Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Mysore is the first city to launch it

In spite of the recent technological advances like the mobile phones, personal computers and portable hand-held laptops have made communication simpler, faster and far-reaching with information on finger tips, Television and Radio still continue to play a major role in dispensing community education programmes to the masses in addition to performing their traditional roles of providing infotainment — information and entertainment. For the first time, a community radio service was started in Mysore on a pilot basis some time ago.

The service was started only at select public parks in the city, broadcasting programmes related to education and enter-tainment, which can be heard through speakers installed at certain vantage points in the park. People who regularly visit parks for a stroll to relax and get some fresh air invariably begin to brood over their worries after taking a few steps. If instead the air is filled with lilting music or a few words of encouragement it helps the walkers. This is exactly what the newly introduced community radio services are presently doing.

Community radio broadcasting was first introduced in the city’s public parks at Sanjeevini Park near Kamakshi Hospital a couple of years ago. The residents of the localities visiting these parks can now listen to informative programmes that are being broadcast and heard through speakers just as they stroll around or sit on the benches. In addition to this, awareness programmes on various subjects are also broadcast.

Introducing community radio services in the city was jointly conceived by AIR, famously known as Mysore Akashvani and the Mysore City Corporation nearly 15 years ago and was implemented at a couple of places. But the project failed to take off due to space constraints and lack of dedication in organising and maintaining the setup, resulting in a premature demise.

However, to revive this and give another lease of life for this people-friendly project, Corporators M.V. Prasad and Nandish Preetham are doing good jobs in their wards. One of the city’s oldest parks, Thagadur Rama-chandra Rao park near Chamu-ndipuram Circle, the Snake Park in Vidyaranyapuram and the Ramalingeshwara Park and Sanjeeveni Park, are the three parks that were radio-networked to simultaneously broadcast radio programmes.

As a first step, these parks were cleaned and pruned to enable people visiting these parks to walk around freely. Arrangements were then made to simultaneously broadcast the same radio programme in all the parks. As people walked around inhaling whiffs of fresh air, they listened to the melodious music soothing the strained nerves and making their early morning or late even-ing walks even more pleasurable.

Different programmes are planned keeping in mind the tastes of diverse age group people who visit these parks daily, broadly classified as youth, students, women, elderly and senior citizens. While issues related to health, like medicine and fitness are broadcast in the mornings, entertainment and dramas are aired in the evenings. Classical music, film songs and news are also aired frequently. Thus the programmes that are broadcast cover the entire spectrum of entertainment and information.

Arrangements are also being made to air programmes that sensitise people towards social issues and create awareness about the various welfare measures taken up by the government. Information on various projects implemented by the local bodies like the City Corporation and the Government, educative programmes like maintaining hygiene and cleanliness, timely payment of taxes, keeping the city roads clean, information on waste management and preserving public utility services are some of the programmes that are aired. This also helps in educating people who visit these parks for relaxation.

There are even plans of inviting residents of the locality who have achieved excellence in their professions to deliver talks on this community radio. Professionals from all walks of life including sports, science, politics, social service and others would be invited to give lectures and motivate people. These radio broadcasts not only help talen-ted people to get their due recognition but also help the community to grow with their knowledge and experience.

Due attention is also being given to promote home grown products using this wonderful opportunity. Experts will be invited to give talks related to manufacture of home made products and growing vegetab-les in their backyard alongside some herbal medicines.

Another interesting feature that is being added is the construction of small podiums for holding cultural programmes which are being rented out to local artistes at nominal prices to conduct programmes of their choice. This also helps to nourish and encourage local talents. Arrangements are being made to set up TV screens and beam educational programmes which too serves for the growth of the community.

Garden Speakers

When listening to broadcasts like music, radio talks, sports commentaries etc., outdoors on a regular basis, garden speakers are used. Garden speakers are designed to withstand the harsh elements of nature. They come in various shapes and sizes.

They can be placed quite visibly along the side-walks or cleverly concealed among the flowers and shrubs in the garden or disguised to look like a tree stump or a large rock. The normal practice is to connect several such speakers to a single amplifier with the connecting wires running underground. It was first installed in Brindavan Gardens at KRS.

About Community Radio

Community radio is a type of radio service that offers a third model of radio broadcasting beyond commercial and public service. Community stations can serve geographic communities and communities of interest. They broadcast content that is popular to a local/specific audience but which may often be overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters. Community radio stations are operated, owned, and driven by the communities they serve. Community radio is not-for-profit and provides a mechanism for facilitating individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own diverse stories, to share experiences, and in a media rich world to become active creators and contributors of media.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


When my friends invited me to join them on a trip to a hill named Mullayanagiri, near Chikkamagalur, I immediately jumped at the opportunity, as watching nature has never failed to stop me on my track, making me forget all my worries and miseries for a moment and filling my heart with an indescribable delight. I got into the car anticipating the joy I would feel on reaching the peak. Without wasting time from Chikkamagalur, we directly headed towards Mullayanagiri, situated about 23 km from Chikkamagalur town.

Mullayanagiri Hill lies in the Bababudangiri mountain ranges. Standing at 1930 mt (6317ft above mean sea level), it is the tallest peak in Karnataka.

Having a salubrious climate round the year, it is also one of the most sought-after trekking routes in the State. Though the road to the top of the hill is quite narrow, it is worth taking the risk, simply for the thrilling experience it offers. Fortunately and quite surprisingly, the road from Chikkamagalur to Mullayanagiri is very good. But one has to be careful while driving as the narrow road to the temple makes two-way traffic dangerous.

The roadside route is lush with greenery as there are a number of coffee estates along the way. We traversed right in the middle of the lofty mountains, the aromatic eucalyptus forests, pine, cyprus and the tall silver oak trees clasping the earth preventing from erosion along the fragile slopes.

After driving another 10 km, we arrived at a crossroad diverging along two routes, one towards Mullayanagiri and other towards Bababudangiri where the famous Datta Peeta is located. We took the left taking us to the peak. After traversing a few kilometers, we stopped at a point to enjoy the breathtaking view of the mountainside. It was a double treat to the eyes and soul. The cloudy skies, damp surroundings and the smell of moist air due to the intermittent drizzle made the whole view even more enjoyable. I left that place quite reluctantly with a heavy heart and a feeling that this is where I truly belong.

As our car swerved around the last hair-pin bend, it was getting too difficult to climb the slope even in the first gear. With wide-open eyes I looked at the receding depths, as if enjoying a scene from a Hollywood movie because, while reaching top around two kilometers, there are no boundary walls at the fragile points which makes driving exciting.

Landslides were quite common here, which became severe during rainy seasons, a fallout of massive tree-felling. Going around the hill, one could see heaps of piled up mud and dried waterfalls, all being the result of landslides. Usage of plastic is completely banned here. Warning boards and dustbins are kept side by side to encourage tourists to follow the norms.

Through the fog, I could see the hilltop with people climbing the narrow steps. Within a few minutes we reached the top to the base of the steps. It was a pleasant half-an-hour drive from Chikkamagalur to the Hill, with lush green mountains hearing the cascading sound of the falls from far beyond.

The panoramic view from the top literally made me breathless for a while. We felt like being on top of the world. Watching the beautiful green valleys down below with the cotton clouds playing hide and seek, I simply stood mesmerised forgetting everything. As the vehicles can reach only upto this point, we had to climb barely a few steps to reach the temple at the top. Climbing these steps was easy as the mind, after the drive through the lap of mother nature, had invigorated the body with a new energy. It took approximately 30 minutes to climb, enjoying the nature and its view at each and every step.

Upon reaching the top, I saw a small Shiva temple which gave the peak the name Mullayanagiri, "Mullayya" being another name of Shiva. Watching the small Nandi in front of the temple provided me some relief. I overheard someone saying that near the Nandi there are openings to tunnels leading to caves in the hills, though I didn't see any.

A small hillock in the temple compound is considered the highest point in Karnataka. It is an ideal place for watching sunset. It is said that on a clear day one can even get to see the Arabian Sea from the top of this hill. Though there are quite a few other hills nearby, there are no motorable roads and one has to climb to reach the top.

Taking a little detour on the way, one can visit Sitalayyanagiri, also a Shiva temple where there is a water spring with water flowing round the year. Also, we can visit Bababudangiri. All along this route there are no good restaurants, so it is better if one ate heartily at Chikkamagalur or pack some food items before heading for the hills.

One can thoroughly enjoy the experience of the caprices offered by the exotic flora and fauna by climbing this hill. Visiting Mullayanagiri will stay in my memory forever.

Routes to go to Karnataka's tallest peak:

From Bangalore: Bangalore - Tumkur - Arasikere - Kadur-Chikkamagalur (255 kms).

From Mysore: Mysore - Hassan - Belur - Chikkamagalur (180 kms).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Will the officials ever look into this?

Mysore, Nov. 30 (KR)- Four months ago, SOM had published an article titled Is it a school or a grazing ground? about the sad state of the Government Primary School in Jayanagar close to ISKCON tem-ple in city. However, the school continues to be in the same sorry state without any measures being taken to improve the conditions.

The authorities concerned have turned a blind eye to the sheep and cattle grazing on the school's grounds, which sometime wander into the classrooms. Intermittent rains have encouraged further growth of weeds and shrubs in the school grounds, providing fodder for cattle and sheep. The fact that the school does not have a compound wall further adds to the problem. In the morning, the ground is being used as an open toilet. In fact, as the school lacks toilet for the students, they too make use of the grounds.

With the mandate of providing quality education both under the Right to Education Act and the State Gover-nment's own primary education policy, the local autho-rities do not seem to be interested in encouraging educational activities in government schools.

According to the residents of the area, the MCC Zonal Assistant Commissioner and his staff have made no attempt to look into the matter. Sources in the DDPI say that the area officer should look into this. But this has not been done. The Area Corporator too seems to be oblivious of the school's mismanagement.

The school is primarily meant for underprivileged children. About two years ago, nearly 20 guntas of land was allotted for this school by the Government. But infrastructure work was not taken up. Though it is compulsory that every school must have a playground, the children are deprived of the opportunity. The Department has not even bothered to supply sports materials.

In spite of the school being located on the main road, there are neither traffic signboards nor zebra crossings. With heavy vehicles plying on the road, teachers help students to cross the road in the evenings. When this is the condition of the school, how can the student strength increase? Very soon this school too may be closed like the Lakshmipuram School. Presently, this school building has four blocks constructed in association with Mysore Round Table India-21. The DDPI's office told SOM that three months ago they had sent a letter to MCC requesting funds for construction of a compound wall and toilet, but till today they have not received any response.


Pottery dates back to pre-historic period. The pots were then handmade, burnt in open fires and generally served the purpose of carrying grains, water as well as storing seeds. Shortly thereafter, these pots were used for cooking. In the modern times, pottery has acquired the status of an art. Pottery can be classified under three forms — earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. Together they are called ceramics, which explains why potters are often referred to as ceramic artistes. Requiring tactility and involvement, a good ceramic artiste understands the tricky relationship between humans and clay. Clay can be temperamental and the act of shaping, heating, hardening, cooling and glazing take a lot of practice and patience to get it just right.

Clay, which is naturally available, has an earthy colour that can be altered by experimenting with the kind of clay used, ingredients added and by varying the temperature at which the artifacts are fired in a kiln. There are several steps involved in creating a ceramic piece and entire volumes have been written about the intricacies of this most ancient craft.

Pottery has made a big comeback in recent years with both men and women discovering the fun activities their parents once enjoyed in the '60s and '70s that also included sewing, knitting and woodworking. It's become big business too.

Handmade pottery comes in various shapes and sizes. They may be functional or decorative items. Clay pottery is decorated in several ways and some of the popular methods employed for pottery design are glazing, painting, engraving, carving, metal plating, varnishing and using glittering and colorful threads, beads and shells.

Whether working with hand by moulding pieces or on a potter's wheel, creating a ceramic piece can be a lot of fun. Bhuvanesh Prasad, a potter from Rajasthan has displayed his pottery works at Gandhi Shilp Bazaar at Urban Haat in Hebbal which concludes on Dec. 5. The humble artiste has lost count of the number of awards he has received for his excellence in pottery. In fact, his entire family is into pottery and have received numerous awards. "Both my parents are national award winners for craftsmanship and pottery. My mother is the first woman in India to win a national award in this field," says Bhuvnesh proudly.

Girirajji, father of Bhuvanesh, has even bagged the Shilp Guru Award from President Pratibha Patil.

What makes Bhuvanesh's pottery unique is that he doesn't use any chemicals or oils while giving them the finishing touch.

"My pots are made from natural terra cotta. For additional strength, crushed stone powder is mixed with terra cotta which makes the pots more durable. The finishing and glazing are not made using oil or chemicals. Instead, the surface of the pots are scrubbed with small pieces of stone picked up from sea-shores which gives them a natural sheen."

"I have displayed my art works in Dubai, Australia, Germany, France and several other countries and I feel very happy to exhibit my talent in this cultural city," says Bhuvanesh has created a 10 ft. tall pot using only clay which received a national award from former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

"I received the award in 2002. In 2005, I also won the UNESCO South Asia 'A' Grade Certificate in pottery from the Textile Minister," says Bhuvanesh. Winning national awards has probably become a family tradition in Bhuvanesh's case.

Not all his works are mere art pieces to be kept on display in showcases but can be used daily life too. "I have even made clay chulas and handis for those who still cherish cooking in the traditional way. Food when cooked in clay pots requires less oil," informs Bhuvanesh keeping today's health conscious people in mind. Some of his other creations are birdbaths, birdhouses, plant pots and foot scrubbers all made of clay. The price tag ranges from Rs.20 to a whopping Rs.1,20,000.