Opinion: Tackle fixing menace first in domestic circuit

first_imgBaron Paul Condon, former head of the ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit (ACU), has set the cat among the pigeons with his disclosure that match-fixing and spotfixing in cricket was not only rampant in the 1990s and the first decade of this millennium, but also that most international teams were involved in this.He has also been emphatic that spot-fixing has its roots in county cricket, and was further fuelled by the growth of T20 cricket.It would not be impertinent to ask what Condon did to arrest this problem in his near-decade long stint as chief of the ACU. Indeed, why did it take him so long to make these observations public even as the game was being torn asunder by corruption? It would be a disservice to the sport if his research findings and assessments had been stored away as memorabilia for posterity, not affirmative action when he was heading the ACU.Nevertheless, Condon’s revelations have busted the myths that match/spot fixing is essentially a sub-continental phenomenon to which players from other countries are only innocent (or silent) bystanders.Ever since late Hansie Cronje’s nefarious activities were accidentally exposed by the Delhi police in 2000 (Condon’s appointment as ACU chief was a consequence of this), there has been sustained typecasting that the sub-continent is the hub of match-fixing.While the rise of the Asian illegal betting mafia has been well documented and is a fact, the assumption that only players from this region would be largely corrupt is ill-founded: it doesn’t take a degree to understand that greed is independent of race, colour or nationality.advertisementWith cricket boards ranged against each other in a power struggle, or for reasons of dubious national interest, the collective will to fight the menace was lacking and many offenders went scotfree. While a relook at some old cases (as the Delhi police has claimed it will in the Cronje matter) would still be worthwhile, in a broader sense, I think the second aspect of Condon’s revelation – where he mentions domestic cricket as the springboard for corruption – may be more significant in salvaging the future.Condon talks of how corruption is perhaps commonplace in English county cricket. Sharp practices on the county circuit (Imran Khan using a bottle cap to scuff the ball, others like John Lever using vaseline to get extra shine from Essex to Test matches in India) are well known, but Condon says that cheating for money too had crept in via spot-fixing.Domestic cricket in other countries too has not been above suspicions. The early part of this season has been engaged in unraveling the mystery behind Goa captain Swapnil Asnodkar inexplicably declaring his team’s innings in the sixth over when the victory target was 130 from 19. Corruption, it is widely believed, is institutionalised in Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Unsavoury reports have also emerged about problems in Australian cricket.Players who get away by cheating at the domestic level are more likely to be emboldened to do it at the global level too. The flip side is that players who don’t make it to the highest level and miss out on the massive financial rewards, could be tempted into hanky-panky because nobody is watching. The decision by the Australian and Pakistan boards to have an anti-corruption unit monitoring domestic cricket has not come a day too soon. It might not help in eradicating corruption completely. But every little bit helps.last_img read more

Building your body? Take protein supplements

first_imgIf you are planning to pump up your body at the gym, buying protein supplements may not be a bad idea. Mixed with water or milk, they go hand in hand with body building and are the best way to repair worn out tissues after exercise, say experts.Proteins are building blocks of the body. After a workout session, a body’s requirement for protein shoots up to repair damaged tissuesl; therefore, the intake of the supplement drinks within 30 minutes, also called the crucial or golden period, is a must, say nutritionists while advising that it should be done under expert guidance.”Protein is a vital nutrient for muscle repair. When consumed through natural sources like egg or milk, it is digested and absorbed into blood, which utilizes it wherever needed. The entire process may take anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes or could go up to two hours, depending upon the protein consumed,” Prajakta Sarmalkar, nutritionist and lecturer at Gold’s gym in Mumbai, told IANS.A natural source of protein takes longer to get absorbed in the blood and this is where protein shakes come in handy. “Protein supplements are partially digested, allowing the body to absorb them more easily. Post-workout, there is a golden period or crucial period of 20 minutes where the body needs high protein,” said Sarmalkar.Elaborating on how these supplements give quick results to the body compared to the natural source of protein, fitness guru Sheru Aangrish said: “When we eat raw food, proteins are broken down into BCCA (branched chain amino acids) and food digestion takes place. With supplements we can consume a direct form of BCCA.”Also, vegetarians cannot eat natural sources of protein like meat, eggs and fish; therefore, Aangrish feels protein shakes are a good substitute for such people. “I am a vegetarian and protein supplements become very vital in a vegetarian’s case. We have to depend on milk and soya to get the adequate amount of protein,” he added.But there are many who abstain from protein shakes. For 24-year-old Chetan Manhas, a fitness freak, these supplements are a complete no, no. “I have heard stories of how these shakes pump up your body for a brief time and once you stop having them, your body loses all the pump. So, in a way, they give you illusionary shine that doesn’t last for long. So, I stay away from them,” said Manhas.But personal fitness trainer Aashu counters that if “you are into heavy weight lifting and suddenly you decide not to take supplements, the body will suffer because the muscles won’t be repaired in time and automatically the body will lose the pump”. Sarmalkar feels discipline and knowledge are required for the proper usage of these supplements and adds: “If a supplement is taken under someone’s guidance, it can be advantageous but if it is consumed in excess, it could be disadvantageous. An excess amount of protein is converted into fat.”Every product has its pros and cons and it is important for consumers to gain proper knowledge before he or she starts consuming it. “People should be educated on this topic. They should learn how to read labels and not go by what others have to say. Taking a supplement isn’t a bad choice, it can be a part of your healthy lifestyle,” said Aatikaay Narula, CEO of Evolution Sports Nutrition Pvt Ltd, a range of wellness and endurance supplements.(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)advertisementlast_img read more

Can Sehwag save India from series whitewash in Australia?

first_imgWith Mahendra Singh Dhoni banned for a Test, Indian opener Virender Sehwag is set to lead the visiting side in the fourth and final Test at Adelaide.The Delhi dasher, who has been struggling to tackle the pace and bounce of Australian pitches in the series so far, would be eager to avoid a second straight overseas series whitewash.In fact, it was at the Adelaide Oval that Sehwag got his last Test century away from the sub-continent. Team India and its fans now hope that Sehwag regains his form at the venue and salvage some pride for India after a humiliating series loss down under.With Dhoni struggling to make a mark in the first three Tests, Sehwag would have to come up with his best strategy to conquer the ruthless Australians. However, after a humiliating whitewash in England and a series loss in Australia, his biggest task would be to regroup the team and fight for pride.What makes things interesting is that Sehwag is yet to lose a Test as captain. In the three matches that he has captained India, he has won two and one match ended in a draw. While his win record at home is 100 per cent, Sehwag has managed to maintain a decent record heading India overseas.Failure of batting line up has been the root cause of India’s failure in Australia and that is something Sehwag has to deal with. He himself has been going through a lean patch and after a fine 67 in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test he has been on a downward spiral that reached abysmal levels in Perth.advertisementIn the six innings so far in Australia Sehwag has just managed to score 118 runs at a poor average of 19.66. What makes matters a bit worrying is Sehwag’s own performance when he is leading the side. He has managed to score 173 runs at an average of 28.33 in the three Tests he has headed the side.If India have to avoid a whitewash, Sehwag holds the key. With the captain’s cap on his head, it is time for him to provide some winning shots.last_img read more

Kashmir’s young cricketers want to shake off memories of violence and just play

first_imgA club game in Srinagar’s Hazratbal areaWho knows what they made of Danish Ahsan, as he walked to keep pace with the arrival of dawn? Surely they would have seen him, the men with guns on both sides of the Valley’s barbed wire. The teenager setting off at four every,A club game in Srinagar’s Hazratbal areaWho knows what they made of Danish Ahsan, as he walked to keep pace with the arrival of dawn? Surely they would have seen him, the men with guns on both sides of the Valley’s barbed wire. The teenager setting off at four every morning, the soft tattoo of his footsteps the only sound on the dark, cool road from Dialagam to Anantnag. The boy was neither runaway nor renegade but a dreamer, who would not let distance – or unreliable transport – gets in his way of arriving at his own promised land: a rundown sports ground in Anantnag. By 6:30 a.m. Ahsan’s long walk was complete but his journey just begun. With 200 others, he would change out of his dusty clothes into carefully preserved white shirt and trousers, and for a few hours become someone else. That most unexpected of natives, the Kashmiri cricketer.FEAR FACTOR: Sher-e-Kashmir stadium wears a deserted lookAt the ground, it is match day for boys across three age groups selected from a talent search camp and Ahsan is among them. It’s Friday, the khutba is ringing out from the mosque that overlooks the ground.The men in charge of the cricket exchange shrugs about missing the badi namaaz and keep going. Among them is district captain Ghulam Rasool, who once rushed into a mosque with fellow cricketers, all still in their whites. The puzzled congregation had looked at each other and whispered, “Yeh kaunsi jamaat ke hain?” (Which sect is this?). Rasool’s smile is saucer-size, “We said, ‘hum bat-waale hain’.”This acknowledgement of two varying faiths is both incongrous and organic, but cricket in Kashmir is itself incongrous, something so frivolous and normal in a place that has lost its frivolity, and its normalcy.advertisementCRICKET FEVER: The new ground in SeerThe game in the Valley lives in its own time zone. When the rest of the country’s season ends, Kashmir’s begins; as the others curse the heat, the Valley’s cricketers swarm onto the Polo ground, college playfields and disused golf-courses, each one proof that the game has survived.In 1996, when the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) decided to open up their home ground, the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium at Srinagar after a seven-year freeze, it took 20 workers four months to unearth the playing square under four feet high grass. The city’s club league was quietly re-initiated with 15-16 clubs.”When I think about it today, how foolish we were to risk initiating formal cricket again,” says Manzoor Ahmed Wazir, JKCA vice-chairman. Sixty clubs now contest the Srinagar league.PROFILE ABID NABIFirst Down, More To ComeHis name is now uttered across J&K with hope in its echo. Visitors are asked if he will ever play for India. His coach Mansoor Ahmed, knows what will happen, “If Abid goes through, many, many more will follow.” Only two seasons into the game and 40 first-class wickets, Nabi 20, is the first player from J & K to make it to the North Zone Deodhar Trophy team and the first to play a first-class game against a touring side. He was called up to give India’s finest a workout in the nets before the Test against England.Nabi grew up in Srinagar. Spotted in school by Ahmed, Nabi was given two instructions. Just bowl. And just bowl fast. The ACC took him on and everything else was kept simple.Nabi is one of a joint family whose livelihoods depend on learning trades, not sport. Three ACC coaches assured his father, a mason, that the club would look after all expenses and this game would help the young bowler find a job. And play for India.”I didn’t have to worry about a thing,” Abid says, “I was told just perform.” From the time he played juniors, Nabi was told, “You’re the only one from Kashmir who can make it.)”The lean, 6 ft 2 inch baby-face wears weighty expectation like a medal. He is proud to represent his state, his surroundings, even if the state’s Ranji team does not get a proper set of kit and plays matches in a series of assorted white shirts.If things go well, he could wear a shirt given to only the few. Bowling to the Indians in Mohali and then unwinding in the dressing room has left its trace. “You cannot understand what it meant to be there,” he says. “I had dreamt of just seeing players of the calibre of Tendulkar, Dravid. There I was, bowling at Laxman, sitting with them, talking to them-me, a boy from Kashmir, imagine that…”In Anantnag, everyone with anything to do in the district’s cricket is pitching in, led by Abdul Qayuum, the state’s most successful fast bowler (“as fast as Srinath”, they say). Matches are umpired by Mohammed Shafi, opening batsman of the Ranji team and Sajid Nisar, who played state under-17s and under-19s.advertisementThey coach while umpiring, checking footwork and follow through. Mushtaq Ahmed, an ex-intervarsity player lost his son in an accident and has come “because I think of all these boys as my son.”The sentiment and energy found in Kashmir’s scattered grounds is tangible but to the outsider, inexplicable. J&K has only a couple of turf wickets, there is little formal coaching outside Srinagar, no settled calendar. The state team has never made it past the Ranji Trophy first round bar once (in 2002, captained by Qayuum). Role models are thin on the ground and no player from the state has played for India.ON STRONG WICKET: A girl bats in a Gulmarg schoolTo Kashmir’s cricketers, these are home truths, like soldiers and sandbags. Each time they enter the stadium, they show their special ID cards and submit to a security check. The CRPF has occupied the stadium and clubhouse for the last 15 years. The old dressing rooms are now storehouses for ammunition.Still, the players change into whites. Still, bowlers swivel around and holler, “how’s that?” at umpires. Still, batsmen uncurl cover drives and hold their pose a tad longer than modesty demands. In Kashmir, cricket’s mythology is reinvented, its fussy rituals given a new layer of meaning. Besieged by insanity and inhumanity, the game represents order, rootedness, even sanity.Srinagar held its first Ranji Trophy match after a 16-year-gap last season. When former India bowlers T.A. Sekhar and Javagal Srinath came talent scouting for the MRF Pace Foundation, 400 turned up. Fast bowler Abid Nabi has just become the first Jammu & Kashmir player to be picked for the North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy.To a generation that grew up during insurgency, all of this represents a mighty stride. When Shafi was picked for the state junior team for the national under-17 event, militants had put out notices forbidding local boys from representing Kashmir outside the state. So he stayed at home. Nisar says his father sent him to learn cricket to keep him away from the twin scourges of the time-‘the smoking drinking crowd and militancy’. After an average Ranji season, pacer Fayaz Ahmed vanished. “Paar chala gaya” (went across the border), some say, a euphemism for taking up the gun.INNING ENDS: Close of play called over Pulwama’s saffron fieldsThere is a game on in the Mirza Nooruddin Memorial Knock Out run by the Amateur Cricket Club (ACC) and they have hoardings around the boundary. The club has been given a three-year shot at hosting matches on campus and a field on which to prepare new turf wickets. Its location, one long hit from the Dal Lake, delights the ACC’s Mansoor Ahmed, also Nabi’s coach. The breeze off the Dal, he says, helps the ball swing prodigiously. He would like teams from outside Kashmir to come to the Valley in the summer to show locals where they stand.Qayuum wants the state team to be invited to events like Buchi Babu and Moin-ud-Dowla to know how the game is really played. Even as the JKCA’s share of gym equipment sent out by the cash-rich BCCI to all association is lying unusued, there is talk of building a new stadium outside the Sher-e-Kashmir’s high security surroundings.advertisementTHE BAT MAKERSAn Industry Under SiegeSHARP BLADE: Bats being testedIn a 5 sq km area of a place called Hallamulla Sangam, India’s traditional bat-making industry is grappling with the flickering moods of the times. All through the town, advertising the virtues of the famous Kashmiri willow tree, bats and their colourful bat cases are hung out on display like so many pieces of exotic fruit. The Valley’s willow, an established rival to the more expensvie English willow used to make cricket bats, still travels far. To Jalandhar and Meerut, where the seasoned wood is given the finish needed and sent to the major metros where the big brands put their stickers on it.Kashmir’s 150 bat-making units annually earn between Rs 3 lakhs-Rs 101-12 lakhs depending on the size of their businesses. But today, the bat makers find that business is dipping. Not because of fluctuating tourist numbers, but the smuggling of willow wood outside the state in trucks ostensibly carrying apples. This trend started a decade ago, and has cut into the demand for willow treated and seasoned in the area.A proposal to widen the Srinagar to Anantnag highway is also threatening to push the showrooms and bat shops that now line the road.What does cricket in Kashmir mean? To the game? The national project? The state’s young players learnt to love the game from Doordarshan’s telecasts! Formal coaching to them is not dreary discipline but epiphany. They want to know how to adjust to turf wickets, how to read quality spin. “Dravid’s cover drive? I want to hit the ball like that,” says Raees Ahmed Nedaf, from Pahalgam. In the Anantnag camp, Ahsan was told about the use of the top hand and suddenly, miraculously, could control his strokes.Kashmir’s cricket will always be a little surreal and the only way to build on it is to embrace its imperfections. To accept that the new police ground in Seer near Pahalgam might also do double duty as a helipad. To understand that if the game must go on in this beautiful, blighted landscape, those inside it must think outside its boundaries and those outside must sense the Valley’s will.Danish Ahsan was picked for the Anantnag district under-19 team. Sometime in mid-September, the boy will bat on a real turf wicket for the first time in his life.last_img read more

Sensationalism: 24-hour TV channels redefine news to cater to new viewing preferences

first_imgIt sounded like an innocuous question from a TV reporter – “It will be your brother’s birthday three days from now, how do you plan to celebrate it?” Except it was at the funeral of the boy in question, Abhishek Mishra.A final-year student of the Birla Institute of Technology, Mishra,It sounded like an innocuous question from a TV reporter – “It will be your brother’s birthday three days from now, how do you plan to celebrate it?” Except it was at the funeral of the boy in question, Abhishek Mishra.A final-year student of the Birla Institute of Technology, Mishra had drowned in a waterfall near Ranchi, a death instantly propelled into the spotlight because he was accompanied to the excursion by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad’s daughter Ragini.Welcome to the loud, weird world of 24-hour news television with its parallel universe of breathless and sometimes heartless anchors, the unlikely stars and specials with cheesy B-movie titles. It’s a mad mix of news and nonsense, causes and circuses, fundamental issues and feel-good frivolity. It is often grisly, sometimes ghoulish and usually plain voyeuristic.Sensationalism is taking over Indian mediaClick here to EnlargeFrom the public visit to Varanasi of a very private couple (Abhishek Ki Ash) to the private spat between a very public couple (Rahul Ne Shweta Ko Rulaya), every episode is designed for maximum impact and minimum illumination. Want a quick scroll?Try this. Nagin Ka Khauf, the saga of a 12-year old boy pursued by a snake; Prem Tapasya, the tale of a yogi living in with his disciple; Gharwali Baharwali, the story of a man’s extramarital affair; or Maut ka Drama, wherein Kunjilal, a 75-year-old astrologer from Betul, Madhya Pradesh, had the country holding its collective breath after claiming he would die between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on October 20 last year.advertisementIt’s the kind of shrill in-your-face coverage that had Naresh Gupta, Adobe India CEO, bowing before the media and beseeching them to stop the saturation coverage of his four-year old son Anant because the kidnappers could have harmed him.”In the new global economy viewers look for titillation in news which is why we show a lot of cinema, lots of cricket and plenty of crime.”LAXMI NARAIN GOEL,  DIRECTOR – NEWS GROUP, ZEE NEWS It’s also the kind of relentless campaigning that can force Priyadarshini Mattoo (see box) to get justice seven years after she was murdered.In this chaos and cacophony, it is easy to miss the real megastar-the medium itself: Twenty-four-hour news TV, which reaches out to 50 million cable homes in a dozen languages. At nearly 20 per cent per annum, it’s growing full throttle. With 38 news channels at last count, more than in any nation on the planet, news TV is growing faster than any other genre in India.From just two channels six years ago, one new news channel joins the race every four months now. As a genre, television news viewership ranks fifth, below  entertainment, regional, sports and children’s channels.”Viewership ratings are a critical element because we depend on advertising revenue and clients go by research findings.” G . KRISHNAN , CEO , TV TODAY From a nation that first tasted satellite TV thanks to a news event, the 1991 Gulf War, India now binges on news TV. A study by public relations firm Edelman shows that 49 per cent of Indians tune in to TV first for trustworthy news and information, compared to just 31 per cent in Asia Pacific-TV has clearly beaten newspapers as the medium of first contact with news.When a five-year-old boy spends 52 Truman Show-like hours in a 60-ft well, the entire nation watches and prays even if it means listening to: “Dharti mata ki god mein pachaas ghante bitane ke baad, ab apni ma ki god mein hai Prince (after spending 50 hours in the lap of the earth, Prince is now in his mother’s lap).””Sensationalism in place of substance, trivia in place of content, exaggeration instead of moderation and living for the instant and not even the hour have become the greed of contemporary visual media,” says Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, himself no stranger to the siren-like allure of the cameras.A 61-hour songathon by Aakansha Jachak of Indore created a world recordClick here to EnlargeFrom political parties to business houses, everyone courts news channels, timing their announcements around prime time and judging the importance of a news event by the presence of OB vans. It’s also raking in the cash.Six years back, news television had less than a 2 per cent share of the total TV advertising market. It now stands at nearly 12 per cent or Rs 650 crore of the annual Rs 5,500 crore TV ad spend. “It’s a demand-and-supply combination, because there is a certain male audience for products like automobiles, banking and finance which TV news brings in,” says Shekhar Swamy, president of R.K. Swamy BBDO Advertising.advertisement”As the fastest growing genre of television, news has in fact been eating into the primetime viewing of popular soaps.”L.V. KRISHNAN, CEO, TAM MEDIA RESEARCH The growth of news television has also been fuelled by lower launch costs. Aaj Tak, a 24-hour news channel which is part of the India Today Group, was launched at a cost of Rs 40 crore in December 2000. Today, however, it costs only Rs 3 crore to launch a small news channel.Bandwidth costs on satellites have dropped from approximately $3500 (Rs 1.5 lakh) per Mhz per month to $2000 (Rs 90,000) per Mhz per month for regional beam and $6500 (Rs 2.9 lakh) per Mhz per month for wide beam to $5000 (Rs 2.2 lakh) per Mhz per month.This growth is now beginning to bite at the heels of TV’s prime locomotive, the soap. Two years ago Delhi housewife Nancy Hajela, 42, cut down on watching Ekta Kapoor serials because they were getting increasingly predictable.News TV is mutating, changing the audienceClick here to EnlargeShe watches over four hours of news every day now. “It’s much more interesting,” she says. Now, Harish Tomar driving a car from the passenger seat triggers more public debate than Parvati’s travails in Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii.This broadening of the audience has led to a change in the profile of the TV news advertiser. The usual profile of the TV advertiser-a mix of corporates and financial services-is now slowly giving way to FMCG firms and consumer durables. “News TV has managed to broad-base itself to a mass audience,” says Television Audience Measurement (TAM) CEO L.V. Krishnan.Very hyped Prince case and ghost running a carClick here to EnlargeTelevision news, which would have completely ignored nobodies like Kunjilal even two years ago, has now begun chasing them. The interest is often mutual. So when retired government employee Chedi Lal, borrowing from Lage Raho Munnabhai’s Gandhigiri, stripped down to his briefs in Lucknow in October to demand a revision in pension, he remembered to bring a TV camera crew along.If the definition of news has changed, so has the coverage-with well-groomed anchors, anchors, designer clothes and colloquial Hindi. “TV covers everything from a funeral to a Friday cricket match with the same sense of breathless urgency. If everything is important and nothing is trivial, then what is news,” asks sociologist Shiv Visvanathan.Well, how about rival ghosts battling over a village belle and women claiming to be reincarnated snakes- Zee News even runs a half-hour weekly show, Kaal Kapaal Mahakaal, devoted to the paranormal. Critics say the channels that blur the distinctions between news and entertainment run the risk of diluting their brand character.TV’S BODY LINEEven gestures, a lack thereof, make headlines and multiple action replaysSALMAN’S HUG: All his Salaam-e-Ishq co-stars got a hug onstage at a fashion show, except John AbrahamCHAPPELL’S MIDDLE FINGER: The coach showed it to Ganguly supporters at Eden GardensadvertisementPONTING’S PUSH: The Aussie captain and his mates shoved Sharad Pawar off the frameUMA’S TEARS: Her tearful allegations of a murder plot at a press meet got her ratings “The day you become entertainment, you lose your credibility as a news channel,” says Channel V head Amar K. Deb, who has launched the show Well Done, a spoof on the TV news genre, with fake anchors like Charkha Bahar. MTV veejay Cyrus Broacha, who anchors another news spoof on CNN-IBN, is on his knees: “We were always the most shallow form of television and we looked up to news TV. Now, after stories of milk adulteration and casting couches, we bow to them. They are the originals.”Sometimes news TV crosses the line altogether-media persons who handed 30-year-old Manoj Mishra diesel and a matchbox in Patna to set himself on fire on August 15, now stand charged with homicide and abetment of suicide.Sometimes, it gets taken for a ride-TV crews in Delhi were shocked to discover that the ‘special police officer’ they were interviewing over a Belgian diplomat’s murder in September, was actually a local resident who did a Borat on the channels.TV reporters from the “aap ko kaisa lagta hain (how do you feel)” school of journalism routinely quiz their subjects with this line. When asked how he felt when his older brother Shammi was in the ICU, actor Shashi Kapoor retorted that he felt like dancing. Another bright-eyed reporter asked Naresh Gupta’s distraught wife if she felt like crying because her son had been kidnapped. “Vultures aren’t becoming extinct,” rues a senior TV journalist, “they are joining TV.””There are competitive pressures and we cannot be oblivious to the market. The challenge is to avoid getting into the sandpit.” RAJ DEEP SARDESAI , EDITOR – IN – CHIEF, CNN – IBN Channel heads, however, say trivial TV is the exception and not the rule, and point to the larger crisis of content that all media faces. “There are competitive pressures and we cannot be oblivious to the market; the challenge is to avoid getting into the sandpit,” says Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, CNN-IBN. The sandpit is the mayhem called primetime which has Hindi language channels battling to the death with stories of shock and awe.”In an average of 500 hours of fresh programming beamed every day, such incidents don’t take up even five hours or just 1 per cent of programming,” says Star News CEO Uday Shankar. Yet, it is these exceptions which supply the rocket fuel for channel ratings in an age when channel heads say the ordinary simply doesn’t sell.Matuk Nath, Julie case in Patna and Maut ka drama in MPClick here to EnlargeThe problem is no one knows what will sell. “How can we explain that even in a mature market like Delhi, the viewership of Mumbai blasts was a lot lower than that of the small boy who miraculously survived a 60-ft fall?” asks G. Krishnan, CEO, TV Today, which broadcasts Aaj Tak and Headlines Today (both sister concerns of INDIA TODAY).On December 12, 2005, Aaj Tak exposed 11 corrupt MPs accepting cash on camera in return for asking questions in Parliament, a moral victory for the traditional tenets of journalism. “Yet, when we showcased a car being driven without anyone on the driver’s seat, it drove our viewership through the roof. The car story got a channel share of 41 per cent, while Operation Duryodhan got just 35 per cent,” says Krishnan.Sameer Manchanda, joint managing director, CNN-IBN, says the media is at an evolutionary cusp which channels looking for their own evolutionary positioning. “It’s not always a numbers game-a loyal audience gets a bigger premium than a mass audience.”Indian media has turned the spotlight on the corrupt and crimesClick here to EnlargeWith channels engaged in a bloody war for ratings based on TAM, channel heads privately rue what they call the TAM-ification of news TV. “If you don’t have high ratings, you don’t have ads and if you don’t have ads, you are dead in the water as TV has no secondary revenue source,” says a channel head.Is this race sustainable? Sociologists predict the end of tamasha news. “Indian viewers are gradually learning to discern the difference between news and trivia and they are now much more critical. I only expect it to get sharper over the years,” says sociologist Ashis Nandy. Until then, it’s going to be snake chases, ghost sightings, reincarnation dramas and driverless cars.last_img read more

Excited to be playing together, says relieved Bhupathi

first_imgMahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna heaved a sigh of relief as the All India Tennis Association on Thursday allowed the duo to team up for the upcoming London Olympics after both of them adamantly refused to partner Leander Paes in the mega-event.”We are excited that we will be playing together at the Olympics and our sole focus is now on our team’s preparations for the Games,” they said in a joint statement.”We are delighted to have been nominated as a team to the Men’s Doubles event at the Games of the XXX Olympiad. The events of the last few days have been extremely challenging for all concerned, but we respect them as necessary steps in this process.”In making each of our decisions, we were guided by our strong convictions regarding what we believed was fair and we are pleased that this is reflected in the outcome. We are greatly appreciative of the support we have received from across the world,” the statement added.As far as AITA’s decision to pair up Leander with Sania Mirza for the mixed double event, Bhupathi said, “I think we need to wait till 28th (of this month) if Sania qualifies.”Obviously our first step was to go to London . We are hoping that she gets a wildcard and goes to London as well.They (AITA) told me that it depends on our performance in Wimbledon also.”In the past, both Leander and Bhupathi kept aside their differences to represent the country, but things seemed to have reached a point of no return this time around.Asked about his reluctance to partner Paes in London, the Bangalorean said, “Because I am not really only interested in playing in the Olympics, I am also interested in doing as well.”The last four times we did play but we didn’t win.Hopefully, a new combination will work out and we can do something different. I hope I can put my money where my mouth is.””There have been a lot ot of twists and turns and lot of phone calls being made (over the past few days), but I am glad that two teams are going and four of us get to experience the Olympics and give it a good shot.”Bhupathi further said that Paes should not have said a few things in the “public domain”.Bopanna felt the AITA made the right decision.”It was an extremely timely decision by them. It was not easy for them but they have made the right decision,” he said.Refusing to comment on the bickering between Paes and Bhupathi, Bopanna said that the goal was always to “fight all the way to get India a medal.”Bhupathi said they will use Wimbledon as practice ground for the Olympics.I am just happy that we are going to London and we are going to use the next one month preparing and be ready. We have been preparing for the past seven months and we can use Wimbledon as a great practice venue for the Olympics. Happy that we are over with the entire episode and can use the next 3-4 days to prepare for Wimbledon.”About Vishnu Vardhan , who has been selected to partner Paes in men’s doubles in London, Bhupathi said, “Vishnu is a dangerous player. I am really happy for him. Hopefully, it’s all settled and we can move on now. I hope for the best.”advertisementlast_img read more

Kings zap Bolts, seize 3-2 edge

first_imgSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges View comments Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games BOCAUE—Facing a very determined foe in a battle of attrition where neither side was willing to budge an inch, Barangay Ginebra was efficient in the stretch, and just like that, swung the pendulum of momentum its way in the PBA Governors’ Cup title series.The Gin Kings bounced back after losing the previous two games, shutting down Meralco when it mattered to pull off an 85-74 victory and take a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series before an all-time Finals record of more than 36,000 fans at Philippine Arena here.ADVERTISEMENT Palace: Robredo back to ‘groping with a blind vision’ No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Slaughter challenged every shot inside and fought hard for every rebound he could get involved in, while Tenorio came back from a scoreless Game 4 to jumpstart the Ginebra offense with nine first quarter points that got off the Kings on the right foot.Ginebra built an 18-point lead but found itself in a dogfight in the third quarter with the Bolts, who connected from afar to even take the lead a couple of times.But when the going was at its toughest, Tenorio and Slaughter got all the help they needed as the Kings held Meralco to two Allen Durham free throws for more than five minutes near the end of the contest to pull away.“We just didn’t battle, we went to war,” Cone said.GINEBRA 85 – MERALCO 74GINEBRA 85—Brownlee 20, Slaughter 17, Tenorio 17, Devance 12, Aguilar 8, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.MERALCO 74—Durham 27, Lanete 11, Hugnatan 8, Caram 7, Hodge 6, Dillinger 6, Newsome 5, Amer 4, Tolomia 0, Faundo 0.Quarters: 21-15, 42-35, 66-62, 85-74ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans Greg Slaughter and LA Tenorio, missing entities for the Kings in the last game, came out and asserted their identities early as Ginebra built an 18-point lead in the first half before finishing off the Bolts with a flurry in the endgame.But coach Tim Cone said that, at this point, they would like to think of playing just one more game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“It doesn’t win us anything, but in a best-of-three series, it’s important for us to win the first game.” Cone said. “You got to go out for a win [in this game] so you can dictate the next two games.“But our mentality right now is we want to play just one more game,” added the league’s winningest coach of all-time. “We’ll worry about Game 6 in an hour. Right now, we just want to enjoy this one.” Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Ceres, Kaya fortify bids LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

Road Warriors: Alab posts 3rd straight win

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games TANDUAY ALAB PILIPINAS 95 — Balkman 26, Brownlee 25, Domingo 14, Urbiztondo 13, Parks 10, Hontiveros 3, Celiz 2, Maierhofer 2.SAIGON HEAT 87 — Morgan 27, Scott 26, Esho 23, Williams 9, Arnold 2, Nguyen HPT 0.Quarters: 20-21, 42-47, 70-63, 95-87.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View commentscenter_img PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid MOST READ Alab Pilipinas. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netTanduay Alab Pilipinas did just enough in the clutch to hold off the Saigon Heat, 95-87, for their third straight victory in the 2018 ASEAN Basketball League Sunday at CIS Arena in Saigon.Renaldo Balkman was superb anew for the Philippine side with 26 points, 20 rebounds, six assists, four steals, and a block, while Justin Brownlee also notched a double-double with 25 markers, 15 boards on top of three dimes, a steal, and a block to lead Alab.ADVERTISEMENT Lawrence Domingo also stepped up with 14 points and four rebounds off the bench, Josh Urbiztondo got 13 markers off his 3-of-5 sniping from threes, and Bobby Ray Parks had 10 points, five boards, and two assists in the win.Alab recovered from its poor start where it stared at a 17-9 deficit, taking control of the game in the second half to grab a 64-54 lead in the third frame.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingThe home team got to within three, 90-87, with a pair of free throws from Maxie Esho, before Alab ice the game at the free throw line late.Alab improved to 6-4 with three straight victories on the road. Grey steps up anew with career-high for GlobalPort Saigon, on the other hand, dropped its third straight defeat and fell to a 4-5 slate.The Filipinos now brace for Chong Son Kung Fu on Wednesday at Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Complex in Laguna.Moses Morgan paced the Heat with 27 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 24.4 ticks left.Akeem Scott chimed in 26 markers, seven boards, three dimes, and two steals, while Esho got 23 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.The Scores:ADVERTISEMENT BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claimlast_img read more

Go for Gold halts two-game skid, turns back Perpetual Help

first_imgLATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “Today, we still can’t be happy because we’ve already built big leads but we turn the ball over too much and that allows our opponents to come back,” said Tiu, who was shaking his head after his side gobbled the ball up 30 times.Rey Anthony Peralta led Perpetual (1-2) with 18 points and two rebounds, while Kim Aurin got 17 markers and four boards in the defeat.The Scores:GO FOR GOLD 81 — Alejandro 23, Leutcheu 14, Gaco 11, Gutang 11, Dixon 8, Haruna 8, Casiño 3, Domingo 3, Naboa 0, Pasturan 0, Pili 0, Salem 0, Young 0.PERPETUAL 69 — Peralta 18, Aurin 17, Coronel 8, Charcos 7, Eze 6, Mangalino 5, Antonio 4, Villanueva 4, Tamayo 0, Tiburcio 0.ADVERTISEMENT Dog show’s young handlers take a grown-up sport in stride PBA IMAGESJ-Jay Alejandro showed the way as Go for Gold snapped its two-game skid after an 81-69 victory over University of Perpetual Help Tuesday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.The former NU Bulldog fired nine of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, while also collecting five rebounds and four assists for the Scratchers, who evened their record at 2-2.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Quarters: 23-19, 42-37, 59-55, 81-69.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte MOST READ PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Senegalese big man Clement Leutcheu tallied 14 markers and eight boards, while Jerwin Gaco and Justin Gutang got 11 points apiece with the win.“I think we’re slowly getting the team that we want a bit, but there’s still some room for improvement,” said Go for Gold coach Charles Tiu.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingGo for Gold’s defense allowed it to establish a 59-47 lead, but turnovers allowed the Altas to get back into the game, 59-55, at the end of the third frame.Luckily for the Scratchers, Alejandro was there to restore order and a 10-2 blast to open the fourth period kept the Altas at bay for good. Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

A survey of Karnataka: The state has undergone a political awakening in recent years

first_imgSanskrit pandits on the lawns of Mysore University: the past is not deadIn forthcoming issues India Today will present special reports on the states providing a broad overview of each state’s political, economic, social and cultural conditions as well as a critical analysis of the strengths and shortcomings of its,Sanskrit pandits on the lawns of Mysore University: the past is not deadIn forthcoming issues India Today will present special reports on the states providing a broad overview of each state’s political, economic, social and cultural conditions as well as a critical analysis of the strengths and shortcomings of its development efforts. We begin this series with Karnataka. Bhabani Sen Gupta undertook an extended tour of the state meeting politicians, farmers, bankers, and writers to produce this survey of a state still firmly rooted in its cultural heritage, at the same time emerging as a development model for the rest of the country. He found that Karnataka is in many respects a success story although its accomplishments are little known and the state has not received the nation-wide recognition it deserves. It is one of the few states that has legislated workable land reforms and sincerely implemented schemes to benefit the rural and urban poor. Its industrial progress centering around Bangalore – especially in the last decade – has been rapid and diversified. Culturally the state has experienced a renaissance in recent years – Kannada filmmakers with their starkly realistic approach have eclipsed the Bengal cinema and Kannada novelists have won world-wide acclaim for powerful depictions of the human condition. The state has also undergone a political awakening in recent years. The political ferment has been heightened by a drastic change of leadership styles as a flashy, publicity-oriented Chief Minister Gundu Rao, replaced the calmly efficient aristocrat, Devaraj Urs. The following four-part survey presents the diversity of today’s Karnataka:This land is of ancient vintage. It bears the footprints of one of the oldest civilisations, the hoofprints of many dynasties who have left their temples and forts, cave murals and figures of gods and goddesses carved out of stone, making it one of the richest treasure houses of archaeology and architecture.advertisementThe varied Kannadigas: traditional gentleman and silk weaverEtymologically, Karnataka means ‘the region of black cotton soil’. The black and yellow rocks that are scattered in the hills of Karnataka are among the oldest in the world, older than the Andes and the Himalayas.The road to Bellary, part of the rockies, is flanked by weird formations of rock as if whimsical giants had kicked huge pebbles or thrown them about at random. These gigantic rocks are now piled precariously one upon the other, at times topped by an arcane fortwall.This land is steeped in history. Kannada country, ruled and nourished by successions of dynasties indigenous and foreign – Satavahanas, Kadambas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas – which wielded political power for more than a thousand years in the Deccan, exerting profound influence in all directions – north, south, east and west. There is music in the names of the rivers: Kaveri, Hemavathi, Yagachi, Krishna, Tunga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Kalinadi, Bomanahalli.The shortest of the rivers, Sharavati, is 112 km long. The Kalinadi falls from an elevation of 900 m and courses eastward for 65 km till it reaches the dam at Bomanahalli. Here, in the poet Dom Moraes’ words, “it twists away from its previous course towards the south-east, and, eventually, like a brown snake shedding its skin, empties itself into the waters of the Arabian Sea”.Strong and swift, it breaks into “sudden foam on sudden , rocks, a broad river sunk in its gorges between high hills burdened with dense forests, little waterfalls bursting out of their hairy flanks and dropping in stringy slivers to the water beneath”.’Moped’ girlsThe Tungabhadra leaps up, at the damsite, in a “huge curve of pain and terror”. The “long tongues” of the Ghataprabha lick at the dry parched land in rainless Belgaum and Bijapur districts in the rockies.Living Past: Traversing the dry thirsty terrain, author R.K. Narayan halts at the town of Shorapur, on the road to Bellary, and muses on the possibility of a short novel “of a world that looks minor but expands in retrospect as history, and in prospect as a centre of various modern developments; but at the moment, remaining a circumscribed community, with the peasant-class in the surrounding villages, living in the world of their own. In a geographically limited space, life is capable of acquiring great intensity”.The past is not dead: it lives, though buried, in the depths of tradition. Or so is one told. Apparently, Kannada society is still deeply traditional, loud colourful flashes of modernity notwithstanding. “We are the least threatened people in the south,” avows a young university lecturer when asked how the Kannadiga is different from his compatriots in the neighbouring states. “We are deeply rooted to our soil and we still do not generally venture out.” He is a Lingayat. Unlike in Tamil Nadu or Kerala, the Brahmin or other high castes here do not feel threatened and are not migrating in large numbers for jobs to the north.advertisementNor is the Kannadiga more than a peripheral partner of the carpet-bagging culture of Bangalore. “We are a tolerant people. We don’t mind sharing our wealth with others,” says a 32-year-old chartered accountant working for a multinational company.The women of Karnataka: labourers wearing palmleaf caps and (right) a well-to-do matronOf the 34 million people who live in Karnataka, 20 million are Kannada-speaking. Over six million speak Telugu or Tamil or Malayalam or Marathi. Tamil, however, is the language of the bazar, the street and the offices, a leftover from the past when most of the south belonged to the erstwhile Madras province.There are more Hindi-speaking people in Karnataka than Malayalees and almost as many Punjabis as Bengalis. Nearly 11 per cent of the population is Muslim and over 3 per cent Christian. “Our face is turned to the north,” affirms a leading journalist. “This is the land that nourished Sankaracharya, the greatest protagonist of the Brahmanic religion.”Huge Projects: “They are a lazy lot, these Kannadigas,” growls a Tamilian who owns a medium engineering plant on the outskirts of Bangalore. “They just won’t work. They have no ambition. Our workmen are either Keralites or Tamils or Telugus.”Hoarding for a Malayalam porno film in Bangalore: provoking feminist protestsMost of the 75,000 employees of the ‘Five Sisters’ – the five major public sector undertakings located in Karnataka – are non-Kannadigas; in the officer cadres Kannadigas are few and far between. Says a secretary to the state Government: “These huge projects have given Karnataka a lot of prestige, and integrated the state firmly with the rest of the country. But, when you come to think of it, the local people have got very little out of them. They add no more than a mite to the revenue of the state Government. They have helped push the price of land in Bangalore up beyond the reach of the legitimately rich. All the slums you see in Bangalore are inhabited by Tamils or Telugus. The great bulk of ancillary industries is owned by non-Kannadigas. The boys who are coming out of the universities and professional colleges and cannot find jobs have begun to resent this. It will not be long before their resentment takes political colour.”The ‘moped’ girl of Bangalore is a unique feature of the modernizing present; in no other city in India can one see so many young women riding Enfield ‘mini-Bullets’. Few of them, however, are Kannadigas. There is a long tradition in Karnataka of capable women; a Portuguese horse-trader who spent three years in Vijayanagar from 1535 saw women wrestlers, soothsayers, accountants and historians. There is also the long tradition of accomplished female courtesans (suleyars) whose presence “brought sunshine and delight” to society.advertisementThe devadasi tradition is still alive in more than one district. In Chin Chansua village, 20 km from Gulbarga, 50 Harijan women walk naked in broad daylight on an auspicious day in April to the temple of Mahaput Tai, watched by thousands of men including some who travel long distances to witness the “festival of group nakedness”.Graceful Women: The Kannadiga woman is pretty when she is not beautiful; some, when they stand still, look like the statues in the temples. In personality, grace and energy women seem to outshine men in any mixed crowd.Puttappa, Bendre and S. Karanth: the elitist creationA fledgling ‘women’s lib’ movement is trying to make the Kannadiga woman aware of her dignity as a human being. “Don’t Use Our Body to Sell Your Products” scream posters stuck on the walls of Bangalore, which is probably India’s most permissive metropolis.A booming flesh trade draws prostitutes from all over the south and Maharashtra. Prostitutes solicit openly in front of posh hotels. There are several bars in the Residency Road area in whose parking lots cars are double parked every evening, bumper to bumper.Drinks are served to intimate couples in the cars, and nobody minds what goes on in the expensive darkness. Several old movie theatres, gone to seed, show blue films. Sex spoofs made in Kerala mint money in Bangalore.Some of the younger women have risen in protest. Five feminist groups are active; they run a magazine, which is said to be “of women, for women, by women”. Their campaign against obscene film posters has met with some success.”In most Kannada middle class homes, the woman is a docile, domesticated animal whose function is to bed with the husband, rear children and cook,” says Yeshupriya, a 26-year-old activist in the women’s movement.”Young girls are sent to college only to qualify for marriage. Few have a role awareness, or any ambition of their own. My mother is a working woman. There was a time when I was the only other earning member of the family. Yet my mother hardly consulted me about anything but always consulted my brother who was still a student.”Others are less pessimistic because they are less militant. According to Miss Kala, the vivacious public relations officer of the Institute of Management, the women’s movement is already having an impact on the younger generation. “Young girls, are becoming rapidly aware of their importance as human beings; many of them want to be independent and self-supporting.”This is confirmed by a 41-year-old woman working in a government department who got married only three years ago. She is for more rights for women, but is shocked and puzzled by the suicide of a young married woman living near her own house. “She had a love marriage, which is bad for women,” she says, hiding her cavity-prone teeth with her fingers.Dubious Distinction: She betrays no reaction when she is told that Karnataka has the dubious distinction of leading the country in the number of female suicides. Nor is she aware of the high incidence of insanity, nervous breakdowns and psychic disorders among rural women, which has begun lo claim official attention.Population statistics show that the male-female ratio in Karnataka runs very close till the age of 25, after which the gap begins to widen in favour of the male: in the 30-55 age group, there are pronouncedly fewer women than men. Evidently tradition weighs more heavily on women than men in Karnataka as in the rest of the country.Belur sculpture: ancient splendour”I don’t know if I am ambitious, but I day-dream all the time,” says an M.A. student at the quiet sprawling campus of Bangalore University, and adds, without looking at the three other boys who are with him lo idle away a couple of hours in the coffee house, “We all do.”Conversations reveal that they dream of adventures a la Bombay movies -of girls, of living in a foreign country, of making a lot of money. None seems to be close lo his father. “Fathers and sons keep a certain distance in our society,” says one of the youths. “Our mothers are too conventional. We can’t talk to them about anything serious.” The students in Karnataka are among the least politicised in India; the universities are not littered with political graffiti as they are in the north.But young men and women are caught in other tensions. “The biggest tension of young people is the growing asymmetry between their home life and the world out-side,” says a professor at the Institute of Management. “They are caught between two worlds – the world of their parents and grandparents, of tradition and convention, and the merciless cut-throat competitive money-greased world outside.”Elitist Creation: Nowhere in India have the Graces flourished more fabulously than in Karnataka; nor does it lag behind other tales in the tougher arts of soldiery and sport. And yet the social base of the creative arts is still elitist and narrow, with the sole exception of music which has a universality here unmatched anywhere else in the country. The Kannadiga has a penchant for the massive. Among the three Kannadigas who have won the country’s highest literary honour, the Gnanpith award, D. R. Bendre, apart from composing 26 volumes of poetry, translated the Mahabharata into Kannada, and K. V. Putlappa, once vice-chancellor of Mysore University, author of 20 collections of poems, wrote an epic- Ramayana Darshan, which has been translated into Hindi, English and Sanskrit.In Kannada fiction which is about 86 years old, the most famous name is Sivaram Karanth, the third winner of the Gnanpith award, but equally well-known are U. R. Ananda Murthy and T. R. Subba Rao, author of more than 100 novels. In Indo-Anglican writings, Raja Rao, R. K. Narayan and the brilliant young poet A. K. Ramanujan, are known and read the world over.Since the 14th century, south Indian music has been known as the Karnataka School of Music; in Hindustani music too, the Kannadiga has his place of distinction. There is no more authoritative study of Indian music than Sarangdeva’s Sangeetaratnakara, a work more than 600 years old.Benegal and Karnad: avant-gardeBhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Mallikarjuna Mansoor are among the front-rankers in contemporary Indian music; All India Radio has in its archives in Delhi and Dharwar 70 hours of taped Mansoor music. The richly costumed Yakshagana dance, rescued from its death throes in the ’50s by K. S. Karanth, is now a sturdy rival of Kathakali, taught systematically at the Institute of Performing Arts, Manipal.Splendrous Sculpture: The temple sculptors of old Karnataka had no problems with the sex of angels. For them, all angels were female and each one more beautiful than the other. The cave paintings of Badami; the breathtakingly exquisite female forms at Sravanabelagola, which is better known in the country for the massive monolith of Gomateswara; the wall carvings and friezes of the Hoysalesvara temple at Halebid; the bracket ladies and the Navaranga Pillars of Belur, the Virupaksha temple and the Lotus Mahal at Hampi and coming down to our times, the Maharaja Palace in Mysore are among the finest and the most splendrous that India has in architecture and sculpture.The Kannadiga’s passion for the massive has survived through the centuries. Ranjan Gopal Shenoy, master craftsman and national award winner in sculpture, has just finished carving a 20-metre-high Buddha in 64 pieces to be erected at the Tubosaka Dera temple at Nara, Japan.Returning to the performing arts, M.S. Sathyu, Shyam Benegal. Girish Karnad and B.V. Karanth are among the best known names in Indian cinema and theatre. Fantastic varieties of Kannada culture can be seen at the folklore museum of Mysore, which few tourists care to frequent.There is also an equally neglected literary museum in the city where manuscripts of writers, dead and alive, including their shoes, clothes, and even underwear are reverentially preserved under glass. As regards Karnataka’s contribution to the defence forces, every third male adult in Coorg is a soldier, which is also the home of Generals Cariappa and Thimayya. Karnataka is also the home state of a galaxy of Indian cricket Test stars – Chandrasekhar, Prasanna, Vishwanath, Roger Binny, Brijesh Patel – and India’s outstanding badminton player Prakash Padukone.Unprofitable Business: The stars in the Karnataka cultural firmament, however, do not eliminate the darkness. “We have no market here for Kannada books,” laments one of the five big publishing houses, which do only a modest trade. Only about 15 authors are in some demand; perhaps one or two can live entirely off their royalties.Royalty is paid “periodically”, that is, irregularly, at the rate of 15 per cent of gross sales only to writers who have made a name. A print order is generally of 1,000 copies which take three years to sell. “Publishing is the least profitable of all business in Bangalore,” adds another of the big five.Authors complain that they are cheated by the publishers; an effort to form a writers’ guild hasn’t made much headway because Kannada writers have not learnt to cooperate to promote their own interests as writers in Kerala have.(From left to right) Vishwanath, Chandrasekhar and Padukone: stars who can’t light up the stateSocial purpose fiction does exist, however, Dalit writers expose the tyranny of the high and intermediate castes. A group of intellectual writers create ‘Bamdaya (revolutionary) sahitya’ which does not sell; there is also a “rationalist” school of novelists who fight superstitions and godheads.About 40 women writers manufacture what is known as ‘aadage mane sahitya’ (kitchen literature), spoofs exalting traditional middle class moralities and values. “This is the cultural staple of our women who patronise everything that goes against them,” snarls a young woman college teacher who writes short stories of protest and defiance, and worships Kamala Hemige, the leading protagonist of this avant-garde movement among feminists.The new wave cinema opened refreshing vistas of exposure and protest. A recent new wave movie, Muru Darigalu (Waves of the Sea), praised by the critics and shunned by patrons, flopped at the box-office. Directed by Girish Kasaravalli, it is the story of Neemu, played competently by Sriranga Krishnamurthy on her debut, a wilful, headstrong girl from a rural middle class family who charges against society as the waves of the sea charge against the shore, only to be bewildered by society’s stubborn and stoic refusal to recognise her individuality and lust for freedom.New Wave: “The new wave is on the wane,” moans Lankesh, 46, whose new-wave film, Pallavi (Refrain) once won seven awards including the nation’s highest. Lankesh is now a wiser and richer man who has developed a paunch and smokes Dunhill cigarettes; apart from directing commercial films, he runs a weekly as well as a publishing firm.The economics kill the new wave movie, Lankesh tries to explain. The producer can collect his money only after the distributor and the Government have taken their own. Besides, production costs are rising sharply, while government subsidies of Rs 1 lakh for a black and white movie and Rs 1.5 lakh for a colour movie are “peanuts.” The mood of the Kannadiga film-goer is an enigma: “You never know what he wants and what he will take.” Lankesh’s hit movie People Who Come From Nowhere, which picked up Rs 2 lakh in two weeks, was about a “modern farmer”. Unable to get a city job, an educated man turns to farming without knowing what it’s all about. He hires a labourer whose skill and devotion make the farm a success. But all kinds of conflicts, social, cultural and emotional, break out between members of the farmer’s family and the proletariat which comes from nowhere.Lankesh’s flop movie was about a call-girl. The censors scissored off 1,500 ft of the film and killed its box-office chances. “The Kannadiga has no appetite for sex,” says Lankesh, “whether on the screen or in print. He likes it hush-hush. The crowds you see at the sex films from Kerala have very few Kannadigas among them.”Karnataka, says Lankesh, has about 1,500 cinemas, but only 30-35 Kannada films are produced in a year as against about 100 in Kerala. The non-Kannadiga won’t watch a Kannada movie, but the Kannadiga must watch each and every Tamil film coming to town or village.”The rich traditional music of Dharwar is dying,” lamented Pandit Basavraj to Dom Moraes. “Only four musicians are left in Dharwar. I am one. When we are dead, the tradition will also be dead.” This shocking tiding is confirmed by Mallikarjuna Mansoor.However, Karnataka music is far, far from dead. It is the most alive cultural wave in this land, its most integrating fluid. The Kannadiga, the Tamil, the Telugu and the Malayalee do not mingle socially, except when they assemble in thousands to listen to their musicians. Vast open or canopied spaces become huge lakes of music. People sit for hours waggling their heads in ecstasy. The gods watch with misty eyes.POLITICS: EMERGING POLARISATIONUrsA mist hangs on Karnataka, which can be mistaken for a mystique. It is a political mist. It mixes with thin clouds of social stirrings. The harmonies of Karnataka, for decades the main source of its strength, are no longer a theme for chamber music.It has not lost all of the tender and lyrical scores, but has gathered pungent, even explosive, dissonant tunes. The Kannadigas are still among India’s most gentle, most tolerant and most rooted people. But a deep, painful restlessness rumbles beneath the quiet surface of Karnataka’s social fabric.Karnataka is Indira Gandhi territory if there is any in the republic. From a distance the fortress of Congress(I) still looks erect and secure. Scrutinised closely, its ramparts have cracks that could cleave the edifice to a crumbled imperial ruin.Like Nabokov’s prose, the graffiti scribbled on the social walls of Karnataka conceal more than they reveal. Bangalore stoops with its prodigal, technicolour weight. Its affluence is a glittering enclave increasingly estranged from the humbler rhythms of Kannadiga life. The wheels of this opulent island are lubricated with black money which flows in abundance into its arteries from Bombay, Madras, Hyderabad and Delhi. People say that corruption has become pervasive; from the minister to the peon, nothing moves unless the buck has changed hands. Men and women, used to being governed reasonably well for more than a decade, are appalled as the quality of administration slithers down with alarming speed.But the balance of discontent on which Devaraj Urs had rebuilt Karnataka in seven and a half years of his chief ministership – giving the state a period of quiet seminal change comparable to what Pratap Singh Kairon and Bidhan Chandra Roy had, in earlier times, given to Punjab and Bengal – is splitting, at rural and urban seams. Urs, unkinged in January 1980, now surveys his lost estate with the gloom of Shakespeare’s Richard II, as Bolingbroke, in this case a robust man of 44 named Ramarao Gundu Rao, turns uneasy on the throne, the last remains of a brittle glory trembling on his face. The violets that strew the green lap of Karnataka’s Congress(I) spring – to labour a Shakespearean metaphor – have been drawn, according to Bangalore intellectuals, from the “Sanjay mafia.” Gundu RaoGundu Rao swears his total loyalty to the prime minister as loudly and warmly as Devaraj Urs used to do in the first six years of his chief ministership. “I am a blind follower of Madam. She is the ruler of Karnataka. Bereft of her blessing, nobody is anybody in my state,” affirmed Gundu Rao in an exclusive interview.Irony: There is an element of irony in the fact that to see an imprint of Indira Gandhi’s progressivism one has to go all the way to Karnataka for the greening hasn’t happened in Congress-ruled northern, western or eastern India. Bangalore is Indira Gandhi’s Trafalgar. Here, in the Glass House of Lal Bagh, in the heart of India’s “garden city”, she split the Indian National Congress twice in ten years, in 1969 and 1978.From Congress through Convention Congress to Indira Congress, the transfiguration of the ruling party was watched silently by two ancient mango trees planted by Tipu Sultan. (Also by a tall pine couple named by the local people as Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri). A guide was telling a herd of tourists collected inside the structure: “This glass house has come to be known as the Split House. Don’t hold a marriage party here!”When Indira Gandhi broke with the Syndicate in 1969, Karnataka was “enemy” territory – firmly in the clasp of the high Lingayat caste whose nationally known leader was S. Nijalingappa, a stalwart of the old Congress. In the parliamentary poll of 1971 and the state election of 1972. Indira Gandhi conquered Karnataka along with most of the country and installed in the office of chief minister a little known man of 54, who was not even a member of the legislature.She picked him up from a microscopic caste of a mere 5,000 people scattered in three districts, Mysore, Mandya and Hasan. Thus came Devaraj Urs to the centre of Karnataka politics, breaking 18 years of Lingayat and Vokkaliga rule. With Indira Gandhi’s backing, Urs brought about a silent revolution in Karnataka the like of which the Congress has promised to the whole country but delivered nowhere else.Urs built a broad political coalition of the weaker segments in the higher castes, Harijans and Muslims thereby banishing the two traditional ruling high castes, Lingayats and Vokkaligas, from the centre of political power. He cemented the new caste and class coalition with the only meaningful land reforms carried out under Congress rule anywhere in India, and with several other innovative measures to lift the poor and the deprived.Urs mixed the dynamics of social change with development inputs – generously given by the Centre and boldly mobilised within Karnataka – to create a sustained momentum of development. Karnataka climbed to the top of the statewise development ladder, elbowing down even Punjab, and remained there for five successive years.Said J. D. Sethi, a member of the planning commission during the Janata regime which was not overly friendly towards Devaraj Urs, “Karnataka’s performance is all the more remarkable because it has tried to raise the growth rate with social justice.”It’s a pity that so little of Karnataka’s silent revolution of the 1970s is chronicled and documented. The mass media and the Karnataka Government have joined together to untell the story to the people. Devaraj Urs commissioned two famed writers to compose ecstatic profiles of Karnataka.Agitating farmers: a reflection of the overall political awakening sweeping KarnatakaThe result was Dom Moraes’ The Open Eyes: A Journey Through Karnataka in 1976, followed within a year by R. K. Narayan’s The Emerald Route, embellished with sketches drawn by his brother, R. K. Laxman, the cartoonist.Both volumes shimmer with ripples of crimson prose; Dom Moraes even captures the spasms of pain, terror, beauty and joy residing in the ancient bowels of the Kannada earth which has seen many civilisations and empires go unto the dust. R. K. Narayan has presented Mysore, essentially his own city, to his readers as Malgudi. The Open Eyes has been “withdrawn from circulation”; its offence is that “it does not tell the story of our development”. The official who gives the explanation blushes to hear his own words for the real reason for the banishment of The Open Eyes is the praise Moraes bestows on Devaraj Urs. Gundu Rao has engaged H. Y. Sharda Prasad, information secretary to the prime minister, to write the text of a third prestige publication on Karnataka, which has been lavishly ornamented with photographs by T. S. Satyan, one of the country’s best professional photographers.The Emerald Route studiously skirts around the story of Karnataka’s development and social change as if it is a fearful god better left alone. Sharda Prasad, too, one is told, follows the tracks of R. K. Narayan. It so happens, then, that the story of the only state where a social transformation has been wrought during Indira Gandhi’s national helmsmanship and under the tepid warmth of her brand of socialism, remains untold except in dry, tasteless bureaucratic prose. The social transformation of the ’70s broke for ever the domination of the high Lingayat and Vokkaliga castes, but did not mount an assault on the caste frame of Kannadiga society. Urs advanced the startling theory that in India caste means class and class means caste, thus taking the sociology of M. S. Srinivasan and Andre Beteille to their logical, if unscholarly, conclusion.Gundu Rao, less sophisticated, is more blunt: “We may talk about socialism, but our politics is based only on castes.” He comes of a liberal Brahmin sect in Coorg, and is the first Brahmin chief minister of a southern state in decades. He had been nourishing chief ministerial aspirations since 1975, and was planning a patient long-term strategy to climb to the summit.Being a Brahmin is a built-in disadvantage. Gundu Rao keeps his alert eyes darting in all directions to spot and engage threatening pretenders. Several central ministers from Karnataka have their eyes riveted on the crown that Gundu Rao uneasily wears. In Karnataka politics, a coalition of the weaker castes is not enough to capture and retain power; there must be “marginal” support from either of the two main high castes.Coping: Gundu Rao is not a man bereft of political acumen. Tall and handsome, his scruffy face is furrowed by ambition and resolve. Before becoming chief minister he was a minister in Urs’ cabinets for seven years. He is not intellectually equipped to comprehend the complexities of government, less of development and social change.But he has learnt how to manipulate inner-party tensions and differences, and rivalries and animosities among political personalities. He is also equipped with coping techniques. He has a certain natural charm and his brown eyes betray glints of ruthlessness and adventure, qualities which probably drew him to Sanjay Gandhi.He reduced his first challenger, S. Bangarappa, a flamboyant pretender of 47 years, with relative ease. Bangarappa, a Lohia socialist from Shimoga turned Congressite in 1976, a minister in three cabinets, stabbed Devaraj Urs when the embattled chief minister needed his support and help most. He defected to Congress(I) and Mrs Gandhi put him in charge of Congress(I) in Karnataka.But when it came to the question of choosing a new chief minister, she smiled on Gundu Rao, one of Sanjay’s choices for the highest offices in the newly won states. Bangarappa found that Gundu Rao was not even prepared to take him in the cabinet. “Madam prevailed upon me to join the ministry,” he said in an interview.They did not get on well from the beginning. Bangarappa claimed that he resigned because the chief minister was “corrupt”; not even 10 per cent of the people were pleased with Gundu Rao’s “mafia rule.” After Bangarappa’s resignation from the ministry and his refusal to quit as president of the adhoc KPCC(I), an upsurge of dissident activity bubbled up in several districts, particularly in South Canara, North Canara, Shimoga, Mandya and Hasan. They were no more than bubbles. Bangarappa is now a nervous man of many fears, but still hopes to avenge his ignominious dismissal.If Gundu Rao’s political future is better than his present circumstances, it is because his rivals neutralise one another in the claustrophobic climate of Congress(I) politics in Karnataka. Veerendra Patil, B. Shankaranand, and C. K. Jaffar Sharief are central ministers.They blockade one another and are collectively blockaded by the godfather-like F. M. Khan, a rich coffee planter from Coorg, now an MP, who stands so solidly behind Gundu Rao that in Bangalore living room parlance they are clubbed together as the Gang of Two. K. H. Patil, who had toppled the Urs ministry as PEC president in December 1977, is now a chastened man.B. Basavalingappa, for long a bitter critic of Indira Gandhi, was readmitted to the portals of Congress(I) early this year to take care of the Harijan flank of Gundu Rao’s political support base. But the chief minister is shrewd enough not to lean too visibly on a man who is reputed for corruption, inefficiency and highly personalised anti-Brahmin insolence. To countervail him, Gundu Rao propped up another Harijan leader. K. H. Ranganath, speaker of the Legislative Assembly.Politicians in India are like cats; you can never tell from the sound of them whether they are fighting or making love. Karnataka is no exception. This traditionally Nehru territory has been unusually and confusedly politicised since 1977- two Lok Sabha and two state elections have taken place in four years.There is hardly a political leader who has not defected from one party to another during this time. The massive vote that the Congress(I) got in the parliamentary and state polls of 1980 does not mean that the electorate will vote for it massively next time too. They voted for Indiramma because they had no local leader who deserved their respect and support.”Arasu” – Devaraj Urs – was seen by most voters as a betrayer of Indira Gandhi. Their simple loyalties were ravished when they heard Urs denigrate the one whom he had praised for years. The men who are in power proclaim their loyalty to Indiramma louder than King Lear’s two elder daughters. But something is fatally missing. There is no good government.There is no efficient administration. There is no honesty and integrity in politics. The air reeks with ministerial corruption. Mrs Gandhi probably doesn’t know how much her image has suffered in Karnataka in 20 months.Farmers’ Agitation: Considerable restlessness and some class militancy are visible in this long-placid state. The farmers’ agitation has grown into an organised movement of peasants of all categories; the peasant rally in Bangalore in February was an impressive show, and an indication of the beginning of left mobilisation of the rural poor.Seventy thousand employees of the public sector undertaking in Bangalore struck work this year for 75 days. Forty thousand bidi workers are being organised by the communists who are trying to link up these poor exploited people with the tobacco growers’ movement for better price for the crop. There have been long strikes of teachers and medical students.The peace that had reigned in Karnataka for 25 years is broken. More than 60 people were killed in police firings alone in the 14 months up to April 1981. The police fired on crowds at the rate of almost once a month. Indeed, more people have died from police bullets in Karnataka during Gundu Rao’s regime than in all the other preceding regimes put together.Mrs Gandhi’s estate is not as secure now as it was in January 1980. She needs vigorous surrogates in Bangalore, the cradle of her personalised political leadership. She has none. Urs built Karnataka for her in her image; its present rulers are losing it out, by their incompetence and corruption.If Karnataka passes out of Indira Gandhi’s pale, can Andhra Pradesh remain a Congress(I) fortress for long? The south has been sustaining Mrs Gandhi’s leadership since 1969 together with Maharashtra and Gujarat. If the south slips away from her clasp, her hold on Indian politics will become tenuous.LEGISLATIVE MAKE-UPThe grandiose Vidhan Soudha building in Bangalore: a mixed bagThe Karnataka Legislative Assembly, elected in 1978, is predominantly a house of middle-aged men and women. The majority of them are farmers or lawyers, not highly educated. An average MLA is the parent of 3.6 children.Autobiographical data available of 224 MLAs reveal that 86 of them are farmers and 54 lawyers. Ten are both. Twenty-five MLAs appear to be professional politicians, which shows that politics is still not an all-time occupation for the vast majority of our legislators. Twenty-three describe themselves as businessmen, five are teachers and only three practise medicine.Ninety-three of the MLAs are in their 40s, followed by 60 who are in their 30s. Only 11 are really young, in their 20s, but 39, being in their 30s, are on the right side of middle age. Twenty are in their 60s and only one in his 70s. Of the 224 MLAs, reading is the hobby of 52, social work of 32 and sports of 31.Educationwise, 33 are matriculates, 22 non-matriculates, 10 passed intermediate arts while seven read up to the primary stage. At the other end, 28 are BAs and only one appears to have a postgraduate degree. Six describe themselves as undergraduates.  Two have ten children each, 57, six or more. Sixteen are bachelors.POLITICIANS: A STUDY IN CONTRAST Urs and Gundu Rao: implacable foesThere can be no sharper study in political and personality contrasts than of Devaraj Urs, builder of today’s Karnataka, and Gundu Rao, unmaker of the Karnataka of tomorrow. The two face each other from the dividing line in the legislative Assembly, the young chief minister’s bombastic, pugilist style pitted against the elderly opposition leader’s pensive sarcasm and avuncular loftiness.For over an hour last spring Gundu Rao told this reporter what a paper tiger Urs really was, how his personal political ambition, once unbridled from the restraining hands of Madam, drove him inexorably to kamikaze politics.Urs, in a three-hour tour de horizon, spoke about Karnataka’s development saga and left him off at the end. Gundu Rao spoke only about Urs, ‘Madam’ and himself. Urs told the story of the “welfare state of Karnataka”, which also happened to be the story of his life, and the tale of his hubris – Indira Gandhi.Urs lives in a large tree-shaded house in an exclusive neighbourhood in Bangalore. He starts his day at 8 in the morning and retires at 11 in the night. At 66, this tall, stocky, bald man has a princely air about him; the imposing nose on top of firm lips and a resolute jaw indicate determination and courage. The chiseled face is sad from bereavement and political adversity; the brown eyes are wells of loneliness. Urs sees on an average 100 people every day; it used to be 1,000 when he was chief minister. He refuses to believe that he has passed into history.R. Gundu Rao resides in the palatial residence specially renovated to suit his flamboyant tastes. A man of considerable energy, he is physically and mentally restless. Even as he talks, his mind is working out some knotty calculations. He is a man of noise and bluster, of volatile temperament and fiery brash language. Crowds mill about his house from morn to late night.He is at once fascinated and awed by the jostling, ubiquitous favour-seekers and wire-pullers who revolve around him all the time. “How can a man who is always surrounded by 500 people get any time to think?” he wailed at a public function. But he would not reduce the number to 499.Devaraj Urs comes from the subcaste of the Wodeyar maharajas who ruled Mysore under British tutelage for 67 years. He lost his father when he was nine. At the age of 25 he was elected to the Mysore assembly. “I had strong feelings against the caste binds of Indian society even when I was very young,” Urs reminisced. “I love the earth of Karnataka and I stayed in my village rather than shift to Bangalore till I was more than 40 years old.” He had been a minister since 1962, serving under Nijalingappa for whom he has considerable respect. When the Congress split in 1969, his pulse quickened to the throb of Indira Gandhi’s socialism, which fired his own thinking.At the Bangalore session of the Convention Congress, he decided to join the forces of Indiraji. He built the new Congress organisation in Karnataka “almost alone”, he said, adding, “I was happy to get an opportunity to build.” Political socialisation of Karnataka began only in 1972, after the great victory of Mrs Gandhi’s party in the election.Realignment: Installed as chief minister, Urs moved quickly and deftly to effect a fundamental realignment of social forces. Hitherto the legislature was dominated by the high castes, a coalition of the urban and rural rich; Urs was the first among chief ministers to conceive of “backward castes”-the weaker sections of the high castes, and to give them reservation of jobs as well as seats in institutions of higher education including professional colleges.He built a broad based coalition of the backward castes, Harijans, tribals and Muslims and cemented the coalition with liberal distribution of patronage. Armed with this new socio-political power base, he launched land reforms and other welfare measures to reduce economic disparities and yoke the mass of people to the wheels of development.”I did the opposite of what Karpoori Thakur did in Bihar,” mused Urs. “In Karnataka, the proper ambience for major social reforms and the reforms themselves fed one another and strengthened both. In Bihar, the backward class movement only united the Harijans and the higher castes. Bihar’s social fabric was torn to pieces by the tensions and conflicts of the ’70s. In Karnataka, on the other hand, a major social transformation took place with the willing cooperation of all sections of the people.””We had to begin from scratch in the matter of improving the lot of the poor. and exploited castes who also happen to be the poor and exploited classes,” Urs continued. The land reforms, the housing and house sites projects for the poor, old age pensions, the making of higher education free for Harijans and tribals, the schemes to provide off-season work to the rural people, which broke the back of rural unemployment, the massive extension of bank and other institutional credits to the poor, all these and other measures were taken in the relatively short period of seven years, making Karnataka a state where you do not see the kind of bleak and hopeless poverty that stares you in the face in most of the other states. Winds of positive change blew away the clouds of corruption and nepotism from people’s vision.In pacing up development activity. Urs said he laid down two basic guidelines. The first was: “Development must be for people; what does not change people’s life for the better is not development.” The second guideline was that at least 50 per cent of the development resource must be spent in the villages. “I said, no big buildings please.” When his attention was drawn to 182 skyscrapers under construction in Bangalore in 1981, Devaraj Urs smiled sadly. “These things have been happening after my time,” he whispered.He had a lot to say about Indira Gandhi that wasn’t nice to hear, but he said it without malice. “Why couldn’t she get land reforms done anywhere else in her domain? Would there have been land reforms in Karnataka without Devaraj Urs?” He paused, and then remarked somewhat distantly, “Not once when we met would she ask me anything about development or social justice. All her inquiries were about who was or might be up to what mischief against her.”Faithful: “Karnataka has always remained faithful to the Nehru family,” reflected R. Gundu Rao, sitting in his bedroom at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave. “In this, we are in the company of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat rather than Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”In February 1972, Mrs Gandhi’s leadership won for her party a surprise landslide victory. She picked up Devaraj Urs as the first representative of a minority caste to form the Government. “It was Madam who broke the long-standing higher caste hold on political power in Karnataka.”According to Rao the Urs ministry was unstable and it lasted only because Urs enjoyed the backing of Madam. After the 1977 parliamentary election, Urs emerged as an individual in his own right and immediately started harbouring higher political ambitions.When the Janata government appointed the Grover Commission, Urs was visibly afraid that his acts of omission and commission would be exposed, said Rao, charging that Urs then started a hushed dialogue with the Janata leadership. The Grover Commission involved nine ministers, “but not me, they could find nothing against me,” heaved Rao.In the 1978 election, “People used to say Urs was- Madam’s man and I  Sanjay’s man; our two constituencies were called the Rae Bareli and Amethi of Karnataka.” Urs, the chief minister said, was not particularly willing to .’see Madam contest from Chikmagalur for the Lok Sabha and when she was expelled from Parliament, Urs decided to leave her.”I opposed him. I told him that we are a major power in Karnataka only because we have her as our leader. In any case I could not think of leaving Madam when she was in distress. I am not a cynic in politics. In politics we must have permanent friends and permanent enemies.” He and Urs divided on the crucial question of whether Indira Gandhi’s days were over. “I told him bluntly that he was committing a breach of trust.”Kalpanath Rai, one of the general secretaries of AICC(I), who was present for the latter half of the interview, intervened to say, “We were nervous about our chances in Karnataka both in 1978 at the time of the state poll and later in January 1980. The one man who was not nervous at all, whose faith in our victory was not shaken a bit, was Gundu Rao.”Gundu Rao said that the fact that Urs’ party came a mere third in the poll and that 75 per cent of its candidates lost their security deposits-even stalwarts like former central minister T. A. Pai did not surprise him. “I knew what was coming.”Most Dedicated: Gundu Rao was leader of the Opposition just for one session during which he moved a motion of no-confidence in the Urs Government and in Urs himself as a defector. Kalpanath Rai said that Gundu Rao was among those few youth leaders who prevailed upon Mrs Gandhi to split the Congress a second time in 1978.Gundu Rao vehemently denied that his government was unstable. “We enjoy a very strong political and administrative position,” he claimed. Little did he anticipate that in a few months’ time his claim would sound hollow. People in Karnataka, said Gundu Rao, judged politicians only by one yardstick: how loyal were they to Indiramma.That loyalty of men “plain and not honest” could embarrass and even hurt Indira Gandhi in Karnataka and elsewhere probably did not cross his mind. He affirmed that there was a little corruption in his state: “Eighty per cent corruption, has been removed.” But soon after he made this assertion, two of his ministers were charged with corruption, and he had to dismiss them, not on his own moral judgment, but on orders from the High Command of the Congress(I).He still keeps in office several ministers whose probity has been seriously questioned. Gundu Rao said that there had not been a “single case of ministerial interference in postings and transfers of government officials-a record in all India.” Yet a “file clearance drive” mounted by his cabinet elicited public ridicule without increasing administrative efficiency.To Indira Gandhi’s jubilant political shores in 1980 thronged many doubtful, hollow-hearted men. Now, in less than two years, one by one they are turning into attorneys pleading for their own doom. Desperately holding on to today’s mantle of power, they await tomorrow’s cold tidings. Antulay in Bombay, Rao in Bangalore. DEVELOPMENT: PROGRESS IN PATCHESPaddy cultivation: more irrigation needed”We have everything to sustain Karnataka’s high rate of growth except capital,” asserts D. N. Nanjundappa, who was the pivotal man in the state’s planning process for nearly 10 years and now vice-chancellor of Karnataka University. “We are rich in human and natural resources, our resource mobilisation effort is one of the best in the country. We have a more or less tension-free society – a middle-middle class state. The only input we lack is capital. We could do much better if we had more capital.” “Has the change of government affected the growth process or the planning process? Do you find yourself as effective with the present regime as you presumably were with the previous one?”Nanjundappa, who was until recently secretary to Karnataka’s department of planning and president of the All-India Economic Conference, takes time looking for an important file; when he speaks, his voice shows its timbre, “The political change hasn’t reversed the momentum of development. In fact, we have added to the momentum.”Karnataka has done well in the last decade, but its development base is still narrow and tenuous. Its economy is overwhelmingly agrarian. Nearly 68 per cent of its workforce is engaged in agriculture and only 32 per cent in other occupations. Half the state is dry. Of the other half only 14 per cent is irrigated. Only 7.8 per cent of the 19-plus million hectares of land sown come within the frontiers of the green revolution-that is, produce high – yielding crops. The great bulk of land holdings is of 13 hectares.Disparities Unchanged: Indeed, disparities in land ownership have not been narrowed by the land reforms. Less than 450,000 holdings add up to some three million hectares while 900,000 holdings-tiny ones-cover only 500,000 hectares. Still Karnataka has a more balanced agrarian pattern than most other Congress-ruled states. It had four million cultivators and three million agricultural workers in 1977-78, and an insignificant number of share-croppers.For nearly a decade, the green revolution has stolen the limelight-there has been a 200 per cent increase in four-wheel tractors since 1966 and almost a 90 per cent decline in the use of power tillers. Well over two lakh electric pumpsets irrigate land that grow high-yielding crops. Only five districts have 20 per cent or more of the sown land assuredly irrigated. The most parched districts are in the north-Gulbarga with a mere 2 per cent rainfall in a year, Dharwar with 6.96 per cent.The 66 major and medium irrigation projects completed or under construction or awaiting approval are far too inadequate to water the vast parched stretches of land on which subsist the Kannadiga poor. In recent years considerable importance has been given to small irrigation schemes-wells and ponds-with agreeable results, provided, of course, the rains do not miserably fail.Prosperous farmers: still a minorityBoth the land reforms and the farmers’ movement have to be seen in the context of Karnataka’s landscape. According to S. Bangarappa, who was revenue minister until he was elbowed out of the Gundu Rao Ministry early 1981, eight lakh applications for new tenancies have been received under the land reform laws.The land tribunals which, it is widely alleged, have lost much of their integrity under the present chief minister (they were not above corruption when Devaraj Urs was in power), have disposed of one-half of the applications. Two lakh tenants have received land as a result of the tribunals’ decisions. This is the net achievement of the most comprehensive and successful land reforms carried out anywhere in India under Congress rule.”The land reforms in Karnataka haven’t changed the exploitive agrarian relationship,” carps Hari Kumar, young left-liberal editor of Deccan Herald. “The reforms haven’t cut down the large estates, plantation land has been kept out of their pale. The new tenants own pitifully tiny plots of land. You know how hungry the Indian peasant is for land-you give him one acre, and he breaks down in joy and cries. But how many of these two lakh tenants can keep their land from the greed of the land-rich who’re ready to buy any land they can lay their hands on? Very little has been done to build an infrastructure to support the small farmer.”Rosy Life: The farmers’ agitation erupted suddenly and spontaneously one summer ago in the little known towns of Nargund and Navalgund in Dharwar district. It was yet another confirmation of the warnings of Daniel Thorner, Wolf Ladejinsky and others that the other side of the green revolution is red. Irrigation pushed up the value of land in the once-thirsty Malaprabha command area.Irrigation also brought down the land ceiling from 21.6 hectares (of semi-arid land) to few hectares (of wet land). Malaprabha farmers invested large sums of money borrowed from the land development banks, cooperative societies and the Government to improve their lands; tractors began to upturn the land that for centuries had submitted only to bullock-pulled ploughs.For a while life was incredibly rosy, the yield was high, “Vralakshmi” cotton fetched fancy prices and no one pressed the farmers to pay back the loans. Difficulties, however, set in rather soon. Production fell because of waterlogging which the planners had not foreseen. Fertiliser prices rocketed to the sky. The banks and the Government asked for repayment of loans and payment of the betterment levy and the water tax.The farmers rose in protest. The agitation soon turned bloody. As many as 18 people died in police firing; three policemen were killed by violent crowds. Never before had violence visited Karnataka on such a big scale. The Government yielded with a series of concessions-no betterment levy, no water tax, no repayment of lakkavi loans by small and marginal farmers.In November 1980 a government White Paper listed measures taken to substantially reduce the disparity between agricultural and industrial products. It conceded that agriculture was a risky enterprise especially in Karnataka where one out of three crops suffered for adverse weather.In February 1981 Gundu Rao strongly pleaded for the farmers’ case for higher prices for agricultural products at a meeting of the National Development Council. By that time a qualitative change had occurred in the farmers’ movement. It became a struggle of the peasantry for a long-denied better deal. The opposition parties including the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) brought an impressively large number of poor, small, middle and (some) rich peasants to Bangalore and held a massive rally at Cubbon Park, near Vidhana Soubha.A state with abundant mineral wealthLarge numbers of peasants walked for days from all districts to the capital; a group traversed 560 km for 22 days from Nargund town in Dharwar. The “Long March” had an ominous message for Congress (I); the peasant was looking elsewhere for political support and had begun to realise the explosive power of his own collective strength.The police firing on tobacco growers of Nipani in April further widened the gap between the peasant and the Government. On April 22 the Government issued an ordinance making the refusal to pay taxes, fees, land revenue, or any act of incitement industrialised in the country. It has about 5,000 registered factories with an industrial workforce of some 350,000.Nearly 2,000 of the factories are in the Bangalore region, employing 1,75,000 workers. A typical core-peripheral relationship exists therefore between Bangalore and the rest of Karnataka. One-third of all small industries and more than half of the medium and large industries are located in Bangalore.The task clearly is to adopt Friedman’s reverse-direction concept-diversion of factories from the core to the periphery. Some activity in this direction is visible. The Karnataka State Finance Corporation (KSFC), for example has advanced Rs 46 crore in loans for industries located in 10 districts and has reduced financial support for enterprises based in Bangalore.The annual survey of industries made by the state Government’s Bureau of Economics and Statistics for the year 1975-76 (the latest available) shows that 4,286 factories had a fixed capital of Rs 677 crore and a working capital of Rs 290 crore. The total output of all these factories was valued at Rs 860 crore.The main industrial products of Karnataka are pig iron, ingot steel, finished steel, varieties of ferro-alloys, cement, paper, silk fabrics, sandalwood, sandalwood oil and soap. Karnataka tops the Indian states, and occupies the fourth place in the world, in the production of silk-a rural-urban enterprise that sustains four lakh families.The state’s long-standing demand for an adult steel plant at Vijaynagar is only now being looked into by the Centre; in the Union budget of 1981 -82 it is given a baby’s lollipop allotment of Rs 60 lakh. A 3-million tonne steel plant will cost Rs 1,580 crore at 1976 prices; the Sixth Plan proposes a pittance of Rs 2 crore towards that end.Karnataka’s prosperity clearly lies in the improvement of its vast semi-arid lands. More than 50 per cent of the current year’s budget outlay is, rightly, for irrigation and power. Agricultural improvement would depend on how competently the state can manage its on-going and new irrigation and watershed schemes.Huge quantities of water flows into the Arabian Sea from the rivers of Karnataka. If these waters can be harnessed to quench the thirst of the dry lands, Karnataka’s agriculture can overtake that of Punjab and Haryana. Irrigation development of the river basins is therefore of the utmost importance. A belated beginning has been made in that direction.The chief ministers of Karnataka and Maharashtra have jointly agreed to set up a Western Ghats Development Corporation with an initial capital of Rs 2 crore. The Karnataka Government has decided not to spread its limited resource too thinly on too many projects, but to concentrate on a limited number in each district.Social Balance: In the past there was an air of contentment in the Kannada country. A poet of Karnataka wrote many centuries ago, “For hunger there is the town’s rice in the begging bowl/For thirst, there are tanks, streams, wells/For sleep, there are the ruins of temples . . ./For soul’s company,I have you, O Lord, white as jasmine.”This placid philosophical contentment did not always conceal the misery of the hungry and the sick. Not far from the Jog Falls handsome women of the Halakki Vogal nomadic tribe still sing in a melancholy refrain, “From morning to evening we work, but we have nothing to eat.” Though half the population of Karnataka are labelled poor they do have food to eat.They are better off than the poor in most of the other states. A conspicuous evidence of change in the poor people’s condition in Karnataka is the Janata houses that dot villages and towns in each district-brick walls, tiled roof, tiny patches of green-houses whose proud owners pay back construction loans at the minute rate of Rs 4 a month. The trappings of Indira Gandhi welfarism have, however, left untouched the enclaves of the affluent and the islands of the rich. The social balance of forces remains intact.But something else has happened too. Millions of common folk who have seen change have begun to change themselves. Not only are they asking for more; they are mobilising their collective strength to snatch away from the jaws of the rich larger slices of the loaves of growth and development. Mobilisation follows caste and class lines or both.The peasant is no longer in mental bondage to any political leadership or party. An urban-rural, rich-poor polarisation is forming in Karnataka, gathering sudden momentum from incidents like Nipani. The poor man’s video-tape of memory is storing images of bullets and blood. The bruises that scruff the once-placid face of the mythical middle-middle class state are but the wounds of development. Change has made the face furfuraceous. The belches of Bangalore are no longer soft sounds of contentment.Deep rumblings of discontent are curling up in the bowels of urban and rural Karnataka. The rulers do not seem to comprehend whence the rumblings come and why. In the emerging polarisation, strength is being matched with strength, power with power. The lines are not clear yet, and, at present, Karnataka holds “for neither, yet for both.” But watch out for 1983, too disconcertingly close to Orwell’s 1984, for the probable passing out parade of another empire in the land of myriad imperial ruins.BANKS: CREDITABLE ROLEMiners of the Kolar gold fieldsBanks have played a crucial role in Karnataka’s development, particularly the Syndicate Bank, creation of the Pais of Manipal, a Kannadiga institution as sturdy and hoary as the Nandi bull of Mysore. Today Karnataka has a network of nearly 2,000 offices of nationalised scheduled commercial banks, some 800 cooperative banks and nearly 200 primary land development banks.The nationalised banks had given advances to farmers in 1975 to the tune of Rs 113 crore. The cooperative banks had disbursed Rs 254 crore in credit and the primary land development banks Rs 23 crore in loans. While,the bulk of this institutional financial back-up has gone to the rural rich, the poor have benefited in Karnataka more conspicuously than in most other Congress-ruled states.Nationalised banks have sponsored a number of rural development complexes. A visit to one of them, at Singanayakanahally, in Bangalore district, can be a rewarding experience. Here, a cluster of 48 villages-inhabited by 3, 600 families, is served by Ryathara Seva Sahakara Sangha Niyamitha (RSSSN) – a rural cooperative society – sponsored by the Syndicate Bank.Eighty per cent of the villages are poor, 10 percent rich, and the remaining 10 per cent not so poor. Forty per cent are farm workers, 35 per cent small or marginal farmers. The society was formed by amalgamating- five rickety rural institutions.This was done at the initiative of the Syndicate Bank which joined its powerful resources to back up the society’s lending kitty, and placed a young officer of infectious enthusiasm as its managing director. He and his staff ensure that loans are used on what they are given for.Successful Society: The society has 4,199 families as members of whom 1, 124 are Harijans or tribals. Family-members have contributed Rs 3.68 lakh of its total share capital of Rs 4.65 lakh, the Government Rs 0.97 lakh. The society has so far disbursed Rs 23.38 lakh in loans, of which the Syndicate Bank’s share is Rs 18.33 lakh.Until June 1980, the society had loaned money to 1,599 persons, of whom 279 were Harijans or tribals. Loans were given for a variety of economic schemes -crops, dairy. sheep rearing, piggery, poultry, grape orchards, gobar gas, wells, bullock-carts and so on.The Syndicate Bank alone runs 13 such rural cooperative societies. Other banks are also in the field, notably the Canara Bank whose contribution to Karnataka’s economic development is next only to the Syndicate’s.”The rich do not come to us,” says the managing director of RSSSN at Singanayakanahally, without hiding his happiness that they don’t. He walks the india today team to a village and introduces Makappa, 52, proud owner of a brand new two-room cement-plastered house which mocks at the 60-year-old mud-and-brick hut his father had built and which is still erect.Chikammtrappa, his father, who is 96, poses for a family picture with Makappa’s wife and petite daughter. “I have two sons,” Makappa says, “One is in high school, the other helps me in the field. Previously no well placed man would take my daughter in marriage to his son. Now I am getting good marriage proposals.” Makappa lives off his three acres of land. “They are entitled bylaw to a number of subsidies.” says the managing director of RSSSN, “they just do not know anything about it. It is part of our business to make them aware of what they can get and help them get it.” He adds, “Makappa has never defaulted in the repayment of his loan. People like him don’t.”The cooperative society has helped a number of farmers grow grapes. One of them is S. K. Naranappa, 42, who owns a 12-acre grape orchard and makes, if the crop is good, Rs 30,000 to Rs 40, 000 a year. He employs six workers every day and pays each of them Rs 3 plus food and clothing: a child worker gets Rs 60 a month and food.Makappa and son: good marriage proposalsThe food the workers eat is rice, dal and dahi-water. Grapevines are costly to cultivate; a one-acre orchard takes an initial investment of Rs 30,000 and an annual keep-fit expense of Rs 15, 000. It is a hazardous enterprise; untimely rain or a shower of hail can ruin a crop and its owner. Yet grapevines now stretch mile after mile in Karnataka, voluptuous with green-gold fruits.Innovative Scheme: To return briefly to the Syndicate Bank. It was started in 1926 by a young doctor, T. M. A. Pai, who wished to create a bank for poor people. He innovated a “pigmy deposit scheme”; collectors went around the villages to pick up pigmy deposits, as wee as two annas a day.The poor villager’s two annas became Rs 350 after seven years-a fortune in those days! The Syndicate Bank moved into the villages long before others did. It was also the first to hire women on its banking staff. It has now more than two dozen branches all over the country manned entirely by women.Over 20 percent or abetment to defer or refuse payment punishable by two years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 3,000. The ordinance was clearly meant to pre-empt a repeat of the 1980 decision of farmers not to pay taxes, levies or revenues. Thus for the first time in Karnataka. an attritional relationship has developed between the rulers and the peasants.Karnataka is overwhelmingly an agricultural state; not much of its industrial potential has been exploited so far. With the result that, despite five major Central Government enterprises located in the Bangalore area, the state is one of the less the Syndicate Bank’s loans are now for agriculture.The man who married Syndicate Bank to agriculture is the late T. A. Pai, to whom goes the credit of initiating the green revolution in South Canara district in the latter half of the 1960s. A former Union Industry Minister, T. A. Pai was one of the master builders of what Karnataka is today, the sculptor of such catchy slogans as “Every village a school, every home electricity”; and “Every well a pumpset. every home a good cow.”The Pais have transformed Manipal, in Mangalore district, into a major centre of advanced professional and artistic education, T. A. Pai died suddenly of a heart attack in early June, and once remarked: “It socialism will improve the lot of the people, I am for it. If communism will make people work harder and more effectively, I am for it. But I have my doubts about that. I believe in learning from the world’s experience and our own. without any ideological bias.”last_img read more

Galaxy S4 gets the Lollipop update in India

first_imgSamsung Galaxy S4 running on the Exynos chipset has finallygot the much anticipated Lollipop update in India. Samsung recently began rolling out updates to the Exynos variant I9500 Galaxy S4.Galaxy S4 is the second Galaxy flagship phone to get theLollipop update. India is the second country after Russia to get the update.Samsung Galaxy S4 owners can download the OTA update from the phones settings.The update file will be around 990MB for which the users will have to empty atleast 3GB of internal space.Samsung Galaxy S4 was a popular phone manufactured under theGalaxy banner. The phone was launched in March 2013.  It has a 5 inch FullHD Super Amoled displaywith a pixel density of 441ppi.The phone is powered by an Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chipset which is backed up by 2GBRAM. On the camera front, the phone sports a 13 megapixel primary camera and a2 megapixel secondary camera.last_img read more

Second flash sale of Huawei Honor 4X today

first_imgHuawei’s latest smartphone, the Honor 4X is going to be up for grabs in a flash sale today. This will be the second such flash sale of the device. The sale commences at 2pm IST and will take place on Flipkart. The number of devices that will be up for sale is not known yet. Like other sales of smartphones these days, the Honor 4x too will be available only to registered users. Priced at Rs 10,499, the smartphone was launched in India in March along with the Honor 6 Plus, which was priced at Rs 26,499. Huawei had claimed that it had received 100,000 registrations for the first sale of the Honor 4X.The Honor 4X sports a 5.5-inch IPS HD display, and runs on Android KitKat based Emotion UI 3.0. It is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and also come with 2GB RAM and Adreno 306 GPU.Other features include 8GB inbuilt storage, expandable upto 32GB via microSD card. It also sports a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera, as well as a 3000mAh battery. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/ A-GPS, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0. Also read: Our full review of the Huawei Honor 4Xlast_img read more

Rufus the hawk rules the Wimbledon skies

first_imgMale tennis players from the United States are almost as rare as hen’s teeth at Wimbledon this year, but a hawk native to North and South America definitely rules the roost when it comes to clearing the championship courts of pigeons.Every morning at dawn, a Harris hawk named Rufus, with his distinctive yellow-hued beak, patrols the skies over the tennis complex in southwest London.The hawk’s job is to scare the living daylights out of the pigeons who not so many years ago occasionally interrupted play as they strolled around the courts, searching for food and doing what pigeons do.For Rufus, pigeons are food, though the bird’s handlers and trainers, Wayne Davis, his wife Donna and their daughter Imogen, do their best to keep Rufus’s appetite balanced so the hawk will scare the pigeons but not eat them.That is part of the art of falconry as it has been practiced for more than 2,000 years, said Wayne Davis, although he cannot guarantee that Rufus will not occasionally go for the kill.”Thousands of years of evolution have dictated that’s what he should do,” Davis said, speaking over the phone from the family home in Northamptonshire, about what could happen if Rufus spots a pigeon and is feeling a big peckish.”We haven’t evolved a hawk to catch things for our own purposes – we’re just utilising its natural abilities,” he said.Rufus has become something of an avian star at Wimbledon, his picture taken by countless photographers and television crews. He even has his own Twitter account @RufusTheHawk.advertisementAs a family that makes its living from falconry, the Davises are delighted that one of this year’s big literary hit books is “H Is for Hawk”, British writer Helen Macdonald’s tale of how she trained a goshawk as a form of therapy to help her deal with the death of her father.”It’s absolutely fantastic,” Donna Davis said of Macdonald’s book this week as she and Imogen loaded Rufus into the car after his morning patrol.”I just thought she really captured the sense of training a goshawk, it is so difficult.”Having started bird training, with kestrels, at the age of 10, Davis does not recommend falconry to anyone who thinks it would be nice to have a hawk along with the family dog or cat.He particularly sympathises with Macdonald, whom he met at a falconry conference in Dubai last year, for her travails.”Goshawks are notoriously…finely-tuned. Anything would scare them, they’re very on edge, they’re very difficult to train,” Davis said.Rufus is “very placid in comparison to a goshawk”, Davis said, although the pigeons might not agree.last_img read more

Argentina face Chile in history-rich Copa America final

first_imgArgentina head into Saturday’s Copa America final seeking their first major silverware in 22 years while hosts Chile aim to end a century-long jinx by winning the trophy for the first time.The two Andean neighbours meet in Santiago’s national stadium in a classic South American encounter steeped in history and rivalry.These were two of the four founding nations of the South American Championship as it was first known back in 1916. Argentina thumped Chile 6-1 at that tournament, setting the tone for a century of Chilean pain. Of their 36 competitive clashes since then, the Chileans have won just one a World Cup qualifier in Santiago in 2008. They have never beaten Argentina at the Copa America in 24 attempts.Argentina have lifted the trophy 14 times and if they win on Saturday will draw level with Uruguay as the most successful side in the tournament’s history. Chile, in their 36 previous attempts to win the trophy, have come closest when they finished as runners-up four times.For Argentina’s inspirational playmaker Lionel Messi, this is a golden opportunity to reproduce his success at club level for his country. His only previous titles with Argentina were at under-20 and Olympic level.For his team as a whole, Saturdays match is a chance to make up for last year’s World Cup final defeat by Germany and two consecutive Copa America final defeats at the hands of Brazil in 2004 and 2007.”In the space of less than a year these guys are going to play their second final of a major tournament,” Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said after his side destroyed Paraguay 6-1 in the semifinals.advertisement”This is not the World Cup but even so, its the second most important tournament there is for us in this part of the world.”Argentina are at pretty much full strength while Chile are still mulling how to replace centre-back Gonzalo Jara, suspended for his now infamous gesture in the quarterfinals when he was caught on camera sticking his finger up an opponents backside.Jose Rojas replaced Jara in their semi-final against Peru, a 2-1 win, but was far from convincing and coach Jorge Sampaoli might reshuffle his backline again.The match is a clash between the two highest-scoring sides in the competition Chile found the back of the net 13 times on their way to the final while Argentina bagged 10.Messi has yet to score in open play but if he pulls the strings like he did against the Paraguayans that will not concern his coach.”If he makes three assists and they all end up as goals that’s fine,” Martino said. “He doesn’t need to be the top scorer in the team to be happy.”last_img read more

BBC will distribute tiny re-programmable computer for kids

first_imgUK has been feeling that it is losing the technology-racethat is ramping-up everywhere in the world. BBC UK is taking up the cause ofenticing the young ones to enter digital world by giving tiny computer chipsets.The company will be giving out one million computers to the children above theage of 10.The chipset, dubbed Micro:Bit, will be comprised of twore-programmable buttons, Bluetooth Low Energy Module, a micro USB port, 25 redLED lights, an accelerometer, compass and five input/output rings that can befurther connected to various sensors and circuits. The Micro:bits processor ispowered by an ARM Cortex-M0, and has been made by Nordic Semiconductor. Thedevice will derive its power from an AA battery pack to behave as a stand-alonecomputer. The device will come in different colours and will sport a size of4x5cms.The chip is designed for children who can start developinginterest in programming and even technology in general. According to a reportfrom BBC, theirdirector general Tony Hall said the device will help children to go beyond thegeneric knowledge of computers and know about the programming behind it. “Weall know there’s a critical and growing digital skills gap in this country andthat’s why it’s so important that we come together and do something aboutit,” he said at a launch event in London.BBC has partnered up with 25 major brands to take thisinitiative that includes tech giants like Microsoft and Samsung. Tony Hallstated in the event, “Just as the BBC Micro introduced millions topersonal computers 30 years ago, the BBC Micro:bit can help equip a newgeneration with the digital skills they need to find jobs and help grow the UKeconomy. It’s the unique role of the BBC that allows us to bring together anunprecedented partnership to deliver such an ambitious project.”advertisementAlso read: Microsoft’smobile future now depends on Windows 10last_img read more

Eden Gardens to host ICC World Twenty20 final

first_imgThe Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has allotted Eden Gardens to host the ICC World Twenty20 final and the board too announced other venues that will host the tournament starting from March 11 to April 3, 2016.Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamshala, Mohali, Mumbai, Nagpur and New Delhi will be the venues along with Kolkata, which will also host the final of the event. These venues will host the matches subject to fulfilling the prescribed requirements of the ICC and BCCI while adhering to the statutory obligations that are mandatory for hosting an international match.Speaking to the media, honorary secretary of the BCCI, Anurag Thakur said, “BCCI is extremely proud to host this prestigious event. All the venues identified have hosted many prestigious matches. With this announcement, we have begun our preparations in right earnest. We want this T20 WC to be a memorable experience for our participants and fans. I am confident that all the venues nominated will deliver a world class event.”BCCI also constituted a Managing Committee for the T20 World Cup comprising of the following members:President of BCCI, Mr. Jagmohan Dalmiya would be the chairman of this committee along with the following members;Mr. Anurag Thakur, convenor and Hon. Secretary, BCCI.Mr. Amitabh Choudhary, Hon. Joint Secretary, BCCI.Mr. Anirudh Chaudhry, Hon. Treasurer, BCCI.Mr. G. Ganga Raju, Vice President, BCCI.Mr. Rajeev Shukla, Chairman, IPL.Mr. Ashish Shelar, Vice President, Mumbai Cricket Association.Mr. Ashirbad Behera, Hon. Secretary, Orissa Cricket Association.last_img read more

Australia coach Darren Lehmann sorry for team’s poor Ashes show

first_imgAustralian coach Darren Lehmann tendered an apology on Wednesday for the team’s poor performance during the ongoing Ashes series in England.Lehman was responding to stinging criticism after the Australians lost the fourth Test at Trent Bridge cricket ground by an innings and 78 runs inside three days. The visitors had earlier lost the first and third Tests and are trailing the five-match series 1-3.”We have been poor, we have been outplayed by a superior opponent and, as coaching staff, players and selectors, we fully accept the blame for our losses at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge,” said Lehmann in a column on the Cricket Australia website.Also read: What really went wrong for Australia in Ashes”We don’t walk away from that responsibility, and we have been as up-front as we can over the past few days to explain that’s the case rather than try to find excuses. Not only do we want to be accountable for our efforts, but on behalf of our team I want to apologise for the manner in which we have lost,” he added.”We understand how disappointing the series has been, and I can reassure you we are doing our very best as a group to identify the areas in which we need to improve in order to ensure we get better as a team.”Also read: Michael Clarke retires  Lehmann has, however, dismissed suggestions that poor leadership by outgoing captain Michael Clarke and the presence of wives and girlfriends on the tour has contributed to the team’s poor show.advertisementMichael deserves respect”Michael deserves the chance to go out with the respect and dignity that he has undoubtedly earned over a fantastic career, and I want to see that career suitably celebrated,” the former batsman asserted.”As a coach and as a selection panel, we know how much pressure and scrutiny comes with the job of captaining Australia’s Test team and we want him to enjoy some time with his family who have come over to see him play his final Test.””While we’re happy to cop criticism for the way we bat, bowl, field or prepare I believe it’s unfair to suggest having families with us as a reason for our on-field efforts. Some of the guys in our squad have schedules that have meant they’ve been at home for a total of three or four days since the Boxing Day Test last December – less than a week in more than seven months,” he added.”There is no way, as coach of the Australian cricket team, that I am going to oversee a set-up that doesn’t welcome wives, girlfriends, children and other family members when our players and staff are spending that length of time travelling. Their presence also helps to provide a bit of normality during a long stint of travel.”He also said that the team could not be blamed for lack of effort in preparation and training during the tour.”Even on the occasions when we’ve lost Test matches in three days, I don’t see the value of scheduling extra training sessions,” Lehmann remarked. “There are times when you need to switch off and just relax.”The 45-year-old also stated that he continues to have great confidence in the future of Australian cricket, the coaching staff and the players.last_img read more

Usain Bolt, Jamaica win 4x100m relay at worlds

first_imgUsain Bolt won his third gold medal of the world championships, anchoring Jamaica’s 4×100-meter relay team to victory to match his haul at the Bird’s Nest in the 2008 Olympics.Bolt won the 100- and 200-meter finals, beating Justin Gatlin in both sprints, and added the relay victory on Saturday to successfully defend all three world titles he won in Moscow in 2013.Jamaica won in 37.36 seconds, with a United States team containing Gatlin taking silver in 37.77 and China getting an unexpected bronze in 38.01.The Jamaicans completed a sweep of the sprint relays with the women, anchored by 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, also winning.last_img

Ashes win highlight of my first year in charge of England: Trevor Bayliss

first_imgTrevor Bayliss is delighted with how his first year as England team’s chief coach has unfolded and said the Ashes win was the highlight of his tenure so far.The Australian was brought in charge before the Ashes and was successful in making an immediate impact by ensuring a 3-2 victory over World Cup winners Australia in the five-match Test series.England could have won the One-Day International (ODI) series too against Australia but lost the decider on Sunday after having levelled the five-game series at 2-2.Despite the English summer ending with a reverse, Bayliss has been delighted with the start to his tenure.Also read: Two new caps in Australia squad for Bangladesh Tests  “It has been great, I suppose winning has made it a little bit easier to take,” Bayliss, whose side also won both the T20 internationals against Australia, was quoted as saying by ecb.co.uk.”Certainly everyone in English cricket has made me feel very welcome, especially the boys, the other management and the coaches. It has been really good.”Commenting on his first summer in charge, Trevor Bayliss said: “It has been great, I suppose winning has made it a little bit easier to take.”Asked to pick out a special moment, Bayliss said: “The Ashes win was a highlight. The game for me was down at Edgbaston. To come back from the flopping we got at Lord’s was a fantastic effort.””The crowd down there was also really good, the atmosphere was superb. That really gave the guys the kick along they needed. To end up winning that fourth match (at Trent Bridge), you almost had to pinch yourself the way it went on that first morning. Plenty of things to remember and remember for a long time.”advertisementEngland have also seen major improvements in their ODIs form following the early exit from the World Cup. They have been counter attacking which has yielded results, as they bagged the ODI series against New Zealand 3-2 a few months back.Revealing reasons for the turnaround, Bayliss said: “The attitude of the players, they want to play positive and aggressive cricket.””But they want to get better, they realise they have played some good cricket and come a long way but if they want to be the best in the world, they have got a lot of hard work to do.””Most of them are only mid-20s so they have got a lot of time in front of them, and a lot of hard work. The skill level of the players actually in the team going forward is very exciting,” he added.last_img read more