Posts Tagged ‘H. Vishwanath’

What’s in Poo’s name? Try asking Dr Bum Ramesh

12 February 2012

External affairs minister S.M. Krishna may consider himself a tennis connoisseur, but the Kannada film industry already has a "Tennis" Krishna

VIKRAM MUTHANNA writes: Many Indian kids, after they grow up, have trouble with long, tongue twisting names. Luckily we have nicknames to rescue us. But sometimes nicknames too become just as bad, especially when they have double meanings like say ‘Dicka uncle.’

Even shortening Indian names can some-times be dicey with Pooja lovingly becoming Poo.

Unfortunately, when it comes to nicknames, generally English names are used. And they are used to the point one is left wondering if it is really true. It is said that there is a couple named Happy and Gay! I guess they’ll be naming their kid ‘Glee.’ But by far, if you are a native of Mysore you will love the names adopted by some of our local “heroes” — people who put either their profession before their name or the name of an animal.

There is ‘Tiger’ Ramesh. I am waiting for a day to meet him so I can have the pleasure of being amused by introducing myself to him as, “Hi, I am ‘Panther’ Muthanna.” Wonder if he too will be amused and may be feel an immediate sense of feline bonding.

Then there is ‘Cat’ Balu, no not because he is ‘cool cat’ or light-footed, but apparently because he has green eyes.

Then there is the famous ‘Choori Loki’ (Dagger Lokesh). How he got this threatening name is an interesting story. When in college, all of us had heard of this guy. He supposedly was a rowdy and everyone was wary of him. After all, if he has ‘Choori’ as his first name, he must be a dangerous man. But years later we heard the origin of his name.

It seems Lokesh used to hang around with rowdy-type characters all the time but was never himself one. One day there was a clash between the boys he hung out with and another group. Lokesh was caught in the crossfire and one of the rowdies knifed him in his buttocks. He was rushed with a bleeding bum to the hospital.

Soon, he became the ‘butt’ of ‘buttock jokes’ and his friends named him ‘Choori Loki.’ And no one bothered to ask why he was named ‘Choori’, instead they simply assumed he was the perpetrator of pain and not the victim. Choori Loki too noticed the newfound respect that he commanded and kept mum about his story.

There are numerous such names from ‘Chirathe’ (leopard) Manju to ‘Kardi’ (bear) Balu. All nicknames created in their younger days have now become their unofficially-official names. In fact they believe their name helps increase their recall value.

Some of them are in politics and when their real names are published, they call the office the next day and request that their “business” name be used.

Even our Kannada film stars have interesting prefix to their names. There is the ‘Rebel Star’ Ambarish, ‘Golden Star’ Ganesh, ‘Challenging Star’ Darshan and ‘Power Star’ Puneeth Rajkumar. We love prefixes. Yes, indeed, you may have worked hard for Dr. prefix, but the above prefixes are a lot more “cooler” and unique.

In Mysore, it’s common for people to use a person’s profession as prefix to their name.

The popular example would be our “Snake” Shyam, the man who has been catching snakes in houses for free and doing Mysoreans a great service. His real name is Mirle Subbarao Balasubramanium! Call him this and he himself will not respond. But “Snake” Shyam, everyone knows and he willingly responds.

Another example is our former ex-Mayor Sandesh Swamy. His real name is Sithapura Satish. Satish became Sandesh Swamy as the Hotel Sandesh The Prince is owned by his family and Swamy is his nickname. In fact, his older brother, who is an MLC, is addressed popularly as Sandesh Nagaraj, his real name is Sithapur Nagaraj.

So may be some people may call me ‘Writer Muthanna.’ But that’s not too bad compared to a piles doctor — ‘Dr Bum Ramesh.’

To add to this, some people are given their physical attribute as prefix before their name such as ‘DhadiyaLokesh (Giant Lokesh) or ‘Kari’ Nagesh (Dark Nagesh). It may sound quite derogatory but it’s just a name created for recognisability.

Once they are recognised, they want luck to be an add-on. So, many politicians now have begun changing the spelling of their names to change their luck.

In Mysore, the first popular name change story was that of the Chamaraja Constituency MLA late Harsha Kumar Gowda. It is said that when he was initially just Harsha Kumar, he contested for MLA election twice and lost. Then he was advised to add ‘Gowda’ for luck. It worked and he won the third time.

More than numerology, may be the ‘Gowda’ add-on helped affirm his allegiance to a community and get him the votes because after the first term, this name change strategy never worked because another man with the ‘Gowda’ suffix came into the fray—H.SShankaralinge Gowda—who has won from Chamaraja constituency ever since.

Luckily nobody advised Harsha Kumar Gowda to add another ‘Gowda’ to his name making him double-Gowda.

The other famous name change was that of our District In-charge Minister who became S.A. Ramdas, he found it unlucky being just an A. Ramdas. Then our former Chief Minister became B.S. Yeddyurappa from B.S. Yediyurappa, our MP Vishwanath became Adagur H. Vishwanath from being just H. Vishwanath.

Well, how much does this work?

It’s going well for Ramdas, it’s going great for Vishwanath but what about Yeddy? Some numerologists may defend it saying that if not for the spelling change, Yeddyurappa would still be in jail. So we wonder if he should go for another spelling change to reclaim his CM chair or else he may just disappear into political oblivion as “Yeddyyarappa (Who’s Yeddy)?”

The same trend exists among ordinary citizens of India. May be numerology is a science. May be it is not. But while everyone is changing their names, while all our politicians are busy changing the spelling of their names to get ahead in life, has anyone thought of our motherland?

Ever since independence, we have had too much trouble; we have been “forever a developing” nation but never getting to be “developed” one. May be this streak of dosha (bad luck) can be ended with the name change or a spelling change. It’s surprising that while all governments are busy changing their States’ names, and our leaders changing their names for better forunes, no on has bothered about a name change or at least a spelling change for our nation.

May be if we change the spelling of India to Endia or Indiya, this nation’s fortunes could change.

What an idea, Sirji?

No… it’s just numerology.

(Vikram Muthanna is the managing editor of the evening daily Star of Mysore, where this piece originally appeared)

***

Also read: Why Snoop Doggy Dogg won’t play in Mysore

Coming: Nimmoppan experiments with untruths

Jinchaak: gaargeous like a baambshell

Coming soon: Mission Impossible III in Kannada

Boosa, kuule, woost, matash: a short dictionary

MEA culpa: Krishna’s lingo leela is lost in anuvad

8 August 2009

D.P. SATISH writes from New Delhi: For the first time perhaps in post-Independence history, three very vital ministries on Raisina Hill—home, defence and external affairs—are in the hands of South Indian Congressmen who have three different mother tongues: Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada, respectively.

While one doesn’t know how A.K. Antony and P. Chidambaram are making up for their lack of proficiency in Hindi, Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, according to the grapevine, is quickly realizing that it is not “politically correct” to be found wanting in your Hindi language skills in the corridors of power in Delhi.

Although Krishna has been a Member of Parliament five times in his long and chequered career—he first entered the Lok Sabha as a Praja Socialist Party (PSP) candidate from Mandya in a by-election in 1968—he never tried to learn the language of the cow belt in his 40-year association with Delhi.

Probably never had to.

But, in his latest stint as the nation’s external affairs minister, it is coming back to bite.

In the just-concluded session of Parliament, Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s Samajwadi Party, which supports the UPA government from the outside, launched an all-out attack on the Congress and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the ‘badly’ drafted Indo–Pak joint statement at Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Congress MP from Mysore, H. Vishwanath, who had rubbed the former chief minister on the wrong side by writing about Krishna’s “old flame” in  his autobiography Halli hakkiya haadu, noticed Krishna sitting alone, in deep thought, in the front row of the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha.

Vishwanath went and sat next to his ex-boss.

This is what transpired between them, according to those in the know.

Vishwanath: Yenu saar? Thumba serious aagideeri? (Sir, why are you looking so serious?)

Krishna: Yenu maadli, Vishwanath. Prime Ministeroo ee Mulayam haththirra swalpa neevu maathaadi antha heli hodru. Aaadre nange ondakshara Hindi baralla. Eeeyappange ondakshara English baralla. Addike yochne maadtha eedeeni. (Vishwanath, PM asked me to talk to Mulayam. But I don’t know a word of Hindi and he doesn’t know a word of English.)

Vishwanath: Paravagilla saar. Mandya gowdara bhaashele maathaadi. Avarige artha aguththe. (It’s OK, sir. Speak to him in the Mandya dialect. He will understand!)

Krishna: I have been in and out of Parliament for 41 years. I never tried to learn Hindi. Never imagined that it would create so many problems one day. But, no excuse, no excuse. It is entirely my fault. I can’t learn it now.

Photograph: A television hand adjusts the microphone cable for S.M. Krishna during campaigning for the assembly election in 2008 (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: Bangalore’s idiots who speak an idiolect at home

If Chiba San is not a son of the soil, who is?

Whereever you see Marathi, replace it with Kannada

Hindi teachers, please don’t leave our kids alone!

Everyone is naked in the chief minister’s hamaam

15 June 2009

CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY writes from Bangalore: It seems that former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is a much harried man these days.

A local newspaper reports that a “mystery woman” has been calling his mobile phone and showering a barrage of abuse.

“About 10 months ago, a girl called me up. Initially she narrated her woes. Later she started hounding me and also hurled abuses, the nature of which I can’t share. She used to make calls at 3 am and even at 4 am.”

The report also says, an embarrassed Kumaraswamy has discreetly sought the help of the city cops to identify the “stalker”.

Aside from the female angle, there is something delectable about this story:  a powerful man being helpless as the rest of humankind in the face of anonymous phone calls; the sight of an honourable member of Parliament fighting to save his honour in the eyes of the world.

KumaraswamyFor, there have been other mornings, when newspapers have spiced up my idli-sambar by candidly highlighting the former Chief Minister’s affections for the actress Radhika, but HDK could barely be bothered.

When the two appeared together at a religious ceremony—the Ashta Pavithra Nagamandalotsava (in picture)—organised by the actress’s family near Mangalore recently, still no response.

Unlike his father H.D. Deve Gowda, whose obsessive preoccupation with politics never gave him time for anything else, HDK, a film producer before he took the plunge in politics, seems to bring in a range of flavours where the real and reel overlap.

So, you wonder: is HDK a changed man?

If so, who’s behind the change?

***

For historical reasons, our English broadsheets have been reluctant to cater to the base instincts of their readers. But with the rise of other unconventional, bolder, faster channels of information, repackaging of news has become the norm.

Nothing is flippant or frivolous any more.

Anything goes in the name of giving the reader what he wants.

And with the private lives of our public figures becoming increasingly, nonchalantly, arrogantly colourful, everything goes to grab a few extra eyeballs.

nurseFor instance in 2007,  there was the curious case of M.P. Renukacharya, a married BJP legislator, whose romantic liaison with “nurse” Jayalakshmi (in picture) was the defining image of the day. Charges, counter-charges and intimate photographs of the MLA smooching the woman provided grist for a sensation-starved media.

At one point, it appeared as if this lusty controversy would sink the JD(S)- BJP boat. It was believed that JD (S) would ride on the skirts of this affair and accuse the BJP of impropriety and refuse to transfer power to its alliance partner as previously agreed.

Renukacharya is now among the BJP MLAs gunning for the head of chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa.

***

The amorous dalliances of Karnataka’s politicians have enlivened many living room gossip sessions but rarely so publicly.

A knowledgeable reporter-friend, considered an “authority” on the ‘apolitical inclinations’ of  the State’s leading lights, used to be a mandatory inclusion in most party guest lists. A couple of gin-tonic shots and the skeletons start tumbling out of the cupboards.

There is no such use, it seems, for such inside knowledge. It’s all out in the open.

shobhaIn recent times, chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s  “proclivities” have been blissfully up for public scrutiny. There are not-so-subtle hints in news reports on the “great personal rapport” he shares with a lady colleague in his cabinet.

Since there is only one woman in the BJP team, there is little left to the imagination.

There are accusations of favoritism, nepotism and what not.

This “friendship” has resulted in party loyalists feeling slighted and sidelined. They seem to be getting more brazen. The political storm taking shape in the firmament could well swirl into the Chief Minister’s bedroom if he doesn’t watch out.

But to his credit Yediyurappa has remained unflappable not bothering to react on the subject. He has made every effort to project his cabinet colleague as an invaluable ally in his government’s development agenda. Moreover, the BJP’s Lok Sabha showing has only infused him with more ‘vigour and vitality’, if nothing else.

*** (more…)

Football lessons for the Congress from Euro 2008

13 June 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: I met my friend, the Old Football Freak (OFF)–cum-Congress spokesman at the lawns of the club before the start of Holland-Italy kick off in Euro 2008.

As a referee, OFF had once received a flattened nose as a gift while trying to bring peace between two marauding teams, gradually drifted into the muddy tracks of politics, and become one of the spokespersons of the Congress. His love for football was as much as Vijay Mallya‘s love for good times.

As we started our drinks, I asked him why the Congress had lost so badly in Karnataka when it should have been an easy walk in the park.

“We had a good team, but everybody played for himself and never gelled as a team.”

“What do you mean?”

“Yes. That’s what it is. We had three of our best forwards: Dharam Singh, Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjuna Kharge. If they had combined well we could have scored many goals, I mean we could have easily won. The forwards never passed the ball around. More often, they were thinking who would be the ‘Most Valuable Player’ or who would get the ‘Golden Boot’ award at the end. That is the reason why we were booted out. We had one more problem. Although Siddaramaiah wore Congress colours, most of the others went deliberately colourblind and ignored him completely!”

“But you had S.M. Krishna with you?”

“He played centre-half but didn’t move with the forwards nor stayed back with the defence. He was still thinking and running as if he was in Bombay’s Cooperage grounds. Mentally he was just not there. He was no more the khara bath-kesari bath Krishna we all knew. He had become Shrikhand-Misal Krishna.”

“What about stalwarts like Ambarish and M.P. Prakash?”

“The actor-MP wasn’t sure whether he was the forward-looking Mandya’s Gandugali, or the stout-hearted defender aspiring to be an MLA. By the time he sorted this out the game was over. As for Prakash, he didn’t know which team he was playing for. Even during the match he kept asking the referee which side he belonged to. He moved all over the field without touching the ball even once.”

” But didn’t the heavyweights like Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi come down to help you out?”

“Yes, they did, but they just remained heavy weights. They were more like visiting coaches from AC Milan and Inter Milan. The Italian coaches are good only in theory. That’s our experience here.”

“Didn’t the wide experience of C.K. Jaffer Sharief and H. Vishwanath come in hand?”

“They were just static fullbacks, all busy settling old scores. Some of them were even trying to score self goals so that we could lose and have a coalition government.  Deliberately passes were messed up in the middle. There was no mid-field strategy because of poor equations with centre-half.”

“Even JDS with purely local leaders seemed to have done better than you?”

“That’s true. Forget the main opponent BJP on the field. We were even distracted by the antics of a family causing disturbance in the stands. Unfortunately, even the referee and linesmen were very severe on us for simplest of fouls and infringements.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami and his colleagues as well as district officials like P. Manivannan were so ruthless on the field, they didn’t allow us to carry drinks, and other essential things on to the field, so necessary to win such crucial ties.”

“What next?”

“Unless we trade-off few of our players and get some fresh legs and get some good coaches too, definitely not Italian type, we don’t have much hope.”

Corruption OK. Massacres OK. Romance not OK?

29 January 2008

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: Like a kaleidoscope, you can view the “revelation” of the half-century-old S.M. Krishna-B. Saroja Devi fling, and the spat at the book release in Mysore yesterday, any which way you like, and it will still make a lot of sense.

# Those who like media will say the messenger is being shot as usual. Those who dislike the media will see it (as Gagan K. already has) as a sign of the media going haywire in the mad quest for eyeballs and readers.

# Those who like Krishna will see it as an attempt to derail his reentry into Karnataka politics. Those who dislike him will see it as proof, full and final, that the man was up to no good even if it was 55 years ago.

# Those who like H. Vishwanath will see it as an attempt to prevent him from telling the truth. Those who dislike him will see it as a pre-poll stunt; just what the doctor ordered to boot him out of the Congress.

# Those who like the rich and powerful will see it as an attempt to tar brush them as being weak in the loins. Those dislike them will see it as a sign of how trophy wives and girlfriends have become an accepted norm.

# Those who like freedom of speech will see it as proof of how intolerant we are becoming as a nation. Those who dislike others using their freedom will say this is what happens if there is too much freedom.

In a way, each of those points of view, and possibly many more, are correct. But here’s a contrarian view worth pondering: is it just possible that the much reviled Janata Dal (Secular) is more tolerant of scrutiny and criticism than the much revered Indian National Congress?

***

To understand the irony, compare the reaction to the Krishna-Saroja Devi “romance” being made public with the reaction to the dalliance of H.D. Kumaraswamy with movie star Radhika being made public.

H. Vishwanath says he himself had the conversation with Krishna four years ago. Krishna’s wife Prema, and his brother S.M. Shankar, have both confirmed that there was talk of a marriage proposal for Krishna with Saroja Devi 55 years ago. Saroja Devi herself does not deny the affair. And Krishna has threatened to sue Mid-Day for the morphed photograph not the story.

In other words, there is more than a grain of truth to the story.

Yet, Congressmen owing allegiance to Krishna go on the offensive, without reading the book, without understanding the context, without verifying its veracity, and stall its release. Why is it so difficult to swallow a grain of truth for Krishna’s henchmen like D.K. Shiva Kumar and D. Made Gowda, when the chief players in the drama, Krishna included, are comfortable with it?

And this in a party that makes no effort to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru‘s dalliance with Edwina Mountbatten.

On the other hand, look at l’affaire Kumaraswamy-Radhika.

Kumaraswamy, at 48, is a full 28 years younger than Krishna. Unlike Krishna, HDK’s political future is ahead of him. For the better part of the last two years and more, there has been all manner of speculation in the Kannada weekly tabloids of his proximity to Radhika, the daughter of a Mangalore kabab-maker who acted in a few Kannada and Tamil films.

Did HDK buy her a house worth Rs 12 crore in Dollar Colony? Was he “relaxing” in the house, as chief minister, just before it was raided by income-tax men? Did he frequent her father’s house in Katriguppe? Did she get the Chamuni Hill temple manager transferred using her political connections? Did he make a midnight trip to a Mangalore hospital to call on her? Was she pregnant then? Has she given birth to a son in London?

These and other unsubstantiated tidbits have been merrily been thrown by a salivating media, including churumuri, even though Kumaraswamy has much more to lose by the negative publicity than Krishna. Yet, there has been no frenzied reaction from HDK or his JDS supporters. No blocking of roads, no throwing of flower pots, no manhandling.

What little protest has come has come via a series of defamation case filed by supporters of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda at the film “Mukhya Mantri I love you‘ being made by Hi! Bangalore editor Ravi Belagere. There was a dharna at the offices of the tabloid, but none of the vandalism and hooliganism of the Congress.

What does it mean?

That Krishna’s supporters are more careful at guarding his image and perception than HDK’s? That HDK has given up hope of being chief minister again and doesn’t care about voters seeing him as being bigamous? That, for all their rough and tough ways, the JDS men are more open, democratic and tolerant?

Or is this a “class” thing?

Here’s an even bigger irony: Congressmen aren’t overly concerned about their leaders being held guilty of taking part in massacres and killings and riots; they are not bothered about their leaders charged of corruption, of hobnobbing with the underworld, of taking cash from counterfeiters.

But somehow, a very normal, natural romance with a member of the opposite sex, one which both parties grudgingly admit, even if it was 55 years ago, gets them all hot under the collar. Why?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

An old flame ignites the media’s insensitivity

29 January 2008

The release of former Congress minister H. Vishwanath‘s autobiography Halli hakkiya haadu (The song of the village bird) was thwarted by supporters of S.M. Krishna in Mysore yesterday who took objection to the author resurrecting in the public consciousness a half-century-old story of the former chief minister’s soft corner for yesteryear actress, B. Saroja Devi.

The protest had been prefaced by a news report in Mid-Day, whose reporter B.V. Shiva Shankar gained access to the proofs of the book. The operative portion of the offending episode, as recounted by the tabloid on Monday morning, reads thus:

Krishna and Vishwanath were travelling in a car in 2004, when assembly and parliamentary elections were scheduled simultaneously in Karnataka. A newspaper lying on the car seat said Saroja Devi could get a Congress ticket to contest from Mandya.

“What do people think?” Krishna reportedly asked Vishwanath.

Vishwanath hemmed and hawed, but Krishna cajoled him to speak out.

Vishwanath then said: “Sir, people know what happened between you and the star when you were young. They say Krishna won’t forget his old number, and will definitely give her a ticket.”

Krishna reportedly laughed and said, “We should not forget old numbers. It is a sin.”

Vishwanath replied, “Yes, sir. I won’t forget my old numbers either.”

That seemingly innocuous admission of a long-ago romance, fondly remembered long after the ardour had dimmed, was enough for the 24-hour Kannada news channel TV9 to go all guns blazing.

Krishna Leele” read the “super” all afternoon, as anchor Gaurish Akki and reporters Lakshman Hoogar and Arvind Shetty hoogared on the “Breaking News”, and speculated wildly on the motives behind Vishwanath revealing it now, the possible impact of it on Krishna’s return to Karnataka politics, etc.

The result of the Mid-Day report and the resulting TV9 coverage, provided enough fuel for Krishna’s supporters to go on the rampage, jostling chief guest U.R. Anantha Murthy, destroying the property of the venue, and generally creating a nuisance, and eventually succeeding in the book not being released as intended.

GAGAN K. who was at the venue for two hours, from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm, jots down his impressions and observations. Krishna and Saroja Devi have been defamed not by Vishwanath, he says, but by Mid-Day and TV9. The protestors, he argues, should be directing their ire at the media outlets, rather than the author, a point echoed by Anantha Murthy who spoke of the increasing insensitivity of the media.

***

# I truly feel that S.M. Krishna has been truly defamed by TV9 and Mid-Day, not by H. Vishwanath. They have also misguided the people of the State. All of Karnataka now knows about this issue not because of Vishwanath’s book, but due to the wrong reporting of TV9.

# Without the book being released, how did the protestors come to know of its contents and how did they arrive at the venue to stage the protest? It was on the basis of the sensational, senseless, misinterpreted reporting of TV9 based on the Mid-Day report. The protestors need to protest before the offices of TV9 and Mid-Day.

# Actual defamation has been caused by Mid-Day and TV9 which have misinterpreted the contents of the book. What has been written has been taken out of context, twisted and sensationalised by use of words like “Krishna Leele“. The use of a morphed photograph of Krishna hugging Saroja Devi by Mid-Day is highly defamatory in nature though it has been mentioned below in a small font “image used for representation only”.

# TV9 is mainly responsible for the havoc. As a mass medium, TV9 needs to answer these questions first: 1) What is the source from which they got this news? 2) Did they get a copy of this book? 3) Did they go through this book? 4) What was the rationale behind sensationalising such a small issue for hours together?

# What Vishwanath has written in his book, among other issues, is based on a conversation with Krishna. If Krishna comes out and files a suit of defamation, then Vishwanath shall have to prove its veracity before the court. Otherwise, the author will be liable for defamation. In this case, Krishna has not filed a suit yet. Only Krishna or Saroja Devi have the right to claim defamation. But it is strange that Krishna’s supporters have taken matters to their own hands.

# Suchetana Swaroop, director of Sri Siddhartha Centre for Media Studies, Tumkur, who was waiting outside the venue to enter the hall, told me: “I don’t know why all this fuss. They have a right to protest. But let them protest outside the venue and allow us to release the book, read it, and discuss it. Have the protestors read a line from this book? On what basis are they protesting?”

# All the people of this country of this country have the freedom of speech and expression. but the freedom is not absolute. It comes with the rider of “reasonable restrictions”. Id est, a person may express his views, but he shall not express his views which are factually wrong. And the views shall not defame others. From yesterday’s incidents, it appears freedom speech and expression exists, but not for all.

***

YouTube video: courtesy Gagan K


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