Kodagu First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Kodagu, Coorgs and the People of Kodagu – here at Home and Overseas
  • scissors

    Ace Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna, who recently became the fourth Indian to win a grand slam after clinching the mixed doubles title at the French Open, on Wednesday, met Union Minister of Sports Vijay Goel to discuss the promotion of tennis among youth in the country.

    Bopanna, playing alongside Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski, clinched his maiden Grand Slam title at the Roland Garros last Thursday.

    The seventh-seeded Indo-Canadian pair staged a comeback after losing the opening set and defeated Lena Groenefeld and Farah 6-2, 2-6, 12-10 in a summit clash that lasted for one hour and six minutes at Court Philippe Chatrier.

    The Sports Minister shared the pictures of him meeting the 37-year-old tennis star on his official Twitter handle.

    ?Delighted to meet #FrenchOpen Mixed Doubles ’17 winner @rohanbopanna; discussed promotion of #tennis among #youth. Keep inspiring all Rohan!? wrote Goel.

    Speaking to reporters after the meet, Goel said, ?I discussed about the promotion of tennis with Bopanna. He told me about his academy and I am happy that already there are around 70 students there? The government always encourages such private academies.?

    ?I wish he open his academies in the other parts of the country as well,? he added.

    Meanwhile, Bopanna thanked Goel for taking out his time and said, ?It was really nice that he took out some time to meet me?I am really happy that he is encouraging sports a lot.?

    ?I think this is what is required in India for every aspect in our field, no matter what sport it is,? he added.

    Bopanna became only the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam title after Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza.

    The All India Tennis Association has also declared that they will recommend the tennis player from Bangalore for this year?s Arjuna Award.

    Speaking about the same, Bopanna told ANI, ?We will know in a few months if I receive the award or not, if I do, I would be very grateful and very honoured.?

    (This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

    source: http://www.dnaindia.com / DNA / Home> India> News> Sports News / ANI / Wednesday – June 14th, 2017

  • scissors

    Rohan Bopanna clinched his maiden Grand Slam title when he won the French Open mixed doubles final with Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski in Paris on Thursday.

    Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski and India's Rohan Bopanna hold aloft the trophy after winning the French Open mixed doubles title in Paris on Thursday. The pair defeated Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Colombian Robert Farah 2-6, 6-2 (12-10). (AP)

    Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and India’s Rohan Bopanna hold aloft the trophy after winning the French Open mixed doubles title in Paris on Thursday. The pair defeated Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Colombian Robert Farah 2-6, 6-2 (12-10). (AP)

    Indian tennis ace Rohan Bopanna and Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski produced a fighting performance to beat their German-Colombian opponents Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Robert Farah in the final to clinch their maiden French Open mixed doubles title in Paris on Thursday.

    Seeded seventh, Bopanna and Dabrowski took an hour and six minutes to win, saving two match points, as they overcame the unseeded Groenefeld and Farah 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 on Philippe-Chatrier Court.

    Bopanna has become only the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam crown, after Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza. Indians have accounted for 20 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Two of those victories belong solely to India with Sania Mirza partnering Mahesh Bhupathi.

    Bopanna entered the final of a Grand Slam tournament after a gap of seven years. He had also qualified for a Major final in 2010 when he and Pakistan partner Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi entered the title clash of the US Open.

    The 16th seeds had then lost to American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in the final.

    Bopanna is the also the fourth Indian to win a mixed doubles crown at the world’s premier clay court tournament. Bhupathi won India’s first Grand Slam title in 1997 when he partnered Japan’s Rika Hiraki to claim the French Open.

    Bhupathi again won in 2012, this time with compatriot Sania Mirza.

    Paes too had savoured glory on the red clay when he won in 2016 with Martina Hingis.

    Bopanna and Dabrowski did not start well, losing the first set 2-6. The seventh seeds gave away as many as four breakpoint chances and Groenefeld and Farah converted two to take the lead in the match.

    However, the Indian-Canadian combine fought back well to clinch the second set with the same scoreline.

    Though they were broken once, Bopanna and Dabrowski converted three of the five breakpoint opportunities they got to push the match into a match tie-break (earlier known as Super Tie-Break).

    The German-Colombian pair led throughout the tie-break, and held two match points at 9-7. However, Bopanna and Dabrowski somehow managed to save both.

    Bopanna and Dabrowski had their first chance when they took the lead at 10-9. They lost the opportunity as scores were levelled at 10-all but the pair grabbed the next two points to seal victory at Roland Garros.

    source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / Hindustan Times / Home> Tennis / HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times / June 08th, 2017

  • scissors
    Hotbed for hockey. Nikkin Thimmaiah with his Chendanda team at the Kodava Hockey Festival final.

    Hotbed for hockey. Nikkin Thimmaiah with his Chendanda team at the Kodava Hockey Festival final.


    The Kodava Hockey Festival is testimony that the game is still thriving in Kodagu, feels internationals Nikkin Thimmaiah and SK Uthappa

    A crowd of 30,000 people turned out to watch the Kodava Hockey Festival final between Chendanda and Pardanda on May 14, an eye brow-raising statistic to the uninitiated. This wasn’t an international event, not even a national championship. The average spectator turnout for an Indian Premier League game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium was 25,000 but this hockey contest — played between families in Kodagu district — beat even the IPL. Cricket, they say is religion in the country. In Kodagu district, it’s hockey that gets the adrenaline pumping.

    “Every player from Kodagu begins his career in this tournament, including me,” Nikkin Thimmaiah, India forward and a member of the Chendanda winning team, said.

    “I watched my father play in this tournament as a six-year-old. That was one of the catalysts that spurred me to take up the sport.”

    The tournament is unique in many ways. A team comprises members of a family and there is no distinction between either age or gender. The festival itself has been conducted annually since 1996. The game, though, goes on through the year as youngsters are encouraged to make it a career. “It’s the most talked about sport in Kodagu and even now, kids are still enthusiastic about the game,” Thimmaiah added. “Kids generally place hockey on a priority.”

    Over the years though, the number of players from Kodagu making it to the international level has fallen. Currently, there are only three — Thimmaiah, SK Uthappa and SV Sunil — in the Indian squad. There’s no player from Karnataka in the junior team, but Uthappa insists hockey is not dead. The sport is now alive, more than ever, and tournaments like the Kodava Hockey Festival keep it ticking. “I began playing hockey seriously after watching my brother play,” Uthappa said. “I played badminton first, but in Coorg, everything is about hockey. Hockey is in our blood and that’s why we start playing. The next influential factor is your family. It depends on how they support and encourage you to play hockey as a child. Thanks to that tournament, it’s a tradition that everyone participates in it.

    “Even now, that culture of developing the sport remains. You often hear that gadgets have taken the fun out of outdoor games. There are kids who use iPads in Coorg but they know how to balance it with the game. I think that love for the sport is influential in getting everyone to play it. Imagine you have to play this sport in every school. You will naturally be inclined to it.”

    But it’s not just this tournament which gets Kodavas hooked to the sport. Uthappa says everyone is interested in playing some sport, but what cricket is to the entire country, hockey is to a Kodava. “We Kodavas follow, discuss and dissect hockey just as other people in the country do with cricket,” Uthappa said. “Families here are aware of everything that we do. Over the years, they have become more educated about hockey, thanks to the promotion and media exposure hockey is getting. Now, everyone’s involved in an educated discussion. For example, they tell me I played well in the first quarter, but my dribbling went awry in the third quarter and so on. Earlier, it was only the basic question of whether you won or lost and by what score.”

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> Sports> Others / by Aravind Suchindran / Bangalore Mirror Bureau / May 23rd, 2017

  • scissors
    Role Models: Paintings of General K S Thimayya, Field Marshal K M Cariappa.

    Role Models: Paintings of General K S Thimayya, Field Marshal K M Cariappa.

    Kodagu is not just known for its serene landscape and picturesque surroundings, but also for the valour of its people. Rightly, the district boasts of several military heroes. The statues of such brave men can be seen in Madikeri. The Sudarshan Circle in Madikeri is flanked by the statue of Field Marshal K M Cariappa and the equestrian statue of Subedar Guddemane Appayya Gowda.

    One of the earliest revolutionaries from Kodagu, Appayya Gowda, was hanged by the British in 1837. His contemporary revolutionaries from Kodagu included Subedar Naalnaad Mandira Uthayya, Chetty Kudiya and Shanthalli Mallayya who were imprisoned for many years by the British. Further along the main road, you can see a circle with the statue of General K S Thimayya. If you take the deviation to the right, you will find Major M C Muthanna Circle near the town hall and Squadron Leader A B Devaiah Circle near the private bus stand.

    The first family

    In Kunda, near Gonikoppal, lived the Kodandera family, hereditary chieftains of a group of villages. I M Muthanna’s Coorg Memoirs mentions that Naad Parupatyagar (native village official) Kodandera Kuttayya was the grandson of Diwan Mandepanda Thimmaiah. Between 1901 and 1909, he was the assistant commissioner and highest ranked native official in the then Coorg province. When his wife Dechy, or Dechamma, passed away, a locality in Madikeri was named as Dechur in her memory.

    Two members of this family, Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa and General Kodandera Subayya Thimayya, rose to become the chiefs of the Indian Army. Hence, the Kodandera family came to be considered as the first family of Kodagu’s military heroes. Field Marshal Cariappa was the son of Kuttayya’s younger brother Madappa, who worked in the revenue department. General Thimayya was the grandson of Kuttayya.

    Born in 1899, Field Marshal Cariappa, ‘the Grand Old Man of the Indian Army’, studied in the Madikeri Government Central High School and then in the Madras Presidency College. He gained admission at Daly Cadet College, Indore, in 1919 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Bombay’s 88th Carnatic Infantry, during World War I. The following year, he served in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and was promoted as a lieutenant.

    He became the first Indian army officer to attend the Staff College in Quetta. He married Muthu Machia, a forest officer’s daughter, had a son K C Nanda Cariappa, who later rose to the rank of air marshal, and a daughter, Nalini. During World War II, Cariappa was awarded the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). He became the first Indian to become a brigadier.

    Cariappa also served as India’s first commander-in-chief (C-in-C) between 1949 and 1953. Now this position rests with the President of India. He represented India as its high commissioner in Australia and New Zealand from 1953 to 1956. In 1986, he was made a field marshal. Thus, he became one of the two Indian army officers to hold this rank. He died in 1993.

    General Thimayya’s actual name was Subayya, while Thimayya was his father’s name. He was born in Madikeri in 1906. Admitted to the then Prince of Wales Military College in Dehradun, he was one of the six Indian cadets who underwent training in Royal Military College, Sandhurst, England. In 1926, he was commissioned into the Indian army. In 1935, he married Codanda Nina and the couple went to Quetta. During the Quetta earthquake that year the couple rendered outstanding humanitarian service.

    During World War II, Thimayya was awarded Distinguished Service Order (DSO). He represented India during the Japanese surrender. Between 1953 and 1955, Thimayya was the chairman of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission. He gained international fame for the way he handled the exchange of the prisoners of war (POWs) held during the Korean War. In 1954, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. Between 1957 and 1961, he was the chief of the Indian army.

    In 1964, he was appointed Commander of the United Nations Forces in Cyprus, where he passed away. Cyprus released a stamp in his memory, and later, his wax statue was displayed in Singapore. Both Cariappa and Thimayya are iconic figures in India.

    Fond memories

    According to Major General Arjun Muthanna, a great grandson of Kuttayya, Cariappa and Thimayya belonged to a generation of Indian officers who stormed the bastion of India’s colonial masters and deftly navigated unchartered situations. Both had huge responsibilities thrust upon them at a relatively young age and rose to the challenge. Cariappa, commissioned as a lieutenant when Indians were just being permitted to become British Indian Army officers, would ‘Outbritish the British’, probably to be accepted and treated as an equal by the British officers.

    A strict disciplinarian, he demanded punctuality and proper dress code. He was fiercely nationalistic and moulded the Indian Army into its current apolitical position.

    In 1948, the Kashmir situation grew tense and war was imminent. Lieutenant General Cariappa became the head of the Western Command and led Lieutenant General S M Shrinagesh and Major General Thimayya. It was during this war that Thimayya helped India secure Ladakh.

    Cariappa’s contemporary and friend, Lieutenant General Nathu Singh, was first offered the post of C-in-C but he declined and stated that his senior Cariappa, who won the 1948 war for India, was more eligible for the post. It was on January 15, 1949 that the three centuries old colonial army became a national army. That was the first time an Indian, General Cariappa, was made chief of the Indian armed forces.

    Every morning, Cariappa paid his respects to the portrait of his parents and the statue of a jawan. He was ever thankful to the soldiers for protecting the country. Hence, he was called the soldiers’ general. Cariappa would go to the war front, even after retirement, in order to motivate the troops.

    Muthanna narrates a personal anecdote about the Field Marshal, “When I called on him at his residence, in Madikeri, in May 1986, to invite him for my wedding, I was wearing a half sleeve shirt and trousers as appropriate for the hot summer day. After accepting the invitation, he commented on my attire saying ‘You’re an officer in the army aren’t you? In which case, you should be wearing a coat and tie.’ I had no response and thought in my mind I’m calling on my family elder. Pat came his next comment, as if he’d read my mind, ‘In case you’re calling on me as a relative you should be wearing our traditional dress of kupya.’ He walked the talk. He was always dressed formally as a respect to the person who was visiting him.”

    Thimayya was charismatic, approachable and had great interpersonal skills. When Thimayya visited his Dehradun alma mater as an alumni, one of the cadets there wanted to know how to address the general. Thimayya simply replied ‘Call me Timmy’, referring to his nickname!

    Some of the other military heroes of Kodagu are: Major Mangerira Chinnappa Muthanna, who was awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously, and Squadron Leader Ajjamada Bopayya Devaiah, nicknamed ‘Wings of Fire’, the only Air Force personnel to be awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously so far.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / Mookonda Kushalappa / May 22nd, 2017

  • scissors

    hockeyfestivalKF12may2017

    Around 4,800 players will participate in Kodava community’s event

    The Kodava community’s craze for hockey is as legendary as their participation in the Indian army.

    This love for the sport is celebrated by the people of Kodagu with an annual hockey festival, where family teams from the community get together to test each other’s dribbling skills.

    This year’s festival will have a special resonance as the organisers are making a bid to enter the Guinness World Records for the most number of participants at a hockey event.

    The festival which started in 1996 with 60 teams will see the participation of 306 hockey family teams this year.

    Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Ramesh, the organizer of the festival, said, “This year, we have more than 300 teams, which means that 4800 players will be articipating. Theirs is a Guinness Record for 4000 players taking part in a tournament. This event will break that record.”

    Ramesh also said that they have already entered the Limca Book of Records in 2004 for participation of more than 281 teams in the festival.

    Speaking about the significance of the event, Ramesh said that it has become a cultural festival for the Kodavas.

    “We never call it a hockey tournament, but we call it a hockey festival. It is the 21st year of the celebrations and it has become a cultural milestone for the Kodavas,” he said.

    About the festival

    * The hockey festival in Kodagu was started by Pandanda Kuttappa and Kashi Brothers at Karada in 1996.

    * Kuttappa and Kashi Brothers also founded the Kodava Hockey Academy in 1997 and continuing to be the founder president for the academy till now.

    * The festival follows the international rules for hockey.

    * It also encourages the participation of women and senior members in the hockey team.

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> News> States / by Bangalore Mirror Bureau / May 12th, 2017

  • scissors

    She’s a hardcore advocate of tribal rights, who, as the government have realised to their cost, will not back down.

    Tribal leader Muthamma climbs a tree in support of her demands at Diddalli in Kodagu on Thursday

    Tribal leader Muthamma climbs a tree in support of her demands at Diddalli in Kodagu on Thursday

    Mysuru:

    Muthamma, the woman who transfixed her supporters and critics by shedding her clothes to lead a protest, parading stark naked against the unfair treatment meted out to the tribals of Kodagu, is no exhibitionist. She’s a hardcore advocate of tribal rights, who, as the government have realised to their cost, will not back down.

    “It is not easy for a woman to remove her clothes and march nude in public. But it was my intense agony for my people and anger over the injustice they had suffered that forced me to opt for such a protest,” says 48- year-old Muthamma, who is leading the tribals camping in Diddalli in their fight for housing sites and land to farm on.

    A video of her nude march to protest the tribals’ eviction from Diddalli in December last year had gone viral on social media. Married to Basappa, a daily wage worker, Muthamma has four children and her younger brother, Appaji is a GP member.

    “As a child I was deeply pained to see my own parents moving from one place to another after they were removed from the forests. But they did not give up and go to line houses in coffee plantations. Instead they ensured that I studied till class 10. Later the Union government made me part of the Mahila Samukya, where I trained in empowering women and motivating them to have an education. In 1993, I was elected a GP member, but my hands were tied and I couldn’t do much to help my people,” she recalls. Although her parents finally settled in Channanakote in Diddalli, the family got land rights only in 2008 after a prolonged battle with the government.

    “Although there are 200 of us in Channanakote, only 30 have got land rights. I was shocked to hear about our Diddalli tribals living in line houses in plantations in Kodagu being treated as bonded labourers. I was an Aasha health worker, but gave up that job to lead their protest,” she reveals, adding, “I am not part of any NGO, but just another daily wage worker fighting for justice for my people.”

    source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation> Current Affairs / by Shilpa P / May 06th, 2017

  • scissors

    As many as 306 teams have enrolled for the prestigious Kodava family hockey tournament scheduled to begin here on Monday. With Biddatanda family hosting this edition of the annual tournament, the event is named Biddatanda Hockey Namme-2017.

    The hockey festival, in its 21st year, promises to a treat for hockey buffs with a record number of teams are vying for the top prize. The tournament has produced fine talents over the years some of whom have made the cut into state and national teams. The matches will be played at three grounds – two at Gen Thimayya Stadium at Cheriyaparambu, and at Govt PU College ground.

    Grounds Committee chairman B B Belyappa said, “Final touches are being given to the grounds to make them match-ready at a cost of Rs 16 lakh. The 27-day tournament is being organised at a cost of Rs 1.6 crore.”

    Thunder showers, in the recent past, in the run up to the competition have delayed the preparations. With rain taking a break on Saturday, the groundsmen took up the last-minute preparations to make the grounds ready for the matches, starting on Monday.

    For the first time in the history of the tournament, a metal gallery has been erected for the benefit of the spectators. The organisers have also made necessary arrangements like mats, sound system, lighting, media gallery at a cost of Rs 33.50 lakh.

    As many as waterproof make-shift food stalls have been set up at the grounds. Safety measures are also in place with shade nets covering the banks of Cauvery river to prevent people from venturing into water and contaminating the same.

    Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha had promised Rs 30 lakh from his MPLAD funds for the tournament but released only Rs 20 lakh. Zilla Panchayat is also expected to chip in with Rs 4 lakh for building a check wall.

    MLC Shantheyanda Veena Achaiah has sanctioned Rs 5 lakh. Legislators K G Bopaiah and MLC Suneel Subramani too have promised funds.

    Hockey India, Hockey Karnataka, Hockey Kodagu and Umpire Association have extended their support to the event. President of Umpire Association Katumaniyanda Umesh has taken over the mantle of supervising the matches.

    According to technical director of Biddatanda Hockey Namme B S Thammaiah, seating facilities have been made for 20,000 people. It includes 4,000 seats for VIPs. Parking facilities have been made on 15 acres of land.

    Hockey Olympian Anjaparavanda B Subbaiah will inaugurate the tournament on April 17 at 10.30 am. Founder of Hockey Namme, Pandanda M Kuttappa, will be the chief guest, while Prof B C Ponnappa of Biddatanda clan will preside over the inaugural function.

    Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai, former minister M C Nanaiah, MP Prathap Simha, MLAs K G Bopaiah and Appachu Ranjan, MLCs Shantheyanda Veena Achaiah and Suneel Subramani, SP P Rajendra Prasad, president of Kodagu Hockey Association Pykera Kalaiah and Muliya Prasad from Muliya Foundation are also expected to attend the inaugural session.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / DH News Service / Napoklu – April 16th, 2017

  • scissors

    StarbucksReserveKF30mar2017


    Coffee grown in the hills of Karnataka is making its way to the Starbucks Reserve store in Seattle

    Coffee is undergoing something of a transformation in India. Local beans, grown in the country, are finally making it onto store shelves, where provenance and growing techniques are emphasised. Meanwhile, a certain section of savvy consumers trawls the Internet, searching for new ways to brew their daily cuppa using a range of different home-grown beans, each of which comes packaged with tasting notes that emphasise subtle flavours.

    Meanwhile, an ocean away, India’s coffee prowess was given a different stamp of approval, when last October, Starbucks sold Indian coffee for the first time at its flagship Starbucks Reserve store in Seattle, the city in which the brand was founded. The coffee came from Tata’s Nullore estate in Kodagu, Karnataka, and was the company’s first microlot coffee. While Tata has 19 plantations in Kodagu (spread over 7,300 hectares), this was the first time that the company’s arabica beans made it to international shelves.

    Microlot coffee refers to beans that are generally the best of the estate, and are those that imbibe flavours of the terroir. Arabica is one of two types of coffee beans, and is prized for its flavour, lower caffeine content and almost twice the concentration of sugar than is found in robusta. As a result, arabica is more expensive, and harder to grow.

    Place of origin

    Walking around the Nullore plantation’s block 19 (where the beans grew), what strikes you is the sense of calm that comes with standing in the midst of a 505-acre estate.

    The microlot that was ultimately produced got its flavours from plants and trees that fruit bats propagate, while they make their homes in the silver oak trees above that provide shade to the arabica plants below. This two-tier system allows the coffee to grow under a canopy of trees, which includes jackfruit, pepper vines and fruits such as orange and lychee. On a tour of the block, Mandana, plantation manager, says, “We collected the coffee berries separately from eight hectares of this [block], where the fruit bat population is high.”

    Changing trends

    The story of the coffee though, goes beyond its growth, and rather is the story of how Tata Coffee is responding to changing customer demands, especially at the high-end, where international coffee drinkers are willing to spend between $10-30 to buy beans with unique tasting notes. Sunalini Menon, a well-known coffee cupper, who is also an independent member of the Tata Coffee board, has been instrumental in galvanising the plantation managers to experiment with microlot coffee. Chacko Thomas, the deputy CEO and executive director, says, “As a result of Nullore, we have 150 [microlot] experiments in progress.” Processing aside, the recognition has showed employees, that the beans grown in Kodagu can be cupped alongside the best in the world.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Food / by Aatish Nath / March 30th, 2017

  • scissors

    Over the years, India has had several woman diplomats, ambassadors and high commissioners who have done stints in countries like the USA, China, Spain, Sri Lanka, Australia, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Qatar, Switzerland, Serbia, Russia, Slovakia and Ghana. We’ve also had two women Foreign Secretaries – Chokila Iyer and Nirupama Rao – who were highly respected for their tough stance and unflappable poise during their years of distinguished service.

    It’s a far cry from what India’s first IFS woman officer, Chonira Belliappa Muthamma, had to face when she joined service in 1949.

    In an age when most Indian women didn’t even try getting into foreign service, this gutsy Kodava woman didn’t just choose IFS when she qualified UPSC, she fought gender bias, stood her ground and went on to become India’s first female ambassador.

    photo source: mea.gov

    photo source: mea.gov

    Born in Virajpet in Karnataka’s Kodagu (then Coorg) district in 1924, Muthamma lost her father, who was a forest officer, when she was nine. Raised singlehandedly by her mother, Muthamma completed her schooling in St Joseph’s Girls School in Madikeri before graduating from the Women’s Christian College in Chennai (then Madras) with a triple gold medal.

    Muthamma completed her post-graduation in English Literature from Presidency College in Chennai before deciding to appear for the UPSC examinations. She performed brilliantly, becoming the first Indian woman to clear the UPSC examinations in 1948. She wanted to join the Indian Foreign Service but the board that interviewed her discouraged her from joining this ‘not suitable for women’ service.

    However, Muthamma was determined to get her choice of service. She convincingly argued her case, stood her ground and joined the foreign services in 1949, becoming India’s first IFS woman officer. Incredibly, she had to sign an undertaking which stated that she would resign if she got married. However, after a couple of years, the rules were changed.

    For the next few decades, Muthamma served with distinction in many capacities in Europe, Asia and Africa. However, she had to fight against gender bias all through her diplomatic career. Despite serving in the foreign service for long, her case was overlooked when it came to posting her as an ambassador.

    photo source: inmemoryglobal.com

    photo source: inmemoryglobal.com

    Not the one to accept any injustice lying down, Muthamma filed a petition against the Indian government in the Supreme Court on the ground that she had been unjustly overlooked for promotion. The determined and stubbornly honest officer argued that the rules governing the employment of women in the service were discriminatory.

    The government of India, represented by Solicitor General Soli Sorabjee, argued that that the chances of leakage of confidential information of strategic significance was a dangerous risk, should women ambassadors marry. Realising that this was flagrant prejudice against women, the court asked the Solicitor General how leakage of information was not a possibility if a male ambassador married.

    Finally, in 1979, a three-member Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer quashed the government’s argument, struck down the discriminatory provisions governing foreign service personnel and upheld Muthamma’s case.

    The nation’s apex court also impressed upon the government of India “the need to overhaul all service rules to remove the stains of sex discrimination, without waiting for ad-hoc inspiration from writ petitions or gender charity.” A landmark judgement for women’s rights in India, it was distributed at many a women’s meeting in support of their struggle for equality.

    Consequent to this ruling, Muthamma was posted as India’s Ambassador to Hungary, the first woman from within the service to be appointed to this prestigious post. Later, she served in Ghana and her last posting was as Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands.

    After 32 years of exemplary service, she retired from the IFS in 1982 but only after breaking the South Block’s glass ceiling for the women who joined the IFS after her.

    photo source: alchetron.com

    photo source: alchetron.com

    Even after retirement, Muthamma remained active in various fields. She was nominated as the Indian member of the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues set up by the then Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme. She was also a prolific writer, and during her retirement authored several works on a range of interests, from a cookbook on Kodava cuisine to a collection of scholarly articles titled “Slain by the System: India’s Real Crisis.”

    People like Chonira Belliappa Muthamma come along very rarely. Civil servants like her are rarer. The courageous lady lived a life only a handful of other women of her time lived, fighting a lonely battle against the sexist principles – a few written, many more unwritten – that governed the Indian civil services of her time. A woman who broke barriers and set examples, she inspired many other Indian women to take up the challenge of civil service in the coming years.

    source: http://www.thebetterindia.com / The Better India / Home> Civil Services / by Sanchari Pal / March 01st, 2017

  • scissors
    The Sarang helicopter team talks about the risks in the air,how they were inspired to master the skill of formation flying and the courage it takes to deliver a flawless performance

    The Sarang helicopter team talks about the risks in the air,how they were inspired to master the skill of formation flying and the courage it takes to deliver a flawless performance

    Bengaluru :

    In their saffron uniforms, the men and women who swing their Sarangs into perfect flight formations display skill and dare and splendid teamwork. Not many on the ground know the challenges and risks that go into it.

    After enthralling the crowd at the inaugural day of Aero India 2017, the pilots shared their life stories, and how they came to be flying their HAL Dhruv choppers.

    Sneha Kulkarni wanted to become an event manager, but ended up as an Indian Air Force pilot in 2006. “When my elder brother joined the Army, I went for a training camp. There, the uniform inspired me to join the air force. I had not believed that I would become a pilot, but here I am,” a relaxed Sneha said on Tuesday afternoon.

    Wing commander Sachin Gadre, team leader, says the choice of a new teammate is almost always a collective one, with the final call left to him. “First, we ensure that the person joining our team actually volunteers to be here. Considering how strenuous and challenging it is, we don’t want them to be under any risk. He or she has to fly with us once before we finalize the person to ensure that the entire team bonds. The ability to remain calm, no matter what, is the most important quality,” he said.

    “We fly so close to each other that the slightest mistake could be disastrous. And we have to ensure that we maintain our formation. We need to have our emergency protocol in place and follow it,” he added.

    Considering the challenges, the Sarang Air Force Helicopter team performs on non-fixed wing aircraft, flying the choppers in perfect sync. The highly skilful pilots are called into action 12-15 times a year for various academy parades, exercise programmes and other formal events. To achieve the perfection that they are famous for, they have to put in nearly 500 hours of practice time, specially on a helicopter. “It is for the safety and beauty of our performance that we train so hard. It requires courage,” says Gadre.

    It was precisely this precision that attracted squadron leader Bhushan Rao to the elite team of performers. “I saw them perform at Marine Drive in Mumbai and was so impressed that I immediately wanted to join. It is much more difficult than the apparent ease with which the performance happens,” said Rao, who is serving his second tenure and has been with the team since 2012.

    Wing commander P Prithvi Ponappa
    , 38, says he was watching a Sarang display in 2003 when he first wanted to fly one. And at Aero India 2015, he finally did. For him, performing at the Aero Show is like being on home turf. “It was always my dream to perform at the show. I was on standby last time, so this is a dream come true. The first time I flew, I was so nervous that I was looking to my senior beside me for guidance,” he said. The airman from Kodagu narrated how every display performance is preceded by multiple dry runs on the ground, followed by a mandatory video debriefing.

    Wing commander Ashish Moghe says, “Apart from maintaining the basic level of fitness that an average military aviator should have, the team claims that they do nothing out of the ordinary, apart from following a balanced diet.”

    The voice of the team cannot be missed. Tinju Thomas, 28, from Ahmedabad, is an economics graduate and now commentator of the Sarang team for four years. Managing a team of 15-16 officers and pilots and 30 technicians isn’t easy, but for her it is as much fun as it is duty. “I always wanted to visit Bengaluru and my work brought me here,” she laughs.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / Arpita R / TNN / February 17th, 2017

  • « Older Entries

WELCOME. If you like what you see "SUBSCRIBE via EMAIL" to receive FREE regular UPDATES.      Read More »