Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sai Baba couldn’t make Tharoor win. At least…

18 September 2012

Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, who is also in charge of the ministry of drinking water and sanitation, throws a new challenge:

“If Uttar Pradesh becomes open defecation-free in 10 years, I can accept that Sai Baba is alive.”

Also read: Can the Sai Baba make Shashi Tharoor win UN poll?

Cricket’s a team game. Here’s full and final proof

8 January 2012

Two years ago, in Mysore, Karnataka’s Manish Pandey pulled off a blinder in the finals of the Ranji Trophy against Bombay. Two years on, Bevan Small does ditto in domestic Twenty20 match in New Zealand, and involves a teammate in the process.

Link via Kanekal Kuppesh

Also read: The finest catch ever by an Indian fieldsman?

‘A magic, moving, living part of the very earth’

7 September 2011

Stillness and quiet on one side, and noise and tumult on the other. That’s the Cauvery at the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam, as viewed through a fish-eye lens, on Tuesday, after all the sluice gates were opened. (Click on the picture to view a larger frame.)

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Once upon a time, Ganesha Habba as it used to be

11 September 2010

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: On the day of Ganesha Chaturthi, when most of India endeavours to seek the munificent blessings of the potbellied deity, and celebrates the occasion with ‘religious fervour and traditional gaiety’, as the AIR news bulletins are wont to inform us, I paused to think of the times when the Saraswathipuram that I lived in still echoed the bored roaring of the lions at the Mysore zoo after the bronze bell in the fire brigade premises had struck ten at night.

Those times when “Ganapathi Habba” was the most colourful and joyous of occasions with young boys and girls coming together towards evening to go around the block, door to door, seeking to glimpse 101 idols of the lord for that, the elders said, would bestow upon us all His blessings in their entirety.

Groups of children, chattering excitedly; the sounds of innocent banter, the hurried shuffle at the entrance to a house hosting the lord; the desire to get in and out quickly and move on to the next house; keeping a feverish count of the number of ‘Ganeshas’ they saw, sometimes losing count in a state of frenzied confusion and reconciling to a certain figure and carrying on in the quest for the magical 101.

And, finally, the huge sense of joy, delight, elation and relief after having really done the 101!

When entrances to most houses were festooned with fresh green mango leaves and the idol of the lord placed inside an old rosewood or teakwood mantapa, invariably handed down since generations, with layer after layer of flowers of all colours, shapes and sizes; jasmine, chrysanthemum, hibiscus, rose and the tiny white thumbe with an assortment of bilwa, tulasi, garike and such other leaves bunched together from towards the feet of the lord making their way up to his sizeable chest with only the trunk being visible and resting on the delicate floral bed.

Small serial bulbs lit up the mantapa towards evening and in the delicate twinkling of their mellow incandescence, the lord sat in resplendent glory with delicate wafts of the heady agarbhatti completing the aura of piety pervading the hall.

When men and women, friends and relatives all, came visiting, bending low in obeisance before the idol as if on cue, and after the routine sprinkling of the holy turmeric smeared grains of rice onto the idol in a delicate shower, sat down to contemplate life in all its unhurried grace.

There was to the largely sparsely populated streets a sense of the divine; a melodious ‘sharanu sharanaiyya sharanu benaka…. streaming out mostly from a Sony tape recorder which showed the length of the running tape in digits with a reset button below; women walked around wearing traditional sarees with large mango motifs to the borders, mostly green, blue and cream. Children, especially young girls, wearing smart, colourful long skirts, tailed their mothers with floral baskets in their hands.

As for lunch, it would be a mouthwatering repast of an array of dishes starting with a dollop of payasa at the edge of the right-hand bottom of the shimmering green plantain leaf washed fresh with a generous sprinkling of water from the steel tumbler set against each person sitting down for the feast.

The various palyas, of beans and carrot, the ash gourd curry and pappadoms, lentil flour wafers fried in oil, accompanied by crunchy sandige, puffed rice fritters, that went so divinely well with the tang of the curry and the heady asafoetida scented, coriander garnished rasam with a smattering of seasoned mustard floating tantalisingly on the surface like miniature dots of black and imparting to the whole feast a touch of the traditional.

Desserts were holige, a sweetened flat bread suffused with fresh coconut, and the ubiquitous kadabu, a most mouthwatering crepe with serrated borders made by deft feminine fingers, loaded with sugar and coconut shreddings and fried in oil, a sweetmeat said to be lord Ganesha’s favourite.

As the years have rolled by and many a Ganesha idol has been immersed in the neighbourhood Kukkarahalli Kere, much to the anguish of self driven environmentalists who mean mostly good, there is a nagging thought that the values, the feelings of pious involvement with the festival and the sincere engagement with the lord have melted with the painted clay of the idols in the turbid waters of ridiculous tomfoolery.

Now groups of young boys atop open jeeps and trucks, taking  along the idol of the lord in frenzied disarray to the neighbourhood pond or lake, scream and shout in mad confusion, holding up traffic; a hint of cheap alcohol in their breaths, as they meander along chanting ‘vidya ganapathi ki…’ almost in a tone of belligerence.

And then there are the roadside orchestras in the neighbourhood. Belting out songs without a sense of occasion. Songs that could be straight out of a disco situation in some Kannada movie with the vamp gyrating to the heavy beats of the drum and the heavier breathing of her ample bosom.

Not for the organisers a desire to stick to the seriously devotional!

Where have we reached really?

The idols of the lord themselves have been made to take all kinds of laughably stupid connotations with complete lack of sensitivity and sanctity to His depiction.

You have Ganesha’s holding cricket bats if there is a major cricket engagement round the corner; a Ganesha who’s made to look like a traffic policeman; there was even a Ganesha in battle fatigues resembling a commando in the hunt for terrorists.

A dim-witted parody, a sick caricature of misplaced religiousness enough to make you wonder whether there is anything called meaningful prayer covered with dignity left in today’s age.

As the Ganesha bandwagon rumbles on, it is better to scamper off like a mouse. Into the safe confines of a past filled with beautiful memories of a grand festival that we all awaited with truly innocent anticipation.

Photograph: A Bangalore city corporation worker immerses a Ganesha idol at a pond in Ulsoor lake in Bangalore on Saturday (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: The delightful feminism behind Ganesha‘s birth

One child per family; one Ganesha idol per colony?

When Gajanana meets the JCB on Chowpatty

“What’s in a name?” Aha! What’s in 108 names?

When Goldfinger meets Gajanana in our gullies

Once upon a habba, idol worship of another kind

Can a plot be hatched in a house without a door?

16 August 2010

The metaphors sometimes get delightfully mixed. The puns are often too well intended. The turn of phrase too sudden. But there can be little doubt that M.J. Akbar is a master wordsmith. 

In today’s Deccan Herald, the veteran editor and author weighs in on the war of stereotypes over the proposal to build a mosque at the site of the World Trade Center towers in New York  City:

“Can there be any rational reason for such subliminal fear of a house without a door?

“A mosque has no door; it is always open to anyone. Submission is the guiding force of its spirit and simplicity is its objective. There is equality in the lines of prayer. Servant stands beside master to bow, at the same moment, before the Lord. Divisions and pretensions dissipate.

“The whole world, as the great Indian theologian and mass leader Maulana Abul Kalam Azad used to say, is god’s mosque. Nations may claim to act in the name of god, but god does not need nations. A mosque is neither factory nor fortress: why should it arouse either envy or fear?

“Whatever else Islam might be it cannot be fascist. True, there are some Muslims who are fascist, but why blame Islam for the tyranny of despots? No one blames the Roman Catholic Church for Mussolini. Terrorists conspire. A conspiracy is hatched behind closed doors. A mosque has no door.”

Read the full article: A mosque has no door

Anybody dalit in the media and speaks English?*

13 May 2010

The UPA government’s reported inclination to include an extra column in the 2011 census to enumerate caste, for the first time since 1931, has seen politicians and political parties close ranks, although the Union cabinet is said to have been divided on the issue.

But there has been an avalanche of criticism in the media. “A monumental travesty,” is one view in The Indian Express. “No sense in caste census,” declares the Financial Express. “Will it help reduce inequalities,” asks The Hindu. “No time to look behind,” is one view in The Telegraph.

On television, of course, it is as if the end is nigh upon us already, and they even quote the mighty Amitabh Bachchan—the son-in-law of a journalist—to bolster their view.

A similar dichotomy between the political class and the fourth estate greeted the implementation of the Mandal Commission report in 1989. And indeed when 27% reservation was announced for other backward classes in higher educational institutions in the first innings of the UPA government.

Could the media “disconnect” be because of the demographics of dominant sections of the Indian media, most of which are located in urban centres? Are there too many upper-caste, upper-class types and far too few of the other kind to understand and empathise with the logic, the dynamics, the imperative for a caste census or reservations?

In her Hindustan Times column, CNN-IBN senior editor Sagarika Ghose writes:

“In 1996 when B.N. Uniyal undertook a survey of national newspapers, he found that among 686 journalists accredited to the government, 454 were upper caste, the remaining 232 did not carry their caste names and in a random sample of 47, not a single one was a dalit.”

More recently, a 2006 survey of 300 senior journalists in 37 Hindi and English newspapers and TV stations found that “Hindu upper caste men”—who form eight per cent of the country’s population—hold 71 per cent of the top jobs in the national media.

“Dalits and Adivasis “are conspicuous by their absence among the decision- makers. Not even one of the 315 key decision-makers belonged to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes.

“If men and women are taken together, the share of upper caste Hindus or dwijas in the upper echelons of the media is 85 per cent. These castes account for 16 per cent of the national population. Brahmins alone, the survey found, hold 49 per cent of the top jobs in national journalism.

“If non-dwija forward castes like Marathas, Patels, Jats and Reddys are added, the total forward caste share stands at 88 per cent.

“In contrast, OBCs, who are estimated to constitute around 40 per cent of the population, account for an “abysmally low” four per cent of top media jobs. In the English print media, OBCs account for just one per cent of top jobs and in the Hindi print media eight per cent.”

Read the full column: Caste off those blinkers

Photograph: the front page of Harijan, the weekly English newspaper published by Mahatma Gandhi

Also read: Why are they Tamils? Why are they all Brahmins?

Just 4% of population but 7 Brahmins in Indian team?

* with apologies to Edward Behr

WARNING: this is not a film shoot or a trick shot

28 January 2010

At  the 500th anniversary celebrations of the coronation of Sri Krishnadevaraya at Hampi on Thursday, a lensman hits paydirt, capturing a micro-second of pure magic.

Photograph: Mallikarjun Swamy/ Karnataka Photo News

Sauce for the Gowda ain’t sauce for the Gandhi?

15 January 2010

For the literate, “decent” middle-class, H.D. Deve Gowda‘s invective-laden outburst at B.S. Yediyurappa may underline the limited vocabulary of modern politicians. But why did Gowda, who has not used such language in public in the last 50 years, calmly repeat the words on national TV?

For the urban chattering clases, Gowda’s rant may only confirm their worst fears about the coarseness of politicians from the rural countryside. But how come we are so much more accommodating of a Varun Gandhi, whose London of School Economics education did not stop him from showing his “killer instinct”?


Narendar Pani, professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), in Mail Today:

“It is important not just to say the outrageous but to say so in a language that will attract the attention of the national media. Gowda’s Kannada phrases in that verbal attack before television cameras was foul in itself. But it is unlikely to have got him and his son on national television.

“It was the use of English swearwords that allowed him to take his case against the project to a national television-viewing audience.

“Such an approach does, of course, further distance the former prime minister from English-speaking policy makers. But it brings him closer to those who are hurt by liberalisation and believe there is no way they can be heard. This is not as small a constituency as growth rate figures would have us believe.”

Read the full article: Mail Today

Also read: ‘Bastard, bloody bastard, bastard, bhosidi maga

‘Degenerate bastard, I will not trouble thee’

In defence of India’s 14th PM, the State’s 14th CM

A red-letter day in the hamaam of Indian politics

13 July 2009


The “high moral ground” was the only figleaf the Left parties were left with in the nudist camp that is Indian politics after their disastrous showing in the 2009 general elections.

On Sunday, 12 July 2009, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) lost even that, as it chose to drop V.S. Achutanandan from the politburo on charges of “indiscipline” and “violating” the organistional structure, while retaining Pinarayi Vijayan, the party’s Kerala secretary, facing a CBI investigation for corruption.

Cartoon: courtesy E.P. Unny in The Indian Express

From Subramanya Folly to Subramanya Revenge

24 June 2009

The decision of the B.S. Yediyurappa government to transfer the commissioner of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, S. Subramanya, has set tongues wagging.

Was it because of his “inappropriate” advice to the parents of Abhishek, the boy who was washed away? Or, because he had filed a defamation case against the Lok Ayukta, N. Santosh Hegde?

Or, was there some other reason like you-know-what?

The move has divided the rulers and the ruled. Good riddance say some, bad politics say others.



Don’t believe reports that our justly revered Subramanya is no longer the face, voice and soul of BBMP (Bada Bengaloorina Mukhya Pracharak). In the land where Indira was India, Subramanya is and shall always be BBMP.

Subramanya’s footprints cannot be erased, his legacy cannot be ignored.

For Bangaloreans, Subramanya is indestructible, imperishable, immortal.

True, Subramanya’s empire was not quite of Mughal proportions. But it did cover vast territories from Govindapura (which is somewhere in the Himalayas) all the way to Kengeri (somewhere near the Indian Ocean). Vast multitudes of people live in these territories. Among them there is not one man, one woman or one child whose life has not been touched and shaped by the genius of Subramanya.

Such has been the power of the Magic Boxes and the Tragic Hoaxes he invented.

A combined Akbarnama cum Babarnama will be required to record the major horizons he conquered during his short reign. Since no editor will allow the space required for such a compendium, let us confine ourselves to just one of his gifts to BB, the VIP road from Golf Club Circle to Mekhri Circle.

That short stretch of signal-free highway is a signal contribution by the visionary in Subramanya.

There used to be a police station at the Golf Club circle. In the lockup of this police station, a visiting lawyer was once beaten to death and his body dumped near the railway tracks. No doubt keeping that in mind, Subramanya had the police station demolished (yet another instance of the IAS correcting the wayward IPS).

Putting the opportunity to good use, another skill where the IAS excels, Subramanya also demolished the great-grandmother trees that had spread out majestically and made this area one of the coolest, most verdant spots in cool and verdant Bangalore. A great deal of fresh space was freed for traffic.

Of course there was no signal at the circle. There was no signal at the Windsor Manor Circle either. Between these circles Subramanya gave us a magnificent stretch of road making us feel like we were driving on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Unfortunately, at both ends of namma New Jersey Turnpike, traffic piled up in signal-free chaos. This was because of traffics unpatriotic habit of coming from different directions. The flow from one side has to stop for the flow from the other side to proceed.

How unreasonable!

This became quite a mess at the Windsor Manor circle. During rush hours, especially with KSRTC buses appropriating all the lanes, it was one big chaos. That is why citizens renamed the Windsor Manor Circle as Subramanya’s Folly. To enjoy it fully, go there in the evenings.

If you got past Subramanya’s Folly and thought that everything would now flow smoothly, you would have time to think again. For by the time you negotiate the Palace Guttahally Magic Hoax Flyover, you will resume your crawling pace, bumper to bumper. This is because the traffic has backed up from the Cauvery Circle a kilometre away.

Ah, the Cauvery Circle.

This is already in the Guinness Book as the world’s most stunning U-turn. You’ve got to see it to believe it. A straight road is suddenly made to turn left and then take a U-turn to reach the straight line again. What imagination! What originality! You should see the way the buses negotiate the U-turn and how all traffic pay homage to the planning genius as they move forward in slow motion.

Wonderstruck citizens have renamed the Cauvery Circle also. It is now known as Subramanya’s Revenge.

Look closely in the evening hours. You can see Subramanya on top of a flexboard hoarding, watching the tortuous muddle below and chuckling to himself about the unforgiving effectiveness of the punishment he has meted out to these goddamn Bangaloreans including meddlesome politicians and Lokayuktas.

The sheer genius behind the U-turn inventions has led to two marvelous developments.

First, Harvard Business School has taken it up as a case study. Second, the inventor is getting an international patent on the U-turn.

It does not matter where Subramanya is posted. Even if he is Secretary to the Department of Cockroaches, the twin glories of Subramanya’s Folly and Subramanya’s Revenge will keep him as the face, the voice and the soul of BBMP for ever.


Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

TV viewers vote differently from non-TV viewers

2 April 2009

Lloyd Rudolph and Susanne Rudolph, emeritus professors at the University of Chicago, who have just published a three-volume collection of their essays on Indian democracy, on the four changes in the election process they have noticed over the years, in The Times of India:

1) A decline in the politics of charisma and darshan and a rise in the politics of vote banks and benefits.

2) The emergence of two Indias, the one-third of the voting public that views television and whose vote is shaped by personalities and persuasion, and the two-thirds of the voting public whose vote is shaped by identity politics.

3) An effort to break the hold of vote bank and regional determination of voter choice by appealing to an aam aadmi, a hypothetical all-India, average or median voter.

4) The appearance of an incipient women’s vote based on a growing consciousness that there are women’s values and interests independent of family and community.

Read the full interview here: ‘Votes, seats of national parties have declined’

All nations have armies. One army has a nation.

22 March 2009

Using the latest in satellite technology, E.R. RAMACHANDRAN plugs into three telephone conversations:


“Hello! Is this Mr. Zardari?”

“Yes, Zardari speaking. May I know who it is on the line, if you please?”

“Clinton, Hillary Clinton. We are glad you followed our advice for the day. Tomorrow I will call again and tell you what to do. Please make notes as we talk. OK?  Meanwhile don’t get into any trouble.”

“Thanks, madam. I will be ready for your call.”


“Hello! How are you Mr. Gilani? This is Hillary. Have you received my point-by-point instructions and also answers from India for your 30 questions? You must have, by now.”

“I have not yet seen today’s daak, madam- Secretary.”

“When you open your mail, it will all be there.  Listen. We have been telling you for the last three months that you must do ‘more’. We want you to take some real action. What you have done so far is just not enough.  Understand? I will call you tomorrow evening. I want to go over with you each reply from India and action required from you. OK?”

“OK, madam.”

“By the way, it was a good show to reinstate Justice Chaudhry.”

“Thank you madam. Direct orders from our President.”

“Oh! Is it? A good move, I must say. And Nawaz Sharif’s Long March was also controlled in time.”

“That was Gen. Kayani’s orders madam.”

“Good. Nice to see everything working so well. Will call you again tomorrow.”


“Hello! General Kayani?”

“Yes, Kayani speaking. Who is this?”

“General Casey. We talked just before Mr. Sharif’s long march.”

“We did as you had instructed, Sir. We averted the long march.”


“Anything you want us to do, General?”

“Yes, indeed. Are you aware that Talibans come in ‘good’ and ‘bad’ shapes something like ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol? We want you to sort out the good ones from the bad. Our President wants to start a dialogue with the good ones. You can charge us for sorting out the Talibans.”

“OK, Sir. Anything else, General?”

“There’s one more thing.  Do you know anything about Hindu Kush?”

“Hindu always means something to do with Hindustan. Why do you ask, General?”

“It has got something to do with Osama Bin Laden.”

“Nobody believed us when we claimed that India has all along been hiding bin Laden. That is why Hindus are Kush, I mean happy. If you had let us attack India, we could have got bin Laden dead or alive as your ex-president wanted.”

“General Kayani! Hindu Kush is a mountain range connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan! We have information he is hiding there. No wonder you created a Kashmir problem all these years fighting for it when it was not yours! I will call you again and instruct you what to do tomorrow. OK?”

“Yes Sir.”


As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looked on, Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr, remarked, “It’s awfully hard to run two armies at a time, especially one on a satellite phone. I don’t know how you  are running democracy in Pakistan by remote.  We must ask the President to double our salary or at least for a bonus!”

When Greyhounds were shot like sitting ducks

4 July 2008

ALOK PRASANNA writes from Bangalore: Between bellyaching about the rising prices and the fickle furore over the allotment of land to the Amarnath shrine, not so speak of the moaning about the “horrors” of reality shows (hint to I&B Ministry: ban them!), a terrifying piece of news seems to have snuck beneath the radar of most media outlets (and churumuri, so it seems).

The shocking news that 36 men of the Greyhounds counter-insurgency force of Andhra Pradesh were mowed down in a single ambush on June 28, set out by the Maoists in Chintrakonda, Orissa, has not seen anything like the reaction it deserves.

Why is it so important?

Because the Greyhounds being ambushed is like, well, members of the Karnataka Lok Ayukta (easily the best and least corrupt in the country) getting caught taking bribes on camera, in a raid they were conducting, and getting blown to bits.

When Maoists are able to ambush and kill the best trained and most effective of the anti-Maoist forces in the country—a force that the Centre wants to recreate across the country—without so much as a fire-fight, it is a sign of things to come.

Make no mistake.

The Greyhounds are still the best (and possibly last) hope we have of fighting the Maoists on purely military terms, and winning. The Greyhounds were much feared by the Maoists as they had been responsible for many successful hits against the top leadership of the Maoists.

The key to their success was in getting the intelligence input and acting on it, silently and effectively.

It was in pursuit of one such false lead that the Greyhounds walked into the trap that was laid and sprung with devastating results.

All reports so far indicate that the Greyhounds themselves had made mistakes and had gotten sloppy. By getting trapped on a crowded boat in the middle of the river, they gave the idioms “sitting ducks” and “shooting fish in a barrel” a whole new grotesque meaning (or maybe helped create a new idiom, “Greyhounds on a boat”).

You would think that the response to this debacle will involve detailed soul searching and a promise of quick action to prevent repetition.


The standard blame game began with the Orissa and Andhra Pradesh governments eager to notch up quick points initiating the finger-pointing gambit.

The AP Government naturally believes that the Greyhounds can do no wrong, and blames the Orissa Police for providing faulty intelligence. Naturally, the Orissa State Governments believes that its police can do no wrong and blame the Greyhounds for being careless.

Scoreline: AP State Government: 1. Orissa State Government: 1. Truth:0.

It is important also because the strategy of treating the Maoist uprising as a purely law and order problem is starting to unravel.

It was tough enough to put into practice in maladministered backwaters like Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh (that’s pretty much the entire Maoist belt if you get the picture), but at least in Andhra Pradesh, which has had to deal with the Maoists in one name or the other since the ’60s, Maoist insurgency was being slowly stamped out thanks to the efforts of the Greyhounds and the AP State Police.

In fact AP’s methods have been sought to be put to practice by other States, involving some “joint efforts” with other state police, but the ambush at Chintrakonda has shown up the enormous difficulties in replicating the “Andhra model”.

For the Maoists as well, beating the Greyhounds at their own game is going to be a huge fillip.

Sure, the odd jailbreak, police-station explosion, and kidnapping help keep up the morale of the cadre, and send State Government machinery running around in panic (headless chicken-like); but  taking out the crème de la crème of the enemy forces in a virtual turkey shoot, is like… getting Tendulkar in the first over of an Indian run-chase.

The note of triumphalism is unmistakable in this statement released by the Maoists (when they sprung a previous, less successful ambush against the Greyhounds).

“The efficiency, courage and fighting skill of the Greyhounds is a big myth. The setback of the [Maoist] movement in AP is not because of the Greyhounds but due to several other reasons. Though Greyhounds was created in 1989, our movement in AP developed in leaps and bounds until 1997. The so-called achievements of Greyhounds are not much related to actual battle with the Maoist guerrillas in field but due to methods of deception like poisoning the food and making the guerrillas unconscious before murdering them as in Pamedu in February.”

Translation (from Mao-speak): “We are not scared of the Greyhounds anymore… Bring it on!”

Bickering allies, failing strategy, and a confident foe.

Yup, that’s the recipe for disaster.

Will NRIs buy a used car from these gentlemen?

30 June 2008

Do Indians in America all vote for the Democratic Party? Will they all do so only if an Indian politician they trust certifies the candidates? And only if the politician belongs to the Janata parivar?

In January, when it seemed Hillary Clinton‘s star was on the ascendant, newspapers were deliriously reporting that Clinton’s campaign managers had approached Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and former minister of state for external affairs Digvijay Singh to canvass for the former first lady among Indians settled in the United States.

Kumar said: “We support the Democratic Party presidential nominee.”

“We have all sympathy for the party,” Singh added helpfully.

Well, the epidemic is spreading.

P.G.R. Sindhia, the former Janata Dal minister in Karnataka who left the party to join the Bahujan Samaj Party only to be summarily expelled by Mayawati last week, has announced that he is going to the United States to campaign for the Democratic Party nominee, Barack Obama.

The Hindu reports that “as he was a fan of the Democratic Party, he had informed the party in advance that he would campaign for Obama.”

Sindhia will be addressing meetings of the Indian community in the US for two weeks during July and August to seek votes for Obama. His itinerary will be finalised in a couple of days, please note.

Photographs: Nitish Kumar courtesy UNI via, Digvijay Singh courtesy The Tribune, Sindhia courtesy Karnataka Photo News

Not a politician or a humanitarian relief worker!

3 October 2007

Far lesser people than he have walked away with the Nobel Prize. Now the Nobel Committee has revealed why Mahatma Gandhi, despite being nominated five times, did not make the cut. Because, believe it or not, “he was neither a real politician nor a humanitarian relief worker.”

“I usually don’t comment on what the Nobel Committees or prize awarding institutions decide. But here, they themselves think he is the one missing. We missed a great Laureate and that’s Gandhi. It’s a big regret,” the executive director of the Nobel Foundation, Michael Sohlman, has told Sumon K. Chakrabarti of CNN-IBN.

“Mahatma Gandhi is the one we miss the most at the Nobel museum. I think that’s a big empty space where we should have had Mahatma Gandhi. I think it was a mistake. I think they could have made up for that little difference,” says the museum curator, Dr Anders Barany.


5 June 2006

The winner of the second Churumuri contest is Girish Hampali of Bangalore. A copy of T.S. Satyan's Alive and Clicking will go out to him. The answer to the cryptic crossword clue geg (9,3) was, of course, Scrambled Egg—and as one contestant wrote, "too simple".

The following participants deserve an honourable mention for also getting the answer right: Ajit Honnungar, Anilkumar Veppatangudi, Dr Chetana Hegde, Chinmayi Arun, Kaps, Latha Hampali, Madhu Kongovi, Mohandas Konanoor, B.S. Ramakrishna, Ravishekhar S., and Rohit K.G..  

CHURUMURI CONTEST: Crack this cryptic clue

2 June 2006

Weekend's around. Time for a bit of fun—and games. Below is a cryptic crossword clue. The clue contains just three letters, but the answer contains 12 letters in two words of nine and three words each. Got it?

Mail your entries to by Monday, June 5, 5.30 pm (IST). The winner will get a copy of T.S. Satyan's memoirs, Alive and Clicking.


geg (9,3)

CONTEST: The winner is Rohit K.G. of Dubai

29 May 2006

The winner of the first Churumuri anagram contest is Rohit K.G. of Dubai, UAE. Congratulations to him. Shashi Tharoor's Bookless in Baghdad will soon be on its way to him. 

The answer for the "Presbyterians" anagram we were looking for was Britney Spears.

Rohit wasn't alone in cracking it: Madhu Kongovi, Mohan Das Konanoor, S. Ravishekhar, and R. Soumyalatha among the 118 entries got it dead right, but Rohit's name came up in the draw of lots (remember "conditions apply"?) conducted at 6.13 pm by Sharada Vishwanath returning from her evening walk.

A big thank you to all who participated.

CHURUMURI CONTEST: Crack this anagram

26 May 2006

The Da Vinci Code has been released. And everybody who steps out of a theatre (or walks past it) thinks he wil now be able to crack any code thrown at him. Can you?

Can you unravel the anagram below? Mail your entries to by 5.30 pm (IST), Monday, May 29. The lucky winner will get a copy of Shashi Tharoor's Bookless in Baghdad. "Conditions Apply."


Presbyterians (7,6)


Also see:

Send us your bricks and bouquets

26 April 2006

Churumuri would like to hear from you. What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? And what can we do to bring more colour and character to your desktop even more vividly?

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Or, better still, drop a comment.

CHURUMURI: ‘Rukawat ke liye khed hai’

17 April 2006

Hundreds of churumuri readers from across the globe have called and emailed to say they couldn't access their favourite Mysore blog for several hours yesterday.

Please be assured the problem wasn't at our end. There was a major problem at which has thankfully been rectified by their worthy soldiers.

As Doordarshan used to say two decades ago whenever the signal went off, 'rukawat ke liye khed hai'.

Churumuri is now open. Savour it. Leave a comment in the comment box. Or email us at or

‘My name is Parvati, I am from Panchavati’

15 April 2006

Churumuri is proud to introduce its latest contributor, Alfred Satish Jones of Gokulam and Washington, D.C..

In his first despatch, Satish, an alumnus of CFTRI School and Mahajana College, shows how a whole new generation is growing up in the US of A, little knowing that there is a State like ours.   

Click on the Alfred Satish Jones page on the top-right of the screen to read the full text.

Send us your bricks and bouquets

10 April 2006

Finally–F-I-N-A-L-L-Y-!–the problem with the Comment facility has been sorted out. So, tell us what you think.

What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? And what can we do to bring the colour and character, feel and flavour of Mysore to your desktop even more vividly?

Leave a comment or send an email to or