Posts Tagged ‘B. Saroja Devi’

Everybody is a child to somebody or the other

9 January 2013

Photo Caption

At the inauguration of the 8th international children’’s film festival, the veteran actor, B. Saroja Devi, proceeds to give Puneet Rajkumar a nice little hug, in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: An old flame ignites the media’s insensitivity

Corruption OK. Massacres OK. Romance, not OK?

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

8 August 2009

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

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

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

Probably never had to.

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

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

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

Vishwanath went and sat next to his ex-boss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whereever you see Marathi, replace it with Kannada

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

Corruption OK. Massacres OK. Romance not OK?

29 January 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does it mean?

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

Or is this a “class” thing?

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

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

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

An old flame ignites the media’s insensitivity

29 January 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


YouTube video: courtesy Gagan K