984 marks one of the darkest years in modern Indian history. The world watched as several violent incidents broke out among ethnic groups in India, with several notably targeting the Sikh community,” Senator Pat Toomey said in his speech on the Senate floor.
“Today we are here to remember the tragedy that commenced on November 1, 1984, following decades of ethnic tension between Sikhs in the Punjab province and the central Indian Government,” he said.
As so often in such cases, the official estimates likely do not tell the whole story, but it is estimated that over 30,000 Sikh men, women, and children were deliberately targeted, raped, slaughtered, and displaced by mobs across India, said the senator from Pennsylvania.
According to Senator Toomey, a member of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, Sikhism has roots in the Punjab region of India and has been practised there for close to 600 years. Sikhism is one of the world’s main faiths, with 700,000 adherents in the US and about 30 million worldwide.
Sikhs have a long history of showing a dedication to helping people from all religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, exhibiting their kindness and strong sense of community.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sikh communities across Pennsylvania and the United States came together to deliver groceries, masks, and other supplies to tens of thousands of families in need no matter their race, gender, religion, or creed,” he said.
Toomey claimed to have experienced firsthand the Sikh way of life and to now have a deeper understanding of the Sikh tradition, which is based on peace, equality, and respect.
It is clear that the presence and contributions of Sikh communities have thoroughly enriched their neighbourhoods across the country, he said.
‘If you want a change, choose me’ : Tharoor on Congress president poll
In the upcoming presidential election of the grand old party, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor reiterated on Saturday that his contest against senior party member Mallikarjun Kharge “is not a battle.” Following days of turmoil surrounding the intra-party troubles in Rajasthan, Tharoor and Kharge finally submitted their nominations for the crucial elections, which are set for October 17, on Friday.
“This is not a war. We can belong to different schools of thoughts. Let the members decide,” Tharoor told news agency ANI in an interview on Saturday. “All I am telling the members is that if you’re satisfied with the functioning of the party, please vote for Kharge Sahab. But if you want a change, choose me.. If you want the party to function differently.”
His remarks came as news spread that the Gandhis were endorsing the 80-year-old Kharge for the top party position. On Saturday, Kharge announced his resignation as the opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, a day after more than 30 leaders surprised many by end-of-nomination support for his candidacy. In contrast, Tharoor was not accompanied by as many senior leaders.
“But there is no ideological problem here. Whatever the message has so far of the Congress will continue to remain,” Shashi Tharoor said on Saturday, dismissing any differences.
Even though the Gandhis made it clear that they would no longer be running for president post, their management has continued to draw criticism. Regarding the family’s importance for the party in light of the BJP’s dynastic politics allegations.
As ‘Bharat Jodo’ enters Karnataka, rattled BJP gives front-page ad that distorts history: Jairam Ramesh
As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra entered the BJP-ruled state, according to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday, the BJP placed a front page advertisement in a Kannada newspaper. Ramesh said in a tweet, “The advertisement mischievously distorts history as usual. Savarkar propounded two-nation theory & Jinnah ensured it got done. Syama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of Jan Sangh championed partition of Bengal.” BJP is rattled by the yatra’s success, the Congress leader continued.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi entered the election-bound state of Karnataka on Friday. There, the yatra will travel 511 kilometres across seven districts in 21 days.
Rahul Gandhi remarked in a statement at the beginning of the march’s Kerala leg that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is the voice of the nation and that no one can stop it.
“Entire control is lying with the (Central) government. If we speak in Parliament, they shut our microphones,” Rahul Gandhi said.
A new Rahul Gandhi and a new Congress party have emerged from the Bharat Jodo Yatra which forced the BJP and the RSS on the backfoot, Jairam Ramesh said on Friday. “People asked who is ‘thodoing’ (breaking) Bharat for Congress to do Bharat Jodo, our answer is Mr Modi’s ideology, policies, personality is thodoing Bharat. Because economic inequality is increasing, social polarisation is increasing and political over-centralisation is increasing, the Congress is doing this yatra,” Jairam Ramesh said.
IIFA weekend and awards is back by popular demand
The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend & Awards, which brings together the very best of the Indian film industry, is back by popular demand in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, in February 2023 to win our hearts all over again! IIFA 2023 will be held in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences.
The comeback of the 22nd edition of IIFA this year at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, hosted by superstar Salman Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, and Maniesh Paul, featured electrifying performances by the finest talent from the Indian film fraternity, leaving us in awe with three memorable, star-studded days with packed venues filled by fans from all around the globe. The three-day awards weekend was attended by more than 350 media from 17 countries across the globe, and more than 20,000 people thronged the arena.
Back by popular demand from stakeholders, fans, and media from around the globe, the 23rd edition of IIFA will again be hosted at the world-class Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi—the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue in February 2023. The upcoming edition will be filled with even more magic and entertainment as we are set to witness Salman Khan, Varun Dhawan, Karan Johar, Kriti Sanon, and many more in attendance.
For many decades, India and Abu Dhabi have had strong cultural and commercial ties. IIFA Weekend & Awards will be a celebration of togetherness and positivity, returning to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and enhancing, strengthening, and building even stronger bonds. IIFA 2023 will be a grand celebration of the best talent in Indian cinema, bringing together global dignitaries, international media, fans, and film enthusiasts worldwide. To present a greater opportunity for long-term impact in tourism, business & trade, and the film production business for the destination.
Noreen Khan, Vice President of IIFA, said, “IIFA this year was an amazing experience thanks to the wonderful partners Miral and DCT. Coming after two years, we really worked hard to deliver the very best of live entertainment again. The best part was that the entire weekend delivered a positive experience to everyone who witnessed or experienced the event in any way. We have been inundated with unprecedented appreciation and comments from everyone who truly had a wonderful time this year in Abu Dhabi, and so we are pleased and excited to bring it all back again, but with much more magic to come next year”.
With excitement increasing all over the world, people can now buy tickets to the biggest awards ceremony spanning over three days at https://www.etihadarena.ae/en/ from the 30 September 2022. The price range begins from 100 AED going up to 1500 AED.
Home to magical adventures, awe-inspiring entertainment, three globally renowned theme parks, outstanding motorsports, an award-winning golf venue, and world-class hospitality services, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island is a destination like nowhere else.
Over 30 machines pressed into service to beautify Dal Lake
The Dal Lake, a popular tourist attraction in Jammu and Kashmir, is all set to get a facelift and breathe again as authorities appear determined this time to remove the weeds engulfing a large part of the lake.
For the first time in several years, the Jammu and Kashmir Lake Conservation and Management Authority (LCMA) has pressed into service over two dozen machines to remove the weeds.
“There are two types of weeds. One is being controlled due to the presence of some species, and the other is being removed completely,” said LCMA Vice-Chairman Bashir Ahmad Bhat.
Bhat said the one being removed completely had covered an area of 6.5 sq km and this process is likely to be completed by November this year.
To control the sewerage, the houseboats are being connected for the first time to the sewer line. “Around 920 houseboats will be connected to sewerage lines,” he said, adding that such a process will help keep the water body clean.
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