Posts Tagged ‘Dharwad’

But to hear him, you need 3D Surround Sound

27 May 2013

Photo Caption

The Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath (second from left) is all ears (and eyes) as photographer Shruthi A.N. explains the intricacies of 3D photography at the launch of a website of a 3D photo club, in Bangalore on Monday. The actor Shivaram is to his left.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: Rudresh Mahanthappa, the Kannadiga jazzo virtuoso

Behind every stanza, a deep crease of learning

At 8th Cross, even Ganesha wants a good concert

How did Dharwad become the ground zero of music?

Where the soil, air and peda help the vocal chords

From Dharwad, India’s best shehnai player today, S. Balesh

How BJP is killing B.V. Karanth’s Rangayana

27 March 2013

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VISHWAS KRISHNA writes: If you are in Mysore, or closely following the developments of Mysore, it is unlikely you would have missed the issue of the theatre repertory Rangayana. The organization which should have been concentrating on creative pursuits is now embroiled in a maze of bureaucratic problems.

Nataka Karnataka Rangayana, to give its full name, is a state government-funded repertory started under the tutelage of the theatre maestro, B.V. Karanth, almost 25 years ago. Most of the initial years were spent in training artistes in the production and enactment of plays. Public shows started only after a few years.

It took enormous effort, mainly by Karanth and later on by others, to build the team and for Rangayana to attain the reputation it now enjoys.

It was when Prasanna became the director that Rangayana started the practice of weekend shows. And that practice is in place till date. If you visit Rangayana on a Sunday, you can be rest assured of a play being performed at 6.30 pm (usually by Rangayana or by other teams when they are on a tour).

Being in Mysore, we get to watch other amateur team’s productions too. And as part of theatre festivals like Bahuroopi (organised by Rangayana) we get to watch performances by some of the most renowned theatre groups across the country.

But, having watched the productions of Rangayana, it is difficult to be easily impressed by any other performance. That is the standard which Rangayana has created and we Mysoreans are lucky to have such a repertory here.

After watching so many plays and shows of Rangayana repertory, unknown to them, we, the audience, have developed a kind of rapport with the actors and the team.

But now, the government, on the idiotic advice of Ranga Samaja, wants to split the team and transfer the artists and artistes, whom we have watched all these years as part of Rangayana. The issue of transfer started during the controversial tenure of B.Jayashree in 2009-10.

But fortunately for Rangayana and also for Mysore, her tenure did not last long and after her departure from here, the issue was buried, temporarily it turns out.

Now with the establishment of two more Rangayanas, one at Dharwad and another at Shimoga, the government wants to use the services of experienced actors here. The transfer of 12 actors of Rangayana to the other two branches is with the idea of facilitating the newly established Rangayanas to get proper training.

Imagine: artists, artistes, actors in a transferable job!

This is a very foolish step from the governing body, supported by the Government. It is very difficult to believe that the governing body is acting without any mala fide intention, but even if one gives them the benefit of doubt, one fails to see the logic behind this act.

Ranga Samaja is being lazy in not trying to search for new actors and instead trying to depute the actors here at Rangayana as trainers at the new branches. These people are trained to be actors and not trainers.

Moreover, the team which has been producing plays since 25 years would have developed a comfort zone with each other and it reflects in their plays too.

We Mysoreans are used to watching the plays of the same team since so many years and now, all of a sudden, if 12 actors of the team are sent away, who will act in the productions of Rangayana? Not to be disrespectful to the others, but the 12 actors who are transferred are among the best actors of the team, at least for me, personally.

If they are not part of the team, there is no way I or many other regular Rangayana audiences would watch the plays. It also means that the repeat shows of the old productions, of which, these 12 actors are part of would not be performed or would be performed by the new actors who are not as experienced as the present team.

There is no way the quality of the productions will remain the same. The highest standards of acting which we have come to expect from Rangayana would be lost forever.

Ranga Samaja and also, the government, have to remember that Rangayana Mysore was started with 25 fresh faces. It is difficult to guess as to what is stopping them from doing the same at the other two newly established Rangayanas.

The actors are now fighting for cancellation of the transfer order and exploring many ways to solve this problem. And the director of Rangayana, B.V. Rajaram, who also supported the actors in their protest against the transfer order, was immediately sacked.

Curiously, the director was not taken into confidence before the transfer orders were issued to the actors. The incident only shows the dictatorial attitude of the outgoing BJP government towards one of the most prominent cultural institutions of Karnataka.

This is something the actors of Rangayana should have realised long back, but at least now, hopefully, after this issue gets solved, they should realise that the more quicker they come out of the clutches of Ranga Samaja and the bureaucracy, the better it is.

We, the audience, do not know who are the members of the governing body and how are they elected and for how long they remain elected. But we are now aware that such a thing exists and we want the old Rangayana back, free of its clutches from the unknown and faceless Ranga Samaja and the non-empathetic bureaucracy.

Photograph: courtesy B.S. Bhooshan

Also read: M.S. Sathyu vs Karnataka Rakshana Vedike

When Mother Nature wants to talk to Kuvempu

If Infosys cares about Kannada and culture

The total number of colours in this picture is…

11 October 2012

Students of the Satya Sai institute of home science turn out in their colourful best at a youth festival organised by the women’’s University in Dharwad on Thursday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News


Also read: Save women from having to save the saree

2011: How the Dharwad peda enhances your smile

2009: 22 ways to smile in a blaze of earthy colours

Sauce for liberals isn’t sauce for fundamentalists?

6 December 2011

The ghastly ritual of Madae Snana at the State-run Kukke Subramanya templewhich entails members of the Malekudiya community (among others) rolling over plantain leaves of leftover food of Brahmins for wish-fulfillment—has pitted progressives versus traditionalists, thanks to the “ban” lifted by the BJP-ruled Karnataka government.

“Liberals are carrying out a smear campaign against an established centre of faith of Hindus. This ritual is not something that has come into practice in recent times. It has been around for generations and people do practice it even today. By denigrating the ritual and its practice, the liberals are hurting the religious sentiments of devotees,” a local leader has been quoted as saying.

But what is the likelihood that the equally ghastly sight of devotees happily walking over fire and flogging themselves in public (as they did on Moharram in Hubli and Bangalore on Tuesday), will tie up liberals and fundamentalists in similar knots, or exercise human rights bodies?

Or will this too pass, as it has been around for generations and devotees do it voluntarily (presumably)?

Photographs: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: Unlikely this is for Sachin Tendulkar‘s 100th century

Kambar and Karnad, Bhyrappa and Puttappa & Co

21 September 2011

There are mole hills and snake pits and then there are “literary circles”.

For all their bonhomie and camaraderie, for all their high ideals and even higher aspirations from humankind, poets, novelists, writers and playwrights are a peevishly insecure lot, loudly backslapping their peers in public and quietly backstabbing them in private.

Maybe, this is as it should be given the small, lonely, insular and egotistical world that true intellectualism is (when it is not incestuous, that is). For, what good is a wise thinker or wordsmith who doesn’t think he and he alone (or she and she alone) is the almighty’s gift to the world to crack all its problems?

The occasion of Chandrasekhar Kambar becoming the eighth Kannada writer to bag the Jnanpith Award provides a small window for ordinary mortals to observe the small minds, the giant egos, the juvenile jealousies, and the awfully sour grapes on display.

Make no mistake. On the whole, there is great cheer and jubilation at a non-polarising figure like Kambar bagging the honour. But scratch the surface and the cracks are all too visible.

There are the professional flame-throwers like Patil Puttappa. On Monday, he was welcoming the honour and on Tuesday he was openly saying that Kambar didn’t deserve it and that he won it only due to hectic lobbying. And that—no surprise, no surprise—S.L. Bhyrappa deserved it more than Kambar.

Then there are the wise sages like M. Chidananda Murthy who suspect a vast secular, liberal conspiracy behind every tree and lamp post to deny Bhyrappa his due.

And then there are the sophisticates like Girish Karnad, who, in simultaneous letters to the editors of Deccan Herald (above) and Praja Vani, manages to turn Kambar’s moment of glory into his, and artfully manages to sneak in an advertisement for himself a la Norman Mailer.

Image: courtesy Deccan Herald

Also read: Chandrasekhar Kambar on our sense of history

How the Dharwad peda enhances your smile

2 April 2011

Students at a college in Dharwad deck themselves in Ilakal sarees as part of the ethnic day celebrations, on Saturday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: 22 ways to smile in a blaze of earthy colours

How did Dharwad become ground zero of music?

30 January 2011

Kumar Gandharva, Basavaraj Rajguru, Puttaraj Gawai, Mallikarjuna Mansur, Gangubai Hanagal, Bhimsen Joshi, Venkatesh Kumar….

The roster of titans from within a hundred-mile radius of Dharwad is long and illustrious. But how and why did the north Karnataka town become the ground zero of shastriya sangeet, the confluence of classical Hindustani and Carnatic music? Is it the mannina guna? Is it the guru-shishya tradition?

The Bangalore-based historian Ramachandra Guha offers a view in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“It was part of the Bombay presidency, and thus subject to influences from those two great musical centres, Pune and Mumbai. Even closer were the towns of Kolhapur and Miraj, where some famous (Muslim) teachers of music had settled, at the invitation of princes who were patrons of culture. Since Dharwad falls broadly in the region known as ‘South’ India, perhaps these vocalists also drew to some extent on the Carnatic style of music. We do know for certain that they were deeply influenced by folk traditions and by medieval saints. Both Bhimsen and Mallikarjun liked to sing songs composed by Purandaradasa, whereas Kumar Gandharva reinterpreted Kabir with great feeling and sensitivity for a 20th-century audience.”

Photograph: courtesy The Indian Express

Read the article in Kannada at Praja Vani: Jagathige serida sangeetha lokada dheemantaru

Also read: Where the soil, air and peda help the vocal chords

From Dharwad, India’s best shehnai player today, S. Balesh

Desi colossus on a par with Yeats & Shakespeare

14 November 2010

Rasave Janana,
Virasa Marana
Samarasave Jeevana

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: These evocative lines (meaning: rasa is birth, virasa is death, and harmony is life) in a world torn asunder by discord,  dissension, greed and avarice continue to be on the lips of every Kannada-speaking person even today.

Penned by Kannada’s poet-laureate, Da. Ra. Bendre, the literary colossus who strode on the firmament of modern Kannada literature for more than seven decades, they retain the same liveliness and relevance even after three decades of his passing.

“Bendre is an evergreen poet,” says the poet, Chennaveera Kanavi. “I don’t mind admitting that every time I read his poems, I acquire newer insights. The process of learning never stops.”

Better known by his pen name, Ambikatanaya Datta, Bendre, a recipient of the Jnanpith award, was a poet par excellence of a different genre. Though poetry was his first love, he was quite at home with other forms of literature like drama, prose, short stories and satire.

A poem for him was a nothing but the translation of his pangs and pains.  “It is the poet in me who speaks and I am a mere scribe,” Bendre used to say.

“Let the sufferings remain with me

But I give you the song of my life.”

What makes his poetries sparkle and appeal to the common man is that they are lyrical and are firmly rooted in desi Kannada of the Dharwad region, which was his home turf. With equal felicity and aplomb, he wields his magic wand of words to paint superb verbal images with a liberal sprinkling of colloquial idioms.

Besides being a poet, Bendre was a visionary and philosopher, and scientific thinker, too, who was far ahead of the time.

In last phase of his life, he had developed a keen fascination for the science of numbers. Bendre had made it clear as back as in the 1940s, while presiding over the Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in Shimoga, that he was a firm believer in the fusion of material science and literature as essential tools in the quest of truth.

Mere literature alone would not help realise the truth but it has to be judiciciouly tempered with material science.

His multidisciplinary approach and the amalgam of philosophical thoughts, scientific theories and the mathematical concepts reflected in his writings, often proved to be a riddle for the uninitiated in understanding his poetry.

Dharwad takkadi innoo tookaane aagilla. Horataava chakadi, hortaava chakadi…,” was his favorite observation about his works not being properly assessed or understood by the society.  The scale of evaluation of his poetry was to emerge, while cartloads of literature continued to be produced. (Takkadi is the scale used by the traders to weigh the material brought to the market.)

And the situation remained so when Bendre died in 1981. He bequeathed to posterity a rich legacy in literature in the form of published works and manuscripts waiting to see the light of the day. As a voracious reader, he had more than 16,000 books in his library, with jottings which had a whale of material for publication.

All these awaited being deciphered, analysed and interpreted. This arduous task,  stupendous by any standards has been bravely taken up by a two member-team  comprising Dr Vaman Bendre, his son, and  Dr K.S. Sharma, his close disciple.

By their close association with the poet throughout the life, both have developed a keen insight into the thinking, the philosophical strands and scientific concepts which prop up often in the language and literature of the poet.

Combining themselves in the name of the Bendre Research Institute, Hubli,  the duo, through their labour of love and indefatigable efforts have been able to bring out  more than 25,000 pages of literature  in the post-Bendre era.

It includes, six volumes of poems, two volumes on Aurobindo and Mother, and sakhi geete, a mini-epic; three volumes of dramas; Kavyodya, a prose volume on the aesthetics and philosophy in his poems; and 35 individual anthologies of poems, five selections of poems, 14  stage plays including the unpublished Taledanda relating to the life of Basaveshwara,  and 13 collections of Bendre’s poems with musical notations, a la Rabindra sangeet.

The latest work to come out of Bendre Research Institute is the 13th volume in the series of collected works of Bendre, viz Sahitya Yoga Sidhanta, a treatise on the aesthetics in Bendre’s prose, and Bendre Samagra Kaavya Nighantu, a dictionary of the words used by the poet, compiled by the leading linguist, Dr B.B. Rajpurohit, who incidentally had collaborated with Dr Nichida of Japan in bringing out a Kannada-English-Japanese dictionary.

The Sahitya Yoga Siddhanta comprises five parts: a) Theory of literary prose; b) Samvada, translation of his Marathi articles;  c) short stories, which Bendre would often describe as common man’s epics including transcreation of Chinese stories adapted to Indian settings ; d) Kadambari yoga, with  Bendre writing the finale of relay writing of the novel by eleven authors, in an unique  literary experiment undertaken by Manohar Grantha Mala, and e) ten satires.

The significance of the 170-page lexicon lies in the fact that it deals with only the words which are not found in other dictionaries which are used in the six collected poetry volumes brought out by the Institute already. There is  emphasis on the colloquial Kannada used by the poet, which is peculiar to this part of Karnataka, and a plethora of diglosia (words having more than one meaning) thrown therein.

Oh Manava, Bidu Durabihmanava/ Oh Daanava kodu Hridaya Daanavaa,” which could be loosely translated as, “Oh man, shun the ego/ Oh demon, donate your heart.” This is a typical example of diglosia found in the work of Bendre.  Both the words Maanava and Daanava have different meanings in the two contexts.

These books were released to mark the 30th annual memorial day of the poet the other day. Chennaveera Kanavi expressed the view that by using the Dharwad desi Kannada, Bendre had raised Kannada literature to cosmic heights. In a way Bendre  could be placed a  notch above the English poet, W.B. Yeats, who while being Irish, gave up the desi to start writing in English.

Said Dr K Raghavendra Rao, the Indo-Anglican writer who has translated several of works of Bendre including the Jnanpith award winning work “Naku Tanti” in English: “Bendre who had transcended the barriers of language deserves to be treated on par with Shakespeare and Yeats. No lexicon can help fully understand Bendre.”

What a tangled web I weave if only you can see

7 November 2010

On a misty Saturday morning in Dharwad, a spider allows a lensman to capture all its intricate designs for posterity.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

6 ways how every petrol price hike rips you off

26 June 2010

GOVINDA K. writes: Last night, the Union government hiked petrol prices. Even before the official announcement was made, most of the petrol bunks started sporting “No Stock” boards. Minister R. Ashok “raided” many petrol bunks and warned those who had stopped supplying petrol.

This did not come as a surprise for me as I had seen all this happen ad nauseam for years. Some of my relatives own petrol bunks, and I had seen them discussing petrol price hikes, since the times of George Bush‘s Iraq war when too petrol prices saw a steep increase, at closehand.

This is how it all happens:

1. The news of price originates from petroleum ministry office. That flows down to the offices of each oil marketing company (Bharat Petroleum, Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum, etc) and finally comes to the ears of the service station dealers. Such news usually starts doing the rounds almost two weeks before the official increase.

2. The dealers are usually tipped off by their sources in the oil marketing company on the payment of a certain prefixed amount. This was the trend some years ago. Now, due to the internet and continuous speculation by media, dealers come to know about price hike from other sources too.

3. If a cabinet meeting is scheduled to be held on a particular date when news of a hike is in the air, then it is almost always a sure sign of a price hike effective midnight.

4. When there are strong reasons to believe that there’s going to be a price hike, the dealers pay a certain amount of money. On such payment, the dealer is supplied with stocks on demand. There is more demand for stocks in such situations. Those dealers who make a higher payment will be given stocks on preference.

5. There is yet another way of making more profit. If the dealer pays more money, the people in the supply plant will send an extra load of fuel in a tanker which will be parked at the service station. Note that a fuel tank at a service station can only accommodate a certain limit of fuel. When dealers want to make more profit, they fill their tanks full and get an extra fuel truck.

6. Just a day before the price hike, the service station boys will be advised to go slow on fuel supply. And in few hours, they start putting “No stock” board and totally stop the fuel supply.

How is it an extra profit?

For every litre of petrol or diesel, the oil marketing company fixes a certain amount as commission for the dealer. During price hike, the dealer buys the petrol at the older rate and stops supply. He sells the same fuel at a higher price when the new rates become effective.

The commission given to the dealer on every litre of petrol is about Rs 1.20.

After the latest hike, a dealer will get Rs. 1.20 (commission) + Rs. 3.50 (price hike) = Rs. 4.70 (total) per for every litre of petrol. That’s the profit margin.

Fuel is measured in terms of KL (kilo litres) or 1,000 litres. Usually in one load, an average dealer buys about 4 KL of petrol (4,000 litres) and 8 KL (8,000 litres) of diesel. One load is sufficient for a period of 2-3 days. If the service station is situated in a city like Bangalore, one load will be just sufficient for one day.

You have all the variables, just calculate the amount of profit made by a dealer taking one load of fuel.

On the other hand, when there is a decrease in price which is not often, the same sources in the oil marketing companies can be relied upon to inform the dealers not to place orders. Even for this, there will be an amount to be paid for the “informers”. Hence the dealers make sure that they do not suffer any loss.

In both the cases, it is the common man who suffers due to NO STOCK!!

Photograph: BJP workers stage a dharna in Dharwad on Saturday against the increase in prices of petroleum products. (Karnataka Photo News)

22 ways to smile in a blaze of earthy colours

28 August 2009

KPN photo

North vs South, desi vs videsi, Bombay vs Delhi, English vs bhasha, urban vs rural, Carnatic vs Hindustani, Bollywood vs every other wood… to all the usual debates, you can add another: our clothes vs theirs.

In Dharwad, students of the Sri Satya Sai institute of home sciences wear Ilkal sarees en masse while members of Ladies Circle International take part in a friendship walk in Bangalore on Thursday.

Photographs: Karnataka Photo News

Where the soil, air & peda help the vocal chords

3 August 2009

Sunanda Mehta pays an excellent tribute to Dharwad, the meeting point and melting pot of Hindustani and Carnatic music, in The Indian Express:

Madhav Gudi, 66, is a senior disciple of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. Sitting on the chatai in his small home tucked away in a bylane in Dharwad, he dwells on his rich hoard of memories.

“‘I first heard my guru in Kundgol at Sawai Gandharva‘s house where he sang from 10 pm to 4 am. I was nine then. Mesmerised, I followed Panditji to Pune where finally he consented to take me on as his disciple, provided I finished my matriculation. I did that and stayed at his house for six years and learnt from him,’ says Gudi.

“He fondly remembers the times Pandit Bhimsen would drive down from Pune to his house at Dharwad at midnight, ask him to open a spare room on top and tell him to sing from night to morning, long after the shishya had emerged as an artist of calibre himself.

“The guru-shishya relationship is, in fact, almost a way of life at Dharwad. ‘People here feel their child should know music. Music tuitions are taken almost as seriously as other school subjects,’ says Vasant Karnad, violinist, music critic and actor Girish Karnad‘s brother, who along with his wife Sunanda, now lives in Dharwad after spending 40-odd years of his working life in Mumbai.

“‘People here have a music sense. Concerts go house full. In Kannada we call it manninaguna—that is it’s in the soil. Now the tree cover is not even 25 per cent of what existed at one time. In fact if you went at a height you could only see trees, no Dharwad. Maybe that oxygen level was good for vocal chords development. Who knows?’ says Karnad.”

Read the full article: Notes from Dharwad

Also read: From Dharwad, India’s best shehnai player today

Only for those who follow Dharwad Kannada

Even a child (or 20) could show you India’s soul

3 June 2009

KPN photo

Students of the JSS Manjunatheshwara central school in Dharwad celebrate villagers’ day on Wednesday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Knot for nothing: a snapshot of a million mutinies

27 February 2009

KPN photo

Few events in our society shine a mirror on its inherent complexities more than the miracle that is a “mass marriage”.

In a me-too culture teeming with meaningless, ostentatious weddings lubricated by dowry, the fact that so many are willing sit in line and buck the trend is proof that the desire to do what is right is a universal human trait; and one that goes deep down defying the usual urban/rural, rich/poor, literate/illiterate stereotypes.


In picture, hundreds of couples tie the knot at a mass marriage organised by MLA Santosh Lad at Kalghatgi near Dharwad on Friday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

A classical confluence of 175 years of music

2 January 2009

KPN photo

Carnatic music maestro Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna, all of 79 years of age, pays his respects to Hindustani great Gangubai Hanagal, all of 96, in Hubli on Friday. Balamurali Krishna was in town to be honoured with the Mallikarjun Mansur Samman.


Sadanand Kanavalli recounts a lovely anecdote involving Balamurali Krishna in The Hindu today:

Balamurali, like Bhimsen Joshi, hardly had any schooling. When his father took him to a school, the headmaster asked him to sing a song. That paved the way for singing the prayers before lessons started everyday. One song followed another and it turned into a mini concert. This went on for three months until quarterly exams arrived.

The answer paper went back the way it came, not a word on it. The maths teacher awarded him a big zero. The teacher asked him to get his father’s signature on the marks card. The father, in his school days, was also a zero in maths.

When Balamurali returned the marks card duly signed by his father, the teacher was surprised. “Aren’t you ashamed of earning a zero? No sir. Really, I tried to draw a big, beautiful zero as you have done. But I couldn’t. Indeed sir, you are a great artist.”

The teacher was not amused.

In the end the teacher told Balamurali’s father: “Your son is a born artiste, let him not waste his time here. General education can be had any time it is felt necessary.”

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

MUST WATCH: ‘If it sounds good to your ear, it’s Carnatic music’

Also read: How a mellifluous genius relaxes at rush hour

Garv se kahon hum Hindustani hain