Article

On the shoulders of giants – III

This article appeared in AID News, 18 November 1998.

On the shoulders of giants – III

[the first two parts appeared in AID News under the title “On the
Shoulders of a Humble Giant I and II” in the interests of timeliness, I
will wrap up this trip report. The complete report is available on the AID
website] Continue reading

Advertisements
Standard
Article

On the shoulders of a humble giant – Part II

The article below originally appeared in AID News, 20 October 1998

On the shoulders of a humble giant – Part II

(This is a continuation of the report that came in last week’s AID News).

You see, they heard us saying we came from Mumbai. So even after convincing
them that he was not Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi was still asked, “have you met
Sachin? Do you play cricket? Do you go to all the matches? Continue reading

Standard
Article

On the shoulders of a humble giant – Part 1

The article below originally appeared in AID News, 14 October 1998

On the shoulders of a humble giant

Some famous scientist (Sir Isaac Newton -ed) once said, that if we
can see this far today it is because we stand on the shoulders of
giants. This is how I felt after spending 15 days with Dr.
B.V.Parameswara Rao, founder of Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT),
engineer, educator, and storyteller extraordinaire. Continue reading

Standard
From the Notebooks

[Old Notes] Dowry & Dharmavaram

We went to Lanka Dharmavaram yesterday and met Yedla Ademma who was featured in Arthur Bonner’s article on Bhagavatula Charitable Trust.  She is now president of the Mahila Mandla group.  After chit chatting on various issues we hit upon the topic of dowry.  For the first 5-10 minutes, we felt like we were just spouting off our liberal  / politically correct views but then she also acknowledges that they would prefer to do say with it.  So then the conversation got a bit more detailed.  They talked about how this dowry issue affected other aspects of the girls life such as education and inheritance — and also how the dowry was exactly asked for and given.  They said the girls mother would often raise the topic first and the boy’s family would ask for it in advance of the wedding.  In the couse of the conversation a boy came out of the house and said not every boy demands so blatantly — many people objected saying it happened here and it happened there — so he said, “yeah …. అవుతూనే ఉంటుంది కాని మీరు అందరు అట్లాగే ఉంటారంతున్నారు, అందుకని నేను చెప్తున్నాను.” (Yes, it does happen, but you are saying that everyone is like that, that is why I am telling.)

So we asked him if he would take dowry and he said no — then Ademma garu said, “రాసిస్తావా?” (Will you give it in writing?)   So I gave him a piece of paper on which he signed that under no circumstances would he take dowry.

[From Notebook: Natraj Supreme Deluxe. not dated, probably from late 1998] 

Standard
From the Notebooks

[Old Notes] NFE in the mountains

I think I shouldn’t write as if I am producing Dishaa articles.  Last night I kept thinking I have made so many plans for the future now I am doubting that I will have all that future — the moment I ఎక్క్ed  [climbed] the jeep I was conscious that anything could happen while covering the winding path up — and especially down — the hill.  Then when we got out of the jeep and started walking I projected our walk back in the dark might bring us to our final destination — it didn’t help that people kept talking about tigers, Naxalites, or the time I went to this one village where they simply kill you if they don’t think you need to be there and which the government has never even heard of.  Of course I was glad to learn that there were villages that the government never heard of and my only disappointment was that as a result of this visit by the journalist who told this story the government got involved there.  Who knows.  Maybe they didn’t like being unheard of.  Even regional states (like AP) though they don’t have a military, are violent entities.

We visited an NFE center in the mountains.  This place had no electricity and all the children were huddled in a room with Alladin-style lamps and trying to copy their alphabets and arithmetic lessons in the semi0darkness.  There were about 8 of us who went to “visit” this place.  We all talked to the kids in Telugu – except me I was silent yesterday – and would periodically ask, “మీకు తెలుగు వచ్చా?”  But there was no answer except yes — for all they knew this was part of the test, as if they were supposed to know Telugu.  I would not understand why a night school for working children would be run in a foreign language.  Only in India do people assume people can and should be made to learn in a foreign language.

 

[From Notebook: Natraj Supreme Deluxe. not dated, probably from late 1998]

Standard
From the Notebooks

[Old Notes] Vizag Hills

Nestled in the mountains which form the AP / Orissa border are a surprising number of villages, with an active life which belies the serene untrodden appearance of the mountains a we approached from Vizag.  The road is used as a connecting path from Hyderabad to Vizag — otherwise one must go from ….

Surprises didn’t end with the paved road.  When we reached the village we learned that the local Girijan Samiti – or Tribal organization (of hill people) had begun in 1973 ( – ?).  Motor driven water flowed from the taps,

 

[From Notebook: Natraj Supreme Deluxe. not dated, probably from late 1998]

Standard