Saturday, February 28, 2015


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will this spring hold an exhibition of Deccani art. Navina Haidar, who is curating the exhibition titled ‘Sultans of Deccan’s India (1500-1700): Opulence and Fantasy’, said it would bring together “exciting” art works and artifacts of the Deccani period from about 70 lenders, museums, private and royal collections from around the world.

Haidar is the curator of the much-acclaimed new gallery of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum. The Met, as it is popularly known, opened its ‘New Gallery for the Art of the Arab lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia’ in late 2011 to display its renowned collection of Islamic art. More than two million people have visited the gallery since it opened — a testimony to the kind of appeal it has had.

The exhibition on the art of the Deccan will be held from April 20 to July 26, 2015. The Deccan region was home to a rich artistic heritage under the Sultans. The Sultans were great patrons of art and their courts attracted artists from foreign lands. A distinctive art and culture thrived in the 16th and 17th century and showed foreign influences from Iran, Central Asia, Turkey, East Africa and Europe in the traditional Indian art. The exhibition will focus chiefly on the courtly art of the kingdoms of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Bidar and Golconda.

The golden age of Bijapur was under the rule of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah ll (1580-1627). A contemporary of Emperor Akbar, Adil Shah loved music and art. He was a dhrupad singer and played the veena. He wrote the Kitab-e-Nauras, one of the first books on music; it starts with a prayer to Goddess Saraswati and has 59 dhrupads with eight songs in praise of Saraswati, Shiva and Ganapati.

According to Haidar, one of the highlights of the exhibition would be three or four by a famous Iranian artist, Farooq Hussain, who was a fascinating figure in history. He was born in Iran, went to Kabul and then reached the Deccan. He came to the Deccan as did so many Iranians in the 17th century because there were great cultural links between the two countries and Indian courts were very receptive to the best artists of the time.

“There was a moment in Farooq Hussain’s artistic career when his imagination was freed in a way; it just happened in the Deccan. His vision of the forests of the Deccan, the trees, the birds, landscape is incredible: that is something unique. So we will have three incredible masterpieces by Farooq Hussain in the exhibition,” explained Haidar.

“One painting is in the Welsh collection in America, a picture of two elephants,” she said. “No Indian or Persian artist painted elephants in that way. It was Farooq in the Deccan who understood the animals and their relationship. The other is in Prague which shows Ibrahim Adil Shah playing his favorite instrument. From that painting we understood that Ibrahim Adil Shah was probably left-handed. A Sultan playing an instrument is a very rare sight. Now he is holding it in the wrong way, playing it with the wrong hand, singing about a Hindu Goddess, Saraswati — the whole thing is just a bit too much. But Farooq painted it as he saw it.”

From India, there are six pages of the Kitab-i-Nauras. “Unfortunately you can’t see them very well. It’s hard to light them. Presenting these things is very difficult. But these are very important pages,” said Haidar.

Explaining the connections in the art world, Haidar said that there is reason to believe that the Dutch painter, Vermeer, might have painted a Deccan carpet in one of his painting. The exhibition will also have bidri metalwork objects from the kingdom of Bidar, magnificent gems from international royal collections, the large painted kalamkaris, and royal objects made of inlaid and gilded metal, precious jewels and carved wood.

London-born Haidar said she loved lines and had done a lot of sketching as a child. When she was about 18 years of age, a family friend suggested she study art and so she became an art historian. Haidar’s family moved back to India when she was just a few months old. She had her schooling in India and also lived in Afghanistan, Bhutan and New York as the family moved with her diplomat father to different capitals. She studied Indian painting at Oxford University and has been a curator at The Met for over 14 years.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Bidar Share in Railway Budget,

South Central Railway Gets Rs. 2,768 Cr for Infra: Report

Hyderabad: An amount of Rs. 2,768 crore has been sanctioned in the Railway Budget for the year 2015-16 towards infrastructure development in South Central Railway (SCR), 24 per cent more than last year, official sources said here on Thursday.

The total outlay earmarked for new lines, doubling bridges, road over bridges, traffic facilities and other specified works is Rs. 984.33 crore, which is 60 per cent higher as compared to Rs. 616 crore during the previous financial year, SCR General Manager P K Srivastava told reporters.

For new lines, the budgetary grant for 2015-16 is Rs. 511.6 crore, 23 per cent more than previous year, he said.

"For doubling works, the budgetary grant for 2015-16 is Rs.233 crore, 331.56 per cent more than previous year. For bridges, the budgetary grant for 2015-16 is Rs. 26.9 crore, which is 61 per cent more than previous year," Mr Srivastava said.

For road over bridges, the budgetary grant is Rs. 101.67 crore and for traffic facilities, the grant is Rs. 40.68 crore for the current financial year, he said.

In terms of budgetary allocations for important ongoing new line projects, Rs. 141 crore was allotted for the Peddapalli-Karimnagar-Nizamabad project and Rs. 100 crore for Mellacheruvu-Vishnupuram project, while Rs. 130 crore was allotted for Nandyal-Yerraguntla project which would help complete these three projects, Mr Srivastava said.

He said that Rs. 20 crore was allotted for the Manoharabad-Kothapalli project and Rs. 110 crores for the Nadikudi-Srikalahasti project,

while Rs. 35 crores was allotted for Gulbarga-Bidar project (in Karnataka), 

adding that Rs. 150 crore has been allotted for the Vijayawada-Bhimavaram-Nidadavolu line doubling and electrification works.

The new projects sanctioned for SCR in the Railway Budget 2015 include four doubling, three tripling and one new railway line project to a length of 1,197 km.

The total anticipated cost for the projects is Rs. 11,703 crore and the budgetary allocation is Rs. 267.59 crore, Mr Srivastava added.

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Greek touch to Deccan history

Helen Philon tracing the history of the Deccan from the Chalukyas to the Kakatiya and Ganga dynasties to a rapt audience at Bidar Fort.

Whenever a foreign tourist visits India, she is taken around the monuments by local guides. But, there was an interesting reversal of roles at Bidar Fort last week.

Helen Philon, Deccan scholar from Greece, took a team of 30 young people and a dozen history teachers on a guided tour of the monument. She explained the historical context, architectural style and its cultural significance to the rapt audience.

She was volunteering as a resource person in the guides training programme organised by the Department of Tourism, in association with the Indian Heritage Cities Network and the Deccan Heritage Foundation. Ms. Philon traced the history of the Deccan from the Chalukyas to the Kakatiya and Ganga dynasties. She explained in detail the contribution of King Allauddin Ahmed Shah and the Bahmani Wazir Mahmud Gawan.

She took the group around the Gagan Mahal and pointed out the unique green building technology adopted there and talked about the water supply system in the fort. Ms. Philon spoke about how technicians from Persia were invited to train locals in making cannons, maintaining fort walls and other works. Nargis Begum, the dowager queen of King Humayun, was an effective administrator who needs to be given credit, she said.

Raghunath Ramappa, one of the trainees, said he had learnt many new things. “I had not heard of the Russian traveller Afanasy Nikitin or the position of Mallik Altuja in the Bahmani Kingdom, or the Kakatiya influence on the fort design. We need more such programmes,” he said.

Ms. Philon said, “Programmes like this will make young people take an interest in their heritage. Once they start asking questions and clearing their doubts, they will be ready to explain historical concepts to others.”

According to Kishor Joshi, Assistant Director, Department of Tourism, “Having a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide will increase tourist footfalls. As of now, only academically inclined tourists or those who are interested in architecture visit Bidar. We want to expand this to include domestic and foreign tourists.”

Helen Philon, Deccan scholar from Greece, took a team of 30 young people and a dozen history teachers on a guided tour of Bidar Fort

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Will the original daredevils be back?

The Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team created parallel and horizontal flight designs, releasing colours of the Indian flag using aerosols, and popular patterns like the heart and arrow, the water spring and the apple.— file photo

The Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team was disbanded nearly four years ago

The thrilling aerobatics display by the premier Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT) of the Indian Air Force left many a spectator awestruck. However, nearly four years after the team was disbanded when their aircraft Kiran MKII gave way to the Hawks, pilots, who flew in the famed team, are not sure when they will get another chance to amaze people with their daredevilry

“We were grounded in 2011 and redrafted to different duties with a promise that the aerobatics team would be reformulated soon. We are still waiting for a clear word from our seniors,” lamented a former member, who has been posted out of Bidar, which used to be the home base for the team.

Pilots from the Bidar Air Force base, the second biggest Indian air force training centre in the country, flew in formations of three, six and nine aircraft. The Kiran MKII plane, modified for aerobatic display, was used to create parallel and horizontal flight designs, releasing colours of the Indian flag using aerosols, and popular patterns like the heart and arrow, the water spring and the apple.

A senior IAF official acknowledged that they were not sure how much time it would take or when the new team would start performances though the work of creating an IAF aerobatic team was on. “It is likely that we will use a modified version of the BAE Hawk plane,” he said. “These pilots will serve as our ambassadors. Therefore, the best pilots with agility, finger dexterity and top class health conditions will be drafted for the team,” the officer said. Recalling the heydays, the wife of a former SKAT team member recalled that SKAT formation flights were among the few events to which families of pilots were invited. “We enjoyed them very much. My children and I would sit on the ground and try to identify which plane my husband was flying. Sometimes we got it right, but most of the time we were completely wrong,” she chuckled.

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‘Bidar’s karez system can qualify as UNESCO heritage structure’

M.L. Khaneiki, groundwater expert from UNESCO’s International Center on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures, during a workshop in Bidar on Wednesday.— Photo: Gopichand T.

The subterranean aqueduct system in Bidar is unique not only by Indian standards, but also globally

The ‘karez’ water system (subterranean aqueduct) in Bidar is unique not only by Indian standards, but also by global standards. Its design, purpose, and social and cultural implications make it remarkable, M.L. Khaneiki, groundwater expert from UNESCO’s International Center on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures, said here on Wednesday.

He was speaking at a workshop for officials of the Agriculture, Irrigation, Watershed and other related departments, organised by the district administration.

He pointed out that the structure was unique for three reasons: it transfers water from a low-lying watershed to a higher altitude; it uses techniques of a reservoir, water duct and a step well; every square inch of the karez is a rainwater harvesting and filtering system as it has been carved out of laterite rock.

Iran had over 35,000 karez systems and most African and many West Asian countries had similar systems. But not one of them was like this, he said.

“It has all the potential to qualify as a UNESCO heritage structure. The State government should seriously consider applying for the recognition,” he said.

V. Govindan Kutty, hydrology expert, University of Calicut, explained the salient features of the karez system in Bidar. He said three distinct karez lines had been identified by researchers.

He said that the challenge now was their restoration and reuse. Urban development needs to be monitored strictly, indiscriminate housing should be avoided, and lung spaces should be created, he added.

“Grassland should be retained and empty spaces should be afforested. Rainwater harvesting should be encouraged and people should be dissuaded from throwing garbage into open wells or letting out sewer lines into drinking water structures,” he said.

Annies K. Joy, Assistant Commissioner, said each resident of the city should develop a sense of pride about the karez system. He asked officials to focus on land use regulations, watershed development and afforestation.

The subterranean aqueduct system in Bidar is unique not only by Indian standards, but also globally

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Firing in Bidar village

Manik Reddy, former member of Basava Kalyan city municipal council, fired at Mujib Patel, an acquaintance and business associate in Hanumant Wadi village in Basava Kalyan taluk on Tuesday evening.

Mujib Patel ducked and was saved.

A case was registered in Basava Kalyan rural police station.

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Bidar to get rationed water supply

From tomorrow, people to get water twice a week

With Bidar staring at an unprecedented situation of water scarcity, officials are forced to ration water supply for the city. From Wednesday, the city will get water twice a week. The old city areas will get water on Monday and Wednesday, while the new city and the extension areas will get water on Tuesday and Thursday.

Work on the bulk water supply project is complete. Around 65 lakh litres of water is being filtered at the water purification plant in Neelammanahalli everyday.

“We decided to stagger water supply, after calculating the availability of water for the next few months,” P.C. Jaffer, Deputy Commissioner, said after a meeting of officials on Monday. He hoped that one or two spells of heavy rain in March –April would address the issue.

The depleting levels of water in the Karanja reservoir, that supplies water to the city, have led to this situation. Inflow is nearly zero as the district suffered over 40 – 60 per cent scarcity of rainfall. Similarly, there was scarce rain in the catchment areas of the Karanja in Telangana and Maharashtra.

Irrigation Department officials feel that another cause for the low water level is the impounding of water in the Kottur barrage in Telangana, which is a shared catchment area for the Karanja river. “That barrage supplies water to two crop a year, while we release water only once a year,” officials said.

The department was forced to release water during the rabi season as farmers sought protection to standing crop after the delayed rain. “We anticipated that the returning monsoon would fill the reservoir. But we did not get enough rains,’’ farmers said.

Irrigation officials say the problem has been compounded by farmers who draw water from the backwaters and sides of the reservoir. “Most of these irrigation pump sets are neither registered with the government. These need to be regulated,” a senior engineer said.

Old city areas will get water on Monday  and Wednesday

New city and extension areas to get it  on Tuesday and Thursday

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Horse polo posts belonging to medieval era demolished in Bidar

They were on a piece of empty land in the middle of the city on Udgir Road. —Photo: Gopichand T

Deputy Commissioner to look into the issue

Two horse polo posts built by medieval kings, which were a reminder of Bidar’s rich cultural history, have disappeared now. They were on a piece of empty land in the middle of the city on Udgir Road.

Venkatrao Biradar, a former convict-turned farmer who grows sugarcane on the land, has claimed responsibility for demolishing them. “They were not historical monuments. People keep talking about anything that comes to their mind,” he said.

“We brought down those two pillars as snakes were nesting inside,” he told The Hindu . Mr. Biradar had served jail term on charges of killing Vijay Kumar Nagamarapalli over a dispute about the land. The dispute has not been settled yet. The land borders the Indian Air Force signal centre on one side.

They were part of the set of four pillars, put up on two sides out of a large polo field of over 590 yards. The pillars were huge, with a circumference of 16 ft, a height of 7 ft and a girth of 8 ft. The other two pillars are behind the new bus stand. The poles were featured in The Hindu on February 23, 2014. The Archaeological Survey of India or the State Archaeology Department are yet to recognise them as monuments.

In the book ‘Bidar: Its history and monuments’, the late Ghulam Yazdani, former Director of Archaeology with the erstwhile Hyderabad Nizam State, referred to them as Ran Khambh. He says the four pillars are on two ends of a large playing field. But they were called Ran Khambh (war stones) as sport was so important to them that it was likened to war, he says in the book. The book marks them as medieval era structures, but does not clearly say who built them.

Heritage lovers rued the destruction of the monument. “Damage or destruction of monuments, even unrecognised, is sad and unfortunate. It speaks about the need for recognising such structures and protecting them,” said Basavaraj Biradar, writer and historian.

P.C. Jaffer, Deputy Commissioner, said he would look into all issues related to the structures.

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First Bidar-Mumbai train to be flagged off today(10 Feb 2015)

Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, will flag off train no. 11075/11-76 LTT Mumbai-Bidar-LTT Mumbai express via Kalyan, Kurdwadi, Latur Road and Bhalki, the first train connecting Bidar to Mumbai, on Tuesday.

The Minister will flag off the new train via remote video link from New Delhi. On its inauguration, the train will run as a special train with the number 01075. It will leave LTT Mumbai at 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday and reach Bidar at 10.30 a.m. In the return direction, train no. 01076 will leave Bidar at 4.30 p.m. on Wednesday and reach LTT Mumbai at 8.15 a.m. the next day.

En route, the inaugural services will stop at Thane, Kalyan, Lonavala, Pune, Kurduvadi, Usmanabad, Latur, Latur Road, Udgir, Kamalnagar and Bhalki stations. Regular services will start from February 17 and accordingly, train no. 11075 will leave LTT Mumbai at 12.05 p.m. on Feb. 17 (Tuesday) and reach Bidar at 4 a.m. the next day.

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Friday, February 6, 2015

One person dies of H1N1 in Bidar

One person has died of H1N1 and related complications, the district surveillance office for detection of communicable diseases said on Thursday. Baburao Khande, 52, was suffering from lung infection and cardiac disease. He died in a private hospital in Hyderabad on February 2.

The victim, who was working as a teheshildar in Bidar district, was also a long-term diabetic. His sputum samples were sent for testing to the Kasturba medical college in Manipal. The tests have turned out to be positive, M. A Jabbar, district surveillance officer, said in a release.

Dr Jabbar has appealed to the people not to panic about the disease. Enough precautions should be taken in our daily actions. Regular hand washing and other hygienic measures should be followed. Any one suffering from fever, cold and upper respiratory tract infection should consult the doctor, he said. The district hospital has set up an isolation ward to treat H1N1 patients, the release said.

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Plan to set up feed mill on varsity campus to train farmers

Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University plans to set up a feed mill on its Bidar campus to provide hands-on experience to students and farmers. It will demonstrate to farmers how nutritious feed can be made in their backyard at low cost using available crop residue, Vice Chancellor C. Renuka Prasad told The Hindu.

The centre will teach farmers how to make feed bricks or pellets using crop waste. Most of these are mechanical processes. But some varieties can also be made at home, with minimal technical training, he said.

“After harvest, sugarcane growers usually slash and burn the leftover crop. We are trying to reason with farmers to discontinue this practice and use the waste to make feed blocks. This is the primary job of the demonstration unit,” he said.

The unit will also be used to provide hands-on training to graduate and post-graduate students. It will also have a research and extension wing where students can try newer methods of develop nutritious feed varieties at lower costs, he said.

“The unit will be the first step towards nutrition security,’’ said professor, department of nutrition Ramachandra B, who heads the team that came up with the plan for the mill. Feeding animals the right way is important. Most farmers tend to neglect it, sadly, he said.

“We need to create awareness about nutritional requirements of animals and birds. Animals for example, need green grass round the year. Scarcity of grass or prolonged dry spells reduces milk or meat yields, and adversely affects the health of animals. An easy method of supplementing the diet of animals in times of green grass scarcity is by feed blocks and pellets, that can be easily prepared,” he said.

Cost of feeding animals forms nearly 70 per cent of animal production. Scientific feeding is therefore essential to maximize production of milk meat and eggs, he said. “The unit could be scaled up to produce enough fodder to supply to all the University’s farms and constituent colleges,’’ Dr Ramachandra said.

“We recognize this as a very important element in supplementing the income of animal farmers,’’ P.C Jaffer, deputy commissioner, said. “The government will work with the university in having a feed mill and spreading word about nutritional security for animals. We have requested the Hyderabad Karnataka Regional Development Board to fund the project. The signals are positive, he said.

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