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Firstpost Editor's Picks: Row over Surf Excel ad; Badla and Bollywood; SBI's latest move; today's must-read stories

Surf Excel ad does not promote 'love jihad', but script misreads India's inherent pluralism

The 'Surf Excel' ad is drawing a lot of attention. One hopes those watching it won't be persuaded by its subtle promotion of divisiveness and victimhood narrative. But hopes aren’t high. Critical thinking has vanished from India’s public sphere, as author and historian Hindol Sengupta correctly pointed out on Twitter. Take the copywriter, for instance. Her or his intentions may have been noble, but when was road to hell not paved with good intentions? While promoting communal harmony of the vanilla sort, the ad has managed to do quite the opposite — introduce coerced alienation among communities in such a warm-hearted way that we happily swallow the sugar-coated toxin.

The return of Kashmiri Pandits is a prominent poll issue, but refugee community in Jammu is more pragmatic

Hobbling around on crutches, 75-year-old BN Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit who is put up in a government-established colony in Jammu district's Jagti area, gets angry when asked if he is willing to go back to Kashmir. "Do you think that's even possible? When armed soldiers are not safe in the Valley, how can we of all people think of going back?" he fumes. There are around 1.2 lakh registered Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu. Ajay Churngoo, a prominent Kashmiri Pandit leader who heads Panun Kashmir — an organisation that represents displaced Kashmiri Pandits — says the ratio of Kashmiri Pandits settled in Jammu and other states is 60:40. "They are fast moving to other states due to the ongoing tension and turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir," he says.

With Badla, Bollywood filmmakers seem to have come a long way from blatantly plagiarising foreign classics

Starring Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan, Badla is a Hindi remake of the Spanish film, Contratiempo or The Invisible Guest. With upcoming films like Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bharat, Mukesh Chhabra’s Dil Bechara, Tarun Mansukhani’s Drive and the official remake of the Sylvester Stallone's Rambo, it only goes to show that procuring rights is now standard. There is no escaping, even if the source is concealed, because of the hawkish eyes of the internet and mushrooming of platforms, which expose us to a myriad of content from across the world.

State Bank of India links deposit, loan rates to repo rate: How the move will affect you

State Bank of India (SBI) is evidently experimenting with a plan which can make commercial sense and be acceptable to the regulator too as it fosters better transmission. If successful, the same can be extended to lower denominations too. Therefore, two things need to be tracked. First is how individuals with over Rs 1 lakh in a savings account respond to relatively lower interest rates on their balances. Second, whether the cost of funds for SBI comes down significantly to be transmitted to the lending side even though the same has been done for cash credit and overdraft.

March through the mountains: Peter Van Geit's solo journey through 40 Himalayan passes on foot

On a work assignment in India in 1998, Peter Van Geit was instantly struck by the natural beauty on offer. He spent most of his week dealing with the challenges at work and the Chennai heat. But every weekend, he would head out to the hills nearby, to leave behind the daily grind and get his fix of adventure. When the time permitted, he would ride his motorcycle to explore different parts of the country. Such was this Belgian’s affair with India, that he simply never went back home. Over time, the jaunts turned into journeys. Soon enough, he realised that the slower he went, the better the chances would be to appreciate the landscape around him. The wheels made way for a sturdy pair of shoes.

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Updated Date: Mar 12, 2019 19:48:13 IST