Prospecting is a Campaign

first_img Free Infographic! Download my “8 reasons your sales opportunity stalled” infographic A super-cool, professionally-designed infographic shows the 8 reasons your opportunity stalled. Use this infographic and get back on track. Download Now Prospecting isn’t an event. Prospecting isn’t something that you do one time in an attempt to open an opportunity in a relationship with your dream client. Prospecting is a campaign.You know I’m still a big fan of cold calling (download my free e-book here). But cold calling by itself isn’t the best of plans. Instead, you might think of a prospecting as a campaign, as component parts that together allow you to open a relationship.Maybe you start by connecting to your dream client contact on LinkedIn. Maybe you ask someone within your network that knows your perspective dream client to make an introduction. Maybe you follow that up with a “no-ask” value-creating email that provides information that would normally be part of your nurture toolkit (you know the ideas that you share with your dream clients so they know you’re someone worth doing business with). When you send that email, write a note explaining why you think the idea is valuable to your dream client.Instead of making a call your very next move, maybe send an additional email a week or two later and ask your dream client contact to set-aside 20 minutes for an exploratory conversation to determine whether or not there’s an opportunity for you to meet and share a few additional ideas. Instead of making the ask, end that email by telling your dream client that you’re going to call them in an attempt to schedule that short phone meeting.And you don’t have to stop there either. Because you’re connected on LinkedIn, and because you have social tools, you can monitor your dream client contact’s activities. If you notice they’re going to a conference or interested in some particular idea, you can suggest a meet and greet or coffee.It’s a campaign. Think of it as one.When my primary role was individual contributor I could relentlessly dial the phone and make call after call without ever losing my discipline or enthusiasm for the task. But I understand why this isn’t true for other people. In sales there is no right or wrong; there’s only effective and ineffective. You make choices.You don’t always have to choose just the telephone and, in fact, that’s not the best idea. Instead think of prospecting as a campaign and build five or six touches in front of that cold call. You may still need to ask five times for the appointment. But you don’t have to make all of those asks one cold call after the next.QuestionsWhat are the component parts of your prospecting campaign?Why did you choose that order?How do you open and begin to develop a relationship of value?Why is a campaign more likely to succeed than a single prospecting method?last_img read more

It’s Not Your Closing or Negotiating Skills

first_img Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now Inevitably, when I hear that a salesperson has trouble negotiating or closing there are two main causes, neither of which is negotiating or closing (these problems are relatively easy to solve compared to their root causes).Let’s look at both of the root causes.Unhealthy BeliefsIf a salesperson believes in their hearts that their price is too high, they can’t negotiate and capture value. The reason they struggle is because they don’t truly believe that they’re creating more value than their competitors.These salespeople believe they’re not different enough to command a higher price. I find that this is rarely true. Most of the time the companies that struggle to capture value create it but have trouble conveying the value of that differentiation.Unless you believe that you are worth paying more you will always struggle to negotiate. You’ll also struggle to ask for the business. You’ll pull your punches. If you don’t believe, your dream client won’t believe either.No Value To Capture, Nothing to CloseThe second reason salespeople struggle to negotiate or close is because they didn’t create any value in the first place.Most of the time, the salesperson got to the opportunity late, after the buyer was deep in their process. They were not there to develop the buyer’s needs. They didn’t develop consensus around their solution. They didn’t work with stakeholders to understand their individual needs and modify their proposal to make it easy for these buyers and other stakeholders to say “yes.” Where no value has been created, none can be claimed. Without creating value, it’s very difficult to get a “yes.”How does this happen? The salesperson is brought in late, oftentimes to respond to a request for proposal. Sometimes the buyer initiates the process and invites a number of vendors, already having some vendor in mind to be their future partner. In these cases, the partner they have in mind helped them write the A column. The salesperson is having trouble negotiating and closing because they started from a poor position from which to do so.In order to capture value you have to create some. The earlier you enter into the sales process (or your buyer’s buying process) the greater the likelihood that you can create value and differentiate your offering in a way that makes you worth paying more to obtain.Get Rich Quick, Lose Weight Fast, and Other LiesWhen I hear these complaints about negotiating and closing, it sounds to me like a man attending a wedding and deciding that he doesn’t fit in his tuxedo. He want to lose 30 pounds in the next 48 hours. The time to begin losing those 30 pounds was six months earlier. And the time for you to create value was six months earlier, too.There isn’t any way to cram success, and it’s impossibly difficult to win opportunities from behind. You win from in front because you create value from in front. That’s how you really improve negotiating and closing.last_img read more

The Power of Setting Unrealistic Goals

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now It is easy to lower your goals to something more achievable. The logic follows that by not setting your goal too high, you can make the goal. To set a higher goal would be unrealistic. Then, when you miss the goal, you may feel bad having missed it and lose your momentum and drive.This is poor thinking around goal-setting.A business doing $10M in sales may set a realistic goal of $11.2M for the following year. That goal is specific, measurable, agreed upon, reachable, and time-bound, everything a goal is supposed to be. But the goal itself is impotent.The business doing $10M knows it can reach the $11.2M goal. The problem with reachable goals is that you don’t have to do anything different to reach them. They have no power and therefore don’t require any new beliefs, new knowledge, new skills, or new behaviors. Why bother setting such a wimpy goal?What if the business set their goal for $20M? “Iannarino,” you say, “That’s outrageous. How on earth can they double the size of their business in a year?” And in that very question is the power of an unreasonable goal. It forces you to take action, to change, and to stretch yourself further than you ever thought possible.What if they miss their goals? What if they come up short?Exactly what is wrong with not making your goals? Failure is simply a form of feedback. You need to adjust what you are doing before you try again.The above scenario is true. The company in question did not make their goal. They only made it to 17.5M in the second year. They had to make massive changes to produce that number. It is too bad they missed their goal.Are your goals unrealistic enough to require massive change and growth to reach them?last_img read more

In the shade of the chinars, the poetry of dissent

first_imgOn the Kashmir University campus, where student unions have been banned since 2010, a slam poetry session under the chinar trees used art to push the boundaries of dissent. Slam poetry, simplistically put, is verse meant to be performed rather than read off the page. Slam events are far more free-form than, say, traditional ‘mushairas’.On the campus’s Naseem Bagh, students from varied educational streams sat together under the trees, in what Faakirah Irfan, a law student, called “an attempt to revive freedom of expression on the campus, where student unions remain banned.” Ms. Irfan read her own poems, ‘Scavengers’ and ‘Women martyrs,’ highlighting the plight of youth and women in the ongoing conflict. “It’s a rare space where students were able to open up their wounds,” she said. Some poets took jibes at the current dispensation, others expressed despair. “My poetry was invoked by a response on Instagram to my American accent,” said one student, whose poem was about how Srinagar’s flyover is taking ages to complete and how the possibility of a solution to Kashmir’s issue remains bleak.The session saw students like Alia, from the engineering stream, reciting Kamala Das’s poems, while a Fine Arts student sang Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s poetry, accompanying himself on the guitar. “This was a poetry session, where there was no censorship,” said Zeeshan Jaipuri. It wasn’t just about the pain of being born and growing up in a conflict zone and tragedies witnessed and experienced, though. Many poems were about themes young people anywhere would relate to, like romance and young love. Scores of students cheered a student, Faiza, who performed ‘Socha hota khwaab dekhne se pehe’ [Had I thought before dreaming about you].Aside from the poems, there were art installations too, and some art students offered instant portraits.A faculty member, who asked not to be named, said, “We need to welcome spaces like this in a choked society like ours. This should not threaten anyone.” Buoyed by the success of the session, students want to do more. On the agenda is opening up spaces for working women on the campus, especially those from suppressed sections of society, like members of the fishing communities and the sanitation staff. “We will get them to tell their tales very soon,” Ms. Irfan says. “They are a suppressed lot. They need to speak up too. We need to create space for them.”last_img read more

Banks in Bihar to get ranks for giving loans

first_img“The [State] government will neither deposit its money nor carry out any transaction with banks that have been hesitant in giving loans [to beneficiaries],” Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who also holds charge of the Finance and Commercial Taxes department, said.The State government would formulate “parameters” on which banks would be “ranked” and be given “grading”, he said, while reviewing the performance of loan disbursement under the Annual Credit Plan (ACP) of the 62nd quarterly State-level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) meeting here. By the end of December, the State government will fix the parameters in order to prepare the “ranking and grading” of the banks, he said, adding that government money would be deposited in banks thatwould be ranked high on the “parameters” fixed by the government.Rural Development Minister Shravan Kumar, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, Development Commissioner Shishir Kumar Sinha, senior officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and other banks, also attended the meeting.Earlier, in 2012-13, the Bihar government had come out with a similar set of norms for depositing government money in banks — public and private — he said, adding that the State government would come out with fresh parameters for depositing government money in view of the changed scenario and several other schemes.Stating that the State government has received a large number of complaints regarding corruption in banks, especially at “the lower levels”, Mr. Modi asked bank officials to act against such erring officials.last_img read more

BJP will go to any extent to derail quota stir: Hardik

first_imgAfter sleaze videos involving him and his close aides went viral on social media platforms ahead of the Assembly polls in Gujarat, Hardik Patel, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader, on Thursday accused the ruling BJP of “masterminding Operation Character Assassination”.He termed the videos “morphed and fabricated”, and named two persons who reportedly made them to implicate him.“I have already said all CDs and videos are morphed. Even before they surfaced, I had publicly stated that some sleaze CDs would surface to damage me,” Mr. Patel said. He said he would speak on the CD episode at a public rally in Mansa on Saturday. His close aide Dinesh Bambhania told presspersons that “top BJP leaders” were involved in this exercise “funded by the BJP”.“Not one or two but as many as 52 such fake, morphed and fabricated CDs have been made to tarnish the image of Hardik and other leaders. Since the BJP is not able to fight Hardik politically, it is now masterminding the character-assassination operation,” Mr. Bambhania said.He rejected the argument that the videos had damaged Mr. Patel’s reputation.“Instead of damage, the whole CD episode has once again proved that the State government and the BJP can go to any extent to target those spearheading the quota agitation,” he said.He said a Surat-based builder, who is known for his proximity to Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani, financed the creation of the fake videos abroad.“We fear some rape or sexual assault case may be foisted upon Hardik ahead of the polls,” he added.He also alleged that some senior cops were also involved in the exercise at the behest of their political masters.“First, the government used the videos to blackmail us into reaching a compromise with the ruling party and withdraw the agitation. But when we did not budge, the videos were circulated in media before the polls,” said another close associate of Mr Patel.BJP standThe BJP leaders, who initially believed the videos would damage the 24-year-old quota agitation leader, have distanced the party from the episode and said they were filmed and released by his “internal rivals”.“We have nothing to do with it. It’s internal issue of Hardik and his rivals,” Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel told journalists in Ahmedabad.last_img read more

Parents demand action against cops who refused to help Saharanpur victims

first_imgA day after two young accident victims in Saharanpur died after policemen refused to take them to hospital, allegedly because they didn’t want their car to get dirty, grieving parents demanded that murder charges be slapped against the erring cops. The incident sent shock waves across the State and the Chief Minister’s office has asked for a report on the issue. “Whatever happened with my son should never happen with anyone in this country. Had my child received first aid on time, he could have been saved. Even the doctors say that. I want a case to be made against the cops. It is murder in a way,” said the mother of one of the boys Arpit Khurana to the District Magistrate P.K. Pandey and Senior Superintendent of Police Babloo Kumar when the two went to meet the parents on Saturday. The DM assured the parents that action would be taken against the policemen. Arpit Khurana and his friend Sunny lay on the road in pool of blood after they met with a serious accident in Saharanpur on Thursday night. After the policemen refused to help, the local people managed to take the two boys to a hospital where they died due to excessive bleeding and head injuries.Local residents blocked traffic demanding ₹1 crore in compensation. The DM and the SSP met the crowd and assured them of swift action against Head Constable Indrapal Singh, Constable Pankaj Kumar and Constable Manoj Kumar, who were suspended on Friday. A video of the entire incident, captured by the locals, had gone viral on the social media.last_img read more

Bengal police arrests Mukul Roy’s brother-in-law

first_imgWest Bengal Police has arrested the brother-in-law of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Railway Minister Mukul Roy for allegedly cheating people on the pre-text of providing railway jobs.Mr. Roy brother-in-law Srijan Roy was arrested from Delhi Airport late on Friday night by officials of Bizpur Police Station of State North 24 Paraganas district.Mukul Roy, however, described the arrest as a “political conspiracy” aimed at targeting him.“Srijan Roy was arrested for duping several people on the pre-text of getting them jobs and taking money from them,” a senior district police official said. He also said that the accused was produced at a district court on Saturday which remanded him 12 days of police custody.Speaking to journalists on Saturday Mukul Roy said that the arrest of his brother-in-law is “part of conspiracy hatched by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against me and my family members. She is resorting to such things because she is afraid of us (BJP).”The BJP leader further alleged that the related case was lodged in 2012 during his tenure as the Union Rail Minister when Mr. Roy was also the TMC general secretary. “The case was lodged in 2012 and such things (arrest of Srijan Roy) are happening ahead of Panchayat polls. I will fight such conspiracy politically.”last_img read more

EVMs a threat: Akhilesh

first_imgA day after a large number of faulty EVMs and VVPATs were reported during bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday raised the pitch in favour of restoring voting through ballot papers. He said common people no longer trusted the EVMs, which were proving to be a “threat to democracy.” “Our demand is that all elections in future should be conducted through ballot paper. Ballot paper will strengthen democracy,” he said.last_img

‘7-year-old was raped, murdered’

first_imgA forensic team from Kota on Sunday collected samples from the spot in Mogya Beh village of Rajasthan’s Jhalawar district, where the body of a seven-year-old girl was found on Saturday. The post-mortem has established that the girl was raped and strangled.The girl’s parents had lodged a complaint with the police, saying that she was playing outside her home after attending a cultural event and had gone missing. After a search, the police found her body about 250 metres away from her home on Saturday evening. A special team headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police has launched a massive hunt to nab the accused, suspected to be someone known to the girl.last_img

Dussehra tragedy in Amritsar: At least 61 killed as train runs over revellers

first_imgAmritsar – At least 61 people were killed and 77 injured on October 19 evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Amritsar, officials said.The train was coming from Jalandhar when the accident occurred at Joda Phatak near Amritsar, where at least 300 people were watching ‘Ravana dahan’ at a ground adjacent to the tracks.Sub Divisional Magistrate Rajesh Sharma said at least 61 people, including women and children, have died and at least 77 injured have been admitted to a Amritsar hospital.However, Raveen Thukral, media advisor to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said initial reports suggest the accident occurred during a stampede as people rushed towards the tracks when crackers burst during the burning of the Ravana effigy. The reports indicate that train crashed through the crowd on the tracks at that time, he added.But, a video showed people were run over by the train when they were watching the Ravana effigy burn, with many of them also seen filming the celebration. As the effigy was lit and the fireworks went off, a section of the crowd started retreating towards the tracks where a large number of people were standing to watch the event, officials said.Two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little time to people to escape, they said. Several people were mowed down by one of the trains.Read more   Sidhu reactsArea legislator and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu told a news channel on telephone from Bengaluru that the death toll was alarmingly high.His wife Navjot Kaur Singh was the Chief Guest at the Dussehra where the incident occurred at around 7 p.m. ‘Out of nowhere came the train’In a horrific incident, several people glued to watching a burning Ravan effigy while standing on railway tracks were crushed by a speeding train in Punjab. A large number of people were watching a huge Ravan effigy in flames while standing on the tracks at a railway crossing at Jodha Phatak when the train on way from Pathankot to Amritsar mowed them down, triggering anger and outrage.It was not clear why the train did not halt despite the presence of so many people on the tracks and why the railway crossing was left open for people to gather. Witnesses said that as fire was set to the Ravan effigy amid exploding crackers, many of the around 700 people gathered at the event moved back from the flames only to end up standing on the tracks.“Out of nowhere came the train,” said a man, sounding angry. “Before anyone could realise what was happening, it ran over scores of people.”“When the effigy started to burn in full flow, people began running away from it fearing it may fall over them,” said another man. “They did not realise that a speeding train was coming and the train did not sound its hooter.” Injured victims of a train accident are treated at a hospital in Amritsar on October 19, 2018.  | Photo Credit: PTI An angry crowd shouts slogans beside the body of a victim of a train accident near Amritsar on October 19, 2018. Photo: Special Arrangement  A local resident said they have been requesting the authorities and their representatives in legislatures to talk with the railways and make sure trains are slowed down near this section of the track during Dussehra. “But no one has listened,” he lamented.There was also anger among the people.“The driver didn’t blow the horn,” alleged one of the witnesses. President Kovind expresses shockPresident Ram Nath Kovind tweets to pay his condolences to the bereaved families. “Shocked to hear about the tragedy on rail tracks in Amritsar, Punjab. Understand Indian Railways and local authorities are taking steps to help affected people,” he said. Mamata, Kejriwal express griefWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed grief at the death of several people in the train accident. She says she was left with no words to express her shock and agony.“Very very sad to learn about the unfortunate rail incident in Amritsar during Dussehra festivities,” Mr. Banerjee tweets. “My heart goes out to the family members of the victims. Pray that the injured persons recover very quickly.”Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too has expressed condolences. “Extremely sad news coming about a major train accident near Amritsar,” he tweets. “I appeal to all our volunteers in the area to help authorities in relief work and provide whatever help we can in this moment of crisis.” Railway officials rush to accident siteThe Railway has rushed its top officials to Amritsar, while Union minister Piyush Goyal says immediate relief and rescue operations are being conducted. Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani and Northern Railway general manager Vishwesh Chaube are rushing to the spot, officials says.“Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in Amritsar. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the injured to recover quickly. Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations,” Mr. Goyal tweets from the U.S. where he has gone to attend an event. ‘All possible assistance to Punjab’Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced all possible assistance by the Centre to Punjab as a large number of Dussehra revellers standing across railway tracks were mowed down by a passing train.“Pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives due to a train tragedy during Dussehra festivities in Punjab. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured,” Mr. Singh tweeted soon after the incident.The Home minister said he has spoken to Home secretary and DGP of Punjab regarding the accident and they are rushing to the spot.“Centre is ready to provide all possible assistance to the state at this hour of grief,” he said.Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief & rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar. My govt will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased & free treatment to injured in govt & pvt hospitals. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 19, 2018We will do everything possible to assist the injured. Have directed the district administration to leave no stone unturned to ensure the best possible treatment for them. pic.twitter.com/90ddA1XeZQ— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 19, 2018#WATCH Amritsar accident: Police Commissioner SS Srivastava says, “Exact death toll is not known but it is definitely more than 50-60. We are still evacuating people.” pic.twitter.com/5l9Gjw90VB— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018Exact figure is not known but it is definitely more than 50-60. We are still evacuating people: Amritsar Police Commissioner SS Srivastava on #Amritsar train accident pic.twitter.com/6mTGADMILH— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018  Opposition attacks Punjab governmentThe train mishap has taken a political turn with the Opposition accusing the State government for lapses in allowing celebrations near railway tracks and Punjab Minister Navjot Sidhu’s wife facing allegations of leaving the site soon after the incident.Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the event, later spoke to the media at a hospital where injured were taken and said her priority was to ensure they receive proper treatment. “The effigy of Ravana was burnt and I had just left the site when the incident happened. Priority should be to get the injured treated,” she said. She also asked people to refrain from politicising the issue.Union Minister and Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the entire onus was on the State government. “There are not enough words to mourn the Amritsar train tragedy that claims so many innocent lives. My deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. The incident needs to be probed as it casts serious question on administration,” she tweeted.BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the initial reports suggest it was a tragedy that could have been avoided.Another Akali leader Bikram Majithia said he was distressed to hear the unfortunate news of the train accident. “The authorities concerned must be held accountable for the ill-fated accident&strict action must be taken against the guilty police officers and organisers,” he said.Some Opposition leaders also alleged that the Dussehra was organised by the Congress near the tracks without receiving any proper approval.Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal demanded an inquiry by a retired High Court judge to fix responsibility and punish the guilty. His son and senior party leader Sukhbir Singh Badal said he was extremely sad to hear the unfortunate incident. “Local organisers and police must answer how the celebrations were allowed to be held near the railway track,” he tweeted.Read more A crowd gathers near the site where a train ran over several Dussehra revellers in Amritsar on October 19, 2018.   Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 19, 2018Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in Amritsar. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the injured to recover quickly. Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations.— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) October 19, 2018 Mr. Singh has issued orders to mobilise all necessary administrative and police personnel on a war footing to help the district administration tackle the situation. The CM has also directed the chief secretary to deploy administrative officials to ensure that the injured people are hospitalised immediately.All private hospitals have been asked to remain open to provide urgent free treatment and care to the injured. Modi approves financial relief of ₹2 lakhPrime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a financial relief of ₹2 lakh for the family of each deceased in the Amritsar train accident and ₹50,000 for the injured, a spokesperson said.Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has separately announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. State mourning declared in PunjabPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweets: “The State will remain in mourning tomorrow in view of Amritsar train mishap. All offices & educational institutions will remain closed.“Have set up Crisis Management Group under (Health & Family Welfare Minister) Brahm Mohindra to monitor relief & rehabilitation efforts in Amritsar. Won’t spare any efforts on part of govt to tackle the crisis.” Railway officials term the dead as ‘trespassers’Railway Minister of State Manoj Sinha, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani, Northern Railway GM Vishwesh Chaubey will take off from Delhi by an Air Force plane at 11 p.m.Railway officials termed the dead as “trespassers” and said there was no decision so far on any compensation from the national transporter as they were not passengers.The death toll, according to local officials could reach 100. Another man felt that the tragedy would have claimed at least 100 lives. The dead included several children, another witness said.News agency ANI quoted an eyewitness at the accident site as saying: “Congress had organised Dussehra celebrations here without permission. Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife was the chief guest at the celebrations and she continued to give a speech as people were struck down by the train.”(With input from PTI and IANS)  Punjab Minister Navjot Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the programme, later said nobody knew how the accident happened as people were enjoying and also taking selfies standing on the tracks.Many, including political leaders, took to Twitter to express dismay over the selfie culture during such tragic incidents. Google Maps image locates Joda Phatak, near Amritsar in Punjab. | Photo Credit: PTI   Railway helpline numbersThese numbers can be used reach for information on the incident — 0183-2223171 and 0183-2564485Telephone numbers at Manawala station are 0183-2440024, 0183-2402927 and Ferozpur’s helpline number is 01632-1072Northern Railway helpline numbers at New Delhi railway station: 011-23342954, 011-23341074, 011-42622280 & 1072 — 4 lines, Railway no. 22280Here are the updates: Clear case of trespassing: RailwaysThe gathering of people close to tracks near Amritsar where a train mowed down Dussehra revellers was a “clear case of trespassing” and no permission for the event had been given by the Railways, a senior official told PTI.Seeking to shift the blame for the tragedy on the Amritsar administration, official sources said the local authorities were aware about the Dussehra programme and that it was attended by a senior Minister’s wife. “We’re not kept in the loop and we provided no permission for the event. It is a clear case of trespassing and the local administration should take responsibility,” the Railway official said.Amid questions being raised in some quarters about why the train did not stop despite such a large crowd being there, the official said, “There was so much smoke that the driver was unable to see anything and he was also negotiating a curve.”“However, the Railways’ entire machinery is at the spot and we are cooperating with local administration is rescue and relief operations” the official added. Footage show people taking selfies from tracksAmritsar As scores of Dussehra revellers watching the burning of Ravana effigy were mowed down by a passing train near here, the disturbing video footage of the accident showed many across the railway tracks filming the celebrations on their mobile phones when the tragedy struck.   Heart-rending scenes at accident siteThe celebratory crowd broke into chaos as cries and wails filled the air. Dismembered body parts of revellers laid strewn on tracks and on the blood-soaked ground.An eyewitness told reporters near the accident site that scenes were reminiscent of ones witnessed during the Partition of the country when millions of people lost their lives in violence.For several mothers, who were till just moments ago celebrating the festivities, the few fateful moments changed the life forever. Shock and disbelief were common emotions.“I have lost my child. I want him back,” said an inconsolable mother.   Train services on Jalandhar-Amritsar route suspendedAll services on Jalandhar-Amritsar route remained suspended three hours after the mishap. While some trains are being diverted, many are stationed near Jalandhar, a railway official said.MoS Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters in New Delhi that medical teams are rushing to the spot. “I am also leaving for the site of the accident. As per initial information, people present near the railway track couldn’t hear the sound of the approaching train due to bursting of crackers,” he told before leaving for Amritsar. Amarinder orders inquiryAmarinder Singh has ordered an inquiry into the tragic Amritsar train accident. The Chief Minister said a thorough probe will be conducted into the incident. Why an effigy was allowed to be burnt close to the railway tracks will also be investigated.Acting on the Chief Minister’s directives, Rehabilitation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Health Minister Brahm Mohindra have already rushed to Amritsar to supervise rescue and relief operations. Punjab’s Home Secretary, Health Secretary and DGP (Law & Order) have also left for Amritsar. Read more The train accident in Punjab in which over 50 people have died is shocking. I urge the state government & Congress workers to provide immediate relief at the accident site. My condolences to the families of those who have died. I pray that the injured make a speedy recovery.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 19, 2018 Relatives mourn at the site of a train accident in Joda Phatak near Amritsar on October 19, 2018.  | Photo Credit: PTI  It took just about 10 to 15 seconds for the train to pass, and leave behind a heap of crushed and dismembered bodies.Video clips posted on the social media showed some people who had apparently seen the approaching train trying to run away from the site. A few of them were also mowed down.“Out of nowhere came the train,” said a man at the site. “Before anyone could realise what was happening, it ran over scores of people.”Another man said, “When the effigy started to burn in full flow, people began running away from it fearing it may fall over them. They did not realise that a speeding train was coming and the train did not sound its hooter.”  The site of a railway accident near the venue of Dussehra festivities, at Joda Phatak in Amritsar on October 19, 2018.last_img read more

Badals destroyed Punjab, says Amarinder

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday accused the “Badals of completely destroying all institutions of governance in the State” and alleged that no rules, regulations, laws or constitutional principles and provisions were followed during the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP regime.Captain Amarinder also condemned the way Finance Minister Manpreet Badal’s budget speech was disrupted by the SAD-BJP members on Monday for “petty political gains”. CM’s dig at SukhbirThe Chief Minister took a dig at SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, asking whether the party had any leader since “Mr. Sukhbir seemed to be always missing from the House”.Captain Amarinder, who listed out the progress made by his government in reversing the “pathetic situation” in which the SAD-BJP combine had left the State across all sectors and segments, pointed out that ₹5 crore were being given to every sub-division for development work. He slammed the Opposition for alleging that only Congress MLAs were getting development funds and said if they needed to get some work done they should submit their project proposals to the Deputy Commissioner concerned.Earlier in the day, the State Assembly unanimously passed a resolution seeking a formal apology from the British government for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.The resolution was moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra and passed unanimously by the members through voice vote.Mr. Mohindra said it was a dastardly act perpetrated upon innocent people who had converged at the Jallianwala Bagh on the fateful day of Baisakhi on April 13, 1919, to protest against the oppressive Rowlatt Act of the Imperial rulers. “Even the British government of the time had realised the gravity of the irresponsible act, as evident from the premature superannuation of General [Reginald] Dyer from the British Army,” said Mr. Mohindra.last_img read more

Hopes dim for solving Naga issue before polls

first_imgDeputy National Security Adviser R.N. Ravi is scheduled to hold a meeting with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Nagaland on February 26, to update them on the progress of the peace process with Naga extremist groups.Hopes for a solution to the “Indo-Naga political issue”, under discussion since 1997, before the Lok Sabha election, has dimmed in Nagaland, with the Congress criticising the BJP for eyeing a settlement after the elections.“We have no expectation from Mr. Ravi’s visit, which is meaningless,” said Chuba Ozukum, president, Naga Hoho, the apex organisation of Naga tribes. ‘Solution before election’ has been the credo of the Naga Hoho.Centre flayed“The Centre had promised a solution after the Nagaland Assembly election [in February 2018]. Now, the BJP is promising a solution after the parliamentary election. They have made a mockery of the issue,” Mr. Ozukum said.A statement by the Isak-Muivah faction of the extremist National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) said Mr. Ravi would meet Naga lawmakers, civil society and tribal organisations during his visit for consultations on the progress of the peace process. The meetings are scheduled in Dimapur, Nagaland’s commercial hub, and Kohima, the State capital.The Deputy NSA, a former intelligence head, was appointed as the emissary for the Naga talks in 2014. He is credited for bringing seven other extremist groups in Nagaland to the talks table.Only the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, or the NSCN-K, is outside the purview of the peace process. The outfit had walked out of a 14-year-old ceasefire in March 2015 and has been fighting the armed forces in India and in Myanmar, where it is based.last_img read more

Three of family charred to death as car goes up in flames in east Delhi

first_imgA 35-year-old woman and her two daughters were charred to death while her husband and another daughter managed to escape after their car caught fire on the Akshardham flyover in east Delhi on Sunday. The police received a call about a car going up in flames on the flyover at 6.33 p.m. and immediately rushed a PCR van to the spot. The fire department was also alerted. Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Jasmeet Singh said the car was being driven by Upendra Mishra, a resident of Loni in Ghaziabad. He along with his wife and three daughters were on their way to the Akshardham temple when the car caught fire, probably due to a leaking CNG cylinder. The police identified the deceased as Ranjana Mishra and her two daughters aged 18 months and five years. The family was coming from Kalkaji temple in south Delhi. When the car was going up the Akshardham flyover, it suddenly caught fire. Upendra manage to escape with his three-year-old daughter, who was sitting on the front seat, while his wife and two daughters on the back seat were trapped. He desperately tried to open the door to save them, but the fire had by then engulfed the whole car. “The bodies have been shifted to GTB hospital for post-mortem. The exact cause of fire is yet to be ascertained. The car will be examined by experts to get more clarity in the case,” Mr. Singh said, adding that Upendra is a driver by profession and is in a state of shock.last_img read more

Largest U.S. biomedical research society weighs in on NIH’s budget woes

first_imgAs 2015 begins, biomedical researchers are once again wringing their hands about a surfeit of scientists chasing too few research dollars and academic jobs. In a report released today, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which represents more than 120,000 scientists, endorses familiar solutions and adds a few new ones.The report goes over well-trodden territory, noting that the more than 20% decline in inflation-adjusted dollars in the National Institute of Health’s (NIH’s) budget since 2003 has meant an even steeper drop of 34% in R01-equivalent research grants, the bread-and-butter grants that support most independent labs. “This is a serious problem for the nation,” says the 49-page report (plus appendices). Besides calling for Congress to give NIH more money, it suggests that the agency be allowed to carry over unspent funds: Because it must spend each year’s allocation, NIH forfeits $300 million in unspent funds each year, or about 1% of its $30 billion budget.To wring more grants from NIH’s existing budget, federal officials should find ways to cut regulatory costs and encourage more sharing of large instruments. And to ease scientists’ constant scramble to write new grant proposals, NIH should follow through on plans to award longer grants based on an investigator’s track record rather than a specific project. FASEB also urges NIH to go further with policies that give extra scrutiny to proposals from already well-funded labs “to ensure a global distribution of research funding.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The group endorses the idea of creating a “transition award” to help senior investigators wind down their labs. And it says NIH should address the “soft money” problem, or investigators who depend entirely on grants for their salary, by gradually requiring that institutions support more of their salaries.Although it notes that the number of new biomedical Ph.D.s has grown faster than NIH’s budget and the supply of academic jobs, FASEB does not explicitly endorse reducing the number of trainees. But it says institutions should do more to prepare graduate students for careers outside of academic research, and it notes approvingly that some graduate programs have already cut back on admissions. “Reducing the size of incoming classes would help improve the employment prospects of future graduates,” the report says. Finally, FASEB says labs should rely more on staff scientists and technicians and less on trainees.Although it echoes previous reports, FASEB’s analysis breaks new ground for the society because it provides “a comprehensive view of the problem and recognizes that an increase in funding is not the way out of this dilemma,” says Howard Garrison, director of FASEB’s Office of Public Affairs. He said FASEB’s board now hopes to collect feedback from its membership.The need to stretch tight budgets is also on the mind of Jon Lorsch, director of NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). In a 5 January blog post, he writes: “Re-optimizing the biomedical research enterprise will require significant changes in every part of the system.” Pointing to studies that found midsized labs are most productive, he suggests that “funding smaller, more efficient research groups will increase the net impact of fundamental biomedical research.” NIGMS already gives extra review to researchers whose grant proposals would bring their overall direct funding to more than $750,000, but Lorsch’s post suggests he wants a tighter cap.Although some commenters applauded Lorsch’s post, others slammed it. “Anonymous” argued that creative scientists may need more resources to pursue their ideas: “It does not help at all to tell [the] best scientists that they would be better scientists if they would just be happy to shrink their groups and live with less funding because we have a bankrupt political system.”last_img read more

Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin

first_imgShe worshipped the sounds of music, though there was nothing musical in her family background. Shying from the limelight, she was nevertheless thrust into it, by the chant of a Shiv shloka, rising to dizzying heights of success. Music maestro O.P. Nayyar, had said she was going to replace Lata Mangeshkar soon. Then life took a tragic turn. Today Anuradha Paudwal is back with a vengeance, her voice richer, sweeter with even greater depth, still living life on her own terms. In an exclusive interview with Little India, the velvet voiced singer talks about the paths taken and why she feels her life is guided always by divine hands.You don’t come from a musical family, and yet music has been the key component of your life.Yes, my father was very against our watching films or listening to music. We did not even have a radio in the house. I remember very vividly that I was about two years old my mom had taken me to see the film Nagin and I remembered the entire tune and kept humming it. That is when my mother realized that I was interested in music.I had a very hoarse voice. It was so bad that people would look at me with great sympathy! I still remember once I was going somewhere in the bus with my mother. I was about 8. My mother said I was a pretty child with fair and rosy skin; most people mistook me for a European and would admire my charming face. A lady was standing behind us and I started humming. Her look of admiration immediately turned to pity and she said to my mother sympathetically. “Poor girl, what a terrible voice.”It didn’t deter my passion for singing and finally my mother took me to this blind musician for singing lessons. I was about 5, and she said to my teacher, “Please help her. Her voice is like a peacock’s but she loves to sing.” I was old enough to know how crass a peacock sounds and felt very hurt, but he said quickly “No, No don’t say that. She will do fine.”I gave my first program in one of those Maharastra Mahila mandals (womens’ gathering) at the age of five. Mom was so not sure of my talent or my memory, she kept thrusting this paper with the song lyrics under my nose and initially I kept politely moving it out of the way and then she would thrust it again, very sure I would forget the lyrics. Finally in exasperation, I picked up the paper and threw it over my head to the back so she couldn’t get to it. I knew the whole song by heart.Then came the first turning point in your life.Yes, I was in fourth grade and heard Lata Mangeshkar sing. I became obsessed. I wanted to see this woman who sang. A common friend introduced me to film director C.N. Arora and he was kind enough to take me to the recording studio where Lataji was going to record a song. He held the microphone in her hand and the moment she started singing, I was totally in a hypnotic trance. When I walked out of the studio, all I knew was that that voice was synonymous with what I perceived to be sound. If there was a voice, it sounded like Lataji. Beyond that sound had no meaning, no essence or reality. If it does not sound like Lataji, it’s not a voice, its something alien. It had such a profound impact on me that when I tried to hum my own hoarse voice sounded like an alien sound to me. I wanted Lata’s voice to emanate through my vocal chords. That went on for about 15-20 days.Then the first of the miracles happened in your life.I tried so hard, so very hard, no matter where I was or what I was doing, I would try and hum in the hope that suddenly I will hear the same sound coming from my throat. After 15-20 days I suddenly fell very ill with pneumonia. I lost my voice completely, and was in bed for almost 40 days. To keep me entertained, one of my uncles gave me Lataji’s new album, commemorating her 25 years in the music industry. I heard the album day and night, totally immersed in it. All I heard was that voice and it impacted my psyche even more deeply, because my own voice was gone and there was nothing to compare it with.Then I recovered and the miracle happened. My voice had changed completely. It was no longer like a peacock’s cry. I cannot explain to this day what really happened. After that the Bhagwad Gita and Lata’s voice became my teacher, my inspiration. I would recite shlokas every day from the Gita and practice. I have not received any formal training in classical music. I have tried many times, but it has never worked out. I learnt a little here and a little there, but ultimately, I just practiced for many hours listening to Lataji. I used to take part in music events and sing in high school and college.You got married at a very young age in 1972 to Arun Paudwal who was a music arranger for S.D Burman. Did that open doors for you?On the contrary he was very strict. Lataji and Ashaji were at the top and they were such stalwarts. It’s not like it is today, where any body and every body just gets up and sings. You had to have exceptional talent to even be noticed and you were compared directly to the Mangeshkars and they were the epitome of perfection. So Arunji said just because someone thinks they can sing doesn’t mean they have to! He said that even after I had been singing professionally for 4-5 years, and had won so many awards. I myself had no interest in singing professionally. Even when people used to approach me and ask me to sing, I used to get so nervous.It was my in-laws especially my father in law who was very fond of me and would keep telling Arunji, make her sing, and he would say, to his father, “It’s not so easy, look at the competition.” My father in law said you wait and see one of these days she will sing a duet with Asha Bhosle.So how did the turning point come?I used to take lunch every day for Arunji at music director S.D. Burman’s place. Often Arunji would put together some music, record it on a tape recorder and play it for Burman da. When the movie Abhimaan was ready for release, Burman da wanted to record a shiv sholka to open the film. Arunji asked me to sing it, recorded it and took it as a demo tape to Burman da. He heard it and said who sang this?Arunji said my wife, and Burman da said, you have been married for a while now and she has been coming here so often and you didn’t tell me she sings. He then said let her sing the shloka, why bother Lataji for it. That is how I started. I do have to tell you a strange story connected to my musical beginnings in the industry. One day I was going in a cab and I was humming. The cab was driven by a Sikh gentleman and he said to me you seem to be very fond of singing. Who do you pray to for music? I said, traditionally we pray to goddess Saraswati.He said well as you know the celestial instrument Nada came from Lord Shiva, so pray to him and see how things take off for you. It was strange hearing this from a Sikh cab driver. I did and strangely I started my film career by reciting that Shiv shloka and I have always felt the impact of Shiva’s blessing in my musical career.A lot of people thought that shloka from Abhimaan was sung by Lata Mangeshkar.That’s true. In fact it was funny because a lot of people congratulated her and said the best piece of musical rendering was the shiva shloka. Music director Jaidev called me immediately afterwards and I sang my first song with the late Mukesh for him, but the film was never released. Actually before the Shiv Shloka I had sung a marathi song for Yuv Vani and then later for a very popular marathi program which was the equivalent of the Hindi program Binaca Geetmala. You had to sing an original song and I had once gone for a recording where Lataji sang a marathi song for which her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar composed the music. While the rehearsals were on I somehow memorized the song, and sang that. Both Lakshmi Kant Pyarelal and Hridyanath Mangeshkar heard it and called the radio station. The former wanted to know who sang it, the latter said they had just recorded the song two days ago, it was not yet released so how did the radio station play that version. Lakshmiji called on finding out who it was and asked me to sing for them, but I was a newly wed and was not keen to sing. They did make me a standing offer to get back to them whenever I decided to think of playback singing.So was it easy thereafter to get into the industry?It was a very small close knit community. Every body knew what the others were doing. I did get a lot of songs, but the cream of the crop still went to Lataji and Ashaji. Still I was getting work and I did sing a lot of non Hindi film songs and they all clicked. I had been approached to sing as a dubbing artist for Raj Kapoor’s film Satya Shivam Sundaram, but had refused, because I knew that after that Rajji will only look at me as a dubbing artist, but then I began to notice that other singers were coming up that way. They would dub a song and sometimes the artist who was to sing it would be too busy and the song would be retained. The turning point came when I sang for Subhash Ghai’s hit film Hero. I dubbed for two songs that were to be sung by Lataji. I thought, well I stand a 50-50 chance of the songs being retained just in case Lataji was too busy. No one paid any attention and the songs were recorded in one take, but Lataji decided not to sing them, the songs were retained and I never looked back. I sang for the film Kallicharan and that again was a blockbuster.It is said that you were very open about the fact that the Mangeshkars sabotaged your husband’s career, and didn’t let newcomers enter the industry and do well, that you were so obsessed with Lata that you dressed and even laughed like her.I was very close to her music and I acknowledge to this day that I became a singer because of her and in some ways her voice was my guru, my guiding light in the absence of a real guru. I never saw her that many times to be able to imitate her mannerisms and laughter. As far as my late husband is concerned, he has suffered many heart breaks in the industry and I have spoken about it before and people have quoted my remarks out of context. I just want to say this, how would you feel if you were talented and gave it your best, and were assisting a music director and top singers showed up at the studio and refused to sing if you were in charge of music that day. How would any one feel if the big stars came in from one door and he or she is asked to leave from the other door so the stars are not displeased. It really hurt me. My husband was on tour with Lataji when his father passed away suddenly. Every one told him to go back midway, but he knew since he was the only keyboard player, it would affect Lataji’s entire orchestra. So he stayed back saying his going back was not going to change anything and he was needed on the tour. That is how selfless he was, and to see someone of his talent and sincerity shabbily treated in the industry really hurt me a lot. He never said anything, but I know how deeply it wounded him.Still by a strange coincidence on the 13th day ceremony of my father-in-law his prophecy came true-I sang a duet with Asha Bhosle, much against my wishes, and only because he wanted it so much when he was alive.I think his blessings have taken my career to the heights it has. I have always felt the presence of divine grace in my life and not being trained in music, I became successful only because I was destined to be in this line, according to my spiritual guru.You joined hands with T-series tycoon Gulshan Kumar and never looked back. Gulshan Kumar started in a little garage and took over the entire music industry by storm. T-series became a household name and a megabucks venture. You belted out one hit after the other winning 3 Filmfare awards when people wait years for one. Yet your walking away from the mainstream opened doors for people like the current success story Alka Yagnik. Some feel it was a bad career move, especially when Gulshan Kumar met an untimely and tragic death.Well, I met Gulshan Kumar at a point where I had been singing for 12 years and still struggling. I was not getting the kind of top quality songs that I felt I should be singing and the top recording labels were still loyal to Lataji and Ashaji. I was asked to sing for T-series around that same time and I chose to start with a devotional album. I recorded a couple of cassettes for T-series and at that time Gulshanji said to me, we will promote you with top notch publicity and you will be our star singer, but if we are to do so much for you, we need to be given exclusivity. I agreed. Contrary to what people think there was no written agreement between us. Gulshan Kumar knew the pulse of the people, but it was after we joined hands that I helped him focus on good quality music.He started out with songs that had double meaning, and version covers. I said to him you are fortunate enough to have the blessings of God to do this well, why don’t you produce good wholesome music. He said, but this sells, and what do you call quality music?I said if you will give me a free hand with the music directors I will show you what can be done.When we started the musicians started asking, what is the situation we are composing music for? I said how many emotions do you portray in a film, there will be a sad song, a love song, a song where people act impish with each other and a lullaby.We started work on the film Lal Dupatta and Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote such beautiful lyrics for a love song. Though I was dead against it Gulshanji used my face for the promos of the songs. He was so ahead of his times. Today it has become a norm, and people may forget other songs, but the ones that had me in the promos, are the ones etched in people’s psyche.Otherwise I have to remind them even when the songs have been hits. Lal Dupatta was the beginning. Then came films like Dil Hai ke Manta Nahin, Aashiqui, Jeena Teri Gali Mein and Meera ka Mohan to name a few.You both also filled a niche in the market for devotional songs. That venture was a huge success. However it phased you out of the film industry. People think that was the worst case of axing one’s own feet that the film music industry had seen. He died suddenly and you were left without a contract or any clout in the company as well.It really was a conscious decision on Gulshanji’s part to stop doing film songs when the devotional albums started doing so well and since he had been so loyal and supportive I couldn’t say well I am leaving and I want to sing for films elsewhere. Also I was going through a lot of personal problems. Arunji wasn’t well and being of a religious nature I was quite happy doing devotional albums.His sudden death hit every one hard. He and I had the same focus, same vision and I have not met anyone to date who had Gulshanji’s sense of loyalty and commitment. However, the fact was that it had been weighing on his mind that he may have done me a disservice by asking me to stick to the T-series. He wanted me to continue being the main artist for T-series, but also sing for others. Two days before he died he accompanied me to a recording for a song with the musicians Jatin Lalit and he was really happy when the session wrapped up. He said he finally felt as if a burden had lifted from his heart.With his death T-series lost his focus and his vision. I felt there was nothing left for me and I left too. T-series is now being run like a business. I feel sad when I see devotional music being released along with item songs like Kaanta Laga.Today it is all about survival and musicians or singers are not considered competent enough to get a whole film to themselves. You will see so many singers and more than one music director in a film and quality lyrics are seldom seen. Every one is busy trying to grab whatever comes their way.You have done pretty well with some great film songs and avoided numbers like Kambaqht Ishq and Ishq Kamina.You have also dabbled in ghazals.I try my hardest not to compromise on quality. Maybe it’s my voice, that no one has come to me with songs like the ones you mentioned above! When I was with T-series, I didn’t do any stage shows for 8 years. I have started doing them recently and they have done very well. I have also given a lot of hits and some of the films I have sung for are slated for release.I like ghazals, but we need good female lyricists. Ghazal is a male domain because most ghazals have lyrics dealing with liquor and lyrics that seem inappropriate for a lady to sing. Only Begum Akhtar could sing of intoxication and still sound graceful. I still love singing devotional songs. For me music is a holistic experience with the divine and a blessing from above, otherwise someone like me who is not technically trained, could not have reached the heights I have.  Related Itemslast_img read more