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VOL 3 ISSUE 6 TRADITION I CULTURE I FLAVOUR I BUSINESS I NEWS DEC 10, 2009

Rotary Governor visits:


Interview with Dr E K Sahadevan. p 11

A
eLocal
U N I Q U E P E R S P E C T I V E O F T H E N I L G I R I S

Celebrating age: Ms Marie Johnstone is a


delightful conversationist. The epitome of National survey
survey:: Meant to pro-
practical, simple living, the grandaughter tect the public against crime, po-
of Craig Johnstone obliges with a licemen in India have found them-
brief interview, p 10. selves in the list of those who
demanded the most bribes, ac-
cording to a survey earlier this
year by Trace International, a non-
profit membership association that
helps companies combat bribery.
The survey points that a majority
of bribe demands in India (91
per cent) came from government
officials. Policemen accounted for
30 per cent of the bribe demands
(second only to national-level gov-
ernment officials at 33 per cent).
theindianexpress.com: Jan 2009.
Sketch Rtn Dr S Suresh Babu

Local perception
perception:: A cross sec-
tion of locals, on being asked
their opinion on corruption in
various departments, particularly
indicated the sub registrar’s of-
fice, the regional transport office
and the municipal office as cor-
ruption-ridden.*
Nearly everyone felt that local
politicians were the biggest per-
petrators of bribery.
Few have heard of the RTI (Right
to Information) Act and fewer

Gagged. still have used this tool.


Thankfully there is, albeit mar-
ginal, a section of local society
The culture of corruption in the district who will not pay a bribe under
has silenced the vibrant, educated and any circumstance.
once vocal people of the Nilgiris... p 4 * Public opinion is not an accurate indicator of
the actual scenario and is hence inconclusive.
2
local history
The forts of Nilgiris reflect its mined at Wynad, Attapadi and Adathurai.
chequered history. The Nilgiris formed From the 15th to the early 17th centuries, the military struggle for control of
part of different kingdoms, at different the Nilgiris came under the sway of the tributes. Tributes were collected, mainly
times. The Cheras and the Cholas lend Ummatur Rayas. These warrior kings from the Badagas in the form of grain.
contending claims to it as far back as had control of the hills as independent Besides this, the forts were strategically
the first millenium A.D. Much later it rulers and when they were defeated by located to guard the passes into the hills.
was embroiled in the dynastic feuds of the Vijayanagar kings, they continued to Extraordinary visibility, as far as
the kingdoms of Southern Mysore and rule the hills as a feudatory of the Seringapatnam in the north west and
Malabar. Various kings of the region Vijayanagar kings. They ruled from Coimbatore in the south east, allowed
were titular possessers of the hills for a Sivasamudram fort and were extremely military manoeuvers in the plains to be
long time. influential over the region until their easily detected from these hill garrisons.
The Hoysalas were the first to exploit defeat by the Wodeyars.
the hills for its resources. They held sway The hill forts of the upper plateau were Contd on pg 13
over the Nilgiris between the 12th and built by the Ummatur rulers between the
the 14th centuries, drawn by the gold 15th and 16th centuries, prompted by
Photo, courtesy: A F Pereira

Forts in the
Nilgiris - what
remains.
the local viewpoint

It is time to form
an action committee
comprising members
of the public who will
jointly take up matters
like corruption at the
highest levels.
Indu K Mallah.
President, All India The anti-corruption campaign on national television
Women’s National jaago re is very inspiring. I have not been asked to
Conference, Nilgiris pay a bribe until now, but if I ever am faced with the
situation I think I will refuse to comply
Capt. (Retd) Pushpinder Singh.
Volunteer-Manager, Bee Museum.

What we must do
about corruption.

Each one of us has to look within I believe every individual must make a personal
and truly see what we require and choice to be uncorrupt... The Civil Services is still
what we don’t. The resources that one of the few institutions which has stayed free
we have are limited and austerity is of corruption R D Nazeem I.A.S Executive
the need of the hour. Corruption Director, Tea Board of India
usually lurks very close to
materialism. N Mohanraj
Environmentalist & WWF
Sketch Rtn Dr S Suresh Babu

representative.
We only require a petition from members of the
public and we will begin the necessary investigations
against the alleged offendors. The problem however,
is that even when people call over phone they do not
give their names. Dy Supdt. of Police Vigilance
&Anti-Corruption.

Corruption is deeply entrenched.


Even I have had to pay petty
amounts to get past demanding
clerical staff. As for the lawyer
fraternity, it is also, sadly, not
untouched by corruption
Advt. Latha Balasubramaniam
Senior lawyer

The story of corruption is not only one-sided.


What about those extending a bribe in order to
ensure that something illegal, such as a deviation I am unhappy with the state of affairs. Inspite of being a
from the approved house plan, goes unnoticed? If teacher, I really don’t know where we can start or how to go
however, the public is being harassed by anybody about it. Corruption is everywhere. We adults seem to lack the
within the Municipality who may be demanding a courage to tackle it. Hopefully our youth will make the change.
bribe, they may approach me directly. R Rajendran. K J Raju Science Teacher, Cordite Factory School.
Chairman, Udhagamandalam Municipal Council

the local viewpoint


4
local issue

How much will it take to move my file?


Pay some money and get the work done is the mantra that everyone
in the district goes by these days. Almost everyone.

A popular tourist location in the Nilgiris ‘Nothing can get done these days of Ooty town. Its officers are in plain
was at the centre of an anti-corruption without a bribe,’ states a prominent clothes and are unassuming but their
raid recently. Foreign tourists were lawyer, who, notwithstanding her role in society cannot be understated.
apparently being charged an exorbitant professional status has had to part with ‘There are different ways in which we
gate fee for entry without being tendered money on more than one occasion to approach an alleged corruption
a receipt. The extent of misappropriation, ‘move a file’ concerning her own house situation,’ says the present Deputy
according to the head of the Vigilance property. A local hotelier recounts, ‘I Superintendent of Police heading the
and Anti Corruption wing - Nilgiris have had the distasteful situation of local wing. ‘One very effective method is by
district, ran up to the tune of Rs 20000/ body authorities who were refused a way of a trap which we lay wherein pre-
in collections per day! On a tip off, a ‘packet’ earlier in the day, returning late identified notes are exchanged and the
raid was conducted and the offenders in the evening and knocking on doors of person receiving the bribe, if found in
were nabbed with the unaccounted our guests saying that they were its possession, is immediately arrested.’
money of the day in their possession. conducting random checks. Rather than This, according to the official, is done
Excessive parking fee in Ooty town is put up with this nuisance we decided to based on a complaint filed by the
being collected, it is alleged, with fee part with the demanded money’, he aggrieved. ‘We also conduct our own
collectors cautioning that if the motor states, adding, ‘I feel that the present investigations apart f rom receiving
vehicle is found damaged upon the environment is such that it is impossible complaints’.
owner’s return they will not be to stay untouched by corruption. Complaints are specific, directing the
responsible. Irate locals say this amounts The local arm of DVAC (Directorate of department’s resources meaningfully or
to a veiled threat. Among the various Vigilance and Anti Corruption) works else, it is like searching for a needle in
aspects that these incidents have thrown into the night with various files the haystack. However, it seems the
up, extortionism is obviously one. containing pending cases found in its ground reality is that hardly any
Submissive acceptance is another. small, nondescript office in a remote part complaints are filed. For instance, all of
The Prevention of Corr uption Act (PCA) 1988
Corruption 1988, last year only two were submitted! Corruption: ‘The misuse of
defines public duty and public servant, amply. Several local business owners who were public office for private gain’
Public Duty: It means a duty that is done for the randomly asked to comment on the issue is the definition that serves
benefit of the State, the public or the community at a of corruption, chose not to respond. A the effective implementation
large. few declined to speak on telephone but
of the Prevention of
Public Servant: It is a unique term in Anti-corruption offered to talk about it under the
law, being the deciding factor at the threshold of condition of anonomity and if they were Corruption Act, 1988.
one's liability, depending on his being public servant. met in person. A retailer talks specifically (See section, facing pg, on the
The term 'Public Servant' was not defined under the of harrassment by a food inspector of the definition of public servant and
PCA, 1947 and the Act adopted the definition of the municipality in whose limits the store public duty)
term under sec. 21 of the Indian Penal Code. The comes under, saying that cheese products
PCA of 1988 provides a wider definition in the Act that they stocked were picked up in a
itself under clause (c) of sec. 2 under which, the random manner and the official
emphasis is on public duty and not on the Authority unnecessarily threatened to declare the
remunerating. The definition is enlarged so as to stock unfit for consumption unless he
also include the office-bearers of the registered co- was ‘taken care of ’, this inspite of the
operative societies receiving any financial aid from stocks being fresh. The enterprise now
the Government, or from a Government corporation makes a so called regular ‘payment’ - a
or company, the employees of universities, public fixed amount each quarter. The system
service commissions and banks. of regular payments seems a norm across
The following genres of persons fall within the various departments having not spared
ambit of 'public servant': even the healthcare sector. A medical hands of the service provider.’ He adds
a) Any person who is paid by the government or store owner (who recently quit the that if, for example, there is a deviation
local authority or remunerated by way of fees or business after 40 years in industry) shared from the sanctioned housing plan and
commission for the performance of or is in the his experiences with corruption within the concerned applicants want the
service of a corporation established by or under a this strata: ‘The competent authority officials to look the other way, they will
Central, Provincial or State Act, or an authority or overseeing Nilgiris’ 200 odd medical unhesitatingly bribe! As for the extent
body owned or controlled or aided by the Government stores operated out of Coimbatore.’ of corruption in the department, the
company as defined in the Companies Act, 1956. According to the erstwhile pharmacist, second time-elected representative
b) Any Judge or any person authorized by a court of the Nilgiri region was considered an admits that some staff reportedly do
justice to perform any duty, in connection with the unattractive proposition for the official accept a bribe but reassures members of
administration of justice or any arbitrator to whom to be based here. ‘He (the official) would the public that if anyone is being
any cause or matter has been referred for decision come once a month to make ‘collections’. harrassed he will not hesitate to
or report by a court of justice or report by a court ‘Everything in this trade has a fee. A inter vene and help the affected
of justice or by a competent public authority. fresh licence cost anywhere between Rs individuals in his official capacity. He
c) Any person who holds an office result to which he 5000/ to Rs 10000/. There are monthly however deliberately adds, ‘It is not up
is empowered to prepare, publish maintain or revise payoffs too that one needs to make if to me to clean the system.’
an electoral roll or to conduct an election or part of certain regulations are not met, one of ‘To be corrupt or not is a personal
an election, or is authorized or required to perform which is not adhering to the stipulation choice,’ says the present Executive
any public duty. that a medical store must not be located Director, Tea Board of India.‘The
d) Any person who is the president, secretary or alongwith a general physician’s clinic in individual - both the giver and the
other office bearer of a registered co-operative the same premises. How many stores receiver of bribe, are equally accountable
society engaged in agriculture, industry, trade or really follow that rule?’ for their actions’, states the experienced
banking, receiving or having received any financial The story of corruption, therefore, is IAS officer.
aid from the Central or State Government or any obviously not one-sided. Nevertheless, in the event of being
authority or body owned, controlled or aided by The Udhagamandalam Municipal harrassed or threatened with harrassment
Government or Government company as defined in Council chairman has a pointed business owners in particular, will resort
Sec. 617 of the Companies Act, 1956. question: ‘What about those who give a to what they believe is a quick-fix - to
e) Any person who is a chairman, member or employee bribe to get things done?’ he counters bribe. ‘To however do business at any
of any service commission or Board or a member of when asked about alleged corruption in cost is incorrect,’ explains a senior
any selection committee appointed by such Commission the municipality. ‘There are cases in auditor. ‘Some businesses do not stand
or Board for the conduct of any examination or which passport applicants, on realising up to harrassment because they
making any selection on their behalf. that they require documents such as a themselves don’t have a clean slate having
f) Any person who is the Vice-Chancellor or member ration card, in order to expedite this not declared all their sources of income.
of any governing body, professor, reader or lecturer process, will readily place money in the How can they possibly point a finger?’
of any University and any person whose services Continued on next pg
have been availed of by a University. Statutory disclaimer: TheLocal disclaims liability of any kind whatsoever, arising out of the readers use, or
g) An office-bearer or employee of an educational, inability to use the material contained in it. Adequate care has been taken to compile stories for the reference
of our users. TheLocal makes every effort to maintain accuracy of the information but does not accept
scientific, social, cultural or other institution receiving responsibility for any and disclaims responsibility for any loss or damage which may arise from the information
or having received financial assistance from the Central provided. All opinion expressed in the issue in the form of articles or any viewpoint is solely that of the individual
or State government or local or other public authority. or advertiser concerned and TheLocal accepts no liability thereof. None of the Authors, Contributors, Sponsors
or anyone connected to TheLocal can be liable for any reproduction of the material.
6
The jaago re campaign (a social message relate with everything around us with
on anti-corruption created by a large sensitivity and to critically introspect on What is not covered under RTI
Indian corporation) and aired frequently our own needs will have marked an Information, disclosure of which would prejudicially
on popular television, has inspired some. important first step in change,’ he states. affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the
A former lady officer in the Indian army On a related note, as a developing nation, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of
who settled recently in the Nilgiris, India does not have a respectable record the State, relation with foreign State or lead to
believes she will stand up to corruption with regard to the worldwide corruption incitement of an offence;
if faced by it. ‘I value my rights. The index put together by Transparency Information which has been expressly forbidden to
advertisement campaign is also very International. In 2008, the country was be published by any court of law or tribunal or
thought provoking.’ ranked 74 among 180 countries of the the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of
But what does it really require to stand world. If it be cause for less court;
up to corruption? Desperation perhaps. disappointment, neighbouring countries Information, the disclosure of which would cause a
‘I needed a chitta extract f rom the ranked worse: Pakistan, 140. Sri Lanka, breach of privilege of Parliament or the State
revenue department and the VAO’s 96. Maldives, 90. The top performer in Legislature;
(Village Administrative Officer) desk the region was Bhutan placed at 41. Information including commercial confidence, trade
had demanded Rs 3000/ for the effort,’ China, equally beset by corruption, secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of
says a local resident, himself a bettered India by one position. From an which would harm the competitive position of a
government employee. ‘It was my first environment standpoint, how a country third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied
brush with bribery; I offered Rs 1000/ like India can implement its end of the that larger public interest warrants the disclosure
but they refused to oblige. I couldn’t soon-to-be-signed climate change of such information;
afford to pay more. In a fit of anger I management pact at its grassroots level,
considering the embedded culture of
Information available to a person in his fiduciary
wrote to the then Collector’ (the incident relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied
happened some years ago). It seems the corruption, is ponderable.
that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure
District administration responded Coming back to local society, are we at of such information;
instantly and the concerned Tahsildar the point of no return or already past it?
was asked to conduct an inquiry in the Many believe it is too late. Which is a
Information received in confidence from foreign
presence of the aggrieved. ‘ The pity since the powerful tool that the
Government;
administrative officer, when hauled up, world’s largest democracy has given its Information, the disclosure of which would endanger
feigned surprise at the complaint telling people - the Right to Information lies the life or physical safety of any person or identify
me that my papers were already unused or under utilised. the source of information or assistance given in
ready!’He also tauntingly added, “Why confidence for law enforcement or security purposes;
The Right to Information Act is a law
didn’t you come to me directly?” enacted by the Parliament of India giving
Information which would impede the process of
While there are numerous locals who citizens of India access to records of the
investigation or apprehension or prosecution of
have put money at least once in the hands Central Government and State
offenders;
of a public servant (directly or through Governments. This law came into force Cabinet papers including records of deliberations
intermediaries) there are a considerable in October 2005. Information disclosure of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other
number of potential first-timers who in India was hitherto restricted by the officers;
think they will bribe if they have to as Official Secrets Act 1923 and various Information which relates to personal information-
in the case of the above example where other special laws which the RTI Act the disclosure of which has no relationship to any
the primary reaction of the applicant was now relaxes. The Act specifies that public activity or interest, or which would cause
to comply with the demand. citizens have a right to request any unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual
The culture of corruption is linked to information (except as stipulated (but it is also provided that the information which
fear or the lack of conviction to oppose alongside), take copies of documents, cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State
the malaise. It is also linked to inspect documents, works and records, Legislature shall not be denied by this exemption);
impropriety, for enhancing personal gain take certified samples of materials of Notwithstanding any of the exemptions listed above,
notwithstanding illegality or the work, obtain information in the form of a public authority may allow access to information,
unauthorised nature of the gain. printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm
A noted environmentalist feels that as cassettes or in any other electronic mode. to the protected interests.
long as people continue to further self The information may be expected by the
interest at the cost of everything else (the applicant within 30 working days. In the Collectorate. The application will be
environment included), the cycle of Nilgiris, requests can be filed with the forwarded to the concerned PIOs in the
corruption will automatically be fed. ‘To Public Information Officer (PIO at the various departments. Exercising one’s
Concluded on pg 13
You mamayy repor
reportt corr uption to the Depar
corruption tment of Vigilance & Anti-corr
Department uption (D
Anti-corruption (DVVAC).
Complaints may be submitted in writing mentioning the relevant details such as when the complainant has made an application (eg,. housing plan
sanction, application of licence, chitta extract request etc,.) and to which department alongwith specific information of the bribe demanded and by
whom. This facilitates the process of a trap set-up. All complaints will be treated with utmost confidentiality by the dept of vigilance & anti-
corruption. General petitions may also be submitted to the above mentioned authorities who will thereafter commence independent investigations.
In case complainants wish to contact the vigilance departments by telephone, they may speak to the following: Dy Superintendent of Police, Dept
of Vigilance & Anti-corruption 94450 48883, Inspector of Police, Dept of Vigilance & Anti-corruption 94450 48943 or Office of the Dy Superintendent
of Police, Vigilance & Anti-corruption, Nilgiris District (0423) 244 3962.
7
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new year recipe
Ingredients
2 eggs
1 1/4 cupwater
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon soda bicarbonate
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 1/4 cup refined flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup refined oil

Black Forest Cake


Directions: Put all the ingredients in a
blender and mix well. Pour into greased
and powdered tin. Bake in 180 degrees
for 45 to 50 minutes. When cake is
warm, slice midway from the base of
the cake. Remove the upper layer. Take
the white of an egg mix with required
amount of icing sugar and a little lime
juice. Spread this over the lower
section and place the upper section
back.The easy to prepare black forest
cake is now ready!
Recipe sent in by subscriber of
TheLocal, Dr R Shantha, Ooty.
new year recipe
In troubled times, hope is what the human
spirit has rested upon. The photograph
of the little girl from the indigenous Kota
tribe of the Nilgiris (pic courtesy, Deepak
Bhojaraj - see interview on p 15) signifies
just that. Her laughter, in complete
innocence and gay abandon, even
hopeful aspiration of her future is
inspiration enough for us to work towards
a corruption-free society by the time she
evolves into one of its responsible
members. May we resolve to make
January 2010 a corruption-free month,
marking this semblance of hope!

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10
personality

Meet Ms Johnstone
(Marie Missy)
The Local Correspondent

‘I think the secret to a happy life is


unstinting faith in God,’ says a cheerful
Ms Elizabeth Marie Ivey - Johnstone.
Grand daughter of Craig Johnstone,
after whom Johnstone Square in
Kotagiri is named, Marie Missy (as she
is affectionately called) is a happy
person!
She wakes up at 7. What time do you
get to bed? ‘I don’t know how, but it
gets around ten thirty or eleven at night,
by the time I get into bed,’ says Marie
Missy, who, busy body that she is, won’t
be ruled by the clock!
Capt Craig, her great-great grandfather,
a Scotsman, was the first to visit the
hills. His son, says Ms Johnstone, was
a highly accomplished officer in the
Telegraph services. Missy’s grandfather,
Craig Johnstone, was an entrepreneur
who made hand-rolled tea. ‘I remember
the men rolling the leaf with their hands
on an intricately designed wooden
block,’ says the cheerful lady pointing
to her left to indicate the area where
the work would take place. ‘Grandfather
died when I was 3 but I remember
vividly how he once held me from
falling while I was playing about with
a wooden chair. I was fascinated by his
white flowing beard and kind eyes.’
There was also a cow barn alongside
the tea making area, she reminisces. The
Busy bee: Ms Marie Johnstone obliges for a picture on a sofa that her ancestors sat on. Her
home-schooled Marie Missy apparently favourite flowers are in the background. Her daily routine is simple and full of activity.
learnt all that she knows, at the knee of
her grandmother. Marie Missy has the gracefulness, grit and simplicity that
An erstwhile dairy farmer, Missy is an inspires young and old. She is, in fact, the epitome of how
avid gardener too. She didn’t want to one would like to be when one gets older!
play favourites when asked which
flowers she liked the most, but
reluctantly obliged saying bird-of-
paradise and pansies.
What is the happiest moment of your
life? ‘Ah! When little Ricky came to
stay with me of course!’ (The Johnstone
family always had close ties with the
indigenous Badaga community and had
nurtured this relationship over decades.
It was Ms Johnstone’s wish to bring up
one of the children of the Bellie family
of Aravenu (a neighbouring Badaga
interview
village). Her Badugu, obviously, is
flawless! Son Ricky Raj is today When TheLocal met with Dr. E.K normally within the pur view of
regarded in business circles for his Sahadevan, the Rotary Governor of schools. The training that is provided
success in floriculture; he is also an avid District 3202, it was indeed a at the grassroot level will go a long
nature enthusiast. ‘He was always memorable occasion. The doctor who way in shaping the future leaders of
bright as a young lad. We put him in has been a dedicated Rotarian for nearly our country and future global citizens.
KPS (Kotagiri Public School). You twenty years was vocal about bringing How can the youth avail of this
know, my grandson is equally smart. about a change at various levels. Below opportunity?
He said, before taking off for a short is an excerpt of the conversation with
him: First I will tell you how the Rotary
holiday recently. “Grandma, look after intends to go about implementing the
yourself and also please look after Sir, Rotary Clubs are involved in many programme. We have two methods of
Rover”(their dog)!’ projects that aim at social upliftment. approach, one designed for the
‘What I don’t like about the times is But what are the issues that claim the Government schools and one for
the television. Its a curse,’ says the lady greatest attention? private schools. Local schools that
when asked of the way things have Well, as you know, the main focus of need aid are adopted by the Rotary
changed over the years. But didn’t you the Rotary is to improve health and Club. Special staff are appointed,
listen to radio as a little girl? ‘We never sanitation and also to eradicate illiteracy stationery, school furniture and
had one. As for news, I never cared and hunger. In 1985, a worldwide uniforms are provided. A library is
much about it.’ On a question related project was launched for the eradication started and computers are provided.
to corruption, the answer is candid - of polio which I can proudly say, has Provision is also made for the
‘Anything you need these days demands been very successful. Rotary District maintenance of the school building.
a bribe.’ 3202 project called the ‘Rotary Private institutions do not require such
What do you eat to stay this fit?
‘Anything and everything. I don’t touch
milk though(this inspite of having
been a dairy farmer). ‘But yes, Grandma
used to give me goat’s milk in a little
blue cup,’ recalls Missy, cupping her
hands with a broad smile!
Memories of the past don’t seem so
distant when you are spending time
with Ms Marie Johnstone - her
thoughts are sharp and her
explanations are so descriptive that one
is transported to that day and age,
instantly and effortlessly. Most likeable
of all, Missy is simple in her ways.
Anyone can tell that she is a living
example of how happiness can never
be sought after but lived each moment.
The devout lady finishes her day by
reading from 11 little books, every
night, books that have a spiritual
message for her before she turns off
the lights. Its a routine that she has
followed for years. Rotary Governor keen on youth development
It is polite not to ask a lady her age J Pillai
and I don’t, but we have a hint -
Grandfather Johnstone died in 1917.
Valikaati’ launched recently, has its main assistance so instead we concentrate on
focus on the youth. setting up of clubs that cater to students
What is the Project all about? of all age groups. For students who are
in the 1st-5th standards there is the
Letters to the Editor The word “Valikaati” in Tamil literally
“Rotakid”; students of the 6th-8th can
denotes a signpost that shows the way.
Readers who wish to send letters to the Through this programme we intend to join the “Kinderact” and students of the
Editor may do so by post to the following show our young the right way. Our aim 9th-12th can be a part of the “Interact”
address 10/363-Y-1, Indiranagar, AVK Post, is to motivate and educate youngsters. club. For college going students we
Nilgiris - 643 202. Alternatively, you may It is imperative that the youth cultivate have the “Rotaract” club.
also email your correspondence to not only academic excellence but These clubs have also been set up in
thelocaleditor@gmail.com. In case of excellence in other fields that are not Government schools.
any queries or clarifications please feel
free to call: (0) 97905 90570. Contd on pg 14
You are not an accident; you are an Nithyananda teachings
incident. You are a conscious miracle
of Existence. Life is not a forced
happening you have to go through. Life
is a living vibrant partner, playing an
exciting game, a mysterious adventure
that opens out new vistas in front of
you every second…
The possibilities are endless. Every
moment, the choices are infinite. Every
moment, Existence holds out for you
infinite choices in Her hand, waiting for
you to run into Her arms. Existence is
like the mother who waits expectantly,
longingly for her little child just learning
to take the first steps in this world. She
is waiting for you to learn to live life in
the best way – live enlightenment. She
is waiting eagerly for you to open her
gift of life. She wants to see that joy
and surprise on your face when you
discover your gift and enjoy it – by living
enlightenment.
God designed this world with only one
purpose – to make you experience His
love. Just like a lover wants to bring
the moon and the stars for his beloved,
the Divine not only wants to but
actually gets for you the moon, stars,
the whole sky and beyond.All He wants
to see is a smile on your face, a blissful
overflowing in your being, as you enjoy
these wonderful gifts He has made just
for you. There is no other purpose to
life. It is a straight and simple universe
inviting you to play with It, flirt with It,
and experience the joy of pure
romance with It.
Understand, whenever you think life is
throwing surprises at you, life wants to
understand you. It is curious to know
about you, just like a mischievous,
naughty little kid constantly playing with
you and teasing you. It just says, ‘If I talk
like this, what will you do? If I ask like Relate with Life – Live Enlightenment
this, what will you do? If I do this, what
will you do?’ What you call difficult moment yet the very next moment it be intensely alive in this moment, to live
situations or people are just the naughty may not even be alive. Life is just like enlightenment. The expression of living
yet innocent pranks of the little child. that – intensely alive and bubbling this enlightenment is experiencing complete
Just join the game and enjoy the moment, unaffected by what can fulfillment. You are just overflowing
absolutely unpredictable ways of the happen the very next moment. By within yourself, so you don’t need
little child called life – sometimes nature, each of us has energy inside us anything, you don’t ask for anything.You
running into your arms and kissing you like a nuclear reactor. There is so much are so full unto yourself.This is the state
on your cheek, sometimes pinching bliss, so much energy bubbling inside us in which all enlightened masters live.This
your cheek and running away laughing right from the time we landed on is the natural state in which every single
at everything, sometimes angry and sad planet Earth to experience the unique human being is.
with you because you did not appreciate happening of life as a human being. All
its innocent act… that is needed is for us to allow that
Life is your partner. It is asking you, ‘If I energy to flow beautifully through the
present myself like this in front of you, body-mind. Just remove the dead blocks To watch video clips of
what will you do?’ Just enjoy this pure of ego that are now in the way of the Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s
romance, delicate as a rose yet strong. laughing, gurgling river of bliss flowing talks, log on to http://youtube.com/
This is not the dead strength of a rock, through your being. Every moment is lifeblissfoundation. You may also log
it is the vibrant strength of life – it can a gift from the Divine – the only way on to www.nithyananda.org for
express in infinite dimensions this to pay your gratitude for the gift is to meditation program details.
13
How much will it take Forts in the Nilgiris Badaga history is closely woven with the
to move my file? Contd from pg 6 - what remains. Contd from pg 2 forts. According to Badaga tradition,
Ketti was founded by the son of an
right to information can throw light In all probability, the earliest fort to be Ummatur chieftain to collect his annual
on the status of the file. If encountered built on the upper plateau is Pakkasuram tribute. Kota legends talk of Umat Arc
by corrupt elements, a tip off to the Kottai. It is situated on Droog hill and and Udu Arc who built houses and lived
anti-corruption agency will be in order commands the Coonoor Pass. The in Ketti with their wives and children.
but this is where the buck stops - for ramparts of this garrison still exist. Malai Badaga tax collectors were rewarded
fear of victimisation, the average local Kottai, on the northern side, near Ekoni, with gifts and the title ‘parpate’ or
will rather keep quiet than risk any was built to command the Sigur Pass revenue officer. The Badagas of
repercussions. This is particularly true, and Hatre Kottai or Udaya Raya Kottai Achanagal claim descent f rom the
many state, if having to deal with the (of which nothing remains today), was Lingayats of Ummatur. The Lingayats
local politician. There are allegations built 7 kms away f rom Kotagiri on around Malai Kottai and Hatre Kottai
of extortions doing the rounds as much present day Burnside Estate. The oldest were probably brought there by
as there are those regarding payments of the forts however was further down chieftains of the forts. Kannakas or
made in order to secure a government near Satyamangalam - Danayankottai is accountants came to maintain garrison
job (Only two months ago, an entry “the fort of the commander Dana”. accounts. Bedas (hunters) were brought
level post in a government office It was established by Madappa from Hullungur, they and Kumbaaras
allegedly cost a local aspirant, a stiff Dananayaka who ruled over Nilgiris and (both Badaga phratrics) were brought
Rs 150000/ for the ‘recommendation’). Wynad. The remains of this fort today to serve the chieftains and they settled
Prosecution of corrupt politicians was lies submerged under the Bhavani around Malai Kottai. Wodeas were
enabled through a landmark Supreme lake.According to tradition the brought in as priests. Malai Kottai was
Court ruling in 2006 not requiring Ummatur kings built nine forts in all, renamed as Hussainabad and Hatre
permission for prosecutors to begin the ruins of some could be seen on the Kottai as Sayudabad by Tipu Sultan.
proceedings against the accused. slopes above Mavanahalla, till recently. After his defeat by the British, the
Earlier, assent was needed from the In the mid eighteenth century, Hyder Ali importance of the forts declined.
Parliament Speaker or State Governor is supposed to have attacked Dananayaka Today, its only the ruins of Pakkasura
to charge an MP or a legislator. Kottai. The commander then sent an Kottai that exist. It is worthwhile
But what of the fear factor? army to attack Hyder Ali’s hill forts in preserving these ruins, perhaps the
turn resulting in a battle at Tuduru in Archaeological Survey of India should
e
Whistle blower protection came to the
fore after the murder of Satyendra which Hyder Ali defeated the take over and preserve for posterity, this
Dubey (2003) who had exposed commander of Dananayaka Kottai. aspect of Nilgiri heritage. Rose Pereira
corruption in the Highways
Photo, courtesy: A F Pereira

Department. The Central Vigilance


Commission (CVC) was authorised by
a Public Interest Disclosure Resolution
(PIDR), passed shortly after by the
Government, to be the ‘designated
agency’ to receive written complaints
on any allegation of corruption or
misuse of office and to recommend
action. The CVC can also take action
against anyone who leaks names of
whistleblowers and witnesses and
request the police to assist
investigations. Global Integrity Report
2007 recorded that 1300 complaints
were logged due this resolution, in just
a span of 3 years. However, even this
is not foolproof. CVC reported that
over 30 whistleblowers had been
harassed inspite of the resolution.
Inspite of all the checks and balances [and Strategic position: A view from the fort ramparts at Droog.
imbalances], the time now like never

Local
before is for the human spirit, subdued
though it might be, to provide us with SUBSCRIBE TO
resilience. Perhaps defiance. The Subscriptions to The Local, are opened effective October 09. Please subscribe/renew your subscription through the following
Mahatma had said, ‘If co-operation be a methods: Demand draft/local cheque favouring The Local Media Publishing Co,. (or) by a Money order to The Editor, The Local
duty, I hold that non co-operation also Media Publishing Co,. 10/363-Y-1, AVK Post, Nilgiris - 643202. Call: (0) 97905 90570. 1 Year subscription: Rs. 180/- for
under certain conditions is equally a duty.’ 12 issues, incl. postage & handling.
14
tribute
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
‘He never owed anyone a favour or a fiver.’
Ruth N Davidar

Edwin Samuel Jeyasekaran Davidar


(14 May, 1925 – 10 December, 2009)
My father, Eddy Davidar, died of Master’s degree in Dietetics, I fostered
septicaemic shock on 10 December, 2009. ambitions of going abroad. I sought
He was 84. Dad survived his wife, Sushila employment with one of the Dietetic
(Sue or Susie to those who knew her), by 13 Associations abroad and chose New Zealand’s,
years. When my mother died in July 1996, simply because its headquarters was in
The Santa sketch above was a swift Dad chose to stay on in Flo-Iris, the home Wellington. The idea of having an address
ten-minute reproduction of the they established together in Wellington similar to my parents appealed to me. I applied
actual picture of Santa on the cover since 1977. Dad lived his life right up to the for a position with them, and received a
page,by young Dhananjay Sivaji. very end on his own terms. I can honestly
His pencil strokes are steady and
prompt reply. As part of the recruitment
flawless. His concentration is say he is the only person I know who owed procedure, I was required to become a member
intense. His little sister Keertana nobody a favour or a fiver. One incident of their association by paying a registration
was the typical water boy, giving comes to mind. fee of twenty New Zealand dollars. My father
him the paper and the pencil and approached the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
most importantly, telling us all to
Back in the 1980s, when I graduated with
keep quiet and not disturb her
(through the State Bank of India in Coonoor),
brother! seeking permission to make the remittance. It
Merry Christmas and a Happy New was disallowed. Not even the earnest
Year 2010 to all the little children persuasion of the then branch manager who
of readers of TheLocal. saw me as a potential foreign exchange
earner made a favourable impression.
Contd from p 11
Apparently, our request did not meet the RBI’s
criteria for making payments in foreign
Rotary Governor interview (contd) exchange.
How do the clubs provide the My father never expressed his regret. Both
required impetus? of us knew that several of his friends and
While the schools promote academics relatives abroad would have gladly made the
the clubs seek to provide the values payment on my behalf. In fact, when some of
that go to make up a good citizen and them got to hear of our approach to the
leader. Classes and workshops are problem, they thought us naïve. But Dad was
regularly conducted. Competitions and not going to compromise himself. Not even for
quizzes are also held. Book learning the sake of his daughter.
is eschewed for practical hands on
training. This could take the form of Dad’s is going to be a tough act to follow. But
taking club members to spend time we’ve got to keep the faith. May his soul rest
with those who are disabled or in peace.
homeless. Through service, valuable
lessons are imbibed. By developing a At home: Eddy Davidar with Flossie at
compassionate service-minded attitude Wellington (pic 2005)
at a young age we hope to wean the
next generation away f rom Mr E S J Davidar, was the second son of a District & Sessions Judge. After completion of
alcoholism, drug addiction and other a degree in Botany from the Madras Christian College, he joined the Indian Army in 1948 as
social evils.
a gunner in a Sikh Artillery Regiment. Affectionately called Kala Saab by the jawans, Capt.
And what has been the response? Davidar served the Regiment for 5 years before moving on.
A: We have nearly 20 Interact clubs
under the aegis of the Rotary Club of He then joined the plantations, being recruited to the prestigious Sterling company, the
Ootacamund alone. The response has Southern India Tea Estates Company Ltd,. in 1953 and had the distinction of becoming its first
been very enthusiastic from students Indian General Manager. After his retirement in 1977, Mr Davidar and his wife settled in
of all ages. Government and private Wellington, Nilgiris. An avid gardener and a voracious reader, he learnt to use a computer at
institutions have realised the the age of 80. Two years later, he published his memoirs, Tea & me (2007) which is regarded
significance of our contribution and by many as a gripping first hand account of life on the plantations.
have shown tremendous interest in
setting up of the clubs. Mr Davidar is survived by his son David Davidar and his daughter Ruth Davidar.
15
enterprise
enterprise
Deepak Bhojaraj will not tell you much
about his achievements until you persist.
In fact, he won’t term his creative streak
in the ad film industry and more recently,
in the advertising and design sphere as
remarkable. ‘There is always the next
big idea or story that you can hit upon,’
he smiles, while explaining the nature
of his work.
His ideas are interesting and logical.
‘ We’re helping with the packaging
design and the logo of a large tea
manufacturing entity. The old pack
looked like this,’ he explains, holding it
up and turning it around for me to see
all sides of the box so that I may better
understand the changes that he has now
incorporated. ‘Colours are the primary
attraction for any prospective customer
and you can’t use just any colour. It must
relate to the product. The green that is
on the old pack has a chemical or Culture conscious: Filmmaker-advertsing professional, Deepak Bhojaraj always gets a first hand
chemistry-lab kind of perception which experience of the subject of his storyline-photography. Seen here with Kota musicians, recently.
might work against the identity of what
is contained inside it. All ‘greens’ don’t
signify organic or natural character.’ The story so far... The Local Correspondent
Visuals, placement, the logo itself, usage
related information require great care ideal card in mind when at a store and dream of pursuing a career in
when putting together the final output. usually the card we buy is a compromise. photography and film making - he even
The new pack is indeed beautifully You end up buying what is available bunked college to f reelance with a
designed! We see it in multidimensional though you may not be satisfied entirely.’ professional photographer! The rest, as
form on his large screen Mac at the True to his creative bent, the cards are they say, is history. In fact, the story so
[obviously] tastefully appointed office of called ‘Happyness’ cards! far runs like a dream script. Deepak has
Nuidea, situated near the Transport office To give readers a hint of the emotions worked alongside greats in the film
at the periphery of Ooty town. that his pictures (now with very high- industry like Mani Ratnam. His shoot
Deepak started off as an amateur end camera) can capture, the centrespread on the popular cellular advertisement
photographer with a point-and-shoot in this issue of TheLocal is one, shot featuring Tamil cinema hero Surya,
camera that someone had gifted him while he was on a visit to the Kota changed the fortunes of the company
when he was a young boy studying in settlement Kokaal. (Give us one of your that was faced with stiff competition
Breeks school, Ooty. ‘I was always pictures that will best represent hope in from several new players in industry
interested in everything that had to do these troubled times, especially with including the popular one that had
with photo and films’, he recalls. regard to corruption was our request.) chosen to use a ‘cute little dog’ in its
‘Funnily, when as youngsters, we would Technically speaking, Deepak is commercial.
go to watch film shooting at the gardens unschooled. He almost got into the What next? ‘Let’s see...’, he says, while
or the Ooty lake, while my friends would coveted Film Institute in Chennai but I know he actually means ‘wait and see!’
be interested in getting autographs from even with a highly placed reference didn’t For the moment, a ‘Happyness’-filled
the actors I will be eager to have a word get the seat. Not one to be disappointed New Year 2010, to him and his team.
with the technical people!’ the young lad then persisted with his May this year be a Nuidea of hope!
Some of the photography expert ’s
pictures are on display at the studio-
office. Some are finding their way into
an exciting coffee table book on the
culture and traditions of the Nilgiris and
yet some more are finding their way into
exciting greeting cards as well! That’s
his favourite project at the moment while
on his ‘self-awarded holiday’ from the
ad film industry.
‘These cards must fully reflect the
emotion that the sender and the receiver
must experience. One rarely finds the
The AIDS problem in India is particularly acute. According to UNAIDS, a staggering 5.7 million Indians were HIV-positive,
and the country has the second-largest number of HIV infections in the world after South Africa. This is hitting the most
productive sections of the population – 5.2 million people in the 15-49 age group are living with HIV, taking the
percentage of adults with HIV to 0.91%. The huge costs involved in treating AIDS patients and the damage to productive
human capital it brings about can set back the Indian dream of ending poverty by many years. Despite being so
The Red Ribbon campaign: AIDS widespread, misconceptions about AIDS and how it is spread are still rampant. Most people have no idea about how they
is certainly not something that we can get AIDS, and this acts as an obstacle to its effective prevention. Making matters worse is the stigma attached to it,
can be complacent about. We can do with entire families being ostracized just because they happen to have AIDS. World AIDS Day is observed on 1 December
our bit by contributing towards each year to create global awareness about HIV/AIDS. It presents an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight
raising awareness by wearing the against HIV and AIDS. Since it was started, World AIDS Day has progressively become one of the most successful
red ribbon to express solidarity with international days for raising awareness on a global issue. The first year-long World AIDS Campaign was launched by
those living with HIV. UNAIDS in 1997. The objective was to extend the impact of World AIDS Day by involving more partners and translate
increased global awareness of AIDS into a more sustainable response.

Resolution: If I, the local, can


commit not to bribe anyone,
under any circumstance, all
through the first month of the
new year, it will mark the
beginning of a fresh resolve. It
might also be the forerunner of
change not only for the entire
year but the start of a new
decade. I must resolve also, to be
keenly aware of my rights by
exercising my right to
information, wherever
permissible, and to secure details
on the status of my application or
file that may be pending sanction
from respective departments.
Sketch Rtn Dr S Suresh Babu

I must resolve to report demands


of bribe or unwarranted favour,
to the concerned authorities in a
fearless and forthright manner.
I must encourage fellow locals to
follow a similar example and to
support them unconditionally so
that we, as a society, might
together be able to eradicate this
evil from our midst in a peaceful
and proper method like the one
that secured this great land its
freedom

Issued in public interest by:

I will not turn away any longer but Local


resolve to make this new decade
corruption-free.

Published on behalf of The Local Media Publishing Co,. by Edwin David from 10/363-Y-1, Indiranagar; Avk Post, The Nilgiris. Printed at Satya Press, no. 50 Kariappa Street; Purasaiwalkam, Chennai - 7. Editor: Edwin David