Tag Archives: Bangalore

B’luru advertiser puts his faith & funds on billboards

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :



For months now, citizens of Bengaluru, the eastern parts in particular, have been seeing huge billboards at vantage points with the tagline, ‘Islam: Facts Vs Fiction’, offering a free copy of the Quran from the advertiser.

Passers-by wonder who’s leasing out the space and why, and having read the message, move on.

Syed Hamid Mohsin, who runs an outdoor advertising business, was known for his love of cars, buying the latest models of luxury cars every year. Six years ago, he found himself facing serious questions.

“There are more than white, and those seen at dargahs, about love jihad and extremism, and other issues.”

He founded the Salaam Centre in 2008 and turned to dispelling misconceptions about Islam and fostering inter-community harmony through the use of billboards, social media and other channels.

His book on Islam has been translated into Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.

“The usual question from 100 misconceptions about Islam,” said the 50-year-old.

“I’ve tried to explain the difference between Pakistan’s national flag, which is green and intelligence sleuths and the judiciary and others is:where do I get funds for such work, and for the plush office on Bannerghatta Road?’ Mohsin said.

A Bengaluru business man has got billboards posted at key points across the city to dispel misconceptions about Islam and spread the message of communal harmony .

“Outdoor advertising gives me my bread and butter and the income from it is funnelled here. I have a bungalow and a Mercedes Benz which I haven’t changed in six years. Earlier, I used to have two luxury cars and change these every year . Instead of paying an EMI of Rs 1lakh on cars, I decided to do this. I don’t want to go into philanthropy or give educational scholarships because others are doing this,” says Syed Hamid Mohsin, who runs an outdoor advertising business. “I keep the hoardings for short periods as people get bored,” he said.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Bangalore / TNN / February 11th, 2016

Tipu’s feared rockets fly into oblivion

The Sangeen Jame Masjid at Taramandalpet in Bengaluru.— Photo: Bhagya Prakash k
The Sangeen Jame Masjid at Taramandalpet in Bengaluru.— Photo: Bhagya Prakash k
Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :
In the congested old market area of the city, where vehicles and pedestrians jostle for space on narrow lanes, lies a tale of Tipu Sultan’s ingenuity that time seems to have forgotten.

It is in this small clearing, now flanked by a sprawling masjid, that thousands of workers had gathered nearly 300 years ago to cut metal, roll gunpowder into barrels and attach sharp metallic pieces to make the once-feared ‘Bangalore Rockets’.

All that remains now of this ingenious machinery that sustained Tipu Sultan through four wars against the British is the name assumed by the few buildings in the area — Taramandalpet , or roughly, the market of the constellation of stars, a name that refers to the pattern of mid-air explosions of these rockets that then rained shrapnel on an unsuspecting enemy.

Residents — primarily shopkeepers and staff of the masjid and madrassa — seem unaware of the place’s rich history that once fuelled Indian rocketry.

“Workers would prepare these rockets that proved very effective against the British. This would then be transported to the armoury at K.R. Market, which still exists,” says Suresh Moona, a historian.

The entire street was a sort of military laboratory, a fact seen in the unearthing of two cannons during the metro construction work between 2012 and 2015.

Much of these signs, however, have disappeared. Activists point out this irony: while the government announced celebrations of the Mysuru King’s birth anniversary — which ended in violent protests — recently, symbols of the Sultan in Bengaluru and even his birthplace near the swanky International Airport on the outskirts continue to fade away.

Syed Shafiullah, vice-president of the Tipu Sultan Publicity Committee, says: “One armoury that we saw is now just piles of thrash and shops. It is a shame that all of it is going. We have been persuading the government to preserve these areas, or at least, to highlight it. It should be a pride that the technology of the British army came from Karnataka,” he says.

source:  http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National / by Staff Reporter / Bengaluru – December 27th, 2015

City boy’s chopper bike burns rubber

Zakir’s 10-feet long Captain America-style bikesports monster Trepador tyre; actor Upendra asked him if the bike can be used in one of his movies.

The bike sports a converted 500 cc Royal Enfield engine
The bike sports a converted 500 cc Royal Enfield engine

If you find a monstrous 10-feet long bike zipping around the streets of Bangalore, ridden by a young lad, don’t mistake him for a ghost rider. It is actually 25-year-old interior designer Zakir Hussain Khan, who has passionately created this unique chopper bike which sports a converted 500 cc Royal Enfield engine.
Zakir Hussain, aka Zak as he’s popularly known among motorcycle enthusiasts, was inspired by the intriguing ‘Captain America’ chopper bikes in the West. Choppers are handcrafted or modified bikes. Captain America is the lead character in the counterculture 1960s movie Easy Rider, in which the two protagonists ride a chopper bike.
It took Zak three months to create this mean machine, which he calls the ‘Big Indian’. He now has Sandalwood bigwigs queuing up to feature this monster in their movies.
“Actually, I was test-riding the bike near actor Upendra’s house when his son saw the bike and called his father to check it out. He seemed quite impressed,” said Zak.
Uppi, known to wow his audience with his exuberant and larger-than-life characters, has even asked him if the bike can be used in one of his movies — this of course, after spending a few minutesinspecting the bike and its unusually big hind wheel.
The young designer, who invests most of his earnings from interior designing on modifying bikes, used the imported Maxxis Trepador tyre made by Taiwanese company Cheng Shin Rubber, doing business as Maxxis International, for the hind wheel. The tyre, made to be used on light trucks and SUVs, reportedly cost Zak a whopping Rs 60,000 to import from Germany. He thinks it gives the machine a mean look.
The bike cost him Rs 6.25 lakh to make from scratch. Another of its unique features is its silencer, which emits fire from its exhaust. This lone cost him a cool INR 1,50,000. Some of the characteristic features of this single-seater bike, now grabbing onlooker eyeballs, are its lengthened frame, extended forks, a skull for headlight, and Gatling-style (a forerunner of the modern machine gun) barrels, extending from one side of both the fork tubes.
Zak, always keen on wanting to make something different, started modifying cars and bikes since he was an 18-year-old. “I want to create another chopper bike which is 18-feet long,” said the ambitious Zak. And what is he going to do with this one? “I want to auction it after a few months,” he said.

source: http://www.bangaloremirror.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> Bangalore> Others / by Nandini Kumar, Bangalore Mirror Bureau / March 08th, 2014

The key to her life

Bangalore :

Samreen Gafoor’s fascination with keycards began at the age of six. The 15-year-old, who has travelled extensively, is the proud owner of over 80 keycards. The student of Bishop Cotton Girls’ School has keycards from India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Chicago, Shanghai among a host of other places. “Actually a lot of them are from the hotels of these places. As a family, we make it a point to go on a vacation every six months. That way I’m lucky that I can add to my collection frequently,” she says. 


Recalling how she started off, Samreen says, “The first one I got was from Malaysia which has my name on it. I was a kid back then and got excited to see a keycard with my name on it. So I told my parents to keep it even though they didn’t think much of it. But then after every holiday, I would keep the keycard carefully. That’s when they started taking my hobby seriously. In fact, the minute my dad gets back from a trip, I ask him if he has brought me a keycard.”

Any relative or friend visiting the family loves looking at the keycards. In fact, her love for keycards is so popular that the members of her extended family ensure that they bring her back some when they travel. Pointing out to her collection, she smiles, “Whenever anyone travels, the first thing they do on returning is give me the keycard of the hotel they stayed in. My friends do the same.”

So which are her favourites? “Every keycard is special to me. But the ones from Westin Hotel in Gurgaon, The Atlantis in Dubai, Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi and Ramada in Doha stand out. Actually, I could go on and on,” she says. Samreen, who has a keen interest in art, says that she looks for keycards with intricate art work. Pointing out the difference between her first few keycards and the current ones, Samreen says, “I have noticed that a lot of effort goes into each one. These days, the hotels like to leave a mark on the keycards. For instance, either a photograph of the hotel or a work from it is put on the keycards. Some have paintings on them. A lot of effort goes into making them attractive. They are really worth keeping.”

She further adds, “Some hotels keep changing the designs every few months.” But her biggest disappointment is when she lands at a hotel which doesn’t use keycards. “The first thought that crosses my mind then is ‘how will I add to my collection?’ Thankfully, the metallic and plastic keys are slowly and surely getting phased out,” she says. Samreen points out that her unusual hobby has given her a chance to map her journey. “I remember the places I have been to and learn about them in the process too,” she says. However, she rues that she has not come across anyone else who has a similar interest. “I really wish I knew others who have the same hobby. It would be great to exchange,” she says.

So how does she maintain her large collection? “It actually doesn’t take that much effort because they fit perfectly into a visiting card holder. But before I got this idea, it was quite tough as I used to keep them all in a box,” she says. While many youngsters grow out of their hobbies, Samreen makes sure that the collection, she has had for over ten years, only grows. “Having pursued the hobby for so long, I know that I’m going to be a collector of keycards for a long time to come. Although I don’t have anything in particular that I would like to add to the collection, I just pay attention to whatever comes my way,” she wraps up.

source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> MetroLife / Unique Hobbies / DHNS / by Vidya Iyengar / February 17th, 2014

Minority School Shows the RTE Way

Bangalore, Karnataka :

Seven-year-old Vidhya S carries a pile of books to her principal’s chamber. Her notes are neat, with all the right answers. Vidhya is one of eight children admitted under the Right to Education (RTE) Act quota at M M Nursery and Primary School, a Muslim minority institution in Tasker Town.

Although minority unaided schools are exempt from the RTE Act, this school took a decision two years ago to implement the quota in keeping with Section 12 (1)(c).

M M School’s move is in sharp contrast to the practice of some schools which claim “minority” status to avoid RTE Act obligations.

This school, however, admitted eight children (four boys and four girls) belonging to the Hindu community under RTE, of whom five are in Class 2 and three in Class 1.

“Our management knew that they didn’t have to comply with RTE, but I started looking and found there were so many parents in the neighbourhood who wanted to send their kids to school. They had to be provided with the opportunity to give their children education,” said principal Veena Nesam.

The school, which is managed by the Modi Masjid Education Trust, allotted five seats in 2012-13 and three seats in 2013-14 under the RTE quota. “In the interest of children’s education, the management agreed to go ahead with RTE. We are aware that we cannot expect any fee from these children,” she said.

“I have already spoken with my management on how we can sustain ourselves financially. We already have children whose parents are unable to pay fees,” Nesam said.

The school, located in a three-storey building opposite the Modi Masjid, has 350 children spread over Classes 1-8 and is permitted to use Urdu as its medium of instruction. Still, the school also teaches in Kannada and English. “My knowledge of Tamil helped me reach out to parents in the neighbourhood. Awareness among parents on RTE is low. All they know is that there is free education,” Nesam said.

When asked why other private schools were using the minority tag as means to keep RTE at bay, she said: “Many schools do not want RTE because of the financial burden it comes with. It is the 25 per cent clause that schools are wary of.”

In fact, the Bangalore North-3 BEO has sanctioned Rs 10,000 for admitting children under the RTE quota.

Nagasimha G Rao, convenor, RTE Task Force, lauded the school for having gone against the odds to implement the RTE quota.

As of July last year, the Department of Public Instruction has identified 288 certified religious and linguistic minority schools in the state.

However, it cannot issue any more minority certificates because of a pending case in the High Court, allowing schools to falsely claim minority status without certification.

“We cannot issue certificates as the previous government’s new minority definition was stayed by the High Court,” said Mohammad Mohsin, Commissioner for Public Instruction.

The new minority definition of the previous government required 2/3rd of the members of a school’s management to belong to a minority section with more than 75 per cent children belonging to that minority community.

“Now, because we cannot issue certificates, many schools have approached the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions for certification,” Mohsin said.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Karnataka / by Express News Service – Bangalore / February 14th, 2014

Hasan Mansur passes away

Hasan Mansur
Hasan Mansur

Hasan Mansur, a veteran human rights activist, passed away in Bangalore on Wednesday morning.

Prof. Mansur (1930-2014), who retired as the Head of the Department of English in Bangalore University, was closely associated with People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and a host of other human rights initiatives, and fact-finding efforts in Karnataka and elsewhere.

Prof. Mansur was one of the founding members of the Karnataka Civil Liberties Committee (KCLC) in 1984. He went on to work for the PUCL, with which he was associated till the end.

His role at PUCL

In a press release, the PUCL State committee has said that Prof. Mansur played a significant role in broad-basing the concerns of PUCL and taking it beyond the traditional human rights issues to focus attention on violations of socio-economic rights, including the right to housing and the right to water.

Prof. Mansur was also one of the founding members of the Karnataka chapter of the Indo-Pak People’s Friendship Forum and was associated with trade union movements since the 1950s.

Speaking to The Hindu , Ramdas Rao, his colleague at the university and a co-activist in PUCL, said: “I admired Prof. Mansur for the way he brought together literature, politics and human rights.” Recalling his love for literary greats like James Joyce, Pablo Neruda and T.S. Eliot, he said: “He could quote large chunks of Joyce’s Ulysses and Eliot’s Four Quartets and continued to teach to the larger community of his friends even after he retired.”

Prof. Mansur leaves behind his wife, Hasnath Mansur, and a son. Funeral prayers were held at Arab Lane Mosque on Richmond Road on Wednesday evening.

I admired Mansur for the way he brought together literature, politics and human rights: Ramdas Rao

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Bangalore – February 13th, 2014

Crafting new designs

Meet architects Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar, who love to come up with out-of-the-box ideas


Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar are the people behind the Farah And Dhaval Design (FADD) Studio on St. Mark’s Road, which started in 2012. So, what’s new about them?


For starters, they like working with offbeat and natural material such as burnt rust cement or bricks. “Cement, when it is waxed, looks so gorgeous that you will be surprised that it is cement,” explains Dhaval.

He adds that he always had a passion for architecture. “My father was into automobile accessories. The products at his store always intrigued me and I would find myself creating something new with the material he had. Then, I decided that I had to study architecture at Rachana Sasand’s Academy of Architecture in Bombay, after which I worked with Sandeep Khosla.”

Farah, on the other hand, was an artist. She says she always had leanings towards design. She studied in the U.S. and the turning point came when “I was gifted a camera which drove me into photography. Strangely it was never about people, but more about landscape and forms and textures. I was so inspired by nature that I found myself always creating an abstract composition.”

The young architect started exhibiting her works and lived as an artist before she interned with Sandeep Khosla, where she met Dhaval and the duo decided to start FADD.

She went on to study at Istitutio Marangoni in Milan. “I feel interior designing is a different manifestation of the same kind of creativity that I used in my art work. The only difference is in architecture, the physical space becomes my canvas,” explains Farah.

Coming to their work they say that Indians are fascinated with new designs. And with the world becoming smaller, resources are always “at our disposal”.

Dhaval says one should also always keep a tab on global trends. “That way you will be in sync with the latest in the market. No, we do not have a signature style for that will just put us and our thinking in a box. It is more like playing with form and function and yet keeping it minimal.”

They talk about the challenges they face in their profession. According to Farah it is “changing people’s set notions about designs. They think if something is expensive then it is classy. That is not always true.”


Dhaval says for him the challenge was designing the florist shop, Flower Box in Indiranagar. “We wanted to create a special look for the flowers, which are so colourful by nature. So we had to create an intensive design that would not kill the beauty of the flowers. We studied Zen and Ikebana and other flower arrangements to come up with something unique for this store.” The duo used shades of white and grey and found that the “flowers simply pop out from the shaded backgrounds”. A Kerala houseboat designed for a business man in Goa is also close to their heart.

For more on the architects, log on to www.faddstudio.com or call 22223661.

This column features those who choose to veer of the beaten track.


People think if something is expensive then it is classy. That is not always true

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> Metro Plus / by Shilpa Sebastian R. / February 12th, 2014