Archive for December, 2008


31 December 2008

KPN photo

team churumuri wishes you and your near and dear ones a very happy new year. Let there be peace, happiness, wisdom, and just a little prosperity in the year ahead. May all your dreams, hopes, prayers—and those secret, secret fantasies—come true in the year of the lord, 2009.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

What l’il ones do when appa, amma aren’t around

30 December 2008

KPN photo

Her name is Anusuya. A few months ago, in the Bababudangiri forests (known to some as ‘Datta Peeta’ forests) near Chikamagalur, she lost contact with her parents. Forest officials who spotted the cub, shifted her to the Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysore, where her playful antics (and not inconsiderable PR skills) have made her the cynosure of all eyes.

Photographs: Karnataka Photo News

A sight for sore eyes in the ruins of ‘Beejapoor’

30 December 2008

KPN photo

Bijapur, on a misty morning, through the golden arches of “the second largest pre-modern dome in the world”, the Gol Gumbaz, on Monday.

Photograph: Saggere Ramaswamy/ Karnataka Photo News

‘From Karachi, this is Chand Nawab, Indus News’

30 December 2008

The piece to camera, or P2C, is a prized weapon in the armoury of television journalists. It is a correspondent’s signature on a news story, and like with all signatures, they range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

K.R. BALASUBRAMANYAM forwards a Pakistani TV journalist’s hilarious bid to record a P2C before a train pulls out of Karachi railway station, carrying Id revellers back home.

Whoever said you can’t build castles in the air?

29 December 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The competition between the Brothers Ambanis, Anil and Mukesh, is hotting up with no holds barred, be it at home or at business.

If the fight was over marbles and kites during their early years it is over planes, yachts and sky scrapers now.

The new toys they have procured (and are procuring) arouse so much curiosity and questions that finally the brothers agreed to meet the international media and answer queries.

“Your 400 crore yacht christened Tian is the talk amongst sailors right now. It is a hell of a toy. Aren’t you worried what might happen if you take her to the high seas with Somalian pirates on one side and non- state Pakistani actors on the other, scaring even the most peaceful sharks out there?” was the first question.

That was to younger Ambani, Anil.

“I have hired the services of US VI Fleet to guard us when we go out on a cruise. Tina and kids wouldn’t even feel anything going wrong around us. The largest Russian submarine will also be keeping a watch at handshaking distance.”

“What about the $50 million Airbus 319 you have presented to Nita, Mukesh? With jets and politicians making screaming noises in your region, how do you intend keeping Nita and children safe when they go around in the flying toy?”

“You can’t be sure of anything these days. When we enter Europe, the EU air defence system and NATO at Brussels will escort us as long as we are in Europe. Ditto, with US airbases giving us cover as we enter different territory. They will also do formations as we zoom along. Of course it will cost me a bit more. We want to make sure both safety and fun become part of our outing.”

“Your $2 billion 27-storey home ‘Antilia’ is really a 60–storey building that has hit headlines across the world, Mukesh. It would be quite a task overseeing maid servants when they clean and swab your place.”

“We can’t depend on humans any more, so we are getting robots to do the job for us. Robotics from New York will supply their machines. At the press of a button from the 27th, the robots in 14th and 9th floors will start dusting the sofas. I can spray jasmine room freshener for the 21st and rose for the 22nd from the ground floor.”

“Wow, that’s wonderful!”

“If we are coming back from vacation, say in the Bahamas, we can switch on all gadgets in kitchen, decide on the menu and get the dishes working so that our dinner will be ready as we land on the rooftop. Even champagne or lassi will be chilled to the right temperature”

“What about security?”

“Shabak, the Israeli security service, will provide internal security. We are also discussing with Scotland Yard and hope to have an agreement in hand soon,” replied Mukesh.

“What about you, Anil?”

“It’s in the drawing board stage is all I can say right now.”

“Can you share some highlights?”

“Well, basically, we are planning a home which will be a yacht in water, a jet plane while in air and a building with garden rest of the time. Depending on where we want to eat, go sightseeing, it will change accordingly. Something like, Sunrise in Tokyo followed by lunch in Thames’ waters in London or see the sun set as we fly into in Los Angeles is what we have in mind. The nitty-gritty will have to be worked out.”

The competitive spirit among siblings was truly overwhelming. As the reporters left the media conference, one of them was overheard saying, “What will they be fighting for, say ten years down the line? May be who controls Mars, Venus or who has already pocketed Jupiter or Saturn? Sky is not the limit for sibling rivalry.”

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Mukesh Ambani

Madness, megalomania or hard-earned fruits?

Coming soon: Reliance hair-cutting saloons

Can sauce for the goose be sauce for the gander?

29 December 2008

Dalit writer and activist Banjagere Jayaprakash, quoted in Vijaya Karnataka:

“All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.

“Likewise, all Hindus are not fundamentalists, but all fundamentalists are Hindus.”

Also read: Does freedom to express give licence to distort?

CHURUMURI POLL: Ban the book on Basavanna?

Somewhere on western front, the sound of music

28 December 2008

When the air went out of Bismillah Khan‘s shehnai, the Indian government in its bottomless wisdom chose to bid goodbye to the Bharat Ratna with a 21-gun salute.

The irony couldn’t have been starker: a magician of melody passing into the netherworld not to the soft strains of the organ he had elevated from its funereal origins, but to the boom and thud of a war instrument.

With war clouds now hanging over the western front, the propaganda machines are slowing whirring into activity to pump up patriotism. And among the feel-good nationalistic videos currently on air is this fine rendition of ‘Jai Hind‘.

Music: Ustad Zakir Hussain

Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

More things change, more they remain the same

27 December 2008

History, it is said, first repeats itself as a tragedy, then as a farce. But usually no one is laughing, no one is even noticing.


From Deccan Herald, 25 years ago, 26 December 1983:

‘Kranti Ranga merger with Congress likely’

New Delhi: The merger of the Karnataka Kranti Ranga with the Congress(I) appeared a distinct possibility today after S. Bangarappa had a meeting with Prime Minister and Congress(I) President Indira Gandhi here this morning. The Kranti Ranga leader, who had been forced out of the Congress(I) two years ago following his differences with the then Chief Minister, R. Gundu Rao, arrived here last night. “We talked about the general political situation,” was all he said.

From Deccan Herald, yesterday, exactly 25 years later, 26 December 2008:

‘Bangarappa wants to rejoin Congress’

Bangalore: Samajwadi Party state president S. Bangarappa is all set to return to the Congress. He, on Thursday, said that he was mentally prepared to contest from Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency on the Congress ticket in the next Lok Sabha polls. He said that his main objective in the state’s politics was to fight communal forces. “In order to pevent L.K. Advani becoming the Prime Minister, secular forces should come together and make sure that UPA continues to hold power at the Centre,” he said.

Bangarappa said he would convene Samajwadi Party working committee meeting and take a decision to merge party’s state unit with the Congress. He said he had been invited to the Congress by KPCC President R.V. Deshpande, working president D.K. Shiva Kumar and the party’s Shimoga unit. He would convey his decision to the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, he added.

Bangarappa’s son and former minister Kumar Bangarappa has welcomed his father’s decision to return to the Congress.

CHURUMURI POLL: 2008, worst in India’s history?

26 December 2008

The year of the lord, 2008, has seen terror in Bombay, of course. But it has also seen massive floods in Bihar. It has seen inflation in double digits, and jobs in danger.  It has seen communal flare-ups in Orissa and Karnataka. It has seen the stock markets return to earth. Etcetera. Indeed, as the year winds to a close, 2008 also sees India veering dangerously close to war, and the India Story that was on everybody’s lips at the start of the year now seems like a horrible cliche.

Is 2008 the worst year in our history, our annus horribilis? How does it compare with 1948 or 1984?

Who will book the offender on the wrong side?

24 December 2008


nageshpanathaleThis news photograph of an elephant from the Chamarajendra Zoological Garden on the run on the streets of Mysore, shot by NAGESH PANATHALE of the Mysore bureau of the Kannada daily Vijaya Karnataka, has bagged the second prize in the journalism category at the national photography salon 2008 organised by the Photographic Society of Madras as part of its 150th anniversary celeberations. (Mohamed Khalid Khan of Dainik Jagran won the first prize.)

The jury comprised Benu Sen of Calcutta, H.S. Ganesh and T.N. Perumal from Bangalore, Iqbal Mohamed from Ooty, and Venkat Ram from Madras. The valedictory function of the photography was attended by India’s bestknown photographer Raghu Rai, who is also the Magnum member of world photography.

Photograph: courtesy Nagesh Panathale

Signatures in the sky that may be tough on earth

23 December 2008

KPN photo

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The Sarang helicopter team of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) put up a show of precision in the skies that many humans down below would struggle to accomplish on paper. The occasion was HAL Day.

Photographs: Karnataka Photo News

‘Will even 90 cases bring some sense into TV9?’

23 December 2008

ASHWINI A. writes from Bangalore: The role of television channels during the live coverage of the Bombay terror attack  has been the subject of vociferous debate in the media with experts and news consumers accusing the channels of being voyeuristic, insensitive, irresponsible, etc.

However, what the 24-hour Kannada news channel TV9 did by the act of “breaking news” two days ago was not just irresponsible journalism but a criminal act to say the least. It has lent a new dimension to the growing public anger against electronic media.

Here’s what happened.

The nationwide  polio drops administration program began in Karnataka on Sunday. Even as the program was underway, TV9 telecast a breaking news story in the evening about the death of a kid due to polio drops.

TV9 relentlessly and repeatedly played this ‘death’ in the form of breaking news, which ignited anxiety among lakhs of parents who had got their children immunized. Several thousands of them—mostly the poor—across Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Chikmagalur, etc, turned up at the government hospitals seeking relief and cure for their children.

They stayed put through the night demanding doctors attend their kids. Private hospitals saw hundreds of parents waiting in the queue, upto as late as 2.30 am seeking medical assistance.

The government medical staff on duty—outwitted and hopelessly outnumbered—sought the help of the police as irate public assaulted doctors and damaged hospital property.

As it turned out later, no child had died because of polio drops anywhere in the State, but a kid had died due to hydrocephalus and that death was completely unconnected with the polio drops program. In fact, of the 60 lakh children who took the drops, there was not even a single case of any kid taking ill leave alone a death.


Through its conduct , choice of stories, and style of breaking news for the past two years, TV9 has taken television journalism to disgraceful new lows and on Sunday it hit a new depth by its own standard. This latest disgrace of TV9—without ascertaining the veracity—deserves to condemned as nothing short of criminal.

It resulted not just in general mayhem but caused untold misery to lakhs of parents across the State who were worried about the safety of their children.

Another tragic victim of this irresponsible story is the polio drops program. This initiative has suffered a huge setback and it will take some time for it to regain the trust of the public. There were reports that on Monday, the second day of the polio drops campaign, that dozens of volunteers were turned away by the wary parents across the State and as a result 54,000 kids could not be administered the polio drops in Bangalore alone.

How should we react to the TV9 story?

Is it enough to condemn it and call for self-regulation?

What do you do when a false and mischievous story administers a deadly blow to a well-intentioned medical initiative that reaches out to large, mostly poor and illiterate, sections of society?

Should the government revoke the license of the channel for a few days?

The Bangalore Police have booked nine cases against TV9 for “causing panic through mischievous statements”. But, is this enough? Will anything come out Police case against TV9 ? Will TV 9 learn its lessons or will it be back to business soon and unleash further horrors on an unsuspecting public?

Is it a good idea for the people to come together and march to the offices of TV9 office to register their outrage?

Lastly, should the reporter, who was responsible for filing the story without checking for facts, and the editor, who cleared it without bothering to verify the claim, be hauled up and criminal charges framed against them?

Also read: An old flame ignites media’s insensitivity

A sobering lesson for His self-appointed soldiers

Never judge a cop by his friend’s BMW car

Pampa to Champa, what a fall my countrymen

Every dog has his day. So does his best friend.

21 December 2008

KPN photo

At Hudson Circle in Bangalore, on Sunday afternoon, a tramp grabs a few winks.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Meanwhile, on the other side of midnight…

21 December 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Syed Mohibulla Shah, head of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), was in the bunker conducting the meeting.

Officials from the States of Azad Kashmir, Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab, North-west Frontier, and Federal tribal area were huddled around him.

The meeting time was as usual: midnight.

“Our exports are going down the graph. We need to pull up our AK-47s or AK-56s or what have you to achieve our target,” thundered Shah straightaway.

“You must give us the required manpower and material. I have run out of narcotic drugs so necessary to finance my operations. Bhai-log tho madad  kar rahen hain.. phir bhi mushkil hain… Less said the better regarding manpower; our chaps sing like a bird when caught. This is serious and shows our brainwashing department is no good,” said the man from Sindh.

“We do not have enough grenades and explosive sticks. You tell us to pull-up our AK47s. Fine.  We don’t even get what we ask for.  Last week when we asked for more magazines for our guns, we got loads of Akbar-e-Jehan, Apna Jhelum to read! The donkeys which carry supplies to Amriki troops get more incentives than us.  How can we double our exports at this rate?” wailed the man from Azad Kashmir.

“When I asked you for results, you all become crybabies! Dekh, you will get truckloads of drugs so there will be enough stock to sell across the counter in the drugstore. We will be getting the next instalment of cold cash from America soon. Our President will release the same from treasury after his usual mandatory cuts. You will have guns slinging from both arms. But I want results come what may,” thundered Shah while banging his AK-47 to the ground.

“Our training schedules are few and far in between. At this rate our exports will nosedive. If you can arrange some crack shots from Taliban and ISI, it will help,” said the representative from Punjab.

“Taliban ka CEO Mullah Omar ko layenge; JeM chief Masood Azhar khud aakar training denge. But so far we had only few hits in the last 9 months? At this rate I will lose my job.  Here is the map of Pakistan. Zara torch on karo. I want action, all around our territory, action. Understand? Send suicide trucker, or men by road, water or air or whatever. There must be non-stop action. Organise camps everywhere. If you need more space give holidays to schools. Use classrooms.”

“What about training our friends on the other side of territory? We need local logistic support too.”

“Are our sleeper modules still sleeping or what? Get those idiots on the satellite phone. Ullu ke phatte hain, saale.  I will speak to them myself.”

“We must congratulate you on one thing, janaab. Amidst all this, our disinformation department is doing a great job. The spin that is given is far better than Abdul Qadir’s leg spin!” said the Azad Kashmir man.

For the first time Mohibullah Shah allowed himself a grin.

“This is personally handled by President saab himself who is an expert in this. I have learnt a lot from him.  Before we leave, let me make it clear once again. We are world’s number # 1 on ‘Exports of Terror’ after replacing IRA and LTTE. Pakistan should never lose this avval position. Just make sure of this,” concluded the Head of TDAP.

‘Boycott Pakistan as if Pakistan doesn’t exist’

19 December 2008

SUJATA RAJPAL writes: First acceptance and then rejection, this is what the Pakistan mantra is all about.

It has become a habit with Pakistan to first make false promises just to ease the tension and calm the world and then, later, to take a full U-turn and go into absolute denial.

After the attack on Bombay, it is clear as pikewater that Pakistan is a terrorist state. It is not only harbouring terrorists but  blatantly encouraging terrorism.

It is not a partner in the War on Terror, it is a perpetrator.


Yet, Pakistan constantly denies its links with terrorists and wants the world to believe.

After first announcing that it had arrested LeT spokesman Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, banned the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and put Masood Azhar under house arrest, it now declares that Azhar is not in its custody. And it claims the terrorist captured in Bombay, Ajmal Kasab, is not a national of Pakistan though Kasab’s father has publically accepted that Kasab is his son.

Does the world need a better proof than this that Pakistan is unwilling to cooperate?

How to make Pakistan act?

Making repeated requests/ threats, dialogues, or sending envoys won’t do.


Nope, keeping in mind that both India and Pakistan are nuclear states, this option should not be considered even as a last resort. And has war ever solved any problems? It will only aggravate the tension and bring more destruction and the repercussions will be felt globally.

The problem has gone out of hand and is much beyond India’s control. The entire world needs to join hands to curb terrorism from its roots.

It is not sufficient to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. Here’s what should be done: the comity of nations, in other words, all countries should snap all ties with Pakistan—trade , cultural, films, sports, diplomatic or whatever. All kinds of ties.

No air links with Pakistan, no train services, no bus services, no imports , no exports. Let’s see for how many days Pakistan can survive in isolation.

Yes, the people of Pakistan will suffer but are they any better off with Pakistan being declared as a terrorist state?

This should be done by all the countries concerned about eradicating terrorism and not just by India alone as terrorism is a global issue and has gone much beyond India Pakistan Kashmir issue. Let Pakistan keep  Kashmir if that ends the problem. Anyway what is left of Kashmir?

Snap all ties with Pakistan, as it is said the worst punishment is isolation.

Boycott Pakistan as if it doesn’t exist.

Also read: Eight reasons why we should let Pakistan go

What if Imran Khan were prime minister of India

DND: The annual general body is now in progress

18 December 2008

KPN photo

Not even the horrendous new arch outside the Karnataka High Court can prevent the pigeons of Ambedkar Veedhi from showing some well-deserved contempt for the concrete and iron structure that their lordships have chosen to protect themselves with.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Happy birthday to Mysore’s youngest lensman

18 December 2008

imageasp2The acclaimed photojournalist T.S. Satyan, a 22-carat Mysorean, turns 85 years young today, 18 December 2008. churumuri joins the world in wishing him a very happy birthday, and many more.


Tasveer, the art gallery, is marking the occasion with an exhibition entitled “A Long Exposure”, which feature a collection of Satyan’s photographs, from December 19 to 31 at Sua House, No. 26/1, Kasturba Road, Bangalore. It will be open to the public from 11am to 6 pm.


T.S. Satyan on

Once upon a time, early in the morning

The R.K. Narayan only I knew

Once upon a time during the Quit India movement

Mysore’s shortest man was only in height

The Raja said, ‘Why don’t you go with Mohini?’

The cop who stopped the maharaja

Do they teach this at Harvard Business School?

18 December 2008

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: Nothing more needs be said on the decision of Satyam Computer Services to spend $1.6 billion in acquiring two sister companies, Maytas Properties and Maytas Infra Ltd, after outraged analysts and investors shaved $2 billion worth of market cap of India’s fourth largest IT company.

However, the “landbank deal”, while giving a telling insight into the real-estate dreams of India’s IT companies (and Satyam, ahem, is not the only one in the game), has also thrown up questions on the role that heavy-duty “independent directors” companies employ to achieve Corporate Governance.

OK, Ramalinga Raju and family were up to no good.

But what about the acknowledged geniuses, whose words are read and received around the world as gospel truth? What were the acknowledged geniuses who pass off as “independent directors” doing when this gigantic fraud was being perpetrated under their cavernous noses?

The following is a brief bio of Satyam director Professor Krishna G. Palepu, “Ross Graham Walker Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for International Development” at Harvard Business School (HBS). Prof Palepu’s 2007-08 remuneration was Rs 91.91 lakh and 5,000 shares at Rs 2:

“In the area of corporate governance, Professor Palepu’s work focuses on how to make corporate boards more effective, and on improving corporate disclosure.

“Professor Palepu teaches these topics in several Harvard Business School executive education programs aimed at members of corporate boards: “Making Corporate Boards More Effective,” “Audit Committees in a New Era of Governance,” and “Compensation Committees: New Challenges, New Solutions.”

“He also co-led Harvard Business School’s Corporate Governance, Leadership, and Values initiative, launched in response to the recent wave of corporate scandals and governance failures.”

Have a corporate governance question for Professor Krishna G. Palepu?

Email him:

Phone him: (617) 495-6759

Conditions apply

Greatest batsman in Test match cricket today?

18 December 2008

Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“The true significance of the [Madras Test] match was that it marked Virender Sehwag’s unofficial coronation as the greatest Test batsman in contemporary cricket….

“In spite of his string of enormous scores (he owns two treble centuries and three double centuries, besides 10 other hundreds, most of them big ones) and the ridiculous rate at which he scores them (no opening batsman in the history of Test cricket comes close to his strike rate of 78), there hasn’t been much talk of Sehwag as a batting great. This is partly because Sehwag sets no store by consistency.

“Sehwag has been undervalued because he is an original. His take on opening the innings is so radically contrary to cricket’s conventional wisdom that he had to suffer being seen as something of a freak.”

Read the full articleTwo little masters

Ten per cent of ten per cent of ten per cent is…

17 December 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes from Bombay: I was going to the Mysore Café at King’s Circle in Matunga when I spotted the Ace Political Expert (APE) walking ahead of ahead of me.

Here was a chance to understand what happened in Bombay straight from the horse’s mouth, I thought.

We ordered Mysore Masala Dose and as we were waiting I asked APE: “How does one convince Pakistan about the involvement of terrorists from its soil in the terror attack through evidence that is pouring like cats and dogs?”

APE  rolled the question over and while artfully poking a hole in dosa replied: “First we have to drum it into President Asif Ali Zardari‘s head that even though by his own admission Pakistan is by and large a ‘Stateless’ State and terrorists may be “non-State actors”, Faridkot is very much part of the State of Pakistan and that is where Kasab is from.”

I was surprised about APE’s impression of the President of the Republic of Pakistan, but may be this is what the whole world thinks of him, I thought.

“What about ISI’s role in training terrorists? Why doesn’t Zardari admit this evidence which India has given them time and again?”

“As the man who is known as “Mr Ten Per Cent”, Zardari genuinely thinks ISI stands for Indian Statistical Institute. Their Army feeds such information to him daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He thinks these organizations are meddling in Pakistan’s affairs. Their Army has still not told him that they have a body called Inter Services Intelligence which foments, assists terror modules,” replied APE.

Zardari appeared to be a kid in the park lost in the wilderness and not used to the brainwashing methods of the Generals in his country.

“At least he must be aware of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its network all over the world and what they have done in India, especially in Bombay?”

“Pakistan’s Army has told Zardari that it is LTTE which is actively spreading terrorism all over the world including Sri Lanka and India. In the tuition books given to him by their Army, LeT  stands for the abbreviated Urdu version of LTTE,” replied the APE.

At this rate, I thought, Pakistan would face lot of problems if Zardari continued to be President.

Imagine saying to India “I will send ISI chief to India” and next day saying “I meant a junior officer”.

Or telling Larry King ‘Kasab is not a Pakistani’ when Kasab’s father confirms the same to The Dawn.

Still, I thought. Zardari must be good in something. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been found fit enough to become President? “He can’t all be that bad as you say or the Pakistani Army make him to be. He must have some strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP).”

“He has a USP which is a USP itself! Whatever he gets from the world to fight terrorism, he hears only ten per cent. Of that he understands only ten per cent. Of that he implements only ten per cent. Ten per cent is his only USP!” replied the APE as we finished coffee and got up.

Does a tree make a noise when no one’s around?

17 December 2008

The sociologist, Dipankar Gupta, in Mail Today:

“Though there are many who would find fault with the way the electronic media covered the bloodshed in Bombay, it is also a fact that they heightened citizen anger against politicians of all hues. When the ordinary viewer saw the vulnerability of the unprotected citizen against the Z-level security of politicians, there was good reason for boiling anger.

“None of this could have been captured but for the TV cameras.

“There were many false steps and much hyperventilation. But notwithstanding some crass showmanship, the unintended consequence of the bumbling, over-eager camera crew and their anchors generated a strong sense of citizenship outside religion and rank. This, indeed, is commendable.

“TV channels may not have had this laudable end as their overt intention. They may have been solely driven by rating considerations. But the unintended consequence of camera, uncertain lights and grim action turned out to be good for democracy and for secularism. If only bureaucrats and the security top brass got as much flak as the politicians did, then the job of the media would have been complete.”

Wages in 1595 were 45% higher than in 1960

16 December 2008

Ashok V. Desai in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“In 1972, I took time off from work and taught in Delhi School of Economics. Once when I was browsing in the bookshops close by, I came across Abu’l Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari. There I saw some statistics of the Mughal empire. I compared them with recent ones, and concluded that the average real wage of Akbar’s courtiers was 45 per cent higher than the average Indian real wage in the 1960s.”

Read the full article: Foibles of historians

‘A national consciousness unified by force SRT’

16 December 2008

Dileep Premachandran on Sachin Tendulkar‘s 41st century at the Chepauk, on

“Those that aren’t Indian struggle to fathom exactly what Tendulkar means to so many millions, and it’s doubtful whether even those that live here really comprehend just how much a part of the national consciousness he has become. He is such a unifying force, a personality capable of stirring the emotions in every nook and corner of a vast land. And in these times of distress and anger, it was so very appropriate that it would be Tendulkar who put the smiles back on at least a few faces.”

‘A kiss from the widows & orphans killed in Iraq’

15 December 2008

An Iraqi journalist threw a pair of shoes at US President George W. Bush at a media conference he was about to address with Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad yesterday. The Associated Press reports that “the president was not hurt in the incident”.

“This is a farewell kiss, you dog,” the reporter, later identified as television correspondent Muntadar al-Zeidi, yelled in Arabic. “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.”

“So what if the guy threw a shoe at me?” Bush said, comparing the action to political protests in the United States. “It’s a size 10.”

Video: courtesy The Associated Press


Should journalists take sides and express their feelings so openly? Which Indian politician would receive the most pairs of shoes if such incidents were to take place in India?

A native Indian in the land of native Americans

13 December 2008

KPN photo

Chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa after receiving an honorary doctorate at the Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Michigan, on Friday for his contribution in “public life”.

Once a thriving lumber town and manufacturing centre, Saginaw (popularion 56,263) in recent years has suffered from population decline, job losses, and increased crime rates.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Does Yediyuyrappa deserve a PhD?

Also see: : The B.S. Yediyurappa photo portfolio

Is it an idol? Is it a statue? Is it a mannequin?

One leg in the chair, two eyes on the chair

Yedi, steady, go: all the gods must be crazy