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Narendra Modi’s show in Antwerp to take place despite Brussels Attack

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image: www.kalbhi.com

New Delhi, March 25: Antwerp’s diamond traders will ensure that the dazzle doesn’t go out of Narendra Modi’s March 30 show in Brussels for the Indian diaspora.

After Tuesday’s serial explosions, Modi’s event managers were doubtful whether they would be able to go ahead with the civic reception to be hosted at the Expo Centre with an estimated gathering of nearly 5,000 Indians, including PIOs and NRIs.

But Manoj Ladwa, the director of the 2014 Modi for PM campaign who landed in Brussels before the bombs detonated and camped there, asserted that the Prime Minister’s show would go on as scheduled.

“The theme is ‘Stronger India’. Our team is working tirelessly and fearlessly for the PM’s visit. It will be a display of solidarity by the Indian diaspora,” claimed Ladwa, a London-based lawyer who had put together a reception for Modi at London’s Wembley Stadium last year.

Modi will stop over at Brussels for a couple of days en route to the US.

Antwerp, Belgium’s commercial capital, is 50km away from Brussels and is central to Modi’s interaction with the country’s Indians, most of them from Gujarat.

Antwerp’s diamond business, long controlled by its orthodox, largely Hasidic Jewish community, has been taken over by the Shahs, Kotharis and Mehtas who, recent estimates say, control almost three-quarters of the trade.

Modi should have many reasons to be comfortable in the company of the Gujarati-speaking Indian Belgians who have made kosher Jain cuisine an integral part of the country’s menus, even in posh restaurants.

A member of the BJP’s overseas cell, in Belgium recently to assemble and put together the nuts and bolts for the civic reception at the Brussels Expo Centre with Ladwa’s team, recalled that at a pizza place his local hosts had surprised him by ordering something called “Jeetu’s pizza”.

It turned out that this version was named after a Gujarati who trained the eatery’s chefs to dish out a lean, mean pizza sans meat, onion and garlic but spiced appropriately to gratify an Indian palate.

Modi is unlikely to dine out. But if he does, he would discover that most Antwerp eating-houses serving cosmopolitan cuisines list separate “Jain” fare.

Apart from propagating their dietary preferences, Belgium’s Gujarati diamond businessmen have sponsored their “Antwerp IPL teams” of 11 players each that are auctioned to a bidder, mostly diamond traders, as teams and not as individual players.

Although Belgium ought to have been ideal for the diaspora to organise itself under the RSS or the BJP’s banner, as Indians in many western countries have, it remained out of bounds for the Sangh “parivar”.

“Maybe, the migrants who are just three decades old, were busy setting up their businesses and making profits to bother about social and political activities,” a BJP source said.

Therefore, the BJP’s overseas cell also roped in Surat MLA and diamond merchant Harsh Sanghvi to network with the Belgian communities.

The BJP’s Antwerp leadoff person is Mehul Kothari, who heads the city’s Indian association.

Aside from the sparkle, the BJP’s overseas cell is trying hard to mobilise other Indian communities from IT and academia.

Source: http://www.telegraphindia.com/

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Cho Ramaswamy: The Man Who Wore Many Hats

Cho Ramaswamy won several accolades and awards during his career as an entertainer and as a journalist.

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Cho Ramaswamy was undoubtedly one of the most prominent indian Personalities. Twitter
Cho Ramaswamy was undoubtedly one of the most prominent Indian Personalities. Twitter

By Ruchika Verma

  • Cho Ramaswamy was a multi-talented man who ventured into acting, directing, journalism and politics
  • He was very close to late CM of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa for whom he acted as a philosopher and guide
  • Cho Ramaswamy was very vocal about his criticism of politicians and unethical practices

Srinivasa Iyer or Cho Ramaswamy was an Indian film actor, director, magazine editor, political satirist, and a lawyer. He was born on 5th October 1934 and was one of the most prominent Tamil personalities in India.

Cho Ramaswamy's magazine Tughlak has a huge fan following. Twitter
Cho Ramaswamy’s magazine Tughlak has a huge fan following. Twitter

He was the man of many talents who passed away at the age of 82 on 7th December 2016. Cho Ramaswamy the founder and editor of the Tamil magazine Thuglak, was also a recipient of the prestigious Padma Bhushan award, for his contributions in Literature and Education.

Cho Ramaswamy undoubtedly was one of the most prominent personalities in the southern Indian politics. Here are few things about his life which you may not have known before:

How his career started 

Cho Ramaswamy was first and foremost a lawyer by profession, being born in a family of lawyers. He later branched into theatre, films and finally into journalism and politics.

Cho Ramaswamy won Padma Bhushan for his contribution in the field of Literature and Education. Facebook
Cho Ramaswamy won Padma Bhushan for his contribution in the field of Literature and Education. Facebook

He got into the theatre while he was still practising law. His work as a satirist was very much appreciated. His most famous drama is  ‘Muhammad bin Tughluq,’ it was so brilliant that it became a classic.

He ventured into journalism and founded his own magazine Tughlak, which was mainly focused on the local social and political issues. It was widely and highly appreciated for its satirical and honest views on the politicians and politics. He was fearless in his criticism of the governments.

He later got into politics and was a member of Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005. He openly went against Jayalalithaa, when she was at her most powerful, even though she was very close to him. He even predicted Narendra Modi as India’s Prime Minister, long before BJP even declared him as a candidate. He was a true visionary in all senses.

Cho Ramaswamy and Jayalalithaa 

Cho Ramaswamy and Jayalalithaa were one pair of friends whose relationship went beyond friendship to a plane where not all can reach. Jayalalithaa debuted as a child actress with the YG Parthasarathy drama troupe where Cho Ramaswamy was already a star. They worked together in 19 films.

Cho Ramaswamy was Jayalalithaa’s greatest friend but also her most vocal critic. It was the only who was consulted in the matters of Jayalalithaa’s political career by herself and by the star-politician MGR. He acted as her friend, philosopher and guide in films as well as in politics.

The late Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa was extremely close to Cho Ramaswamy. Twitter
The late Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa was extremely close to Cho Ramaswamy. Twitter

You may also like: Iron Lady of India: Jayalalithaa was an inspiration for Women

It is being said many times that the late Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa once told Ramaswamy that he has to live till she is alive. Interestingly, Cho Ramaswamy died barely 36 hours after Jayalalithaa died. According to doctors who were treating him, before he was put on the ventilator, he watched the live coverage of Jayalalithaa’s body lying in state at Rajaji Hall, Chennai.

There is only one instance of discord between the two, during 1996-2001, where he became a staunch critic of Jayalalithaa because of her unethical ways as a Chief Minister. However, as she mended her ways, he warmed up to her again.

Cho Ramaswamy not only influenced Jayalalithaa’s professional life as an actress and politician, but also her personal life. She considered him her and guide and consulted him before all major decisions.

Ramaswamy and his achievements 

Cho Ramaswamy won several accolades and awards during his career as an entertainer and as a journalist. Apart from being awarded a Padma Bhushan, he also won B.D. Goenka award for excellence in journalism.

Cho Ramaswamy was also famous for his closeness with various prominent politicians, including Narendra Modi. Twitter
Cho Ramaswamy was also famous for his closeness with various prominent politicians, including Narendra Modi. Twitter

His achievements were not only limited to awards. His achievements went beyond that. His association with prominent political leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan, L.K. Advani, Chandra Shekhar, G.K. Moopanar, Jayalalithaa and Narendra Modi, and his role in influencing some of their decisions are noteworthy.

Also Read: Need more Satire and Humour to build bridges between Communities and Societies, says PM Narendra Modi

His achievements as a playwright and actor are also noteworthy. Many of his plays went onto becoming national hits. And he received critical acclaim for his acting as well as his stints as a director.

Perhaps, one of his biggest achievement was the fact that he took many roles throughout his life and ended up successful in all of them. He was indeed the man who wore many hats, and managed to balance them all equally well.