Archive for January, 2009

The left hand knows what the left hand is taking

31 January 2009

KPN photo

On the eve of the commencement of his birth centenary celebrations, Sri Shivakumara Swamiji shakes hand with a simian resident at the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur on Saturday, even as the party of the second part wangles a plantain in the process. The seer’s 102nd birthday celebrations will be inaugurated by the President of India, Pratibha Patil, on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

‘Gujarat was vibrant long before Narendra Modi’

31 January 2009

“A lie repeated many times becomes the Truth” in the modern age sans any media scrutiny.

So, it follows that milk and honey, and power and water flow in Gujarat because of Narendra Damodardas Modi. So, it follows that “growth” and “development” have sky-rocketed in the State, because of Narendra Damodardas Modi. And so it follows that India Inc wants Narendra Damodardas Modi to be the next prime minister and so on.

And woe unto those who question or disagree. Plague upon them.


The sociologist Dipankar Gupta doesn’t agree. Gujarat was already among the top three in the country within 30 years of being created, he writes in today’s Times of India. Over 35% of its infrastructural augmentation for power generation happened between 1995 and 2000, before Narendra Damodardas Modi came to power.

“Gujarat grew at approximately 12 per cent in 2006-07 against India’s overall growth of about 8 per cent that year. Fantastic, said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and lauded Gujarat’s achievement…. But wait! What is so great about this statistic?

“In 1994-95, Gujarat surged at the rate of 13.2 per cent. Where was Modi then? In the years between 1994 and 2001, Gujarat’s state domestic product registered a growth average of 10-13 per cent. At the tail end of this period Modi stepped in as chief minister….

“[W]hat is so dazzling about Gujarat’s current prosperity? Nothing really.

“In spite of decades of growth as usual, as much as 93 per cent of Gujarat’s workforce toils in the informal sector. This is why growth is not always development.  In fact, on the Human Development Index, Gujarat fell one place in 2003-04, and now ranks below Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka. In terms of rural prosperity Gujarat is at number five and well behind Punjab, the front ranker…. Workers employed under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Gujarat receive half of what their counterparts get elsewhere.

Ernst & Young, consultants for the 2005 Vibrant Gujarat conclave, ranked Gujarat’s investment climate behind that of Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and on par with Karnataka’s. In terms of Workforce Quality, however, the same professionals gave Gujarat a very average “B grade” as it failed to measure up on a number of counts.”

Read the full article: The credit’s misplaced

Is this all that pooje and archane could achieve?

30 January 2009

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Will somebody please explain just what is happening to B.S. Yediyurappa and his BJP government?

The CM mentions there won’t be power cuts and just after few hours the power minister contradicts him saying there would be massive power cuts all over the State. Apparently somebody is talking and doing things exactly opposite to what the CM wants to say or do.


The CM is known to be very meticulous in what he says or does. Yet, he misses the flag-hoisting ceremony on Republic Day and sneaks in last and sits next to the Governor, when the Governor was already half-way through his speech.

For practically any other item of the day, the CM makes sure there is no rahu kala, guli kala, yama gandakala so on and so forth. He makes sure there are at least half-a-dozen swamijis of various mutts to go with him for other functions.

Yet, on the 60th Anniversary of the Republic, is there nobody to tell him the exact kala or time when he should be present when his Governor is doing the flag hoisting?


There’s a public bashing of girls in a pub in the largest port-city of the State during daytime.

Goons of  Sri Rama Sena bash up girls; their leaders go on the air, give interviews saying they are the custodians of Indian or Hindu culture. Yet, there is no word from the CM or the ever-amiable Shivraj Patil-like home minister, V.S. Acharya.

This is more than a law-and-order issue when innocent women are thrashed about and the home minister says the press is blowing up the whole situation. Sri Rama Sena is supposed to see women as embodiment of Sita, yet they beat up women and show no sign of remorse.

The hoodlums more looked like members of a modern Vanara Sene out to do monkey business.

Instead of acting quickly and show it means business, action starts after a series of denials as if the administration is in a state of deep collective slumber.

Is it a stable Government when it fails to act, protect its citizens, and then blames it on “pub culture”?

The CM and his team, particularly the Home Minister goofed up sometime back when they failed to act when churches were ransacked all over Mangalore.

Again, were they looking for rahu kala to pass before taking any action?


Is it merely a coincidence that a CM who was tripping administratively and politically, has started doing so literally?

Recently, his belt got caught with the ropes of a chariot-pulling ceremony in a Nanjanagud temple and he had to be saved in the nick of the time by Shobha Karandlaje and others.

While addressing the national press along with his party’s national president Rajnath Singh, he tried to sit on a non-existent chair which had just been pulled back by one of his security guards! He got up red-faced with a bruised bottom to meet the press again.


Has all the pooja done to his chair and office for days and months when he took office, and the daily archane plan across the State which was announced and hastily withdrawn, gone to waste that “instability” stares on his face and feet every second day?

Why is Karnataka saddled with a stumbling CM and a mumbling home minister when it calls for action at the highest level?

Does administration begin and end with planning and executing only Operation‘Kamala and Operation Vimala?

Senior citizens are hacked in their homes during daytime, on an average twice or thrice a week in Bangalore. Yet, the bungling duo has hardly said anything to allay the fears of senior citizens.

Has the administration failed totally?

Are they busy playing ‘defection’ games and only spending their time for parliamentary election when more such games have to be devised and perfected to come and stay in power?

What do they know of a pub who only plub know?

30 January 2009

B.Y. Umadevi, a 37-year-old Bangalore-based entrepreneur who has never been to a “plub”, on chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa‘s announcement that he wants to curb “plub culture”:

“If a woman is an adult, it’s for her to take a call on whether to go to a pub or not. If she is not an adult, the issue is then essentially between the child and her parents.

“There is no role for anyone else in this.

“It’s for women to decide if they would like to visit pubs or any other public place, and that government, politicians or outfits like the Sri Rama Sene cannot restrict their movements. ”

Oh, by the way, B.Y. Umadevi, who runs Candor Business Solutions Pvt Ltd, a BPO in Bangalore, is the daughter of B.S. Yediyurappa. She says her siblings, including two sisters — one a homemaker and another a government  official — would “by and large” agree with her views on “individual choices”.

Read the full article: CM says he won’t allow ‘plub culture’

‘Haven’t Congress MLAs taken a bribe before?’

29 January 2009

A digitally unaltered image of Y. Sampangi, the BJP’s honourable member of the legislative assembly from Kolar Gold Fields, who was caught red-handed by the Lok Ayukta police at the legislators’ home in Bangalore on Thursday, while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh (Rs 50,000 in cash, Rs 4.5 by cheque) to have a police case against a businessman, Hussain Mueen Farook, closed.

“In the history of the Karnataka Lok Ayukta, this is the first time that an MLA has been arrested while accepting bribe,” the Lok Ayukta, Justice Santosh N. Hegde, said. The State BJP president D.V. Sadananda Gowda promptly announced the suspension of the MLA from the party, while a bunch of BJP MLAs, led by Renukacharya of “Nurse” Jayalakshmi fame, created a scene after being denied a chance to meet the fallen angel.


What excuse will BJP supporters come up with to justify the incident and wash their hands off?

1) “Haven’t Congress MLAs taken a bribe before?”

2) “Look, how quickly the party suspended him!”

3) “It was a set-up. Look at the name of the bribe-giver.”

4) “Everybody takes bribes. He was unlucky to get caught.”

5) “The Lok Ayukta is a Congress agent.”

6) Fill in the blanks _______________

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

CHURUMURI POLL: Is ‘pub culture’ the problem?

29 January 2009

Following the Sri Rama Sena outrage at a pub in Mangalore, chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa has announced that he will not allow the growth of “pub culture” in Karnataka. In almost identical comments yesterday, the Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot has said he wanted to end “pub culture” in the State. The booze culture had resulted in the rape of foreign tourists besides resulting in an increase in cases of road rage and violence among youth, he said.

“The government policy is not to promote liquor culture. The previous government encouraged drinking habits. The government feels continuing such official support to drinking through government policies would adversely affect the health of the citizens and the culture of Rajasthan,” Gehlot has been quoted as saying. “There is going to be no attempt to curb the individual’sfreedom of choices, which is a sacrosanct area.”

Questions: Merely because the Congress and BJP are both advocating it, is a ban on “pub culture” right? What is “pub culture”, and are governments right in seeking to curb it? Or are governments, which are so heavily dependent on revenue from liquor sales, running with the hares and hunting with the hounds? If the sale of liquor is all right, is consuming it wrong? Instead of tightening law and order, are governments transgressing on individual choices and opening the floodgates of harassment and extortion?

Also read: Hindutva’s patriarchal attitudes in Mangalore

CHURUMURI POLL: Girls drinking beer not Hindu?

‘Let moral police stop going to bars first’

If only this had happened near Bangalore or Delhi

29 January 2009

S.R. RAMAKRISHNA writes from Bangalore: One of India’s most shameful engineering failures went almost unnoticed because the site is located far from our media hubs, and perhaps also because it killed only poor people.

You would have expected the Anegundi bridge collapse and the subsequent rescue attempts to have made it to prime time national news at least because it occurred near Hampi, a world heritage site supervised by the Unesco, but not many from the media were at the site when the first body was fished out on Saturday.

As a MiD DAY team watched, the rescue team reported a breakthrough, some 40 hours after the suspension bridge had crashed.

The rescuers have found seven bodies so far. People suspect many more were crushed when the bridge fell at 3 pm last Thursday. A district reporter said he had photographed the bridge just two hours before the accident, and had found about 15 men working. That could mean at least half a dozen workers are still trapped under the bridge.

Policemen in coracles pulled the first body by its hair, and rowed to the bank opposite where we stood. The site is in Koppal, a district carved out recently from Bellary. Anegundi is just 5 km from Hampi.

Hampi is an overnight journey from Bangalore. Like in Mumbai, the slumdog-millionaire contrast is stark in the Bellary region. While mining boomed, this dusty city was selling the largest number of luxury cars in India, and the Reddys, who own mines here, are worth more than the GDP of some small Indian states.

When MiD DAY tried to call tourism minister G. Janardhana Reddy, famous as the richest politician in Karnataka, we only reached his staff, who gave us numbers that turned out duds. He just did not come on the phone, though we tried all afternoon and evening.

Almost all prominent miners here are active in politics. They own fleets of aircraft, and could put Mumbai’s celebs in the shade when it comes to living it up.

By contrast, Rasool Sab, a casual worker who served the public works deparment for 22 years, earned Rs 1,500 a month. He is suspected dead, and the eldest two of his five children paced the banks waiting for the rescue team to find his body.

Not a single politician went to the spot the day the bridge came crashing down, and relief took a long time coming. In fact, we heard horror stories about what had happened when a swimmers’ team was called from Bellary.

They arrived by bus, and demanded that they be insured. The babus went into a tizzy. Who would insure them? The irrigation department? The PWD? The district administration? And in any case, shouldn’t rescue workers be insured all the time? And as the poor died, no miner thought it fit to send a plane to airlift rescue workers to the accident site.

K. Virupakshappa, MP from Koppal, blamed the contractors for the tragedy. “A day before the accident a cable holding up the hanging bridge snapped. They continued work after welding it. If they had taken proper measures, they could have averted this accident,” he told MiD DAY.

The government has not initiated any action against the contractors. District in-charge minister Govind M. Karjol said, “No one could have survived the collapse because the water is 180 feet deep,” he told MiD DAY. “The workers went down with the huge slab, and once in water, they would have died in less than 10 minutes.”

The government has declared Rs 1 lakh as compensation for each bereaved family, but the poor neighbourhood is wondering how much of it will reach the right hands, and when.

This report originally appeared in Mid-Day, used with kind courtesy

Additional reporting by Madhusudan Maney

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

The desire for excellence comes from within

29 January 2009

NIKHIL MORO forwards a piece of feel-good wisdom


A tourist visiting a temple under construction saw a sculptor making an idol of the Lord. He also noticed a similar idol lying nearby.

Surprised, he asked the sculptor, “Do you need two identical statues of the Lord?”

“No,” said the sculptor without looking up, “We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the very last stage.”

The tourist examined the idol but found no apparent damage. “Where is the damage?” he asked.

“There is a scratch on the nose of the idol,” said the sculptor, still busy with his scalpel.

“Where are you going to install the idol?”

The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar 20 feet high.

The tourist was incredulous. “If the idol is that far, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?”

The sculptor stopped his work, looked up, and smiled. “I will know.”

Hindutva’s patriarchal attitude in Mangalore

29 January 2009

Amrita Shah in The Indian Express:

“The Mangalore incident has served to highlight an aspect of the Hindutva ideology customarily sidelined in the greater preoccupation with religion and anti-minorityism, which is its strongly patriarchal attitudes.

“Much has been written on the sexual underpinnings of the Hindu revivalist movement. Scholars like Paola Bacchetta have described the vividly sexual imagery of the movement — the idea of the country as a goddess in turn ravished and saved by men; others have commented on the sexual competitiveness that contributed to the horrific assaults on women during the Gujarat violence of 2002. Within the Parivar too, women, while they may enjoy a certain status as leaders, not granted even to women in the more progressive Left, are discouraged from developing a radical vision of womanhood.

“The Sangh way, writes Tanika Sarkar “does not confront them (women) with the larger problems of their socially exploited sister, so that the Hindutva women are never forced to choose between gender and their own class/caste privileges. It keeps them tied to family interests and ideology while spicing their lives with the excitement of limited but important public identity”.”

Read the full article: Sexual politics

Promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep

28 January 2009

KPN photo

At the inauguration of a State highways improvement project at the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore on Wednesday, chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa shouts silently so that tourism minister Janardhana Reddy‘s concentration doesn’t get disturbed.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Kissa Karnataka chief minister’s kursi ka: Part IV

27 January 2009

KPN photo

B.S. Yediyurappa reacts angrily after another public boo-boo in Bangalore on Tuesday. The chief minister thought the powwow with the media was over and stood up. A security guard standing behind helpfully pulled his chair aside to facilitate the CM to step out. But when BJP president Rajnath Singh signalled him to sit down, Yediyurappa complied, only to find the chair missing, landing on his back.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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

‘Let the moral cops stop going to bars first’

27 January 2009


Editorial in Deccan Herald:

“If organisations like the Sri Rama Sene are keen to uphold Indian cultural values, they would do well to draw a lesson or two from the country’s long tradition of cultural tolerance. If they are keen to improve the lot of women in this country, there are any number of issues they could address. They could start with fighting female foeticide, for instance or the practice of dowry. If they find ‘pub culture’ a corrupting influence, they should set an example for youngsters by not frequenting bars themselves. Engaging in rowdyism is not the way to uphold Indian culture.”

Read the full editorial: Moral policing

Photograph: courtesy Deccan Herald

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Girls drinking beer not Hindu?

Desh ke police kaise ho? Moral police jaise ho

Just how is this dress an affront to Hindu culture?


26 January 2009 is delighted to record that the writer and historian Ramachandra Guha has been honoured with the nation’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan.

A well-wisher of churumuri since its inception, Ram was named among the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world last year by Foreign Policy magazine last year. Through his books, newspaper and magazine articles, and his television, academic and public appearances, Ram adds lustre to our intellectual firmament.

By honouring a true man of letters, the nation has truly honoured itself.

CHURUMURI POLL: Girls drinking beer not Hindu?

25 January 2009

Mangalore is fast emerging, if it has already not emerged, as the “Laboratory of Karnataka”. The epicentre of communally mobilised politics for long, the region has seen individual and institutional rights shrink rapidly under the BJP government of B.S. Yediyurappa as goons and goondas on all sides of the triangle run haywire.

In just the last year, a BJP MLA’s wife has disappeared and committed suicide under a hail of speculation. Churches, convents, and prayer halls have been attacked. Buses carrying students of a co-education college have been attacked because girls and boys of different religions were travelling together. Newspaper editors have been arrested, handcuffed and jailed; newspaper publishers and directors have been sued.

As if all that infamy under the cavernous nose of Karnataka’s home minister V.S. Acharya wasn’t enough, hoodlums of the Sri Ram Sena on Saturday barged into a pub at 4 pm claiming that “unethical activities” were taking place inside, and then slapped and kicked girls, and assaulted the men who were with them.

Prasad Attavar, state deputy convenor of the Sena, told The Hindu that it was a “spontaneous reaction against women who flouted traditional Indian norms of decency”. He said these women were Hindus who “dared to get close to Muslim men.” In a sign of competitive communalism, the Bajrang Dal has also claimed responsibility.

Questions: Who decides what is decent, what is ethical? Is women going to a lounge bar or pub against “traditional Indian norms of decency”? Does the dark presumption of “unethical activities” give vigilante groups the license to raid restaurants, and kick and beat up customers? Does such violence against women (captured by TV cameras) fall within the purview of “traditional Indian norms of decency”?  Since when did it become illegal for Hindu girls to go out with Muslim boys, or vice-versa?

And, above all, is Karnataka slowing becoming the Gujarat of the South?

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask V.S. Acharya

A sobering lesson for His self-appointed soldiers

Is State’s success in cricket & economics related?

25 January 2009

More proof that the most imaginative cricket writing in India comes not from cricket writers but those outside the press box.

Spurred by Uttar Pradesh’s Ranji Trophy showing, Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar—a fully certified cricket freak—sticks his neck out and suggests a correlation between cricketing success and economic clout in today’s Sunday Times.

Aiyar says the fact that UP has been a finalist in three of the last four years, winning the trophy once, is a sign that India’s largest state is poised for economic take-off.

“I noticed this in my youth in regard to Karnataka. In the 1950s and 1960s, Karnataka was not economically backward but not a powerhouse either. Nor did it boast great cricketing prowess. But then it produced a string of great cricketes in the late 1960s and early 1970s—B.S. Chandrashekhar, Erapalli Prasanna, Gundappa Vishwanath, Brijesh Patel. The State was Ranji Trophy finalist in four of the ten years between 1973-74 and 1982-83, winning twice.

“Karnataka’s cricket upsurge was followed by an economic upsurge. It gained stature first as an engineering hub, then as a hub of information technology. It had some good industries even in the 1960s but only later did it become a powerhouse…. A look at other Ranji Trophy finalists through the years [Bombay, Bengal, Delhi, Gujarat] also shows similar trends, however halting.”

Conversely, is Karnataka’s depleting fortunes in domestic cricket also related to the setting of the economic sun, to the shine going out of Bangalore?

Read the full article: Is UP about to take off?

Also read: Who killed cricket writing in India?

‘Nationalism has replaced cricket journalism’

What Vijay Mallya‘s team says about Mallya’s mind

CHURUMURI POLL: Are small-towners stronger?

Look, who’s giving Tughlaq a run for his money!

25 January 2009

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: There is much happening in Mysore but it’s all mostly topsy-turvy. They are trying to convert a bus-stand into a park, and a park in to a bus stand, all because a lot of money is flowing through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) or some such.

It has upset everybody and no wonder Ajji is most furious. She threw the Praja Vani she was reading in disgust.

Ideno anyaya! Why don’t they let things be? Because they are getting money from Jawaharlal Nehru should they break everything at sight and build it all anew?”

Ajji, Nehru is not giving any money. He died long back. In his name they have started a mission and money is coming from the mission.”

I tried to calm her down.

“I don’t know why these misshines are breaking each and everything. Why do they want to build a bus stand in place of a park?” she demanded.

“So, that there is more space for buses to move around.”

“Don’t people need parks to walk around? And they want to convert the bus stand which is centrally located into a park. What kind of logic is this? Are we going back to Mohammed bin Tughlaq days?” she thundered.

I marveled at the memory of the 90+ woman, considering she barely went to school before she was married.

Ajji, you are right. These days Tughlaq- style development seems to have become popular again.”

Yenopa! Nanage ondu artha vagolla. Alla! If they want both the bus stand and the park, it is available at one place. Why don’t they consider it?”

Here was a googly from Ajji which beats the best of doosras from Muthaiah Muralidharan.

“Where is it available, Ajji? If our CM or Shobha Karandlaje likes your plan, you will surely get a Rajyothsava award later this year.”

Avasara padabedvo, Ramu. They want to save the palace. Don’t they?” she gave me a Karan Thapar–style stare which unnerves most of his interviewees.


I tried to avoid her eyes.

“They also want a good park there. Right?”

“Absolutely. Is there such a place Ajji?”

“The palace, the palace itself. Where else will you find a nice park and a splendid building for a bus stand?”

I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. It was preposterous of an idea, if there was one.

Ajji! Ninge thale sariyagi ideya? Have you gone crazy? How can you make Mysore Palace a bus stand although I agree to the bit of a park surrounding the Palace?”

“If you can make a bus stand out of Peoples’ Park, why is this not feasible? More over it is very easy; the building already exists. All you have to do is put some stone benches for people to sit next to their luggage. Convert a room into a military hotel, have some kind of announcement blaring continuously, with buses moving in reverse to the bay overseen by a whistling conductor, you have a bus stand all set ready to go. Our traffic police will try some experiments like “No Entry to northbound vehicles from south gate and vice versa.” All you need are a few more things like boards giving the time table, a ticket counter and a tea stall that sells newspapers It’s so easy. You can return the money to Jawahar Lal Nehru Masshines’.

“Ajji! It is JNNURM or you can say ‘NURM’.”

Nurmu, gurmu I don’t understand. But this is feasible compared to the Tughlaq Plan.”

“Ajji, what about foreigners who flock to see Palace? What about Dasara?”

“Tourists will love sitting in the park eating sippe kadalekayi watching buses come and go. As for Dasara they can shift the 10-day programme to the exhibition grounds.”

“What about the world-famous Dasara exhibition there?”

“Don’t worry Ramu. By that time they will take money from Nurm or some Drum and build an Exhibition centre in Bannimantap,” said Ajji.

Ajji is sending her proposal to the Government.

I am waiting to see if she gets a Rajyotsava Award for her ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.

Why wait 100 days if you can do it in just one?

24 January 2009

Fix the global economy on his first day in office? Reverse global warming by day 20? Establish world peace by day 83? Create meteor defence shield by day 94….?

“We don’t expect the impossible in his first 100 days in office. But Barack Obama has said he would close Guantanamo and end torture. With this in mind, Amnesty International have created a checklist for the new president’s first 100 days. It asks that his first steps should be to announce a plan and closure date for Guantanamo. Order a ban on torture and illtreatment as defined under international law. And finally to ensure an independent commission of US war on terror is set up. These things are possible.”


CHURUMURI POLL: Get well, Manmohan, but…

24 January 2009

So far, so good. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s repeat bypass surgery is over, and the 76-year-old has been moved into an intensive cardiac care unit for stabilisation, according to news reports. We wish the PM well.


But the decision of his medical consultants to bring in a team of doctors from a private hospital in Bombay to operate on him at the nation’s premier State-run hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), opens up a delicate question:  do our politicians have it in them to walk the talk?

If our politicians do not have the confidence to go under the knife of government-appointed doctors in government hospitals, if they do not see the true state of our hospitals and their obsolete equipment, what hope is there for the common man and woman in whose name they claim to act?

And, as chainmails doing the rounds have suggested, there is the more pesky issue of reservations in institutes of higher education that governments like Manmohan Singh’s have pushed with great zeal. If our “leaders” who back these reforms in the name of “social justice” cannot face the result of it, why do they expect us to?

Also read: Why the quota verdict is smarter than you think

I hereby swear in the name of Hippocrates

‘90% of suicides in IITs are of SC/STs’

Can we really trust the government?

Why was A.P.J. Abdul Kalam silent for so long?

Kamalamma, Lakshmamma, Puttamma, Devamma

24 January 2009

KPN photoThe only legitimate reason the Sunsilk Miss South India or whatever contest in Bangalore is getting a few inches of space here is because it gives us a chance to do two (OK, three) things.

To ask the ever-green question: just what is it about our beauty contests that they can never throw up a winner whose name is Venkatalakshmamma i.e. why do they all look the same? And because it gives us yet another (flimsy, sexist) excuse to link to one of churumuri‘s most-visited stories: The Sexiest South Indian South Asian Woman in the World.

And the third reason is…?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

What if Ramalinga Raju walks out, Scotch free?

23 January 2009

KONDAVEETI DONGA writes from Cyberabad (with tongue firmly in cheek): Any dongamama who masterminds a scam and other such adventures to look good in the eyes of the world knows that his (her?) luck will run out, later if not sooner.

When Byrajju Ramalinga Raju (in picture, right) was pressure-cooking the PowerPoint at Satyam™ over the years, he would have definitely known that the broth would brim over one day. But surely it is not unreasonable to presume that the Telugu bidda would have also drafted a plan to protect him if the shittulu hit the ceilingulu?

The belief that the disgraced entrepreneur must have had a survival plan stems from one small piece of trivia: Raju signed and sent his confessional letter on January 7 in electronic form. Yes, it is said to have come from his email ID but is that signature really Raju’s? Is there a hard-copy letter with SEBI, BSE or NSE? Will it stand the test of the long legal arm in a court of law?

Why this sudden doubtulu?

While he painted himself as an ‘honest guy’ while admitting to the fraud, taking all the blame on himself and subjecting himself to the law, it slowly turns out that, in the best traditions of cost-cutting in these recessionary times, l’il Raju was being economical with the truthulu.

He claimed that he took no money himself, now it is almost evident that he systematically siphoned off obscene amounts of cash, drawing the salaries of thousands of employees who only existed on his rolls. He claimed the money had not been diverted, but it turns out it was used to buy up land, etc.

So, if he lied about his people, what won’t he lie about?

Looking at the way the investigation is going about, it is reasonable to presume that the whole drama of the confession, the arrest, the stonewalling, etc, was predesigned to minimise the impact. And that he also has a water-tight survival plan in place to walk out, later if not sooner.

What it could be?

We can only speculate, with a couple of scotches tinkling in our drawing rooms (and with our tongue still firmly in our cheek).

Possibility 1: ‘Main na hoon

Have the police arrested the real Ramalinga Raju? How can we be so sure that it isn’t a a lookalike who has surrendered to the police? With all attention on the Fake Raju, could Original Ramalinga Raju be elsewhere, enjoying his biryani and pesarattu as it unfolds? This possibility isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Several world leaders who feared a threat to their lives—Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein to name just two—were known to employ this ploy. What if some Telugu film producer or director, with their sophisticated sense of reality, has not done the needful and supplied a “double”?

Possibility 2: “Dubai se phone aaya

Can Raju claim that he never sent the letter and someone else did it by hacking into his account, or that someone else (the real estate/ land mafia, maybe; maybe politicians; maybe FIIs) coerced him? Since so much time has elapsed since the confession, is it impossible that critical documents have been destroyed, ensuring that investigating agencies fail to prove him guilty? Is everything all designed by his lawyers and clansmen to ensure he walks away scot-free? What if he says like the extortionist says in Ramgopal Varma‘s Satya: “Dubai se phone aaya.”

Possibility 3: All in the family

What if the Raju clan converges this Sunday afternoon for a gunta ponganalu brunch and decides enough is enough, the family name is being besmirched, and  decrees that the 70 top Rajus in Andhra Pradesh shall each write a cheque for Rs 100 crore each to rescue one of their own? Or else. Or if all the seven crore Telugus across the world, chip in with Rs 1,000 each against which they will be issued tea sops that can be encashed at a future date in the Satyam canteen? Or else.

Of course, the best case scenario is that Raju will be proved guilty, that he will pay a fine of Rs 21 crore and spend 7-10 years in jail in repentence for what he did. Maybe, if his behaviour is good, or his (genuine) doctor finds some serious ailment, the term could be cut short by a few years. Since maavadu is just 54, there will be a few years to enjoy the remainder of his life.

What do you think? What excuses and alibis could the conman and his lawyers come up with?

By the way, if Mohammed Ajmal Kasab should not get a lawyer for having gunned down a few in VT on November 26, should Ramalinga Raju get a lawyer (or 22) for having taken hundreds of clients, thousands of employees, and millions of shareholders for a ride?

Just kidding.

Happy Republic Day.

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu Business Line

‘Accuse me please… My name is Ramalinga Razoo’

21 January 2009

While the ruling politicians work overtime to push the fraud under the carpet (and the opposition parties watch on in almighty relief); while the media misses the woods for the forests; while employees lovingly place roses at the entrance of the jail he is lodged in, N. VIKASH forwards a song dedicated to a recently disgraced IT boss.


To be sung to the tune of “My name is Anthony Gonsalves” from Amar Akbar Anthony

My name is Ramalinga Razoo
main mera company ka lootera hoon
Khaate hai khaali, Balance sheets he jaali
Ab employees ki bhi waat laga daali

jisko bhi yaad aaye, mujhe milne chala aaye
jisko bhi yaad aaye, mujhe milne chala aaye

Hyderabad police chowki,  jholi (sorry…kholi) number 420


abhi abhi jail ke andar ek company kholi hai, aji kholi hai,
haan haan kholi hai
investors ne bhi lagayi bad chad kar boli hai, haan boli hai,
haan haan boli hai
jailor bhi raazi, qaidi bhi raazi
Jab tak chalegi yeh jaalsaazi

jisko bhi yaad aaye, milke marne chala aaye
jisko bhi yaad aaye, milke marne chala aaye

Hyderabad police chowki, jholi (ssorry…kholi) number 420


Also read: My name is Antony Gonsalves. Do you know…?

Even the number (44) has a nice ring to it

20 January 2009

On the day history will be made, a good time to listen to Will.

The lyrics of the first song are composed almost entirely of excerpts from Barack Obama‘s speech from exactly a year ago. And the second has Bono, Faith Hill, Seal, David Foster and Mary J, along with

Also read: Why journalists like Barack Hussein Obama

Ask not what it has done for you but you to it

20 January 2009

On the day a very fine user of the English language grabs the keys to the Oval Office while millions egg him on, Alfred S.J. in Washington D.C., forwards an email received by a colleague received from an Indian engineering student attempting to use a product developed by their company.


am an engineering student pursing my Btech Telecommunication and doing my final semester project in **NET, in an ieee paper… my topic s ” Modeling and Simulation of Fading and Pathloss in **NET for Range Communications”… and here i have the task of creating an rayleigh fading channel in **PNET..cud u plz help me out with this?? …waiting for ur reply to progress with my project..and wud be grateful if u help..
thank u


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

So that your childrens doesn’t learn English

Arly to rice makes menu helthy, velthy and vice

Intelligents’ Bureau is warned well in advance

20 January 2009

Heaven knows that what we need in these gloomy, recessionary, terroristy times is a hearty laugh (at somebody else’s expense). Cartoonist Prakash Shetty manfully steps into the breach with Vaare Kore, a humour monthly in Kannada, that is guaranteed to crawl out of the Press Club of Bangalore on Friday, January 23, whether it is launched at 11 am or 11 pm.

ps: It is hereby clarified that there is no truth in the rumour doing the rounds that, buoyed by the Golden Globes, Danny Boyle is planning a sequel called Slumdog Billionaire.

Since your President didn’t invite you to Delhi

19 January 2009