Category Archives: World Opinion

Kritya International Poetry Festival begins

CM inaugrates Kritya International Poetry Festival on Thursday

Thiruvananthapuram:

Kerala stands out from other states in the country for its tradition, said poet and critic Ashok Vajpeyi. He was delivering the presidential address at the Kritya International Poetry Festival at Bharat Bhavan on Thursday.

“Kerala organizes international events like Biennale and short film and documentary festivals and here tradition, orthodoxy, innovation and boldness co-exist. It is important that the state maintains this tradition at a time when voices of dissent are being supressed,” said Vajpeyi, managing trustee, Raza Foundation.

Organized in association with Raza Foundation, New Delhi, the three-day festival was inaugurated by the CM. The eleventh edition of the festival pays tribute to late poet O N V Kurup.

Pinarayi Vijayan said that poetry was a torch during the dark ages. “Writers fall victim to religious fundamentalism even in this millennia. Secular values, scientific temper and rational thinking are threatened by communal forces and fascists. The attempt is to stifle dissenting voices, but we should reaffirm that we stand by secular values till our last breath. Progressive writers, poets and dramatists became the torch bearers of the great social and cultural renaissance of Kerala,” said Vijayan.

The function was attended by Turkish poet Ataol Behramoglu, Estonian poet Doris Kareva, managing director of Poetry International Rotterdam Bas Kwakman, poet Prabha Varma and member secretary of Bharat Bhavan Pramod Payyanur.

Poets from Estonia, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Egypt, Mongolia, South Africa, Botswana, Belgium and Wales and Indian poets will recite their poems in the festival. The festival will conclude on November 11.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News>  Thiruvananthapuram News / TNN / November 10th, 2017

Biennale founders among ‘Power 100’

They first entered the list in 2015

Artists Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari, founders of the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB), have figured on the list of 100 most influential people in the world of art for the third year in a row.

The ‘Power 100’ is an annual ranking compiled by the Art Review magazine on the world’s topmost contemporary artists and influential figures. Mr. Komu and Mr. Krishnamachari have been placed 84th on the list that includes Chinese artist Ai WeiWei, who participated in the first edition of the KMB in 2012; Germany’s Wolfgang Tillman; French conceptual artist Pierre Huyghe; Hans Ulrich Obrist, the artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries; Bernard Arnault, founder of the Foundation Louis Vuitton; and Italian fashion house designer Miuccia Prada.

Two more Indians

Germany’s artist-as-theorist Hito Steyerl heads the 2017 ranking which only has two other Indian entries: the Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective (39) founded by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and well-known art collector Kiran Nadar (99).

Mr. Komu and Mr. Krishamachari first entered the list in 2015 after the second Kochi-Muziris Biennale that ended in March.

Their individual success as artists was also acknowledged by the magazine, which said “Krishnamachari’s first solo exhibition in four years, Colour Code, took place in July at Gallery G, Bangalore, for ‘one polychromatic week’”.

“Komu has been continuing to promote contemporary Indian art through URU Art Harbour, a cultural hub housed in an old warehouse in Kochi that he opened in November,” it noted. “He recently launched a two-month inaugural exhibition titled ‘Mattancherry ‘– named after the historic quarter in Kochi in which URU Art Harbour is based – bringing together 13 artists and research collectives to reclaim the site from the tourist gaze.”


  • ‘Power 100’ is an annual ranking compiled by the Art Review magazine
  • Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari have been placed 84th on the list

source : http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Kerala / Special Correspondent / Kochi – November 11th, 2017

Meet Kochi’s own Ironman

With half and full marathons becoming commonplace, Kerala now witnesses endurance sports events every other weekend.

Joby Paul, a 35-year-old IT entrepreneur from Kochi, shows what the new breed of runners and fitness enthusiasts might be aiming at next. Joby is just back after completing the ‘Ironman’ triathlon — one of the toughest sports events in the world, in which Malayali names, especially of non-NRKs, have hardly figured. A ‘runversation’ with Joby gives a glimpse into how he swam, cycled and ran towards the Ironman title!

“A couple of Malayalis have done this triathlon before, but they were not based in Kerala. I had spoken to a few of them for training tips,” says Joby, who came into endurance sports as a runner, only in 2015. “I was always a fitness freak, enjoyed watching sports and have been way too competitive. I did my first half marathon in November, 2015 in Kochi,” he says. Full marathons followed and slowly, endurance sports became his passion. “In the past two years, I did 20-odd half marathons and five fulls, and race by race, I could see an improvement in my timing. My first marathon took 4.45 hours and my best one is 3.43, in a span of two and a half years,” the sportsman recalls.

Joby started cycling and swimming to reduce running injuries and for cross training. “Meanwhile, the thought of a triathlon struck me as it’s the event in which you have to do swimming, cycling and running, without a break.” He also felt the need to do something new and challenging, which demands discipline and dedication. “When I found that Ironman is one of the most challenging endurance events, I decided to try being one,” Joby says.

His running buddies also encouraged him and Joby registered for a half Ironman event in Bahrain, in December, last year.

“It went well. In the meantime, I also did five full marathons (42.2 km) in different cities in India including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi.” He also bagged a medal for completing the 5 km sea swimming in Goa swimmathon in April 2017. “That was a big confidence booster for the full Ironman triathlon and so, I registered for the Florida Ironman event,” he says.

However, the path towards being an Ironman was hardly easy. “It was important that I balance the three disciplines with a well-structured workout, six days a week.

I had to wake up at 4 am on most days, and sometimes, even at 3.30 am for long workouts. There were a couple of weekends where I was out for more than seven hours, sometimes, all by myself. This was definitely hard — physically and mentally. Training for this long is, quite frankly, boring and draining. With all of these, there was no proper work-life balance either,” says Joby.

Added to that was the extreme diet control. However, self-motivation was the key, he says. “On many of the days it was very hard for me to wake up and train. But the finish line thoughts would pull me out of bed,” he says. In September, he participated in Thonnur Triathlon in Mysore, which was a half iron distance triathlon and got a podium finish.

But all the training and events helped him get a proper heads-up for the Florida Ironman. “Still, it was no cakewalk. I had a taxing 15 kilometres during the 42.2 km marathon. There was also extreme mental pressure thinking of the length and on many occasion you feel like quitting. But I was sure that somehow I would finish.”

Right now, everything, from the hard training to packing the bags for the event have turned golden memories for him. But the most precious moment was the one where he crossed the finish line – “I crossed the line with an Indian flag, amid the cheering and the announcement, ‘Joby Paul, you are an Ironman!” that was the best!

So, what next? “I want to do more events to secure an entry to the Ironman world championship held in Hawaii. So, I am now planning my next race. I also have a couple of marathons and swimmathons queued up,” he says.

Joby hails from Onakkoor, a village near Piravom. His wife Sweety is an IT professional and the couple has a daughter and a son.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News / by Deepa Soman / TNN / November 10th, 2017

What’s got Malayalis on a record-breaking spree?

Pulling a bus with teeth, smashing coconuts with bare hands, and singing endlessly for days — the feats attempted by some Malayalis are as diverse as those who sought to achieve them.

In recent years, there’s been an obsession among Malayalis to create world records and the latest in the list is Thiruvananthapuram-based caricature artist William Panipicha, who broke the world record for the longest caricature marathon on Saturday.
Is the craze for the world records only for the 15 minutes of fame or something more? We talk to a few record holders to find out:

A mode to inspire others


The latest Malayali entrant in the Guinness Book of Records is William Panipicha, an art teacher at St Thomas HSS, Poonthura. By sketching non-stop for 72 hours, with just a five-minute break every hour, the teacher says he wanted to inspire his students.
“I wanted to convey to them that hard work pays. Drawing is my God-given skill and I wanted to use that for something good for the next generation, who loves to draw and paint,” says William, explaining that he broke the record of 61 hrs 55 minutes caricature marathon set by Australian artist Ronald Francis Heberling.

William, who hails from a fishing community, says that he hopes the recognition would also motivate the children from the community to chase their dreams.

“I am a self-taught artist and it’s with my sheer will power that I reached where I am today from poverty. Nowadays, fine arts can lead to prolific career opportunities in our society including animation sector. I want my success to motivate the youth to take up art and be successful,” he says.

Inspiring others is not the only reason for attempting such feats. Noted mridangam artiste Kuzhalmannam Ramakrishnan, from Palakkad, has five Guinness World Records to his name — including longest performance by a solo artiste and longest mridangam marathon.

While the feats showcase his creativity and diligence with the instrument, he says his first attempt in 2004 by setting the record of a 36-hour mridangam marathon, was dedicated to all cancer patients in memory of his sister, who passed away due to lung cancer the same year.

“I was not even aware of the world records at that time and it was meant as a musical tribute to my sister,” says Ramakrishnan. “When the event was over, my friends suggested that it can be submitted for the record.”

Later on, he chose the recording-breaking attempts as a mode to popularise the percussion instrument. “My final attempt in 2009 was sort of a musical therapy. As an artiste, I feel responsible to contribute for the musical world. Music has the power to heal and thus I performed Hridaya Talam — the longest percussion concert that lasted more than 500 hrs at the Nandavanam Hospital at Ottappalam,” he says, adding that he chose the venue as the hospital as that’s where his sister breathed her last.

Chasing records tests your potential
More than competitions to set records, chasing feats aid exploring one’s skills, echo the world record holders.

Ramakrishnan says that he experimented with new genres for his feats. “I was able to test the potential of mridangam and myself while setting these records. When our contributions are engraved in the history of music, it will also give the upcoming artistes confidence to discover their skills.”

Supporting the veteran’s view is 18-year-old music prodigy Anantha Krishnan S R, who etched his name in Asia Book of Records for the longest flute marathon earlier this year.

The fame has given him confidence and also more stages to perform, he says. “Because of the title, I now have a small celebrity status in the music arena despite being so young.

I wanted to give my music teachers the best gurudakshina and that’s what prompted me to chase the record,” he says.

Despite the laurels it has brought him, the youngster says, “I am not obsessed with the record. In fact, I want the upcoming musicians to break it. These challenges help us to analyse our potentials better.”

The satisfaction of chasing your dream and being the best in the world is something that completes you, says Payyanur-based, 30-year-old Prijesh Kannan, who entered the Guinness World Records for his memory power, a few years ago.

Creating records are never easy, he says. “It was my childhood dream to enter the record books. My preparations began while I was in Class 6 and it took me around 14 years to create the record. There were days when I slept only for four hours, so I could prepare,” he says.

Prijesh now is using his fame to help others improve memory power as well as training others based on his experience.

Some Malayalis have also attempted bizarre task in a bid to set records – one among them being Abheesh P Dominic from Kottayam, who found his way to the Guinness World Records by smashing 122 coconut shells with bare hands in a minute in February this year.
“I have tried to do so many weird things to enter the book of records. However, it was not to attain fame but to prove that our body has the potential to endure whatever we wish to do,” he says.

The dangerous stunts he has attempted till date includes pulling a 10 tonne bus for 50 meters using his teeth, stopping a high-speed pedestal fan, breaking helmets, hockey sticks and smashing tender coconuts using elbow, knee and head.

While most onlookers would think that Abheesh is abusing his body, he says on the contrary, the road to records has him living a disciplined lifestyle. “I avoid processed food, keep away from drugs and alcohol and eat healthy. That’s what has helped me achieve the feat,” he says. “Making your hands as hard as a rock was a result of determination and patience.”

Fame subsides eventually
While records help achieve fame and recognition, it’s not something that Abheesh ultimately wishes for. In fact, he wants to use the feat to find a livelihood. “Though I am credited for world records, it doesn’t help me find a job,” he says.

He works as a temporary mechanic at the Erattupetta KSRTC depot. “Despite the records, I have not received any support from the government. I have been working in a temporary post for the past 10 years but they did not convert me as a permanent staff. If we visit foreign countries and introduce ourselves as a world record holder, they treat you with respect. But it’s different here. We are ignored. A world record cannot satisfy the hunger of the family,” he says.

In Video: Kerala art teacher makes Guinness record for longest caricature marathon 

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News / by Arya UR / TNN / November 06th, 2017

Sister Rani declared Blessed by Vatican

Bishops attend a ceremony for beatification of Sister Rani Maria in Indore on Saturday. | Photo Credit: PTI

She was stabbed to death in Madhya Pradesh in 1995

Kerala-born nun Rani Maria Vattalil, who was stabbed to death in Madhya Pradesh in 1995, was declared Blessed, a sacred title in the Roman Catholic Church order, on Saturday.

Vatican’s head of the Department for Cause of Saints Cardinal Angelo Amato declared the nun, popularly known as Sister Rani, Blessed, a stage below sainthood. Cardinal Amato read out the Apostolic (Pope’s) letter declaring her Blessed in Latin at a Holy Mass at St. Paul Higher Secondary School’s ground at Indore. The nun’s killer also attended the ceremony.

Cardinal George Alencherry read out the letter of Pope Francis in English, while Cardinal Telesphore Toppo did so in Hindi.

Selmy, sister of the slain nun, said she was “overwhelmed” by the declaration. “The Blessed title is considered a prelude to sainthood as was the case with Mother Teresa,” Public Relations Officer of Madhya Pradesh Catholic Church Fr. Maria Stephen said. But for sainthood, a miracle is required, he said.

All the four cardinals of India, Mar Baselios Cleemis (president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India), Mar George Alencherry (of the Syro-Malabar Church), Oswald Gracias (Archdiocese of Bombay) and Telephore Toppo (Archdiocese of Ranchi), attended the ceremony.

Sister Rani, then 41, was stabbed about 50 times on board a bus in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district on February 25, 1995, Fr. Stephen said. She was a member of the Syro-Malabar Franciscan Clarist congregation.

Her attacker Samunder Singh was hired to kill the nun as a few landlords in Indore were upset with her work for the uplift of landless people, he said. Singh was sentenced to life in prison. His sentence was commuted because of his good conduct in prison, Fr. Stephen said. He was pardoned by Sister Rani’s family. At the ceremony, Singh recalled his brutal act. “Then, I was in the grip of evil spirits. My life has changed,” he said.

The then Indore Bishop George Anathil initiated the process for Sister Rani’s canonisation process of the Blessed in 2001. Two months ago, the Vatican cleared the canonisation process to promulgate the ‘Decree of the Blessed’ on Sister Rani.

Sister Rani was born to Paili and Elisha on January 29, 1954 at Pulluvazhi in Kerala.   She took her first vows in 1974 and was then assigned to Bijnor for mission Apostolate. After serving in Bijnor, she was transferred to Satna and later in 1992 to Udainagar, the MP Catholic Church said. She was a champion for the poor, it said.

In Madhya Pradesh, the nun organised people exploited by moneylenders. She was threatened several times, but she refused to be cowed down.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States > Kerala / PTI / Bhopal-Indore, November 04th, 2017

Kerala historians question move to give ‘Paika Bidroha’ first war of independence tag

Paika Bidroha celebrations in Bhubaneswar on October 21, 2017. | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

They argue that the ‘Attingal Revolt’ of 1721 was India’s first freedom struggle

A section of historians in Kerala on Tuesday disputed the Centre’s move to announce Odisha’s 1817 Paika Rebellion as the “First War of Independence”, saying various uprisings against foreign powers had occurred in the southern State much before it, but never got due recognition.

They said the coastal State had witnessed a number of minor and major struggles against foreign powers even before the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, which has so far been regarded as the first war of Indian Independence.

A few among the historians wanted the tag of first war of independence for “Attingal Revolt”, an agitation by locals in the then princely State of Venad against the English East India Company in 1721 over the latter’s arrogant approach and unjust measures that they tried to implement in the land.

As many as 133 English East India Company soldiers were killed during the revolt which according to State historians, was the first organised uprising against the foreign powers in the country.

The struggles led by legendary king of Malabar, Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja who locked horns with the British during the period 1795-1805, the strike by Nair Brigade in Travancore in 1804 and the agitation led by Travancore diwan (prime minister) Veluthambi Dalawa in 1809 were some of the uprisings against foreign powers witnessed by the State, they said.

The fight of 16th century naval captain Kunjali Marakkar against the Portuguese forces was also prominent among them, they added.

History Protection Council, a State-based outfit, is planning to submit a memorandum to the State government to press the Centre to declare the “Attingal Revolt” as the first freedom struggle of the country instead of Paika Bidroha.

Eminent historian and former chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), M.G.S Narayanan said facts should be examined before including Odisha’s “Paika Bidroha as the first war of independence” in school textbooks.

“The matter should be examined thoroughly before taking a decision to include so in school textbooks,” he told PTI.

Noted historian K.N Ganesh questioned the government’s right to decide the prominence and value of historical movements and struggles.

“I am not questioning the significance of Paika rebellion.. But how can a government decide the merit and significance of revolts, struggles and agitations in history?” he asked.

“It should be decided by the academicians and the bodies like history research council and so on.. No minister can simply say that Paika rebellion is the first war of independence in the country without due consultation with historians and academicians concerned,” he said.

Historian and academician P.M Rajan Gurukkal, said many local struggles happened in this part of the country including the historic Colachel War did not get deserved recognition.

“It is true that many local uprisings had gone unnoticed in the history.. One of the most significant among them is the Colachel War between Travancore king Marthanda Varma and Dutch East India Company in the year 1741.

“It was the first ever victory of a princely State against a European power in Asia.. But, it did not get deserved recognition,” he told PTI.

A debate on the first war of independence was triggered after union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar’s recent announcement that Paika Bidroha of 1817 would find a place in the history books as ‘the First War of Independence’ from the next academic session.

The announcement was made at a function marking the bicentenary of the historic rebellion.

According to historians, Paikas, the peasant militia under the Gajapati rulers of Odisha who rendered military service to the king during the times of war, had rebelled against the British rule under the leadership of Baxi Jagandhu Bidyadhara as early as 1817.

Earlier, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had, in a letter to the Centre, urged that it should recognise ‘Paika Bidroha’ as the first war of independence against the British rule as it took place four decades before the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, which has so far been regarded as the first war of Indian Independence.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by PTI / Thiruvananthapuram – October 31st, 2017

Crafts fair from December 21

The Sargaalaya Crafts Village in Iringal will host an international crafts fair from December 21.

More than 100 craftsmen are expected to take part in the event. Nearly two lakh visitors are expected.

The distribution of entry passes will begin on November 15.

Entry will be free for schoolchildren, organisers said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kozhikode / by Staff Reporter / October 24th, 2017

Kannur airport gets location code from IATA

The location code granted to the new airport is ‘CNN’, which is the short for CaNNanore

 

Kannur :

Kannur international airport, which is expected to be commissioned next year, has got the three-letter location code from the IATA (International Air Transport Association).

According to a communique from IATA, the location code granted to the new airport is ‘CNN’, which is the short for CaNNanore, said P Bala Kiran , managing director of Kannur International Airport (KIAL). He said though the KIAL was keen on getting the code with ‘KN’, the codes were not available and hence CNN.

“The location code is unique to every airport in the world and it is like Aadhar for an individual,” he said.

He also said the new website of KIAL, with the ‘.aero’ domain name will be online soon, and the new URL will be ‘kannurairport.aero’.

According to the KIAL MD, the work is progressing fast and in all probability, it will be operational in mid of 2018. The terminal work will be completed by October and the runway would be over by December-January, he added.

Then, the Aerodrome Licensing Authority of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation must inspect the airport before giving the license. Also, the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport has to be finalized by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) using the calibration flight, which would take a few months after the completion of the civil works.

As of now, twenty passenger airlines and two cargo airlines have expressed interest to start operations from here. Further, though the airport will operate with 3050 metre runway in the first phase, the land acquisition process is on to extend its length to 4000 metres, said Bala Kiran.

Once fully operational, the airport is expected to handle 4.67 million passengers and 60,758 metric tonnes of cargo in a year, with 39,638 aircraft movements, according to KIAL authorities.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News / by P. Sudhakaran / TNN / July 27th, 2017

Mahatma Gandhi University’s faculty to lead expedition team to Arctic

Kottayam :

CT Aravindakumar, a faculty at Mahatma Gandhi University’s (MGU) School of Environmental Sciences, will lead an eight-member team of Indian scientists for an expedition in the Arctic region this month. National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Goa, the nodal agency that coordinates India’s polar research, will organize the expedition, which will last four to six weeks. MGU had recently signed a MoU with NCAOR on joint polar research.

Under this agreement, MGU researchers can take part in Artic expedition  every year. India conducts nearly 5 expeditions each year. The team will be studying atmospheric, biological, marine and earth sciences, glaciological and pollution issues. The main research programme is on pollution in the Arctic region which will have a long-term impact. It has already initiated a long-term programme with NCAOR on the study of air and water pollution, fate and transport of pollutants, aquatic organism etc.

India is one of the leading contributors in polar research and had started its Arctic expedition in 2007. India’s first Arctic research station, named Himadri, was inaugurated in 2008 at the International Arctic Research base, Ny-Alesund, located 2,000km north of Norway.

India is the 11th country to set up a permanent research station in the region. Himadri can host 8 scientists at a time under normal conditions. Members of the station are given weapon training to protect themselves from polar bears.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News> Schools & Colleges / TNN / July 14th, 2017

ST radar inaugurated at Cusat

Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan visits the Stratosphere-Troposphere Radar Facility at Cusat in the city on Tuesday

Union Minister says researchers must work towards people-centric science

Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan has said that scientists and researchers have to work towards a people-centric science and emphasised the need for scientific social responsibility on the lines of corporate social responsibility. The Minister was speaking at a press conference after the dedication of the Stratosphere-Troposphere (ST) Radar Facility at the Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) here on Tuesday.

He said scientists and researchers had the responsibility to give back to society. The scientists behind the achievement had to be congratulated because they had followed the call for ‘Make in India’ and the effort had been appreciated internationally by countries such as Japan, Korea and Sweden. He said climate science was doing well in India, and the country had entered into high quality collaborations with countries like Israel recently.

A handout issued at the dedication of the facility at the university said that it was the first stratosphere troposphere wind profile radar operating on 205 MHz installed in the world. The facility will aid monitor atmospheric wind conditions across altitudes up to 20 km and beyond. The research has applications in meteorology, cloud physics, thunderstorms, convections, atmospheric electricity and climate change.

Mr. Vardhan said India expected to provide optical fibre cable facility to all panchayats in the country by 2018. The 38 CSIR laboratories will be made accessible to students in Kendriya Vidyalayas for two to three weeks to create awareness about the work being done in the laboratories. The programme will help familiarise people with the scientific research being done in the country. The government wanted to create a passion for science among students, the Minister added.

Director of the Centre K. Mohankumar and Cusat Vice Chancellor J. Letha were among those present at the dedication of the facility.

source:  http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – July 12th, 2017