Friday, June 10, 2011

Clinton says 'Gaddafi's days are numbered'

Leaders at International Contact Group on Libya meeting in Abu Dhabi pledge $1.3bn for rebel's transitional council.

Last Modified: 09 Jun 2011 20:1

Muammar Gaddafi's days as leader of Libya are numbered, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said at the International Contact Group [ICG] on Libya meeting in Abu Dhabi.

"Gaddafi's days are numbered. We are working with our international partners through the UN to plan for the inevitable: a post-Gaddafi Libya," Clinton said on Thursday.

Clinton also said talks were under way with people close to the Libyan leader and that there was "the potential" for a transition of power in Libya.

"There have been numerous and continuing discussions by people close to Gaddafi and we are aware that those discussions include, among other matters, the potential for a transition," she said.

She gave no further details on the talks, other than to say "there is not any clear way forward yet".

Financial pledge

Donors at the ICG meeting pledged more than $1.3bn to help support the National Transitional Council (NTC), the main body representing the Libyan rebels fighting against Gaddafi.

Italy and France offered a combined $1.02bn while Kuwait and Qatar promised a combined $280m to a fund set up to provide transparent assistance to the opposition. 

Turkey has established a $100m fund to support the Libyan opposition government based in Benghazi, Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, said.

Clinton said "we are ready for the establishment of financial mechanism for the money to flow to the National Transitional Council".
The US secretary of state said while Washington would boost its humanitarian aid to all Libyans by $26.5m it was not offering any direct aid to the NTC.

This was despite Clinton acknowledging that the council "faces a serious budget shortfall'' and "needs our immediate financial assistance".

A US offical, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "We understand the NTC's frustration but again the
international community isn't going to let the TNC go under."

Washington said on Wednesday that the first shipment of Libyan oil sold by the council had been delivered to a US refinery and Clinton encouraged other nations to make similar purchases to help the Libyan people.

The Benghazi-based leadership has said it hopes to restart production of up to 100,000 barrels a day soon, without specifying a timeframe.

Shortage of funds

Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, who defected from Gaddafi's government while he was the foreign minister, said the rebels needed $3bn to cover salaries and food costs for the next four months. 

The total amount pledged, while significant, falls short of the $3bn the opposition group is demanding to survive for the next four months.

The rebels say that Gaddafi's assets frozen abroad, which are reportedly worth $160bn, should be made available to them.

Ali Tarhouni, the opposition finance minister, urged nations to allow the council to use the funds as collateral for loans.

"Our people are dying," he said.

"It's been almost four months now and nothing has materialised so far. Our message to our friends is that I hope that they walk the walk."

The number of countries recognising the rebel council is growing by each day. A day after Spain recognised the NTC, Australia said the rebel government was legitimate. 

Portugal, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus may also recognise the rebel council soon.

NATO pounds Tripoli 

NATO continued its airstrikes on Thursday with bombing runs believed to have targeted the outskirts of Tripoli.

The intensity of the attacks suggested a return to NATO's heavy bombardment of the city on Tuesday that hit military installations across the capital and flattened major buildings in Gaddafi's sprawling compound at the centre of the city.

There were eight explosions in a first series of strikes on Thursday. Hours later, the sound of six more attacks boomed in the distance.

On Wednesday, Gaddafi forces renewed their shelling near the rebel-held western city of Misurata, killing at least 12 rebel fighters.

In Brussels, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary-general, said the shelling near Misurata underscored the continued need to protect civilians.

"It is an example that the Gaddafi regime still constitutes a threat to the civilian population,'' he said. "We will stay committed as long as necessary."

Meanwhile, Gaddafi's regime on Thursday vehemently denied accusations by a UN panel and Western nations that Libyan government forces had committed crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The great land grab: India's war on farmers

Land is a powerful commodity that should be used for the betterment of humanity through farming and ecology.

 Last Modified: 07 Jun 2011 17:14

In India, the state forcibly acquires land from farmers and hands it over to private speculators, real estate corporations, mining companies and leisure industries [EPA]

"The Earth upon which the sea, and the rivers and waters, upon which food and the tribes of man have arisen, upon which this breathing, moving life exists, shall afford us precedence in drinking." 
- Prithvi Sukta, Atharva Veda

Land is life. It is the basis of livelihoods for peasants and indigenous people across the Third World and is also becoming the most vital asset in the global economy. As the resource demands of globalisation increase, land has emerged as a key source of conflict. In India, 65 per cent of people are dependent on land. At the same time a global economy, driven by speculative finance and limitless consumerism, wants the land for mining and for industry, for towns, highways, and biofuel plantations. The speculative economy of global finance is hundreds of times larger than the value of real goods and services produced in the world.

Financial capital is hungry for investments and returns on investments. It must commodify everything on the planet - land and water, plants and genes, microbes and mammals. The commodification of land is fuelling the corporate land grab in India, both through the creation of Special Economic Zones and through foreign direct investment in real estate.

Land, for most people in the world, is Terra Madre, Mother Earth, Bhoomi, Dharti Ma. The land is people's identity; it is the ground of culture and economy. The bond with the land is a bond with Bhoomi, our Earth; 75 per cent of the people in the Third World live on the land and are supported by the land. The Earth is the biggest employer on the planet: 75 per cent of the wealth of the people of the global south is in land.

Colonisation was based on the violent takeover of land. And now, globalisation as recolonisation is leading to a massive land grab in India, in Africa, in Latin America. Land is being grabbed for speculative investment, for speculative urban sprawl, for mines and factories, for highways and expressways. Land is being grabbed from farmers after trapping them in debt and pushing them to suicide.

India's land issues

In India, the land grab is facilitated by the toxic mixture of the colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894, the deregulation of investments and commerce through neo-liberal policies -  and with it the emergence of the rule of uncontrolled greed and exploitation. It is facilitated by the creation of a police state and the use of colonial sedition laws which define defence of the public interest and national interest as anti-national.

The World Bank has worked for many years to commodify land. The 1991 World Bank structural adjustment programme reversed land reform, deregulated mining, roads and ports. While the laws of independent India to keep land in the hands of the tiller were reversed, the 1894 Land Acquisition Act was untouched.

Thus the state could forcibly acquire the land from the peasants and tribal peoples and hand it over to private speculators, real estate corporations, mining companies and industry.

Across the length and breadth of India, from Bhatta in Uttar Pradesh (UP) to Jagatsinghpur in Orissa to Jaitapur in Maharashtra, the government has declared war on our farmers, our annadatas, in order to grab their fertile farmland.

Their instrument is the colonial Land Acquisition Act - used by foreign rulers against Indian citizens. The government is behaving as the foreign rulers did when the Act was first enforced in 1894, appropriating land through violence for the profit of corporations - JayPee Infratech in Uttar Pradesh for the Yamuna expressway, POSCO in Orissa and AREVA in Jaitapur - grabbing land for private profit and not, by any stretch of the imagination, for any public purpose. This is rampant in the country today.

These land wars have serious consequences for our nation's democracy, our peace and our ecology, our food security and rural livelihoods. The land wars must stop if India is to survive ecologically and democratically.

While the Orissa government prepares to take the land of people in Jagatsinghpur, people who have been involved in a democratic struggle against land acquisition since 2005, Rahul Gandhi makes it known that he stands against forceful land acquisition in a similar case in Bhatta in Uttar Pradesh. The Minister for the Environment, Mr Jairam Ramesh, admitted that he gave the green signal to pass the POSCO project - reportedly under great pressure. One may ask: "Pressure from whom?" This visible double standard when it comes to the question of land in the country must stop

Violation of the land

In Bhatta Parsual, Greater Noida (UP), about 6000 acres of land is being acquired by infrastructure company Jaiprakash Associates to build luxury townships and sports facilities - including a Formula 1 racetrack - in the guise of building the Yamuna Expressway. In total, the land of 1225 villages is to be acquired for the 165km Expressway. The farmers have been protesting this unjust land acquisition, and last week, four people died - while many were injured during a clash between protesters and the police on May 7, 2011. If the government continues its land wars in the heart of

India's bread basket, there will be no chance for peace.
In any case, money cannot compensate for the alienation of land. As 80-year-old Parshuram, who lost his land to the Yamuna Expressway, said: "You will never understand how it feels to become landless."

While land has been taken from farmers at Rs 300 ($6) per square metre by the government - using the Land Acquistion Act - it is sold by developers at Rs 600,000 ($13,450) per square metre - a 200,000 per cent increase in price - and hence profits. This land grab and the profits contribute to poverty, dispossession and conflict.

Similarly, on April 18, in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, police opened fire on peaceful protesters demonstrating against the Nuclear Power Park proposed for a village adjacent to the small port town. One person died and at least eight were seriously injured. The Jaitapur nuclear plant will be the biggest in the world and is being built by French company AREVA. After the Fukushima disaster, the protest has intensified - as has the government's stubbornness.

Today, a similar situation is brewing in Jagatsinghpur, Orissa, where 20 battalions have been deployed to assist in the anti-constitutional land acquisition to protect the stake of India's largest foreign direct investment - the POSCO Steel project. The government has set the target of destroying 40 betel farms a day to facilitate the land grab. The betel brings the farmers an annual earning of Rs 400,000 ($9,000) an acre. The Anti-POSCO movement, in its five years of peaceful protest, has faced state violence numerous time and is now gearing up for another - perhaps final - non-violent and democratic resistance against a state using violence to facilitate its undemocratic land grab for corporate profits, overlooking due process and the constitutional rights of the people.

The largest democracy of the world is destroying its democratic fabric through its land wars. While the constitution recognises the rights of the people and the panchayats [village councils] to democratically decide the issues of land and development, the government is disregarding these democratic decisions - as is evident from the POSCO project where three panchayats have refused to give up their land.

The use of violence and destruction of livelihoods that the current trend is reflecting is not only dangerous for the future of Indian democracy, but for the survival of the Indian nation state itself. Considering that today India may claim to be a growing or booming economy - but yet is unable feed more than 40 per cent of its children is a matter of national shame.
Land is not about building concrete jungles as proof of growth and development; it is the progenitor of food and water, a basic for human survival. It is thus clear: what India needs today is not a land grab policy through an amended colonial land acquisition act but a land conservation policy, which conserves our vital eco-systems, such as the fertile Gangetic plain and coastal regions, for their ecological functions and contribution to food security.
Handing over fertile land to private corporations, who are becoming the new zamindars [heriditary aristocrats], cannot be defined as having a public purpose. Creating multiple privatised super highways and expressways does not qualify as necessary infrastructure. The real infrastructure India needs is the ecological infrastructure for food security and water security. Burying our fertile food-producing soils under concrete and factories is burying the country's future.

Dr Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecofeminist, philosopher, activist, and author of more than 20 books and 500 papers. She is the founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, and has campaigned for biodiversity, conservation and farmers' rights, winning the Right Livelihood Award [Alternative Nobel Prize] in 1993.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Al Jazeera.

Thousands of Syrians flee unrest to Turkey

More than 2,400 Syrians have fled into neighbouring Turkey to escape the unrest in Jisr al-Shughur and other towns, according to the UN and Turkish officials.
Refugees started entering Turkey on April 29, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

But the flow of refugees has increased sharply this week. More than 1,000 people crossed the border in the last 24 hours, the UNHCR said on Thursday.

Ahmet Davutoglu in

Speaking from Abu Dhabi, Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, said: "We have serious concerns about the situation in Syria.

"Half an hour ago I received exact numbers - more than 2,400 people have now come to Turkey as refugees."

Most are being housed at a refugee camp in Yayladagi, a town about 10km from the border and 25km from Jisr al-Shughur. 

Dozens of white tents have been set up in the camp, and ambulances have been carrying wounded people to hospitals in Antakya, the capital of Turkey's southern Hatay province.

Roughly three dozen refugees have been treated in Antakya for gunshot wounds, according to Turkish media reports.

Metin Corabatir, a spokesman for the UNHCR office in Ankara, the capital, praised the Turkish government's handling of this newest wave of refugees.

"We have been working closely with the Turkish government, and in general they have been doing a good job providing for the refugees," Corabatir said.

The Turkish Red Crescent, which is providing medical care and basic supplies for refugees, declined to comment.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey will not "close its doors" to Syrians fleeing conflict.
He also urged Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's government to "change its attitude towards civilians."

Limited media access

Many of the newly-arrived refugees are coming from Jisr al-Shughur, where 120 members of the Syrian security forces were reportedly killed earlier this week.
After the Syrian government vowed to retaliate, many residents fled, fearing a crackdown.
Activists said the security forces were shot by government troops, after they refused to open fire on civilians.

The alleged killings cannot be independently verified. 

Newly-arrived refugees could describe the conditions in Jisr al-Shughur, but the Turkish government has largely barred journalists from interacting with them.
Police guard the entrance to the camp, and local officials have been instructed not to talk to the media.
The Turkish foreign ministry said this was not a new policy, and that refugees from other conflicts - such as the war in Iraq - have been similarly shielded from journalists Corabatir echoed that statement, saying there might be concerns for the safety of the refugees and their families in Syria.
"This has been the policy of the Turkish government, when they have large numbers of people who cross the borders, they do not allow journalists to talk to the refugees," Corabatir said.
'Massive flow'
Turkish officials say they are preparing for the possibility of more refugees in the coming days; the camp at Yayladagi can hold up to 5,000 people, and a second camp is "under consideration," according to local media.
Video shot near the border shows dozens of Syrians camped out in a field on Syria's side of the border, apparently trying to position themselves for a quick exodus.
"We have taken all necessary precautions in case of a massive flow of crossings," Davutoglu said in a Turkish television interview on Wednesday.
Lebanon, Syria's neighbour to the west, has already absorbed some 5,000 refugees, though the UN says it is a "fluid population" and some of the refugees have already returned home.
The Lebanese government has not released exact statistics on the number of refugees, most of whom receive services from residents of border towns rather than government agencies.
"In general there are a lot of family links [across the border]," said Nadim Houry, a researcher with Human Rights Watch in Beirut.
"The Lebanese government has tried to help out, but a lot of them are staying with friends and relatives."

In the city of Nawabs, it is difficult for a Muslim to hire a house

Thursday, 9 June 2011
Hyderabad, June 09: The hospitality of the historic city of Hyderabad is exemplary and unique but with the changing times, it has become almost impossible for any Muslim to get a house on rental basis.
Form the ancient times, Hyderabad was an important city where traders from different places used to come and stay for a few days to transact their business. Recently, on account of the establishment of multi-national companies, it has become impossible for the Muslims to get a house near their work place. The terms and conditions prescribed for letting out a house are not acceptable to the Muslim youth of today.
Mr. Syed Sirajuddin (26) a resident of Attapur told that for two reasons house owners are reluctant to let out their houses to Muslims. The Muslim youths do not go to bed till late at night whereas their non-Muslim neighbors prefer to sleep in the early hours of night.
The second reason Mr. Sirajuddin gave for not letting out the house to the Muslims was that the cooking smell of the Muslims is not tolerable to the Non-Muslims. Ms. Shabana Begum of Begumpet told that while getting a house for rent, she had to pass through various difficulties.
Many house owners complained that the Muslim tenants do not get up early in the morning and they also do not keep their houses neat and clean.
She offered higher rent but she was refused. Another reason for refusal is that the Muslims have larger families. Employees who come to Hyderabad on their transfers find it very difficult to get a house for rent.
Although the persons shifting from other places to Hyderabad get handsome salaries, still the landlords refuse to give their houses to bachelors.
--------Siasat News

DMK calls high-level meeting Friday

Tamil Nadu’s erstwhile ruling DMK has convened an emergency meeting of its high-level body Friday to take stock of the current political situation.

In a statement issued here Wednesday the party said an emergency meeting of its high level committee has been convened June 10 at 4.30 p.m. at its headquarters.
The meeting would be chaired by the party president M. Karunanidhi. Senior leaders have been asked to attend it.
It comes in the wake of the Delhi High Court’s rejection of bail Wednesday for Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi lodged in the Tihar jail.
Besides Kanimozhi, the high court also dismissed the bail plea of Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar.
Kanimozhi and Kumar are accused as co-conspirators and beneficiaries of the 2G spectrum scam for allegedly accepting Rs.214 crore bribe.
DMK’s former communications minister A. Raja is already in jail in connection with 2G scam.
Karunanidhi’s grand nephew and union minister Dayanidhi Maran is also facing heat over the telecom controversy.
Aircel founder C. Sivasankaran Monday told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that he was forced to sell stake in his company after his applications for telecom licence was rejected in 2006 by former communications minister Maran.
Sivasankaran went to the CBI office in New Delhi Monday on his own to meet officials investigating the 2G spectrum allocation from 2001 to 2007, and stated his case.
Maran has stoutly denied the charge.
Karunanidhi Wednesday queried about the possibility of the CBI filing a case against Maran. He told reporters that he has nothing to say on that as Maran himself has said that he would face the case.
The DMK meeting acquires significance in this context and also after Karunanidhi’s comment on his birthday (June 3) that “undesirable friendship would result in trouble”, whi has led to the speculation that he was referring to the seven-year long alliance with the Congress party.
Further, Karunanidhi had also blamed the central government for Kanimozhi’s arrest.

Congress apprehensive about DMK withdrawing Ministers

Smita Gupta

It is waiting to hear what decision DMK will take at its meet today

Congress does not think DMK will withdraw support altogether
For the government, any change in DMK's ties with it will be a blow

New Delhi: The Congress appears to be prepared for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham's action of withdrawing its Ministers from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and extend support only from outside, senior party sources told The Hindu.

Asked whether the Congress had a contingency plan, a senior party functionary said it was waiting to hear what decision the DMK took at its emergency meeting in Chennai on Friday, before taking the next step.

The DMK, which has 18 MPs, had provided a great measure of stability to the Union government, a Congress leader from the State said, and if it decided to withdraw its Ministers, that stability would definitely be affected.
The Congress, however, does not think that the DMK would withdraw support altogether, as it would then have no buffer between itself and the Jayalalithaa government.

This comes in the wake of the DMK announcing on Wednesday, a few hours after the Delhi High Court denied bail to MP and party chief M. Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum case, that it would convene an emergency meeting of its high-level committee on Friday, the first since it lost the recent Assembly elections.
The announcement of the meeting also comes amidst speculation that Union Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran may be asked to quit, if the allegations against him — during his tenure as Telecom Minister — are proved.
The Congress sources added that they had heard that the DMK leadership wished to avoid the embarrassment of Mr. Maran being asked to step down, since the possibility appeared to be quite strong.

For the Congress-led Union government, currently under fire on the issue of corruption, any change in the DMK's relationship with it will be a blow, the sources admitted, expressing concern.

The DMK originally had seven Ministers at the Centre — three in the Cabinet, A Raja, Mr. Maran and M.K. Azhagiri, and four Ministers of State — S.S. Palanimanickam, D. Napoleon, S. Gandhiselvam and S. Jagatharakshkan. Mr. Raja was forced to resign on November 14, 2010, in the wake of the 2G scam.

Events taking their toll

Meanwhile, a Congress leader from Tamil Nadu, while stressing that there was no question of the party attempting to swap the support of the DMK's 18 MPs with the AIADMK's nine MPs, said the events of the last few months — starting with Mr. Raja's exit, to the loss in the elections, to Ms. Kanimozhi's arrest, to the investigation into Mr. Maran's role as Telecom Minister — were taking their toll: it looked, this leader said, that the Congress and the DMK would not be contesting local elections slated for October together. During the last set of local elections, they had contested together and swept the polls.

SP, BSP support

For the Congress, if the backing of the DMK becomes shaky, it will have to look to the 22-member Samajwadi Party and the 21-member Bahujan Samaj Party, which are now extending issue-based support to it. Given that the crucial Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are just a year away, the Congress cannot expect much more than outside support from these parties, making its situation somewhat tenuous.

Ramdev's asset declaration just eyewash



Updated Jun 09, 2011 at 08:31pm IST

Haridwar: Baba Ramdev and his trusted lieutenant Acharya Balkrishna declared the money spent on charity but did not revel their assets, claiming that all their businesses are above suspicion and their accounts are audited regularly.

Addressing a press conference in Haridwar on Thursday evening Balkrishna claimed that the total capital of different institutions associated with Ramdev is Rs 426.19 crore while the expenditure incurred on them amounted to Rs 751.02 crore. But neither the yoga guru nor his aide disclosed the assets owned by the trusts and neither did they disclose their income tax returns.

However, a close scrutiny of Ramdev's trusts and their capital reveals that the claims of asset declaration have been eyewash.

Accompanied by a visibly weak Ramdev, Balkrishna declared that their oldest trust is Divya Yog Mandir whose capital is Rs 249.63 crore while the capital of Patanjali Yogpeeth is 164.80 crore.

"The Divya Yoga Mandir Trust has a capital base of Rs 249.63 crore. The Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust has Rs 164.80 crore, and Bharat Swabhiman Trust has rs 9.97 crore. Acharya Kulumbh Siskhshan Sansthan has a capital of Rs 1.69 crore," claimed Balkrishna.

He claimed that the trusts were involved in a lot of welfare activities.
"We contribute lot during natural calamities in India through Patanjali. We believe in transparency. There are so many questions raised about assets of our organisations. We maintain proper accounts and an annual audit of all the trusts and companies are carried out. The government renews our trusts after every two years only when our audit reports are presented," said Balkrishna.

Ramdev and Balkrishna also declined to comment on the number of companies that the different trusts own and said that the details could be obtained from Registrar of Companies under the RTI Act.

"We also pay income tax and TDS is also deducted. We follow all rules. Details of all out associate companies can be taken from Registrar of Companies and from the government under the RTI Act. Tax details and balance sheets of trusts have been put on the web site," he said.
Balkrishna claimed that all the details about the assets have been uploaded on their website

The yoga guru, who is on a fast since June 4 demanding that black money stashed away abroad be brought back, added his hunger strike will continue till his demands are met.

The unanswered questions on asset declaration:

How many companies do Baba and associates own?
What are the businesses his firms are involved in?
Who are the big donors for Ramdev's trusts?
Why hasn't Ramdev revealed his income tax returns?
What is the value of land alloted to Ramdev and his trusts?


M F Husain died aged 95 on 9 June 2011 after being unwell for several months. He died at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, and is due to be buried in the city on 10 June 2011. India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh said his death was a "national loss", and India's President Pratibha Patil said his death "left a void in the world of art." The actress Shabana Azmi called him an "iconoclastic painter, a wonderful human being and a very good friend". Talking about his self-imposed exile and death outside of India painter Akbar Padamsee said that it was a "pity that a painter as important as Husain had to die outside his own country because of a crowd of miscreants".

Legendary canvas turns blank, M F Hussain is no mor

PTI | 05:06 PM,Jun 09,2011
"I had a guru called Mohammad Ishaq I studied the holy texts with him for two years. I also read and discussed Gita and Upanishads and Puranas. This made me completely calm".
Hussain's passing away sparked a wave of tweets, online postings and re-run of interviews with him on television and online news, acknowledging his stature as one of India's greatest artists.
 Many recalled that he was branded by Western art critics as 'India's Picasso'. Hussain had always insisted that his heart remained in India and that "99 per cent" Indians loved him. He said in an interview: "For me, India means a celebration of life.
 You cannot find that same quality anywhere in the world. I never wanted to be clever, esoteric, abstract. I wanted to make simple statements. I wanted my canvasses to have a story.
I wanted my art to talk to people". Three of Hussain paintings recently topped a Bonham's auction, going under the hammer for Rs 2.32 crore with an untitled oil work in which the legendary artist combined his iconic subject matters -- horse and woman -- fetching Rs 1.23 crore alone.
In 1955, he was awarded the Padma Shree. In 1967, he made his first film, Through the Eyes of a Painter that was shown at the Berlin Film Festival and won a Golden Bear. Husain was a special invitee along with Pablo Picasso at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1971.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973 and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1986.In 1991, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan. He also produced and directed a few movies, including Gaja Gamini with his muse Madhuri Dixit who was the subject of a series of his paintings which he signed as Fida.