The South Asian Life & Times - SALT   
  April-June 2012           



  April - June 2012


Editor's Note


  Cover Story
  Painted Towns of

  Alsisar Mahal 

  Dr Narottam Puri on
  Indian Cricket

  Leander Paes

  Organic Farming in

  RIMC turns 90


  Tagore's Art

 South Asian Literary

 Festivals - Galle,
  Jaipur & Karachi

 Dr Karan Singh's
 Maiden Recital

  59th National Film
  Awards Announced

  'Rang' Colors of
  Sufism - released

   Mike Pandey wins
  Shantaram Award

  SaMaPa Music
  Festival 2012, J & K

  Sharmeen wins

  Veer Munshi's

  Book Picks
I'll Follow the Sun

  The Delhi
  Coronation Durbars





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 Editor's Note

SALT will turn five this April, and to celebrate our milestone year we have brought you five subjects close to our heart and mind – organic farming, conservation of our colourful albeit crumbling havelis, exciting schools at age 90, cultural events (art, films, literature, and music), and of course the state of Indian cricket today, which is on everybody’s mind as well. We had the great fortune of getting time with Dr Narottam Puri – India’s ace commentator on cricket - who spoke at length on the subject.

The single most positive story of post-Independence India would have to be the success of organic farming in the country – a true green revolution waiting in the wings to happen. Though it has a miniscule share in the agricultural sector of the country ,it has already made an immense difference to many a small farmer by getting him out of a spiralling debt, slashing the cost of his agricultural inputs by 70%, and increasing his income and yield two times over.

However, the faded havelis of Shekhawati area in Rajasthan are a silent reminder of what human indifference can do to a rich heritage. It has been our attempt to awaken the people and authorities concerned to move fast and save these beautiful mansions from complete destruction. They are a true national treasure. It is strange that this neglect should be starkly visible in an area so well known for the number and quality of its educational institutions. Driving through Jhunjhunu, a district abounding in these abandoned havelis, one can’t help but notice that the only ads, posters, and bill boards in the town are of schools, colleges, and training institutes. There is even an engineering college for women. It is a Bollywood-free territory. No film posters, no ads for Coke or Pepsi – or for that matter any consumer product. I was later told there are no cinema halls either!  So, why did the havelis fall prey to indifference in an area so devoted and dedicated to education?

Mr O P Dutta, who wrote regularly for SALT, passed on in February this year. It is an immense loss for all of us and for the film fraternity in Mumbai – Mr Dutta had directed films, and written the stories and dialogues for many – including those made by his son JP Dutta. Known for his incredible sense of humour, he was also a delightful raconteur. No story was ever repeated. We shall miss his endearing self.

The lazy days of summer, and then monsoons, will soon be upon us. Wishing you all a pleasant summer break and many reading days ahead.

Roopa Bakshi


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