2019 in review

2019, a bumpy ride for Puducherry as Narayanasamy-Bedi stand-off continues

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, along with Alliance Party leaders addresses mediapersons outside Raj Nivas in Puducherry. File photo

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, along with Alliance Party leaders addresses mediapersons outside Raj Nivas in Puducherry. File photo   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

HC ruling on L-G’s powers, nod for bicycle-sharing scheme, maiden edition of the ‘Les Francophonies de Pondicherry’ were amongs events that made headlines

As another year draws to a close, here is a recap of some of the memorable impressions from 2019 across politics, civic life, art and culture.

Politics

In an unprecedented move, Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy in February along with Cabinet colleagues launched an indefinite day/night protest against the autocratic style of functioning of Lt Governor Kiran Bedi.

They launched the agitation citing non-cooperation of Ms. Bedi in implementing several cabinet decisions, including distribution of free rice instead of cash to beneficiaries as demanded by Ms Bedi.

The Chief Minister withdrew the six-day agitation on February 18 after the Lt Governor agreed to concede to certain demands, including distribution of free rice.

In a significant development, the Madras High Court on April 30 ruled that the Lt Governor could not interfere with the day-to-day administration of the Union Territory when an elected government was in place.

The court said incessant interference from the L-G would amount to running a "parallel government."

The Lt Governor on May 28 moved Supreme Court against the High Court order. The Supreme Court on July 12 disposed of a petition filed by Ms Bedi for clarity on the issue of control over bureaucrats in the wake of a turf war between the L-G’s office and the Chief Minister in the Union Territory.

The court left it open for the L-G to move the Division Bench of Madras High Court.

The Bharathi Park is one of the locations identified for setting up of a docking station for the bicycle sharing project under the Smart City mission in Puducherry.

The Bharathi Park is one of the locations identified for setting up of a docking station for the bicycle sharing project under the Smart City mission in Puducherry.   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

 

The implementation of the Smart City project got a major push with the Puducherry Smart City Development Board Limited (PSCDL) giving the ‘green signal’ for the much-awaited bicycle sharing scheme and modular toilets in the first phase.

PDSCL has already issued the Letter of Award to a private firm selected through global tenders for implementation of the scheme.

The ambitious project envisages an exclusive bicycle track of 10.3 km in the Area Based Development component of the smart cities mission.

While 2019 saw Puducherry bagging the award for maintenance of law and order amongst the small states, frequent occurrence of crimes including heinous crimes like murder marred its reputation.

The police were at their wits end because of such occurrences and the easy availability of ganja was also a matter of concern for the law enforcement authorities.

The year 2019 was yet another year, which witnessed no civic polls to revive grassroot democratic institutions.

But the government took the defence that delimitation of municipal bodies had to be completed before holding the polls.

Art and Culture

Bhu Earth was part of the ‘les francophonies de Pondicherry’ festival.

Bhu Earth was part of the ‘les francophonies de Pondicherry’ festival.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

On the cultural front, the maiden edition of the ‘Les Francophonies de Pondicherry’, a celebration of the Francophone identity of the city was staged in March. The collaborative effort among the French Institute in India, the Consulate General of France in Puducherry, Alliance Francaise, the French International Lycee School and the Department of Tourism, the five-day event featured performing arts of different genres — circus, theatre, dance and music.

The event brought to the fore the gamut of francophone impressions of Puducherry, its French heritage, not just the buildings, but culture, language, hospitality and gastronomy.

It was modelled on the “Les Francophonies en Limousin,” an annual event that has been taking place only in Limoges for over three decades, uniting several artists sharing their theatrical practice in French-speaking countries.

Meetings and workshops for youth and performances by artists from Mali, the Central African Republic, Algeria, France and India were part of the event.

Music launch

The Music Video rendering the National Anthem with elements of folk from rural India, is being played after it was launched, to commemorate the 73rd Independence Day, at an event held at Raj Nivas in Puducherry.

The Music Video rendering the National Anthem with elements of folk from rural India, is being played after it was launched, to commemorate the 73rd Independence Day, at an event held at Raj Nivas in Puducherry.   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

 

The national launch of a music video rendering the national anthem with elements of folk from rural India was hosted by the Raj Nivas in August.

Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi launched the video production by Kolkata-based company Just Studio in connection with the 73rd Independence Day celebrations.

The video featured Baul artistes Raju Das Baul and Rina Das Baul singing the anthem in a rustic setting to the notes of the single-stringed ektara.

A filmmaker with a connection to the city, Achyutanand Dwivedi, made the cut at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival.

His three-minute short film, Seed Mother, bagged the third prize in the international section of Nespresso Talents 2019.

 

The film provided a snapshot of the life and work of Rahibai Popere, a tribal farmer and conservationist at Kombhalne village, won the third prize in the international section of Nespresso Talents 2019.

More international fame for the city came when TranSwaras, a band led by Puducherry-based musician P. V. Bose, won a silver medal at the Global Music Awards 2019 for its modern version of a Carnatic composition.

The band won the medal in the world fusion category and the lead vocalist P. V. Bose won the best vocalist award.

TranSwaras had submitted its debut music video ‘Anyayamu Seyakura’..., an original composition of Tyagaraja.

The Global Music Awards is a well-known international music competition that celebrates independent musicians and is widely recognised by industry insiders as giving “the golden seal of approval” to highly talented artists.

The jury members consist of some eminent musicians from across the world, including Grammy and Emmy award winners.

Alliance Francaise hosted a sitar recital by Ustad Hafiz Bale Khan and a Hindustani vocal performance by Mahuya Mukherjee as part of the ‘Music for Harmony’ concert.

The event was co-hosted by the Delhi-based Noble Art Documentation and Development (NADD) Foundation, the regional chapter of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and the National Foundation for Communal Harmony.

According to NADD Foundation, the performance was part of the foundation’s multi-city series of ‘Music for Harmony’ concerts showcasing leading classical musicians to bring together diverse peoples through the unifying power of music.

The SecSat Pondy Live Music festival supported by the Department of Tourism, marked its 14th anniversary of a long tradition of presenting diverse genres of music, from classical Carnatic and Hindustani to cult rock and from funk metal to folk music

The Department of Tourism-supported event was founded by a group of like-minded musicians which also conceived the Freedom Jam festivals.

The Freedom Jam gigs had become a regular fixture before the idea of a regular show took root to provide a continuum to the city’s music scene.

From a musical experiment in the Alliance Francaise's indoor auditorium in 2005, the SecSat Pondy festival has sustained with support of the Tourism Department. Its venues shifted from the PTDC Seagulls, the Le Cafe as well as other spots on the Beach Road to reach out to a larger audience.

Now, the concert has found a new home at the renovated heritage stage known as Bandstand located inside a garden near Nehru statue at Gandhi Thidal.

(with contributions from Rajesh B. Nair and S. Prasad)

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 7:24:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/2019-a-bumpy-ride-for-puducherry-as-narayanasamy-bedi-stand-off-continues/article30431294.ece

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