Airlift the Rice to Monrovia, Please!

first_imgIn the Observer’s end-of-year edition, we made Lofa County farmer John Selma Person of the Year. The choice for us was clear. Here was a man who, after all of the noise the international community had made over food sustainability, galvanized a group of Lofa farmers and decided they would produce enough rice to feed the country. The Liberian government has long paid lip service to agriculture, and these patriotic, hardworking Liberians had decided that that notwithstanding, they would grow enough food to feed their country—at their own expense.The farmers borrowed money from a village loan and savings scheme, expanded their farms and yielded an abundant harvest. They were overjoyed—until they found out that there was no way of getting their produce to market and their government was wasting time in helping them. Then last week, we found out that the farmers were in trouble—that they could face legal action if they were not able to pay back the money they borrowed to expand their farms. The Observer contacted the Ministry of Agriculture to ask whether the government could mandate that rice importers purchase rice from local farmers before being allowed to import it from India and China. The Ministry of Agriculture said that was the Commerce Ministry’s job. When theObserver contacted the Commerce Ministry, they said they were waiting for the Ministry of Agriculture to take the lead in mandating that foreign rice importers buy from Liberian farmers first before being allowed to import. Economically and logically speaking, food produced in-country should be much less expensive than imported food. But the price of locally grown rice (affectionately known as ‘country rice’) is on par with the price of imported rice on the Liberian market mainly because of the cost of transporting it to Monrovia on very bad roads. So the farmers have done their part. Whose job is it now to ensure that they are able to sell their rice at a profit so that their families are fed and their children go to school? So that in such a tough economy, as Varney Sherman has already warned us, there is an affordable and sustainable alternative on the market as far as the supply of our staple food is concerned? So that more and more Liberians are encouraged to go back to the soil in a country so rich in vegetation? So that we do not wake up one day to find this country embroiled in another April 14?We can answer most unequivocally that it is the government of Liberia’s (GOL) job. Whom do they expect to build farm-to-market roads? These farmers are not asking for a handout; nor did they drink and party away the money they borrowed. They have the evidence to show that they did what they were supposed to with the money. They were responsible and even united. And must they now be punished for such a patriotic initiative? The government of Liberia is creating around this issue an air of impossibility, as if fixing the roads would be the only way to get the rice to markets. Why has the government of Liberia not contracted cargo planes from Ghana, Nigeria or even asked the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to make the rice available on the market? Surely rice milling machines can be made available to the farmers (we understand they are made in Ganta). And so, as we understand it, there is absolutely no other reason why Liberian ‘country rice’ is not being sold on the market at a competitive price other than a lack of commitment on the part of the GOL. So what really is the problem that causes the GOL consistently to give foreigners preference over Liberians in their own country? It seems the determined and unconscionable propensity (inclination) of this government to want to outsource EVERYTHING—why? Has the government lost confidence in its own people, and in itself? We recently learned that the GOL has its eye on the privatization of education in this country—“Public-private partnerships” as they are called. Whose curriculum will these foreign-run schools be using? Will education be contextualized to our culture and environment or will our children see things they cannot relate to in their text books? Today President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is scheduled to deliver her Annual Message to the Legislature. We suggest that one of the first things she should tell them is that GOL will airlift the rice produced by Lofa and other farmers around the country to Monrovia, have it milled and sold without delay so that none of this momentous (historic, extraordinary) harvest is lost and the patriotic initiative of these hardworking farmers does not go in vain. GOL cannot afford to let the Lofa farmers down and run the risk of totally discouraging farming in Liberia.The President should also outline and activate every resource needed to implement a serious agenda for agricultural transformation in Liberia, focusing most especially on four crops: cocoa, coffee, rice and vegetables. Financing agriculture and good roads are the other legs of this important stool of our national economy.She cannot help but deliver to the Legislators a litany of economic woes. The agenda for the transformation of agriculture, focusing particularly on these four crops and speeding up road building and maintenance would spell the answer to the economic crisis. If the Sirleaf-led administration fails this country at a time such as this, if they sit back and watch the farmers drown with their hands extended for help, history will judge Ellen Johnson Sirleaf most harshly. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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“I Will Reactivate Police Patrol Division”

first_imgDeputy Police Commissioner-designateRobert W. Budy, Deputy Police Commissioner for Operations-designate, yesterday said the patrol section of the Liberia National Police (LNP) has been dormant and so if confirmed he would reactivate it to meet its prewar status.Budy spoke when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Rule of Law, Claims, and Order.Budy, who served as Deputy Commissioner for Operations at the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) prior to his appointment by President George Weah, observed that in the past the patrol division of the LNP provided 24-hour coverage for citizens, foreigners, and their properties, but unfortunately, he said, the department has been dormant for years.“This patrol division is the most viable section of the police, providing around the clock service to the public,” he said, adding that the patrol division acts as the first responder to calls to provide immediate and timely police intervention.But, with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) style of patrol introduced to the LNP that includes the Police Support Unit (PSU), the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and other security agencies, Budy said, though it was good, it has not been effective in preventing crimes.Additionally, Budy explained that officers assigned to that division conducted preliminary investigations into crimes and apprehended suspected criminals.“Officers also conduct directed patrols to discourage and prevent the opportunity for crimes to occur and enhance the public’s awareness of criminal activities in their communities,” he maintained.“I will make this department visible and accessible to the public at all times while working together to reduce crimes in every part of the country if confirmed,” Budy said. “But, it can only happen, if you also increase the budget of the LNP.”When asked how he would deal with the growing number of tricycles (Keh-keh) plying major streets throughout the country, Budy told the committee that the issue is very important, ‘because they are making significant contributions to the economic and social development of the people.’“Their issue needs serious consideration and if I am confirmed, I will work with the leadership to ensure a cordial working relationship. I will also look at some policies that have been put in place in that direction, so as to see whether we can reform it,” he stated.According to Budy, lawlessness has been on the increase in the country, and he would not relent to use the full weight of the law to prosecute anyone responsible for violent activities in the country.For Prince B. Mulbah, Deputy Police Commissioner for Manpower Development-designate, he said if confirmed, his first priority is to ensure that appropriate personnel are trained to assist investigators of medical-legal cases.Mulbah observed that there were no trained pathologists or trained forensic physicians/medical examiners in the country, which has led to the government spending thousands of United States dollars to hire pathologists from other countries to perform autopsies in the country.“It is now time for the police to have trained pathologists that would help to prevent government from spending too much money on hiring one from another country; and if confirmed, with the support from you, Senators, I will make sure that we provide scholarships for desirous officers to be trained in that direction,” Mulbah indicated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) – Advertisement – Robert W. Budy, deputy police commission for operation-designate.last_img read more

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Guyanese jailed for Florida mortgage scam

first_imgA Guyana-born man has been jailed for more than 20 years by a Florida court, for a series of multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud schemes in the United States.According to reports from NBC 6 news and Miami AP, 56-year-old Ravindranauth “Ravi” Roopnarine was sentenced to 262 months in jail on three counts of fraud charges – wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.In addition to the sentences which will run concurrently, the federal judge also ordered Roopnarine to pay more than million in restitution to the defrauded banks and lenders.Three other people have also been sent to prison in relation to the scheme.According to publicly filed documents and statements made in court, on December 9, 2010, a Fort Pierce federal grand jury indicted Roopnarine, Gergawattie “Kamla” Seecharan, Bhaardwaj “Deo” Seecharan and Linda Rovetto for their participation in the multimillion-dollar Florida mortgage fraud scheme.Gergawattie Seecharan, Bhaardwaj Seecharan and Rovetto had previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced. Roopnarine recently waived extradition and returned from Trinidad and Tobago to the Southern District of Florida.Federal Prosecutors said in a news release on Monday that the scam involved approximately 150 residential properties in Indian River, Orange and Miami-Dade counties in Florida.The group recruited mainly Guyanese residents of Florida and other states to act as straw buyers on fraudulent mortgage loan applications, leading to the issuance of more than million in fraudulent loans.According to the court documents, “Roopnarine, along with Kamla Seecharan and her husband Deo Seecharan, conspired to solicit mainly Guyanese residents of Florida and other states to act as straw buyers on fraudulent mortgage loan applications. Approximately 80 individuals served as straw buyers of properties in Vero Lake Estates (VLE), in Indian River County, and other developments. This scheme resulted in the issuance of more than million in fraudulent mortgage loans. The co-conspirators then used the proceeds to purchase additional properties, fund pre-existing fraudulent mortgage loans, and pay kickbacks to the straw buyers.”Roopnarine was convicted by a jury of three fraud charges back in March.last_img read more

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Senior Menu

first_imgLunch is served at noon weekdays at the Simi Valley Senior Citizens Center, 3900 Avenida Simi. Donation is $5, or $2.25 for ages 60 and older. Reservations are due 48 hours in advance by calling (805) 583-6365. Lunch is served to Moorpark seniors at noon weekdays at the Moorpark Active Adult Center, 799 Moorpark Ave. Suggested donation is $2.25. Call (805) 517-6261. Meals include salad, whole-grain bread, fruit, milk and choice of yogurt, cottage cheese or cheese stick. Here is this week’s menu: Monday: Sites closed for Presidents Day. Tuesday: Beef pepper steak, green beans, broccoli. Wednesday: Chicken primavera, five-way vegetable mix, corn. Thursday: Beef sirloin tips with portobello mushrooms, lima beans, broccoli. Friday: Stuffed green peppers, sliced carrots, five-way vegetable mix. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Teen shoots ex-girlfriend, turns gun on self at school

first_imgAfter a conversation in the parking lot, Turner pulled a gun out of a backpack and shot her four times before turning the gun on himself, St. Louis said. The girl’s mother, who had dropped her daughter off at the school, saw the shooting from her car and drove between the two to try to protect the girl, authorities said. The school, about 100 miles northwest of Detroit, was locked down after the shooting. In Greenville, Texas, a 16-year-old student fatally shot himself inside the band hall at Greenville High School, police said. Police responded to the shooting about 15 minutes before the first bell, and the student was pronounced dead later at a hospital, Greenville city spokeswoman Lori Philyaw said in a statement. The student’s body was taken to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, Philyaw said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MIDLAND, Mich. – A teenager shot his former girlfriend four times outside her high school, then killed himself in one of two fatal U.S. school shootings Wednesday, authorities said. Jessica Forsyth, 17, was taken to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, where her condition was upgraded Wednesday evening to fair, hospital spokeswoman Christie White said. Midland Police Chief James St. Louis said the gunman, identified as David Turner, 17, of nearby Coleman, died in the parking lot. Turner had gone to H.H. Dow High School on Wednesday morning to try to talk to Jessica, but he was turned away by school officials, the police chief said. The boy then called her and asked her to meet him outside the building. last_img read more

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Wambani hoping for seior team chance

first_img0Shares0000Harambee Stars midfielder Anthony Wambani when he made his debut for the national team against Tanzania during the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup at the Lugogo Complex in Kampala, Uganda on December 8, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluKAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 11 – Sweden based midfielder Anthony Wambani says he hopes to use the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda as a stepping stone to endear himself closer to coach Francis Kimanzi ahead of next year’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.The midfielder moved to Swedish third tier side Vasalund IF from Bandari in the middle of 2018, but is yet to get a proper opportunity at the national team. With the Swedish league having finished in November, Kimanzi called up the youngster to see more of him and also hand him a chance to impress at the Senior Challenge Cup.“He is a good players and we wanted to see more of him. It is an opportunity for everyone because we want to build depth around the team for next year. I was impressed with how he played but most times, you cannot judge much from one game,” Kimanzi said of the midfielder’s performance.Wambani made his national team debut in the opening day 1-0 win over Tanzania playing 85 minutes but wasn’t part of the match day squad against Sudan as he was hit with a bout of flu on the night of the game.Wambani however believes he will do his best to ensure he endears himself to Kimanzi.“The coach called me and because the league in Sweden was over, I decided to come and do my best to help the team. It is an opportunity for me to showcase my talent and if the coach will be interested in me, then I will be there in the upcoming games,” Wambani further stated.He added; “Being here is a good challenge for us because there are very good teams and tough matches help you become better.”His maiden season in Sweden has been injury hit and he couldn’t amass much playing time, but he believes playing at the Senior Challenge Cup will offer him more confidence especially as he moves back to club business at the start of next year.“It has been a good season in Sweden, just that I had a few injuries that slowed me down but at least I finished the season well and I am hoping for better things next season. I want to try and get to play more not only at club level but the national team as well,” he added.Wambani played at Vasalund with compatriots Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma and Ovela Ochieng, though Marcelo has now secured a move to the top tier with Vasalund’s parent club AIK.Wambani believes Marcelo’s move is a motivation for both him and Ovela to continue working so as to follow in his footsteps.“He has posed a good challenge to us and it is always nice seeing one of your friends prosper and move to the top. Now we are challenged by him to work harder so that we get such big opportunities,” stated the midfielder.0Shares0000(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Chris Ramsey: No doom and gloom at QPR

first_imgQPR boss Chris Ramsey insists there is no ‘doom and gloom’ amongst his players despite their lowly Premier League position and their desperate run of form.Ramsey has overseen six defeats in seven games since replacing Harry Redknapp in February, with Rangers four points adrift of safety ahead of a crucial relegation encounter against West Brom on Saturday.QPR then face a visit to fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Tuesday, but Ramsey maintains the squad remains in good spirits about their chances of survival.“There’s no doom and gloom here. We’ve tried to make sure everything is as upbeat as possible. “Once you start to let the doom and gloom in, it does have an effect on the confidence,” said the 52-year-old.“The belief is good, it’s fantastic, you wouldn’t believe where we are but tension mounts when you’re in the situation we’re in.”The Rangers’ boss bemoaned his side’s profligacy in their last game against Everton, and will be keen for his players to be more clinical in the next two fixtures ahead of a tough schedule that includes games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.Ramsey said: “The players couldn’t have given much more in the games recently.“Those little bits of quality in terms of defence and taking chances haven’t been there and we’re looking to change that this weekend.” 1 Chris Ramsey last_img read more

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Former Man City defender Martin Demichelis hangs up his boots at the age of 36

first_img1 Malaga defender Martin Demichelis has announced his retirement from professional football.The 36-year-old Argentina international confirmed at an emotional press conference on Monday morning that he is bringing an end to his 17-year career in the game.Demichelis, who played the final 12 minutes of Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad, will now have the chance to bid farewell to Malaga fans during next Sunday’s season-ending home clash with Real Madrid at La Rosaleda.He said, in quotes reported by www.diariosur.es: “I hope to talk from the heart. The day that unfortunately comes to us all has arrived for me, the end has come.“Thanks to the club, my team-mates and the coach (Michel), but I have to be honest with myself. I’ve lost strength in my legs and I’ve lost the power of concentration. “Thanks to football and and thanks to all of you, from now on I will be another fan of this club, which has given me so much.”Demichelis rejoined Malaga in January after being released by Espanyol.It is Demichelis’ second spell with the Andalusian club, having played for them between 2011 and 2013 after joining from Bayern Munich.The much-travelled defender has also represented the likes of Atletico Madrid and Manchester City having started his career at River Plate in his homeland.He won 51 caps for Argentina and played in the finals of the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America, both of which the Albiceleste lost. Martin Demichelis: The Argentine defender won the Premier League in 2014 last_img read more

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UPROAR AS SUNDAY WORLD MAN CLAIMS DONEGAL WERE SECONDS FROM ‘ANOTHER HUMILIATION’

first_imgOutspoken Sunday World sports writer Roy Curtis has taken another dig at Jim McGuinness and his team – despite Donegal’s superb All-Ireland semi-final victory against Dublin.Roy Curtis – the man Donegal GAA fans love to hate!Curtis has been lambasted by GAA fans here in Donegal for a number of critical articles he has penned about Donegal.A few weeks ago he called Jim McGuinness a ‘buffoon’ as well as predicting the Dubs would brush past the challenge of the Ulster champions with ease. Now Curtis has had the neck to say that Jim McGuinness was just seconds from being humiliated by Dublin at Croke Park.Curtis said, “Those who deem Jim McGuinness a worker of miracles forget that he was one kick away from a second humiliation in a little less than 13 months.“Connolly’s goal chance is converted and Dublin are home free, they might have won by twenty. But they didn’t,” he said.But he adds “As somebody who has been slow to acclaim McGuinness – the distaste at his treatment of Kevin Cassidy and Declan Bogue, the suspicion of his fervour for messianic self-promotion are undimmed – it would be mean-spirited, juvenile not to salute his finest hour. “And this was his finest hour, the afternoon he became Hercules.”Curtis does heap praise on Donegal’s new sensation Ryan McHugh who he admits is currently favorite for the Player of the Year Award. UPROAR AS SUNDAY WORLD MAN CLAIMS DONEGAL WERE SECONDS FROM ‘ANOTHER HUMILIATION’ was last modified: September 8th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalGAAJim McGuinnessRoy Curtissunday worldlast_img read more

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Zubin Mehta: The Maestro From Mumbai

first_imgThings sometimes come full circle – and it’s an amazing feeling when they do. I had interviewed Maestro Zubin Mehta 18 years ago when I was just starting out and he was music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Now there I was, back again, sitting in the Maestro’s Green Room. That last time I had caught him fresh off the stage from rehearsals, and he had munched a sandwich as he rushed between appointments. He had given a surprisingly fulsome interview and I had also spoken with his father Mehli Mehta and his mother, Tehmina, to weave a profile of Zubin Mehta.He is performing at Avery Fisher Hall after many years, but once again he is grabbing a hurried lunch, which he had earlier abandoned for an impromptu meeting with emerging conductors. The applause from these young musicians had followed all the way to the green room. As he takes a bite of his half eaten sandwich, he pushes a box of quite delicious looking brownies toward me.  “Here, have some mithai!” he says.Life is indeed sweet for Mehta right now. He has just come from Washington D.C. where he had been saluted, along with Andrew Lloyd Weber, Smokey Robinson, Dolly Parton and Steven Spielberg at the prestigious star-studded Kennedy Center Honors Gala, which had been attended by President and Mrs. Bush. The honors had been bestowed the night before at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Earlier the honorees had visited the White House where they were received by the President and Mrs. Bush.“Conductor Zubin Mehta’s profound artistry and devotion to music make him a world treasure,” said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. These were words the young Zubin Mehta could hardly have hoped to hear when he was growing up in Bombay in the 1940’s. Western classical music played little part in this tumultuous city and it was his father Mehli Mehta who created a little oasis where classical music flourished. Growing up in a home where music was almost as necessary as food and water, Zubin Mehta was exposed to classical music even before he could speak. At the age of two his cherished possessions were a pair of drum sticks, and he kept them under his pillow at night. His father held rehearsals of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra in the living room and music became a second language for the future maestro.Hard to believe, but Mehta almost went on the stereotypical track for Indian youth: medicine   He gave up his premed studies at 18 to pursue his real passion – music. In spite of financial constraints, the Mehtas sent him to Vienna’s prestigious Academy of Music and here his world revolved around music, absorbing the city’s rich musical traditions.In 1957 Mehta graduated and had to wear a full dress suit for conducting a concert as part of the final examination. Still financially squeezed, he bought a passable substitute for $25 from a place where waiters purchased their uniforms. Martin Bookspan and Ross Yockey described this tidbit in their book Zubin along with the fact that he often wore two unmatched black shoes, as the others had holes in them.Since then a lot of water has flowed under the bridge: Mehta won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition in 1958 and by 1961 had already conducted the Vienna, Berlin, and Israel philharmonic orchestras. He became music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1978, commencing a13-year tenure. After that, he was music director for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and then of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Since 1985 he has been chief conductor of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, and has also served as music director of the Bavarian State Opera. Mehta is an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv; an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera; and the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Peace and Tolerance Award of the United Nations.He and his wife Nancy spend several weeks at a time in Florence, Israel and now in Valencia, Spain, where he is involved with the new opera house that opened in October. Since they travel so much, they cherish their villa near Los Angeles, a fabulous private paradise with ocean views and a garden bursting with flowers.Mehta has been the longest serving music director of the New York Philharmonic so was there a feeling of homecoming returning to the stage of Avery Fisher Hall? “Yes, absolutely,” he says. ” It’s a wonderful feeling. I was so close to this orchestra for 13 years and playing the pieces I’ve done with them so often is a wonderful feeling .”Music runs in the family’s blood. His late father Mehli Mehta had left India at the age of 45, because there just wasn’t enough appreciation for western music and had a successful career in America. Even at the age of 80, he was conductor of the American Youth Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles. Currently Zubin’s brother Zarin Mehta is the executive director of the New York Philharmonic, and his son Merwan is the vice president of programming at the Kimmel Center, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. His daughter Zarina is a nurse in Montreal, and life is rich with grandchildren and children and moving between homes in Florence and Los Angeles.Mehta has had a long relationship with the Israeli Philharmonic and is its music director for life. Passionate about issues, he uses music to voice his support: “I’ve always been involved with my music,” he says. “I’ve tried in the Middle East to bring the Arabs and the Jews together. I don’t do too much, because of time constraints. But that’s not an excuse; we should be doing more. Arabs and Jews sitting together in concerts, but we don’t have enough of those.“Last month I took the Israel Philharmonic to Nazareth and performed for a completely Arab audience. They gave us a standing ovation. Imagine Arabs standing up for a hundred Jews playing on stage. It’s very healthy. It doesn’t change the West Bank problems, but it brings some goodwill at least.”This maestro is a foodie too. He’s a diehard Indian food fan, especially of Parsi food, which he can’t get in restaurants. The fact that Indian restaurants have sprouted up everywhere, even in Tel Aviv, does make life easier. His personal favoprite “one of the best Indian restaurants in the world” is Tandoori, which is owned by the Pushkarna family in Tel Aviv. They own four or five restaurants in Israel and surprisingly, Israelis are very much into Indian food. He smiles, “So I’m very much at home there.” Mehta has a very special relationship with India and Bombay, where he grew up, is very close to his heart. A staunch Indian national, he has stuck through thick and thin to his Indian passport, in spite of all the inconveniences during travel. His mother once shared a memory of how when some people hreferred to him as a national of their country, Zubin, though honored, had responded, “I feel very friendly toward your country, but make no mistake, I’m an Indian first.”So after living on other continents for decades, how close does he feel to India? He says, “Spiritually very close, very close. I keep going back. I have many friends, I still have friends from my youth. I still talk to them on a weekly basis.”While he’s very proud of the achievements of India and of Indians abroad, he also sees the full picture, warts and all. He questions why in Bombay, a city of plenty, 60 percent of the people don’t have clean drinking water. He also feels strongly about the AIDS epidemic in India. While visiting New York he hosted “A Night for India,” a musical fundraiser for American India Foundation to raise funds and awareness for the AIDS-HIV campaign in India.Mehta was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honor, in 2001. He is going there next October with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for a celebration of his late parents’ 100th birth anniversary and to open a music school to honor his father’s memory: “There’s a lot of talent in India. We now have to nurture it so they don’t have to leave the country, like a lot of us had to.”His father, Mehli Mehta, who had to leave Bombay because there wasn’t enough encouragement or funding for western music, always felt the hurt about leaving “that beautiful home by the Arabian Sea, that beautiful country, all my friends and all my music circles,”  he said.When I had asked him many years ago he if he had made his peace with Bombay, Mehli Mehta had responded:  “I have no quarrel with Bombay. When I came away from Bombay they gave me parties, they gave me receptions and a good send off. But my life, my main aim and my goal is my music. A man stands for his work and my work was not appreciated or accepted.” So when Zubin Mehta inaugurates the Mehli Mehta School in the heart of Bombay for all the emerging young talent in a new India, it will certainly set some things right and complete a story with an unfinished ending.Yes, things have a way of coming full circle.BABY BLUES“Even as a child he was only happy with his phonographic records. Even before he could speak or do anything – there must have been some kind of a mark on the records -because he would point to the ayah to play that certain record. He had two or three favorite ones, and he would, from a pile of records, point out just those two or three records. When he was sick or in pain, if we played a record he would just put his head on my shoulder and be quiet. As soon as the record finished, he would remember his pain and start crying.” Surrounded by the best in classical music at the age of two, did he have any favorites? “A tango with a hrefrain sung in German was one of his favorite records.”-Temina Mehta, Zubin’s mother, in an interview in 1988.THE MAESTRO IN THE KITCHEN“I cook Italian food mostly and I cook Indian food. I don’t cook too much, because of my time problem. But you know,every Indian, as soon as he gets out of India, starts cooking, right, basically because they can’t get anything. But today New York is full of Indian restaurants. But when I first came here, there was only one restaurant. In those days I used to cook. Now it’s not necessary. Now we get it everywhere. I carry my chilies when I travel. I grow my own chilies and I carry them in my pocket. I don’t mix them with Indian food though.”– Zubin Mehta, 1988. Related Itemslast_img read more

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