Wednesday, July 13, 2005
"When I don't make a decision, it's not that I don't think about it. I think about it and make a decision not to make a decision." Inaction is also action.
Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao (June 28, 1921 – December 23, 2004) was the ninth Prime Minister of the Republic of India. He was often nicknamed Chanakya by the media.
After beginning his political career as an active freedom fighter, Rao served brief stints in the cabinet (1962 - 1971) and chief ministries (1971 - 1973) for the state of Andhra Pradesh. He then rose to the national level in 1972 by serving in several ministries, most significantly home, defence and foreign affairs (1980 - 1984), in the cabinets of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. He was the first PM from South India and Andhra Pradesh.
After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and the general elections of 1991, Rao was chosen to lead the Congress party, and when Congress won a plurality in parliament later that year Rao was invited to head a minority government. He was the first person outside the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to serve as Prime Minister for five continuous years. He was also the first prime minister to lead a minority government for full term (five years).
Rao's initial years in the office were turbulent due to a severe shortage of foreign exchange reserves, a stagnant economy and political unrest. India faced a severe balance of payments crisis and Rao was instrumental in initiating free market reforms that helped end the "licence raj" that was a mainstay of India's post independance economic policy. Rao provided the much needed political will and support to his able financial minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and finance secretary Montek Singh Ahluwalia in pushing economic reforms. The Indian economy has grown by an average of 6.3% between 1991-2000, a growth rate that continues to be sustained with a predicted rate of 6.7% in 2005 (source: IMF World Economic Outlook). Rajiv Gandhi's gruesome assassination created a deep sense of insecurity and panic. Rao effectively steered the country out of that mode and put India on the threshold of 21st century.
A polyglot, Rao could read and write in 17 languages.He could speak and write Urdu, Marathi, Hindi, Telugu and English like a native. He learnt European languages like French and Spanish too. He translated Jnanpith Award winner Viswanatha Satyanarayana's Telugu novel Veyi Padagalu (literally Thousand Hoods) into Hindi as "Sahasr Phan". Rao studied at Osmania University and the Universities of Mumbai and Nagpur, acquiring Bachelor's and Master's degrees in law.
Rao rarely spoke of his personal views and opinions during his 5 year tenure. After his retirement from Indian politics Rao published a novel named The Insider. The controversial book, which follows the career of a person as he rises through the ranks of Indian politics, resembled events from Rao's own life. Rao, however, denied any connection.
Rao suffered a heart attack in December 2004 and died at the age of 83.
Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya (also spelled Visweswaraiah) (Other spellings Vishweshwariah and Vishweshwarayya) (September 15, 1861–April 12, 1962), popularly known as MV, was an eminent Indian engineer. He was born to Srinivasa Sastry and Venkachamma in Muddenahalli village, 40 miles from Bangalore, India. The family was a pious Telugu-speaking smartha brahmin family of the vaidiki Mulukanadu sub-caste. His ancestors actually belonged to Mokshagundam village, near Giddalur in the Prakasam district of present-day Andhra Pradesh, and had migrated to Mysore some three centuries ago. His father was a Sanskrit scholar and an authority on Hindu Dharmashastras (theology), besides being an Ayurvedic practitioner.
Sir M.V. lost his father at the age of 15. The family was in Kurnool when this happened, and moved back to Muddenahalli therafter. Sir M.V. attended primary school in Chikballapur and high school in Bangalore. He earned his B.A. from Madras University in 1881 and later studied civil engineering at the College of Science, Pune.
He took up a job with the Public Works Department (PWD) of Bombay, and was invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. He introduced an extremely intricate system of irrigation in the Deccan area. He also designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates, which were installed at the Khadakvasla reservoir at Pune, for the first time, in 1903. The use of these gates was to raise the flood supply level of storage in the reservoir to the highest level likely to be attained by its flood, without causing any damage to the dam. Based on the success of these gates, the same was adopted in the Tigra dam in Gwalior and the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) dam in Mysore. The KRS dam across the Kaveri River was the biggest reservoir in India at that time.
MV achieved celebrity status when he designed a flood protection system to save Hyderabad city from floods. He was also instrumental in developing a system to save the Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion. After taking a voluntary retirement in 1908, he was appointed Dewan, or First Minister, of Mysore, one of the largest and most important princely states in India. With the support of HH The Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, he made an arguably unprecedented contribution as Dewan to the all-round development of the state. Not only the KRS dam & reservoir, but also the hydel projects at Shivanasamudra, the steel mills at Bhadravati, the university of Mysore and many other industries and public works owe their inception or active nurture to him. He was instrumental in setting up the 'Govt engg college' in 1917 in the city of Bangalore, one of the first Engineering institutes in the country. This institution was later named the UVCE (University Visweshvaraya College of Engineering) after its founder; it remains one of the most reputed institutes of higher learning in the state of Karnataka.
The institutions named in his honour are deservedly a legion, and include the technical university, Visweswaraiah Technological University, Belgaum, to which all the state engineering colleges of the Karnataka state are now affiliated. As part of his birth centenary celebrations, the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum was set up in Bangalore.
While he was Dewan of Mysore, he was knighted by the British for his myraid contributions to the public good. After India attained independence, he was given the nation's highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955.
Yet, higher than all these many honours is that conferred on him by the common people of Mysore, who shall ever cherish the memory of this peerless practitioner of science, this dedicated educationist, this elder statesman, this true son of the soil.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (September 5, 1888 – April 17, 1975) is best known as the man who introduced the thinking of western idealist philosophers into Indian thought. He was an Oxford don who became the first Vice President and the second President of India.
He was born at Tiruttani, forty miles to the north-east of Madras in South India. His mother tongue was Telugu(తెలుగు). His early years were spent in Tiruttani and Tirupati. He graduated with a Master's Degree in Arts from Madras University.
Life and career
In 1929, Radhakrishnan was invited to take the post vacated by Principal J. Estin Carpenter in Manchester College, Oxford. This gave him the opportunity to lecture to the students of University of Oxford on Comparative Religion. In 1936, Radhakrishnan was named the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at the University of Oxford, a post which he held until he was named the first Vice President of India in 1952.
He showed how western philosophers, despite all claims to objectivity, were biased by theological influences from their wider culture. In one of his major works he also showed that Indian philosophy, once translated into standard academic jargon, is worthy of being called philosophy by western standards. His main contribution to Indian thought, therefore, is that he placed it "on the map", thereby earning Indian philosophy a respect that it had not had before. After 1946, his philosophical career was cut short when his country needed him as ambassador to UNESCO and later to Moscow. He was later to become the first Vice-President and finally the President (1962-1967) of India. When he became the President of India in 1962, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, September 5. He replied, "Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teacher's Day." Since then, Teacher's Day is celebrated in India.
He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954. The University of Oxford instituted the Radhakrishnan Chevening Scholarships and the Radhakrishnan Memorial Award in his memory.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
IT IS a non-descript address in Indore. Once upon a time it was a deserted place, wild in fact, when he bought it. In later years, it attracted thousands of admirers before it became a deserted spot. But this home of a famous son of soil survived the test of time and the agony of solitude. The area around his home today may have developed beyond his imagination but it does not matter to this grand, old cricketer who once foxed Sir Donald Bradman with his googlies. Cottari Subanna Nayudu is a forgotten man, living unrecognised, amidst people who have no time for him really.
A handsome man he was. From various accounts of the past, and from the reliable chroniclers of the game, one has read about the exploits of `CS', as he lived under the shadows of his brother, the legendary `CK'. He was a supremely fit, agile, and a dashing cricketer who relied on instinct.
A brilliant cricketer he was. A man who came in for praise from Bradman must have been good. A man who was said to be a breathtaking fielder, one with an amazingly strong arm which often ran out batsmen with a lightning throw from the deep, must have been stunning to watch.
Today, his frail figure demands care; his hands tremble from weakness, so much that to ask for an autograph would be an embarrassment to him, and his gait is a very pale shadow of his once majestic movements on the field; lapses of memory leave him frustrated, and at times he is lost for words in trying to make you understand a point; he is hard of hearing but rejects the aid that his doting daughter, Mahalakshmi, has brought from England, where she works in the Indian High Commission. Cricket is a cruel past and the present is no better. Today, he wants to forget all. He has forgotten much in any case because of age, he is 87, but whatever remains, shall remain within his dejected heart and mind.
He lives with his daughter, Vrinda, in his most proud possession - a huge home but a neglected property. Two ferocious dogs guard the small family from the worldly attacks. Cricket does not even come up for discussion in the house. Who to discuss it with? `CS' hardly remembers things and his daughters prefer it that way. So disillusioned they are with the cricketing fraternity.
``It is only when people like you visit that father talks of his past,'' reveals Mahalakshmi. She has some fond memories of his father in white flannels, taking them to England when he played minor county as a professional. ``The annual voyage with him was a most keenly awaited event. Those days spent on the ship with father were unforgettable,'' she takes a trip down memory lane. Suddenly, the present jolts her sharply. `CS' is a sick man and cannot even walk a few yards without assistance.
In need of medical attention, `CS' struggles with the measly pension of one thousand rupees a month. Much more is required for the medicines to ease the pain of a man who brought joy to thousands in his youth. Much more is required to keep him going. But who cares?
`CS' does not mind all the neglect. ``I am past, my cricket is past,'' he mumbles with a philosophy which has kept him going for the last so many years. A beneficiary of the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series at Sharjah in 1991, he got enough to do up his shabby home. It has not seen attention since. Of course, the daughters have kept the place tidy and ensure that their father is not left alone for even a minute.
The drawing room is a veritable trip into the past of `CS' and is well-maintained, sort of a document, depicting the life of one of the oldest living Test cricketers in the world. Pictures of him with some of the luminaries of the game adorn the walls and the gem is `CS' and Bradman together. As I show him the prize photograph, his eyes light up and a big smile spreads such joy in the room. It was so different a few days ago when an ignorant reporter from electronic media wanted to know how much cricket he had played. `CS' simply threw a glance at the pictures in the room and the trophies in the showcase.
His daughters cannot recall a moment of unpleasantness in his company. Even today, as he endures the pain and discomfort of old age, `CS' does not lose his cool. A temperamental cricketer, who is said to have been an underachiever, he mellowed tremendously even as he explored one state after another in the domestic circuit, which included some stirring deeds in the Pentangular tournament. He ended up representing eight states to end up with 295 wickets and 2575 runs in first-class cricket. His 11-Test record did not do justice to this wonderful cricketer.
His collection of bats, clothing, boots have been damaged by the passage of time, just as his once athletic body has suffered immensely. A bat is procured from the attic so that he can pose for a picture. As he feels the handle, `CS' is reminded of a stroke from the past and executes a mock one for us - a ferocious square-cut he had played off Mohammad Nissar. Well, he maintains the bowler was Nissar and the fielder, Maharaja of Patiala, who had dared to stop the ball, only to end up with a swollen palm.
The best moment for us comes when he spots a ball. `CS' insists we take a picture of his action. He grips the ball, and instructs me to pose as a batsman, and lets go one. ``A googly,'' he exclaims even as the ball just rolls out of his palm and trickles down the floor. He looks on sadly, well aware that his attempt to relive the past has failed miserably. We all clap earnestly but he knows the truth.
The countless trophies, pictures of his youth, and some fond memories is his invaluable treasure. And `CS' takes immense pride in them. After all, nothing else is left to tell this world of his status. The present generation hardly recognises him, not even some of his contemporaries. Not many from even his state have bothered to visit him for years.
The Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association very thoughtfully sends him two tickets for the match against Australia, little realising the fact that he cannot make it. But then they are only performing a formality. Just as this society, where people simply walk or drive past his home, unaware of its distinguished tenant. We have just not learnt to honour or care for our retired, and often ailing, sportsmen.
As I take leave of this fading figure of Indian cricket, a thought occurs. How touching it would have been for the Indian team to just drop by and spend five minutes with this old man.
Born October 31, 1895, Nagpur, Maharashtra
Died November 14, 1967, Indore, Madhya Pradesh (aged 72 years 14 days)
Major teams India, Andhra, Central India, Central Provinces and Berar, Hindus, Holkar, Hyderabad, Rajputana, United Province
Batting style Right-hand bat
Shrinivas was born in Palakol in West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh on February 28, 1969. As a very young boy Shrinivas was a normal child in school except that he seemed to have an ear for music. Then one day, when he was only six years old, his parents came home to find him playing on his father's mandolin. Inspired by the boy's interest in music, Satyanarayana taught his son what little music he knew, and Shrinivas began playing Carnatic music on the mandolin.
Subbaraju, a classically trained musician and a disciple of the famous musical stalwart Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, who had taught music to Shrinivas' father sensed the young boy's musical aptitude and decided to teach him classical music. He had no experience on the mandolin, so he would sing Carnatic music which Shrinivas would then play on the mandolin. He also learned Carnatic music from Shri Vasu Rao. In this way the young musician developed his own style.
Yes, indeed a star was born....
The Mandolin is essentially a staccato instrument, totally devoid of gamakka. That makes it almost alien to Carnatic needs. But that is all forgotten once you listen to Mandolin U. Shrinivas. What remains in the mind is music of the finest vintage.
The list of awards conferred on him is endless. And he is easily the most sought after artist. Between inhaling and exhaling, he gives a performance. It is also striking to note that he has none of the trappings of a star about him. Shy, silent, and reticent, he is rarely in the public eye, except on the podium.
Asked about his genius, he attributes it to God's grace. Behind this unassuming, humble boy lies the artist that comes once in an era. You may not be fond of Carnatic Music, but you can still not ignore Mandolin U. Shrinivas. You may look on him as a kind of Haley's Comet; a phenomenon if not an artist. Such is the spell he has cast on audiences, that there is invariably the residual close-circuit audience outside each hall. And he has travelled abroad innumerable times.
He is already one of the all-time greats. And he attributes it all to fate. It just cannot be. Fate did not make a U. Shrinivas - fate just laid a child's hand accidentally on a discarded Mandolin.
On 23rd January 1983, Thyagaraja Gana Sabha,Palakol(AP), honoured Shrinivas by conferring on the title "Mandolin Samrat"
The Government of Tamil Nadu appointed him as a State Artiste(Asthana Vidwan) in July 1984 .
Sangeetha kalanidhi Smt.M.S.Subbalakshmi, conferred the title "Sangeetha Bala Bhaskara" on Shrinivas on behalf of Sri Sankara Mutt. K.K.Nagar, Madras.
Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Madras honored Shrinivas by conferring its coveted title "Sangeetha Choodamani" in commemoration of the International year of the youth - 1985.
Sri Raja Lakshmi Foundation, Madras honored Shrinivas by conferring the title "Swara Kishore" at the moment of presentation of "Raja Lakshmi Foundation Award" to Shrinivas on 19th November, 1985.
On the 27th March 1987, Mother Terasa conferred the title "Andhra Ratna Kala Saraswathi" on Shrinivas on behalf of Andhra Pradesh Kalavedika, Hyderabad.
"Kalaranjini", Madras conferred the title "Nada Suda Nidhi" on Shrinivas on 30th July, 1987.
In December, 1989, The Music Academy, Madras honored Shrinivas with "Senior Vidwan Award" for his recital in the Academy's Music Festival.
On 1st October 1990, Shrinivas has been nominated the "Asthana Vidwan" (Resident Artiste) of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam by His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi.
On 15th December 1990, Karthik Fine Arts, Madras honored Shrinivas by conferring the title "Isai Peroli".
On 26th January 1991, Tamil Nadu Eyal Iasi Nataka Mantram honored Shrinivas by conferring the title "Kalaimamani".
On 24th June 1991, Shrinivas has been awarded the Top Rank of All India Radio for Carnatic Classical Mandolin Instrumental.
On 17th February 1992, Academy of Music, Bangalore honored Shrinivas with the "Sangeetha Ratna Mysore T.Chowdiah Memorial National Award 1992" in the distinguished presence of His Excellency, The Vice-President of India.
On 14th September 1992, Shrinivas has been awarded, the prestigious "National Citizen's Award-1991" His Excellency, The President of India. Shrinivas is the youngest person who was honored with such a prestigious award.
On 2nd January 1993, The Music Academy, Madras honored Shrinivas with the "Best Artiste Award".
On 25th April 1993, at Washington, Shrinivas has been awarded "The Honorary Citizenship" of the State of MARYLAND, USA by the Governor of MARYLAND.
On 16th July 1993, Sri Jayendra Baktha Samajam, honored Shrnivas, by conferring the title "Thanthri Nadhamani" through His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi.
On 1993 he has been given the "Billboard Award" for his CD compilation on Globe style records.
On 1st January 1994, Shrinivas received the "Rajiv Gandhi National Integration Award", instituted by the Indian Bank and Idhayam Pesukirathu.
On 1st January 1994, The Music academy, Madras awarded Shrinivas, "The Yogam Nagaswami Award" for the best artiste.
On 24th March 1994, he has been awarded "The Honorary Citizenship" of the District of Columbia, by the Mayor of Columbia District, U.S.A.
On 27th August 1995, Shrinivas has been nominated the "Asthana Vidwan" of Pillayar patti temple, Pillayarpatti.
On 5th January 1996, Sri Gnanananda Seva Samajam and Sri Bhagavatha Sammelan Samajam conferred on Shrinivas the title of "Sangeetha Kalamrutha".
On the 15th February 1996, Shrinivas received the title of "SAPTHA SWARA NAADAMANI" from His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetham.
On 4th May 1996, Rasikapriya, the School of Indian Music, Sydney honored Shrinivas by conferring the title "Rasika Kala Ratna".
On 5th May 1996, Academy of Indian Music, Melbourne, conferred the title "Raaga Rytha Rishi" on Shrinivas.
On the 7th January 1997, Shrinivas has been awarded the "Sanatan Sangeet Puraskar" from the Sanatan Sangeet Sankriti, New Delhi.
On April 12th 1998, Shrinivas has been awarded the, Nation's prestigious Award "Padma Shri" by His Excellency, The President of India.