Archive for December 2006

Hope

December 30, 2006

2006 was definitely not a good year for me. Too many problems and too many issues to solve. Health concerns to a lot of near and dear ones was devastating.

I am hoping 2007 will be better.

I just got a call from India. I am packing and leaving for India soon for an emergency visit. It’s still 2006. I hope 2007 will be brighter.

Until next time, wish me and my family well….

Happy New Year !!!

December 28, 2006

One from the old pages….

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Being Opinionated And Being Judgmental

December 26, 2006

Opinionated: adj – Holding stubbornly and often unreasonably to one’s own opinions 

Judgmental: adj – Inclined to make judgments, especially moral or personal ones 

Former is fine because it only involves you. At the worst case, your best friend maybe frustrated with your ego and your acquaintance may think that you are a megalomaniac, depending on the circumstances. 

Latter is wrong. Coming to conclusions based on half-information and wrong information is not the best thing to do. Neither is it healthy to measure the morality of fellow beings when we are not saints. After all, every one of us is a human. 

But, we are all both opinionated and judgmental, to varying degrees. The actual degree defines whether we are either, neither or both. 

Any takes ?

Shivamogga Sammelana – Concluding Remarks

December 22, 2006

I am sorry !!! 

I understand that a lot of your sons and daughters are right wing nuts. I also know that a few others are naxalite sympathizers. I am neither. I value human relationships, respect and dignity much more than any of them. 

I also understand that people have the right to accept and embrace any school of thought. As I keep saying, if all of us had the same interests and hobbies, this world would be so boring. I respect others’ ideas and ideologies. I may not agree with them, but I certainly appreciate the fact that they have every right to believe in whatever they like. 

I am different. They are different. If they go on stage, I will not try to pull them down. If they get the limelight, so be it. I promise that I will never use your name to gain cheap popularity.  

I can only hope that all your children live together peacefully. I feel your pain. I am frustrated to see that you are dragged down the dirty road. You are bleeding. I am bleeding. 

On behalf of all of them, I apologize. I am sorry !!!

Kannada Sammelana – Why Do We Need Them ?

December 20, 2006

nissar.jpgLet me start off by saying that I completely support the annual Kannada Sahitya Sammelana. At the same time, I would like to analyze the usefulness of such conferences. There are certainly a few things which have bothered me about several such Sammelanas. 

I want to touch upon all the flavors of such Sammelanas. How about the regular ‘Vishwa Kannada Sammelana’ in America, once every two years ? (Yep, even Kannadigas in America have realized that when you live here, America is indeed the World…thus the word ‘vishwa’). The main idea behind such conferences is to bring many American Kannadigas together. There are literary, philosophical, and youth forums at the conference, but the main emphasis is really on the cultural aspects. In the recently concluded Sammelana at Baltimore, I was involved in both literary and cultural part of the festival. I read my poem and sang some songs, on two separate stages (Oh, and my wife sang a song written by me and composed by my mother J ). But, I can honestly say that I enjoyed singing so much more than reciting poem for multiple reasons. One, obviously there were much more people who listened to my singing than my reading. And two, the cultural programs were well organized whereas the literary programs were totally ill-planned and completely mis-managed. What I want to emphasize here is that the Vishwa Kannada Sammelana hardly has any literary touch to it (even though it claims to have it). It’s all about cultural programs and there’s nothing wrong there. This Sammelana provides that vital link between thousands of Kannadigas in Ameriica. We need that once every two years and I think it is very appropriate that we continue doing such Sammelanas. 

And, we have the annual ‘Kannada Sahitya Sammelana’ in India. You can see almost all the big name politicians during the inauguration every year. Everyone from the chief minister to the district-in-charge minister will be vying for the limelight. They come, they go and no, they don’t conquer any hearts or minds. The Sammelana president’s speech is one of the key things. He or she decides that there are several burning issues regarding Kannada and Karnataka. They come up with a list of problems and list of solutions. The government is asked to review them and implement the solutions. And, all that falls on deaf ears. In my opinion, right there, the reasoning for holding an annual ‘Kannada Sahitya Sammelana’ is lost. So many people (including URA !) have talked about improvements to primary education and how Karnataka government and ‘Kannada Sahitya Parishat’ can help in this. People have spoken about pathetic state of affairs outside Bengalooru, especially in North Karnataka. The border issue is perennial, especially when Sammelanas happen in places like Belgaum and headed by people like Patil Puttappa. I do understand that not all problems have solutions and not all problems have easy solutions. It’s easy to blame the government. I will not do that in two sentences. I need much more words to bash the government. What I fail to understand is that none of these issues – literally zilch – gets even looked at by our netas. Isn’t that sad ? 

In addition to president’s speech, Kannada Sahitya Sammelana’s have tons of discussion panels, poetry reading and evenings of music, dance and drama. Unfortunately, not many people are interested in the former, bulk of the gatherings are for the cultural programs. A handful like me attend both the events. I hate to discriminate, but the former is for the ‘intellectuals’ and the latter is for the ‘common’. And, that makes me a jack of all and master of none J  

At the end of the day, it makes sense to have such Sammelanas. It brings several common men like us together. We swim through a healthy literary river for three or four days. We also enjoy the best cultural programs that Karnataka has to offer.  We enjoy in the name of language. What more can I ask ?  It’s easy to neglect the presence of the politicians.  

This brings me to the next level Sammelana’s. ‘Gulbarga District Kannada Sahitya Sammelana’ and ‘T.Narsipura Taluk Kannada Sahitya Sammelana’. Really ? Are you kidding ? Now, don’t give me the reason that not everyone can travel to different cities every year, so the district and taluk sammelanas are needed. Neither is it true that the ‘budding’ writers and artistes get a chance at the district and taluk Sammelanas. Have you ever seen a list of their programs ? It is full of ‘bogus’ writers and artistes. Other than the president (in most cases), such Sammelana’s are a total burden to the exchequer. 

I have no strong opinion on a few other out of state sammelanas such as ‘Kerala State Kannada Sahitya Sammelana’ or ‘Delhi Sammelana’. Some of them serve the same purpose as the ‘Vishwa Kannada Sammelana’ does for American Kannadigas. So, I guess that’s good. But, I am not in favor of any such Sammelana coming up with resolutions to “immediately transfer Kasargod to Karnataka” or “implement Mahajan committee report at 7:59PM today”. That’s not the job of such Sammelanas, especially when they are hosted in another state. Come on, do you think we will be happy to host a “Marathi Sammelana” in Belgaum which comes up with a resolution asking the central government to give Belgaum to Maharashtra right away. Such things are plain wrong. 

For those cynics who question the validity of ‘Vishwa Kannada Sammelana’ and ‘Kannada Sahitya Sammelana’, my answer will be “Nice try, but bug off”. We need them. That cements our culture, it builds relationships, it’s a celebration of language and much more. As for the district and taluk Sammelanas, my answer will be “When is the joke ending ?”. Oh, I have to admit that Kamala Hampana definitely qualifies to be a part of the ‘kavi gOSHTi’ in ‘Heggadadevanakote Taluk Kannada Sahitya Sammelana’. 

Kannada Sahitya Sammelana – Presidents

December 19, 2006

nissar.jpg73rd All India Kannada Conference is starting in two days. Shivamogga is all dressed up for the event. We all look forward to this once-a-year event with such passion. When you think of “kannaDa sAhitya sammELana”, it’s really “Kannada” which binds us. That’s the sweetest of the words and we love and live for it. Now that we are all looking forward to yet another literary event, it’s the right time to look back and analyze the past conferences. I plan to write a few sentences on this topic everyday, for the next few days. Let me touh upon the Sammelana president’s today. I won’t go into the history and say which Sammelana was presided by which person, I am sure you can google to get that list. I will just share some interesting stories and analyze the selection procedure. 

Selection of the conference president happens way before the sammelana is inaugurated. Inspite of this being quite political, I have to admit that for the most part they have selected the right people all these years. Caste factor plays a big role, but real merit does have it’s place. One of the exceptions I can remember is the 1989/90 Hubballi Sammelana where Hiremath was selected over KS Narasimhaswamy. That selection was purely based on caste and not merit. Entire Kannada writer community boycotted that Sammelana and held a parallel conference in Bangalore with P Lankesh as the president and Gopalakrishna Adiga as the convener. The only big name writer who supported Hiremath was Dr. Siddiah Puranik, The next year, KSN was selected as the president of the sammelana in Mysore. What better place than Mysore for Sri. KS Narasimhaswamy ? 

An interesting note is that Prof. Gopalakrishna Adiga spearheaded the parallel conference in Bangalore, to oppose Hiremath’s selection in Hubballi. But, years earlier, when Adiga was appointed as the president of the Dharmasthala sammelana, the writers gang had boycotted that sammelana. I am not too sure about the reasons, but I think it had everything to do with Adiga’s firebrand innovative style of ‘navya kavya’. That style was too new for the other writers to digest. 

Another selection which made a mockery of the president’s position is choosing Kamala Hampana to chair the Moodabidre sammelana. I have read Kamala Hampana and I have to say that it is very sad to see people like her being selected for such honorary positions. Believe me, and I am not exaggerating, I think I write better poems than her. Where Are Karanth, Bhyrappa, Shivarudrappa, DL Narasimhachar, Kuvempu, Adiga, Bendre, and where is Kamala Hampana ? Really, that was a disgrace. In my honest opinion, that was perhaps one of the worst selections in the history of Kannada Sahitya Sammelana. 

Usually, the practice is to have a procession before the inauguration. The president of the sammelana will take part in that procession. It’s just another way of honoring them. One other interesting information is that Rashtrakavi Dr.GSS did not have a procession in the Davanagere Sammelana. If I remember correctly, that was due to law and order problem than anything else. And in Mysore Sammelana, security did not allow KSN’s wife inside the inauguration hall, after the procession. Of course, they realized the mistake immediately. But, it was still a glaring error on their part. 

We have a very deserving person chairing this year’s sammelana. Prof. Nissar Ahmed is an extremely fluent poet, a scholar and an articulate speaker. Very well deserved honor, we salute you sir. There were other names floating around for the position of the president. The list included Prof. G Venkatasubbiah and LS Seshagiri Rao. Both very deserving and I hope they get their chance soon. 

Prof. Nissar Ahmed is not only famous for his style, but also for the content. In one of his poems, he wonders why every house in the neighborhood has ‘Rangoli’ in the front yard and his house doesn’t have it. His ideas are very rich and some of the thoughts expressed in his poems have very deep meanings. I do not want to touch on the ever popular ‘nityOtsava’. How about the following lines from another poem ? 

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This is one of my favorite poems. ‘O traveler, the pedestal in my heart is ready for you. Come over for one night, stay, and leave’. Who is the traveler ? Who am I ? It is so brilliantly portrayed. 

Another good poem reads like this : 

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Modern Kannada poetry is all about such writings. Prof. Nissar Ahmed once said that a lot of his muslim friends are great writers in Urdu, but none of them got the recognition which he did. We all need to thank Nissar’s father for making sure that his son took the Kannada path. Else, it would have been such a grave loss for Kannada literature, and we would never have realized it.

Seventh Heaven Or Six Feet Under ?

December 18, 2006

Guess what…this guy walks up to me the other day in a party and asks me to write the screenplay for a Kannada tele-serial that he is planning. I am sure there are thousands of such ideas floating around everyday. So, it’s not right to count the chickens before the eggs hatch. But still….me sitting in some corner of the world writing the dialogues for a Kannada tele-serial. That IS funny, isn’t it ? 

The guy who spoke to me is apparently a big fan of UR Ananthamurthy. When I told him that I am currently reading ‘maMdra’ written by SL Bhyrappa (read as URA’s nemesis…ok ok, that’s a joke), he just nodded his head. But, I guess he was convinced that I am the right person to pen his serial when I told him that Bendre, in my opinion, was one of the greatest ever Kannada writers. 

Oh, and I don’t think I have mentioned this before. I have to tell you that a few months back, I was approached by someone to see if they can use some of my poems in their movie. I am sure that was one of those “thousands of ideas floating around”, remember ? LOL….