India’s ‘Man with the Golden Shirt’ seeks entry into Guinness World Record

Updated 01 February 2013
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India’s ‘Man with the Golden Shirt’ seeks entry into Guinness World Record

MUMBAI: India is a country known for its love of gold, but for one businessman a ring or chain was not enough.
Datta Phuge is now the proud owner of a golden shirt worth 12.7 million rupees ($ 240,000), made up of 14,000 pieces of 22-carat gold and put together by 15 craftsmen over 16 days.
“Gold has always been my passion since a young age. I’ve always worn gold as jewelery in the form of bracelets, rings, chains,” he told AFP.
The 42-year-old, who lives in the Pune district of western Maharashtra state, hatched the plan late last year with a local jeweler friend.“We were thinking, is there something different we could do with gold? What has no one done before?” he said.
At 3.32 kilograms (7.3 pounds), the end product is so hefty Phuge said he had asked Guinness World Record to recognize his shirt as being the heaviest.
He only wears it for special occasions, along with numerous flashy gold accessories. The rest of the time the shirt is locked up at home.
His fashion choice may sound ostentatious in a country where an estimated 42 percent of children under five are malnourished, but Phuge is adamant that “it is my property, it does not matter what other people think or say.”
He seems delighted that the shirt, with its six Swarovski crystals for buttons and matching gold belt, has brought him his 15 minutes of fame.
Phuge, a grandfather who runs a finance company, also says he is a keen social worker and harbors ambitions to go into politics.
Showy displays of gold have become something of a trend in the area, started by late local politician Ramesh Wanjale who became known as the “gold man” around Pune — a title Phuge seems keen to inherit.
“Everybody knows me as the ‘gold man’ in the whole region. Other rich people spend one crore (10 million rupees) to buy Audis or Mercedes, to buy what they like. What crime have I done? I just love gold,” he said.
India is the world’s biggest consumer of gold, with purchases an essential part of religious festivals and weddings.
But faced with a rising import bill, the government has sought to discourage buying by raising import duty by 50 percent.
Indians bought 933.4 tons of gold in 2011, the last year for which complete data is available, according to the World Gold Council.


After shedding Daesh, Mosul embraces makeovers

An Iraqi woman gets a lip injection at an aesthetic clinic in the northern city of Mosul on November 19, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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After shedding Daesh, Mosul embraces makeovers

  • Mosul, and Iraq more broadly, have been shaken by waves of conflict since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and paved the way for a sectarian war
  • The city’s medical services were hit hard by Daesh’s three-year reign and the months-long battle to oust it

MOSUL, Iraq: For three years, Mosul’s women were covered in black from head to toe and its men had to keep their beards long. Salons were shut, and plastic surgery considered a crime.
But more than a year after the Daesh group’s ouster, the Iraqi city is flaunting its more fabulous side.
Need to zap away a scar or a burn? Cover up a bald spot with implants? Whiten teeth for a dazzling smile? Mosul’s plastic surgeons and beauticians are at your service.
Raji Najib, a Syrian living in Mosul, recently made use of the city’s aesthetic offerings.
The 40-year-old had long been self-conscious of his bald spots, until his Iraqi friends told him what had worked for them — hair implants at a new clinic in their hometown.
“They told me the equipment was modern, the nurses competent and the prices good,” Najib said.
In Mosul, the average hair implant procedure costs around $800, including the follow-up after the operation.
Nearly 90 kilometers (50 miles) to the east in Iraq’s Irbil, or even further north in Turkey, the same operation costs at least $1,200.
Plasma injections to prevent hair loss cost around $63 in Mosul, but at least $20 more in Irbil.
In addition to the difference in price, Najib would have had to put up money and time for travel.
“Going to a clinic in Mosul is much easier, as I don’t have time to travel outside Mosul,” he told AFP.

Decades ago, only one department in Mosul’s hospitals offered plastic surgery, and only to those who had a severe accident or were trying to eliminate a physical handicap from birth.
Mosul, and Iraq more broadly, have been shaken by waves of conflict since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and paved the way for a sectarian war.
Religious hard-liners forced women to cover up or stay at home, and extremists in particular targeted hairdressers, many of whom closed their shops in fear.
Another shock came in 2014 when the Daesh group swept across much of Iraq’s north, with the militants making Mosul their de facto capital.
The religious police of Daesh enforced ultra-strict rules on dress for all residents, making sure women showed no skin and men wore ankle-length capris and long beards, with no moustache.
The city has since gotten a makeover.
Five beauty clinics have opened since Mosul was recaptured last summer by Iraqi security forces, and they can hardly keep up with the flow of customers, most of them men.
Muhannad Kazem told AFP he was the first to relaunch his city’s beauty business with his clinic, Razan, which offers teeth whitening services and other dental care.
His secret? “The employees came from Lebanon, and the treatments and machines were imported,” said Kazem, 40.

The city’s medical services were hit hard by Daesh’s three-year reign and the months-long battle to oust it.
The available hospital beds in Mosul dropped from 3,657 before 2014 to just 1,622 last year, according to the local human rights commission.
But the city is rebuilding, and one new commercial center houses the Diamond Dental Clinic in the bottom floor, with the Shahrazad beauty center upstairs.
A poster at the entrance advertises what’s on offer: injections of botox and other fillers, slimming surgeries, dermatological operations, and more.
Inside the glossy interior are men and women alike, an unthinkable sight under the iron-fisted rule of Daesh.
A female employee carefully injected serums to prevent hair loss into the scalp of a woman gritting her teeth, one of the dozen customers streaming in per day.
Beautician Alia Adnan said the physical and mental impact of the militants on people in Mosul has been long-lasting.
“They have hair or skin problems because of the stress and the pollution that Mosul’s residents were exposed to, both under Daesh and during the clashes,” she told AFP.