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Modi attacks Nitish & Co, hints at Bihar special package

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Array Muzaffarpur/Patna: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday denounced Bihar Chief Minister  Nitish Kumar, only hours after sharing a stage with him, and RJD leader Lalu Prasad as he formally kickstarted the  NDA’s campaign for the Bihar assembly polls.

Urging the thousands gathered at Chakkar Maidan in Muzaffarpur not to bring back “jungle raj” in Bihar, Modi  bracketed Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad as he sought support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies.

Only hours after praising Nitish Kumar in Patna for his requests and suggestions related to Bihar’s development, Modi did a u-turn, hitting out at the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader for the state’s backwardness.

“I was not the only one to be backstabbed by him. The people of Bihar were also backstabbed,” he thundered at the rally, referring to the chief minister’s decision to leave the National Democratic Alliance after Modi was picked to head the BJP for the 2014 parliamentary battle.

He said Nitish Kumar had strangled Bihar’s development by ending an alliance with the BJP and joining hands with former foe RJD.

Modi said there were some problems with Nitish Kumar’s “DNA”, and he cannot be trusted. “The DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy, you give respect even to your political rivals.”

Modi said Nitish Kumar betrayed the people by not fulfilling his promise to provide electricity to all.

“Nitish Kumar had repeatedly stated that if he was unable to provide electricity to the whole of Bihar, he would not come seek votes again in 2015…

“Have you got electricity? It has not come. But he has come to ask for votes. He betrayed your trust.”

Terming RJD as “Rozana Jungleraj ka Darr”, the BJP veteran asserted that his party would not allow the return of “jungle raj” in Bihar. “This election is to get rid of RJD.”

“Like the Lok Sabha polls, give us two-third majority to develop Bihar. I promise I will fulfil the dreams of the people in 60 months if the BJP is voted to power.”

He promised to provide round-the-clock electricity to the people. He promised a special package of more than Rs.50,000 crore to Bihar for its development.

The rally was attended by all BJP leaders from Bihar including half-a-dozen union ministers and allies Ram Vilas Paswan and Upender Kushwaha. The BJP’s new ally, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, also shared the stage with Modi.

Earlier, in Patna, Modi lauded Nitish Kumar but targeted Lalu Prasad and the Congress on Bihar’s development.

Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United, the RJD, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have formed a grand alliance to defeat the BJP-led coalition in the coming election.

Modi made the comments after flagging off the Daniyawa-Biharsharif railway line and the Patna-Mumbai railway line here. He blamed the UPA for failing to complete the Barauni fertilizer factory in Bihar.

Modi said his government’s agenda was to develop eastern India including Bihar. “Unless Bihar is developed, the country cannot be developed.”

Lalu Prasad accused Modi of trying to create a rift between him and Nitish Kumar. “Modi is lauding one of us and attacking another. It is a strategy to divide us. But it will never succeed.”

(IANS)

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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)