Asked by mediapersons why the new pink Rs 2,000 note leaks colour when dipped in water, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley explained that this is a feature of any new currency note. Currency notes have two sets of inks, one for the whole note and the other restricted to the embossed section with intaglio printing — such as the Gandhi image and the RBI governor’s signature. In these raised portions, the ink rubs off. To prove his point, Jaitley asked the journalists surrounding him to produce an old Rs 1,000 currency note and a dollar note. He then took a handkerchief and rubbed it on the intaglio printing. In both cases, the colour transferred to his kerchief.
Incidentally, many myths on demonetisation have gone viral. One claim is that there is a chip in the note which can be downloaded by the Income Tax. Another is that if you use your mobile phone and click a photo of a Rs 2,000 note, a video of Narendra Modi pops up. A third falsehood is that Mukesh Ambani’s wife Nita and RBI governor Urjit Patel’s wife Kanan are sisters.
The late Arjun Singh’s grandson Arunoday Singh, an up and coming Bollywood actor who starred as the villain in the movie Mohenjo Daro, is to marry Lee Elton, a Canadian who runs a café in Goa. The groom’s father, Ajay Singh, a five-time Congress MLA from Madhya Pradesh, hosted a preeti bhoj for the couple in Churhat, his constituency and family seat, so that they could be introduced to the locals. But Arjun Singh’s widow, Saroj Kumari, was missing and so was Ajay’s sister Veena. The family has been feuding for long over who is the true inheritor of the former chief minister’s political legacy. The fact that Saroj Kumari’s name is also not on the invitation card for the wedding, which is to be held in Mumbai, has invited some negative comments in Madhya Pradesh.
While releasing the book Inner Fire last week, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur acknowledged that it was the first time that he was presiding over a book launch which had nothing to do with the legal profession. Inner Fire is a translation and analysis of the Zoroastrian sacred verses, the Gathas, which date back to the age of prophet Zarathustra, somewhere between 6500BC to 1000 BC. The Gathas were passed on from generation to generation through oral tradition and the language in which they were originally composed is dead. The book’s author is Thakur’s fellow judge, Justice Rohinton Nariman, an ordained Zoroastrian priest who painstakingly reconstructed the original meaning of the words through comparisons with Sanskrit, since ancient Avestha and Rigvedic Sanskrit have much in common. Another legal luminary and linguist, former Justice B N Srikrishna, used Sanskrit to translate the Zoroastrian prayer on truth, Ashem Vohu, for the audience. Both Justices Nariman and Srikrishna follow in the tradition of another philologist judge, Justice William Jones, who sat on the Calcutta Supreme Court bench in the 18th Century and mastered 18 languages. The author’s father, leading jurist Fali Nariman, proudly acknowledged that in spiritual learning, his son had left him far behind.
When he first signed up with the Congress, campaign strategist Prashant Kishor focused on the forthcoming UP Assembly elections and ignored Punjab. The Congress chief ministerial face in Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, kept Kishor at arm’s length since he did not want him to interfere in the state. But now the position has reversed. Perhaps because Kishor realises that UP is a lost cause, he has withdrawn from the UP campaign and switched his attention to Punjab, where he senses that the Congress could pull off a victory. Singh and Kishor are now on good terms. Kishor does not make suggestions about nominations, but has given Amarinder some useful tips on toning down his princely image. Amarinder has exchanged his royal turban for one worn by the common man. He now also interacts with the aam janta while sitting in dhabas.
With Jayalalithaa still in hospital, cracks have appeared in the AIADMK. Party MPs joined the Congress-led opposition against demonetisation in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament last week. However, over half a dozen parliamentarians are privately upset with the AIADMK position since the party has always avoided being on the same side as the DMK, whom they have branded as corrupt following the 2G scam. Sasikala is blamed for hijacking the party and taking the decision unilaterally.