Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Sepulture of the Kannada scholar Basappa Shastry lies in ruins

The Sepulture of the Kannada scholar Basappa Shastry lies in ruins

It is a matter of pride that the princely State of Mysore during the reign of Sri Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur had adopted a state anthem, 'Nadageethe', that is even today offered as a prayer in some temples. But many may not be aware that this famous hymn beginning with the lines, "Kaayow Sri Gowri Karunalaharee...." praising Goddess Gowri was composed by a great palace scholar and litterateur named Vidwan Basappa Shastry (1843-1891).

So impressed was the King that he himself composed the music taking the help of Band Master Bartlus and court musician, the famous Veena exponent, Sheshanna. This Nadageethe would one day become an integral part of the daily prayers for the Kannadigas, so much so, that even school children sang it daily in the morning before the beginning of their classes.

Earlier on every occasion when the King visited a public function the song was sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments just as the King entered the venue and once again when he left. In those days one stanza of the song was being sung at every public function.Only after singing this, two lines of the British national anthem was sung.

Basappa Shastry, a great scholar in both Kannada and Sanskrit, was bestowed with the title 'Abhinava Kalidasa'. When he was 18 years old he composed 'Krishnarajabhyudaya' in praise of the then ruler of Mysore Sri Krishnaraja Wadiyar and later became a tutor for Chamaraja Wadiyar. He later became the court scholar and Chief Priest (Rajapurohit) of Mysore Palace. In all he wrote 28 scholarly works of which 11 were translated and the remaining 17 were independent works of his own ( 5 in Kannada and 12 in Sanskrit).

But it is extremely unfortunate that his entombment place is today lying in a dilapidated condition, with weeds growing all over the place in main road of Mysore-Bangalore Road, next to LIC office in Bannimantap.

The cement pillars blocks have been fallen, with his name painted 'Sri Abhinava Kalidasa Basavappa Shastrigala Smaraka Bhavana' on one of the cement slabs is all that remains as a mute testimony of this once great scholar.

His grave has become a meeting place for gamblers and dunkards who frequent it everyday. The place needs to be cleaned, covered with green lawn along with a stone tablet inscribed with the famous devotional hymn that was once sung as a State Anthem. The civic authorities should clean this place and make it a beautiful monument as a remembrance for our future generations and save our heritage.

Speaking to Express Resident of Bannimantap Hema said that `corporations is planning to protect historical monuments but has failed to protest the great scholar memory. At least the officials should come and clean this place once in 15 days.

Fusion of Tanjore and Traditional Mysore painting by Anand

“I am not merely passionate about painting but for me it is a means to attain perfection and I enjoy the spiritual dimension in it," says Anand, a dexterous artist who creates wonders in both Mysore traditional and Tanjore style of paintings by using water and oil paintings.

39-year-old artist MS Anand started his career as a commercial painter, he later, switched over to the traditional Mysore style painting as he noticed the art was gradually vanishing with very few practicing it. He has mastered it's technique and style so perfectly that he has even begun to experiment with it expressing his new ideas but always remaining within the boundaries of tradition. He uses 22K gold foil for his paintings.

After completing Bachelor in Fine Arts at CAVA, he has did diploma in Tanjore style of painting at Chettinadu and thereafter he learnt Mysore traditional painting at Chennai Ashram. Having made up his mind to popularize traditional Mysore style painting, he has completely dedicated himself on it for the past 16 years. His paintings have already won seven Dasara awards and several State awards.

According to Anand, painting in the Mysore style is still done today abiding by the rules and customs being followed since decades, like for example, most artists don't dare to paint eye lashes in their paintings for fear of violating the tradition. But Anand stands apart from the rest, creating his own style, by painting smiling faces with eye lashes in all his paintings.

He has a number of students from abroad coming from England, USA, Yugoslavia, Scotland, Australia, Japan and Thailand learning the miniature style of Mysore and Tanjore paintings at his residence located on Kshetraiah Road in KR Mohalla. So far Anand has taught more than 600 students and feels happy to pass on his knowledge to others.

After learning the art in a span of just 40 days, most of his foreign students have purchased two to three paintings to carry it back to their country, says Anand who has sold around 1200 paintings so far. The size of the painting starts from 12x15cm to a maximum of 24x30cm.

Most of his paintings are of Gods and Goddesses like Ganesha, Shiva, Radha Krishna, Venkateshwara, Durga, among which is also a portrait of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. His master piece works are Vamana Avatar and Virata Vishwaroopa.

He is also good in photography. So far he has auctioned about 300 paintings and has donated the proceeds to NGO. Apart this, he holds free training camps and dreams of making life-size paintings. Anand is assisted by his wife Devi in the embossing works.

"Mysore traditional paintings are in great demand in places like Mumbai and Tanjore. But unfortunately the art is vanishing in Mysore. Government should recruit teachers to teach the dying art,' says Anand.

This 10-year-old wants to create awareness on ecological agriculture

Here is a child prodigy who has made the best of circumstances and opportunities available around her at the early age and as made a mark.
Masanagari Mayuri, a ten year old village dalit kid residing at the Deccan Development Society in Hyderabad has made two documentaries, Dhanwarlo O' Avva (A grandma in Dhanwar) and Naa Chenu, Naa Cheduvu (My Farm, My School), when she was just eight years old !

Her first film Dhanwarlo O' Avva has already received wide applause from several people across the country. It was premiered at Vibgyor International Film Festival held at Thrissur in 2009 while her second film, Naa Chenu, Naa Cheduvu was selected for the opening film at International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT).

Armed with a notebook, hanging a still camera to her neck and a video camera in her hand, she is in city to attend the one-day meet on 'Mysore Heritage City – GMO Free city' organised by SAGE on August 27 at 5.30 pm at SP Bhat Auditorium.

Born into a Dalit family, her parents Narsimlu and Punyamma are landless farm labourers in Mayuri of Pastapur village in Medak District of Andhra Pradesh. She is studying 6th standard at the Government Primary school in her village.

When Express questioned her as to what attracted her to make a documentary, she said that it was interest in agricultural that motivated her to make a documentary and click pictures.

Speaking about her documentary of 80-year-old woman she said, "In 2009, during my winter holidays, I visited the farm house of one Ratnavva in Dhanwar village with my camera. Watching her grow various types of vegetables and crops in her farm, as she never bought anything from the market, the thought of making a film about her occurred to me." and added thoughtfully after a pause, "How nice it would be if all of us were like her."

`While working for my next documentary, `Naa Chenu, Naa Cheduvu', I regularly visited the farm every week, observing and recording everything, from the time it was sowed to till the time it was harvested. There were many things I didn't understand as the crops grew in the fields, but I took the help of my grandparents and began to learn about the crops.'

Naa Chenu, Naa Cheduvu is a good example of how ordinary common knowledge can be explained in a simple way, especially for kids of the present Internet generation also called Generation, without depending on the elders, novel ways of educating rural children, making their own farmlands into practical workshops supplementing with what they read in the text books.

Explaining how she learnt to operate a video camera at such an young age, she said, `I learnt how to handle a digital camera when I was four years old. I began shooting pictures of people and things around me. I wrote photo essays for fun in the beginning, but later as the quality of photographs improved, I began taking it seriously.'

`As my aunt Chinna Narsamma is a pioneer filmmaker, while my uncle Yesu is a video editor they taught me all the necessary things. I spent most of my childhood playing in the editing room of the Community Media Trust started by my aunt and her friends, all of which helped me in my endeavor,' she said and added, "First I learnt how to operate small video camera and during weekends, I learnt how to make short two minute video clips."

Mayuri aspiring to become an agriculture journalist want to create awareness on ecological agriculture and interested in photography. In the meanwhile she is also learning vocal and Hindustani music.

Raja Marga still a distance dream to Mysoreans

Work has come to halt on the city's ambitious project
With Mysore Dasara fast approaching and the city sporting a heritage tag, the number of tourists visiting the city to witness the Nada Habba has been steadily on the rise year after year. But is the city geared up for hosting this annual event. All repair works that are being undertaken are going on in a snail's pace and neither the City Corporation nor the District Administration seem to be worried.
It was during last year's Dasara that the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) had prepared an ambitious project to develop the stretch of four kilometer road between Hardinge Circle and Bannimantap to be converted into a 'Raja Marga' (Royal Path) and took up the road widening work in Bannimantap, but with another Dasara fast approaching the work on the road is far from completion. They have not even bothered to clear the heap of debris lying on the side of the road for over an year.
`To make Raja Marga, road widening work began last year. But the officials have neither completed the road nor have cleared the debris. During night the commuters have to step very carefully. Specially if they are accompanied with children its more dangerous,' says Lakshmi an employee.
No 'Raja Marga' for this Dasara: Raikar
Though work on the Raja Marga between Hardinge and Chamaraja Circles has been going on for the past several months, the work has not been completed for this year Dasara.
District in-charge Minister SA Ramdas had announced completion of Raja marga connection Chamraja circle and Hoarding circle before dasara nothing concrete has taken shape to keep up the assurance . There are no proper parking facilities for the tourists coming in their own vehicles or hired buses as the proposed parking lots at several places in the city are still on the drawing board.
When Express contacted City Commissioner Commissioner KS Raikar, he said that during Dasara portion of Raja Marga will be kept open for commuters. He further added that the present design for the stone barricade is expensive and the Corporation is trying to find other companies to get done the work.
`To make Raja Marge before Dasara, all traffic was diverted resulting in lot of hardship for the commuters. If the work has not complete means that all the time and money spent on working on this road in addition to the fuel lost while commuters had to take circuitous routes to reach their destinations has all gone waste,' says Auto Drivers Venkatesh and Mahadevappa.
'Knowing their responsibilities the concerned authorities should work for the development of city, but the civic authorities are only worried about getting awards. Not a single road in the city is in good condition. The authorities have failed to maintain good road at least in Dasara Procession route, said Senior Citizen Govindappa.

Bicycle track before Dasara

In a bid to keep heart of the city free of pollution and reduce the traffic density, plans have been from JNNURM Task Force to introduce Cycle Track in the Heritage Zone before this Dasara. The Cycle Track will pass through the 30 heritage buildings including the Amba Vilas Palace.

Urban Development Department Secretary Shivakumar said that Bicycle Path in city will be a pilot project and the paths have been divided into three classes like Bike Path, Bike Lane and Bike Route.

Bike Path will be Completely separate from traffic, while in Bike Lane a separate lane will be set aside and in Bike Route purportedly city streets will be connected from one place to another.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Uttanahalli Temple needs basic facilities

Sri Tripurasundari Amma Temple famously known as Uttanahalli Temple, which is situated about 7 km from Mysore city amidst greenery, which attracts hundreds of devotees needs basic facilities.

The Goddess Tripurasundari said to be as sister of Goddess Chamundeshwari. Some people offer animals for sacred and prepare food and discard the waste materials here itself.

If one visits this temple, can have a look how the temple is surrounded with garbage. When the wind blows the discarded leaves spreads throughout surrounding places, polluting the whole area. When it rains the garbage gets decomposed and emits bad foul.

There is a small water tank constructed in temple premises and most of the people use that water for cooking, washing, cleaning and eat the prasadam in the temple premises itself.

There is no proper dustbin throughout the temple premises and the garbage has been pelted with discarded eating leaves throughout the temple premises. When wind blows the dry leaves mix with wind and spreads across the small village where a section of people living.

Speaking to Express, Devotee Venkatesh said that `city is growing and numbers of people visiting this place is also increasing. This is the mean time, the authorities should come forward make arrangements to clean this surrounding places at least once in a week.

Villager Rukmaniam said `after having food as its open place most of the people through eatables and leaves there itself inviting domestic animals. There are incidents where domestic animals have been given treatment for eating these garbage.

`As the temple is situated below Chamundi Hill and out of city skirts, we can experience a cool and good breeze here. Most of them visit this place to have good breeze it self. But now-a-days when the wind blows we experience dust rising. Officials should place dustbins here and clean the premises at least once in a week,' said another devotee Prakash hailing from Mandya.

Reduce slipper charges

`Apart from cleaning, on rush days additional buses should be ply here specially on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. For slippers the tender persons are collecting Rs 2 per pair which is not fair. If we visit ten number from family we have to pay Rs 20 which is quite expensive.

WeMove Theatre’s Namma Metro

WeMove a theatre troupe formed in early 2010 comprises mainly youth in their twenties. They have so far staged eight plays and ‘Namma Metro' will be the ninth. One of their previous play was ‘Malgudi Daze', based on an adaptation of R K Narayan's Malgudi Days.

Their latest play ‘Namma Metro' is about life in Bangalore, a city that has changed rapidly due to globalization and urbanization, but still retains bits of old charm. The play revolves around the lives of 4 people who symbolize a cross-section of society living in Bangalore – an old man with communist leanings, a twenty-something techie who is a sculptor, a bank clerk who believes in astrology and a peanut seller who dreams of winning a lottery.

The play opens in a unique style, presenting the characters as ordinary people amongst us we see daily in our lives. A chance meeting of the four on a bench under the shade of a tree, eventually leads to sharing their personal lives detailing their struggles for survival.

Suresh, employed as a bank clerk, works hard to meet his wife's materialistic demands, is unable to come to terms with his daughter's aspirations of becoming a model. The young software techie who aspires to become a sculptor is forced to forego her dreams by an over bearing mother whose sole aim is to get her married off to a guy settled abroad. The peanut seller who recently lost his wife and child in a flyover collapse is fighting to get compensation money from the corrupt government official. The old man talk about his descent in his faith in the Left thanks to a mysterious young man.

The title, 'Namma Metro'chosen for the play works on different levels. It is indeed the story of our metro city, Bangalore. But the play on the words, and its link to the Namma Metro project, becomes obvious at the end of the play. The play ends engaging the audience to think of their own lives as they watch the drama of the ordinary people unfold on stage, agreeing rather implicitly the changing lifestyle of Bangaloreans.

The narrator comments that the characters in the play, though all of them were living in Bangalore, were so engrossed with their lives that they never went a step ahead and thought about how the city they were living in affected their lives. Much like the city's Metro work, the characters' too lived a ‘life in progress'.

Though the characterization appears to be very “typical”, they are certainly endearing, and the audience connects to them very well. Sometimes the characters surprise the audience with their knowledge of what is deemed as ‘not their domain’. On probing deeper, the stereotypes fade away.
The play is a mix of comedy and drama. With perfect co-ordination and flawless dialogue delivery, all roles endear the audience.The dialogues contain plenty of puns and alliterations in Kannada, adding to the amusement of the audience.

The soulful title song, Bengalooru Badalagu Chooru, is composed by Abhishek Narain with lyrics written by SriHarsha Grama and Abhijit Mahesh. The song is played between scenes to ensure that the play progresses at a fast pace and is closer to reality. The set designed by Hanu Ramsanjeev, makes use of the space intelligently. The centre stage is the meeting point for the characters, while the periphery is used by each character to narrate their stories. The play was written and directed by Abhishek Iyengar.

On Stage: Sri Harsha Grama, Rangaraj Bhatracharya, Nagashree D M, Hanu Ramsanjeev, Madhuvanthi G, Anup Shenoy, Srikanth Bhatracharya, Ranjan Sidappa and Divyashree.

Creating masterpieces with discarded stones

For most of us stones lying by the road side appears like an eyesore and an unwanted distraction, but for this 31-year-old artist it appears like resourceful objects for his artwork. Making use of these odd shaped stones lying by
the roadside, he creates wonderful pieces of art.

AR Manjunath is the artiste who creates sculptures out of stones collected from footpaths and road side curbs. He has created a unique collection of around 35 sculptures, all chiselled and carved and out of pieces of granite, discarded on the roadside. To give final touches for the hard stones, he has even buffed them.

Manjunath who has done MFA in Sculpture (2009) and BFA in Painting (2004), both from the Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) Mysore, has exhibited his artworks several times at Chitrakala Parishat, Bangalore, sculpture camp at Gatta Art Village, Raichur and also at National Sculpture camp 2010 held at Kannada University, Hampi.

He has bagged this year's Karnataka Shilpakala Academy State Award, which was presented to him on May 31 at Ravindra Kalakshetra. Hailing from Bilikere, Manjunath while commuting daily to Mysore for his studies began collecting various types of stones, especially granite stones that were chipped off while making stone slabs for construction works. Working on the collection, he began creating his artworks.

Speaking to Express, he said that ` I was then doing my BFA in Painting. One day on my way to college I noticed people working on bypass road near Belikere. Red coloured stones with splashes of white and black caught my attention. Till then I was working in the world of two dimensional paintings.
The thought of doing MFA in Sculpture occurred to me then when I started collecting these stones.

`Later I worked on three-dimensional artworks in sculpting and started creating object by shaping hard materials and forming visually interesting objects from stone,' says Manjunath.

`The stones available in plenty by the road side is very hard and takes long time to work on it. Finally to give smooth texture to these stones, I have done some machinery work on them,' he adds.

'As the stones available in the market are quite expensive, I never go in search of stone blocks for my artworks, instead, I make use of only those which are available in nature in plenty. I practiced carving stones lying by the
roadside or those left discarded in front of buildings under construction.'

`There are several stones of varying hues and shapes occurring naturally and I have made use of such multi-colour, especially two colour stones, for most of my artworks,' says Manjunath with proud.

While inviting more number of students to come forward and enroll for such sculpture courses, he adds, `Most youngsters of today don't like sculpting, because creating a single sculpture requires patience, hard work and lot of time.'

Sculptures is an important form of art and attract large number of public attention. One should have talent to give shape for discarded stones and use the two-colour stones properly while carving.

In future he plans to continue his sculpting and carving and eventually to open a full-fledged art studio to train artists in making sculptures. Presently he has set up a studio in Vijayanagar.

Manjunath who is equally good in creating paintings, conducts Art classes for children during summer vacation and teaches them about clay modeling, painting, sculpting and drawing.

Jewellery designing has become a much sought after career

Buying in gold jewellery is a much delightful event for Indians. With the prices of gold skyrocketing it has turned out into a good investment option too. Jewellery designing has become a much sought after career as there is a good demand for the jewelery artisans.

Here is a golden opportunity, specially for the physically challenged, who can be trained in jewellery designing. JSS Polytechnic for the Differently Abled JSSPDA has been setup exclusively to provide skilled training to handicapped people who can meet the demand of the ever-growing jewellery industry.

Started in 2001, JSSPDA has now become an integral part of jewellery industry with a large number of students enrolled for the course and trained by well experienced staff. Recently, the Institution was awarded with `The Best Gems and Jewellery Education Institute in Karnataka at the South India Jewellery Show.'

A 3 year Diploma course in Jewellery and Accessory designing was started with the support of World Gold Council, an international non profit organization involved in jewellery production technology and promotional activities with the intention to meet the demands of the industry.

The minimum qualification for enrollment is SSLC. The course is open to all those with creative skills and an interest in designing. The students will be exposed to all the latest technologies in the field, which would be quite helpful to them once they enter the industry.

Computer Science, Electronics & Communication, Architecture, Commercial Practice are the other courses that are being offered apart from the Jewellery Design and Technology for orthopaedically handicapped as well as hearing impaired students.

Techniques such as alloying, stone setting, investment casting, jewellery finishing, gold refining and assaying, gemmology, scrap recovery, workshop management and jewellery marketing are included in the curriculum.

The course helps students to learn the trade, while professionals already in the business can upgrade their skills, keeping in pace with the latest technical developments in the industry.

Another advantage of the course is that it gives a practical classes to students to make ornaments like necklace, bangle, earring, ring and tilak - in silver in the final semester of their course.

The institution is further helping to continue and complete their higher education by providing basic facilities like lodging, boarding, books etc free of cost or sometimes at a nominal fee irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

Prominent jewellers in the industry like Gitanjali, Reliance, Suraj Diamonds and Jewellery, Tanishq, Ganjam Nagappa and Sons, Chemmanur Jewellers, Vouge Institute of Fashion, VIS Park, CKC and Sons, Peakok, Swarnamandir, Senham Jewels are among the regular recruiters for skilled artisans from JSSPDA.

Speaking to Express Principal Nanjundaswamy said that `this is the first polytechnic of its kind in the country to offer a three year duration diploma course in jewellery designing and technology specially for the handicapped, which has a huge demand for students pursuing jewellery design course in the private sector.

SS Shivakumar, Head of the Department said that `About 80 per cent of students enrolling the course being hearing impaired. Students are thought Computer Graphics, CAD, Digital Photography, 3 Dimensional designs, free hand and technical drawings.'

This project helps private firms identify the best students informed Shivakumar and says proudly that a student of the institute, who designed one of the best designs, is now earning good salary and have been settled in Dubai.


Jewellery designing has become a much sought after career

Purchasing glittering gold jewellery is a much delighted event for Indians. With the prices of gold skyrocketing it has turned out into a good investment option too. Jewellery designing has become a much sought after career as there is a good demand for the jewelery artisans.

Here is a golden opportunity, specially for the physically challenged, who can be trained in jewellery designing. JSS Polytechnic for the Differently Abled, JSSPDA has been setup exclusively to provide skilled training to handicapped people who can meet the demand of the ever-growing jewellery industry.

Started in 2001, JSSPDA has now become an integral part of jewellery industry and till date about 124 students have been trained here. About 90 of them have been already employed by reputed jeweler companies in Bangalore, Dubai, Coimbatore and Hyderabad.

Students hailing from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh apart from Bangalore and Mysore are undergoing training here. Computer Science, Electronics & Communication, Architecture, Commercial Practice are the other courses that are being offered apart from Jewellery Design and Technology for students who are either orthopaedically handicapped or hearing impaired.

Techniques such as alloying, stone setting, casting, jewellery finishing, gold refining and assaying are taught in addition to gemmology, scrap-gold recovery, workshop management and jewellery marketing as part of the curriculum.

Prominent industies like Gitanjali, Reliance, Suraj Diamonds, Tanishq, Ganjam Nagappa and Sons, Chemmanur Jewellers, Vouge Institute of Fashion, VIS Park, CKC and Sons, Peakok, Swarnamandir, Senham Jewels are among the regular recruiters for skilled artisans from JSSPDA.

SS Shivakumar, Head of the Department said `About 80 per cent of students enrolling for the course are hearing impaired. Students are taught using Computer Graphics, CAD, Digital Photography, 3 Dimensional designs, free hand and technical drawings.'

This helps private firms identify talented students informed Shivakumar and revealed that a student of the institute, who designed one of the best designs, is now earning good salary after getting employed in Dubai.

Speaking to Express Harish who is working for a Diamond unit in Bangalore, said that `the course is very useful and the advantage is that it gives practical training to students to make ornaments like necklace, bangle, earring, ring and tilak - in silver in the final semester of the course. Apart from this teachers also impart special training explaining technical terms to hearing impaired students with the help of sign language .'

Gone are the days when physically challenged were seen working only in STD booths. Now the days have changed. Jewellery profession doesn’t need much physical effort but only creativity which ideally suits the differently abled. Moreover students who undergo training are comparatively more creative; they fair far better than the normal ones,’ says goldsmith Kumar.

`We get orders only from regular customers as we don’t know computer designing. I think in future there will be no traditional goldsmiths as only trained artisans will be recruited. If our children want to continue the profession in this challenging world I advised to update , says Vinod Shetty another veteran artisan.

To meet the customer demands, new designs is the need of the hour and we cant compromise in business. If people ask for latest designs and keeping our business promotion in mind we have to recruit knowledgeable persons, says Jewellery Mart Owner Nagaraj.