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‘Champoo’ Swamy ignores ‘third-class’ Rahul’s barb

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New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday broke his silence over BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy’s allegations that the former had declared himself as a British national in the annual return of a company in Britain, saying he was not afraid of the Narendra Modi government.

While addressing Youth Congress leaders, he asked PM Modi not to use ‘champoos’ (lackeys) for levelling ‘baseless’ allegations against him.

“I am not afraid of this government and ready for a time-bound probe. If you find anything against me, put me in jail,” Gandhi said, adding, “Modi ji show your 56-inch chest, I’m not scared.”

Reacting to Gandhi’s barb, Swamy called the former a “third-class” person from the Nehru family. “Rahul Gandhi didn’t even pass the college.”

While addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad earlier on Thursday, the BJP leader alleged that “Sonia and Rahul get commission through the directors of the companies, including one in France which supplies submarine parts worth Rs 20,000 crore to India.”

“Rahul Gandhi is not a political leader but a commission agent… All Congress leaders are commission agents,” Swamy said.

“Rahul started many companies to get commission… I will enquire whether he has the citizenship of Turkey and other countries or not,” Swamy said, adding, “The mother-son duo own wealth worth Rs 2.50 lakh crore, which is more than the Income Tax revenue of the country”.

Swamy on Monday had alleged that Gandhi had declared himself as a British national in the annual return of a company in Britain. The Congress termed his allegation “petty and mindless mud-slinging”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bhartiya Janata Party leader alleged that Gandhi was director of a company – Backops Limited – which was incorporated in 2003 in Britain and was later dissolved in 2009.

Swamy demanded steps to strip Gandhi of his Indian citizenship.

According to the company annual return, “Gandhi has given his date of birth correctly but has declared himself to be of British nationality with a UK address”, the letter said.

It said the Congress leader has “prima facie, committed an unconstitutional act and therefore be liable to be stripped of his citizenship and membership of the Lok Sabha”.

Responding to the allegation, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “Frustrated by their humiliating defeat in Bihar elections and internal revolt brewing among the senior most leadership, BJP’s dirty tricks department led by Subramanian Swamy is resorting to petty and mindless mud-slinging.”

“In this quest, Swamy and the BJP are repeating rehashed allegations levelled earlier on multiple occasions, including through press conferences held in Ahmedabad and Delhi in October 2012. We reject them with the contempt that they deserve and the falsehood they seek to perpetuate,” he added.

Surjewala said: “From the day he was born, Gandhi has held Indian citizenship and Indian passport and has never held citizenship of any other country nor has he represented as such. The allegation by Swamy is entirely false.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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Know How Grammy Award Winner Inspired by PM Modi to Dedicate Music to Environment

From songs like "Ganga" - depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians - to his Grammy-winning album "Winds of Samara" - which speaks of peace and global harmony

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grammy award winner, modi
"What was to be a photo opportunity with the Prime Minister turned into an hour-long discussion with him on environment. He spoke on the impact music could have on society and inspired me to make music on environment," Kej told IANS in an interview here. Wikimedia

A chance meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2015 in New Delhi inspired Bengaluru-based Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej to dedicate his life and music to the cause of environment.

Since then, Kej, who has represented India on global fora, performing at venues including the United Nations General Assembly in New York and UN Headquarters in Geneva, has been using music to flag ecological issues to policymakers and public the world over.

“What was to be a photo opportunity with the Prime Minister turned into an hour-long discussion with him on environment. He spoke on the impact music could have on society and inspired me to make music on environment,” Kej told IANS in an interview here.

From songs like “Ganga” – depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians – to his Grammy-winning album “Winds of Samara” – which speaks of peace and global harmony – Kej’s music connects with all — from world leaders to the man on the street.

With the aid of compelling visuals, Kej’s music, and collaborations with global music artists, highlights the deleterious consequences of urbanisation, climate change and human-animal conflict.

modi, grammy award winner
From songs like “Ganga” – depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians – to his Grammy-winning album “Winds of Samara” – which speaks of peace and global harmony – Kej’s music connects with all — from world leaders to the man on the street. Wikimedia

“There are so many issues in India like child labour, gender inequality and poverty, which none seem to be reflecting through music. We see that music has lost the identity of being an art form and has become a profession,” he lamented.

Kej, 37, bagged Grammy in 2015 for the ‘Best New Age Album’ for “Winds of Samsara”, created along with South African flautist Wouter Kellerman. He is also recognised as the ‘United Nations Global Humanitarian Artist’ for his music with environmental consciousness.

The subjects of Kej’s music include, the rising air pollution in global cities and towns, the perils being posed to wildlife due to urbanisation and the story of Republic of Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean off Fiji, whose coasts are receding each year due to rising ocean levels due to global warming, among others.

With 15 studio albums released internationally, 3,500 commercials, three feature films in Kannada and over 100 music awards in 20 countries to his credit, the conservationist-musician’s album “Shanti Samsara” was released by Modi and then French President Francois Hollande at the United Nations Conference of Parties (CoP-21) Climate Change Conference in Paris, held from November 30-December 12, 2015.

The album, conceived after his meeting with Modi, had Kej collaborate with about 500 musicians from 40 countries, for songs like “Ganga”, throwing light on the pollution plaguing the river, and on “Earth and Water”.

“Politicians and policymakers are used to statistics and numbers, but when one approaches them through art, it makes a lot of difference. I have seen politicians change their perspectives towards environmental causes after attending my concerts,” Kej asserted.

The element of environment and nature in his work comes from his own experiences. For instance, he composed the song “One With Earth” – which highlights natural farming and the need to give up chemical fertilisers – after he lived with the tribals in Andhra Pradesh’s Araku Valley to understand their lifestyle and traditional farming techniques.

Grammy award winner, modi
“There are so many issues in India like child labour, gender inequality and poverty, which none seem to be reflecting through music. We see that music has lost the identity of being an art form and has become a profession,” he lamented. Wikimedia

Born in 1981 in North Carolina in the US, Kej moved to Bengaluru with family when he was eight, with intense love for music and nature.

“As a child, I felt music and nature were connected and found music in the sounds of nature, birds and animals. I used to look at music as a way of understanding history, cultures and emotions from different parts of the world. A lot of my education was through music,” said Kej, who was part of a rock band “Angel Dust” during his class 12th from Bishop Cotton Boys’ School in Bengaluru.

Even as Kej pursued a dental science course on his father’s advice, he continued to create music and decided to pursue it full-time on completing the degree.

“Like most musicians, I started my career with popular music and later turned to heavy metal and jazz. I finally zeroed in on world music as it connects with the people the world over, irrespective of the language they speak,” Kej recalled.

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As a professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in the renowned Indian Institute of Science (IISc) campus in this tech hub, the musician believes his job is to approach environmental subjects artistically.

“Numbers don’t hit people as hard as visuals and art can. My job as a musician is to drive the numbers and data through emotions,” Kej added. (IANS)