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.