The ‘Sound of Music’ is one that will reverberate in the lives of those who breathe, eat and drink music. One such passion driven individual, who sings with his heart, is Belakavadi Rangaswamy Iyengar. In the overwhelming era of ‘Jhankar Beats’ and commercial tunes, traditional musicians rarely find a place to fit in. However, with his vibrant melodies and powerful voice he continues to uphold the family legacy, by indulging and immersing himself in the blissful ocean of raaga, taala and bhava. Having celebrated his 90th birthday last week, he is probably one of the oldest Carnatic musicians in Bangalore second only to R K Srikantan.
Well acquainted with all forms of Carnatic music, he specialises in singing
‘Pallavi’. A seasoned audience at a regular ‘Kacheri’ will be able to spot his tact in inaugurating the Varna and concluding the ‘Ragatana Pallavi’ with the same raaga. CP Rangaswamy Iyengar, his principled guru, endowed him with the rare art of mastering ‘Ragatana Pallavi’. His music is regularly punctuated with trills and challenging raagas, his favourite being the profoundly melodious and delightful, Todi and Kambhoji raagas. Many iconic figures of Carnatic music graced him with their teachings and appreciated his love for music. Some of them are Tiger Varadachari, Tirumakudalu Chowdiah, Veena Subbanna and Veena Sheshanna.
Over the years, the artiste has performed individually and in collaboration with other musicians, at many state level sabhas. He enraptures the crowds with his hypnotic voice and transcendental execution of traditional Indian music. In 1959, during the celebration of Hanuman Jayanthi, which also served as his first ‘Kacheri’, an enchanting performance was inscribed in his memory. Three generations of Belakavadis, with Rangaswamy as the lead vocalist, son BR Sridhar and grandson LV Mukund (flute), captured the attention of the listeners in a bewitching musical endeavour. “It was an unforgettable evening”, he recalls. Yet another surpassing event added to his collection of memorable performances, during the Ram Mahotsava celebrations at Shimoga. The musical standards of the evening soared with the presence of violinist, M Chandrashekar. According to Rangaswamy’s family, he even set down the instrument and bowed to him to commemorate his superior quality of music.
Coming from a family of renowned musicians, the culture of orchestral music was imbibed in his blood and flowed through his veins. Having learnt from his father, B Srinivas Iyengar — an extremely popular musician of his time, Rangaswamy and his brothers practised a ‘voice culture’ throughout their training period. “From 4 to 8 in the morning, my brothers and I would rehearse from A-kara to O-kara in three varying speeds”.
With such rigorous training and discipline he was able to develop his gifted voice, and channelise his vocal strength in a positive direction. A traditional Iyengar, he never gave up on food or followed a strict diet. He believes that discipline and self imposed coaching is the key for developing an efficacious voice. Apart from music, he was extremely pro active in sports. He was an acclaimed football player, local wrestler, yogi and an athlete.
He has many awards to his credit some of which are the Karnataka Rajyothsava Award, Nritya Academy Award and Karnataka Sangeetha Vidwan Award.
Yet, he is disappointed that his music could not bring home a national recognition. Having taught hundreds of students worldwide, he is responsible for shaping the musical sculpture of many a young lads. One of his students, S M Haricharan, CEO of ISAC Global writes in his blog, “My outlook towards music changed predominantly due to the influence of my guru Vidwan Belakavadi Rangaswamy Iyengar.” He is currently training 15 individuals to pursue their career in music. Along with students, he trained his sons and daughter to consummate their love for music. His daughter B R Geetha, has been a staff artist at the All India Radio for 22 years.
The aptitude for learning conventional Indian melodies and rhythmic instruments is inculcated in each of the Belakavadis. When his father and brothers trained at the brink of sunrise it seemed as if ‘the 24 walls of the house resonated in the mesmerising Sangeeth’.
With determination and infinite divinity, he is often seen with a wooden tambourine in his lap, lost in the ecstasy of euphony.
source: http://www.ibnlive.in.com / Home> South> Southern News / by Mandara Vishwanath / The New Indian Express / May 30th, 2012
Innovative insurance customer process management platform allowed major health insurer to improve customer service productivity by more than 80 percent
BANGALORE, India, May 30, 2012
Infosys, a global leader in consulting, outsourcing and technology, has been awarded the Pegasystems “Excellence in Solution Development” award for a best-in-class insurance customer service delivery platform that dramatically improved call center productivity at a Fortune 500 life insurer by more than 80 percent.
The Infosys insurance practice jointly developed the solution with Pegasystems, a leader in business process management and software for customer centricity. By consolidating multiple data screens into a single dashboard, the customer service delivery platform allows call center professionals at the Fortune 500 life insurer to reduce wait times from 24 minutes to four minutes. Infosys achieved the results in less than 11 weeks after launch by leveraging Pegasystems’ Customer Process Manager for Insurance solution.
“Infosys is an innovator in smart uses of technology in the insurance industry, and is, along with our other alliance partners, a critical part of Pega’s global team,” said John Barone, vice president of global strategic alliances at Pegasystems. “We congratulate Infosys for its highly strategic approach in configuring Pega technologies that result in transformative solutions.”
The Infosys insurance practice has deep domain expertise in life and annuities, disability, long term care, property and casualty, investments, and other areas, as well as specialties in financial services as a whole. Infosys helps clients transform into the “next generation insurance carrier” through its innovative products, platforms and services that streamline policy administration, improve distribution, and facilitate data-driven underwriting.
“This award is a direct reflection of our strong insurance and technology credentials, as well as our ability to effectively implement Pegasystems solutions,” said Yezdi Mehta, vice president and head of the Americas insurance practice at Infosys. “It is a testament to our ability to help build tomorrow’s enterprise in the insurance industry, achieved with improving customer experience and transforming core business functions.”
source: http://www.marketwatch.com / PRNewswire via COMTEX/ May 30th, 2012
May 31st, 2012Education
Theme: Is education the greatest weapon for change in the developing world?
Theme sponsored by the David Rattray Memorial Trust
Stepping indoors from the searing subcontinental July heat, Kalavathi takes a seat in her office at the end of a long corridor decorated with scientific symbols and multiplication tables. “Today the children will talk about their ‘bhavishya'” she exclaims.
‘Bhavishya’ or future in Kannada, the dialect of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, is fervently on the minds of the children. Their voices; “miss, miss I want to become an engineer…miss, miss I want to work in computing,” resonate through the classrooms. With Bangalore’s burgeoning economy growing annually at an estimated 10.3% only a few miles away, these hopes and dreams have every chance for succeeding.
Images of poverty and riches side-by-side are synonymous with the emerging world; Bangalore is a microcosm for this. Connecting the divide does not have to be complex. Small is Beautiful is a collection of essays written by economist E.F Schumacher championing the role of empowering people in the development process. The right education can empower individuals to make the important marginal changes which lead to brighter futures.
Aptly named, the Hope Foundation School provides for around 400 children living in the surrounding slums of Tannery Road, on the outskirts of Bangalore. Driving down MG Road, the bustling commercial heart of the city, you pass billboards adorned with the face of Deepika Padukone, a Bollywood actress. Raised and educated in Bangalore, her image serves a reminder to the children of how dreams can be turned into reality. The reality is that education in any form – art, music, science or language – provides the seeds for opportunity.
As the head teacher, Kalavathi places an emphasis on creating a positive learning environment, “we now provide free mid-day meals for the children to encourage them to come to class.” The school was established by the Hope Foundation in 1993, and teaching began in a humble building. The success of the school’s smaller projects, including the mid-day meal scheme has attracted sponsorship. As a result a new building complex has been developed adjacent to the original site, allowing the school to expand its student base.
Every morning Mary, the deputy head teacher, completes registration and collects Rupees from the students. They are not paying for their education. They are learning the basics of financial literacy and savings. The school is also their bank. Kalavathi proceeds down the corridor and enters a classroom. The children arise and all but the clucking chickens in the school yard can be heard. “Namaskara” she says, and the children sit down. As an English-medium school children are taught English from an early age, which is vital for their future. English is the language of commerce in India. Despite having over 20 official languages, the 2001 census data showed that the number of Indian English-speakers was more than twice the UK’s population.
Furthermore, the Hope Foundation’s computer training programme in Bangalore has multiplied rapidly to extend to 8 centres in 2007, beginning with just 4 computers in 1998, and the student base has trebled. Those benefitting from this programme belong to the local community. This small classroom learning on the outskirts of Bangalore is reflective of the larger economic processes occurring in the city. Vast swathes of global technology businesses such as IBM, Google and Yahoo are attracted by the city’s English and computer savvy labour force. “The jobs are complex, and they change rapidly, so we need really smart people,” said Roy Gilbert, Google’s operations director in India for Fortune magazine in 2007. Many of the school’s children have a poor home life, torn apart by alcoholic fathers and a lack of regular income. This specialized education in computing and English is a perfect passport for them to obtain employment, and break the poverty cycle.
The second United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goal-to achieve universal primary education underlies the other goals, including combating hunger and gender inequality. Small changes to encourage greater female attendance in school can also reap rewards through female empowerment. Dr Dhondo Keshav Karve, an early 20th century social reformer on women’s welfare in India emphasized the phrase; “when you educate a woman, you educate a whole family.”
Half of the students at the Hope Foundation School are girls, and regular parent-teacher meetings have been put in place to ensure their mothers remain keen to keep their daughters in education. Girls in the local area would otherwise be coerced into being house maids or selling incense sticks in the slum. In the Indian state of Kerala, emphasis was placed on integrating women into the education process, such that the literacy rate for women was reported to have risen from 36 to 88 percent between 1951 and 2001. The UN estimates that Kerala now has the highest Human Development Index in India-higher than that of most developed countries. Small changes to what and who is taught can bring about positive changes for the future.
Change comes not from just being educated but by acting on what is taught. Kalavathi walks out of the main school building and onto the dusty school yard, advancing toward the school’s garden plot. This plot is a perfect symbol for how education works. It may appear quite literally ‘grass roots’, but it is in these chutes of knowledge, that the children and surrounding community can learn about food sustainability and develop a cost-effective way for feeding their families.At the 2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, Barack Obama spoke of his time as a community organiser in Chicago, “real change comes from the bottom up, the grass roots, starting with the dreams and passions of individuals serving their communities.” By focusing on what is required, rather than implementing ‘one size fits all’ solutions we can improve the core issues.
As the school day draws to a close, Kalavathi gathers the children under the shade of the school’s iconic Flame tree or ‘Gulmohar’ in Hindi. Today the children have planted the small seeds of Hope. Tomorrow they can grow toward success, anchored firmly by their roots.
source: http://www.guardian.co.uk / Theme sponsored by the David Rattray Memorial Trust / Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
A team of gynaecologists in Bangalore have taken it upon themselves to upgrade a corporation-run maternity home. Dr Latha Venkataraman and her team of 15 specialists are improving the rate of institutional deliveries in their area.
“I believe this hospital was functioning very well. I think it was started in 1962 and most of the people from this area used to come here. Unfortunately, as years went by the facilities and also the availabilities of the doctor fell or became a rarity. Thereby, the patient’s attendance to the hospital also fell,” says Venkataraman.
Two months back, Dr Venkataraman and her team of 15 specialists from the nearby private Rangadurai Hospital decided it was time for change. They roped in two gynaecologists for 8 hours daily, procured funds to get better equipment. Now, the maternity home boasts of at least 6 to 7 deliveries every week and has logged 3 surgeries.
India has the highest number of obstetricians and strangely also ranks among the highest in maternal mortality. Deaths of mothers soon after childbirth are mostly preventable. It’s in that scenario that this kind of an initiative speaks volumes.
Dr Prabha Ramakrishna, Gynaecologist, says, “See childbirth is not a disease, it is something which happens naturally to most women and it is sad that people lose lives during childbirth and that is where we need to be alert. I want to put a stop to it completely, because it is not feasible.”
Venkatraman says, “It is time we gave quality care to all women irrespective of socio-economic status. Specialists and superspecialist care should be available in their vicinity. These are simple things and simple medications can save lives. Simple things done in a simple way without missing and messing can save lives.”
And Dr Venkatraman’s efforts are showing. Over the last few weeks, the maternity home has seen a steady rise in the number of patients. In six months, the doctors plan to have enough support for 24/7 operations and the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike is looking out for more private-public-partnerships to revive its 93 hospitals.
Shankarlinge Gowda, Commissioner, BBMP, says, “Shortage of qualified doctors is an issue because we do primary care and most of the doctors are just MBBS and we send these doctors after recruitment, to these PG courses. But if the non-governmental organizations can bring in expertise in maternity care, in pediatric care and other specialties, we would welcome them.”
In a country where healthcare is out of reach to the poor, doctors like Latha Venkatraman are truly a messenger of God!
source: http://www.ibnlive.in.com / Home> India / by Deepa Balakrishnan , CNN-IBN / May 30th, 2012
May 31st, 2012Science & TechnologyBangalore, MAY 30:
Bangalore-based healthcare company Modern Family Doctor (MFD) will be setting up primary healthcare centres in Pune and Chennai soon. It currently operates 11 clinics across Bangalore and is in the process of setting up 10 more across the city.
The one-year-old company runs a chain of clinics focusing on providing primary healthcare to patients across all age groups under the brand name ‘The Family Doctor.’
The centre attends to basic healthcare needs of consulting, diagnostics, treatment and medication services, and has a pharmacy attached to the clinic.
According to Mr Naresh Malhotra, director of the company, primary healthcare accounts for 60 per cent of the overall healthcare delivery market. Its annual growth is projected at 15 per cent.
The company expects to set up over 300 clinics across the country by 2014. It costs about Rs 25 lakh to set up one centre, Mr Malhotra said.
The company, funded by Silicon Valley Bank, employs about 70 doctors who work full time at the centres, and is planning to hire another 200 doctors over the next few months.
As part of the expansion plans, the company is in discussion with various corporate organisations and apartment complexes to set up clinics on their premises (full-time or part-time), and is also planning to organise healthcare camps in schools.
MFD has partnered with Lal Pathlabs for laboratory investigation support, with Narayana Hridayalaya for ECG services and Star Health Insurance to provide insurance packages to its patients.
source: http://www.TheHinduBusinessLine.com / Home> Industry & Economy> Marketing / by The Hindu Business Bureau / Bangalore, May 30th, 2012
Mangalore, 29 May 2012:
The 30th All India Budokan Karate Federation National Championship- 2012 was held on 20th, 21st and 22nd May 2012 at Environmental Hall Lawns, Handwara, 80 Kms from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 400 competitors from 17 States took part in this championship in which included events like Individual Kata, Individual Kumite, Team Kata, Weapon Kata and Rotation Team Kumite.
A team of 30 members represented Karnataka state in this competition out of which more than 20 participants were from the Institute of Karate and Allied Arts (IKAA) Mangalore led by chief Instructor Kyoshi Praveen Kumar (Black Belt 8th Dan)
Karnataka state won the Overall Championship followed by Andhra Pradesh who took the second place and Tamil Nadu third place. The hosts Jammu & Kashmir came to a close fourth followed by Maharashtra.
Sharath Kumar from IKAA Mangalore who won four gold medals was adjudged as the Best fighter and was also awarded a special prize by the Indian Army.
Shihan Balakrishna Alva and Shihan Anand Devadiga were Chief of Tatamis in the competition. Sensei Shivaprasad Acharya, Sensei Kishore B, Sensei Lohish Pinto, Sensei Naveen Kalmadi were the other officials from Institute of Karate and allied arts Mangalore served as Referees in the competition along with other senior referees from all over india.
Below is the list of Members from IKAA Mangalore who represented Karnataka and won several Medals.
• Shiva Prasad Acharya – 3 Gold, 1 Silver
• Sharath Kumar – 4 Gold
• Lohish Pinto – 2 Gold ,1 silver
• Pooja Jain – 3 Gold
• Bhoomika – 3 Gold
• Saloni – 3 Gold
• Reshma – 2 Gold
• Arjun Deori – 1 Gold, 1 Bronze
sourc: http://www.bellevision.com / Home> News / by Robin Martis, Bellevision Media Network / Mangalore, May 29th, 2012
Mysore, May 24
“I did not slog the whole year, but for the last five months. Otherwise I might have scored some more,” said Shreyas A. Nayak, a student of Marimallappa’s PU College who secured highest marks in II PU (Science) in the district and is 2nd in State.
Shreyas who scored 590, is the son of Akshata and Ananth Nayak, Manager, Bank of Maharashtra, Devaraj Urs Road.
Sharing his happiness with a section of the press, Shreyas said he aspires to become an engineer.
source: http://www.StarofMysore.com / General News / Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Mysore, May 24
Kautilya Vidyalaya’s Sushma is the daughter of Minor Irrigation Assistant Executive Engineer H.F. Rayanagoudar and Uma, Headmistress of Rotary School for the Hearing Impaired.
She joined tuitions during the initial classes but when she found difficulty in understanding the concepts in class, she preferred to study on her own.
In class, Sushma would try to to understand lessons by lip reading what the teachers said which had to be in a slow manner for her to grasp.
Says her brother Praveen, their mother played a major role in her achievement and adds that Sushma was planning to pursue computer science engineering. Sushma had secured 91% in SSLC exam.
source: http://www.StarofMysore.com / General News / Thursday, May 24th, 2012
May 30th, 2012Arts, Culture & Entertainment
Mysore, May 29
Be it a temple in Halebeedu, Kailas Temple at Ellora, Krishna Temple in Dwaraka, Swami Vivekananda Centre in Kan-yakumari, Rajagopura of Virupaksha Temple in Hampi and Golden Tower at Tirupathi Temple, the pencil sketches of all these monuments can now be seen under one roof in city.
The venue is the Mysore Art Gallery where the young artist R.Veerendra Kumar has put up an exhibition of rare drawings which drive a common man through the annals of temple structures drawn with the help of pencils while the art of pencil art is facing extinction.
Veerendra Kumar, who has drawn these sketches, has dedicated the same to his guru —senior artist C.Kuppachar as Guru Kanike.
The sketches of temples at Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram, Jalakante-shwara Temple, Siddeshwara Temple at Haveri, Sharada Devi Temple at Sringeri, Rama-Lakshmana Temple at Sripura and Jagganatha Temple at Puri, Bruhadeshwara Temple at Tanjore, Malagatti Temple at Badami, Kedarnath Temple, Meenakshi Temple at Madurai and Jain temples catches the attraction of each and everyone who enter the exhibition of pencil sketches in which more than 30 art works sketched by Veerendra Kumar for over three years are on display.
Veerendra Kumar has said that advancement in modern art, colour pictures with special effects had forced the pencil art to the backseat and claims that he undertook the mission to save the pencil art which was on the verge of extinction. He further said that only pencil art would ensure proper depiction of historical structures as colour paintings fail to project the intricate carvings in these structures.
Veerendra Kumar’s mentor Kuppachar inaugurated the expo in the presence of founder of Mysore Art Gallery S. Shivalingappa, Convenor Prabha Shivalingappa and others. The expo, which began on May 26, concludes today at 6 pm.
source: http://www.StarofMysore.com / General News / May 29th, 2012
May 30th, 2012Arts, Culture & Entertainment
In olden days, a student of music had to learn the art by staying in the house of his guru, according to Gurukula system. Thus their academic education took a back seat. But as they become proficient in music, they also would acquire the knowledge of Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and other languages required for music. They would also become scholars in Philosophy, Veda, Tarka (logic) and such other ancient Shastras in Sanskrit.
There may be some exceptions here also, like Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar who was a post-graduate in philosophy from Mysore University and an alumni of Trinity College of London, who after graduating in music, balanced music and the responsibility of ruling his land magnificently; or T.V. Shankaranarayana, who was a lawyer, who left the law profession and became a full-fledged musician or the case of vocalist R.K. Pad-manabha, who left a well-paying Bank job and dedicated himself for the cause of music.
If the Maharaja managed both profession and music, the remaining two left the profession for the sake of music. There are a few others who fall in these categories, but they can be counted on fingertips.
It is interesting to note that in our time, many well-educated youth, in particular, are choosing music either as a profession or as a hobby. H.K. Venkata Ram, Manasa Nayana, Manasi Prasad, Pattabhi Rama Pandit, Saketh Raman are only a few names who are highly educated and acquired good status in music. Many even have a Ph.D in music.
Once again as we scan the list, we see the names of Dr. Udaya Kiran and Dr. Hamsini Nagendra (both visually impaired), Dr. Mysore M. Manju-nath, Dr. Sukanya Prabhakar, Dr. R.N. Srilatha, Dr. C.A. Sridhar, Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh, Dr. S. Geetha, Dr. Meera Rajaram etc. This douses the fear that our culture is being neglected and instills confidence that the future of classical music is safe.
V. Bala Krishna, an Engineering graduate, working in an IT company in Bengaluru, is one among them, who has taken music as a hobby, balancing both the profession and the music. He is a disciple of Delhi Rama Murthy Bhagavatar. He had performed in Mysore once earlier, though it was a short kacheri. In fact I was curious to listen to his full concert. This young lad, bestowed with a rich voice, has tamed it superbly, with good training. His concert had been organised by NR Mohalla San-geetha Sabha on May 19. The accompaniments, violin (Adithi Krishna Prakash) and mrudanga (Sai Shiva Lakshmi Ke-shava) were the same as that of his previous short kacheri at Bidaram Rama Mandira during March, which may be a pure coincidence. In any case, the impressive presentation proved that he is a promising singer.
Bala Krishna set the tone of the concert with a Thodi Varna Eraa Naapai of Patnam Subramanya Iyer, serenely in two speeds. This was embellished with a brief Swara. The next number, a piece on Lord Ganapathi, was the Siddhi Vinayakam Seveham (Mohana Kalyani-Adi-Muthaiah Bhagavatar), which was prefixed with a brief Alapane and a not-so-brief, but leisurely Swara Prasthara.
The subsequent Padmavathi Ramanam (Purvi Kalyani-Mishra Chapu-Ootthukkadu Venkata Kavi) also contained a good Alapane and a Swara Prasthara.
The singer’s control over his voice came to fore in the unhurried rendering of Sujana Jeevana (Khamach-Rupaka-Tyagaraja). He chose Latangi for the Madh-yma Kala Kruti in between two Vilamba Kala Krutis, with Apara-dhamulanni (Latangi-Adi-Patnam Subramanya Iyer), with a Neraval at the Sahitya line Krupajesi Naa Manavyaala, in the same speed.
Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna has composed a good number of krutis. Though some of them are in popular ragas, the composition of the sahitya and the original sangathis, with which he has composed, pose difficulty to emulate. Bala Krishna chose one such Kruti Kaavave Kanya Kumaari in Shahana. The difficulty comes in inter-mixing the pieces of sahitya in Vilamba and Madhyama Kalas, which this singer successfully executed.
Kalyani was his main melody of the concert. He leisurely went through all the subtle nuances in its delineation. The raga expansion is worth mentioning, as it turned out to be a well-patterned essay in all the three octaves. The use of Akaras, interlacing with Birkas and judiciously using Gamakas was the highlight of the Alapane. He then chose to render the popular number Kamalambaam Bhajare (Vilamba Adi-Muthu Swamy Dikshitar). His lucidity of sahitya is appreciable.
After some interesting san-gathis, he took up a Neraval with the Pallavi line itself Kamalaam-baam Bhajare Re Manasa. Even here, he used the technique of inter-mixing some phrases in Vilamba and Madhyama Kala appealingly. The Swara Prasthara was with superb smoothness and in pleasing progressions, based on pure Manodharma.
The concert concluded with three more numbers, Vanchato-nunaa (Karna Ranjani-Trishra Nade Adi-Muthaiah Bhagavatar), Sada Enna Hrudayadalli (Behag-Rupaka-Vijaya Vittala Dasa) and a Lalgudi Tillana in Brundavani.
The violinist Adithi was a well match for this singer. Both her follow-up and the Tani were superb. Sai Shiva expressed his versatility through his media, mrudanga. The Tani Avartana by him was a clear rhythmic affair.
I may add here that Adithi will be moving to Bengaluru in a few days, as this engineering graduate got a job there.
Mysore will be poorer by one more established violinist. All the best to her.
—S.R. Krishna Murthy
source: http://www.StarofMysore.com / Feature Article / May 30th, 2012