December 29, 2005

New Year Eve Quote

This quote was mailed to me today:

"Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to."
~Bill Vaughn

IISc Attacked

One more cowardly attack on an institution. Yesterday night Intruders had opened fire at the folks in IISC, who were returning after a seminar. One person , Mr.Puri (an IIT, Delhi prof) has died & 4 other people were injured.
Abi, who is with the IISc gives an inside-view of the happenings. Straight to the NanoPolitan blog for the field report.

P.S: One exasperating stuff: The attack happens around 7.15 p.m & the chief minister Dharam Singh is informed abt it. He calls for an EMERGENCY meeting at 10.A.M next day morning. Now, what emergency stuff would be discussed after a good 15 hours? :-(

Update: Dharam Singh says that the IISc campus was chosen as a random target with an intention to create fear. More in the NDTV report

December 23, 2005

Hampi Ruins in India - World Heritage Site

Came across this wonderful site -

Global Heritage Fund is a non-profit, international conservancy to preserve and protect humankind’s most important archaeological and cultural heritage sites in developing countries.

One of their conservation projects is in Hampi. The site has some wonderful photos of Hampi.

Their work is one of the first privately- funded archaeological conservation efforts by an international NGO to receive approvals from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

They list the Primary Threats to Hampi World Heritage -

1. Urbanization and Unplanned Development: Encroaching infrastructure and uncontrolled construction of buildings are a constant threat to Hampi as only 58 of the 550 total monuments hold heritage protection status.
2. Environmental Threats - Stone quarrying, ramped pollution
3. Lack of Cultural Resource Management - Hampi’s future is falling victim to the politics of three major controlling authorities (National, State and District) that work independently and parallel to each other.

The third point is a hard-hitting statement on the current affairs. Sad but true.

December 17, 2005

Welcome Back - Rajdeep Sardesai

Rajdeep Sardesai is back to the tube with CNN-IBN channel. The general news channel will be headed by Rajdeep.

A formal launch party for the new television channel is likely to be held in the first week of Januaray in New Delhi where top journalists from the CNN -- including Larry King -- are likely to be present.

Rediff has more on this.

We are waiting for the show, Rajdeep!

December 16, 2005

30 min Dance Show - 35 Lakhs Payment

It happens only in India.

Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party MP Jayaprada was paid 35 Lakhs (there are some reports that give the number as 40 lakhs) for putting up a dance recital at Lucknow Mahotsav, organized by the state government. The dance program was for 30 minutes.

Hindustani classical music veterans Bismillah Khan, Bhimsen Joshi and Pandit Jasraj had also given performances. The shehnai player was packed off with only Rs 2.5 lakh, and the vocalists for Rs 3 lakh and Rs 3.5 lakh, respectively.

Express had an apt headline to cover this story -
UP dances in fury as Yadav pays Jaya lakhs

Telegraph also reports this.

UP Tourism Minister Kokab Hamid, however, justified the payment to Jayaprada saying she had led a big troupe of artists of 67 people.

AmarSingh has a different song - "not a single paise was paid from state government exchequer but Zee Group, which paid Rs 30 lakh, and Sahara Group had sponsored the Lucknow Mahotsav." Sounds really fishy.

Who said India is a poor country?
People nearby die for want of food ..n ...u have obscene amts of money being thrown away like this. It sucks big time!

December 07, 2005

Sekar Gupta's take on Incredible India's Heritage

Sekar Gupta vents out his anger is a rather "feel-bad" Article on the way our Heritage structures are maintained.
Entire Article - India's Incredible Junk Yards can be accessed in Indian Express.

In June, Indian Express had a series of reports on the various "jewels" of our heritage right from TajMahal to Sun Temple.

An effort worth appreciating !!

Experts from Sekar Gupta's report on Madurai'Meenakshi Temple & Tanjavur's Big temple

"But you walk in through any of the spectacular entrances and chances are you would wonder if you have come into one of the finest temples built in the history of mankind, or a makeshift bazaar. Right along the temple alleys leading to the 12 gopurams you have shops on both sides, selling everything, from the usual curios and souvenirs to buckets, brooms, bags, spices, soaps and oils, shaving brushes, Made in China flashlights, underwear and banyans, almost anything you might need in the course of a day. What, you wonder, is this supermarket doing in the bowels of a temple that now claims, quite deservedly, to compete with the Taj Mahal and others for the title of the seventh wonder?"

thousand-pillar hall - "They have converted it into a museum which is not the ideal thing to do, but acceptable, if only the “museum” looked anything like you’d expect it to be. There are random, poorly labelled exhibits piled into wooden show windows with soiled glazing and decaying sides. You even see one most distressing exhibit, some attire worn by the deity, now fully eaten by termites, a few strands of the clothing still hanging on top of a heap of dust. Sure enough, there is a sign on the window saying, delicate, do not touch! Delicate indeed, it is now dust."

Sekar is bit mellowed down when it comes to hammering Tanjavur -
"you think at least this part is still in reasonable shape. No shops, no squatters, no filth."
"you look at the parikrama where, in typical southern tradition, you would expect to find rows of sculpture in continuous walkways. You do find some sculpture, but mostly you find bags of cement and debris, concrete mixers, other tools and junk. These are areas from where old idols have disappeared, or removed into storage for repair and restoration and meanwhile the ASI is using these as a junk yard instead"

I just hope, the ASI wakes up to the ground realities, atleast for the sake of their own jobs...Comeon...if our heritages crumble & vanish, what will these people be paid for?