Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Archiving Saimar: An endangered Indian language

Barely four people, the oldest among them a 70-year-old tribal, speak a language which is on the brink of extinction. Spoken in a tiny village in Tripura, ‘Saimar’ has been identified as a “severely” endangered language.

Mr. Burman, who is involved in Bhasha Mandakini with CIIL, Central Institute of Indian Languages, said he could understand the Saimar language, but couldn’t speak it. There is little dialectical difference in the languages spoken by the 18 Halam groups.

Saimar is spoken only at Gantachera village in Tripura. The people speaking this language are agricultural labourers and farmers. “Saimar is hard to speak because some of the words are difficult to pronounce.”

In 2009, there were approximately 25 Saimar-speaking tribals, and today only four are remaining — Mr. Sukurthang Saimar, his wife, grandson and a senior lady.

CIIL is collecting data from Mr Saimar [through a translator] on the language for creating an archive of the language.

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Thadhi community of Rajasthan predict monsoon with folk songs

The members of Thadhi community of Barmer and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan used to forecast weather by creating folk songs. Taking ahead the legacy, the members of the community are still into writing short Rajasthani couplets to predict weather.

Bhuvnesh Jain who works at Nehra Yuva Kendra, Delhi and hails from Barmer has even documented the famous Rajasthani couplets of the community on the weather pattern especially the monsoon.

Many of them are illiterate and are into farming. Some of them who create these couplets ask others who are literate to jot them down. I sat with them many a times and after going through their Sankhiya(Rajasthani couplet to forecast monsoon) I found that their forecast is accurate. I have also written a book 'Rajasthan Ka Lok Vigyaan' which has the collection of Sankyia as narrated by the community, says Jain.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mysore IT firm pays incentives to cycle to work

An Mysore based IT firm, Qwinix is paying Rs 1,000 a month each to its employees for cycling to work. The norm for earning the incentive is to cycle to work on at least 75 per cent of workdays in a month.

Darshan Puttanaiah, CEO of the firm who launched Qwinix in the US city of Denver in 2007, opened a branch in the city in April 2012. The offer letter sent to new recruits spells out that Rs 1,000 incentive awaits employees who adopt the green mode of travel.

The company has nine employees and already three of them cycle to work.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Devareddy teaches music to visually impaired girls

Manjula is one of the rare talents from the Pandit Puttaraj Gawai Trust For Disabled , a free residential music school for poverty-stricken , visually impaired girls.

These budding musicians blossom under the benevolent eye of Vidwan Devareddy N Chinchali, managing trustee, Puttaraj Gawai Trust . Devareddy, too, is visually impaired, not unlike his guru Gawai.

After completing graduation in APS College, Devareddy , a trained Hindustani musician, took up a teaching job at the Ramana Maharishi Junior College for Women. With the ability to earn a living , this musician and teacher could connect with his inner vision.

Now Devareddy runs the Pandit Puttaraj Gawai Trust for Disabled, which is also home to Devareddy, his wife and two children, is haven to a rather large family of people who are high on music, love and life.

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Little Free Library: Novel experiment takes off in Bangalore

The Little Free Library (LFL) located on Brigade Cross Road in Bangalore is perhaps the first-ever such endeavour in the country. The LFL, nothing but a small book case, will remain there for 24 hours and seven days a week.

LFL is an idea that prompts bibliophiles to put up small shelved structures outside their homes where people can take books and leave some too. LFL has the potential that involves more than reading: it can lead to a conversation, friendship and a sense of book lovers' community.

The library can be used by children, adults or the elderly. All that matters is sharing the joy of reading. The expectation is that those who pick one book for themselves will drop another book or two into the case. Call it a heaven for bibliophiles, the wonder cabinet flaunting 'Little Free library' is already drawing readers.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Raghurajpur in Orissa is a village of artists

In Orissa’s Raghurajpur everyone is an artist. Every artist depicts facets of the, virtually limitless, tales and legends associated with Puri’s Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. In fact, the entire village is an evolving gallery of folk-art.

A technique that was, probably, developed in our southern states to preserve scriptural texts had been converted, by the artists of Raghurajpur, into an imperishable art form.

Jai Dev Maharana crafted sets of the world’s first playing cards. They were circular and came in packs of 144. One from his family was a painter and had created a large panel of the Rath Yatra procession of Lord Jagannath.

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Archana Sharma is in Higgs Boson team

Archana Sharma is the only Indian scientist who has been involved in the Higgs Boson experiment. Currently a Staff Physicist at the CERN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Archana finished her post-graduation from the Banaras Hindu University and her doctorate from Delhi University. She moved to Geneva for her post doctoral research.

Over a career of 23 years, all of which has been with CERN one way or the other, she has helped make CERN accessible to Indian students by facilitating student visits and providing prestigious internships. She lives with her husband in a tiny village called Russin close to CERN.

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