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Kolkata Beats Delhi and Mumbai to Emerge as India’s No. 1 Food City

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The world believes that India is majorly a vegetarian country, but this is a myth that needs to be busted! When you talk about a food city in India, people generally believe that places like Delhi and Mumbai would be the best, catering to many different communities, however, Kolkata has emerged as the No. 1 Food City in India. This, of course, goes without saying that no food city can be a foodies’ paradise without delectable non-vegetarian food.

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According to surveys carried out by the government, only about 22-38 percent of Indians are vegetarians. However, a new research led by an anthropologist from the US stated that these numbers are inflated and the number of vegetarians in India is much lesser. When talking about a food city, it is important to understand the political or cultural influences also determine the ‘government estimate figures’.

Vegetarian Food City Vs. Non-Vegetarian Food City

India’s population comprises of almost eighty percent Hindus and these also comprise of the majority of meat eaters in India. Just about 1/3 of upper-caste Indians are vegetarians. Indore has emerged as a majorly vegetarian city with 49% vegetarian population, followed by Meerut (36%), Delhi (30%), Mumbai (18%), Hyderabad (11%), Chennai (6%) and finally Kolkata (4%). Thus making Kolkata the No. 1 Non-Vegetarian Food City in India. Surprisingly in a country where ‘beef bans’ are common, almost 8% Indians consume beef.

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Are Religious and Political Beliefs Impacting Food City Surveys?

The current ruling party in India, BJP, spreads vegetarianism and the belief that cows are sacred animals that must be protected. Many states have put bans on beef and aggressive measures have been taken to ensure no slaughter of “sacred cows” takes place. Thus although the number of beef eating people is much higher, such religious and political pressures do not allow real figures and numbers to show up.

Food City Myths

If not for political or religious influences, myths and superstitions pertaining to a food city also cloud real judgements. For example, Delhi and Butter Chicken go hand-in-hand but when it comes to Chennai people only think of it as a vegetarian food city with idli, dosa and other common south Indian food delights. Punjab is another state that instantly pops to mind when one thinks of a non-vegetarian food city, however, almost 75 percent of the people here are vegetarians.

All these misconceptions are probably because of the very large and diverse food options in India. Every state, and sometimes even communities have their own local cuisines, adding to the plethora of food diversity in the country. In fact, when understanding the dynamics of food and food choices in India even factors like Patriarchy and Gender comes into play. More women in India claim to be vegetarian, whereas more men are meat eaters.

Kolkata’s Diverse Non-Veg Menu Makes it a Meat Lovers Food City

While most of us believe that Kolkata means great Fish, there is so much more in store for meat eaters. Yes, Fish is the predominant food choice, but Bengali cuisines cater to all kinds of meats. Some of the authentic non-vegetarian dishes of Kolkata include:

  • Keemar Doi Bora

Minced meat prepared with Sweet and Spicy Curd.

  • Kathi Rolls

Thin Rotis/Bread wrapped around Meat Kebabs.

  • Daab Chingri

Jumbo Prawns cooked in mustard and served with tender coconut.

  • Bhetki Macher Paturi

Slow cooked fish in mustard and coconut, wrapped in a banana leaf.

  • Kosha Mangsho

Mutton cooked in spicy tomato and yoghurt curry.

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Indo-Pak News

Pakistan Music Company Sues Indian Channel For Illegally Using Its Songs

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Music composers from across the globe seek inspiration from each other and Indian and Pakistani artists are no exception.  Pakistani netizens have often criticized Indians of copyright theft, while Indians accused Pakistan of blindly aping Bollywood.

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According to reports in Express Tribune, an Indian YouTube channel had been posting songs by Pakistani artists on their YouTube channel without obtaining any legal rights from the original composers.

The report states that music by artists like Bayaan, Kashmir – The Band, 21 The Band, Naseer Afridi, and many others were featured on the YouTube channels ‘The Last Cigarette’ which has nearly  375, 000 subscribers.

After getting to know about out about the illegal YouTube channel, a Pakistani record label Rearts, that represents Bayaan, Kashmir, 21 The Band, Naseer Afridi, and Khamaaj sent out a legal notice, blaming the YouTube channel of copyright violation.

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Rearts shared the news on Twitter. “In the past few days, we were brought to the attention of a YouTube channel by the title of  ‘Last Cigarette’. This channel had roughly 375k subscribers with millions of views on nearly all of its posted videos,” the tweet read. “The music on this channel featured the content of five artists from our label which had not been obtained from the artists with prior consent.”

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The statement further added that the YouTube channel had also enabled monetization, which means that a significant amount of revenue had been generated from these videos alongside the fact that the views received were greater than the ones on the original video.

“We came to know about the violation of copyright through an algorithm we use to keep tabs if any of our music is being published illegally,” Butt shared. “We found out that material from five of our artists was being used without permission. The fact that the person would pick all the hard work of our artistes, without giving due credit was unjust. We reached out to him for obtaining the license, but he wouldn’t agree to it. So we  sent him a copyright strike – but sadly, to no avail.”

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“We did so to ensure that we could get in touch with the owner of the channel so we could meditate and figure out due compensation,” Butt further elaborated. “The channel agreed that they had not obtained the content with the permission of the artists or the label and also had monetization enabled on their account, yet they claimed that they were only doing this to ‘promote art’ and had no ulterior motives whatsoever.”

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Butt went on to add that once the label decided to send out a notice, there was a severe backlash. “The Last Cigarette has a very loyal fan following. Once they put up an apology, owning to the violation, the fans started freaking out,” he added. “Fans thought it was the bands who sent a legal notice to the channel so they then started bombarding them with hate.”

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Ahmad Butt, the managing director of the label told the Pakistan media house that the label reached out to  ‘The Last Cigarette’ to acquire the business legally and become a partner in India. Rearts has sent the final copyright violation strike recently.

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Infotainment

Can Turkish Movies Fill The Void Created By Bollywood Films in Pakistan?

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After having enjoyed a wide range of Turkish dramas, Pakistani audiences have now been fascinated by Turkish cinema. Almost 45 movie theatres screened the first Turkish film Miracle in Cell no. 7 which was released under the banner of HKC entertainment.

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This is the second Turkish movie that is being released in Pakistan after the release of “Mohabbat Ek Ittifaq” in 2014. Another movie called ‘Bear Witness’ based on the Khilafat Movement of the 1920s (when Muslims of sub-continent helped the Turkish nation) will hit theatres in March this year.

But the one question that begs an answer is can Turkish movies or any other movies fill the vacuum created by Bollywood?

India and Pakistan have had a tumultuous relationship when it comes to movies. Indian movies were banned for the first time by General Ayub Khan in 1965. The woes exacerbated during the rule of Zia ul Haq who raised tariffs and imposed strict censorship to virtually halt growth of cinemas in Pakistan.

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The result was closing of almost 700 single-screen cinemas and Pakistani audiences were left with only daily soap operas to watch.

However, General Pervez Musharraf reversed the ban in 2006 and within a few years, 35 multiplexes shot across the country with 100 more being built. And just as Pakistani audiences were being treated to a lot of Indian films, Bollywood was once again banned after India retaliated against Pulwama terror attack.

In fact, a lot of Pakistani youth continue to watch Indian movies on DVDs or online or by getting pirated content. The love and influence of Bollywood moves is such that film distributor say that eventually, Imran Khan Government will have to lift the ban on Indian cinema.

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Generations of Pakistanis have grown up watching Bollywood movies which have been popular since the era of Dilip Kumar in the 1950s to the present era of Shah Rukh Khan, and despite numerous efforts to introduce movies from other countries, Bollywood still remains the primary choice of cinema-goers in Pakistan.

Among the top searched words in 2017 post the ban on Indian movies were Dangal, Raees and actor Rishi Kapoor while The Kapil Sharma show was the second most searched news item in Pakistan.

Pakistani film critic Usman Ghafoor agrees that Bollywood movies are loved by one and all in Pakistan. “The Pakistani film industry wasn’t there when the multiplexes began to mushroom. It was Bollywood and Hollywood that helped get the audience back in theatres,” he said.

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He added, “Bollywood is huge in Pakistan — even when the Indian films were banned in the theatres or they weren’t officially allowed air time on TV channels, the cable owners would air them secretly because the customers demanded it. For us, Bollywood is the staple diet.”

Whether Pakistan is able to fill the void of Indian cinemas by Turkish movies only time will tell but one thing is sure their love for Indian cinema will never cease.

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Food and Travel

Bollywood Cancels IIFA Awards As Covid-19 Cases Continues To Increase In India

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IIFABollywood has postponed the IIFA awards due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Organisers said they had to postpone the IIFA awards ceremony which was to be held in Indore on March 27 due to mounting health crisis.

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Organisers said that the decision to call off IIFA awards was taken “with due regard to growing concerns” around the spread of COVID-19, while keeping the health and safety of fans and the general community. “A fresh date and plans for hosting IIFA in Madhya Pradesh will be announced at the earliest,” it added.

After using venues in several countries and other Indian cities, the 2019 IIFA returned to the Bollywood capital in Mumbai.  But the government has warned against holding mass gatherings because of the virus, which has infected 30 people in India so far. Many conferences, celebrations for Holi and public events have been cancelled in recent days.

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Meanwhile,  three more positive cases of novel coronavirus have been reported in India taking the total number of confirmed cases to 34, Union Health Ministry said according to the PTI.

Of the three, two are from Ladakh with travel history to Iran while one is from Tamil Nadu who had visited Oman, the ministry said, adding all the patients are stable. In the wake of more than 30 confirmed cases of coronavirus in India so far, the Union health ministry made 52 laboratories functional for testing samples while 57 labs are designated for helping in sample collection.

The ministry also said more than 150 people, who had come in contact with two US nationals who tested positive for coronavirus in Bhutan and had toured various placed in India, have been put under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

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PM Modi reviewed the coronavirus situation in the country at a meeting with officials and directed them to identify locations for sufficient quarantine facilities, and make provisions for critical care in case the disease spreads further.

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