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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'll reconsider request: Minister

Minister for Kannada and Culture H S Mahadeva Prasad, on Sunday, said, he will consider the request made by Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy to drop the nomenclature ‘Sahitya’ and re-name it as ‘Karnataka Konkani Academy’.
Participating in the ‘Konkani Sangeethothsav-2007’ on Sunday, he said, the demand by the members of the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy to rename as Karnataka Konkani Academy on the lines of the Urdu Academy will be looked into.
“In order to encourage all activities undertaken by the Academy like art, music, sports, the Academy wants the nomenclature ‘Sahitya’ to be dropped which will be considered shortly,” he said.
“The Academy has been making excellent use of the funds allocated by the Government and to encourage the language, Konkani has been introduced as an optional third language in the school curriculum,” he stated.
He reiterated that a Barry Academy of Literature in Mangalore with annual grant of Rs 15 lakh will be setup to encourage literary works of the language. “The government is committed to lend support to all languages for which adequate funds will be allocated,”, he said.


Monday, August 27, 2007

State to look into renaming of Konkani academy

Sharing a thought: Minister for Kannada and Culture H.S. Mahadeva Prasad (left) and Konkani Sahitya Academy chairman Eric Ozario at the Konkani musical programme in Bangalore on Sunday.



Bangalore: The Government will consider dropping the word “sahitya” from Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy’s name so that the activities of the body do not get restricted to literature alone, Minister for Kannada and Culture H.S. Mahadeva Prasad has said. He was responding to a proposal put forward by the academy chairman Eric Ozario after inaugurating a Konkani musical programme organised by the academy and the Federation of Karnataka Konkani Catholic Associations here on Sunday. Mr. Ozario argued that renaming the academy, on the lines of Karnataka Urdu Academy, would enable it to work for a broad-based development of the language.

Mr. Ozario thanked the Government for raising the annual allocation to the academy to Rs. 20 lakh and introducing Konkani as a third language in schools in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.

Konkani academy was the only other academy, besides the Kodava Academy, that had used all its funds in the last financial year, he pointed out. The academy released a collection of profiles of 100 eminent Konkani personalities drawn from diverse fields.



Friday, August 24, 2007

Competition will unlock hidden value in cricket

In their purest and simplest form, the issues and controversies surrounding the Indian Cricket League (ICL) are typical of those engendered by the prospective end of any monopoly, says Mr Nandan Kamath, Director, GoSports (www.gosports.in), a Bangalore-based career management and advisory firm for sportspersons.

Mr Kamath, a graduate of the National Law School (Bangalore), the University of Oxford (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and Harvard Law School, has represented India and captained Karnataka in cricket at the junior level.

What is the problem, in essence?

Essentially, this is a problem of ‘monopoly’ disruption. There are many beneficiaries of a monopolistic regime and each feels insecure about his impending redundancy and displacement. The new entrant is unconstrained by extant institutions and structures and is often able to think unconventionally and unlock or redistribute economic value.

Why is the BCCI feeling insecure?

Founded in 1929, for almost 80 years the BCCI has held the only set of keys to Indian cricket. The Zee-backed ICL is the new car on the block and, in its wake, the BCCI may no longer be able to retain the same gate-keeping value.

Competition is good economics, isn’t it?

Yes. The ability of competition to reveal true value is at the root of any capitalist economy. The cream rises to the top in a free marketplace and the provider that best delivers the highest value will be rewarded by the market in the long run. “Rivalship and emulation render excellency, even in mean professions, an object of ambition, and frequently occasion the very greatest exertions,” is a quote from ‘The Wealth of Nations’ by Adam Smith. That “Monopoly... is a great enemy to good management,” is another.

But public interest may necessitate monopolies?

Historically, a few markets such as the railways have received governmental protection from competition being categorised as ‘natural monopolies’ – there being a pro-competitive public interest in not replicating certain types of infrastructure and investment.

Is BCCI one such?

No, not a ‘natural’ one. BCCI, as in the case of many continuing monopolies, is a strong institutional legacy (which might have made economic sense at some point) that no one has, since, either dared or bothered to replicate.

But why now?

Given the amounts of money that have flowed into cricket in India, it is somewhat surprising that a rival league didn’t materialise earlier.

Does ICL make commercial sense?

Basically, an initiative such as the ICL makes eminent commercial sense because it provides the opportunity to marry the eagerness of Indian sponsors to spend on cricket with the very best international talent (unconstrained by nationalism and boundaries), much as the English Premier League does with sponsors and international football talent.

Will it hit at some of the inefficiencies of the current system?

Quite likely. For instance, in a global marketplace, it is hard to imagine that the current state of play – Australian World Champion cricketers earning fractions of the amounts that Indian World Cup first-rounders do – can last for long. Only an imperfect market would allow that and imperfect markets are the sorts facilitated by monopolistic entities.

Do you see an unlocking of value, for the player?

Yes. Spectacular sporting performances unlock value and all sporting talent requires stages, such as tournaments and leagues, to perform on. Performers will naturally ally with stage-setters who are willing to share fairly in the value generated by performances on their stages.

Is there a distortion in the current scheme of things?

When all the stages are monopoly controlled, more often than not, the stage-setter unduly benefits and the performer receives a very small share of the pie. With competition comes an opportunity, nay a necessity, to renegotiate this pie; because he has alternatives, each contributor is now better placed to receive fair compensation for the value he brings to the table. For that sole reason, competition is good for the game.

What do you think of BCCI’s reactions?

On expected lines. The BCCI’s retort to the ICL is typical of an insecure legacy monopolist – player and service provider bans, limiting access to stadia and revoking financial benefits that players have earned over long and, often, distinguished careers. This reaction stems from self-awareness that the BCCI could have been delivering far more value to its players (present and past) and sponsors.

What more can we expect from the monopolist?

The BCCI’s predictable next steps would be “rewards” for its “loyal” players through increased salaries and benefits (i.e., the beginnings of a market-led correction).

Could an ICL have been averted?

Were the administration of cricket in India completely spotless and transparent, the ICL would have no raison d’être. The fact is that the value-pie is open to renegotiation and this is the ICL’s automatic unique selling proposition to underpaid players and over-taxed sponsors.

Is the BCCI on a strong wicket, from a legal perspective?

A sticky legal wicket, I’d say, and it is of little assistance to the BCCI. India has an evolving competition law regime that frowns on anti-competitive acts. Ironically, the court case that established the BCCI as subject to this legal regime was its pyrrhic victory in its cricket telecast rights case against Zee Telefilms (of the group promoting the ICL)…

On that case…

In that case, Zee had failed to convince the court that the BCCI was a state functionary and therefore amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the courts. Stating that the BCCI was a completely independent “society” registered under the Societies Registration Act, the majority judgment of the Supreme Court held the organisation not to be “state” under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution. The flipside of this decision is that the BCCI’s practices do not enjoy the immunity from anti-monopoly, competition and restrictive trade practices laws that all state functionaries do. As a result, the BCCI’s actions would be subject to the general competition laws of the land.

Which means the recent reactions of BCCI can be questioned?

That’s right. The player and service provider bans, discriminatory denial of access to stadia and revocation of benefits could be challenged in a court of law by aggrieved parties based on legal principles such as unreasonable restraint of trade, unfair competition and the “essential facilities” doctrine.

How do you see the ‘game’ unfolding?

Only time and experience will tell whether it is the ICL or the BCCI that will be better able to effectively attract the best talent, administer the game professionally and share fair value with the various stakeholders. Ultimately, the two entities could well merge into one, i.e., when both recognise their mutual financial interests lie in retaining the cricket administration monopoly that makes it possible to squeeze maximum value from players and sponsors. Until such time, at an absolute level, competition will be good for the management, growth and development of the game and its participants. The toss is over. Now, may the best team win!

Arch Pharmalabs lines up Rs 120 cr capex

Mumbai-based Arch Pharmalabs Limited has lined up a capital expenditure plan of Rs 120 core for expansion of its existing and newly acquired bulk drug and intermediaries manufacturing facilities in the next couple of years.
The company last week acquired a Hyderabad-based firm, making it its fifth acquisition.
Ajit A Kamath, chairman and managing director, Arch Pharmalabs, on Wednesday announced the acquisition of Watsol Organics Limited, a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and agro-chemical intermediaries, for an enterprise value of Rs 30 crore.
In April this year, Arch had bought out Sibra Pharmaceuticals Limited, another Hyderabad-based SME, for about Rs 40 crore.
The company now has six sites, including those in Gurgaon and Tarapur. It forayed into bulk drug manufacturing by taking over Hyderabad-based Merven Drug Products Limited in 1999.
The three private equity firms � ICICI Ventures, IL&FS and Swiss Technology Venture Capital Fund (SwissTec) � which have been nurturing the inorganic growth of the company currently hold 58 per cent equity in Arch Pharmalabs. Of this, ICICI Ventures holds 33 per cent while IL&FS and SwissTec have 12.5 per cent each.
Besides the internal accruals of over Rs 30 crore and further possible funding from PE firms, the company has got a commitment from DEG, a German financial institution, to meet the requirements of the fresh acquisition and expansion, Kamath said.
It proposes to invest Rs 40 crore in the Watsol facility, Rs 30 crore in Sibra and Rs 65 crore in the Gurgaon facility besides revamping the corporate R&D facilities to attract contract outsourcing in R&D from European and American companies.
Arch Pharma registered a turnover of about Rs 362 crore last year and aims to reach the Rs 1,000-crore mark by 2010.
"We expect the three Hyderabad facilities together to contribute around Rs 500 crore to the turnover by the end of the financial year 2010," Kamath said.
While the intermediaries and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) currently contribute 60 per cent and 40 per cent to its total turnover respectively, the company wants to remain in the bulk drug and intermediaries space to pursue the current path of non-competing business strategy.
Arch Pharma has also expanded its technology agreement with US-based Codexis Inc to use the bio catalyses process on 15 products in the next three years in a bid to become clean and green and more cost-efficient as compared with the present synthetic route to develop generics drugs.

Continuing Medical Edn programme held

UDUPI: The Departments of General Surgery an Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr T M Pai Hospital, Udupi, organized a continuing medical education (CME) programme for the Practitioners of Udupi district, at the IMA Bhavan.

Registrar of Manipal University, Dr H Vinod Bhat inaugurated the programme. President of IMA Udupi branch, Dr Devdas Kamath, Secretary Dr Satish Kamath and Treasurer Dr Prakash Bhat were present on that occasion. As many as 61 practitioners from all over the district attended the programme.

Assistant Professor and Unit Head, Department of General Surgery, Dr TMA Pai Hospital, Udupi, Dr K Vinayak Shenoy spoke on ‘Minimally Invasive Surgery for Haemorrhoids’, Associate Prof and Head of OBG Unit, Dr Parvati Bhat spoke on ‘Menopause-Ageing Gracefully’ and Associate Prof and Unit Head, Department of Surgical Gastronterology, Kasturba Hospital, Manipal, Dr Girish S P, spoke on ‘Recent advances in Liver Resection and Transplantation.

Shankarmurthy visits MGM college


Udupi: Higher Education Minister D H Shankarmurthy visited MGM College on August 21 and appreciated the activities of the college’s Rashtrakavi Govind Pai Research Centre, Study centre for theatrical arts.

MLA Raghupathi Bhat, Administrative head of Manipal Academy, Dr H Shantaram, Principal of MGM College, Dr Jaiprakash Mavinkulli, PU College Principal, Prof S R Arunkumar, Researcher, S A Krishnayya were present on this occasion.

Prof H Krishna Bhat gave the information about the centre’s activities to the Minister.

Primus Retail buys Weekender for Rs 95 crore

Retail chain Primus Retail has acquired clothing brand for youth and children, Weekender, for about Rs 95 crore, as part of its plans to enhance product portfolio through the inorganic route.

“Besides expanding our retail network, we have been looking at inorganic growth opportunities. Acquiring a brand like Weekender would help us expand our portfolio, allowing us to consolidate our position in the apparel and small-format retail industry,” Primus Retail CEO V Balaji Bhat said.

Weekender belongs to the Jagadish Hinduja family, owners of Gokaldas Images and has been in the clothing line for youth and children. It has a licensee arrangement with Disney and Warner Brothers in its portfolio. Currently, it has more than 50 stores with an annual business size of Rs 45 crore.

The Bangalore-based Primus plans to renovate the existing Weekender stores besides adding more in the next 12 months, a company release said. “We want to create a new look and feel for the brand. With our reach and infrastructure, we hope to grow the brand more than 100% over the next 18 months,” Mr Bhat said.

Industry sources said Primus plans to open 100 Weekender outlets over the next one year adding that it hopes to sell Weekender products in its factory outlets and around 500 small stores.

Primus has more than 150 retail stores across 40 cities. It operates exclusive stores and factory outlets for brands like Levis, Adidas and Nike. It also sells MTV gear and Adidas accessories to around 3,000 mom-and-pop stores across 200 cities.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Language being invaded by two forces: Minister

While language should have been kept away from politics and religion, unfortunate today language is being invaded by the two forces, said DK district-in-charge Minister B Nagaraj Shetty.

“A language can certainly not belong to one religion. It belongs to all those who love that language and make an effort to learn it. While language should have been kept away from politics and religion, unfortunate today language is being invaded by the two forces,” said District-in-charge Minister B Nagaraj Shetty.

Addressing the ‘Vishwa Konkani Diwas’ celebration at Loyola Hall on Monday, Mr Shetty said that the younger generation is losing touch with their mother tongue as most of the children now converse at home in English. He called upon the parents to see to it that mother tongue is spoken by the children at home.

“Make the children mandatorily speak in their mother tongue at home. It will help to safeguard the language in the long run,” Mr Shetty added.

Mr Shetty released the Konkani Quiz-I book during the occasion. Konkani Basha Mandal President Fr Eric Crasta presided over the programme.

Konkani Language and Culture Foundation President Basti Vaman Shenoy, All India Konkani Parishat President Paul Moras and others were present.

Quiz
A Konkani quiz was held for school children in which over 400 students from over 40 educational institutions participated. In the College section, Matilda Pius and Deepthi Monis of Sacred Hearts College Madantharu stood first, Deepak Shet and Tarun Shet of Canara College Mangalore stood second. In the High School section, Pooja Nayak and Lolita Joan D’Souza of Sacred Hearts English Medium High School Madantharu bagged first place while Ashwini Shenoy and Mangala Shenoy stood second.

Mangalore diocese Vicar General Fr Denis M Prabhu and Canara Bank Deputy General Manager M M Kudva gave away the prizes to the winners.

60 Years After Independence, Many in India Prosper, but Millions live in poverty

Two years after graduating from business school in 2005, Mansi Chadha is on her second job. She is taking advantage of a thriving job market, where salaries are rising quickly.

"A lot of opportunities, the growth is tremendous, you have more options now than you ever did," she said. "And you also want to try different things, and people want to keep jumping levels."

Mansi's father, Vinod Chadha recalls a dramatically different situation 30 years ago, when he began his career as an accountant.

"There were no options to join the corporates," he said. "The opportunities were very, very scarce. To get a good job probably one needed a good contact, a good referral."

He grew up when India's founding fathers were building a socialist economy, hoping to lift the newly independent country out of poverty.

The goal was self-sufficiency. The symbol was the spinning wheel. India wanted to manufacture its own goods, and to keep foreign investors out.

The result: the country produced an uncompetitive private industry, an inefficient public sector, and low growth rates.

India took a U-turn in 1991, when it was on the verge of defaulting on its international debt. It began opening its economy and unleashed a revolution that is transforming the country.

D.H. Pai Panindiker heads an economic research group, the RPG Goenka Foundation, in New Delhi. He says liberalization gave free play to the energies of Indian entrepreneurs, businessmen, and educated middle class.

"There was no imposition by the government about what to produce, where to produce, what price to charge," he said. "With that choice they were free to compete. In a short period of about seven or eight years, the Indian industry really matured and is now in a position to compete in the international market."

Today, increasingly confident Indian businesses are scouting from East Asia to Europe for opportunities, buying everything from steel plants to hotels.

The flourishing economy, growing at around eight percent a year, has produced a huge middle class.

With ample opportunities at home, youngsters such as Mansi Chadha no longer yearn to work in the United States or Europe - the dream for the middle class until the 1990s.

"The urge is not there, I think there is a lot more learning in India," she added. "A lot of exciting things are happening in India right now."

Young professionals now shop for cars, televisions and luxury goods much sooner that their parents could dream of doing. They are no longer restricted to local products, they can opt for global brands such as Sony, Ford, LG or Nokia, which have all arrived in the past decade.

These multinationals are expanding furiously in India, not only to tap the growing consumer market, but also to use it as a manufacturing base and to harness the skills of its engineers and technocrats.

But the economic boom has not trickled down to the poorest communities, and tens of millions of people still live on less than $1 a day.

So when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave a speech on Independence Day (August 15), he stressed the need to reach out to the India left behind, saying "We will have freedom and independence only when we get rid of poverty."

The prime minister said employment is crucial to end poverty, and pledged to press ahead with policies that create jobs and spread the benefits of industrialization.

Indeed the poverty that India's founding fathers wanted to end is never far away. Hunger stalks the countryside, more than one quarter of Indian children are malnourished. Health care is poor, millions are out of school, huge slums fester in the cities.

As a result, since independence, little has changed for families like that 40-year-old Babu Singh, a street hawker.

He says his parents struggled for a lifetime in a village to ensure that there was enough food to go around.

He migrated to the city, but things are not much better. Like them, he has no savings, no social security, and no hope that his children will have a better future.

Economist Pai Panindiker says the fruits of development must be more equitably shared.

"It is important to bring these into the mainstream," he said. "It [the boom] cannot be sustained unless it is shared by all sections of society."

Most Indians recognize that the next big challenge will be to bridge the widening divide between the country's middle class and the poor.

The pessimists worry that social unrest will rise if that does not happen; the optimists say the process may be slow, but growth will trickle down.

Court nod for LKB, Centurion merger

Kochi: The Kerala high court has given its approval for the merger of Kerala-based Lord Krishna Bank (LKB) with Centurion Bank of Punjab, which has its registered office in Panaji, Goa, and corporate offices in Mumbai, Gurgaon and Chandigarh.

Dismissing the petition of LKB shareholder Umesh Kumar Pai, Justice M.N. Krishnan ruled on Wednesday that there was no reason for ordering a probe by the government or any of its agencies into the affairs of the bank.
Pai had filed a petition against LKB decisions at the bank’s annual general meeting (AGM) on 30 September 2006 and sought an investigation into the bank’s affairs. In 2004, another petition seeking intervention in the affairs of the bank was sought.

Pai said during the AGM, several shareholders had been prevented from participating in the meeting, which was held under police supervision. The vote in favour of the merger with Centurion Bank of Punjab also was on the support of proxy votes, he claimed. In addition, the merger decision was taken without an independent chairman, Pai contended.

Kochi-based LKB, which was founded in 1940 by the Swargath Madhom family in Kodungaloor in Thrissur district of Kerala, had been under the shadow of a takeover ever since it missed the boat under the 1969 bank nationalization programme.

In 1969, when several banks were nationalized, LKB lost out because it did not have the minimum stipulated working funds.

The court remarked that 2,152 people had attended the AGM, out of which 1,784 people voted in favour of the merger resolution and 368 people refrained from voting. The results of the voting revealed that there was a two-thirds majority for the merger resolution.

On charges of malpractices in the bank and the failure of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to act and appoint an inspection agency to probe the bank, the court observed that RBI is an expert body and even the government depends on it for advice. The apex bank had been following the developments and issuing oversight guidelines on the lender.


“It is true that LKB has not been doing well and there are allegations levelled against the discriminate advancement of amounts and creation of large number of posts,” Krishnan said. “But they are not sufficient to order a probe into the affairs of the bank.”


He said there is no ground on which the Union government could be directed to order an investigation of the lender.


The hunt for a suitor ended with Centurion Bank of Punjab, and in August 2006, the shareholders of both banks agreed on the deal.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Immortal Tales

A long time ago, 40 years to be precise, there was a storyteller. He would regale his nieces and nephews with animated narrations of epics and folk tales. Children of his locality too would pester Uncle Pai, as he was popularly known, for more stories. One fine day, Uncle Pai was confronted with a disturbing sight. “It was the summer of 1967. I was visiting Delhi with a friend when a crowd gathered around an electronic shop caught my attention. I discovered that they had gathered to watch a quiz show on television, where students from prestigious schools were participating. Though I was impressed to notice that they could answer difficult questions on Greek mythology, they were not able to name Ram’s mother,” says Uncle Pai or Anant Pai, the man behind the immensely popular Amar Chitra Katha series.

That day Pai made a solemn promise to familiarise Indian children with their own culture. “It’s imperative. How can we be responsible citizens without knowing about our own culture?” asks Pai.

Forty years and countless editions later, Amar Chitra Katha is a cultural force. “It is a part of almost every Indian child’s growing up process. My parents would thrust a copy of Karna or Ramayana to familiarise me with the epics. It was a welcome break from the world of Marvel Comics. They were colourful and informative,” says Rajarshi Bose, an employee of IFB Kolkata.

There is another school of thought that considers the illustrations in Amar Chitra Katha as more sophisticated than western comic strips. “I loved the drawings and the colours. It made me love Indian history as they showed it. I think it was a very evolved form of animation and art that existed in India and content-wise was at par with any DC or Marvel publication,” says Jaydeep Dharap, a Kolkata-based freelance voice trainer.

Yet many feel that Amar Chitra Katha was largely rendered through dominant bazaar realism, a derivative of the Raja Ravi Varma lithographs, that fed the nation’s imagination. “Amar Chitra Katha proved to be a provocative and clever chronicler of the perceptions of modern India. An intelligent reader will gather a lot about modern Indian history, contemporary culture and politics through it,” Says Rimi B Chatterjee, professor of English, Jadavpur University.

The feminist in Monalisa Sen, an employee with Cognizant Technology Solutions Kolkata, is affronted by the stereotypical portrayal of women in the series. “The series encouraged patriarchal norms. Women were depicted as servile doormats. Even the ridiculous curves that they projected were like Raja Ravi Verma figures. Pretty, but very objectified,” says Sen. Chatterjee, agrees. “Even when they were talking about rebellious feminist figures like Mirabai, their convictions were glossed over. Their need for self-assertion was sugar-coated as devotion to god,” says Chatterjee.

Others feel that the series overtly patronised the Hindu scriptures. “Amar Chitra Katha is essentially Hindu in its packaging, style and illustrations. Though it has pretensions of chronicling the history of a nation, one cannot deny that the retelling is a very selective one,” says Erik Jordan, a teacher with St Pauls Mission School.

Pai dismisses these charges with playful humour. “I have tried to be as balanced as possible. When the members of the Christian community approached me saying that I do not talk about them, I came up with a Jesus Christ bumper issue,” states Pai.

Yet, it cannot be denied that the series has played an important role in shaping the identity of the young in post-Independence India. “An entire generation grew up on Amar Chitra Katha. Young impressionable minds were moulded by it. The very fact that people like me are conducting Phd level research on it is a testimony to its impact,” sums up Aryak Guha, a Phd scholar at Jadavpur University’s English department.

CM hints at splitting education department

The Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat today hinted at bifurcation of the education department in view of increase in workload and to make Goa one of the best centres of excellence by providing quality education.

He was speaking as a chief guest at a function organised by the Goa Saraswat Samaj to felicitate its meritorious students at N D Naik Hall, Margao.

The Chief Minister said that due to vast workload one minister may not be in a position to do justice to the department and so it was essential to split it up into two parts.

He said the government had appointed eminent educationists on the education advisory committee so that best quality of education could be imparted to students. He said that he has asked the government departments like police, municipality, panchayat and the public works department to see that grievances of the common man are attended. He said that his government would take care of the problems faced by all and will not allow any injustice.

“I will see that common man is protected and his interest is safeguarded,” stated Mr Kamat.

The Chief Minister disclosed that during his meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, he had requested him to grant either IIT and IIM institutes in the larger interest of students.

Earlier, GSS president, Mr Shanu Pai Panandikar welcomed the gathering and the Margao Saraswat Samaj president, Dr Prabhudessai gave a brief account of the activities. Mr Anil Pai conducted the programme.

Later, all meritorious students of the Samaj were felicitated by the Chief Minister. Noted Konkani writer, Ms Meena Kakodkar and former Rashtramat editor, Mr Chandrakant Keni were also honoured at the occasion.

The programme was preceded by a workshop for students and parents. The director of Higher Education, Mr Bhaskar Nayak, Mr Venkatesh Prabhudessai and Mr Pandurang Nadkarni, Mr Keni were also present.

Konkani Manyatha Diwas

Script plays vital role


“Kannadigas love and respect other languages. When the proposal of introducing Konkani as third optional language in schools came up, our government wholeheartedly supported it. I will personally be the happiest if Konkani language adopts Kannada script over Devanagari script to teach the language to students,” said Home Minister M P Prakash.
Speaking at the ‘Konkani Manyatha Diwas’ at Ganapathy High School premises on Sunday and accepting a felicitation from the organisers, Mr Prakash said that script plays a vital role as it is due to the script that the beauty and essence of any language is passed on from generations to generations.
He said that many languages of certain region have already been lost in wake of language policies of foreign rulers who imposed their language and curbed the usage of local languages.
He said that there are some languages which are on the verge of being lost owing to several reasons and efforts must be made to safeguard these language.
He said that the immense love for Konkani language that the Konkani speaking population have is an example for how a person must have pride on his or her own language.
Lauding the efforts of the Academy to train interested people in Konkani drama, Mr Prakash said that such unique ideas must be adopted everywhere in the State to promote regional language.
“If you stand and fight for Konkani, you are indirectly standing for several other allied languages like Tulu, Kannada, Marathi etc,” he added.
He said that ‘Nadu Bhashe’ (mother tongue) is ‘pavithra’ (the purest) of all and it is in one’s mother tongue alone that an individual can express his innate, intrinsic feelings flawlessly.
That is the power of mother tongue, he said.
Earlier, a Konkani cultural troupe beautifully staged a dance drama with the moral story that one who does not follow or use his own mother tongue will not be respected anywhere in the world, no matter who he is.
Mangalore MLA Yogish Bhat presided over the programme. Karnataka Konkani Sahithya Academy President Eric Ozario and others were present.
Karnataka Konkani Sahithya Academy has been celebrating August 20 as the Konkani Manyatha Diwas marking the inclusion of Konkani language in the 8th schedule of the Constitution.

Turavoor arratu

thuravoor araatu day special video

Monday, August 20, 2007

Youths are embracing Indian culture: Sandhya Pai

The Managing Editor of Taranga magazine, Sandhya Pai said that the youth had stopped thinking and embracing the Indian culture, ideals, traditions etc. after some years of India getting independence, but in recent years they are showing some interest and are embracing the Indian culture and traditions.

She was speaking as the president of the valedictory function of “Akhanda Bhajana Mahotsava” conducted at Gangolli Sri Mallyara Mutt Venkatramana Temple.

She said that Religious prayers not only helps us in praying the lord but also helps in purifying our environment and minds.

This valedictory function was inaugurated by Chaturmasya Akhanda Bhajana Mahotsava’s President K Ramdas Bhat and it was conducted in a joint effort by the Gangolli Mallyara Mutt, Ninada Gangolli, GSB Mahila Mandal and Veera Vittala Bhajana Mandal from April 19th.

President of Manipal Sangeeth Sabha and Vice Chancellor MAHE, Manipal, T Ranga Pai was the chief guest on this occasion. He said that the elders should guide the youths in restoring the Indian culture.

Konkani Day observed

MANGALORE: Roy Castelino, president, Konkani Prachar Sanchalan, has urged the Konkani speaking people to feel proud about their mother tongue and teach the language to their children. Participating in the Konkani Day function at Valencia Church here recently, he said the parishioners should encourage their children to opt Konkani as the third language in schools. Appreciating the parishioners for their involvement in promoting the language, he said Valencia Parish was a model for other parishes.

The Valencia Parish was organising the Konkani Day for the second consecutive year on a large scale, he said. Mr. Castelino honoured the students of the parish who had chosen Konkani as third language.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eastern influence at Nari Fashions

Anita Padukone, owner of Nari Fashions on Congress Street, said the Portsmouth community has been very receptive to the line of Indian and eastern fashions and home accessories she carries.





AT A GLANCE

NARI FASHIONS

OWNER: Anita Padukone

LOCATION: 75 Congress St., Portsmouth

TELEPHONE: 430-6262

SUMMER HOURS: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday

The elephant has long been a symbol in India for good luck and strength.

Anita Padukone is confident the elephant will bring her luck and strength at her new business in Portsmouth.

"I opened my boutique on June 17," said Padukone, "and already the response has been very good. We do sell lots of elephants, as statues and art in our wall hangings. Everyone loves the elephant."

Nari Fashions sells original folk art, clothing, jewelry and home décor items. The shop is full of treasures from India, Indonesia and Thailand.

Padukone moved to the United States 10 years ago. Before opening the Portsmouth store, she had one in Hampton Falls for a year.

"The Hampton Falls spot was not a good location," said Padukone. "I knew the right place for me to be was in Portsmouth."

Padukone said her interests have always been in art. She had wanted to be an artist, but she didn't think she could make a living doing just that.

So she combined her desire of owning her own boutique with her love of art.

"I only sell original folk art. All the wooden crafts come from Indonesia," said Padukone. "All my items from India come from all over the country and (are) handmade."

At the entrance to the store is a large hand-carved sculpture of dolphins. Near to this one is a large Buddha sculpture.

"The vases and pitchers come from various parts of India," said Padukone. "Every one is handmade and hand-painted."

There is an array of tablecloths, bed linens and scarves. The linens are hand-printed, stamped with a block 50 to 100 times to make the unique prints. The designs come from the eastern part of India, in Rajasthan.

Many of the scarves come from northern India and are custom embroidered.The shop is lined with wall hangings and hand-painted mirrors in a variety of colors and patterns.

"People so far are very interested in the wall hangings I sell," said Padukone.

The skirts, tops and blouses are made by artisans in northern India. Padukone said some of the artisans only do one style of the embroidery, so they are very good at it. Soon, she said, she will be carrying larger sizes of the shirts for men and tops for women, to accommodate the local demand.

The Indian shoes are handmade and hand-stitched in leather and cloth.

"These shoes do not have a right shoe and a left shoe, but one shoe," Padukone explained. "They are designed with the soft leather so that the foot will shape the leather for a perfect fit."

The shop also sells a large selection of miniature paintings done on silk and very old paper. Some of the framed paintings are done on stone. Each one is unique.

Padukone has fulfilled her desire to be an artist in that she now makes a large selection of the jewelry she sells.

"I am so happy because my own designs are selling so well," she said.

Padukone said she gets her gems from India and then makes the designs and jewelry herself. Not all the jewelry is made by her, however.

There is a wide selection from all over India and Indonesia.

"I am getting a good response to what I am making," said Padukone. "This is a very happy feeling. Portsmouth is being so good to me."

As if all the above isn't enough, Nari Fashions also has a wide selection of Indian bags. There are handmade leather bags, as well as the more traditional cloth bags, which come in many dazzling and vivid colors and designs.

There are finely designed mobiles made with light wood. The mobiles include fish, butterflies and birds, and some are very elaborate.

Padukone is most proud of a collection of framed butterflies.

"I did a lot of research on these to make sure it is good, and these were made in Thailand at a butterfly farm," said Padukone. "The butterfly has a lifespan of 21 days and then they are preserved. This helps protect the rainforests, these butterfly farms. The butterfly is never harmed.

"... I hope people will stop in and see all that I can offer them," said Padukone. "Portsmouth is the right place for me to have my boutique and make my jewelry designs."



Monday, August 13, 2007

Freedom fighter Balkrishna no more

AGONDA: Freedom fighter Balkrishna Nilu Naik Gaunkar from Shirewada in Nagarcem-Canacona passed away at his residence early Friday morning.
He was 93 years old and leaves behind three sons and three daughters. It is learnt that due to ill-health, he was undergoing medical treatment for the past one year.
The mortal remains were cremated at the Shirewada crematorium on Friday afternoon.
According to family members, Gaunkar was very active in a number of freedom struggles of national importance and was instrumental in a equally number of activities in achieving liberation of Goa from the erstwhile Portuguese regime.

Compact disc released

Sri Kashi Mutt pontiff Sri Sudheendra Theertha Swamiji, during his Chanthurmasya in Konchadi branch of Kashi Mutt, released a compact disc on series of religious discourses, titled ‘Shodasha Samskaragalu’.

It is a collection of religious dicourses by Veda Moorthy Sringeri, Sudhakara Bhat in Konkani, presented by the Anantha Vaidhika Kendra, Udupi.

On the occasion, swamiji honoured Sringeri Sudhakara Bhat. Chathurmasys Committee President Basthikar Umesh Shine, Chempi Ramachandra Shenoy of Anantha Vaidika Kendra and others were present. The CD has been priced at Rs 60. For details contact: 08202525634.

The painted sea

With a distinct identity and works marked by freshness, Goan art could be the next big thing.

Anoop Kamath�s �Kokum Dreams� at Gallerie Nvya in Delhi: a brilliant mosaic of flat colours � red for sand, green for the vegetable markets, blue for the ocean � contrasts with the stark black and white portraits of Goan people.

In Mumbai, at Gallery Beyond, �Yellow from the sun, blue from the sea� features Goan artists Subodh Kerkar, Swatee Nair, Chaitali Morajkar, Santosh Morajkar, Suhas Shilker, Praveen Naik and Francis d�Souza.

Back in Delhi, gallerist Tripat Kalra of Nvya says her next show is by Goan artist Viraj Naik. Other shows by Rajan Fullari and Subodh Kerkar are in planning, and curator Alka Pande is discussing a Goan retrospective in 2008.

Suddenly, Goan art is all the buzz. It may not be recognised as an independent school yet, but Goa could be the next big thing with young talent gaining both recognition and patronage in generous measure.

It wasn�t always this easy. �Living in Goa and making it big has always proved tough for artists,� says Subodh Kerkar, one of the few who decided to stay on in the state and not migrate to more lucrative art destinations. A doctor-turned-artist, Kerkar set up a gallery (Kerkar Art Complex) to make his presence known.

THE PRICE BAND FOR GOAN ARTISTS
Artist Style/strength Average price
Anoop Kamath Realistic; acrylic on canvas Rs 1 lakh
Viraj Naik Surreal; paperwork Rs 75,000-1 lakh
Rajan Fulari Surreal; etchings Rs 1.5 lakh
Subodh Kerkar Realist; installations/mixed media Rs 1-1.5 lakh
Pradeep Naik Realism; acrylic on canvas Rs 75,000 onwards
Suhas Shilker Abstract; oils and acrylic on canvas Rs 35,000-1.5 lakh
Swatee Nair Abstract; acrylic on Canvas Rs 30,000-1 lakh

�There are no big collectors here,� laments Kerkar. �It�s a tourist haven and tourists buy only souvenirs, not art.� Earlier, those who chose to move on included among them F N Souza, Angelo de Fonseca, Antonio Xavier Trinidade, V Gaitonde and Laxman Pai.

Collectively, they represent Goa, but is there a well-defined Goan style, or has each artist grown in an individual space? �Culturally and historically, Goa has been very different from any other state,� says Swatee Nair.

�Its Portuguese past has granted it a separate identity which percolates down to its people. Therefore, the artists have enjoyed freedom of thought and a folklorish quality in their expression.� It isn�t something that translated into market dynamics and could be a possible explanation of why the masters shunned their native identities.

Today, Souza and Gaitonde are better known as Progressives from Mumbai, Fonseca for his Santiniketan leanings (till he switched back to painting his own land and people), and even Laxman Pai who headed the Goa school of art for a while, left it for personal pursuits.

�But isn�t that true of any place outside a metro? Look at artists from Surat � they too migrate to the metros for the saleability factor. And why not? Goan artists moved out when the market here did not allow them space for growth,� says Nair.

Or could it be the lack of a common thread that binds this �non-school�, as Suhas Shilker defines it. �Till Laxman Pai was principal of the art school, the students looked upon him as a father figure. But that was before he decided to move on. Today, youngsters serious about art attach themselves to the JJ School of Art or the art schools in Baroda, Santiniketan and, of late, Hyderabad.� Apparently, Hyderabad�s Laxma Goud is a major influence on younger Goan artists and art students.

Not everyone disagrees with the lack of a cohesive Goan school of art. �The distinctive, individual styles single out artists in the market today,� says Nair.

�What the Goan artists considered their disadvantage has actually proved to be their biggest blessing,� Shilker says. �Back in the �80s, at the end of an exhibition we would exchange unsold paintings,� he laughs, �but today it is all about churning art to meet demand.�

These winds of change have only been felt in the past four years. And newer artists from Goa have rapidly catered to the emerging market with works marked by freshness � among them Baiju Parthan, Rajshree Thakker and Hanuman Kambli. �That the appeal of art is universal and the world is a global market has manifested itself very strongly in the last few years,� agrees Naik.

�Art is no longer regional. Though Goa will always remain in our subconscious, it�s never all-consuming as art,� he says. Fullari adds, �Tradition is deeply rooted in our subconscious and it reflects somewhere in the works in the form of imagery or even the use of bright colours or the influence of the ocean for the theme � it�s there.�

They may be cynical about the lack of art education or promotion within the state, but there�s no escaping the rise of hope: �The buying culture is developing at a very nascent stage. It is definitely better than before. People are suddenly more open to us. But for how long this boom lasts is the big question,� says Shilker. Whatever the state of the market, the artists � whether Goan or of the Goan school � can only hope the trend is not short-lived.

Get the `mobile’ rule of thumb

Using your handheld e-mail device or PDA a bit too much? While tech gadgets, like a business phone, may have literally brought the office at your fingertips, this may trigger a kind of health complication in itself. Doctors say overuse of handhelds could cause damage to the user’s thumb.

It’s a complication, which has been fashionably christened in the West as ‘BlackBerry Thumb’, probably due to the high popularity of BlackBerry devices. The American Physical Therapy Association has recognised ‘BlackBerry Thumb’ as a work place malady -- a stress related injury due to over-use of any PDA or smartphone.

Cause & symptoms
Handheld induced sore thumb is a type of repetitive stress injury. Typical symptoms include pain and swelling in the thumb and region around the base of the thumb and hand. There is quite often a feeling of numbness too.

“The ailment is caused by spending too much time checking and writing emails, instant messaging and using the Internet through a handheld device or a PDA or a mobile phone. Such fatigue pain will happen if there is excessive use of small keyboards,” says Sanjay Pai, chief of orthopaedics, Wockhardt Hospital, Bangalore.

Experts say a normal computer keyboard spreads out the typing strain across all fingers. However, the pressure gets restricted mainly to the thumb and adjoining areas while using a handheld small keyboard. After all, the thumb is not as flexible as the other fingers.

High-risk users
Doctors claim the risk of sore thumb will vary from person to person. “Till now, we get only a few cases every year of people complaining of handheld induced sore thumb. However as the technology becomes more popular and more widely used, the incidence of injury may rise,” says Dr Pai.


Prevention
The best precautionary measure will be moderate use of handheld devices for sending e-mails or other keyboard intensive applications. Even a small break from continuous 3-5 minutes of typing may be helpful. Users need to have a discretionary judgement on the work, which can wait till they reach their office workstation.

Konkanis bat for status quo on Karwar

The Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy has opposed attempts to include Karwar district in Goa.

Addressing media persons on Wednesday, academy president Erric Ozorio opposing the move, demanded that Karwar remain with Karnataka. "The State Government has accorded priority to Konkani language and Konkanis. Moreover, Konkani has been given the status of third language. Hence, status quo should be maintained," he added.

The Government has released Rs 25 lakh for the development of Konkani and has also assured a grant of Rs 15 lakh shortly, Erric said, and thanked the Government for its concern towards the language.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dr TMA Pai was a visionary :S M Krishna

Mangalore : Governor of Maharashtra and Former CM of Karnataka, S M Krishna said that, Manipal’s Dr TMA Pai is one of the great visionaries, who had played a decisive role in the formation of modern India.

He said that this was the first time he was taking part in a convention held at Dr T M A Pai International convention centre which was constructed in the memory of late T M A Pai.

He said that the contribution given by Dr T M A Pai to the Karavali, the district and the nation is immense. He faced the challenges and built a strong foundation for development.

He also said that the people of undivided Dakshina Kannada District and Uttar Kannada are very creative and active. He remembered some great achievers like Mulki Sunderam Shetty, T A Pai, Suryanarayan Adiga and others contextually.

Develop special skills and achieve in higher education- T Gautham Pai


Administrative Director of Manipal Media Network Limited, T Gautham Pai said that, today India is the most resourceful nation consisting of about 540 million youth population. But to make complete use of this youth resource, youths should be transformed into people having special skills and talents and should try to make them achieve success in higher education.

He spoke after inaugurating the Aptech Computer Education IT workshop at Udupi MGM College on 6th August.

He said that according to the report of ‘Nasscom’,IT industries have an aim of gaining 60 billion American dollars by 2010. It clearly means there will be opportunities for about 8.5 lakh IT graduates.

Director of NITK, STEP, Suresh Bhat said that the effect of the Information Technology revolution has reached small childrens also. The IT sector is expanding rapidly in providing information. The development is so fast that we can say that all the information in the world is at our finger tips. So there should be no person in this country who does not know anything about computers.

Manager of APTECH , Shaajaan Samuel explained about the various opportunities in the IT field. Principal of Degree college, Dr Jyaprakash Kedlaya welcomed the gathering. Pre University college’s Arun Kumar S R was present.Lecturer Rohan Fernandes was host of this function. K Gurudas of APTECH, Udupi centre gave complete coperation on this occasion.

Konkani organisation organising 40-hrnon-stop singing marathon

MANGALORE: Mandd Sobhann, a premier Konkani cultural organisation, is organising a 40-hour non-stop singing marathon, world's longest singing marathon by multiple singers at Kalaangann on the city outskirts on Jan 26 2008.

The programme was chalked out to earn a place for Konkani in the Guinness book of world records by beating the existing record of 36 hours non-stop singing which stood in the name of Communicade evangelica luterana sao Paulo, Ulbra, Brazil, sung during July 3 and 4, 2004, Eric Ozario, Gurkaar, Mandd Sobhann, told reporters here on Tuesday.

The competition involves 1200 multiple singers, he said.

This world record attempt is being undertaken to raise the funds for the completion and sustenance of �Kalaangann�, a Konkani heritage centre, he added.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Two months on, Canacona schools yet to get text books

AGONDA – It may sound strange, but it’s very true. Many schools in Canacona taluka are yet to receive text books supplied through the Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan (SSA) and Directorate of Education.
With a few days left to complete two months of schools re-opening and for the students to answer their first exam of this academic year starting on August 6, some schools turned lucky only a few days back to get their text books, while still few others are left in the lurch to mend for themselves due to non-availability of other text-books.
According to ADEI Canacona, the Std VII Geography text book, which was in hot contention since the beginning of this academic year, finally reached almost all the schools, but only a few days ago.
As few schools of this taluka were finding it difficult to cope up with parents’ complaints, the non-available Std VIII Konkani text books also reached the concerned students, but that too after a one-and-half month wait.
The other contentious Konkani text book of Std V is alarmingly the bone of contention now, and if ADEI Canacona is to be believed, this text book too is not available all over Goa for distribution to the remaining students.
The picture gets still murkier when one is given to understand that not a single copy of Std IV (Marathi medium) Parishar Abhiyas is yet to be printed reportedly due to receipt of its faulty CD.
Earlier, SSA’s Director L M T Fernandes blamed the non-cooperative links between SSA and the Directorate of Education and claimed that the stock of text books are available or can be made available at short notice with the proper follow-up.
At that time, Fernandes even asked this correspondent to come and photograph the available stock of books and when asked why those text books could not reach the concerned schools, he also blamed the schools for not doing enough to get their required stock.
During that time, even Director (Administration) T S Sawant who was having the charge in the absence of Director of Education claimed that responsibility to make the text books available lies with the Board.
He declined to comment further and stated that while he was looking after only day-to-day administration, the Director of Education is seized with the matter.
Efforts to contact the Director of Education failed while mobile calls went unattended.
Incidentally, while required text books are supplied by the concerned ADEIs to respective schools through BRC’s and CRC’s of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in other talukas, the Canacona schools are reportedly asked to collect their requirements from ADEI office at Chaudi.
The Canacona ADEI, however, expressed their helplessness as unlike ADEIs in other talukas, their (Canacona) office is not equipped with any vehicle.

Leadership training camp held

Manipal University has organised a two-day leadership training camp for students of various colleges affiliated to it and other colleges of Manipal Group with an objective to ignite today�s young minds to tomorrow�s great leaders.

The camp was sponsored by M/S M R Pai Foundation, Mumbai in memory of late M R Pai. As many as 130 students from 16 different colleges participated in the camp.

Three eminent management faculties, Vivek Patki, Rajiv Luv and Arvind Chittewale from Mumbai were the resource persons.

The camp discussed topics such as goal setting, achieving goals, managing ourselves, communication, self esteem and time management. Vice Chancellor of Manipal University Dr Raj P Warrier inaugurated the camp.

Chairperson of the Manipal University Hostel Management Committee Vasanthi R Pai was the chief guest and gave away certificates at the valedictory ceremony of the camp. Registrar of the University Dr H Vinod Bhat and Gita M R Pai also spoke.

Public Relation Officer of the University N Babanna proposed vote of thanks.