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ನೂರೆಂಟು ಸುಳ್ಳು (nUreMTu suLLu)

You may not be a "Dhrutharashtra", but we want to be the Sanjaya for you!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sanjevani's Sleaze

In our first non-Bhat related blog we want to bring to you some sleaze courtesy Sanjevani.

We do not know whether the Kanchi seer is indeed involved in the murder he has been accused of. We also do not know whether he was/is involved romantically with any women. We will wait for all the facts to come out. We will wait for the courts to give their verdicts. If we have to keep waiting... we will keep waiting. But some newspapers just could not wait. If there is a hot pile of cowdung, of course that needs to be served. And Sanjevani (an evening newspaper in Karnataka) did just that.

We don't want to comment much here. Just take a look:

We have many other examples. But the entire staff of 108 Sullu HQ is disinterested in peddling this sleaze any further. Even for the sake of analysis and commentary.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Net, Bait ...and What A Catch?!

We at 108 Sullu H.Q. like Mr.Bhat's columns very much. Without any doubt his columns are the inspiration for us. Strike that. Actually, his columns are the raison d'etre for this web-log. At least at this time. So, we find it very difficult to pick a favourite among his gems of journalism.

But, we are not all that hardy a bunch. It does not take too much of a persuasion to pick one. And we pick this one. It's not because this one has any more factual errors than others. We do not even know whether there are any factual errors here or not. In fact we are fairly certain Mr.Bhat himself would not be able to confirm or deny the central fact of his column.

The central story here is not that complicated. Jayalakshmi, a 32 year old woman from Sivakasi went missing. Her father sent a telegram to Tamilnadu High Court alleging that his daughter had been illegally detained (or mudered) by Tamilnadu police. The court deemed that telegram as an habeas corpus petition. From The Hindu:

"The court took up the petition following a telegram sent by Jayalakshmi's father to the Chief Justice. He alleged murder of his daughter by policemen. Subsequently, she was produced before the Bench by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sivakasi, on court directions. The DSP filed an affidavit stating that she was secured from a lodge at Vellore and that several petitions on charges of cheating were pending against her in Madurai and Karur districts."
After she was produced before the court, Jayalakshmi herself produced an affidavit alleging various abuses including sexual exploitation. Again from The Hindu:
"In her affidavit, Jayalakshmi listed the names of several police officers in the ranks of Superintendent of Police to constable who allegedly harassed her. She also alleged sexual exploitation, cheating, wrongful confinement and bigamy against these officers."
While there have been other allegations against Jayalakshmi including cheating, what caught the eye of Tamil media was the sexual angle. Overnight Jayalakshmi was made into a seductress of sensational abilities. (Please read Krithika Ramalingam's analysis in The Hoot)

Dear readers, if you thought only tabloids would be interested in such a story involving a seductress of unimaginable prowess you know not Mr.Bhat and his Vijaya Karnataka. Mr.Bhat had to write an article. Write, he did:

"...kAnsTEbalniMda hiDidu, es.pi. ai.ji.pi maTTada adhikArigaLella Ikeya tekkeyalliddAreMdare...adeMta hikmattiniMda bale bIsirabahudu, gALa hAkirabahudu eMbudannu Uhisabahudu."

("... when officers from constables, SP to IGP were under her spell ... one could imagine with what cunning she must have cast her net, set her bait.")
We at 108 Sullu H.Q. do not know whether Jayalakshmi was a seductress or not. All we know, based on more reputable sources -- like for example The Hindu, Rediff -- is that in her affidavit she named 22 officials as her abusers. Out of the 22, she specifically alleged that 6 officials sexually abused her. The six included a DSP. Was she romantically/sexually involved with many police officers including an I.G.P? We have no idea.

Mr.Bhat continues:

"... sumAru 38 polIsaru Akeya saKya beLesi, dEha suKavuMDiddAre. IkeyU polIsara saKya suKa anubhavisi, avarannu dALagaLannAgi upayOgisikoMDu mADabArada kelasa mADiddALe."
("...around 38 police [men] have been intimate with her enjoying her body. Even she has enjoyed the intimate friendship with police to do things that shouldn't be done")

We at 108 Sullu H.Q. have no idea whether Jayalakshmi bedded one, zero or 380 policemen. Without any DNA evidence or eye witness accounts, we believe it is sleazy to write what Mr.Bhat has written. Then again we are just a blog and not the number one selling Kannada newspaper. Obviously our standards are a bit higher.

Mr.Bhat has written as though he was an eye witness to these Jayalakshmi-police trysts. If he indeed is an eye witness, why write "about (sumAru) 38"? Did he lose count before 38? Or after 38? Where did he get this number? Why doesn't he ever name his sources? Is it because he doesn't have any? Or, is it because the source is not trust worthy? Or, is it because Mr.Bhat wants the full credit for this earth shattering revelation?

A marginally educated woman accuses police officers including at least one DSP of abusing her. The police officers contend that she is a cheat and of loose moral character. The courts order investigations into the accusations and counter-accusations. We at 108 Sullu H.Q. really have no idea whether one or both of them right or wrong here. But, some in the media, including Mr.Bhat, in their haste to peddle sleaze jump to conclusions even before all the facts are in.(What will you do if the facts will never be in? - Editor. We still refuse to jump.)

We have no intention of further delving in this sleaze. But while researching for the original source, we accidentally found this particular report in a web site called India Daily. Other than a few minor changes (embellishments?) all the claims made in Mr.Bhat's column seem to be present here. Is this Mr.Bhat's source? We are unashamed to say, we have no idea.

By the way, this "India Daily" seems to be a classy web site for news. On the day we checked, the front page had such important topics (among others) as:

"Claire Forlani caught off guard topless in the beach",
Negar dropped her pants during rain dance in Dubai to the music played by Ryan Beck and his band Brandish

Did Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins intentionally stumble and drop her dress in the fashion show?"

Mr.Bhat ends his column with a sigh of relief that Karnataka police are better than the Tamilnadu police force. According to him, they have not stooped to the level of associating themselves with a woman of loose morals like Jayalakshmi.

How we wish we could also say that the number one newpaper in Karnataka does not stoop to the same level as some sleazy newspapers in Tamilnadu!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Run Mr.Bhat, Run .... Away From Facts!

Wilma Rudolph was a great athlete and an inspiration to many. There is no doubt about that. But, when Mr.Bhat starts writing about her life, we at Noorentu Sullu H.Q. as usual start having doubts. Not about Rudolph's accomplishments but about what Mr.Bhat writes.

Mr.Bhat writes:
"1960 ROm olimpiksnalli tanna 18nE vayassinalli nAlku chinnada padakagaLannu paDeda chigare"

(In 1960 Rome Olympics, when she was 18 years old, this gazelle won 4 gold medals.)
Wilma was born in 1940. She was 20 years old when she participated in Rome Olympics. She won 3 gold medals there. (Source: ESPN)

Bhat writes:
"..Ike tanage hattu varSha Aguvavarege I bhUmiya mEle kAlugaLannE iTTiralilla. avaLa kAlugaLeraDannU pOliyO tiMdu hAkittu."

("Till she was 10 she had not set her feet on the ground. Both of her legs were lost to polio")
Wilma was a premature baby. She weighed only 4.5 lbs when was born. As a child she was chronically sick. However she contracted polio just before her 5th birthday. Mr.Bhat is wrong when he writes that she did not set her feet down till she was 10.

Further, it's not true that both of her legs were afflicted with polio. Polio deformed her left leg only. (Sources: Publishers Weekly via Amazon and White House)

Bhat writes:
"vilmA samudra daDadalli guDDagADugaLalli oMdE samane ODuttidare..."
"I madhye Ake tannUrinalliruva vishvavidyAlayada kOch baLi hOgi "...nanage mArgadarshana mADi. nanage guruvAgi...." eMdu bEDikoMDaLu."

("When Wilma started continuously running on the seashore and hilly paths..."
"Meanwhile she went to the coach in her local university and begged him to train her, guide her")
Wilma was born in Tennessee and spent most of her life there. The last time we checked there was no sea near Tennessee. So which seashore was she running on?

As mentioned earlier, by her 5th birthday Wilma's left leg was deformed due to polio affliction. Between ages six and ten, she wore leg braces. By 11 she had removed her braces and even started playing basketball. By 15 she had become a star player for school basketball team. In fact, Tennessee State University athletics coach Edward S. Temple noticed her for the first time in one of the basketball games. And it was he who approached her rather than Wilma approaching him. (Source: Tennessee Encyclopedia)

Later Mr.Bhat writes about US President paying his last respects to Wilma by standing infront of her mortal remains. When Wilma died in 1994, Bill Clinton was the president. We in Noorentu Sullu H.Q. tried to confirm this "fact" at many places. But, no luck. Nada. The above referred Tennessee Encyclopedia article mentions about funeral as well memorial service for Wilma. But does not mention President Clinton attending either of them.

Bhat writes:
"...huTTu kuMTanAdarU....fraMklin rUsvelT.."

("..born a cripple.." "Franklin Roosevelt")
Franklin D. Roosevelt was not born a cripple. He was born in 1882. He contracted polio in 1921 while vacationing with his wife Eleanor. By that he had already been a well known figure in Democratic party. (Source: Wikip

We believe when Wilma and Roosevelt could overcome their terrible physical afflictions, Mr.Bhat could very well overcome his anti-fact-checkitis.

Bhisham, Vasisht ... What's in a name?!

Mr.Bhat writes here about an unnamed eminent writer who feels many of his earlier writings are "bogus". Is there really an eminent writer who feels that way? We at Noorentu Sullu have no knowledge. Or could that be Mr.Bhat's own (guilty ?) conscience? Again, we do not know. Unlike some of our celebrity journalists, we at Noorentu Sullu head quarters have not mastered the art of mind reading.

But, we can tell you one thing. When Mr.Bhat names names, go and check.

Mr.Bhat writes about a mathematician from Bihar by name "Bhishma Narayana Singh". He writes as though Singh is dead. ("gaNitajnanidda" instead of "gaNitajnaniddAne"). (Note: Later in the article, Mr.Bhat writes that Singh's whereabouts are not known thus making clear that he could still be alive.)

In fact his name is really Vashisth Narayan Singh and he is still alive. While writing about Dr.Singh, Mr.Bhat writes that he was a mathematician of the stature of Srinivasa Ramanujam. Further, he writes that Dr.Singh's research and discoveries turned the existing [mathematical] laws upside down. To make Dr.Singh a bit more impressive, Mr.Bhat also writes about nameless American scientists who had great respect for him. (Knee-jerk anti-American that he is, yet when it fits the narrative he does not fail to mention citing Americans when necessary. For a guy who deplores the Americanization of Indian culture, I am not sure why he still wants to cite the appreciation of American scientists as some kind of a badge of honor.)

We at Noorentu Sullu HQ know a bit about mathematics. Very little. We have no doubt Dr.Singh was once a top notch mathematician. But comparing him to Ramanujam is more than a bit of stretch. Ramanujam is recognized world over as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. It is only Indian newspapers that compare Dr.Singh with Ramanujam. Even they do it when they are writing about him (Dr.Singh) and want to sensationalize the story.

(BTW, here is an obituary for Ramanujam originally published by London Mathematical Society. We found it a very interesting read. And here is a quote (via Wikipedia) about Ramanujam by Prof.Robert Kanigel of MIT.
Almost a century after his death, it was said of him, "Ramanujan was a mathematician so great that his name transcends jealousies, the one superlatively great mathematician whom India has produced in the last thousand years. His leaps of intuition confound mathematicians even today, seven decades after his death. His papers are still plumbed for their secrets. His theorems are being applied in areas scarcely imaginable during his lifetime." (quoted from Kanigel's biography, "The Man who knew Infinity", p.3)

Mr.Bhat further writes that Dr.Singh burnt 6000 pages of his research (the fruit of 12 years of toil) and wrote a letter saying that he had found nothing new hence his work was useless. As his wont Mr.Bhat does not cite any references for his claims. However, as per this report Dr.Singh seems to still retain his mathematics books and diaries filled with mathematical formulae as his prized possession.

In the same article Mr.Bhat writes about eminent journalist Sir Harold Evans. Again he does take much care in usage of tense ("badukiddAgalE daMtakatheyAda" instead of "badukiruvAgalE daMtakatheyAgiruva") thus leaving the impression that Sir Harold is dead.

He writes about Sir Harold literally trashing 2 decades of his writings in The Times as well as his autobiography that he had finished. As per Mr.Bhat they were found years later by some one and got published.

Again, Mr.Bhat does not cite where he got this information from. Prolific writer that he is, Sir Harold has many books to his credit. But, there is no sign of any autobiography yet. Unless Mr.Bhat or someone else found something and published it without anybody's knowledge.

We at Noorentu Sullu H.Q. find it inconceivable (but not completely impossible) that a man who eventually headed the Random House publishing company would throw away his work to be published years later by someone else. Further for a man who hated his own writing so much as to trash them is it not strange that Mr.Evans continues to write till today with his latest book "We the People" slated to be released soon?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Udara nimittam ... praise the Indians

One of the conceits Mr.Bhat and many of his colleagues including Ravi Belagere, Nagatihalli Chandrashekhar etc. engage in is to compare Indians and Americans. Of course they will make sure that Indians always come ahead. If not, at least Americans are portrayed in bad light.

When New York and parts of US & Canada experienced a blackout in August of 2003, Mr.Bhat did not let it pass by without praising the glory of Indians. He had to write a column. And, he did. Of course the column had to have factual errors, gross exaggerations and illogical conclusions.

Mr.Bhat begins :
"monne hadinaidu tAsu ghOra kaggattaleyalli kuLitiddAga, barI vidyutcchaktiyannE tiMdu naDeyuva aDuge mane stabdhavAdAga anEka bhAratIyaru amerikannarannu kare karedu pukkaTe UTa hAkidaru. amerikannarige acchari!"
("The other day when everyone was sitting in total darkness, when the kitchens that run only on electricity had become silent, Indians [in US] repeatedly invited Americans and provided free meals to them. Americans were surprised!")

He further writes that on that day hotels in Florida, New York, New Jersey and California became soup-kitchens ("dAsOha kEndra") inviting guests and providing them free meal. According to him this strange generosity ("vichitra oudArya") of Indians was reported big time in many newspapers along with the news of blackout itself. He also writes when the whole nation was experiencing blackout ("iDI dEsh vidyut illade"), it is not unnatural for Americans -- who think "there is no free meal" -- to be mystified by this strange action of Indians.

When blackout struck we (the entire staff of 108 Sullu H.Q.) were in New York. The electricity outage was not selective about households. It was not just American kitchens that became silent that day; the kitchens of Indians became silent too. So how did Indians cook without electricity? Or do Indians not use electricity in their kitchens? In my experience and opinion the daily meal that a typical Indian family eats requires more preparation in kitchen than a meal eaten by a typical non-Indian American family.

The blackout affected mostly New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, some parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Canada. This fact has been widely reported. When that's the case, why did Indian hotel owners thousands of miles away in Florida and California offer free meals to their guests?! Of course it's because in Mr.Bhat's mind the power outage affected the whole of US. ("iDI dEsha vidyut illade"). We surely can't expect a celebrity journalist like Mr.Bhat to be aware of even basic facts about what he is writing . Can we?

He writes about reports ("doDDadAgi anEka patrikegaLalli prakaTavAgittu") about Indians' generosity that got widely published in many newspapers. Needless to say, he does not cite even one single example of these widely publsihed reports. As far as we can tell there was one report about an Indian restaurant owner that got reproduced in many Indian newspapers and web sites. Other than that we could not find any reports specifically highlighting the generosity of Indians.

That day in August was a warm day. There were long lines of people standing in sun waiting for transportation back home. People were sweating and thirsty. Some used this opportunity to price gouge on water bottles. But, we also experienced first hand a few generous folks who were handing out cups of chilled water for free. We also noticed some restaurant owners offering free icecreams, other food and yes, even wine. Take a look at here, here and here. NY Daily News reported about shopkeepers giving away water and food.

Mr.Bhat (deliberately ?) misreads the American saying "There is nothing called a free meal" to imply that Americans lack generosity ("oudArya") when it comes to serving food. In truth both the American government and the American people indeed provide "free meal" for the needy.

Many American churches have food pantries where they regularly distribute grocery to the needy. In addition many churches, religious and other organizations run soup kitchens every day to serve hot food to any one who wants. Schools, libraries and yes even corporate offices hold food-drives regularly to collect food for the needy. In addition to these American government itself has a food-stamp program for the poor.

Of course Mr.Bhat either does not (care to) know any of these or he deliberately bends the facts to fit his narrative that Indians are more generous than Americans. Why care about facts when readers trust you?!

We at 108 Sullu H.Q. have no idea whether Indians are less or more generous than people of other nations. But, based on Vijaya Karnataka's rising circulation figures, it appears Kannada newspaper readers are very generous towards executive editors who strive to serve a low-fact news diet.

....Kimakurvata Sanjaya

Sanjaya uvAcha:

Vishweshwara Bhat is the executive editor of the largest selling Kannada newspaper Vijaya Karnataka. In addition to being the executive editor of his paper he is also a well known columnist. His column "Noorentu Maatu" is quite popular among Kannada newspaper readers.

This column is also available over the 'Net. An archive of his columns is available here.

In the earliest available column he ends the article with the following statement:
"prItige mAtra alla, naMbikegU kshamisuva guNa ide alvA?.."
(Not only Love but Trust also has forgiving quality, don't you think?)

If one reads his columns it appears that Mr.Bhat would like to test the above premise. By engaging in factual errors, untruths, sloppy writings he certainly is testing whether his trusted readers would continue to forgive him. If circulation figures of his newspaper are any measure, he seems to be right.

The entire staff of 108 Sullu H.Q. -- comprising all of one single soul -- is dedicated to chronicling this battle that many of our scribes are waging against facts that come in their way of opinions and narrations.

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