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Sharad Pawar, Lalu, Akhilesh Yadav, Naresh Gujral make Kapil Sibal dinner grand opposition supper

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Lalu yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and Sharad Pawar

Former Union Minister Kapil Sibbal on Monday hosted a dinner party for the opposition and non-BJP parties at his residence in Delhi. It was his birthday celebration but the discussion among the leaders focused on taking on the Narendra Modi government in general elections 2024. However, Gandhis’, who were not present in the gathering were also targeted in the meeting. Some leaders present in the dinner party suggested that Congress can be revived only if it is freed from the clutches of Gandhis’ leadership.

The guest list of the dinner part was impressive that included NCP chief Sharad Pawar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien and Kalyan Banerjee, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja, Sanjay Singh from Aam Aadmi Part, RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary, Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena, BJD’s Pinaki Misra, Akali Dal’s Naresh Gujral and representatives of the TDP and the YSRCP.

Reports say Sibal started off the attack against the Modi government, explaining how every institution has been destroyed during its tenure. He also underscored the need for all opposition parties to work with a clear focus.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah questioned what steps were being taken to strengthen the core of Congress. Questions were raised on the party’s leadwership after its abysmal performance in Bihar elections.

Naresh Gujral of the Akali Dal launched a direct attack on the Gandhis, saying unless the Congress gets out of the clutches of the family, it will be very difficult to strengthen the party.

Kapil Sibal was among the G23 senior leaders who wrote a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi last year seeking organisational changes and effective leadership. Twenty three senior leaders also known as G23, including five former chief ministers, many members from Congress Working Committee(CWC), several former union ministers had sent a letter to the party chief earlier in August. With an outlined 11-point action plan, the dissident leaders sought a full time and effective leadership for the party which is active and visible on the ground, including sweeping Congress organisational changes.

However, all G23 leaders were among the invitees that include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari and Prithviraj Chavan.

Bihar news

Nitish Kumar government approves Bihar’s first Film Promotion Policy

The policy ensures a single-window clearance for all government permissions, as well as adequate security and safety arrangements.

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government on Friday approved its first Film Promotion Policy, with a motive to provide full institutional support to movie makers in the State.

According to reports, the Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Kumar, has approved the proposal for a Film Promotion Policy.

The policy aims to provide a one-stop clearance for all government permissions for filmmakers, while also ensuring adequate security and safety measures. Additionally, it offers financial incentives for regional films produced in languages such as Maithili, Bhojpuri, Magahi, Angika, and Bajjika.

S Siddharth, Additional Chief Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat), after the meeting, said that the Cabinet has approved Bihar’s new film promotion policy. He added that there is significant potential and numerous opportunities for filmmaking in Bihar. The proposal originated from the state government’s Art, Culture, and Youth Affairs department, Siddarth said.

Harjot Kaur Bamhrah, Additional Chief Secretary of the Art, Culture, and Youth Affairs Department, explained that under the new policy, filmmakers will receive assistance to make movies showcasing Bihar’s rich cultural heritage.

Bamhrah asserted that Bihar’s scenic locations and adequate infrastructure as attractions for filmmakers.

She said that the policy includes financial grants of up to Rs 4 crore for producing films, documentaries, and serials in regional languages and others.

Moreover, the policy offers various financial incentives for regional films in languages such as Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi, Angika, and Bajjika, she added.

The policy ensures a single-window clearance for all government permissions, as well as adequate security and safety arrangements, she further said.

Bamhrah also mentioned the setting up of an empowered committee and a film facilitation centre to streamline processes for the fraternity.

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Book reviews

Walking On The Razor’s Edge: The path of the seeker

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The Power of Karma Yoga by Gopi Chandra Das (Jaico Books) is an attempt to unravel the mystique of the Bhagavad Gita in the contemporary context. Is Lord Krishna’s counsel to Arjuna still relevant in today’s time and social space ? How can the timeless teachings of Lord Krishna be adopted by people struggling to cope with the stresses and challenges of modern life? Is there a key teaching which can be easily adopted by stress-torn people? These and many more questions are answered by the author in his easy-to-read style.

The basic premise is that the stress is a function of identity; identity with ego or with role-playing. We all play roles in life: in the family, the office and in the social sphere. These roles demand close identification and exact their cost by way of fear, frustration and failures.

The way out is to ease one’s sense of identity with one’s temporal roles. At the metaphysical level, it means keeping oneself in a detached state from one’s ego. This requires sustained spiritual discipline, but automatically yields to mental distancing with mundane roles as well. No wonder the Katha Upanishad compares the spiritual path to a razor’s edge.

Lord Krishna sought to instil this detached perspective in Arjuna by underlining the perishable nature of the body and the transitory nature of the world. However, the key is to strike a balance between total detachment and total attachment. The golden mean is attained by letting go with discrimination. If we detach too much, it will become difficult to perform our duties; if we cling too much, the material will become a millstone. The idea is to be in the world and yet not be of it. As the Persian saint Abu Said said, “To buy and sell and yet never forget God.”

Detachment, however, doesn’t mean irresponsibility. On the contrary, it means working with utter responsibility; with a sense that the job at hand is a moment to glorify the divine. It is not only work for work’s sake; work is taken up as a tool for self-realization. This is more deeply grasped if we acknowledge that the Gita is not only a handbook of divine knowledge or spiritualised action but essentially a guidepost for the man treading the path of enlightenment.

Sri Aurobindo says: “The Gita is not a weapon for dia­lectical warfare; it is a gate opening on the whole world of spiritual truth and experience, and the view it gives us embraces all the provinces of that supreme region. It maps out, but it does not cut up or build walls or hedges to confine our vision.”

Or as Paramahansa Yoganananda puts it: Gita sheds light on any point of life in which the devotee finds himself in.

Delving yet further, Gopinath explains in the book that letting go is made easy by the practice of apagriha, or being unattached to desires with conscious control on attachment-driven strivings. In the process, one’s motive gets transformed from want-driven to purpose-driven. The aim, at the highest level, being self-realization: the acme of spiritual strivings. For all material strivings ought to be in essence spititual strivings.

When we shift from want-driven to purpose-driven action, the need for personal validation ceases. In our quest for a spiritual-centric action mode, yagna plays an important role. The concept of yagna is transposed from a religious fire-rite to diurnal mundane acts in which personal motives are quenched. As the borderline between the spiritual and the material gets increasingly dissolved, the quest for enlightenment becomes the summum bonum of life.

The direction and blessings of a sadguru is also needed in this eternal quest for soul freedom. In the ultimate sense, the material life and its duties become a stepping stone for a higher life which man embraces to achieve the state of kaivalya. The book lucidly interweaves real-life stories with philosophical concepts, which make for interesting reading.

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India News

Centre lists 6 new Bills for Parliament Monsoon Session

The Centre will introduce six new Bills, including the one to amend the Disaster Management Law.

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The Centre will introduce six new Bills, including the one to amend the Disaster Management Law, at the beginning of the monsoon sessions of the Parliament, which will start on July 22.  

Besides the Finance Bill, the government has also included the Bhartiya Vayuyan Vidheyak, 2024 to replace the Aircraft Act of 1934 to provide enabling provisions for ease of doing business in the civil aviation sector.

The list of Bills was published by Parliament bulletins and furnished by the Lok Sabha secretariat on Thursday evening. The Monsoon Session will kick off on July 22 and continue till August 12.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to present the Union Budget on July 23.

Other bills listed for introduction and passage during the session are the Boilers Bill, Bhartiya Vayuyan Vidheyak Bill, Coffee (Promotion and Development) Bill and the Rubber (Promotion and Development) Bill.

Notably, the Boilers Bill replaced the pre-independence era law, the Coffee (Promotion and Development) Bill and the Rubber (Promotion and Development) Bill.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also incorporated the Business Advisory Committee (BAC), which has the final say on the parliament agenda; the committee comprises 14 nominated MPs from different parties.

From the BJP, the committee involves Nishikant Dubey, Anurag Singh Thakur, Bhartruhari Mahtab, P.P. Chaudhary, Baijayant Panda, and Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal. From the Congress, K. Suresh and Gaurav Gogoi have been included. Sudip Bandyopadhyay represents the TMC, Dayanidhi Maran represents the DMK, and Arvind Sawant represents the Shiv Sena UBT.

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