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    September 19th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy
    Raju and Geetha at their stall in an exhibition. The stall displays various aspects of beekeeping. photo by author.

    Raju and Geetha at their stall in an exhibition. The stall displays various aspects of beekeeping. photo by author.

    Honey is both the nectar from flowers and a term used to express endearment for someone’s sweetheart. The twain have combined more seamlessly for G Raju, an ace beekeeper from Harati village in Kolar district. What began as a labour of love years ago has turned into a lifetime passion. Travelling across the State, he maintains over 700 beehive boxes in farms, gardens, orchards and backyards.

    Honeybees demand nothing from the beneficiaries except some space where their industriousness could blossom uninterrupted. And in turn, they help the farmers increase the yield through pollination.

    Raju became interested in bees around the turn of the century while working in an apiary in Punjab. Back in Karnataka in 2001, he rented a house in Bengaluru and placed some beehive boxes in the green surroundings. Bees began to hover around and he saw the potential for adding more boxes. A session of training in Bhagamandala in Kodagu led him to take beekeeping as the main source of livelihood. He decided to place beehive boxes in different regions and began persuading farmers to install boxes in their farms.

    Today, he maintains these boxes in places like Hiriyur, Kadur, Birur, Vijayapura, Nargund, Chitradurga and Bengaluru. He extracts 10 to 12 tonnes of honey annually and sells nearly 500 boxes per year. In a standard beehive box, the brood chamber has eight frames suspended from the roof. Generally, a beehive box seller would supply only four frames that would carry the parts of combs attached to them. This allows bees to build their combs in the remaining four empty frames.

    Raju says that a beehive box can ideally yield 30 kg of honey in a year in rural areas. The farmers can extract honey every 20 days while in urban locales, these boxes may yield honey just thrice a year. Yield is generally high between November and March, as this is the flowering season.
    Sunflower has come to be a major crop in farms right from Tumakuru to Vijayapura. In Birur, Kadur and Chikkamagaluru, where coffee estates abound, the bees mainly draw nectar from coffee flowers.

    In the beginning, Raju used to sell the honey to Coorg Honey and Wax Producers’ Cooperative Society at Virajpet. Later, he set up his own honey filtering unit in Bengaluru and secured Agmark certificate for the bottled honey. While he supplies honey to retailers in various towns and cities, he also sets up a stall in events like Lalbagh Flower Show and agricultural fairs.

    Acknowledging his achievement in the field, he was felicitated at GKVK recently. A tonne of honey fetches him nearly Rs two lakh. He says, he spends nearly 20 days of a month in the fields and farms across the State, creating awareness about beekeeping and providing farmers the initial training.

    His wife Geetha is a constant companion in his pursuit in disseminating information on beekeeping. Their knowledge and consummate skills in beekeeping make them almost a mobile encyclopedia on apiculture. G Raju can be contacted on 9494695937.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / by M A Siraj / September 18th, 2017

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    With every Yakshagana performance, multiple versions of Ramayana are created on the stage. | Photo Credit: File Photo.

    With every Yakshagana performance, multiple versions of Ramayana are created on the stage. | Photo Credit: File Photo.

    Scholars discuss versions of the epic and their influence on India and Southeast Asian countries

    In a Kathakali performance staged in 1780 by Kallaikulangara Raghava Pisharoty, Ravana from the epic Ramayana takes centre stage. Set 10,000 years before Rama’s birth, the dance-drama depicts the story of Ravana’s ancestors, the downfall of the kingdom of the rakshasas, the birth of Ravana, his love for his mother and his great tapasya (austerity) to regain the lost glory of his clan.

    The performance portrays Ravana, the villain of Valmiki’s Ramayana, in the most sympathetic light, bringing out the qualities of courage, resolution and strength of character. Rama is nowhere in the picture.

    The Malaysian shadow play Wayang Kulit Kelantan draws influence from the oral folk versions of the Ramayana, which travelled beyond the shores of India. The role of Gods and saints is reduced drastically. Wayang Kulit portrays different versions of Ravana’s origin, including the one in which he is born in the heavens and banished to Earth. There he meets Adam and they divide the world among themselves.

    These and many other versions of Ramayana and their influence on art, culture and social landscape of India and Southeast Asian countries were revisited by scholars at the two-day international conference on Connecting Cultures: Ramayana Retelling in South India and South East Asia, which was held at REVA University on September 14-15.

    Stating that the manifestations of core themes of the Ramayana are complex and in need of detailed research, Dr. Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof from the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, said, “A lot of Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian versions of the Ramayana can be traced back to Krittivasi Ramayan, composed in 15th century Bengal.”

    Malini Saran, independent scholar, presented a paper about the discourse on governance and ethics initiated in the first known Ramayana in Java called the Old Javanese Ramayana. “An emphasis on the spiritual and ethical rather than devotional values of Rama’s story in this version allowed imaginative interpretations, with its content and characters used as an allegory for contemporary situations.”

    Cheryl Thiruchelvam, a PhD scholar from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia, spoke about the emerging art forms, artistic practices, architecture in Malaysia that have origins from versions of the Ramayana. Citing examples of painters Nik Zainal Abidin, Syed Thajudeen and Loo Foh Sang, she discussed how they drew inspiration from Wayang Kulit (traditional puppet-shadow play in Indonesian culture) for their paintings.

    Sessions were also held on retelling of Ramayana within the canon of Kannada literature and its multiple interpretations in the Yakshagana of coastal Karnataka.

    Dr. Purushottama Bilimale spoke about the 60 episodes of Ramayana created by around 40 authors for Yakshagana performances. “All of these episodes are flexible depending on the time of performance, community and the artistes’ talent. Also versions differ in terms of music, poems and dance. With every Yakshagana performance, multiple versions of Ramayana are created on the stage,” he said.

    The conference also deliberated on Ramayana narratives from the Hoysala to Vijayanagar empires, the influence of the epic on sculpture in medieval India such as Pallava and Pandya archaeology and artistic representations throughout India and Southeast Asia.

    Before the conference began, participants observed silence for one minute in memory of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Staff Reporter Bengaluru / September 17th, 2017

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