Sizzling at 60

Though her film career wasn’t as successful, with outrageous sartorial flourishes, Madonna is a fashion diva as well. The Queen of Pop turned 60 on 16 August with a wacky lead-up on her Instagram account. Creating ripples in the world of music, she has set charts as well as dance floors on fire for three decades. But Madonna is much more than her songs. In between, she has packed in charity work in Malawi, campaigning for Hillary Clinton, speaking out against misogyny, touring the globe and selling billions of records. A big salute to her incredible joie de vivre. —SG

Chasing Olympic glory

On 15 August, JSW Sports officially opened the doors to India’s first privately funded high-performance training institute in Vijayanagar, Karnataka, with an eye on the Olympics. The idea behind the Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS), according to founder Parth Jindal, is to “create an environment where no talented athlete is deprived of success because of a lack of resources, infrastructure or training support".

For a long time now, sports in India have basked in the glory of the past and have suffered due to present-day apathy. There has been talk of streamlining federations and bettering infrastructure but progress has been rather slow. The corporate sector’s participation, therefore, becomes more important for sports development. The US Olympics team, for example, doesn’t receive government funding, yet it dominates the Olympics.

To that extent, IIS is good news for sport. What we need alongside are coaches who are receptive of changes and can adopt new technologies. One can only hope the association, with Olympians such as Abhinav Bindra and Mahesh Bhupathi, will take it in the right direction. —PKS

Free Shahidul

On 5 August, photographer and social worker Shahidul Alam was arrested from his home in Dhaka, Bangladesh. An influential figure in his country, Alam is an obvious target for the government, which is currently seeing protests by students against its corrupt regime and attempts to stifle dissenting voices. Alam, who trained generations to look at their nation through a politically informed lens, supported them, but at a steep price. “He changed photography in Bangladesh not just with his work but by setting up the Drik picture library, then following it up with the Pathshala South Asian Institute, where he taught photography to anyone who wanted to learn," says Delhi-based photographer Dayanita Singh, echoing the sentiments of his colleagues the world over, and lobbying for his release. —SG

Kerala flood relief

Hourly updates on SMS, WhatsApp and radio; common-sense warnings like “don’t go to watch the river breach its banks"; cancelling Onam and diverting funds to flood relief; setting up a website to share accurate information and aggregate relief material and volunteer participation: These are just a few of the prompt, pragmatic steps taken by the Kerala government to cope with the worst floods in a century. Doubtless, there are important lacunae, but the overwhelming narrative emerging from the state, via friends and family stranded there, is one of appreciation and respect for the state’s efforts. Even if there are mistakes, the Kerala government deserves some praise for being able to keep hopes high during a formidable crisis. —SB

Close