Archive for October, 2008

‘Godse’s way of thinking is alive and influential’

31 October 2008

The following is the full, unexpurgated text of the convocation address made by the Kannada literatteur Prof U.R. Anantha Murthy at the Jamia Milia Islamia on Thursday, 30 October 2008:


Dear Chancellor, Vice-chancellor, Deans of faculties, Teachers and Students,

When I say it is an honour for me to be the chief guest in this convocation of Jamia Milia Islamia, it is not a formal statement prefacing all such addresses. I mean it because in these difficult times for most of us, the vice-chancellor of this great University has shown the courage to act properly, and humanely that would have been the correct action by a head of an institution in normal times. But the hysterical attack on him by his critics prompts me to say that he has defended the ideals that our Constitution upholds and nothing more.

Nobody who is sane can defend the terrorists.

Let us not forget that Gandhiji was killed because he was perceived to be a friend of the Muslims, and an enemy of the Hindus while he strived against the violent actions of both Hindus and Muslims, and fasted to make his own disciples in power to give to Pakistan what was its due, legally.

The stridency with which some top political leaders speak now a days makes one feel that Nathuram Godse‘s way of thinking is yet alive and influential in our country. We want not only the terrorists to be punished for their inhumanity, but the political and cultural malaise that gives succour to terrorism to end.


I studied in the great Maharaja’s college of Mysore University which had a British principal. This living legend who was opposed to the Quit India movement, did not allow the police to raid the College without his permission.  That was the story handed down by generations of students. In his eyes, the “erring” students were under his care. He was of the opinion that all students were under the care of the head of the University, and s/he must play the role of a parent.

I cannot make this point better than my friend and fellow writer Mukul Kesavan:

I have a son who, in less than two years, will go to university. If, god forbid, he finds himself in police remand for whatever reason (murder, armed robbery, menacing the faculty, fraud), I’d want his University to behave as if it were acting in my place, in loco parentis. I would expect the proctor of the University to liaise with the station house officer to make sure that such rights of visitation as he might have in that ghastly circumstance were given him, to hire a lawyer to see if he could be released on bail, and if the nature of the alleged offence didn’t allow that, to try to have him transferred to judicial custody.

Police remand is a dreadful form of imprisonment in India; unlike judicial custody where the procedural restraints of prison manuals apply, the police in their station-house lockups have a free hand in working suspects over. Any university that washes its hands of its students the moment they are arrested by the police because it doesn’t want to be associated with notoriety or (as in this case) the taint of terrorism is a cringing and wretched institution undeserving of a citizen’s respect or a parent’s trust.”

Prof. Mushirul Hasan, as vice-chancellor, has stood by the traditions of this great University. The founding fathers of this institution were inspired not only by the anti-colonial Islamic activism of Khilafat, but some of them belonged to the politically radical section of Western educated Indian Muslim intelligentsia.

It is important for me that both Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, who were skeptical of the European ideal of a strong, centralized nation-state, built on the notion of  ‘one language, one religion, one race’, imagined India as a great civilization of multiple cultures and religions and yet united in an advaitic sense: they blessed this institution.

Let me quote again Mukul Kesavan to make clear what is at stake in our times now:

When people, policemen and political parties buy into the narrative of a priori Muslim guilt, they run the risk of turning this remarkable republic into an ordinary, ugly, majoritarian State.”

I know how some of my Muslims friends have begun to feel these days. The media is largely responsible for this.

When any arrest is made for suspected terrorism, you invariably hear a Muslim name. Then you are told that the arrested have confessed.

Who will not confess under police torture?

I do not know if I would not confess to acts that I am not guilty of if I am subjected to physical and mental torture. This so-called “confession” is not valid evidence, however, in a court. By the time we learn that the arrested person is not guilty, the damage has been done.

It is an assault on our psyche to be informed everyday that a Muslim has been caught by the police or killed in an ‘encounter’. We never know whether the encounter could have been avoided. How can the dead speak of what really took place? There is a constitutional guarantee that every ‘encounter’ killing is homicide unless proved otherwise through an impartial and transparent enquiry.

Our nation-state does not seem to take this provision seriously for everything is okay if you can generate a mass hysteria.

In my state of Karnataka, I now hear everyday that the “master-mind” of the terror attacks has been caught. If we doubt the authenticity of the story we are considered unpatriotic and anti-national. This surely is the beginning of fascism.

As a citizen I want to ask this question: Why should the media give out names of all the arrested under suspicion before they are proved to be guilty? Some restraint is necessary in a civil society, for, even after they are cleared of their guilt, the damage is done. Many like me have begun to feel that we are living in a nightmarish Kafkaesque world.

The whole nation seems to be neurotic.

The rulers have to prove that they are efficient and therefore I have a suspicion that they randomly pick someone to create an illusion of safety among the citizens. (Any party in power or in opposition desiring to capture power has the next election in view.)

This feeling “safe and secure” is also a momentary illusion, for, tomorrow you hear again of some terrorist attack and of more Muslim names getting arrested. We are also shown on TV channels dangerous explosive material supposed to be in their possession for bomb making.

Do we believe in the much-hyped “Breaking News” of the TV channels? Yes and No. Feeling torn between belief and suspicion, even as one recognizes their need to sensationalize and closely compete for TRP ratings, is itself a mental harassment for common citizens like me.

Don’t we have children whom we want to return safely from school?

The harassed police are also under pressure from their nervous political bosses to find the guilty as quickly as they can. The inhuman terrorists, who abuse the word ‘Islam’, also know how poor the intelligence network in the country is; and the State seems to be serving their interest in arresting anybody who has a Muslim name, for, the terrorists hope to demoralize the rest of the Muslim community in the hope that they would join them, or at least sympathize with them. They carry such attacks in a Muslim country like Pakistan too. This is the story of powerful Bhasmasura, who tries to destroy his creator. This is true of the policy pursued by the USA for hegemony in the world; they have to now suffer for their karma.

The minorities are thus alienated from the mainstream of our nation.

If you are a Muslim you can hardly get a rented house in a decent middle-class locality in the IT city of Bangalore. On learning the name, they are politely told that the house has already been taken.

With the elections round the corner, Hindu rioters—a safe word for the Hindu communalists to mark their difference from Islamic fundamentalists—are attacking churches.

In a Kannada newspaper, one with the largest circulation and owned by a prominent Indian newspaper group, published a few days ago an irrational and abusive article on the evil designs of Christians to annihilate the Hindu religion, which had the full support of their leader Sonia Gandhi. The article was right in the front page, which continued in the inner pages. The excuse was that by publishing the article the issue of conversion had been opened for impartial debate. Some months ago, the same paper conducted an SMS campaign against me for criticizing a communally poisonous novel against Islam by this very author, who has now launched himself against the Christians.


The Marathi manoos, right arm over the wicket

31 October 2008

The slugfest on the streets of Bombay following Raj Thackeray‘s arrest, captured in all its cricketing splendour by the photographers of the Marathi newspaper, Sakal.

Photograph: courtesy Sakal

Link via D.P. Satish

‘A modern Indian pilgrimage to another world’

30 October 2008

Tunku Varadarajan in The New York Times:

“An unmanned spacecraft from India – that most worldly and yet otherworldly of nations – is on its way to the moon. For the first time since man and his rockets began trespassing on outer space, a vessel has gone up from a country whose people actually regard the moon as a god.

“The Chandrayaan (or “moon craft”) is the closest India has got to the moon since the epic Hindu sage, Narada, tried to reach it on a ladder of considerable (but insufficient) length – as my grandmother’s bedtime version of events would have it. So think of this as a modern Indian pilgrimage to the moon.”

Link courtesy Aravind Balajee

Read the full article: Fly me to the deity

CHURUMURI POLL: Did the Left “save” India?

29 October 2008

Jatti kelage biddaroo meese mannu aaga-lilla, is an old Kannada saying. Meaning: the wrestler’s moustache was unsoiled even after he was floored.

The Indian left may be going through its worst phase ever. Its ruling government in West Bengal has been unable to retain the Tata Nano that landed in its lap. Despite its avowed secular credentials, it bowed to the fundamentalists and sent out Taslima Nasreen. In Delhi, the inflexible dogma of Prakash Karat saw the Left severing its support to the government over the Indo-US nuclear issue. And so on.

None of those realities seem to have prevented the communists from making one of the more brazen and bizarre claims in recent times. Namely, that it was their opposition that prevented the Manmohan Singh-Chidambaram combine from going the whole hog on banking and insurance reforms, full convertibility of the rupee, and deployment of pension funds in the stock markets. And this, they say, “insulated” India from the full impact of the global financial crisis.

Has India been saved, or has the salaried, unionised Indian middle class, the bourgeoisie, been saved? Are the communists talking through their hat, or is there a grain of truth to their claim? If communist policies have saved India, why hasn’t it saved China, whose stock markets are doing worse than in India? And if shutting the doors is a good idea to save ourselves from global shocks, should we close our economy?

When all the cameras were looking the other way

29 October 2008

Given the packs of still and video journalists who now hover over even ordinary news events, it is a mad scramble to get good visuals. And if the news is related to global terror then it’s a virtual stampede. If a photographer does manage to find a good frame in the melee, he is at the mercy of deadlines, space, and quixotic editorial priorities.

Nishant Ratnakar, lensman with the soon-to-be-launched edition of DNA in Bangalore, has put together a collection of pictures built around one signal news event last year: the homecoming of Mohammed Haneef, the Mudigere-born doctor who was implicated in a terror attack in Glasgow, including this unpublished picture of Dr Haneef’s wife Firdous Ashriya all dressed up and demure.

For days, Ashriya was a brave and articulate spokesperson, answering queries on Dr Haneef, who had been nabbed by Australian police as he was leaving Brisbane merely because a SIM card belonging to him had been found on one of the bombers. But on the day he was to arrive in Bangalore, all the cameras were suddenly turned the other way. All except one.

View the entire gallery here: People in news

Also read: L’affaire Mohammed Haneef

When Shankar went to buy crackers on Deepavali

27 October 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The crowd around was laughing and jeering at her. Her saree was torn and hair disheveled and she was not even conscious of that. She was alternately laughing and crying while shouting ‘Nanna maduve Aagthiyeno?’ (‘Will you marry me?’)

Narahari (name changed) came out running and took Lakshmi home.


Lakshmi (name changed) was my classmate Narahari’s sister.

Born to a middle-class family, her father was an accountant in the AG’s office in Bangalore. Lakshmi was a very pretty girl and a tomboy to boot. As a child she liked to play ‘gombe aata ‘ with her toys, setting up a home, cooking for her husband while cradling a baby in her arms.  She loved playing with ‘Pattada Gombe’ before her parents set up the stalls for Navarathri.

As was the custom those days, the elders decided that she would be married to Bhaskar, Lakshmi’s mother’s brother.

In family gatherings, they would often tease Bhaskar as to when he would marry Lakshmi. Lakshmi herself would ask him, ‘Nanna yavaga maduve aagthiyo, nanna ganda?!’ (When will you marry me, my husband?!).  His discomfiture made elders laugh at Bhaskar who by now had turned crimson. On ‘Bheemana Amavase’ she would pray god to grant her a good husband.

After degree, I joined engineering and Narahari went for medicine. Bhaskar went to Manipal to study medicine.  Lakshmi grew into a beautiful girl and after her graduation took up music. A tomboy gradually grew into a demure and charming girl.

We didn’t have much of communication and once in a way, I would drop into Narahari’s house.  Once I jokingly asked Lakshmi, “How is your would be husband, Bhaskar?”

She blushed and ran inside.

Bhaskar’s visit to Bangalore gradually reduced as he was busy with his internship.  When the date was fixed for his  ‘Nishchiithartha’ (engagement ceremony) after his graduation, Bhaskar shocked everybody saying he was in love with a classmate and he didn’t want to marry Lakshmi.

He snubbed his parents saying elders had no business to get their children betrothed and marriage was certainly not child’s play.

Bhaskar’s decision, a shocker to everybody, was more so to Lakshmi who had grown with the thought that Bhaskar was her husband ever since she was barely three years old.

It was a dream that lay shattered.

Bhaskar married his colleague Shaila (name changed) and set up a clinic in Bangalore. Meanwhile, Lakshmi immersed herself in Carnatic music and started giving free lessons to the girls of Abalashrama in Gandhi Bazaar and took pains to settle the girls in life through marriage or a job. If there was any chance for an alliance or a job for any of her students she would run across to explore the opportunity. She flatly refused to have any discussion at home about her own marriage.

It was in one such meeting, she met Shankar (name changed) who had a business of his own. Ever since he lost his parents in an accident, that left his sister Priya (name changed) partially paralysed, he had decided to remain a bachelor. He was selling imported equipment and mostly supplied to defence establishments in Bangalore. Deeply interested in music, he was a member of the Gayana Samaja. Shankar hired meritorious but disabled and disadvantaged people in his company as he felt equal opportunity should be given to all.

Though nothing came out of Lakshmi’s meeting with Shankar, their common ideals and tastes brought them closer. He saw and admired the efforts Lakshmi made to settle her students in life and pitched in help wherever possible.

Though it started as a professional relationship, it soon blossomed into a friendship. They started attending concerts together. Shankar also encouraged her students by giving them chance to sing in junior artistes’ competition in Gayana Samaja.

Lakshmi had confided in him her failed alliance with Bhaskar and Shankar in turn, about his sister whom he will have to take care lifelong.

It was on the eve of Dasara, Shankar confessed his love for her. He had broached the topic just as she was arranging the ‘Pattada Gombe’ for Navarathri celebrations. As she listened to him, memories of her childhood flashed across when she grew up thinking Bhaskar as her husband.

“Have I come out of my ‘Gombe Aata’ days,” she wondered. “Will I be able to look after Shankar’s disabled sister for the rest of my life?”

She knew Shankar loved her deeply and was scared that she might lose him too if she didn’t decide soon. Next morning, she phoned Shankar and gave her consent.

They decided to get married in a temple by just exchanging garlands. Prior to that, they planned to inform their close relatives.

On Deepavali eve, they went to buy clothes for their wedding. Shankar chose a traditional red colour saree for Lakshmi, and she bought a salwar-kurtha set for him.

While they were driving home, Shankar wanted to stop by in the City Market and buy fire-crackers for his office staff.

He parked the car across and while he was coming back with the packet of crackers in hand, a fire broke in one of the shops which soon spread and the whole shopping area was ablaze. The crackers in his hand burst knocking him down.

Lakshmi who was only few metres from the ghastly scene, got out of the car and ran towards Shankar even as she saw him getting engulfed in the blazing inferno. She fainted right there. Some samaritans rushed and tried to save as many lives as they could.

Shankar’s body was charred and he succumbed to third degree burns in the hospital.

When Lakshmi woke up she was at home. She was still in a daze but wanted to see him. When she saw Shankar for the last time, she did not cry but ran back to her room and would not open the door.

Much later when they had all come back from the funeral, she opened the door and came out. She was decked up fully in the bridal red saree with the pallu drawn up to her forehead as a bride. Suddenly she started laughing and started tearing her saree.

When Narahari and Bhaskar ran to hold her, she was alternately laughing and crying, saying ‘Nanna maduve agthiyeno? (‘Will you marry me?’)

Also read: For Shyam and Madhu, the show had to go on

How Suma didn’t let her eyes block her vision

The spirit of Subbanna that Bhattru couldn’t stifle

What Seetamma’s son could teach our netas

When the mind was free and the body was willing

25 October 2008

Ratan Tata claims he was inspired to think of the one-lakh-rupee car when he saw a young family trying to brave the rains on a scooter. But can even a one-crore-rupee car come close to the thrills of riding a two-wheeler with both feet in the air, after a rain in Cubbon Park?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

CHURUMURI POLL: Proof of Hindu terrorism?

25 October 2008

The arrest of three suspects with Hindu names—Shyamlal Sahu, Shivnarayan Singh and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur alias Poornachetanand Pragya Singh Thakur—in connection with the blasts in Malegaon, Modasa and Mehrauli about a month ago has lent a new edge to terrorism in India.

(CNN-IBN reports that one more sadhvi could have been picked up, and Mail Today reports that sadhvi Pragya Singh had addressed an election campaign rally last year where Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was present.)

On the one hand, Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) has gone to town proclaiming that the arrest of the three, who are linked to the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) and Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishat (ABVP), is proof that “Hindu Terrorism” is not a figment of the secular imagination.

Read in conjunction with a blast in Nanded (Maharashtra) in the house of an RSS worker and a blast in Kanpur where two people with links to the Bajrang Dal were killed, there are many who believe that sangh parivar outfits are behind some of the recent terror attacks to demonise Muslims.

On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party has objected to giving terrorism a religious feel, saying “terrorism has no religion, a point shared by some in the Congress.

Also read: God save Hinduism from this lunatic fringe

‘Bomb blasts are now doing what riots used to do’

‘Sangh parivar is destroying Hindu civilisation’

CHURUMURI POLL: Ban the VHP and Bajrang Dal?

By-two badam haal for the lambu leggie, please

24 October 2008

S.R. RAMAKRISHNA writes from Bangalore: Iyengar bakeries must be Karnataka’s culinary gift to the world.

The Iyengars of Tamil Nadu don’t run bakeries. The Iyengar bakeries in Madras—a friend tells me that city has at least two dozen—are called Bangalore Iyengar bakeries.

How this orthodox Tamil-speaking Brahmin sect got into the business of making English-style buns, puffs and biscuits is one the biggest puzzles of Karnataka’s cultural history. A couple of bakery owners tell me they don’t eat the cakes they make because they are vegetarian, and can’t have eggs.

Among the Iyengars, only the Vadagalai sect is associated with the bakery business. All bakery owners hail from Hassan district, which has also famously produced a prime minister in H.D. Deve Gowda.

The Tamil spoken by Hassan Iyengars is Kannada-flavoured, and sounds suspect to the ears of their clansmen in Tamil Nadu. But if you were to hold a baking and confectionery contest between the two, the Kannadiga Iyengars would win hands down.

Every corner in southern Bangalore has an Iyengar bakery, although some newer enterprises, like Butter Sponge, have dropped the caste prefix. Most have names like LJ (Lakshmi Janardhana) and SLV (Sri Laksmi Venkateshwara).

For working couples and their children, the Iyengar bakeries were a godsend. Then the darshinis happened, Malayali Muslim bakeries arrived with their egg puffs, pizza outlets mushroomed, and Bangalore became, in the language of the metro supplements, hip and happening.

The Iyengar bakeries haven’t really vanished, but their ’70s glory is gone.

Anil Kumble was reportedly fond of dil khush and dil pasand, two sweets that most bakeries added to their menu in the late 1970s, when he was a student of National High School in Basavangudi.

In an ad, the Test captain appears against a Mediterranean backdrop with a wine glass in his hand and some fancy dish on his plate. Mistaken branding! He would have been a more convincing brand ambassador for the Iyengar bakeries, with a veg puff and a glass of badam milk in his hand.

My bakery favourites are the special bread (called ‘special’ because it has sugar, as against ‘ordinary’ which is bland), the spicy khara bun, the unbearably sweet benne biscuit (butter cookie), and the sunflower yellow-coloured badam burfi (a VB Bakery speciality).

I also used to like the apple cake, which I now understand is made from breadcrumbs and the previous days leftovers.

Iyengar bakeries offer good variety, but each item is a carb feast. The icing on their cakes, for instance, is too sugary. Their syrupy flavours are particularly attractive to the taste buds of school and college students, but many graduate to grilled sandwiches and gobi manchurian, which the Iyengar bakeries don’t make.

The best time to eat bakery stuff is three in the afternoon, when the stuff comes hot out of the Iyengar ovens. The bakers would do most of their work manually till 15 years ago, but machines have taken over now even for simple chores like slicing the loaves.

Growing up on bakery stuff is probably a nutritional disaster.

I have frequented an Iyengar bakery since I was in school, giving them steady business for their breads, buns (sweet and stuffed) and what they call pups (puffs). The bakers, who won’t eat what they make, remain young and fit, but I’ve greyed!

(S.R. Ramakrishna is the editor of MiD Day, Bangalore, where an earlier version of this piece originally appeared)

Photograph: courtesy Vikram Chadaga

Cross-posted on kosambari

Look, who’s seeking the help of Muthappa Rai!?

24 October 2008

Wired, the iconic tech magazine, has a long story, of all people, on “The Godfather of Bangalore“, underworld don turned champion of the downtrodden, Muthappa Rai.

Written by the investigative journalist Scott Carney, the article traces the role Rai plays in his (now) main line of work, real estate:

“When a foreign company wants to set up a business, they don’t know who to trust. They need clear titles, and if they go to a local person, they’re going to get screwed with legal cases. But if Rai gives you a title, it comes with a 100 per cent guarantee of no litigation. No cheating. It’s perfectly straightforward.

“On any given day, he says, 150 people make their way to his opulent mansion to seek his help. He declines to name clients—association with his name might be bad for their business—but he lets slip that he recently acquired 200 acres of land for the titanic Indian conglomerate, Reliance.

“A US firm looking to rent or buy might also go through Rai, but not directly. A facilities administrator in Bangalore—probably Indian—would work with a developer who, in turn, would contact Rai to secure a plot. “There’s no question of American companies coming to buy land,” Rai says.

“According to a lawyer who deals with land issues, the system works like this: Asked to intercede by a prospective buyer, Rai checks out the parcel for competing owners. If two parties assert ownership, he hears both sides plead their case and decides which has the more legitimate claim (what he calls “80 percent legal”). He offers that person 50 percent of the land’s current value in cash. To the other, he offers 25 percent to abandon their claim—still a fortune to most Indians, given the inflated price of Bangalorean real estate. Then he sells the land to his client for the market price and pockets the remaining 25 percent. Anyone who wants to dispute the judgment can take it up with him directly.

“Rai’s lieutenant, Sangeeth—who prefers to be identified as the boss’s “blue-eyed boy”—says that violence is almost never an issue. “All anyone needs to hear is his name,” he says. “If a rowdy won’t back down, then we go to the person who is behind him and cut it off at the spine,” Sangeeth explains. “In the hypothetical instance where it does need to come to violence, someone might need to be beaten up. The next day we would leave a message that we were behind it and that this was just a warning. The name alone has power.”

Link courtesy Arun Simha

Also read: A giant leap to stop the criminalisation of politics

On Ugadi, a brand-new Kannada warrior emerges

Why the Indian media does not take on the Ambanis

The roadside boost that Bindra had no role in

23 October 2008

Sharpshooting, smooth talking cracker salesmen test their marketing skills on customers with toy guns on the eve of Deepavali on Cubbon Road in Bangalore on Thursday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

‘The camera, like the brush, is just a tool of art’

23 October 2008

T.S. NAGARAJAN writes from Bangalore: Spencer Tunick is a New York photographer who prefers to be seen as an artist, not a photographer. He convinced 18,000 Mexicans to take their clothes off for him. The volunteers posed for Tunick at the Zacalo square in Mexico City on a Sunday morning, last year.

“I just create shapes and forms with human bodies. It’s an abstraction, it’s a performance, it’s an installation.” he says.

He has photographed over 75 similar installations in which hundreds of people posed in the nude in artistic formations at various locations all over the world. He calls his work “flesh architecture”. Though his images are both technically sound and even striking, most critics have ignored him.

Here’s a photographer who is prepared to go to any extent, even convincing a mass of people to strip in public, for his picture, just to acquire the label ‘artist’.  It is this unholy dalliance with art that has made the world treat photography as its poor relation.

Spencer Tunick and those of his ilk don’t realise that the camera-brush relationship is a myth.

Ever since the day it was born, photography got entangled with art. Daguerre discovered photography as a substitute to drawing, a kind of a short-cut to art. It became instantly popular because the technique made it possible for everyone to create art and with much less effort.

He never imagined that photography would be seen as a competitor to art and even treated as a stepchild of the art world.

Over the years, many have attempted to reduce the difference between the painter and the photographer to almost nothing. They say camera is an instrument that the photographer uses to create his images while the painter uses the fur of the sable as his brush to paint.

This is indeed an over simplification.

There can’t be two objects so unlike each other.

Neither the camera nor the brush creates art. Both are just tools. The camera, unlike the brush, is a complex pile of metal, glass and electronics. Hundreds of people may use the same camera but few would produce worthwhile pictures. Even today, I’m almost certain that there are fewer good photographers than painters. The reason is simple. The instrument does not do the entire thing.

Is photography art?

The controversy aroused by this foolish question has been going on for several decades. The first time an attempt was made to question the status of photography was in 1862 when a French photographer sought a legal definition by taking another photographer to court for using his photographs.

The French court ruled that only art could be copyrighted, and since photography was not art, it was not subject to copyright laws. But this decision was happily overturned on appeal and photographers were permitted to copyright their work.

Discussions are endless only concerning the camera, a machine in the hands of the photographer—not the marvellous things the machine is made to do by the photographer. Whenever this question about photography is discussed among photographers, painters and art critics, three distinct views come up for discussion.

The first view is that the camera is a lifeless object with no inspiration of its own. The second is that Photography is not art because it is produced by a machine using a chemical process.  The third argument is that photography is at best an aid to art because it is similar to lithography and etching.

As far as the actual image is concerned, photography is an instantaneous process.

Edward Steichen put it well when he said:

“The photographer is served by a technique differing completely from that practiced by the painter, who begins with a blank surface and then by more or less complicated procedures, always under complete control, is able to achieve a growth and a realization of his concept. The photographer begins with a completed image; and compared with the painter the controls available to him are hardly worth the mention.”

Those who compare photographs with paintings ignore this basic difference. But it is possible that there can be art which is not photography and photography which is also art.

In recent years, the prestige of photography has suffered because of modern technology which has given a new tool, a kind of a super camera, in the hands of photographers (and even to those who are not serious practitioners) called ‘digital manipulation’ using latest softwares on a computer. This has certainly damaged the integrity of photography and moved it further away from art.

Though this development has influenced the art world too, but the influence is more in the area where art works are used for promoting easy and effective communication as in advertising. The work of artists in its purest form still remains largely untouched by technology.

It is not clear what direction photography will take after the invasion of digital technology into its world. There is an opinion that digitisation has made photography more of an art than ever. But what is certain is that it has democratized photography by giving everyone numerous ways to express vision. But some, especially the old practitioners, feel that in the process photography has “lost  its soul”.

It seems to me that it is time photographers distanced themselves from this unending debate of whether photography is art and thought themselves as privileged practitioners of an extraordinary process which  rides on high technology. All the arguments in its favour or against are futile; nothing more than piled up verbiage leading everyone to an useless dead-end.

Photographers should not foolishly get caught up in this fatuous debate about art and photography. This is a piece of intellectual debris. The photographer’s goal should be to look at life by an honest use of the camera and produce inspiring images that record or reflect its various aspects with thought, understanding and sympathy, and enjoy the process of creativity.

Photography is not art like say painting or poetry. It is an enterprise of another order. It does not belong to the realm of art. The photographer need make no apologies for his profession. The camera is only a versatile instrument which “teaches people how to see”.

Photograph: courtesy Laughing Squid

Is there nobody to speak for our ‘local’ worms?

21 October 2008

In the gardens of Bangalore palace, an audacious “outsider” grabs the birthright of worms of the soil and makes merry. Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Raj Thackeray gets ready to spend a night in the cooler, a few hundred kilometres away.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Will Kannada literature climb Nobel peak again?

21 October 2008

The following news item appeared in Star of Mysore on Monday:

Noted litterateur Dr S. Prabhu Shankar yesterday dropped a bombshell when he alleged that a North Indian spoiled the chances of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu getting Nobel Prize in literature.

Dr Prabhu Shankar was speaking at the valedictory programme of the national seminar on Sri Ramayana Darshanam, the magnum opus of Kuvempu, at the Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies.

The Nobel Prize Committee was quite impressed by the popularity of Kannada literature. It even had suggested to constitute a committee of Kannada litterateurs headed by Prof. V.K. Gokak to nominate a person for the coveted prize who had excelled in the fields of poetry, novels, dramas, epics, essays and critical analysis.

A consensus opinion had emerged that literature stalwarts existed in individual fields and none covering all the fields. Committee chairman Prof Gokak after pondering had suggested the name of Kuvempu.

All the works of Kuvempu were supposed to be translated into English and taken to Delhi. A terrible catastrophe occured at that stage, explained Prof Prabhu Shankar.

Carrying the translated versions of Kuvempu, Dr. Prabhu Shankar boarded a train to Delhi. But the central Nobel committee had not even reserved a seat for him.

Not just that, a North Indian even threw the precious works of Kuvempu to a corner like garbage. With no place to sit, Prof Prabhu Shankar managed to reach Delhi with great difficulty.

The committee there paid no heed to the excellence of Kuvempu and eventually deprived the great litterateur of the Nobel Prize, recalled Dr Prabhu. “That was a true sad story which had not been disclosed so far. I still feel very bad reminiscing that incident. The callous behaviour of a person snatched the coveted Prize from Kuvempu” he regretted.


YOGESH DEVARAJ writes from Bangalore: If this incident is indeed true, then it’s sad to know that Kuvempu missed an opportunity to become the second Indian writer to win the literature Nobel, after Rabindranath Tagore.

The only consolation is that Kannada literature was considered for the high honour, and is an indication of its popularity at the time.

I guess 1930-1980 is the suvarna yuga for Kannada literature. I doubt if we will ever regain this popularity, given that the readership of Kannada literature is depleting day by day, and learning, reading, writing and proudly speaking our mother tongue is not cool anymore.

If every Kannadiga does his/her bit promptly and with pride, we certainly can keep its glory and greatness alive. It’s understandable if the younger (school-going) generation ask what use we have from Kannada in this flat, globalized world. But it hurts when our generation (working aged 25-45) too voice the same and act in a materialistic sense.

Thankfully, our parents were not “super smart” in making decisions for us and did what they thought was right without worrying too much on the implications. Thanks to them we were able to read and realize on our own why a Kuvempu or Bendre or Karanth deserved a Nobel, and not just being told by a Kannada professor or lecturer about the greatness.

If music be the food of love, play on, play on

21 October 2008

Students of the Wesleyan University perform Muthuswami Dikshithar‘s Kamalambha Navavarna Kriti during the Navaratri festival in Middletown, Connecticut. They train under adjunct instructor Balu and artist in residence David Nelson from the ethnomusicology department.

Links courtesy Naveen Chimmanda and Thiagarajan Narayan

A batsman with his feet firmly planted on earth

20 October 2008

Simon Wilde in The Sunday Times, London, on the real essence of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar:

“The suffocating intrusions and the expectations of a billion fans must be intolerable; indeed, they have often been survivable only thanks to a phalanx of lathi-wielding policemen who would corral him into cars or on to coaches, away from the outstretched arms of blind worshippers.

Tendulkar is in the 20th year of this madness and throughout has remained mentally stable, professional and decent.

“Despite all the riches that have come his way, he never lost sight of his job, scoring runs for his country. This is easier said than done. Remember Vinod Kambli, Tendulkar’s fellow schoolboy prodigy, who went off the rails within a few years, never to be seen again. Remember Brian Lara, who was forever riding an emotional rollercoaster. There were times when Lara fell out of love with cricket but that was never the case with Tendulkar. He remained true to his quest for perfection and there were times when he got awfully close.”

Read the full article: Master of the universe

Also read: Just 4% of population but 7 Brahmins in the team?

Shane Warne: quiet, humble, a great player and a great man

CHURUMURI POLL: Sachin, Lara or Inzamam ul Haq?

The mysterious banker who saved Western banks

19 October 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The meeting of the finance minsiters of G-7 with the CEOs of banks started off on a somber note with each FM wailing about how global finance had brought them to the brink of doom.

Ticker trails of nose-diving shares were flashing around the room spreading gloom. Haunting images of The Great Depression and mass suicides too were flashing in most minds in the room.

When they met after lunch, they had a surprise.

Instead of the routine lament they had a specialist who held out solution for the problem. The chairman’s intro was brief. The specialist was here at G-7’s request to suggest a sure-fire solution. He will take questions straightaway and work out solutions during the interactive session.

“Sir, I am Kenneth Lewis from Bank of America. How will you save our bank?”

“Simple. Change your name to ‘State Bank of America’. In fact I want all of you to change your name to ‘State Bank of England’, ‘State Bank of Japan’ etc. This will solve most of your problems.”

“What about smaller banks like ours, ‘Bank of Holland’ that are not in the same league as big ones. What should we do?” That was Garth Deur, the bank’s CEO.

“I was coming to that. ‘Bank of Holland’ should become, ‘Cooperative Bank of Holland’. Bank of Stratford-on –Avon can become ‘Cooperative Bank of ‘Stratford-on-Avon’ and so on. Loan applicants to these banks have to get recommendations from tahsildars or local MLAs when they apply for a loan. I will explain in detail when we reach that topic.”

“How do we select subprime clients before we give the loan, sir?’  Jamie Dimon from ‘State Bank of England’ queried.

“You won’t need to use that term any more. All are simply clients.  Your clients will have to fill this preliminary application in triplicate before being considered for grant of loan. Here, please distribute the cyclostyled forms all the way. Hope you all have the 9-page application form in front of you. The applicant will have to fill his full name, his father’s full name, place and date of birth of both. The address should be the village, hobli, taluk and district in that order. Hope you are with me so far?”


“Then, the applicant will have to give a brief description of his business, enterprise etc. using additional sheets wherever necessary. Copies of approvals from electricity boards, water supply departments, local municipal corporation and excise/sales tax departments have to be attached with the application. Future contingencies would need to be mentioned. For example, even if he is planning software exports now, he has to file approval from pollution control board, as what if he expands his business later to manufacture polystyrene material or naphtha? Better to be careful than be sorry later on. Any questions so far?”

“None. But when do we give him his loan?” asked Josef Akerman, CEO of Deutsche State Bank from Berlin.

“We don’t give him loan yet. He will send in a 21-page detailed application form with photocopies of all supportive documents, 3 copies of passport photograph (black & white) with signatures from two guarantors. Next, the loan department will call him for detailed discussions. Here he has to show he has 1:3, loan: loan repaying capacity, which makes him eligible for grant of loan.”

“What happens after that?”, asked an impatient US treasury secretary Henry Paulson Jr. whose utterances and moves are now watched with deeply furrowed eyebrows and his notes face thick red-pencil scrutiny.

“If he passes this test, we put him in fast track for loan dispersal after our officers visit the site, study the demand pattern etc. Fast track cases loans are given within 6 months, for others it may take a bit longer, 2 to 3 years,” concluded the expert.

“Could you give us some tips on operational aspects, sir’, asked the president and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, Gordon Nixon.

“Just a few. Ask loan applicants to send letters of recommendation of Senators, MPs so they could get on to fast track. Couple of times in a week, switch off electricity and computers and encourage manual Ledgers. This will help slow down the process but also save on electricity bills. Allow ‘Pen Down’ and ‘Go Slow’ strikes and coffee breaks to corner restaurants which build up teamwork. All these things help economy in the long run.”

At the end of the session there was a 3-minute standing ovation for the turnaround specialist.

The proposal of Finance Ministers was put to vote at G-7 Heads of Government the following week at Paris which was approved unanimously.

The next day the Wall Street Journal on page 24, column # 3 carried this ad:

“The ‘State Bank of America’ (SBA) invites applications for disbursal of loans from individuals, prospective Small Scale and Medium Scale companies. Preliminary applications for availing the loan which has to be submitted in triplicate are available in SBA offices around the country. Along with the Application form they have to send a processing fee of postal order of $99.50 within three days from the date of this advertisement”.

Other state banks and co-operative banks in France, England and Germany followed suit the next day.

The identity of the expert who ultimately revolutionized banking in western countries that brought the pink back to the cheeks of the banks, and black to their bottomlines, was not revealed to the international media.

Also read: How Indians would have saved Lehman Brothers

Look, who’s lobbying for the Nobel Peace Prize!

17 October 2008

In the latest issue of Outlook, the Bangalore-based historian Ramachandra Guha uses an academic trip to Norway to pen an Oslo diary.

In his first week at the University, Guha speaks at the Nobel Peace Institute where he points out the glaring discrepancy of The Prize not being awarded to the apostle of peace, Mahatma Gandhi:

“After my talk, a lady comes up and introduces herself as a doctor, and an advisor to the Peace Institute. The names I had mentioned were all very good, she said, but surely it was time that the peace prize went to an Indian? She mentions the name of a fellow townsman of mine, a man who has grown long hair, given himself four fancy initials (HH/SS), and whose name is also that of a very great exponent of the sitar.

“The Norwegian doctor had heard that this man had brought peace to Kashmir, and had promoted organic agriculture in thousands of Indian villages. She had been asked to promote his candidacy for the prize, and indeed the man himself had been to Oslo several times recently. She asked me if I would give my opinion on the matter.

“I answered that so far as I knew, there was no peace in Kashmir. I observed that what the West refers to as ‘organic farming’ we knew as rain-fed agriculture—and that it is nothing new…. Finally, I suggested to the doctor that if not giving Gandhi the prize was a scandal, awarding it to my fellow townsman would be an even bigger scandal.”

Also read: The the great great Sri Sri NGO NGO scam scam

CHURUMURI POLL: Is Jet right to sack employees?

16 October 2008

Jet Airways has let go of hundreds of employees, a day after tying up with Kingfisher Airlines, in the first, visible manifestation of the global economic crisis hitting home.

Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel says it is an internal company matter of human resources and the government has no role to play. The Jet management avers that these job losses are imperative to save the jobs of others and to see the company through this downturn.

Meanwhile, the politicians have jumped in. Petroleum minister and Bombay Congress strongman Murli Deora has slammed the job cuts, and Raj Thackeray of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has threatened to ground Jet in Bombay. The left parties, usually very vociferous, have remained silent.

Are such abrupt job cuts a sign of the times, or a shape of things to come? Or, are the airline owners using the “aviation crisis” to balance their books to enhance “shareholder value”? Is it right or wrong to drop the young employees like hot potatoes at the first sign of trouble?

All that you wanted to know about Aravind Adiga

16 October 2008

There’s nothing like a nice little surprise. And a nice little surprise this week is a Madras-born, Mangalore-bred, Tamil-loving, Kannada-speaking former journalist who has studied at Oxford, Princeton and is all of 33 years of age walking away with the Booker Prize for his debut novel, The White Tiger.

But who exactly is Aravind Adiga?

He tells the Madras edition of The Times of India today:

“I was born in Madras, in a clinic on Poonamallee High Road, not far from where my grandfather, Mohan Rau, owned a nursing home and a mansion (the latter still stands). My mother, who grew up in Madras, spoke Tamil fluently. But the language spoken inside my house was Kannada, as my ancestors had come from Udupi, in Karnataka.

“When I was six, and before I could learn Tamil at school, my father decided to relocate to Mangalore.  My mother was never happy out of Chennai; she kept our house in Mangalore noisy with MGR films and Tamil songs; and her happiest moments came when she met someone with whom she could talk Tamil. For years, she (and I) clung on to a desperate hope that my father would go back to Chennai. My mother did make it back to Chennai, but not as she and I had hoped: in January 1990, she was admitted to the Cancer Institute in Chennai, and died there.”

But the media reaction to Adiga’s Booker has been relatively tepid, compared to the over-the-top reception to Arundhati Roy‘s Booker (The God of Small Things) and Salman Rushdie‘s (Midnight’s Children).

So, what exactly is this book that this “Kann-Adiga” has written that has fetched him this huge prize?


Were you expecting to win the Booker?

I thought I would be out partying in Soho by now (Sydney Morning Herald)

In a line, describe your book.

It’s the story of a man’s quest for freedom; and of the terrible cost of that freedom (Financial Times). It revolves around the great divide between those Indians who have made it and those who have not (Agence France Presse).

What was the idea?

It’s an attempt to catch the voice of the men you meet as you travel through India — the voice of the colossal underclass — without sentimentality or portraying them as mirthless, humourless weaklings as they are usually (New York Times). It was important for me to present someone from this colossal underclass, which is perhaps as big as 400 million, and to do so without sentimentality (The Daily Telegraph).

What was the inspiration?

What struck me when I went back to Delhi was all the poor people coming daily on the train from the villages. When they get off they are as completely lost as I was when I went to (Sydney) and New York and when I came to London. A person like me, my equivalent in India, treats the people who have got off the train quite badly and it reminded me of how I’ve been treated in the past (SMH).

Did your subjects have any reservations talking to you?

One of them spoke for sometime and became angry. He said, ‘You are listening to me and wasting my time. You will go back to Delhi and forget about me, this is why I don’t talk to people like you.’ So I remembered him and when I went back to Delhi I didn’t forget him. (The Australian)

Was it easy?

A book like this is as much an exercise in masochism as anything else. I am very much a part of the things I am attacking and it is not fun to write it necessarily (The Hindu).

How will winning the award change your life?

It won’t change much, because I live in Bombay, and life in Mumbai has a way of reminding you that writers are not particularly important. It won’t mean anything to my neighbours, they won’t know about this. Life will continue (The Telegraph, Calcutta).

Why did you dedicate the book to Delhi when you live in Bombay?

It’s a city that’s going to determine the future of India (The Hindu).

How does a novel like The White Tiger, which throws light on the “dark side of India” resonate with an India on the move?

There is a lot of triumphalist noise in India today. There is a sense of profound economic achievement and much of it is justified, but it is also important to listen to other noises. Something extraordinary is happening between the rich and the poor. Once, there was at least a common culture between rich and poor, but that has been eroded, and people have noted that (Booker media conference).

You studied literature at Columbia and then at Oxford. Why did you end up as a journalist?

It was a conscious choice to become a journalist. I went to Princeton for my PhD (but) I dropped out because I realised that if I was going to be a writer, I hadn’t seen much. I wanted to get out and see the world and not just geographically but also to be forced to talk to people I would not wish to talk to normally (The Australian).

What does it mean to be a bachelor in Bombay?

I describe myself as a ‘writer’, a category that doesn’t mean anything to the landlords of Bombay (The Guardian, London)

What’s your next novel?

India just teems with untold stories, and no one who is alive to the poetry, the anger and the intelligence of Indian society will ever run out of stories to write. I do want to write about people who haven’t been written about, and there’s a lot of them in India still. (AFP)

Photograph: Aravind Adiga in the 10th standard (courtesy Mid-Day)

God save Hinduism from the Hindu lunatic fringe

15 October 2008

In the two months since the Orissa disgrace began, 50,000 Christians have been rendered homeless, many of their homes burnt. But Mohan Joshi, central unit secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishat (VHP) has been quoted by The Hindu as saying:

“Christians are setting their own homes on fire to get good compensation. There are rivalries among Christian groups. They are attacking and killing each other.”

60 Christians have been killed in the wave of retaliation that has followed the dastardly murder of Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati, but Prakash Sharma, chief of the Bajrang Dal, has been quoted in The Times, London as saying:

“How can you be sure Christians are not killing each other?”

A Catholic nun has told the Orissa police that she had been raped by four men, an incident confirmed by a medical examination, but Subhash Chauhan, Orissa’s chief of the Bajrang Dal has been quoted by The New York Times as saying that:

“…the nun had not been raped but had had regular consensual sex.”

Also read: Destruction of India as a shared space for all faiths

The seeds of hatred are being forced to bear fruit

Dalit assertion is unbearable for Hindus in Orissa

CHURUMURI POLL: Ban the Bajrang Dal and VHP?

5 things Karnataka can learn from Kerala tourism

14 October 2008

SHRINIDHI HANDE writes from Madras: During the past year, I have travelled a lot more than in my previous years. I visited Bidar, Hampi, Hoskote, Jog falls, Shimoga, Mysore, Talakad, Srirangapatna, Udupi and Maravante in Karnataka; and Bekal and Wynad in Kerala.

What makes Kerala tourism score big time over Karnataka tourism?

Or, where does Karnataka need to improve in order to achieve increased revenue from tourism?

# Build better roads: Excellent road connectivity is extremely critical to ensure the comfort of tourists and this is where Karnataka never seems to improve upon. When someone experiences bad roads in a State and tells/writes about them on internet forums/ blogs, the damage caused to the image of the State will be permanent. If prospective tourists read on the internet that roads to a particular place are bad, the probability of them dropping plans of visiting that place is very, very high.

There may be a few like me who might enjoy off-roading, but most tourists and visitors prefer not to travel on a road that may take them to a hospital at the end of the journey, instead of the intended destination, due to bad condition or non-existence of roads altogether.

Government after government, no one seems to understand the importance of good roads. Even if the roads are improved later, it is extremely unlikely that the user who mentioned about bad roads will notice it and update his content accordingly. So information that roads are bad remains permanently and deters prospective tourists.

Some of my experiences with respect to roads in Karnataka:

Hyderabad to Hampi, January 2007: Roads were excellent all through Andhra Pradesh. From the moment we entered Karnataka, bad roads started. Not just for a few kilometres, but the entire stretch totaling 60-70 km. We could have reached Hampi by breakfast time, but it was lunch time when we actually made it to Hampi, resulting in loss of half a day. Heavy duty trucks carrying granite and iron ore were blamed for bad condition of roads.

Status of NH 17, from Mangalore to Kundapur, Mangalore and Udupi district, March 2008: When I had visited, the national highway was in its all time worst condition.  When I visited again in September 2008, it was again in the same condition. I learnt that the road was repaired once in between but monsoon spoiled it again.

Why is that we are not able to build a road that can survive for few years? Why blame trucks and monsoon for our inability to lay stronger roads? Aren’t rest of the states affected by rain and trucks? How are they managing?

Nonexistent roads between Talakad, Somanathpura and Shimsa, Mysore, June 2008: Roads leading to above said places were literally nonexistent when we visited during June. A journey of a few kilometres took a few hours—damage to vehicle and discomfort to people is another thing.

Nagarahole Forest road that connects Manthanavady (Kerala) and KD Kote, Mysore-September 2008: While we were returning from Wynad trip, the roads were excellent in Wynad district, but the moment we crossed Karnataka border and entered Nagarahole reserve forest, the nightmare started.

Again no roads at all. Deep pot holes, big rocks, water filled ponds all welcomed us in place of what was supposed to be a road. Localities told us that this road has been in the same condition for the past 30 years.

Can you believe that? Not just one or two places, the entire stretch of 20+ km, as if it is not made for vehicles but for forest animals. We were in a SUV and somehow managed.

What about localities who have to travel on this roads every day? What do they do when they are in emergency situations, say, a medical emergency? We were one-time visitors and could take it as just a bad experience. Imagine the plight of bus drivers who have to drive on these roads every day.

Even the Shiradi ghat road that connects Bangalore and Mangalore, is believed to be in its original bad condition, though it was reformed earlier this year.

Just imagine what impression outside tourists will get when they suddenly see pathetic roads soon after they enter Karnataka (particularly after cruising through nice roads in neighboring states)? Is that a good way of welcoming tourists into the state?

Unless roads are upgraded to world class (that may be too much to expect-shall I say ‘decently motorable’?) tourism will never really take off. Those manning the government and tourism department better understand this. Only good roads in Karnataka currently is the Golden Quadrilateral and the Bangalore-Mysore expressway.

# Stop fleecing parking charges and entry fees: All over Wynad, we had to pay only Rs 10 as four-wheeler parking charges, and even entry tickets were at Rs 10 per head.

On the contrary, most of the places around Mysore-Talakad, Somanathapura, Srirangapatna and others, this amount was more than 2-3 times, at Rs 20-30 per vehicle or even more. After reaching a place with lots of trouble and pain surviving very very bad roads, someone suddenly appears in front and demands 20-30 rupees, it naturally raises a concern: why are we paying this much when there’re no facilities at all?

Also, in places like Srirangapatna and Talakad where there were multiple places within few kms of each other, money was demanded at each places. I don’t think that is fair.

# Place curbs on annoying hawkers and guides: No one bugged us anywhere in Wynad to hire their services, say guides, photographers, hawkers etc. But at many places in Karnataka (Hampi is the worst place in this aspect where entire town is determined to loot the tourists, especially international tourists, as much as possible) guides, photographers and hawkers would surround us the moment we got down from the vehicle and insist that we hire their services.

Even after telling in clear terms that we’re not interested, they would continue to tail us with their special offers/services. This irritates any tourist a lot.

Unethical practices like quoting exorbitant prices, insisting on “little extra” even after paying the previously agreed amount all create a huge negative impression, about the State and its people. On the contrary, there were people giving free assistance inside Edakkal caves in Wynad, who explained about the significance of symbols carved on the rocks.

# Get web savvy: I find Kerala tourism official website more informative, well organized and lively with regular updates and high level of user interaction by means of forums and message boards (these can be improved though), compared to Karnataka tourism website which has a traditional flash animation and some generic info.

# Get responsive: I remember reading Vishveshwara Bhat‘s editorial in Vijaya Karnataka long time ago, as to how Kerala tourism officials promptly responded to him for an article about a place in Kerala within days of its publication. That kind of sensitivity and responsiveness Karnataka Tourism is yet to develop.

By addressing some of these issues, I believe, Karnataka tourism can increase its tourism revenues manifold.

Double tragedy for the king and the commoner

12 October 2008

The scion of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, loses balance while climbing the “Belli Pallakki” during the Banni Pooja at the main Amba Vilas palace in Mysore, on Vijayadashmi, on Thursday.

The leg injury reportedly sustained by Wodeyar in the process was not the only mishap to dog the festivities this year. Atmavilas V. Ramakrishna, the priest at the royal family’s very private Ganapathi temple inside the palace, who had conducted poojas for 30 years, passed away on the third day of Dasara, on his 85th birthday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

37 telling pictures you must see in 3 minutes

11 October 2008

Renowned photographer James Nachtwey does his bit for XDR-TB, not a new motorcycle on the market but Extreme Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, a new form of an ancient disease that is killing 3 people every minute of the day in 49 countries, and becoming new pandemic.

Also visit:

The make-up stays, just in case somebody asks

11 October 2008

Just another year in the life of a tusker. Bedecked elephants, with the artful decorations still intact, clamber up trucks on the return journey back to the forests at the end of the Dasara festivities in Mysore on Saturday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News