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    Channapatna toys | Photo Credit: S_S_Kumar

    Channapatna toys | Photo Credit: S_S_Kumar

    Karnataka has the distinction of securing the highest number Geographical Indications in the country

    A mobile app that will help artisans promote GI products, easy availability of products on online retail platforms, a thriving brick and mortar marketplace that will showcase the best of what Karnataka has to offer. These are just some of the goals of the Karnataka State Geographical Indications Policy, which aims to promote and market the more than 40 registered GI products from the State.

    From handicraft to textiles and horticulture to agriculture products, Karnataka has the distinction of securing the highest number Geographical Indications (GI) in the country. While some like Channapatna toys and dolls and Mysore Sandal Soap had strong brand recall and a huge consumer base even before getting the GI tag, others are still to find a wider market.

    Gunjan Krishna, Commissioner, Industrial Development and Director of Industries and Commerce, said, “The policy is also aimed at protecting the rights of artisans and farmers as authorised users of the GI tag. For example, weavers of Ilkal sarees are authorised users of GI for Ilkal Sarees. They will have a mechanism as per the rules to initiate action against those who project and market some other saree as Ilkal sarees. We are already working at the ground level to sensitise artisans and weavers as well as consumers on importance of GIs.” There are also plans to increase their visibility on e-tail platforms. “We are already in talks with Amazon, Flipkart and other platforms on how to showcase GI products from the State online,” Ms. Krishna added.

    Udupi Mallige | Photo Credit: handout_mail

    Udupi Mallige | Photo Credit: handout_mail

    The government is also contemplating setting up ‘design clinics’ across the State for the benefit of artisans. On the legal front, the department has reached an agreement with National Law School and other institution on how to protect the interest of GI users at ground level and dissemination of information on GIs.

    As per the police, the State government will come up with a GI facilitation centre (GIFC) to implement all the schemes. The other objectives of the policy include a scheme for product standardisation and implementation of a quality control mechanism.

    S.R. Satheesha, MD, Visvesvaraya Trade Promotion Centre (VTPC), which has been appointed as the nodal agency for the promotion of GI products, said the institute has already facilitated the registration of 126 artisans, farmers and groups as ‘users’, those who produce GI products in the State. “We have already started working at the ground level interacting with the artisans and farmers producing GI products in the State. We have to go a long way in protecting and promoting many of the GI products that have a strong legacy,” said Mr. Satheesha.

    Kinnal toys and wooden fruits | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

    Kinnal toys and wooden fruits | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

    Safeguarding dying arts

    Some GI handicraft like Udupi sarees, Navalgund durries and Kinhal toys have only a few families to carry on the craft as the younger generations have shifted to other more lucrative or sustainable jobs. “Artisans or farmers must get the right price for their effort. That will happen only when consumers are aware of the legacy of the products and how much labour goes into their making. Some NGOs are supporting artisans in promoting their GI products,” Mr. Sateesha added.

    But awareness campaigns are slowly making an impact. He cited the example of some producers GI products like Mattu Gulla (Brinjal) in Udupi district where farmers know the importance of the tag and have taken the measures to protect their interest.

    Listing new products for GI registration

    The policy has also given impetus for new and prospective GI filings from the State. It states that new products which can be explored for registration include Gokak Toys, Vijayapura Raisins, Sagar Sandalwood carvings, Dharwad cotton sarees, Melkote Panche (Dhoti), Lavancha Craft in Coastal Karnataka, Savanur Betel leaves, Belagavi Kunda, Kadakola mats and others.

    Financial assistance

    The policy also talks about giving financial assistance to artisans to showcase their products in national and international fora by absorbing the cost of their (economy) plane ticket up to a maximum of ₹10,000 or reimbursing II Tier AC by Rail when they attend domestic exhibitions or fair. The State government will also provide up to ₹25,000 as stall rent and a dearness allowance for a a maximum of 15 days. For international exhibitions, artisans will get an economy airfare of up to ₹1.25 lakh, stall rent to a maximum of ₹1 lakh, and DA of $100 per day for a maximum of five days.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Suchith Kidiyoor / Bengaluru – August 21st, 2019

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    The award was announced on Independence Day. An elated Prabhakar said that however applying for the award was an ordeal.

    Dr D K Prabhakar, guest faculty, Department of Studies in Telugu, Bangalore University.

    Dr D K Prabhakar, guest faculty, Department of Studies in Telugu, Bangalore University.

    Bengaluru :

    For nearly 15 years, Dr D K Prabhakar, guest faculty, Department of Studies in Telugu, Bangalore University, with his roots in Kolar, has been studying tribal communities. Prabhakar told TNIE that his research was to take the path less trodden, an extensive focus on tribal folklore.

    His study on  Dongra, Chenchu, Sugali and nomadic Koya tribes and their folklore and problems they face has not just shed light on what the government can do, but also won him the Presidential award of Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman for his contribution to Classical Telugu.

    The award was announced on Independence Day. An elated Prabhakar said that however applying for the award was an ordeal. The application was to go in by post in June, and as soon as he was told about it he rushed to the general post office at 11.30pm to make his entry.

    After two months wait, his works got a stamp of approval by the President’s office. However, this is not his first award. He has been the recipient of the ‘International excellence award’ in 2016 for the best monograph and Sri Krishadevaraya National Award, 2015.

    This Kannadiga learnt Telugu literature while chasing his dream of civil services. His love for the language developed over the years, and he completed his PhD in the subject, shedding light on the roots of Telugu language and culture.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Bengaluru / by Pearl Maria D’Souza / Express News Service / August 19th, 2019

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    A view of the Library at The Indian Institute of World Culture at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru. Sudhakara Jain | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

    A view of the Library at The Indian Institute of World Culture at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru. Sudhakara Jain | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

    The Indian Institute of World Culture not just offers a huge library and cultural activities, but an impressive history of committed voluntary work

    A huge hall nearly 100 feet in length is stacked with books running into lakhs on wooden racks. Cooled by ceiling fans on the high Madras ceiling, people of all ages are seen reading journals at the adjoining Behanan’s Reference Library. The building retains the old world charm with wide stairs and thick walls. It houses an auditorium on the ground floor where educational and cultural programmes happen throughout the year. The newly-renovated Children’s library is full of children running around and taking their books for interacting in friendly spaces. This is the Indian Institute of World Culture (IIWC), offering free programmes and activities to the public for more than seven decades now. A model institution run by a strong volunteer-base, IIWC, which stepped into its 75th year in August, was founded with a promise of creating an arena for cultural exchange.

    August 1945, Bahman Pestonji Wadia, the founder-president of the institute and a well-known Thesophist, was extra jubilant as the inauguration event coincided with the message of the World War II coming to an end. “Under this double joy we flag off the Institute of World Culture and we shall move from darkness to light, illumined by culture and knowledge,” Wadia had said, as he launched one of the biggest institutes at Basavanagudi in South Bengaluru. The road named after Wadia after his death in 1958, is now an INTACH-listed heritage building.

    Born in 1881, BP Wadia belonged to the famous Wadia family of shipbuilders from a village near Surat. Inspired by the Theosophical movement, Wadia had envisioned IIWC as a cosmopolitan cultural centre where books, arts and service thrived.

    Wadia’s involvement is said to have been so deep that people had often joked, “if North Bengaluru has the Tata Institute (IISc.,) the South has the Wadia Institute,” says Honorary Secretary Arakali Venkatesh. “IIWC regularly had literary giants as DV Gundappa, VK Gokak, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar and MV Krishna Rao as part of their cultural events and the library during the 1950s and 60s. Its rich history is being preserved for people. And we plan to have a year-long programme of events to mark its Platinum jubilee,” adds Venkatesh.

    The institute’s huge 4000 sq.ft. public library houses nearly 1.5 lakh books which are lent out free of charge, apart from a reading room called Behanan’s Reference Library (named after Dr. KT Behanan who handed a huge collection of classics in 1963) that extends 400 periodicals in various languages. The auditorium hosts public lectures, art exhibitions, film shows, and music and dance recitals. “We have had 150 programmes in a year without a break almost since the inception,” adds Venkatesh.

    Former Justice MN Venkatachalaiah, past president of the IIWC Executive Committee, had wished to update the infrastructure to suit contemporary needs. “He wanted an auditorium that holds nearly 750 people. It is on our cards,” says the present president VJ Prasad adding that IIWC’s first renovation was the Children’s library. “We have ergonomically designed reading stations created for children to enjoy the near 4000 titles we have, apart from reference books and encyclopedias,” adds Prasad.


    All for free
    • People are welcome to donate books to the IIWC library (080-26678581; or become life members by donating ₹5000
    • The main library of IIWC houses 1.5 lakh books on a variety of subjects
    • The institute’s journal ‘Bulletin’ distributed free, has articles and event listings
    • The magazine section has rare collections offering even the first edition of Chandamama of the 1940s; old sets of comics as Tinkle, Champaka, Indrajal and Marvel DC amongst several more.
    • The reading room offers 400 magazines and 30 newspapers
    • IIWC has plans to bring in a fully-equipped auditorium and upscale its building and furniture with public funds


    From the IIWC library that started off in 1947 with 4,200 books and hundreds of people visiting, today the number has increased to nearly 40 times more. Public donations take care of the operating costs. “We have a modest budget of ₹1.5 lakh a month, but work with higher ideals that the founder believed in,” says Venkatesh.

    Speaking about the nostalgia the institute is associated with, paediatric surgeon Dr. Vijayalakshmi Balekundri, Vice President of the committee says, from governors and presidents to Nobel laureates as CV Raman, Ralph Bunche and Julian Huxley, nuclear physicist Homi Bhabha, scientist Vikram Sarabhai, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and the erstwhile royals Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar and Travancore Marthanda Varma had visited IIWC. “The institute has been an epitome of economical functioning, but is generous in imparting culture,” adds Vijayalakshmi.

    Reminiscing about his childhood who spent borrowing books from IIWC children’s library, businessman Ashish Krishnaswamy, a member of the executive committee says, “As a seven-year-old in the 1980’s I had the thrill of borrowing my first book with a library card. From all comics to Ruskin Bond and Jim Corbett’s amazing tales, the library not just offered books but had fun events to offer. We plan to get this going permanently,” says Ashish who has taken a keen interest in contributing funds and having the children’s library renovated.

    The influence

    BP Wadia joined the Bombay branch of the Theosophical Society in 1904, and shifted to its Madras branch in 1907. Wadia later worked in the Home Rule Movement along with Dr Annie Besant and George Arundale, which led him towards starting the first labour union in Indian history. Apart from attending conferences on trade union movement, he came into contact with United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT) founded by Robert Crosbie at the United States and worked for it. Thereafter he founded several ULTs in India and abroad along with his wife Sophia Wadia. “The institute shall remain a non-sectarian, non-governmental, private voluntary body to mainly promote inter-cultural exchanges,” Wadia had declared.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture / by Ranjani Govind / August 21st, 2019

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    The minutest components of a watch can be seen under a microscope in the ‘Parts of a Watch’ section. | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

    The minutest components of a watch can be seen under a microscope in the ‘Parts of a Watch’ section. | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

    ‘When former employees come here, they cry’

    On the afternoon that I visit the HMT Heritage Centre and Museum in north Bengaluru, I meet Rajendra Rao, a project manager, his wife, daughters, and mother-in-law, who have just finished the tour and are now at the tiny souvenir shop that sells watches and miniature tractors. Rao tells me about his first HMT, passed on to him from his father-in-law — a Swarna limited edition watch with an Indian flag on the dial. “I have 16 watches of various brands, but today I bought my own HMT,” he says. “I wish the government had not shut it down. This was the essence of Make In India.”

    Within the nondescript two-storey building — originally the official residence of the HMT chairperson — set in a sprawling four-acre space, lush with a hundred trees, the museum is as much about the story of HMT as it is about the intricate craft of watch-making.

    My tour begins in a brightly lit room with pictorial charts on the walls marking milestones from 1953 when HMT (Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd) was incorporated by the government as a machine tool manufacturing company. In 1961, the foundation for the first watch factory was laid in Bangalore and operations began with technical know-how from Japan’s Citizen Watch Company.

    Within the next decade, more factories were set up across the country, including in Srinagar and Ranibagh in Uttarakhand. There is a photograph of Jawaharlal Nehru receiving the first hand-wound HMT watch, manufactured in 1962, which he famously christened Janata, a legendary name now.

    Up till the 90s, HMT watches enjoyed a golden era, controlling 90% of the market. In 2000, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was presented HMT’s 100 millionth watch. But with the arrival of quartz watches, cheap timepieces from China, and stiff competition, the slowdown in sales began, which was never stemmed.

    A number of iconic HMT models are showcased across a sprawling four rooms. | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

    A number of iconic HMT models are showcased across a sprawling four rooms. | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

    Losing steam

    In 2013 the company reported a loss of a whopping ₹242 crores, and began to lose steam. The watches division was fully phased out by 2016. However, watches are still sold on their website There are still some two to three lakh watches on their inventory, and their wind-up watches are still in high demand.

    “The demand for HMTs was so great that in the 60s, a pledge was made to set up a new factory every year,” says Jayapalan P., who worked at HMT for 30 years in the after-sales department, and now manages the museum.

    I find myself in a room where the watch has been turned inside out. Titled ‘Parts of a Watch’, the display shows every single component that goes into a standard watch: movement pieces, hair springs, screwdrivers, horological jigs, pliers, watchcases, gaskets, dials, even straps.

    There are hand-press machines that ‘coined’ the dials of the 60s’ watches, and the powerful eyeglasses used during assemblage. Jayapalan stops at one display that houses minute-hour markers, watch hands and dials. “This may look simple but the task of placing each component on the dial is exacting and tedious,” he says. And there used to be more women than men working in the assembly section, he says.

    Interestingly, the museum’s display boxes — in bright yellows, reds and greens — are made from the old doors and windows of the HMT school in Bengaluru, which was shut down two years ago. The factory floor has been recreated as well, complete with all the heavy machinery. You can even insert a card into the punching clock as employees would once have done. In fact, most of the machines too are in working condition. Jayapalan points to an antique printing press manufactured by William Notting in 1760. “When former employees come here, they cry,” he sighs.

    Gems and gold biscuits

    On the shelves I spot the elegant Sujata (the first HMT ladies watch); Chandana, circa 1990, with a sandalwood dial ring and sold with a bottle of sandalwood oil to smear on it when worn); Kanchan (apparently every groom had to have this); the Tareeq series (the only one with a date interface); the Gem Utsav series (silver studded with semiprecious stones); and the ‘gold biscuit’ watches (with a gram of gold on the dial). HMT had Braille watches (1970) that came with a Braille handbook — “no one else did this in India” — and ‘nurse watches’ with just a dial that could be pinned to the uniform blouse.

    Photo: K. Murali Kumar

    Photo: K. Murali Kumar

    There are watches commissioned by PSUs and government departments, watches with pictures of gurus, politicians and freedom fighters. Jayapalan shows off his 25-year-old Suraj watch, fully automatic and with no battery. “It works on the movement of my hand,” he says.

    Jayapalan remembers standing in line at 5 a.m. to buy his Janata in 1970. And he spends no more than ₹20 each year to replace the glass casing. “Nothing goes wrong with it,” he says. “Maybe that’s why the factory closed; once you bought an HMT, there was no reason to replace it.”

    Outside, children are taking joy rides on the HMT tractor or buying tiny tractor models. But Shivanand Patil, 24, the young tractor driver, doesn’t wear a watch. “I have my phone,” he says.

    The freelance writer believes that everything has a story waiting to be told

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Society / by Jayanthi Madhukar / August 17th, 2019

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    Bengaluru dance group ‘One Move’s’ kids team represented India in ‘Dance World Cup 2019’ held in Braga, Portugal. The event saw 56 participating countries with more than 6,000 participants.

    India won the second position this year as compared to last year’s fifth position for the same category — ‘Under 14 ‘Hip-Hop duet/trio’. The dancers were Neha and Sampada. Meghan Singhal was placed sixth in the ‘Under 17 Hip Hop Solo (junior category).

    The team comprising of 16 girls and one boy won the fourth position for the ‘Show Dance Category’ where they performed Bollywood and freestyle. In the ‘ Hip Hop group dance, they were placed fifth. Sushil Jay, director and founder, ‘One Move’, says, “After last year, I understood the competition level and prepared my kids accordingly. It is a year of hard work that has paid off. I am extremely proud of them all. We now look forward to next year’s competition. If we clear the qualifying round in India in December, we fly to Italy in June.”

    source: / Deccan Herald / Home> Metrolife> Metrolife – Your Bond With Bengaluru / by DH News Service – Bengaluru / August 13th, 2019

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    Set to be a visual treat for philatelists, the place will also have ancient typewriters, a Bell telephone, lanterns and more.

    Post Office complex on Museum Road

    Post Office complex on Museum Road

    Bengaluru :

    A treasure trove for lovers of the humble post office as well as philatelists is set to open its doors to the public shortly on Museum Road in the city. Spread across six halls and a verandah, the 140-year-old Museum Road Post Office Complex, the venue for Sandesh (Museum of Communication), is an ideal venue to showcase heritage.

    Among the delightful objects you can expect to bump into at the museum are ancient cash bags used by delivery men, the ‘Mail Runner’ belt used as an identity card by postmen, the age-old bicycle used to deliver letters, the huge lanterns carried at nights by delivery men when trudging kilometres across different villages, and the post boxes of different sizes and shapes used over the decades. “A Postal Museum already exists within the Postal Training Centre in Mysuru, but this will be a massive, full-fledged one,” said an official.

    Charles Lobo, Chief Postmaster General, Karnataka Region, told CE, “We wanted to showcase the rich heritage of the postal services to all, particularly the younger generation. The crucial role the post office played in establishing communication between people across the country and the world is being displayed here.”

    The ancient V-SAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) used to send details of the addressee of a Money Order sits imposingly in a separate room. In the main hall where objects are displayed, are placed ancient typewriters, Morse Code equipment, and a Bell telephone. The walls are decked up with laminated photographs. A few – like the floating post office in Dal Lake in Srinagar, and the world’s highest post office at Hikkim in Himachal Pradesh – reveal that every nook and corner in the country has been penetrated by the postal department. The sketches of the General Post Offices in Madras, Calcutta, Bangalore and Bombay decades ago juxtaposed together in one frame is a big eye-catcher.

    A visual treat packed with information is in store for any philatelist. On display are stamps released under different themes, like ‘Birth of the Nation’ and ‘Mysuru Anache’, as well as those celebrating Indian culture, art and architecture, festivals, literature, cinema, Hindustani and Carnatic music, and even Panchatantra.

    Luminaries and objects from Karnataka have been given priority in the display. The background information on each stamp pertaining to the state – the 6 anna Gol Gumbaz, 2 paise Bidriware, 70 paise Hampi Chariot, Rs 15 Sandalwood – is enlightening. Stamps on Kuvempu, R K Narayan and the Kannada Jnanpith awardees are showcased in the Literature segment.

    A modern addition to Sandesh is a 50-seater hall with an LCD screen, where footage pertaining to different aspects of the postal world will be beamed. Entry to the museum will be free and schoolchildren are expected to flock the venue.

    source: The New Indian Express / Home> Good News / by S. Lalitha / Express News Service / August 11th, 2019

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    August 1st, 2019adminArts, Culture & Entertainment


    Cameraman PVR Swamy, whose work was celebrated in ‘Reservation’, believes the cinematographer is the beating heart of the film

    PVR Swamy, started his journey as a cameraman a decade ago in Kannada cinema. And as most back screen workers, he too went unnoticed till the release of Reservation. The film, directed by Nikhil Manjoo, went on to win the National Award in the best film category. Reservation was screened at many prestigious film festivals, including BIFFes, two years ago.


    That was when people started talking about the visuals in the film and the name Swamy emerged. At the many discussions after the film’s screenings, Swami’s work was appreciated and the man finally came into the spotlight.

    Born in Googara Doddi, a small village in Kanakpura, to a famer, Swamy did not want to limit himself to working on the fields. He had larger dreams. In his free time he would read “everything about cinema. I wanted to be in films and camera was something that fascinated me,” says the young cameraman, who started reaching out to people to get into the film industry. “I finally met a man, also from my village, working in the film industry. However, when I called him, he said he was back to farming as life here was tough.”


    Dejected Swamy continued his quest of finding an opening in the film industry and met Srinivas Prasad, an established cameraman here, who introduced Swamy to Techno Mark Television Company. “I was immediately appointed as the cameraman.”

    Swami was sent to Hyderabad and worked as the cameraman for almost 6,000 episodes of serials such as Kamanabullu, Arunaraga, Shalini, Cinema Sanchike and Sakshi.

    In 2014 that he got an offer to work in the Tamil film Aiyyamai, directed by Vijay Raghavan. “Though I had worked with Technomark, it was Vijay who taught me the nuances of how the camera can be used for films.”


    After this, came many more projects in Kannada including Prathima, made by Techno Mark and Tulu films White and Malladaana. Swamy, who has worked with cinematographers such as PKH Das and HM Ramachandra, has also worked in comnmercial films such as Manvantara, HS Venkatesh Murthy’s Hasiru RibbonHalmidi, Only Srikrishna, Kantri Boys and Ojas.

    He is currently working on Vyapthi Pradeshada HoragiddareShalini IAS (the biography of IAS officer, Dr Shalini, directed by Manjoo) and Kranthiveera, based on the life of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

    The man, who is 25 films old in the industry, reveals that he had never held a camera till he started working with Techno Mark. “I had to learn everything from scratch. The trick about being a good DOP is to visualise the director’s dream and to capture things as he has put on paper. So, in a way, the director’s dream becomes the cameraman’s vision. For me, being a cameraman is like being the heart of a human body. It is a tiny organ which is capable of so many emotions and also keeps this huge body living. That is the same job of a cameraman. The lens may be small but it can capture many things.”

    He adds that even a tiny flower looks beautiful through a lens. “Beauty, which is normally ignored in reality, can be celebrated through the camera.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Entertainment> Movies / by Shilpa Sebastian / July 31st, 2019

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    To immerse ashes of her mother in Cauvery



    Brindavan Gardens’ designer Gustav Herman Krumbiegel’s great-granddaughter Alyia Phelps Gardiner Krumbiegel is on a visit to the city.

    She is visiting Mysuru and Bengaluru on a purpose and that is to immerse the ashes of her mother Jean Maureen Phelps Gardiner, who had passed away in Jan. 2018 in England.

    Speaking to Star of Mysore here this morning, Alyia said that she had brought her mother’s ashes to India to immerse it in the rivers here, as she (Jean Maureen) always felt that her home was in India.

    “My mother passed away on Jan. 18. 2018 and I was very clear that her body had to be cremated and not buried. Hence, I had to wait for nearly three weeks as I had to book the slot for her cremation in advance. Finally, the slot that was available was Feb.5, 2018 and it was then she was cremated. She had told me that her heart was always in India and hence to respect her last wishes I have brought her ashes to the country she always loved,” said Alyia.


    Alyia  has already immersed a part of the ashes in Waynad, Kerala and she has plans to immerse it in River Cauvery in Srirangapatna shortly, she said.

    She will also be visiting the Mysuru Zoo with a letter to the Executive Director requesting him to display a plaque of her great-grandfather Krumbiegel who had also planned the Gardens in Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens.

    Alyia will also be visiting the Brindavan Gardens to see for the first time the work of her great-grandfather which all these days she had only heard about.

    She had cycled to Mysuru all the way from Bengaluru a couple of years ago and she had time only to visit the Mysore Palace where she had met Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, she recalled.

    Alyia will later go to Bengaluru and plans to participate in the Independence  Day Flower Show at Lalbagh. In this year’s flower show, there will be a floral tribute to Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, the last Maharaja of the erstwhile State of Mysore, to mark his birth centenary celebrations.

    “My great-grandfather had a big role in designing the Gardens at Lalbagh and I am so happy that this year floral tributes are being paid to Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar for whom Krumbiegel had worked,” she said.

    source: / Star of Mysore / Home> News / July 30th, 2019

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    July 29th, 2019adminArts, Culture & Entertainment


    I am willing to sing any genre of music, says the acclaimed musician, Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni. But, it will come with my touch, the knowledge that my gurus have given me, she explains on the eve of Guru Smaran

    Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni needs no introduction. The Kannadigas love her voice, her style and the manner in which she captures every musical temperament through her euphonious voice. It could be a piece of classical music, bhavageethe, a folk song, or a film song — Sangeeta sings with a natural grace. When she sings the great poet Bendre, it almost feels like he wrote in consultation with Sangeeta — the song and singer sound inseparable. Hailed as a child prodigy, Sangeeta has worked with leading film composers and singers, has travelled widely and has been showered with awards in her four decade journey. A trained classical musician, there is the unmistakable classical music streak in every song that she sings. Trained by three great masters of music, Sangeeta pays them her tribute to through Gurusmaran, in Bengaluru on Sunday. On the eve of this programme, the singer shares her musical journey and the times she spent with her teachers. Excerpts from the interview.

    It is a good place to be in music today. There are a flood of opportunities, and all kinds of musicians thrive in this ecosystem. It is difficult however, because ‘new’ seems to be the buzzword. Everyone is under pressure to do something new, constantly. A serious musician is thinking, rethinking, reinventing and evolving in his music, but this environment asks for visible change. How does it feel to be a musician at this time?

    How many times I have felt that I should have been born in the 40s or 50s! Or I should have been born when my children were born. I was born in the 70s, and have, on many an occasion felt it was not the best time to be born. But then, it was indeed the best time to be born. I got to see the best of both worlds.

    Till I entered college, technology was not such a huge presence. In the later years, it became one of the biggest forces, and things began to change rapidly. By the time you grappled with it, it would change again. Gramophone, radio, cassettes – all these lingered around for a good length of time. But once this phase was over – things just flew. MP3, pen drive, now MP4… it was too fast. Recording technology changed hugely. This had a bearing on how we thought and conceived music.


    How did you cope?

    My learning, school, my upbringing, my gurus… they exposed me to a solid learning process. I had a wonderful time. Facing this constant change was naturally difficult. What’s happening? I wondered so very often. Each time, it took me a while to make some sense of it.

    This changing aura — where there is no aura — was hard on musicians like me. I’ll tell you why. We were still under the tutelage of our gurus and our thinking, the values of music, sensibility, belonged to another time zone. Gurus were the pivotal force of our lives. But for them, we would have been washed away in this flood. This commercial world would have sucked us. Their moral force, that made a home in us, gave us the ability to recognize the right things. The world outside was moving in real time. That did make it stressful. If I were born in 40s or 50s then this problem would not have been there! (laughs)

    With all this, having seen both worlds, we are the watershed generation. We have to balance, keep the equilibrium.

    Born to music Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni with Begum Parveen Sultana, with Mother Theresa and with her guru, Kishori Amonkar Photos: courtesy Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni and Bhagya Prakash K. (cover and centre spread)

    Born to music Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni with Begum Parveen Sultana, with Mother Theresa and with her guru, Kishori Amonkar Photos: courtesy Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni and Bhagya Prakash K. (cover and centre spread)

    So it is indeed a balancing act? It is about keeping two worlds together.

    In the Nineties, I was singing for Kannada films. And within a year, I had sung for 25-26 films. I was quite a phenomenon then; a Dharwad girl suddenly taking on the Kannada film music scene and singing for all the top film banners, it was no mean achievement. It was during this time that my guru, Basavaraj Rajguru passed away. Then I met Kishori Tai, on listening to me, she said: ‘Building is ready, but finishing is to be done.’ She asked me to take lessons from her. I had established myself as a playback singer, my future had a lot of promise, but without any second thoughts I dropped everything and went to her. I stayed with her for four-five years. In her company, and in her guidance, I used to forget this world. If that is the choice I made, then don’t I have a huge responsibility? It is challenging to keep traditional values in this changing world, but I will do it. I believe in it. Even if I am singing contemporary music, I make an effort to bring the values that all my gurus inculcated in me.

    The musicians of yesteryear had a different understanding of time. When you impose those values on present time, what are the repercussions?

    Today we are in an ‘instant’ world. But raga is not instant business. Nevertheless, you have to strike at something ‘instant’ that will keep the mind and interest of today’s listeners. It is a challenge. Hindustani or Carnatic music is not the only music that has tradition. Folk and jazz have traditions of their own, in fact every form of music does. To convey this, it requires a lot of perseverance and patience. It is difficult because the engagement they have with music is not very deep. For instance, let us take a popular number. It is not about how someone has sung the song, it is about the thought that has gone into it. So how do you convince and convey this to your listener? One keeps trying, hoping that atleast five in a 100 will get it. Music is all about essence.


    There are any number of stories from the past on how a Shuddh Kalyan was taught for six years. That in ten years only five ragas were taught, etc. But today, the idea is to spread wide than to dig deep. Your success is counted on the number of things you can do, and how soon you can make it. Where do you find your sthayi?

    My sthayi is in the world of seven notes. I have no taboos, and my gurus didn’t have it either. Anything melodious, irrespective of style and genre is fine with me. I just love to sing. Afterall, it is about touch and the perspective you bring to the song. Last week, I sang a song for composer Vasuki Vaibhav. I sang twice, but I felt I could do better. I called and asked him to give me one more chance. I do take longer than others to finish a song, but that is because I am trying to explore its possibilities. I am trying to seek something more than the tune that is given to me. I feel every musician should be keen to push beyond the words and the tune. I think of some khatka, a gamak, a murki or an alaap.. I try to add value. Anyway, the good thing is that there are still some people who understand why I like to take time. I keep thinking of my music and that is where I belong.

    There was Lata Mangeshkar, Suman Kalyanpur, P. Susheela, S. Janaki… all singing in the same era, but so different in their musical narratives. Now, every one wants to sound like Shreya Goshal, or an Arijit Singh. So is today all about sounding like someone?

    Today there is too much emphasis on what sells. So if something succeeds, they want everything else to sound like that, and look like that. Music is now an industry in its complete sense. Nobody asks questions these days.


    So will a take it or leave it attitude work today?

    I don’t know…. Music to me is divine. I fail to explain the feelings that arise in me. I want to impart this knowledge that I have learnt from my gurus. My gurus were remarkable human beings. They believed in sadhana and said fame is ephemeral. You have to enjoy the process, music is not moving from one point to the other.

    Kishori Tai never allowed us to make notes. Now, she was extraordinary, but it is not the same about her disciples. Her classes would be so loaded with knowledge that I would be dying to make a note of every word she uttered. So when she slept in the afternoons, I would retreat to a corner and quietly make notes. One day, she caught me doing it. She looked at me for a moment, said, “Good” and walked away. (She shows me the notes she made that day ten years ago. It is a lesson in Rag Malhar. Sangeeta sings and demonstrates how Kishori Tai explained it to her.)

    I know what a guru is, I have experienced that bliss. I want to keep all those moments alive in me, always. I will sing what is beautiful and truthful, and there are people who know my worth.

    You had three gurus. Pt. Puranikmath who was very subdued, Pt. Rajguru who was so evocative, and Kishori Tai, flamboyant and radical.

    It was Puranikmath sir who took me to Pt. Rajguru. He said you need someone who knows better than me. Can you believe a teacher saying that? Dandapur sir, who taught me my initial lessons was also a picture of humility. When I think about them, I am filled with gratitude. There is so much to learn from each of them. I was a little girl and they pampered and nurtured me. Katigeri sir used to come late evening, by which time I would be tired after a full day at school, homework etc. He would suddenly switch to English, ‘only six lines, come let’s do it,’ he would coax me.

    Once I was at Pt. Rajguru sir’s home for class. He told me he was busy with other students. I got upset and began to cry. He was flustered. ‘Why are you crying?’ he asked. ‘You don’t love me like you love your other students,’ I told him, crying more. He disappeared for about 20-25 minutes, and I sat there unable to stop crying. He came back with a plate full of piping hot upma and green gram unde.‘First you eat this. Don’t cry dear, I am here to teach you…’ How can I forget all that? A man of his stature needn’t have done it. But they were all exemplar human beings. Kishori Tai was unsparing, she made very high demands of her disciples. I have not seen a musician like her — totally committed.

    Until Pt. Rajguru was gone I didn’t realise the seriousness; till then I got everything very easily. The actual learning process began when I went to Kishori Tai. She was such a perfectionist. Nothing would please her.


    It has never been easy for women in the arts. Whether it is Begum Akhtar, Kishori Tai or anyone. There are just too many social baggages.

    My father wanted me to become a musician, and he was the one who made Sangeeta Katti who she is. But it is still a very male-oriented world. Women have too many responsibilities to fulfill. If in the latter half of a woman’s life art has to be keep alive, luck plays a huge role.

    Surbahar presents Guru Smaran – 2019. The Surbahar Puraskar – 2019 goes to Pt. Rajeshwar Acharya, Varanasi. Special Felicitation to Pt. Anantachar Katageri Dasaru, Dharward. There will be performances by both award winners. A vocal-violin duet by Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni and Milind Raikar to follow. Venue is Canara Union, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru, 5 p.m.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Entertainment> Music / by Deepa Ganesh / July 25th, 2019

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    Indian Music Experience (IME), a city-based museum that explores the evolution of Indian music with interactive, multi-sensory exhibits, is organising its grand launch on July 27.

    Ustad Zakkir Hussain and Louiz Banks

    Ustad Zakkir Hussain and Louiz Banks

    Bengaluru :

    Indian Music Experience (IME), a city-based museum that explores the evolution of Indian music with interactive, multi-sensory exhibits, is organising its grand launch on July 27. Announcing  this at a press conference,  M R Jaishankar, chairman and managing director of Brigade Group and founder of IME, said, “The grand launch of the IME is a culmination of nearly a decade of effort to set up a truly world-class museum and arts centre in India. We are hopeful that the IME will grow to become a pre-eminent arts hub of the country and preserve and propagate India’s rich cultural heritage to the next generation.”

    Many dignitaries, including Tejasvi Surya, member of Parliament, Bengaluru South and S M Krishna, former union minister for External Affairs, were present. On the occasion, there will be musical confluence by Ustad Zakkir Hussain and Louiz Banks at 7pm. Talking about IME, museum director and classical vocalist Manasi Prasad, shared, “The performing arts teach us to create, communicate and collaborate. India has the most diverse musical culture in the entire world and the museum celebrates this. Going forward, the IME aims to be a centre of music education and research, providing a platform for artistes and art lovers.”

    The exhibit area of IME consists of eight thematic galleries showcasing various facets of Indian music, an instruments gallery with over 100 musical instruments, three mini theatres, and several computer-based interactive installations that allow visitors to experience the process of music-making. The exhibits feature memorabilia belonging to the Bharat Ratna musicians of the country— Bismillah Khan, Bhimsen Joshi and M S Subbulakshmi. In addition, it will also feature a rare phonograph and gramophone, a selection of microphones, gramophone records and other artifacts.
    The launch will be held at IME grounds in JP Nagar at 4.30pm.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Bengaluru / by Express News Service / July 27th, 2019

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