Category: Did You Know

Cherish Banarasi Saree


The Indian handloom and cottage industries have emerged stronger after every unwarranted crisis for years. The past has always sown seeds of hope. The Banarasi saree’s recent geographical indications (GI) status is an achievement worth mentioning.

With this the story of duplication comes under scrutiny as “the GI rights are the intellectual property rights that restrict others from marketing or processing a product in the same name.”

September saw the Banarasi silk product register as the ‘Banaras Brocades and Sarees’ under Geographical Indications (GI) Act.

According to experts “the GI status would benefit about 12 lakh people associated directly or indirectly with the handloom silk industry of the region because it would restrict the misuse of Banarasi saree brand. As per the GI certificate issued by the registrar of GI, the Banaras Brocades and Sarees fall in four classes (13-26) that include silk brocades, textile goods, silk saree, dress material and silk embroidery. The registration is for 10 years and it may be further renewed.”

It is easy to find skilled labour, but maintaining the tradition needs attention and care. Though at the policy level there is a need for protection from cheap silk and powerloom houses, the challenge to reintroduce Banarasi sarees as a brand is not anymore a dream in waiting. The sweat, blood and about eight years struggle of many weavers to restore the lost glory and grandeur of the Banarasi sarees is set to begin a new innings.

Four Indians in Forbes

The economic slowdown has not got all the Indians trickling down in the latest list of Forbes’ world’s wealthiest CEOs.

According to a list of 10 wealthiest CEOs compiled by Forbes magazine, Reliance Industries (RIL) chief Mukesh Ambani is the third-richest chief executive in the world. The other Indians to follow are Lakshmi Mittal, Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal.

“Being a CEO isn’t what it used to be. Crackdowns on corporate frills like private jets and over-the-top offices have become the norm, taking some of the fun – but none of the stress – out of running billion-dollar businesses.

“While some chief executives’ jobs may be in peril, these 10 have stuck it out long enough to partake in what’s left of the global economy. These have made our annual list of the world’s wealthiest CEOs,” Forbes said.

Despite a 62 per cent drop in RIL share prices since last year, Mukesh Ambani climbed up three places in the 2009 rankings.

For steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, who heads ArcelorMittal, it was a slip down to the fourth position from second.

While Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel has joined the league at ninth position, Wipro chief Azim Premji is out of the race.

Interestingly, the total number of Indians on the list have remained unchanged at four this year too.

“To compile our list for 2009, we looked at chief executive officers and managing directors (a title that sometimes denotes the top leadership position at corporations outside the US) of public companies the world over and ranked them according to the size of their stakes in the businesses they run,” Forbes said.

Yet the undisputed wealthiest chief executive is once again, the American billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

“Due to the difficulty of pinning down private holdings in the midst of volatile market swings, we excluded CEOs of private companies from our rankings. We also excluded individuals’ private holdings. Full net-worth estimates will be available in March, when we release our annual list of the world’s billionaires,” Forbes added.

Bible and American President

Barack Obama, the 44th President of United States is the first US president to swear on the Bible that Abraham Lincoln used for his 1861 inauguration.

In the US, presidents are not constitutionally required to be sworn in using a Bible, though most presidents have traditionally used one to take oath of office.

It was George Washington, the first president of United States of America who began this practice. He borrowed a Bible from St. John’s Lodge No. 1.

Chester A. Arthur in 1881 and Theodore Roosevelt in 1901, were some exceptions as they did not use a Bible.

Similarly, when Kennedy was assassinated, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the job of president and took the oath of office aboard “SAM 26000”- Air Force One in 1963. Since there was no Bible in the plane, he used a Roman Catholic missal (contains religious services).

The popular choice till date has been George Washington’s Bible. It has been used by Warren Harding, Dwight Eisenhower and George W Bush.

Some others like Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton have opted for personal Bibles. While Nixon used two Bibles belonging to his family, Clinton chose his grandmother’s.

The Lincoln Bible, an 1853 Oxford University Press edition, will be on display at the Library of Congress from Feb 12 to May 9 as part of an exhibition for the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

No matter what the rule says, the presidents continue the tradition to finish the oath of office with the words “So help me God”.