the-south-asian Life & Times                     April - June 2010




 Editor's Note


'Raja Ravi Varma'
 - by Rupika Chawla

 The Indian Portrait

 Antarctic - 100 years
 ago - and today


 The Golden Chariot
 - a unique train thru
 south India


 Women & Politics
 Sheila Dikshit

 Celebrating Women

 Fast food gets chic


 Maj HPS Ahluwalia




 Future Predictions

 Tarot readings

 Mukhtar Mai









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Editor’s Note

SALT turns three this April. It has been an exciting, eventful, and an inspiring journey. We conversed with some beautiful minds, and covered unusual people, places and stories.

Our first anniversary issue carried a cover story on Ratan Tata, the second anniversary issue had Rajamata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur on the cover together with a rare interview with her – possibly her last – and this – our third anniversary issue – brings our readers two special features – one on Women and Politics and the other on the inaugural run of The Golden Chariot’s ‘Splendour of the South’ – the first PAN South India train journey.

Three weeks ago – on March 9 – the upper house of the Indian Parliament voted overwhelmingly for the Women’s Reservation Bill, which would reserve a third of legislative seats for women. This is a major step forward – to encourage women to participate more actively in politics. The current representation of women in the lower house of Parliament is only 10% - possibly the lowest in the world. Though we have women excelling in all sectors, they are but a minority. The large majority of women still lag behind men in all spheres –and south Asia largely remains male-dominated, with deep gender disparities. In the feudal areas, women remain voiceless and powerless. We have brought you a story of a very unusual and a courageous woman – a superhero – from a remote village in southern Punjab in Pakistan. She is Mukhtar Mai.

The Golden Chariot – a luxury train run by Karnataka Tourism – left Bangalore on March 15 on a week-long journey of southern India’s premier attractions. We have brought you a more-than-an- account of the inaugural journey of its new itinerary called ‘Splendour of the South’ – a journey traversing through Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Madurai, Trivandrum, the backwaters of Kerala, and Cochin.

The race to reach the South Pole in the Antarctic began 100 years ago. No human had stepped in this ice-sculpted continent before. Today, dozens of countries, including India, have established bases in the icy terrain to conduct scientific studies. Our feature is based on some iconic photographs taken 100 years ago by Herbert Ponting – the photographer who accompanied Captain Scott’s expedition to the South Pole.

Another inspiring story this issue is that of Major HPS Ahluwalia – a young 25-year-old officer in the Indian army at the time he got critically injured from a gunshot-wound, which left him paralysed below the waist. It is a story of ‘Mind over Matter’ – a super heroic effort not just to overcome one’s physical challenges but to put them aside to move on in life – and how! He set up the Spinal Injuries Centre in Delhi – and loves going to the mountains which he loves so much – he had climbed the Everest a few months before his life-altering injury.

There is a lot more – hope you enjoy it all.

Have a cool summer!

Roopa Bakshi







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