Monday, May 15, 2017

World's first robot chess coach in Mysuru

In what may be the first time in the history of the Chess, a virtual robot chess coach named BEAM has been introduced by Mysore Chess Center to teach beginners about the Chess game.   

Chess grandmasters across the globe sitting in their drawing rooms can now guide students with the help of BEAM Virtual Robot. One major advantage of BEAM is that it can be moved in any direction, as a result the coach can pay individual attention to every student in the classroom and hold face to face conversations through the monitor mounted on BEAM.

The coach can teach them all the fine nuances of the game like different types of moves, strategies for winning end games and also clear all the students doubts. Earlier, when training was provided through Skype, students had to sit together and follow the instructions. Whereas, with introduce of BEAM the grandmasters who will be on live can address individual student and can have a close look of the movements of the chess pieces on his board.

Upcoming chess players Eshanvi said 'the new initiative is very good. With introduce of Beam we got an opportunity to interact with grandmasters and learn new things.' Skanada, another learner said: "We feel the coach is next to us. We can have face to face interactions and get our doubts cleared instantly. The technology will help us to learn various techniques practiced by grandmasters.”  
"The BEAM will be moving around us, and if we go wrong the coach will correct us immediately. The device is very excellent and we are enjoying learning," added another player Hemadhri.

Aravind Shastry, a national level Champion and Secretary of UKCA, who was teaching children through BEAM said: 'The technology has come like boon. It cuts our travel time. We can communicate with children, navigate in any direction and monitor each students activities, similar to being present physically. A very good initiative has been adopted by the center. This can be used for other sports too.'

Coach S Suresh who has produced more than 15 state champions during his chess coaching career, said: 'BEAM has helped a lot to provide good training for students from grandmasters. There are several techniques, and providing coaching from achievers will give deeper understanding for children to play game in different dimensions.

Nagendra Muralidhar, Center's Proprietor and  Vice President of United Karnataka Chess Association said that with adoption of advanced technology they want to provide good training to students, and thereby make children develop the ability to compete with national and international level players. The BEAM has been introduced just three days ago and this is the first center in world to introduce first, he claimed.

“The advantage of this moving BEAM robot are several as it helps the coach to attend each student. We are planning to link with international chess grandmasters, so they need not come here physically to the center, whereas teach them online virtually. By linking with different grandmasters on different days the students can get to understand better the different strategies adopted by them," he added.

Harsha Kikkeri who heads the Global R&D team Suitable Tech, the company working on Beam Telepresence Robot said that it is very much similar to human eye. The technology can be even be used in remote villages to improve the quality of teaching. It can also used by heath professionals, medical device manufacturers, overseas manufacturers and others.

How to USe

Using BEAm Virual robot is very simple. The coach installs a related software in his laptop, through which he can move the robot in required direction. A high speed internet connection is required. Two wide angle cameras, and a customised microphone array, provides a remote environment.
The person who will be giving virtual training can move the device all around 360 degrees and reach any student he wishes.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

This ZP member engages villagers to make seed balls, nurture trees

Watching a television programme on seed ball innovation, this gram panchyat member got motivated to experiment the same in her panchayat and has made her dream fulfill. Bannikuppe Village Gram Panchayat Member Pushpa Amarnath has took an initiative to increase the green cover in Hunsur Taluk and has engaged villagers to make seed balls.  

44 gram panchayats in Hunsur taluk have been selected under go green initiative and each gram panchayat will be distributed with 10,000 seed balls. Self help groups, NGOs, students have been roped in to make seed balls. The same will be distributed to interested farmers, and initiative has been taken to nurture the seed balls at vacant government lands, lake bunds, burial grounds, dry lands, hill areas.

The programme has been taken under Social Forestry and Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj. Making use of the provision under NREGA, she has brought the women under the programme and they will be paid dailywage for making seed balls and planting trees.

With cows urine and cow dung needed to prepare the seed ball, she has asked all the households rearing cows to collect cow urine by placing a drum and dung. Such collected cow dung, urine for nearly 10 days, was used to make 12,000 seed balls on Saturday.  

NSS, Scouts and Guides cadets, education institution eco club students have also been roped in to the programme, to make youngsters aware of environment conservations. Pushpa who has aims to make five lakh seed balls, with the help of other gram panchayat members is involving women in making seed balls daily for two hours. Villagers to collect cow urine, cow dung, whereas the red soil and seeds will be provided by forest department. 

‘To dig pit, plant a tree lot of energy, time and money is spent. Whereas, the cost for making every seed ball is just meager Rs 1. Also this innovative idea is very easy and economically viable. Am hopeful atleast 70 per cent saplings grow and  maintained for three years it will create a big difference in the nature. With decline in rainfall and deforestation we are encountering several problems and planting tress will be the solution for all the environmental imbalance. Thus, increasing green cover is need of the hour to fight against increasing temperature, drought and other environmental issues,’ she added. 

“Seed ball is a novel method of planting trees. We had heard about it, but am very happy, am experiencing. With Hunsur is dry land and declared drought hit, hope planting trees will change the scenario in next five years. If the same things adopted in another taluk panchayats it could bring a big change in increasing gree cover over the years,” added Prakash, who is planning to place 50 seed balls in his agriculture field.

Pushapa is planning to document the process and upload them in social media, so that interested gram panchayats can adopt this simple method and improve the green cover. About 13 varieties of trees, including fruit trees seeds will be made. The seeds include, Neem, Nerale, Honge, Tamarind Tree, Rain Tree, Jackfruit, Agase seed, jatropha, bamboo two varities, Castor seeds, etc.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Septuagenarian's love to promote Kannada makes to open library

Seated underneath the shades of the Avenue tree (Honge) hundreds of passersby of all age groups can be seen reading newspapers, magazines and books at the shop behind Akkana Balaga School, Agrahara.

Though its not a public library, the place has become a reading spot for a year for the passersby. Thanks to this septuagenarian B Prabhakar (75 yeas) whose love towards popularization of Kannada language has made him to set up this exclusive Kannada open library for the general public and has named it ‘Edu Namma Odina Mane’.

People of all age groups and all walks of life visit the library to read newspapers and books. On an average 120 people visit the library every day. The books are arranged in an orderly manner and a limited seating arrangement has been made for the readers.

The library has more than 1500 books in its collection which includes books written by famous Kannada litterateurs like Ravi Bilegere, SL Bhyrappa, Triveni, UR Ananthamurthy, Radha Devi and several renowned Kannada novelists. He built up his collection of books by purchasing them in installments from a known vendor while some of them have been donated by a couple of well wishers.

To promote Kannada, he requests the visitors to his library to put their signatures in Kannada in their daily correspondence. Interestingly, he also teaches to read and write in Kannada for non-Kannadigas. Being an avid lover of Kannada, he stresses the need of creating curiosity in the young minds to read in their native tongue and the resulting benefits it has in enhancing their knowledge.

“There is a very good response from the public for library as more and more number of people keep visiting the library with the passing years.Due to old age, I am unable to keep the library open full time, but only between 8 am to 1 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm,’ says Prabhakaran,, who is a founder of Seva Vedike Organisation.

Girija Sampath a senior citizen residing nearby said that she has been visiting the library for the past three years as she enjoys reading books than watching serials. She dedicates daily 4-6 hour for reading, and opines by reading there is lot of benefits for the development of mind while encouraging one to face challenges of life. She reads on an average two books every month. reads two – three books.

Another reader Jawahar Muganwar from Belgavi said: ‘Every day I visit the library and read papers. There is very good response for the library. With the readers are declining, such initiatives helps to popularise Kannada works.'

Journey of four decades

Prabhakar has dedicated his life for the popularisation of Kannada for the past four decades. It was four decades ago he started a circulating library, and a decade ago decided to set up a free public library.

He converted a portion of his house for the library following financial crunch. Just a year ago he rented a shop and housed the books in the library. The costs of rent and maintenance of the library which is around Rs 5000 is managed by around 30 regular readers.

Nearly 200 people have become members by paying Rs 50 yearly and borrow books to the home. Initially, there were few members but as years went by the numbers gradually dwindled and today I have more than 200 members and hundreds of people daily come to library, says Prabhakaran.

Technology comes to the aid of teachers to impart quality education in classrooms

 Here is a classic example of how technology can be put to use to educate not only teachers but also inspire young minds. As a result, over the past five years, a large number of children are inspired to pursue a career in Science in HD Kote, Mysuru, which is considered a backward region in Karnataka.

Thanks for the WhatsApp Group ‘Vijnana Vedike’ (ViVek) comprising of science and maths teachers, who post contents devoted to learning and share about subjects due to which learning and teaching becomes easier.

The group which started with around 20 teachers in 2014, currently has more than 132 teachers from 96 different schools in HD Kote Taluk, including school teachers from tribal areas. The group helps teachers to interact among themselves and learn from each other's experiences, thereby help imporve the quality of the education. By encouraging teachers to clarify their doubts, it has helped to create a cordial atmosphere for the teachers in the group to ask questions on the subjects they are teaching and get replies from other members. This group has helped several teachers who had doubts in the subjects, and to avoid questions were hop-skipping the contents.

The teachers, majority of them from government schools discuss several topics found in their curriculum on a weekly basis. A new topic is taken up every Sunday and participants in the group can post their questions till Thursday. Every week, a member in the group will be selected as ‘Moderator’ who will consolidate all the questions and answers them every Saturday from 9 pm. Discussions ends by late midnight. The moderator answers all the questions in detail and clears the doubts of the teachers. For those who find it difficult to send text messages, they send even audio or video messages.

The discussion focuses on addressing some comprehension gaps of teachers in their subject areas, with the aid of audio clips, sketches, videos, and text messages. All the discussed information is archived and updated on Google drive, so that other teachers who are not members of the group can also access them. Through other social media network the group is reaching over 6,000 teachers across the state.

The children in government schools learn in Kannada medium upto 10th standard. As a result most of these students fear to take up Science as they have to study in English. The teachers are making an effort to teach the technical words both in Kannada and English and infuse confidence among children, so that the students should not develop fear to take up science during their higher education.

The group members say, there are many students who have come forward and expressed their interest to study science. Over the past three years, those teachers from HD Kote who have been transferred to other places in the State have started creating Whatsapp groups in their new postings by roping in teachers in their region.

The brain behind the programme is Praveen Kumar Sayyaparaju, Director of Science Education for Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, and an student of IIT, Chennai.  Praveen who joined SVYM in 2009, came out with a science lab concept, sceince park, and to improve the quality of education he decided to create a WhatsApp group by  bringing in Science and Maths teachers.

Praveen says: ‘Teaching tribals and rural children is immensely satisfying. We started a mobile science lab in 2009, as most of the government schools did not have labs and we promoted science by experimenting. Slowly we started working with teachers and found a lot of lacunae in their teaching. It is when we decided to create a platform for teachers help themselves, to talk to each other and help each other in the group.'

‘With severe shortage of teachers in government schools, resulting in low morale amongst, there was no support group to help teachers in teaching, and thinking of inspiring young minds in science, it was decided to create a group. Now we are planning to expand the group to other taluks and also rope in teachers in Nanjangud,’ he said, adding many children in taluk are showing interested in pursuing carrier in science.

S Harsha, teacher, government High School, Hedthale, Nanjangud said: ‘After being part of group, my confidence level has boosted. As a resource person, teachers used to shoot several questions, and I answered all their questions accurately. The knowledge we gain in the group is remarkable. Complex questions are explained very simple way. We have shifted from marks oriented to a learning oriented. The quality of education we impart in schools has improved, and we are happy we have kindled the students to take up science in carrier.’
“The group has helped to build a strong rapport among the teachers. This has become a big platform to clarify doubts. We are motivating students to ask questions and make classes more interesting, thereby making them to understand the syllabus much better. The classes we conduct are more interactive and is activity based. Earlier we used to skip some of the contents, with fear if the students might raise question, but now we are confident to answer any of their questions. There are instances where students perception towards looking at science subject has changed, and they say its not a difficult subject,” added N Ananth Parmanabha, teacher of Mulluru Government High School, HD Kote

Smart device launched to detect faces hidden behind mask

Some of those involved in criminal activities cover their face with a monkey cap or some piece of cloth in order to conceal their identity from the electronic eyes of CCTV camerasand other security gadgets. When reviewing the CCTV footages at the crime scene, it is a big challenge for the cops to identify the person behind the mask. There are several instances in the past where crimes have not been solved because of the inability to recognise the face behind the mask.

Keeping this in mind, M/s Vihaan Sudhan Technologies have designed a device named ’Smart Robust Night Vision’ with in-built power back up. It is an electronic CCTV camera having a small size Micro-Computer measuring 3 cm *3 cm in size, which backups the video directly onto the customer's email id.
The product is named VS-HAWK EYE (VSHE).
The speciality of the device is it detects the identity of the person even though he has covered his face. The detection will be done in two states that is through retina bio metric analysis and GAIT analysis (studying of walking, running style of person). Even if a person is wearing glasses, the eye scan can be done. 

A 8 mega pixels CCTV camera will be installed, which helps for analysis of the retina. The obtained retina bio metric information will be matched with Aadhar detals. In case if the culprits have not wore gloves the finger prints will be matched similarly with Aadhar and details of person will be obtained using the technology.

While, the second stage of analysis include GAIT. In case if the person refuses to admit the crime, through GAIT analysis (walking style , running style) the person movements will be matched, 

With this automatic bio metric verification VSHE it will be difficult for criminals to escape from law, even though they try to cover their face.

Clients purchasing the product can only watch the video file in his inbox and not the identity of the person. Identity of person will be disclosed only if a crime has occurred. The identification algorithm will be saved in server. Only upon specific request from police the identity of the person will be
linked to AAdhar Server database and cops can get the  name and address of the person and trace his face.

This apart, the device has a motion sensor, (a switch to activate motion sensor mode during night) and detecting the motion sends an alarm warning notification to police and simultaneously a mail to client.  The product also comes with a motion detector, sounding a loud alarm over speakers and also sending an instant message to a server maintained on a Google drive space monitored by the Police in control room.

M/s Vihaansudhan Technologies Directors BS Manusudhan and S Sowmya Sudhan, Product Delivery Team Lead KN Mohan Kumar are the brains behind this project.

The team say: ‘The systems available in the market have many disadvantages like if power supply is cut, CCTV is of no use after the battery back up is used, viewing angle is limited, storage hard disks can be deleted or stolen since it is physical device. Keeping all these disadvantages in mind we have innovated this new device.”

Manusudhan said: Smart VSHE is a complete solution for both Police and individuals. The product comes with automatic detection of  the identity of the person using biometrics and the identification will be done at our server, to avoid stealing of authentication of people, we make the project to execute at our server end for identification
process. It minimises the investigation time and saves money for police, providing no escape for anti social elements. ”

The team have worked on this project for the past 11 months. The project has been set to Prime Minister office, requesting for suggestions and have also applied for patent,
The product is ready to be launched soon and it costs just Rs 7000 a piece. There is no need to install cable wires, Hard disk and DVRs, thereby offering a huge savings on cost of investment. Videos will be uploaded directly on the google drive free of cost, adds Manusudhan.

How it Works

The VSHE gathers video and sends it for preprocessing either to the microcomputer provided within or to the server for IRIS scan detection or for extraction of nodal point body features (called as GAIT) of the suspected individual.  The iris detected will be sent to the database for analysis on his/her biometric values like iris and fingerprint available at the huge data base at our server end. 

The organisation is planning to link this to the database of Aadhaar or Unique Identification Authority of India for extraction of identification information of the person. By analysing the shape of the person, which is unique from person to person,  identification of the individual is possible. 


* Smart VSHE to be a solution for both Police and individuals.
* The project has been set to Prime Minister office seeking suggestion and the team have  applied for patent.
* Existing CCTV provide just a video recording, collecting the video footage and storing  them on a disk, whose storage space is limited.

Specially abled children to go on expedition to the Rumtu Top

  Specially abled children are going on exertion to ascend the Rumtu top which is at a height of 13,000ft in Dauladhar range in Kullu Manali region in Himachal Pradesh
This specially abled children who are speech and hearing impaired want to create a history by climbing the Rumtu top. Fifteen special children are taking part in the expedition and are helped by two dozens of amateur trekkers.   

The Silent Heroes’ is the name given to this specially abled children. The children hail from various districts like Mysore, Mandya, Bellary, Chitradurga, Ramanagara, and Bangalore. While, the amateur trekkers are from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala States. 

The team will leave Mysore on April 14 at 2 pm from the Sai Ranga Vidya Samasthe (R) Free Residential School for Deaf and dumb, Bannimantappa, Mysore. They will be returning back to Mysore on April 29.  

They will visit historical places like Delhi, Amritsar, Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Manali, Roerich Art Gallery in Naggar and First Surveyor George Everest mansion in Mussorie, apart from camping at various places like Naggar-Bijliee Mahadev-Kshadra-Mattikochar-Dhora Nala-Chaklani-Rumsu apart from climbing the summit on the Rumtu top, which they are expected to climb on April 22.   

As part of the pre training schedule the children have undergone arduous training at various places like Chamundi Hills, Kunti Hills, Kukarhalli Lake, Gangotri campus, Bal Bhavan, Chamundi hills 360 degree and they have completed Josh Run of 10,000 meter.

Special child Santoshgowda, who is studying 9th standard, native of Malliegere, Mandya, speaking in sign language said he came to know about the expedition recently, expressed enthusiasm to take part in the expedition. “I was looking at the newspapers photographs about expedition, decided to visit once. I got the opportunity, and am eagerly waiting for the commencement of expedition.  

Another child V Palaksha, Chalkere Taluk, Chitradurga: ‘Am very happy and excited, as I got the opporutnity. I have undergone training from last two and half month and am  confident, I complete the expedition successfully.’ 

Parent Veerabhadrappa said: ‘The specially abled children are equally to other normal children. They are very talented. We feel happy that they have got the opportunity to go to expedition and we are thankful for the donors.’  

The expedition assumes significance because 85 people from all over the country and abroad have come forward to sponsor the event by donating Rs 7 lakh for this 15 special children, and one interpreter and two socially deprived youths. 
The project is the brain child of Dr Madhav Deshpande and Dr Akhila and Tiger Adventure Foundation has taken the onus of realising their dreams. The expedition is led by an Ardent Adventure Enthusiast Tiger Solanki of Tiger Adventure Foundation and he is assisted by Devendra Tiwari of Gwalior, anPankaj Mallick of Mysore. 

Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala has flagged of the expedition by handing over the National Flag and Expedition flags to the team at Raj Bhavan, Bangalore on April 3. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

This lady doctor by inheritance has prevented women undergoing uterus operations

Recently a racket involving removal of uteruses from healthy women was making headlines, here is a lady Ayurvedic Doctor who has prevented thousands of women from going under the scalpel.   

Gowri Subramanya, a doctor by inheritance, who has dedicated her life to educate people about the benefits of ancient Ayurvedic medicines and also create awareness about the various kinds of medicinal plants, has treated several women ailing from problems of the uterus without asking them to get it removed.

She has successfully treated more than 1300 women with uterus problems preventing them from undergoing needless surgeries. There are several instances where women who wanted to undergo surgery within a week or two, were cured after taking her treatment. Not only people from various parts of country, but those from abroad, from countries such as Australia and USA have been treated by her for uterus problems. 

Citing some of the main reasons for women to have irregular periods, uterus problems are the change in modern day work life which lacks physical exercise, stressful jobs and working for long hours sitting at the same place. All these result in PCOD problems. When women complain of over bleeding they will be informed it might end up in cancer if left untreated and the only solution is to get the uterus removed. Believing their words most women opt to get their uterus removed, says Gowri, who has also given medicines for childless couples seeking conception.

'Removal of uterus is suggested only in the extreme case, while a majority of them who undergoing treatment can be cured of the excessive bleeding, uterus related problems within 3 to 6 months, depending on the individual body's response. She added that the roots, stem and seeds of Peepal Tree (Arali Mara) all have medicinal value and in about 75 per cent of cases women with uterus problems can be cured by the products of Peepal Tree,’ says Gowri, who has formulated many Ayurvedic medicines on her own based on her 25 years research.’

'Most of them who approach me are those who have undergone allopathic treatment and are not satisfied and have failed, while some do want to undergo surgeries. They come just to try and have expressed happiness after treatment is successful. There are instances where women with uterus complaints have approached me a week prior to removal of uterus and have got treated. Have saved hundreds of women undergoing uterus removal operation, and have treated for several issueless couple, who have approached me after failure of IVF. Due to lack of patience most of them lag behind to undergo Ayurveda treatment, whereas once they are benefited they refer others,’ she added.  

‘Women should not ignore any minor changes in health, specially those who are above 40. Self medication and ignorance is very dangerous and leads to other problems, so the best solution is to get it cured at the initial stage. If they come in the initial stage they can be more benefited.’

‘Most of them fail in diagnosing root cause for the disease. If it's done properly treating patients will be easy. The people should first develop faith in the efficacy of the ancient medicines. There are several instances people with several serious health disorders have got cured in Ayurveda,’ added Gowri, who has arranged several medical screening scam spending her personal money.

49-year-old Bhagyashree resident of Thyagaraja Nagar said: ‘Was suffering from polyps, cyst and continuos periods for nearly two months. Doctors asked to undergo laparoscopy surgery. When I took the medicines for four days, I experienced uneasiness, vomiting. Meantime one of my friend referred Gowri, and within one day, the periods stopped, and was surprised. Later, I obtained medicines from her for polyps, cyst and have overcome the problems.’

Roopadevi, resident of Mysore Road who has obtained treatment for uterus cancer said: 'Doctor asked me to get removal of uterus in a week. After I started taking medicines from Gowri, within three days there was improvement in my health, and we postponed undergoing surgery for a month. Just after a month, there was tremendous improvement in my health and for the past eight years, I am leading a happy life, and there is no uterus problem.'  

Serial Artiste Ruthu, resident of Bengaluru said: ‘My uncle was suffering from foot drop. Doctor said nerve damage might also cause foot drop, and said they want to send nerve for testing before doing operation. We approached Gowri, withing two weeks the foot drop came to control. The leha, tablets, oil given by her worked like magic, and today my uncle, who is senior citizen is walking comfortably. He also undertook home remedy for eye problem, and today his vision is very clear. She gives medicines for any ailment and   her medicines work like magic. The medicines are very affordable, and any ailment she treats. What allopathy doctors tell very complication diseases, she has cured in her medicines.’

Renowned Ayurveda Gynecologist Dr Nanda Pai from Karkala said: ‘Removing uterus has become a big money spinner. Only in extreme cases removal of uterus is required. In Ayurveda there is medicine for uterus problems, over bleeding, and even cysts can be melt. One should have a patience. Change in life style, stress full life is contributing immensely for the health issues among women.’ 

Her Roots in Mysore...   

Gowri who has done done research for more than 25 years in Ayruveda, is a native of Mysuru, and currently a resident of Banashankari in Bengaluru. She is the grand daughter of Pandith Narasimha Murthy, who was rendering service as Palace Vaidya of Royal Family of Mysore. He has written several volumes dealing with different ailments. The Ayurveda Pharmacy set up by him in 1942 is functioning even today though under a different management. 

She strongly believes in 'prevention is better than cure' and prescribes medicines for several ailments and diseases, which includes some modern age lifestyle diseases such as stress, diabetes, blood pressure, kidney stones and there are several cases the eye vision problems, skin problem she has been rectified. There are several others who have been benefited by her treatment for various ailments.  

She has spent years studying under various Ayurveda practitioners and Professors of Ayurveda to further enhance her knowledge. She has developed her own formulae for Ayurvedic medicines while successfully treating many. She also teaches people how to cook delicious food using medicinal plants to further improve their health apart from curing their existing ailments. She is planning to publish a book in the near future, which contains complete information about most of the medicinal plants, thereby making people familiar with plants. She is also working as Administrator at Mukthinaga Temple in Bengaluru.

Gowri, who was in Mysuru recently, in a tete-a-tete with Express, sharing her views said: ‘We have to follow our neighbour China and also Kerala State in popularising ancient Indian medicines, which are on par with western medicine. Those who are proven to be experts in this field should be identified and their works should be documented. Some are experts in treating orthopedics while others in treating diseases related to liver and  kidney disorders, diabetes etc. They should be identified and their knowledge should be imparted to youngsters.’

‘Government should promote people to grow medicinal plants by setting up more Ayurveda Vana’s in state. Farmers should be promoted to grow medicinal plants on lines of Kerala by providing them with subsidy. This will help to protect ancient medicine treatment, and handover the same to next generation. Due to increasing deforestation, restriction of entry inside forests, depleting forest cover has become a major problem. Already most of the medicinal plants have become extinct. If same continues, we lose plants forever which have so much medicinal value.’

Talking about role of People, she said: ‘Most of the Indian herbs are exported to foreign countries, who make medicines and supply back to India. Our people should learn to make medicines and make them available for people at affordable cost. There is need of educating our youngsters to identity these medicinal plants. People should develop small gardens in their houses and prepare medicines for cold, cough, and other small ailments, and also to develop immunity and resistance power in the body.

While, further going down the memory lane she said: ‘My grand father used to take me with him and taught me the names of various medicinal plants and their uses. It was from there I developed an interest in herbal plants. My goal is to make people aware about the benefits of the Ayurveda. I am happy that I could cure thousands of people over the past three decades.’

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rare artifacts housed at Chamber of Folklore Department

 While science students are provided with well equipped labs to study and conduct research, students of other disciplines lack such facilities and they have contend with only reading books. So in order to give a practical, hands on experience to students of folklore, Dr M Nanjaiah Hogannur, a native of Chamarajanagar, who has come from rural background has converted his chamber into a ‘cultural’ museum.

Dr M Nanjaiah, HoD, Department of Folklore, University of Mysore has collected more than 300 artifacts and has displayed them in his chamber, some of which so rare they have not been seen by many urban students. Apart from folklore students, department of other students to visit his chamber to have a look of the displayed artifacts.

He has started this collection over the past five years in Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagar, Mandya, Ramanagar. Some of things in his collection include millet powdering grinding stone, wooden vermicelli extractor, earthen pots and kitchen appliances that were used decades ago. There is even a 100 year old cradle, bullock cart wheel, fishing basket, agricultural implements and several others.

This apart, cultural and games related instruments which include, tamboori, dollu, flute, harmonium, nagari, mud play toys, and much more displays related to desi games taks the visitors to remind the childhood.

Nanjaiah encourages students to play desi games, prepare traditional foods and play folklore programmes. He opines by doing this the students can understand what they study in the text books and understand better. He says other departments should also house related artifacts to make students aware of reality. He says his intention is to set up a cultural lab on the lines of Janapadaloka in Ramanagar.

‘Most of the rural artifacts are disappearing in this times of urbanisation, modernisation. Hardly we find artifacts in rural areas. When we look at the artifacts it reminds the life of a pot maker, farmer, bamboo workers, the songs sung by women folk while powdering the millets using the traditional stone, and much more. This helps the students to understand the rich culture, tradition of the country, and gives a picture of village attire,’ adda Nanjaiah. 

Folklore diploma student Pramila Joshai said: ‘The exhibits helps us to know the culture and life style of our older generation. In these modern times it's hard to imagine how they were living. Most of the artifacts displayed are based on our syllabus. The mini museum shows our culture, tradition.’

‘If we visit our HoD chambers we wont find computers, electronic gadgets. He has made use of the entire chamber to house the artifacts. This museum shows us the actual reality where we feel we are entering a village when we stepin the chamber. We had never seen few of the artificats being displayed here. Soon we enter the chamber we can feel the essence of rural life,’ said Nanjamma, another students.

‘Their syllabus covers subjects on folk songs, folk rituals, agricultural rituals amongst several others. The museum helps to know the folk and village culture,’ adds researcher MN Dinesh.

Department of Folklore was opened in 1974. There are 23 students enrolled for Master's Degree (MA) in the first year, along with 30 students pursuing Doctorate and 20 Diploma students. The students have won state level award in folk art dance competition.

The oldest gymnasium of Mysore has a history of 76 years

One of the oldest gymnasiums started in Mysore in 1941, even before India became Independent, is functioning even today. The other interesting part is that the gym is run by an octogenarian, which was started by his father YVN Iah. 

Though people are familiar with modern day Gyms which started over the past decade, the ‘Apollo Gymnasium’ has been functioning silently in Vidyaranyapuram for the past 76 years, training lakhs of people in body building and fitness with tag line ‘Earnestness-Concentration-

Energetic and dynamic 80-year-old Y Nagesha Rao is the tutor. He wakes up daily at 4 am and keeps the gym ready for the students who start coming in by 5.30 am. He himself teaches every day around 250 students. He watches them closely for three months, studying their body fat, muscle structure, bone strength and then imparts training.

The students enrolled at gym come from all age group from 16 to 80 years. Most of them who are coming to gym for the past four decades and there are instances where Nagesha Rao has taught two successive generations. Those who have underwent training with five decades ago are presently sending their wards. He maintains strict natural diet without resorting to any steroids and muscle enhancing boosters.
The gym was started by his father YVN Iah at his residence in Chamundipuram in 1941, with 15 students for a monthly fee of Rs 3. His passion towards educating the people about fitness was so strong, he purchased a 40x40 site and built a gym, and started imparting training. His intention was to train people to acquire good health , which he felt was more important than acquiring wealth.

Today it is being looked after by Nagesha Rao, a retired physical education teacher at a private school, who was helping his father and today has dedicated himself completely to training students after his retirement in 1964. He is following his fathers footfalls and imparting training.
Over the past seven decades the gym has trained more than 1.5 lakh students and some of them who have undergone training under him have won gold and silver medals in weight lifting and best physique award in district-state and national levels. The fees is so low, he charges just Rs 60, with the only intention that all walks of people should afford to get trained for a good health. The fee was enhanced to Rs 60 in 2014, which was tell then just Rs 20.

The gym has no such facilities, like one can find in this modern days air conditioned gym. One can get to see only the barbells, Dumbbell, pulling machine, single bar, double bar, old mirror. Each of the gym equipments has his own history of decades, but teaching is imparted very scientifically by Nagesha Rao.
Sharing his opinion with Express, Nagesha Rao said: ‘This is not a traditional ‘Garadi Mane’, but a regular gymnasium. My father was student of KV Iyer, famous writer and fitness freak. I was just three years-old when my father started his gym. I love training and it gives me immense satisfaction and happiness. Imparting training is equal to touring ‘Punyakshetras’ for me, and I find solace in this.’

‘There is this popular misconception among people that better body can be built only by eating non vegetarian food and taking excess proteins, which is not true. There is no short cut to build body. One should work hard and build body, but not by intake of rich protein foods, which might cause side affects,’ he added.

‘Without taking anybody's assistance he imparts training alone. Now a days some of the regular students teach the new comers, but monitoring of all trainees is done by master. There are instances old students after a decade have come back and rejoined the gym. I am also undergoing training for the past 51 years in the gym, and even today my health is very fit and I don’t have complaints of what other people of my age normally complain,’ says  76-year-old S Basavaraju, who works out daily for one and half hours and has recently won gold medal in the below 66 kgs weight and above 70 years Master’s category.

‘Have hardly missed gym. By daily engaging in exercise there will be lot of energy, and makes us to be active always. Those undergoing training here don't complain of age related problems. Without taking any tablet we are very healthy and active. He guides us thoroughly and undergoing training under him itself is a bless. There is perfection in his teaching. He teaches with a dedication’, said Mahendra, an physically handicap who is practicing in gym since three decades.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Environmentalist turn red over the proposed development works in Kukkarahalli Lake

Environmentalist have turned red over the proposed development works in Kukkarahalli Lake. The University of Mysore and Tourism Department has planned development works in the Kukkarahalli Lake, such as widening walking path, raising lake bund, construction of toilets and shelters for walkers, vehicle parking, modification of entrance, Kuvempu Vana, orchidarium, butterfly park and children park. Added to this, desilting of the lake has been taken up. Once the lake is ready, plans are on card to introduce boating and promote tourism on lines of Karanji Lake.

Environmentalists say the proposed development works might adversely affect the ecology of Kukkarahalli Lake and desilting of the lake will cause irreversible damage to the water retention capacity of the lake, and convert it into a dry depression.

Mysore Grahakara Parishat Member Retd Major General SG Vombaktere said: ‘Desilting has to be stopped immediately, as it will damage the lake irreparably. If silts are removed the water will drain away from the lake. There is no guarantee the rains will come. Even though we receive rains, the rain water does not come into the lake properly with rainwater inflow channel are blocked.'

Stating taking decisions unilaterally is not good considering the development of the lake, he said we have to think about damage to the environment and lake. 'The other proposed development works has to be discussed before implementing. We are not against the development works, but development should be in a right way,’ he added.

Environmentalist Vasanthkumar Mysoremath said: ‘Kukkarahallilake receives 10 lakh liters of backwash water form Vani Vilasa water works everyday. Apart from taking ‘unneeded’ development works there is a need of setting up a sewage treatment plant and the waste water has to be handled scientifically and released them into lakes to recharge the water bodies. There is no rains and we are facing severe drought. Desilting will spoil the lake, and its him time to save this heritage lake of Mysuru we should not take some of the proposed development works.'

Another Environmentalist Tanuja said: ‘Already the existing walking path is adequate and no need of rising it further. Hundreds of birds housed in the lake will be disturbed by taking up development works. The lakes goes dry if desilting is done, and flora, fauna will be damaged. There is need of thinking scientifically and protecting the water body. A citizen movement will be taken up in days to come to protect the lake.’

Kukkarahalli Lake Protection Committee Convenor Dr KM Jayaramaiah said that ‘the development works will be taken without causing any damage to the beauty of the lake. Desilting is being done near entrance of East and West Gate (Crawford Hall backside and Senate Bhavan opposite), where the land has gone completely dry already. By desilting the storage capacity of the lake can be increased.’

Anyways, a team of environmentalists have written a letter to DC Randeep and UoM officials seeking immediately to halt the desliting works. They have planned to stage protest in next week, if the ongoing development works are not stopped.

The Lake Development Authority and Tourism Development Corporation had released Rs 3 crore for the development of the lank. The development works were started in 2012 . The last phase of the development works at the cost of Rs 1.40 crore is ongoing in the lake, which is expected to complete by August 2017. 

MoU singed
There was a comprehensive conservation plan for the lake, prepared in 1999. The plan was handed over to the then VC of University of Mysore by the then Deputy Commissioner. In May 2002, an MoU was signed between UoM, MGP, Mysore Amateur Naturalists, Center for Appropriate Rural Technology. As per the MoU, any plans will be ‘comprehensive conservation plan’ and will be referred to all for future developments. Whereas, without discussing with any, the works have been taken up in lakes, and its said to be not according to the plan. The UoM VC has to look into this, say concerned citizens.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Citizens irked over ‘unconstitutional’ decision of MUDA

The decision of Mysore Urban Development Authority to rent Bannimantap Grounds for private parties to conduct functions on a condition that non vegetarian food should not be cooked nor served has met with a strong opposition from concerned citizens, rational thinkers, and writers. 

Labeling the Bannimantap ground has a ‘sacred’ ground, as dasara related activities are held, and Banni trees are in the premises the decision has been taken by MUDA. The people who prepare non vegetarian food are disappointed lot with such ‘unconstitutional’ condition. Though they wish to host the event at the Bannimantap grounds, the condition has become a major set back. 

Sharing their views with Express over the ‘undemocratic’ decision of MUDA, Political Analyst Prof Muzaffar Assadi said: “If Bannimantap grounds is sacred it should not be given to any private parties, as its sacredness will be lost. In future alcohol will be served, will it not spoil the sanctity?. The decision is against the culture of the people. Even Goddess Chamundeshwari oppose the decision and says non vegetarian is my culture follow it. Either they should rent for both vegetarian - non vegetarians without, or let them not rent the land for anyone.’ 

University of Mysore Prof Maheshchandra Guru said: ‘Bannimantap is not a sacred ground. Its just an another public place, similar to Dasara Exhibition Grounds, Open Air theater and it belongs to people of all walks of life and all religions.'

'The decision of MUDA is a unconstitutional and highly objectionable. It appears the decision has been taken motivated by certain fundamentalists. MUDA should immediately withdraw its decision, which is against the constitutional norms, and laws of nature justice, and allow people to have food whatever they wish. Or else, we agitate against this undemocratic decision,” he warned. Continuing he added, “Dividing people from the society on the basis of caste, religion, food habits is highly condemnable. Majority of the people are non-vegetarians, indigenous people and follow their own culture.”

Rationalist Prof KS Bhagwan said: ‘The condition of MUDA is to intentionally discriminate the people. It appears this is a conspiracy to keep a section of community people outside the social network. Its against the principles of Constitution, and its intents social equality, social justice. Without any discrimination the ground should be given for rent to people of all walks of life, or else should not be rent to any.’

‘There are even vegetarian people who eat non vegetarian food. Even Mysuru rulers were having non vegetarian food, andRamayana Rama, Arjuna and other kshatriyas were also eating non veg food, but all that has been kept in secret’, he quoted.   

Citizen Thomas who had planned to host a event on the ground said: ‘We prepare non vegetarian foods in our function. The decision of MUDA is not welcome. It would have been better if they had used the ground to host Republic Day, Independence Day and Dasara events. If this condition is imposed, I feel most of the community people can never host any events on this grounds.’

Karnataka Dalit Welfare Trust President Shantharaju said: ‘We are confused which government is in power. For the interest of the small percentage of people, majority of the people cant sacrifice their food culture. I condemn strongly the move of MUDA.’

MUDA Chairman Dhruvakumar said: ‘Bannimantap is a sacred place. If permission is given to serve non vegetarians the sanctity of the place will be lost. Thus, we have taken a decision in the regard not to rent out the grounds for those serve non vegetarian foods.’   

Monday, February 13, 2017

The hanging garden of Mysuru​

Living amidst the greenery and hearing the chirping of birds in the urban concrete jungle is a dream for many. But not for Rev Benjamin Vas. The 59-year-old was determined to lead his life this way, so he decided to bring spring into his home by turning his house into a ‘green house’, literally.

The house, with a staggering 8,500 plants covering every inch of space, has become a familiar sight and a major attraction in Gokulam, Mysuru. The two-storeyed house named ‘Jericho’ is built on a 45x60 site. The plants are grown in every nook and corner of the house in discarded bottles, tea cups, tubs, clay pots and small containers.

Benjaminvas has taken the concept of gardening literally to new heights by completely using the terrace for his plants. Creepers and plants grown in pots dangle from the terrace giving the house a cool green effect. The ‘plant planet’ took root in January 2005. What started with hundreds of plants, today boasts of thousands. And the plants attract varieties of birds, where some have started nesting. This apart, he has an  aviary, which houses more than 70 birds.

Hailing from Somwarpet, Kodagu district, living amidst plants was quite natural for Benjaminvas. But when he shifted to Mysuru, he started missing the greenery. Thus he decided to plant trees. Today he has more than 200 varieties of plants grown in his two-storeyed house and has set up an aviary with over 70 birds.

He is doing his bit to save the environment. When one enters his house, one can feel the cool effect because of the natural ventilation. By growing plants in discarded plastic material, he is protecting the environment. Kitchen waste is converted into manure, and he is also saving electricity. He grows vegetables, medicinal plants, and several other plants needed for daily life.

Sitting in balcony one can watch the clourful butteries, squirrels wandering among plants, chirping of birds housed in aviary, and also several varieties of outside birds nested.   He has grown creeper plants on terrace and has made them to grow downwards, so that the house is covered with shades. He says with house covered with greens, there is no need of getting the house paint. He has used trees as the interior reminiscent of houses. One can spot rare birds if they come in morning. Covered with green the house looks very beautiful and gives a feel of freshness.

He says maintaining the plants is not expensive. Once in a week he sprinkles water in the pots and uses organic manure. His wife M H Rietta, a Physics professor at Maharani’s First Grade College, and children Jordanvas and Zion, who are studying in second PUC and Class 10 respectively, help him in watering the plants weekly once and in other chores.

‘We use bio-waste compost, neem oil, neem cakes, egg shells along with manure. So weeds will not grow and insects and flies are prevented,” he said. Hibiscus, rose and seasonal flowers are given to neighbours. Those who know about the benefits of medicinal plants come and collect the leaves. Vegetables are for home consumption.

His house has evoked admiration and curious comments too. “There are instances when visitors ask whether the hanging pots fall down. They are concerned that we might get injured if such an incident happens. Some are curious to know how we hang the pots. Some others look wide-eyed at plants grown in tea cups,” he says with a smile.

Says Kamalesh, a resident, “Once we wanted a medicinal plant, and my friend informed me about Benjaminvas. Was surprised when I visited the house, and saw the love he has towards plants and birds. He not only gives visitors stems, seeds and plants, but also teaches them how to grow and maintain them. I too have started gardening now.”
People aptly call the house ‘Hasiru Chappara’ (Green canopy).

'He has motivated several people to grow plants. Though we shifted out house from Gokulam, we visit the house oftenly and spend some time with birds, dogs, and enjoy the freshness of plants. Sometime we fell more freshness than visiting the parks. Because of Benjaminvas I also started loving points, and started growing plants. It gives a food feel,' said Lokesh, resident of Vijayanagar.

Bejaminv says: ‘Government should study other countries and chalk out measures to increase green cover. Dubai have convered desert area into a beautiful garden, and Mexico city is increasing the green cover through vertical gardening concepts. Following global warming the temperature is increasing every year, and to combat there is need of increasing green cover to bring down temperature. Also, government should allocate a budget for growing trees in urban areas, and every households should set aside some money for conservation of nature and growing trees. This helps to increase the green cover of the city, he adds.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Disability did not stopped him from achieving in athlete

A physically challenged athlete has created a record in shotput and javelin throw. R Manjunath, a resident of Bogadi was afflicted with polio in his left leg when he was just 5 years old (75 per cent disabled). But his disability did not stopped him from achieving.   

Without losing confidence in life he struggled hard to achieve excellence in life. At the age of 6, he lost his father. Being physically challenged, he decided he should become an athlete and started practicing cricket, swimming, tennis, shuttle cock when he was 10 years old. Since 1990’s he dedicated himself to practicing only shot put and javelin throw and today he has to his credit more than 400 medals, of which 60 are gold and 180 silver.

His dream is to set up an Association for Physically Challenged persons and provide them training in various sports and athletics. For the past two years he is travelling across villages to find any physically handicapped persons and motivates them to become athletes for which he extends all possible help to train and make them fit.  

Presently he is training more than ten persons by personally visiting the places where they are residing. Four of them residing near Nanjangud whom he trained have won gold medals, coming 2nd and 3rd place in the sports they took part. For livelihood he has done landry work for several years, and since a decade ago he is earning from gas distribution to households. 

41-year-old Manjunath who can throw a javelin for more than 9 meters and shotput beyond 5 meters, says: “For nearly two decades am practicing javelin throw. My dream is to win gold for country in para olympics. I need support from government. There are many talented persons in rural area. Due to lack of financial support, most of them are unable to take part in national and international events. Government should identify talented sports personalities and suitably encourage them.” 

In the last two decades he has never turned back, amidst facing several financial problems. He has represented country twice in international levels, and Karnataka in national levels several times. He has won third price in Indian Masters Athletics Championship 2016 held for the physically challenged. He has took part in several para National sports meet. 

Now, he has been selected to represent India at the World Master’s game 2017 to be held at Auckland, Newzeland from April 21 to 30. He is dedicated to win a gold medal for the country by regularly practicing every day from 6 am to 8 pm. Unable to bear the costs of training, he is seeking financial assistance from philanthropists. Those need to help him can contact 98804 26071.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The festival of harvest turns boon for some homemakers

The festival of harvest 'Makara Sankranti' has come like a boon for homemakers to find a way to earn some money. Some homemakers, maids have earned around Rs 2000 to Rs 10,000 in the last two weeks by cutting ingredients to prepare Sesame (Yellu Bella).
Some of the women have got bulk orders to prepare the Sankranthi Mixture (sesame), while in some cases the house owners have assigned the task to maids and have paid Rs 100 to Rs 200 for cleaning and roasting the mixtures.
Bhagya, resident of TK Layout said that accompanied with four other women they worked continuous for three weeks to prepare 'Yellu Bella' and prior a week to festival they hand over the ready ingredients to a retail shop.

We chop the dry coconut and jaggery into tiny pieces and pack them separately. While fried gram, sesame seeds, ground nuts will be roasted and after deskin peanut will be packed. The mixture will be added with coated saunf (sweet jeerige). For cleaning, roasting, cutting, and packing we will be getting good amount,” added Chandrakala, resident of Vidyaranyapuram.

While, there are some women who make sugar candy at home and distribute to shops and make out some money during this festival. Most of them handover to the shop they place orders, and which will be sold in retail price.

Housewife Geetha says:'Due to lakh of time and need some time to prepare seasam, many prefer readily packed mixtures. With the help of maid I got the mixture prepared and a big relief with once mixture is ready.' Raghavendra, a retail shop owner said that there is good demand for ready mixtures, and he sales around 60-80 kgs of sesame every year.

Hike in price of sugar stem
The cost of sugar cane stem has gone up considerably this time.
Last year the each stem were sold for Rs 15 to Rs 20 depending on the size. While, this years its Rs 20 to Rs 30. About 60 farmers from Hole Narasipur, Hassan have come to city, and have spread over across city to sale the cane.

Ranjit said: 'Every year we come during Sankranthi festival. If we give for middleman the profit margin is very less, thus we directly come and sale the grown cane. Due to drought, we have grown cane using bore water and this time we are selling a matured stem of cane for Rs 30.'

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Kho Kho national champions daily walked miles to practice

This could be another real life example for the just released box office hit ‘Dangal’, only that the hero happens to be a class teacher.

Neither did they have a play ground to practice nor a Physical Education Teacher to train them. But they had one thing in common, the zeal to excel in Kho-Kho which did not let these poor farmers children take rest, till they achieved something big.

Walking for miles at a stretch and practicing in a coconut grove, these rural girls have achieved in kho-kho, making Kannadigas proud. The children hail from a small village named Kuruburu in T Narasipur, studying at the local Sri Nirvanaswamy Gramanthara High School. The team of ten have won the National level kho-kho tournament held at Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh from December 13 to 17 and have brought laurels to State.

Facing several problems along the way including opposition from their own families, they continued practicing relentlessly without giving up. There were instance where the locals discouraged the girls stating nothing can be achieved by playing kho-kho. But, the girls without losing hope have proved their mettle.

K Manjunath who is the Maths teacher in the school, is the inspiration behind the achievements of these girls. When he joined duty in 2008, what impressed him most was the girls chasing each other inside school premises during leisure period. Observing their running skills he arranged a running race competition in school.   

To his surprise he found girls running better than boys. It was then he introduced Athletics in the school. He took the students and helped them contest at hobli, taluk and district level sports events involving running race which gradually ended up in training them in kho-kho. They have dedicated themselves in playing kho-kho for the past six years and have won several local, district-level and state-level tournaments.  

Started with training five members, now there are more than 90 children undergoing practice in the village, and the game has gain wide popularity in the village and neighbouring villages.  

“The entire village recognises us as kho-kho players and  appreciate us more capable from boys. After started practicing Kho-kho we gained physical and mental fitness.
Now our aim is to win the premier kho-kho league to be held in December 2017,” says the winning champs.

Teacher Manjunath says: ‘I was interested to become a kho-kho player from childhood, but could not fulfill my dream. Now, there is no end for my happiness. Its because of their interest it has been possible to achieve in kho-kho. They will be given more practice and we are confident we will win the premier kho-kho league.

Village Head Kuruburu Shanthakumar said: “We are very proud of the achievements of the girls. They have made our village recogonised in National and International level kho-kho tournaments.”

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From Village to national level

The girls have practiced daily for more than four hours in morning and evening at a farm house belongs to Brungesh for nearly five years. By walk they were reaching the farm located at a distance of 1.7 kms from their school.

The management started Vidyadarshini Convent with a small play ground in 2014. The school located at a distance of 1.2 kilo meters from their school, and the girls are practicing in the ground present.

Hailing from poor farmers famililes their economic status are average. Some how couple of them have managed to buy cycles, but even today majority of girls walk miles to practice.

The team of ten who had represented the National-level Kho-Kho- tournament at Chhattisgarh are: R Preethi, P Tulasi, KR Tejaswini, Arpitha, B Chaitra, Monika, N Monashree, M Kruthika, S Vinutha and KE Sangeetha.    

The two girls who studied in the school, KS Meghana and M Veena have won in 12th South Asian Games (Soft Game) held in 2015 in Assam. They had participated against Pakisthan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Srilanka.

Surprisingly the school management have not yet appointed Physical Education Teachers. While, parents say teachers play a major role in carving future for children, and they are proud of Manjunath.