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Bhiwani boxers punch their way to Beijing 03/01/2009
This is where dreams are born - Olympic size. Under a tin shed in North India's Haryana state local youth punch their way out of their humdrum lives. Here the letters BBC stand not for the British Broadcasting Corporation but the Bhiwani Boxing Club. India's BBC has given the country an Olympics bronze medal and aspirations for many more.

In recent days, it has taken the heroics of just three BBC men to place the town of Bhiwani, about 120 km from the Indian capital New Delhi, firmly on the country's sporting map. In an amazing tale, India's most successful boxers trained not in internationally designed arenas but in a most spartan Bhiwani facility.

No one in either Haryana or India had ever heard of BBC, or the cha...

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Indian Art pitchforks country onto global centrestage 03/01/2009
From $2 million to $400 million in seven years - that is the explosive growth story of the Indian art market that is now the fifth largest in the world.

Till a decade ago, India was just another important centre on the global art map churning out quality work by a refined fraternity of modern and contemporary artists. But the doors to business interests opened post- globalisation, propelling Indian art into the big league.

Business took over the aesthetics of art making it one of the fastest growing money-spinners. Three big events in a span of a month point to the growing popularity of the country both as an art production and business destination.

On Aug 20, London-based auctioneer Christie's unveiled a collection of 20 works of art, to go under the hammer at its Sep 16 New York sale, for a preview in the capital. Barely two days later, the country hosted its first official art fair, the India Art Summit 2008, featuring at least 400 works by 200 artists.The fair was followed by a two-day show of a selected body of works by leading British contemporary artist Damien Hirst - the first of its kind in the country.

According to an estimate by Phillip Hoffman, CEO of Fine Art Fund, ...

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India's remarkable media growth story 08/01/2009
The year was 1820 when social reformer Raja Rammohun Roy brought out three newspapers in Bengali, Persian and English to counter colonial influences and educate Indians about the need for change. Almost two centuries later, that zeal and idealism has exploded into an industry that has 50, 000-60, 000 print media news publications and 67 news channels. It is the world's second largest news market after the US.

The newspaper stall has become in many ways an intellectual rendezvous where opinions are exchanged and views traded. The media reflects the heterodox thought processes and what Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen calls the "argumentative tradition" of this clamorous nation of 1.17 billion people.

History records that the first newspaper in India came out in 1780 when an Englishman nam...

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Indian musicians hit a new high with western contemporary music 12/01/2009
India has Hindustani classical and Carnatic classical music, it has Rabindra Sangeet as well as folk songs that vary from region to region. And Indian musicians are also striking a chord with the young and old with contemporary western music that, like literature, is becoming a mirror to social realities.

The new sounds emanating from the scores of young music makers across the Indian metros are primal, anguished, cacophonic and aggressive - a marked departure from the early genre of rock music in India during the 1960s, seventies and mid-eighties. It was in the sixties that cities like Kolkata in eastern India lined up their first Indi-folk rock band Moheener Ghoraguli (Moheen's Horses borrowed from modern Bengali poet Jibanananda Das' verses) and Flintstone.

While the former triggered the rush of "life songs or Jeevan Mukhi music", inspired by Bob Dylan, the Woodstock music carnival of 1969 and the advent of radical left-wing movement in West Bengal, Flintstone experimented with authentic western sounds.

Around the same time, Mumbai threw up Mystiks...

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IBSA: Ambitious exercise in transformational diplomacy 12/01/2009
Three countries located in three continents. One vision. Thousands of miles separate India, Brazil and South Africa across oceans, but this has not hindered these three emerging major economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America speaking in one voice on pressing global issues, be it the global financial meltdown, the war against poverty, the UN reforms or climate change.

This convergence of views and positions on pressing global issues of the time is no accident of global diplomacy. It all started in the summer of 2003 in the leafy city of Brasilia when the foreign ministers of the three countries met to evolve a trilateral dialogue forum that will give them a bigger, common voice at international fora. The three countries found that they have enough in common - ...

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