The Best of #PostChat: Post Production Q&A Archive

first_imgEver missed a #PostChat Twitter conversation and wished you could go back and read it in full?#PostChat meetup at NAB 2014 (from Avid)The weekly #postchat event hosted by Gordon Burkell (@AOTGNetwork), Tej Babra (@tejbabra) and Jesse Averna (@Dr0id), is a brilliant opportunity to ask post production professionals from around the world, any question you like on that week’s topic (there’s a new topic each week). PostChat is a twitter based chat for post-production professionals that occurs every Wednesday at 6 PM PST (9PM EST).Previous topics have included editing feature films (led by the editor of Sharknado 2),  cutting award winning documentaries, handling audio, motion graphics, women in post, visual effects and many, many more. #PostChat is also a fantastic way for the gathered post production community to share it’s collective wisdom, experience and advice with the rest of the world.But if you missed the live question and answer session, fear not! Thanks to editor Liam Johnson, (@editorliam) you can quickly catch up on that week’s #postchat and explore an extensive Storify archive of previous weeks. Check out Liam’s complete archive here.One of the most popular #postchat collections in Liam’s archive was the week spent discussing the best practices for starting a project which you can check out here. If you want to get involved in #postchat session then the best way is to make use of this Twitter ‘chat room’.last_img read more

UK Charity Commission to Probe Temple Council for Inviting Hindu Hardliner

first_imgUnited Kingdom’s Charity Commission has opened a compliance case against the National Council of Hindu Temples, UK, (NCHTUK) for inviting controversial religious activist Tapan Ghosh to speak at an event on “Love Jihad” in the House of Commons last month.   Senior Conservative party members who were present at the event where Ghosh was invited have now distanced themselves from it. Ghosh has been held in preventive custody five times in India for fear of spread of religious disharmony.  The event was hosted by Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman, the chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Hindus, who denied that any “abhorrent” remarks were made on the occasion. He added: “One of the most worrying trends in recent years has been grooming and forced conversions of Hindu minorities in the UK and countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. In our commitment as a nation to fight extremism and radicalization it is important to hear the voices of suppressed minorities. As for the event in question, the choice of speakers and the views expressed are entirely the NCHT’s, who are the organizers.” Ghosh attended a Diwali event with Indian-origin British MP Priti Patel, who is the Secretary of State of International Development, and Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom.  Rudd’s spokesperson said in a statement: “The home secretary fundamentally disagrees with Mr Ghosh’s views on Islam. The home secretary accepted an invitation from the Hindu Forum of Britain to attend an event in parliament last week to celebrate Diwali. She did not speak to Mr Ghosh and was not present when he spoke.” Ghosh, the founder of Hindu Samhati in West Bengal, gave the keynote address at the event “Tolerating the intolerant: The abuse of Hindu human rights in Europe and India”.  Charity Status in Question“The Commission has opened a case into the National Council of Hindu Temples (UK) to assess concerns raised regarding a speaker at an event linked to the charity,” the Charity Commission said in a statement on Nov. 3.  An open letter has also been crafted by the Association of British Muslims, the Asian Mums Network, and the Women Against Radicalisation Network demanding that the NCHTUK be removed from its charity status.  “We believe the NCHTUK should be stripped of its charity status for inciting religious hatred…[Ghosh] runs a hardline Hindu militant group whose sole purpose is to demonise and ’protect Hindus from Muslim aggression’,” the letter reads.  The EventThe event, according to the council of Hindu temples, focused on the “sustained targeting and abuse of Hindu and Sikh girls… their selection on the basis of their religion and their subsequent physical and emotional abuse for the purposes of forced conversion to Islam”. This is a concept popularly known as “Love Jihad” in India, which has led to intense debate and violence in some cases.  The general secretary of the NCHTUK, Satish Sharma, dismissed the accusations, saying, “[Ghosh] has been working in the particular space in Bengal for a long period of time. Controversy is something that an awful lot of people court and we couldn’t find somebody [else] who had his decades of grassroots experience. In terms of the media frenzy, we do not stand by any claims or any statement that have been attributed to him. We reject them without reservation.” Ghosh also met former neo-Nazi leader Tommy Robinson during his visit to the United Kingdom.  Tapan Ghosh — A Controversial FigureGhosh was put in preventive custody five times during 2012 and 2014 to avoid communal tension. He was a member of Hindu nationalist groups Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) until 2007.  “The conquering attitude of Muslims has affected the rural Hindus in a huge way. These victims do not get any response from political parties, thanks to their ‘secular’ agenda. A rape is first checked for secularism, before being addressed as an issue. This is when the parents of the rape victim come to me as a last resort,” Ghosh said in an interview to a Hindu website in 2014. Related Itemslast_img read more

Ads Against H-1B Visa in Bay Area Result of One-Year Strategy, Says U.S. Group

first_imgThe anti-H-1B visa ads plastered across Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) stations last week are the result of a year-long process, the organization behind the posters has said. The campaign involved “more than a year of thinking about the effects of immigration and hearing from U.S tech workers who could not find employment,” Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) told Firstpost.The budget for the ads, worth a whopping $80,000, was confirmed by the organisation. “Yeah, that’s about right, say $80,000. We get grants, donations..we’ve been around for 10 years, you see,” executive director Kevin Lynn of the Washington DC-based group told the Indian news website.The ads incite American workers against H-1B workers, saying, “Your companies think you are expensive, undeserving & expendable.” The PFIR bought 250 panel ads and 100 smaller in-train ads. The spaces have been bought for a month.The ads come ahead of the beginning of the H-1 B visa filing season for the 2019 fiscal year, which begins on April 2, and during a climate when the Trump administration is doubling down against the “abuse of immigration laws.”According to PFIR, the placement of ads spread across BART is just the beginning for a “political solution” to the issue. “We’ll get U.S tech workers together, we will organize and we need to have a political solution to this. We are going there to speak with U.S tech workers who have found us through the ad,” Lynn told the website as he was leaving for California.Lynn also confirmed that the reason the ads were put up in the Bay area is that the location is at the heart of Silicon Valley, where workers benefited by H-1 B visa reside.The PFIR has connections with John Tanton, “the architect of modern anti-immigration movement,” the report said, citing Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit legal advocacy organization.“He (Tanton) created a network of organizations – the Federation for American Immigration Reform , the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA – that have profoundly shaped the immigration debate in the United States,” the organization said.Meanwhile, more than a quarter of California’s members of Congress, including Indian American U.S. Republican representative Ro Khanna, have written to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding work eligibility of H-1B visa holders’ spouses. The letter aims at stopping the administration’s attempts to roll back the Obama-era rule that granted work permits for the spouses of those who come to country on H-1B visa.The letter says: “Over 10 million Californians are foreign born, and without them we would not have companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Qualcomm which have made California’s economy the sixth largest in the world. In many areas where these high-tech professionals live, such as Silicon Valley, it is nearly impossible for a family to live on one income.”A delegation of Massachusetts representatives had sent a letter invoking a similar argument to the department in January, showing the first signs of support for H-4 work authorization. Related Itemsanti h-1b visaBARTPFIRlast_img read more

CBI Sends Jail Cell Video to UK Court for Mallya’s Extradition

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has submitted a 6-8-minute video before a court in London to counter the claims of fugitive business tycoon Vijay Mallya that conditions in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail are poor.Refuting the hygiene-related concerns raised by Mallya, the Indian agency said that cell number 12 of the jail, where he will be lodged after extradition, has not only adequate sunlight but also other facilities like a private toilet and a washing area, NDTV reported.The inmate of barrack number 12 will also have a 40-inch LCD television set, access to a library and a courtyard to walk, the CBI showed in its video. “The court wanted us to show if Indian jails are hygienic. We have given them proof of the hygiene level and medical facilities available in jail. In fact, the barrack in which Mallya would be lodged is east-facing so it has lot of sunlight too,” a senior level official told NDTV. “The cell has cross ventilation with a window and bars on opposite sides. The cell also opens to a courtyard,” he added.The CBI has submitted the video after liquor baron Mallya, who faces extradition to India over accusations of unpaid loans to a consortium of Indian banks, had claimed in court that Indian jails don’t have natural light or fresh air. He had also said in his defense that Indian jails are overcrowded and have poor hygiene conditions.The Indian government had submitted some photographic evidences to show the court that the conditions in the concerned jail are appropriate, but the judge was not convinced.Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot of Westminster Magistrates’ Court then asked the Indian government on July 31 to submit a “step-by-step video” of the barrack, where Mallya was supposed to be held after extradition. The London court gave three months to India for submission of the video, which the CBI filed within a month. The next hearing for this high-profile extradition case is scheduled to be held on Sept.12.If the court gives the judgement in the Indian government’s favor, the UK Home Secretary will have two months to sign Mallya’s extradition order. This verdict may not be the final one, as both sides have a right to appeal in higher courts in the United Kingdom against the judgement. Mallya faces allegations that his Kingfisher Airlines defaulted on loans and interest in 2010, and owes Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of 17 Indian banks. The Indian government is seeking his extradition after he fled to the United Kingdom in 2016.  Related ItemsCBILondonVijay Mallyalast_img read more

Cheapest Mega-City

first_imgMumbai is the cheapest megacity in the world, according to a UBS “Prices and Earnings Update” report on 73 of the world’s largest megacities. Mumbai is followed by Manila and Delhi. Mumbai also has the lowest gross wages, followed by Manila, Nairobi, Jakarta and Delhi.According to the report, the most expensive cities in the world are Oslo, Zurich and Geneva.   Related Itemslast_img

USCIS Resumes accepting DACA Renewal Applications

first_imgThe U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Jan.13 that it has resumed accepting requests for renewing applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or popularly known as Dreamers Act after a federal court order. The decision affects thousands of young Indians who had been left in a lurch.The program will work the same as it did before it was rescinded on Sept.5, 2017, with the exception that those who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA can’t apply.According to a statement by USCIS, only the individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal. USCIS will also not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients.The statement added that those whose DACA expired on or after Sept.5 2016, can apply for its renewal. “If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept.5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request,” said the statement.On Jan.9, a federal judge in California temporarily stopped the withdrawal of DACA since the matter is under litigation. The judge said that the government must maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis. Federal Judge William Alsup had ruled that DACA gave them a more tolerable set of choices, including joining the mainstream workforce. “Now, absent an injunction, they will slide back to the pre-DACA era and associated hardship,” the judge added.Multiple lawsuits had been filed against the government’s decision to end the program. The statement from USCIS also said, “further, deferred action under DACA does not confer legal status upon an individual and may be terminated at any time, with or without a Notice of Intent to Terminate, at DHS’s discretion.”According to South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a non-profit organization, a total of 5,500 Indians and Pakistanis are covered under DACA and an additional 17,000 from India are eligible for it. In total, 8,00,000 people will be affected by the decision, if the government decides to rescind the DACA program.On Jan.9, US President Donald Trump had said that he wants a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration process. He sought a “clean” DACA bill paired with a legislation to construct the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.“I think a clean DACA bill, to me, is a DACA bill, but we take care of the 800,000 people, but I think, to me, a clean bill is a bill of DACA, we take care of them, and we also take care of security,” Trump said, reported Vox.US President Trump took to the social media to criticize the democrats about not taking action to fix DACA.The Democrats are all talk and no action. They are doing nothing to fix DACA. Great opportunity missed. Too bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2018 Related Itemsdaca billdonald trump immigrationDreamers Actunited states immigrationlast_img read more

Unsung Heroes

first_imgNow that the war is over, we can reflect. A handful of insistent reports from the war front keep coming to mind. Several reporters on CNN and NPR made a passing, but acute, observation during the war on their lives in Doha, Qatar. This is where the U.S. armed forces based its operational and media headquarters (CENTCOMM). It is also where most reporters, who could not and did not go as embedded reporters, stayed and reported. The contingent included reporters from Al Jazeera as well as Fox networks, among others. The glitz and glitter and the slickness and suave character of the media center in Doha, Qatar, built by a Hollywood media genius, became a casual topic for conversation when reporters ran out of the usual stories of patriotism and freedom and the French.Some other times they would reflect on their life in Qatar and one of their most striking observations has stuck in my mind.When these reporters went back to sleep in their hotels, they encountered a completely different crowd. Not Iraqis, or Saudis or Qataris, but our own folks from South Asia. In between filing reports on the imminent dangers of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (the immortal WMDs) and the advances of the 3rd Infantry division, the reporters met Indians and Pakistanis of all sorts. The labor class, employed in these hotels, from the chefs to cleaners to waiters, these reporters encounter are an “extraordinarily” generous and hospitable group of people.Doha, Qatar, is a rich fiefdom or a sheikhdom like many others in that region and the low class labor in that country is drawn from India and Pakistan, but mostly from India. It is a relatively safer place and now that the U.S. armed forces are making it their home, moving from Saudi Arabia, the demand for labor is growing. The Indian Embassy in Qatar provides elaborate guidelines for Indian businesses and labor contractors on business and work opportunities in that country.There is something else to this picture. Thanks to the interminable pontifications of our anchor-leader on CNN, Aaron Brown, and equally reflective observations on NPR, I gathered that the life of reporters was rendered surreal by the confluence of the riches and luxuries of the fiefdom as evidenced in hotels and posh restaurants, the polite, extra-hospitable labor from the subcontinent, the now-you-see-now-you-don’t weapons of mass destruction, the harsh sandstorms and the worrisome difficulties that the coalition of the willing faced in the early days of the war.Often, history is written for the victors and by the victors. Rarely do we see accounts of how houswives struggled at home while the men of valor fought the battles and won the wars. Even rarer do we see how the grocery stores were kept stocked and how the neighborhood flower shop collected flowers each morning, not knowing what they would be used for. This is the underside of life and indeed the underside of the war too, unsung, unpleasant, unromantic, but very real nevertheless.This is also the unsung dimension of diaspora around the world, especially our own. While the big men fight wars with their big weapons, the labor class works with different, if not indifferent priorities. While the bombs were falling on Baghdad and the country was being pushed once more to the pre-industrial age, the labor class from India was worried about sending money home, about pleasing the hosts beyond the expectation of tips or promotions. They were there for their duties, nothing noble, just to feed their families and hoping the madness in the world will play itself out maintaining their world of work safe and secure.The divide between the working class and those in the drivers’ seats while history marches is alarming, tragic and instructive at the same time. It is easy to see how the lives of the reporters and the commanding officers would have to be comfortable for the war to go on without pain, for the decisions to be made without physical discomfort or distraction. It is the support in their hotels, in their meals and in the lavish spreads of fresh fruit, and impeccable maintenance that drove these men to their glorious hour. All the while, the pain of the working class, uprooted from their homes to keep others happy continued. But it is this role that makes the valor possible, and this contribution that demands our attention.Once during a long stopover at the Munich airport, I met two men working behind the cafe counters in the terminal. As I struck up a conversation, we realized we were from India and that gave rise to an intense camaraderie for some ten hours. These two men, speaking fluent German, French and English had come from Kerala and were living in an apartment in Munich with eight others who also worked at the airport.I commended their fluency in multiple languages and they responded simply that it was necessary for employment. They had learned it all within a year, quite a functional fluency, which my language teachers have warned me, is difficult to achieve beyond a certain (old) age. In the course of conversations, which they embellished with an Indian style tea made for one of their own, they told me that they preferred Germany to the United States because the “social welfare” systems was great, especially the health care system.Although I should know better, that statement caused a tremor in my consciousness. This land of plenty, which boasts the highest immigration from around the world, still lacks some of the basic benefits for anyone, but especially for immigrants and that too for poor immigrants. All that risk taking and all that effort learning languages for jobs at the airport cafe so that the social safety net can protect them if they needed it. In my narrow mind of a jet traveler, this was a strange, but believable rationale.We hardly know how this underclass thinks or how it works. But it is working hard and working for the same dreams but with a different set of difficulties. But the kind of hard work this class is capable of is a realm of unthinkable legends or grim, unavoidable realities of working class lives.Almost every comedian I know has made fun of the cab drivers in New York City. In fact, their “strange” accent and broken English have become steady fodder for everything from everyday chatter to television comedies. The economic burden and hardships notwithstanding (I once read that it is easy to begin a new business in America’s heartland than it is to be a cab driver in New York), the cab drivers from the subcontinent remind us of physical endurance that other locals or natives will not be able to put up with.When someone made an observation that so many of the endurance records in the Guinness Book of Records come from South and South East Asia, who would have thought such qualities would create a passport to employment for immigrants. But remember the vitriol generated by then Mayor Guiliani’s stance against cab drivers in 1998, a move for discipline motivated by a perception about the immigrant working class and its own ethics of survival than any prudent fiscal motives. And yet, it is the working class that makes this city move, makes it breathe and makes it so uniquely New York.This working class of cab drivers in New York, as legends have it, is made of Ph.Ds., masters and engineering degrees. These are not romantic, but sad stories in the annals of immigrant experiences. They speak of fundamental inequalities in talents and resources of labor and less about how individuals carve a space for themselves in an unfair economy. Whether you are taking your girlfriend to a hotel or moving to meet a partner in a Wall Street deal, you are moved by this working class, whose quirks are visible, but their pains are not. Very few talk about how the life of this working class forms the basis of the glory that is visible every day in the city.Going to an Indian restaurant is a cultural tour. The decor and the smells tell you a lot about the class, about the owner and about the food. Some seasoned visitors know this when they see it and some pass by taking it for granted as one of the normalcies of life. The most striking aspect of this internal world of the restaurants is the waiters. True in many cases, these are family members themselves, but often they are employees. Whether the owner is Indian or American, the class of the restaurant shows in the waiters that appear in front of us. In one such encounter I noticed that waiters in Indian restaurants don’t get much of a tip. I am not about to offer a lesson in Manners or hector you as the William Bennett of virtues. This is partly cultural, I believe, and as such, one can spare that discussion for another time.What is striking now is that restaurants in respectable areas, owned by respectable owners and in some cases, owned by non-Indians, this is a cultural given, an economic assumption. Waiters in more scores of such establishments have made it clear that there is no tipping in Indian restaurants and that it has become a norm of sorts. The logic is immutable. Since Indians do not offer tips to the waiters, Indian restaurants do not pass on any tips to waiters even if it is collected at the cashiers. This is an open robbery of working immigrants. Those of us who know college-going kids know how “waitressing” or “waitering” helps many a kids through college. How many times have I been prodded by the motherly conscience to tip the waiter/waitress simply because it is their principal source of income.One can well imagine what would happen with poor immigrants whose sense of money takes them farther than it does an inexperienced grown teenager. What Barbara Ehrenreichs book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, says about the working class in this country, that it is still exploited by newer means, holds even truer for the working class of immigrants whom we ignore.Indeed we have come a long way from the motels and Patels of Indians. We know the story of how we have struggled against all odds and have become a prominent and successful immigrant group in this country. But the picture is not complete unless we pay close attention to the hard work, the pain and the unseen contribution our brothers and sisters are making to the global economy and to what we call the march of history. Their lives are as important as those of the millionaires and the successful. Related Itemslast_img read more

Outsized Dreams

first_imgMeet the Raja of a Ghost Town, the Cigar King, the Magic Carmaker and the Builder of Dreams. Sounds like characters out of a fairy tale? No, these are real life people, albeit with outsized, sky’s-the-limit ambitions. Rocky Patel of Naples, Fl., can boast of something that probably no other Indian anywhere in the world can – he actually has a cigar named after him! Other Patels may be content with motels, newsstands and franchises, but this Patel owns huge tobacco plantations and his Indian Tabac Cigar Company has an avid following of cigar aficionados.Krishnan Suthanthiran of Springfield, Va., is the master of an entire township set in pristine British Columbia, laden with underground minerals and abundant wildlife.  But he has no subjects – the buildings and homes lie vacant, the stores are empty. He is master of a ghost town, but with big plans to make it thrive again.Sankar Dasgupta of Missisauga, Canada, is looking to transform the gas-guzzling, environmentally incorrect world with a zero emissions electric car and has developed batteries that run laptops for 24 hours. In his vision we’ll be living in a cleaner, healthier, more efficient world and rid of our oil dependency.Real estate developer Arun Bhatia of New York has added to the jagged, glittering skyline of the Big Apple with a dozen skyscrapers in Manhattan, totaling millions and millions of dollars and concrete and glass, and providing state of the art homes to over 2,000 people.  Rocky Patel traded a lucrative law practice for a cigar empire All their stories began in India in remote villages and big cities, and their basic homegrown culture and values continue to shape their characters. And yet in all of them,  Indian smarts and education have mingled with American risk taking and innovation to create their larger-than-life success stories.Rocky Patel (real name Rakesh) left Bombay when he was just 14 years old. He had probably neverseen a cigar, much less smoked one, yet today his cigars have received rave reviews from critics and have an avid following, even though they do not bear a traditional brand name. The Vintage Series received “Best of the Best” from the Robb Report; the 1990 Robusto received a 92 rating and Torpedo received a 90 Rating from Cigar Aficionado.His company has grown into a $15 million business that produces 7 million cigars annually. You’ll find “Rocky Patels” in all the major restaurants from the Four Seasons to the Ritz Carlton to country clubs, hotels and retail shops in the United States, as well as many countries in Europe and Asia. The path Patel started out on was a traditional one for affluent Indian immigrant families; he decided to study law. A business and entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, he built up a thriving 14-attorney practice. “In the course of my work, I found myself spending a lot of time on the movies sets, waiting for lights and sound and started smoking cigars,” he recalls. “Then the Grand Havana Room opened up down the street from my office in Beverly Hills and I became one of the founding members and would go there after work to relax and smoke cigars.” The lounge became a celebrity hangout for stars like Mel Gibson, Demi Moore, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, and Patel became cigar buddies with them.Around this time, he started manufacturing cigars in Honduras and organized four or five cigar dinners with Schwarzenegger in the star’s restaurant and things really started to come together. During this period, Patel continued to practice law, but finally decided to chuck it all for the cigar.“I thought I’d better learn everything about tobacco, because I really didn’t know much and it might be something lucrative,” he recalls. “I started spending a lot of time in Honduras and Nicaragua on the plantations, learning about the farming, the fermentation, and the curing process, and I blended hundreds of cigars till I educated my palate on the difference between Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican.” He looked at people who had been in the business a long time to see what they were doing right and tried to emulate them and do it better. Then, after fully educating himself and researching the business for five years, he sold the law firm and moved to Florida. He says, “I’ve been doing it full time since and it’s become one of the top companies. This is our tenth year in the business. We are probably among the top two or three cigar companies in the world.” Indian Tabac has several lines including “Super Fuerte,” “Cameroon Legend,” “Fire” and the “Vintage Series.” The company has 3,800 employees in Honduras, grows its own tobacco, but it also buys large quantities of tobacco from some of the biggest and best growers of Cuban seed tobacco in the world based in Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Costa Rica and the Cameroon.While generally cigars like Puros are made of fillers and wrappers from the same region, Patel likes to blend tobaccos from different regions. The company is known for its unique blends and all the cigars are blended by Patel himself in a time consuming process that can take up to a year. According to Rob Rimes, who works closely with him, Patel is inspired by different qualities of topnotch cigars – the quality of Padron, the construction of Davidoff and the consistency of Fuentes, while also keeping an eye on the price.Savvy Life magazine wrote: “Rocky follows cigar trends like some investors monitor the NASDAQ.  With a Nextel phone in one hand and a 200 meter sprint to the jet’s gateway, he’s always on the move – and for good reason.  He’s the new ‘Wonder Boy’ of the cigar industry.” In 2003, Patel created the “Rocky Patel Vintage Series,” which is made of premium quality aged tobacco. To make a dent in a tightly controlled industry, he had to come up with a savvy marketing plan. Ask him whether it was tough breaking in to the cigar industry and he responds, “Yes, it was because I was not of Cuban or American descent and all the cigar makers had a long tradition from Cuba or from Central America and had it as a family business. I was an outsider looking in.”Undeterred, he spent a lot of time going door to door, from retail shop to retail shop, covering over 600 cities in 700 days. He did endless rounds of events, promoting the product, meeting with retailers and organizing cigar dinners and a national advertising campaign. Meeting retailers one on one, city after city, he built personal relationships with cigar stores and soon the name Rocky Patel took on a boutique brand name status. “People called me the ultimate road warrior, because I just got out and pounded the pavement. I got the product out there and slowly built up a sales force and moved it from there. That’s how we launched it,” he says.The Rocky Patel cigars are known for their quality and also for how well the tobacco is fermented and aged. He says, “We are known for a rich, complex cigar that delivers a lot of flavor, but it is very elegant and balanced so there’s no harshness, no bitterness. They have a nice ash and you can smoke them to the end without any sour taste in your mouth.”Critics seem to agree: The “Vintage” line received yet another 90 rating from Cigar Aficionado. The 1990 Torpedo earned the honors in the February 2006 issue, scoring 1 point below the Padron 1926.How did his family react to his giving up law to become a biddi-wallah? Patel, who did his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, admits his parents weren’t too happy. “They were shocked when I told them I want to go into cigar making. It’s certainly not something someone from our Indian ancestry does. But now they are quite happy.” Yes, the jingle of millions can overcome quite a few inhibitions!“Giving up law was difficult, because I had built up the law firm myself from one person to 14 attorneys working for me,” says Patel. “But they were long, hard days and I got burnt out practicing law. I was tied to the office from 8 in the morning to 10 at night and this is much more fun.  Now I get to eat, drink and smoke for a living!”What Patel likes best is the chance to meet all kinds of people from blue-collar workers to cardio-vascular surgeons to celebrities:  “The power of cigars is unique, because you meet so many people. If you have a cigar, it opens the door to so many opportunities.” He’s met everyone from talkshow host Rush Limbaugh to basketball legend Michael Jordan and CEOs of major US companies. is a fan of his cigars. He’s also involved with cross promotions with Scotch Whiskey, Budweiser Beer and Cadillac. His cigars have also reached some cigar lounges, restaurants and hotels in India, including Indigo in Bombay.“The hardest part is cracking the barrier of being somebody that’s traditionally not into this business and it took a lot of passion and hard work and everyone in the industry refers to me as the hardest working man in the business,” says Patel. “I’m very driven, I’m a perfectionist and I always like to make the finest things in life and I also enjoy the finest things in life.”Does he smoke cigars daily? “I don’t smoke every day, but I’m a fan. I enjoy cigars like I enjoy fine wine, nice clothes, nice things, everything within reason.” From Naples, Florida we move to New York City where real estate developer Arun Bhatia has just put the finishing touches to his latest flight of fancy:139 Wooster, a $55 million building in the heart of hip and upscale Soho. The city is dotted with over a dozen high-end condos, co-ops and rentals all created by Bhatia.Putting up grand structures was something Bhatia was born to do – it runs in his genes. He is the son of Ishwardas Bhatia, a real estate developer who was putting up buildings in the 1940s in Karachi. After partition in 1947, the family fled to Bombay with practically nothing, because, like many in the business, his father had reinvested all his wealth in buying more land in Karachi.  Bhatia, who was born in 1952 in Bombay, knows the family lore about how the family fled from Karachi and lived in refugee camps for a year, close to Mahalaxmi, which today is the site of grand weddings. Gradually his father re-established himself and restarted his business. He always took the young Arun with him to construction sites and that became his playground.“Every Sunday since the age of four I accompanied my father to all the construction sites and once I was 12 or 13, during vacation I used to work with him, watching him in action,” says Bhatia. “I was given every kind of responsibility you can think of – from interacting with the laborers to accompanying my father to meet heads of banks.”After getting his bachelor’s in civil engineering, Bhatia came to New York for higher education.  When he left India he had no intention of staying abroad permanently, but he also wanted to be his own man, and he knew it just wasn’t possible with his father, who had a very strong personality with very firm views on how things should operate.  Real estate developer Arun Bhatia of New York has added to the jagged, glittering skyline of the Big Apple“You could not disagree with him and I sensed that and the thought started in my head that I wanted to so something on my own, because in our society no matter how hard you work people always say ‘Oh, he got it all because of his father.”The senior Bhatia was building apartments for a different time and place, after the partition, so they were reasonably priced buildings for mass consumption. Arun Bhatia, however, has developed luxury apartments whose signature is fine detailing and superior materials. He signature tagline: is “Another distinctive development by Arun Bhatia.”His buildings in Manhattan include the Strand, the Dunhill, The Whitney and Capri. The National Association of Home Builders awarded the Strand its Gold Award for the best project of the year in 1989. His latest is 139 Wooster, in Soho, a luxury building with plush amenities, designed by the noted architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle.What kind of a feeling does he get when he passes the buildings he’s created and sees people living there? “I feel very proud. I really want to make a mark especially in a city like New York where the whole world looks at you.” He walked Little India through the fascinating process of the rise of a skyscraper from start to finish, from scouting for land to putting up the structure, which can take up to two years, dealing with brokers, architects, engineers, and workers. He says, “I’m basically like a music conductor, because I’ve to keep all these hundred different people sort of in line, make sure they are all working toward the same goal within the same time frame.”Developing luxury hi-rises is about risk taking: “You could lose money on a project if you don’t complete it in a timely manner, especially in New York because here the labor is probably the most expensive in the world. An average carpenter makes $900 a day and an electrician makes $1,000 a day, so you can’t afford any delays.” He adds, “Obviously banks are not going to lend you money unless they see substantial investment on your part and some risk on your part. If you have a $100 million project, the chances are banks will give you $70 million and expect you to put up the remaining $30 million. The way it works is when the project sells, the bank get their money first and then only you can recover your own capital and get the profit. The builder takes a tremendous amount of risk.”While some builders join with other investors to spread the risk, Bhatia, with a few exceptions, prefers to work on his own, and be his own boss. He says, “It’s very difficult to run a development project unless one person has the authority. You’re making split second decisions every day and so a project cannot be built by a committee.” Besides his own projects, Bhatia also runs the AIB Management Corp., which provides developing expertise to other companies. His recent ventures include collaboration with universities to provide high rise student residences. The Capri, a $80 million 46-story luxury hi-rise, sold the first 31 floors to Marymount Manhattan College for student housing. The luxury Chelsea Regent accommodates 201 students from The New School. Thanks to Bhatia, college students are living the Manhattan lifestyle!“I love this business of creating something out of nothing,” says Bhatia, who is as fascinated by construction today as he was when he used to accompany his father on his rounds decades ago. “I want to create something that would obviously last hundreds of years and people would look at it and say, ‘Someone did a nice job.’”  We all know the trauma of batteries which run out just as you need them – say, when you’re just about to shoot the picture of a lifetime with Bill Clinton! Along comes Sankar Dasgupta, CEO of Electrovaya, a Toronto-based technology development company, whose proprietary Lithium Ion super polymer batteries can keep a laptop running for up to 24 hours. This alone would have endeared him to frustrated technocrats everywhere, but he has several other innovative products including the external Power Pad battery series that deliver up to 10 times more runtime.Electrovaya, which he co-founded with Jim Jacobs, is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and was rated as the fastest growing technology companies in Canada. It has  over 200 global patents and awards to its credit and its 156,000 sq. foot manufacturing plant produces innovative batteries, computers and automotive systems.The young Dasgupta grew up in a prominent family in Calcutta, where both his parents were lawyers and his father had been involved in the Independence movement.  “Like many Indian families there were enough scientists and doctors and engineers in our family,” he recalls, “We were always encouraged to be curious about how things worked.”After doing his undergraduate studies in Calcutta, Dasgupta studied for a PhD at Imperial College, London. He says, “It was an amazingly scientifically challenging place. While in most places you study, study, study and write papers, I found Imperial to be a very creative place, interested in making things work.”When he was only 22, he invented an electrochemical system for cleaning up the environment, filed a patent for it and began looking for investors to commercialize the technology. He wrote to various companies and heard back from a Canadian venture capitalist and together they started a new company.The electrochemical system he had invented worked well to remove cyanides and heavy materials from industrial waste and won awards, and was also adopted in about 30 cities, including Cincinnati and Chicago. He recalls, “We grew quite fast. We started with one employee and grew to 105 people in 3-4 years time.”  A few years later, he sold out. Sankar Dasgupta of Missisauga, of Canada is looking to transform the gaz-guzzling,  environmentally incorrect world with a zero emissions electric car Since then Dasgupta, who’s also an adjunct professor of engineering at Toronto University, has been involved in several other inventions, including an advanced polymer battery, which packs a lot of energy in a very small weight and small space, making it ideal for mobile computers.  “This is a plastic battery and so is malleable. It can be made into different sizes and shapes, even thin like paper,” he says. “While a typical laptop runs 2-3 hours on a battery, the run time with these batteries is 7-8 hours. These batteries are also used by NASA. They have what they call a ‘critical one mission’ where astronauts wear the suit and walk out into space and they need a power system for their life support. NASA went around the world looking for the best batteries and they decided to take our system.”Why has no one else thought of this technology? He laughs, “There are massive amounts of battery wars going on. You just have to be sort of lucky – it has to be right time, right place. I think timing is so important in invention.”Electrovaya partnered with Microsoft to develop the Scribbler, tablet PCs that are just 3 lbs in weight. Says Dasgupta, “It’s got a nice 12.1 inch screen and is very light and the battery lasts for 7 to 8 hours. It’s very thin and light, so it’s the most mobile portable computer possible.” Other products include the Power Pad, which can be attached to a mobile computer to enable it to run for 10 – 20 hours, which Electrovaya is selling predominantly to hospitals.Dasgupta’s current passion is zero emission electric vehicles and he believes that a lot of time and energy was wasted on developing hydrogen fuel cell cars: “Why did the world go after this for two decades and spend $20 billion trying to develop clean transportation based on hydrogen fuel cells? It was a very bad idea because for 20 years the world lost its direction; it chased a technology which was guaranteed to fail.”In the meantime 750 million cars are burning oil, and the world is beset with a dependency on oil, climate changes and urban health problems. He believes the electric car will be the solution to the energy crunch and to the health hazards caused by urban pollution.  Electric cars with their limited range and frequent need for charging have been generally regarded as novelties and not practical for daily life, but Dasgupta’s innovative car seeks to change that.His zero emission vehicle, the MAYA-100, is powered by energy-dense, lithium-ion SuperPolymer technology. It is equipped with a 35 to 50 kwh battery pack and this long-range vehicle can travel 300 miles between charging.Once again, as in the computers, the batteries are key to success. A recent electric car in the news was Tesla Cars, which was launched in California. “I think it’s a difficult design. These are not flat polymer batteries. What they are doing is buying the standard cell phone batteries from China and connecting 6,800 of them together. It’s insane!” he says. “You need the battery to be ultra safe and the way the cell phone and mobile computer batteries are made they can’t handle overcharge very well.” Dasgupta knows it will be an uphill task to get the world weaned off oil and into the electric car, because it’s disruptive technology requiring automakers to embrace a new technology: “Where the carmaker makes his money is from the engine and the drive train, not the seat and the body, which is made by somebody else. It’s an electric drive train and so there’s no value for the carmaker and it’s a new technology which the company will have to learn.” The prototype of Maya 100 is available in Norway and a few are already on the streets of Toronto and Dasgupta hopes to start production next year. The operating cost is lower than 80 percent of gasoline-run cars. “You will save a lot of money during the life of the vehicle and the operating costs go down dramatically,” he says. ” The capital costs of the car in volume production will be the same as that of internal combustion engine cars.”Does he himself drive an electric car? He says, “Yes, absolutely. The other day I borrowed my daughter’s car because my electric car was somewhere else and it ran out of gas! Because I always drive an electric car I never think of filling up on gasoline. So there I was, driving her car and suddenly it stops in the middle of the road.”Do these cars have weird, futuristic shapes or do they look like regular cars? He laughs, “No, no they look exactly like a normal car. What we did was take the chassis of a regular car and converted it into electric. So that could also be a possibility where Electrovaya could team up with auto companies and use their chassis to make electric cars.” Dasgupta is a believer in the power of imagination and in treading off the beaten path. He says, “I always tell people, including my own children, that follow your ideas and do take risks. It’s not that bad. Part of the risk taking is you have to keep pushing your ideas and convincing others.”He adds, “I’ve always been driven by curiosity and I grew up with Indian values where you’re not driven to be materialistic, but more to be thinking people, with good values.” His four children have seemingly inherited his genes – his oldest daughter, who graduated from Oxford University, works with him on the electric car, and a son has a PhD in nanotechnology, while the other two are studying science.And what gives him the most satisfaction? “Nowadays, it’s always a group doing research together and people are always thinking and so working in a team is very satisfying. It’s like doing a puzzle – getting a nice idea is very adrenalin-driven.” Krishnan Suthanthiran of Springfield, Va., is the master of an entire township set in pristine British Colombia.Many people might consider buying a condo or a townhouse or perhaps even a mansion.  But Krishnan Suthanthiran bought an entire town – sight unseen! And all for cash down. (The asking price was $7 million). Estimates to build such a town at today’s costs run as high as $250 million.The Tamil Nadu native, from the district of Dindigul, is a visionary who saw a dead mining town and pictured the possibilities of bringing new life back to this beautiful ghost town of Kitsault. Even before this acquisition, Suthanthiran was already an over-achiever in the field of innovative medical products, as head of Best Medical International, a Springfield, Va., based company known for its pioneering work in radiation and brachytherapy products.But the world’s imagination seems to have been really transfixed by his recent acquisition of Kitsault, which has its own fascinating history. In 1979, the remote pristine Observatory Inlet of northern British Columbia, behind the Alaskan panhandle, was known for its rich deposits of minerals. The mining conglomerate of Phelps Dodge wanted to mine its molybdenum and built an entire town to accommodate its workers.Kitsault was an ambitious undertaking, with more than 100 single-family homes and duplexes, seven apartment buildings for a total of 202 suites. It even had a modern hospital and a shopping center, restaurants, banks, a theatre and a post office.After the workers arrived life thrived, but just 18 months after its inaugural, the molybdenum demand died out and prices crashed. Kitsault was abandoned and became a ghost town.If descriptions of Kitsault are to be believed, it sounds like a Shangri-La. The official website boasts: “There is 2.4 kilometers of waterfront teaming with fish and crab, and along the manicured boulevards apple trees hang low with fruit that no one has ever picked. The town is surrounded by snow-capped mountains that have never been skied and there are eight glacier-fed streams that support salmon within a 20-minute walk of the town center.” It was a town without people, a town time forgot – until Suthanthiran came along with his larger-than-life ideas and risk taking. He is toying with several possibilities from resorts to a movie studio to energize the region. He plans to rename the town Chandra Krishnan after his parents and it will be interesting to see how this Indian immigrant revitalizes this unspoilt part of British Columbia.Kitsault may indeed have found a savior who will respect its environmental wealth and native culture. People have tried to dissuade him, but as he says, “You could list all the issues and walk away from it. But I didn’t grow up that way; I had to go through a lot of challenges.”Years ago, his father, who owned a small grocery business, was struggling and even finding money for his schooling was difficult.  “I used to buy used books for school and not make any notations on them, because I would resell them to buy books for the next class,” he recalls. “Once my grandfather gave me Rs. 15 for my examination fees and a relative took it away. I spent five days crying and finally my father found some money for the fees.” He did not even have enough money for his college tuition. A friend’s father joined up with other friends to put together that small – yet so very big – amount for him and he’s never forgotten that gesture or its ultimate importance in his life. The money bore rich dividends. Suthanthiran secured a scholarship and went on to a research assistantship at Carleton University, Ottawa. His first job at the school cafeteria was as a dishwasher for $1an hour. He says: “You worked eight hours a day and then you got $8, minus taxes.”Suthanthiran graduated from Carleton’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and hitchhiked his way to the United States, where he spent hours every day at the labor department, trying to get an engineering job. Today he is president and founder of Best Medical International and has also acquired several other medical companies. He is setting up Best Medical offices in India, Dubai and China.In fact, his interests flow in all directions – and his latest acquisition is a media production company in Canada. It’s a step linked to his purchase of Kitsault, for which he has some very dramatic plans, including a nursing school, conferences and retreats.Does he think it was a smart business move to put millions down for this abandoned town?“If I was looking strictly for investment, then there were many better opportunities,” he says. “My financial advisors in fact advised against buying it. Initially I felt it was a shame that such a beautiful town was sitting empty and not being used. I thought it was a crime.”After buying it, ideas have been percolating and, as he says, evolve over time; they don’t happen overnight. He hopes to use Kitsault for furthering health, education and non-violence philosophy. “I’m going to be setting up an artists’ colony and the initial plan is to have 300-400 artists living there with free lodging and we want them to develop their skills,” he says. “In the fall we plan a Mahatma Gandhi Film, Music and Television festival to promote non-violence in entertainment, because we live in a very violent world.” The plans will be mapped out within the next couple of years and include the production of films.This multimillionaire lives very frugally. He doesn’t own a car and often goes watch-less, because he says he can read the time on his cell phone. But truth is that the true value of a dollar is not lost on him. He knows how far money can go in educating future generations. He was the only one in his family to complete high school and knows that lack of education means lost opportunities. Today he funds over 100 scholarships in India, as well as operates a school and hospital in his native town, besides donating $100,000 to his alma mater in Canada. He says, “Every dollar I save is a dollar toward education.”Amazingly, Suthanthiran didn’t even see Kitsault before buying it, since he was busy acquiring another company in New York at the time! He says, “This is blind optimism. Most people wait for opportunities, but as an entrepreneur you go out and seek opportunities.” And so, there you have it – a world that is more fun, more colorful and more sustainable because of the risks these men have taken. For all four immigrants, working in very different fields and different cities, the common link is a passion for their work. Just goes to show the power of the imagination and the fuel of immigrant dreams, which can propel cars without gas in their tanks, raise the scaffolding of shimmering skyscrapers, give life to an abandoned ghost town. And yes, let’s not forget the power of a Patel brewed cigar, blowing smoke from sea to shining sea.    Related Itemslast_img read more

Matter Of Justice

first_imgVivek Maru has an unusual resume for a cab driver in Sierra Leone. A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, Maru could easily blend in with the clique of expatriate elites that congregate in the capital city of Freetown. Instead, Maru’s old Nissan is routinely stuffed with anyone and anything – including chickens and goats – needing a ride on his way to work. Sierra Leone does not have formal public transportation and private vehicles, like Maru’s, serve the function of local “buses,” simply picking up people off the roadside.“Eeeyooooeeyooo,” Maru unabashedly calls out during an interview in an otherwise quiet New York City Starbucks, imitating his cab driver call.The embrace of local culture is typical of Maru’s character. His informal cab service has earned him loyal local friends and helped him learn the Krio language. It also demonstrates the joy he can experience despite the harsh landscape of Sierra Leone. Dressed in a cotton kurta, with a bike, a preferred method of transportation, parked outside, Maru radiates enthusiasm for his human rights work, which most others would find disheartening. In 2003, Maru traded his comfortable native Connecticut for a home in one of the world’s most isolated countries, which until 2002 had been ravaged by an 11-year civil war. Committed to social justice causes from a young age, he regularly worked in human rights initiatives throughout high school and college. Many of those experiences were focused on South Asia, particularly since he belongs to the tight-knit Bidada village community in Kutch.He developed a legal services initiative for the poor in war-ravaged Sierra Leone after meeting the organization’s current co-founder. “I know there are people suffering everywhere, even in America,” he explains of his decision to move to Africa, “but the suffering in Sierra Leone is so acute that I feel compelled and actually privileged to be able to make a difference.”The result is “Timap for Justice,” an innovative community-based paralegal program in Sierra Leone, a nation of 5 million people in West Africa. The organization is dedicated to advancing justice services for the poor who find themselves in village courts that apply local customary laws, which often conflict with basic human rights principles. Navigating this legal system can be horrifying and Maru narrates stories of numerous clients who face physical and emotional trauma after being caught up in the justice system. Access to courts also often requires exorbitant fees that can bankrupt the already financially vulnerable. Under Timap’s model, paralegals from different chiefdoms across Sierra Leone work directly with the poor on cases that range from domestic violence to employment rights. Paralegals help individual clients understand their rights and reach out into communities to urge members to take collective action against widespread problems, like police abuse. The program’s success has come quickly. As caseloads have grown, so too has Timap’s staff. The World Bank recently awarded the organization an $880,000 expansion grant.Maru surrounds himself with a community of fellow human rights activists and locals for company. Sierra Leone has a small Indian community, comprising mostly Sindhis, the majority of whom are shop owners. Maru says, “I haven’t really made a connection with them, although I am interested in their stories and how they ended up in Sierra Leone.” Many of the younger Indian workers his age are almost indentured servants. “They are brought to Sierra Leone just to work, and once they get there, they are not free to move around. They just go from home to shop and shop to home, and they live in a very controlled, restrictive environment,” he explains. In fact, the most common interaction he has with them is when he is “pulled aside in the aisle and they ask me in a whisper if I have connections to get them out of Sierra Leone.”The plight of his fellow South Asians clearly bothers Maru. He loves the “pluralism” of cities like New York, for example, where people of all different backgrounds come together in cultural exchanges. But to him, Sierra Leone is fractured and the Indians “are not very connected to the rest of the country. There is a good deal of exploitation in the country and the Indians just exist on the periphery.”That is not to say that South Asians have not made a positive mark in Sierra Leone. Maru mentions a Sri Lankan who, in the midst of fleeing his own country’s civil war, ended up in another. Nevertheless, he started Sierra Leone’s only chimpanzee reserve, which is bright spot of conservation and growth in the country.Because he values culture exchanges, Maru finds life in Sierra Leone difficult. Even though it has a rich tradition, its colonial, and more recent violent history, has left the country bereft of many pleasures, including art. “Life in Sierra Leone, for the most part, is hard,” he says, “and without much time to worry about retention of culture,” he explains. An avid dancer, he does make time to go out dancing with locals who still “really like to dance and enjoy life,” when they can, he says. The arts are also close to Maru’s heart, because his alter ago is a Kutchi hip-hop artist; he regularly performs at benefits and cultural shows. His performances blend the Kutchi oral tradition and spoken word with hip-hop beats, complete with enviable dance moves. According to Maru, the Kutchi tradition is fragile. Stories are passed down orally from generation to generation. He is apprehensive the tradition might be lost by many of the children of Kutchi immigrants in America who are not exposed to this Gujarati oral form.His unique solution not only preserves this fragile art, but also gives the tradition relevance for many second generation South Asians in America. Maru’s ability to seamlessly blend this ancient tradition with modern hip-hop has brought attention and praise upon the Kutchi traditions he treasures from South Asians and non-South Asians alike.Maru is currently splitting his time between New York City and Sierra Leone as he ponders his future. Social ecology, education and perhaps human rights work in India are all on the table. But for now he is compelled to return to Sierra Leone, because, he says, “the feeling of making a tangible difference is addictive.” Fellow human rights lawyer and Timap board member Chi Mgbako explains the roots of Maru’s addiction. “Sierra Leone is one of the poorest, most desperate countries on earth, but through his work, Maru has planted a seed that is bearing fruit. He is proving to Sierra Leoneans that justice, something long denied to them, can be a lived reality in their everyday lives.”   Related Itemslast_img read more

Gurgaon Court Sentences Man to Jail for Illegal Sale of NRI’s House

first_imgThe Gurugram district court sentenced a man to a six-year jail term for selling a US-based NRI’s property using fake documents. The accused, identified as Rajesh Kumar, was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 15,000.Kumar, a resident of Gurugram, had played a role in the opening of a fake bank account by giving wrong identity to encash the cheque he got after selling the property for Rs 2 crore. Along with him, two more people — Vivek Rana and Vijay Madan — were named as the accused in the case. While Rana is a proclaimed offender since December 2015, Madan remains untraceable to the police. Kumar was arrested in March 2015 and faced trial.In the order pronounced by Judicial magistrate first class Ravish Kaushik, Kumar was held guilty of cheating by personation, criminal conspiracy, and preparing forged documents. The court observed that he committed financial fraud to cheat bank officials, the property’s original owner and the buyer, by helping in the opening of the fake bank account in which Rs 2 crore was deposited.Illegal Sale of PropertyThe case came to light in 2012 when Saleem Ahmad Malik, who lives in the United States, filed a police complaint saying that their house situated in Block C of Palam Vihar was illegally occupied by some unknown persons. Malik was informed by a family friend that their house appeared occupied by some people.The house belongs to Malik’s late father, Zafar Ahmad Malik, who was also a resident of the US. In his complaint, Malik pointed out that after his father’s death, the rightful legal owner of the property was his mother, Sally Malik, who is also a US citizen.The trial for the case started in 2014. It was found during the investigation that Madan has obtained a fake power of attorney from Zafar Ahmad and used it to sell the property to Delhi resident Rajiv Kumar for Rs 2 crore. Rana was a witness during the time of the registry.Rana then opened a bank account in the name of Zafar Ahmad using fake identity proof and PAN card. Rajesh Kumar identified Rana as Zafar Ahmad at the time of opening the bank account. He was paid Rs 39.50 lakh by Rana for this. Related ItemsLittle IndiaNRI Gurugram crimeNRI India property safetyNRI property fraudNRI property illegal saleSaleem Ahmad Malik Gurugram house fraudlast_img read more

Indian Community Commemorates Arrival in Guyana 180 Years Ago

first_imgIndian Arrival Day, which is celebrated on May 5 every year to commemorate the day 396 immigrants reached Guyana from Calcutta in 1838, was celebrated in the South American country with cultural events this year. The Indian immigrants, popularly known as the “Gladstone Coolies,” reached Guyana aboard the Whitby and Hesperus 180 years ago.Indian Arrival Day is a holiday in Guyana, during which the Indian community comes together to share food and organize cultural programs. This year, the Indian Diaspora Council (IDC) International, which is based in New York, joined its global affiliates in paying tribute to their forefathers.“We are always reminded of their pioneering spirit, determination, persistence and endurance under extremely harsh conditions. While survival must have been the primary concern, they strived, and persevered to maintain their sense of origin, traditions and culture,” IDC said in a statement. “Their children, grandchildren and following generations will always take pride in this unique accomplishment, recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices and achievements made on their behalf. We also recognize the invaluable contributions they have made to the diverse culture and economic development of Guyana.”In Guyana, dancers from the Nadira and Indranie Shah dance group performed at the Indian Monument Gardens on May 5 this year.The day is a celebration of the arrival of the indentured laborers, who were shipped from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu to Guyana. They were made to work at sugarcane fields in the South American country. The indentureship ended only in 1917, and by then the 240,000-strong Indian community had become the biggest ethnic group in Guyana.In New York, where the diaspora also remembered the early immigrants to Guyana, IDC president Ashook Ramsaran, who was born in Guyana, said: “We pay homage and commemorate an historic event which took place 180 years ago, recognizing the journeys, hardships, travails and perseverance of a people.”Many people also took to Twitter to commemorate the day.May 5th marks the day Indians arrived in Guyana. Although I find it odd it’s the day they came rather than the ending of indentureship, it’s celebrated nonetheless. For some it’s far fetched but if you really think about your ancestors’s adventure to get us where we are now 🇬🇾 pic.twitter.com/Py7rzX7Q9z— 👻katharsistic🧟‍♂️ (@majinnuub) May 5, 2018May 5th, 1838 marked the day Indians arrived to British Guyana. It marked a turning point for many Indians who were looking for a better life.— Shawn Binda (@ShawnBinda) May 6, 2018On this 180-year commemoration of Indians arriving in #Guyana, join me in recommitting to work together to dismantle all systems of oppression, to create a society that’s welcoming, respectful and accepting of all #Guyanese. 🇬🇾🏳️‍🌈#IndianArrivalDay #EndRacism #LGBTQAffirming pic.twitter.com/5W1KmsFiiK— Mohamed Q. Amin (@MohamedQAmin) May 5, 2018 Related ItemsDiasporaGuyanaindentured laborlast_img read more

Ambulodto sinks game-winner as Wangs snaps skid vs Gamboa

first_imgLacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ “Even if he was in foul trouble, he had the patience to take the shot,” said coach Pablo Lucas of Ambulodto, who finished with four points and five rebounds.Robbie Herndon captained the Couriers with 27 markers on a 3-of-5 shooting from threes, to go with five boards and two assists, while Michael Juico added 22 points, four dimes, and three rebounds.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutWangs squandered a nine-point lead, 70-61, early in the fourth quarter and stumbled to a 79-76 deficit thanks to a Leo Avenido-led 12-1 run for the Coffee Lovers.But the Couriers regained their footing late, with Herndon drilling a huge three from the top of the arc with 1:08 to play while capitalizing on Gamboa’s four straight misses from the charity stripe to survive the thrilling affair. “Breaks of the game,” said  Lucas. “Good thing that our players did not give up and showed their never say die attitude. Leading or not, they were just focused on the game.”The loss spoiled Avenido’s 38-point, 9-rebound outing as Gamboa suffered its third straight defeat to fall to 1-3.Ken Acibar chimed in 15 markers and eight boards, while Mike Parala got 11 points and six rebounds in the loss.The Scores:WANGS BASKETBALL 88 – Herndon 27. Juico 22, Arambulo 10, Habelito 5, Tayongtong 5, Ambulodto 4, Riley 4, Sorela 4, De Chavez 3, Asuncion 2, Montemayor 2, Bitoon 0, King 0.ADVERTISEMENT GAMBOA COFFEE MIX 86 – Avenido 38, Acibar 15, Parala 11, Acuña 8, Dadjilul 4, Jumao-as 4, Padilla 3, Riva 2, Knuttel 1, Arellano 0, Montuano 0, Vidal 0.Quarters: 26-19, 44-40, 63-59, 88-86.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Durant to stay with Warriors but West joins Clippers Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ LATEST STORIES 1 dead in Cavite blast, firecenter_img Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide What ‘missteps’? Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netJohn Ambulodto sank the game-winning basket at the buzzer to lift Wangs Basketball to a gutsy 88-86 victory over Gamboa Coffee Mix Tuesday in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.The St. Clare big man received a pass from the driving Tim Habelito and had no second thoughts on hoisting the shot with the clock dwindling down as the Couriers snapped their two-game losing slump and improved to an even 2-2 slate.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Patiala Peg: Why Bihar’s gain causes Punjab’s labour pain

first_imgNot many people in Punjab are happy with Nitish Kumar’s victory in the recent Bihar assembly polls. As Bihar politics was re-scripted in November this year, alarm bells rang for two major sectors in Punjab – agriculture and industry – which form the backbone of its economy.Reports suggest that distress migration from Bihar –  which had already receded during Nitish’s last term as chief minister – is likely to decline further.The prime sectors of Punjab’s economy have learnt the lesson that skilled and unskilled hands sustaining them for decades would now head where they have better employment opportunities.Nitish’s second innings has ushered a hope among Bihari migrants to Punjab that there are better prospects back home.The dividends of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act reaped by people in Bihar during Nitish’s last term would continue to give them additional purchasing power. The people from Bihar – who would come to Punjab during the non- farming season in their native state – are gradually dumping Punjab which was considered one of the most progressive states in India. The estimates put migrant population in Punjab close to 30 lakh.One third of the migrants – nearly 10 lakh – are in the industrial city of Ludhiana.They have been instrumental in making the industry grow.The helpless industrialists in Ludhiana have long been alarmed of the unnerving decline in migrant labour. But, there was greater discomfort among them after October. A large number of migrants went back to Bihar in October for casting their vote in the assembly elections and celebrate Diwali. Many chose to stay back in Bihar.advertisementThis trend has spelt danger for industry in Ludhiana – known as the Manchester of India. The industry has been experiencing severe shortage of labour and the problem is gradually intensifying.At present it is home to 30 thousand registered and eight thousand unregistered small scale units. Due to labour shortage, they have had to cut their production. Ludhiana also has eight large integrated knitwear factories, roughly six thousand small to medium sized knitwear factories, 10 big hosiery yarn mills and 150 small to medium sized worsted and woolen yarn factories. There are also firms manufacturing bicycles, machine tools, sewing machines, generators, diesel engines, tyres and tubes, and other consumer goods.J Alandhar – a town synonymous with sports equipment, rubber goods, and auto part industries –  is also losing its supremacy due to the shortage of migrants. It is also the world’s biggest manufacturer of leather tool pouches and aprons with major American and European customers buying from factories here.The country’s grain bowl is also dependent on migrant farm hands. Punjab is the largest contributor to the central rice pool. It produces nearly 150 lakh tonnes of rice every year bringing 26 lakh hectare under paddy cultivation.For about three years – the farmers too have been experiencing labour shortage in Punjab during the paddy season.They are forced to scour railway stations across the state in anticipation of the arrival of migrant labour and lure them with higher wages and comforts including non- vegetarian food, dessert coolers, mobile phones and clothes. Social scientists say that Punjab’s economy cannot grow without migrants. A survey by the Punjab Agricultural University had estimated that Ludhiana has more than 10 lakh migrants against its 50 lakh population. About five lakh migrants contribute to paddy cultivation every year. They are hard working and do not form unions. They are not arrogant and are known to take up any job they get.If Bihar continues to offer better employment opportunities to its natives – which it must –  it may be disastrous for Punjab.Punjab too must wake up and work out a strategy to save its economy. Maybe they can take a leaf or two out of Nitish’s book.****************************************Babus just don’t care about our freedom fighters’ legacyOfficial apathy has taken its toll on the Dwarka Dass Library at the Lala Lajpat Rai Bhawan in Chandigarh. The library has many old books.One of which was published in 1702. The administration has been paying a meager ` 20,000 a month for its staff and upkeep. There has been a crunch of space for displaying the entire collection.Lalaji founded the library in the memory of his friend –  Dwarka Dass –  in Lahore in 1928. It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. The material was shifted to India after the partition. The library is maintained by the Servants of the People Society. Lalaji also donated his personal library to the society.The library also contains several original historical sources such as resolutions of the Indian National Congress (INC) and letters of Lala Lajpat Rai. It is also the treasure trove of literature read by martyr Bhagat Singh when he was in prison in Lahore. The library in Lahore had become a “revolutionaries’ shrine” since it was a meeting ground for Bhagat Singh and his comrades. The books issued by Bhagat Singh from a library in Lahore have been kept at the Dwarka Dass Library. A newspaper carrying the news of his execution in 1931 is also kept here.advertisementThe library also has the drape Lalaji was wearing when he was beaten up by the police before his death.****************************************Because environment mattersAn NGO called Environment Matters has taken an initiative to sensitise school children and teachers on environmental issues.The NGO has been holding workshops in schools in collaboration with the Environment Department, Chandigarh.The programme has been launched under the Environment Ministry’s National Green Corps Programme. The NGO’s chairman Sandeep Garg believes that knowledge must lead to Action. “We are approaching school eco-clubs and hold practical training programmes for students and teachers. We are also targeting colleges,” said Garg.The NGO also invites students to an equipped laboratory to demonstrate the ill effects of pollution and ways to reduce it. The NGO’s chief executive Dr RS Saini hopes that students use this knowledge when they make their way out of the classrooms.last_img

CWG, Asiad gold medallists Ashwini Akkunji and Priyanka Panwar fail dope test

first_imgThe doping scandal in Indian athletics grew in proportion on Monday with two more athletes, including the country’s new golden girl Ashwini Akkunji, testing positive for anabolic steroids hours before the departure for Japan for the Asian Championships.Apart from Akkunji, quartermiler Priyanka Panwar also returned positive for anabolic steroids in the dope tests conducted on June 27 by NADA at NIS Patiala, taking the tally of dope offenders to eight in the last few days.The development is all the more shocking as Akkunji, who had won gold in Commonwealth and Asian Games last year, and Panwar were to leave for Japan for July 7-11 Asian Championships by an 11:30 pm flight from Delhi along with 35 other athletes.Athletics Federation of India has provisionally suspended both the athletes pending a hearing by a NADA disciplinary panel.”It is sad to announce that two more athletes — Ashwini Akkunji and Priyanka Panwar — tested positive for anabolic steroids. We have provisionally suspended them. Next, they will be called for ‘B’ sample tests and then the necessary procedure will be followed,” Dogra told reporters.Akkunji and Panwar were named in the 4x400m relay team for the Asian Championships and Dogra said two other athletes in the 37-member team will take their places.”We cannot send any replacement of the two athletes now but we will field a relay team in Japan. Two other athletes (besides Tintu Luka and Mrudula Korada) from the team will run in the relay,” he said.Both Akkunji and Priyanka tested positive for metabolites of methandienone, which were found in the samples of other CWG and Asian Games gold-winning relay quartet members Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose as well another qaurtermiler Jauna Murmu.advertisementAnother qaurtermiler Tiana Mary Thomas had tested positive for anabolic steroid epimethandiol.Long Jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan and shot putter Sonia were the other athletes who have tested positive in the last few days.Interestingly, Akkunji and Priyanka’s dope flunk came from the tests on 30 samples conducted by NADA for the Asian Championships bound athletes on the request of AFI.Ashwini was a member of the 400m relay quartet that won gold in the Commonwealth Games. She had returned with two gold in the Asian Games, winning the yellow metal in 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay.Panwar’s best international result was the bronze she won in the South Asian Federation Games in Dhaka last year. She had won a bronze in the 100m sprint in the National Games in Ranchi in February. She made it to the relay team after finishing fourth in the National Inter-state meet in Bangalore.With the dope flunk of Akkunji, three members of the Indian 4x400m relay quartet that won gold in the Commonwealth and Asian Games last year have tested positive.Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose had returned positive for the anabolic substances in the tests conducted by IAAF on May 25 and by NADA during the National Inter-state Meet in Bangalore this month respectively. Only Manjeet Kaur remained out of the dope net.There had been speculation that Akkunji and Panwar could test positive as they shared the same vitamin supplements used by Mandeep and Sini.Today’s dope results will further put Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogrodonik under the scanner as he is the coach of the 400m and 400m relay teams with two other Indians.Mandeep, Sini and Murmu had said that they had used vitamin supplements bought from the market on the recommendation of their coach and without approval from the AFI.Stating that the food supplements could be the reason behind their dope flunk, they had written to the AFI Anti-Doping Committee to test the supplements.Earlier in the day, Sini Jose also demanded that the vitamin supplements be tested by the NADA.”We want the vitamin supplements to be tested. I have not taken any banned substance knowingly. I will prove that I am innocent,” said Sini who was here to receive the letter notifying that her ‘A’ sample had tested positive.The ‘B’ sample tests of all the five athletes who had tested positive on June 30 will be done of Wednesday.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Krushnaa Patil is the first Indian woman to climb Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica

first_imgKrushnaa PatilKrushnaa Patil, 21, MountaineerShe’s all of 21 and already has several firsts to her credit. At 19, Krushnaa Patil became the first mountaineer from Maharashtra to reach the summit of Mount Everest and in the next two years scaled six of the world’s highest peaks, one in every continent.,Krushnaa PatilKrushnaa Patil, 21, MountaineerShe’s all of 21 and already has several firsts to her credit. At 19, Krushnaa Patil became the first mountaineer from Maharashtra to reach the summit of Mount Everest and in the next two years scaled six of the world’s highest peaks, one in every continent. She went on to become the first Indian woman to climb Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica.The Journey: Professional mountaineering happened by chance to the girl from Pune when she took a summer course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi after Class XII in 2007. Atop Mount Satopanth in Uttarakhand during her pre-Everest expedition, Patil was hooked.The challenge: She couldn’t find a sponsor for her Everest adventure, so she took a bank loan of Rs 30 lakh. “Sponsors don’t find it lucrative to put their money into mountaineering. It’s not a very popular sport,” says Patil.The future: She is setting up an adventure company.Second Opinion”Achievements at such a young age are noteworthy and we need such young girls in adventure sports.”Reena Dharmashaktu, first Indian woman to ski to south polelast_img read more

DD vs MI: I’m good as a replacement player, jokes Lendl Simmons after Kotla heroics

first_imgWhenever Lendl Simmons returns from an injury layoff he makes it count no matter which team he is playing for – West Indies or Mumbai Indians. Coming in as a replacement for Jos Buttler at the top of the order, Simmons hammered 66 off 43 balls as Mumbai Indians posted 212/3 on the board and then bowled out Delhi Daredevils for 66 to win by 146 runs and record the biggest victory margin in IPL history on Saturday.Facing one of their remaining must-win matches after having eight points from 10 games, Delhi allowed Lendl Simmons and Kieran Pollard to hit blistering half-centuries as Mumbai posted a huge total of 212/3 in 20 overs at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium here.The home side’s batting was even more horrific than their bowling as they were bowled out for 66 — one run short of matching their lowest total of 67, posted earlier this edition against Kings XI Punjab on April 30. It was the third lowest total in the history of IPL — the infamy belonging to Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 49 against Kolkata Knight Riders last month.Simmons was playing his first match for Mumbai this season but it never looked like he was out of the team as he kept hitting the boundaries and sixes from the onset.”I think I’ve been practicing hard. I’ve been hitting the gym, keeping my fitness up, waiting for the opportunity. It came today and I took it in both hands. I’m good as a replacement player, it’s been good for me,” Simmons said after being adjudged Man of the Match at the post-match press presentation.advertisementThe 32-year-old also spoke about his experiences of batting with Parthiv Patel and Pollard, with whom he shared 79 and 37-run partnerships respectively.”Batting in the Powerplay and with Parthiv is always good. My game plan is to see off the first two overs and then back my shots. At first it was a bit slow, but dew came on, and then the shots were easy to play.”Batting with Pollard is good, we are accustomed playing together. We didn’t have a total in mind, we just had a mind towards keeping the run-rate up and not losing wickets at crucial times,” Simmons added.Mumbai are the first team to qualify for the playoffs while Delhi still have an outside chance of making it to the next stage. Mumbai will next face Sunrisers Hyderabad in an away game on May 8th, while Delhi will travel to Kanpur to play against Gujarat Lions on May 10th.last_img read more

PSG Wins French Cup Scraping 1-0 Win Against Angers

first_imgPARIS (AP) — Wrapping up a season during which it failed to achieve its two major goals, it was fitting that Paris Saint-Germain won the French Cup thanks to an own goal in added time.PSG, which relinquished its league title to Monaco and was eliminated from the Champions League in the last 16, ended a mediocre campaign on a high note by winning the cup with a scrappy 1-0 win over Angers on Saturday.PSG dominated but needed an own goal from Angers right back Issa Cissokho to prevail at the Stade de France.PSG claimed its 11th French Cup, its third in a row, to surpass Marseille as the club with the most cups.As the 100th final entered added time, Cissokho looked hampered by Blaise Matuidi’s pressing at the near post and headed the ball into his own net with the back of his head from a corner hit by Angel Di Maria.PSG finished the season with two trophies, having already won the League Cup in coach Unai Emery’s first season in charge.“We learned from everything, and we will learn from that season which was a bit difficult,” PSG defender Serge Aurier said.Amid rumors in the French press he could be replaced during the summer, Emery said he intends to fulfil the final year on his contract.“I am happy here. This team can grow,” Emery said.Angers, which played in its first final in 60 years, failed in its bid to win a first major trophy.With PSG already qualified for next season’s Champions League, the remaining Europa League went to Bordeaux, which finished sixth in the French league.PSG monopolized the ball from the start but Angers goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier ensured his side stayed in the contest with decisive saves.Letellier pushed away a dangerous cross from Serge Aurier, then saved a flick from Matuidi from close range, and stopped a header from Edinson Cavani. After Di Maria set up Cavani with a through ball in the back of the defense, Letellier dived to block the striker’s shot.Playing on the break, Angers had the best chance of the match when Nicolas Pepe unleashed a 20-meter striker that hit the base of Alphonse Areola’s post while the PSG keeper looked well beaten.Di Maria was PSG’s best player and a threat throughout the game with his acceleration, fine dribbles, and accurate passes. The attacking midfielder found Aurier on the right side of the box at the stroke of halftime but his teammate missed the target.After the interval, Matuidi came close to breaking the deadlock, only for the Angers ‘keeper to parry the effort.Fatigue took a toll on Angers after an hour but its defense stayed poised to resist PSG’s onslaught in the final 10 minutes until Cissokho’s own goal in the last action of the game.“It’s sad but that’s life,” Angers captain Cheikh Ndoye said. “I don’t know if we’ll get the chance to play another final. We had a beautiful generation (of players). Football is so cruel.”SAMUEL PETREQUIN, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Real Madrid boss ready to pin hopes on Bale after Ronaldo departure

first_imgNew Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui is aware of the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure has left a big hole to be filled at the club but he is confident of the fact that Gareth Bale will step up and be a key player this season.Ronaldo joined Juventus for a fee off 100 million Euro earlier in the summer and with him gone, Lopetegui faces an uphill task to replace their talisman. But, Lopetegui thinks Bale will step up the fans will finally see the best of him this season.”We first recognise Cristiano as one of the most important players in the recent history of Real Madrid. He vocalised his desire to leave and the club gave him all the facilities to do so. We wish him all the luck in the world,” said Lopetegui, whose side will play Manchester United in the International Champions Cup on Wednesday.”When it comes to our players, Bale and everyone else, we are completely convinced we have the players to move forward. Bale is a magnificent player with qualities and we are convinced he and everyone else can fill the void.Also read – Cristiano Ronaldo moves to Juventus after 9 years at Real Madrid”He’s very, very happy. Hes very happy to play at Real Madrid. He’s happy to be here, and this is a fantastic opportunity for him to show his talent. I’ve talked to him like I’ve talked to everyone. Hes with the team, he’s happy, he’s in line with our goals and it’s a start of a new exciting path for us that I’m looking forward to.”advertisement Julen Lopetegui said that he is ready to start Real’s campaign without any new signings (Getty Images)Real Madrid are also linked with the likes of Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois and Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic but Lopetegui insists that he is happy with the current squad and he will be happy with it if all his players stay.Also read – Spain coach Julen Lopetegui replaces Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid”We are delighted with the team and convinced we are going to fight for every title. If nobody comes and nobody leaves, I will be a happy coach,” said Lopetegui.He said Bale and Benzema had been working “extraordinarily well” and highlighted that with Ronaldo’s departure Real Madrid were more than a one-man club.”Everyone has a magnificent chance to reinvent the team without an important player and to strengthen the word ‘team’. We need to know what we want, although I also have to highlight the great players we have,” he explained.last_img read more

Why You Should Write Your Own Content

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you know me at all, you know that I do a lot of writing. A lot.I write content that is published widely on industry publications, because I consider it to be extremely important both personally and professionally. Content writing isn’t just something that I do on the side. It is a core component of what I preach and practice every day of my life. Content is that important.Plan your content for every persona and stage of the buying cycle. [Free Content Mapping Template]As an entrepreneur and a content marketer, I recommend that you write your own content. I understand that there are many objections, but all these objections can easily be overcome. What I want to explain in this article are several of the reasons that I write my own content, and why I think you should do the same. 1) You are the only one who can express your own voice. Your voice is an important part of creating and sustaining a brand or service. No one else on the planet, not even your mom, can have the exact voice that you have. A writer’s voice is one of a kind. It’s like a fingerprint — unique to you and only you.So you want to create content, you need a voice. What kinds of voices are there?PersonalApproachableCasualFormalIntimateHilariousDetachedScientificScholarlyIncisiveRudeProfaneEvery possible combination of theseA voice is like a personality. It has facets and features that only you can express. No one else has the same personality that you do. In the same way, no one else can adopt the exact same voice as you do. When you are first starting out in content creation, I recommend that you make the effort to cultivate your voice and develop an identity. You will then attract the audience that is suited to your content, your product, and your service. As an entrepreneur, I’ve been able to develop a voice that attracts other entrepreneurs. I can speak the language, share the challenges, and identify with the concerns of other entrepreneurs. By developing a voice, I’ve been able to develop a following. And that has made all the difference in the world. 2) Your brand needs to be authentic. Even if they’re writing for a company, every entrepreneur, innovator, marketer, or business leader needs to view themselves as a brand, too.Everything about you affects your brand — your pictures, your citations, your tweets, your content, your followers, etc. All of these shape how people view and respond to you as an individual. As I discuss in my “Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand,” writing content is incredibly important to building a brand. You can’t have a brand unless you have a presence. And you can’t have a presence unless you’re writing about your industry.To take this a step further, you need to take on the responsibility for developing this brand. Although you may entertain the idea of hiring a ghostwriter, your first forays into content marketing should have your authentic, personal voice — that’s how you’re going to connect with your audience, after all. Branding relies on content — and that content is up to you. 3) You need the experience of speaking directly to your audience.The value of writing your own content runs in two directions. First, writing content delivers value to your audience. They hear you, understand you, and respond to you. Second, writing content delivers value to you as the producer of that content. You are learning — informing yourself about what your audience needs. To write is to learn. When I research issues and share my viewpoints, I’m learning, too. What this does is gives me a deep understanding of my audience. Nothing that I write will be effective unless it speaks directly to the needs and challenges of the readers. In order to understand those needs and challenges, I need to be writing and researching. My goal, in every piece of content that I write, is to address my readers directly and personally. I’m passionate about helping others grow their knowledge, solve their problems, and achieve their goals. If my content has any impact, it’s because I’m striving to speak directly to my audience. 4) You need the experience of responding to your audience. Not only do I speak directly to my audience, but I also respond to them. You’ll notice that when readers comment on my blog, I try to respond. I may not be able to answer every single question in depth, but I read and acknowledge what people are saying. I read every email I receive. I listen, and respond.Content marketing is not just about broadcasting information — it’s also about receiving feedback. Content is simply a way of starting a conversation. Once I start conversations, I have a responsibility to follow up with them. And often, from these conversations, new content is created.I love this part of content marketing — the interaction! But I couldn’t do any of this if I weren’t writing the content. 5) You need to stay current with trends and issues in your niche.Sometimes, business leaders become completely detached from their niche. They become so preoccupied with running the business that they lose touch with what the whole environment in which their business operates.I understand how this can be the case. Running a business — let alone two businesses — is a massively time-consuming endeavor. But businesses don’t operate in a vacuum of growth trajectories, revenue, and ROI. Businesses exist within a milieu of trends, changes, innovations, disruptions, and motion. The moment I become unplugged from that environment is the moment I begin a downward spiral. I need to stay abreast of the facts and issues. How do I do that? By writing my content. Writing is by far the most valuable way to stay current with the trends and issues in my niche. Not only do I get to stay personally informed, but I also get to inform others. Plus, I get to develop thought leadership on those issues. The culminating effect of learning and writing is this: I don’t just respond to the vicissitudes of my industry; I help shape them. 6) You need to learn the practice of content marketing.We live in an age that is defined by the practice of content marketing. Content is an indispensable part of marketing.Every business leader needs to learn content marketing. This is the rubber-meets-the road of brand building and formation. It is the sine qua non of marketing best practice. When you’re involved knee-deep in coming up with topics, wrangling the research, and producing content on that issue, you truly understand what content marketing is all about — and how to use it to reach your audience.That is an invaluable skill in today’s marketing environment. You’ve got to do it in order to know it, and lead others to do it as well.ConclusionI encourage every business leader, marketing professional, and entrepreneur to become a producer of awesome content. Content marketing is the only way to develop leadership in the industry, and it’s the only way that you’re going to truly understand and appreciate your audience.Writing content doesn’t have to be a vortex of time. You can hire people to help you brainstorm, edit, and publish your content. But you should drive the effort, forging the words and topics that help grow your business.You don’t need to be a professional writer, nor do you need to be the sole producer of content. But when you’re just starting out, there is no skill so necessary, so effective, and so powerful as writing content yourself. Content Creation Originally published Aug 5, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2017 Topics:last_img read more