Monthly Archives: February 2015

The idly-dosa man of Bengaluru

Success story: Musthafa believes it was team work all the way that helped.
Success story: Musthafa believes it was team work all the way that helped.

Musthafa P.C, a school dropout who went on to study at IIMB, quit his software job to start an enterprise that sold idly-dosa batter. His is a success story that has trickled down to his 600 –odd rural employees too

A young techie who could just about make himself daal, rice and papad in his bachelor days now runs a company with a 70 crore turnover that provides almost five lakh idlis a day to hungry Bengalureans. Most young working people in the city in a rush, simply fish out the now-famous “iD Fresh” readymade idly/dosa batter from their refrigerator for their quick breakfast fix.

While Bengaluru is where all this began for techie-turned-entrepreneur Musthafa P.C, his idlis and dosas find a place on the breakfast tables in households in Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, and even Dubai! And it’s not limited to idlys and dosas anymore. Their oeuvre now includes parotas, chapattis and chutneys too, all made without chemicals and preservatives, Musthafa is quick to add.

It started in a small corner of the city’s Thippasandra locality where Musthafa’s cousins ran a grocery store. “This was eight years ago, and a local supplier would sell idly/dosa batter in an unbranded plain plastic bag tied up with a rubberband, on weekends. There was a great demand, but they couldn’t keep up the quality. That’s when I felt there was a gap in the market,” says the 42-year-old Musthafa, CEO of iD Fresh Food, one of the new-age food startups in the city.

And then, one can conclude, the Malayali business instinct kicked in!

The enterprising cousins set up a 50 square foot kitchen — “our so-called factory” laughs Musthafa, and started a trial in 10 stores in and around Indiranagar. “In a year’s time we were selling 100 packets of batter a day.” During that time, Musthafa had quit his plum job to study his MBA at the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B). “I did a proper survey and found that Bangalore then had a production requirement of 5,000 kg of batter a day.” The sales and the survey gave them the confidence to set up a 600 square foot kitchen in Kaggadasapura, where Musthafa pumped in six lakh from his savings. They were still using regular household grinders to make the batter. “I had a high-profile job in Dubai. I had worked with Motorola, Citibank, had lived in the U.K., and then later even worked with Intel. But I wanted to come back to India to pursue higher studies, spend time with my parents, and give something back to society,” says Musthafa of making the proverbial switch.

It is with this intent that Musthafa is very particular that they identify “smart guys from rural areas who are unemployed” and provide them opportunities in their company. Today they employ 650 such people from the eight regions they work in across India. “I come from a life of poverty in Wayanad (Kerala) where my dad was a coolie, and breakfast was a luxury. I was a school dropout after I failed my sixth standard. The teacher persuaded me to repeat the class and continue my studies.”

No one supported his decision to quit the IT industry; it was a job that had brought stability to the family, helped him build a home and marry off siblings. Even his wife’s family was upset that he was becoming a “rice merchant”.

But by 2008, his company had expanded into a proper factory in Hoskote, with the help of the Karnataka State Industrial Development Council (KSIDC). Custom-made grinders were brought in from America. “With Indian grinders, cleaning is the most difficult task. Moreover the small grinders would take an hour to grind a kilo of dal. So we had to import these large, modified grinders that self-sterilise at the touch of a button.” Musthafa swears the actual batter making process is “the same that your mom uses at home, starting with the soaking”. “We are only professional assistants to the homemaker. Our products will always be ready to cook, not ready to eat. So they don’t reach the dining table; they first go into the kitchen. If the idli is good, the homemaker gets the credit; if the idli turns out bad, iD takes the credit!” All the products, he says, are first tested on his children aged 12, nine, and five.

Business is of course growing phenomenally with venture capital (VC) firms wanting to invest in them; 60 companies evinced interest in pumping money; mostly American. Finally Helion Venture invested Rs. 35 crore in their expansion plans. “We are targeting expansion to 10 Middle-Eastern cities over the next five years. As well as expanding into north India, especially Delhi.” While initially a friend named it iD for “idly-dosa”, Musthafa says it now stands for their “identity”.

Every employee in the company is an entrepeneur like he is, believes Musthafa.
Every employee in the company is an entrepeneur like he is, believes Musthafa.

Musthafa makes it a point to stress on the fact that it has been team work all along the way; first his cousins came on board, then his engineering classmates and then family friends, to start the operation in various cities. “We don’t work on an employment basis; there is no fixed pay. Every employee is a micro-entrepreneur. For example, each area sales team is given a vehicle and “they have to maintain their own profit and loss account,” explains Musthafa. Whitefield, Jayanagar, Indiranagar and Koramangala is where they do their best business, he says. They have a SAP-based backend platform so that they have a zero inventory model – 90 per cent of the products are sold on the same day; a mobile app keeps track of sales patterns in each store.

Musthafa’s personal favourite from his company is the wheat parota. “We eat our idli and dosa once a week at home, then three days of wheat parota,” he breaks into a boyish grin.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Bhumika .K / February 26th, 2015

Those Mughal tales, those engaging books

MughalEraMPOs28feb2015

The Mughal era books need to be preserved for posterity

The library of Dara Shikoh, near Chakkipat on the Yamuna’s right bank in Agra, is now a municipal office and its vicinity boasts an akhara. The books housed in the library or most of them, were brought to Delhi when Shah Jahan moved his capital to it and wanted the heir apparent Dara to stay by his side lest any harm befell him if he was appointed governor of some province (subha), like his brothers Aurangzab, Shuja and Murad. The library existed in the Kashmere Gate area, later becoming a polytechnic institute, another library behind the Jama Masjid, became a girls’ school. But the question is what happened to most of the books? Quite a few of them were destroyed in 1857 by the British, bent on revenge. Some others fell into private hands and were sold as “raddi” during the upheaval of 1947 by those going away as refugees to Pakistan. It’s worth noting that the books in the library of Prof Ahmed Ali, author of “Twilight in Delhi”, in Kutcha Pandit were sold one by one by a servant who had stayed behind and was reduced to penury after the professor opted to migrate to Karachi.

Some books of the Mughal era may be found in the National Library, in the British Museum Library in London and in the U.S. Congress Library. Besides some others were taken away to Pakistan by migrants. A few of those books are with the old residents of Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Agra, like the now disintegrated library of Nawab Faiyaz Khan, but 75 per cent of them are lost forever. It was something like the loss of Greek, Arabian and Persian masterpieces when the libraries in Athens and Alexandria were burnt during wars and by Mongol and Han hordes and vandalism by fiercely bigoted Arab and Turkish soldiers fired by the zeal to destroy all vestiges of the “idolatrous ages” of the Middle East. Such destruction also took place during the medieval Crusades and earlier by Attila and Hannibal. The Emathian Conqueror (Alexander) may have spread the house of Pindars but little else.

In a study on medieval libraries, written in 1970, father had this to say:

“The Sultans of Delhi and their nobles, who preceded the Mughals, had rich literary tastes and established a large number of public and private libraries. Jalaluddin Khilji founded the Imperial Library in Delhi and appointed Amir Khusrau its librarian. But it was Babar who really did augment the Delhi library.

“Humayun, inherited the legacy and added to the library seven halls, each named after a planet. He was so fond of books that he carried them to the battlefields. On one such occasion in fact he lost several rare ones. At Agra, he raised a set of magnificent buildings called Khanna-i-Tilism (house of magic), the first floor of which housed the library. Towards the end of his adventurous life he converted the pleasure house of Sher Shah in Delhi’s Purana Quila into a library.

“Akbar, although illiterate, turned out to be the greatest patron of art and translation of books, for each of which he maintained a separate cell. The biggest of his several libraries was the Imperial Library in Agra Fort. According to Abul Fazl, the library was divided into several parts. Some of the books were even kept inside the harem.

“Experienced people bring them daily and read them before His Majesty who hears (sic) every book from beginning to end,” he wrote.

Akbar had books brought from distant places and also encouraged scholars to write treatises, calligraphists to copy them and painters to illustrate them. He bought a richly illustrated version of the manuscript of Razm-Nama (the Mahabharata translated into Persian) for £40,000. “There were more than 24,000 books in the Imperial Library alone and they kept increasing. Fazl’s collection of 4,300 manuscripts was added to the library and the library of Itimad Khan was acquired after the conquest of Gujarat.”

Jahangir was a great lover of art, with an avid interest in old tomes. Shah Jahan had a godly collection of books. His son Dara, however, was more studious and collected books on poetry, Sufism and mythology, including Hindu scriptures. Aurangzeb’s books were mostly religious ones. The latter Mughals did not evince much interest in books. Bahadur Shah Zafar was however a lover of learning, being a poet himself. The disintegration of Mughal libraries took place during the First War of Independence and the upheavals of Gardi-ka-Waqt but after that English scholars made good use of them, like William Fraser.

It would be worthwhile if the Union Human Resource Ministry and Archaeology Survey of India acquire Mughal era literature from all known sources and establish a Central Mughal Library in the near-deserted Purana Quila, bigger than the partially revived one of Dara Shikoh.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / February 23rd, 2015

A rare felicity

Joydeep Ghosh
Joydeep Ghosh

Sarod exponent Joydeep Ghosh tells Meena Banerjee his musical education allowed him to take uncommon ragas in his stride.

One discovered an intriguing fact from versatile musician Joydeep Ghosh, the concluding artiste of the annual soiree organised recently by Kolkata’s Ballygunge Maitreyee Music Circle, dedicated to the late Sangeetacharya Radhika Mohan Moitra (Radhubabu). On this occasion his sarod etched a rare raga, Kedari-Marwa, with admirable clarity. In this both Kedar and Marwa remained intertwined; like in a braid; without giving up their identity. Such an interpretation, replete with unexpected bends, does not allow complacency, either to the player or to his listeners. This was definitely a show by a maestro for initiated listeners only. The latter is a dwindling community even in Kolkata nowadays; but going by Ghosh’s usual selection of ragas, one was inspired to ask:

What encourages you to choose rare ragas for concerts?

I was only five when I started learning at the feet of great masters Anil Roychoudhury and Radhubabu; and later from Buddhadev Dasgupta. They all belong to the famous Senia Shahajahanpur sarod gharana and they are revered for their enviable melodic treasures. I also learnt tabla and vocal music from venerable gurus. Subsequently, I came under the wings of the erudite and versatile master Bimalendu Mukherjee, a doyen of the famous Imdadkhani gharana of sitar and surbahar. Under their priceless guidance I assimilated vocalism, instrumentalism and the style of rhythmic play along with raga elaboration.

The simple fact is that my gurus did not tell me what were common and what ‘rare’ ragas were. They all came naturally as sister ragas, with their key phrases loud and clear, during the learning process of one major raga; even the jod-ragas (blend of more than one) were taught to me without much ado; just as they did not categorise any instrument and made me learn to play sarod, surshringar and mohanveena.

Isn’t the mohanveena a newly invented instrument?

Radhubabu's mohanveena.
Radhubabu’s mohanveena.

Unfortunately, very few remember the history of the original mohanveena, conceived and invented by Radhubabu in early 1948! Once, around 1944, he played the surshringar in a jugalbandi (duet) with the famous beenkar (Rudra veena player) Ustad Sadiq Ali Khan in Lucknow. The concert inspired him to design a unique instrument in which the playable materials of both the sitar and the sarod could be appropriately exploited and the tonal quality of the Rudra veena could be equally maintained. Since he was proficient in both, having had his training from Ustad Mohammad Ameer Khan of the Shahajahanpur gharana and Ustad Inayat Khan of the Etawah gharana in the sarod and the sitar respectively, Radhubabu’s experiment succeeded.

The instrument’s majestic tonality impressed Thakur Jaidev Singh, the renowned musicologist who was then Chief Producer, All India Radio, Delhi. In 1950, Thakur Saheb named the instrument ‘mohanveena’ and also arranged an archival recording for AIR, followed by an extensive interview of Radhubabu, its inventor. Radhubabu was invited in several music festivals all over India to play the mohanveena. Some of his rare recordings for AIR archives are available in compact discs as precious documents.

So, despite the emergence of another, Hawaiian guitar-based instrument of the same name almost fifty years later, the original mohanveena exists along with its own unique excellence till date, through some of the devoted torchbearers of Radhubabu’s legacy. I am also a humble exponent of the mohanveena.

Anwar chose to fight death

Mohammed Anwar, who is now a Home Guard with the Jeedimetla police, is flanked by Mujtaba Hasan Askari and Mohd. Imran of Helping Hand Foundation.– PHOTO: By Arrangement
Mohammed Anwar, who is now a Home Guard with the Jeedimetla police, is flanked by Mujtaba Hasan Askari and Mohd. Imran of Helping Hand Foundation.– PHOTO: By Arrangement

When everyone gave up hope, including doctors, he clung on to dear life. Today, Mohammed Anwar is not only hale and healthy, but has landed a government job too. Diagnosed with Acute promyelocytic leukaemia, a rare type of blood cancer of the white blood cells, Anwar had a slim chance of living. He grew anaemic and feeble by the day and was bedridden for a year.

A car driver by profession, he couldn’t afford the huge expenses at a corporate hospital where he was admitted two years ago. He was then referred to the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).

It was here that somebody told him about the Helping Hand Foundation (HHF) which helped patients in distress. Once convinced about his pathetic condition and poor financial position, the HHF took over his case. Under its Cancer Support Programme for the bread winners, the HHF supported the induction chemotherapy.

Anwar was determined to live for his family. He responded to the treatment and survived blood cancer to which many succumb. His one worry was the education of his three daughters. With a healthy diet like whole grains, pulses, legumes and millets his condition improved. “We also gave Vitamin D3 supplements, which are a major source of fighting cancer,” says Mujtaba Hasan Askari, who heads the HHF.

A weak and emaciated Anwar slowly gained weight as his ailment went into remission stage. Even as he was on the road to recovery, Anwar applied for the position of a home guard in the Cyberabad Police. He was selected as a driver attached to the Jeedimetla Police Station. “I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard of my selection. God has been very kind to me,” says an overwhelmed Anwar who joined duty a fortnight ago.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by J.S. Ifthekhar / Hyderabad – February 28th, 2015

Officials undergo RTI training

S.F. Akbar, State Information Commissioner, speaking at the training programme for government officials on Right to Information Act in Thanjavur on Friday.— Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam
S.F. Akbar, State Information Commissioner, speaking at the training programme for government officials on Right to Information Act in Thanjavur on Friday.— Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam

State Information Commissioner S.F. Akbar inaugurated a training programme for government officials on the Right to Information Act here on Friday.

Superintendent of Police G. Dharmaraj, Dy. SPs, police officers, and officials from various government departments, including Revenue, participated in the training programme that sought to enlighten them on dealing with RTI related issues.

Later, the participants were exposed on the need to reply properly and in time to RTI related queries, dealing with issues arising out of RTI applications and the like.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National> Tamil Nadu / by Special Correspondent / Thanjavur – February 28th, 2015

Woodcut from close quarters

A mix of young and senior artists from Baroda and Hyderabad share their experiences at a one-of-its kind woodcut camp at DHI Art Space

OF WOOD AND COLOURS Professor Vijay Bagodi Photo: K. Ramesh Babu / The Hindu
OF WOOD AND COLOURS Professor Vijay Bagodi Photo: K. Ramesh Babu / The Hindu

As one walks pasts the flowy curtains, a woodcut zone awaits art lovers at DHI Art Space at Dharam Karan Road in Ameerpet. A group of young artists, Gayathri, Jagadeesh and Kiran are casually chatting away. In front of them are a bottle of linseed oil, wooden blocks and colours against a background that blares the number Apologise. One can spot Vijay Bagodi, professor of MS University, Baroda sitting with a wooden block and Hyderabad artists Srikanth Kuruva and Sajid Bin Amar sharing nuances of woodcut techniques. While T. Sudhakar Reddy, (retd) professor of AU University watches the proceedings, artist Rajeshwar Rao is busy poring over on an image on the block at his worktable. But the real sight is to see veteran artist Thota Vaikuntam turn a student to learn the basics of woodcut painting!

OF WOOD AND COLOURS Artist Thota Vaikuntham Photo: K. Ramesh Babu / The Hindu
OF WOOD AND COLOURS Artist Thota Vaikuntham Photo: K. Ramesh Babu / The Hindu

It is a one-of-its kind week-long woodcut camp at DHI Art Space with a mix of young and senior artists from Baroda and Hyderabad. It is a delectable hub of all things arty and wooden at the camp with the gallery exhibiting artists’ previous works. Besides interactions and observing each other’s style of working, the artists, who are staying on the first floor of the building, also participate in talks and sessions over cups of black coffee and chai. “The unlimited scope of woodcut is at the core of the camp,” informs Bhargavi. “The work is too intricate and the whole process is quite laborious. Most of them do not know about it and artists who know do not practice it. We wanted to bring woodcut and non-woodcut painters under one roof and create a platform for interaction. There are veterans, middle aged and younger artists who share and exchange their ideas and experiences.”

While in Hyderabad Vijay Bagodi was at JNTU, attending a lecture by Tushar Gandhi. The professor says by the end of the session, he knew the theme for his woodcut painting as he shows us a block with Mahatma Gandhi’s image. “Being a small city, Baroda is a great place for artists. One can just call Mani sir (K.G. Subramanyan) or Jairam Patel and they will meet you. The place is buzzing with art,” he smiles as he talks about Baroda.

OF WOOD AND COLOURS Artists Pratap Modi and Rajeshwar Rao Photo: K. Ramesh Babu / The Hindu
OF WOOD AND COLOURS Artists Pratap Modi and Rajeshwar Rao Photo: K. Ramesh Babu / The Hindu

There is a sense of palpable excitement as artist Rajeshwar Rao walks around with wooden blocks. “It is a new thing and I am learning how it works,” says Vaikuntam with a smile. “Wood is a totally different media and the colours are different. It is good for artists like me as it is a break from the usual and getting to know about textures. I have seen my friends and great masters at work. I have realised it is a very challenging process,” he adds.

OF WOOD AND COLOURS Artist Karuna Photo: K. Ramesh Babu / The Hindu
OF WOOD AND COLOURS Artist Karuna Photo: K. Ramesh Babu / The Hindu

As the artists are busy on their worktables, one cannot miss a two-and-half-year old girl running around. Artist Karuna has brought along her little daughter as she participates in the camp. “Wood cut painting is like doing meditation — one goes into a different world of wood and colours. I work on the natural wood and this is compressed wood,” she says while displaying a block. With a laugh she looks at her daughter and adds, “She piles up the dust and makes a rangoli of the chipped out parts.” The camp is also a different experience for artists like Prathap Modi who is used to working on large scale projects. “It is a challenge to work on small wooden blocks and also I like to work alone. This is a new experience as I am trying to mingle with other people,” he says.

Art lovers and budding artists can drop in before February 27 at the Art Space to discover the world of woodcut.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Neerja Murthy / Hyderabad – February 25th, 2015

‘Free to Dial’ service launched

Callers can now get local information by giving a missed call to the new service, “Free to Dial”, which was launched in the city on Thursday by Deputy Chief Minister Mohd. Mohammed Ali.

He said the service providers had promised to source accurate information on products and services to pass on to people seeking information. S. Sunil Kumar Singh and S.J. Basha, the promoters of the service, said that people need to dial 040–6644 4466 any time.

The call is disconnected immediately and the executives will call back with an enquiry and present the information needed. The service is available round-the-clock.

The service currently offers information in 60 categories and 3,000 sub-categories and it will be further expanded in the next few months. The service will be expanded to Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Bangalore in the next six months.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – February 27th, 2015

She was the love song

Amirbai’s tale is one of inspiration / Special Arrangement / The Hindu
Amirbai’s tale is one of inspiration / Special Arrangement / The Hindu

Amirbai Karnataki is one of the earliest Kannada singer-actress who made it big in Hindi cinema. She went to Bombay when women artistes were labelled ‘fallen’, but with grit and passion Amirbai became a star and sang 380 songs in 150 Kannada and Hindi films

For someone who didn’t belong to the gramophone generation but the golden period of radio, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Mukesh, and Rafi ruled our hearts and constituted our imagination of a film song. The same AIR, during a light music programme, had played “Ninnane Neneyuta Ratriya Kalede”. This, was a carbon copy of Lata’s memorable “Saari Saari Raat Teri Yaad Sataye”, but the voice was starkly different. It had a heavy nasal tone, and the flawless rendition had a simplicity to it. The charming song left an indelible mark and I felt I had to recover her voice from pages that were unknown to me. Amirbai Karnataki was an unheard voice for the Seventies: she was long gone, and had faded into the archives of black and white era of early films. She was someone who lived on in personal memories of people who had known and heard her.

Amirbai Karnataki (1912-65), who sang 380 songs in 150 films, was an early singer and actress of Hindi cinema. This singer who sang the unforgettable “Main to pavan chali hoon bole papiha” and “Bairan Nindiya Kyon Nahi Aaye”, was born in Bijapur in Karnataka. During the 1930s Amirbai was a prominent name along with stars like Suraiyya, Shamshad Begum, Noor Jahan and Zohrabai Ambalewali.

When Lata Mangeshkar came on to the scene, many of these singers moved into the background and for the later generations they remained unknown.

Born into a family of artistes, Amirbai’s parents Ameenabi and Husensaab worked for a theatre company and even ran one for many years. Growing up years for Amirbai and her five siblings was filled with music and theatre, what with many of her uncles and aunts being top musicians and actors in theatre. She lost her father early and her uncle, Hatel Saheb took care of all the children.

During those years, Bijapur was part of Mumbai Presidency and the sangeet natak tradition in these parts was flourishing. The famous Balagandharva’s company and several other theatre companies camped at Bijapur; Amirbai and her sister Goharbai, trained as they were in classical music, impressed these companies with their singing and they began to not only sing for several of them, but also act.

As Rahmat Tarikere writes in his biography of Amirbai Karnataki, Amirbai moved from Bijapur to Mumbai, from theatre to films. But the exact date and nature of these movements and transitions are hard to tell. The story of Amirbai is a sum total of several happenings in a historical period as there are few definitive documents to lead us to any accurate picture. Painstakingly put together by the biographer, Tarikere says that when Amirbai reached Mumbai (it was perhaps the year of Alam Ara’s release, 1931), women who worked in films, theatre and music were still seen as “fallen”.

Women artistes were often ridiculed as “free women” and among the several women performers, Amirbai and her sister Goharbai too, tried to free women of this stigma. In fact, families not only disowned such women, but there were instances of women being killed for choosing the arts.

In fact, Rahmat Tarikere says that the kind of fight these women put up with the social circumstances of those days is no less significant than the freedom struggle itself. If women artistes, in the later years, earned fame and reputation, it was because of the sacrifices these women made. Ironically, two very popular films “Basant” and “Kismet” in which Amirbai acted deals with the plight of actresses.

Amirbai became a very reputed singer and actress of her times. She was highly paid, and even built a theatre Amir Talkies in Bijapur. She travelled the length and breadth of North Karnataka giving programmes related to theatre and cinema.

A singer who sang some of the finest love songs, had a very unhappy love life though. Tarikere writes how her husband, a Parsi actor who played villain in those days, Himalayavala, abused her physically and emotionally. She had to suffer several assaults from him and even separation became a painful affair. Unable to recover from the trauma, she went into oblivion for several years, and later Badri Kanchawala, with his love and care brought back peace into her life.

At the age of 55, Amirbai passed away; Karnataka had been unified by then and the rest of Karnataka hardly knew of her. Even the newspapers reported her death four days later. It was only later that people have slowly learnt of Amirbai’s greatness and how Gandhiji was immensely fond of her rendition of “Vaishnava Janato”.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Deepa Ganesh / February 27th, 2015

Daughter of devadasi achieves doctorate degree fighting all odds

Belagavi :

Examples of children of devadasis qualified with higher education are seen very rare following poor social and financial background of these families. In such conditions, Suvarna Shanta Madar, 36 year old devadasi daughter from Kokatnur village in Athani taluk has achieved doctorate degree fighting all odds came in her way.

After completing B.Com from Karnataka University Dharwad with fifth rank in 2002, Suvarna completed her MA. She did not stop there by deciding to pursue PhD on devadasi system with which she suffered from. Karnataka State Women’s University, Vijayapur awarded her doctorate degree last year for doing PhD in the subject ‘An Economic Study of Rehabilitation Programme of Devadasis in Athani Taluk’.

She did research on five government schemes for the eradication of devadasi system and the welfare of devadasis including the schemes for providing housing, pension, rehabilitation and make them self reliant. Professor S S Peerzade in Economics department in women’s university guided her to pursue PhD.

“Pursuing the education was not a smooth task for me. I used to sell coconut, turmeric, oil, flowers and other things sitting in-front of goddess Renuka Yallamma temple in the village till the school time and after returning from school. It was the business providing us bread and butter. There are lot of hilarious experiences I have experienced in my childhood and adolescence being a daughter of devadasi. Poverty was our biggest enemy. As I had experienced the worries of devadasi system and being a daughter of devadasi I chose this subject”, Suvarna said speaking to the TOI.

In 1993-94 state government conducted the survey of devadasis and after that mother of Suvarna began getting Rs 500 monthly pension. The pension amount gave lot of solace to their day today financial problems for survival. Suvarna has two sisters and one brother. One sister is a police constable while another is a staff nurse on contract bases. Brother is daily wage worker. Suvarna works as a guest lecturer at the local 1 stgrade college.

Shanta Madar, mother of Suvarna is very happy with daughter’s achievement. Speaking to the TOI she said she wanted to look her daughter doing a permanent government job. Suvarna said “I have not married so far to achieve something. My first priority is getting a permanent job which is my mother’s dream too”, she said.

Considering the achievement of Suvarna Madar, district officer on devadasi rehabilitation programme M K Kulkarni has wrote letter to the Women’s Development Corporation fortnight ago to bring a book of Suvarna Madar’s thesis submitted for PhD and print at least 1,000 its copies. He has also appealed to honour both mother and daughter on state level platform on Women’s Day. “It’s not a small achievement for any devadasi daughter and it is encouragement for others too”, Kulkarni said.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Hubballi / by Ravindra Uppar, TNN / February 13th, 2015