Citizens' Issues
Master collection: The king of collectors

Rajan Jayakar has not only nurtured his passion, but also lived it

Rajan Jayakar figures in the Limca Book of Records as the owner of India’s largest collection of matchbox labels. He has curated several exhibitions, is a frequent lecturer at many collector and historical societies, represents India at international philatelic exhibitions meets and is a fascinating repository of stories about people and things.

Mr Jayakar is an out and out Mumbai fan. He collects everything from the pre-Independence era on history of Bombay including photos, picture postcards, lithographs, engravings, books, letterheads, monograms and glass and porcelain on which ‘Bombay’ is embossed. His knowledge of old Bombay is astonishing and he is also an avid collector of things related to his own community; the Pathare Prabhus who, he claims, were the earliest settlers on the island of Bombay since the 13th century.

Mr Jayakar has an optimistic plan of writing a few books such as “Legal Bombay” (history of law courts in Bombay from 13th century till 1947), “Greeting from Bombay” (history of Bombay through picture postcards) “People of Bombay” (communities, businesses and avocation of people in the 19th century), “Pathare Prabhus of Bombay” (history of his own community) and has already started work on these.

Each item in his collection has fascinating stories attached to it. He can rattle off the history of that item, but what is more interesting is the story of how he came to acquire it. While Mr Jayakar’s collection also consists of various decorative items such as blue & white china, wedgewood, porcelain and glass Victorian furniture etc, he has some quirky interests too. He is also proud of Shammi Kapoor memorabilia. such as his film posters, old records, prints, songbooks, lobby cards, articles, stills and other items related to the actor’s films. The Shammi Kapoor memorabilia may not be something which will fall in line with other antique collectibles. But, it is of immense value to Mr Jayakar because he is an ardent fan of Shammi Kapoor.

Mr Jayakar claims that he has successfully stocked up all the available Shammi Kapoor’s film memorabilia, and wants to hold an exhibition around the 80th birthday of Shammi Kapoor which falls on 21st October. 

Mr Jayakar has not only nurtured his passion, but has also lived it. It manifests itself in his house. All the clocks at his home are of the winding variety. The Victorian furniture, switch board with brass & porcelain switches, kerosene fan, an HMV Radio, box gramophone and earliest model of a wall mounted telephone—all are in working condition. The ceiling fans are all 100 years old with wooden blades, and he is not bothered if they consume more electricity or are slow in circulation.

Having adhered to his childhood passion, Mr Jayakar, today, possesses an enviable collection of almost every conceivable collectible item from the colonial era, many of which are one of a kind. So his advice, to all those aspiring collectors out there, is to enjoy their hobby—be it as an investor or a passionate collector.


Osama bin Laden killed in a CIA operation in Pakistan

The world’s most wanted terrorist has been killed in a mansion outside Islamabad; the US President has officially announced the death

Washington: The world's most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, known as the mastermind behind the worst-ever terror attack on US soil, has been killed and his body recovered by American authorities in Pakistan, media reports said today, reports PTI.

In a televised address, US President Obama officially confirmed the death of the terrorist. "I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children," said the President.
Mr Obama said, "We must also reaffirm that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims."

The US President also called the Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, after the US operation was over and told him that this was a "good and historic day for both of the nations."

"Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth and power but because of who we are," Mr Obama said.

Osama bin Laden created and funded the al Qaeda terror network. The Saudi exile had been on the run since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan overthrew the ruling Taliban regime, which had harboured bin Laden.

Osama had survived many attempts by US and other forces including one at the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan, with certain reports in the past claiming that he had been killed or had died of complications due to acute diabetes, but he resurfaced later.

He had also taunted the US and other forces, sending out recorded video and audio clips threatening to carry out more vicious attacks on American and other targets.

It is believed that the United States has the body of bin Laden, according to US officials.

He was killed in an operation carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Pakistan. CNN reported that bin Laden was killed in a mansion outside Islamabad and not in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where he was earlier believed to be hiding. Another report said that it was not a drone operation, but a human operation.

Further details of the US operations are not yet known. The reported death of the Saudi-born extremist comes weeks ahead of the scheduled withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in July.

Bin Laden, 54, who created and funded the al Qaeda terror network, was accused of being behind a number of atrocities, including the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001.

Fearing a backlash, various American diplomatic missions have been put on high alert.

A huge crowd gathered outside the White House to celebrate the death of America's most wanted man.

Osama was suspected of playing large roles in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in October 2000.

The Saudi exile had been on the run since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan overthrew the ruling Taliban regime, which harboured bin Laden.

Born in 1957, bin Laden was a son of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest construction magnate.

According to Pakistani TV channels, a helicopter crashed near Abbottabad city in northwest Pakistan during an operation by US special forces that had resulted in the killing of Osama.

The military helicopter burst into flames after crashing into the compound of a house near Bilal Town area near Abbottabad, a short distance from the Pakistan Military Academy, the channels reported.

Two other helicopters participated in the operation during which some persons were killed and several foreign nationals, including women and children, were detained, the channels quoted sources as saying.

There was no official word on these developments.

Several news channels beamed grainy footage of a burning helicopter on the empty lawn of the compound near Abbottabad, surrounded by security forces.

They also beamed footage of the home, set amidst agricultural fields, surrounded by Pakistani troops this morning.

Pashto-language Khyber TV channel reported that a helicopter shelled a house after suspected militants fired at it.

Local residents told the media they had seen helicopters flying over the area hours after the operation.

Moneylife will bring you further updates as the story unfolds.


Indian stocks to open in positive terrain: Monday Market Preview

Nervousness ahead of the RBI credit policy tomorrow will keep investors on their guard

The Indian market is expected to open in the positive terrain on support from its global peers. But nervousness will prevail ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy due on Tuesday. Wall Street closed with gains on Friday on good earnings reports and economic data. Most markets in Asia are closed today for a local holiday, but those that are open were in the green in early trade on Monday. The SGX Nifty was 20.50 points higher at 5,733 compared to its previous close of 5,752.50.

Among corporates, Ceat, Godrej Consumer, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Marico, NDTV and South Indian Bank will announce their quarterly numbers today.

Last week the market closed with a loss of 2%, in contrast to the gains in the previous week. Overall for April, the Sensex was down 2% and the Nifty 1% compared to gains of 9% in March. A revival of inflation and concerns over lower revenue forecasts by corporates weighed on investors.

The Sensex closed the week down 466 points at 19,136 and the Nifty was 135 points lower at 5,750. The market will see an upward movement only if the Nifty is able to cross 5,800.

The US markets gain further strength on Friday on good earnings reports and positive economic data. Caterpillar, the world’s largest mining and construction equipment maker reported a huge gain in the first quarter and also raised sales and profit forecast for the year. In economic news, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of US consumer sentiment rose in April to 69.8 from 67.5 in March. A separate report from the Conference Board recently showed that consumers’ confidence recovered somewhat in April as inflation expectations eased.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 47.23 points (0.37%) to close at 12,810.54. The S&P 500 gained 3.13 points (0.23%) at 1,363.61 and the Nasdaq added 1.01 points (0.04%) to 2,873.54.

Markets in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are closed for a local holiday while others that are open were in the green in early trade on Monday. China’s official purchasing managers' index fell to 52.9 in April from 53.4 in March, lower than analysts’ forecasts for an increase to 54. Despite various rate-tightening initiatives taken by the government, Chinese growth is expected to expand 9.5% in 2011, against 10.3% last year.

The Jakarta Composite gained 0.55%, the Nikkei 225 surged 0.97% and the Seoul Composite jumped 1.32% in early trade on Monday.

Back home, bank credit to all priority sectors, barring services and, micro and small enterprises, witnessed a slower growth during 2010-11 compared to the previous fiscal. According to RBI data, total credit to priority sector registered a growth of 15.2% in 2010-11 and stood at Rs12.58 lakh crore against 17.1% reported in the previous fiscal.

Within the priority list, credit to agriculture and allied activities, manufacturing, housing, micro-credit, education loans, state-sponsored organisations for SCs/STs, weaker sections and export credit registered a lower growth last fiscal as compared to 2009-10.


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