This week’s spots of cheer.

Vamona Navelcar: Goa is finally celebrating the artist who reflects all its complexities

Vamona Ananta Sinai Navelcar, whose roots lie in the sleepy village of Pomburpa, studied art in Portugal in the 1950s, taught geometry in Mozambique, and then moved back to Portugal and, finally, to Goa. His art reflects the socio-political climate of all these three places.

“His art is no doubt representative of his personal genius but also of a larger Goan reality, and this is what makes is work unique,” said Inês Figueira, director of Fundação Oriente. “He is a Goan artist in the sense that this is a place of interception between many cultures, which you can see reflected in the artist’s work. He is actually a perfect example of the complexity of Goan identity and in this sense his work represents the larger Goan reality.”

Dark is Divine: A photographer uses his camera to challenge India’s obsession with fairness

The tendency to see fair people on television, in films and to uphold them as the standard for beauty remains strong. Apart from popular culture, there is also a bias over skin colour in religious iconography. The myriad of Hindu gods and goddesses – Lakshmi, Ganesh and Shiva – are often fair-skinned in their visual representation.

A Facebook photo series, titled Dark is Divine, by photographer Naresh Nil is subverting this narrative by portraying gods and goddesses as dark-skinned. “Our idea was born out of this very notion of acceptance of fair as divine, which to me is more about normalisation of this concept in society,” said the Chennai-based photographer who worked on the project with creative director Bharadwaj Sundar. The two run a production house, Slingshot Creations, together.

This club in Kolkata celebrates books and reading (and talking about both) over breakfast by a lake

It all started in November 2016, when the entrepreneur Mudar Patherya broached the idea of a Book Club to Samantak Das, Professor of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University. They contacted prospective attendees ahead of the meeting and requested them to bring their “favourite pieces” about Kolkata. “We thought January would be a good time to start,” says Das, and the group met for the first time on January 7, 2017.

People came to the first meeting with pieces in different languages and the multilingual character of the sessions was established organically. The readings are mostly in Bengali and English – not surprising, since these are the two languages that people in the group are most comfortable with. However, it is not as if other languages are missing – almost all meetings have Hindi and Urdu readings. And some members bring German and French texts. Of course, Das occasionally reminds us that we can’t confine ourselves to reading only in one language.

‘Kashmir Daily’, first film from the Valley in 45 years, gets a limited release outside the state

The film has been shot in Srinagar in Urdu and Kashmiri, using local talent, and features three songs in both languages. Granted a U rating by the Central Board of Film Certification, Kashmir Daily was being screened at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre in Srinagar last year to raise funds for a wider release.

The first Kashmiri film was Jagjiram Pal’s 1964 movie Mainz Raat, but there have been hardly any local productions since. The last Kashmiri film to get a theatrical release outside the region was Shayar-e-Kashmir Mehjoor in 1972.

Watch: A five-year-old gatecrashing his father’s live interview might set a new standard for TV news

“Umm, that’s my child, excuse me,” said the interviewee on Skype, nervously laughing when his son popped into view. However, much to everyone’s joy, the TV host took it all in stride and even welcomed five-year-old Rainier, fondly known as “Razor”, to join the interview, which he did gladly.

Razor graciously added to the evening’s entertainment by running a toy car down his father’s shoulder, and promptly responded with a “yes” when his father asked him if he agreed with his opinion on Hollywood.

50-year-old Japan legend Kazuyoshi Miura renews contract for 33rd season of league football

Former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura, who will turn 51 next month, renewed his contract with Yokohama FC on Thursday, extending his record as the oldest player in the J-League.

The golden oldie, admiringly nicknamed “King Kazu” for his spirited grit and style, will kick off his 33rd career season this year after a stunning 2017 in which he surpassed the previous professional longevity record set by England legend Stanley Matthews. Miura also became the oldest player to score a competitive goal in a professional match last year, another record held previously by Matthews.

“I was able to renew the contract this season too,” Miura said in a brief statement issued by the second-division Yokohama FC. “At all time, I hope to grow by fully facing football with all of my strength.”

Video: This 4-year-old is the fastest baby biker, clocking 45 miles an hour on his tiny bikes


While children his age are playing with toys, Ukranian Tima Kuleshov is zooming past competition.

The Casteless Collective: A music band’s debut has caught the attention of Chennai and the internet


This was not a concert that had people head-banging or jumping to the beat of their drums. Instead, the audience was listening to the songs with rapt attention, breaking into applause and shouts of agreement whenever the lyrics hit home. The Bhim Rap, a song on BR Ambedkar’s life and work, was met with particularly enthusiastic reception. So was the rap song that condemned honour killings in the name of caste pride – a major social problem in Tamil Nadu. Another popular track, Madrasin Magizhchi, spoke about the small joys of living in Madras, despite being poor.

Watch: These sculptures can be stretched and bent. That’s both fascinating and grotesque

The original honeycomb technique is an age-old art seen in paper gourds in China, which are hung during weddings and celebrations. Inspired by this, and given his own prior work in book-publishing, Li began to work on his new vocation.

India’s GDP to pick up from this year, says World Bank as it pegs 7.3% growth in 2018

India’s economy is likely to grow 7.3% in 2018 and then accelerate to 7.5% in the next two years, the World Bank said on Tuesday, citing strong consumption in the private sector and public spending.

“In all likelihood, India is going to register higher growth rate than other major emerging market economies in the next decade,” Ayhan Kose, director of the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group, told PTI. “So I wouldn’t focus on the short-term numbers. I would look at the big picture for India, and the big picture is telling us that it has enormous potential.”

Scientists find 5,000-year-old rock art in India that could be the oldest depiction of a supernova

The figures underneath the supernova and the moon on the rock painting aren’t part of a hunting scene, as it might seem at first glance. Instead, Vahia’s analysis shows they neatly fit the constellations that surrounded the supernova: The man with the bow and arrow on the left is Orion; the stag is Taurus; the man on the right holding a spear is part of Pisces; and the dog is the Andromeda galaxy. In other words, the rock art is likely a sky chart and if it is, it would be the oldest sky chart on record.

Ursula the ‘Jungle Queen’: The extraordinary story of the Englishwoman who led Naga soldiers in WWII

In 1944, the Japanese armies invaded the jungles of Nagaland from Burma. Bower was asked by the British administration to form her local Zeme Nagas into a band of scouts and comb the jungle for the Japanese. Trained to shoot as a child by her father, she had no qualms about handling firearms and training her scouts in their use. Bower mobilised the Nagas against the Japanese forces, placing herself at their head. She led 150 Nagas, armed only with ancient muzzle-loading guns, across some 800 square miles of mountainous jungle, and directed Naga ambushes of Japanese search parties. Bower’s force of Nagas became so effective that the Japanese put a price on her head.

Video: Watch and be inspired as Oprah Winfrey delivers a stirring speech at the Golden Globe Awards


Oprah, the first African American woman to be awarded a lifetime achievement award, spoke out against systemic oppression of women.

Political parties welcome SC’s decision to reconsider law criminalising homosexuality

Most political parties welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to review the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. Dating back to the 1800s, Section 377 criminalises anal and oral sex, referring to it as “unnatural sex”, and states that it is “against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”. It also includes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.